Monday, March 22, 2010

All Good Things...

Spring is in the air and I've been feeling the love lately so I wanted to share some of my good news with you...

Midwest to Midlands and Carmen at Carmen's Chronicles awarded me the Happy 101 Award. Thank you! I've received this award before but I'm always thrilled to be recognized by my fellow bloggers, especially these two cool women. Please check them out. And as per the Award, here's my original ten happy things and my new condensed version of things that make me happy, in no particular order--
1) Spring 2) Family 3) Chocolate 4) Daffodils 5)Friends 6) Handwritten letters 7) Vacations 8) Fresh sheets on the bed 9) Strawberry Cheesecake 10) All of YOU!
Here are the rules: 1. When you have received this award you must thank the person that awarded you in a new post. 2. Name the 10 things that make you happy. 3. Pass this award onto 10 other bloggers and inform the winners. I pass this on to the first ten commenters, if desired, and anyone else that needs a reminder of what makes them happy.

A big Woo-hoo to Hilary at The Smitten Image for mentioning She What? in her recent Post of the Week feature. Thank you Hilary! POTW is a great way to meet new bloggers with terrific posts. Check her out!


A long overdue thank you to Lenore Locken of Eat, Write, Create. She participated in the amazing One World One Heart blogging giveaway event. I won a fabulous set of greeting cards she created with her photos. Trust me on this, my photo of her photo cards don’t come close to doing them justice. Click on over to see her amazing work. And FYI-- Love, Peace and Chicken Grease is a real restaurant!


The pool and deck repair project is moving along at a fast and swift pace. This construction crew is so well managed and work so well together that I’m almost going to miss them. I say almost because we’re in the jack-hammer-for-8-hours-a-day stage. Oy. But at the end of every day, things are stored neatly, hosed down, and the yellow caution tape securely in place. Two weeks down, three to go!


My sweet niece from Ohio is visiting me this week. She’s an awesome college student who’s hanging out with her old auntie on Spring Break. I’m thrilled to have family from “back home” staying with us. We’re going to take in all the sights and tastes of Los Angeles that we can cram into a few days. It’s her first time here so there’s lots to see. I’ll be missing in action for the week but will catch up with you all soon.

Happy Spring!

Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins

PS It's not too late to participate in Snuggies For Seniors. There's a Giveaway too!

Photo Credit:

Holiday Sign © pixelking -

Pool: Joanna Jenkins

Miss Polly's Soul Cafe: Lenore Locken

Balloons: © Hallgerd -

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sundays In My City #29 - Aquarium

Unknown Mami hosts a great Sunday theme inviting YOU to get out and take pictures of your city and/or Sunday to share with the rest of blogland. Click HERE to see Unknown Mami's Sunday in her City today.

One of the nice parts of having out of town friends visit is that I get to do things that I don't do nearly enough-- Like visit the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California.

Blog buddy, Anne H. of Carb Tripper was nice enough to endure Los Angeles traffic on her vacation and meet me at the Aquarium. We had the best time talking and seeing beautiful sea creatures like these....

And these friendly guys....

The gracefulness of the the plants and animals combined with the vibrant colors and textures blew us away....
Along the way we saw this guy-- Vacuuming a giant aquarium! I love a man who knows how to operate a vacuum, so I tapped on the glass to get his attention and asked if he'd like to come to my house-- And clean my pool.... Which is covered with dust and dirt from the massive repair job we have going on.I'm guessing he gets asked that a lot because he just smiled and waved.

If you are ever in the area, the Aquarium and the surrounding pier with shops and restaurants is really great for a fun time with family and friends.
Do you have an Aquarium where you live?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: Joanna Jenkins

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Graveyard Garage Sale

Sally and Sal are friends of a friend who, after 52 years in the same Southern California home, were downsizing and moving to the East coast to be closer to their only son and his family.

On the Saturday I drove up to their massive garage sale I felt like I'd hit the mother load of all moving sales! There were boxes and tables full of their accumulated possessions from over half a century spread all over the lawn, up the driveway and stacked to the hilt in the garage-- And it was all priced to sell.

I waded through china, linens, nicknacks, mismatched Tupperware, books, board games, holiday decorations, toys, tools, 1970s furniture, mothball-smelling clothes and I whole lot of junk until I got to an item that stopped me dead in my tracks.

There, next to macrame plant hangers and an old high chair, was a hand written sign that read--


My first thought was-- Brand new? Is there such a thing as a "used" cemetery plot?

My second thought was WTH!

Apparently, 20 years ago, forward thinking Sally and Sal were trying to make their afterlife easier for their living loved ones and had purchased two picture perfect grave sites in their local cemetery with no thought at the time of ever leaving the state.

Since they were now moving East, with no intention of returning to the West coast, not even for the "big sleep", they wanted to unload their future resting place so they could ultimately be buried near their son.

Sally, who reminded me of a nearly 80 year old "Valley Girl", saw me eyeing the For Sale sign and immediately went into her "never been used" shpeel. It was all I could do to keep a straight face as she painted the detailed picture of her lovely grave sites and how sad she was to part with her "real estate". She ended with a big sigh then clearly indicated she was ready to make a deal-- Afterall, we were at a garage sale.

Now, it just so happens that the plots are in same granite garden where my husband's family rests and that got me thinking....

We all need to go somewhere eventually but, do I really want to go through all of eternity in a grave purchased at a garage sale?


I took Sally and Sal's phone number and all the info then paid a visit to Shady Acres to see my possible patch of grass.

Turns out, Sally and Sal's grave sites were positioned under a giant magnolia tree just a stone's throw away from our loved ones. So I took a few pictures-- kind of a creep thing to do in a cemetery, and presented the idea of purchasing our future resting place to my Beloved Husband.

Frankly, it gave him pause.

And then he laughed.

Once the hysteria subsided, I explained all about Sally and Sal's big move, the logistics of transferring the plots, the finances of the possible garage sale bargain and of course, I reminded Beloved the plots were "brand new and never used".

We slept on it for a night or two and decided it was a smart purchase. Sally was thrilled when she heard the news and quite proud of the sales pitch she'd given that reeled me in so I didn't let on to what really closed the deal-- Other than the fact that they were "brand new plots".

Realizing this is a somewhat morbid acquisition, we weighed our decision with our sense of humor firmly in place. It was actually the photo of our "neighbor" in the grave next to ours that helped closed the deal. Her headstone reads "She was one hell of a broad". We think we'll fit right into the neighborhood-- when the time come, and she'll get a good laugh out of our garage sale purchase.

Have you bought any real estate lately?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins
PhotoCredit: © BooHoo -

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sundays In My City #28 - Art!

Unknown Mami hosts a great Sunday theme inviting YOU to get out and take pictures of your city and/or Sunday to share with the rest of blogland. Click HERE to see Unknown Mami's Sunday in her City today.

Friday was a perfect day for lunch with my gal pals and a trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for a little culture......

We went to see the special exhibit by Pierre-Auguste Renoir....

It was of his later works-- Sorry, no photographs allowed but the paintings were of a lot of beautiful young women, mostly naked, a couple of interesting trees and some lovely houses in the south of France where he lived for a while. Although Renoir was clearly a great artist, his later works were not as interesting to me as some of the art installations outside by other artists....

This one, which looks like something I've seen many times in many different places was swaying in the wind....

But what I really loved was this huge installation-- All actual size light posts, by the way....

I want to go back and see it lit up at night!

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Friday Fragments #2

Thanks to Mrs. 4444 for hosting Friday Fragments.

The beautiful earrings you see below are an extraordinary gift from Izzy of Stone Spirit. She had a very generous giveaway in January for a necklace made with stones that would "help give love and strength for whatever challenges come your way".

I didn't win the necklace but sweet Izzy made a gift for each of the people who entered! She asked us to give her a suggestion of a particular challenge we were trying to overcome and then she designed a treat for each one of us! At the time I was flooded with funerals and sick loved ones so I asked her for something to give me strength to help us all pull through.

The beautiful deep blue-green stone Izzy chose for my earrings is called Dioptase. It brings forth and helps one to understand the message that "Yesterday is but a memory, tomorrow is but a vision, and today is real."* Izzy said, "Living in the moment is the energy of this mineral!" It's exactly what I needed.

I can't begin to explain how touched I was that a near stranger could pick the perfect stone for me. But after thinking about it further, I realized Izzy has an awareness about people that helps her match stones to the individual. My sincere thanks to Izzy for her thoughtfulness and generosity.

When you have time READ THIS about Izzy and her biological mother. It's stunning. And visit often because she has another giveaway coming up soon on her beautiful blog!


One of the earliest blogs I followed is by Cindy LaFerle. She is a published author and a writing role model for me. Cindy has such a beautiful way with words that paint a picture as clear as a sunny day. She also has an article featured in the current issue (March/April 2010) of Victoria magazine! It's a full page opposite the inside back cover, which gives her story The Art of Midlife Gardening prominent placement.

This is the cover of the issue, please be on the lookout for it and, when you have time, stop by and congratulate Cindy on her success.


And speaking of awesome bloggers, Kristina P. of Pulsipher Predilections has definitely reserved a spot in blog heaven some day! She's collecting Snuggies for needy senior citizens during the entire month of March. So far, more than 110 Snuggies have been collected! But there's still time for you to send one too. CLICK HERE for details. She's already received mine!


Thanks to Hilary of The Smitten Image for awarding me The Post Of The Week for Joy Ride. I am very flattered to be in the great company of the other nominees and recipients.

Do you know Hilary? She's a fabulous photographer and an avid blog reader. I've found a lot of new blogs via her POTW selections. Please check her out!

And with that, all I can say is thank gawd it's friday so I can sleep in on Saturday!

What are you doing this weekend?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna

Photo Credit--

* From the book "Love is In the Earth"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

She What?

Have you ever done something that, in hindsight, was not your best choice? I'm not talking about a "Wow, I could have had a V-8" moment, I'm talking about a "For the love of god what was I thinking?" moment.

I can only imagine what Megan Barnes from Florida was thinking when she recently (allegedly) crashed into the back of a pick up truck because she was driving while shaving-- her coochie!

Swear on Scouts honor. True story!

Ms Barnes, who at the time was driving on a suspended license had, just the day before, been convicted of driving under the influence. With her ex-husband beside her, which in and of itself raises a red flag on her judgement, she was behind the wheel with her foot on the accelerator while her Ex was steering the car.

Why you ask? Ms Barnes was busy giving her "bikini area", as the cops called it, a little freshening up, you know, a trim of the bush so to speak.

Picture that for a moment if you would....

Sitting in the driver's seat...

Cruising down the road...

With her Ex-husband...

And a sharp object close to your va-jay jay!

Yep, I'm guessing Ms Barnes, or at very least her Ex-husband will be wondering "What was I thinking?" for a very long time.

But wait, there's more.

After the crash, the crazy couple allegedly drove further down the road and changed seats (and possibly put her panties back on?). When the police arrived, the Ex was behind the wheel with a deflated airbag and not a scratch. But Ms Barnes, covered in airbag opening evidence on her face and arms, was in the passenger seat, whose airbag did not open.

Uh-oh, busted!

Why would anyone make such bad choices? Ms Barnes told police she was preparing for a date with her boyfriend. No mention was made of the Ex-husband's lame excuse.

I've made some poor choices in my lifetime and I'll probably make a few more, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I will never make a choice that bad.

How about you?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkin
Photo Credit - Bikini - © NatUlrich -
Photo Credit - Clown - © Georg Preissl -

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Joy Ride

Growing up, our family car was usually one of those huge station wagons with the third seat facing backwards. They were big and roomy and none of us kids ever felt squished sitting together, even with our bulky winter coats on.

My Dad was a car salesman so we never actually owned the cars, rather he drove what were called “demonstrators”, a perk from the dealer he worked for. Seats were always wrapped in plastic and the floors had those annoying paper mats to protect the carpet ones. But every car had that “new car smell” and were shiny and beautiful the classic way cars from the 50s and 60s were.

At the chance of sounding really old, gasoline in my youth, was only thirty-two cents a gallon, which was good since Dad loved to drive. He’d load my mom and us kids into the station wagons and go for rides on Sunday afternoons. We'd circle practically the entire county enjoying our “free entertainment” as he called it.

In the summertime, the windows would be rolled down and we’d sing along to the radio, country western music was his favorite. In the winter, we’d wait in the house until Dad warmed the car up and had scraped all the snow off before we piled into the two back seats to see where the road would take us.

Our rides often ended up at one of two places depending on the time of year-- Either to our town's small air strip to watch planes land and take off, or to rolling hills filled with apple orchids in “the country” for fresh cider and warm, homemade pies.

Fall was Dad's favorite time of the year. Autumns in Ohio might be short in days but they deliver a blaze of stunning colors and crisp air that had him raising his face to the sky as if to gulp in its energy.

Occasionally, my adolescent brain would wonder what the big deal was about seeing miles and miles of fall leaves along country roads, but I never said a peep. I knew when we were headed to the apple farm and I knew how much pleasure it gave my Dad to share his one day off work a week with us.

Sadly, for my dad, he didn’t see nearly enough autumns in Ohio. He died of cancer when he was only 59. It pretty much sucked and I mean no disrespect by that. But "suck" is the only four letter word I can use to describe cancer since this is a PG-13 blog. I'm still angry that he was taken so young after such a hard fight.

It's been more than 16 years since his death and I miss him as much now as I did when he slipped away. At times I actually forget he’s gone and still reach for the phone to call him.

I wonder what Dad would think of his five kids today-- Four daughters and a son all over age 40. He is so much a part of who each one of us is, yet we are all so totally different.

More times than I can count, I’ve wished Dad’s ten grandchildren could learn, first-hand, his down to earth common sense wisdom and his easy-going way with people. I think they would adore him.

It may seem odd, but for years I’ve felt closest to my Dad when I’m in the car. Maybe that’s why I always arrive an hour early to pick up Godson from school. I sit in the car-- alone with myself, and let my mind drift, often landing on memories of him.

Today would be Dad's 76th birthday-- Although I miss him terribly, my heart is full of love and reflections of the man who taught me how to drive, in a big, shiny, new car.

Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins

Photo Credit- Car: © OlgaLIS -

Photo Credit - Foliage: © Katie Chamberlain -

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sundays In My City #27 - Montana Avenue

Do you know Unknown Mami? She's hosts a great Sunday theme inviting YOU to get out and take pictures of your city and or Sunday to share with the rest of blogland. Click HERE to see Unknown Mami's Sunday in her City today.

For a pleasant afternoon walk, Montana Avenue in Santa Monica California between about 17th and 10th Streets is filled with wonderful restaurants, fancy boutiques and clothing stores, antique and designer shops and a lot of interesting signage. Take this for example...

Like I needed to be reminded of that!

There were no firetrucks in sight but Giselle was having a hot sale...

Entertainment is always available too...

Shop owners maximize their advertising on cute cars...

I figure the Dads are hanging out here while the wife and kids are shopping...

And this sign was on the side of a plumber's van. I wonder if he works Saturdays.

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins

Six Word Saturday - #1

Look who's filming in my neighborhood!

Check out Cate at Show My Face to participate and link up to Six Word Saturday.

Will you be watching the Academy Awards on Sunday?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My First Friday Fragments

After way too many months, it feels like my blog mojo is nearly within reach, now all I need is for life to cooperate and free-up some good old fashioned blog time.

Until that happens, and with a thanks and a salute to Mrs. 4444 (that's Mrs. Fours) at Half Past Kissing Time, I'm hitching my Friday to her wagon and presenting my first Friday Fragments....

Did you ever notice people tend to shy away from eating at restaurants that are empty preferring a jammed restaurant requiring a long wait for a table because they assume the jammed food restaurant is better than the empty one. I'm guilty as charged.

That kind of thinking probably explains why, when I recently entered a new doctor's office for a long awaited appointment with the "best in his speciality", it give me pause. His office was completely empty. Uh-huh.

When I was ushered into the exam room at my exact appointment time by the doctor I thought the appointment would be the equivalent of a really bad meal at an over-hyped restaurant. (Funny how my thoughts in a possible crisis always turn to food.)

Turns out however, the doc was great and very helpful! Maybe the next time I see an empty restaurant, I'll give it a try.


I met a lot of my current blog friends and readers via the kindness and blogging generosity of Lilly of Lilly's Life. She recently took a blogging break but SHE'S BACK and is as fabulous as ever! Please stop by and catch up with her!


Godson was named Citizen of the Month in February at his middle school! That's a very big deal around here. His mom was so proud at the awards ceremony and brunch, and Godson was beaming when he received his nice certificate and recognized for his kindness and consideration of others.

It was all great until we realized his Mom wasn't getting one of those My Child Is A Citizen Of The Month bumper stickers for her car. She deserves "bragging rights" and frankly, I wanted one too! The Principal claimed "budget cuts" despite having enough funds for bagels and donuts that morning.

To be honest, I used to find those stickers annoying, why I have no idea. But now I get it! We were so disappointed that I'm thinking of printing them up for the school so Godson's Mom and all the other proud parents can brag about their kids too.


Repair work on our pool and deck started Wednesday -- sort of. The possibility of the pool popping out during draining has slowed things down a bit but there is other general prep work to be done (like removing the deck) so the project got started....

....Until a production manager for a big network drama series knocked on my door. They will be filming the TV show on our street for three days and the huge dumpster and all the power equipment noise will ruin the shoot-- And that's before the jackhammers started or the port-a-potty arrived.

So faster than you could say "That'$ All Folk$" they made me an offer I couldn't refuse, and the dumpster, potty, workers and noise will magically disappear on Friday for the actual filming with the show's stars!

How much $$$ you ask for the inconvenience and missed day of work? It's really a drop in the bucket, but it will allow me to feed our construction crew nicely several times over the course of the next few months. Plus it's one of my favorite TV shows. Now all I have to do is borrow someone's dog to take for a walk and maybe bump into my favorite cast members.


Do you have a favorite TV show?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna Jenkins
PS Check out This Stop Willoughby's fabulous GIVEAWAY!