Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sundays In My City #44 - & Giveaway!

I'm a happy member of the Sundays In My City Community (SIMC) hosted by the fabulous Unknown Mami. Wanna see the world and join the fun?

It seems the older I get, the more I tend to be a home-body, not traveling nearly as much as I used to. Yes, I fly to my hometown of Ohio a lot, but other than that, I mostly stay here...

...In my city-- Los Angeles, and always like walking through our front door. I'm content in our home and it's a nice feeling.

But this Sunday, I'm dreaming of all the places I could travel to. Not crazy far away places, but perhaps cross-country, way North, the deep South, or anywhere in between. And with a wink and a much appreciated nod, I blame my new found desire for the wild blue yonder all on Ms Bake-It.

She hosted a CSN giveaway recently and I was the lucky winner. I had a whopping $100 to spend (!) and despite having my eye on an All-Clad pot, I checked out with a brand new Samsonite carry-on suitcase. (It cost me less than $17 after applying the gift certificate!)

It's been a very long time since I bought luggage, and frankly, didn't think I needed any until I spotted this baby. It got me thinking and, as they say, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

I never carry on luggage when I fly, it's too heavy for my arthritic hands to schlepp. But this suitcase has those wheels that turn in every direction and it's so lightweight that I realized, if I traveled with my Beloved Husband, things could work out really well for moi.

You see, as I've spent the day plotting a new travel adventure, I realized that we'll check our usual luggage when we fly, but I'll carry-on this gem of a suitcase totally empty going on our trip, and he'll carry-on the suitcase coming back home-- filled with trip treasures, i.e., shopping purchases.

It makes perfect sense to me-- In a totally *ahem* high maintenance kind of way.

So thanks Ms Bake-It aka Tracy. You Rock! And I love your blog. You're funny and creative and down to earth and on my favorite blogs list. You can meet Tracy HERE.

And YOU, dear reader, can win an $80 CSN Gift Certificate right here on my blog by leaving a comment BELOW and on all of my posts starting HERE (with giveaway details) through midnight, August 4th Pacific Time. The more posts you comment on, the more chances you have to win-- And go shopping!

Where in North America do you think we should travel to?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
PS I was not compensated by CSN or Samsonite for this post. I'm just really happy I won.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Three Things Plus 10

1) One of my all time favorite blogs, Moments of Perfect Clarity, is featuring an interview series asking bloggers 10 questions about themselves-- Today it's my turn! Please pop over and check it out. While you're there, spend some time looking around Julochka's blog. It's absolutely gorgeous. And please tell her Joanna sent you.

2) Don't forget to enter my Giveaway by leaving a comment below on this post. And Click HERE for details and more chances to win an $80 CSN Gift Certificate. Giveaway ends August 4th at midnight, Pacific Time.

3) This is one of the sweetest and most beautiful renditions of Amazing Grace I've heard in a long time. It's by a 7 year old girl from Texas.

Happy weekend everyone.
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit © Dana S. Rothstein -

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Don't forget to enter my Giveaway by leaving a comment on THIS POST
and HERE for more chances to win!

Eighteen thousand two hundred fifty. That's how many days you'd have been married if you celebrated your 50th wedding anniversary.


Recently I attended a golden wedding anniversary for dear friends and I have to say, they are the happiest married couple I know-- And I'm blessed to know numerous happy couples. But this couple is special.

She was 19, he was 21 when they met for the first time late one night, both pacing the halls of the surgery wing at a local hospital. She was having her appendix removed the following morning and had a bright future ahead of her, including her lavish wedding that was all set to go in three weeks. He was in much more serious condition and was having surgery to remove a particularly nasty form of cancer. His prognosis was grim.

They talked and walked the halls for hours. When they said good night they wished each other luck and that was the end of it.

But it wasn't.

Within days she called off her engagement and cancelled the already planned, very large, wedding. She believed that, if she was spending all her time thinking about a man she'd just met and barely knew, she had no business marrying someone else.

He survived surgery but was wildly sick. Months passed, and with a lot of networking and finagling on her part, eventually she and her parents were invited, through friends of friends of friends, to his parents house for dinner. It had been six months since that night in the hospital.

And their romance began.

Clearly there was a deep connection between the two but countless people, including his doctor, were absolutely adamant that she stay clear of this "dead man" as they repeatedly referred to him. But they had a love that rose above all the negative and believed whatever time they had together was better than none at all. So, with doctors telling them he had less than two years to live, they joyfully married.

From day one, they lived life in the moment-- And continue to live and live and live, never taking a second together for granted. That's how they've been successfully and happily married 18,250 days and counting.

Live in the moment-- It sounds so easy as the words roll off my tongue. But, in actuality, it's not always so easy-- At least it's not for me. But I'm getting better at it.

Maybe it's because I'm on the south side of middle age. Maybe it's because I've lost so many people recently. Maybe it's because I'm learning the playing field of life can change on a dime. Or maybe it's because I know I will never reach 18,250 days of marriage and want as many happy days and years with my husband as I can get.

Time and experience is teaching me that staying present-- in the moment-- is the best way to minimize regrets and appreciate my very content life and happy marriage.

Beloved and I married too old to ever reach the 50th anniversary milestone. Then again, I'd like to think we were old enough and wise enough when we married to appreciate our days together-- every single one of them.

When I spend time with our friends who have navigated through their tremendously successful 50 years of marriage, despite the monumental medical odds being again them, I am reminded to reset my "live in the moment" mindset and focus on being present in my life, my marriage and my relationships with friends and family.

I'm surprised by how emotional and sentimental I've become as a result of the wonderful anniversary party Beloved and I attended but I'm happy to say it reminded us both how much we cherish one another.

Cheers to living in the moment my friends.
Welcome to - Joanna
Photo Credit: © Dmitry Ersler -

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sundays In My City #43 - & GIVEAWAY!

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway by leaving a comment on THIS POST
and HERE for more chances to win!

Is it just me or did this week fly by in a heartbeat? It's Sunday again already and I'm happy to be back with Unknown Mami for Sundays In My City. It's my favorite post of the week because I get to see and meet so many great bloggers from around the world.

Los Angeles has been cooler than usual, still in the mid 70 degree range here near the beach, and a bit overcast until after lunch. That's A-okay with me since, as a rule, I stay out of the sun and really, really dislike being boiling hot or freezing cold making the 70s the perfect temperature in my book. Afternoon sun is an added bonus.

A few nights ago we had this stunning sunset....

I'm thinking the magnificent colors had something to do with a large brush fire that day, but thanks to the amazing California Fire Fighters it was brought under control before too much damage was done. Thanks to all the men and women that help to keep our state safe.

Hold onto your seat so you don't fall on the floor laughing but.... This Sunday I'm actually making my holiday shopping list thanks to Sarah at Cottage Garden Studios. She's having a fabulous eBay sale and I scored some real treasures including one of these...

....Which I'm keeping for myself but it reminded me to start making my Christmas and Hanukkah gift list early.

My list is pretty long and giving gifts with a "history" or a story behind them about the person who created them, is a real treat for me. There are some amazing artists and crafters out there so I'll be doing a lot more holiday shopping with bloggers who have etsy and eBay stores this year.

Oh, and in honor of Sarah, I think I might even buy some Halloween candy (incredibly early so I can eat it all) to go with her Halloween Quilt Block.

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hey! It's a NEW Giveaway

It was passed down to me by my mother, one of two beautiful table lamps that now suits on my office desk-- It originally belonged to my great-grandmother, "Granny", and is one of the things I vividly remember from her small apartment in the assisted living facility she called home for more than 30 years.

Is it the perfect desk lamp? Not exactly, but I love that it belonged to Granny and that it was by her bedside for as long as I can remember. I know this is the lamp that she read by each night and I know it's the lamp that burned softly on the nights she couldn't sleep and sipped warm milk.

I've been cleaning out my office filing cabinets for about a month now-- They're a mess and I'm sorting through old papers, shredding the outdated and filing the important documents I need to keep.

Several times, as I squinted to read something because the light was poor, I've thought of checking out the new table lamps available that would make the job so much easier, but in the end, Granny's is the lamp I know I'll always have.

Despite my aging eyes and diminishing vision, the memories behind the lamp are too deep for me to set it aside.

Hey! I'm having a GIVEAWAY!

CSN $80 Gift Certificate GIVEAWAY!

I must be living right because the nice folks at have given me another $80 Gift Certificate to offer one lucky reader! They have more than 200+ online stores to shop from with loads and loads of fabulous merchandise, including table lamps, baby and kid stuff, housewares, cookware, school supplies and more.

It's easy to enter...

--Leave one comment on THIS POST to enter.

--Leave one comment on all my NEW posts between now and August 4th. (The more you read and comment the greater your chances!)

--Follow and receive two additional chances to win. Please let me know if you're already a follower or a newbie. (Leave two additional "I'm a follower" comments on THIS POST only.)

--Blog about the $80 Gift Certificate Giveaway at The Fifty Factor linking to THIS POST and receive three additional chances to win. (Leave three additional "I blogged about it" comments and your linking URL on THIS POST only.)

It's easy! But, you MUST have a blog to enter and an email address in your comment or accessible on your blog. No exceptions. CSN only ships to the US and Canada and shipping is additional so keep that in mind. Giveaway closes at Midnight, Pacific Time on Saturday, August 4, 2010. Winner will be randomly selected and results are final.

Don't forget to leave multiple comments per the above to get all your chances to win!

Come on-- Enter and please tell your friends!
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
I as not compensated in any way for this giveaway.
Photo Credit - Light bulb: © lorenzo_b_35 -
Photo Credit: © Scott Maxwell -

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Means...

One of the perks of living in Southern California in the summertime is that the weather is pretty much the same, day in and day out-- Sunny and dry. Now that we're past the gray "June Gloom", July is making up for it and it's been pretty glorious.

That means barbecues, swimming, fresh tomatoes from the garden and, and, and..... Those gawd awful ants that appear seemingly out of nowhere and, in most cases, for no reason.

They drive me crazy!

The thing is though, I don't mind ants with a "purpose" so to speak. At least then I know why I have them and can easily figure out how to get rid of them-- Like when an unnamed husband leaves a big glob of strawberry jam on the counter after making toast for breakfast.

If I don't see it, we're going to get a mountain of ants marching across the window frame, down the wall, onto the counter, down, into, up and over the sinks, then onto the toaster area for a bite of jam.

In this case I know where the ants start and where it ends... And by ending, I mean dinner reservations because the glob of jam cost me about 90 minutes of scrubbing the kitchen to rid the annoying creatures from our eating area. These types of ant encounters are not fun but at least I can resolve the "attack" relatively quickly.

But today-- Today is a very different ant attack and I am one unhappy girl. Today, I have ants in my pants (Eeeek!!!) and it's going to take way more than 90 minutes to rectify.

A few years ago I splurged and had my bedroom closet built out with drawers and shelves and all things organized. I'm a neat freak and it truly is paradise for me. It was done by one of those closet organizing companies in one day. I love it so much that some days I just stare into it and admire everything in its place. Ahhhh.

This is so not my bedroom or closet, but a girl can dream can't she...

Today is a whole other story and it shattered my world. The damn ants arrived-- in my closet-- My beautiful pristine closet! It's my oasis of organizational calm that holds everything from the leather gloves I wear once every ten years to my pants-- My underpants.

And I so am not happy.

To make matters worse, after two hours of removing, "de-anting" and searching high and low, I still cannot for the life of me figure out the source of the annoying creatures and why they decided to attack my granny panties rather than, oh say... the half eaten piece of toast with peanut butter and honey that I discovered in the kitchen sink when I went searching for the "ant attack" supplies. (Apparently that same unnamed husband forgot where the dishwasher was this morning. Big sigh.)

I'd be happy with this closet but I wouldn't share it with
my jam dropping, dishes in the sink unnamed husband.

So far, every single thing is out of my closet, some has been taken outside and shaken to insure the tiny pests are gone, others things-- like my panties, are in the washing machine with the hottest water possible. But still I see those tiny specs walking around on the white closet surface.

Where? Are? They? Coming? From?

If I had this closet would I have to wear all one color palate of clothes?

I scrubbed and cleaned some more, then inspected the perfectly clean, white surface and saw no ants in sight. But by the time I sat down-- really in a blink, smack dab in the middle of the drawer was another ant! How could that itsy-bitsy four-legged spec move so fast-- and from where?

The only thing I know for sure is that I refuse to surrender! The entire bedroom will be cleaned, scrubbed, vacuumed, dusted, sprayed and cleaned again and again before I sleep in there.

Not my closet either but I'd be very happy with it.

As for the ants in my pants. I'm pretty sure I'll be shopping for all new ones before the day is done.

Any tips to get rid of the creepy crawly feeling of ants?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: Top - © mark huls -

Monday, July 19, 2010

Our Village

Hilary Clinton's book, It Takes A Village, brought the phrase to the forefront but it's based on the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child". Regardless of where the term came from, it makes perfect sense to me and is how my close friends and family have always been.

We're each other's "village" regardless of age, taking care of one another through thick and thin, good and bad, and happy or sad times. Plain and simple-- we can count on each other and there's a calmness that comes with the knowledge that we are never alone. For me, that is deeply meaningful.

When my niece, Queen M, announced that she and hubby were having their first child, our "village" was all a-buzz and very excited. Godson, his Mom, and I are the family members living the farthest away but we went straight to work plotting what we could do for our upcoming bundle of joy.

A few months back, I teased you HERE about a project we were working on for the newest member of our "village" and finally, I can show it to you.

Using fabrics I've collected for years, the three of us designed and made an "I Spy" quilt for the Little Miss to play on when she gets a bit older. We picked bright colors and fun fabric patterns to help teach her new words, images, shapes and colors while she's exploring the "village" in the quilt.

Godson came up with the round layout-- a cul-de-sac circling loved ones together, and selected many of the fabrics for the chimneys, windows, doors, trees and sky. I did the initial applique sewing everything together and Godson's Mom did an amazing job on the actual quilting.

The quilt is one small way of welcoming the new baby into our "village" and letting her know we'll always be here supporting her.

We're pretty proud of ourselves and the way it turned out, especially since we had no idea what we were doing and had never made a quilt like this before.

New Mommy Queen M loved it and her mother (my sister) promptly reminded me that more babies are expected in the family and we should start on the next quilt as soon as we returned to Los Angeles.

But even with the excitement of Godson and I being able to deliver our quilt in person and meeting Little Miss for the first time, we had one more gift-- A gift from someone very special in our extended "village".

The wonderful Sassy Pants Freckle Face, a great blog friend, sent a baby hat for Little Miss-- How sweet is that! Sassy knows how excited I am about this newest addition to our family and her generosity and kindness touched my heart more than I can express. When I told my "village" in Ohio about Sassy, they were equally as touched and appreciative of her thoughtfulness.

This sweet bunny hat will keep our baby girl warm and cozy this coming winter and will fit her perfectly by the time the snow flies. It was really an awesome gift and we all look forward to seeing the babe decked out in blog "village" love! Thanks again Sassy-- You're the greatest.

How's your "village"?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo credit: Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sundays In My City #42 - Clowning Around

I'm a happy member of the
hosted by the fabulous Unknown Mami.
Wanna see the world and join the fun? Click HERE.

It's been a busy few days since Godson and I returned from vacation with lots to do and catch up with. It's to the point that I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation! So what did I do???

Godson's Mom scored some free tickets to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus so we took a few friends to see the fun. We loved the circus so much last year that we didn't want to miss the thrills and excitement again this time around.

The pre-show started with a painting elephant....

Then things kicked-off with a bright, colorful, parade followed by an action-packed show. The little person in the pic was the sidekick to the Ring Master. He was our favorite clown of the show and, frankly, was more fun and had more personality than the Ring Master....

Of course there were death-defying acts and fabulous acrobats. Do not try this at home...

There were some real babes in the show too. See the little guy in front of his Mommy....

Although the tigers were gorgeous, I couldn't stop wondering why a grown *ahem*middle*aged* man would were shiny spandex tights in a cage with a bunch of tigers. It just seemed so very wrong....

After too much popcorn, cotton candy and all that clowning around, I brought this guy home with me....

We had a blast and will, hopefully, go again next year if the circus comes back to town. It was the perfect "official" end to our vacation. Now it's time to get back to work!

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo credit: Joanna Jenkins