Visual Journal Page 9: That was Going to be My Kitchen Table

It all started with a grill out. It was Fall, the weather was amazing, we were finally settled into our house, and the decorating was coming along, which meant it was time to host our first house party. Nick and I sat down and decided to have a rib cook off, the first annual rib off of hopefully many more to come. I couldn’t wait to host our first party, and it encouraged me to tie up a few loose ends, hanging up pictures, organizing rooms, and doing my first post-move-in deep clean of the house. It was a whirlwind the day of the rib off, I was preparing for the multiple rib entries that were heading our way, the a slew of people who were coming, and I was frantically cleaning, cooking, and prepping. The cook out was a huge success, everyone had a good time, Nick won the rib competition, and although the cost of the party brought our bank account down a little, it was worth it. If only I knew what was coming next….

Post-party the house was a mess, dirt was tracked in and out of the back door, it seemed like all of the silverware, pots, pans, glasses, and plates were dirty, there wasn’t a trace of the deep clean I did pre-party. The following morning I dragged myself out of bed and downstairs to face the wreck our house had become. I spent the second day in a row deep cleaning, and by the end of Sunday I collapsed onto the sofa, and allowed myself to relax before work the next day.

With my cleaning frenzy and Sunday night deep relaxation I didn’t pay too much attention to Jacob and Kody Bear. After all, I convinced myself, they got so much attention at the party, everyone loving on them, giving them treats here and there, I could let them rest and it would be okay. I assumed Kody was being lethargic because he was as exhausted as I was, he was partied out, he spent all day outside the day before, and didn’t want to go outside because he wanted indoor time. If only I knew…

I got up Monday morning, still recovering from the weekend, and took the pups on their morning walk. Jacob did his business immediately, and I waited as patiently as I could for Kody to do his. I waited and waited, continuously checking my watch, counting down the last minutes and seconds before I absolutely had to be out the door. I looked at Kody, shook my head, and said “I guess you will just have to hold it until I get home, it’s not my fault you are going to be uncomfortable all day”.  With those last annoyed words I put the dogs inside, grabbed my much needed coffee, and headed out the door.

I have no idea what happened at school that day, what project my classes were on, if anyone acted up or said something sweet, all I remember is coming home, walking in the door and seeing blood splattered on the floor in the living room. My heart dropped, the air rushed out of my lungs, I immediately called for my babies, terrified that something bad had happened, only assuming the worse. Jake ran right in, Kody followed much slower. I checked them both out, every nook and cranny, and found nothing. I sent them outside, and went to work cleaning up the mystery massacre in my living room.

I was still freaking out, I had no idea what was going on, until I looked outside to check on the pups and saw Kody in an endless squat. Something had disagreed with him, something was making him bleed. In my head I immediately returned to the party and saw all of the handouts he was given, the rib bones, the easily accessible trash can, with even more rib bones. I ran to my computer and looked up the affects of a dog eating bones, and of course my imagination ran wild with all of the ridiculous stories people posted, I was convinced my baby was going to die from a punctured stomach or small intestine, I imagined blood filling him up, him keeling over, all from a stupid cook out.

By the time Nick got home I was practically in tears, we loaded him in the car and sped of to the emergency vet. We frantically waited in the waiting room for Kody to be called back. We finally made it to the tiny examination room and I felt terrible as they took Kody back to get blood work done and to be examined. It felt like hours, but finally the doctor came back with her prognosis. He was fine. Yes, he probably ate some rib bones which splintered and probably cut him a little on the way out, which caused the blood. Yes, he was a little bit backed up, but it would pass. In the end Kody got some antibiotics, a couple cans of soft food, and was 100% okay. On the other hand, Nick and I got a very long lecture about giving dogs bones and a $400.00 vet bill for antibiotics and a 15 minute check up.

I was beyond relieved when he was fine, and showed absolutely no signs of the previous mess over the next few days. However, every now and then I would stop, and gaze at the bare area in the kitchen that was meant to have a table. I would think about the $400.00 that literally went into Kody’s butt and how that could’ve been the kitchen table (and chairs at that price) that I had been dreaming of and wishing for. Although we could’ve skipped the vet visit and the ridiculous bill and Kody would’ve been fine, I would still do it all over again. I don’t think I could’ve ever forgiven myself if something had gone wrong and I didn’t do anything about it because of money. My dogs are my babies, I would fork over more money than I have to save their lives if it came down to it. And in the end, even though I didn’t have my table, I still had my baby, and that is all that matters.


  • Visual Journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • White paper
  • Sharpie
  • Gesso
  • Watercolor or bleeding tissue paper
  • Vet pamphlet
As soon as this fiasco happened, I began thinking of how I would incorporate it into my visual journal. I had already been brainstorming ways to incorporate a skeleton into a page, I love the way they look, and it seemed to fit perfectly with what happened. I considered drawing a picture of Kody, with an x-ray in front of him, drawing an entire dog skeleton, or a pile of rib bones. That got me thinking about rib bones, I don’t think any bone in our body is as interesting as our rib cage. I love the shape, the curves, and the space it creates as the bones wrap from back to front. This train of thought prompted me to look up images of dog rib cages, which brought me to the idea of creating a medical diagram of just a rib cage. After all, it was the perfect visual. The rib bones were the downfall, and they ended up passing through his rib cage and into his stomach. Inside the rib cage drawing I would place the pamphlet the vet forced on us about what not to feed your dog, which we will pass out to all of our guests the next cook out we have.
I started by drawing the rib cage on a separate sheet of white paper. I used pencil, erased a lot, and went through multiple drafts before it was perfect. Once the proportions were correct, I decided to add value. I wanted it to look more graphic, so I scribbled with a sharpie to create the cast shadows between the overlapping bones. I liked the effect, but I wanted more gray. I brainstormed ideas, but I knew I couldn’t erase the black sharpie that was already there, so I had to cover it up with something else. Immediately I thought of gesso. I watered some down, and tested a small area. It look perfect, it toned it down to a lighter gray, but you could still see the scribbles. I coated the rest of the rib cage in gesso, let it dry, and went back one more time with the sharpie to punch up the dark shadows. I carefully cut the rib cage out with scissors, and used an Xacto knife for the small interior areas. To learn more about gesso click here.
After the drawing was complete I glued down the pamphlet and rib cage. In order to push the paper into the crease of the book I used a credit card, and ran it along the crease before the glue dried. I knew I wanted to splatter red watercolor for blood. Coming home to the blood splatter is something I will never forget, and it had to be included in the page. I chose the right corner, put a drop of red paint down, and blew it to create the splatter. To finish the page I added words on top of the splatter with sharpie, and labeled the bones to make it look like a medical diagram.
Create a page that incorporates a skeleton. Use an animal, human, or even an insect exoskeleton. Play with the position of the bones, do a close up or a far away drawing. Have fun with it!
I hope you enjoyed my post! If you have any questions or comments please contact me! If you like my blog, help me spread the word like, tweet, link over, or subscribe! Thanks for your help getting the word out about visual journals!

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