Monday, December 21, 2015

Tis The Season

No matter how you spell it, or what you celebrate, may your holidays be happy and bright.

Big hugs and I'll see you in 2016!

xoxo Joanna

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Great Big Country Wedding


A full heart, one that you can actually feel expanding in your chest, with joyful tears pouring out of your eyes, doesn't happen every day.  At least not for me.

I am incredibly blessed to have a great big family that brings me much joy.   And a recent wedding of my baby sister's oldest daughter gathered our entire family together and still has my heart overflowing.


My niece, the recent graduate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University, (I've bragged about her before in this space.) tied the knot with the love of her life.


Despite college graduation and State Vet exams, packing up her Columbus, Ohio apartment and moving to Kentucky where her husband is in school, starting her first job as a Vet, starting an awesome pet accessory business AND getting married, all in the span of two very short weeks, this was one cool and very happy, drama-free Bride who, along with her equally happy Groom, paid attention to every detail of the wedding planning including making many of the table decorations.



Our Bride is a country girl-- always has and always will be one-- Same goes for her Groom.  So a country themed wedding was a natural choice for them and both participated in making the details and special touches happen-- Like the Groom cutting down a tree on his family's property to make the wood table chargers and decor.  The dads helped with the engraving to make it a total family affair.


Giving their guests a memento to help remember their special day was also a top priority and these were engraved with their own hands.  The mugs doubled as their table numbers cards too.



The "guest book" below was another personal touch by the Groom that turned out great.


You can't have a wedding without flowers and the Bride made her bouquet special with photo charms  in memory her grandparents and her aunt and uncle.



The Bride had her wedding band, her mother's and her grandmothers' rings with her as well.


As I looked through the hundred of photos from the photographer, I laughed and smiled and shed more than a few tears.  They reminded me of a beautifully perfect day, of the happiness and the wonderful life these "kids" will have together, of the loved ones who watched all the festivities from heaven, and of my deep, deep love of family.


I will always remember catching this glimpse of a quiet moment between the Bride and her three sisters.

But of all the memories, the one moment from the entire day that is etched in my brain forever was when...

The Bride was walking down the aisle with her dad and got close enough to make eye contact with her mother... And how very much the Bride looks like our mother.


Aren't weddings grand!

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: Hurley Photography
Flowers by: Bouts and Bouquets Geneva, Ohio

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Dr. Who and the Tardis Quilt

Dr. Who collectables scatter my godson's bedroom and Tardis comments pepper his conversation on a regular basis.  I've never seen an entire episode (Shh, don't tell!) but-- I can assure you, Godson has seen them ALL and he and his friends LOVE the show.

Over the years I've searched far and wide for Dr. Who collectibles and treats, picking them up in my travels and hoping it's something he doesn't already have.

This year, I'm pretty sure his upcoming birthday will make me a bit of a hero, if I do say so myself.

This is what I made for him...

(It took a while to put together using the Relatively Dimensional quilt pattern by Hunter's Design Studio.  I made the border slightly larger using Quilter's Linen Metallic-- the solids are Kona Cotton. All are from my favorite fabric store-- Sew Modern in Los Angeles.)

While working on the quilt, I tried to subtly drill Godson about specifics on the Tardis so I could quilt it as "real" as possible.  That process was a bit like pulling teeth but in the end, I figured out enough to give it a go...

Late in the game I learned there is some sort of round seal so I winged it to give the very basic "idea" of where it belongs.

Spoonflower was my source for the printed panels.  Info for that was included in the pattern.

I'll give the quilt wrapped with popcorn and all the goodies to go with an evening of Dr. Who binge watching with his friends.

The quilt has been washed so it's super soft and crinkly, which I love.  And it'll get even better with each washing.

Happy Birthday to my favorite Dr. Who fan!

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Valet?

Is it me or is it crazy to think we actually need a Bike Valet Parker at the mall?



Life in Los Angeles just got a little odder.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ah Poop!


There's a lot of it in our neighborhood these days...  Poop of all kinds.

We are "doing our part" to save water in drought stricken Southern California and removed our front lawn.  Gone is the lovely green grass that made me sneeze when it was mowed.  Gone are the pop-up sprinkler heads that my neighbor's rowdy boys would run over and break with their go karts.  Gone is the sprinkler timer that set off watering just in time for our morning newspapers to get drenched.

Gone.  Gone.  Gone.

In are eighty-seven flats (!) of drought tolerant ground cover.  Two days, four guys and three cases of Gatorade later, the plants were settled into their new beds in record-breaking high temperatures.

Oh, and a truck load of cow poop smelling fertilizer/mulch was distributed too.  The smell simmering on 95 degree days was nothing short of, um, "ripe".

I thought for sure my neighbors would complain about the stink because I most definitely did.  You could smell it a mile away.

So I turned to our community website site, NextDoor.com--  I told you about it when the 'hood went crazy over the Lemon Thief-- to see if any complaints were racking up.

There were poop complaints galore!!!  But not about my poop-smelling yard.

Apparently there is a dog poop REVOLT going on and, since I was working so hard in the yard, had totally missed the gigantic freakout online by what I once considered kind and friendly neighbors.

It started with a guy making a ballistic post over dog walkers putting their dog poop bags in his garbage cans kept on the side of his house directly next to the sidewalk.  His point was that folks should take their poop bags to their own garbage cans for disposal because, apparently, other people's dog poop smells worse than his dog's poop.


That had one woman chiming in that her dog's poop definitely does not smell worse than any other and called the guy a few choice words which will not be repeated.  And then all hell broke loose!

Many, many people-- with and without dogs, screamed in all capital letters that garbage cans are city property and available for everyone to use.  That comment brought out City ordinance code postings and several attorneys pointing out in legal language that homeowners "rent" the cans from the City and are therefore our property as well as going on and on stating trespassing laws.

My favorite was the comment by a woman who suggested "poop cans" be installed around the area for the poop bags-- But NOT on her property since she's a self-proclaimed "crazy cat lady".

When I say this was a heated debate that had neighbors on their computers banging out hateful, nasty, and some very funny comments, I mean 279 comments and counting in just five days!  Long winded, rambling comments--  "How dare you!" comments--  Emojis the likes of which I've never seen--  Dog lovers (and a few haters) at odds with each others and neighbors nearly coming to blows.  Literally.

It reached full-fledged "holy crap" status in no time!



Poop bag offenders were called out by name along with their addresses (!) so people could return their poop to them.   A few people even followed offending poop-bag-garbage-can-dumpers to their homes to return said poop placing it under door mats and on car windshields.

And for the nasty people who don't bother to pick up their dog's poop at all--  Apparently there is a special place in hell waiting for them. Who knew?

Needless to say, I do not keep my garbage cans in view of the street nor do I have a pooping dog which may be why I find this heated online debate so over the top... and a bit scary.

I did breath a sigh of relief that my smelly yard did not become a topic of conversation on the website.

But I'm waiting... because a "drought tolerant" yard does not mean it never gets watered.  Oh no, no, no!  In fact, it gets watered A LOT until it's established and more than a few neighbors forty dog walkers have scolded me about it when I hand water our lawn twice a week-- even when I'm using water from a big hot pink watering can filled with reclaimed water from the bath tub.

Yup, there's a reason I don't attend our community's Block Party.

Sigh.

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Friday, July 24, 2015

Changing Times

Our neighborhood could be described as "charming", "family-oriented", "tree-lined" and, perhaps even "old".  At least that's how I look at it and love it.  It's what drew us to this 'hood in the first place.

But all that's changing thanks to "McMansions".

I do not love it.

My favorite home in the area recently bit the dust to a developer's plan for "progress towards the future".

Here it is...  Gorgeous, beautifully maintained and in pristine condition-- literally move-in ready-- all 3,000 square feet of it.  Problem is that this beauty, although on a shallow lot, is located on a double wide lot and that made it a developers dream.


First a "Notice" of demolition was posted and then, way too shortly thereafter, this started...


After that it was hard even walk down the street anymore.

The sad ending is that two, count 'em TWO 5,000 square foot houses will be built on the lot in it's place.  Two monster houses in the place of one lovely home.


This isn't the first sad story like this in our community-- it's actually being written about in the newspapers and talked about on the television and radio news all the time.  But developers have deep pockets and it appears, at least so far, nothing "legally" can be done to minimize the overbuilding of lots.

I totally get "progress" and an owner's right to do with their home/property what they want to-- really, I get it.  But I don't get the pile of rubble that once was a perfectly good home that's now in a landfill somewhere.

Or maybe I'm just really sad that the landscape of our neighborhood is changing-- literally.

Is this happening in your neighborhood?

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Scream and Shout!



 Call it an "In Case of Emergency" photo...

This picture was taken yesterday at the Ringling Bros. Circus with my godson.  It was a total blast! 

I'm saving it for a day when I really need to let loose and have a good rant-- like today when my contractor waterproofed and sealed my patio in the wrong color.

Yep, I'm going to need to scream!

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins


Sunday, June 21, 2015

So This Happened

Much joy has been spread around my world of late--  I feel really blessed to be part of our great, big, amazing family.

We had not one for FOUR graduations... My oldest nephew earned his Master's Degree from Clemson, my youngest nephew graduated from high school, my niece earned her Bachelor's Degree from Ohio State and we officially have our first Doctor in the family, also from OSU!

These two pretties participated in graduation at 
The Ohio State University.

This "Roll With It" Quilt was a graduation gift 
for the Bachelor's Degree niece.


A couple of very sweet and very tiny kittens--
Olive and Scout, joined Godson's family.  

And these two cuties-- my great-nieces
celebrated their 4th and 5th birthdays together!

And today I'm remembering my dad who passed away nearly 22 years ago.  And I'm remembering my step-dad who passed 3 1/2 years ago.  Both great men who live on in our hearts always.

My dad with our new Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

How's your Sunday?

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Vacuum Cleaner Beating

It all started innocently enough--  Vacuum the house and then go for a much-needed walk on a warm Southern California day.  It's feels (and looks) like about a decade since I worked out and I figured the combo of vacuuming and walking was a good place to start and would count as weight training and cardio (That's only a little stretch of the imagination, right?).

But half way through the living room chore my trusty vacuum started wheezing-- just a little at first, but than it worked itself up into a high pitched screech that had the neighbor's dog wailing. 

I fussed and fiddle with the machine trying to make things right, but couldn't identify where the noise was actually coming from-- Not the hose, the bag or any one specific place.  Screaming at me, it was as if the entire vacuum was either in shock that I was dragging it around cleaning... Or it was on it's last leg.

Dang.  I really like this vacuum too.

Since the vacuum was still picking up dust, I kept pushing it along, praying the noise would stop, and cleaning from one room to the next, until the exhausting and nerve-wracking job was finally finished. 

By this time, I knew I had to take the machine in for repair and was giving myself a good talking to because I couldn't identify the source of the noise-- Translation:  Not paying attention when I pulled the plug out from the wall while at the same time stepping on the button that retracts the cord and winds it up inside the machine all nice and neat.

Well... like I said, it's been a while since I was the one doing the vacuuming around here and I'd forgotten about the crazy cord rewind.

Note to self:  Do not bend over, thereby putting your face too close to the machine when the cord is whipping towards you at the speed of light.

Faster than you can say "Mike Dyson", the plug and my face-- specifically my lip-- collided in a rather uncomfortable smack, just barely avoiding chipping a tooth, but definitely doing significant damage to my bottom lip.

Let's just say much blood followed and by the end of the day I looked like I'd gone a few rounds with an able-bodies contender.

But it was only the vacuum who beat me up-- The vacuum that was repaired waaay before my lip healed.  The vacuum that didn't dare wheeze or screech while I still had a fat lip.  The vacuum that taught me a valuable lesson-- not the least of which was that from now on, I'm letting someone else do the cleaning around here!

# # # # #

Gosh, I can't believe how long it's been since my last post!  All's well, I've just been really busy.  I have lots to share and promise to be back soon.

How are YOU?

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Happy, Calm and Um....


I didn't make any New Year's Resolutions for 2015 mainly because the thought of having one more thing on my "to-do" list was overwhelming. I was tired, stressed and worn down enough without feeling defeated for not accomplishing yet another goal.

A better attitude would definitely have been on my agenda if I'd made a resolution-- after all, the countless funerals I've attended in the past few years were more than my heart could stand and left me feeling stressed and sad.  Maybe that's why an emailed review request about a supplement called "Happy Calm Focused" caught my eye.

In all honesty, the super positive name and packaging had me rolling my eyes and laughing out loud at its claims.  It was early February and I'd already attended three MORE funerals of loved ones.  (I know!  When will it STOP!?!)  But if ever someone was in need of help being happy and calm it was definitely me.  So, after taking my head out of the oven I agreed to give the HCF supplement a try.  A free bottle arrived in my mailbox shortly thereafter.

Did I mention that I have never, ever, blindly tried a supplement before? Not once.  I called my doc who said it was okay to give one bottle a try to see if he helped.  Then I checked the mostly very positive HCF reviews online and popped the top.

The cobolt blue bottle made me happy-- I collect blue glass and even though this was plastic the coloring wasn't lost on me.

Could I have been momentarily happy before even swallowing the three substantial capsules that smelled a lot like herbs and the back of a pharmacy?  Probably not, but it made me smile nevertheless.  A good start, huh?

It's important to take HCF on an empty stomach 30 minutes before eating in the morning-- That had me watching the clock because I wake up starved and actually keep granola bars on my bedside table.  As the thirty minutes ticked by til food time, I could still taste that herb/pharmacy/ick smell and was less than calm waiting to eat something to squash the after-taste.

Was Happy Calm Focused really working on me?  Fast forward three weeks...

Two more very sad situations with loved ones later (Again I say-- When will it STOP!) and I have to admit that I'm taking things in stride which I translate to being more calm in a crisis.  Happy might be too strong a word to describe my emotional state these days but the noise in my head when tracking the drama that surrounds me is somewhat lower. Both good things.

As for focused-- I'm afraid that ship has sailed for me.  I haven't been laser focused in more years than I can remember and have actually forgotten where I put the Happy Calm Focused supplement bottle a few times.

Will I continue to take the HCF supplement after the bottle is empty? I'm not sure.  The biggest down side for me is the indigestion and "repeating" of the supplement throughout the day.  I'm not crazy about that.  This is not a side-effect I read about in online reviews so maybe it's just my "delicate" system.

Happy Calm Focused isn't a "miracle in a bottle", at least not for me. Rather, it's an amino acid based supplement that might have helped make me feel a little better.  Will it help you feel happier, more calm and focused?  You'll have to be the judge.

Available on Amazon.com.

How are you feeling these days?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins






Friday, March 13, 2015

Great Paying Job

I arranged these flowers myself.  No housekeeper required.

I am always amazed by the things that appear on our online community homeowners website.  I told you about the Great Lemon Caper.  Now we have what I can only call Housekeeper Madness.

Names have been changed (in blue) to protect the innocent and slightly crazy....



It all leaves me thinking maybe I should go back to work-- cleaning houses!

Happy weekend!
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Four Reasons Why I Won't Delete My Facebook Page


It hasn't been all that long since I took the plunge and gave Facebook a whirl.  So many of my blog friends from over the years have moved to Facebook and I missed them.  Knowing little about the FB game, I've done my best to figure things out and "friend" people I know and bloggers from past and present, but I'm definitely not great at it.

It's been 3 1/2 months and until very recently I simply did not get what all the fuss was about.  To me, Facebook appeared to be endless postings about things that were of little interest to me.  I gravitate towards more meaningful posts about people's well-being, new babies, joys and successes.  I'm not interested so much in (most) jokes, the price of gasoline or the mean stuff that creeps in from time to time.

In short, I simply didn't "get" Facebook or why folks spend so much time on it.  And then the four reasons why I won't delete my Facebook page grabbed me by the hand within days of each other and held on tight...

1. Sam.

2. Rorry 

3. Fiona.

4. Patrick

Sam, my husband's business partner of 39 years passed away.  We adored him.

Rorry and Fiona, the beloved Scottie pups of my blog bestie, Holly Dietor from Your Mother Knows But Won't Tell You, crossed over the rainbow bridge to doggie heaven.

And, Patrick-- A big, happy, handsome relative passed away in his sleep of a massive heart attack.

They're why I'm hooked on Facebook.

The world-- literally the Facebook world-- took meaningful and thoughtful time to wrap their arms around Sam, Rorry, Fiona and Patrick, and their families, in a way I have never experienced before.

Facebook posts-- hundreds of them-- poured in with such love, compassion, support, and gratitude for these four amazing souls that there are no words to adequately express the heartfelt love that jumped though the computer screens to all involved.

And not just a bunch of thumbs up "likes".  There were posts that Facebookers wrote with long and loving comments.  Posts that included tributes more beautiful than any I've read before.  Posts that included photos of and for Sam, Rorry, Fiona and Patrick that embraced their families and helped loved ones through very difficult times.

Sam's posts included comments about his favorite movies and how he looked like a cross between Paul Newman and Kirk Douglass with sky blue eyes.  His grace and class were mentioned often and the words "A true gentleman." were repeated over and over.

Posts for Rorry and Fiona had countless beautiful photos of purple thistles, the national flower of Scotland, to help comfort Holly and her husband as they coped with the passing of their lovely Scotties who battled health issues.

And Patrick-- More than 500 photos with people toasting Patrick with Budweiser long-neck beer bottles-- Odd sounding perhaps, but Patrick was the guy with a big pick-up truck who not only loaned his truck to people moving, but he also actually helped people move-- Only thanks he ever asked for was an ice cold Budweiser at the end of the day.

My four reasons for not deactivating or deleting my Facebook page are these four souls with hearts of gold and all the people who love them.  I may not post often on Facebook but I'll keep my page active so I can look in on my friends and cherish the meaningful interaction that truly exists in cyberspace.

As for my Twitter account?  Probably not.  Too much chatter, clutter and endless pictures of sunsets taken through car windshields for me.

Instagram, maybe-- I've found some photographers, artists, performers and quilters who take amazing photos.

But Facebook-- You've won my heart.  I'm sticking with you!

Of course, FB, Twitter and IG are three reasons why I haven't blogged much lately-- In addition to too many funerals already in 2015.  But, I'm heading to Ohio next week, despite the horrendously cold weather, for some quality family time and to recharge my battery.  I hope to return ready to roll again with happier times ahead.

Until then, stay warm and maybe I'll see you elsewhere in cyberspace!

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Follow me on Twitter:  JoannaJenkins50
On Instagram at jjenkins50
And on Facebook at Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit © Mikael Damkier - Fotolia.com

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Dare You Not To Smile

I've heard police called a lot of things but never a "Diva" before.

This has been on the news lately but it's worth a look.  There is NO WAY you can't watch this video and not smile.



I crack up when he spots and waves at a pedestrian.

I don't know this guy, and I'm guessing there is a lot of teasing and joking going on back at the police station but seriously, I think I would love having him as my next door neighbor... and at my next party.

And, I'm grateful that I do not have a dashboard camera in my car to catch my antics.  How about you?

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  --  Joanna Jenkins