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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Burning Bush Eats Stop Sign

Do you think the cops would be lenient if I said "What stop sign?"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hibuscus Rescue

My boyfriend bought three hibiscus trees for his deck this past summer. Unlike hibiscus bushes, these are not cold-weather hardy and must be over-wintered inside. I knew he wouldn't do that ... he'd just let them sit outside and die a slow, cold, agonizing death, so I offered to adopt them for the winter. As a thank you, these beauties have been blooming ever since! They're still full of blooms, so they aren't even close to done thanking me. Aren't they gorgeous?!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


My daughter's goldfish plant is blooming.  She's in her last semester of college and just got married, so I'm not expecting grandkids for a while ... but that's okay ... I love my grandfish!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Storms for Today

Red at night, Sailor's delight.
Red in the morning, Sailor's warning.
The view from my window when I got to work this morning. Just a few minutes earlier, the sky was a deep, crimson red. The elevated view of the cityscape from the expressway on the way in was stunning.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Painting the Porch and Encore Azalea's

It was close to 80º all weekend ... which is what I've long thought fall weather should be ... so I decided I'd better get the porch painted before it gets cold (cold, by the way, is below 70º). 

Right after I bought the paint (in 2010), we had a heat wave with temps over 100º, and the heat stayed for the rest of the summer. Even after the heat wave abated somewhat, the humidity was too high to paint, so the porch never got painted that year. Or the next. Or the next. Or the next. Or the next.

This year, with new decking on the porch, I needed to get it painted before the weather turned cold. Not only are you not supposed to paint when it's cold, I avoid outside altogether when it's cold!

When I opened the paint, as pictured above, the color had loooooong settled to the bottom. I began stirring, but regardless of how long or hard I stirred, it stayed a bright, almost florescent fushia. Had I waited too long to use the paint? I hoped not, since it was expensive four years ago and there's little chance it's still the same price ... or cost less now! The thin paint stir stick they give you when you buy paint wasn't strong enough to gouge the sediment at the bottom and get it stirred up, so I found a long, steel spoon and started stirring. It took about 30 minutes, but I finally broke through the layer at the bottom and got the color incorporated throughout.

It took a couple of hours to get the porch and steps painted ... and I still have to put another coat on ... but look how pretty my encore azalea's look against it!!! These pink beauties have been blooming for over a month now! Gosh, I love these flowers ... encore azalea's are worth every penny :)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

New Rule!

Sheldon and Leonard,
signing the roommate agreement.
Between my boyfriend and I, we have five kids and three grandchildren. He has two children and three grandkids, and I have three kids. We don't live together, but that doesn't negate the fact that we have a lot of kids, collectively ... even if they are all adults.

In the last eight weeks, we've had three major events in the lives of our kids ... two weddings and a birth ... plus numerous not-quite-major events like two bridal showers and several mini-emergencies/crisis's. We're both thrilled that our children are happy and fulfilled, but listen up:

Enough is enough!

We're exhausted!!


We hereby decree a new rule ...

Only one major event PER YEAR! 

And not one major event per child per year ... one major event between the whole lot of you! Whoever declares their upcoming event first wins! Once a major event has been announced, no one is allowed to get engaged, married, or pregnant until the calendar year after which that event takes place ... even if that means you don't date or have sex with your husband for a year (or two)!

Sorry, kids, but we're tired, our nerves are shot, and our bank accounts have taken a serious hit! We're not as young as you are. You might be able to bounce back by the next morning, but we don't! Before we were fully recovered from the first wedding, we had the second ... and before all the leftover food from the second wedding was eaten, a third grandchild was born.

You will all soon be presented with a document not unlike the Roommate Agreement and the Relationship Agreement Sheldon presented to Leonard and Amy, respectively ... and the signing of said document is not optional. I'm not going so far as to say you won't be invited to Thanksgiving or Christmas if you don't sign ... but I'm not taking that off the table, either. So, kiddo's, you can expect the document to arrive by certified messenger shortly ... and feel free to retain an attorney!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

This is What True Joy Looks Like

Holding his hours-old granddaughter for the first time.
My boyfriend welcomed his third grandchild into the world. This little lady, much like her mother and rough-and-tumble brothers, already has him wrapped around her little finger. The twinkle in his eyes and the contented smile on his face make my heart melt. Mother and baby are doing fine, and she and her husband were thrilled to add this little princess to their family.

It will be interesting to see what kinds of things this little girl will grow up enjoying. Her brothers are ALL boy. Their world is dominated by the things little boys love ... cars, trucks, balls, worms, and dirt. In my mind, I picture a very girly-girl who will be able to hold her own around the boys! 

The younger of her older brothers doesn't quite grasp the concept of what "a new baby sister" means, and is more interested in snuggling with his Mommy than the baby, but the older boy is pretty excited to have a little sister. His reaction to this new baby is the complete opposite of his less-than-thrilled attitude to a new little brother a few years back! Back then, he viewed siblings as nothing but a rival for his Mom's attention. Now he loves his brother and sees how wonderful it is to have your best friend living just down the hall, and so he's overjoyed to have another buddy thrown into the mix!

The happy big brother.
As a mom of three myself, I know exactly what this new mother is going to go through. Intellectually and mathematically, three kids is just one more than two, but it feels like a whole lot more than that! And for a while, there will be more meltdowns and tantrums than she's seen in a while ... but before long, a new normal will emerge. She'll forget how much labor hurt and how hard it was with two active boys and a new baby girl ... and she'll start thinking about how nice it would be to add another little friend to her growing brood!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Forbidden Television

When Chrisley Knows Best first aired, my girls were watching. Thing 1 turned to Thing 2 and said, "Mom can never watch this show. We don't need to give her any ideas."

Apparently, Chrisley reminds my daughters of me ... albeit a wealthier ... and even stricter ... male version of their (abnormally sweet) Mama. According to them, his sarcastic wit and insults are hilarious. (I knew it ... they DO think I'm funny!!) 

Hence, my daughters have forbidden me from watching Chrisley Knows Best. 

Despite their fears that I'll watch and get more ideas or discover I have an unlikely ally down in Georgia ... there's no reason for them to worry. I don't watch any "reality" television.

However, I was recently in the room when Thing 2, giddy with excitement, announced the season premiere for Chrisley Knows Best was coming on. She must have forgotten that I wasn't allowed to watch ... or she was just too excited to remember ... so I stayed to see what all the hype was about. I could only watch about three minutes before I felt my IQ dropping! So don't worry, girls ... I won't be watching Chrisley Knows Best.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Today is (drum roll please) ... International Mole Day?

It's probably not what you're thinking!

I was thinking of the less than cute little animal that destroys yards ... and of my friend, Mr. H. (you met him and his cat, The World Famous George, back in March here and here). Sadly, George got very sick not long after that blog entry. Mr. H. and his wife were heartsick over losing him. They have since adopted two brother cats, Reuben and Levi. I'm not sure how many pairs of overalls they had for George ... but something tells me if they only had one pair on hand, they have since purchased another!

I thought of Mr. H. when I first heard of mole day because he despises moles. Sadly, my evil plans to bombard that kind man with mole pictures was thwarted.

It's also not about the unsightly growth on humans. So, if Mole Day isn't about ugly, brown growths or the destructive varmint that is the bane of Mr. H's existence ... what is it? 

Excellent question! I'll answer it right away ... but you might want to sit down first!!!

Mole Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated among chemists, chemistry students, and chemistry enthusiasts ... and we all know how much fun chemists, chemistry students, and chemistry enthusiasts are, right? Mole Day is celebrated on October 23, between 6:02am and 6:02pm ... because Avogadro's number (approximately 6.02 x 1023)is the number of particles (atoms or molecules) in one mole of substance.

In addition to chemists, chemistry students, and chemistry enthusiasts, many high schools around the United States, South Africa, Australia, and Canada celebrate Mole Day as a way to get their students interested in chemistry.

Eat a good breakfast, folks ... today's calendar promises an exciting twelve hours!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Butterflies ... Flutterbys

I suppose one day, we'll see a factoid stating,
"Pasketti was formerly known by the name Spaghetti".

Monday, October 20, 2014

Breaking Bad Action Figures at Toys-R-Us

Yes ... you read that correctly. Toys-R-Us is selling action figures of the leading characters on Breaking Bad ... a television show about a terminally ill man who starts making crystal meth so that he can leave money to his family when he dies.

And ... these action figures come complete with "toy" meth and bags of drug money!!!!

Anyone who reads my blog already knows of my disgust for this show (Breaking Bad Blog).

As disturbing as the premise of this show is, and as distasteful as it is that this show was so popular and critically acclaimed, it pales in comparison to how offensive it is to market action figures to children. Toys-R-Us claims these dolls are for adults, not children, but I've been around a long time, and I have yet to meet anyone who shops there for toys for themselves. Until I read an article on these action figures, I wasn't even aware Toys-R-Us had an "adult section"!

Honestly ... how many times have you heard, "Hey! Toys-R-Us has new adult action figures out! Let's go get some!" or "Let's skip lunch and go see what new toys they have in the adult section at Toys-R-Us!"

I wish Hollywood (and toy companies) would have the moral decency to tell themselves that even though they can make money on a show glamorizing the production and selling of drugs ... they shouldn't.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Then Where SHOULD My Donkey Sleep?

This is in actual law, so one can only wonder what prompted such thing to be enacted! It was enough of a problem that it was drafted as a bill and taken before the legislature ... where it was passed into law!

I'm not sure if it was a husband, wife, or child that insisted on letting the donkey sleep in a bathtub. In my example, I'm supposing it was the husband, and I imagine the conversation going something like this:

Wife: "I'm tired of cleaning donkey poop out of the bathtub everyday before I give the kids a bath! I forbid you to let that stupid donkey sleep in the bathtub one more night!"

Husband: "I can let the donkey sleep in the bathtub if I want, woman .... there ain't no law against it!"

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Square Trees? My Bucket List Just Grew!

Photo courtesy of
In Panama, there is a place called Valley of the Square Trees where, with no intervention, seemingly ordinary cottonwood trees grow with square trunks.

Isn't that cool?

Growing in the shadow of a giant volcano, El Valle de Anton, these trees have scientists baffled. Saplings were taken to see if their square growth could be replicated in other locations, and it could not. Growing one of these saplings anywhere else on earth produced round trunks. There is something specific to this location that causes the trunks to grow square. Even their tree rings are square!

I think I might need to add this place to my bucket list.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes!

My little nephew was the ring bearer at my daughter's wedding. At the rehearsal dinner, he was sitting across the table from one of the bridesmaid's boyfriend ... who had gauge earrings. (I don't get it, but I also don't get tattoo's).

Anyway ... he looked across the table at this young man and said, "You're not married, are you?"

The young man said no.

My nephew said, "I didn't think so. 'Cause you're wearing earrings, and earrings are for ladies!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

National Grouch Day

Today is National Grouch Day, a day for all Grouches to celebrate their way of life ... which is to be as miserable and grouchy as possible, and pass that feeling on to everyone else.

I know a few people who act as though every day is National Grouch Day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cakes and Cupcakes

This was my second attempt at a cake topper.
The first attempt was atrocious, but I was pleased with this one.
The cupcakes and cake topper.
I think they look very pretty.

Each flavor of cupcake had a different color flower ... all painted by hand. I could have colored the fondant and saved a lot of work, but once you color fondant, you can't uncolor it, and I didn't want to run out of fondant in the middle of the project. Painting them by hand gave the flowers more depth, too, so even though it was a lot of work, I think it was worth it!

The bride and groom, eating one of the snickerdoodle cupcakes.
Me, posing by the cake and cupcakes.
I think everything turned out quite lovely.
I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, and am hypercritical of myself and my efforts, I probably did a lot of unnecessary stressing, but I wanted everything to be perfect, and it was pretty close! My kids rolled their eyes at all my spreadsheets and diagrams and obsessive labeling of boxes, but I think the results speak for themselves ... and prove that being a nerd pays off :)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It Was Perfect

At the church.
Entering their reception.
When her fiance (now husband) saw her for the first time, he reacted precisely as I had predicted. His reaction was exactly what Hollywood strives to manufacture ... but his reaction was genuine.

When she appeared in the doorway, he was overcome with emotion and unable to choke back the tears. She looked radiant, and I'm sure he could not believe this beautiful creature had a agreed to be his wife ... but she had ... and she did ... quite happily! My daughter was just as emotional when repeating her promises and vows. More than once, she had to stop, wipe away the tears and compose herself before she could continue. She spent the ceremony looking at him, beaming with love and pride and happiness.

I think her day was about as close to perfect as anyone could hope for. The church was picturesque, the reception hall was beautiful and filled with delicious food, the bride was gorgeous, and the groom was handsome. And best of all, everyone had a great time.

And now they begin their happily ever after ...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

As Bob Seger Says, "Turn The Page ..."

She'll get married here today.
Today my oldest daughter will walk down the aisle of a small, white, quintessential country church. At the end of her short walk, the love of her life will be waiting for her ... in awe of how spectacular she looks. She's a pretty girl anyway, with a smile so sweet and pure Leonardo da Vinci would have painted her rather than the Mona Lisa were he alive today. Her fiance already thinks she's the most beautiful woman in the world, but in that dress ... wow!

When my two daughters and I went shopping for her dress early last spring, we each selected a dress for her to try on. They both wrinkled their noses at my choice, but the deal was that we each would pick out a dress and she would try it on. She tried on the dress I had selected first (probably to get it out of the way and shut me up). When she came out of the dressing room, my other daughter and I burst into tears. The dress fit her perfectly, and my already amazingly pretty daughter looked more beautiful than I ever thought possible.

She tried on several other dresses, but none came close to the beauty of the first one. Aside from the length, it fit her as though it was made for specifically for her. I hope the photographer captures the look on her fiance's face the moment she first appears in the doorway. His jaw will drop.

When I lay down in my bed this evening, that tiny, little 5 lb. 2 oz. baby I gave birth to 24 years ago will be a married woman. A woman! I can't begin to explain the emotions swirling around inside of me. I love her fiance and I'm happy for her, but the day will be bittersweet. It's like when you finish reading a really good book. Regardless of how the story ends, you don't want it to stop. You want it to continue. You're just not ready to let go of the characters you've come to love and care about.

Today is the day she's dreamed of ... and I have dreaded. It's hard to let go, but I just have to keep reminding myself that this isn't the end of the story ... it's just the end of the chapter. I'm not closing the book and putting it on the shelf ... I'm just turning the page.

Friday, October 10, 2014


All week long the weathermen have been forecasting an 80% chance of rain Thursday afternoon through early Sunday morning. Of course, I had a spray tan scheduled for Thursday evening. (Fresh spray tans and water do not mix!) I informed my boyfriend that I may need to seek refuge at his house if it was raining when I got home, like it was when I had my last spray tan (you can read about that fiasco here ... Spray Tan Drama). To my pleasant surprise, however, there was no rain until well after I got home, so my spray tan went off without a hitch.

Until I was safely (I thought) inside my home.

I made it to my bedroom without coming into contact with water. (Yea!) As I was turning out a light before getting into bed, I leaned over my chair, resting my elbow on the armrest ... upon which sat the towel and bath scrubby I had used earlier. And yes ... they were wet. Even though I felt the moisture, it took a moment for it to register in my wedding-addled, sleep-deprived brain. I looked into the mirror, and sure enough ... just below my elbow, my once perfect tan was mottled. It looked exactly like I knew it would ... like had a skin disease requiring medical attention. (Boo!)

After my last spray tan, I'd had the foresight to ask what to do in just such a situation before I left No Fry Zone. Per their instructions, I repaired the area as best I could and climbed into bed. I looked at my arm this morning and it looks fine. It's not perfect, but you'd have to be scrutinizing my arm pretty darn good to notice. As a rule, people don't generally inspect me that closely, so I determined that that good enough is good enough. Besides, after the week I've had ... I really don't have the energy to worry about things no one will notice anyway!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What Do Sandpaper and Fondant Have in Common?

Several years ago I purchased a coffee table for the family room. I thought it was the exact same color as my existing side tables, but it wasn't ... so I sanded it down and stained it the same shade. It looked so good that I decided to sand a few other pieces of furniture, and they all turned out really nice, too. I was on a roll when I walked into the kitchen and decided to sand my kitchen table down to bare wood and stain it. The tabletop wasn't so bad, but sanding the carved legs was torturous. Not far into this project, I realized I was really sick sanding and staining ... but I was too far into it to stop. I told the kids to have me committed if they ever saw me with sandpaper in my hand ever again!

After spending the past two days making several hundred cupcake toppers and a 3-layer cake for the top tier of my daughter's cupcake display at the reception ... I realized today that I feel the same way about fondant! I'm not quite done with the cake, but I'm close. I'll finish tomorrow ...and I hope I don't see fondant again for a really, really, really long time!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Am I Crazy?

My sister, painting the flower cupcake toppers.
My cupcake-obsessed daughter wants cupcakes at her wedding rather than a traditional tiered cake. I'm having a professional bake them, and we'll pick them up Friday ... but we'll have to ice them. The Chef would have iced them had I asked, but I wanted something not only beautiful, but unique, so I came upon the idea of making a fondant flower to adorn each cupcake. Thing 1 also loves Gerber daisies, so I decided to put a flower on each one ... a different color for each flavor. I knew it would be labor intensive, and that paying someone to make them would be cost-prohibitive ... so I decided I'd just have to make them myself.

Yesterday my sister and I spent the afternoon making (some of) the cupcake toppers. She can ice cakes with fancy swirls and shells and make flowers out of royal icing, but she had never made anything with fondant ... so before we began, I gave her a crash-course in fondant.

After class, I rolled out the fondant and cut out the flowers while she painted the center of each daisy brown. After the center was painted, she painted the petals. I stopped cutting out daisies after making enough for two flavors of the cupcakes, and helped her paint the flowers. One. By. One. ... Petal. By. Petal.

Both of my daughters and my best friend have watched me make so many of the things for the wedding and are just amazed at how talented I am! Ha ... if only they knew! It's all smoke and mirrors. What they don't know is that I have no idea how I'm going to accomplish most of the tasks I give myself ... or what it's going to look like when I'm done. Through trial and error, however, I usually hit upon a plan that will work and produce the desired results.

Today, our first task will be to make the flowers for the other two flavors of cupcakes ... which will take us several hours ... then we'll move on to conquer other things on the To-Do list. This week has been nothing but non-stop, tedious, time-consuming chores ... and my sister has shown up every day to help without complaint. Luckily (for me), she and her husband really love my daughter! I am so grateful for her help.

When I look at the results of our work, I am quite pleased and my daughter is tickled pink ... which only spawns more ideas that force me to figure out how to do something else I have no idea how to do!! So I guess my question, "Am I crazy?",  is really rhetorical.  I think we all know the answer. Yes ... I am crazy! This is all for my daughter's wedding. I'm kind of obligated to do this stuff ... so I guess the question I should be asking is, "Is my sister crazy?" Actually, that's a rhetorical question too.  Yes, she is!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Boutonnieres, Corsages, and Bows

The groom's boutonniere
The wedding countdown is in full gear, but I think I'm ready and have a handle on everything. When it comes to planning, I'm freakishly nerdy. I think I've thought of everything ... think being the keyword here.

My sister from Georgia and her husband came to town on Sunday. She reported to duty here at Headquarters bright-eyed and bushy-tailed yesterday morning. I showed her my spreadsheets and printouts, complete with diagrams and instructions for both the overall layout and each individual table. After surveying the mountain of meticulously labeled boxes filled with carefully bubble-wrapped items, we went over the To-Do list, then got to work.

The first things we did was make the pew bows for the church and the bows to adorn the tables at the reception (some of which are pictured below). It took a while, but we finished. (If you heard angels singing yesterday afternoon ... that's why!)

My sister, posing with SOME of the bows for the church and reception.
I had already made the boutonnieres with the roses my daughter had bought, but I thought the flowers were too big. My daughters both thought they were just fine, but I didn't. I showed them to my son and my boyfriend.

"They're too big, aren't they?" I asked.

They both replied "They're fine" (in a tone that suggested they were terrified I was going to continue to talk about the wedding ... or make them look at my spreadsheets and diagrams!).

I didn't believe any of them. They looked pretty ... but they were too big!! Unable to find anyone to tell me what I already knew, I showed them to my sister.

"They're too big, aren't they?"

"Yup," she replied. "They are." Finally!

We ran to the craft store for rosebuds, but couldn't find any that didn't cost more than it would cost to order boutonnieres from a florist. We did, however, find some tea roses that were a suitable replacement. We meandered around the store for a while, stopping to make fun of ugly things and pointing out things we liked, then headed back to my house.

We played around with the various arrangements for the boutonnieres and corsages, then settled on a design. Before we could begin an assembly line, my sister had to leave to visit her sweet granddaughters. (Her son and his wife have four of the prettiest blue-eyed, blondes you will ever see!) After she left, I started on the boutonnieres. Five hours, twelve boutonnieres, and three corsages later, I was able to mark that task of my To-Do list! (So if you heard angels singing in the wee hours of the night, that's why!)

It's been a very stressful journey, but in the end, it will be worth it ... my sweet little girl will marry a man who loves her as much as she loves him. She'll have the wedding of her dreams to begin her happily ever-after.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pumpkins Muffins with Chocolate Chips

Saturday afternoon my boyfriend and I stopped by his daughter's house to visit. She and her husband have two sweet, very busy little boys and a baby girl on the way.

I love how the little boy's eyes light up when they see their Grandpa ... and I love how my boyfriend's eyes light up when he sees his beautiful daughter and those adorable little kids. You can almost see his chest swell with pride!

She had made pumpkins muffins with chocolate chips and sent some home with each of us. Pumpkin and chocolate sounded like an odd combination, but I'm always willing to try something new, especially if it involves ... in any way ... chocolate.

I saved mine for breakfast the next morning. I love muffins with my coffee ... and these were, indeed, quite tasty!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Storm Clouds over the City

The sky over the city.
This photo doesn't do justice to how spectacular this looked.
When my boyfriend and I were heading to dinner the other night, the sky was completely black above us, but in the distance we could see the edge of the massive shelf of storm clouds. Beyond that, the waning sun shone brilliantly through crystal-clear blue skies, and beyond that puffy clouds floated above the trees.

I tried to get a good photo as we drove down the highway, but was never able to capture the how stunning the sky looked. By the time we got to the restaurant, the moment was over and it was too late. The above photo is the best one. It would have helped had I not been in a moving vehicle with raindrops dotting the windshield, but I was, so this is the best I could do. I wish I could have captured how spectactular the sky looked. This is definitely one of those times when a really good camera would have came in handy. A professional could have taken a draw-dropping photograph of the sky that night.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I Tom Sawyer'd My Daughter

The wedding mints.
Thing 1 has, surprisingly, let me make quite a lot of decisions regarding her wedding. She trusts my judgement and taste, so she pretty much let me have free reign. With very little input from her, I picked out all of the decorations for the reception and church! After each purchase, I would text her pictures of what I had bought, and she would always reply back with "Yea! You're awesome!!" or some variation thereof.

Last winter and spring I was pretty gung-ho on the planning and preparations ... nine months into this, I'm getting wedding burn-out!

At first I suggested mints of different colors in the shape of fall leaves. but as the wedding drew nearer, I was exhausted from the work I had already done and grew tired just thinking of all the things yet to do. Generic, store-bought mints were sounding like a good idea to me! But, my daughter almost cried at the suggestion, so I met her at the cake/candy supply store to pick up what we needed to make them.

I got there first, so I already had everything picked out, but I waited for her to give me the thumbs up before finalizing the purchase. Her fiance came and looked to be about as comfortable as he would in a lingerie department! For someone whose waking hours revolve around cars, engines, and tools, a cake supply shop was about as interesting as a symposium on "The History of Quilting" or "How to Write Chick-Lit"! Still, he loves my daughter, so he drove her over and patiently waited for us to discuss the intricacies of making mints in the shape of maple leaves.

A few days later, she and I went to get our dresses for the wedding altered. When we got back to my house, she suggested we start making the mints. She didn't know how, so she watched me make the first batch. In true Tom Sawyer fashion, I did my best to make it look really, really fun!

"Can I do some?" she asked.

"I guess," I replied, trying to sound like I was having too much fun to stop.

She happily made mints for the next hour or so, humming sweetly as she worked. When she left, I sent her home with the mint-making supplies so that she could finish at her leisure. She smiled and thanked me for showing her how to make mints. She hurried home, delighted and thrilled that I trusted her with this delicate task.

A few days later, she called and said "I spent six hours making mints yesterday, and I'm not done yet! Bridesmaid 1 is coming over tomorrow to help so that we can finish making these stupid things!"

I don't remember if I laughed (out loud) or not! Out of the many hundreds of mints that were made for the wedding, I only made 14. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it's done!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ebola in the US

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
I first heard of Ebola when reading Tom Clancy's "Executive Orders" back in the 90's. It was such a hideous disease, and since I'd never heard of it, I looked it up to see if it was real or if it was something the author made up ... and was sickened to discover it was real. Ever since then, when I hear of an outbreak, I pay attention. Ebola is a terribly wicked, cruel disease with a dismal survival rate.

I'm sure everyone has heard that a man who traveled from Ebola-plagued Liberia to Dallas, Texas has been diagnosed with Ebola. All the news shows are airing pieces with doctors and representatives from the CDC and the government, trying to calm our fears and reassure us that we are safe.

One of the news anchors asked a representative from the CDC why people from countries with an Ebola epidemic were allowed to to enter the United States. The CDC rep said that "Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person. They are contagious only after showing symptoms, and the people who come to the United States from those countries are questioned and have had their temperature taken multiple times before they are allowed to board a plane, so we have no reason to worry. We have procedures in place to prevent infected individuals from boarding airplanes."


How can they say the procedures they have in place to prevent this are effective when the exact scenario they say could never happen has just happened? Despite all their "checks", a man with Ebola lied about his exposure to the disease, boarded a plane, and landed in the United States. Four days later he began to show symptoms. He waited two days before going to the emergency room, where he was given antibiotics and sent home. He returned to the hospital via ambulance two days after that, much sicker, and this time someone put two and two together ... he's from Liberia, he's running a fever, he's vomiting and extremely sick ... so they (finally) isolated him and tested him for Ebola, for which he tested positive. Even more chilling is that he walked around contagious for four days. At this point, there is no way of knowing how many people were exposed to Ebola. They can speculate, but they don't really know.

This man helped carry his landlord's daughter to a hospital, where she died of Ebola. The landlord's son and two neighbors, who had contact with this woman, also died of Ebola. This man recently quit his job in Liberia and decided to come to the United States. His application for a visa was approved. He knew he had been exposed to Ebola, and yet he lied about it when asked, and was allowed to board the plane.
Obviously, the checks they have in place to prevent this are not enough.

The CDC says they can contain this and that the US population is not in any danger. I can't help but wonder ... if the CDC can contain this, then why is it still spreading?

Maybe we should put a moratorium on anyone whose passport indicates they have been to a region battling this disease. It doesn't take a leap of faith to assume someone could purposely infect themselves and come here with the intention of bringing this epidemic to the United States.

I'm not sure why the government and the CDC are acting like this is no big deal and that we shouldn't be alarmed. It is a big deal and we would be foolish not to be alarmed! I hope that this thing doesn't get out of control and cause future generations to judge us harshly for the actions ... or inaction ... of the government regarding this threat. Future generations will have enough to be upset with us about ... I just hope an Ebola epidemic in the United States isn't one of them.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Work Commutes

Photo courtesy of Mayberry.Wiki
Whenever I watch HGTV's "House Hunters", I'm amazed at the long commutes of the people living near large metropolitan areas. My commute to work takes five to ten minutes, depending on how I hit the lights. I can't imagine driving/riding an hour or more ... each way ... to get to and from work every day.

The other day I left the house at 6:55. I had to run to Walmart for something, then I stopped at McDonald's for oatmeal and coffee ... and got to work at 7:24!

The population here is about 120,000. That's a bit of a misnomer because it only counts those within the legal city limits, and the city has pretty much grown to the boundaries of the entire county. The population of the county is around 181,000, which I feel is a more representative figure. There is still a little room for growth on the north side, and a fair amount to grow into on the west side ... but I don't want it to grow any more on the west!

Despite the fact that there are close to 200,000 people here, it is surprisingly easy to get from point A to point B (until they start work on the cloverleaf at the highway and expressway junction ... that will create a traffic nightmare for a long time!). You can pretty much get anywhere you want to go in 15 minutes or less, and that's not an exaggeration.

I was talking to someone new to the area and they were asking about how to get someplace, on the other side of town. I told them the route I would take, and they asked how long it would take to get there. I told them about 10-15 minutes. They laughed and said that every time they've asked someone how long it takes to get somewhere, the reply is always "About 10-15 minutes". It wasn't long before they confided that everyone was right ... you really can get anywhere you want to go in 15 minutes or less!

Some of my favorite places on earth are small towns. One of them, Ocracoke, North Carolina, has less than 1,000 full time residents! It's accessible only by ferry, private plane or boat, so it's not easy to get to ... but boy howdy ... is it ever worth the effort!

I love my hometown. It's big enough to have most of the amenities of city life, but we don't have the traffic or crime that plague the large metropolitan areas. It's not as safe as Ocracoke (few places are!), but it's a relatively safe place to live, work, and raise a family.

I live on the border of the north and the south, and this is as far north as I ever care to live. We (sadly) don't get the Gulf breezes that warm the coast, but we also (fortunately) don't get the smothering blizzards that drown the north. We can get by with jackets until December, and can usually put up our winter coats in late February or early March. Spring (mercifully) comes early and winter comes late. We've had some monster snows in the past, and the cripple the city. We're prepared for mild snow, not blizzards.

As much as I enjoy living here, I long to retire to a small, sleepy town in Georgia or the Carolina's. Mayberry sounds like heaven to me! Retirement is years in the future ... but a girl can dream, can't she?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Olivia said I couldn't throw the box away ... that she had placed it in a perpetual state of dibs. I told her there was no such thing. She said she begged to differ. I told her it was my house ... and more importantly ... my box ... and I could do whatever I wanted. So she ignored me ...