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.)

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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.)



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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.
 

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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


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oscar Swag


Urban Dictionary:  SWAG BAG:  A goodie bag that contains various useless yet irreplaceable items packed into a duffel bag, usually given at parties or by sponsors. 

Have you heard about the $85,000 worth of stuff in this year's Oscar Nominee Swag Bags?  It was all the buzz at the big shindig I attended at the Beverly Hills Hotel last night at the aptly named "Night Before Party" for the Oscars.

Oh yes, I am a very lucky girl to have rubbed elbows with the rich, famous and super skinny last night.  It was beyond cool and, short of attending the Oscars, is the next best people watching of the year.

Who was there, you ask?

Just the stunningly gorgeous Amy Adams, the charismatic Matthew McConaughey, the gracious Harrison Ford, a bearded Ben Affleck, the beautiful Reese Witherspoon, the cast of 12 Years a Slave, and way too many young actors and actresses whose names I am far too old to know.

Sigh.  It was a blast.

As we floated in and out of the party crowd trying not to stare, the buzz was about the Nominees' Swag including the $16,000 worth of hair plugs.  HAIR PLUGS!  Well, the actual plugs weren't in the bag but a gift certificate for 'em was.  Makes you kinda wish your were nominated.

There's a Mace and Pepper Spray Gun in the bag too... 

And a Walking Tour of Japan....

Along with a Rejuvenation "procedure" to boost a ladies V-jayjay to enhance her sex drive.  (All together now, WTH!?!?!)....

And there's the $6.00 rubber thing to put on your drain so your hair doesn't get clogged.

I'm not kidding.  Nominees get all that stuff and way, way more.  They'll probably need a small U-Haul truck to get the loot home.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone sold the crap stuff on eBay and donated the money to charity?  I so would....

What do you think I'd get for this little gem that was included along with sunscreen, sun glasses, a hat and a beach towel in my party Swag Bag last night?  It's way cooler than hair plugs, right?


The back is a string bikini top and a postage stamp size bottom.  And can you tell there are no sides-- it's a cut-out?  There's truly VERY little fabric with lots of black and metallic gold fringe to hide the "girls" if you catch my drift.

It's exactly what every 55 year old woman needs, don't you think?  But then again, I guess that means I'm in good company with all the Oscar Nominees and their SWAG--  Useless yet irreplaceable items. 

Enjoy watching the Oscars!

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Fragments

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. 


So, thanks to the lovely Mrs. 4444, I'm joining Friday Fragments in an effort to snap out of my funk and back into writing...

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I tried pouring myself into the Olympics and remain mostly bored.  Is it my mood or is this Winter Olympics kind of a dud?  And the news announcers who don't give a spoiler alert so listeners can avoid hearing who won before watching the events at night-- Pfft.  They stink.

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I made another quilt.  Sewing is calming and surprisingly mindless for me-- Cut, sew, cut, sew... And it's a solitary activity so my crabbiness doesn't rub off on anyone.  I told you about the "Soft Kitty" thing between my brother and Mom here--  This is the quilt I made him out of her tee shirt.

It took me two weeks to send my brother the quilt after it was finished because it meant letting go a piece of mom, so to speak, again.  But the response from my brother was priceless and I'm pretty sure we both had tears in our eyes when we talked about it. 

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I got a Jawbone UP wristband for Christmas.  Have you heard of them-- The supped up pedometer that tracks your daily steps, sleep and food consumption?  I started out gangbusters and walked and walked and walked but... As all good intentions go, mine are currently lacking.  Tomorrow, I swear, I'm walking.  No, really.  Tomorrow-- walk, walk, walk.

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My sweet great-niece, E is nearly 4 years old!!!  Godson and I sent her a purple feather boa for Valentine's Day.  We think she's liking it.


It's so cold and full of snow back home in Ohio that my niece could not spend one more day outside playing in the snow with her bundled up cutie.  So she brought the snow IN--  She filled the bathtub and let E have at it.

When I loaded and "saved" the above photo to my download file I accidentally labeled the snow photo the "snot" photo.  And THAT, actually made me laugh, all day long.

Have a grand weekend, my friends.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Just One Man

My friend wondered why her house remodel was taking so incredibly long to complete.  It was driving her crazy and a constant complaint in every conversation we had.  Months passed before her new roof and aluminium siding were fully installed.


Yes, I bite my tongue.   (No small feat.)



Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, January 11, 2014

So this happened...

I said a little prayer when the holidays were finally over.  They were rough.  I spent much of them in denial but, just twelve days into the new year, I realized I hadn't stuck my head in the sand nearly as much as I'd thought.

Case in point-- My last month in pictures...

Our family welcomed a new baby cousin.  
I made this quilt and hope it keeps him cozy and warm. 
 Glam Clam Quilt Pattern by Latifah Saafar
All fabrics from the fabulous Sew Modern in Los Angeles.

My BFF made homemade marshmallows and shared some with me.  
They were seriously delicious and light as a feather.


My friends also shared their Christmas with me-- 
Their tree was magical and filled with vintage ornaments.


We had relatives from out-of-town visiting for two weeks so we took in the LA sights including the Space Shuttle Endeavor--  I never get tired of seeing this magnificent ship.


We saw "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" at the movie theater and LOVED it.  (Thanks to great cinematography, I also want to travel to Iceland and Greenland now too!)


Husband hung the blue stained glass in my kitchen window.  It belonged to my mother and looks perfect with the blue glass I've been collecting for the past 30 years.


And we also visited The Skirball Cultural Center. 



This quote says it all for me.  I'll try to keep that in mind as I plow through 2014.

Happy New Year one and all.
xo Joanna


Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Holiday Blues

I miss my mom.  I miss my family in Ohio.  It's Christmas and I'm terribly homesick.

But this... This video/commercial made me cry and smile at the same time.  It's filled with family and happiness and well... check it out. 


A million thanks for the kind comments in my last post about my mother's passing.  There are no words to say how much I appreciate the love from Blogland--Truly, from the bottom of my heart.

Merry Christmas one and all.  May your holidays be happy and filled with love.  I'll be back after the New Year.

xoxo Joanna

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Waving Good-bye


It is with a very heavy heart that I say my beautiful mother passed away November 3rd.

Thirty-three days in the hospital was a very long time to keep her spirits up, but Mom’s grace was always in check even as her taste buds and tolerance for cream of wheat and red jello wained.  Despite the difficulties she faced during her surprising and brief illness, she almost always had a smile on her face and a kind word for the nurses and doctors-- if even if that "kind word" was a request for a hot fudge sundae.

After lengthy conversations with doctors, Mom made a very clear and thoughtful decision to stop treatment and all the poking, prodding and unsuccessful procedures repeatedly prescribed to her.  They weren’t working and she knew it.  Mom wanted to be back in her home, and her own bed, with her dog and cat curled up beside her.  She was not afraid of her decision to leave the hospital and placed herself completely in God’s hands.

These past several weeks have been heartbreaking, as you might imagine, but at the same time, my siblings and I, along with my 12 nieces and nephews, all had the same comforting and heart-felt knowledge about our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

We.  Were.  Loved.


And our mother took her job as a parent very seriously.

Mom supported and encouraged our interests, hobbies and studies attending every dance recital, horse show, school function, sporting event, party, ceremony, divorce, birth, Grandparent Day, concert, graduation, and community events we participated in-- And she was present and happy to do so.

She showed us through her friendships what it meant to be a friend, and she gave us the tools we needed to grow into responsible adults and parents.  She helped us raise our children and taught us through example to work hard for what we wanted.


Our mother also taught us the difference between right and wrong, and the importance of always telling the truth.  She insisted, for example, that we stand outside on the front porch, even during blizzards, so she could honestly tell a phone caller we didn’t want to speak with that “we weren’t in the house right now.”

Mom gave us confidence with the absolute knowledge that no matter where she lived, she would always have a “no-questions-asked” policy if we ever needed to come back home again--  With open arms she provided a bed or an extra seat at the dinner table for as long as we needed help.  She was our safe haven and always had our backs.


Our mother was always a woman of prayer and devout faith who taught us to worship the Lord in whatever way that worked best for us.  Regardless if we followed her exact path or not, mom prayed we had a relationship with God and she made no judgement of how we participated-- although sometimes not so subtly-- like during the 70s when she would answer the phone “Good Evening God loves you”-- a statement that was absolutely horrifying to us as teenagers.

Her funeral on a Sunday seemed fitting because it was Mom’s favorite day of the week. Starting with Church in the morning, always sitting in the same front pew on the right side-- a spot she told us she picked so us kids would have to behave ourselves during services-- and ending the day with her calling each of my siblings and me to “count noses” as she’d say, to make sure we were all okay, even if she’d seen or spoken to us countless times that week already.  It was our mom being our mom.

So tonight instead of hearing her voice to check in, the five of us will remember our mother and...

The incredible amount of butter she enjoyed consuming on a daily basis...

Her wearing layers of sweaters even in 90 degree weather...

The smile on her face when she ate ice cream...

And S’ agapaw -- a secret code for I love you.


We will remember how mom loved her 29 cent lectures from her mentor, protector, advisor and best friend-- her sister, and how she had a smile reserved just for her when she called her durdle-der...

And how she was the best mother-in-law ever...

Her "love 'em and hug 'em" parenting advice...

And “Flapping her wings” to help us fly home to her safely.


We’ll remember how dinners together as a family were very important to mom...

How there was always room at her table for one more...

And how she always ended Grace by saying “Make us mindful of our need for You, Lord, and our need for each other”.


We will remember how she would undress her newborn grandbabies to count their fingers and toes...

And how she blessed their foreheads when she saw them...

And how much she loved her extended family like they were her own.


With appreciation, we will remember how she kept her cool during heated teenage battles with “That’s okay, I love you enough for both of us”.

And we will remember mom’s endless wave-- Mom would stand in her driveway or front window and wave good-bye every single time we’d leave her home-- Waving with both arms until our cars were completely out of sight.

When mom passed in her home it was heart-breaking and beautiful all at the same time.  She made it very clear to us that she wanted it to be quiet so she could have her eyes wide open so as as not to miss any part of her journey-- And that’s how it was, with a peaceful smile on her face and a calmness we have never witness before, mom reached up to heaven on the wings of her deep, deep faith and gently graduated to heaven.

When the funeral director came to take mom away-- who also happened to be a lifelong friend, he gently wrapped her in a hug and placed her in his vehicle.  Our family instinctively followed him outside and all stood in her driveway.  Together, we waved, with both arms, one last time, until our mom was completely out of sight-- But she will be in our hearts forever.

Joanna