Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Me, A to Z

Do you know Ami. Mental. and Suldog-- both terrific bloggers?  They participated in this get-to-know-me and I am too.  I was surprised that a few of the questions had me thinking hard for the answer!

Age:  Inching dangerously close to 55. 

Bed Size:  Queen-- I like to know hubby is close by when I sleep. 

Chore You Hate:  Window washing, which I really need to do. 

Dogs:  Since we were robbed, I'm thinking about getting a great, big, scary one with gigantic teeth and a ferocious bark. 

Essential Start To My Day:  Sadly, a Coke Zero. Or a nap. 

Favorite Color:  Blue-- the color of Forget Me Nots. 

Gold or Silver:  Gold, but bling is bling and I like it all.

House or Apartment:  House.. that always seems in need of repair. 

Instruments Played:  Guitar, for about 3 weeks when I was 12 years old.  My guitar teacher looked like Bobby Sherman. 

Job Title:  Human

Kids:  I prefer borrowing other people's kids so I can give them back. 

Live:  The City of Angels 

Married:  Nearly 20 glorious years! 

Never Again:  A "cleanse" consisting of nasty green drinks to help me loose weight. (Which it did not!) 

Other Fun Fact:  I'm a pretty good tap dancer.  No really, I am. 

Pet Peeve:  Cigars 

Quote:  "Do right.  Fear not."  I saw this on an antique embroidered sign more than 15 years ago and I'm still kicking myself for not buying it. 

Righty or Lefty:  Righty tighty, lefty lousy, is that what you mean? 

Siblings: Four-- Three cute sisters and one handsome brother.  I'm the 2nd oldest or as I prefer to say, the 4th youngest. 

Time You Wake Up: Usually way too early for my liking. 

University Attended:  Does the school of hard knocks count? 

Veggies You Dislike:  Lima beans-- further proof that God has a sense of humor. 

What Makes You Run Late: Nothing, I'm always freakishly early.  Always. 

X-Rays:  I wonder if they make me look fat. 

Yum Food:  Mashed potatoes and gravy-- home made of course.  And chocolate. 

Zoo Animal Favorite:  It always looks like party time at the Monkey House!

Ami was kind enough to type up the list (below) so it's easy to cut and paste to play along.  Short or long answers, it's your call.  Let us know if you do so we can compare lists.  xo jj

Bed Size
Chore You Hate
Essential Start To My Day 
Favorite Color
Gold or Silver
House or Apartment
Instruments Played
Job Title
Never Again 
Other Fun Fact 
Pet Peeve -
Righty or Lefty
Time You Wake Up
University Attended
Veggies You Dislike
What Makes You Run Late
Yum Food
Zoo Animal Favorite

Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I feel like the "I've Dropped The Remote And I Can't Pick It Up" tee-shirt wearer, only worse!  Our television's Universal Remote is starting to break and I'm a bit freaked out about it.

And by "starting to break" I mean it doesn't work when it's in my husband's hand.  For the life of him, he can NOT get the remote to turn "Off".  It turns "On" just fine for him-- With the touch of one glorious "universal" button, we hear three small clicks indicating the flat screen, cable box and DVD player are all "On" and working perfectly.  But turning it "Off" is simply not in his powers.

He's changed the Remote's four batteries three times... talked to it... cursed at it... shaken it... tapped it in the palm of his hand repeatedly, cursed some more, and pushed, pushed, pushed the "Off" button-- And nothing!

Me?  One click and the deed is done.  The TV equipment is "Off" and I'm on my way.

What's wrong with that picture?  Husband has never been "Off button challenged" in the past, it only started about a month ago.  I've tried telling him to use his "On" finger, which works perfectly fine,  to turn the stuff "Off" but no luck.  I'm at a loss.  So is he.

The idea of getting a new Universal Remote is daunting.  There is no way I will EVER be able to program it myself which makes for a bit of an expense to hire someone to do it for me... Here in Los Angeles that'll run about $300 for a house call plus the new Remote!

So, do I buy a new Universal Remote and make husband's life easier or do I tie garlic around his neck to ward off evil Universal Remote spirits?  I'd really like to avoid the cash payout so I'm open to suggestions?

What do you think?
Welcome to  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © antonbrand -

Monday, January 21, 2013

Three Weeks Already

Twenty-one days into the new year and already I'm rolling my eyes with a big sigh.  What happened to "turning the page", a "fresh start", a "new beginning"???

So far I've...

--Been to a funeral

--Found more (giant) mouse poop, this time in the basement

--While in the basement setting peanut butter smeared traps, I discovered a window with a huge leak and a wall of crumbling and soaking wet drywall

--Had my brand new security alarm malfunction on three separate occasions, once blasting the alarm at 3AM, once while I was at the doctor getting a flu shot and once while I was in the shower

--Received literally hundreds of Anonymous SPAM comments for moderation, thanks to the wonderful Huffington Post, for p-rn, er-ctile disfuncti-n, @ntidepress@ants and s-xy long@rie-- all of which I accidentally "published" instead of "deleted" from my blog.

--And my friend's dog has fleas.  I know this for a fact based on the 23 flea bites I'm now sporting.

Happy New Year-  Woo-hoo!

All that in just twenty-one days!  Father Time has a sense of humor and apparently thinks I believe in turning the other cheek.  But I say WHOA!  I am not having a year of crazy again.  No way!

So, I'm filling my 2013 calendar with positive, meaningful and fun things to occupy my time and hopefully turn my attitude and luck around.

I have scheduled...

--A 103rd birthday party for my friend Sal-- who has, by the way, already reserved a hall for his 105th birthday bash!  I'm going to spend as much time with Sal as possible.  I love him dearly and hope some of his great health and positive attitude rubs off on me.

--More time with my family in Ohio including a trip in April to Indiana for a shopping spree at their fave Vera Bradley sale.

--Graduation celebrations with three loved one, two in Ohio and one in Baltimore

--Yoga classes, I really need them

--Volunteering for an arts education program for public schools.  I've worked with this program for years and enjoy the kids very much.

--Chocolate-- Yes, I'm scheduling chocolate on my calendar and planning to take a couple of baking classes with chocolate as the main ingredient.

--And, a serious commitment to more and regular blogging.  I find writing and communicating with all of you good for my heart and soul so I'm working to get back in the swing-- which means spending significantly less time wondering aimlessly on Pinterest.

My apologizes for the delay in wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year.  I hope it brings wonderful adventures, good times, great health and a whole lot of fun!

How the new year treating you so far?
Welcome to  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © byheaven -, © hellotim -

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lingering Cloud

There's a strange vibe in my neighborhood these days, everyone knows it, even strangers walking by our homes for the first time-- At least it seems that way.  The air is thick with something you can't quite put your finger on-- It lingers heavy like a rain cloud about to burst into a hellacious storm.

Occasionally this dark cloud of angst is separated with squeals of laughter by playing children too young to understand why people are pacing in front of homes with hushed whispers into cell phones, why so many people are arriving with trays of food, and why for some unknown reason, the two houses on either side of ours are still blazing brightly, night and day, with tens of thousands of Christmas lights.

Today is January 8, 2013.

Our neighbor, the one most of the 'hood referred to as "Super Dad", died very unexpectedly two days after Christmas.  He was only 51 years old, a fact that surprised many because he looked so much younger.

He and his family own the houses on both sides of ours.  (They live in one, the other is used for "storage".  That's a story for a different time.) They purchased the original house 18 years ago.  That house spent the first 8 years surrounded by a chain link fence with two big dumpsters in the front yard and as many as 14 barking dogs residing there during their endless construction.  It was not a pleasant time and back then, "Super Dad" was referred to as "The Crazy One" who was a pretty rotten neighbor through the entire process.

When the husband and wife finally moved in nearly nine years after they bought the house, the dogs moved out but the shenanigans with the dumpsters and contractors continued until their first child was born 2 years later.  Today she is about 8 years old.

Life seemed to calm down at the house under construction and "The Crazy One" started to mellow with fatherhood and age.  He was the stay-home dad and clearly devoted to his daughter.  His wife is an attorney who works long hours running the very large family business.

Three years ago a second baby girl arrived and again, his transformation was tremendous.  His new title of "Super Dad" was well-deserved.  It was a pretty amazing and very genuine.

When the police, fire engine and ambulance came roaring down our street the early morning of December 27th, it was pretty hard to miss.  My husband dressed and went to offer assistance.  The wife, still in her pajamas and soaking wet from the pouring rain was standing in the middle of our driveway-- the exact center point between their two houses.  At first Husband thought she was a homeless person because she was, frankly, unrecognizable and drenched to the bone.

She had never spoken a word to my husband in 18 years but today she walked straight up to him and told the shocking story...

The night before their kids had a tea party with friends in the front yard surrounded by the glow of Christmas lights.  At the end of the evening, the two kids went for a sleepover at their friend's house.  The wife had the flu and went off to bed while "Super Dad" cleaned up.  When she awoke in morning he was nowhere to be found.  Since it was early, she made a dash from one house to the other in her PJs to look for him assuming he'd slept at the other house because she was sick.

That was not the case.  "Super Dad" died during the clean up Friday night and she found him in the front yard Saturday morning.  They're still not sure if he fell and hit his head on the cement or if he had a massive heart attack.  Regardless, he was there all night, in the pouring rain, and it was simply awful.

She sobbed and sobbed in shock as my husband hugged this almost stranger in our driveway.

And so began the days-long stream of people offering their support-- Family and friends arrive daily to help the grieving wife.  From my office and from our TV room we see people pacing between houses, many crying, others on cell phones, all terribly distraught at this tragedy-- All the while the Christmas lights-- and I mean CHRISTMAS LIGHTS that light up the entire block-- are on, flashing frantically and brightly.

It's eerie--  Two large white angels with trumpets pointing to the sky light up the archway to the path leading to the front door-- where "Super Dad" was found.  The towering 6 foot high shrubs that hide the entire home from the street are covered with tens of thousands of white twinkle lights.  The house itself is also plastered with lights even though they aren't visible from the street. They're there because he was "Super Dad" and the kids wanted them for their tea party.

At the second house, the one on the other side of ours-- More lights-- thousands of them, all green and red blinking in unison to soundless music.  The glow is so powerful that I swear you could spot them from an airplane overheard.

It is odd to see the Christmas lights blazing night and day, during a time of great mourning.  Or perhaps it's not.  In the big scheme of thing, the lights are incidental and possibly unnoticed by family and friends.  Then again-- the decorations are a bright example of the kind of dad he was.  His kids loved the lights and often stood in the front yard in their "feet pajamas" at night to ohh and ahh at them.  Maybe turning the lights out would be too sad, and too final, and too dark at an already dark time.

Regardless, they continue to shine well after Christmas and I'm hoping it brings the family some peace and happy memories of their "Super Dad".

Welcome to  -  Joanna Jenkin 
Photo Credit © Volodymyr Krasyuk -