Parking Lot Heroics

I went to the grocery store today for what seemed like the first time in about a year. I couldn’t even get mad at people who said, “There’s nothing to eat,” because, well, there was nothing to eat. Last week was rough around here. For me, anyway. It was full of painting and then some more painting. That’s pretty much all I did last week. Which is why there was no food in the house.

The most strenuous thing I did yesterday was going to church so I didn’t bother with a shower this morning. (Worship was on point, but I’m not Pentecostal so I didn’t work up a sweat.) I did wash my face and brush my teeth, but I didn’t put on any make-up. The hair was looking decent, though, if I do say so myself. That would be thanks to a much-needed haircut last week so I don’t look like Hey Arnold anymore.

Then there were the clothes. A while ago I lost the drawstring to the capris I threw on, but I keep forgetting. And I cinched up the straps of my sports bra before getting dressed. Turns out I cinched a little too much so I walked around the grocery store pulling up my pants and trying to covertly yank down the bra band. If one thing wasn’t sliding down, the other thing was creeping up. (Is this too much information? I don’t even know anymore.)

Shopping itself went pretty well. There were the usual rude people made bearable by the usual polite people. Shelves weren’t stocked as well as I’d have liked, but I found nearly everything I needed. All in all, it was a decent experience.

After paying for my goods I pushed my cart outside and stopped under the shady overhang to put my sunglasses on. And that’s when I saw The Van.

It was a Channel 6 news van. Camera people need groceries, too, so I didn’t think too much about it. Until She got out. She was a young and pretty brunette wearing a nice dress and perfect make-up. The exact opposite of me except for the brunette part, though my brunette is sprinkled with glittery, silver strands. (Everyone likes glitter, right?) She held a microphone while chasing down people and asking if she could talk to them for a minute. The van swung into a parking spot and a cameraman jumped out to follow, but nobody wanted to talk to her.

“OH NO!” I screamed in my head as I scanned the parking lot for the aisle my car was parked in. Thankfully it was two aisles over from the news crew and there were other people coming and going that were able to block for me. But still, no one wanted to stop and be on camera.

The correspondent (or whatever she is) and the cameraman made it over to the next aisle, just one over from me. I was surreptitiously keeping an eye on them while practically running to my car. The adrenaline kicked in and there was this whole special ops-like scenario playing through my head.

Surveying the lay of the land, I note my car is parked directly across from the cart return, which faces the aisle the crew is now in. I open the hatchback remotely as I run full speed for the car. I abruptly stop the cart  and tip it so all the groceries land in the car at one time. Then I whip the cart around and send it careening to the return where it comes to a complete stop by nestling into the row of carts already there while shutting the hatchback at the same time. In a matter of seconds I am in my car and I drive away.

It’s a particularly cool scene in slow motion with a hard-driving, metal soundtrack.

There was a moment when I actually made eye contact with her. I quickly looked away and cursed my lack of remote-opening hatchback and general ninja skills. Thankfully, some poor shmoe agreed to talk to her. Still, I didn’t want to take any chances. I pretty much threw my groceries in the back – except for the bag with the eggs – and tossed the cart into the return.

I’m not going to say my tires squealed as I drove out of the lot, but I’m not going to say they didn’t, either.



Good Things, Man


Oh my, but it’s been two-and-a-half months since my last post. I’m sure that is a great disappointment to my reader. Or readers. I think I have two, now.

I have many things to tell you! 2017 is looking very promising with an awful lot to look forward to. Today I’m just going to give you some of the highlights and then I’ll expand on them later. (See what I’m doing here? This is my way of making sure I have at least a few more posts in line. Brilliant, don’t you think?)

Okay. Now that we’ve agreed on the genius of my plan, let’s carry on, shall we?:

I’ve been consistently busy designing websites and thoroughly enjoy the challenge. It’s both logical and creative all at the same time.
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There are exciting plans for Grace & Such in the works, not the least of which is the fact we’re publishing a 30 Day devotional, hopefully by April. I read all the devotions several times while editing the book and all I can say is, I know how to surround myself with talented people. They really make me look good!
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Renewing the Heart Ministries, the regional ministry I’ve been involved with for the past year or so, is gearing up for our first conference at the end of April. There is so much more to tell you, but you’re going to have to wait. Suffice it to say it’s super exciting stuff! (And check out the website designed by Yours truly.)
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Todd and I are starting a new blogging adventure. Well, what I really mean is I’m starting a new blogging adventure and he’s coming along for the ride. Well, what I really mean is he’s coming along for the ride because he doesn’t actually have a choice. Well, he has a choice, but he’s being very supportive. Well, what I mean by “very supportive” is he says, “Whatever.” Due to the first three items above, I don’t have a target date for this new endeavor. Trust me when I say you’ll be among the first to know. As a show of my affection for you, I’ve given you a hint by revealing the logo my very talented friend, Gail, made for us. My requirements were that the characters looked like us, except not fat or old and she certainly delivered!
Katie graduates from college in May. Did you read that people? GRADUATES. FROM COLLEGE! Yikes times infinity, man.

I’ve booked our vacation for this summer. With two adult children, being all adulty and everything, there’s no telling if or when we’ll be able to plan another family vacation. This could be our last one for a while. I hope not, but it’s going to be fabulous and memorable just in case.

I’m back to eating healthy again. The difference this time is that I’ve been doing it for about two months now and it’s FINALLY starting to make a difference.

And that’s all you’re getting. Seven little teasers to bring you back. As P.T. Barnum famously said, “Always leave them wanting more.” Of course, I think he was talking about fierce animals and death defying acts. This isn’t quite that exciting, but I think you should come back anyway.


So Many Bits


Today I’m going to take random to a whole new level. I’m talking chocolate smeared on a piece of paper level.

See? I found this in my scripture writing notebook from back in March. I don’t know what I was eating while I was writing out my scripture that day, but whatever it was, it had to be wonderful. Because it was chocolate. And I smeared it. On my paper. And then I commemorated the occasion. If I thought it would be helpful to analyze this further I would, but I’m afraid no good could come of it.

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In the past two weeks, I have followed five different people on Facebook as they recorded their fabulous vacations. Italy, Scotland, New Zealand, England and Germany. Each one has done a spectacular job of making me want to go to Italy, Scotland, New Zealand, England and Germany. But Lancaster County will have to do for now.

Because my mom and my sisters are going to be here in less than two weeks and we will be going to Lancaster to chase see Amish people and take in the beautiful scenery. And probably eat yummy things. Which may or may not include chocolate. We have a lot of other things planned besides just Lancaster and will probably all need a vacation from their vacation when it’s all said and done. And we’ll probably have delicious, Amish jellies for our post vacation vacations.

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But before they come out, I get to go see the Rachael Ray Show with some girlfriends. Did you know you aren’t allowed to wear capris to a taping of the Rachael Ray show? So now I have to hope and pray I have slacks that still fit me. Because it would be really embarrassing to get kicked out for wearing capris.

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And speaking of television, I’ve been binge watching “Once Upon a Time” in between the office project and my work. A couple times I’ve thought I might be losing interest, but then new fairytale characters pop up and I have to see how they work them into the storyline.

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This past Monday was Asked & Answered over at Grace & Such and I was the subject. Which was kind of weird because they were my questions. I was both the interviewer and the interviewee. Which maybe isn’t actually so strange when you consider I not only talk to myself, I answer myself. Complete conversations. I have the best chats and really help me work through a lot of stuff. So if this wasn’t enough you can read more random here.


Tea and Quilts

Today was a lovely day for me and The Girl. She goes back to school on Sunday and we decided to finally make our way to the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, a place she’s wanted to visit since we moved here nearly ten years ago. Turns out, however, the museum is closed on Mondays.

Undaunted, we still made our way into the city, managed to find a decent parking spot and met The Boy for a cheap, delicious and way too large lunch. Philadelphia is known for its murals and, in fact, there are more than 3,000 of the colorful works of art scattered throughout the city. I’m always awed by their vibrant beauty so I grabbed these pics with my phone. (I made the conscious decision to leave my camera at home. *sigh*)

Mural 2

After we ate lunch The Boy went back to work and The Girl and I walked four blocks to Miel Patisserie, a divine French pastry shop, so we could finally experience French macarons. They’re quite as colorful as the murals and look like the little cookies on the time wasting game, Cookie Jam, on my iPad.

Macarons 2 Tea and Macarons








They also had really good tea. My tea was caramel toffee flavored and Katie’s was called Noel and was flavored with cinnamon and cardamom.

We enjoyed our sweet refreshments and walked back the four blocks to the car with about 15 minutes to spare before the meter ran out.

On our way home we made a stop at IKEA because IKEA. It’s like Disneyland. It even has flags at the entrance to the parking lot. The Girl bought a plant and named her Mabel, while I bought a $5.00 cheese grater. I spare no expense for my cheese preparations.

When we got home Mr. Jenster was off bowling so we made more tea to go with the macarons we brought with us and watched a few episodes of “Call the Midwife”.

Even though our original plans were dashed, it was an absolutely delightful day.

And as for quilts, it’s my day over at Grace & Such.

They Won’t Stay In My Head

It has been confirmed beyond a doubt that I am a visual learner. The news was on TV as I was preparing dinner last night and I could hear the anchor reporting on the day’s events, but I wasn’t actually watching the broadcast.

What he said: 17 miners were trapped in an elevator shaft in a rural New York salt mine.

What I heard: 17 minors were trapped in an elevator shaft in a rural New York salt mine.

What my head said: Why in the world were those kids in a mine shaft? Where were their parents? How old were these minors? Was it a field trip, maybe? This rosemary smells so good.

What you’re thinking: I can’t believe Jenster is admitting this in public. She could have kept it to herself and no one would be the wiser.

You’re right. I shouldn’t have said anything.

It’s not like the time at work when a coworker said “Crisis averted!” and what I heard was, “Chris is perverted!” I asked who Chris was and what had he done to be considered perverted. There was no getting around that one as the entire office heard my questions.

But the minor/miner thing was in my head. I didn’t have to tell.

I mean, I can keep these things to myself. I didn’t tell you how I kept waving my hand under the paper towel dispenser at the restaurant today, completely frustrated that the sensor wasn’t sensing. I mean, come on. It only has one job. But then I realized there was no sensor and all I had to do was pull the paper towel out.


I just told you that, too.

The Summer of my Content

It’s been close to three months since I quit working and I feel really good about the successes I’ve achieved this summer. If these accomplishments are any indication of what the rest of my years will be like, then I can look forward to a very fulfilled and satisfied life.

I watched the first four seasons of Scandal in a matter of weeks. We can look at this one of two ways:

  1. I am able to focus to meet my goal. I am that dedicated; or
  2. I  could have watched all of it in one day, but I didn’t. I am that disciplined.

Either way I come out looking good.


I scored tickets to LIVE with Kelly and Michael for September. (This maybe isn’t such an accomplishment as it was much easier than scoring tickets for the Tonight Show.)


I baked one day.


I read a book. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I read it for book club and enjoyed it for the most part. It ended kind of abruptly, but it wasn’t a waste of my time. (I’m really good at book reviews, too.)


I have been able to keep up with the laundry. Mostly.


I hung out with Katie until she left for school yesterday. This included watching the last season of How I Met Your Mother with an impressive determination so we could both move on.


I went out to lunch. A lot.


I started a website – Grace & Such. It will be launching next Tuesday, September 1st. The concept is something that I’ve had on my heart for a long time and I’ve been working on it since January so I’m super excited that it’s finally about to be real. And maybe a little nervous about it, too. I’ll tell you more about it on the 1st, but here’s a little clue.

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See what I mean? It’s been a productive and contented summer. Or something like that.

A Change of Scenery

As you can see, I’ve changed the look of my blog. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m not in love with the new appearance, but the old look was, you know. Old. Time for a change of scenery.

Speaking of a change of scenery, I’m headed down to Myrtle Beach on Monday. Just me and the open road. I use the term “open road” loosely as said road will be I-95. Katie is working there for the summer and Todd wasn’t able to get away,so it’s a girls’ couple of days in Myrtle Beach! I’m excited to see her and the ocean and to just get away for a few. I have an audio book and good music so I think I’m set for the long drive.

And finally, I would love to be somewhere, anywhere near this particular scenery. This is the flag that flies over the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.

Arizona Flag

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!!


Regressing in Retirement

I have my first week of retirement under my belt. I would consider it a bit of a fail. I didn’t do 15 minutes of writing every day, nor did I do 15 minutes of decluttering or organizing a day. Do you know what I did do for 15 minutes a day? Nothing.

Actually that’s not entirely true. I kept thinking about what I need to do when I get back to work after my vaca– oh yeah. It’s kind of weird.

I also think I regressed. I watched “The Pacifier” one day – a very entertaining family movie. For families. With young children.

Do you know what else I did? I bought myself a coloring book. I feel slightly better about the fact it’s an adult coloring book and I’m using colored pencils instead of crayons, but it’s still a coloring book.

Maybe I shouldn’t call it an adult coloring book because I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about it. Here’s a picture of the cover. No need to hide your eyes. It’s perfectly innocent.

Coloring Book Cover

Coloring is supposed to be a good stress reliever. I discovered, however, that using dull pencils and no pencil sharpener in the house is irritating. Irritated does not equal relaxed. Never fear, though. I bought a pencil sharpener this afternoon and now I’m good to go.

Todd has some work stuff going on in Ohio this week and I’m going with him. A perk of not having to work. My hope is that when I return I can get down to the business of, well… business.


My First 15 Minutes

Today was my first Monday of retirement. It was pretty nice. I got up when I wanted to get up, which was about the same time I would have gotten up had I been going to work. But the difference was I didn’t HAVE to get up. I liked that.

I watched some Good Morning America. That was enjoyable.

I had a cup of coffee and a waffle and made out a loose schedule for the day. That was fine.

Lunch plans for today had been made last week so I had that to look forward to. That was fun.

The shower broke. I tried to turn it on and nothing happened. I tried the sink and it worked just fine so I knew the water hadn’t been shut off or anything. Trying again, I turned the knob and this time it was only hot water. So I jumped in for a quick shower. But then I couldn’t shut the water off. I went to the basement to get some tools while the shower was still running. I managed to get the broken knob off and then had to use a screw driver to actually turn off the water. That was exciting.

I made an unplanned trip to Lowes to get a new shower faucet handle and a stop at Target for a bunch of cleaning supplies. Because, you know, I’m going to be doing a lot of cleaning (in my head).

I started a 15 minute a day challenge today and spent 15 minutes working in my “office” (the sitting room off the master bedroom or, as it’s fondly known, the catchall room). It’s amazing what you can do in 15 minutes. Of course, the room is such a disaster that you can’t even tell. But a whole week of 15 minutes should make some sort of a dent.

This post is actually a part of the 15 minute a day challenge as well. I’m going to write for 15 minutes a day. I’m not exactly sure what that means yet. Will it be the blog? Will it be the book? Will it just be writing exercises? Or maybe all three. I don’t know. And it doesn’t even matter. It will be what it will be.

Do you know 15 minutes is a long time? This has taken me less than 7 minutes to write. What will I do now?

I’m sorry, but you’re stuck with me for another 6 minutes and 18, 17, 16seconds – less than 6 minutes. So I’ll tell you what’s currently going on. Todd’s bowling and it’s raining cats and dogs and thundering and windy and Sookie is not happy. She’s curled up at my feet and anytime I move she jumps up like I branded her with a hot iron. Skittish thing that she is.

Four more minutes…


It was hot today. Hot and sweaty. Not my favorite.

I’m reading To Kill A Mockingbird. I read it in middle school, but I didn’t really want to back then. Now I’m enjoying it. I may just read and read and then read some more tomorrow. I’m also reading Me Before You on my Kindle and it seems to be written well. I’m fairly well sucked in. I used to be a monogamous reader, but I’ve strayed.

Sheesh!! Still 2 minutes!

Oh. It’s thundering now. A nice rumbly thunder and it sounds like big, fat drops of rain. I love rainy weather when everyone is home and nobody has to get out. I wish Todd was home.

One and a half minutes more. Or is that one and a half minute more? I would think it’s only plural if there are two or more, but I’m not sure what the rule is when it’s more than one, but less than two. Anyone?

I have some really ripe bananas. I think I should make banana bread in the morning.

For the love! We’re still ticking down…

And I’m done!

Probably not the best post I’ve ever written, but at least I wrote for 15 minutes today.

And if you’re still reading, then thanks! (But seriously. What is wrong with you??)

The Meaning of “Jenster”

I just did a Google search for “Jenster” and it was fascinating. Jenster’s Musings came up second, but the Urban Dictionary definition was first and this is what it had to say:


Nickname for the coolest Jenny you have ever met in your entire life! If you have met her, these might be a few of her characteristics:

1. Will listen to any kind of music and rock out to it. Can be found in traffic singing way too loud with one hand on the steering wheel and a sencha shot in the other.

2. Her personality is truly memorable and even contagious!

3. She likes sushi, mochi, kimchee, and musubi’s. How cool is that!

4. She is a wonderful mother and wife. When you see her kids its natural to say “what great kids, and beautiful”
Must make take after their mother because…

5. Jenny is beautiful too!

“Oh Jenster, you crack me up!”


And this would be where I drop the mic and walk off the stage.