Archive for October, 2012

Next week we will go to the polls.

Image by J. Durham

Next week, you and I will fill out ballots to elect school board members, town board members, state reps and senators, U.S. representatives and senators, and the president.

But here is the deal. Someone is going to lose. Maybe it is Obama, maybe it is Romney.

And when that happens we need to remember that if our guy lost, there is simply one thing to do.

Keep moving.

We have seen a nasty, nasty election season. So many hateful things have been said on both sides. But once the election is over, there is work to be done.

People want jobs which includes civilians and returning soldiers. Infrastructure, education, and healthcare need to be addressed. Foreign policy  requires a light hand and understanding.

So let’s ask those members of Congress to do something simple.

Work with your president.

Forget the B.S. that he is not your guy. Forget your platform or that the other side has to move to your side because that shit has not worked. It has been obstructionist and has caused the country to halt. While I am not saying turn a blind eye to obvious problematic issues – such as Benghazi – I am saying it is time we put the best interests of the country to the forefront.

You want to fight with the president because he is not doing exactly what you want. But then the Speaker of the House works out a deal where the POTUS concedes a few things and you concede a few things so that everyone can win. That is until Congress goes against the deal because it is not exactly what they want. Why did our bond rating drop? Because Congress would not work with the president.

Quite frankly, it makes our government look like a bunch of kids who take their baseball home because things did not goes their way. And you know where that leads, don’t you?

Out of office in the next election.

I am talking to the Tea Party members who have proven to be a big bunch of babies but it will include Democrats who can’t figure it out as well.

I don’t want to hear anymore stories about secret meetings that took place the day of inauguration in order to plan the downfall of the newly elected president. I do not want to see voting not happen because the plan wasn’t ‘their’ plan despite the fact it was based on their plan or that it will help the regular people of this country.

More importantly, I am tired of the fighting when solutions are needed. I can’t believe I am saying this but New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has become the example of working together during the aftermath of a major storm despite his negative rhetoric earlier in this campaign.  While that is the example to follow, come next election I will vote out every single one that I can who cannot be bothered to work with the other side.

Image by Expressive Grafix

Forget your petty squabbles, the need to be right. It is time to do the right thing for the American people. You know who they are, right?

They are the ones paying for your salary and that great health plan.



Reading Challenge: Save the Cupcake!

It is that favorite time of the month for me – Reading Challenge. Thanks to Samantha  at chicklitplus.comfor hosting this reading challenge which has forced me to read books I may not have otherwise.

This month I am wading into the world of Young Adult literature. Actually, it is a book written for the pre-teen set that my daughter picked up at the book fair last week.

Book Image from Good

So the book, Confectionately Yours: Save the Cupcake! by Lisa Papademetriou, features Haley whose life has been turned upside down. Her parents have divorced, the family home has been sold, and her mom has recently lost her job. They move into Grandma’s apartment and Haley has to share her bedroom with her little sister.

I feel sorry for Haley who has had complete changes in her life. Now that school has started again she sees her friends, Marco and Artie, on a regular basis. Marco plays soccer and Haley encourages Artie to try out for the school musical as Artie has a great voice.

But this is middle school with changes on the horizon. Before Haley knows it, her friends are dealing with issues and leaving her out. Luckily for Haley, she helps her grandmother in her tea shop. Her grandmother makes scones and Haley makes cupcakes.

She may be a cupcake genius.

Slowly, her cupcakes help Haley open some new doors at school. They begin to bring new customers to Gran’s shop. But when they become an issue, Haley learns to find her voice.

This was a great quick read. My daughter took about a night and day of reading to finish it. It took me a little less. But the truth is Haley is a great kid – not too whiny, not too know-it-all. Plus the books are filled with cupcake recipes that we are going to make.

While this book may seem light-hearted, author Papademetriou deals with issues of bullying, autism, gluten-free diseases, the aftermath of divorce, parental job loss, and junior-high drama.  The Confectionately Yours series may not be as dense as a Judy Blume novel but I find their styles and subject matter very similar.

Quite frankly, after reading book #1 my daughter went back to the book fair and bought book #2. We are now anxiously awaiting book #3.

Lisa, I am not sure if I want to hug you or curse you but know that this is a fun series that is great for girls.

Read Lisa’s blog at LisaPapa which gets into the writing process. Find the book at or for about $5.99 before tax and shipping.


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Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Last week I talked about two different movies associated with Tim Burton. The American director has always had a different style that was interesting but hidden away by the weirdness of his movies.


Say what you will but there are times that his movies are magical and take you to a different place.


One of my favorites is mythical and large in its storytelling. But the story is one that an adult child can relate to when you have a parent who tells larger than life tales.


Poster Image from

Big Fish starring Ewan McGregor as a man who did incredible things –so he says – as a young man but now he is old and dying. His son does not believe a word from the old man. In fact, the son is incredibly angry at his father.


All of his life he has heard these fantastical stories that he could never prove. But as the old man – as played by Albert Finney – is in the hospital for one last time, the son does something he has never done before.


He begins to check the old stories out. He looks for the truth in the incredible.


Billy Crudup plays the son with the right mix of anger and love. Jessica Lange plays the mother who is losing the most extraordinary love of her life. And one of the most amazing pieces in the puzzle is Helena Bonham-Carter as a woman from the past.


I sometimes think Helena does the unbelievably strange parts to avoid being type-cast as the sweet girl next door. How else do you explain Sweeney Todd or  Harry Potter? But here, as she does in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Helena looks erethral at times. She glows with youth and hope, until the end when she reveals the truth. And then her natural beauty is simply there.


Now this movie is best suited for an adult crowd. And not because it is offensive. The movie is geared for adults with its content and the context in which we see it. The story is for adults. There is nothing wrong with that, some movies should be for kids and some should be for adults.


This one with its issues of death and dying, of losing a parent just as you, the adult child, finally get to know them. No teenager wants to deal with those issues. Some adults don’t want to either.


But there is something about watching a young man figure out his father as he is about to become a parent. There is something in watching a man discovering those crazy stories were based on some sort of truth, even the one that involves a final wish.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

As I was scouting around last week, looking at scrumptious blogs, I noted Chicago John’s lovely plum cobbler.

It looked so tasty and I commented that I wanted to make it. Then I made a side note about how my favorite cobbler/crisp recipe is one that puts the oatmeal in the fruit portion and not on top.

I found it on and I really like it. Maybe it is because I like that lovely tartness of rhubarb.

But I also like how the rhubarb portion is made thicker by the oatmeal.


Now we know it is no longer rhubarb season so I substituted Granny Smith apples instead. And I wanted to add in Craisens. So when the hubby went to the store, that was on his list. And he came home with Blueberry Infused Craisens.

While it tasted good together, it was not what I wanted. I almost thought about doing the Jennifer Aniston riff from The Breakup about “Baby wanting” the right thing but I do not have long beautiful blond hair as she does.

So we moved on.

Apple Mixture

I cut up the two large apples and added a handful of the craisens. I mixed together fruit, sugars, oatmeal and a bit of flour; then I dumped it all in a two-quart dish. The topping was flour, margarine and a little salt. I am not a salt fan and left it off although I did add a few shakes of cinnamon.

With the topping

In the oven it went. Thirty minutes later, after I retrieved Sam from his buddy’s house, I pulled it out of the oven as it bubbled and smelled just like blueberry pie.

The end result was the younger members of the family did not like the blueberry bits. And they made mention once, twice, maybe more, that we should have had ice cream.

On that, I think we are in agreement.

Out of the oven






Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


As Halloween creeps ever closer, we think we should be watching scary movies.


And why not? The rental racks are filled with spooky fun and gory scary movies.


So perhaps you are watching Cabin in The Woods or Paranormal nth degree.


Poster Image from

As some of you may know, I am not a big horror movie fan. They give me nightmares and who needs that in their life when there are so many other scary things in real life. My questionable movie tastes run towards costume dramas, raunchy comedies and just about anything with Robert Downey Jr. or Johnny Depp.


And that explains why I am putting Dark Shadows on my list of movies to watch this month. The movie is a Tim Burton remake of the old soap opera that was camp at its best. This time around, Johnny Depp is playing Barnabas Collins whose casket has been uncovered by a construction project.


He was trapped there in the 1700s and it is now 1972. The world has changed but his family seems mired in disaster. The ineffective patriarch Roger (Johnny Lee Miller) is a bit of a playboy while his sister, Elizabeth (Michelle Pfieffer) runs the family. But their problems can be traced to one person, namely a 200-year-old witch by the name of Angelique (Eva Green) who has held a grudge against the Collins family for that long as well.


This is not a great storyline, I get that. But what this movie offers is the quirkiness of director Tim Burton playing with Americana and Johnny Depp. It is a movie that will see me with a big bowl of popcorn, enjoying every moment – I hope.


Poster Image from

Next week there is another movie coming out that just seems wrong in so many ways and yet I am looking forward to seeing it. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which is based on the book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith in which our 16th president is re-seen as a vampire killer.


He has his reasons for hating the undead and he is quite good at taking them out. This movie is billed as coming from the imagination of Tim Burton who is a producer but not the director. That job went to Timur Bekmambetov who also directed Wanted. I have heard bad reviews, good reviews and everything in between.


I have heard it is a subtle comedy, kick-butt action or parallel universe gone wrong. Before Daniel Day-Lewis comes out with his defining performance of Lincoln in the Speilberg movie due out for later this year, I think I am watching this for some spooky campy fun.


Now I realize both of these movies are meant for teens and adults. I would not show either to my 11- or 8-year-old children. Luckily for them, the newest Madagascar movie is out on DVD in which the gang tries to get back to New York City disguised as a circus while wearing crazy rainbow afro wigs. It sounds crazy and ridiculous and probably not very good. Sounds like a party to me.

Image from

Can you imagine the fun of dancing around the living room when they do that ‘move it’ song?


Yep, my kids are pretty horrified at the thought – which is why I am considering doing it anyway.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

This has been a crazy year for me.

I had hoped to have so much more finished by now. But calamity and rotten luck has gotten in the way.

Image by melodi2

All of my plans to get sewing projects underway went south when my stitch length dial stayed stuck on ‘0.’ I discovered this when some fragile fabric was eaten by the machine.

Of course, I thought it was the fabric. So I tried again. Then I tried using paper as a backing. When that tactic did not work, I checked everything and realized the truth.

The dial regulating stitch length was turning but not adjusting. Somewhere a spring must be stuck.

Getting it fixed requires money. Money I do not have. It has been a summer and fall of stretching the budget to extremes. Bills are getting paid but it has been tough and tight.

While I have spent some time whining about what I cannot do, I have totally forgotten what I can get done.

I have a quilt that needs to be tied. It was a project started by a girlfriends daughter. Because it has already has a binding, there is no way machine quilting will work neatly. But hand-tieing will not stretch out the fabric.

Suddenly, the year of completion feels as if it might get back on track. While there is no way to get six quilts done by the end of the year, I can work on one.

Another thing I am still working on is the novel. My plan was to try to get 500 words written a day. I took the idea of NANO which does 1600+ words a day and broke it down to manageable bits.

Image by Mantamagorical

Some days I write more, other days I write less. But I have five chapters completed that need sprucing up. While I have ten chapters to go, I have a direction. They are barebones that are waiting for the layers of descriptions and personality flaw to clothe them and dress it up.

I just hope that the rest of the book is done by the end of the year.

How are you working on those goals set last January?


Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


There are precious few perfect movies.


These are movies that are exceptional in each scene from start to finish. You connect to the characters, remember spectacular dialogue, and think about the movie long after the closing credits have rolled by.


Some movies I think are perfect starts with Singin’ In The Rain and might end somewhere with The Invincibles. Moonstruck and Citizen Kane are on my list as well as Star Wars and Rebecca.


Another movie that makes my list is The Princess Bride  which is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its opening date.


Poster Image from

Directed by Rob Reiner and starring unknown Cary Elwes and Robin Wright, this movie is based on the children’s book by William Goldman about a princess about to marry a man she does not love.


What makes this movie even more enchanting is the framing of a grandfather reading the story to his sick grandson. Peter Falk plays a man loving enough to be willing to read a story to his grandson but tough enough to tell his grandson to zip it when the boy interrupts too much.


But that is not the only thing that has made this movie a classic.


It is the style and wit that the actors carry with the movie. The actors choose to be sincere when they could have gone into parody-mode ala Leslie Neilson. Instead we believe in Buttercup’s love for Wesley and his for her. Finding out who the six-finger man is never a true surprise but he is played in a very drole manner by Christopher Guest.


Who can forget the friendly and accommodating conversation between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Inigo Montoya before their pitch-perfect sword fight?


Then there are the unforgettable lines.




“Have fun storming the castle.”


“Rest well and dream of large women.”


“If only I had a holocaust cloak.”




“I would not say that if I were you.”


“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”


It is hard to pick a single perfect scene so lets not. Instead, let’s remember how delightful the introduction scene in the courtyard is for poor Buttercup. Let us dwell on the kidnapping scene and the attempted escape. My favorite scene might be the sword fight meant to mimic the best of Douglas Fairbanks Jr.


Let us remember the light touch of the late Peter Falk. Let us remember for a moment the late Andre the Giant’s ability to rhyme perfectly and easily.


Let us remember a movie that was perfect from every last cast member to the sterling dialogue and exciting sword duels.


When this movie first arrived at the theaters, it was a flop. No one went. But then the word got out as to what made this a great movie. People heard about it, saw it on VHS, talked about it to their friends and made it popular.


And they never forgot that this movie, beyond the swordplay and desire about revenge, is about true love.

Every movie tries for perfection, to follow the rules of their society that they have set, to make each scene ring true. Very few achieve that status. But when they do, it is the thing of legend.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


This week the Bowman family is celebrating.


We are celebrating because the youngest member of the family turns 8 years old.


As some of you may know, Sam was not planned or even expected. But he came as a present on my 40th year. He has been the most challenging as he has the most energy of them all. Sam is in constant movement until it is time to go to bed. Chances are he will fall asleep wherever he is at the moment.


Poster Image from Wikipedia

So I asked him to tell me his favorite movie. I expected a batman movie or some cartoon. But not him. He went straight for the gusto with Transformers 2.


For those not familiar with the series, Transformers are aliens who are giant mechanical robots that can take the shape of vehicles. They have to see one in order to change into that car.


The favorite one seems to be Bumblebee which is a yellow Chevy that has black strips detailing. He is a loyal friend to the lead character, also named Sam, but Bumblebee cannot speak although he can channel music or movie dialogue to express his feelings.


The leader is Optimus Prime who changes into a blue and red semi truck. Optimus is the last member of the Prime family. He believes in freedom for all, not for some, and is the sworn enemy of Megatron.


In the first movie which stars Shia LaBoeuf as high school senior, Sam Witwicky, who wants a car and his father buys him an old junker that is yellow with black strips. Soon enough, Sam will discover the secret of his car as well as the rest of the group. Eventually, they will save the world from Megatron and his ilk.


But, of course, that is never enough. In the second movie, Megatron is brought back from the depths of the ocean and is helping a greater being who wants to literally devour the sun. But he needs a few things from Earth.


Meanwhile, Sam is going away for college while leaving behind Mikaela and Bumblebee. His first few days do not go as planned as Sam begins to see images of a plan. Then he discovers that an assassin has been sent for him in a very pretty package. Soon enough, he is back with Agent Simmons trying to figure out the images and saving the world once more.


This is an intense movie as there is constant fighting going on. The noise level is very loud with constant explosions, gunfire and the vrooming of vehicles. We will be taken around the world, into museums, through the pyramids and finally back to home. It is a bombastic adventure with comedic moments involving new transformers. And there is a good chance that we will watch this movie sometime this week.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Banned and Challenged Book Week

This is the week in which we talk about books that have been banned or challenged. Someone, somewhere, found the books on this list objectionable in the decade of the ought’s (2000 – 2009) and made it a point to get those books off the shelves of libraries.


Banned and Challenged Books
Image from a friend’s Facebook page



My question to you is have you ever purposely read a banned book?