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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snow at the Cabin

Several winter snow storms recently hit the southeast, leaving those in its wake covered in a thick blanket of snow. Above is a screen shot from the cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There looks to be 3-4" of show on the railing, and another 3-4" fell after this photo was captured. 

Oh, what I wouldn't give if my sweetie and I were snowed in there and snuggling in front of the fireplace right now.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Sequel to 'To Kill a Mockingbird' on Sale This July!

Many years ago, I realized that despite all the reading I do, I had never read many of the classics. I created a list and set a goal to read as many of them as I could and dove head-first into a pile of literature loved by generations. Some I liked, some I loved, and some ... not so much! I loved 'Anne of Green Gables', but 'Old Man and the Sea' bored me to tears. I firmly believe here are a handful of books everyone needs to read, and 'To Kill a Mockingbird', by Harper Lee, is one of them.

After I read 'To Kill a Mockingbird', I rushed out and rented the movie. (In the olden days, we had to drive to the video store and rent them!) I wanted the kids to see this movie. Actually, I wanted them to read the book, and I hoped if they saw the movie, they would want to read it. Thing 1 loves reading as much as I do. It is a source of sadness to me that Things 2 and 3 don't read very much. In recent years, however, Thing 2 has begun to discover the joy of reading, and I'm holding out hope that Thing 3 will follow. I consider the love of reading to be the greatest gift my mother passed on to me. I read to my kids every day when they were little, and have long considered Thing 2 and 3's lack of love for the written word to be my greatest failure.

The kids and I piled onto the sofa and watched the movie. They weren't as thrilled with it as I was, but they were young ... too young to grasp the significance of the plot ... but I knew one day they would. And it didn't help that the film is in black and white, which signifies "old and irrelevant" to young kids. 

I recently read an article that a sequel to 'To Kill a Mockingbird', entitled 'Go Set a Watchman', will go on sale this July. 'Go Set a Watchman' was Ms. Lee's first novel and submission to an agent. It portrayed Scout as an adult, with flashbacks to her childhood. Her editor was so intrigued by young Scout that she requested Lee write a book from the point of view of Scout as a child. Hence, 'To Kill a Mockingbird'  was born.

'Go Set a Watchman' was forgotten and assumed lost forever until Ms. Lee's attorney discovered the only known manuscript attached to the original, typed manuscript of 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.

I can't wait to get my hands on this book!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Waiting for Grandpa

Last weekend my boyfriend told his grandsons he would come over and get them in a little while. They both sat waiting at the door for him for almost an hour. These little boys adore their grandpa.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

One Hour Photo

To the untrained eye, this looks like an innocent picture of a spoiled cat settling in for the night on Thing 2's bed ... but upon closer inspection, it looks eerily like the wall in the Robin Williams thriller One Hour Photo!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

An Interesting Tidbit of Civil War Trivia

(Left) McLean's house in the city of Manassas, VA, where the Civil War began.
(Right) McLean's house in the city of Appomattox Court House, VA, where the Civil War ended.
It is said that the American Civil War started in Wilmer McLean's front yard and ended in his front parlor. 

On July 21, 1861, the first major land battle of the Civil War, the First Battle of Bull Run, was fought on a farm owned by McLean, a retired major in the Virginia militia too old to return to active duty. As the battle raged nearby, he sat down to dinner with his family. The meal ended abruptly when a cannonball dropped through the kitchen fireplace.

The First Battle of Bull Run was one of many skirmishes on or close to his farm, and the presence of the Union Army made it difficult to run his business as a sugar broker. In an effort to protect his loved ones and his business, he moved his family 120 miles south to Appomattox County, Virginia, in the spring of 1863,

On April 9, 1865, the war came back to McLean's property once again when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant in the parlor of McLean's house near Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the Civil War.

Isn't that ironic?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Saying "Ow" Reduces Pain ... Uh-huh ... Sure

A group of scientists have concluded that saying "Ow" distracts us from the feeling of pain, which allows us to withstand pain longer.

Yeah ... right.

I'm not a trained scientist, nor do I play one on tv (that's a joke kids ... if you don't get it, ask someone over forty), and I've never been given tens of thousands of dollars from the government to study this, but my inner scientist thinks we say "Ow" involuntarily as a response to the pain, much like screaming when we're frightened. Screaming doesn't make us less afraid, and saying "Ow" doesn't make something hurt less.

These researchers have apparently never stepped on Lego's in the middle of the night. I can tell you from experience, that saying "Ow" does not lessen the pain ... no matter how many times you say it!

And, if you're ever brave ... or stupid ... enough tell a woman in labor to say "Ow" to lessen the pain, I recommend you stand out of arms reach.

You can read the full article here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Aren't They Supposed to Fact-Check Their Stories?

The photo above is a screen-grab from a televised CNN report stating that ISIS is luring Western women to join the terror group with ... get this ... Nutella and kittens! According to CNN, photo's of the terrorists with kittens makes them more appealing, as does the fact that they enjoy Nutella.

While I, too, enjoy Nutella and find kittens cute, those are hardly the keys to my heart. Honestly, I find this report offensive. I don't know what would make an intelligent, free woman join the likes of ISIS ... but I can guarantee you it would take more than Nutella and kittens to give up the comfort, safety, and freedom of America.

It's a good thing for those reporters that I don't run CNN. If I did, everyone involved in the airing of this drivel would be out of a job.

You can read the full (ridiculous) article here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter Was Going Well ... Until the Groundhog Saw His Shadow

Unlike the dire predictions, we were having a regular, run-of-the-mill winter until the groundhog saw his shadow. Prior to that, winter had so far consisted of one 4" snowfall and temperatures averaging in the 30's. We would dip into the 20's overnight, and often climb into the 40's during the day. I'd prefer it be warmer, but after last winter, I wasn't complaining.

Earlier this week we got 7" of snow, then another 1-1/2" on top of that. Schools were closed Monday through Thursday, and Friday we had a 2-hour delay ... and the temperatures were torturous. During the day, high temps were in the teens with wind chills near or below zero, and we dropped below zero a couple of nights. Brrrrr.

Freezing rain started falling last night around 7:30. I woke up to the trees coated in a thin layer of ice this morning. I don't know how much ice accumulated on the branches (doesn't look like too much), but they're calling for another tenth to one quarter inch. By noon the temperature is expected to rise above freezing, then we'll have rain. I checked online to see if there were any power outages. There are, but they only around 400 homes ... and fortunately, mine is not one of them.

I have some errands to run, but I'll wait until later, after the rain starts falling and the ice melts. Thing 2 is off work today, so we'll have another snow day together. She's so busy with work, school, church, friends, and her boyfriend that I can go days without seeing her. I see a lump under her covers in the morning when I go to work, and she's usually at work or off visiting someone when I get home, and I'm generally in bed when she gets home.

She's in her twenties, which means my time with her to myself is limited. It won't be long before she'll be graduating college and (one day) moving out, so I treasure our time alone together. These snowy, the-roads-are-bad-and-it's-too-cold-to-go-out days are precious, indeed.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Everyone Needs Friends Like These

Everyone needs a couple a really good friends to be silly with!

While we were at the cabin together, we'd get up and have breakfast in our pajamas ... no makeup and our hair not brushed ... and not feel self-conscious at all. I wore what my friend's husband called "Little House on the Prairie Pajama's". It's a long flannel gown that hit's me mid-calf and modestly comes up to my neck ... so yes, it is very reminiscent of the ones the Ingall's womenfolk wore! But, it's warm and can be worn in mixed company ... because when you're in flannel from ankle to neck, no one mistakes you for a harlot!

We took this picture just before we left the cabin a couple of weeks ago. Everyone was supposed to wear a hat, so my boyfriend grabbed two cowboy hats, a baseball cap ... and a lampshade.

The lampshade wasn't designed in such a way as to permit wearing on your head (we tried!), so we let the guys wear the cowboy hats and left our heads unadorned. Chivalry works both ways, right?

Over the years, my boyfriend and I have had some really good times with these two, and we can't wait to make even more memories with them. We feel very blessed to have them in our lives.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Someone Doesn't Appreciate His New Collar

Thing 1 bought her dog and cat new collars the other day. The dog doesn't mind wearing a collar, but the cat doesn't seem to appreciate being treated like a pet ... or worse ... a dog!

After he got his new collar put on, Louie glared at Thing 1 for the rest of the night.

He's not sleepy in this photo ... he's giving her the evil eye ... and is it my imagination, or are his lips pursed?!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I'm Not Exactly Sure What He's Trying To Tell Me

But I'm pretty sure it's, "Please, please, please, PLEASE don't put this on the internet!"

Oh, the degradation that poor animal subjects himself to in order to please Thing 1.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Day, Day 2

We got just under 6" of snow Monday, so the city was all but shut down. Schools, of course, are the first things to close. The irony is that school systems around here were using Monday (President's Day) as a makeup snow day from November ... so our makeup snow day was cancelled due to snow! Many businesses started later, closed early, or shut down altogether.

And I did what I do on snow days ... I cooked warm, hearty, delicious comfort food. Unlike most snow days, Thing 2 was snowed in with me. Her college classes were cancelled for the day, and her place of employment closed early. We ate the yummy chicken and dumplings I'd made Sunday evening and snacked on homemade chocolate chip cookies. We spent the day talking and laughing and enjoying a rare day with nothing to do and no place to go. While waiting for the roast in the crock pot to cook, I read and she watched DVD's of The Walking Dead. When the roast was fork tender, we piled our plates high and ate dinner.

Before I knew school would be closed again Tuesday, I cooked scrambled eggs and sausage, then packaged individual portions for each of us to take for breakfast in the morning. I don't have to go to work today, but Thing 2 has to go to school and work. Her college was on a delay, so we were able to have a nice, leisurely breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage together before she stole my gloves and headed outside into the arctic air to dig out her car.

She texted me when she got to school and said the roads are pretty bad. After an overnight low of -6º, it's currently only 1º outside, so it's not going to get warm enough to melt anything today. She's under strict orders to call me when she leaves school to go to work, when she arrives at work, and when she's ready to head home afterwards.

With Thing 2 gone, I'll spend the day reading and writing. But, I'd rather have a snow day of games and puzzles and movies snuggled up under blankets with all three of my babies. I love having my adult children as friends ... but I sure miss my little kids.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Makin' Music

My boyfriend and Thing 2 ... I love listening to them play together.
Several years ago, my boyfriend taught Thing 2 a couple of chords on the guitar. Since then, she has taken off with it. She's really quite good, and he's immensely proud of her. He told me she has more natural talent than anyone he's ever taught. (I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!)

Recording Thing 2 on the violin.
He asked her to come over the other night so that he could record her playing some accompaniments on her violin for a song he'd written. Before they started recording, she picked up one of the many guitars in the room and started playing a song he wrote a few years ago. It's all music, no words. It's hypnotically beautiful ... the kind of song you not only hear, but feel. Thing 1 likes it so much she used it for the bridal party processional at her wedding! Watching my daughter's lifelong friends walk down the aisle to that hauntingly sweet melody made my heart swell as happy tears welled up in my eyes.

LOVE seeing my boyfriend and daughter play music together. And I can't help but smile when I hear my her playing the guitar in her bedroom or downstairs ... especially when she's playing one of his songs.

It gives him profound pleasure to watch her play guitar, to sit and jam with her, and teach her even more. She's told us whispers a silent "thank you" to him every time she plays. I must confess, I, too, whisper a silent "thank you" when I hear her play ... that kind, sweet, gentle man of mine has given my daughter a gift that she can treasure the rest of her life.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

An Early Valentines Dinner ... and Roses ... and Thin Mints!

I offered to cook my boyfriend dinner for Valentines Day, but he said no. He loves my cooking, so I knew it wasn't self-preservation causing him to refuse. I asked if we were going out to eat, which would be unusual, since neither he nor I like eating in a noisy, crowded restaurant on Valentines Day. He said no ... that he was cooking me dinner. I smiled :) While he knows how to cook, it is not his forte and he does not enjoy it. He's much more comfortable playing guitar or building something or closing business deals. His offer to to cook for me was incredibly sweet ... and terribly romantic.

He picked me up earlier than usual and we went to his house, where a dozen beautiful white roses and a box of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies (YEA!!!!!!) were waiting for me. The Girl Scout cookies weren't part of my Valentines Day present ... they were just because some Girl Scouts were selling them outside the grocery store and he knew I loved them. He wasn't sure which were my favorites and agonized over which ones to buy. He almost bought me Savannah's because he knows I like Savannah (Georgia), but then decided I liked the city, not necessarily the cookie, and settled on Thin Mints. BINGO!!!

I sat at the table sipping a glass of our favorite wine while he cooked, forbidding me to help in the slightest. We talked and laughed, and had a lovely meal ... and I couldn't stop smiling. I'm not a complicated, high-maintenance woman, and this man knows how to make me happy. I don't require diamonds or expensive gifts ... all I want is time with him ... and when he's doing something just to make me happy, my heart is full and I am happy ... incredibly so!

When I woke up this morning, I still had a smile on my face. I had taken my flowers to my bedroom with me when I got home. I wanted to look at them ... and Olivia wanted to eat them. I had also taken my cookies to my bedroom with me when I got home last night. I wanted to save them for later ... and Thing 2 wanted to eat them! I grabbed my roses and my cookies, and came downstairs to have coffee and Girl Scout cookies for breakfast.

This is our eighth Valentines Day together, and I still get butterflies in my belly every time he calls or texts or emails or walks through my door. When he smiles at me or takes my hand protectively in his, I marvel that of all the women in the world, this amazing man wants me ... and I know I'm the luckiest woman alive.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Remember The Heart My Scentsy Pot Made?

The original heart my Scentsy Pot made.
It had a baby ... and just in time for Valentines Day!!
I find it fascinating that the round holes
cast heart-shaped shadows on my walls!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Long Weekend in the Mountains with Friends

After breakfast jam session.
After a year and a half, we finally found a weekend that worked for all four of us to get together at my boyfriend's cabin. We left Friday and came back late Monday ... and we had a blast! We hiked and shopped and ate and hot-tubbed and read and nerded and watch movies and worked jigsaw puzzles ... and laughed so hard we cried. It was a wonderful weekend that ended way too soon. So now, we're making plans for a whole week sometime this summer ... YEA!!

Here are a few highlights ...

A peek at the summit of Brasstown Bald
My boyfriend and I went to Brasstown Bald last fall (click here for more info on Brasstown Bald). It was so amazing, we had to share it with our friends. Much to our dismay, it is now off-season and the shuttle no longer runs, so you have to hike to the top. The path is paved and just over half a mile ... but it's a steep, steep climb up! Fortunately, the views are worth the climb and it's all downhill afterwards.
Two of the falls at Duke Creek Falls
After stopping in Booger Hollow for some granola bars and water, we went to Duke Creek Falls. Duke Creek is a series of beautiful waterfalls. Pictures never do justice to the majesty of a waterfall, do they?

Daytime temps were in the 60's while we were there, but the ice walls that form on the side of the mountains were still frozen.

Before we left, I took one last photo off the master bedroom deck, the mountains completely hidden in the fog.

After lunch, I took one last photo of the fog-draped mountains.

All of us wished aloud for one more day together in the mountains. But ... one more day just makes you want another. A weekend in the mountains is truly cathartic.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Mystery Mountain

We often see this mountain in the distance
when we're driving around the mountains.
We don't know how to get to it or what it's called,
but we'll find it one day.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Long Weekend in the Mountains

December and January were pretty stressful, so a long weekend in the mountains with a couple of our best friends seems to be just what the doctor ordered. I haven't felt like me since I got the call from ICU at 3:21 a.m. on December 17th. 

I really needed this! I think all four of us needed this weekend!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Tomorrow is 'Ice Cream for Breakfast Day'

The first Saturday in February is Ice Cream for Breakfast Day.
As the British would say ... Brilliant!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mint Chocolate Brownies

I added peppermint oil (which is way better than peppermint extract) to the brownies, then sprinkled them with Andes Creme De Menthe Chips as soon as I pulled them out of the oven. They taste like Girl Scout Thin Mints!! Be still my heart :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Day the Music Died

The event that spawned the iconic hit song, American Pie, by Don McLean, happened 56 years ago today when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP Richardson were tragically killed when the plane they were riding in crashed shortly after take off. How tragic that their lives were cut short so young ... Buddy Holly was only 22, JP Richardson was 28, and Ritchie Valens was a mere 17 years old.
Their deaths preceded my birth, but many of the songs recorded by these three individual are early rock and roll staples that everyone has heard and can sing along with. One can only imagine the music the world was deprived of "the day the music died".

Even more popular than their music, is the song about their death ... American Pie! Oddly enough, there is an entire website dedicated to the meaning of the lyrics ...