Saturday, March 11, 2017


It was October 2015 when I convinced my co-worker to nominate her son for Make-A-Wish. His life threatening disease and constant hospital stays made him a deserving candidate. I emailed her the application and joyfully faxed it for her. I anxiously awaited with her for the wish to be picked up.

Flash forward to March 2016 when Noah's granted wish took him to North Carolina to meet Cam Newton and he filmed a promotional video for Lokia's new MAW bracelet. I smiled and teared for four days at every picture and video I received. My heart swelled. It made long work days tolerable. 

I saw a feature story on CBS Sunday Morning about a school that partnered with MAW. It didn't take much to convince my co-worker that we should present to our school principal to be a Kids For Wish Kids school and that we should be wish granters ourselves. It didn't take much effort to convince the principal and staff to adopt this venture as a school wide service learning experience. The idea of kids actually seeing with their own eyes what their service efforts could accomplish...we knew would a fantastic lesson in empathy and goal setting. So often service learning doesn't present itself with face value. This lesson would do just that! And so the venture began. 

Starting in September the school began to raise money. The kids and their teachers sold MAW stars, custom bracelets, hot cocoa...they had penny wars and a dinner night at Culver's, where the students assisted in serving meal orders. Every fundraiser brought thrill to the kids as they strived for a goal. Then at the end of the rainbow they struck gold--$5000 was raised! The cost of the wish. 

This past Friday the school revealed the wish. It was spectacular! My co-worker and I worked hard decorating the night before and early in the morning on Friday. We hung hundreds of stars from the hallway ceiling. We rolled out a red carpet with a welcome tunnel of cheerleaders. We set a throne, adorned with balloons, between the school band and the school choir. The band played a Disney medley, as a timid 7 year old was escorted by student ambassadors into the gym to his throne; by the cheering of 800 people. He was presented a gift basket of Disney treasures and serenaded by the choir singing Cinderella's: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes. 
I kept my wish granter's tears in check. Then his mother asked to speak. She spoke of her gratefulness and how unreal the fanfare the school was showing to her son. Then she said the thing that drew a lump to my throat as I fought to hold back tears. She spoke of the years of her son's struggles and the fight against cancer he had to endure. She told the students and staff how this week he looked at her and her husband and said that getting to go to Disney was so great it made "having cancer medium." Spoken in such simple terms by a 7 year old, yet so profound. There it was. The lesson learned from the service. The weight of the wish and the magic of healing the heart. 

As this timid 7 year old was leaving the gym he stopped in front of the band to gaze. The director took his little hand and guided it in the necessary direction of each beat. There he was conducting the band as they played the Mickey Mouse song. Every turn this little guy took he was a star. Students asking for pictures with him and patting his back. He was experiencing his 60 minutes of fame. 

There's something that sticks in the heart when you witness a wish granted. That something has fueled the school to work at granting another wish. 

If you keep on believing the dream that you wish will come true. 

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Color Me Manila File Folders

Last Friday I popped into Starbucks to fetch a skinny vanilla almond milk latte. I'd been craving a coffee something bad! After standing in line for seven minutes without moving I had to hop out of line and head to work. It ruined the day when the one thing I wanted I couldn't have because of time clock constraints! 

This morning I was determined to have a Friday coffee. I arrived to a nearly empty parking lot. I felt confident. When I approached the door to Starbucks I cringed. Five people ahead of me. Why coffee lines gotta move slow is beyond me. While I was waiting to place my coffee order I texted Princess A 
(Looked at my weather app, outside temp 26*) 

Truth is I dress for inside not outside. I dress to survive the seven to three-thirty grind...and that means sandals. I stood waiting staring at my watch, tick-tock-tick-tock. Fear not, I scored coffee! I felt like Wonder Woman ready to tackle whatever might be coming my way. And did it come! 

The day came at me like a swarm of bees. File folders fanned across my desk like a deck of cards. My waiting area succumb to standing room only. My computer's mouse guiding the arrow to "print" over and over again. I cranked out notification emails like they were multi-million dollar lottery tickets. My spread sheet of names growing by the minute. Taking a bathroom break was a guilty pleasure. At times I let my mind remember the delicious coffee I started my day with and how it fueled me. 

And my feet...happy and cool! 

Dear Monday, please go easy on me! I still have Friday's file folders to hide behind. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Salt Pod Got Me Like

My co-worker came to work post her salt pod float raving about it. I decided it was what I wanted for Valentine's Day. I booked myself a 90 minute float. Not that V-Day requires was basically an excuse to spend $50 and eased any guilt I might have felt for splurging on myself.

I talked M into joining in on the experience. I floated in room one and she in room two. For an hour and a half I relaxed. It was the deepest meditative state my body has ever experienced. I wish I'd fallen asleep the entire time. I started out in the dark with the soft space age music softly playing before going with total silence. My body stretched out like a star fish, my head resting on a pool noodle, comfortably enclosed in the salt water pod...feeling like I was floating in space. I really really felt like I was floating in space. Until some salt got in my eye. I had to jump up to grab a towel to dab my eye as the burning sensation grabbed hold. Then I returned to my pod. M said the same thing happened to her, except she crawled out of her pod like the swamp thing blindly feeling for the shower for a an eye wash. After 90 minute of infusing my body with magnesium and relaxation the pod spoke to me...something like my time was now up, exit the pod to shower, and that it would begin to empty shortly--the water. 

Will I float again? Yes! My skin felt like silk and I was rejuvenated. 

Will M? She said probably not. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Go Ahead Mother Nature, Keep On Teasing

Do you ever have one of those days? Or two? Of course you have. We all have! The last two days had me crawling on my hands and knees to Friday at 3:30pm. 

Last Sunday the weather was glorious! Mother Nature kind of laughed in the groundhog's face and his call of six more weeks of winter gracing us with a 71* day. King Ralph, D and I headed out to walk a new (to us) trail. We even took our pouch along. It was exactly what we all needed! February, for me, is notorious for a heavy load of defiant students. King Ralph is dealing with work nonsense. While D is college senior stressed. There is something about fresh air that is so healing to the mind and soul.

By Wednesday Mother Nature laughed again and dropped an hour of snow flurries from the sky. Thursday it was bone ass cold. I ran a heater under my desk at work all day to fight off hypothermia. 

This weekend we are back to the spring weather. Friday I came home shed my closed toe shoes for Birkenstocks. Made myself a couple of grapefruit martinis and sat on the deck. I felt the nonsense of the last two days melt away. And Saturday. Woooo! I got something exciting planned. Can't wait to share the experience! 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

When The Save Button Fails

Last week I started to draft a post about my political feelings. It has always been my rule to not make posts of my personal political views--regardless of how many people might share my thinking. So when twice my edits didn't save I took it as a sign to move on. 

Last Friday after work King Ralph, M and I drove to see D in her final college opera performance. After the opera we took a few her friends to get beers at a new beer house. A place that didn't scream college drunk fest. It was inviting in its industrial astetic, simple decor and butcher block picnic style tables. The plethora of beer and cider options on tap made our eyes sparkle. The pretzel chaser we ordered was large, hot and delicious! I shall return for a few brews, and a pretzel, with D before she parts way in May. (Funny side story: when I went to close out our tab my card was declined. Haha, I accidently gave my flex spending card to the bartender. Honestly, I can't see why beer isn't considered medicinal?!)

It was when my political post seemed sabotaged by the save button that I knew to reflect on what the last four years gave me, gave us, that was where my heart was meant to be! 
And we never failed to remember the flowers. Always flowers!  

In the end I was saved by the save button. Amen to that! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Weekend Warrior

I feel like I'm on a streak of bad luck. 

Weekend bad luck. 

Last Friday morning I woke up at 4AM with my stomach churning. I made a valiant attempt to get ready for work, but by 5:30AM my head was in the toilet bowl. I spent a good part of the weekend getting IVs,  anti-nausea medications, shots in my arse and just curled up in a ball, moaning. 

The plans that were to happen last weekend was to start checking off my Oscar buzz list of movies. Those that know me know I have an obsession with seeing all Oscar nominated films. Friday was to be a date night with King Ralph to see Manchester by The Sea and Saturday was to be a daughter date to see Jackie with Princess A (King Ralph said not a chance in hell could I drag him to that one.) 

Here we are this weekend...didn't want to jinx myself with the movies I picked last weekend. I decided we would head over to Frontenac for dinner at the Canyon CafĂ© and then pop over to the Landmark Theater to see Lion. What the hell! Mother Nature come on, another ice storm?! So here I sit taking an unpaid day off work because it's too dangerous to drive. I'm scrolling through my Netflix options. Series of Unfortunate Events it pun intended. 

Well I'm all bummed I'm not going to be going to the movies again this weekend, but my poor M's best college friend/former roommate is getting married on Saturday. There's been tears from the bride when the florist refused to deliver the flowers on Saturday, the hair and make up lady canceled....  And all the while all King Ralph and I really care about is that everyone gets to where they need to go safely! I could imagine wedding photos surrounded by ice dripped trees would be magical, but in reality it's really just a bride's hell! 

So. Here I'm putzing around the house cleaning this and cleaning that...sipping tea and watching Netflix...putting a puzzle together to the sounds of tiny ice pellets hitting the windows. 

Winter. I love you. To a point! 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Good Bye 2016

This year I have been suffering mental exhaustion from work. This year I find myself reminding me that the students I encounter are but a mere percentage of the student population. I remind myself it's no big deal to have a new boss. This year I come home and am drained...creative juices all but spent on politically correct letter writing and fake niceness. 

While I took the weekends of October to shower myself in fun, friends and relaxation...did I mention my trip to hang with Amy Roloff?
Ya, I forgot to mention that bit of fun. November and December have the usual holiday stresses of their own. I am proud of myself though, because I kept "holiday Jodi" (as my girls have labeled my wig outs) in complete check. 

I took control of my stresses last year by losing 25 pounds (15 more to go). I got my medical obstacles taken care of--some with pills, one under the knife. Also, I decided I didn't need to let my coworkers's nonsense disturb me any longer. It has been easier to put all my other stresses in perspective by just tackling one. The domino effect is working! 

Keeping myself paced through the holidays has been a tremendous calming to me. We decorated the tree as a family (this consisted of girls decorating while the men watched till the angel needed placing). I shopped and wrapped while those around me seemed flustered at getting the jobs tackled. The girls and I had a baking Sunday. It was relaxed, fun, not a chore. I kept my house very tidy so excessive mad cleaning wasn't a necessary. 

Then Christmas came. 

We feasted, worshipped, and sipped French martinis while opening gifts on Christmas Eve--as a family.  
Christmas Day we feasted, sipped cocktails and played games--as an extended family. We celebrated family members announcing a pregnancy and an engagement. We did loads of dishes and gorged on cookies. It was all a jolly good time!! 

I decided to fill my spare time this year with something more meaningful that gives and gives back. I am now a Make-A-Wish wish granter.
There is something fulfilling in adding joy to someone else's life, kneeling in front of someone else's Christmas tree to snap a picture, remembering the true spirit of Christmas. When you know the goal to granting a wish is total reality...pure and utter excitement overtakes the heart! 

With my heart full and my mind/body relaxed; I've taken to doing what I want on my winter break from work. I spent an evening at the movies with King Ralph, M and D to see Passengers. On two separate mornings I went solo to the movies to see Collateral Beauty and La La Land. I spent another day flopped on my bed binge watching "This Is Us." I lunched on The Hill with King Ralph and Princess A.    

So ya, I'm getting it. Life. In a better healthier way. 

No 2017 resolution required!