Monday, January 24, 2011


Recently, I attended a reading of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech. The 50 people in attendance were fairly evenly divided between males and female, and I noticed at least six different ethnic backgrounds in attendance.

At first the group was quiet and attentitive, with almost no movement as they listened. Then I started noticing eyes closing and faces slightly raising to the heavens, others were nodding in agreement, some were smiling, and a few held their hand to their heart.

It's a moving speech, as I'm sure you already know, and the person doing the reading did great justice to the material. Everyone in the room was definitely impacted by Dr. King's thought provoking words.

Following the reading, the group was asked to share what their dreams are. The question was met by silence with no one wanting to respond first, but after a long minute, a hand raised, then another, and another. Their answers spoke volumes.

I dream of....

...Everyone in the world being treated fairly.

...Jobs for everybody

..Enough food so no one goes to bed hungry

...Being able to walk on the sidewalk without being afraid

...Going to college

I dream of...

...All the wars ending and people shaking hands and being friends

...Being a teacher.... A policeman ....A doctor...

...No more sick people without health insurance

I dream of...

...Living in a real house

...Being important enough to matter and be heard even though my English is not good

...A world with no more violence

...Having enough money to pay bills and take care of our family

....Life where it doesn't matter where you came from or what you look like

I dream of...

...Being friends with all types of people

...Not ever hearing gun shots again

...Having art teachers in schools

...Living in a safe place

And one young man in the audience-- Very handsome and in a wheelchair, because he only had one leg, said he dreamed of playing American football someday.

I was impressed that every single person in the room spoke openly and honestly about their dreams-- Which were things that clearly hit close to home for them.

The above answers did not come from adults in the room, rather they were all spoken from the hearts of 4th and 5th grade students attending an inner city public elementary school in a very rough Los Angeles neighborhood.


They broke my heart. And they inspired me.

Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © V. Yakobchuk -

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sundays In My City #61 - Elephants, Trees & Dominos


This is our neighbor's house that's under construction.

I have spent the last four months trying to figure out the name of this tree.... Hours on Google, the Sunset Western Garden Book cover-to-cover, about fifteen nursery people and every dog walker in the neighborhood who wondered why I was taking pictures of this tree. The tree belongs to a neighbor who doesn't know the name either.

We had one in our yard just like it, but it up and died for no apparent reason about six moths ago and has since been removed. But it was a great tree that smelled sweet in the springtime and I want to replant with the same kind.

To say finding the name of this tree was nearly a full-time job is an understatement.

But finally, I wondered into the local hardware store on Friday that also has a small nursery so, since I carry tree pictures and a hand full of dead leaves with me all the time, I asked the nursery guy if he knew and HALLELUJAH! It's a Pittosporum Undulatum. I can't pronounce it, but I've got the name and the tree is finally on order.

So stay tuned, one of these Sundays I'll have a tree of my own to show you.


I was happy to see my mailman on Saturday-- He brought my gift from Margaret at Nanny Goats In Panties' White Elephant Gift Exchange... And what a gift it is!

A brand new Touch-Free Sensor Soap Pump from Simple Human. Classy, huh!?!

It's one of those dispensers that all you have to do is place your hand under the spout for soap to magically appear. Cool gift but it will definitely be rotated into the next White Elephant exchange I participate in. Why?

Three simple words.... "Batteries Not Included".

I have a ton of batteries on hand, but I do not have time to keep track of battery levels for a soap dispenser.

So thank you Redhead Ranting, this definitely qualifies as a White Elephant in my book, albeit it a nice one. And, thank you Margaret for organizing this very fun party. It's been a hoot seeing all the gifts bloggers have received. Click here to see them too.


A million thanks to Lisalulu from The Davis Dialogues for sending me her Domino Necklace. It's so fun and was so nice of her to send it to me "just because". Thanks Lisalulu. If you don't know her, she's a great cook, has a wonderful family and a terrific sense of humor. Click here to say hello.

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

White Elephant

If she doesn't like it, I'm blaming it on Yul Brynner-- You know the King of Siam. By "it" I mean the gift I sent to a fellow blogger as part of Margaret at Nanny Goats In Panties' White Elephant Gift Exchange. Do you know what a "White Elephant" is?

a possession unwanted by the owner but difficult to dispose of: Our Victorian bric-a-brac and furniture were white elephants. [This blogger's translation: junk]
a possession entailing great expense out of proportion to its usefulness or value to the owner: When he bought the mansion he didn't know it was going to be such a white elephant.

an abnormally whitish or pale elephant, usually found in Thailand; an albino elephant.
Origin: 1850-1855- from the perh. apocryphal tale that the King of Siam would award a disagreeable courtier a white elephant, the up keep of which which would ruin the courtier

I took my White Elephant gift selection seriously, wrapping the most tacky, useless, get-it-outta-my-house gift I could find. Afterall, it's supposed to be a gag gift, right?

But what if one man's trash is another man's treasure and the blogger I sent the gift too actually really, really likes it? Do I make light and say I misunderstood the rules of engagement? Or do I tell the truth-- That this Love Birds Soap Dish.....

....Has been passed around my family for years in our annual Holiday White Elephant Exchange.

Fortunately my Mom is a good sport because when she first purchased this gift for my Baby Sister about eight years ago, she sincerely thought it was the perfect gift for her. Sis had other ideas and wondered if perhaps she had been switched at birth because it was definitely not her taste, not ever. So Mom promptly suggested a White Elephant Exchange for the following year and the passing of the Love Birds began!

For the record, I've gotten stuck with this dish three times over the years, which just goes to show, if you aren't at the exchange in person you're going to get the junkiest of the junk.

When Margaret posted about the after-holidays exchange party I jumped at the opportunity to rid myself of "something inexpensive and hopefully hideous"... Like the Love Birds.

Truthfully, it's really not that bad, it's just so unpractacle for a soap dish-- Did you see all those nocks and crannies for soap gunk to build up in. Who wants to clean that? Not me, and apparently not anyone else in my family either.

So Paige at Some Days You Gotta Dance I hope you don't love the Love Birds but if you do, I hope you can take a joke. If not, it's all Yul Brynner's fault.

Thanks to Margaret for hosting this little ditty. Stop by and read about more White Elephant treasures at Nanny Goats In Panties.

What's the craziest gift you've received?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sundays In My City #60 - Canned

I have never been a "morning person", not as a child full of energy and certainly not as an adult living with cranky joints and sleepless nights. It takes a lot to get me to set the alarm for 6:45am on a Saturday morning but I'm so glad I did this week.

My godson's mom is an excellent cook-- I mean seriously good and outrageously generous with her wide variety of culinary skills. Our table is regularly graced with everything from her jams and marmalade to pies, tarts and cakes. On Wednesday night we had her homemade butternut squash-filled tortellini. It's the third time in a month she's shared her pasta making skills with us! (Yum.)

So when she invited me to attend a pickling/canning class at Hollywood's The Farmer's Kitchen I thought keeping her company was the least I could do even though, thanks to a hefty case of arthritis, canning, a skill I used to be proficient in and enjoyed quite a bit, is now history. My hands haven't been able to handle all the necessary chopping, slicing and dicing for years.

But this kitchen was different. Twelve women were in the class and everyone shared in the peeling and cutting so the work was spread out and fairly manageable.

What did we make????

Spicy Dilled Carrots, Red Onions in Balsamic
and Vietnamese-Style Parsnip and Daikon Pickles.

Yeah! I actually helped make these delicious, locally grown treats and I'm feeling really good about the sense of accomplishment.

But I didn't stop there. Oh no, no, no.! I went a little crazy....

Tomato Marinara Sauce, Corn Relish, Apple Sauce
and three kinds of grape jam.

Okay, true confession, I didn't actually make those myself but the chef of the class did and they are so wonderful I had to take a stash home. Since Chef only cans what's in season, I bought enough to last a while. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

Trust me on this, they are pure heaven.

As for this Sunday... I'm sleeping in-- FOR SURE!


My sweet friend and blogger extraordinaire, Holly of What Your Mother Knows But Won't Tell You had foot surgery this past week. She'll be missing in action for a little while through her recovery. Please stop by and show her some love.


How's your Sunday?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins