Sunday, November 23, 2014

Apple Oh Apple

It's not everyday you see a church with a sense of humor.  This one had me actually doing a U-Turn in traffic to go back and make sure it said what I thought it said... and then, of course, to take a photo to show you.


How's your Sunday?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
Follow me on Twitter:  JoannaJenkins50
On Instagram at jjenkins50
And on Facebook at Joanna Jenkins

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ten Reasons To Love A Maui Vacation


1.  Delta Airlines First Class Cabin:  Thanks to ten years worth of frequent flyer miles we finally were able to "turn left" at the door and entered First Class.  Ahh, what a great place to spend the five hour flight to vacation paradise.

2.  In Maui, we were greeted with gorgeous 84 degree weather for seven straight days.  It only started to rain when we were leaving.  (Yeah for us!)

3.  Westin Maui:  Despite being filled to capacity requiring long waits in lines galore, the staff was outstanding and very friendly with one goal-- To make us happy.  And they did just that!  We were surprised in our room with a bottle of wine and cake for Husband's birthday and a complimentary ocean-side cabana.  You can't beat that.  Oh, and the fish tacos next door at Leilani's were amazing.

4.  Even though it was November, there was not one single Christmas decoration in sight-- Anywhere!  How's THAT for "Not Before Thanksgiving"?!?  No rushing the holidays in paradise.

5.  Every traveler we spoke to was so darn happy to be in Hawaii and not back home where the weather was cold.  It brought the best out in people.

6.  When we got "fresh fished out" we headed to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Lahaina for a big juicy steak.

7.  Husband says the Pina Coladas in Maui, with fresh pineapple garnish, are better than anywhere else in the country.

8.  Fascinating People Watching:  Many, many hotel guests in Maui were rocking tattoos big time.  All ages and shapes from around the globe were showing off their ink and happy to tell you the story behind them... Even when you didn't actually ask.

9.  All you need to pack are bathing suits, tee shirts, shorts and flip flops making traveling light as breeze.

10.  And even though our return flight was delayed due to maintenance issues, Delta Airlines again scored huge points--  During the 90 minute wait, Delta Gate Personnel served warm drinks, sodas and snacks to all the passengers!  In all my years of travel I have NEVER seen that happen before.  Ever.

 
It was a glorious and relaxing week for us.  It's been a very long time since Husband and I took a "real" vacation-- meaning, just the two of us, not work related, with nothing on the agenda except relax and enjoy. Boy did we need it!

Ahh paradise.

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sundays and Social Media


It's not every day you see a potato statue... at a lumber yard in Los Angeles, or anywhere else for that matter.

I suppose maybe the owner is as addicted to potatoes as I am-- Fried, hash browned, baked with gobs of sour cream, roasted or mashed with way too much butter.  I could eat potatoes all day, every day.

Unfortunately... for my hips.



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And... I'm working on figuring out social media, sort of.  You can find me here...

Instagram:  
jjenkins50

Facebook:  
Joanna Jenkins

Twitter:  
JoannaJenkins50

Pinterest: 
Joanna Jenkins 50
(You'll know it's me by my photo.)



How much or little do you use social media?  Do you have a favorite?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Drive Time



Drive time.  Just about everyone does it.

We spend time in our cars getting from one place to another-- To a job and back home again-- To school, shopping or the movies--  To doctors, the post office or the bank--  To really, everywhere we want or need to go.  And if you happen to live in the Los Angeles area like I do, you probably spend way too much time in your car suiting in traffic.  But that's life in paradise-- or your car as the case may be-- in this part of the world.

I've learned to live with the traffic in LA and the time I spend getting to and from.  But today that drive time gave me pause-- to the tune of $125 extra big bucks that my electrician wanted.

I started what was supposed to be a simple installation of a couple of sconces in our dining room.  The price was set and the work began. 

Once the wall was opened up and it was obviously going to be a far more difficult job than anticipated, Mr. Electrician and I renegotiated the price.  His time went from a 3 hour job to an overall 8 hour job.  I understood that and the adjusted price was more than fair.

At the end of the work day, my bill was presented and my check was written with the understanding Mr. Electrician would return next Thursday to do the final hour of work-- Actually attaching the sconces after the painter has patched, sanded and prepared the finished wall.

I have absolutely no doubt that Mr. Electrician would return because of our "connections" so he was paid in full.

Probably my first mistake.  But really, I knew he would come back to finish the job...

Paying him in full is not my problem.

At the end of the much longer than expected work day at my house, Mr. Electrician sent nearly two hours inching along in LA's famous rush hour traffic to get home.

That night I received a call saying that he would return on Thursday as planned however, there would be an extra $125 charge because it takes so long to get to my house!

Seriously?

If his drive had been the anticipated 40 minutes home there would have been no extra charge.  But he spent so much time driving from my house to his-- blah, blah, blah, whine, blah, whine-- that he wanted to charge me for his drive time.

That is absolutely not going to happen.  Period.  He's going to come back on Thursday and install my sconces as contracted with no extra cost.

But what I want to know is--  When did it become acceptable to expect a customer to pay for a contractor/company's drive time?  He's an electrician, not a moving company or a taxi cab.

Am I missing something?

I never got paid to drive to work.  Teachers don't get paid to drive to school.  Police don't get paid to drive to work.  Waitresses don't get drive pay.  My painters don't get drive time pay, neither does my plumber.  

Who the heck thinks they should get paid to actually GET to their job?

Am I missing something?  I want to know.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's a Sign. Seriously.

The neighborhood drama continues on our community website-- I told you about the lemon thief here. 

And now the chatter would be laughable if it weren't so sad.  It all kinda makes me not want to know my neighbors because meanness and pettiness abounds.

Here's the latest example.

Apparently there is a homeless man living in his car a few blocks away from us.  I had no idea he was here but the neighbors on that particular block do and have become friendly with him-- or at least friendly enough to know his name.

Now it seems, after 6 months of "residency", one of the neighbors is upset because the homeless guys' car is leaking transmission fluid on the street and it leaves "an ugly spot on the road" by the side of her house.

The upset neighbor hung signs like this around our 'hood and posted about it on our community website...


And the community website blew up with nasty, nasty comments.  Folks raged about the homeless guy and the upset neighbor's signs. 

Honestly, I would not want a guy living in his car next to my house for six months.  But I would research public services available to help get him off the street--  And I did-- Research options for him after I saw the signs.  Unfortunately once the signs announcing his presence were posted, he moved from the neighborhood and hasn't been seen since.... Which I'm guessing was the upset neighbor's passive aggressive tactic all along.

Good grief.


How's your Sunday going?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Monday, October 6, 2014

I Used To Love Rummage Sales


It was a gigantic fund-raising Rummage Sale like so many others I'd been to...

But it wasn't.  

It was 7 very large rooms of a community center and all the hallways jammed pack with other people's donated "stuff" for sale.

But it wasn't.

It was all meteciously organized and sorted by category so you could easily search out exactly what you were looking for.

But it wasn't.

It was every second-hand shopper's dream sale.

But it wasn't.  Not at all.

Back home recently for a fast weekend of visiting family before the snow flies in Northeast Ohio, my sisters and I stopped by the much anticipated Community Rummage Sale we'd been attending annually for at least 20 years.  This is the mother of all Rummage Sales with more treasures and surprise purchases than any other.  Furniture, kitchenware, linens, pictures, crafts, glassware, you name it...  Truly-- everything you could think of and then some.  We love this sale.

But not this year.

The Rummage Sale is the brainchild of the residents at the senior living community my mom lived in before she passed away nearly 11 months ago.  The "merchandise" is mostly donated by residents when they are downsizing to move into new houses or apartments on the senior campus.

It's generally all the stuff that new residents either can't fit into their new home, stuff their family members don't want or need, or items they simply no longer desire.  It's all donated for a good cause and everyone feels really good about passing their belongings on because the funds raised go to help seniors in need.

But it's not.

And by "not" I mean it's not just stuff donated when new residents are downsizing to move into the senior living community.  It's also all the stuff donated by families when their loved ones pass away.  A realization that we, when attending the Rummage Sale all these years, choose not to think about.

As I said, this was a much anticipated event for my sisters and I so, without hesitation, we piled into Baby Sister's giant SUV and headed to the sale hoping to find small crystal bowls, mason jars and votive candle holders to be used at my niece's wedding this coming Spring.

When we walked into the front door we were immediately greeted by my mother's former next door neighbor.  She really misses mom and we had a lovely conversation together albeit with a lump in our throats.

Then, even though we'd braced ourselves for the possibility of running into more of Mom's other friends, we stepped into the first room to shop-- kitchenware.

But we shouldn't have.

On a table, four steps inside the door, were my mother's kitchen placemats for sale-- The ones I'd made her a million years ago and she insisted were "just fine" for her new home even though they didn't match anything but she used them everyday because I'd made them for her. 

I could literally hear my sisters' intake of breath simultaneously followed by zippered purses opening to reach for Kleenex.  Seeing our mother's donated things for sale never crossed out minds.

And there we stood silently, tears rolling down our faces-- all of us touching the placemats that I now held in my arms like a child holding a favorite teddy bear.  No words, just tears and the realization that our last moments of denial about mom's passing, and thinking the past 11 months had all been a bad dream that we would magically wake-up from, faded with our tears on the fabric of the mates.

Apparently we stood frozen at the "placemat table" for a long time because a nearly 85 year old resident volunteer wearing a name tag and apron gently nudged us along because we were holding up other shoppers.

As we snaked our way through the many tables of sale items, we spotted more of the "stuff" we'd donated when our mother passed away-- Her dish towels, the ones with the crocheted tops that she hung off her kitchen stove handle.  Then came the China tea pot without a lid that Mom always put the dandelions we'd pick for her as kids.

In the "Holiday Room" we immediately spotted the Halloween candle holders with the tiny mice glued on them and the wooden, brightly painted Easter flowers mom pulled out for display every year.

The next room was filled with tables loaded with glassware... and mom's juice glasses, butter dishes, and tea cups as well as several small crystal bowls, mason jars and votive candles.

We stopped by the "Elegant Elephants" room-- Which loosely translated means "the expensive but hideously ugly donated stuff they didn't know where else to put" and there we spotted Mom's over-sized glass angel dressed in a wonky pink and blue glittered gown and appearing to fly like Peter Pan.  I'm pretty sure mom would have called the angel an "Elephant" too but never revealed which family member gave it to her and always had it displayed in her living room.

From room to room we went, seeing residents who asked us if we were our mother's daughters because we look so much like her.  Staff members hugged us and told us with tears in their eyes how much they missed our Mom's positive attitude and sense of humor.

And we continued to "shop" room by room.

But we didn't.

"Shop" that is.  We were really just looking for our mother's things.

In the end, we bought all of our mother's "stuff" that we could find at the Rummage Sale... the stuff we brokenheartedly donated because we all had already brought so much of our mother's cherished possessions to our own home when she passed.

Mom's things at the Rummage Sale were just too hard to see left behind.  Silly, I know, but my sisters and I came home with a carload of our mother's possessions... that we paid for... because we couldn't bear to leave them, or her, behind at the Rummage Sale.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Kellis - Fotolia.com

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Friday Fragments - 9/26/14


I do my best to stay out of Costco because it's usually an expensive swing around the warehouse store followed by a $1.50 hot dog and soda that I really didn't need (along with a ton of other stuff stacked in my cart).  But this week required stocking up my bare cupboards and this jar of chocolate caramel deliciousness landed in my cart with the silent pledge to "Only eat ONE per day!".


You can see how well that pledge worked... Although I did have a partner in crime, my husband.


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I learned a fascinating thing about Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's--  They always have a beautiful display of affordable fresh flowers on hand, but did you know they also do bridal flowers!  Seriously, you can get a "wedding in a box" so to speak, delivered to your front door-- Bride's bouquet, bridemaids' bouquets, boutonnieres and rose pedals for the flower girl, the works.  Who knew!?!

And you can buy bulk flowers as well.  That's how I found out about it.  I Googled "bulk baby's breath" and there it was.

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Baby's breath was on my mind for my niece who's getting married in May, 2015-- The same niece that's going to graduate as a Veterinarian two weeks before her big day.  She'd like to work with large animals.  Good thing, huh?  (PS She's 5' 6" tall!)

Did I show you this photo already?

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This baby quilt was finished and shipped off to a new mama.  I think she was pretty happy with it.  At least grandma/my friend was who said if she knew what my gift was she'd have kept the blanket at her house for the baby.  Ha!

 Did I show you this photo already too?  A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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And I've been spotting this sign around Beverly Hills at all the public parking lots.  

Give me spare change 
and I may never get off 
these streets.  Give to
organizations that could 
really help me 
and you could save my life. 
It's up to you.
It's up to you.
I'm not sure how I feel about it.  What do you think?

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Oh good lord, how on earth did I turn this red on?  And what's with that white bar up there?  Sheesh.  A mind really IS a terrible thing to waste.  Sigh.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

There's One In Every Crowd



I belong to a neighborhood community website that lets neighbors, elected officials, and first responders keep in touch about everything from road closures and coyote sightings to requests for contractor referrals and babysitters.  (Think Facebook for your 'hood.)

Residents have been mostly respectful and keep their comments and posts about the neighborhood.  Some just give the facts or ask simple questions--  Others definitely "over share".

Case in point...

A neighbor posted that squirrels were eating all the lemons off her tree and wanted to know if anyone had an easy solution that had worked for them.  From her post question, I got the impression she was looking for safe and sane solutions.

But that's not the response she got.  Turns out, peeps in our 'hood are very passionate about their fruit trees!  And they really don't like squirrels-- Any squirrels!  Not.  At.  All.

One guy talked about the wolf urine he buys online and sprays on all his fruit to scare the squirrels away.  Another talked about having tried a hot pepper concoction that was only successful at killing her trees.  And another actually takes the time to rubber band all her fruit to the branches while it ripens making it more difficult for critters to carry off.

A prominent member of our community went on and on that all she has to do is feed the squirrels plenty of peanuts every single day and they stay away from her fruit trees.  I yiyi-- That was met with screams and pleads to stop feeding wildlife complete with links to county ordinances to prove it's against the law.

There is a long time resident (whose profile includes his photo and complete address.) who simply traps and drowns the squirrels claiming it's the very most humane thing to do.  His comment was easily 300 words long and explained-- in great detail, the ins and outs of his reasoning.  This comment was met with barely a response!

Good lord, you'd think the squirrels were carrying away small children, not lemons!

Within 24 hours there were about 30 comments to the simple question of "how to stop squirrels from eating lemons off trees" with many neighbors feeling compelled to comment for the first time ever.

But then... One comment in particular, well.... that's when things really went sour.

A middle-aged guy (I know because his comments came with his full name, photo and full address)-- let's call him Bozo, bragged that he didn't notice any "bare fruit trees" because he takes daily walks in our area and "has lunch" by picking fruit off other people's trees along the way-- several pieces in fact-- and thinks there's nothing wrong with going into people's yards scavenging because "there's enough fruit for people and the squirrels".

That made me wonder if he poached and dined on the fruit with the wolf urine sprayed on it.

To add insult to injury, Bozo went on to brag that he and a buddy drive around in a swank BMW and gather shopping bags full of a variety of fruit from people's yards... in the dark of night.

And the you know what hit the fan.

The community site blew up with comments.

Apparently, we have some crazy squirrels in these parts who not only eat lemons (and figs, oranges, avocados, apples, pears and plums), they also chew their way through cable wires, security screens and the likes.  Folks mostly just want the squirrels to go away.  But they really, really want Bozo to go away.  And by "away" I mean-- Behind bars in an orange jumpsuit (Orange--no pun intended)!

More than 100 comments later and people are still livid that Bozo sees no problem with stealing fruit from people's yards.  Great debate has gone on and he's justified his actions on the site at least 6 times with no apologizes.  Even people who don't have fruit trees are going ballistic.

Folks have politely, and not so politely, explained to Bozo that homeowners pay a high price for watering, pruning and maintaining their trees.  And the trees are on private property.  Bozo doesn't have a leg to stand on or any right to be taking people's fruit from their yards.

And the comments go on and on and on...

To be honest, I have not gotten into the great squirrel debate with my neighbors but as a result, I've changed my settings to only include police reports on our community website.  Some may say I'd be more passionate about this issue if the squirrels were a problem for me but, at least for now, they are not.

Other than thinking trapping and drowning squirrels is hateful, I just can't get on this bandwagon.  To read all the banter and drama about the fruit thief and see only a few comments about the squirrel-drowner has left me not really feeling very neighborly.

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Summer has flown by!  I hope to be back on a more regular basis.  
Thanks for stopping by.
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
Photo credit: © denira - Fotolia.com