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

Friday, September 30, 2016

Poor Fifi

She's a beautiful baby...
but it looks like she's about as photogenic as her Grandma! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

White vs. NOT White

A co-worker and I got into a discussion about the color of his shirt. I said it was tan, a very light tan, but tan nonetheless. He insisted it was white. He's wrong (of course), but you be the judge.

On the left is the color of his shirt. Clearly, his shirt is not white! If it were, you would only be able to see the outline of the box (like the actual white box on the right). He can claim his shirt is white all he wants ... but it's not!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Poland Falls and the World Goes to War

Warsaw was left in ruble by the time World War II ended.

On this day in 1939, after 26 days of brave resistance, Poland fell to Nazi Germany, and Warsaw was left in ruins.

A friend of mine visited Poland a few years back. With the help of a Polish driver and translator, he toured the country and heard stories of World War II through the eyes of a Polish citizen. Prior to the invasion, Poland had made a pact with the Soviets to help them should Germany decide to invade. The Polish driver told my friend that as Warsaw was bombed into dust, they could see the Soviets on the other side of the Wisla River, and how disheartened everyone was that Russia did not come to their aid as promised. What the Poles didn't know was that Russia and Germany had entered into a pact ... they would both invade Poland and split the country between them.

By the wars end, Poland had been decimated. Millions of Poles were imprisoned and/or murdered at the hands of the Nazi's and the Soviets ... for no other crime than simply being born in a land these merciless dictators desired.

The driver took my friend to "Old Town" in Warsaw, filled with ornate buildings that looked to be hundreds of years old. This man told him that Old Town was flattened by bombs during the war, but that the Polish people began rebuilding it once their invaders were driven from their land after Germany surrendered. Old Town was rebuilt to look much the same way it had before it had been nearly wiped off the map.

Aside from the Jews, no one suffered more than Poland at the hand's of Germans, with Polish Jews singled out for the most inhumane treatment. The atrocities perpetrated again the Poles is unimaginable to most of us. As difficult as it is to read the first-hand accounts of survivors and liberators, there is no way for us to imagine the hell these people endured.

But they did endure ... and one by one, they rebuilt their beautiful cities to their former splendor.

Old Town, in Warsaw, rebuilt from the ashes.
Of all the places my friend has visited, Poland is one of his favorites. For Christmas one year, I commissioned some drawings of places that are special to him, and Old Town in Warsaw was my first choice. 

I find the courage and perseverance of the Polish people inspiring, and I am in awe of their pride and determination.

A drawing of Old Town.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The First Presidential Debate Airs Tonight

This debate is expected to draw a record crowd of 75 million viewers. I'll be watching! Will you?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sweet Grandbabies

My little grandson was running a fever yesterday, so all he wanted to do was lay around and cuddle. He wasn't whiny, just lethargic ... nothing like the sweet ball of energy he usually is. I couldn't get him to eat anything, so I made sure he drank plenty of liquids.

His little sister was feeling okay, but she wants to be held all the time. Usually I sit on the floor holding her while my grandson plays nearby, but he was feeling so bad, he didn't want to play. So yesterday, I sat on the sofa holding tiny Fifi, with little Fido's head in my lap. I'd rub his little head or drape my arm over him, where he would promptly grab my hand and hold on tight.

When it came time to feed Fifi, life got a little difficult, especially if Fido wanted something to drink, too. He's perfectly capable of holding his own bottle or sippy cup, but he felt so rotten I held it for him. Thing 2 was there most of the day, but she had to take a shower and get ready to leave, so I was on my own a few times. Little Fido had been laying down on the pillow next to me as I held his bottle for him, but then he decided to sit up. Thing 2 came back into the room and snapped this picture of me feeding both of the babies. 

Fido has always been a very content little guy ... happy and smiling and easily soothed. Fifi, not so much! Luckily, having raised three kids with very different temperaments, I was prepared to deal with easy and difficult little ones!

Thing 1 was a difficult infant, so I held her ... a lot. But, she grew into an easy teenager and an amazing adult. I'll take a demanding infant over a demanding adolescent or teenager any day of the week! When it came to nap time, however, I let my kids cry it out after I laid them down. I know I shouldn't always indulge Fifi when she cries to be held, but she's only two months old ... and I only get to see her once a week. I don't want her to remember Grandma's house as the place she cries all day!

After I took the babies home, I stopped and bought a vibrating seat for little Fifi. I'm hoping the vibrations will make her more content and I won't have to hold her so much ... but if I do, I do! Thing 1 grew out of some of her "difficultness" (I just made that word up!) when she was able to sit up and play, and I'm sure Fifi will, too.

Besides, time is flying by. Fido will be one year old soon. There will come a day when cuddling with Grandma is no longer "cool", and all I will get is quick hello/goodbye hug and kiss ... so right now, if they want held, I'll hold them and treasure every moment.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hummingbird Migration

One of my out of town sisters came to visit a few Sundays back. I fixed a big breakfast for everyone. My kids all left, one by one, for other obligations, so my sister and I spent our visit in my kitchen, sitting at the island, talking and watching the hummingbirds at the feeder.

She said her husband had reminded her when she would have to stop feeding the hummingbirds at their house in Georgia. I was a little surprised ... I never stop filling the hummingbird feeder until the little things quit coming.

Feeling confused (and ignorant), I looked up hummingbird migration to see when/if I need to stop filling the feeder. And the answer? I don't! Hummingbirds will migrate regardless of the availability of food. In fact, they migrate while food is plentiful so that they can be assured of food on their long flight to Central America.

The article went on to state that by mid-September, the hummingbirds at North American feeders are birds that are migrating south, not the same ones seen throughout  summer, and that they appreciate a good meal on their journey.

I love watching them at the feeder ... even if it does interrupt my life ... because I have to stop and stare and stay still so that they don't get spooked by my movement and fly away.  I'm so happy I don't have to quit feeding them.

Evidence suggests hummingbirds return to the same location they were born, so I can expect to see Pearl again next year!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lewis and Clark Return

On May 1804,  the Corps of Discovery, lead by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on an expedition to map the western portion modern-day America, and to find a practical route across the continent. They returned on this day in 1806.

Everyone knows the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but what fascinates me is that just over 200 years ago, the western half of our country was unknown and unexplored. Life was completely different. Fields were plowed by with oxen, laundry was scrubbed in a tub, and people traveled by horse and buggy. Oil-burning lanterns and candles were their only means of light in the darkness. Except for the wealthy, people ate what they grew on their own land and sewed their clothes by hand. Homes were heated and meals were cooked in fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. And, of course, they had to chop the wood themselves.

The things we take for granted ... refrigerators, phones, electricity, indoor plumbing, central heat and air, cars, computers, airplanes, photographs, and even toilet paper ... were unimaginable to those living back then. The moon was nothing more than a big, white ball in the sky, that waxed and waned each month. They would have laughed themselves silly if anyone had ever suggested that man would one day walk on its surface.

It's unbelievable that life has changed so much in such a short amount of time. I can't even begin to imagine what life will be like 200 years from now.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Happy Hobbit Day!

September 22nd is the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, two characters from J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings. I'm one of the few people on earth who haven't read these books or seen any of the movies ... but I do think Bilbo's house is cool ... and so does one of my nephews. He saw the fairy doors his mom (my sister) had made, and asked her to make him a replica of Bilbo door. She made the door and surroundings in a shadow box for him (pictured below). I think it turned out amazing!
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Yum, Yum, Yum!

I made my smoothie with carrot/mango juice (and just a touch of coconut water), and used a spinach/kale mix instead of just spinach. The carrot/mango juice makes it taste AMAZING!! It sounds awful and doesn't looks more like something you'd dip a grilled cheese sandwich in, but it is really, really good!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day!

If you like Krispy Kreme donuts, you can get free donuts by talking or dressing like a pirate at any Krispy Kreme store. The kids and I do not like Krispy Kreme's ... we call them Greasy Kreme's ... but for those of you who do like them, here's what you need to do:

For one free donut, hobble up to a Krispy Kreme cashier and growl for some treasure in your best pirate accent.

For a dozen free donuts, show up at Krispy Kreme wearing any three of the following:Pirate hat, bandana, eye patch, costume hook, pirate shirt, peg-leg, parrot, or a pair of pirate knickers. 

Sorry I didn't get this posted earlier, but there's still time to score some free donuts!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

One Year Ago Today ...

One year ago today,  after a ridiculously long wait between making an offer and closing on the house, I finally had the keys to my new home in my grubby little paw. (You can read about that here.) I only needed those keys for a day  ... I had electronic locks installed the next day ... but it sure felt good to finally get them!

Before purchasing this house, I had been casually looking for a smaller home for a couple of years. It was time to downsize, but I was having a hard time finding a home I liked well enough to leave my beautiful, century-old Victorian. I was thrilled when I found this one, and I made an offer hours after I toured it.

Out of habit, and because I love to look at homes and decor, I've continued to look at houses online, both in my price range and way above it. A year later, I have yet to see a home I like better than this one. Buying this house was the right decision. I love living here. When I leave to go someplace, I always look at the house before I drive off and think "I love you, house ... I'll be back soon!", and when I return, I think to myself "I love you, house ... I missed you!".

This summer, I planted a red honeysuckle vine against the side fence. Once it takes hold, it grows like crazy. In just a few years, the fence and the trees surrounding it will be covered in red honeysuckle ... and attracting hummingbirds by the score.

I love daydreaming about my grandkids playing in the yard and flying through the woods. This is the house my grandkids will remember as "Grandma's house".

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Happy Apple Dumpling Day!

Today is Apple Dumpling Day. If you've never had an apple dumpling, you have no idea what you're missing. They are SOOOOO good! My recipe for apple dumplings in on the right, under the "Blast from the Past". If you make them, today or any other day, let me know if you liked them!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Families Replaced by Impostors ... Kids Don't Notice

A pasta sauce manufacturer in England, Dolmio, released a couple of hilarious advertisements. Family members are replaced by impostors while a child is totally unaware of the swap because he's so focused on his tablet/phone. Once wifi access is cut off, the child looks around the dinner table to see total strangers staring back.

When I started buying my kids cell phones, I made a "no cell phone at the dinner table" rule. Now that they're adults and I don't have complete control over them anymore (sob!), I can easily see this happening!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Flushing With My Foot

I wasn't sure if my foot would get stuck or not, but it didn't, and I was able to continue my successful streak of never flushing a public toilet with my hand!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sorry For No Post Yesterday

Click on picture to enlarge.
I had it mostly ready to go, but I didn't get up early enough to finish an send it before I went to work. Once at work, I was frantically coding on a program to meet a deadline, and when I got home, I was too pooped to even turn on my computer. I was in bed by 6:30! Thing 2 chastised me for not posting yesterday. She said I let my fans down. I replied, "Both of you?!!!"

So, here's the post I prepared for yesterday ...

On September 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem, which later becomes our national anthem. He wrote the poem after witnessing Fort McHenry being bombarded by the British during the war of 1812. At daybreak, Key saw a lone U.S. flag flying over the fort. He was heartened to see that we had withstood the attack, and our tattered flag still proudly flew.

The Star-Spangled Banner was put to music and has stood through the decades to stir patriotism at all who hear it. Standing for our anthem, facing our flag, with our hand over our heart is a way to say thank you to everyone who sacrificed so much to give us the honor of living in this great country.

Enter 2016, where Colin Kaepernick, who plays for the San Francisco 49ers, refuses to stand for the national anthem before games. He is protesting police brutality and racism. I find it rather ironic that he's protesting against America while living the American dream.

Kaepernick has every right to sit or doing whatever he wants during the anthem. The country he's disrespecting when he does that made sure he has that right ... but if he thinks disrespecting our flag and our country is a viable avenue for change, he's sadly deluded.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Just Like September 11, 2001

Yesterday evening I was sitting on the patio, enjoying a warm day with no humidity, a rarity around here. The sky was a brilliant blue with nary a cloud in sight ... exactly like it was fifteen Septembers ago.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 11

Just saying that date evokes memories in everyone alive that day. The year isn't necessary. If you say, "September 11", everyone knows you're talking about 2001. I remember everyone saying, "Never forget". I couldn't fathom anyone ever forgetting.

And then I thought about the holocaust, how history books don't mention it and how some people are denying it happened, regardless of the mountains of physical and photographic evidence, not to mention the eye witnesses ... from victims, perpetrators, towns people, and liberators.

It won't be too many years before old age will claim the last living witnesses of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazi's. And one day, there won't be any living witnesses to September 11th. My kids were too young to understand the gravity of that day, but as they grew up, they did. I talk about the holocaust and September 11th to my children. My prayer is that one day they'll pass on their knowledge to their children, and so on, and so forth.

I can't say no one will forget, but I'm doing my small part to make sure my children never do ... and I'm certain they never will.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Year Ago

This was me a year ago, right after we finished painting my old house. (You can read about it and see the photographs here).

Now that, ladies and gentleman ... was a chore!

I was really sick of painting after that. Actually, I was sick of painting before we began tackling the outside! It had only been a year or so since I had painted the entire inside, ceilings and walls! Being a Victorian, it has high ceilings, and every room has lots of windows and doors. Painting the walls meant I was constantly up and down on a ladder, and painting the ceilings gave me a crick in my neck! But, it needed to be done, as it had been almost ten years since I had painted any of the interior.

When I moved to my new house, I knew I had a little painting to do, and the thought made me want to cry! I didn't have to do that much painting, but even if I'd had to paint the entire house, inside and out, and the woods surrounding it, it still don't think it would have been as much work painting just the outside of my old one!

Butt, the effort was worth it. The house looked immensely better. It had needed painting for years, but I couldn't decide on a color scheme, so I kept putting it off. Well, that and the price. I never inquired as to how much someone would charge to paint it for me, but because of the sheer size of the project, I figured it would cost an arm and a leg to hire someone to paint that behemoth! It never occurred to me that I (we) would be able to do it ourselves.

A year on, I'm well-settled into my new home. I still wake up everyday and think "I love this house!"

Friday, September 9, 2016

Disgusting Find

I was outside watering plants the other day when I noticed a piece of snake skin in the front flower bed. Now I'm creeped out and don't want to go outside!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Controversial Advertising

A lot of businesses purposely try to evoke shock and outrage with their advertising to get people talking about their business/product/service, etc. Sadly, it often works, but I'm not so sure Hacienda is seeing much benefit to their latest campaign.

I love Mexican food, but I don't care much for Hacienda, and there is no billboard they can erect that would make me frequent their restaurants any more often than I currently do (which is rare).

Take their most recent billboard (below). For some reason, Hacienda executives thought this was a good idea. So it's okay to say something like this to sell food, but wildly racist if said by a white person? I've read that Mexican's are offended by this billboard. Newsflash ... white people are offended by it, too ... even those who are scratching their heads thas to why a wall wasn't built decades ago.

A previous advertising campaign was in extremely poor taste (below). This campaign referenced a horrific tragedy, the Jonestown Massacre, where over 900 people died. What's next? A billboard making fun of those who died on 9/11?

And their attempt at humor is questionable, at best. I fail to see how a reference to diarrhea will drive diners to your restaurant (below).

Billboards are an effective form of advertising, but only if they make you want to enjoy the services and products advertised ... and these, my friend, most assuredly do not.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Today is NOT Going Well!

I have to be at work at 7:30. I woke up at 7:29. (I really need to move my alarm clock across the room so that I don't hit snooze or turn it off in my sleep anymore!).

After I got to work, I loaded up on coffee and headed out to meet a co-worker sort out a problem. I tripped in the parking lot, spilling half of my coffee and skinning my knee. I don't think anyone saw me, but chances are someone did! When I got to where I was going, I checked out my knee ... which had bled through my pants. Lucky for me, I'm still in mom-mode and carry band-aids wherever I go. I put a band-aid on my knee and headed inside.

When my co-worker was 15 minutes late, I checked my email. Seems he figured out the problem and didn't need my help after all. So, I head back downtown ... and spilled my coffee down the front of me.

It's not even 10:00 in the morning. If my "luck" continues, I'll be in a body cast by tonight!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Re-Purposed Flower Vase

Thing 2 and her fiance bought me flowers in a pretty vase for Mother's Day. She thought the vase looked like something I would enjoy using after the flowers were gone ... and she was right!

I used the vase to hold my dish washing wand for a while, but I wasn't really satisfied with it, so the vase sat empty on my counter top while I pondered what to use it for and where to put it. And then it hit me! I've always hated having a box of tissues on the counter top in the kitchen, but wanted tissues handy ... so I turned it into a tissue dispenser. Not only am I satisfied, I'm delighted!!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Orange Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

At first it was cute, but the more you look at it, the creepier it gets!

It's like half squirrel, half snake, and half caterpillar. (Yes, I know there are too many halves there.)

It turns into a pretty butterfly, but the caterpillar itself is cringe-worthy!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Gladys is a Grandma

Her daughter, Agnes, has lots babies ... with more on the way! (You can click on a picture to enlarge them.)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Celebrity Takes a Break

A celebrity, who shall remain nameless, has announced he/she is taking a break to deal with anxiety and depression stemming from a disease he/she has. He/she is hoping that by sharing his/her struggles, others with this disease will be encouraged to address their own issues.

While this person does have a legitimate, serious, chronic medical condition, I fail to see how sharing his/her struggles from one of his/her mansions or exotic locations around the world will encourage others with this disease.

Celebrities, especially young ones, seem to forget the rest of the world doesn't have millions of dollars at their disposal to bankroll a year long vacation to "work on me". Most people get three to four weeks of vacation a year, and very few can afford to spend that time at a five-star resort or hire a full staff to attend to their needs at home. Heck, parents of young children consider going to the bathroom alone a vacation!

I know this celebrity has health issues to address, and taking time off is a good thing. I don't begrudge him/her that, but if he/she thinks taking a year or two off work is going to in any way encourage "regular" people suffering the same disease, he/she is delusional!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Media Bias

A retired policeman, Steven Eckel, saved a baby trapped in a hot car by smashing the window with a sledgehammer. When he was interviewed, he wore a "Trump 2016" t-shirt, which the media (HLN) blurred out. This, by the way, is the same network that cancelled Dr. Drew's show after he admitted he had serious concerns about the health of Hilary Clinton.

I realize the word "Trump" is offensive to liberals, but it's not an offensive word, and those who support him have the right to wear his t-shirts wherever they want without fear of visual censorship ... just like Hilary supporters. If the media doesn't want to be accused of bias, perhaps they shouldn't make their intolerance to opposing viewpoints so obvious.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Apparently, SEC Football Starts Tonight

I had to Google 'SEC football' to know what SEC is (it's Southeastern Conference). I know several men who live and breathe football, but I've never dated one ... nor have I ever wanted to! I don't mind someone having a hobby or having a show or two they have to watch each week, but football is on all the time! I don't know enough about football to enjoy watching it, and I really don't care if I never know more than I currently do.

Here is what I know about football:
  1. The quarterback either throws or catches the ball.
  2. There is a position called a tight end.
  3. When you get the ball, you get four downs. If you go ten yards on your first down, you get another one.
  4. You get six points for a touchdown and one point for kicking it through the goal posts.
  5. There are four quarters.
  6. And, lastly, the last 45 seconds of the game lasts about an hour and a half!
Many, many years ago I was at some party where a football game was on. It could have been the Super Bowl, but I really don't know. Anyway, I was trying to watch the game and understand what was going on, so I asked a few questions. One guy looked at me and said, "Quit trying to play the dumb blonde. No one can be that stupid!"

"Au contraire!" I told him. "Someone "that stupid" is standing right here!"

If he thought I was stupid because I know so little about about football, I guess it's a good thing we weren't watching rugby. My complete knowledge of rugby is as follows:
  1. They can use their hands and their feet to move the ball. 
  2. They wear shorts. That's it.
Honestly, I know as much as I really care to about sports. If I ever want to know more, I ask a questions. If I encounter someone who tries to belittle me for asking a question, I suddenly lose interest in knowing the answer.

For the record, I have no problem being smarter than someone, and I have never played dumb to make a boy/man feel smart ... on any subject. I don't consider knowing lot about sports to be a sign of intelligence, so no one can make me feel stupid for not knowing something about it. To me, knowledge about sports is trivia, akin to "Did the groundhog see his shadow in 2013?"

The moral of the story fella's, is when a girl asks questions about sports, she's not necessarily flirting! Chances are, as in my case, she's asking because she wants to know the answer. However, if she's giggling and twirling her hair, she's playing you. Good news for you though ... if she's stupid enough to play dumb for you, you've got a pretty good shot at going home with her after the game!

A couple of years back, Thing 2 and a friend (a girl) were watching rugby when I got home from work. I looked at her, in all sincerity, and asked, "Why are you watching sports if no one is making you?!!!"

She replied, "We like rugby!"

Completely baffled, I looked at them and I said, "Oh, uh, um ... okay."