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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

I Can't Believe 2016 is Over at Midnight

Until I sat down at my computer, I didn't realize what day it was. As usual, I'm not making any resolutions. It's not that I don't keep any resolutions, because anything I truly want to change or do better, I'm already working on.

All I really want, as every New Year's Eve/Day approaches, is that the coming year be one free of tragedy.No year is free of pain and sorrow, but some years are definitely worse than others!

I'm okay with my life ... things could be better, but they could also be worse. I always hope for the best and pray for strength during the worst. I've endured some tough times in the past, but I've also had some wonderful highs.

This year, the highlight was welcoming my second grandchild, a sweet, pretty little baby girl. She's still tiny and cuddly and immobile, so snuggling is her favorite pastime which is fine with me. Rocking those babies or playing with them makes my heart sing. Listening to them jabber and watching them grow is such a pleasure, and seeing their little faces light up when I smile at them fills me with supreme happiness!

I don't have everything I dreamed of as a child, but I've got the things that count. And that's more than enough. All in all, I'm pretty happy and looking forward to 2017 ... and I hope you are, too!

Friday, December 30, 2016

My (Temporary) Dining Room

I'm currently in the process of staining/sealing the top of the island, so it's off limits for eating until it's done. I've always thought the top was too light, but I planned on getting a larger top made and didn't want to waste the time and effort to stain and seal it. I'm not sure when I'm going to get around to getting a larger top made, so I finally bit the bullet and stained it this morning. It needs several coats of varnish, and I won't have a chance to start the sealing process until Sunday, so I'll be eating on a tv table for a week or so. I don't mind ... the darker stain is worth a little inconvenience!

Before ...
(taken while we were still moving in)

After ...
(but before any varnish)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Multitasking ...

Sometimes it's hard to decide if you want to read a pile of books or play your xylophone ... so why not do both?!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

To Kill a Mockingbird Banned

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain have been banned by a school district in Virginia after one parent ... of a high school-aged son ... was traumatized by the use of racial slurs in the novels. I have never read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but I have read To Kill a Mockingbird. And it is one of my favorite books of all time.

Around here, To Kill a Mockingbird is required reading in all the high schools. My kids all had to read it, but they already knew what would happen. They were all in elementary school when I read the book. As soon as I finished reading it, I rented the movie. (Keep in mind this was back in the olden days, before you could watch every movie ever made online.)

I wanted my kids to know what this book was about. It wasn't about the n-word peppered throughout the book, it was about one man, Atticus Finch, who fought for justice and defended an innocent black man. The moral of the story isn't how many times the n-word was said ... the moral of the story is that you need to do what is right, even against all odds, and even when everyone else despises you and tries to harm you for doing so.

One line in the book gave me shivers. It was when the Scout and Jem watched the trial from the balcony with the town blacks. By the time the trial was over, the kids were exhausted, watching from between the balcony spindles. The courtroom is empty, save for Atticus and the blacks in the balcony. After Atticus finishes packing his briefcase, he starts walking out of the courtroom. As he does, one of the blacks sitting by Scout and Jem tell them, "Stand up children. Your father's passing."

Both of these novels are historically accurate in their speech. I can't speak for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but I do know that the moral of the story of To Kill a Mockingbird and the lesson it teaches reaches beyond one offensive word. In fact, it wouldn't be as effective had they not used the word.

Snowflake is an appropriate word to describe the young generation. They are so fragile and easily broken that they need crayons and Lego's and therapy dogs when something offends them or they don't get their way. It is a parents job to protect their children, but it's also their job to prepare them for life in the real world. Shielding them from every disappointment and rewarding them with trophies they didn't earn sets them up for even more disappointment when their mediocre efforts are no longer enough. They expect a reward regardless of whether or not they've earned one.

When I was growing up, you got a trophy or ribbon for first, second, and third place, and occasionally, for 4th place as "special mention. If you wanted to be rewarded, you'd have to work harder and do a better job next time. Those rewards, or lack thereof, taught us that hard work and dedication are the way to achieve success. Sometimes those awards were peer-voted, merely a popularity contest. Those awards taught us that life isn't always fair ... because it isn't. Those experiences prepared us for the real world. We were taught to dream and reach high. We were taught that if you fail, get up and try again. When we misbehaved, we were spanked ... not beaten ... spanked ... at home, at school, and even at another kid's house. Those spankings were the consequence of our actions. It doesn't take too long, for most, to learn to behave. We didn't wilt or give up. We strove to do better.

Today's Snowflakes don't want the world to be unfair. They don't want anyone to think or act or talk differently than they do ... and it offends them, sometimes to the point of legal litigation, if someone does. The parents of Snowflakes have failed at the most important task given to them.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that To Kill a Mockingbird has been banned ... but it does. Everyone is so worried about damaging the psyche of these delicate beings that they bend and knuckle under every time one of them pouts. The world shouldn't revolve around their tender feelings just because their parents failed to teach them how to lose with dignity or accept differing opinions.

My kids, I'm happy to say, are not Snowflakes. I didn't allow them to be disrespectful to me, each other, or anyone else. I didn't rush in and save them from every consequence ... and that is a very hard thing for a parent to do. I didn't force them to be the best, but I encouraged them to give their best and have fun trying. I held them when they cried and I gave them advice. They aren't perfect, and they've had their share of failures and disappointments. And I've always been there to comfort them and tell them what to do for a better tomorrow ... and it never involved litigation.

I was strict, but not mean. I live by the rules of the world and I expected them to live by those rules, too ... I didn't expect the world to change because my kids got their feelings hurt.

Right now, it's just one school district in Virginia who has banned two pieces of classic literature. I expect many more school districts to follow. And, sadly, I expect the list of banned literature to grow until children are taught nothing but fairy tales and the parts of history that are pleasant.

Be warned, as a wise man once said, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

For Your Christmas Viewing Pleasure

Who needs to watch Charlie Brown or It's a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story on Christmas Day when you can watch Top Ten Worst Tornadoes and Why Planes Crash! Thank you Weather Channel!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Imagine My Surprise ...

When I found a picture of my office, taken from a blog post I wrote back in March called "From the World's Smallest Bedroom ...", on a website for "Home Living Now - Form Designs, Styles, and Tricks". The photo of my office was included in an image gallery for "Genius Smallest Bedrooms Imageries".

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Now THIS is My Idea of a White Christmas!

I'll take white sand, too, but fog works.
Basically, I'll take anything white ... except snow!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday Daddy!

My father would be 100 years old today. Obviously, my parents were older ... they were about the age of my friend's grandparents. I never gave it too much thought though, since my friend's parents seemed "old", too. Not as old as mine, but old nonetheless.

Daddy was ridiculously hard to buy for, made doubly hard by his birthday being on Christmas Eve. So, every year he got shirts, ties, and green Mennen aftershave. I'll bet he only bought one bottle of aftershave in his life ... the rest were given to him on his birthday/Christmas ... and were enough to last him until his next birthday.

It's hard to believe Daddy has been gone for almost 31 years. While he was no Ward Cleaver, he did his best to raise all of us kids. We had a nice home, lots of toys, new clothes, plentiful food, and a warm bed to sleep in every night.

After Daddy died, my mom decided to sell the house and moved into an apartment. The house sat empty for about a year. Every once in a while, I'd go by the house after work. I'd walk around the house, looking for something of "Daddy" to take. I could never find anything. Then it dawned on me ... Daddy was the house, Mama was everything inside. Daddy was the one who kept us warm and safe and well-provided for. Mama made life comfy. It saddened me to realize there was nothing inside for me to keep that was "him".

I think about my father a lot, but never more so than during the Christmas season, and especially on Christmas Eve. I remember Daddy driving us four little kids around on Christmas Eve to look for Santa's sleigh. My mother always stayed home ... to take a bath. I was always perplexed that she would take a bath at that time! She knew we'd be going out to look for Santa's sleigh ... couldn't she be proactive and take a bath in the morning or something?

Daddy always saw Santa's sleigh, but none of us kids ever did. Eventually we would give up and go home ... to discover Santa had came while we were gone. A little obvious now, but we fell for it every year. Mama would hand out the gifts and Daddy would walk around with a trash bag picking up all the wrapping paper and boxes.

I can still see all eight of us kids in the living room opening gifts, wrapping paper flying through the air like a tornado was whirling through the room. At the end, as the last of the paper floated to the floor, there would be a collection of green Mennen bottles next to Daddy and he'd smile and thank us like we had given him a new Cadillac.

As I watched my own kids opening gifts when they were little, I felt a bit like my father ... walking around with a trash bag, collecting boxes and wrapping paper. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!. Thank you for all you did ... and all you sacrificed ... to give us kids a comfortable life.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

If Olivia Was Ever Near a Navitivy Scene

This isn't Olivia, but it looks just like her. It acts just like her, too. I can totally see Olivia booting baby Jesus from the manger because she ants to lay there!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Gladys is So Confused!

A few months back I turned Gladys around so that she would grow bushy on the side away from the window. Then I bought a new table to put her on. Then I put her in my office so that the Christmas tree could have her coveted spot in the front window. So, there she sits, in my office, trying to figure out which way to tell her leaves to lean for the most light ... and in a week or so, I'll take the tree down and will be moving her back into the living room. The bad part of moving her is that she quits making flowers when she's stressed, and all this moving is causing her to have a nervous breakdown! Luckily, by summer she'll have forgotten the chaos of Christmas and will once again be covered in pretty little goldfish.

Monday, December 19, 2016

My Life Recently Has Been One Looooooong Monday Morning


When I drove to Missouri to pick up the play kitchen for my grandkids (to play with once they are old enough), I noticed the heat was coming out of the vents up front, even though I had it turned off. Later I realized that I couldn't turn the heat on and off up front, but it came out when I drove. The faster I drove, the more the heat came out. The back of the van had heat, but not the front. I could live with that, even though it was pretty cold, but I didn't have a defroster in the front, and that concerned me. I was told it would be $500-$800 to fix, that the whole dashboard had to be pulled out, etc. I decided to just try and live with it a little longer.


Saturday morning I picked up my grandbabies for my family Christmas. When I put my grandson in the back, the blower was blowing cold air. "Great", I thought. "Now I don't have any heat at all!"

My son-in-law looked at my van. The part I needed was $18. He had to pull out the glove box, but not the entire dash. I was also very low on anti-freeze. I now have heat, front and back, and can control where the heat goes ... feet, windshield, etc. I only have one setting for how hard it blows in the front, but it's pretty high, so I can live with that.

After picking up the babies, my gas light came on. I was almost on empty, but I couldn't stop for gas because I lost my debit card last week. I called the bank as soon as I noticed it. The last charge was from me, so it hadn't been used (yet). They cancelled that card and said I would receive a new one in 7-10 business days. I haven't received my new card yet, so I hoped I had enough gas to get to work, then the bank, and then the gas station on Monday.


During the winter, I always open my garage door and let the van warm up for a bit before I have to go anywhere. I have a spare garage door opener in my room and my van has a remote starter. I can hear the door open and close from my bedroom, but when I attempted to open the door this morning, it wouldn't budge. I called my bosses to let them know I'd be late, then I called in the cavalry. The door was frozen shut. As soon as he broke the "seal", the door opened. However, the opener in my car won't close it. The car opener opens it, it just won't close it ... another oddity I'll have to live around for a while!).  Fortunately, the button on the wall works, so ... after I drove out of the garage, I went back inside to close the door, then left through the back door. Quite handy!

My gas light was still on (the gas fairies never visit me!), and I wasn't sure how much longer I had before I ran out of gas entirely. The windchill this morning was 0°, so this in not a good morning to find out how low the gas gauge can go before I'm stranded on the side of the road. The van ran quite a bit over the weekend when they were working on the heat both Saturday and Sunday. Since I can't get any money out of my account until the bank opens, I raided my change, and bought $10 of gas on the way to work ... in quarters.

I would ask "What else could happen?" ... but I won't ... because I don't want to know what else can happen!!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

My First Fireplace Fire

I've lived in this house for 15 months, but I've never had a fire in the fireplace. I didn't want to use the fireplace until I had it inspected and/or clean, and given the go-ahead. Unfortunately, the only time I thought about it was in the evening or on the weekends, so a chimney guy was never called.

Finally, it's been inspected. The fireplace didn't need any repairs and it didn't need cleaning ... so I got to build my first fire. The intention was to have a fire during the my family Christmas, but the weather God's gave us an unusually warm December 17th. (I'm not complaining ... I'm fine with temps close to 70° in the winter!).

The temperature began falling throughout late afternoon and early evening, and by the time everyone had left and the house was "mostly" back in order, it was cold enough for a fire. We sat on the sofa, cuddling and talking as the fire crackled until it was time to go to bed.

It's frigid outside today, so I put on a pot of coffee, then started another fire. I know fireplaces don't put out much heat, but it just feels warmer to see a fire and hear it crackle.

And now for the family members that couldn't come yesterday, here are some of the photo's I took. I'm guessing Facebook and Instagram will be filled with the photo's everyone else took. This house less than half the size of my old one, but we made it work!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Done ... For Now

Last night I made five more prints for the collage ...

The center image ...

and the four small prints next to the monkey print ...

The outside prints started like this ...

and ended up looking like this ... 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mr. Whiskers

Well, this does explain why Mr. Whiskers could leap a tall buildings in a single bound! These pictures don't even come close to showing how long his tail was ... it was huge!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

California is Now Regulating Cow Farts

Cow farts can be regulated? Does it work on humans, too? Because if it does, I want to know how to apply it to my son!

Monday, December 12, 2016

This Isn't Pee

This is the water in our building today. Needless to say, I won't be filling my water bottle at the drinking fountain! Ick!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Pope Says "Spreading Fake News is a sin."

Um ... yeah ... 'cause it's lying!

I'm pretty sure everyone already knew this, even the people who spread fake news. And trust me ... lying isn't the worst sin of the people who knowingly publish fake news.

Friday, December 9, 2016

New Tax on Sugary Soda

This fall, three cities in California and one in Colorado passed a law requiring additional taxes on soda. In California, the tax is 1¢ per ounce, in Boulder, it's 2¢. Several years ago, states enacted a tax on cigarettes. I predicted then that as more people quit smoking, the taxes would just move to something else, and I was proven correct. If the higher taxes on cigarettes prompted people to quit, then that's good. But all the people who thought the tax was a good way to get people to quit faced a double-edged sword when it worked and their cigarette tax cash-cow died. As cigarette tax revenue fell in my hometown, fast food was taxed 1% higher.

There will always be another "sin" to tax, and pretty soon, it's going to hit everyone. Municipalities become dependent on these taxes, so they never go away. I would caution people to be careful what sin tax they vote into law. Today it's cigarettes and soda, something the people in those four cities find disagreeable, but eventually, those taxes will move to something they do approve of. And when they find themselves on the receiving end of those taxes, they won't be very happy.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

I Was Wrong

My sweet little grandson doesn't bother any of the presents, trees, or other decorations. He seems satisfied with simply looking and pointing at them. He's got lots of toys to play with and is too busy enjoying walking around like a human to be worried about all the sparkly stuff Grandma put in her living room!

You can't see it very well, but there is a basket full of toys for my grandson behind the chair. I figured it would be more fun for him to pull his new toys out of a basket rather than have to wait until someone opens them and removes them from the boxes, which often takes wire cutters! So, the toys small enough to fit in the basket are behind a chair he walks by hundreds of times ... and he has no idea!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cotton Candy Day

I don't care how old I get, cotton candy will always be one of my favorite things on earth. I went to the circus last year and we all got a bag of cotton candy. I ate mine, then was asked to hold the cotton candy for a couple of little boys who were too busy with other treats.

Bad decision.

After a while, it became obvious that the little boys weren't going to eat their cotton candy ... so I ate it for them. They had long forgotten about their spun-sugar treat, so I didn't have to apologize to them ... which is good ... because I don't think I could have apologized with even a hint of sincerity!

Let this be a lesson to you ... if you ever take me someplace and tell me to hold onto the cotton candy for you, it won't be too long before I'm holding nothing but a bag.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Unique Christmas Tree

My son-in-law is a BIG car buff ... it he see's this post, I see a very unusual tree in my daughter's future ... and then I'll be in trouble for giving him this idea!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Tree is Up

The kids and I got all Christmas decorations from the basement and decorated yesterday. This house is so much smaller than my old one that I can't decorate like I used to. It doesn't look as "Chrstimasy" as my old one, but the kids have assured me the house looks quite festive. I decided not to put the train under the tree this year ... it's going to be hard enough to keep my little grandson away from the tree. A train circling the tree would be way too much temptation!

The babies will be here today, and I have a feeling my grandson won't even see his toys ... all he will see are the trees. I've had to tell him "no" before, of course, but today will be different ... the trees and ornaments are like flashing neon signs, beckoning tiny hands to touch.

I have a feeling today will be a frustrating and confusing day for little guy. I'm really hoping his mom has put up their tree already, and that he's already been told he can't touch it, but when you're fourteen months old, a sparkling Christmas tree is irresistible. Hopefully I can distract him with tickles, peek-a-boo, songs, and dancing!