Category: The Hodge Podge

The final post about the dog

Family Movie Night
by Karyn Bowman
We were in the back yard that is open to the side street since we do not have a fence.
A couple of kids were walking by when their voices became louder. “Burying your dog? Did your poor little dog die?”
By the sing-song tone of their voices I knew they were not being sympathetic. I knew they were trying to make a joke at my grieving family’s expense. So I gave them the look. The ‘mom’ look that let them know if they continued there would be trouble.
As some of you may know from Facebook, our black lab died suddenly at the end of February. We believe he had a heart attack. All I know is that I was there for his last moments, his last breathe. I patted his side and let him know it was ok.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur family was heartbroken. People cried or did ‘useful’ chores so as not to deal with the grief. But it has been very strange not to have the dog around prowling for food or sharing the couch with his humans.
A few weeks before his death my husband, the two younger kids, and I were on the couch watching a favorite tv show. The dog began pacing in front of the couch until he found just the right space to get up and join us. Once he was settled, the dog began slowly pushing off my daughter while making sure his head was on my lap. As far as the dog was concerned he was the favorite kid.
While we miss his companionship, we do not miss his food stealing or clothing eating ways. I found one of my husband’s favorite winter vests in the dog’s hiding place. Sadly, he had already chewed a piece of it off.
So now we must go on without him. Doing the daily walk, which I haven’t done in any sort of regular form since winter started, is going to be tough without the dog tugging and pulling for every squirrel and rabbit. Meal time seems strange without rushing to put everything away before we ‘let the dog out.’
I thought about him as my daughter and I watched Bride and Prejudice, the Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice. The story remains the same – boy meets girl and manages to offend her in every way despite his admiration for her. Only after she learns the truth about an unfortunate situation does she begin to realize his true worth.
Image from IMDb com

Image from IMDb com

The setting, however, is in India. And because this is a Bollywood production, the action can suddenly turn into a song-and-dance production featuring hundreds or a handful. The songs are fun, beautiful and always meaningful to the story. And who can deny the incandescent beauty of Aishwarya Rai?

As we watched the movie, I thought of how much Storm would have loved sitting with us, especially if there was the hope of eating some popcorn.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


This morning around 4:00 a.m., my husband woke me up to say he thought something was going on with our dog.

I smelled the smell of poop and thought the dog had been sick.

But it was worse than that.

He was dying as he tried to get up the stairs to be with Mom and Dad one last time. I sat with him until he breathed his last. I patted him and tried to be comforting. I told him it was okay to go on.

A google search suggested it could have been a heart attack or a stroke, especially since there had been no signs of problems in the last 24 hours.

Here is a better accounting from my husband’s blog called Rambles With Storm at his Stray Casts website.

Wishing the Best

Dear Jane,

Dear Jane,

Jane AustenAnother year, another birthday. If I could I would grant you a wonderful birthday, as I would to all of my friends and family.

I wanted to write you a nice letter, I really did. But those darn children of mine have given me a cold. I am a bit wheezy and coughing and having plenty of drainage in the sinus.

I am weak and miserable so I apologize for the not so great letter you are reading at the moment.

I simply do not have the energy or wherewithal to make witty comments and stunning put downs.

Not that there have not been a few opportunities.

The Tea Party Republicans have been making silly demands such as one senatorial candidate in North Carolina who thinks public schools should be closed and that women do not need birth control. Then there are the idiots in the House of Representatives who finally admitted they did not think the government shutdown would really de-fund the ACA, only after the government had been shutdown for 16 days.

Image from Wikipdeia

Image from Wikipdeia

When your Republican Speaker of the house finally says “You’ve got to be kidding me?” I think the faction might have taken things too far. Those goofs are about to find out how much they are not needed to get laws passed that needed to be passed.

But enough on politics.

Life at my house has consisted of Christmas activities and sickness. Our 16 y.o. had bronchitis while the daughter and I are in the midst of colds. I watched way more TV than usual today because what energy I had was zapped up almost immediately. Imagine getting winded from sweeping up the kitchen.

Picture by Mensatic.

Picture by Mensatic.

Soon it will be my birthday. I hope that you can stop by as I am sure there will be some delightful bit of cake. Perhaps over a wonderfully hot cup of tea we can discuss the plot points of my book that need improvement. It is nearly done, I need only one or two more chapters.

Then comes the fun part – editing.

Until next year, wishing you the happiest and a healthy birthday.

Your devoted fan, etc…

Dear Family, Friends, and Readers,


You may have noticed that I have been AWOL for some time. You might have seen that I have not posted for a while.

It is not because I am bored or lost my column or having a bout of depression. But I have been busy. Busy with kids, busy with extra work hours, busy with the novel. I took on some extra roles that require more time than I originally thought. I have a novel that is near completion. I have piles of sewing  and craft projects as well as some cleaning projects that require my attention.

Image by Patuska

Image by Patuska

So something needs to give and that something is this blog. Oh, I will start posting my column on a regular basis once more. But sadly, I am not visiting your blogs or replying to your comments as I should. My focus will be on finishing that novel, taking care of the craft and sewing pile, cleaning up some of the piles that have built up around my house.

My plan is to return on the new year and get back to regular posts and visiting of all of you who have supported this blog for so long. There have been many new visitors and, believe me, I plan to visit you as well.

Please wave if you see me speed by. Soon, very soon, I will have time to visit once more.



Sweets for the Sweet

Getting around in the blog world has proven to be a bit difficult this summer.

I was considered under-employed by the Unemployment office which meant I still had to ‘look for work’ while collecting their check. They want you to go into business and ask for applications despite the fact that everything – and I do mean everything including filing for unemployment – is done online these days.

Image by Earl 53

Image by Earl 53

One job application required a survey to be completed as a psychological test. Because of my answers on that survey, I was given a note at the end saying they did not want me. I am not even sure what I said that did me in. To be honest, it made me not care anymore about finding a job because I felt certain I was no longer a wanted commodity.

But this past week, I worked too much even in my part-time part-time job and Unemployment cut me loose. While I had planned on that money, I also knew it was time to start looking in a different direction to get something that would suit my schedule and work with the library job which I really enjoy.

While I plan to rant and rave about how being unemployed really sucks at some other point in time, what I really need to do is share something that was shared with me. And it is something sweet from one of my favorite bloggers, The Daily Compost.  I go to Jennifer’s blog and never know what to expect and that is OK. I like being surprised. It could be photography or poetry or whatever she is thinking about.


Super Sweet Blogging Award

Jennifer has informed me there are several things I must do for this latest award.

First off is to answer some questions about sweet things.


  • Cookies or cake? Or both? It depends on the cake and the cookies but chances are I am going for the quick snack that does not require a plate and fork. I recently tried Gluten-Free peanut butter cookies that were the BOMB!
  • Chocolate or vanilla? I am a woman with a chocolate addiction. There is no other answer.
  • Favorite sweet treat? While I love chocolate, my favorite pie is actually Key Lime Pie. Go figure.
  • When do you crave sweet things the most? After any nasty day that starts with my husband asking me to do something three times within a ten minute span. At that point I turn around and tell him to do it if it makes him that anxious which leads to a fight which leads me to storm out of the house for a good cup of coffee and an apple fritter.
  • Sweet nickname? I do not have one of these, not sure why or if I care why. People call me by my name and I do what I can for them.


The next part here is to list a baker’s dozen list of blog that I feel deserving of this award. I am not justifying why I like any of them, it is simply going to be a list. I only ask that you visit the people and have fun at their blogs.

  1. Fashion for Lunch
  2. Prada for Breakfast
  3. Rufus’ Food and Spirit  Guide
  4. Caffeinated Politics
  5. Broadside Blog
  6. Loves and Stitches
  7. Lego-A-Day: Less often now
  8. The Crochet Crowd Blog: Knot Just Yarn
  9. 4Mothers
  10. Alec Nevela-Lee
  11. Another Stir of the Spoon
  12. Red Pen Mama
  13. 101 Books

By the way, when you get to these other blogs, tell them I sent you.

Who are you reading in the blogosphere?


Perhaps this has happened to you.

Your mom gives you some clothes and tells you to use them or give them away or whatever you want.

In the pile are a pair of Bill Blass peach colored jeans. And while they are tight around the waist, they are loose in the legs. I am not sure if this how all Bill Blass clothes fit.

There is a part of me thinking there is no way I am going to wear these pants while another part is thinking this color is really in style and I need a new skirt or two.

So I make plans to convert it from pants to a skirt which will be easier now that I have a new Husquverna-Viking sewing machine. After watching a wiki video, I feel ready to try it but I really need a practice run.

That is when I discover a pair of jeans that my daughter has stretched beyond repair in the rear seam area. Perfect.

First things first, I cut off the lower 12 inches of pant leg.

Pants - Beginning

Then with my favorite tool, the seam ripper, I open up the inside pant seams and seams leading up to the zipper and back yoke. This is the longest task of the project.

Pants - Unsewn

Next up is pinning the back seam and sewing it down. The trick here is to make a straight seam out of extra fabric. If I had to do this part again, I would have laid the pieces flat and drawn a straight line to sew on.

Pants - Pinned

After getting the front seam done, I cut off the extra fabric and use one of my serge stitches on the outside ends before ironing the seam to one side.

Now I make one final mark for the desired length of the hem. My daughter wants this to be above her knees and I want it below the thighs. We find a good compromise so a quick roll through with my rotary cutter gets the right length.

Pants - Final hem cut

I stitch to a different serger stitch on the hem to prevent future unraveling, turn up the hem and sew it down.

Pants - New Hem

Ba-Bam! The girl has a new skirt and we do not have to throw away her favorite jeans.

Pants - Completed

Now all I need is peach-colored thread.

What are you sewing this summer?



Seven little turkey vultures all in a row.

Six little turkey vultures all in a row.



Talk about your strange sights that you see along the road. I have never seen these birds lined up on a fence row like this before.


Have you?

I would like to share something with my faithful readers.

I am involved in something new,  as in a new blog.

My writer’s group graciously allowed me to be in charge of getting a blog together. Members do the hard part which is to put together a blog entry and then I do the easy part. I handle adding the pictures and do the layout.

We just got the blog started this week after a mis-step or two but I thing it looks great. Please check it and let my fellow writers know how great they truly are.


All of us bloggers read our stats daily.

This is not a secret, we are all crazy enough to blog on a regular basis. And we want to know how many read our blathering each day. Then we want to know which blathering gets the most hits.

Vegetable stand slevinThe one post in my collection of over 400 blatherings that everyone seems to love is called The One Weird Secret to Losing Weight. Two and a half years ago I wrote about how hard I was trying to lose weight. At that time, I was being tempted by quick weight loss solutions that always included acai berried and a colon cleanser. There was hydroxy cut and whey powders and all sorts of things that were promising quick weight loss. Oh, and I was not going to have to change my eating habits.

At that time, I weighed over 200 pounds. I was snoring so loud, I woke myself up. I was having dizzy spells and sugar spikes that I felt emotionally. If that was not enough, I was growing out of my clothing. I pretended I was a size 16 when in reality I was an 18 or higher depending on the cut. While I would have loved quick fixes, I have not gone that route.

Instead, I have made lifestyle changes. And the results have paid off. My weight has gotten to the 180s. I am no longer snoring and the dizzy spells have disappeared. This took a couple of years to achieve. I made one change at a time.

First thing I did was set up a regular meal plan. This includes a sweet snack in the mid morning. Then I slowly began to change things. I restricted the amount of soda I drink, making it into a once-a-week treat.  Once that became a steady habit, I added whole wheat or multi-grain breads to my diet in my daily lunch sandwich. This forces the blood sugar to rise in a slower manner and keeps me happy.

Then I worked yogurt in the diet. The next change I worked in was to eat carrot sticks with my lunch and a salad or fruit with dinner. Here the raw veggies and fruit work as fiber while keeping the sugar from getting too high.  But there is another benefit. That fiber begans cleaning out my system naturally. Which meant some days, I needed to stay near a bathroom as my system cleaned out a lot of junk.

But there was one other change I made in my routine. I began walking with the dog every day.   I started at a half of a mile and worked up to one mile. Some days I make it over a mile and a half. The dog loves it. My feet usually feel better when I do the walk.

Image by Orchid

Image by Orchid

This means I am losing weight and inches. As my weight goes down so do the symptoms of diabetes. While I have some other health issues going on, I know that they are going to improve because my weight is less of an issue.

That is the end result of my battle with the weight. I hit my goal weight and lost the muffin top. While I have gained a few pounds back, I believe I will be able to get them off. I have fallen away from doing the daily walk and that makes it hard to keep weight off. So this week, I am getting back into the groove.

Oh, and I have stuck with the original plan of eating less and moving more. It works, it really works. If you are looking for the one weird secret to weight loss, that is the only one.

Move more, eat less.

Funny how simple that really is.

Check it Out!

Normally, I would post something about movies today – or at least thinking about it. But today you can see my work over at The 4 Mothers 1Blog. These four gals are Canadians who write about all aspects of parenting – the good, bad and downright ugly. But they do so in a honest manner that I love. I do not read them enough.

But today, after you read my guest post, I would hope that you would read some of their other posts. I read one the other day about how the other three got the fourth to write about her miscarriage. I have read posts about traveling and dealing with hospital stays and the frustration of people who do not get why they have to make classroom snack concessions for your child’s allergies.

Poignant, tangible, touching. I think these words describe their blog and make it worth your time to spend a little bit with Marcelle, Carol, Nathalie and Beth-Anne.



For those of you visiting my blog for the first time, thank you for stopping by. You will find liberal rants, garden pictures, movie reviews, recipes, and stories of my impossibly cute children and dog. You will also find stories of my battle with weight and book reviews. There is a quilt picture in the archives as well. But that is my house and my life – a messy hodge-podge slowly taking form.

Now if you will excuse me, it is County Fair week. And there is a Red Velvet Funnel Cake with my name on it.


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