Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I was reminded recently that this blog, The Fifty Factor, is about midlife and that I haven't been talking about that much lately. After I yawned and rolled my eyes a few times at the much younger person badgering me about the subject, I figured I should probably take a crack at it.

But, I'm having a hard time thinking of anything funny about the 50-something years. As I've said before, I'm not liking them much yet. So I looked around and realized that I might have to wait until my 70-something years to find my sense of humor.

This video is of a 70-something speaker at the Home Instead assisted living facility's Caregiver of the Year festivities. Fast forward the video about 1:18 from the beginning. I promise, you will not be disappointed. And, if you're like me, you'll want to grow up like this lady!

Are you finding the humor in aging?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Team 5 - Fotolia.com

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sundays In My City #58 - A Rainbow, A Winner & An Elephant

You might have heard on the news about all the rain we've gotten in Los Angeles this past week. Sunny Southern California usually gets about 14 total inches of rain a year, but last week-- Last week our neighborhood got 8 inches in 5 five days! For a while there I was thinking it was time to build the Arc.

On Wednesday we had about an hour break in the downpour and the sun come out. Ahhh, it was such a nice change to see sunlight wash across my living room but even better when I looked outside and saw the most amazing rainbow a girl could ever ask for, and I could see the entire bow from side-to-side.

Look closely below, there is the bright inside rainbow and the hint of a second, outter rainbow as well....

The weather forecasters say the worst of the storm is over, but we're still predicted to get a little more this week. For those of you who know about my once sinking pool and deck, I'm VERY happy to say it's firmly in place with no signs of movement-- And believe me, I was out there checking A LOT. Phew....

The rainbow is hard to see in the above photo but in this one, it's arches across the yard...

...Before it slides down....

...And into someone's front yard! The base on both sides of the rainbow looked like movie lighting was in place to brighten the colors then shade a deep gray on the outside for contrast.

It was pretty amazing-- And I didn't color correct or adjust any of these pictures. My little point and shoot captured it as I saw it.

So many people called to tell me to look for the rainbow because it was seen all over the city. Each person ended with the same comment-- Make a wish! A rainbow is very lucky, all your dreams will come true!

In the 45 minutes I watched this spectular sight, I made a lot of wishes.

Drumroll please-- The winner of my $80 CSNStores.com Giveaway is Mari at 365 Days! Congratulations and happy Shopping! And if you don't know Mari you really must stop by and say hello. She takes the most beautiful photos that make me wish I lived in her neighborhood.

Did you get a Christmas gift that's left you scratching your head wondering what was the giver thinking because it's soooo not you? Then swing by Nanny Goats In Panties and sign up for Margaret's Online White Elephant Gift Exchange Party. All you need is an unused get this piece of junk out of my house gift to participate. CLICK HERE for details and join the fun. RSVP by December 31st.

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

Friday, December 24, 2010


For me, the holidays are all about the kids. They really help keep the magic shining brightly around our family.

We're lucky, because as a family, we have much to celebrate including the first of a new generation...

My great-niece is a few days shy of 7 months old and seems to be loving all the Christmas lights and festivities.

And, by early summer, another new baby will arrive, the first for my oldest nephew and his wife. They land here in Los Angeles for a visit on December 26th and I can't wait to see them and her baby bump.

My ten nieces and nephews now range from 13 to 28 years. It seem like just yesterday they were tiny babies too but they're still "kids" in my mind.

On Christmas morning my entire family will gather at my Baby Sister and her sweet husband's house for a huge and delicious breakfast before they all open their presents. Hubby and I are the only ones missing but this year I'll "be there" via Skype. It's not a perfect solution to being 2500 miles away from loved ones but it will be fun to join in for the first time via the Internet. I'm pretty excited about it.

So where ever you are and what ever holiday you celebrate, may your heart be full of childhood glee and magic.

Cheers to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Star Quality & Last Chance For Giveaway

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Giveaway Ends December 24th at Midnight Pacific Time
I was naked the first time I saw him, buck naked, and when my eyes met his I froze, one foot in and one foot out of the shower. Why he was there was beyond my comprehension but his back was to the door; he was dressed in jeans, wearing a hat-- and a gun.

I screamed for my mommy-- who immediately started laughing from the other side of the door-- Hysterically!

It was Paul Newman in all his life-size, blue-eyed, Butch Cassidy poster glory, taped to the back of Mom's bathroom door. I hadn't see him, I mean "it"-- the poster, when I walked in. Rather, I caught a glimpse of those blue eyes just as I stepped into the bathtub.

The posted looks similar to this.

The poster was a gift, and apparently, Mom thought having company in the bathroom was a nice idea so "Paul lived there" as she used to say. Her sense of humor was like that and she got a kick out of "bathing with him" on a daily basis. Me, not so much.

Paul Newman was one of Mom's and my all time favorite movie stars. I was 11 years old in 1969 when Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hit movie theaters-- He was 44. But even at my young age, and even though I wasn't allowed to see the film at the time, I knew he was a gorgeous movie star. Many, many years passed for both of us and he continued to be gorgeous and my idea of a real "star".

Today, I have a hard time thinking of a comparable actor with his depth of talent and leading man good looks. Yes, there are some hunks of burning love out there, George Clooney and Daniel Craig come to mind, but in my book, they don't quite measure up to the late, great, Paul Newman-- He was just that special.

The Butch Cassidy poster on the back of Mom's bathroom door is long gone, but after a week of pouring rain that was spent mostly watching a Paul Newman movie marathon on video and DVD, I can honestly say he kept getting better with age-- both in appearance, in his acting and certainly from his very generous philanthropic heart-- Which means I've finally reached the age to say, "They don't make 'em like they used to"....

And if anyone has a life size Paul Newman poster they'd like to share, I have a bathroom door available.

Who's your idea of a true "movie star"?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sundays In My City #57 - Food & Giveaway!

$80 CSNStores.com Gift Certificate.

Travel the World with Unknown Mami.

Armed with twelve dozen eggs and five loaves of fresh challah bread, I entered Godson's middle school classroom on Friday to assist him in a cooking demonstration that consisted of teaching a group of very fun, and slightly hyper, 13-14 year old guys how to crack eggs and make Cinnamon French Toast.

Getting hands washed and actually clean was the first challenge that seemed more like herding a litter of kittens but eventually all were scrubbed and covered in aprons (yes, I made them wear aprons) so Godson could get started.

I don't know if it was the promise of food with maple syrup or their actual interest in cooking, but the group quieted down and focused, and I mean really focused, on the task at hand-- Egg cracking. And they did a great job! Only one egg landed on the floor and the rest managed to make it into bowls with a minimal amount of egg shells.

The French Toast recipe was explained and measured accurately and eventually the end result was a delicious smelling and tasting treat...

In the interest of student privacy, this is the best photo I could share.

Here's the recipe courtesy of William Sonoma:


Nonstick cooking spray or melted butter for cooking

6 large Eggs

2 cups Whole Milk

1 Tablespoon (Tbsp.) Vanilla Extract

1/2 teaspoon (tsp.) Ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon (tsp.) Grated Nutmeg

2 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) firmly packed Brown Sugar

1 large loaf of Challah - Cut into 1” thick slices

Butter and Maple Syrup for serving


-In a large bowl, using a handheld whisk, beat the eggs.

-Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar and whisk until blended.

-Preheat electric griddle or a large frying pan over medium heat

-Spray griddle/pan with nonstick spray or swirl with melted butter

-While griddle/pan is heating up, dip 1 bread slice into egg mixture and soak, turning once for about 45 seconds on each side. (Make sure the bread doesn’t soak to the point of falling apart.)

-Place bread on preheated griddle/frying pan and cook until golden brown, then flip over bread with a spatula over and continue cooking on the other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Keep warm while you continue to cook remaining bread.

Serve with butter and maple syrup. Serves 4 - 6 people

Godson received high marks for his demonstration and the food was excellent. Even teachers passing by followed their noises into the class for a sampling. In between huge bites and a constant mouthful of food, Godson was pretty proud of himself. So was I.
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How's your Sunday?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sheesh & Giveaway!

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I was never much of a basketball fan until I was invited to a Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics game back in the day-- The days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and their huge rivalry. It was my first ever professional basketball game.

In the early 1990s they played at the old Forum, not the hip new Staples Center like they do today. I was "just a date" for my now Husband and a little unsure of what I was getting myself into. He said it was "compliments of his business bankers" and we'd eat at the Forum then watch the game with them. I basically expected to meet a couple of very serious old guys in dark suits and, honestly, didn't think it sounded all that fun.

This was back in my big hair and short skirts days but since it was a basketball game, I pictured it being barely a step above bleachers and hot dogs. So I dressed nice, but casually in jeans, and ate before I left since hot dogs and beer, my impressions of typical "game food", were not a favorite.

The VIP Parking Valet was my first clue that the night might be a little more than I'd anticipated. We were directed to the Forum Club for dinner where we met the banker, a 30-something guy and his young wife. Things were looking up.

The menu had only three entree choices-- Chicken, Filet Mignon or Lobster and the prices were, in my opinion, astronomical. I'd hosted my share of business dinners and always was put off when "the date" would order every expensive item on the menu eating like there was no tomorrow, so I remembered what my mother taught me and ordered the lowest priced $50 (!) chicken and tap water. Husband had the steak.

The banker and his wife both ordered the $125 Lobster dinners along with an unusually expensive bottle of white wine.

When it came time for dessert, husband and I passed but the banker ordered four desserts to-go so they could give them to their kids in the morning-- Those cost more than my nasty, dry chicken, by the way.

On to the game. When I was handed my ticket, I nearly chocked. They were center court floor seats costing $500 each! My first thought... Dang, I should have ordered the Lobster!

We sat directly across from Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty. I swooned. But when the players come out-- Oh. My. Gosh! Those guys were amazing.

When they dribbled the ball, our seats vibrated. When they ran past us, it felt like a small earthquake. When they scored long shots, the Forum rocked! It was honestly one of the most exciting things I've ever seen in person-- And I'm not even a basketball fan.

Husband and I have talked about that night many times in the past 20 years. First because of the price of things, since he doesn't consider himself or his company all that big of a deal to warrant such treatment. Second because shortly thereafter, his business banker whined that they had to relinquish their floor seats because the (then) economy was tanking. And third, because within the year, the 30-something banker's boss was laid-off and not replaced for budgetary reasons.

I'm pretty sure four season ticket floor seats would have covered the boss' salary and then some.

We saw the young banker and his wife three or four more times for dinner over the next several years. I continued to order the cheapest thing on the menu and they continued to eat like kings and queens then order take-out for their growing kids, all paid for with his Bank's lavish expense account.

I know "perks" are a part of doing business and have passed on and received more than my share during my career. But I'm always surprised when the "perks" are so excessive.

And I'm even more surprised when the businesses doling out these massive "perks" don't learn their lesson and repeat the excessive spending cycle over and over again.

So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I spotted the now 50-something banker and his wife, with doggie bag under their seat, at a recent Laker's game-- Floor seats, center court, right across from Jack Nicholson.


Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Orlando Florin Rosu - Fotolia.com
Click HERE for a chance to win an $80 CSNStores.com Gift Certificate.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


The very first movie I ever saw was the original animated feature, Jungle Book in 1967. I was about 8 years old. I loved it, and I loved that my dad took Mom and us kids to all see it together-- And, we got popcorn.

The very last movie I saw was The Tourist starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. I hated it. The movie was the biggest waste of a Saturday night (and $24) that I can remember in a very long time. It was a dog and I'm pretty sure the rest of the audience in the theater agreed with me. What a disappointment.

So imagine my surprise when I was up early this morning watching the Golden Globe Award nomination announcements on television. When The Tourist was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Actor, I nearly fell over the tv stand.

But it got me thinking-- I've seen A LOT of really bad movies over the years but I've also seen some really great ones too. With the exception of E. T.; The Extra-Terrestrial, my all-time faves tend to lean towards small independent films like The Madness of King George with Helen Mirren and Nigel Hawthorne, Eat, Drink, Man, Woman directed by Ang Lee, Big Night which is when I started crushing on Stanley Tucci, and Life Is Beautiful starring Italian darling Roberto Benigni.

Movies currently playing in theaters have been a bit lackluster for me, but I'm hoping-- always hoping-- for a really good one just around the corner. This coming weekend, Black Swan is on my "must see" list. And, if I can get some extra time, I'll actually go see the not so great Burlesque so I can check out Mr. Tucci's performance.

Are you one of those Day-After-Christmas-Shoppers? If you are, here's your chance to win an $80 CSNStores.com Gift Certificate to shop (online) til you drop starting December 26th. I'm having a giveaway and the winner will be announced December 25th! Just leave a comment below to enter.

Usual CSNStores.com Giveaway rules apply: US and Canada only (sorry). YOU pay the shipping. One time use only. No exchanges or returns. I draw winner randomly. Entries close Midnight, December 24, 2010 Pacific Time.

What are your all-time favorite movies?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © kentoh - Fotolia.com
Photo Credit: Burlesque

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sundays In My City #56 - Winter?

I've complained many times about the lack of Fall and fall foliage in Southern California. So I've lived vicariously through bloggers' photos of the gorgeous colors in other part of the country. But this past week, I finally found a little bit of Fall in my own back yard-- well actually somebody else's front yard, but Fall colors nevertheless.

Against the clear blue sky, these trees took my breath away....

I know most of you are either long past fall and/or freezing your tails off with winter and snow, but to see Mother Nature in action-- in person, is a real treat for me. Fall is definitely my favorite season of the year.

How about you?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Perfect Moment

I'm generally a "stay in the moment" and always move forward kind of girl but today I was asked a question that took me down memory lane....

What one perfect moment in your life would you relive if you had the opportunity?

It was posed as the perfect moment without changing a single thing-- A time of pure bliss that brings you joy just thinking about it...

The person asking me the question didn't have an answer at first then she said she had a flash-- And her moment was the birth of her only child more than 50 years ago-- A healthy 9 1/2 pound baby boy delivered with no pain medication. She said it was her most joyful and creative moment ever.

I'm still scrolling though the perfect moments of my life and I know I'm blessed to have many to choose from. They range from moments I was smack in the middle of, to moments when I was an observer of loved ones at their "perfect moment". It's hard to decide on just one but I'm leaning towards the moment I knew my husband was "the one" for me.

How about you?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Lisa Turay - Fotolia.com

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


For the past 6 months and 4 days I have received a "photo-of-the-day" of my great niece. She lives 2500 miles across the country from me and my niece (her mom) is a champ at keeping me in the loop and feeling like I'm not nearly as far away as I really am.

Taken, sent and received via cell phones, the baby updates have ranged from sweet and adorable to snort-soda-up-my-nose hysterical, along with several that have brought me to tears because I miss being back in Ohio to see the our girl in person.

But today's photo-- Today's photo has left me trying to think of the best possible caption to go with this....

Any suggestions?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Monday, November 29, 2010


There are a few holiday traditions that, for more years than I can count, truly "make" my holidays-- Without them, this time of year feels a little like pizza without pepperoni, hot chocolate without mini marshmallows, or Christmas morning without snow.

They may be small, silly traditions that have little to do with the "true meaning" of the holidays, but they light me up brighter than the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and I look forward to them every year.

My favorite traditions are simple-- The A Charlie Brown Christmas special, White Christmas and It's A Wonderful Life on late night television, and Adam Sandler singing The Hanukkah Song are my holiday "must-haves".

With Hanukkah kicking off on December 1st, I get a bit of a head start on the holiday cheer which means it's time for a little Sandler serenade....

What's your favorite holiday movie or song that puts you in the spirit?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sundays In My City #55 - It's Official

I'm a fan of Unknown Mami's "Sundays In My City". Click HERE to join the fun.

On Saturday, even though we had a turkey hangover and were still dizzy from too many carbs on Thanksgiving, Godson and I got a head start on the next set of holidays since Hanukkah is just around the corner.

We started with this and got an instant energy boost *translation*sugar*rush* after sampling the supplies....

And we had one of these as our excuse to have all those candies...

Before long the kitchen started to smell like gingerbread and cinnamon....

And things started to take shape....

In the end we had a multicultural gingerbread house with runny frosting, but we had a great time decorating and eating way too much candy....

For us, the holidays have officially begun!

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
For more "Sundays In My City" click HERE.