Don't forget to visit my website! Jackie Coleman - Author

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I Have an Owl!

He's not actually mine, of course, he just lives in my woods ... but I called dibs :)

We had an owl at my old house. The kids named him Hootie I only saw him occasionally, but I often heard him (and another owl) calling out to each other.

I have heard an owl here at my new house on numerous occasions, but until the day before yesterday, I hadn't seen him. When I walked into the kitchen Sunday morning, he was sitting on the corner of the garage roof. He flew away before I could take a picture. I've named him Barnie ... Barnie the Barn Owl.

Later, I got online to look at owl species to see what kind he is, and it appears he's a barn owl. The outside of his wings are mostly an orangish, rusty brown. (The picture at the left is not Barnie, it's just the closest picture I could find.)

Yesterday I was sitting on the back deck having coffee when he flew up. He started to land on the garage roof, exactly where I had seen him the day before, but I guess he saw me and got spooked, so he flew off into the woods.

I'm so happy to have an owl here! I think I'm going to set up a motion-activated camera and attempt to get a photo of him. I'll probably get a lot more birds and bugs than owls, but if I'm patient, I'll capture a picture of Barnie. If I aim the camera at the right angle, I can get photographs of hummingbirds at my feeder, too.

I don't know why, but seeing owls and hummingbirds makes me immensely happy!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Barbecue


We went to an annual Memorial Day barbecue yesterday. When we prayed before we ate, we thanked God for the veterans for their sacrifice, particularly those that made the ultimate sacrifice. I hope as everyone gets together, they remember to thank those that fought to allow us to live our lives in freedom.

Sometime today, I will go to the cemetery and put a flag on my father's grave. He was very proud of his service to our country ... and so am I.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Day With W

I had my little grandson yesterday. He looks so much like his father it's uncanny However, even as chubby as little W is, Thing 3 was chubbier! After breakfast and playing a while, he ran out of steam and took a quick power nap.


After his power nap, we played with him until lunch time. I gave him his bottle and he fed himself (mostly).


Then it was time for fruit. I gave him a spoon to play with, which was a bad idea! Apparently he can only do one thing at a time ... eat or play ... but not both ... so the spoon had to go.


With his little belly full, we ran to the landscaping store. I figured he'd love all the colorful flowers, and perhaps he did, but it was the fountain that caught his eye!

Thing 2 wearing her nephew.





Saturday, May 28, 2016

Kids Jailed for Refusing to Eat Lunch with Dad

Last July a judge in Michigan sentenced three children, ages 9, 10, and 15, to a juvenile detention facility until they are 18 because they refused to eat lunch with their father. I find that sickening. The oldest child said he didn't want to have lunch with his father because his father was violent, and that he saw his father hit his mother. The judge claimed the mother brainwashed him into saying that.

I know many parents complain about the other or make snide comments, but I don't think it's the norm for one (or both) parents to disparage the other so badly that the children are afraid of the other parent.

Family courts attempt to make things equal for mother's and father's after a divorce by dividing time between them, claiming this is in the best interest of the kids. What the courts don't see is how they are cared for when with either parent. They don't see the kids who get sick to their stomach and cry because they have to go to the other parents house ... and they don't see the temper tantrums and uncontrollable meltdown when they return.

I firmly believe a child needs a mom and a dad. They learn different skills from each parent. Men and women play with children differently. They talk to them differently. Mother's are traditionally nurturing, and a warm, soft place to land when they need held. Father's are traditionally more strict, but generous and loving. Kid's need all of those things. I had to be both mother and father to my kids, and assuming the role of the other parent is difficult because it's not instinctive.

Sometimes, as  single mom, I felt like a big, fat failure. It was my job to raise to a happy, well-adjusted child. When one child was floundering I told a friend that I must not be a very good mom. He said "You are an amazing mom, you're just not a good dad." And that is true, not necessarily that I'm an amazing mom, but that I'm not a good dad. I'm not a man and I don't think like a man. I react to situations as a woman and a mom. I think I've done a good job raising my kids, but I have no doubt it would have been an easier row to hoe ... for myself and my kids ... if I had had the help of a loving father (or stepfather).

If courts really want to do what is best for the children, they would watch both parents interact with their children, and not just for ten minutes, but for an entire day (or more). Anyone can fake it for ten minutes, but an entire day with a handful of kids will show a parents true colors, if only in brief snippets.

There are wonderful mother's and father's who can parent their children equally well, and the kids thrive. But there are parents who withhold their children from the other or take their visitation simply to be a thorn in the side of their ex. Children are more perceptive than most adults give them credit for, and they can pick up on the fact that they are being used as revenge.

I've heard it said that you have to love your children more than you hate your ex. Sadly, that is not the case for many, and it's always the children who suffer ... often because a judge who doesn't know anything about either parent decides what is best. If our courts truly want to do what is in the best interest of the children, they need to figure out a better way to decide how they divvy up time. Simply bringing a child into the world does not automatically make you capable of raising children. When the court system learns this, then maybe they can honestly and confidently decide who gets the kids and when ... because as it stands now, a lot of children are being forced into situations they aren't prepared to handled ... and the other parent is helpless to stop it.

As far as the children who were sentenced to a juvenile facility for refusing to eat lunch with their father, no one wins. If the mother was lying, the kids will eventually figure it out and they will resent her for alienating them from their father. And if the kids were being truthful, that they in fact did see their father hit their mother, they should be able to decide if they want to spend time with him ... especially a 15-year old. Removing children from a loving home and placing them in jail for the duration of their childhood is incomprehensible. The judge in that case needs to be removed from the bench and disbarred.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Today is Cellophane Tape Day


In 1925, Richard Drew of the 3M Company produced the first roll of Scotch tape. In 1930, he created cellophane tape. Just think if all the things we use tape for and how often we use it. We could always tie our packages with ribbons and twine, but you can't tie a tear in a paper!

Thank you, Mr. Drew, for making our lives so much easier ... and not in the way computers and technology makes our lives "easier"!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Agnes

Thing 1 has named her new goldfish plant Agnes. Yesterday Agnes told me that she's ready to move into a bigger home ... her feet hurt!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I Saw This on Craigslist

I saw this bench, obviously made from a bed, on Craigslist. It might be old, which makes it an antique (except for the brand-spanking-new boards in the middle), and it might be one of a kind (at least I hope it is) ... but it's not beautiful!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Whenever I See a Truck Like This

I think to myself that this is what Kim (you-know-who) would look like if she were a truck.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Round Bologna, Square Bread


Dear Oscar Mayer:

Until you can convince the bread people to make round bread, please make square lunch meat.

Thank you!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Someone Has Discovered the Power of Arms


Within the last month, my little grandson has discovered that if he wants to be held, all he has to do is look at you and raise his arms. He's so darn cute it's impossible not to pick him up!

W is a lot like his daddy. Thing 3 was a good baby, mostly happy and content, but he was a Mama's boy and he wanted to me to hold him ... a lot! Unless I was doing something that I couldn't safely do while holding a little one, I would happily pick him up and hold him. Being a boy, there were times he was too busy to be held, and I knew the day would come when he no longer wanted me to pick him up and hold him, so when he wanted held, I picked him up and treasured it.

Now it's little W's turn to reach for me and ask to be held, and I never hesitate for even a second. I will gladly stop what I'm doing to hold that sweet baby anytime he wants ... and I'll savor every moment of that fat baby sitting on my hip and holding onto me with his chubby hands.

It won't be long before he's crawling and then he'll be too busy to sit in grandma's arms, so when he wants me to hold him, I'll snatch him up and pull him close ... every ... single ... time.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Storm Front Over the City


Spring means rain and storms, and we've had our fair share. We've been fortunate in that there hasn't been anything severe, but the constant rain is just so gloomy. Still, storms fascinate me, and seeing the edges of the fronts as they make their way through is a sight to behold.

The grass keeps growing and the rain keeps falling, so it's hard to keep up with lawn maintenance, but soon it will be summer ... hot and dry ... and we'll be yearning for water to fall from the heavens. It's raining again today, but the weekend is supposed to be beautiful, and I'm looking forward to getting out in the yard, working the soil, and adding some much-needed color to my pale winter skin!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Today is No Dirty Dishes Day

The object of this "holiday" is to not simply to wait until tomorrow to do the dishes or to use plastic bowls/plates/utensils, but to not create any dirty dishes ... at all. Unless you're only going to eat food from a vending machine, it's hard not to dirty a dish.

My new house doesn't have a dishwasher. I figured it would be one of my first purchases after I moved in, but it turns out I don't really mind washing dishes! I loathe unloading a dishwasher, but oddly enough, washing dishes by hand, drying them and putting them away doesn't bother me in the least. I hate dishes in the sink ... clean or dirty ... so I tend to keep the kitchen tidier now that I don't have a dishwasher.

Last night I made a triple-batch of my chicken and dumplings, and I plan on eating them to my hearts content ... in a real bowl with a real spoon. Life is too precious to worry about dirtying a few dishes, so I won't be "celebrating" this holiday!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Need Chicken and Dumplings


With the temperature about 20ยบ below normal, it hardly feels like spring ... so I think I'll make a big pot of chicken and dumplings tonight. The temps are expected to return to normal later this week, but even with cooler than usual weather, it's not as bad as up north, where they had snow this week. I think I would have to institutionalized if I lived someplace cold enough to snow it May.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Power Outage at a Local School

There was a power outage at a local elementary school the last fall. When anything goes wrong, I always suspect squirrels. Everyone thinks I'm paranoid ... and when it comes to squirrels and raccoons, I am ... but this time it turns out I was right! This crispy tidbit got into the transformer and did some chewing.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fake Report Cards to Keep From Hurting Kid's Feelings


A private Jewish school in New York sent home report cards with a note to the parents that said "If after reviewing the enclosed report card, you would like us to develop a second version of this report card for your son with higher grades, call ..." The grades on the child's record wouldn't be altered, it was just an offer to present higher grades to the students so that they didn't feel bad. This takes coddling to a whole new level, doesn't it?

Isn't that ridiculous? I don't know why parents feel the need to shield their child from all failure. In my opinion, if one want better grades, one first needs to know they're not getting good grades already ... and then one needs to work harder. I don't know about your kids, but if my kids thought they were doing pretty good in school, they'd think they were putting in enough effort. They wouldn't try harder if they thought they were currently doing well!

There was an article recently about a young child, whose parent is a professional athlete (I believe). His daughter participated in some kind of track meet. In her first event, she didn't do well, but she received a "participation" ribbon so that she didn't feel bad about losing. Her father made her give it back, telling her she hadn't earned a ribbon just for trying. Good for him! She returned the ribbon, and then worked harder when she ran the next events ... and actually earned a ribbon for her performance.

I never pushed my kids to win. I wanted them to do well and I wanted them to win, but sometimes I enrolled my kids in activities just because I wanted them to have the experience of trying something new. Afterwards, I'd ask them if they tried their hardest. They would (almost) always say yes, to which I'd tell them that if they had did their best, that was good enough for me ... but if they wanted to win, they'd have to practice more.

Many years ago my stepson brought home a report card with mostly C's and D's. He was a smart kid, so I knew these grades were a reflection of his laziness, not his intellect. I looked at his report card and told him I'd help him get his grades up. When his father came home, he heaped praised on his son for a "great report card", and he was angry at me for not doing the same. To me, an intelligent child getting those grades wasn't acceptable. I would never punish a kid for a bad report card, but I wasn't going to reward him for one, either.

When I was growing up, only the best were rewarded in sports, arts, and academics. Did I always do well? No. Did I always win? Of course not. Did I want to win? Yes, and losing didn't make me give up ... it made me work harder so that next time, maybe I would win! Besides, that's not how it works in the real world. Adults don't get raises and promotions for mediocre or sub-par work. To grow into successful adults, kids need to know how to lose and how to win.

America is a nation built on hard work and ingenuity. No one wins if everyone is a "winner".

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Today is National Chicken Dance Day

Has anyone (except Southern Baptists) ever been to a wedding reception where they didn't play the Chicken Dance song? After all the obligatory "first dance's", the Chicken Dance is usually one of the first songs played. Upon hearing those distinctive first seven notes, anyone with any degree of ambulatory ability will rush/stagger to the dance floor, flapping their wings and wiggling their tail as they go.

Several years back, when my silly best friend was planning her wedding to her even sillier husband, we were talking about processional songs. I suggested she dance down the aisle to the Chicken Dance song! She poo-poohed my idea and ultimately ended up choosing something more "tasteful".

I still think my commendation would have been the better choice. I can't remember what song she ultimately chose ... the traditional wedding processional or something else ... but I'm positive I'd remember ... as would everyone else in attendance ... if she had had her son "walk" her down the aisle to the Chicken Dance song!

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Mother's Day Conversation Between Friends

Last Sunday, on Mother's Day, my best friend wished me happy mother's day. What started out as sweet, heartfelt, and sincere compliment quickly went downhill when my phone auto-corrected one innocent word ...


Thursday, May 12, 2016

I'm Batman


A six-year old Batman fan I know drew this for his little brother for his birthday. His little brother is actually a Spiderman man, but when you're six, you draw what you like, not what your brother likes ... even if you're drawing it for him!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rainbow

Thing 2 works in a high-rise downtown and snapped this picture for me after work. Rainbows fascinate me. Whenever I'm driving and see a rainbow, I pull over somewhere to look at it if I have time. If not, I'll glance at it while I'm driving or at stop lights. I'm always a little confused when they're is a huge rainbow out the window and none of the other drivers are paying any mind to it. I consider rainbows a gift ... how can anyone not look at a rainbow??!

I remember the day she took this picture. I get off work before she does, so I was out running errands. The sun was shining and it was raining. I knew there had to be a rainbow somewhere, but I never saw one. Even if I had seen the rainbow, it wouldn't have been nearly this spectacular from my vantage point.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Past Week Hasn't Gone as Planned

After work last Tuesday, I ran some errands. I bought potting soil and window box liners and planned on planting my flowers in the liners and building wooden window boxes. The flowers and window box liners are still on my patio, and the potting soil and lumber are still in my garage. I felt fine when I left work, but by the time I got home, I was feeling really tired. I was up all night coughing and achy, and my throat hurt. I went to the doctor the next day and they said I had the flu. Boo!



For the next three days, I only got out of bed to go to the bathroom. I felt a little better by the weekend, but my coughing was preventing me from getting much sleep. I attempted to go to work yesterday and my boss promptly sent me home. Thing 1 came over to take care of me and took me to the doctor today. I've got bronchitis for sure, and could have pneumonia. Oh, goodie. I got a shot to kick-start the healing and more medications.

One day soon, I hope to plant my flowers.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

From left to right,
Roo, Gus, Winnie, Thing 1, Olivia, Louie
Thing 1's oldest furry child drew her a picture for Mother's Day. Not bad for a creature without thumbs, huh?!

I don't know what my kids have up their sleeves for me today. I'm sure they'll do their best to spoil me and make me feel loved. I don't get spoiled too often, but they always let me know how much they love me. I don't know when the festivities are schedule to begin, so I guess I need to get my lazy butt out of bed, pump some caffeine into my veins, and hop in the shower.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Thing 2 Graduated College Last Night

I'm so proud of her! I'm still recovering from the flu, so this outing was the first time I've been out of bed in days ... but I wouldn't have missed this for anything. I'm not contagious, but I felt like something the cat threw up! She look so pretty and she was so happy.

My pretty girl!
Thing 2 and a local judge (one of her professors).
Thing 2 and a fellow graduate.
Me, W, and Thing 2. He'd had all the fun he could handle.
I'm recovering from the flu, so I'd had all the fun I could handle, too!
Below is a video of Thing 2 celebrating as she exited the floor.



Friday, May 6, 2016

I Found Some Pillows for my Mudroom


They aren't exactly what I was looking for, but they're cute! I got them for a steal, so if I ever do find pillows that make my heart go pitter-patter, I won't have to feel guilty for buying these.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Nothing Has Changed ...

I went to visit Thing 1 and her husband last weekend. Olivia still naps on her back, spread eagle. She is such a weirdo!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Political Rallies ... Very Stark Contrast

This picture below was taken 30 minutes after they opened the doors for the Bernie Sanders rally a on Monday. There was room to spare after everyone who came to hear him was let inside. (The venue holds approximately 9,000 ... the press reported 3,000 attended).

The local paper reported a father and his 16-year old son had came to see Bernie. The son said, "I believe in Bernie. A lot of politicians lie, but not Sanders. Or if he did, he'll say why he did."

Wow. Sanders doesn't lie, but when he does, he tells you why he lied. I don't know how to process that. Luckily, this young man isn't old enough to vote. Unfortunately, his supportive father is.


Contrast the above picture to the one below, which was also taken 30 minutes after they opened the doors at the Trump rally last Friday, and more than to two hours before Donald Trump was scheduled to speak. 9,000 were inside, and at least that many more had came hoping to get inside, only to find it filled to capacity.


After the Sanders rally, we saw a man in a kilt and a Mohawk walking away with some of his friends. That was the most interesting thing we saw all day. We don't see many Mohawks around these parts ... and we see even fewer kilts!




Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Somebody Likes Shoelaces


Thing 1's new puppy kept untying my shoes. By the time I got one tied, she had untied the other, again, and again, and again ... until something caught her eye and she wandered off. She's about 3" tall, but she thinks she's gigantic ... and fierce! Yeah, she's real fierce.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lemon Squares ... Mmmmmmm!


Things 1 and 2 treated me to lunch and dessert the other day. After lunch at Angelo's, which has amazing food, we walked to A Piece of Cake for dessert. I wasn't going to get anything ... until I saw the lemon squares. It was soooooo good ... but the best part of lunch was my daughters.