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 - 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 - Joanna Jenkins
For more "Sundays In My City" click HERE.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In The News...

After 17 years of marriage, yet again, I am reminded how incredibly happy I am.... not to be single. There is no doubt in my mind that if I hadn't found my Beloved Husband in an airport in Italy, I would be forever single.... Not that there is anything wrong with being single, it's just that, in this day and age, I would never be able to "do" the whole dating scene again.

Case in point-- The gorgeous Cher. She's a huge music icon, an Academy Award winning movie star, has been in the entertainment business for four decades, and at age 64 still has one rocking body....

And she turned to the Internet to find her current boyfriend! Yes, the Internet! That's what she told Parade magazine in this past weekend's cover story.

She met her current beau online and chatted back and forth on Facebook before they met in person a month later at her sprawling Malibu mansion. They've been together for a year. (And for the record, he's a grown up... At age 52, her oldest boyfriend ever.)

Can you imagine getting a blind date Facebook "Friend Request" from Cher?

If I was single today, it would not be pretty. I can't figure out Facebook and with Cher in the dating pool I'd be toast.


Speaking of hot and gorgeous....

While I was reading the Cher story in Parade magazine at my favorite West LA deli, none other than the gorgeous Diane Lane and Josh Brolin walked in with their family and sat in the booth next to us.

In a word-- Breathtaking. I tried not to swoon or stare.


And last but not least-- A big congratulations to Four Is A Neff for winning my $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway. She's an awesome mom, a gifted writer, and has been a good friend and loyal reader of my blog for ages! Stop by and say hello-- She's posting a heart-felt series on "Thankfulness" that I think you'll enjoy. Tell her Joanna sent you.

What's new with you?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sundays In My City #54 - Billboards

I'm a proud Sundays In My City participant.

Having spent the better part of my professional career in the advertising business, my eyes always perk up when I see a cleaver creative campaign-- Something that catches my attention and leaves an impression.

Last month hubby and I were in NYC and spotted a few campaigns I liked....

Parking the car is a big relief when I'm driving in Manhattan. There are just too many cars for me to navigate around safely.....

This one for a Self-Storage facility cracked me up....

As for my Sunday in Los Angeles, I'm counting the days til Thanksgiving!

How's your Sunday? - Joanna Jenkins
For more Sundays In My City click HERE.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Time of the Year & Last Chance Giveaway

Last chance to enter my $100 Gift Card Giveaway.
Leave a comment below and click HERE for more chances to enter.
Enter until Midnight, Nov. 20th Pacific Time

We celebrated Thanksgiving at Godson's school today with a turkey feast and all the timings for his classroom, teachers, and assorted others who followed their noises to Room 51. It was the happiest place on earth for about 3 food-filled hours today.

Students and staff pitched in and brought their favorite holiday foods that included everything from turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes to salads, corn and carrot souffle.

Before several homemade desserts were served, each student read their homework assignment telling things they are most thankful for this year. The kids range from age 10 to 14 and are mostly boys. Here are some of their responses--

--This year I am definitely most thankful for being able to beat my brother on the Wii and for my Dad for buying the game for us.

--I am thankful for my mother who birthed me, my father who clotheses [sic] me, my sister for not yelling at me so much and my little brother who's finally potty trained.

--I'm thankful that this Thanksgiving it's not my turn to help with the dishes.

--This is the time of year when I give thanks for black olives that I put on my finger tips and Cool Whip. Lots and lots of Cool Whip.

--I am thankful for my family, friends and everybody I ever met in my life. And I'm thankful for school vacation. (Due to budget cuts, Los Angeles public schools now get the entire week of Thanksgiving off for vacation.)

--I'm thankful for Thanksgiving because it has the best food of any holiday and my whole family comes from all over and we all get to eat together all day long.

--I am thankful for this classroom celebration so I don't have to go to history class.

As for me, I'm thankful that I don't have to cook the big turkey dinner this year. We'll be dining at our dear friend's house this year.

What are you thankful for this time of the year?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Jeanne Hatch -

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stuff, Stuff, Stuff & GIVEAWAY

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway HERE!

My mother is a great collector of stuff. Her home is full of it. Every nook and cranny, is covered-- Framed photographs-- art work-- baskets-- glass/porcelain/crystal/china... Stuff, stuff, stuff-- All with just a hint of dust to qualify as "patina". From side tables, and book shelves, to cabinets and window sills, a look around her house will leaving you wondering....

Where in the heck did all this stuff come from?

First let me say, even with all this stuff, a good deal of which is breakable, my folk's home is VERY livable and childproof. It's a home you can put your feet up and enjoy, not a museum/don't touch anything kind of place. That said....

Every visible space has something on it. But the interesting thing is that Mom remembers the story behind every item (all trillion)-- A nic-nak that one of her five kids gave her when they were in 2nd grade, a vintage basket she found at a long lost friend's garage sale in 1962, a birthday present from a grandchild a decade ago, Mom knows the story behind it all.

So imagine my surprise when, during my visit home last week, Mom handed me a box and told me to take whatever I wanted-- That she was getting rid of the stuff cluttering up her house. And yes, she actually used the word "clutter". I didn't know that word existed in her vocabulary!

Aside from the shock that she was willing to unload everything including stuff I'd seen since I was a baby, and aside from the fact that for the first time ever, Mom was referring to her "mementos" as "clutter"-- I was more than uncomfortable at the notion of pillaging my folk's home for family treasures, items that reminded me of my youth, and *ahem*cough*err* things I've had my eye on for sometime now.

Knowing my mother, I knew reading between the lines was probably in order so I immediately asked if she was sick and/or had anything to tell me about her health. She assured me she as not about to kick the bucket, but she was ready to start "decluttering" and figured I might as well take what I wanted rather than "being stuck" with the stuff she would pack up for me and stick a bow on for Christmas.

After much prodding and a few days of stalling, I finally started filling the box. Mom and I both collect blue glass so those were the things she pointed me in the direction of first. Then she "suggested" the lavender glass, then the crystal, then the rose glass, then the milk glass, then, then, then.


If Mom had her way, I'd have needed a U-Haul for all the "stuff" she wanted me to bring back to Los Angeles, but in the end, she was happy with the single box I filled with blue and lavender glass. Along the way however, she did managed to include a huge wool blanket claiming it would help against breakage, but I think she really just wanted to empty a shelf in the linen closet.

All kidding aside, I'm thrilled to have the mementos I remember since I was a kid. Hubby on the other hand, is still grumbling about where we're going to put it all. And, I'm pretty sure the words "you've become your mother" actually escaped his lips but he's not copping to the charge.

Do you have too much "stuff"?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sundays In My City #53 - Is That Snow? & GIVEAWAY

Today's Sunday In My City is actually from last Sunday in my hometown in Ohio where I was visiting family and getting a "baby fix".

I arrived to 50 degree weather but woke up Sunday to this....

I yiyi, you have no idea how much I dislike snow, but it seems every time I'm anywhere near Ohio after October or before May-- Temps will drop and snow will fly. Fortunately it only lasted a little while.

I tried to sneak back into town before the nasty weather so I could get my hands on this sweet girl, my great niece, one more time....

The Little Miss is 5 1/2 months old and up to a whopping 12 pounds. The last time I saw her in person she was about 5 weeks and barely 6 pounds so it was quite a change.

She warmed my heart and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. What a treat to be able to spend time with her, her mom and my entire family. It was perfection.

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Don't forget to enter my $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway by leaving a comment below. Full details and more chances to enter are HERE.

Kindness & Giveaway

Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without means.

Today is World Kindness Day, did you know that? I didn't until the lovely Se'Lah wrote about it. She and Anyes are graciously organizing a day filled with random acts of kindness by bloggers around the world. All acts of kindness are welcome and it's not too late for you to participate-- Just be especially kind today and reach out to others more than you usually do in celebration.

What act of kindness do I have planned for today? Grocery shopping.

This afternoon is Senior Citizen shopping day at my local supermarket-- The Senior's van from our area pulls up to the front door around 3:15pm and very slowly unloads a few dozen folks using walkers and canes to do their weekly marketing. I usually avoid grocery shopping at this time, but today I'm going to be available to reach top shelves, push carts, help with checkout, carry bags and assist shoppers back onto their van.

Although I usually rush through grocery shopping-- a chore I do not enjoy, I know today will be different and I'll be smiling the entire time.

How about you-- Do you have a random act of kindness up your sleeve for today?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Don't forget to enter my $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway by leaving a comment below. Full details and more chances to enter are HERE.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And Then She Said... & GIVEAWAY

There I was in the airport security line with my carry on suitcase in one hand and my snow boots in the other-- The boots I bought in Cleveland on vacation visiting my family-- Because it rained, snowed and was slushy the whole time I was there.

In front of me was a very fancy, 60-something woman (translation: obviously very rich judging by her chic Louis Vuitton bag, full length fur coat, excessive diamonds and exceptionally good facelift). She clearly had lots of money and knew how to spend it.

Behind me was none other than "The Chief" (James Pickens Jr.) from my favorite TV show Grey's Anatomy. I tried not to let him see my jaw drop as I did a double-take looking at him over my shoulder. For the record, The Chief is wildly sexy, which, at the moment, sounds a little weird, but please trust me on this. They dress the guy kinda frumpy and fatherly on the show but in real life-- Whoa! I was swooning.

So there we were all trying to get through the first ID inspection of the security process so we could go through the x-ray machine, but Ms Lotof$$ was holding us up. Apparently her driver's license name did not match her ticketed name and security was checking her out.

She was giving them a very nonchalant story about how she changed her name and the paperwork hadn't caught up with her yet. She said her driver's license name was her "real" name, then she vaguely mention it was her husband's last name on the ticket, but now she was back to using her driver's license name again. It was all "quick, quick, quick with nothing for anyone to worry about", she said. But security was worrying and continued questioning her... While The Chief and I waited, and waited, and waited right behind her.

Apparently the security crew was also taken with The Chief's good looks so instead of checking our IDs and waving us through, they kept us waiting so everybody and his brother could get a good look at him too.

After a few minutes, Ms Lotsof$$ was starting to get exasperated... and so, apparently, was the yip yappy dog she had in the Louis Vuitton bag. (Who knew!?!) Between the barking, the now four security people questioning her, and The Chief clearing his throat loudly behind me to help move things along, Ms Lotsof$$ finally said...

"The tickets is in my married-but-almost-divorced name and my driver's license is in my real name. My marriage was very fast--very fast, she repeated in a deeper voice-- It was so fast it was like the drive through at In-N-Out Burger...."


At which point, everyone immediately tried not to laugh.

By the way, The Chief has a very nice choke-back-a-laugh-chuckle... and it gave me another excuse to check in out.

Security finally let the now long line behind Ms Lotsof$$ pass while they continued to question her.

More on my vacation later. But first--

I'm having a Giveaway and it's easy to enter! has given me a $100 Gift Certificate to pass on to one lucky blogger. Their usual terms and conditions apply (one time use, you pay the freight, US and Canada shipping only-- Full details will come with the Gift Card.) I'm sure you've heard has more than 200 online stores to shop until your heart's content.

All you have to do is--

1) Leave a comment here and on all my new posts between now and midnight PT Saturday, November 20, 2010. The more you read new posts and comment, the more chances you have to win the $100 Gift Card.

2) For extra entries blog about the giveaway linking to THIS POST then come back to THIS POST and LEAVE ME TWO MORE COMMENTS with your giveaway URL. These are how your extra entries will be counted so don't forget this part.

3) You must have a blog to enter. Be sure I can reach you via email if you win. I'll randomly draw the winner. Results are final.

So there you have it. Come on! Leave a comment to enter.

Have you ever had an unexpected airport experience?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: Suitcase- © chris-m -
Photo Credit for James Pickens Jr.
Photo Credit for In-N-Out Burger

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A First

Every year, starting with kindergarten, we made a big deal out of his birthday, but every year the party consisted of our Birthday Boy, his mom and a whole lot of adults. Kids never came.

So after a few years we changed it up and took the party to the kids-- At school-- bringing treats to the classroom to celebrate. Elementary school kids love sweet treats, even if they weren't from a "popular" kid. But it wasn't the same as a real party and our B-day Boy knew it. So did his mom and I.

Every year we'd try to think of something engaging to celebrate another candle on the cake-- Miniature golf, the zoo, the movies-- But every year, still no kids.

It got harder and harder to talk up the big day with B-day Boy as if it was a special occasion that everyone wanted to celebrate. Last year, for his milestone 13th birthday, we had a party of three, including the B-day Boy. We decorated like it was a huge bash and made his favorite cake, but he was old enough to know that his invitations had been rejected again and his party with Mom and me felt more like the consolation prize.

It was heart-breaking. For him, and us, but especially for him.

B-day Boy is a special needs child who often gets set aside, dismissed and ignored by typical kids. Over the years they've outgrown him on different levels, in part because they never got to know him in the first place-- but outgrown him nevertheless.

He spends half his school day in mainstream classes with typical kids and half his day in a class with other high functioning special ed kids working one-on-one with teachers and tutors. It's a meaningful combination of learning opportunities and this year has been an especially rewarding experience for him.

I'm not laying blame for our B-day Boy's lack of friends by any stretch of the imagination, I'm simply saying that being "different" is tough for any kid. Being a kid who's "different" and knows he "different" is heart-breaking, confidence-shaking and miserable a good amount of the time.

But this birthday was different, very different. This year, thanks to a great group of kids and an amazing group of teachers in his special middle school class, we had a party and A LOT of kids showed up--

Every one of them had a great time! Every one of the kids will remember this particular birthday party. And every one of them will invite our B-day Boy to their birthday parties in the future because now they'll have their own birthday parties too-- With kids.

Not only was it was the very first "real" party our B-day Boy ever had, we realized it was also the first "real" birthday party any of these kids had been invited to-- Ever! In other words, these kids (and their parents) were all in the same boat we were.


We had an age-appropriate, hands-on, have a blast, kind of birthday party with 12, 13 and 14 year olds (and their parents who sat by happily watching the fun). You would have thought these kids had been to countless birthdays as they easily slipped into party mode laughing, joking and going with the flow. But every now and then someone would hesitate and let out a soft "whoa" in awe at a birthday activity that most kids have come to take for granted. It reminded the parents and adults in ear range how special the day was.

Towards the end of the party, one parent asked B-Day Boy what his favorite part of the birthday was. Without a moment's hesitation he said, with a huge smile on his face, "Having all the kids show up."

At which point I excused myself and cried.

Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Thaut Images -
I'm headed out of town. I'll see you again next week. jj