Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Doggone It

I was bit by a dog-- Not my neighbor's dog who mysteriously appeared on our roof-- By a yip-yappy, scrawny mutt that belongs to a friend. 

The dog and I have met on countless occasions in the past two years with no problems but for whatever reason, my leg suddenly became his chew toy of choice.  Four significant puncture wounds from his very big teeth, a tetanus shot, and no swimming in the pool for the past month later, and I'm kinda over it.

Then I was attacked by an extremely hungry mosquito who literally chewed it's way around the dog bite on my calf and well, I'm really over it now.

My leg is still nasty looking-- purple and red marks with bruises, and has a long way to go to "normal".  It's awful hot and humid here in Los Angeles-- So hot, I'd actually endure putting on a bathing suit to swim and cool off rather than sweat it out on the sidelines.  And, I had been inching closer to actually getting a dog of our own.

Now, the dog idea is permanently on hold and the bathing suit I bought still has the tags on it.

Sigh.  Is summer over yet?

How's by you?

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo credit: © kumdinpitak - Fotolia.com

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Here's what I've spotted in my neighborhood lately...

These are cropping up everywhere-- 
Just in time for kids to be out of school.

Of course summer vacation means swimming, right?  
We live in walking distance to our community center 
and public pool.  It's the first time I've ever seen this 
sign and, um, no thank you on the swimming.

Anyone a Dr. Who fan? 

And remember when I told you about the single stubburn gladiola in our garden-- The one I've dug up for the past 22 years? 
It's bbbaaaaaaaaack!

How's your summer going so far?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm Not Buying It

Having just posted about the marvels of the iPhone and how it's changed my way of life, I was blown away at a presentation I attended recently given by a successful small business owner who talked about how the iPhone screen is at the core of her business product development.

As the manufacture of modern quilts doing business in the US, Canada and Europe, she discussed how ALL of her designs start small-- very small-- as in on the 2" X 3" screen of her smart phone.  Long story short-- If her quilt looks good on a very small screen... like a cellphone, Instagram or Pinterest-- then they will sell well.  If her quilts lose their impact, color, pattern/design, etc. on the small image size, it's scrapped from her collection.

Kinda makes sense if you think about it.  A gorgeous floral print, for example, may look stunning in a giant quilt, but on the very small screen-- thanks to modern technology-- the pattern is reduced so much it can get lost and, in some cases, can even disappear or muddy the colors meaning the customer might not be getting the quilt fabric/pattern they expected.

Genius, is all I can say because in a million years, I'd have never thought our buying habits (as well as design and marketing products) had changed so much so fast and to such a small-- and very cost effective format.

Then...  I got a look at another successful manufacture who has a very different idea of how people shop... It reminds me of the old Sears catalog approach which, in my opinion, is outdated, ridiculously costly (ultimately to the consumer?) and overkill to say the least.

Not long ago I received FIFTEEN POUNDS of Restoration Hardware catalogs delivered to my door step.  I practically needed a crane to pick them up off my porch.  The package included 14 different catalogs covering their entire product line.  And by the way, they were not promoting a sale.  The impression I got was that I was supposed to keep these catalogs as a reference for future purchases.  (Not.)

Granted, I'm talking about two very different companies and product lines, but the glaring differences between marketing via social media like Instagram and Pinterest versus old school catalogs with expensive photography printed on beautiful paper, then bundled and hand delivered to my front door left me wondering if Restoration Hardware was totally disconnected from today's shoppers-- not to mention the environmental impact of this stack of paper that almost immediately landed in my recycle bin without opening a single page.  Do plush towels, furniture and rugs really sell better using expensive, bulky catalog mailings?

In all honesty, receipt of the Restoration Hardware monster catalogs left me feeling guilty and a little bit miffed that I bought bath towels in their store about three years ago which is why, I'm assuming, I received this expensive collection of catalogs-- Guilty because I'm pretty "green" in our household and call catalog companies asking them to remove me from their mailing list to lighten my carbon footprint.  Dang!  Obviously I missed Restoration Hardware. 

Did my small towel purchase three years ago generate-- and warrant-- my receiving fifteen pounds of catalogs?  No, not in a million years.  My guess is the catalogs ate up their profits in my small purchase.  I'd have rather they shipped me a free towel instead.  That would be positive attention getting marketing.  And I'm guessing the towel would have been far less expensive then the cost to produce and deliver their catalogs.  The towel wouldn't have landed in the recycle bin either-- Just sayin'.

My shopping habits have changed drastically over the past few years and catalogs are long gone.  I turn to the Internet for everything from groceries and books to bathing suits purchases and prefer not to shop in brick and mortar stores if at all possible (Thus the bathing suit shopping online and it's lack of giant three-way mirrors!).  But, thanks to Restoration Hardware, I'm wondering if I might be missing something.  Or not.

What do you think? 

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Already Four

I have a clear memory of blogging about my first great-niece, E, and how marvelous it was to have a smart phone to receive text messages and photos all through my niece's labor.  The idea of communicating with a woman in the delivery room was shocking and exciting.

In the end, a photo of this little peanut appeared on my blog...

It's hard to believe that in four short years I've grown unable to live without my iPhone and totally acknowledge how pathetic it is to admit that... and truly mean it.

And it's also hard to believe that my first great-niece, E, is now a whopping four years old!  I absolutely can't live without her either. 

For her 4th birthday dinner, as usual, our family held hands to say grace before the meal.  E insisted on saying the blessing and took her job very seriously.  After a moment of thought, she took a deep breath and said...  "Dear God...."

And then she proceed to recite the entire Pledge of Allegiance-- After which, we all said, "Amen."

Happy 4th Birthday E.  Make a wish and wish big!

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sent From Heaven?

There has been extensive debate in our household over getting a very big guard dog ever since our home was robbed.  There is a long list of "pros" for a dog, not the least of which is the police detective strongly suggested we get one. 

Then there's the list of "cons".  Dog hair, nail scratches on our hardwood floors and the ever necessary "poop bag" when walking the dog multiple times throughout the day.  Truth be told, the poop bag is really the biggest reason I've nixed the dog idea since I'd be the one carrying around the poop.

But out of the blue today, the dog debate took a major turn!  Not only did we get a really big dog-- We got a fearless guard dog to stand watch over our house-- Literally! 

Fido arrived, much to our surprise, front and center on our roof (!) for all the world to see. 

It's as if this lovely pooch was dropped from the heavens to protect us.

Unfortunately, the dog belongs to our next door neighbor...

...And we have absolutely no idea how she got on our roof.

No.  Idea.  Whatsoever!  It's a total mystery.

I kinda wished Fido could stay up there but the neighbors asked for her back.

Have you ever had an unexpected/unexplained visitor?

 Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Godzilla

There are very few things that totally and completely freak me out.  In our home, for example, I handle the spiders and bugs.  And, ahem, "mice".  It really doesn't bother me.

But snakes...  Not on your life!  I do not like them or their ugly cousin the lizard.  They pretty much put me over the edge and that doesn't seem to be mellowing with age.

Case in point--

Recently I was chatting up my husband on the telephone while packing for a mini vacation.  We were leaving the next morning and I wanted to be sure I had everything in the suitcase.  We'd run down our usual check list of warm weather packing and I'd forgotten flip flops.  So, I open the closet door and reached for my favorite orange pair and, and, and...

Oh.  My.  Gawd!!!  There was a huge, Godzilla-sized lizard stretched across the front my shoe closet.

And I almost touched it-- With my bare hand!

I was screaming to my husband to come home and help me but he heard nothing.  I was so scared, that despite my best efforts, no words escaped.  In an instant, through the hysteria, I knew that something had to be done but I was not touching that monster.  No way.  No how.

After nearly hyperventilating I'd made enough noise that the Godzilla withdrew into a shoe cubbie in our bedroom closet so at least I knew where it was.

I caught my breath, told my husband to come home immediately and then got down on my hands and knees, butt in the air, so I could see into the cubbie that was only 8 inches off the floor.
I vaguely remember Husband mumbling something about taking care of it but hung up the phone before he finished.  He knows my fear of snake things and I was confident he'd burn rubber the entire mile and a half drive from his office to our home to save me.

Confident Husband would arrive VERY soon, I mustered the courage to slowly remove shoes from the cubbie so I had eyes on Godzilla again.

He'd stretched out the length of the back of cubbie with the tip of his tail curved to fit.  In other words, he was a whopping 15 inches long!!!  Oh no, I didn't call him Godzilla for nothing!  This guy was BIG and he was in my bedroom shoe closet.

Without a doubt, I knew that if I lost sight of Godzilla before Husband got home to remove it, we'd have to sell the house.  I absolutely would not be able to stay here ever again.  And I'm not kidding.

Call me crazy but I hate lizards and snakes that much.

So there I was, my arthritic knees aching and feeling like the blood circulation in my legs was nearing its end.  My head, bent down to see into the cubbie, throbbed, and I was in a panic that Godzilla would make a move before I could figure out how to trap him in place.

What to do, what to do.

I finally spotted a clear plastic bin not far away that was the exact width of the cubbie so I could see what Godzilla was up to.  But, it had small 1/4 inch holes in it.  I sized up the holes and the lizard and was confident in thinking Godzilla would never fit through them.  He was a very big guy and these hole were pretty small.

Thank gawd.

So while keeping eyes on Godzilla, I maneuvered around to reach the plastic bin with my foot, kicked it contents and slammed it up against the cubbie.  I swear I heard the angels sing.  What a relief. 

Godzilla and I stayed in place--  Me, still bent over on my knees and him, calmly stretched out in my cubbie.  For SURE, I thought, Husband would be home to rescue me any second.  After all, it had been at least 30 minutes since we were on the phone.  WTH?!?!?!

Tick, tick, tick, tick....

Godzilla started looking board, his neck stretching out as if to get a better look at the situation.  I squeaked out some nose to scare him to stay in place but he'd been there so long he was ready to make a move.

I was so stinking happy to have that clear plastic bin covering the cubbie opening holding him in place.  I wouldn't have to touch Godzilla with my bare hands or worse, risk loosing him all together, and that was a very good thing.  He could move around the cubbie all he wanted but he was not going anywhere.



Godzilla got his nerve up, despite my screaming, and crawled into the plastic bin.  Then he stuck his head though one of the 1/4 inch holes.


Where was my husband!!!

Then he did the unthinkable!  Godzilla started squeezing his BODY through the holes as if someone had pulled the strings on a very tight corset making him freakishly thin.  I became a lunatic screaming, this time a loud shrill streams of !@#%$! and I banged on the bin with my shoe until he squeezed his sorry self back into the cubbie.

I nearly had a heart attack.  Godzilla actually looked unfazed.

Still on my knees, butt in the air, I called that lizard and my missing-in-action-husband every name in the book.  If Godzilla so much as blinked I screamed him back into the corner.

We sat there like that-- blinking, screaming, backing up, for another full hour before my husband calmly walked in and asked if the "little lizard" was gone.

One look at my ghost white face and the darts shooting out of my eyes at him was a solid clue that the lizard was still in 'da house.

I immediately sent husband to find a few supplies that would allow him to slide Godzilla out of the cubbie and into a box with a secure lid so he could be removed.

Ten minutes later and with none of the supplies, I agreed to change positions with my husband providing he swore on his children's lives not to take his eyes off Godzilla-- and yes, that meant he would need to be on his knees, head bent down to the ground at eye level resulting in his butt being in the air.

Husband also agreed that if he lost that lizard I would immediately be moving into the Four Seasons Hotel until a new home had been found for us to live in-- I was taking no chance at crossing paths with Godzilla ever again.

Husband knew better than to disagree with me.

We made the guard duty switch and off I went gathering the necessary supplies.  I returned in less than 3 minutes and prepared to pass the box to Husband.  But...  Husband looked a little green in the face.

Apparently Godzilla tried to make a quick escape through the plastic bin holes in my absence and Husband saw his life, and our bank account, pass before his eyes until he got Godzilla under control and back in the cubbie.  (In hindsight, I'd have liked to have seen that.  Ha!  Coming home an hour and 45 minutes after I screamed on telephone.  Sheesh.)

So now it's obvious that Husband, who is not good at this kind of thing anyway, was not going to do the deed and get Godzilla into the box.  That would be my job.

Again, I made him swear that if anything went wrong and Godzilla was not removed from our house, that I would be living elsewhere.

With the patio door to our bedroom wide open, I said a prayer and wiggled Godzilla into a box using a backscratcher.  He flopped in and the lid was slammed shut.  My hands were shaking and I could feel Godzilla moving around in the box.

By now,  it was all I could do to stand up.  My legs were numb and with the box in my hands I couldn't use them to help me up.  That freaking lizard took years off my life.

When I finally made it to the patio, I flung the box as hard and as far as I could-- Watching Godzilla exit the box and swan dive onto the grass.  He landed, shook himself off and sauntered into a heap of yellow tiger lilies by the pool... Before losing sight of me, he stopped, looked over his shoulder and gave me a look like "I'll show you lady."

And he did.

Because now I can never go into the back yard again.

What scares the daylights out of you?

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Andrey Burmakin - Fotolia.com  © seyhoeroglu - Fotolia.com  © Lonely - Fotolia.com

Friday, April 11, 2014

Asking For Help Isn't Easy

Many of you may know the lovely Sarah S. from Cottage Garden Studios--  She's a blogger from way back and one of my most cherished blog friends.  But she hasn't been around much lately and there's a very serious reason for that.

Sarah has quietly been battling breast cancer for the past few months.

And now she needs our help.

Please stop by her blog and read what she has to say.  And, if you can, make a donation to help her through this difficult and financially crippling battle. 

Asking for help is extremely difficult for Sarah so she is offering this piece of her beautiful original art in a raffle as a thank you to those who donate $5 or more.  She's just that kind of girl.

Please stop by and cheer Sarah on with a comment and if you can, a donation.   And please share this on your blog as well.  The raffle ends April 20th.

A million thanks from Sarah and me.

xoxo Joanna

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Fragments - Urns, Anita, Earthquakes and Mojo

 This is an idea I hadn't heard about before...

Bios Urn is a funerary urn made ​​from biodegradable materials that will turn you into a tree after you die. Inside the urn there is a pine seed, which can be replaced by any other seed or plant, and will grow to remember your loved one.

First of all-- Who knew "funerary" was an actual word?  Second, it's an interesting idea and far more cost effective than other more traditional burial options.  Third, what kind of tree would you be?  (And I ask that in my best Barbara Walters voice.)


I'm going to see the Documentary Anita tonight followed by a Q&A but the film's director, Freida Mock.

Do you remember Anita Hill from the Clarence Thomas Hearings nearly 23 years ago-- (Yes, it's been that long!)  No matter what you think about the Hearings, Anita Hill started the national dialogue on sexual harassment in the workplace and for that I thank her.

I was working in a totally male dominated industry back then and man-oh-man, the "boys club" definitely didn't get it-- kinda like most of the Senators in the trailer for the movie.  (The film opens March 21st in selected cities.)


Did you hear about the St. Patrick's Day earthquake in Los Angeles this past week?  I call it our very own "Shamrock Shake".

Dang!  I hate those things. 

Since it's the biggest one we've had in four years, and since our house sits practically on top of the fault line, we definitely "felt it".   I was as freaked out as the morning news guy was in video below.  My husband simple rolled over and went back to sleep.  Thankfully other than lots of crooked pictures on the walls and my frayed nerves, all is well.


I have looked at the blank post page on Blogger for weeks.  Many days I have absolutely nothing to say-- as if my head did a Spring cleaning and emptied it of words.  Other days it feels like all I do is repeat myself.  So, until I have a light bulb moment and find my mojo again, I'll gladly participate in Friday Fragments courtesy of Mrs. 4444 to say hello to all of you....

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins