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My Birthday Poem

Well I finally made it to seventy two!
And I’ve learned a few things that might help you
I was scared at first about getting older, you know
Would my hair turn grey, would my nose really grow?

There are some things you simply can’t avoid
Like wrinkles, but they’re proof that your life was enjoyed
So you want to take a nap? Do it – it’s reviving
Nothing wrong with that, just not while you’re driving.

Don’t lie about your age, there’s no reason to miscount
Enjoy the benefits – get that senior discount.
So you need to wear glasses, that bothers you a bit
Truth is without reading glasses, I can’t see… a thing.

The serenity prayer is kind of my plan
Accept what you must, and change what you can
The list for accepting is not very long
Your eyes or your muscles may not be as strong.

But the list you can change… where should I begin?
Fix your bones and your heart and your hair and your skin
Diabetes & cancer & stroke can be prevented
It’s up to your lifestyle – you just reinvent it.

No sodas or fast food, no junk or diet drinks
What’s that you say? This really stinks!
And easy on the pizza & sweets & ice cream
Jenny, you’re killing me. This is a bad dream!

Instead of coffee, drink water or tea instead
And no booze except one glass of wine that’s red
Eat veggies, wear sunscreen, exercise must be done
I know what you’re thinking. Can’t I have any fun?

I’m not here to say that I never cheat
An occasional pizza and gelato I eat
But the next day I’m back on this plan of my making
I cook every day, and do all my own baking.

I know it’s a lot and I’m not saying it’s easy
But you can live without things in bags that are cheezy
Feed your body with the best fuel at every meal
Then see how fabulous you can look and feel.

                                   ~~ ❤️ ~~

Helping To Make a Difference

This is what I love to do the most. Sharing my good fortune with others is so rewarding and this month I was able to support some good people who are helping those often forgotten. The Anti-Recidivism Coalition in Southern California helps people coming out of prison to get their life back on track. They needcd two vans to transport residents to and from their housing programs where they provide support with education and career opportunities. I bought the vans and they are already in use:

Bromont Magnolia Vans

One of the life skills they teach at the housing programs is cooking and they needed new kitchen equipment. You know I was happy to provide that as well. Lots of it.

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Learning to cook will not only keep them healthy, it can also lead to a great career. I like to think that someone who was driven in these trucks and who learned to cook using these tools, will become a productive citizen with a good job, maybe as a cook, maybe even using my recipes!

Out of Heartbreak, Some Hope

 

Celebrity and philanthropist Jenny Jones loved her sister. And her sister, Liz Rankin, loved My Sisters’ Place.

So it was appropriate that when her sister died, Jones decided to donate $50,000 to the London women’s shelter. And it was appropriate the donation be announced among dozens of women there Wednesday.

This plaque will hang at My Sister’s Place in appreciation of a $50,000 donation from Jenny Jones in memory of her sister, Liz Rankin. (DEREK RUTTAN, The London Free Press)

“It was very close to her, what they do here,” said Andrea VanderWeide, who’s Rankin’s daughter and Jones’s niece. “My mom had mentioned to my aunt many times that this was a charity that meant something to her. My aunt is pretty shook up. She wanted to honour my mom’s memory.”

The Jones family grew up in London, with the matriarch the original Sophie of Sophie’s Gown Shoppe, where growing up, Jenny and her sister, Liz, would pose in the windows as models and help with the sewing. Jenny Jones became a household name, hosting her own talk show from 1990 to 2003, and a generous, behind-the- scenes contributor to many causes.

Liz Rankin became a loyal employee at Drewlo Holdings in London, retiring only a few years ago. She died suddenly May 7, 2017, at 73. “My mom was a strong, independent woman,” VanderWeide said. “If there is anything that stands out about my mom, in the memory of anyone who ever met her, it would be her desire to help. She knows somewhere that she is still helping.”

Not long after Rankin’s death, My Sisters’ Place received a phone call from someone who said she was Jenny Jones, director Susan Macphail recalled. “I said, is that the Jenny Jones? She called because she had just suffered a heartbreak. Her beloved sister had passed away.” Jones spoke about her love of her sister and her support of women helping women, Macphail said. Jones wasn’t able to attend Wednesday’s announcement.

The shelter decided to put the money toward several women’s empowerment programs, including a theatre group, financial literacy sessions, peer support and self-compassion groups, which don’t have regular funding.

“It’s always bittersweet when we receive a gift that is in memory of someone,” said Beth Mitchell, chief executive of Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex, which operates My Sisters’ Place. “We know it represents a loss for the family and the community. On the other hand, we hope that this legacy brings some comfort. Certainly, for us it brings us much joy and we know it will be used well.”

Two women who use My Sisters’ Place spoke Wednesday about the impact of the organization on their lives. “Before I found My Sisters’ Place, I was homeless, addicted and suffering from severe mental health issues,” Beth said. “With the help of My Sisters’ Place, I am housed, happily married, no longer addicted and my mental health is in check.”

Just coming each day and seeing women who want to help changes lives, Patricia said. “It gives us a sense of hope, coming in and seeing friends and people just gathered around.”

Remembering My Sister

My sister, Liz, passed away unexpectedly yesterday. We were just two years apart and she was living a full and happy life, still in the town where we both grew up, London, Ontario. She had two daughters, who both lived close by and she shared her home with her dog, Zoey. Two grandchildren were also a part of her life, Taelor, who also lived in London and Bradon in Alberta. Liz and I shared a love of cooking and often exchanged recipe notes over the phone.

She came to visit often with her daughters and she loved going to the Grove. I will think of her every time I go there, especially to the candy store where she could always find her favorite Necco Wafers. Her last visit to L.A. was last October, when she and the girls went to experience the Universal Citywalk Halloween Horror Nights. They said it was the best time they ever had. A few months before that I saw her in London at the opening of the new playground I donated to Springbank Park in London. It was the same place where she and I used to play as children. I’m so glad she got to share that experience with me. Here she was at Springbank Park last June. I wish I could see her again. She left so quickly and sooner than any of us imagined.

Rest In Peace, my beloved sister.

1944-2017

Taking a Break

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I’m taking a break from my blog so I can bake more cookies. Seriously, there is not enough time to focus on my Jenny Can Cook website and recipes, handle the daily responsibilities of being alive, and still have time to go to the mall. So I won’t blog for a while but I will start back up when my next philanthropy project gets going. (I need time for that too!)

Some subscribers were lost when I changed servers so if you got notified about this post, you are still subscribed. If not, feel free to subscribe for when I come back to this blog. I’ll be back soon… maybe sooner if George Clooney ever returns my calls! 🙂

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I Can’t Throw Them Away

Honey Bottles

What is my problem? I can’t throw things away! Those cute plastic bottles that honey comes in? I have twenty-seven! After my next batch of granola bars, it’ll be 28! And a good jar with a lid that screws on tight? I can’t throw them away! I need a bigger kitchen.

It’s not just my kitchen items. This is much bigger than that. I have wrapping paper from 1985; Rubber bands spilling out of a shoe box; Pieces of fabric from dresses I sewed in the 70s; Did you know old socks make good cleaning rags? I digress. I also have: Cookbooks that use ingredients they don’t even make any more; Keys that don’t open anything… but you never know; Plastic forks from my 40th birthday party; Enough pieces of string for any possible things that need to be tied up… until I die.

Am I the only one?

Opening Day for Shelah’s Place!

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The new playground is finally open! There were hundreds of excited children, just waiting for us to cut the ribbon and then wow! They ALL ran past us to play! That was the moment I had dreamed about but seeing it in person was even better than I imagined.

IMG_9693 copyThey played on every single new piece of equipment, climbing, spinning, hanging upside down, and all I could hear was the sound of pure joy. This new play area is now the largest fully accessible playground in the city.

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The triple slide seemed to be a big hit with the little ones, especially when they land on the new soft rubber safety surface.

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It was hard to count but it looked like at least 300 kids ran on to play and we had about 1,000 people who came for the opening. It was so much fun, with free snow cones, cupcakes, and face-painting. Here’s a little girl who stopped to thank me for the new playground.

Face Paint copyI simply can’t put into words how rewarding this was for me and the joy that I felt seeing this playground in person. It took a team of people from the city who worked for almost a year to make it happen and my gratitude goes out to every one on the team. I appreciate how many people turned out for the opening on a beautiful, but hot, sunny day. Most importantly, I got the share this day with the person whose idea and vision made this all possible, my London Hometown Hero, Shelah Brook. Welcome to “Shelah’s Place.”

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Playground is Almost Ready

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Kids in London are counting the days until the new playground is open and it’s almost ready. The colors are just as fun and bright as I imagined. And the number of things to do will be awesome. I love the triple slide!

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Next, they’ll be installing the rubber safety surfacing and I’m especially happy that this new playground will be handicapped accessible. I can’t wait to see it in person!

Playground in Progress

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They finally started working on the new playground in my hometown of London, Ontario. This week they are installing the handicapped accessible equipment. Then next week the entire area gets covered with rubber safety surfacing. After that, some last minute work, and then the grand opening in Springbank Park.

This is the park where I used to play growing up. My sister and I couldn’t wait to get on the swings and teeter totter and we loved the little round wading pool. Springbank Park is a beautiful place that sits alongside the Thames River. Yes, both London, Ontario and London, England have a Thames River.

I have only seen pictures of what’s to come and I can’t wait until it’s actually there. The grand opening is coming soon!