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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Rising River

The river is expected to crest here tonight at 44.3'. The last flood most residents remember was in 1997, when the river crested at 47.52'. It doesn't compare to the devastation of the 1937 flood, when the river crested at 54.74', but I'll get to that later. (Click on any picture to enlarge.)

Here is what the river looks like now ...

Contrast that to what it looks like when the river is not at flooding its boundaries. You can put the height of the levee into perspective by looking at the size of the people and cars compared to the levee.

Below is another picture of the river right now. The picture is a little deceiving. It looks as though the water has overtaken the city, but the water is actually being held at bay by the flood walls, and the buildings pictured are not in any immediate danger.

Even though the water would have to rise significantly to breech the levee and flood walls, the city elected to erect the removable flood walls ... just in case the river crests higher than expected.

In Kentucky, just across the bridge, a herd of deer were photographed crossing a flooded road. Officials on both sides of the river have warned drivers to be particularly cautious when driving towards the bridges. The deer can no longer cross under them, so they are crossing the highway ... a recipe for disaster if one is driving too fast or not paying close attention.

In 1937, the river crested at 54.74'. Much of the city was underwater. Long before the water gets that high, areas outside the levee system are flooded, and roads are impassable ... especially in "the bottoms".

The 1937 flood was historic not only in the height of the river and the damage, but also because of the duration. There were few other metropolitan areas that suffered greater loss, but despite being among the hardest hit, there were no drownings in the entire county.

Below is a video about the flooding here in 1937. Several people who lived through the flood are interviewed, giving their perspective of the pain of losing everything they owned to the inconvenience at having to continually move to keep ahead of the rising waters. It's eleven minutes in length, and very interesting ... and filled with incredible vintage footage of the flood.

After the 1937 flood, the city began building a levee system to keep the flood waters from ravaging the city ever again. This town has a bad habit of undertaking major projects with blinders on. Their design often defies logic ... particularly when it comes to building new roads. Rather than designing new road projects which will handle the growing traffic in the coming years, they build a road for the traffic pattern now. Depending on how long it takes to complete the project, it's often insufficient for the traffic flow when it's finally completed. The city is then forced to spend thousands, and often times millions of dollars, to fix the deficits of the original project. Sometimes the remodeling of newly opened roads starts before they can even take down the orange cones from the original, years-long construction! Those of us who live here find that beyond frustrating. Not only are we inconvenienced twice as long, taxpayers are forced to fund yet another project to fix the inefficient and poorly thought out design. Many of these design flaws are due to cutting corners and "trying to save the taxpayer dollars", but if you have to fund a project multiple times, you've wasted a lot more than you've saved.

The levee system, however, is the only project the city has ever undertaken where they did the job correctly from the beginning. The original levee has been improved over the years as newer technologies became available, but it's truly the only project where the officials did what was necessary, at great expense, to do the job right.

Below are a vintage few pictures of the flood.

Riverside Drive 1937.
Riverside Drive and Main Street, 1937.

An alternate view of Riverside Drive, 1937.

A man awaits rescue, 1937.

An areal view of the 1937 flood.
Even though the levee keeps most of the city safe, low-lying areas are still prone to flooding, as are those who live in areas with inadequate sewers. The city is fixing those ... slowly. Even those who don't have to worry about water reaching their homes, the recent rains have saturated the ground and basements are becoming swimming pools. I've overheard horror stories of strangers and read posts on Facebook of friends who are battling major water levels in their basement. A lot of people ignore "High Water" signs and repeated warnings by officials not to drive into water-covered roadways. As a result, they end up losing their vehicle and endangering the life of rescue personnel. Tragically, one elderly man accidentally drove his car into a lake and drowned the other day.

No place is completely flood proof, but our levee system has made sure that the catastrophic flood of 1937 will never be repeated ... but caution and common sense is still advised.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Saturday Babies

When my kids were little, I drank a lot of coffee from their Little Tykes Country Kitchen. (I purchased the exact same kitchen for my grandbabies a couple of years ago ... you can see it here.)

Last Saturday, my oldest grandson was playing with his little sister's tea party set. The praise he got after handing me my first cup of coffee was enough to keep it coming all day long! Sometimes I got one of the plastic cakes that came with the tea set and sometimes just coffee. When his mom and Nana came to pick him up, I told him he should let them taste his wonderful coffee. He made sure they both got several cups of coffee for the road. 

I drank invisible coffee and ate plastic food for many thousands of hours when my kids were little ... and I've missed the sweet innocence and happiness on their faces when they delivered another plate of food and fresh coffee ... so Saturday was fun!!

My sweet little granddaughter, playing with her Little People House. I love watching these babies play! 

I'm going to have to bring the Country Kitchen up from the basement for the babies to play with, but I'm not sure where to put it! I'll figure it out ... those sweet babies need a kitchen :)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Billy Graham ... Nov. 7, 1918 - Feb. 21, 2018

One of the world’s most Godly of men, Billy Graham, died yesterday at the age of 99. He was married to his college sweetheart, Ruth for almost 64 years (she died in 2007). I remember her giving an interview once, although I can’t remember the year.

She was asked, “In all these years, did you ever think of divorce?”

Her reply was memorable. “Divorce, no. Murder, yes.”

When I told my oldest daughter that Billy Graham had died she was as sad as I was. She, I remember you taking us to see him and telling us that this might be the only time we get to see him in person because he was in bad health.”

I don’t remember that (how can I NOT remember that!), but she said she remembers it vividly. It was a long time ago and I remember you were trying to get us to cooperate because we were NOT interested in sitting there listening and not doing anything. I specifically remember the importance in your voice telling me how important he is and how much you wanted to listen to him speak.”

Those do sound like words I would speak, but for the life of me, I can’t remember seeing him in person … but I guess I did. And I’m very glad I took my kids.

Billy Graham was a good man by anyone’s standards. Anyone, that is, except for William Martin at the Washington Post who, rather than talk about all of the good, selfless things this man did with his life, he wrote an article entitled “Divorce, drugs, drinking: Billy Graham’s children and their absent father”.

Like in all families, the Graham children had their moments of rebellion, but they have all grown up to be fine individuals. They are all Christians, proud to be part of his legacy, and are involved in the ministry he founded ... Billy Graham Evangelical Association.

As kids and young adults, we are all guilty of speaking half-truths (and sometimes outright lies) about our parents. Mr. Martin must have had a file of everything of his kids/grandkids ever did or said … just waiting for the moment he died so that he could do his best to slander a good man’s memory. I'm guilty of saying unkind things about my father at some point, too ... I'm just grateful my dad wasn't famous and that Mr. Martin doesn't have a file of all of the things my brothers and sisters and I ever said about our parents when we were angry at them or upset that we didn't get our way.

Even if you aren’t a Christian, you can’t deny Billy Graham was a good man. A man who gave of himself, at great sacrifice to himself and his family, to preach the word of God to the world and bring people to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

You don’t have to agree with Billy Graham's theology to see that he was sincere in his faith, trying to live a Godly life, and to be an example of the Lord's grace and goodness to others. I’m sure he had his failings as a man, a preacher, a husband, and a father … but I don’t think it was from lack of desire to be the man God called him to be, but because he is, after all, human. Regardless of how faithful we are, we all have failings and shortcomings ... even a great man like Billy Graham.

The difference between him and most of humanity (I by no means put myself in the same class of faith as this man), is that when he hurt someone or he fell short of who he thought God wanted him to be, he repented. He didn’t just repent … he faithfully repented. I tend to think of him as a modern-day David … a man after God’s own heart. David is a perfect example of how one can be guilty of horrendous sins and still be profoundly devout in his faith ... because he was genuinely sorry when he sinned. Unlike a lot of people, David wasn't sorry that he got caught ... he was sorry he had sinned.

Anyone can say they are sorry and promise to do better, but unless you follow that up with actions, “I’m sorry” has no meaning.

The point is, you don’t have to live a perfect, sinless life to be a good man … you just have to be genuinely sorry when you fail ... and you have to strive to do better and to not repeat the same mistakes.

And he did.

I’m am truly heartbroken that Billy Graham has passed on, but oh so happy for him! After a lifetime of service and years in an aging, failing body that caused him pain, he is finally home. He is once again holding the hand of his beloved Ruth. The physical and emotional pain he lived with on earth is over. His soul is at peace. I have no doubt that when he stood in the presence of the Lord yesterday, he heard what all Christians long to hear …

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another School Shooting ... Another Round of Gun Control Arguments

Every time I hear of another school shooting, I’m filled with sadness. I can’t imagine the horror those kids went through, nor can I imagine the unbearable pain of burying one of my children. As I’m wracked with grief for those affected, my mind also contemplates the calls for gun control that I know will come sooner rather than later.

I don’t understand how anyone can think gun control will stop this kind of thing. If someone is willing to skirt the law against murder, do you think a little thing like gun control will stop them? Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the country … and the highest gun violence rate.

Gun control will only stop law-abiding citizens from having access to firearms. I don’t have a clue as to how to buy a gun on the streets, but rest assured … criminals do.

Obama preached gun control, but he sent his daughters to a private school with heavily armed security guards, not including their own personal Secret Service Officers. The security guards at that school weren’t there for the President’s kids, they were always there. Obama will be protected by the Secret Service for the rest of his life ... at taxpayers expense. Free secret service protection had historically been limited to ten years, but Obama changed that to "free for life" when he was in office.

So, while he's pushing for stricter gun control for everyone else, he makes sure he's protected ... and it won't cost him one cent.

Armed police check for contraband at concerts, sporting events, and courthouses, to name a few, but we’ve made having armed protection for our children against the law. It is a felony to bring a gun or knife into a school. Where I live, until recently, it was a felony to leave your gun in the trunk of your car on school property or to have a gun lawfully in your possession when on school property, even if it was just to drop off your child in front of the school.

The sad truth is that someone wanting to kill a lot of people at one time specifically target schools. Why? Because they know there is no one there with a gun to stop them. All it takes to stop a bad person with a gun is one good person with a gun.

The Second Amendment was written to ensure that Americans can protect themselves … against anyone who poses a threat, including … and particuarlly… a threat from the government.

Because we are free and have so many rights, we forget must of history. Before we won our independence from England, they made sure the colonists didn’t have firearms against the armed British soldiers. When American’s did procure arms, they couldn’t buy gun powder. That, too, was by design. We ended up stealing gun powder from the British.

Hitler first made everyone register their weapons. Harmless, right? Not necessarily, as it wasn’t long before those guns were confiscated. When the SS began to systematically terrorize Germans, and Jews in particular, civilians were helpless.

Do I really think we'll descent into that kind of madness? No ... but neither did the Germans.

So many American’s seem to forget that giving up one liberty at a time can end with giving up our freedoms altogether. It’s like the frog who was boiled to death … the heat was turned up a little at a time. He never saw it coming.

As of 2016 (the latest statistics I could find), American now ranks 23rd in the world for freedom. 23rd!!! Between the Snowflake Generation and our narrowing list of freedoms, how much longer will be honestly be able to sing "O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Free speech is under attack from people so delicate they get offended if anyone voices an opinion that doesn’t match their own. We are Americans. We aren’t clones. We all think differently, and that’s a good thing! If everyone were just like me, we wouldn’t have put a man on the moon, and we’d still be walking everywhere or riding horses. We wouldn’t have air conditioning or indoor plumbing or microwaves. People are different for a reason.

Whether you like it or not, our founding fathers saw the need to specifically clarify the fact that American citizens have the right to own guns. More laws won’t affect gun violence, and less guns in the hands of good people will only increase gun deaths.

The reason every madman with a gun was stopped was because of a good man (woman) with a gun … or the threat that the good guys were coming. If schools had armed police or ex-military ... or teachers trained to use a gun to carry on campus, school shootings would be a thing of the past. It's really sad that things have come to this, but that's the sad reality of the world we now live in.

Guns aren’t the only thing used to kill. Cars, fertilizer, fireworks, even pressure cookers have been used to cause mass casualties, but no one is threatening to ban of those things. And if we did? Well, they’d just start using knives … or swords … or even something innocent they could fashion into a killing device.

I want guns in the hands of ordinary citizens! I prefer to be with someone who carries. I feel safer. I know that if someone would open fire on a crowd, that person (legally carrying) will do whatever it takes to stop them.

Guns in the hands of a people trained in their use can stop an attack from turning into a massacre. We all have smoke detectors in our homes and workplaces, as well as fire extinguishers. We aren't intended to fight the fire ourselves, but those things give us a chance to get out or put out a small fire. The police are there to protect us. They can't be everywhere ... but legally armed citizens can be.

Gun control will not save lives and guns will never be completely removed from our society. Gun control will only succeed in keeping guns away from law-abiding citizens … not criminals.

Why is that so hard to understand?????

Monday, February 19, 2018

This Week's Breakfasts, Lunches, and Snacks

For breakfast (surprise, surprise), I'm having greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and blueberries. Lunch is herb crusted wood-grilled salmon, a dark greens and spinach side salad with two boiled eggs and roasted garlic avocado oil dressing (which is good enough to drink!). Snacks are a chocolate and/or cinnamon roll protein bar, a banana, and tangerines.

It's a light on veggies, but that will be made up with the red/green smoothie and sauteed veggies for dinner. If I'm still hungry, I'll have a protein smoothie. It tastes amazing ... like a vanilla milkshake.

This is more than enough to fuel my day and any exercise I choose. Aside from grilling the salmon, it took no time at all to assemble. I won't have to worry about what to fix/eat/pack for breakfast and lunch all week. I eat much healthier when it's all prepared and ready to go. Luckily, I don't get tired of eating the same thing every day ... evidenced by the fact that I have eaten the same breakfast every day for as long as I can remember!

I thank myself multiple times a day when I take the time to prep my meals. Having healthy food and snacks at my fingertips keeps me from visiting the vending machine for chocolate or picking up fast food ... so my heart, my pants, and my wallet thank me, too!

Herb crusted wood-grilled salmon. It is SOOOOO good!
What I'll pack each day.
Breakfast is loaded with protein It's very filling and extremely tasty!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

My Window to the (Morning) World

The view out my bathroom window is the first glimpse I have of the outside world each morning. I am treated to spectacular sunrises, ice or snow covered branches, thunderstorms, brilliant sunshine, and the occasional foggy landscape.

Once I catch a glimpse of outside, I always have to investigate further, getting right up on the window to admire the beauty. I am blessed to have woods surrounding two sides of my home, and it's not uncommon for me to see a deer (or two) lounging outside my bedroom window. As long as I don't spook them, they will stay there for hours ... munching on foliage or just taking a rest. One of my postings, in July of 2016, showcased a pair of deer (you can see the photo's here).

I've also had woodpeckers close enough to touch (you can see those photo's here). I even saw a red fox once (read about that here). That was cool! It is always a treat to see birds and animals so close to my house, but looking at weather phenomenon is just as wonderful.

This morning, I woke up to a world of fog. Once I saw the fog out my bathroom window, I had to take a picture out my bedroom window and of the woods in back. My woods have given me countless hours of pleasure ... from working in it, to enjoying the birds and animals, to photographing its beauty in various weather conditions. Buying this house was the best decision I ever made.

My back yard.
The view from my bedroom window.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

He Had No Idea

As he intently worked on his grandson's toy, Mr. Anti-Cat had no idea that Shiloh was hiding in the plant behind him, silently watching his every move ...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Dream Job

Cadbury has four openings for one “Chocolate & Cocoa Beverage Taster” and three “Chocolate Tasters”. That's right ... they will pay you to eat/drink chocolate! The downside is that it is in the UK, which would make for a rather long commute for me. Still, it's tempting ... free chocolate and benefits might just be worth jumping across the pond!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Cars 3 Was a Hit

My youngest grandson spent the day with me one day snowy last week. He came on a brutally cold morning ... in a muscle shirt! (That's what happens when my daughter lets her husband pick out the babies clothes.) My kids looked the Ralphie's little brother (in A Christmas Story) when I took them anywhere in the winter. Men don't get cold like women, so it never occurred to him the little guy need a warmer shirt! In his defense, his car seat has a very warm, fluffy liner/cover that would keep him toasty from head to toe in Siberia even if he were naked. So it wasn't a tragedy ... just unusual.

My son-in-law is a BIG car guy. He lives and breathes cars. They are his true passion. Lucky for me, he will work on my vehicle at the asking. There is no telling how much money he has saved me. I am so grateful for him. 

I turned on Cars 3 for my little grandson yesterday. It turns out cars aren't just the passion of his daddy... this little guy was mesmerized! I told my son-in-law that he was definitely his son!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Fireplace at my old Alma Mater

When I was in high school, this room was the Concert Choir room. It's now the "Community Room". If I had a choice, I'd remove the carpet and expose the original hardwood flooring underneath. But even with the ugly carpet, this is a beautiful room.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My To-Do List Just Got Longer

Projects 1, hanging the ceiling fan in my bedroom, and Project 2, stripping, staining and varnishing the wooden chairs for my grandbabies has been on my list for months ... but Project 3, an outdoor shed, and Project 4, a swingset for the babies, just arrived this week.

I can tackle Project 1 anytime, but Projects 2, 3, and 4 will have to wait until the weather warms up ... and Projects 3 and 4 will require help. I also will need help creating a play area with landscape timbers and truckloads of mulch. Any guesses on who I'm going to recruit?!

Before I make the play area, however, I've got to remove the stumps from all of the tress I cut down last year. I don't want to hire a stump grinder because that's expensive and most of the stumps are relatively small ... some are likely too small to use a stump grinder on anyway! But, I've done some researching and know how I can do it myself.

Luckily, I don't mind having a long to-do list. In fact, I prefer it. Every time I finish a big project, I'm thrilled and happy and proud ... but worried if I don't have another big project lined up. I need to have something to do. I have a hard time just sitting and watching tv. Even when I do, I'll have my ipad reading the news, I'll be tweaking my to-do list, and/or making a grocery list. I need to be doing something .... even something as mundane as cleaning out closets and drawers, mopping and sweeping, or making lists. Rather than filling me with dread, big projects excite me!

Until it warms up, I can't start the really big projects ... I'll just have to continue standing at my kitchen window, looking out into my backyard mournfully with anxious anticipation ... chomping at the bit for the weather to turn pretty enough to allow me the opportunity to get to work.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks for the Week

I almost always bring my lunch during the winter because I'd rather starve than go out in the cold, and I almost always fix them the night before. This week, however, I decided to tackle it in one day. It's nice to have that chore out of the way!

This week I'm having greek yogurt with cottage cheese and a cup of blueberries for breakfast. I only prepared four because I left one in the fridge at work Friday (because that's also what I've eaten for breakfast almost every day for years!). Lunch is a southwestern salad of dark greens, spinach, black beans, cherry tomatoes, green onions, and ginger/turmeric chicken ... topped with a homemade avocado dressing. I made an extra one and had it for lunch yesterday, and it was delicious!

For snacks, I made delicious, super-moist, very healthy pumpkin muffins. To round things off, I'll throw in a oranges, bananas, lemon fiber brownies, a protein bars, and oatmeal-raisin granola bars (because I've only got one protien bar on hand). I'll eat the snacks throughout the day, saving some for before and after I hit the gym. A green and red smoothie (that looks disgusting but tastes amazing) and a protein shake (that tastes like a decadent milk shake), my beloved lemon/ginger/honey tea (instead of coffee), and a packet of Emergen-C Vitamin C Immune Booster (added to water at work) round out the daily offerings.


If I get bored eating the same thing everyday, I'll just suffer through and shake it up some next week. I can't imagine being hungry for dinner if I eat all of this food each day, so I didn't bother prepping dinner for the week. If I find myself hungry after work, I'll whip up a quick omelet, and I'll plan accordingly in the future.