Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Flowers and a NEW GIVEAWAY!

One of the perks, in my five year old mind, for taking ballet lessons was getting to wear a beautiful tutu.  I wanted a pink one more than words could say and I just assumed it would magically appear at my first dance class.

It did not.

But I was a patient albeit fidgety dancer-- positive I would someday be a famous ballerina with a closet filled with tutus, so I waited... thinking at the end of the dance class year I would have "earned" my magnificent tutu, like an angel earns their wings, in time for our dance recital.

No tutu then either.  Not by a mile.

In preparation for our dance recital, which was to be performed on a huge stage with a gigantic audience of about 100 family members, we budding prima ballerinas sat on the floor at our dance studio and received two pink Kleenex tissues and a couple of pieces of string.

There, our five year old hands worked diligently to make tissue carnation flowers.  We carefully folded the tissue into a fan, then folded it in half, tired the string around the center, and fluffed the tissue ends into a "flower".  My flowers looked more like a couple of used Kleenex on their way to the trash but I'd done my best.

When I asked my elegant ballet teacher, who happened to be dressed in a lovely chiffon tutu, what the "flowers" were for, she happily handed me a red plastic head band to attach my "flowers" onto thereby making my dance recital costume to match my red leotard.

My young mind raced-- This could not possibly be my costume.  I wanted a tutu and I wanted it for the dance recital-- now!  As soon as I realized that was not going to happen, I became a very disappointed ballerina with crocodile tears rolling down my face.  In fact, I have vague memories of my mother dragging me, kicking and screaming, to the recital where the idea of wearing those hideous Kleenex flowers in my hair left me in a puddle on the back seat of the car.

At that early stage of my life I learned a hard lesson about expectations.  I also learned I was not a great flower maker but I did have the potential to be a pretty good ballet dance-- which I did til my early 20s....  right up until I realized I enjoyed cheeseburgers, boys and mini skirts far better than I enjoyed blistered feet, salads and tutus.

I hadn't thought of those tissue flowers until I saw one of Attila's flower wreaths.  My flowers were a far cry from the gorgeous ones Attila's posse of creative geniuses makes.  Their handmade flowers are turned into these stunning wreaths-- AND YOU CAN WIN ONE!


Courtesy of Attila the Mom at Cheaper Than Therapy and her fantastic Highland Roses Collaborative Craft Studio, this happy 14" wreath-- with handmade hot pink and purple flowers with green leaf accents, would be a welcome addition to your Spring decorations, or make a nice gift to brighten up a dorm or hospital room, wish someone a happy birthday, or just remind a loved one that you're thinking of them.

It could be YOURS-  Entering is EASY.

Giveaway is available to everyone, EVERYWHERE, as long as you have a blog.  Attila will ship the wreath to you anywhere in the world-- How nice is that!

Leave one comment below to enter.

For a second chance, stop by the designer's shopping store HERE and leave a second comment below telling me which is your favorite wreath.

Giveaway ends, at Midnight, Pacific Time, April 5th.  Be sure I can reach you via email.

Come on-- Check out the Spring Wreaths and ENTER!
Welcome to  -  Joanna Jenkins 

I was not compensated for this giveaway.  It's a generous offer from a blog friend that I am passing on to you.
Photo Credit: © evgeniya_m -

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Did you ever feel like you were running around in circles?  I ask because, well, I'm hoping I'm not the only one.

At a recent dinner party, I was seated next to a late 40-something mother of three--  A newly divorced and happily dating woman overflowing with energy and a sense of wonder, who asked me a simple question--  What's your passion? 


My blank stare caused her to continue firing more probing questions faster than I could say "Margarita on the rocks, please!". (And, I don't even drink.)  Her high octane wonder was all about "reinventing" herself and she wanted a little "how to" advice from me.

"What excites you-- makes you jump out of bed every morning ready to meet the world?  What are you just itching to do?  Are you traveling, where's your next adventure, what's new and exciting that's coming up for you???"

Her questions instantly depressed me because I couldn't think of One. Single. Thing. that would even remotely sound "exciting or passionate" to this woman who was only 6 years younger than me.

Had I lost my fire?  Was I really as boring and underachieving as I felt at that moment?

It reminded me how little I've managed to accomplished lately despite feeling like I've been in overdrive for months-- chasing important paperwork, coordinating appointments, arranging get togethers, looking for all the stuff I can't seem to locate when I need it... You get the picture.... running in never ending circles with no sense of accomplishment and definitely not an ounce of passion.

A sense of accomplishment is one of the things I miss most since I stopped working nearly four years ago.  Even saying it's been FOUR years puts a lump in my throat...  What the heck have I been doing all this time and when was the last time I felt that joyous rush my dinner partner was gushing about?

Let me back up by saying I stopped working for what I thought at the time were very good reasons-- not the least of which was that I had accomplished enough to have earned the right to "retire".  And, at the time, I thought I had prepared myself for retirement with countless interesting and meaningful things that I looked forward to doing with my new found spare time.

Leisure time worked really well for me-- for about a week and a half.  Seriously, how much sleeping in and lunching with friends can a Type A personality girl do?

In short, I have not learned to fully embrace life in the slow lane-- A new life without fast-paced deadlines, business meetings that made my blood boil, globe trotting to film festivals, or creative sessions that made me sit straight up in my chair with joy.

Yes, I now do meaningful work with two important charities-- arts education and lupus-- and yes, I spend far more quality time with family and close friends, but it's that sense of accomplishment-- the excitement of a successful project you can see or touch, that's left me feeling like I'm a bit lost and running in circles.

So after that dinner party I took a long hard look at "retirement" (gawd I hate that word) and grabbed the bull by the horns, so to speak.  My first step was to embrace and enjoy running in circles... By way of my sewing machine.  I've spent hours going round and round and round and the sense of accomplishment with every turn has been refreshing and even exciting as I watched the project come together.

No, this might not sound glamorous or exciting to some, and definitely not to my dinner companion, but I'm coming to understand that "following your passion" can also be finely disguised as being content with your life.   

How's life treating you?
Welcome to  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: Joanna Jenkins

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


One of life's little pleasures is to pull up to your home and see a package waiting for you at the front door.  The anticipation of seeing who it's from and what the brown cardboard box holds is a small joy that can't help but put a smile on your face.

That's what happened to Godson on Friday.  One of my nieces, who visited here last Spring, knew he and his mom were big gardeners and had the yard in their new house to plant a sizable vegetable garden.

Well, the garden is about to get a little bigger.  Godson received a "Giant Watermelon Growing Kit".

His mom and I spent a few hours this past weekend working on the soil and preparing the bed where the watermelons would reside.  It's a huge, wide planter, quite deep, that runs along two sides of the yard near the swimming pool-- Perfect for watermelon vines that can grow up to 12 feet long.

This planter has been there for a very long while and was in need of soil amendments and freshening up before anything could possibly grow so we got out the usual garden tools, worked like dogs, and dug and turned and dug and turned and dug, and dug and.... WTH!?!?!

We started to hit junk-- Filler junk so that the original owners wouldn't need so much dirt-- Lots of empty plastic bottles, bricks, old pipe fittings, plastic kids toys, including a couple of Barbie dolls, dozens of tennis balls, broken pottery, a pair of tennis shoes, and one very large, hot pink, anatomically correct-- vibrator!

Yes, vibrator.

I pulled that thing out, realized what it was, and tossed in the air like a hot potato... which my BFF caught and immediately tossed over her shoulder... Landing in the swimming pool... Where it looked even pinker and even bigger.

We were laughing so hard it took us about ten minutes to fish it out of the deep end of the pool.  Staring as it dripped in the pool net, we did the only thing we could think of and buried it back in the far end of the planter where it will hopefully never be seen again.

Why didn't we put it in the garbage?  BFF has a neighbor who's famous for garbage picking in other people's trash and THAT was the last thing we wanted the picker to pull out!

Welcome to  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Igor Kovalchuk -

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Say What?!?!

Here in the Jenkins House of Colds and Flu, I knew that after more than three weeks with the worst bronchitis bug I've had in years, that I was looking pretty ragged but I didn't know exactly how bad I was looking until our neighbor, a real estate agent, knocked on the door.

Let's call this guy "Bruce".  He knocks on our door every month to hand out some useless tshatshke with his name and phone number on it in hopes that, should we decided to sell our house, we'll call him first.  He's a nice enough guy but with a drawer full of his junk I kinda feel bad taking any more of his promo materials.

This time when I opened the door for Bruce, he took a giant step backwards away from me.  That was my first clue that I was clearly not at my best and wondered if I'd even combed my hair that morning.  He proceed to chat with his notepad covering his mouth and nose despite my being a full six feet away and with absolutely no plans of kissing the guy on the lips, or anywhere else for that matter.

He chatted away as I suppressed a cough and the urge to blow my nose all the while nodding my head at the appropriate times.  For the record, if Bruce wasn't a neighbor, I'd have never opened the door.  I'm not a fan of those types of cold calls and have no intention of selling my home anytime soon.

Five minutes into his chattering and close to the moment I thought I'd teeter over from boredom and/or a cough attack, Bruce changed conversation gears, got very serious, and handed me his business card.  The expression on his face was that of a guy who'd just eaten a sour pickle.  In hindsight, perhaps he was concerned that my eyes were starting to roll around my head.

Bruce proceed, with great concern, to tell me that he sincerely hoped I had my Will and estate in order and asked if I would please include his business card along with a note stating that he was my preferred real estate agent should I pass away before I sold the house.

I stood there in stunned silence.

So he kept on talking.... Saying that it's always best not to die in the house if at all possible and certainly not to die in some horrific manner as it would stigmatize the house and must be disclosed to potential buyers.

For the record, I am a licensed real estate agent and I know all about disclosing info on a property but I have never, ever, heard a real estate agent asking to be included in a Last Will and Testament, but there my neighbor was, doing just that.
I stood there taking this hideous sales pitch in and wondered if Bruce was giving this spiel to the entire neighborhood or just me in all my bronchitis glory.  I thought for a moment of bursting out laughing in his face but, well, he's a neighbor and that could be awkward.  So instead, I started coughing, and coughing and coughing..... until he went away.


Welcome to  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit © alexskopje -