Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Big What!?! and $$$ Giveaway

It took a long moment for his words to register in my brain, his thick Russian accent playing tricks on my ears, or so I thought....

"You have very big poops."

He said it several times in response to the alarmed look on my face...

"Very big poops! Not good."

Standing in my living room, I took a step back, almost in self defense, and to distance myself from the potential conversation this near stranger was attempting to have with me. Joseph had been washing my windows, inside and out, for the past ten years but we were hardly on friendly enough terms for this type of chit-chat.

Again, with one last ditch effort to help me understand he said...






...As if saying it slower and louder would make it easier for my brain to comprehend.

And then he held up his hand to show me, his thick fingers unfolding to reveal mouse poop.

Oh thank gawd!

Seriously, the first thing I thought was that now I didn't have to find a new window washer because I definitely would not hire a poop talking guy again, but alas, it was only mouse poop.


Then the words sunk in. Mouse poop!


Joseph found the "big poops", three small droppings, upstairs in my office. That meant the "mouse" was INSIDE my house-- In fact, it was on the floor next to my sewing machine.

Instantly my head hurt.

Thirty minutes later I was at Ace Hardware buying mouse traps in small, medium and large sizes to capture the pooping pest and get it the hell out of my house. Eleven traps ought to do it, don't you think? (I hope, I hope!)

But before I raced to the store, I closed my bedroom door-- Right after I scoured it high and low for any trace of mouse droppings. There were none, thank gawd, otherwise I'd have to move into a hotel until the deed was done and the mouse, which, in my imagination was growing by leaps and bounds, lived elsewhere.

So now here I sit, with legs crossed under me so there isn't the slightest possibility of our four-legged friend scurrying over my feet to get to the peanut butter filled traps. And yes, I have said several sincere prayers that the traps are indeed for a mouse and not it's much larger cousin.



Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY to win either the gorgeous Silver or Gold Ornaments featured in this post along with a $50 Visa Gift Card!
All you have to do is leave a comment over HERE telling me which color ornament you'd like if you win. You can ALSO leave a comment below on this post for an additional chance/entry. Plus-- Lots more entry chances if you Follow and blog about the giveaway too. Full Details are HERE.

Ornaments courtesy of the awesome Attila The Mom at Cheaper Than Therapy and her posse who live with disabilities and/or mental illnesses as well as their family caregivers. All are taking a step towards independence through the sale of their own arts and crafts creations. In short-- It's an inspiring cause and well worth checking out HERE.

Any secrets to scaring away mice? I mean mouse, please god, let there only be one!
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor. com - Joanna Jenkins
photo credit: © Marek -

Monday, November 28, 2011

Itchy Dresses and $50 GIVEAWAY!

That is not me, but I guarantee you, that dress is only half as uncomfortable as mine were.

Every Christmas my Mom's dad (our sweet grandfather) and his wife (the Wicked Witch) would send my sisters and me matching dresses covered with lace and a big fluffy skirt so we looked, in our young opinion, like a bunch of Pollyanna freaks.

Every year when the UPS guy delivered the dress box from a fancy-schmancy store in Florida where they lived, it was met with a round of groans and contempt. This unpleasant annual ritual continued until I was 10 and my oldest sister was 12 years old!

Did I mention the dresses matched?!?

Hideous is the best way to describe them. To add insult to injury, the Wicked Witch managed to find dresses that itched worse than a nasty case of poison ivy.

Not to sound ungrateful, but I hated those dresses, every single one of them, but each year we dressed in our new outfits, buckled on our Mary Jane patent leather shoes and headed off to church Christmas morning. We'd scratch and itch through the entire service.

But that wasn't the end of it. Oh no.

After church, we loaded into our gigantic family station wagon and headed to my dad's folks-- the grandparents we really liked, and had a big Christmas dinner.... In our itchy dresses.

To ensure we would never have to wear those wretched dresses again, one by one, my sisters and I deliberately spilled food down the front of them. Red Jello was my food of choice as I knew it would stain and never come out. Big Sister usually "wore" the gravy, guaranteeing a huge grease spot, and once my Middle Sister caught on to our antics, she'd either flip a biscuit slathered in butter and honey, or a full glass of chocolate milk in her lap. All were guaranteed to permanently stain and land those ugly dresses in the trash after one wear.

I don't think my Mom ever caught on to our scheme since, no matter how hard we tried, my favorite Grandpa always, and I mean always, managed to dribble something on his tie with his very first bite of dinner.

Ahh, Christmas memories.....

Make a Christmas memory of your own by entering my SILVER, GOLD & CASH GIVEAWAY! You could win a gorgeous handmade ornament and a $50 Visa Gift Card!

All you have to do is leave a comment below on THIS POST telling me if you prefer the silver or gold ornament pictured here if your win. Then go to THIS POST for all the contest details and a whopping 15 more changes to win!

Anyone, anywhere can enter, not just in the USA. So come on and join in!

The gorgeous ornaments are from Attila The Mom at Cheaper Than Therapy who heads up an awesome organization that's a privately-funded project providing individuals who live with disabilities and/or mental illness as well as the family caregiver an opportunity to step towards independence through the sale of their own art and crafts creations. Each distinctive ornament is produced by several sets of hands-- all working to create something special.

More chances to win in each of my posts between now and Midnight, Pacific Time, December 10th so don't be shy-- Keep commenting/entering!

Click here for details for a 10% discount on all ornaments. I ordered several and trust me, they are stunning and very reasonably priced.

What would you do with the $50 Gift Card if you won?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

This memory was inspired by a photo of Mrs4444's husband all dressed up as a kid for Thanksgiving.

Photo Credit: © Magalice -

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Silver, Gold and Cash Giveaway!

If you are like me, the very idea of enduring the mobs of shoppers on Black Friday or any of the upcoming weekends before Christmas sends shivers down your spin. The thought of the credit card bill arriving at the end of December is no picnic either.

So before I turn into Scrooge and start bah-humbugging my way through the holidays, I'm getting in the spirit, with the help of Attila The Mom at Cheaper Than Therapy, and having a SILVER, GOLD AND CASH GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will have their choice of either a silver or gold handmade ornament from Attila's awesome posse of crafters (like the ones pictured in this post) and I'm throwing in a $50 Visa Gift Card to help take the sting out of shopping this year!

Of course if you'd like to use that Gift Card to shop online at Attila's store that would be okay too, but not necessary.

Why am I loving Attila's ornaments so much? She's the head honcho at Highland Roses Design Collaborative Craft Studio, a privately-funded project that provides individuals who live with disabilities and/or mental illnesses as well as their family caregivers an opportunity to step towards independence through the sale of their own arts and crafts creations.

It's important to note that every step of this undertaking is a collaborative effort-- from design to creation. Each distinctive ornament is produced by several sets of hands-- all working to create something special!

Here's the cool part--They accept NO grants or government funding, and are working to become self-sustaining through their own endeavors. I love that!

And in case you're wondering if these ornaments, priced $5 to $13 each, are as good as they look in the above photos, I can honestly say YOU BETCHA BABY because I did a little shopping myself and purchased eight of their gorgeous ornaments that arrived a few days ago.

The detail is amazing, the quality is far, far beyond anything I'd imagined and the colors are vibrant. I'll have a hard time giving these away as gifts!

But wait-- There's MORE..... Interested in purchasing these ornaments? Click on the "Email Shop Owner" button on the left sidebar BEFORE ordering and mention The Fifty Factor to receive 10% off your order! IMPORTANT: Please wait for an invoice that reflects your discount! (Offer ends at midnight PT, 12/10/2011.)

So here's the scoop on how to have one of these handmade pretties on your holiday tree this year along with the $50 Gift Card in your pocket...

Leave separate comments to take advantage of each entry option...

1) Leave a comment on THIS POST telling me if you'd like the silver or gold ornament for one entry.

2) Leave an additional comment on THIS POST if you're a Follower.

3) Go to Highland Roses Designs (featured at Ruby Plaza) and tell me on THIS POST which is your favorite ornament for FIVE MORE entries/comments.

4) Leave a comment on all my upcoming posts now through Midnight PT, December 10th for one additional entry per post. (One comment per additional post please.)

5) Blog about this giveaway: Leave THREE extra comments on THIS POST with the link to your post featuring the giveaway. Include the silver or gold ornament photo in your post and receive TWO extra entries! (Five total entries/comments for this step!)

6) Include an ornament photo and link to THIS POST on your sidebar through Midnight, December 10th then leave THREE extra comments on THIS POST with a link to your blog.

Got that??? Lots of comment options on THIS POST plus one extra entry per post on all my upcoming posts from now through December 10th. The point is to help spread the word about this terrific organization and their gorgeous creations so please, don't be shy about joining in and leaving multiple comments.

Everyone, everywhere is eligible to enter as long as you have a blog!

Giveaway and 10% discount ends at Midnight, Pacific Time, December 10, 2011 so swing by Highland Roses Design Collaborative Craft Studio (featured at Ruby Plaza) to shop!

I know it's a lot of commenting, but the Craft Studio is a great, great cause and $50 doesn't hurt either.

Winner will be drawn and notified December 11, 2011 and will have 48 hours to respond to my email with mailing address, or a new winner will be chosen. No affiliates please. All results are final. No hassles allowed :-)

So, are you in for the Giveaway?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Friday, November 18, 2011


It was field trip day for Godson so I tagged along and hung out with his class at the Aquarium. The place was jammed packed with kids from kindergarden to high school age and the conversations were varied and-- Interesting....


Teacher #1: You should get on the "Trials" bang wagon. You can make some really great extra cash with very little effort. I've watched movies, tasted canned peaches and tested toilet paper-- Each time I made $50!

Teacher #2: What do you mean you tested toiler paper?

Teacher #1: You do not want to know the details.... *wink*wink*


Kindergarden girl: Oophs, I tooted! (she passed gas)

Teacher: That's not polite. You're supposed to say "Excuse me."

Kindergarden girl: "Excuse me, I farted."


First Grader: "Mrs. Teacher, Ryan said the "s" word!

Teacher: "Yes, I heard it. Don't be a tattle-taler."

First Grader: "He said shit and I'm just supposed to listen to that!?!?!"


Fifth Grade Boy: "Men crabs dance when they want to have sex with women crabs."

Fifth Grade Girl: "Seriously!!! Where do you come up with this stuff?"

Fifth Grade Boy: "I saw it on YouTube."

Fifth Grade Girl: "You went looking for crab sex on YouTube? Eww!"

Fifth Grade Teacher: Change the subject immediately!


A big and belated thank you to EMom from Life In the 2nd Half Century for giving me the "A Lovely Blog Award". It's much appreciated. EMom is a lovely blogger herself-- fun, creative and a Pinterest fan. Please stop by and say hello.


I'm off to Ohio next week for Thanksgiving with my family. I wish all of you in the USA a very happy Thanksgiving and to the rest of you a wonderful week. When I'm back after the holiday....

I'LL ANNOUNCE MY NEW GIVEAWAY! So stay tuned. It's a good one if I do say so myself.

Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © vic&dd -

Friday, November 11, 2011

$27,000 Jackpot!

For 41 days I was whopping $27,000 richer than I should have been!

When I balanced my checkbook online in late September, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I saw a gigantic deposit into our joint checking account that day and it had me blinking in disbelief.

In a moment of temporary insanity, I tried to figure out why my husband would deposit that much money into our checking account rather than our savings account... The insane part is that we would have had a check that big to deposit anywhere in the first place, but it was a conversation in my head...

Me: Wow, that's a lota loot!

Insane Me: Cha-Ching!!! Mama needs a new pair of shoes.

Me: Why in the heck would Hubby put that much money in this account?

Insane Me: Hello vacation!

Me: Staring blankly at the computer screen as if to will answers out of it...


Me: Dare I actually ask Husband what's up?

Insane Me: Nope, let's just see what happens.

I did ask and Husband had nothing to do with it. He seemed unfazed by the whole thing and went back to reading the newspaper.

It was Friday evening so I decided to wait until Monday to call the bank and sort things out. Okay, true confession, I could have called the bank immediately but the inflated bank balance looked so pretty in my account.

When I checked my online statement Monday morning, the now AVAILABLE CASH was still there.

I dug deeper into my online statement and clicked on every possible link until I brought up the actual deposit slip for the $27K.

Reality smacked me in the face.

Someone-- whose handwriting looked shaky (translation: old) had completed the entire deposit slip by hand rather than using their pre-printed one with all the contact info and account number included. The writing was not great but it was fairly easy to read their full name, complete address and account number.

From what I could figure out, the bank teller mistook a "4" for a "7" in our account numbers and the deposit was credited to our account by mistake.

When I realized the deposit was the result of human error, not a computer error, I was actually a little ticked off. A hand written deposit slip should have been a red flag for the teller to double check the name, address and account number. If he or she had they would have immediately caught their mistake....

Our last name is simple-- Jenkins. Old Person's name looked something like-- Siatoslavovakisia!

So as I see it-- Old Person/Siatoslavovakisia made a deposit and a teller didn't bother to double check their work and a boat load of money landed in our account my mistake.

Okay, mistakes happen.

But no one called me about it. I called the bank! Which means the poor person who hand wrote their deposit slip was probably bouncing checks all over town while they tore their house apart looking for the original receipt from the careless teller to prove they'd made the deposit in the first place.

Can you imagine having no proof of a $27,000 deposit?!?

Then again-- Maybe that person has so much money they didn't even notice $27,000 was missing....

Ohhh, yes, I've played this story over and over in my head too.

Did I mention I called the bank and talked to a customer service person who sounded very, very far away to straighten things out? He was nice, but definitely not talking to me from anywhere in North America.

I felt so much better after I came clean and advised the unknown customer service person that the twenty-seven thousand bucks didn't belong to me. Being much poorer has it's benefits and a clear conscious is definitely one of them.

I actually slept like a baby that night knowing Mr. Siatoslavovakisia had his money back.

But did he?

Day after day, I checked my account balance to see if the money had been transferred out and every day my very inflated balance greeted me-- as if daring me to write a check.

I held on firmly to my good karma and waited for the bank to transfer the funds....

Until I told my accountant friend about the lost loot and he asked if I'd gotten a paper trail to prove the funds had actually been returned to the rightful owner.


It never dawned on me that the far away customer service person wouldn't do the absolute right thing just like I had and returned the money to the rightful owner. Never once did I think to get his name, ID number or even ask for a supervisor. No, I figured everyone was as honorable as me.

Oh yes, a conspiracy theory was unfolding in my head...

As the clocked ticked-- now a full three weeks since the deposit-- and the money tormented me in our account, I spun a thousand stories on where the money would eventually end up-- A Swiss bank account, an undercover fake account belonging to the customer service guy, or worse, in a bottomless pit of cash at the bank from people like me doing the right thing that never actually gets to the rightful owner.....

I know... I have too much time on my hands.

Exasperated, I printed out a copy of the deposit slip and mailed it to Mr. Siatoslavovakisia. I included a note with my phone number in case he needed further confirmation. (No, I did not give him my bank account number.) Ten days later, all that money was still teasing me and Mr. S. hadn't called.

Now, frankly, I was a little miffed, so I marched down to the bank in person, copy of erroneous deposit slip in hand, and talked to the Branch Manager-- which was more like a 20 year old kid pretending to be a banker. I got her name, rank and serial number and even asked for a second bank employee to witness the transfer of my account number and the name, address and probably account number of Mr. Siatoslavovakisia.

Then the Branch Manager asked me about 4,000 questions to make sure I wasn't some nutcase messing with someone else's checking account.... As if I was the problem!

Finally I left feeling confident all was right in the world and soon my bank account would go back down to it's usual pitiful balance.

But that took ten more days....


I realize this was a minor error in the grand scheme of bank tellers-- And that my major bank has a lot of "occupy" protesters hanging around lately to deal with-- And the people I spoke with dealt with me honorably, but really, FORTY-ONE days to be teased before the powers that be check and recheck that I was legit enough to GIVE BACK $27,000 that didn't actually belong to me.

Or worse, 41 days for Mr. Siatoslavovakisia to get his missing money!

Sheesh. No wonder the banking industry is in such a mess.

Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © vovan -

Thursday, November 3, 2011


These days you can spot me a mile away, that is, if you aren't blinded by my bling. I'm wearing every piece of jewelry I own-- And I'm not kidding-- 53 years worth of jewelry-- Real, fake, heirloom, junk, even a macaroni necklace Godson made in the 1st grade. Everything!

Typing is uncomfortable with two watches on each wrist and several bracelets and bangles clanking together. My fingers are loaded with multiple rings and I'm getting an itchy neck from the many necklaces I'm sporting. Earrings were a challenge but I decided to wear my best pair and the others are in a couple of pouches in my purse-- A backpack that I have strapped on. Where I go, the bling goes.

No, I'm not making a fashion statement. And no, I am not claiming to be "Mrs. Got Rocks" with an expensive collection of jewels. I have a few nice pieces but mostly I have jewelry that I love because of the people who gave it to me. So I made a calculated decision to "use it or lose it", even if that means my fashion statement is a definite "don't" you'd see in magazines.

My reasoning is simple. Our neighborhood has been hit with a string of burglaries-- 15 to be exact, since February. Two guys in hooded sweatshirts, in the middle of the day, walking casually down driveways to the backs of houses, breaking windows and grabbing laptops, cash, medications and jewelry-- thus my new fashion statement.

For the record, I hide my laptop, have little cash at home, and no one in their right mind would want to take my lupus medication- And if by mistake they do, well, all I can say is good luck with that sucker.

Let me preface this by saying we live in what is considered a "safe" neighborhood therefore the only time we EVER see a police car is on the main boulevard for their monthly "traffic ticket speed-trap day".
A cruiser actually cruising our streets is a very rare occurrence.

Until now. Cops are everywhere. Yeah!

It wouldn't surprise me if every single household in the three mile robbery radius has called our local city councilman, the police department, and the local police command station complaining, begging and pleading for more protection as a result of the unsolved robberies.

I'm guessing these phone calls are most likely from *cough*ahem*hysterical*cough* people just like me-- Women at home alone during the day-- blasting their DVD player with 101 Dalmatians and Marley & Me so would-be robbers know someone's home and seriously thinking of getting a Very. Big. Dog.

To say I'm angry and nervous about the whole situation is an understatement but I'm just this side of getting a ginormous dog for protection. I'm hopeful the thieves will be caught before I break down and get a well-trained, four-legged burglar deterrent and the dog hair that does with it.

In the meantime, I'll continue wearing all my bling and playing loud barking dog movies day and night. I figure at very least, the robbers will think I'm too crazy to deal with... At least a girl can hope.

Hope you're enjoying November!
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © JackF -