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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Happy National Crayon Day!

Today is National Crayon Day. My kids don't color much anymore, but for many years, they treated every day as if it were National Crayon Day at my house! In fact, we could easily have been Crayon Headquarters!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Night Sky

My little grandson had to spend a week at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis last December. Riley's has gone sugar and salt free. They've got boatloads of candy and chips in their numerous gift shops and restaurants, but you can't find a drink with real sugar or a packet of salt anywhere on the property! I like water, but every once in a while, I wanted something with flavor ... and sugar. When the craving became severe, I'd walk to nearby Eskenazi Hospital, where they sold "real" drinks (and their cafe's had salt!). 

I spoke to a lot of other parents during that week. All of them had a child that had been in the hospital for many months. Some of them had been there for over a year. Some had traded back and forth with their spouse so that one of them could be at Riley's and the other could be home to take care of their other kids ... or to just try to keep their job. All of them, it seemed, had a critically/chronically ill child. I felt almost guilty that, despite his burns, my grandson was perfectly healthy. He would recover without any memory of that week, and the scars will be minuscule by the time he's grown. I was worried about his pain and the possibility of skin grafts (which he fortunately didn't need), but unlike those other parents, I didn't have to worry about his quality of life or the possibility he wouldn't make it.

December is a terrible time to be in the hospital, but Riley's (and Indianapolis) bent over backwards to bring some Christmas joy into the children's lives. Children and their parents, who might not have had a reason to smile for a long, long time, got a few moments of happiness at each thoughtful gesture. I think the parents needed those brief respites even more than their children. The kids have to endure the medical procedures and overcome their circumstances, but anyone with a child knows it hurts more to watch your baby in pain than it is to be in pain yourself. I'm quite certain every single one of those parents would have traded places with their child in a heartbeat. 

It always seemed to be dusk when I'd walk to Eskenazi, and every time, the sky was ablaze with color. I couldn't help but wonder if those other parents, exhausted from months (or years) of worry and stress and grief, ever took a moment to look up and notice the beauty painted on the world's largest canvas. I really hope they did. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Somebody Found Their Easter Present

The ears were too big for his little bean,
the mustache pacifier needed washing first,
and the bunny wasn't exciting enough ...

but the cellophane was a hit!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

I was curious as to how a rabbit delivering baskets of candy and eggs became associated with the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, so I looked it up. As far back as 3,000 years before Jesus was born, other religions and cultures celebrated their gods and spring by painting eggs as a symbol of fertility and rebirth. In the 16th century, German's brought this tradition to America, and Christians used this symbolism to celebrate and explain the resurrection of Jesus to non-believers.

Whatever your beliefs are, and whether or not they are religious in nature, I hope you have a nice Easter ... and maybe even a present from the bunny!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

From the World's Smallest Bedroom

To the world's coziest office!

Had I been the one to build this house, I would have added about five feet to it's width to make the smallest bedroom a bit larger. As a bedroom, it borders on almost being too small to function, but I love it as my office. The extra wide window floods the room with light and affords a view of the flowering trees in the front yard. It may be small, but I think it's absolutely perfect!

Friday, March 25, 2016

I Apparently Didn't Win ... Something

I cleaned out the glove box in my van yesterday. Among a decade's worth of registrations, insurance cards, and repair/maintenance receipts, I found this note in an envelope. I have absolutely no idea what this is in reference to, but one this is certain ... I didn't win. 

It's in Thing 2's handwriting. I'm hoping she'll remember because I'm stumped!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Yesterday's Lunch

I went to the grocery yesterday afternoon. Fitting all the food in the freezer was a bit like playing Tetris. I moved, rearranged, shoved, and prayed. In the end, I managed to get everything in except for the three-quarter empty tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream. So, I did what any frugal consumer would do ... I ate it!

The inner child in me was thrilled to finally get to eat ice cream for lunch and the armchair-engineer in me was proud of the fact that I managed to cram 15 sq/ft of food into 10 sq/ft of space. Yesterday, victory was mine!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My Mudroom Renovation is Complete

As you step into the house from the back door, this is what you now see ... but it didn't always look like this. When I moved into this house last fall, I used this space as my office. It was functional, but it was not conducive to writing!

My son asked if he could move his bedroom to the basement, and I said yes. We moved his furniture downstairs and I moved my office furniture into his old room. We're both thrilled with the change. The basement bedroom is much larger than his old room, but his old room is the perfect size for my office. When I moved into this house, I already knew what I wanted to do to transform the mudroom from blah to "how cute!", but I had to put those plans on hold because I was using it as my office. Now I was free to execute my vision. 

With the furniture gone, I had an messy tangle of internet equipment and wires. First, I drilled a hole in the bottom of the upper cabinet, which was well over an inch thick (they don't make cabinets like this anymore!). I "hid" the modem and cords in the cabinet to get them out of sight. I drilled another hole through the top of the cabinet (which was also over an inch thick) so that I could set the wireless router on top. It wasn't fun to drill those holes, but at least I can be certain those cabinets are sturdy enough to hold whatever I put in them.

Then, I added bead board .,.

Next came a really cute bench ...

a ladder shelf with baskets ...

then molding and trim ...

I secured the coax cable and gave everything a couple of coat of white paint. When the paint was dry, I hung coat hooks, and re-hung the white picture frame a little higher (to clear the molding that wasn't there when I originally hung the frame). Lastly, I attached a black wire basket attached to the top of the ladder shelf, and hung a die-cut "Give Thanks" above the shelf ... and the room is done!

I'd like to find a couple of throw pillows and a jute rug for the floor, but I have rugs by all the doors, so those things aren't a necessity. I'll just keep my eye out and pick up those items when I see something that strikes my fancy. Even without those final finishing touches, I am very pleased with how well it turned out! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Honey, No One Believes You

Perusing the news online, I glanced and the photo and read the headline, not the article, of a young woman, with no discernible talent, famous for being on a reality show. The photograph by the headline was from a series taken for a magazine cover. She was wearing nothing but panties and a skin tight shirt. The headline stated she was 'pining for a quiet life'.

[Insert eye-roll and snort of derision here.]

It's really very easy to live a quiet life. I daresay it's easier to live a quiet life than it is to live in the public eye. Since she "earnestly" wants to live a normal life (rather than saying that for attention), I've complied a few tips for her.
  1. Don't do photo shoots wearing sexy under-things (and then leak a photo or two).
  2. Don't agree to be on a magazine cover.
  3. Don't tweet and Instagram pictures of yourself naked or nearly so.
  4. Don't leave the house wearing next to nothing.
  5. Don't alert the paparazzi that you're going out so that they can film and photograph you.
  6. Don't wear see-through yoga pants ... try wearing real pants.
  7. Always wear a bra ... with a real shirt ... not one that makes your dainty underthings the star of the show.
  8. Don't do a reality show.
  9. Move someplace other than celebrity-infested in California. (There are lots of places in the United States with the same beautiful weather southern California affords.)
  10. And last, but not least ... get a real job.
There are a lot of other tips I could give, but I don't want to overwhelm her ... let's just work on these and see how it goes.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My Sunday Sermon

Source: WMC Action News 5
Last month in Memphis, Tennessee, a car caught fire after wrecking, trapping the driver inside. Witnesses worked frantically to rescue the driver. A good Samaritan and a police officer were finally able to pull the man to safety moments before the car exploded in flames. When the fire was put out, only one item was salvaged from the wreckage.

A Bible ... and it was in perfect condition ... not even singed.

Source: WMC Action News 5
Everyone always wants to know if God is real. And everyone wants to know if He is real, why doesn't He show us proof? Last month in Memphis, I think He did. I think He shows us He's real all the time, and people chalk it up to coincidence or turn a blind eye to the evidence. Despite the fact that a Bible survived, unscathed, in a vehicle completely engulfed in flames cannot be explained any other way, there will still be those who doubt His existence ... and I find that even harder to believe than an all-powerful Lord.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

U.S. Now Ranks 16th in Economic Freedom

The Fraser Institute produces an annual report called Economic Freedom of the World. The index measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of privately owned property. Forty-two variables are used to construct a summary index and to measure the degree of economic freedom in five broad areas:
  1. Size of government
  2. Legal structure and security of property rights
  3. Access to sound money
  4. Freedom to trade internationally; and
  5. Regulation of credit, labor and business
In 2000 the United States was ranked 2nd. By 2015, we’ve plummeted to 16th. The decline in U.S. ranking started in 2010 … the first year data from the Obama administration was used. That is not just a coincidence. He promised us change, and that’s just what we got … a change in economic freedom that has grown progressively worse with each year he’s governed.

The top ten world rankings are as follows:
  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. New Zealand
  4. Switzerland
  5. United Arab Emirates
  6. Mauritius
  7. Jordan
  8. Ireland
  9. Canada
  10. United Kingdom and Chile (tied)
This study is frighteningly eye-opening. In Singapore you can go to jail or be flogged for chewing gum in public, yet they rank 2nd in economic freedom. Even the United Arab Emirates, which enforces Sharia law, has more economic freedom than the United States! How sad is it that a country where women have virtually no rights at all have more economic freedom than we do?

This year we will select a new President. Americans need to think long and hard before casting their vote. I don't care if you are a Republican or a Democrat ... the fact that we have plummeted from 2nd to 16th in economic freedom under Obama should scare the crap out of you. I truly fear for the future of our country.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Olivia ... the Diva Cat

Olivia is the epitome of indifference. She was ever-so-slightly more sociable before Thing 1 and her husband kidnapped her ... but that's only because they have dogs, for which Olivia has absolutely no use. Their other cat, Louie, was raised around dogs, so he has no problem with Roo and Gus. Sometimes I think Louie has no idea he's a cat ... I believe he thinks he is a dog!

But Olivia? She knows she's a cat. Therefore, humans are a necessary evil (they fill up the food and water bowls, and keep the litter box clean). She (barely) tolerates other cats, and ... per the cat-code to which she has sworn allegiance ... she despises dogs.

When it comes to humans, she prefers men. (She's a bit of a tramp.) Olivia likes Thing 1 well enough (sometimes), but she'd much rather be in the company of a man. So, to no one's surprise, on the rare occasion she allows a human to interact with her, she prefers it be Thing 1's husband.

I rarely see Olivia when I visit unless I go upstairs to their guest room, where she holds court, hidden among the pillows. The dogs aren't allowed on the bed, so that 35 sq/ft of real estate has become her sanctuary-of-choice. When she does venture out of her pillow-filled kingdom, it's to either eat, poop, pee, nap someplace else (always out of reach of the dogs), and/or to look out the window and pretend she would be fierce if she were allowed to roam freely ... despite the fact that she was absolutely terrified the few times she made a break for it when the door was held open a split second too long.

On her way to the front window, she'll sashay through the family room as though wearing blinders. She doesn't glance around to see who is there, because, to be brutally honest, she doesn't care who is there  ... unless they are opening a can of tuna.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I delivered most of my St. Patrick Day "gifts" after work last night. It's nothing spectacular ... just shamrock-shaped cookies. It's a small, inexpensive token to let my kids, Superman and his kids/grandkids, and my best friend know I'm thinking of them. And, it's tradition!

When the kids were little, I'd make green scrambled eggs (no ham) and green milk for dinner. My kids put ketchup on their scrambled eggs. Green eggs with red ketchup doesn't look very appetizing, but it tastes the same as yellow eggs and ketchup. Besides, oddly colored food tickles kids!

I have one St. Patrick's Day package left, which I'll deliver it when I pick up my little grandson after work. Even though the people who get these know they're coming, it's nice to see them smile or get a sweet thank-you text when they discover them. It really is better to give than to receive!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Gladys is FINALLY Ready to Bloom Again

New buds on Gladys the Goldfish Plant
Last fall I transplanted Gladys (the Goldfish Plant) into a bigger pot. Then, we moved and her light source changed. She was still facing south, but I guess the move to a bigger pot and a different window shocked her system, because she quit blooming. I feared she would never bloom again. As I was watering her Saturday, though, I noticed numerous buds forming. Yea! I love those flowers (below).

Goldfish flowers.
A couple of years ago, I took some cuttings to root and started a Goldfish Plant for Thing 1. It did really well and produced a lot of flowers ... until her cat (Louie) ate every single leaf. Now that she has a good place to hang plants, I've started another from cuttings and it's just beginning to root. Once hung, Louie won't be able to reach it ... he can only look at it ... and salivate from afar.

Thing 1's new plant-to-be.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

My Neighbor's Tree

Until this year, I never paid attention to how much earlier Red Buds bloom than most other flowering trees. I saw another tree with white flowers blooming. It wasn't a dogwood, so I assume it's a Bradford Pear, but I'm not sure. The only thing I don't like about flowering trees is that they only bloom in the spring. How wonderful it would be if horticulturists could figure out a way to make a hybrid tree that blooms spring through fall? The only way to make that tree better would be if it kept its leaves (not pine needles) and stayed green all winter long!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy π Day

For those math geeks out there, Pi Day needs no explanation. And for those non-math geeks, like me ... it's Pie Day!!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

My Favorite Day of the Year

For someone like myself, I need a pretty darn good reason to give up an hour of sleep ... and daylight savings time IS a good reason. I LOVE daylight savings time. I wish we'd stay on it all year! I LOVE that it's light outside longer ... and daylight savings time signifies another dreary winter has come to and end. Granted this winter wasn't bad at all, but even a warmer than average winter is gray and dreary. Winter has no color ... even the skies are gray.

I've seen red bud trees completely covered in purple flowers and daffodils are blooming everywhere. The grass is greening up, and in between the frequent spring showers, the sky is blue. Before long, the numerous dogwoods on my property will be revealing if they are pink or white. I moved to this house last fall, so I've been waiting a long time to see what color my dogwoods are, and I can't wait!

There are apparently people who don't tolerate the time change very well, which I have never understood. If you can't tolerate a 60 minute shift twice a year, your internal clock is wound a little too tight. The nightly news has been offering tips and the web is full of articles for those who need help adjusting to the time change. But as for me ... I don't need help adjusting to the time change ... I need help containing my excitement!!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Selfie Deaths Now Outnumber Shark Attack Deaths

Between January and September of 2015, twelve people had died when taking a selfie, while "only" eight died from a shark attack during that same period.

Unlike the rest of the world, when I take a selfie, I'm very careful not to get myself in the frame. I took a bunch of selfies when I "babysat" Thing 1's new puppy. He was sleeping on me and he was so darn cute!

I also take selfies when I'm holding my baby grandson ... who is even cuter than all the puppies in the world combined!

I'm very careful to get as little of me in a photo as possible. I've never been particularly photogenic, and as I age, I'm even less so. My kids want pictures of me, but I want pictures of everything but myself.

The generation growing up now will grow up with photographic evidence of nearly everything they did ... every day of their lives. My memories are in my head. My kids memories are on their phones ... and all of their memories disappear if they lose or destroy their phones before they've downloaded (or uploaded) their lives.

Until the advent of cell phones, I was generally the one with the camera. My life is documented by the photographs I took ... none of which contain me ... and that's okay. I don't need a picture of myself at Amicalola Falls to know I was there. I can look a my pictures of the water cascading down the side of the mountain and hear the roar of the water rushing over the rocks in my head.

It is now a scientific fact that one is more likely to die from taking a selfie than they are from a shark attack ... except for me ... I still have to worry about the sharks.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Grandma Heaven

I was feeling a little under the weather this week, so I didn't get to see my grandson until last night. He was his usual perfect self! His daddy played with him for a bit, then I got my turn. He was a little fussy, so I sat down in the rocker with him, and he fell asleep almost immediately. I've never seen a baby so easy to get to sleep in my life! My kids were never that easy ... and little W isn't quite so easy on his mom, but he couldn't be any more perfect for grandma!
After a very short nap, we put him in his bouncy seat. The little guy pulled his arms inside, leaving only his bib and little bald head peeking above! He looked so cute and tiny ... and silly!

The amazing thing about being a grandma, as opposed to a mother, is that I don't have the day to day responsibilities of a parent. I'm not exhausted from lack of sleep. When I'm rocking him, I don't have to worry about waking him when I lay him down because I don't have to lay him down! When my kids were growing up, I didn't have the luxury of just holding them. Once I got them to sleep, I had to lay them down so that I could do the millions of other things a mom has to do.

Now, I have plenty of time without a baby afoot to do my chores, so when W is with me, he's the only thing I have to think about. I can sit back and enjoy him in a way I didn't think I had time for when I had little ones running about everyday. That's the best part of being a grandma ... not only do I have the time to enjoy the tiny, bald gift with a giant, slobbery smile ... I realize how fleeting these years are. 

When my kids were growing up, I was a single mom. I had so much to do and so much to worry about that I didn't take the time to really enjoy my kids. I was always thinking ahead of what I needed to do ... cook, clean, laundry, grocery shop, etc. Without anyone to help me, I often felt overwhelmed at the responsibilities of work, home, and kids.

Even a trip to the playground was stressful. I had three little kids, all running in different directions, and all yelling, "Mommy, look at me!". I had to make sure none of them fell and got hurt. I had to play with them equally to make sure none of them felt neglected. I had to watch them, play with them, and praise them ... all at the same time ... with only two eyes and two hands. I look at pictures of them when they were little and wish I had slowed down, worried less, and savored those moments more. I wish I had cleaned less and let the laundry pile up a day or two more. I wish I hadn't tried to be so perfect. I was so busy making their lives wonderful that I didn't always have the energy to appreciate everything. My kids all think they had an amazing childhood, which was my goal ... I just wish I had slowed down and had as much fun as they did.

When my grandson is over, I do let the dishes pile up and I couldn't care less about laundry and other mundane chores. They'll all be there after he's gone home. I know all too well how much I missed being a mom. Living got in the way of life ... and I'm not going to make the same mistake as a grandma.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Note in the Break Room

Someone left this note in the break room by the coffee pots. It took me a few moments to decipher her fancy script ... "The coffee is in the building, but just not here."

I'm sure she thinks her handwriting is just dandy, perhaps even enviable, but I find it barely legible.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

So Long Pinky, Hello Rusty

I bought a new watering can (Rusty) and am now retiring my old one (Pinky). Can you guess which is which?!!

There's nothing wrong with Pinky, she's just, well ... pink! I should scrub her up and take her to Goodwill, but I'll probably keep her. I've had her for decades, and I grow ridiculously attached to silly items. I cried when the handle broke on my round brush twenty-some-odd years ago ... and I'm still in mourning over it! One day I'll probably get rid of Pinky ... just not quite yet.

Oh, who am I kidding? Pinky will be sitting on a shelf in my garage when I pass away (many years from now), which means one of my lucky children will inherit her. So, kids ... be prepared to fight over who "gets" her!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Cake Was Pink ... It's a Girl!

I'm not sure how many people know, but my son is going to be a father again ... and it's a girl! She's due in August. My sweet, perfect little grandson is going to be a big brother just shy of his ten-month birthday. If this little girl is even half as sweet and cute as her big brother, I will have hit the grandma jackpot! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Too Many Deaths Lately

Since January, three attorneys I used to work for have passed away ... two of them founding members of the law firm that employed me. They were all nice men who treated me well and with respect, and I was saddened to hear the news of their passing.

And, Nancy Reagan has died. I voted for her husband for President ... twice. By anyone's standards, Ronald Reagan was an outstanding President, and I believe the love of his wife was instrumental in his success throughout the years. They say behind every great man is a great woman, and that's generally true. A woman showing genuine love, respect, and appreciation empowers a man. I love how much she loved her husband ... and I'm sure she's happy to be by his side again, for all eternity.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

How Babies Think About Food

The federal government spent 1.5 MILLION dollars studying how babies think about food. And what, you may be wondering, did we get for that money? You won't believe it:
  • The researchers characterize infants as having "limited knowledge in the food domain." Children aged three to six years old are "more knowledgeable than infants and toddlers about foods" but are "notoriously picky eaters." 
Yes, the federal government spent 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS to find out what every parent since Adam and Eve already knows, that is... babies will open their mouth for any food you give them and spit out what they don't like. whereas children aged three to six will happily eat a cookie and cry if you try to make them eat broccoli. spinach, or brussels sprouts.

The United States is over $19,000,000,000,000 in debt ... yet those in power thought it wise to spend $1,500,000 on a study to find out infants are too young to have formed opinions about food and pre-preschoolers are picky eaters.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Study Finds There Are Too Many Studies

Professors from universities in California and Finland conducted a study that came to the conclusion that there are too many studies. Sadly, as long as people are handing out money for studies, regardless of how ludicrous or useless, professors and scientists will be lining up with their hands out.

To me, this study is the antithesis of valuable research. If you believe (or suspect) there are too many studies, isn't accepting money to study studies proof that many studies are not designed to enlighten and inform, but rather to line the pockets of the researchers? It seems to me that the world would be better off if the funds for that study had been used to fund research devoted to finding a cure for cancer or feeding the hungry.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Camouflage Cookie

If you're a cookie, you're going to have to hide better than this ... or I will find you ... and I will eat you!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Last Night's Dinner, in Honor of Dr. Seuss's 112th Birthday ...

As is tradition, last night's dinner was a green eggs and ham themed culinary delight ... (to the stomach, that is, not so delightful to the eye!) ... a green eggs and ham (and cheese) omelette!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I'm a Little Teapot!

I love my new teapot!! It doesn't whistle like my old one, but it's SO cute! I've only had my "old" teapot (below) a few months. It served it's purpose of making water hot, but it wasn't very cute. My new teapot is exactly what I was looking for when I bought my old one, but I couldn't find one like this. I gave my old teapot to Thing 3, who just this winter discovered the joy of hot tea. The more modern design of the old teapot is more his style than mine, so he was thrilled to add it to his stash of housewares for when he moves out. He's happy and so am I, evidenced by the goofy smile on my face every time I walk past my new red teapot!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Lack of Sleep and Junk Food

On the news this morning, I heard that scientists claim a chemical is released in the brain of people who do not get enough sleep, which causes them to eat more junk food. I don't know if that's true or not ... and I'm leaning towards not ... but having been sleep deprived most of my adult life, I do know that many times I go for quick rather than nutritious! My choice of food has nothing to do with chemicals in my brain, and everything to do with exhaustion.

I would search for the study and read it in it's entirety, but I'm too tired because the donut holes I ate for breakfast are starting to wear off.