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The Praying Mantis Incident

Praying MantisI found a praying mantis in my backyard last week and took some pictures, fascinated by its size and a head that turns 180 degrees, but it was still kind of pretty except for all those tiny razor blades on its front legs. But as big as it was, it moved slowly so I had no fear… not until the “incident.” After I took my pictures, I stayed in the backyard for an hour or so, then went inside and cooked dinner.

After dinner my husband went out with some friends and I drove to the mall. It was dark. As I was pulling in to a parking spot, I felt something on my left hand, grabbing my finger and biting or sticking me with something. I panicked because it was dark and I couldn’t see what it was. I shook my left hand but I still couldn’t see what it was. A spider? A scorpion? I jumped out of the car while it was still running and the interior light came on and I saw it… a praying mantis on my steering wheel. And it was huge! I didn’t know what to do.

I grabbed a kleenex from my purse but he looked bigger than the kleenex. I knew I had to act. I was trying to work up my nerve to grab him with the tissue when he suddenly dropped to the floor where there was no light. I ran around to get a flashlight out of my glove box, came back and shone the light but he was gone. But where?  Somewhere in my car. Even if I found him I wouldn’t know what to do. Maybe it was time to sell the car.

I called my husband and said I will not get back in the car so he came and let me drive his car home and he drove mine (my hero ❤️). Once in our garage with lots of light, he was unable to find the intruder. I cut some leaves off a shrub and placed them inside my car overnight hoping it would coax him out but the next morning he was still missing. Maybe he got out? Maybe he’s waiting for me to drive again so he can crawl on the back of my neck while I’m on the freeway. Click these pictures I found online to get a good look!

For the next couple of days we kept checking with flashlights and we never saw him. I was too scared to drive anywhere. By the third day we still didn’t see him but we did hear something… a scratching noise coming from inside the air conditioning vent right by the steering wheel. (It’s coming from inside the car!) The good news: We found him. The bad news: He can’t get out. He’s been there for days. Or maybe he CAN get out and is just resting. What if he crawls out while I’m driving? We took the car to three mechanics who said there’s nothing they can do without taking the whole dashboard apart so I should just let him die in there. I looked up how long a praying mantis can live without food – TWO WEEKS!

He must have hitched a ride on me when I was outside. But why didn’t he go after my salad? I spent ten minutes making a salad, and then ten minutes eating it. Where was he then? On my back? He must have been on me for two hours while I cooked and ate dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, and drove to the mall. I would like to go out today but it’s hot and I would need to run the air conditioning. What if he tries to get out while I’m driving and see I those bulging zombie eyes looking at me through the vent? I’d like to sell the car, with a praying mantis discount of course. Otherwise, to drive I need to arm myself… maybe drive with a fly swatter or an oven glove or a box of cats???

Help is Coming Soon

Jenny's Heroes CanadaHere is the place I grew up. The beautiful province of Ontario, Canada is one of ten provinces and three territories that make up the country and of course, Ontario is the best one! 🙂 Of the 2 million beautiful lakes in Canada, 250,000 are in Ontario, along with moose, elk, timber wolves, bears, caribou and more, especially farther north. All of this land and wild life is vulnerable to fires and there are hundreds of teams of volunteer firefighters all over Ontario ready to jump in during an emergency. Whether it be a fire or a highway crash, water or ice rescues, or any medical emergency, volunteer firefighters are on it. I respect their commitment to their communities and the risks they are willing to take.

My offer of providing equipment to these brave firefighters is underway and applications are coming in (a lot more than I expected) and being reviewed by a team of professionals in Canada and myself here in the U.S.. Requests have come in from as far south as Windsor (close to my hometown  of London), east almost to Ottawa, our capital, west to the border of Manitoba, and as far north and remote as Red Lake, Ear Falls, and Moonbeam.

Their needs cover a broad range of equipment from rescue craft to safety boots to new flashlights — it’s clear that help is needed. That’s why I’m here and I plan to continue this grant program as long as the needs are there. More details are coming soon.

Jenny’s Heroes Canada 🇨🇦

I have a profound respect for anyone who chooses a life of service to their community and even more so when the risks are great. That’s why I am offering grants up to $25,000 to support the small volunteer fire departments in Ontario, the province where I grew up. Not knowing where to start, I contacted the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs last month and got a warm reception from Executive Director Richard Boyes while I shared with him my desire to help, and he in turn provided a lot of helpful information about the needs of Ontario’s volunteer firefighters. I knew this was going to be good.

Mr. Boyes put me in touch with Michelle O’Hara (the one who did all the work!). She is the Business Development and Operations Manager for the OAFC and she worked tirelessly on putting this grant program together, addressing every tiny detail, sharing emails with me throughout, and now only one month later, we have a grant program!

We decided to call it “Jenny’s Heroes 🇨🇦 Canada” because anyone who chooses to help their fellow citizens is a hero and I love Canada and want to help where help might be needed. Simply put, these grants are for the purchase of equipment to support and keep safe the volunteer firefighters who serve in Ontario. For more on my new philanthropic venture click here.

By the way, I am very familiar with the beautiful province of Ontario. In the early 1960s when I was still a teenager, I played drums in a band and toured all over Ontario from my hometown of London all the way up to Kirkland Lake, Timmins, and Kapuskasing. In fact, I found a newspaper clipping of my first band, the JAD Trio playing in Kirkland Lake in 1965…

My career in show business began in Ontario in 1960s and took me all the way to the Jenny Jones Show, which was nationally syndicated from 1990 to 2003. I got lucky and now I want to give back.

Now here is some information about Jenny’s Heroes U.S. where everyday people spent my donations to benefit their communities and even THEY wanted to support their firefighters and first responders. Here are just a few of the gifts that were given:

Jaws of Life donated to the Wolf Creek All Volunteer Fire Department, Wolf Creek, Oregon

400 High Visibity Safety Vests + 28 Sets of Battery Operated Turbo Flares donated to  Clark County Emergency Responders, Greenwood, Wisconsin

Fully Equipped Dodge Charger Police Car donated to the Ludwiki Police Department, Hinesville, Geogia

Narcotics Tracking Dog donated to the Charles City Police Department, Charles City, Iowa

Thermal Imaging Camera, Jaws of Life Pump, Rescue Saw, Deck Gun, and AR-FFF-Foam donated to the Turkey Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Turkey Creek, Kentucky

4-Wheel Drive Patrol Vehicle donated to the Gillette College Campus Police in Gillette, Wyoming

Telescoping Pole Trimmer Saws donated to Middlesex Taylor Township Volunteer Fire Department, Johnstown, Pennsylvania

For more on “Jenny’s Heroes 🇨🇦 Canada,” click here.

For more on Ontario Fire Services Equipment Grant, please visit the OAFC website.

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.

Kitchen Supplies2

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

taking-a-break

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?