DTWOF episode #503

January 31st, 2007 | Uncategorized

Sorry I disappeared. Here’s the next strip.

152 Responses to “DTWOF episode #503”

  1. Jessie says:

    …but on the other hand, rushing grief is not healthy either…

    do take care.

  2. Callan says:

    Say this is not foreshadowing for Mo and Sydney!

  3. pd says:

    Love the look between Mo and Virginia in the last panel. One of our cats likes to do that. Then he turns his head upside down and I about break my neck trying to reciprocate.

  4. Annamal says:

    Really hoping it’s not foreshadowing for Virginia either.

  5. Angi says:

    Please say it isn’t so!

  6. RES says:

    I love the way Ginger watches Lois et al. through the window, the fragmentation into four panels/panes.

  7. Maggie Jochild says:

    Speaking of loved ones…

    Molly Ivins passed away this afternoon here in Austin.

    Even Moses didn’t make it all the way to the Promised Land. You made me proud to be a Texas woman, Molly.

  8. Ovidia says:

    Great contrapuntal effect!!! Felt like I was watching visual opera… individual & distinct (comic instead of melodic) lines complementing, contrasting & interplaying to make up a single (polycomic instead of polyphonic) whole while each retaining their distinctiveness!

    Loved it all!
    And the first & final panels could end up as classics–any chance of carding them?

  9. pd says:

    I just noticed the consecutive panels at the end where Sydney looks at Mo and Viginia, then turns her back and talks about nothing lasting forever.

    Exquisite! Have you considered writing screenplays?

  10. Ed says:

    Wow … Ginger leaving the house. And me still not entirely over the loss of Madwimmin Books and the virtual disappearance of Jezanna. (And Lois pops up less and less lately.)

    But that’s how things go. One of my favorite shows, “Knots Landing” (I know, I know), only had two of the original cast members left that final season. Change is good, it shakes things up. I keep telling myself that and maybe I’ll believe it.

  11. Jain says:

    Molly Ivins. Presente!

  12. Jana C.H. says:

    Who says Ginger can’t commit? She’s committed to her communal family something fierce. She didn’t plan it that way, but somehow it happened. Sure, part of her hesitation is fear of a change that may turn out badly, but I’m betting a big chunk of it is, “How could I do that these guys?” “These guys” would generously urge her to move on, but in their guts they’d be feeling, “How could she do this to us?” And J.R. would say it out loud: “Doesn’t Ginger like us any more?”

    Jana C,H,
    Saith Arthur Pinero: Where there is tea there is hope.

  13. Suzanonymous says:

    Sparrow once said Ginger couldn’t commit.

    I read the strip as being a hint to people who want Toni and Ginger to stay together. I am hoping that we can move on to other stories myself, so wishful thinking may be involved. But notice it also implies we need to let go of the idea of the weather as we know it.. 🙁 And it is showing Virginia happy despite her loss.

    Where did the snows of yesteryear go? To Colorado, where we are fed up with frozen snowdrifts and ice sheets. They came in mid-December and stayed. This never happens here (Denver) until late winter.

    I think global warming should be called global watering. No one is impressed by a 2 degree change but the forecasted change in the amount of liquid water ought to be measured and focus on that. It’s (the melting of the polar ice sheets and glaciers) going to wreak havoc with the weather systems and ecosystems. The high in Denver on Friday is due to be 8 degrees (Fahrenheit, btw). If it were to change by 2 degrees to 10, we would not care. But when they say there’ll be more of the white stuff, we take notice.

    Tip for people with no pets: feed the squirrels. They’ll love you for it. And the birds, as Alison has done.

  14. Suzanonymous says:

    Oops, Toni and Clarice.

  15. Cindy says:

    Very poignant. *sighs*

  16. Suzanonymous says:

    No easy cowboy message yet, hee hee, I’ll add that I love the funny details, like that Stewart is putting up underwear and the title of the book Mo’s reading.

  17. Lauren says:

    Toni and Clarice breaking up, and now Ginger leaving the mini-commune? Is Alison winding the strip down? I have a very bad feeling about all of this!

  18. AK says:

    Your work is so good it’s inspirational.

  19. Love You Alison says:

    Years and years of reading your beautiful strip. My first chance to put so much love into words on a page.

    I went through all the books at the holiday and thought, gosh, Mo’s cats are still doing well. Catch up on the archive, awaiting the next book, and Vanessa is gone.

    Poor Mo, so many of us have been there. Perfectly rendered and understated. The pain was almost tangible….

    Loved “Fun Home”. Oddly, I’m a gay man and a Loretta Lynn fan. And burst into tears that your last visit with your father included seeing “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Tears in my eyes at the cartoon rendering of a movie I loved and never saw in the theater (I was 12).

    First look at the blog comments, and a friend in Austin leaves the viciously unwanted new that Molly Ivins is no longer here to enlighten the world. So sad I can’t cry.

    A world without Vanessa, a world without Molly. Life brings us great gifts but then takes some away.

    Rest in peace, Molly Ivins, I will love you forever. I wanted you be here to see this useless war finally end, and to comment on Hillary’s inauguration in 2009. I don’t know how we will survive a 2008 campaign without you.

    God bless you, Alison Bechdel, you have brought joy into so many lives of men and women the world over.

  20. cybercita says:

    oh, my gosh, molly ivins. what a loss to the world! who else would have dared to name the current occupant “shrub”?

  21. Josiah says:

    At least Molly Ivins lived to see the American populace regret its actions in 2004, and vote accordingly in the Congressional elections.

    I liked Sydney being the voice of the long-term reader, asking Ginger “what the hell is up with that little ménage?”

    Lots of questions afoot: How is the loss of Vanessa affecting the relationship between Mo and Sydney? Would Sparrow, Stuart and Lois be able to afford the house without Ginger? (I can’t recall whether they rent the house or share a mortgage.) How would Lois feel about Ginger moving out — is she content being “Aunt Lois” to J.R. and mentor to Janice, or will she want more from her relationship with Jasmine?

    And Alison, don’t feel that you need to apologize to us for disappearing. You don’t owe us anything — after all, we’re here by your sufferance.

  22. Josiah says:

    OK, is this synchronicity or something in the zeitgeist, or what? Something Positive has a comic on feline mortality, posted the same day as this one. And my cat Maggie was making this weird whistling noise earlier tonight. I hope this isn’t the universe trying to tell me something… Maggie is about 12, and takes these itty-bitty heart pills for an arrhythmia. (They’re tiny to begin with, and I have to quarter them.)

  23. Deborah says:

    Okay, I am really scared that Alison is going to scatter her characters and end the strip.
    Reassurance, please????

  24. RI Red says:

    Ginger leaving the house could be a prelude to Clarice and Ginger finally getting together. Samia isn’t playing chicken-she’s playing both sides and playing for time. Lacking a backstory, it sure looks like Samia is stringing Ginger along.

    Alison, this strip was a real gift–thank you. With all the commitments on your plate, how on earth did you find the time to kick out this strip?

    Rest in peace, Molly Ivins.

  25. sweeter_the_juice says:

    End the strip? She wouldn’t. Would she? Alison? I think we’d like a word with you.

  26. corybant says:

    Josiah, Ginger and Sparrow bought the house in Split Level DTWOF.

    Several other strips and strip creators lost their beloved animal companions recently, including Liliane and Kris Dresen of Max and Lily.

    On a lighter note, Stuart has gotten a lot of mileage out of that Utilikilt!

  27. naylandblake says:

    After all this thoughtful commentary I’m embarrassed to simply admit that I’m crushed out on Stuart in his Utilikilt.

  28. Emma says:

    Ignoring all the possiblities for character development, could the strip, and the last panel especially, be in remembrance of Julia? This strip is as much a homage to the human/cat relationship as it is part of the DTWOF saga.

  29. damaris_lj says:

    I’m one who will miss Molly Ivans well. RIP Molly.

  30. BeckaJo says:

    I am terribly sad at the idea of the cooperative living home breaking up. And at the idea of Mo and Sydney splitting. Toni and Clarisse – well, they’ve been in this position before.

    I agree with some of the other commentors: this strip gives me the sinking feeling the strip is ending.

  31. Alex the Bold says:

    I hope she doesn’t end the strip, but, at the same time, I think there’s a related, horrible question that has to be addressed.

    The characters develop as the strip progresses. And when you look at them all, they’ve got to move on with certain aspects of their lives and that means change. And some of the characters’ positions in life right now seem a little, well, odd: someone as bright as Lois just sort of slacking through her 40s? Sydney still not controlling her shopping?

    Perhaps Alison Bechdel just doesn’t want to have to take the characters past the next checkpoint in their lives. I play the “What’s next for …” game all the time. My version of the strip ends up pretty bleak.

    Stuart has a heart attack. (But I really am not too keen on Stuart, he seems to possess a passive-abusive streak.) Sydney finally has to file for bankruptcy and then steals Mo’s identity. Lois has a near-death experience after choking on a poppyseed muffin during a break at Buns and Noodles (imagine the Capra-esque “if you’d never been born” sequences!!!) Toni breaks down, moves in with her parents and joins a convent.

    Perhaps Alison needs a sabbatical. Or just wants one.

    And Alison, one final word: Anime! Imagine Mo with Klingon Kleavage and Syndey wielding mystic forces and katana blades at her sluggish students! It’ll be bigger than “Springtime for Hitler.”

  32. Ellen Orleans says:

    There is, as pd mentioned above, a theatrical quality to this episode. Also, with so little narration, nor radio or television commentary spewing in the background, there’s a less frantic quality as well.

    I see a lot of good in this strip. In the last two panels, Sparrow, Stuart and Lois are pinning J.R. to the clothesline (super cute image) and Mo and Sydney appear to be having an unusually peaceful morning, Mo having set her book aside to gaze at Virginia and Sydney deciding to stay at home to be with both of them.

    Now, if Ginger would only learn to be direct with her house mates.

    That said, without conflict and obstacles, there would be no tension, without tension, no story. Same as in 3-D life too, I suppose.

  33. Deborah says:

    The morning after my late-night hysterical comment, I just want to say to Alison: you are doing amazing things with the strip, as you have been for the past too-many-to-count years. And recently you just doubled (if not more) your workload with the wonder that is Fun Home. And now the tours, awards, and the writing of the second book. If you are wrapping up DTWOF in order to balance your life out a bit and focus on the longer projects, I support that. Of course DTWOF would be missed, goes without saying. But you get to decide (also goes without saying).
    And if I am being paranoid, then laugh at my expense and carry on. If not, so be it.

  34. Eva says:

    This strip feels very strongly like an ode to Julia, Alison’s recently departed cat, and Alison telling herself to let go of Julia. The portraits of Mo/Alison Virginia/Julia in this strip are heartbreaking in their simplicity and clarity.

    Curiously, Vanessa died in the strip before Julia died in real life. Life imitating art/art imitating life…

    Meanwhile, back in the world of the strip characters…there is a lot going on. It looks like a lot of change is a-foot.

    I sure hope Alison isn’t planning on ending the strip, but she did say something in the post after this one about looking at her relationship to the blog. Could be that she’s considering weaning herself of the blog so she can do the strip and her next book, without the temptation of using the blog as a source of procrastination…which she has posted about numerous times.

  35. Duncan says:

    Wait a minute. Ginger owns the house she shared with Sparrow, Lois and Stuart. ( “I’m gonna buy this house, ladies!”) Whose name is on the deed? It’s not gonna be as simple as moving out of a rented room in a houseful of college students. But maybe Jasmine and Jonas will move in to take Ginger’s place? I’m betting Ginger is not going to move out — either she, or more likely Samia, will blink. (For once Ginger may have met a woman more leery of “commitment” than she is. But for those who like to bait Ginger for being afraid of commitment — be afraid, be very afraid! — there is more than one kind of commitment, and she’s a very settled person, to her profession and to her household. Smash monogamy!) Anyway, it’s a great episode, very powerful and suggestive.

    Stuart’s right, but not in the way I’m presuming he thinks: we *are* all gonna die. That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t care about the environment, the polity, and so on, but in the long run we are all dead.

    Since Virginia and Vanessa were presumably littermates, that means Virginia’s no spring chicken either. I’ll be sorry when she, too, dies, but I know it can’t be far off. I’m glad to see Mo and Sydney together like this, too, as Ellen Orleans points out. I think one reason I enjoy their longevity as a couple is that they are so much *not* poster children for same-sex couples, they infuriate the PR-conscious Homo-Americans who want us to be like George and Laura Bush. Remember when Mo and Syd had “public sex” in the university library stacks? (I imagine that fits in with Alison’s professed librarian fetish. 😎 Mine too. I’ve never had sex in the stacks.)

    I’ll miss Molly Ivins, too. She was a mere child, only 6 years older than me. I started reading her in The Nation, before her first book was published, and I remember her commenting that some Texas pol was “smarter than a box of rocks.” I appropriated that for my own toolbox of invective. Recently I’d been trying to track down an e-mail address for her, because of something she said in one of her last columns:

    “What happened to the nation that never tortured? The nation that wasn’t supposed to start wars of choice? The nation that respected human rights and life? A nation that from the beginning was against tyranny?”

    In a way I’m glad I wasn’t able to write to her about this; I hadn’t realized how sick she was, but she’d always refused to say much publicly about the state of her health. Still, it must be pointed out that the US has *always* tortured, always started wars of choice, never respected human rights and life, and never was against tyranny. We have some great ideals, but we’ve never lived up to them, and we need to start.

  36. Sara says:

    “Wow! Flowers in January! (We’re all gonna die.)”

    Well, it’s now official. I’m Stuart.

  37. newbie says:

    Just recently discovered the strip and completely hooked on it and terribly in love with Alison! It is just me or does Mo seem to be an alter ego of sorts? I think she looks like Alison.

  38. Donut Rooter says:

    Josiah, I know what you mean… my 19-year-old Siamese is showing signs of liver & kidney failure. Seeing S*P yesterday and this comic today is making me wonder if the universe is preparing me for my cat’s death. 🙁
    Watching Stuart hang laundry makes me look forward to spring, which is when I start using my clothesline. 🙂

  39. little gator says:

    Not only does Mo look like Alison(with different hair) but when I saw the cat I knew it was really Julia with a Siamese paint job.

  40. Jude says:

    I hope that the further scattering doesn’t drop some of our characters out of sight, the way the Madwimmin crew and Harriet have vanished. It would be kind of amusing to see the romantic relationships rescramble (though it would be nice to see the back of Sydney, who I dislike on the basis of her being an extremely dislikeable person), though I think our crew is probably too old for those kinds of games.

  41. Katie says:

    Wow…I guess everyone takes the possible disruption of households seriously!

    I’d like to note for the record that Alison has no plans of ending DTWOF at any time in the near future, so you can relax and be assured that the strip will continue even as characters and living situations come and go.

  42. A. in Paris says:

    Whew. That’s a relief. Thank you, Katie. 🙂

  43. Em says:

    Awww… this make me want to drive the two hours to go back home and give extra hugs to my little dogs! Much as I love living on my own, I think I miss my pups the most.

    Stupid weather rant:
    Right now the snows of yesteryear are bitch-slapping the state of Missoui. I feel like a horrible person for saying this but after two straight weeks of walking everywhere in the freezing cold with icy sidewalks and grimy, slushy snow… could we please get some climate change around here? Please? Just something above freezing, that’s all I ask o weather diety!
    Of course come summertime I’m gonna be just as sick of the heat… ya can’t win.

  44. Andrew B says:

    Duncan, I don’t know whose name is on the deed, literally. But Sparrow also has an investment in the house. Ginger’s income was not high enough to buy the house alone and Lois’s credit rating suffered from her default on her student loans. Still, that just reinforces what I take to be your basic point: if Ginger moves out, with Stuart unemployed and Lois working in a chain bookstore, they probably won’t be able to hang onto the house.

    What I want to know is, what the hell is up with Ammar? Granted that men can be clueless in that situation (I’m sure other commenters could offer examples), still… your wife is looking at houses with her “friend” and you can’t go because a couple of their pals want to tag along?!? I realize there are many possibilities, but most of them don’t reflect well on Samia. Remember a little while ago Ginger told us Samia and Ammar were retiling the bathroom? I assume she meant that literally, but whatever she did mean by it, it suggests shared domesticity. If that’s real, it’s not good for Ginger. If Samia is willing to let Ammar think it’s real but give him the boot whenever it suits her, then Samia is not good for anybody.

    I am worried that Ginger is in over her head. I am also starting to think that Samia and Cynthia, who entered the strip at about the same time, may have more in common than I would originally have thought.

    One thing I hadn’t noticed until this strip is how rarely Alison uses thought balloons — almost never. It’s a measure of her skill at communicating thought and emotion through the drawings. It’s also theatrical, as opposed to literary.

    There is definitely an element of foreboding that has been creeping into the strip lately. Virginia is scaring me. She and Vanessa used to be so funny when they’d silently watch the humans making fools of themselves. Over the last couple of years, though, the watchers have gotten more and more pervasive and more and more sinister. This is only partly a function of the country’s politics. Why did Virginia open her eyes when Sydney said “Nothing lasts forever”?

  45. Deborah says:

    Thanks Katie!!

  46. Angie says:

    Thanks, Katie! But you know how it is with longtime fans – we don’t want the strip to change!!! But, we want the story to be

  47. tylik says:

    Spring comes, whether we’re ready for it or not. So does change.

    Honestly, I hope Ginger and Samia work something out (letting go and moving on could apply to either Samia or the household, just for the short list). That household has lasted a long time, gaining a few people but not losing any. They don’t need to be a sit-com, where different scenarios are cycled through the same basic set up.

    There is a lot of peace in this one.

  48. BeckaJo says:

    You know, now that I’ve got some tea in me, I’m appreciating the strip a lot more. There is a lovely peaceful quality, and the housemates look so happy together. Even Mo and Sydney – Syd is staying home to comfort both the cat and Mo, I think.

    Also – it was a day early, but it’s Imbolc. Although Stuart was his usual pessimsitic self, finding a flower in yellow is a *good* omen. Maybe things are looking up – a blooming spring with changes!

  49. Jezzie says:

    The juxtoposition of this episode with 502…
    I love looking out the windows(in 503)and seeing the very sweet mundane of family life…I especially love seeing Lois and J(I can’t remember how to spell the baby’s name). In all her interactions w/the kids in the strip she’s a good parent – calm, consistent, realistic, nurturing (without being overbearing or too attached)…the adult who will give the thoughtful, honest answers. She is the wisest, and most mature adult, at this point…in my eyes, anyway. I can’t help but see these characters thru my eyes, and most seem to be at the same middle-aged transistion period as I am. It’s kind of a watery ego-centric place, as in “what about me?!?” and “what have I done w/my life???”. It’s a little whiney and confused. I find myself irritated at peers my age (early-mid 40’s) b/c they all seem whiney and stuck and confused (unlike myself, of course). I enjoy more the company of my dogs and cats and rats! I find myself irritated at my partner of 15 years for really petty things, like how often she gorges on cheetos, or how she can’t hear and won’t get a hearing aid and I have to YELL ALL THE TIME or how she doesn’t brush her teeth enough. Never mind my own cheetos binges or the fact that I’m consistently late or I obsessively rant abt. the injustice done to Tyra Banks…see, this whole post has become egocentric…where did my reflection on the strip go??? What I love about this strip is that it is so much a reflection of the reality of my life and yet, it’s completely out of my control. I absolutely want Toni and Clarice to make it, just b/c my partner and I have/continue to(cheetos notwithstanding), so therefore, since T. and C. are but a reflection of I. and me, they can too. Alas, it ain’t so…they’re actually comic strip characters spun out of Alison B’s observations and experiences…and filtered thru her perspective. She just happens to be a very astute and honest observer of relationships and people, incl. kids. I appreciate DTWOF for its integrity – Alison B. for her intgrity – people age, cheat, leave, dissappear altogether, break up, move on, die (animals too), have kids, act selfish, get confused, close doors on their own self-discovery, make the same relationship mistakes over and over again…bookstores close. Just like real life. On that note: just talked to my first year college son, whose response to my answer to “What’re ya doing?” was (even tho I could tell his eyes were rolling): “At least you’re not on that damn Tyra blog,” I’m progressing.

  50. judybusy says:

    Hi Em,
    Here’s a little bit of weather info from Minnesota sure to cheer you. The highs and lows for the few days are: 14/1, 4/-7, -2/-12 and Monday will bring -7/-15. Windchill on Saturday: 25 to 40 BELOW. In the Norhtern part of the state, the air temp could hit -40! (All this is in F, btw, but if I recall -43 is the same in C and F)There is an art exhibit called Art Shanties on one of the local lakes–basically fish houses as art installations. I am being a total weenie and not going to see them on Saturday. Ten below was my limit, and we’ll be far, far below that. Enjoy your balmy 30’s comin’ your way!

    (For non-Minnesotans, a fishhouse is a little shack hauled out onto the lake. Then you cut a hole in the ice and fish. They are heated, and are usually accompanied by beer and snacks, like Cheetos. This is what we do for fun here.)

  51. little gator says:

    *sigh* I’m pretty death-obsessed lately. Yesterday my husband and I were talking to a suicidal friend(she says she feels a bit better today and will take our advice).

    And a week from today it will be two years since my heartcat Rudy Patootie died of cancer at the age of 8. I am still an abject and adoring slave to the Empress Lydia but she isn’t cuddly like Rudy was and she will not allow other cats in her Empire.(Rudy and Lydia had a pissing contest lasting for years. The carpets lost.)

    No wonder I’m mixing universes and see Mo pining for Julia.

  52. Jen says:

    I’d like to second Josiah on the “Alison has nothing to apologize for” front. We are spoiled for content on this blog: early comic strips, photos, trans-atlantic postings, very frequent up-dates…

    Parent or not, and as touching as it is that you worry for the well-being of people that you don’t know outside of your computer, your concern as a regular reader of the blog should be a very low-priority concern for AB (or her staff) especially when traveling over seas.

    I remember feeling resentful as a teenager of my parents demanding me to check-in when out or traveling. Now as an adult I get where they were coming from and would do the same. I think though, that as an adult that same resentfulness would come rushing back if those same demands to Phone Home were placed on me by a virtual acquintence on a public forum of my own creation… But, I’m totally open to the possibility that maybe that’s just me and my $0.02.


  53. --MC says:

    One of my friend’s cats passed on today. 19 years.
    When my cat goes, I’m taking the whole week off. I once worked with some guys and one gal whose cat died, and she took two days off to mourn, and the guys thought it was the funniest thing. “A f’in’ cat! Get over it!” But I understood, and understand.

  54. shadocat says:

    Sara–count me in as another “Stuart”; my hyacinths keep coming up , and I keep throwing dirt on ’em–yet they continue to poke through…we’re doomed…

    Saw so many levels of “nothing lasts forever”; Did Sydney mean the housemate’s arrangement? Ginger and Samia? Samia and Ammar? (What IS up with him, anyway?)Sweet Virginia? Mo and Sydney? My poor head is swimming…

    Everybody light a candle tonight, if you can, for Molly Ivins. When I grow up, I want to be just like her—I’ll always love ya, Molly!

  55. Jen says:

    Please ignore my post above here. I reposted it on the “Pas des tables” thread where it fits the discussion better. Thanks, Jen

  56. corybant says:

    Everyone: How do you feel about the influence of our comments on the strip? For example, the Mclaughlin-Farkas thread became a bit of an inside joke that was reflected in the subsequent strip.

    Alison: Did you anticipate the reciprocal creator-reader relationship when you set-up the comic in the blog-reply format?

    More importantly, how soon before we will be able to click on Mo’s head to make her implode? 😉

  57. Jaibe says:

    I think you guys are totally underestimating Sammia. Not only is she ready to commit, she is the only person in the galaxy who knows how to make Ginger commit! How could you not take her for the type A that she is? She’s a wonder woman!

    I thought her husband might move in & make the house more Brady Bunch :-). But it will probably be Jasmine, yeah. She probably makes as much as an assistant professor at a small state university, even if she’s still a waitress. And anyway, Sammia is in biotech so if Ginger doesn’t make back all of her share of the mortgage off Jasmine then it would probably still work.

    I really, really hope that Sydney & Mo have indeed come back to their center. And I agree with those who think it is AB coping with her loss in a deeply graceful way. (How could she have drawn this peaceful cartoon while preparing for her trip to Paris????????? She is amazing!)

  58. Jaibe says:

    PS I don’t think we’re all going to die. Just a lot of us.

  59. Jana C.H. says:

    Regarding the rare thought balloon: It shows that Stuart has become more mature. Before he becoma a daddy he would have commented out loud. Now he doesn’t want to talk gloom-and-doom in front of JR, who would understand only that Daddy is upset.

    Oh, and I really think Stuart has more than one kilt. I have a dozen nearly-identical navy blue t-shirts; they go with practically everything in my wardrobe, and I can slap one on in the morning without having to waste brain cells thinking about clothes. I’m sure Mo understands perfectly.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  60. Pam I says:

    A butterfly. A frigging BUTTERFLY, in January:

  61. reed_maker says:

    First thing I did after reading this strip was hug my cats, which only made them squirm and mewl in annoyance.

    To Jezzie: I totally get what you are saying. I see mymiddle-aged self and my relationships and restlessness in the strip all the time, and have much of the same “what-have-I-done-with-my-life” energy in my day to day existance as the characters do. I read the strip religiously back in the 90s but then dropped out for the past ten years (moved overseas), and when I picked it back up on this blog a few months ago, I noticed right away that Toni and Clarice look older, as is appropriate since their son, who was a toddler back then, is now a teen, but Mo (speaking of AB’s alter ego) looks about the same. Alison, dear, we are ALL ten years older now. And yes, we will all die someday. But chances are, we will all be fine today. God rest Molly Ivins.

  62. ragthetiger says:

    Sparrow seems to be enjoying JR more. She’s playing with her, smiling around her, etc more than I’ve noticed before. Has anyone else noticed?

  63. Josiah says:

    I noticed that Sparrow seems happier, ragthetiger. I also noticed that she appears to have put on a little weight. I suspect that the two are not unconnected (although I wouldn’t dare to label either as “cause” or “effect”).

    Thanks for the reminders about Ginger & co. buying the house in “Split-Level DTWOF” — I think I’ll dig that one up and re-read it soon.

  64. payton says:

    Another hauntingly beautiful strip! I like how the windows divide, both inside/outside and between panes.

    @rag: schooling Janis has probably softened Lois towards kids.

  65. ladiesbane says:

    Sorry if this has been covered exhaustively (I lurk when I’ve time, but only that), but I have to throw in my two cents:

    I understand that (forgive me) cartoony characters can grow into real people over time, with lives of their own, over which the author/artist has less control. They are their own. I watched this happen with Tales of the City characters, of course, and how many sitcoms turn from funny to dramatic? All the long-lasting ones, it seems.

    But, yet, however: I felt more included (and less the voyeuse) when the camera was not quite so close to the subject. The early years showed reaction shots; now we see things from the characters’ points of view. This makes things more muddled, with more shades of grey. Ou sont les neiges d’antan? Where is the whimsy of yesteryear?

    While I appreciate the brilliance of the current releases, I no longer have the thrill of anticipation when I see a new strip. It seems certain that there will be no piquant moments, no thrill of new love, no musing or self-doubt, no exuberant dancing around the house, no snappy patter or arch moments, no barista trying to eavesdrop on a conversation, no messages to the reader (e.g., “Macanudo Exhaust.”)

    I miss Jezanna and her family. I miss Harriet! And Jerry and Naomi and the co-op. I see her sometimes, but I miss Lois most of all! I want to see how Raffi and Stella cope with Janis socially. I want to see what Isabel has become. Did Mo’s fling totally fizzle? — On and on.

    I can come up with a million unhappy scenarios. That’s life. Stasis, without any little gem of hope or ray of sunshine? That’s a Russian novel. Being able to appreciate the mounting tension caused by miserable inactivity is not the same as really digging in and thrilling to it.

    I have adored this strip since it came out, and since before I came out — and this helped me do so. I still love it, but there’s something new to break my heart every time I read it. I could use a laugh.

  66. tylik says:

    Right on Jaibe!

    …and Sammia is the hawtness. Just sayin’

  67. shadocat says:

    Just wanted to post this little tribute to Ms.Ivins; it includes some of my favorite “Mollyisms”:

    Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as “Shrub,” died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62.

    • The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging.

    • What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.

    • Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous.

    • The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.

    • Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.

    • There are two kinds of humor.
    One kind that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity — like what Garrison Keillor does. The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule — that’s what I do. Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful. I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel — it’s vulgar.

    • I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth.

    • You can’t ignore politics, no matter how much you’d like to.

    • It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.

    • What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols.

    Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don’t much care for.

    • I believe in practicing prudence at least once every two or three years.

    • I still believe in Hope – mostly because there’s no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas.

    • One function of the income gap is that the people at the top of the heap have a hard time even seeing those at the bottom. They practically need a telescope. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt probably didn’t waste a lot of time thinking about the people who built their pyramids, either. OK, so it’s not that bad yet — but it’s getting that bad.

    • It’s like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you’re wrong.

    • In the real world, there are only two ways to deal with corporate misbehavior: One is through government regulation and the other is by taking them to court. What has happened over 20 years of free-market proselytizing is that we have dangerously weakened both forms of restraint, first through the craze for “deregulation” and second through endless rounds of “tort reform,” all of which have the effect of cutting off citizens’ access to the courts. By legally bribing politicians with campaign contributions, the corporations have bought themselves immunity from lawsuits on many levels.

    • Any nation that can survive what we have lately in the way of government, is on the high road to permanent glory.

    • I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

  68. D.F. says:

    This is a beautiful strip. The nuances and resonances go so many ways. And the possible ironies, equivalences. Not the least of which: btn. art & reality, btn. author / householdbuilder & created household community / blog; and finally, between all of us and (maybe an unintended meaning creeping in) the strip itself.

    Which doesn’t look like it’s happening, from Katie’s post. But… if it were ever too… that too is, after all, seasonal.

    I’m glad the strip will be around. I’m sad about the foreshadowing of the possible end of this relationship, or at least Mo’s discontent. Sydney seems oblivious. The poignancy is so much more strongly felt, by this reader at least, than any scene in Mo & Harriet’s break up. Even the good-bye sex.

    It will be hard, very hard, on Virginia if they split. After losing her sister. Sydney tuned-in-ness to Virginia’s needs continues to provide comfort.

    Samia. And Ginger. And Amar.

    If I remember correctly, Amar lost his job and housing, and needs to stay due to necessity. (Wasn’t there something like this – different genders – in the Incredible Story of Two Girls… or was it a different dyke movie? Ice Cream? Shit, I can’t remember. Anyway, an ex shows up needing a place to live. The Current doesn’t like it super much, but admits that when you’re queer, exigencies occurr and sometimes you’re each others’ only family.

    Nuances and parallels: when you’re part of an immigrant community, esp. one targeted politically and culturally in a hostile climate, and you’ve lost your place, or a job … getting back on your feet / employed again can be… well, sometimes you’re each others’ only family. you gotta do what you gotta do. if i remember correctly, the marriage was for immigration purposes anyway, rather than ever having been a romantic or sexual connection (if i weren’t ridiculously procrastinating i’d find it on the archive; i don’t think i have the book containing the episode where he shows up). does anyone remember?

    in any case, from what i understand, samia has been out to amar, and ginger and samia have been clear about their relationship, from the get go. even if amar doesn’t quite get it; he seems a little foggy on the concept of lesbians (at least lesbians of color). samia, tho, seems clear. and i trust that folks aren’t reading amar’s fogginess about muslim lesbians as a ‘backwards’ sense of entitlement to samia’s sexuality. uh, unless we’re supposed to.

    the discussion around this situation has been bugging me, i have to admit, from the beginning as well, so apologies if there’s some steam around it.

    the re-tiling of the bathroom together, i’ll also admit, did throw me a bit. until then, i read it as: why should i kick out a brother in need when i don’t even know if you’re in this for real? the cost (to a fellow community member / extended family) simply isn’t worth it. yes, there *is* more than one kind of commitment.

    and – even in terms of partnership commitment: samia said very clearly that she’s totally there, and amar gets thrown out, if ginger’s willing to commit.

    tho maybe i just don’t understand this. why would ginger’s commitment make a difference anyway? samia relationship to amar is platonic.

    if i were samia, amar would stay in a separate room. the relationship would be that of roommates / community members. the bond with ginger would be independent of decisions re: amar & the living situation, unless there was a question of limited physical space.

    this, in fact, is how i understood the dilemna. and yes, roommates can tile bathrooms together.

    dare i venture to suggest that the primary source of ambiguity is not the relationship itself but the artists’ conceptualization of the situation?

    (just a thought, coming from someone who does creative work herself sometimes … that’s jsut what it feels like to me, one of those spots where you don’t quite know what’s going on with your own characters; those spots that eventually work themselves out).

    nevertheless, a beautiful strip. i hope my crankiness didn’t spoil it for anyone.

    agreed, samia is hot.
    as is sex in a university library carrel (mmm, yeah, this too i can relate to from real life :-). got lucky i guess.
    combo! how ’bout ginger n’ samia get busy at ginger’s office? or better yet, at samia’s? (does she work corporate?) haaa-awt.

    mm-mm. with that, i’m signin’ off….

  69. D.F. says:

    i didn’t put that silly super eager yellow smiley face in there, it just happened. i like my emoticons old school, thank you very much. ; o

  70. Emma38 says:

    How about Ginger pays back Lois and Sparrow’s deposits (paid her approx 20 years ago) , with interest, when she moves out? Ah ha ha!
    I’d really like to see some of our dykes having sex sometime soon. No action since the (hot, and brilliant) coda to the last book…

  71. Nick Van der Graaf says:

    Love the wonderful Villon quote at the beginning – you can tell Alison must be in France if she’s quoting medieval French poets. So appropriate as even here in frosty Canada, we ain’t frozen at all – the winter is, for most of this vast country, going to be ridiculously short and mild, and it is both fabulous and thoroughly alarming.

  72. rokinrev says:

    Flowers in January—-lead to 35″ overnight here in Upstate NY and now they are saying -9 tonight…..

    Please take care of your four legged! I don’t care if Psatawny Phil didn’t see his shadow….it’s still freezing!

    Give Ginger a scratch!

  73. Em says:

    Hehe judybusy, tis true that things could always be worse. Considering the storms in Flordia, I know I really shouldn’t be complaining. Still, the constant cold weather is posing a danger to the rational side of my brain (which was never that developed to begin with)

    Seriously, if anyone here is from Flordia, I hope you’re safe and well!

  74. Maggie Jochild says:

    Just curious — is there ANYONE else on this list who, when reading the introductory quote, thought of the song by Trish Nugent on her album “Foxglove Woman”? A haunting song, and I’m thinking it reached only a very small lesbian niche, perhaps only a California lesbian niche. Am I the only one left who played her albums over and over, who went to see her perform?

    Talk about we’re all gonna die.

  75. shadocat says:


    I don’t know Trish Nugent’s work, but I but I can answer the question “Where are the snows of yesteryear?” They’re here in Misouri, where it’s f’n COLD!!!! (And yet the flowers are coming up–go figure…)

  76. Maggie Jochild says:

    After I posted, I began singing the song by Trish (Les Neiges D’Antan) and wondering how many other dykes have used it as solace after a breakup:

    Are you the woman I thought I knew?
    I loved her well, I know
    Am I the woman I thought I was?
    It seems we had to grow, to grow
    It seems we had to grow
    Ou sont les neiges d’antan?
    Ou sont les neiges d’antan?

    Shado, honey, you stay warm. I know you gots somebody to help you in that effort.

    D.F., I LOVED you bringing up the “nuances” and realities of being nonwhite, immigrant, and what responsibilities we all have to one another, across the board. Glad to see someone else thinking about how complicated it is.

    Pema Chodron talks a lot about the delusion of permanence, and I can stand to hear it from her, because I am convinced she’s not using it as an excuse to absolve herself from responsibility or commitment. (Although, of course, her ex-husband might argue with me.) I do believe there’s a balance around commitment that we, in America, usually don’t even begin to comprehend, not how to engage nor how to let go. We’re a nation of heartbroken exiles, misfits, enslaved and occupied, and we have a world of myths to try to drug us out of that reality, but the dis-ease always leaks through.

    On good days, I accept that everyone’s doing the best they can, and it’s better (always) if we manage not to judge one another. Underneath, though, I carry like a mantra the words from E.S.V. Millay:
    I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
    So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind (…)
    I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

  77. D.F. says:

    Thank you Maggie, for your words; both the hearing and the calm. You *are* a poet.

    Folks who can keep it going for the long haul, n’ in a real way, staying vibrant inside an’ goin’ deeper when the soil gets toxic rather than givin’ up or dyin’ … damn, we need that, need to see it.

    At least this heartbroken exile / won’t fit / enslaved enslaver and occupied occupier does (things get messy sometimes).

    So props to the Maggie’s and the Molly’s of the world!

    I’m especially grateful for your shared thoughts / sense on the balance of commitments, how we don’t know how to engage and how to let go. Engaging, closure, letting go: these I’ve been sitting with a lot lately. Never connected them with commitment, but it makes so much sense: commitment as the ability to stay present.

    An ability that heart-breaks, -tears, and -ruptures compromise. And thus of course very American. If this is an American thing, then yeah, I’m very American this way.

    But yeah, thank you for sharing.

    And thanks, also, for your refusal to resign yourself to the state of things.

    But most of all, for your refusal to resign.

    ; o

  78. MidSouth Mouth says:

    emotionally eloquent as always, Allison!

    hey re:weather– Kentucky finally got winter this last two weeks. we were wondering when the seasons might make up their minds.

  79. mlk says:

    I’ve heard global warming referred to as “global weirding.” I like the term!! it encompasses all that’s happening, weatherwise, in this world of ours.

    or maybe I just like simplistic, ill defined concepts?

    I guess I’m just going to wait and see what happens next w/the strip. I agree with those who commented on the peaceful cadence of this episode and believe Mo’s connection with Virginia here reflects the bond between Alison and Julia that was so recently broken. whether that was intended or not I can’t say . . . perhaps because my imagination and understanding of just how Alison does what she does is inadequate.

    when readers were speculating about the future of the strip, though, and whether Sydney and Mo will stay together based on what happens in this episode I just got confused! made me go back and look at Alison’s parallel use of windows whereby Ginger and Sydney look out into the world. Ginger looks out on her housemates, while Sydney looks out upon . . . nothing. does that mean something? I don’t know. somehow, I don’t want to speculate on the possible significance.

    don’t know if that’s a lack of imagination, or courage, or a basic trust in Alison’s ability to create and tell her characters’ stories.

    I love the strip, though, and I love this blog! it’s fun to be a part of all that happens in this space . . .

  80. AB ManFan says:

    Hmmmm,perhaps most unfortunately, Sidney’s cancer will re-emerge fatally? I hate to be a downer, but with all the speculation, MLK’s comment re: the blank window made me think that.

  81. Susana says:

    As a librarian in NYC, I couldn’t help but notice the book title. Very cool.
    I’ll pass the strip on to a few more of us who are very happy that you have a “fetish” for us.

  82. MS says:

    I thought Sydney’s line in the last panel was a reference to Mo and what is coming down the pike for Virginia.

    I’d also like to see more sex, and joy, in the strip. Everyone’s looking kind of haggard and problem-ridden. Are the 40s *that* bad??!

  83. Will says:

    I may be a hopeless optimist here, but is it possible that Sydney’s line in the last panel was a poignant reference to all of the things that are ending in the strip, not foreshadowing of more endings? I have a hard time thinking that a calculating person like Sydney would still be with Mo if she planned to leave soon.

    Re: MS’s comment about sex and joy–I think there’s still a lot of joy; it’s just a little harder to find. The second to last panel, for example, with JR being hung upside-down by her loving parents. Or Mo and Virginia sitting together in the last panel. That’s the thing about hard times–joy just becomes a little trickier to find.

    I *would,* however, like to see more of the old politics. What do the characters think about the new congress, especially?

  84. Alevantia says:

    I’ve been a devoted DTWOF reader since I was sixteen (I’m 24 now) and I first just want to say a big Thank You! to Alison Bechdel.

    Here’s what I’d like to see the characters do:

    Toni and Clarice break up. Their relationship has been painful to read about for years now. They had a really cute love-at-first-site story but I don’t even think they love each other anymore. There’s no spark. They’re just running on fumes.

    Mo and Sydney stay together. They seem to find each other interesting enough to last forever and I do think they love each other. Their infidelities were handled and seem to be done with now.

    Ginger go on a spirit quest. She still seems lost after 15 years of doing the same thing: academia, communal living. Does she get any enjoyment out of teaching? She should take a sabbatical and climb Mount Everest. I don’t really like Samia that much. Ginger’s depressed. She should get another dog too.

    That said, no matter what ideas I come up with, I know Alison’s will be better. The strip is as good as it was fifteen years ago. It’s hard to find any quality entertainment that lasts for more than a few years. The only other thing I can think of is another comic strip! Doonesbury. That’s weird.

  85. Alevantia says:

    I meant love-at-first-sight…oops

  86. Aeolus says:

    Way, way, back up there payton Says:
    > @rag: schooling Janis has probably softened Lois towards kids.

    I want to disagree[?? not really the right word here] with the implied point.

    One thing that I’ve always felt was interesting about this strips is that the two people in the strip who have always been the most kid-friendly (well, at least among people who don’t actually have kids) have been Lois and Sidney.

    Any time there are kids around these guys are always playing with the kids or otherwise interacting favorably (and comrortably) with them. (For example, Lois with JR and Sidney with Raffi.)

    In short, I don’t think Lois’s character has ever needed any “softening” towards kids.

    Also, ever since I noticed this, I’ve thought it was kind of interesting, if for no other reason than in the hands of a lesser artist these two (who are certainly among the most “hard core” characters in the strip) might be expected to be the least likely to tolerate kids well.

    (Please notice that I’m not saying anything about how true, or accurate, such sentiments might be in real life. But it’s easy to imagine how it might work out that way in a less well-written strip.)

  87. JJFLAP says:

    NOOOOOO-Not Virginia too-
    Read FUN HOME at my Dads house- he is 80 & loves your work-
    So do I!

  88. Em says:


    Looking at the news reports of freezing temperatures all across the midwest and northeast, at least the misery is shared all around. I am in love with the phrase “global weirding”! This just may be the second time I have seen the word weird as a verb, the first being a Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin, singing the praises of verbing words, says “verbing weirds language”

    So apparently the snows of yesteryear just decided to wait a tiny bit longer before smacking everyone upside the head!

  89. reed_maker says:

    NYC: No snow, just a$$ cold.

    Regarding the contrast between the outside window scenes of Syde and Ginger: the group house yard scene, with all its happiness and activity, shows the richness of Ginger’s life with her chosen family. That would be a whole lot to lose if she moves out of the house for Samia, especially if it creates hard feelings between her and the house mates. In contrast, Sydney and Mo, just the two of them, sort of luke warm and not all that happy. That’s how it feels to me. If the end is near for them, I say Mo deserves better anyway. Her moment with Virginia is super sweet.

  90. louise says:

    people have been calling death knells for Sydney and Mo since the beginning of time, but just like the cockroaches, their relationship outlives warmings and ice ages. Some days it annoys me but some days Sydney makes me happy for her sheer snarky perversity in the face of a serious, stupid world. It gives me hope for my own relationship, that problems aren’t that serious as long as you can make fun of them. As long as Mo remains mildly irritated/entertained/attracted it will last.

  91. louise says:

    Also, I love how Ginger’s mouth is drawn; also, J.R. has got to be the happiest character I think I have ever seen in all of DTWOF. With not only her hyperdedicated father but practically an entire village there in the house to love and nurture her it’s no surprise. She is this cute little monster kid in her snow outfit, like something out of Maurice Sendak.

  92. Deena in OR says:

    Due to forces outside of this blog, I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about the nature of relationships. What do you do when one person still sees value and potential in a relationship or family grouping, and the other does not? How to respond when the other can only verbalize reasons to leave, not to stay? What is the tipping point between leaving and staying? And is that a mutual decision between two people, or does one person get to unilaterally changes the lives of everyone around them by their own decision?

    Sorry, don’t mean to sound bitter.

  93. louise says:

    reed maker it is bitc#a$$ cold in this joint. all the january dandelions in NYC have been flash frozen. today I went out and it was like, 8. I’m walking around half thinking “this is very reassuring I suppose” and half picking up my frozen fingers from the ground where they fell after they broke off. cause I forgot that when it’s less than 40 outside, you need ‘gloves’.

  94. reed_maker says:

    Louise: I love that you love how Ginger’s mouth is drawn. Regarding the weather, I hear AND feel you. Not just gloves, glove LINERS. Not just fingers falling off… other things, too. But yeah, hello my old friend winter!

  95. Love You Alison says:

    Wow, so many comments. I never try to guess what the characters will do next. But Clarice and Toni do seem to be too far gone now to ever reconcile. That would be unrealistic.

    In a hideous way they remind me of my parents, who have a friendly affection but are bound more by convenience and obligation (grandkids and my disabled sister) than love. So I wonder if they could have had “more” apart.

    I want Clarice and Toni to each have more before they waste more years on grim acceptance. I love Raffi becoming a surly teen age kid and feel awful for him – his disgust with his moms feels so real and being an only kid, he turns to Stella, the one other kid who can fully understand.

    It’s all beautifully told. I’d like to see Lois settle down, as she seems to be reluctantly doing, with Jasmine. It breaks her character – always refreshing – but it’s a reflection on real life. In her 40s her priorities won’t turn on sex and hedonism.

  96. Liz P. says:

    I like the previous comment about real life. I was finishing my PhD the same time as Ginger, and life has never been as sweet since. Maybe some of the fear people have about the strip ending has to do with watching the characters lives become less full of hope, as it seems lives inevitably become.

    Never had the courage to write before, but you are all lovely. Thanks for letting me be a spectator.

  97. judybusy says:

    Welcome Liz P.! Congratulations on your PhD, too! For fear of being super boring, I went outside today to clean the car of snow, and thought “Huh, it’s not that bad out today. It’s gotta be at least 8 or 9 above…” Then while driving, heard on the radio it’s -4. It felt warm because yesterday it was -17. Any of you warm weather inhabitants interested in adopting a cute lesbian couple? We bake, cook, and garden really well.

    Deena, you didn’t sound bitter to me, just asking thoughtful questions. I think about these things, too, but more in regards to friendships. I think about how people have come and gone and why that is so.

    I read a book last year that was a collection of essays about friendships between women that ended, some after decades.In our culture, we tend to focus on spouse/partner and other family dynamics; thus we have family and couples therapists, but I’ve never heard of anyone going to therapy with a friend to work things out. (And, yes, I know it’s happened somewhere!) There are a zillion books on how to “fix” a marriage or deal with family of origin issues, but why not about helping friendships survive. Without the biological/matrimonial bond, does it take an extra, concientious commitment to make those relationships last?

  98. reed_maker says:

    Judybusy: It is only marginally warmer here, but you can come share my apt. in NYC if you want. I will kick out my roommate–he never washes the damn dishes.

    You bring up an interesting point about friendship (related to Ginger’s dilemma of leaving her chosen family). I ended a friendship a few years ago–a very intense friendship that was bad in some ways but in other ways had the potential to be wonderful and lasting. When I tried to talk to other friends and family about it, they were very dismissive–said, “If it bothers you, just end it.” I felt they were not acknowledging how precious long term friendhsips can be. Considering how frequently people move from job to job and place to place these days, maintaining friendships takes work, but is soooo important in staving off loneliness. On the one hand, it feels like an Oprah topic, on the other, I think people don’t give enough thought to these things.

    Deena: Great questions. I think usually one person makes the decision, but it feels so unfair. Especially if it comes after years of trying to make decisions together and work things out. Good luck to you!

  99. d2watchfan says:

    reed_maker are u a bassoon/oboe player? I’m a violinist. 🙂

    I too almost missed the rare thought bubble. Everyone seems so nostalgic! But I love the way Sydney snaps people out of their indecisiveness.

  100. reed_maker says:

    Oboe. I actually haven’t played in years, but I still identify. My partner plays viola.

  101. Tom Jensen says:

    One of our best voices is gone, let’s be sure to honor the others while there’re still here, read Garrison Keillor’s Homegrown Democrat, or Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains, for a touch of joy. For those suffering from minus temps, this town, Tucson, is a good antidote this time of year, though there were a few strange days of frost recently. Summer is payback, though. Dunno how it is to be gay here, but when Alison came to town for her book tour, the room at the Library was SRO, and she looked pretty tired by the time she’d finished signing everyone’s books and posters, bless her.

  102. Deena in OR says:

    reed_maker, judybusy

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, actually. The relationship involved is my best friend, my housemate of four years. I’m lesbian, he’s gay, so we’ve never been involved romantically. But we have been emotional intimates…particularly with neither of us having been in romantic partnerships lately. I was told recently that although our friendship hasn’t, our household arrangements have “outlived their usefulness” to him. Ouch. Our names are on the mortgage together. His name is the second one on my kids’ school call lists. Hence my question.

  103. judybusy says:

    Hi Deena, I have typed out a reply, but it feels weird putting it on the blog, because the topic is personal. If you want, email me at jdybusy2000 at yahoo.com (I recently read that writing out your email this way helps avoid trawling spammers.)I can then send you my thoughts.

  104. Erica says:

    It occurred to me after reading the first panel that one thing the world desperately needs is a comic strip guide to global warming. The latest IPCC report summarizing the science came out last week, but it’s so dense you have to be a martyr or a specialist to get through it (I’m both and it’s still tough going. 🙂 But imagine a 20-page illustrated summary of collapsing icebergs and floods in Bangladesh by an artist of Alison’s talents – that would get readers!

  105. Love You Alison says:

    Liz P. made an excellent point. Maybe the reason we long time readers can’t stand to see some of the characters’ changes is it parallels the way idealism and bright unrealistic hope leave our own lives as we age.

    The strip started when I was just starting college. Before the first Iraq war, even. I still thought that most people were full of good and most of the work I did had deep and lasting meaning.

    Pushing 40, I see that even the best people have sme flaws and that most of the work I do could be done as well by someone else. And watching Iraq: the Sequel stumble to no end with little loud protest from our fellow citizens undermines any residual idealism too.

    We don’t want Clarice and Toni to split because they were the role models for lifelong love….

    Don’t want Virginia to follow her sister since it’s a brutal reminder we will lose our pets someday….

    Don’t want Lois to lose her hedonism to remind us how most of trade in our own, way earlier than she did….

    Don’t want the communal home to change since so often we all think that would be a fun, stimulating way to live.

    So, there is the center of Alison’s brilliance. The characters are so real, and generally lovable, that we fear for them, feel for them. Don’t want them to change, and certainly don’t want this amazing strip to end.

    I love Erica’s idea too. “Maus” by Ar Siegel was a comic that made the Holocaust even more horribly real than Schindler’s List could. A Bechdel cartoon depicting the predicted consequences of global warming could bring the horror home more than Al Gore’s terrific documentary….

  106. Amy in Madison says:

    Another brilliant strip. Wonderfully, understatedly emotive.

    I didn’t take the end as foreshadowing regarding Mo and Sydney, although I can certainly see the sense in that interpretation. I saw it more as the foreshadowing of Virginia’s passing, and thought that Sydney’s simple “no, I can’t, I need to stay home with Mo and Virginia” response to Ginger may indicate that Sydney and Mo have grown closer since Vanessa’s death. Sydney’s behavior towards Mo here is much more considerate than in many other strips, past and recent.

    I loved the drawing of Virginia lying on Mo; my kitty lies on me just the same way, with the same facial expression!

    I’m glad to see the exploration of Ginger buying a house with Samia, and loved the juxtaposition between Ginger’s and Samia’s and Mo and Sydney’s upcoming transitions, whatever they may be.

    The ambiguity of this strip is really lovely.

    Alison, your artwork and your storytelling are stellar!


  107. Pope Snarky Goodfella of the undulating cable, JM, CK, POEE, KOTHASK says:

    Hail Eris!

    Stuart: It’s not all *that* certain. If we can get Luna colonised and self-sufficient in time, some humans will make it. Of course, that’s a big IF…Here’s a bigger one: If we can get one or more self-sufficient Lunar colonies going in time, the colonists will be able to send resources down to Terra by way of containers and keep a substantial portion of humanity alive. So many ifs, it verges on science fiction. Personally, I’d bet on extinction.;-{P}

    J.R.: Dandelions aren’t supposed to grow in January, honey.
    Not north of the tropics.

    Sparrow: Maybe you can take it with you on your next trip to the Yukon?

    Ginger: If Ammar is really that clueless, smack ‘im with a cluebat. I have a spare you can use…

    Sydney: Yabbut, it ain’t easy. Plus, giving up life with her extended family would be traumatic all by itself, and there’s always the risk that Samia’s not on the level after all.

    Virginia: “Stay.” I’ve had a few cats who’d look at me that way…

    Mo: Recursive much? I have a Mandelbröt set you can borrow…


  108. mlk says:

    I’m seeing an advantage to being such an incredibly late bloomer! Since my 20’s and a good part of my 30’s were spent in depression and self hatred my 40’s are, by comparison, lighthearted and hopeful. no, in actuality they *are* lighthearted and hopeful. The people who know me today (most of whom didn’t know me 10 years ago) tend to see me as hopeful and idealistic. When they don’t see me as serious and heavy.

    in that sense I resemble a 20-something. only difference is that I’ve got maybe 40 years ahead of me instead of 60.

    there’s the part of me that believes trouble is with us, trouble will always be with us . . . but it’s worth doing our best to make a positive difference during our lifetimes. doing what I can is empowering and more appealing than living in denial or standing by while everything around me goes down the tubes.

    while it may be that most anyone can do what I do, the fact is that other people don’t. seems that a lot of what I do *can* be done by others but isn’t, because “others” don’t think it’s important. someone has to do what I do, right?

    OK, that’s horrible logic and folks might find it disgustingly naive. it gives me a sense of direction, though.

    I learned a long time ago that we’re constantly in situations where we’ve got to do something. I first discovered in high school when the pressure was on to decide what I was going to do after graduation. I found it very disconcerting. doing “nothing” is “something,” but isn’t satisfying for very long.

    I’ve also discovered that we don’t die just because we don’t want to live anymore. might as well do something meaningful with this life.

  109. Ella says:

    I am worried about Gloria. She is a stay-at-home mom. Will Anna support her? Were they legally married?

    I am also wondering about Harriett. I’d like to see her “cool parents” and how they react to their cute (though occasionally swearing) granddaughter.

    Maybe Harriett and Gloria could meet at a support group?

    And Mo. Mo. Mo. Mo. Will Mo find happiness in her new job? I’ve never seen her totally happy with anything, except her cats. I’d love to see her really succeed.

    I love this strip.


  110. Maggie Jochild says:

    MLK (what a great set of initials you have), I hear ya.

    Sometimes going through the motions is the most honorable thing you can do, and gets you (eventually) to a different, deeper level.

    I love idealism, the real article.

  111. Anonymous says:

    On a much more mundane level than most of these thoughtful comments, I want to share the chuckle that some librarians had when we spotted Mo reading the Guide to Reference Books in the third panel of strip #503. This book really exists. It’s a classic resource for reference librarians (whose ranks Mo has just joined at her new job). A large team of librarians all around the country, including me, are currently engaged in a massive project to update it and issue the 12th edition as an online database.

    Thanks, Alison, for reflecting the disparate parts of my identity in DTWOF once again!

    Sue Searing

  112. Lee says:

    The last frame is so real… pursing one’s lips, making gentle sounds to one’s cat.. so well done.

  113. mlk says:

    Sue, thanks for those mundane details about Mo’s reading. my Mom was a librarian, in a school though. gave her an excuse to read young adult fiction until she was in her 50’s and 60’s.

    I never read the classics as a teen because I was reading what my mom read. sheesh!!

    still, what would we do without librarians??!?!??

    BTW, my initials are mlk, not MLK. and I feel priviledged to have them.

  114. mlk says:

    oops!! that last was to Maggie Jochild, not Sue.

  115. Maggie Jochild says:

    Just saw this post, mlk. Duly noted. From here on out, will observe the capitalization preference.

  116. KarenJ says:

    Ah, geez–not these two! Oh, the humanity!!

  117. Pope Snarky Goodfella of the undulating cable, JM, CK, POEE, KOTHASK says:

    Hail Eris!

    Eek. I think we distracted her from writing/drawing the latest strip…

    Snarky, horrified

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