Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Move Over Rudolph


Santa has a new sleigh-- Marine One from the The Ronald Reagan Library.

Have no fear!  Your gifts are on their way.

Wishing you a fabulous holiday.  And a big thank you for making this year so special.

xo Joanna

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tis The Season


I've been busy, as you can see.

This the my workroom-- which sounds fancier than "my old office".  I might switch to calling it my "studio" in 2015 where I create, mediate and retreat to when the day catches up with me.  But for now it's the space I dumped all my holiday shopping packages.

It's hard to tell, but behind the mountain of boxes and bags is a large table with my sewing machine on it.  Behind that is a long cabinet stacked high with fabric.  Honest.

And I'm usually very neat and organized.  (Not.)

So this week I sorted, wrapped and wrapped and wrapped, boxed up and shipped, and divided the remaining packages into stacks for their local destinations this holiday.

I can almost see the floor again.

Did my husband help, you ask?  Why of course.  He brought home a package of bows from the drug store... And his work is done.

How's your holiday shopping coming along?

Welcome to wwwTheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wet. Very Wet




Feeling really lucky to have my Mom's rain boots this week.  She wore them for years whenever it was wet out to walk her sweet dog, Noah.  The dog lives with my baby sister now and the boots were parked at my back door just waiting for the rain.

The first time it rained after mom passed away was in about April and I just couldn't bring myself to put them on.

But this rain-soaked Friday morning in December seemed like a good time to take a short walk between downpours and soak up a little of Mom's love.  I can't fill her shoes but her boots are pretty darn comfy.


 How's your Sunday?  

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Apple Oh Apple

It's not everyday you see a church with a sense of humor.  This one had me actually doing a U-Turn in traffic to go back and make sure it said what I thought it said... and then, of course, to take a photo to show you.


How's your Sunday?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
Follow me on Twitter:  JoannaJenkins50
On Instagram at jjenkins50
And on Facebook at Joanna Jenkins

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ten Reasons To Love A Maui Vacation


1.  Delta Airlines First Class Cabin:  Thanks to ten years worth of frequent flyer miles we finally were able to "turn left" at the door and entered First Class.  Ahh, what a great place to spend the five hour flight to vacation paradise.

2.  In Maui, we were greeted with gorgeous 84 degree weather for seven straight days.  It only started to rain when we were leaving.  (Yeah for us!)

3.  Westin Maui:  Despite being filled to capacity requiring long waits in lines galore, the staff was outstanding and very friendly with one goal-- To make us happy.  And they did just that!  We were surprised in our room with a bottle of wine and cake for Husband's birthday and a complimentary ocean-side cabana.  You can't beat that.  Oh, and the fish tacos next door at Leilani's were amazing.

4.  Even though it was November, there was not one single Christmas decoration in sight-- Anywhere!  How's THAT for "Not Before Thanksgiving"?!?  No rushing the holidays in paradise.

5.  Every traveler we spoke to was so darn happy to be in Hawaii and not back home where the weather was cold.  It brought the best out in people.

6.  When we got "fresh fished out" we headed to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Lahaina for a big juicy steak.

7.  Husband says the Pina Coladas in Maui, with fresh pineapple garnish, are better than anywhere else in the country.

8.  Fascinating People Watching:  Many, many hotel guests in Maui were rocking tattoos big time.  All ages and shapes from around the globe were showing off their ink and happy to tell you the story behind them... Even when you didn't actually ask.

9.  All you need to pack are bathing suits, tee shirts, shorts and flip flops making traveling light as breeze.

10.  And even though our return flight was delayed due to maintenance issues, Delta Airlines again scored huge points--  During the 90 minute wait, Delta Gate Personnel served warm drinks, sodas and snacks to all the passengers!  In all my years of travel I have NEVER seen that happen before.  Ever.

 
It was a glorious and relaxing week for us.  It's been a very long time since Husband and I took a "real" vacation-- meaning, just the two of us, not work related, with nothing on the agenda except relax and enjoy. Boy did we need it!

Ahh paradise.

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sundays and Social Media


It's not every day you see a potato statue... at a lumber yard in Los Angeles, or anywhere else for that matter.

I suppose maybe the owner is as addicted to potatoes as I am-- Fried, hash browned, baked with gobs of sour cream, roasted or mashed with way too much butter.  I could eat potatoes all day, every day.

Unfortunately... for my hips.



#####


And... I'm working on figuring out social media, sort of.  You can find me here...

Instagram:  
jjenkins50

Facebook:  
Joanna Jenkins

Twitter:  
JoannaJenkins50

Pinterest: 
Joanna Jenkins 50
(You'll know it's me by my photo.)



How much or little do you use social media?  Do you have a favorite?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Drive Time



Drive time.  Just about everyone does it.

We spend time in our cars getting from one place to another-- To a job and back home again-- To school, shopping or the movies--  To doctors, the post office or the bank--  To really, everywhere we want or need to go.  And if you happen to live in the Los Angeles area like I do, you probably spend way too much time in your car suiting in traffic.  But that's life in paradise-- or your car as the case may be-- in this part of the world.

I've learned to live with the traffic in LA and the time I spend getting to and from.  But today that drive time gave me pause-- to the tune of $125 extra big bucks that my electrician wanted.

I started what was supposed to be a simple installation of a couple of sconces in our dining room.  The price was set and the work began. 

Once the wall was opened up and it was obviously going to be a far more difficult job than anticipated, Mr. Electrician and I renegotiated the price.  His time went from a 3 hour job to an overall 8 hour job.  I understood that and the adjusted price was more than fair.

At the end of the work day, my bill was presented and my check was written with the understanding Mr. Electrician would return next Thursday to do the final hour of work-- Actually attaching the sconces after the painter has patched, sanded and prepared the finished wall.

I have absolutely no doubt that Mr. Electrician would return because of our "connections" so he was paid in full.

Probably my first mistake.  But really, I knew he would come back to finish the job...

Paying him in full is not my problem.

At the end of the much longer than expected work day at my house, Mr. Electrician sent nearly two hours inching along in LA's famous rush hour traffic to get home.

That night I received a call saying that he would return on Thursday as planned however, there would be an extra $125 charge because it takes so long to get to my house!

Seriously?

If his drive had been the anticipated 40 minutes home there would have been no extra charge.  But he spent so much time driving from my house to his-- blah, blah, blah, whine, blah, whine-- that he wanted to charge me for his drive time.

That is absolutely not going to happen.  Period.  He's going to come back on Thursday and install my sconces as contracted with no extra cost.

But what I want to know is--  When did it become acceptable to expect a customer to pay for a contractor/company's drive time?  He's an electrician, not a moving company or a taxi cab.

Am I missing something?

I never got paid to drive to work.  Teachers don't get paid to drive to school.  Police don't get paid to drive to work.  Waitresses don't get drive pay.  My painters don't get drive time pay, neither does my plumber.  

Who the heck thinks they should get paid to actually GET to their job?

Am I missing something?  I want to know.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's a Sign. Seriously.

The neighborhood drama continues on our community website-- I told you about the lemon thief here. 

And now the chatter would be laughable if it weren't so sad.  It all kinda makes me not want to know my neighbors because meanness and pettiness abounds.

Here's the latest example.

Apparently there is a homeless man living in his car a few blocks away from us.  I had no idea he was here but the neighbors on that particular block do and have become friendly with him-- or at least friendly enough to know his name.

Now it seems, after 6 months of "residency", one of the neighbors is upset because the homeless guys' car is leaking transmission fluid on the street and it leaves "an ugly spot on the road" by the side of her house.

The upset neighbor hung signs like this around our 'hood and posted about it on our community website...


And the community website blew up with nasty, nasty comments.  Folks raged about the homeless guy and the upset neighbor's signs. 

Honestly, I would not want a guy living in his car next to my house for six months.  But I would research public services available to help get him off the street--  And I did-- Research options for him after I saw the signs.  Unfortunately once the signs announcing his presence were posted, he moved from the neighborhood and hasn't been seen since.... Which I'm guessing was the upset neighbor's passive aggressive tactic all along.

Good grief.


How's your Sunday going?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Monday, October 6, 2014

I Used To Love Rummage Sales


It was a gigantic fund-raising Rummage Sale like so many others I'd been to...

But it wasn't.  

It was 7 very large rooms of a community center and all the hallways jammed pack with other people's donated "stuff" for sale.

But it wasn't.

It was all meteciously organized and sorted by category so you could easily search out exactly what you were looking for.

But it wasn't.

It was every second-hand shopper's dream sale.

But it wasn't.  Not at all.

Back home recently for a fast weekend of visiting family before the snow flies in Northeast Ohio, my sisters and I stopped by the much anticipated Community Rummage Sale we'd been attending annually for at least 20 years.  This is the mother of all Rummage Sales with more treasures and surprise purchases than any other.  Furniture, kitchenware, linens, pictures, crafts, glassware, you name it...  Truly-- everything you could think of and then some.  We love this sale.

But not this year.

The Rummage Sale is the brainchild of the residents at the senior living community my mom lived in before she passed away nearly 11 months ago.  The "merchandise" is mostly donated by residents when they are downsizing to move into new houses or apartments on the senior campus.

It's generally all the stuff that new residents either can't fit into their new home, stuff their family members don't want or need, or items they simply no longer desire.  It's all donated for a good cause and everyone feels really good about passing their belongings on because the funds raised go to help seniors in need.

But it's not.

And by "not" I mean it's not just stuff donated when new residents are downsizing to move into the senior living community.  It's also all the stuff donated by families when their loved ones pass away.  A realization that we, when attending the Rummage Sale all these years, choose not to think about.

As I said, this was a much anticipated event for my sisters and I so, without hesitation, we piled into Baby Sister's giant SUV and headed to the sale hoping to find small crystal bowls, mason jars and votive candle holders to be used at my niece's wedding this coming Spring.

When we walked into the front door we were immediately greeted by my mother's former next door neighbor.  She really misses mom and we had a lovely conversation together albeit with a lump in our throats.

Then, even though we'd braced ourselves for the possibility of running into more of Mom's other friends, we stepped into the first room to shop-- kitchenware.

But we shouldn't have.

On a table, four steps inside the door, were my mother's kitchen placemats for sale-- The ones I'd made her a million years ago and she insisted were "just fine" for her new home even though they didn't match anything but she used them everyday because I'd made them for her. 

I could literally hear my sisters' intake of breath simultaneously followed by zippered purses opening to reach for Kleenex.  Seeing our mother's donated things for sale never crossed out minds.

And there we stood silently, tears rolling down our faces-- all of us touching the placemats that I now held in my arms like a child holding a favorite teddy bear.  No words, just tears and the realization that our last moments of denial about mom's passing, and thinking the past 11 months had all been a bad dream that we would magically wake-up from, faded with our tears on the fabric of the mates.

Apparently we stood frozen at the "placemat table" for a long time because a nearly 85 year old resident volunteer wearing a name tag and apron gently nudged us along because we were holding up other shoppers.

As we snaked our way through the many tables of sale items, we spotted more of the "stuff" we'd donated when our mother passed away-- Her dish towels, the ones with the crocheted tops that she hung off her kitchen stove handle.  Then came the China tea pot without a lid that Mom always put the dandelions we'd pick for her as kids.

In the "Holiday Room" we immediately spotted the Halloween candle holders with the tiny mice glued on them and the wooden, brightly painted Easter flowers mom pulled out for display every year.

The next room was filled with tables loaded with glassware... and mom's juice glasses, butter dishes, and tea cups as well as several small crystal bowls, mason jars and votive candles.

We stopped by the "Elegant Elephants" room-- Which loosely translated means "the expensive but hideously ugly donated stuff they didn't know where else to put" and there we spotted Mom's over-sized glass angel dressed in a wonky pink and blue glittered gown and appearing to fly like Peter Pan.  I'm pretty sure mom would have called the angel an "Elephant" too but never revealed which family member gave it to her and always had it displayed in her living room.

From room to room we went, seeing residents who asked us if we were our mother's daughters because we look so much like her.  Staff members hugged us and told us with tears in their eyes how much they missed our Mom's positive attitude and sense of humor.

And we continued to "shop" room by room.

But we didn't.

"Shop" that is.  We were really just looking for our mother's things.

In the end, we bought all of our mother's "stuff" that we could find at the Rummage Sale... the stuff we brokenheartedly donated because we all had already brought so much of our mother's cherished possessions to our own home when she passed.

Mom's things at the Rummage Sale were just too hard to see left behind.  Silly, I know, but my sisters and I came home with a carload of our mother's possessions... that we paid for... because we couldn't bear to leave them, or her, behind at the Rummage Sale.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Kellis - Fotolia.com

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Friday Fragments - 9/26/14


I do my best to stay out of Costco because it's usually an expensive swing around the warehouse store followed by a $1.50 hot dog and soda that I really didn't need (along with a ton of other stuff stacked in my cart).  But this week required stocking up my bare cupboards and this jar of chocolate caramel deliciousness landed in my cart with the silent pledge to "Only eat ONE per day!".


You can see how well that pledge worked... Although I did have a partner in crime, my husband.


####

I learned a fascinating thing about Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's--  They always have a beautiful display of affordable fresh flowers on hand, but did you know they also do bridal flowers!  Seriously, you can get a "wedding in a box" so to speak, delivered to your front door-- Bride's bouquet, bridemaids' bouquets, boutonnieres and rose pedals for the flower girl, the works.  Who knew!?!

And you can buy bulk flowers as well.  That's how I found out about it.  I Googled "bulk baby's breath" and there it was.

#####

Baby's breath was on my mind for my niece who's getting married in May, 2015-- The same niece that's going to graduate as a Veterinarian two weeks before her big day.  She'd like to work with large animals.  Good thing, huh?  (PS She's 5' 6" tall!)

Did I show you this photo already?

#####

This baby quilt was finished and shipped off to a new mama.  I think she was pretty happy with it.  At least grandma/my friend was who said if she knew what my gift was she'd have kept the blanket at her house for the baby.  Ha!

 Did I show you this photo already too?  A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

#####

And I've been spotting this sign around Beverly Hills at all the public parking lots.  

Give me spare change 
and I may never get off 
these streets.  Give to
organizations that could 
really help me 
and you could save my life. 
It's up to you.
It's up to you.
I'm not sure how I feel about it.  What do you think?

#####


Oh good lord, how on earth did I turn this red on?  And what's with that white bar up there?  Sheesh.  A mind really IS a terrible thing to waste.  Sigh.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

There's One In Every Crowd



I belong to a neighborhood community website that lets neighbors, elected officials, and first responders keep in touch about everything from road closures and coyote sightings to requests for contractor referrals and babysitters.  (Think Facebook for your 'hood.)

Residents have been mostly respectful and keep their comments and posts about the neighborhood.  Some just give the facts or ask simple questions--  Others definitely "over share".

Case in point...

A neighbor posted that squirrels were eating all the lemons off her tree and wanted to know if anyone had an easy solution that had worked for them.  From her post question, I got the impression she was looking for safe and sane solutions.

But that's not the response she got.  Turns out, peeps in our 'hood are very passionate about their fruit trees!  And they really don't like squirrels-- Any squirrels!  Not.  At.  All.

One guy talked about the wolf urine he buys online and sprays on all his fruit to scare the squirrels away.  Another talked about having tried a hot pepper concoction that was only successful at killing her trees.  And another actually takes the time to rubber band all her fruit to the branches while it ripens making it more difficult for critters to carry off.

A prominent member of our community went on and on that all she has to do is feed the squirrels plenty of peanuts every single day and they stay away from her fruit trees.  I yiyi-- That was met with screams and pleads to stop feeding wildlife complete with links to county ordinances to prove it's against the law.

There is a long time resident (whose profile includes his photo and complete address.) who simply traps and drowns the squirrels claiming it's the very most humane thing to do.  His comment was easily 300 words long and explained-- in great detail, the ins and outs of his reasoning.  This comment was met with barely a response!

Good lord, you'd think the squirrels were carrying away small children, not lemons!

Within 24 hours there were about 30 comments to the simple question of "how to stop squirrels from eating lemons off trees" with many neighbors feeling compelled to comment for the first time ever.

But then... One comment in particular, well.... that's when things really went sour.

A middle-aged guy (I know because his comments came with his full name, photo and full address)-- let's call him Bozo, bragged that he didn't notice any "bare fruit trees" because he takes daily walks in our area and "has lunch" by picking fruit off other people's trees along the way-- several pieces in fact-- and thinks there's nothing wrong with going into people's yards scavenging because "there's enough fruit for people and the squirrels".

That made me wonder if he poached and dined on the fruit with the wolf urine sprayed on it.

To add insult to injury, Bozo went on to brag that he and a buddy drive around in a swank BMW and gather shopping bags full of a variety of fruit from people's yards... in the dark of night.

And the you know what hit the fan.

The community site blew up with comments.

Apparently, we have some crazy squirrels in these parts who not only eat lemons (and figs, oranges, avocados, apples, pears and plums), they also chew their way through cable wires, security screens and the likes.  Folks mostly just want the squirrels to go away.  But they really, really want Bozo to go away.  And by "away" I mean-- Behind bars in an orange jumpsuit (Orange--no pun intended)!

More than 100 comments later and people are still livid that Bozo sees no problem with stealing fruit from people's yards.  Great debate has gone on and he's justified his actions on the site at least 6 times with no apologizes.  Even people who don't have fruit trees are going ballistic.

Folks have politely, and not so politely, explained to Bozo that homeowners pay a high price for watering, pruning and maintaining their trees.  And the trees are on private property.  Bozo doesn't have a leg to stand on or any right to be taking people's fruit from their yards.

And the comments go on and on and on...

To be honest, I have not gotten into the great squirrel debate with my neighbors but as a result, I've changed my settings to only include police reports on our community website.  Some may say I'd be more passionate about this issue if the squirrels were a problem for me but, at least for now, they are not.

Other than thinking trapping and drowning squirrels is hateful, I just can't get on this bandwagon.  To read all the banter and drama about the fruit thief and see only a few comments about the squirrel-drowner has left me not really feeling very neighborly.

# # # # 

Summer has flown by!  I hope to be back on a more regular basis.  
Thanks for stopping by.
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
Photo credit: © denira - Fotolia.com


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Doggone It


I was bit by a dog-- Not my neighbor's dog who mysteriously appeared on our roof-- By a yip-yappy, scrawny mutt that belongs to a friend. 

The dog and I have met on countless occasions in the past two years with no problems but for whatever reason, my leg suddenly became his chew toy of choice.  Four significant puncture wounds from his very big teeth, a tetanus shot, and no swimming in the pool for the past month later, and I'm kinda over it.

Then I was attacked by an extremely hungry mosquito who literally chewed it's way around the dog bite on my calf and well, I'm really over it now.

My leg is still nasty looking-- purple and red marks with bruises, and has a long way to go to "normal".  It's awful hot and humid here in Los Angeles-- So hot, I'd actually endure putting on a bathing suit to swim and cool off rather than sweat it out on the sidelines.  And, I had been inching closer to actually getting a dog of our own.

Now, the dog idea is permanently on hold and the bathing suit I bought still has the tags on it.

Sigh.  Is summer over yet?

How's by you?

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo credit: © kumdinpitak - Fotolia.com

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Spotted


Here's what I've spotted in my neighborhood lately...

These are cropping up everywhere-- 
Just in time for kids to be out of school.

Of course summer vacation means swimming, right?  
We live in walking distance to our community center 
and public pool.  It's the first time I've ever seen this 
sign and, um, no thank you on the swimming.

Anyone a Dr. Who fan? 

And remember when I told you about the single stubburn gladiola in our garden-- The one I've dug up for the past 22 years? 
It's bbbaaaaaaaaack!

How's your summer going so far?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm Not Buying It

Having just posted about the marvels of the iPhone and how it's changed my way of life, I was blown away at a presentation I attended recently given by a successful small business owner who talked about how the iPhone screen is at the core of her business product development.

As the manufacture of modern quilts doing business in the US, Canada and Europe, she discussed how ALL of her designs start small-- very small-- as in on the 2" X 3" screen of her smart phone.  Long story short-- If her quilt looks good on a very small screen... like a cellphone, Instagram or Pinterest-- then they will sell well.  If her quilts lose their impact, color, pattern/design, etc. on the small image size, it's scrapped from her collection.

Kinda makes sense if you think about it.  A gorgeous floral print, for example, may look stunning in a giant quilt, but on the very small screen-- thanks to modern technology-- the pattern is reduced so much it can get lost and, in some cases, can even disappear or muddy the colors meaning the customer might not be getting the quilt fabric/pattern they expected.

Genius, is all I can say because in a million years, I'd have never thought our buying habits (as well as design and marketing products) had changed so much so fast and to such a small-- and very cost effective format.

Then...  I got a look at another successful manufacture who has a very different idea of how people shop... It reminds me of the old Sears catalog approach which, in my opinion, is outdated, ridiculously costly (ultimately to the consumer?) and overkill to say the least.


Not long ago I received FIFTEEN POUNDS of Restoration Hardware catalogs delivered to my door step.  I practically needed a crane to pick them up off my porch.  The package included 14 different catalogs covering their entire product line.  And by the way, they were not promoting a sale.  The impression I got was that I was supposed to keep these catalogs as a reference for future purchases.  (Not.)

Granted, I'm talking about two very different companies and product lines, but the glaring differences between marketing via social media like Instagram and Pinterest versus old school catalogs with expensive photography printed on beautiful paper, then bundled and hand delivered to my front door left me wondering if Restoration Hardware was totally disconnected from today's shoppers-- not to mention the environmental impact of this stack of paper that almost immediately landed in my recycle bin without opening a single page.  Do plush towels, furniture and rugs really sell better using expensive, bulky catalog mailings?


In all honesty, receipt of the Restoration Hardware monster catalogs left me feeling guilty and a little bit miffed that I bought bath towels in their store about three years ago which is why, I'm assuming, I received this expensive collection of catalogs-- Guilty because I'm pretty "green" in our household and call catalog companies asking them to remove me from their mailing list to lighten my carbon footprint.  Dang!  Obviously I missed Restoration Hardware. 

Did my small towel purchase three years ago generate-- and warrant-- my receiving fifteen pounds of catalogs?  No, not in a million years.  My guess is the catalogs ate up their profits in my small purchase.  I'd have rather they shipped me a free towel instead.  That would be positive attention getting marketing.  And I'm guessing the towel would have been far less expensive then the cost to produce and deliver their catalogs.  The towel wouldn't have landed in the recycle bin either-- Just sayin'.

My shopping habits have changed drastically over the past few years and catalogs are long gone.  I turn to the Internet for everything from groceries and books to bathing suits purchases and prefer not to shop in brick and mortar stores if at all possible (Thus the bathing suit shopping online and it's lack of giant three-way mirrors!).  But, thanks to Restoration Hardware, I'm wondering if I might be missing something.  Or not.

What do you think? 

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Already Four

I have a clear memory of blogging about my first great-niece, E, and how marvelous it was to have a smart phone to receive text messages and photos all through my niece's labor.  The idea of communicating with a woman in the delivery room was shocking and exciting.

In the end, a photo of this little peanut appeared on my blog...

 
It's hard to believe that in four short years I've grown unable to live without my iPhone and totally acknowledge how pathetic it is to admit that... and truly mean it.

And it's also hard to believe that my first great-niece, E, is now a whopping four years old!  I absolutely can't live without her either. 


For her 4th birthday dinner, as usual, our family held hands to say grace before the meal.  E insisted on saying the blessing and took her job very seriously.  After a moment of thought, she took a deep breath and said...  "Dear God...."

And then she proceed to recite the entire Pledge of Allegiance-- After which, we all said, "Amen."

Happy 4th Birthday E.  Make a wish and wish big!



Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sent From Heaven?

There has been extensive debate in our household over getting a very big guard dog ever since our home was robbed.  There is a long list of "pros" for a dog, not the least of which is the police detective strongly suggested we get one. 

Then there's the list of "cons".  Dog hair, nail scratches on our hardwood floors and the ever necessary "poop bag" when walking the dog multiple times throughout the day.  Truth be told, the poop bag is really the biggest reason I've nixed the dog idea since I'd be the one carrying around the poop.

But out of the blue today, the dog debate took a major turn!  Not only did we get a really big dog-- We got a fearless guard dog to stand watch over our house-- Literally! 


Fido arrived, much to our surprise, front and center on our roof (!) for all the world to see. 


It's as if this lovely pooch was dropped from the heavens to protect us.

Unfortunately, the dog belongs to our next door neighbor...

...And we have absolutely no idea how she got on our roof.

No.  Idea.  Whatsoever!  It's a total mystery.

I kinda wished Fido could stay up there but the neighbors asked for her back.

Have you ever had an unexpected/unexplained visitor?

 Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Godzilla


There are very few things that totally and completely freak me out.  In our home, for example, I handle the spiders and bugs.  And, ahem, "mice".  It really doesn't bother me.

But snakes...  Not on your life!  I do not like them or their ugly cousin the lizard.  They pretty much put me over the edge and that doesn't seem to be mellowing with age.

Case in point--

Recently I was chatting up my husband on the telephone while packing for a mini vacation.  We were leaving the next morning and I wanted to be sure I had everything in the suitcase.  We'd run down our usual check list of warm weather packing and I'd forgotten flip flops.  So, I open the closet door and reached for my favorite orange pair and, and, and...

Oh.  My.  Gawd!!!  There was a huge, Godzilla-sized lizard stretched across the front my shoe closet.

And I almost touched it-- With my bare hand!

I was screaming to my husband to come home and help me but he heard nothing.  I was so scared, that despite my best efforts, no words escaped.  In an instant, through the hysteria, I knew that something had to be done but I was not touching that monster.  No way.  No how.

After nearly hyperventilating I'd made enough noise that the Godzilla withdrew into a shoe cubbie in our bedroom closet so at least I knew where it was.

I caught my breath, told my husband to come home immediately and then got down on my hands and knees, butt in the air, so I could see into the cubbie that was only 8 inches off the floor.
I vaguely remember Husband mumbling something about taking care of it but hung up the phone before he finished.  He knows my fear of snake things and I was confident he'd burn rubber the entire mile and a half drive from his office to our home to save me.

Confident Husband would arrive VERY soon, I mustered the courage to slowly remove shoes from the cubbie so I had eyes on Godzilla again.


He'd stretched out the length of the back of cubbie with the tip of his tail curved to fit.  In other words, he was a whopping 15 inches long!!!  Oh no, I didn't call him Godzilla for nothing!  This guy was BIG and he was in my bedroom shoe closet.

Without a doubt, I knew that if I lost sight of Godzilla before Husband got home to remove it, we'd have to sell the house.  I absolutely would not be able to stay here ever again.  And I'm not kidding.

Call me crazy but I hate lizards and snakes that much.

So there I was, my arthritic knees aching and feeling like the blood circulation in my legs was nearing its end.  My head, bent down to see into the cubbie, throbbed, and I was in a panic that Godzilla would make a move before I could figure out how to trap him in place.

What to do, what to do.

I finally spotted a clear plastic bin not far away that was the exact width of the cubbie so I could see what Godzilla was up to.  But, it had small 1/4 inch holes in it.  I sized up the holes and the lizard and was confident in thinking Godzilla would never fit through them.  He was a very big guy and these hole were pretty small.

Thank gawd.

So while keeping eyes on Godzilla, I maneuvered around to reach the plastic bin with my foot, kicked it contents and slammed it up against the cubbie.  I swear I heard the angels sing.  What a relief. 

Godzilla and I stayed in place--  Me, still bent over on my knees and him, calmly stretched out in my cubbie.  For SURE, I thought, Husband would be home to rescue me any second.  After all, it had been at least 30 minutes since we were on the phone.  WTH?!?!?!

Tick, tick, tick, tick....

Godzilla started looking board, his neck stretching out as if to get a better look at the situation.  I squeaked out some nose to scare him to stay in place but he'd been there so long he was ready to make a move.

I was so stinking happy to have that clear plastic bin covering the cubbie opening holding him in place.  I wouldn't have to touch Godzilla with my bare hands or worse, risk loosing him all together, and that was a very good thing.  He could move around the cubbie all he wanted but he was not going anywhere.

Right?

Wrong.

Godzilla got his nerve up, despite my screaming, and crawled into the plastic bin.  Then he stuck his head though one of the 1/4 inch holes.

C.R.A.P.

Where was my husband!!!

Then he did the unthinkable!  Godzilla started squeezing his BODY through the holes as if someone had pulled the strings on a very tight corset making him freakishly thin.  I became a lunatic screaming, this time a loud shrill streams of !@#%$! and I banged on the bin with my shoe until he squeezed his sorry self back into the cubbie.

I nearly had a heart attack.  Godzilla actually looked unfazed.

Still on my knees, butt in the air, I called that lizard and my missing-in-action-husband every name in the book.  If Godzilla so much as blinked I screamed him back into the corner.

We sat there like that-- blinking, screaming, backing up, for another full hour before my husband calmly walked in and asked if the "little lizard" was gone.

One look at my ghost white face and the darts shooting out of my eyes at him was a solid clue that the lizard was still in 'da house.

I immediately sent husband to find a few supplies that would allow him to slide Godzilla out of the cubbie and into a box with a secure lid so he could be removed.

Ten minutes later and with none of the supplies, I agreed to change positions with my husband providing he swore on his children's lives not to take his eyes off Godzilla-- and yes, that meant he would need to be on his knees, head bent down to the ground at eye level resulting in his butt being in the air.

Husband also agreed that if he lost that lizard I would immediately be moving into the Four Seasons Hotel until a new home had been found for us to live in-- I was taking no chance at crossing paths with Godzilla ever again.


Husband knew better than to disagree with me.

We made the guard duty switch and off I went gathering the necessary supplies.  I returned in less than 3 minutes and prepared to pass the box to Husband.  But...  Husband looked a little green in the face.

Apparently Godzilla tried to make a quick escape through the plastic bin holes in my absence and Husband saw his life, and our bank account, pass before his eyes until he got Godzilla under control and back in the cubbie.  (In hindsight, I'd have liked to have seen that.  Ha!  Coming home an hour and 45 minutes after I screamed on telephone.  Sheesh.)

So now it's obvious that Husband, who is not good at this kind of thing anyway, was not going to do the deed and get Godzilla into the box.  That would be my job.

Again, I made him swear that if anything went wrong and Godzilla was not removed from our house, that I would be living elsewhere.

With the patio door to our bedroom wide open, I said a prayer and wiggled Godzilla into a box using a backscratcher.  He flopped in and the lid was slammed shut.  My hands were shaking and I could feel Godzilla moving around in the box.

By now,  it was all I could do to stand up.  My legs were numb and with the box in my hands I couldn't use them to help me up.  That freaking lizard took years off my life.

When I finally made it to the patio, I flung the box as hard and as far as I could-- Watching Godzilla exit the box and swan dive onto the grass.  He landed, shook himself off and sauntered into a heap of yellow tiger lilies by the pool... Before losing sight of me, he stopped, looked over his shoulder and gave me a look like "I'll show you lady."

And he did.

Because now I can never go into the back yard again.

What scares the daylights out of you?

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © Andrey Burmakin - Fotolia.com  © seyhoeroglu - Fotolia.com  © Lonely - Fotolia.com

Friday, April 11, 2014

Asking For Help Isn't Easy

Many of you may know the lovely Sarah S. from Cottage Garden Studios--  She's a blogger from way back and one of my most cherished blog friends.  But she hasn't been around much lately and there's a very serious reason for that.

Sarah has quietly been battling breast cancer for the past few months.

And now she needs our help.

Please stop by her blog and read what she has to say.  And, if you can, make a donation to help her through this difficult and financially crippling battle. 

Asking for help is extremely difficult for Sarah so she is offering this piece of her beautiful original art in a raffle as a thank you to those who donate $5 or more.  She's just that kind of girl.

Please stop by and cheer Sarah on with a comment and if you can, a donation.   And please share this on your blog as well.  The raffle ends April 20th.

A million thanks from Sarah and me.

xoxo Joanna

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Fragments - Urns, Anita, Earthquakes and Mojo


 This is an idea I hadn't heard about before...


Bios Urn is a funerary urn made ​​from biodegradable materials that will turn you into a tree after you die. Inside the urn there is a pine seed, which can be replaced by any other seed or plant, and will grow to remember your loved one.

First of all-- Who knew "funerary" was an actual word?  Second, it's an interesting idea and far more cost effective than other more traditional burial options.  Third, what kind of tree would you be?  (And I ask that in my best Barbara Walters voice.)

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I'm going to see the Documentary Anita tonight followed by a Q&A but the film's director, Freida Mock.

Do you remember Anita Hill from the Clarence Thomas Hearings nearly 23 years ago-- (Yes, it's been that long!)  No matter what you think about the Hearings, Anita Hill started the national dialogue on sexual harassment in the workplace and for that I thank her.

I was working in a totally male dominated industry back then and man-oh-man, the "boys club" definitely didn't get it-- kinda like most of the Senators in the trailer for the movie.  (The film opens March 21st in selected cities.)



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Did you hear about the St. Patrick's Day earthquake in Los Angeles this past week?  I call it our very own "Shamrock Shake".

Dang!  I hate those things. 

Since it's the biggest one we've had in four years, and since our house sits practically on top of the fault line, we definitely "felt it".   I was as freaked out as the morning news guy was in video below.  My husband simple rolled over and went back to sleep.  Thankfully other than lots of crooked pictures on the walls and my frayed nerves, all is well.
 

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I have looked at the blank post page on Blogger for weeks.  Many days I have absolutely nothing to say-- as if my head did a Spring cleaning and emptied it of words.  Other days it feels like all I do is repeat myself.  So, until I have a light bulb moment and find my mojo again, I'll gladly participate in Friday Fragments courtesy of Mrs. 4444 to say hello to all of you....

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oscar Swag


Urban Dictionary:  SWAG BAG:  A goodie bag that contains various useless yet irreplaceable items packed into a duffel bag, usually given at parties or by sponsors. 

Have you heard about the $85,000 worth of stuff in this year's Oscar Nominee Swag Bags?  It was all the buzz at the big shindig I attended at the Beverly Hills Hotel last night at the aptly named "Night Before Party" for the Oscars.

Oh yes, I am a very lucky girl to have rubbed elbows with the rich, famous and super skinny last night.  It was beyond cool and, short of attending the Oscars, is the next best people watching of the year.

Who was there, you ask?

Just the stunningly gorgeous Amy Adams, the charismatic Matthew McConaughey, the gracious Harrison Ford, a bearded Ben Affleck, the beautiful Reese Witherspoon, the cast of 12 Years a Slave, and way too many young actors and actresses whose names I am far too old to know.

Sigh.  It was a blast.

As we floated in and out of the party crowd trying not to stare, the buzz was about the Nominees' Swag including the $16,000 worth of hair plugs.  HAIR PLUGS!  Well, the actual plugs weren't in the bag but a gift certificate for 'em was.  Makes you kinda wish your were nominated.

There's a Mace and Pepper Spray Gun in the bag too... 

And a Walking Tour of Japan....

Along with a Rejuvenation "procedure" to boost a ladies V-jayjay to enhance her sex drive.  (All together now, WTH!?!?!)....

And there's the $6.00 rubber thing to put on your drain so your hair doesn't get clogged.

I'm not kidding.  Nominees get all that stuff and way, way more.  They'll probably need a small U-Haul truck to get the loot home.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone sold the crap stuff on eBay and donated the money to charity?  I so would....

What do you think I'd get for this little gem that was included along with sunscreen, sun glasses, a hat and a beach towel in my party Swag Bag last night?  It's way cooler than hair plugs, right?


The back is a string bikini top and a postage stamp size bottom.  And can you tell there are no sides-- it's a cut-out?  There's truly VERY little fabric with lots of black and metallic gold fringe to hide the "girls" if you catch my drift.

It's exactly what every 55 year old woman needs, don't you think?  But then again, I guess that means I'm in good company with all the Oscar Nominees and their SWAG--  Useless yet irreplaceable items. 

Enjoy watching the Oscars!

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Fragments

I have looked at the blank post page on Blogger for weeks.  Many days I have absolutely nothing to say-- as if my head did a Spring cleaning and emptied it of words. 


So, thanks to the lovely Mrs. 4444, I'm joining Friday Fragments in an effort to snap out of my funk and back into writing...

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I tried pouring myself into the Olympics and remain mostly bored.  Is it my mood or is this Winter Olympics kind of a dud?  And the news announcers who don't give a spoiler alert so listeners can avoid hearing who won before watching the events at night-- Pfft.  They stink.

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I made another quilt.  Sewing is calming and surprisingly mindless for me-- Cut, sew, cut, sew... And it's a solitary activity so my crabbiness doesn't rub off on anyone.  I told you about the "Soft Kitty" thing between my brother and Mom here--  This is the quilt I made him out of her tee shirt.

It took me two weeks to send my brother the quilt after it was finished because it meant letting go a piece of mom, so to speak, again.  But the response from my brother was priceless and I'm pretty sure we both had tears in our eyes when we talked about it. 

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I got a Jawbone UP wristband for Christmas.  Have you heard of them-- The supped up pedometer that tracks your daily steps, sleep and food consumption?  I started out gangbusters and walked and walked and walked but... As all good intentions go, mine are currently lacking.  Tomorrow, I swear, I'm walking.  No, really.  Tomorrow-- walk, walk, walk.

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My sweet great-niece, E is nearly 4 years old!!!  Godson and I sent her a purple feather boa for Valentine's Day.  We think she's liking it.


It's so cold and full of snow back home in Ohio that my niece could not spend one more day outside playing in the snow with her bundled up cutie.  So she brought the snow IN--  She filled the bathtub and let E have at it.

When I loaded and "saved" the above photo to my download file I accidentally labeled the snow photo the "snot" photo.  And THAT, actually made me laugh, all day long.

Have a grand weekend, my friends.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins