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

Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Day!

Our calendar is 365 days, but it actually takes 365-1/4 days for the Earth to orbit the sun, so every four years, we add a day to February. You probably already know this, but I find it fascinating that they were able to figure all of this out without the use of technology. Back in the BC/AD years, they figured out the calendar based on nothing more than astronomer's observations. That's a pretty incredible feat, don't you think?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Where Was Common Core When I Was in School?

I have always hated math. I took it because I had to and I retained the knowledge only long enough to pass a test. If I had ever had a nice math teacher, I might have actually enjoyed math, but every math teacher I had ... without exception ... was mean, sometimes hateful, and bordered on sadistic.

I got a B in algebra in college, which robbed me of my perfect 4.0. I needed an A on the final to get an A in the class. An A was 92 points. I scored 91. I talked to my teacher and asked her if, since I only missed an A by one point and was a single mother of three young children (ages 2, 4, and 6), was going to school full time, AND working full time, could she find it in her heart to give me that one silly point, give me an A, and preserve my 4.0?

She said no, that there were 33 students in the class and 24 of them got A's, and that if I had applied myself more, I could have earned an A, too. That might well be true, but how many of them were juggling as many balls as I was? I didn't beg for that one lousy point, but I might have had I thought it would do any good. I could tell from the tone of her voice that her answer was no and it wasn't up for discussion. Conversation over.

Had that woman had even one ounce of compassion, she would have seen that I did try. I did study. I did apply myself. But she was adamant ... I hadn't earned an A and my grade would stay a B. I could understand her not showing me any mercy if my final score was low, but I was only one lousy point away from an A! She cemented my life-long distaste of math.

And yes ... I'm still bitter.

With the new math standard in Common Core, there are no longer absolute truths ... 3x4 can now equal 11 so long as a student can effectively explain how they reached that answer. One question on a Common Core math test was, "Tell how to make 10 when adding 8+5."

The student wrote, “You cannot make 10 with 8+5."

The teacher replied, “Yes you can. Take 2 from 5 and add it to 8 (8+2=10), then add 3.”

That makes no sense. Even with the teachers help, I still get 13! With rules like that, I could have aced math, as I could have easily explained every wrong answer I ever had!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

This is Sad

Above is a screenshot taken of a tweet from a local "watch" account that posts 911 dispatches to police, fire, and medical personnel. It's particularly informative when there is an accident, as you know to avoid that area.

This tweet is one of the most heartless things I've ever read. If this man were begging customers for money or looking into their cars as if he's looking for something to steal, I could understand them wanting him to leave, but by their own admission, he wasn't doing anything wrong. It's bad enough that he has no home ... now he's not even welcome in their parking lot? Have they no compassion?

Homelessness makes most people uncomfortable, myself included. It's kind of like, "There but for the grace of God go I". There are a lot of reasons someone is homeless. Some are drug addicts or alcoholics. Some just got out of prison or jail. And some just had a string of really bad luck and don't know how to crawl out of the hole they've fallen in. Until you know why someone is in the situation they are in, it's unfair to judge someone for their circumstances in life.

This man's plight, regardless of why, breaks my heart. And whoever called 911 to have him removed from their premises, in my opinion, is just plain cruel.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Two Dozen Roses from Thing 2

Thing 2 came home from work yesterday with two dozen roses in a beautiful vase for me ... just to make me happy! I'm a very lucky mama :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Another Fortune Cookie Let-Down

I've had this fortune long enough that I have either already been rewarded ... i.e., my talents are minuscule and my reward so slight that I failed to notice it ... or the fortune cookie industry is just toying with me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Grade School Health Teacher WAS Right!

Little W is starting to eat a little baby food now. He's a good eater, gobbling up anything on his spoon.

I guess Mrs. McCutchan was right ... vegetables really do put hair on your chest ... er ... face!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

First Cook-Out of the Season

Yesterday the temperature reach 75ยบ, so Things 2 and 3 ran to the grocery for provisions, pulled the grill out of storage, and grilled burgers. All I had to do was cut up the tomato and onion! None of us care for cheeseburgers, so for the first time, I didn't have to worry about stray cheese contaminating my patty! 

Things 3 and 2
I love that my kids aren't just siblings ... they're friends
My little grandson was over yesterday, too. He was kind enough to wait until we finished eating before waking from his nap. We sat on the porch with him in his walker (his tiny little legs don't reach the ground yet, but he likes sitting up and having toys within his reach). Thing 2 stood behind him with a blanket to shield him from the sun. After months of staring out the window with awe, little W finally got to go outside. He's always happy, but he was particularly happy to be on the other side of the window.
Thing 3, W's daddy, strapped on his baby backpack and we took a short walk. When we got to the end of the street, Thing 2 put on the backpack. We have to take turns because we all want to hold him/wear him/feed him, etc. Oddly, the only thing we don't fight over is who "gets" to change his diaper! I didn't get a photo of Thing 3 "wearing" the baby, but I did get one of Thing 2.

This time next year, little W will be walking and there will be no holding him ... he'll be too busy exploring the world he had only been able to view from afar. I can't wait to take walks with him holding my hand and discovering the beauty of the world ... which means I get to rediscover the world's beauty through the eyes of a child. If you want to know the things you take for granted, go on a walk with a little one ... they will point out all the amazing things adults no longer see.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Today is Drink Wine Day ... Yea!

I'm not much of a drinker, but wine is my spirit of choice. I don't have any wine and I don't see myself stopping at a liquor store on the way home, so I guess I won't be imbibing today ... unless someone stops by with a bottle!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Louie's Persistence Paid Off

At the pleading of Thing 1, and her promise to take Olivia with her should she get her own place, I took in Olivia a few years back. Not long after that, Thing 1 moved out ... and left Olivia. Thing 2 was thrilled, but she's not a very good cat mom, so Thing 1 kidnapped Olivia. Thing 1 had a male dog (Roo) and a male cat (Louie). Roo and Louie are buddies, so Roo was initially excited to see Olivia, but she had no use for a pet of any kind ... especially a dog. Louie, however, was immediately smitten and did everything he could to win her heart. She eventually came around and they became best buddies, but she continued to smack Roo across the face every time he got close to her.

When Thing 1 and her husband moved to an apartment, they could only have two pets, so Olivia came back to live with me. After a year in their new apartment, they were told their dog was no longer allowed. They didn't have enough time to find someplace else before their lease expired, so Thing 1 and her husband stayed with me for a month. Louie was thrilled! His beloved Olivia was back! Olivia was ambivalent about Louie ... and she still hated Roo. Fast forward a week or two, and Olivia and Louie were best buddies again, playing and napping together.

Thing 1 and her husband found another place and moved out ... once again leaving Olivia. Ugh! When Thing 1 and her husband bought my old house last fall, I left Olivia for them (at their request). Louie, once again, was thrilled to have his lady love back. Olivia, however, treated him a necessary nuisance. She played with him occasionally, but generally had no use for him. Roo was happy to see Olivia until she smacked him again. He now gives her wide berth.

Louie, still madly in love with the fat, striped lady cat, did everything he could to win back her trust and her heart. It took almost five months, but Olivia is now his constant companion. Once again, they play and nap together. When you see one of them, the other is close behind ... which is good ... because Olivia taught Louie how to ditch his collar, so neither of them have bells to alert you to their presence and location.

Olivia is happy to be back with Louie, but she still hates Roo ... and she has no idea what Gus is. He's the size of a cat, but looks like a dog, and has more energy than Olivia can comprehend. She avoids Gus at all costs, choosing high places for her and Louie to nap, out of reach of the tiny, far too busy Gus.

My daughter and her husband love their new home with large, plentiful rooms and high ceilings. Roo and Gus are best buddies that have a yard to play in and explore, Louie has finally won back the heart of his beloved Olivia, and the large house provides the cats a veritable smorgasbord of places to nap.

Life is good!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Batman Has a New Sidekick ...


Let's face it ... Robin needed to go. He could never figure out what was happening. Batman had to spoon-feed him everything. And don't get me started on those green bloomers and yellow tights! So ... Batman has spoken ... henceforth, Ernie shall be by his side to keep the world safe from death rays and super-villains.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Fortune Teller Scams Man out of $700,000

A man in Brooklyn went to a female fortune teller for help to fix a romantic relationship. She told him that evil spirits were keeping him and his lady love apart. Over the course of a year, he gave her a lot of money, including $80,000 for a bridge of gold to allow the psychic to trap the evil spirits in another realm.

One year later, $700,000 poorer, and no closer to winning back the heart of his one and only, the man reported the scam to the police. The psychic and an accomplice were arrested and charged with grand larceny.

I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to fortune tellers. I do believe there are individuals whose intuition is better than others, but I do not believe anyone can see the future or talk to the dead.

It appears to me that the only thing this woman could "see" was that this particular gentleman was gullible ... and wealthy. Had she possessed any real psychic abilities, she would have foreseen that he would get wise to her scam, albeit later than most, and that he would report her to the police ... who would then arrest her for grand larceny. So, not only does she not have the ability to see the future, she's not very intuitive, either!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentines Day!

Whether you're spending the day with your special someone, lounging around the house alone, working, or doing what you do every other day of the year, I hope something happens that lets you know you are loved and appreciated..

Friday, February 12, 2016

"Don't put anything heavy on it," he said ...

After a couple of failed attempts to get the bottom shelf hung level, there was more than one large hole in the wall. The anchor and screw holding up the left-hand side was perched precariously over two other holes in the wall. Too much weight on that shelf and the anchor would tear through the thin strip of plaster separating the it from the other two holes, sending the whole thing crashing to the floor.

"Until I fix it, don't put anything heavy on it", he said.

"I won't", I replied obediently, as I innocently sat six empty, pint-sized mason jars on the shelf. They looked perfect . Patting myself on the back for my decorating finesse, I took a picture.

The next morning, the shelf was still intact. Emboldened, I got to thinking ... why have empty jars there? Why not fill them with things I need most often when cooking and baking? It would certainly save time if I wasn't running back and forth from the pantry.

The pint jars would be perfect for salt and cornstarch, but they were too small brown sugar or powdered sugar and such. I went to the garage and got some quart mason jars, then bought some cute chalkboard labels, white chalk, and red lids.

Once home, I discovered you cannot write (legibly) with blunt-edged chalk on a small label ... I can't anyway! I started to the closet to get my pencil sharpener, but then I hesitated. The chalk would smear when I handled the jars ... and I wasn't entirely certain chalk lent itself well to being ground to a point.

My daughter was out running errands, so I asked her to pick up a white sharpie. I'm not sure if they even make white sharpie's, but they didn't have any, so she picked up a white-out pen. After a little practice, I carefully labeled the jars (they looked adorable!) and arranged them on the shelf, distributing the colors of the contents evenly and fashionably. My daughter and I took one last look at my handiwork, then turned to leave the kitchen ... just as the shelf crashed to the floor.

His words echoed in my head ... "Don't put anything heavy on it."

Heartbroken and humbled, I picked up the jars ... which remarkably made the 4' fall to the ceramic tile floor completely unscathed. They still look adorable, but they were now taking up valuable counter space.

I knew he couldn't fix it that night, so I didn't bother calling to tell him what I'd done. He's over all the time ... and ... he's not blind. He would find out what an idiot I was soon enough!

Hey ... maybe I could fix it! I could hang the shelf about an inch higher. That would still give me room to remove the jars when necessary, it would hide "most" of the holes, and the integrity of the new anchor wouldn't be compromised. I got out my tools and handily put an anchor and screw in the perfect place on the right-hand side, then started on the left. The anchor went in easily. Proud of myself, I began screwing in the screw. It was at this point that the anchor, screw and all, slipped inside the wall. My heart sunk. I hadn't fixed anything. Quite the contrary. All I had succeeded in doing was making an even bigger mess of things!

The next day, I confessed my stupidity. He seemed neither surprised nor upset. I guess he knows me well enough to know that there was a very strong possibility I would put too much on the shelf and it would fall. In all honesty, he was probably expecting me to do so! Still, I felt bad. My to-do list for him is already long enough without me trying to "help".

I had already formulated a pretty good idea as to how to tastefully hang the shelf, hide all the holes, and make it sturdy enough (hopefully) to hold jars full of kitchen staples.

I picked up a piece of 24" x 4" x 1/4" oak to mount to the wall, then attach the shelf to that. I also purchased a 24" x 2" x 2" piece of oak to hang underneath to act as a cleat. With enough toggle bolts supporting both pieces of lumber, it would easily be able to hold my jars. Wouldn't it?

My shelf is now hung, but filled with empty wine glasses. The jars that I just had to put there have long since found a new home on the shelves above the cooktop. Those shelves are much sturdier and it made more sense to put them there anyway. Too bad I didn't think of that before, huh?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Rocking Out, Circa 1975

I walked through an empty conference room at work and heard music playing very softly. At first I thought it was coming through the sound system of the room, then I noticed an old Hitachi am/fm radio on the window ledge. 41 years after it was made, it's still playing, loud and clear. I wonder how many of the portable radio's being produced in 2016 will still work in 2057?

Unlike items made today, things made years ago were made to last. My kids always make fun of me when I get out my hand mixer. It's easily as old, or older, than the above radio, but it still works. A few years ago Thing 1 bought me a new one so that I didn't have to use my ancient mixer anymore. The new one quit working within a few months (the beaters wouldn't stay in and would fly off when I turned it on). Fortunately, I had the foresight to keep my old one ... which I am now using again.

Maybe the reason "vintage" items are making such a comeback is because they still work, and will continue to work long after the "new" stuff is buried and forgotten in the landfill!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


I finally got the wrought iron mirror and sconces hung over the sofa in the living room. I've been anxious to get them hung and declare that room "finished" ... and now I can! The only project left is to hang one more thing in the hallway, then I will be 100% done decorating.

Good ... because now that spring is just around the corner, I can concentrate my efforts outside. I can't wait to get to work landscaping. Unlike my initial efforts at my previous home, I will plant nothing but perennials. When I began landscaping my last house, it was the first time I had done anything other than buying pots and planting annuals. I didn't have a plan when I started and I didn't pay close attention to what I planted. Consequently, I spent a lot of money that I wouldn't have had to spend if I had known what I was doing!

This time, I will pick out plants with more thought and I will have a plan before I start. I'm anxious to get outside and start working in the yard ... but mostly, I just anxious to see the world filled with color again, to feel the sun on my skin, to open the windows and enjoy the warm, fresh breezes of spring ... and to see what color all my dogwoods are!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Today is National Pizza Day

I don't think my kids know that there even is such a thing as National Pizza Day or they would be decorating the house and preparing for the celebration. National Pizza Day would rank right up there with Christmas!

I'm not a huge pizza fan. Don't get me wrong ...I like it, I just don't love it ... and I don't go into withdrawal when I have to go more than a few days without it. It does happen, but it's very rare that I think "I really want pizza."

My kids, however, could eat pizza every single day. When they see a stranger at the door carrying a pizza box, their eyes light up and they explode with joy, much like a child being told they are going to Disneyland!

Since it's National Pizza Day, I just might order a pizza tonight. I might even get domestic and make one. The more likely scenario, however, is that I'll eat leftover chicken and dumplings followed by a piece of German chocolate upside-down cake!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Bacon Scented Lottery Scratchers

I don't play the lottery. I never have and don't anticipate I ever will. The PowerBall Lotto recently went to a record high, and I wasn't even tempted. I've never been lucky when it comes to games of chance. That's not to say I have never won, but it's been the (rare) exception rather than the rule.

I'm not opposed to entering a contest based on skill. Even those have an element of luck, but the chances of winning aren't nearly as astronomical as winning the lottery. I feel better, and am more successful, when competing against others using brains or talent instead of hoping for dumb luck. Money is money, regardless of how you win it ... but winning on skill gives you something to be proud of ... because you earned it.

A while back I was in a convenience store and I saw there was a bacon-scented lottery scratcher, This seemed a rather pathetic attempt to get otherwise non-lottery people to buy them. You can win up to $10,000, and a 20-year supply of bacon. I wondered how they calculated how much bacon that is. As I read further, I found out ... "the 20 year supply of bacon allows winners to receive $250 worth of bacon once a year for 20 years — or a lump sum of $5,000".

I love bacon, but not enough to blow $2 a pop on a chance to win it "for free" ... even if it comes with a side of cash. Besides, I'd have to buy a freezer and pay the electricity to run it in all year in order to hold my $250 worth of bacon ... so that "free" bacon becomes not so free.

I don't spend $250 a year on bacon, so if I won ... (which I wouldn't) ... I'd have to take the $5,000 lump sum and give one-fourth to one-half of it to the government. I'll come out money ahead if I just continuing buying bacon when I need/want it and let someone else throw away their hard-earned cash with the improbable chance at winning it.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

I'm Waiting ... Still

I found this fortune in my wallet the other day. I don't know how long I've been carrying it around, but as you can tell from the condition, its been a while ... and I'm still waiting for my pleasant news!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Aren't These Bushes Pretty?

I snapped this picture on my way home from work last spring. I'm not sure what they are, but I intend to find out. They would look so pretty at the edge of my yard bordering the woods. We had an exceptionally mild winter ... a couple of snows that didn't stick around long, and warmer than average temperatures (for the most part) ... but  I'm drooling at the thought of spring!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Man in Bear Costume Harasses Bears

I recently read a story about wildlife officials counting fish at a weir ... (and you thought your job was boring!) ... who encountered a man, in what they described as a "fairly realistic bear costume", harassing a mama bear and her two cubs feeding on salmon. One of the officials stated that it wasn't immediately known what the man was trying to accomplish. I'm going out on a limb here and hypothesize that they still don't know!

From a safe distance, they watched as "Bearman" began to jump up and down. When he got close to the cubs, one of the Alaska Fish and Game Technicians moved the sow out of the way, telling the local media that this was a little outside of their normal duties. "Our job," he said, "is to count fish."

Oddly enough, this is not the first time they've encountered a man in a bear suit. As if the obvious down-side of harassing bears ... i.e., being killed ... is not enough to deter violators, there are criminal penalties if caught.

Purposely mistreating wildlife should be a crime, but when it comes to a man in a bear costume harassing bears, well ... perhaps we should let just nature take its course. Aside from the beer/liquor industry losing a dear and valued customer, I can't imagine society would miss out on much ... other than a wild story or two ... if this man met an untimely demise at the hands of a mad mama bear. Let's face it ... the brain inside the man that's inside that bear suit does not hold the cure for cancer ... and it means ones less bear costume available to someone else wishing to harass bears.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It Looks Like We're Team Ernie!

W (left) and Thing 1 (right) agree ... "We LOVE Ernie!"
Now that little W is old enough to start interacting with toys, we got out his Ernie doll and introduced them. He was mesmerized!! He grabbed onto Ernie and held on tight, jabbering away and chewing on whatever body part he could get into his mouth. Yea!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Yea ... Phil Predicts an Early Spring!

Phil did not see his shadow, so legend has it that spring will be early this year. I know it's all poppycock, but it's harmless poppycock and fun to play along! Besides, I really want him to be right! I have numerous dogwood trees at my new house and I'm dying to know what color they are. There are two very close together near the road, and I'm hoping one is pink and the other is white. Honestly, though, I don't care what color they are. As long as they produce flowers, my heart will sing.

Regardless of when spring arrives, when my dogwoods are blooming, I will have a smile on my face that will spread to the depths of my soul!

Monday, February 1, 2016