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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Augustus "The Guppy" Puppy

Unlike his brothers ... Roo the pit bull and Louie the cat ... little Gus LOVES water!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Snowbirds and Blue Angels

The Canadian Snowbirds
I enjoyed the airshow at the ShrinersFest this year, but it was a little too strung out. The show was supposed to start at 12:40, but it was close to 1:00 before we saw the first plane. The first "act", the Canadian Snowbirds, were pretty cool, as were the Blue Angels ... but the Blue Angels didn't start flying until around 3:30. The announcer rarely told us where to look for the next fly-over, so the crowd spent a lot of time just looking up, waiting for something to happen ... and missing photo opportunities because you never knew which direction to focus on.

We sat in the sun, basting in our own sweat for four hours. The lines at every single food booth were so long it was difficult to find the end of them. I was starving, so I stood in line for over thirty minutes to buy a hot dog ... and it wasn't even grilled ... it was boiled. Yum! Because the lines for all the food booths were so long, we ended up getting free water from the medical tent. It wasn't very cold, but it was wet and we needed the hydration.

The air show is really the big draw for the ShrinersFest, so I understand their reasons for making it last as long as they can  (the longer the air show lasts, the longer people are there spending money) ... but geez ... we were sick of being there long before the Blue Angels arrived. They need to make the show more compact. There were long gaps between fly-overs. It took so long it was boring! If we weren't waiting for the Blue Angels, we would have left a lot sooner. Even so, we did leave before the Blue Angels were done. We were hot, sweaty, hungry, thirsty, and sunburned. Four hours is a long time to sit in the sun to waiting for a plane to fly by ... not even the Blue Angels could keep us there any longer.

But, when the planes were flying, it was pretty cool. Below are a few (very short) clips of the air show:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Top of Thing 1's Feet Were Burning ... So I Fixed It!

Thing 1, Thing 3, and I went to the riverfront for the ShrinersFest airshow yesterday. Despite applying sunscreen several times, the tops of fair-skinned Thing 1's feet were really red. She loves airshows, and the Blue Angels in particular. She didn't want to leave before they arrived, so I figured out a way to protect her feet from the sun.

Buttons for the airshow ... $30. Free water from the medical tent because the lines at ALL the food booths were really, really, really long ... $0. A picture of those cups on my daughter's feet ... Priceless!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

What do the Shinersfest and Kitty Hawk Kites have in common?

Thing 3's Blue Angel Kite in Kitty Hawk, NC
Blue Angels! When my kids were growing up, I always took them to the festivals downtown. They always included an air show, and the best years were the ones where the Blue Angels came. As an added bonus, the festivals often coincide with Thing 3's birthday. He's always considered the air shows our city's birthday gift to him!

The Blue Angels are in town for the Shrinersfest this weekend, which means everyone spends their days running to the window or standing in parking lots watching as the airplanes fly over for practice runs. If you work downtown, and I do, it's impossible to get any work done when the jets are practicing ... they're just too cool to watch ... and too loud to ignore!

A few years ago, we went to Nags Head on the Outer Banks for vacation. One day we drove up to Kitty Hawk. We all bought kites and flew them on a huge sand dune (pictured below). My son chose a Blue Angel kite (pictured above). Of all the kites we saw that week ... and we saw many ... my son's kite was by far my favorite.

Sand Dune in Kitty Hawk, NC
The kids and I will be heading downtown this afternoon to watch the air show. More fun than watching the planes fly overhead is seeing the happiness on my kid's faces. They may all be adults now, but when they look up at the sky to watch the air show, I see the same look of wonder and awe and excitement as when they were little kids.

Photo courtesy of my BFF
Photo courtesy of my favorite sister-in-law

Friday, June 26, 2015

I'm Keeping the Doors Locked Today

I'm not sure what this cow did to get locked up in the first place, but it must be pretty bad if an APB is put out when she escaped. I'm not terribly close to Boonville-New Harmony Road and St. Wendel Road, but I'm not too terribly far, either. I'll play it safe and make sure to keep the doors locked and the alarm on today!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I Think I Have a Ghost

It's not an evil ghost, but it does seem to be quite mischievous. I hear doors open and close in the middle of the night. Sometimes I hear voices and laughter. And sometimes, if I listen very carefully, I hear the television and could swear I smell food cooking. When I come downstairs in the morning, I find the ghost as left the sink full of dirty dishes, has thrown my kids clothes and shoes all over the house, and has left wet towels on the bathroom floor.

You may be wondering why I think I have a ghost, when it appears obvious that my kids are just slobs. That is a good question! I know because I have asked them ... and it wasn't them. They didn't leave the dirty dishes in the sink, and they have no idea how their clothes, shoes, and miscellaneous items got strewn across the house. So, either my kids are being less than truthfull ... or I've got a ghost ... or ghosts.

I haven't said anything about the ghost to the kids ... I don't want to scare them.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cool Tree

I'm not sure what kind of tree this is, but aren't the flowers pretty? The blooms kind of look like popcorn, and the clusters yet-to-bloom resemble lace. Very pretty, indeed.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day

My father died when I was 25 years old. I have now lived longer without my father than with. If you're lucky enough to still have your father, I hope you show him how much he means to you ... and not just today, but every day of the year.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Annoying Internet Ads

I can't say that I have never clicked on an ad on the internet, but I can honestly say I can count on one hand the times I have ... and that every single time, the ad turned out to be misleading.

Note to advertisers: If you have to deceive potential buyers to get them to view your products, maybe you should find something else to sell ... or advertise without misleading them on the price. If it costs $50, don't lure customers to your website with the promise that it's less hoping they'll buy something anyway.

My NUMBER ONE pet peeve is internet advertising that flashes, twirls, spins, or is in any way animated to draw attention to itself.  Those ads get my attention, but only long enough to remove it from my sight. On my ipad, I zoom in on what I actually want to read to push the offending ad off-screen. On my chromebook or laptop, I resize the window and/or drag the page to the side ... forcing the ad off the screen entirely. Or I just quit reading that article altogether.

When I'm trying to read an article, I DO NOT want ads spinning or flashing or twirling in my periphery. It's EXTREMELY annoying! I don't personally know anyone else who goes to the extremes I do to keep from seeing flashing crap on the internet, but searches for how to turn off different types of animations show me that I'm not the only one who feels this way, even if I am in the minority.

On my laptop (work and home), have one of the browsers configured to where all animation is turned off. Using that browser can be a hassle at times, because java-driven menus and navigation bars don't work, but I deal with it. If there is a video or animation (or a menu) I want to see/use, I have to copy the link and open it in a different browser. Fortunately, I find this a small price to pay for not having to be slapped with annoying animation.

I have some coding ability, but not enough to create a browser that plays animation only when you tell it to. Maybe, if I'm a very good girl this year, Santa will bring me one for Christmas!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Think Olivia Needs Glasses

Most of the time she does just fine, but sometimes when she wants to jump up on something, she slams into the side of it. After she does that, she looks around like, "I hope no one was around to see that." I shouldn't laugh, but it's really funny! Maybe she doesn't need glasses ... maybe she just has no depth perception.

Still, I couldn't help but wonder what she'd look like in glasses ... so I got on Photoshop and found out!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Another Wedding to Plan!

Thing 2 was lured to the church last night under the ruse of birthday party for her boyfriend, only to discover he had brought her there to propose to her in front of their families and closest friends. It was very touching, and more than one man in attendance got teary-eyed.

Ironicly, she ate Chinese for lunch, and the fortune in her cookie was spot on ...

Rope lights created a path to lead her into the darkened gymnasium to a lace-draped table with a dozen roses and two candles, and a pair of his boots and her heels sitting in front ...

Their family and friends stood quietly on the running track above the gym. Somehow, and probably for the first time in their lives, her boyfriends very young niece and nephew, were completely silent. She didn't know we were there until we all started cheering afterwards ...

I filmed it, but it's not a great video. You can't hear anything other than the music, but their actions were expressive enough that we need to hear them. She was surprised and thrilled and elated ... and she got the dramatic, romantic proposal every girl dreams of. I can hear their future kids saying, "Mommy, tell us the story again of how Daddy asked you to marry him."

I couldn't be happier for them. He's a great guy and his family loves her to pieces. My little girl is getting married!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ten Life Skills You Should Master by Age 30

I love personalizing the wrapping paper and ribbons to the recipients tastes!
I read an article about the ten life skills you should master by age 30. Since I'm passed 30, I wondered how many of these skills, if any, I had mastered. They are:
  1. Changing a flat tire
  2. Repairing your pipes
  3. Assembling an emergency kit
  4. Mixing a signature cocktail
  5. Mastering at least one dish
  6. Wrapping a present
  7. Figuring out the tip
  8. Creating a monthly budget
  9. Effectively packing luggage
  10. Mending clothing
I didn't do as bad as I thought I would!
  1. Changing a flat tire, check! While I have never changed a flat tire, I know how and am certain I could eventually get the job done in an emergency ... providing I could get the lug nuts off.
  2. Repairing your pipes, check! I wouldn't exactly say I have repaired pipes, but I have used a snake to unclog drains, and I have taken the pipes apart under the sink to retrieve something that's been dropped down the drain ... so I'm counting this skill as mastered.
  3. Assembling an emergency kit, check! I once assembled a first aid kit, and although it's been looted in the years since, I do have all, or most, of the items necessary to replenish it.
  4. Mixing a signature cocktail, check! My sweetie and I love Georgia Sun Tea from Logan's, and I've mixed it up for us on occasion. We aren't big drinkers, so the fact that it turns out a little different each time doesn't bother either of us in the least, so I'm going to count this one as a yes.
  5. Mastering at least one dish, check! This one was an easy yes. There are several dishes I make that are devoured so quickly dinner is a blur of hands, forks, and spoons.
  6. Wrapping a present, check! I wrap presents like nobody's business ... they're so pretty people delay opening their gift just to enjoy the wrapping. Part of my Christmas decorations are the beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, and part of the gift is how beautiful the present is wrapped. I'm giving myself extra credit for this one.
  7. Figuring out the tip, check! Sales tax at restaurants here is 8%, so double the tax and you've got a tip that is 16%. Even before the tax hit 8% I was able to quickly calculate a 15% tip ... move the decimal point of the total one digit to the left, then add that amount and half that amount. Calculating a tip is third grade math, not rocket science.
  8. Creating a monthly budget, check! I'm not so good at creating a monthly budget these days, but for many, many years I did exactly that. Even though I no longer do this, I know how, so this one's a yes.
  9. Effectively packing luggage, check! I once packed the exact items of clothing I would need for a weekend youth retreat in a neighboring state. The water was rusty. After my shower, I put on the only dress I brought to wear to the evening dinner ... only to discover my wet hair had smeared rusty water all down my back. My white dress was ruined. After that, I began over-packing ... to the extreme. I have since toned it down quite a bit, and can easily pack for a trip in a carry-on. The hardest part, I've discovered, is not taking too many shoes!
  10. Mending clothes, check! Once upon a time, kids were taught life skills in school. All seventh and eighth grade girls took home-ec (cooking and sewing), and boys took industrial arts. Girls were taught how to cook real food (and cookies!) in real kitchens, and boys built shelves, step ladders, tool boxes, etc. Being "vertically challenged", learning to hem well was not optional! I can sew a hem almost as fast as a machine. You'd have to look pretty close to see the difference from a machine stitch and ones I've sewn by hand. And, I can sew on buttons, zippers, and snaps in my sleep.
My sewing machine was messing up,
so I hemmed these jeans by hand.
Not a perfect job, but definitely passable!
I will give myself a score of 10, although if I'm honest, numbers 2, 3, and 4 were not mastered by the time I was 30. But, since I was unaware I was supposed to learn how to repair pipes, assemble an emergency kit, and mix a signature cocktail before I was 30, I'm going to cut myself some slack and keep my perfect score!

How about you? How many have you mastered?

Friday, June 12, 2015

You Don't Say!

I'm also given to understand that chili is spicy because it's full of spices.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I've always been told ... "Don't look down at your feet when you walk."

Experts say you should never look down at your feet when you walk. Your head should be held high, looking around, keeping an eye out for anyone who might abduct or attack you. Predators, they say, prey on people who are looking down because you don't see them coming and have less time to react. But, I don't always listen to the "experts" ... and it's a good thing ... because if I hadn't looked down, this is how I would have gone out with my sweetie.

He would probably have noticed and clued me in ... but that's not a sure thing, so I'm pretty darn glad I looked down at my feet as I was walking down the stairs!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A New Box ... Mine!!!!

If your cat is driving you nuts, put a box on the floor. I try to keep a box around for just such an occasion. Cats, apparently, are required to take up residence in every box they come across. Like moths to a flame, cats cannot resist an empty box.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Schools in a Neighboring County Will Start Five Minutes Earlier Next Year

Schools in a neighboring county will be starting five minutes earlier next year. The superintendent stated, "Starting five minutes earlier will create seven, two-hour early dismissal days. The shorter days will help the district by allowing teachers to improve their lesson plans and teaching methods."

So ... that means working parents need to find someone to watch their kids in the afternoon during those seven half-days. As a single, working mother of three kids, those kind of days were a real hassle ... and an added expense I didn't need.

Most school districts are adding time to their school calendar to give the children more instructional time in the classroom ... not to give teachers more planning time. Making children go to school five minutes longer all year so that their teachers can have extra time to prepare lessons doesn't make much sense to me. Good teachers are always looking for ways to improve their lesson plans and teaching methods. They do not need corporation-mandated time to look for new and/or better ways to teach their students. And, giving  mediocre/bad teachers two hours, seven times a year isn't going to motivate to do a better job.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


This may be the sweetest thing I've ever read ... but in the back of my mind, I can hear the female Gentoo penguin saying, "When I said I wanted a rock, I meant a diamond ... not a pebble!"

Saturday, June 6, 2015

D-Day, 1944

Last year on this date my blog post was about my father crossing the equator on D-Day 1944. (You can read that here.) This year the post isn't really about my father, but all of the World War II vets, and the stories they have to tell.

A friend of mine didn't find out her father was on Omaha Beach on D-Day until after his death. What a shame that he took his stories and accounts of that day to his grave.

My dad never talked much about his time during the war, even after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer ... until one day near the end of his life.

Towards the end of the war, Daddy was stationed in the Philippines. The American GI's sheltered a 12-year old Philippine boy, orphaned by the Japanese during war. It was against regulations, but the men did it anyway. The boy wanted to work for the chocolate and rations he was given, so the American's would have him shine their shoes or do other small tasks. It pleased the boy that he wasn't a charity case, that he was earning his keep and doing his part in the war, and the GI's were happy that this young boy was safe and was no longer hungry or afraid or alone. When they were all loaded up on a ship to head to Japan for a ground invasion, the men had to leave the boy behind. My dad was heartbroken and feared for the boy's future. He never saw the boy again. Memories of the boy and what became of him haunted my father for the rest of his days.

Daddy was an airplane mechanic. As such, he wasn't issued combat boots or a rifle. It was the job of others to protect him while he worked on the planes. When America made the decision to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, my father was on a ship, heading towards Japan. He had been issued combat boots and a rifle, and would be part of the ground force if Japan didn't surrender. He was still on the ship on August 9, 1945, when the second bomb was dropped. Daddy wrote a letter home that day, and spoke of listening to all the radio broadcasts they could get ... all of which talked about the "new bomb" and the belief that the war would end soon. By the time Daddy arrived in Tokyo, Japan had surrendered.

I wish Daddy had talked about his experiences more, even the mundane, boring days. Sadly, like my friends dad, my father's stories died with him.

If you know a vet, especially a World War II vet, ask them about their service. The brave men who fought in Europe, Africa, and the South Seas are getting older. One day, in our lifetime, they'll all be gone ... and what a shame that the treasure trove of stories they have will die with them.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Mmmmm ... Today is National Donut Day!

I probably won't have a donut today. It's not that I don't like them ... I love donuts ... but because the line at every donut bakery in town is always ridiculous. I'm talking cars lined up around the building and more blocking traffic just to get into the parking lot.

Well, I spoke too soon. Before I had a chance to post this, a health-conscious co-worker, who doesn't eat donuts, stopped by and asked me, "Do you want a donut? They were giving them away this morning." I didn't want the donut sitting on his desk tempting him, so I said yes.

Am I a good friend or what?!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why does a newly sharpened pencil make me so happy?!!!

Seriously ... why does a newly sharpened pencil make me smile like a little kid getting to stay up past bedtime?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Look at this photograph, every time I do it makes me laugh ...

Roo and baby Gus ... taking Thing 1 for a walk.
Okay, I don't really laugh ... but it does make me smile :)
It's so silly ... and SO cute!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015

Rubber Band Gatling Gun

This is a hand-cranked rubber band shooter that fires off rubber bands in quick succession, and it is SOOOO much fun to shoot!! Enough fun to get a kid ... or husband ... in trouble, over and over and over and over!