Monday, September 27, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

Time and again, I've been reminded to pray for very specific things, not general stuff like "let it snow", "warm summer days", or for "some rain". When looking to the heavens, if I've made general requests like this in the past, I've been rewarded with airport-closing blizzards, a leaking roof from non-stop sideways rain that literally pulled up the shingles on my house, and gawd awful record breaking high temperatures.

It was 113 degrees in my neck of the woods today-- The hottest it's ever been-- EVER, not just on THIS day-- but EVER in Los Angeles-- Since temperatures started being recorded in 1877.

Yeah, yeah, yeah it's my fault. I've been complaining about how cold it's been all summer in LA and praying for a little warm weather. And I got it-- "warmth" so high that when I'm an older woman I'll be able to quote exactly where I was and what I was going on this sweltering hot day to my great-grandchildren.

I spent the day driving around in my car with the air conditioning on full blast, trying to cool off. I'm not kidding either. I drove around in circles to stay out of the heat. A half a tank of gas later, I was still hot.

Sure, there are hotter places in parts of this country, and the world for that matter, that sees 113 degrees on a regular basis, but me-- sitting here in my NON-air conditioned house-- not so much. By the way, at 7:31pm, it's still 93 degrees outside which means it's about 105 in my house.

Growing up in Ohio, I learned about the "windchill factor" which usually meant the 20 degree snow days with howling wind actually felt more like minus 15 degrees as I walked to school. Those days were so cold that the wind stung my legs to the point of feeling like they were on fire-- Kinda like they felt today in Southern California.

The 50-something years are not kind to me on especially hot days. Taking into consideration my shifting hormones, it might be 113 degrees outside but inside-- my body-- the "menopause factor" is somewhere between the depths of the desert and the top of my head blowing off louder than the whistle of a boiling tea kettle.

It's not pretty. Just ask my husband-- He'll tell you the heat from the "menopause factor" is connected to the "watch-what-you-say-or-she'll-bite-your-head-off factor" which is in close proximity to the "bitch factor" and for that, there is no switch to turn off. You just have to ride out the storm.

So today, and if weather forecasters are correct, for the rest of the week too, you'll be able to find me in my car, air conditioner at full force as I make the rounds in Los Angeles praying, very specifically, for balmy weather in my world.


Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and kind words about my two sweet bake sale buddies working to raise money for Lupus International. We are all VERY touched by your thoughtfulness and greatly appreciate all your support and best wishes.


How's the heat in your neighborhood?
Welcome to - Joanna
Photo Credit: © Terry Morris -

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sundays In My City #49 - Treats

I've complained a lot this summer about the cooler than usual temperatures in my Los Angeles neighborhood, so it's just my luck that the four days I plan to bake treats and sweets for my young friend's bake sale, the temperatures would crank up to some of the hottest of the year. Oh well, the ovens might be fired up but it's for a great cause and at least I can finally break out the summer clothes.

My kitchen counter looks like this....

Actually it's what it looked like late Saturday night after I cleaned up from making 6 loaves of banana nut bread, 24 banana chocolate chip muffins, 47 giant oatmeal raisin cookies, a big trays of chocolate fudge and 87 gingersnap cookies..... And I'm just getting started.

I'll be baking Sunday through Tuesday-- Some lemon bundt cakes, brownies, maybe a couple of apple pies, lots more cookies and whatever else I can think of.

You can meet my bake sale friends HERE. They're a couple of awesome 8 year olds!


I am very late in sending blog love and a big thank you to three really wonderful women-- The amazing Se'lah from the Necessary Room hosted a beautiful and generous "Gift of Jewels" pen pal project bringing 70 bloggers from 13 countries together to exchange cards/"jewels" with one another. It was a joyful project that introduced me to Connie of Loose Lemons from North Carolina-- I sent my "jewels" to her, and Suvarna of Rapt In Light from Vancouver BC, Canada, who sent two beautiful "jewels" to me. This was a really special opportunity to reach out to bloggers "in real life" and I loved it. Thanks ladies!


Continued prayers and hugs to Unknown Mami. Check out more of her Sundays In My City participants HERE.

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sweet Job

I'll admit, I'm a little cranky these days which is why I've been missing in action for the past few weeks. I've been nursing my annual end of Summer/beginning of Fall cold that will probably last me until Spring. But I'm starting to rally because I have a sweet job to do!

About this time last year, I introduced you to these three dynamo young ladies who participated in Lupus International's Race For Life to help raise much needed funds to support and educate patients living with lupus and their families....

Rosebud is on the left, Angelica's in the center and BB is on the right. They were 6 and 7 years old when this photo was taken at last year's Race. Rosebud and BB are cousins who know all too well how nasty lupus can be. Rosebud's Mom has lupus and the girls recently lost an Aunt to the disease. Angelica's Mom also has lupus. So do I.

I adore these girls and was thrilled to hear they are again participating in this year's Race For Life. But this time around one thing is VERY different. Rosebud is one sick little girl. In short, since last year's race, she's developed an auto-immune disorder that is severely attacking her kidneys. A transplant is not an option which means dialysis is just around the corner for her. Rosebud just turned 8 years old.


But her spirit is bright and she's still anxious to participate in the Race as best she can. Here, in their own words are how Rosebud and BB feel about their efforts for lupus...

We might just be 8 years old but we can still help other people. You don't have to be a grownup to make a difference. Help us. Join our team or donate what you can. Even if it's just $1, you will help other people.

Here's why we run and volunteer in our own words:

Rosebud says:

"Lupus is a very bad disease. My Auntie Linda died from it. I am very scared I might lose my mom. She has lupus too. So I am helping to cure lupus so I am putting on this bake sale and running in honor of my mom and other aunties. I have HSP too, HSP is a kidney disease. I have kidney problems. My name is Kelly "Rosebud" and I am 8 years old. I look fine but I really am not. I wake up feeling horrible so I understand how hard it is for people with lupus. I love volunteering my time and doing the bake sale so I can help find a cure for lupus. I have the most wonderful feeling inside and I love to run the race. It is so much fun and we have breakfast and do lots of fun stuff. I might not win this year because I don't always feel so good, but I'm going to try."

BB says:

"Lupus bake sale is important because my Aunt Linda died from a bad sickness called lupus. My other aunt has lupus too, but she's still alivve. My cousin has a kidney problem and she has to go to the hospital. It is so sad seeing her in the hospital. Sometimes I cry because she has to get her blood drawn and iv's. I feel like I'm being a leader when I volunteer for Lupus International, especially for the Lupus Race for Life."

Please come run or walk with us or donate what you can. Even if you give just a dollar is ok cause if you add them up it becomes more.

That sweet job I mentioned above is to bake my butt off for the girls to sell treats at their Bake Sale on Wednesday, September 29th. Stuffy nose or not, I'm getting off the sofa and putting both of my double ovens to great use-- I'm so into this it's not funny! When I'm done-- many, many pounds of flour, sugar, chocolate, oatmeal, caramel, bananas and nuts later, I'll have a mountain of baked good for these angels to sell to raise money for lupus patients.

If you live in Irvine, California please stop by their Bake Sale at Albertson's on Alton Parkway between 3-6pm. If you're in the LaMirada, CA area and want to join Rosebud and BB's Team in the 5K Lupus Race For Life on October 3rd, come on down! I'll be at both events cheering everyone on.

And if you can-- Please support an important and meaningful cause by sponsoring Rosebud and BB's efforts. Like they said, even a dollar will make a difference. Click HERE to donate.

A million thanks.

What's your favorite treat to buy at a Bake Sale?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sundays In My City #48 - Prayers

I interrupt this regularly scheduled Sundays In My City, hosted for more than a year by the wonderful Unknown Mami, to ask you for a moment of your time.

Here's the thing, tomorrow/Monday Unknown Mami goes for a very important sonogram to check on the status of her pregnancy. (You can read more about it HERE.) The doctors are very concerned and as you can imagine, she's very scared.

As my dad used to say, Unknown Mami could use "a few kind words". Please stop by and show her some love and support.

A million thanks,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Do you have a photo (or two or ten) of a loved one that seems to capture exactly who they are right down to their soul? I'm lucky to have several of these cherished pictures. They're framed on my bedside table or displayed prominently in my office where I'll see them every day.

This is my newest photo. It's of my Big Sister and was taken shortly after her first grandchild was born....

This photo is of a perfect moment in time for a very proud Grandma-- A moment when all the cares of the world were suspended and the joy in her heart completely surrounded her. When I see this picture I bounce between tears and smiles because I know how very happy she was to meet her daughter's daughter.

Today, September 15th, is my Big Sister's birthday. I won't mention her age but lets just say there will be a lot of candles on her cake. *ahem* She's loving being a Grandma and celebrating with all things girlie and sweet. Although she feels her age on the occasional early morning feedings she helps out with, "Grandmotherhood" suits her beautifully.

My Big Sister knows how blessed she is and her baby granddaughter reminds her of that on a regular basis. Life is good despite the ups and downs of aging.

Please join me in wishing my Big Sister a great birthday and all the happiness her heart can hold.

Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Top Photo Credit: © Elena Schweitzer -

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sundays In My City #47 - Arlington West

I'm a proud member of the Sundays In My City community.

Usually when I'm at Santa Monica Pier I'm all about the surf and the sand but recently Husband and I hit the beach for a Sunday afternoon walk and came across Arlington West-- A memorial we'd often heard about by never seen in person.

It's presented by Veterans for Peace every Sunday. Each cross represents all American military personnel who've lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The red crosses represent ten soldiers each.

It took our breath away and made us cry.

You can read more about it here.

Thank you to our soldiers and God Bless America.

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

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What I Did NOT Do On My Summer Vacation

Since I was so bold as to proclaim all the things I was planning to do this summer HERE, I think it's only fair to tally up my accomplishments and own up to the fact that I pretty much failed-- at least if you just look at the numbers. I'm barely 50/50.

Oh I had grand ideas, but you know what they say about carefully laid plans. Life got in the way, along with Mother Nature, missing motivation, distractions and a few unexpected twists and turns along the way.

On the top of my summer "to-do" list was spending more time connecting with friends over potluck dinners. Applause please-- I did really well on this goal. Beloved Husband and I entertained a lot this past summer and we're really glad we did. You just can't beat good food and quality time with loved ones. And, with all the cooking and grilling I did, this simple "confetti corn" recipe turned out to be the hit of the summer.

Second on the list was planting tomatoes and trying my hand at gardening... Again. Four plants and a full summer later, I harvested a whopping 7 tomatoes. Big sigh. I am still not gardener. But I made up for my lack of a green thumb at Farmer's Markets. I bought so many heirloom tomatoes that some weeks I was giving them away like those lucky folks who have awesome gardens of their own. But I always owned up to the fact that I purchased the tomatoes rather than grew them myself-- At least most of the time I did.

As for my trip to Ohio with Godson to meet my newborn great-niece-- Number Three on the list, all I can say is SCORE! It was such a fabulous trip that Godson and I are still talking about. And for your viewing enjoyment, here's a new pic of our still tiny but growing bundle of joy.

I get high marks on my goal of long weekend getaways, day trips and a vacation to New York City with Beloved-- Resolution Number Four. Hubby made a very concentrated effort to spend less time at the office and more time relaxing. It was a real treat for me and I took full advantage by getting us out of the house.

That brings me to Number Five-- The @#$%^&! treadmill and exercising pledge. Let's just say I laid a big fat goose egg on making that happen-- "Fat" being the operative word. See Resolution #1 and #4 and all the eating, entertaining and traveling that helped pack on several extra pounds. In short, I ate my way through summer vacation.

After all the angst, construction and expense of fixing our sinking pool and deck, goal Number Six on the list was nearly a total bust-- Pool parties. Mother Nature did not cut a break to Southern Californians near the beach and graced us with some unusually cold temperatures while the rest of the country got blasted with a major heat wave. So the pool was only used once all summer-- for about 30 minutes. On one hand, I like looking out the window and seeing the back yard stable and secure again. On the other hand, it was a very expensive dip in the pool.

Yoga and finding "zen" was Number Seven on the list and all I can say is that it's still on the list. (I didn't even buy a mat or yoga pants yet. Not even the excuse to shop made that happen.)

Same goes for Number Eight-- reading War and Peace, only it's not on the list anymore. Who was I kidding?!? But I did read all three books about the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Eat, Love, Pray. That's four more books than I finished all winter.

Which brings me to Number Nine on the list and remembering to cut fresh flowers and roses from the garden. Check and check. I did that A LOT this summer, and when there weren't any in the garden to cut, I brought big bunches home from Farmer's Markets and the Flower Mart. Ahh, that made me really happy. (Full disclosure-- I still do not have a green thumb but I do have a man who tends to the roses for me.)

And last but not least, my "fluff" to-do item on the list-- Number Ten-- "mindless entertainment" started with the sequel to Sex In The City. What a dog of a movie, but it didn't deter me. With minimal expectations and occasionally a pair of ear plugs, I also saw Flipped, Inception, Salt, Iron Man 2, and Robinhood-- And if those movies don't qualify for "mindless" I don't know what does. I also saw, and loved, Mao's Last Dancer. (Now I'm waiting for the Wall Street sequel to hit theaters.)

So technically speaking, that adds up to just "so-so" on my summer "to-do" list. Not exactly a glowing sense of accomplishment but as September begins I'm feeling pretty good about the meaningful connections with friends, family and my sweet husband this summer, and I'm looking forward to continuing as the year presses on.

I also have another trip planned to Ohio to see my family and a trip with Beloved back to NYC again for a reunion with his fabulous cousins this fall. Still, I know War and Peace will never be in my book bag and tomatoes will not grace my garden, but I'm okay with that.

What I do have to do however, is to get my head around the whole treadmill, yoga, "zen" thing. Seriously, I'm 52 years old. It's time to get over the love/hate relationship I have with exercise and stress. I've come to realize fitness is feast-or-famine with me, and yes, I acknowledge the pun. But it seems the older I get, the better I get at procrastinating the work it requires.

So as we move into the later quarter of 2010, I'm not making a year end "to-do" list. Rather I'm just going to "do" better at, and more of, the things that are important to me and stop wrestling with the things I need to be doing. Just saying it makes it feel a bit easier.

Are you a list maker?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Bob Faulkner -

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sundays In My City #46 - A Nice Surprise

Thanks to Unknown Mami for Presenting Sundays In My City.

It's hard to imagine that just a week ago hubby and I were in New York City on vacation. After countless trips to The Big Apple (Do people still say that anymore?), and having worked there a long time ago, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a Farmer's Market smack dab in the middle of Midtown Manhattan at Rockefeller Center.

Tucked between skyscrapers and across the street from the famous Ice Skating Rink, Hubby and I wondered the short block filled with the nicest group of vendors you could ever ask for...
It had all the usual Farmer's Market produce but it seemed even more fabulous to me because it was in the middle of the city....

There were numerous stands with samples of food and let me tell you, sample I did....

This sweet man was very popular...

...Because he sold these... I sampled, bought, and ate, way too many, justifying each bite with all the walking I was doing in the city. Ha!

I met the "Bee Lady" who sold honey from rooftops, balconies and community gardens in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queen. I bought a delicious jar....

...And spent the week dipping these homemade pretzels into the sweet honey. Again, claiming I was doing a lot of walking....

Since I would have needed to STILL be walking to burn off the enormous quantity of calories I consumed on our vacation, I SHOULD have been eating these.....

....But tomatoes don't really go with honey or moonpies... or vacation.

How's you Sunday?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

It's great to be back at Sundays In My City. To visit more participants CLICK HERE.
And I'm still catching up but I'll be around to visit everyone soon.