Saturday, July 16, 2011

Carmageddon Carmaheaven!

Have you heard about the huge traffic insanity forecast for Los Angles this weekend? It's called "Carmegeddon". Yes, in LA we actually come up with cleaver marketing names for our road construction projects and it's all everyone is talking about in our neck of the woods.

A vital ten mile stretch of the 405 freeway that connects one side of town to the other is completely closed both ways. The result is upwards of a half a million cars that usually take this route on weekends will have to find alternative routes, or, as our eloquent public officials are saying, "Stay the hell out of here!"

The very thought of getting on the 405 makes me cringe on a good day. Traffic is always jammed and traveling at a snail's pace or worse, at the speed of light which is not cool when you drive like the "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" *cough*that*would*be*ahem*me*. So as you might have guessed, I've planned to stay close to home from 10pm Friday - 5am Monday for the road construction which includes removing half a bridge to allow for the road to be widen.

Only half-- Did you catch that part? That means we'll be going through this again next year for the other half to be removed. Do I live in a fun place or what!

Twenty-four hours into the "traffic nightmare" and all I can say is CarmaHEAVEN! People are either staying home or are outta here because this place is like a ghost town, and traffic is a breeze. Case in point-- The usually very full parking lot for Bloomingdale's on Saturday afternoon....

Normally cars are lined up for a parking spot because it's also prime parking for the huge movie theater complex and this is opening weekend for the final Harry Potter movie.

I dreaded going to the Mall for a last minute birthday gift but I bite the bullet and headed out thinking it would take me a couple of hours to make the usual 30 minute trip.

Ha! I think I passed about 10 cars on the road and 6 of them were police cars. The parking lot was empty-- So was the mall, actually-- something that was not making retailers very happy.

I have to admit, if traffic was more like this-- light and easy, I'd stop complaining about living in Los Angeles. I'd shop more, I'd see friends and family more often, I'd, I'd, I'd be living in CarmaHEAVEN.

Of course the big question now is whether or not the traffic will remain this light through Monday at 5am when the freeway opens or if people will see how easy it is to get around on surface streets, head out the door, start their engines, and cause the dreaded traffic jams news reporters have been scaring us about with for weeks.

Either way, I had one day in heaven.... And there is always next year's freeway closure.

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Friday, July 15, 2011

Timing Is Everything

Every since I took this picture last weekend, I've been thinking about timing and the impact the phrase "in the right place at the right time" has had on so many of the paths-- large and small, my life has taken. I realize this isn't a fabulous photograph-- the butterfly is a little blurry and it's not framed all that great, but it's the fact that I've never seen a blue butterfly before and that I just happened to be in that exact spot at that exact time to snap the photo with the wings showing my favorite color blue that's made me so happy.

When I checked my camera to see if I'd captured the butterfly before it flew away I was excited as a school girl which is an oddly unusual thing for me to do. It's been many decades since I was even remotely considered "a girl" and the excitement it generated was pretty out of proportion for me. Nevertheless, I started thinking about the times in my life I've "been in the right place...."

The top of my list would have to be the airport in Milan, Italy where I met my husband thanks to a very delayed flight back to Los Angeles. The odds of us both being in the same place at the same time with a third person who could introduce us is so out of the norm that I hesitate to think what would have happened had I slept in that morning 22 years ago and taken a later flight.

There was another time everything worked perfectly in my favor and I was directly outside the hospital delivery room at the precise moment my oldest niece was born....Which actually meant that several other people were NOT in the right place at the right time *ahem*security*cough* so I could sneak into that area of the hospital. I was even more lucky that the head nurse took pity on me and actually brought my niece out for me to hold when she was just minutes old. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about how beautiful and tiny she was in my arms.

And then there was the time I was in the doorway of Godson's kindergarten at the end of the day to hear another child ask him who the lady was picking him up. His deadpan response was "she's my wife". Being in the right place at the right time gave me one of my fondest memories of carpooling him after school.

It's the little things-- and big things-- that make me appreciate "perfect timing". Why the blue butterfly has me taking a trip down memory lane remembering these things is a mystery but I'm enjoy the mental tour of the finer times of my life.

Have you been in the right place at the right time?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Spud's Arrival

At last the phone call came-- "Her water broke!!!" my sister hollered into the phone. "We're on our way to the hospital-- I'll call you later." Click.

I told you HERE that my oldest Nephew's wife was due any minute with their first child we'd all lovlingly been referring to as "Spud" since their first ultrasound. They didn't want to know the sex of the baby until it arrived and "Spud" is the nickname that our future bundle of joy was dubbed.

Sister was so breathless when she called that you'd have thought she was doing Lamaze class breathing. There was an over-the-moon excitement and a slight panic in her voice that she might not make it to the hospital in time because the future parents lived about two hours away.

I know my Big Sister. It would be a very long drive to the hospital. But once she caught her breath, after racing through town like a crazy woman with her husband in the passenger seat holding on for dear life, and blowing through a couple very yellow *cough*probably*actually*red* traffic lights and hit the freeway, she would slow down and come back to her senses. It was about 7 o'clock in the evening and the notion that this baby's labor would probably take a little while would settled in as her odometer (and heart rate) slowed to a respectable speed limit.

Just as they were about to walk through the hospital doors, their cell phone rang and Nephew asked his parents casually "Where are you guys?" After a few brief conversation, he announced they could come meet their new grandchild.


Nephew's Wife already had the baby-- Wow! That was F.A.S.T.

But Nephew stopped there-- He wasn't going to tell them the long awaited baby's sex. "Come upstairs and meet Spud."

At that point, I think my sister sprinted up the hospital's three flights of stairs instead of waiting for the elevator-- And trust me, sprinting is NOT something the women in my family do-- ever. But in record time, my Sis laid eyes on her second grandchild and the waterfall of tears poured down her cheeks.

Nephew and his Wife presented the happy grandparents with a beautiful gift-- Their new baby granddaughter-- Olivia.

There she is-- 36 hours old - 7 pounds 10 ounces

And the angels sang!

A beautiful, healthy, baby girl has blessed our family. Mom did a truly amazing job of delivery and looked like a supermodel through the whole process! Seriously, this first time Mom made childbirth look like a walk in the park. Nephew looked a bit awe struck and thrilled, and my Sister....

....When Sister called me back, I knew it was her, thanks to Caller ID, but she had such a gigantic lump in her throat that I had to wait for her to gather enough air into her lungs to push out any words. The phone was silent for a long moment.... And then her voice-- I will never forget it-- Her voice was so rich and filled with absolute love and amazement that she squealed "It's a girl and she's unbelieveably beautiful!" And then she just sobbed and sobbed with joy. I'm pretty sure Olivia was showered, literally, with her grandmother's tears.

Olivia just a few hours old looking at her Mama.

For our entire family and of course Olivia's Mommy and Daddy, it was love at first sight.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor - Joanna Jenkins