148 – A New Day

Well we all woke up a little weary this morning, atleast the majority of the people in my circle.  I have never been one to hide a great night of fun.  I proudly celebrate my hangovers and most of the time cherish the memories I made while working on said hangover.  Last night was great fun shared with such great friends, some new, some old some I’ve met a dozen times and just realized how much we had in common.  Ringing in 2016 felt much different than past years, I am filled with motivation and positivity.  I usually only make resolutions on my birthday so I guess starting this project kind of coincides with those resolutions as well.

My brother in law got a FitBit for Christmas so we have been challenging each other all week to get the steps in.  Its a great motivator to have someone keeping you in check. I didn’t get close to my step goal today and I forgot to weigh myself this morning mostly because I could hardly get my head through the bathroom door.  Even though my food choices were not the greatest I was moderate with my helpings of mashed potaotes, even though I could have eaten the whole bowl, and I loaded up on the pork and sauerkraut.  I had a chocolate square for dessert instead of a piece of cake I probably would not have liked anyway.

While I am writing this I am watching Dives, Diners & Drive Ins with my sister and brother in law.  These Food Network shows are a problem, all I want to do is cook and eat!  My somach is growling just thinking how good the pork belly mac’n’cheese would be. Be strong Jill, be strong! Besides I think Oprah might be watching.

  • Friday January 1, 2016
    • Weight unknown/BMI probably 58% still


149- The Last Day

Today is th every last day of 2015.  This year has been a wild ride. I wanted to list all the highs and lows to remember how grateful I am for all I have.

  • I travelled a lot this year and got to experience things I may never experience.
  • I lost a great mentor, although we still stay in contact, he was no longer part of my day to day.
  • I had to adjust to a new manager who may never understand the skills I have.
  • Getting closer to those I underestimated and pushing others further away that I should have overestimated long ago.
  • I struggled with my inner deamons and trauma a lot this year.
  • I was a bit wreakless but maintained my grounded goals.  I
  • was offered money for my writing which has been a dream for so very long.
  • I heard my sister tell me how proud she was of me for the first time in a long time.
  • I leased a new car.
  • I realized that I am getting older and I need to focus on my health now more than ever before.
  •  I saw Smmay Hagar in concert, got stung by a hornet, bought anitbiotics from the phamarica and for the first time in Cabo I let go.
  •  I started living a chemical free life by replacing many items in my home with natural products.
  • I decided 2016 was going to be my year!

I can’t wait for my next chapter and can’t wait to share the journey, hoping it will inspire those who may feel its too late to change.

  • Thursday December 31, 2015
    • Weight 219/BMI 58%

150 -Shopping

Retail therapy always helps me tunr a bad day into a great day especially if I find that perfect baby pink top, or that right necklace to wear with that shirt I bought weeks ago.  There are days thet the retail therapy goes terribly wrong.  Today was not the case I did find that perfect pink top and although it wasn’t a necklace i did find a very cute headband. When I was shopping today I parked far out as possible to get a few more steps and tried to be unefficient in my selections of stores.  As I walked from one end of the mall to the next going in and out of stores I saw cute items I imagined I could wear in a few months. This was definitly motivating to keep strong in my project.

It is the last Wednesday of the year and  am anxious for what 2016 will bring. I am praying for strength to get through the holiday without letting my ego get the best of me. She constantly convinces me I am beautiful just the way I am, damn her anyway!

  • Wednesday December 30, 2016
    • Weight 219 lbs/BMI 58%




151 – Skinny Jeans

Today I  decided to try on the jeans I bought 2 years ago, that were a little too snug when I got them.  I remembered saying, out loud, to my sister that I would be losing weight so they will fit perfectly in about a month.  Here we are 2 years later and they still fit like the day I bought them.   Most women would love a pair of jeans so resilient to time and space but not this one.  I wore them today while we went researching home decor ideas just so I would remember how uncomfortable they were, getting in and out of the car, walking around, bending over to try on shoes.  I couldn’t wait to get home and take them off.  It reminded me that this is really the time to change. I think most women feel this way.  We struggle to get them on and refuse to get a bigger size and then once we get them zipped we immediately regret eating that last bite or skipping the gym that day, as if one day one bit matters.  This is a habit that I need to break. Even as I am writing this I regret getting 3 tacos tonight instead of just 2. No regets though, I have had too many in the past few months.

I am looking forward to tomorrow, another day closer to my goal.  I feel good about my calorie goals today and reached my step goal of 10k steps.

  • Tuesday December 29, 2015
    • Weight 219/ BMI 58%


152 – The Oprah factor

Today I woke up to the sound of rain pounding on my window and my 6 month old kitten trying to snuggle up to me.  I did not want to get out of bed, and I didn’t for another 20 minutes.  It’s Monday and although I have this project running through my brain constantly I felt unmotivated to exercise today.  One thing that I have failed at in the past is feeling guilty for not meeting my goals when I hadn’t attempted to make them attainable.  I told myself not to impose guilt this early and to maintain positive thinking. I will be honest and admit I did not feel positive until about 5pm, of course that was when I heard the Oprah Weight Watchers commercial for about the 4th time and something clicked – thanks Oprah! #thestruggleisreal

I was able to cross some items off my list including taking down and putting away my christmas decor, reorganizing my Young Living Essential oils and supplies, dishes, and laundry.  As I finished off my sacred sour cream and the yummy Christmas dinner left overs I still maintained my calorie goals with plenty to spare at 9pm,  I also threw out some cookies I had been eating just not to waste them, I didn’t even like them so I knew it was time to part with them.  Although I only met my step goals halfway, I did get a good arm and ab work out in. I struggled a little with water intake today but 8 out of 10 cups will have to be okay for the first day of many first days.

I did start a dry brushing routine tonight for my evening shower, apparently it is supposed to help flush fat and toxins from your body by stimulating the blood cells.  After some research I decided to try it and if anything it will help soften my skin for the winter months ahead.

As the great Buddah has taught me, “Each day we are born new” so Tuesday should be great!  I will hope to meet and exceed my step goal tomorrow but I will need to be sure I maintain good eating habits. Eventhough I didn’t kill myself at the gym today, it was a success, I know that this journey will not be easy and there will be days that require me to refocus.  As Oprah told me today, its not always about eating healthy and exercise, there is always something holding us back in our minds, if not today then when.

  • Monday December 28, 2016
    • Weight 220/BMI 58%
    • Total loss: 2lbs

153 Days – My Reasons

In the beginning of November I found myself unemployed due to job elimination.  My natural state would be to consider this the end of the world but I was more prepared for this transition than any other in the past.  Considering it was during the holidays and not most companies hire during November and December, I wanted to utilize my time off and start my new chapter on the right foot.  I was eating healthy, started walking 3 miles 3 days a week for the first few weeeks but then soon fell back into old habits. Autumn Semester finals, weather, Thanksgiving, family functions, Christmas all had given me great excuses to go back to unhealthy eating and sleeping in instead of being active.

My sister, who had retired from her Human Resource position at the end of October had been a great support since my recent job status change. We talked just about everyday and when I had good news about a job opportunity I shared it with her.  Since she is my big sister she had always been good at holding me accountable, but I felt that even she was not being effective with my health goals. I knew I needed something stronger, something that I could not run from or make excuses to. I needed my inner voice to speak up and prove to myself that it can be done. Pondering over how I could get that little voice to wake up and start taking action I decided to blog about my journey.  So after discussing it with my sister over the weekend and hearing her support I decided to start today.

In 153 days I will be 37 years old, I have started realizing there are so many things I am missing in my life as I get older.  In my twenties marriage and children were far from my mind, mostly because I didn’t feel worthy due past relationships gone bad. I created a bubble around myself which only fueled my body image struggle.  But even as a child I remember thinking I was too fat, when I was still very thin. As long as I can remember my mother and even my grandmother complained about their extra curves and soft bottoms so feeling this way now only makes sense to me as I resemble those same qualities.  The sad part is that I have been continuing the cycle my whole life and I am terrified that because I have held the torch I will miss out on my chance to raise a healthy daughter of my own.  Although I am a confident sexy woman I still have my dark days of binge eating and regret.  I understand what healthy food is, what a good work out is and why you need to drink so much water a day, this is not my first time setting healthy goals, but this will be the first time I stick with it. One hundred and fifty days is a nice round number until my 37th birthday and it is also the start of family vacation in Florida. I know this will be hard to write everyday but I have never gona a day without thinking, I wish my legs were more tone or I wish I had a flat belly or if I was skinnier I wouldn’t have to worry about this shirt showing my softness.

For the next 150 days (or so) I will be sharing the day to day wins and challenges I know I will come across. I will be completely transparent in order to maintain accountability and honesty not only to myself but to anyone who may want to follow my progress.  I want to be sure if you are reading this you understand I will be setting out to lose weight to improve my health and heal my heart.  I am not interested in becoming Kate Moss, or starving myself to get into those size 2 jeans (which probably will never happen).  I want to be healthy and happy in order to start my new chapter.

  • Sunday December 27, 2015
    • Weight 222/Body fat 58% (according to my digital bathroom scale)


Taranto’s Pizzeria – Lewis Center – 10.29.15

I have picked up the Pizza Snob Social Club again after missing a few outings due to school and vacation.  I meet the guys for pizza last Thursday at a place I have passed probably a thousand times in the past few years. Located near the intersection of Polaris Parkway and Old State Road in Oak Creek Shopping Center, Taranto’s offers a cozy dining room.  When I walked in I immediately could smell the pizza cooking, what a wonderful smell. I joined the Club and caught up with the latest news of the day. We decided to order some appetizers upon our server;s suggestion and I went with the fried pickles, of course, and Dwayne ordered garlic bread with cheese.  The appetizers came out quick and tasted delicious. The pickles had a little kick, which was great, and the garlic bread was soft and buttery. Our final member of the night arrived and we got down to business – the Pizza Snob selections!

We ordered our 2 regular pizzas a meaty (Meaty Works) and a cheesy (5-Cheese) and then we threw in a wild card Buffalo Chicken on their original thin crust. We chatted some more while we waited or our slices and before we knew it they were there in front of us.  The appearance was great, puffy crust, golden brown cheese, toppings evenly spread.  we started in on each of our favorites and not much was said.  There was an “Oh this is good” and a “I think this may be better than the best we have had” and “so and so has a Buffalo pizza but this is 10 times better”. Overall, the pizza hit every mark, the service was great and the atmosphere was friendly, although I did detect “Silent night” playing in the background.

Taranto’s has a great menu and the prices are reasonable, especially for the quality of the food. They offer a few beers on draft, a few bottles, and, the server did say they should be getting wine soon, which would have made my experience better. We didn’t score this one, but I feel I speak for the others when I  say 4.5 stars all around!

Returning to Real Life

I returned from Cabo just 2 days ago and while I ate my lunch at my desk, feeling groggy, I started thinking of all I would have had accomplished if I was in Cabo right now.  I loved being there and felt at home there, but I was happy to be back in my real life.  I was anxious to start living my life as happy as I was on vacation.   I mean why shouldn’t we always feel like that?  Why do I have to wait for a few days off in paradise to remember that I can be happy? I control every bit of my life and for periods of time I seem to forget that.  I was brought up that I deserve to be happy and if you are not happy, get happy. I have watched my Father work hard all his lie and it’s hard for me to see that he is happy.  My mother has fooled us into thinking she is happy but is she really? I wanted to be happy and let it show through every inch of my glowing face and in every action and every day I wake up. I dread that is not reality, I dread that this is as good as it gets and how will I be able to live this way. Recently learning about the Big Bang Theory creates a renewed hope that my life will someday have a Big Bang where everything just it’s together. Feeling that way months ago makes the worry more tragic. It’s almost like feeling that first love and then it is taken away. Or when you have some savings for a rainy day and it rains car repairs and medical bills instead of rainbows and puppies. I needed to find my motivation, I checked a few things off my list and then decided to test a theory of my own. If I sit down for 30 minutes each day and spill my fears and hopes and all I want in and out of life I know that it will have to materialize soon.  I’m approaching 40 and I can see that clock ticking away each day I go to bed, almost like it is asking me what did you accomplish today.  I feel renewed after vacation and maybe my Big Bang will just be a little spark, but I will be sure to be paying attention when it happens and in the meantime I will create my own big ball of motivation the best way I know how, writing it down and making it happen.

1. Find something to be happy about each day.

2. Make a goal and reach it each day.

3.  Give thanks for what you have. (see featured picture – how can you not be thankful for a sweet loving creature like Leo?)

Looking For My Purpose

After watching a recent video blog, I was given a question regarding my purpose. What was my purpose? This is a question I have asked countless times throughout my life and still at 36 am not any closer to finding the meaning. From one year to the next I find myself questioning how I choose to live my life.  I often question what my true purpose is in career, love, social and health and I am where I’m supposed to be? Did I miss out on my big break? Am I getting too old to live the life I want? All these questions bubble up from time to time.  My wheels started turning on Monday, but I have to be honest they have been turning since the beginning of the year.  Last year was filled with exciting events including a lot of successes. Some successes were starting school again, finding a future in my job, selling my beater Civic Frankie in turn buying a used CRV from my parents, affording new furniture to match my redecorated living room.  Last year was also filled with a few lessons which included, injuring myself playing kickball, cutting ties with some friends, and surviving a CAT3 Hurricane while on vacation. I have to admit it was an exciting year and 2015 continued with the same feelings. I travelled to 3 places I had never been before, learned some great things at a conference and caught up with a cherished in law.

So now it is August, almost September, and I am wondering where that excitement went? I can feel that it may be right around the corner but knowing what “it” may be is harder than it seems.  How does one find their dream if they like so many things?


I recently watched “The Impossible” a movie based on the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia that hit an area heavily occupied with tourist during the Christmas holiday.  The story brought up my own experiences with natural disasters and although, not nearly as catastrophic, I still had visions of my experience.  I remember when the tsunami hit and the video and pictures that were captured before during and after the event.  The thousands of videos posted online were horrific and hard to imagine nature’s unrelenting force. After watching the movie, I was curious to learn more which was a normal response to any “based on a true story” film I watch. An hour passed as I watched video after video and flipped through before and after photos before I decided I would put it off until another day.  Flash forward to the present today, days after watching the film, I am still thinking about the trauma and the memories we hold onto during events like these. Human nature is tested to the vast limits.  An appreciation is revitalized for life and the gifts we are afforded by our good jobs and civilized communities.

My experience during Hurricane Odile 2014 was in some ways life changing.  My family arrived in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on a beautiful perfect, as always, September Saturday, ready to start our annual vacation. Before we left Ohio we knew there was a possibility of some stormy weather for a day or two, but that a hurricane was out of the question by the time we landed.  We checked into our home away from home, made a plan and dispersed.  My brother-in-law and I went to gather dinner while my parents, my sister and her 3 children tested out the pool. We all turned in early that night ready to be rested for the next day.  We woke up early and coordinated the plan for the busy morning ahead. We received a notice under our door that morning about some storms moving through the area and to take precautions. After a long timeshare meeting, in order to get some extra perks during our trip, it was time to head to the store for our weekly rations of water, Mexican Doritos, and plenty of beer for our room.  As my brother-in-law, dad and I left the resort everyone was confident that Odile, now named, would pass over and not get close enough to ruin the week. I remember feeling anxious and those concerns were confirmed as we walked into the big box retail store.  My brother-in-law kept saying “When the locals worry, we will worry” and “When in Cabo…”, this was the turning point of the vacation.  As we searched for special tequila and mixers we noticed we were among mostly locals who had lots of water, canned food, and non-perishables stacked to the tops of their shopping carts, like they were stocking up for a big storm. The three of us looked at each other and decided we probably better stock up on more items we can consume without power rather than beer and chips if in the unlikely case Odile is a bigger deal than they were saying.  After some revisions to our shopping lists, we got to the check out where we waited in a very long line. As we waited among the locals the sky above us was churning and had darkened the skylights by the time we were through the line.  It was a feeling that made your adrenaline pulse and your stomach ache with fear and excitement.  We loaded our Hurricane rations into the taxi with the help of our driver and cracked a few pre-storm beers for the ride home, and mostly to settle some anxiety we developed after seeing the clouds over the ocean. I asked the driver while pointing to the clouds, “How do you say Holy Sh*t in Spanish?” he chuckled and said “Holy Sh*t”.  I can not describe the way the sky looked, but the feeling we would not make it back to the resort before it hit was definitely going through my mind, but we made it back with some time to spare.  We said Adios to the driver, over tipped him and wished him safe travels home before the storm.  The bell hops offered to take our groceries to our rooms while we got there ourselves since it had started to sprinkle as the dark clouds from the corridor had followed us to Medano Beach.

We reunited with my sister, the kids and my mother and waited for my dad who had stopped at the front desk for information. My sister informed us they had evacuated the pool and held a mandatory meeting right after we left, Odile had turned and was expected to be a direct hit to Cabo San Lucas.  That worried feeling I had started making sense.  The resort had enforced a strict curfew from 7 pm to 7 am, no one was allowed off the resort or out of their rooms for any reason.  Odile was expected to hit around 9 or 10 pm.  We had a few hours to situate the groceries and make a plan as to where we would ride out the storm with 3 kids and 3 adults. We decided to stay in my room since there was a little more space and it wasn’t directly facing the ocean.  It was about 5 pm local time and a storm started brewing around with high winds with stinging rain, we realized this would be an interesting night.

The outer bands of the Hurricane had passed so during the lull we decided to get out of the room for a bit before our 12-hour curfew.  Our whole family stood near the pool overlooking Lands End and watched nature’s incredible force build.  We snapped pictures of large waves, watched some workers from the beach club try to prepare a structure for the night and talked about what else but the weather with the other onlookers.  There was an eerie feeling among the other guests, but a beer and a smile was really all any of us could do. Nearing 6 pm we decided to head back to the room and settle in, we said good-nights to my parents since they were in their own room across the pool from ours. We wrangled the kids up the 4 flights of stairs, the elevators had stopped working hours ago and decided to sit out on the balcony facing the ocean as long as we could, safely, be there.  We witnessed some amazing force as the waves crept over the Mt. Solmar and Lands End, we were sure it had covered Lover’s Beach by now. Many video clips from that hour included “Oh My Goodness!” and “Look at that wave!” and “Holy Cow, did you see that?”.  The kids who were ages 10,8 & 4 had an amazing reaction to the weather and asked great questions, they didn’t seem afraid or maybe they didn’t understand what was coming in a few hours. They were innocent and untouched by nature’s fury unlike my sister and I who had survived an F4 tornado in the mid 80’s, she was 9 and I was 5 and I remember it every time we have bad weather.  

7 pm approached and we headed back to my room, we sat and tried to watch tv, although not much was coming in and the power was surging, we read and talked and I occasionally peered out the window, against the resorts advice and apparently a spirit’s advice that was there protecting us as well.  The winds started picking up around 8 or 9 pm and we started to figure out sleeping arrangements utilizing worst case scenario, that included wind, rain, glass shattering and who would grab which child to protect.  We all laid there for what felt like a minute, just enough time to take a breath and the phone rings.  My brother-in-law answered and said “Hello? Okay, I understand, thank you, good-bye” and hung up the phone. He turned to us calmly and explained that we needed to move to the bathroom right then because the resort was taking on too much wind. I bolted up and started taking cushions into the bathroom for us to sit on and probably sleep on through the night.  We loaded the small bathroom with the kids stuff first placing them in the enclosed shower for extra protection. I grabbed as many items as I could thinking we would need them, my sister grabbed the alarm clock to have some sense of time and hopefully to access a local station for updates.  One of us grabbed the water and put ice in the sink to keep it cool, my niece grabbed her activity bag so she could have something to do.  My brother-in-law and I were the last ones in and we both stood there and looked at each other to be sure we hadn’t forgotten anything.  I said “Should we grab the beer?” and he paused and thought about it for a second and said “Nah, I think we will be good”.  We closed the door and sat down and in less than 5 minutes we heard shattering glass, we assumed it was the sliding glass door in my room. It had just gotten real. At that point, my niece was in the shower with the boys and I think she picked up on our nervousness, right away she felt sick to her stomach.  I knew at that point I could not show my fear or anxiety that I was so used to doing in the comforts of my apartment.  I had to be fearless for her.

We passed the time, 6 hours, with all sorts of activities including mad libs, guessing what was making the screeching metal sound, wondering if the eye had passed due to the pressure, falling asleep for a few minutes at a time, using the toilet in front of your family and an occasional dry heave. At the 6th hour, we decided to venture out after it had gotten quiet and my brother-in-law was at his limit for diminished airflow. It was hot in a small bathroom with 3 adults, no air flow and water starting to seep in from under the door. We moved the cushions from in front of the door and we could see tiny slivers of glass in the water.  Shoes were close by and I volunteered to go out first, not sure why, maybe I was just the closest to the door. I expected there to be furniture stacked up against the door down the hallway, remnants of what was our resort room thrashed around, but it didn’t seem like anything had moved, at all. The glass on the sliding door had broken, and a lamp had fallen over, but it was still on and working.  There was a receipt on the table near the broken door that didn’t move an inch and was dry as a bone.  Other than that there was water on the floor from the balcony drain being clogged.  My brother-in-law decided to check out their room to see if it was in good, bad or ugly shape while my sister and I gathered some items that hadn’t made it off the floor.  He returned with the news that their room was untouched, a bit flooded but untouched. We made the move with 2 sleeping angels and 1 impressionable 10-year-old girl. Me, my sister, and her husband shared the king sized bed and the kids share the pull-out sofa, we were able to get a little rest while we still could.

The next morning and the days that followed really changed the way I think about my life today.  I was thankful for my family and that the Hurricane although a category 4 left us unharmed.  We spent much of the days following trying to figure out how to get home and how to ration our food we purchased earlier in the trip.  The resort was incredible during the experience and supplied us with 3 large meals a day. The resort guests stuck together and respected the man in charge.  Some of us suggested cutting back to 2 meals a day to conserve supplies, while others volunteered their rental cars and stood in line for hours to get fuel for the generators that supplied 10 minutes of electricity and water in the morning.

Two days after Odile hit we had a general idea of how we were getting home, military evacuation.  We had heard that some other resorts had turned out their guests as refugees and some of those misplaced travelers were breaking into other resorts for a place to stay.  That invoked another curfew of 7 pm, we were essentially locked in the resort.  It was the hottest night by far and both my sister and I were having a hard time sleeping, with the security guards flashlights shining and raised voices on the resort it made for a very restless night. The morning came fast and we started our routine and headed to the mandatory meeting, we were told to go back to our rooms and get packed like you needed to leave in 1 hour.  The resort had provided buses to get their guests to the airport and room there we would be flown to various airports to then be flown to our home states. We hurried back to the room and packed up, donating items that we knew could be of use to locals that had lost their homes.  I left CMH with 47 lbs of luggage and came home with 20 lbs, which included my niece’s empty suitcase in mine.  We were ready to go and only had a few items to grab in the event we were called to leave that morning, we assumed we would be on the list considering we were travelling with small children, but nothing had been what we expected since we arrived.  As we were finishing up my dad came in and let us know they would be leaving and not to tell anyone, they didn’t want to start a commotion.  He said that he thought we may be next and we said our goodbyes. I went down to drop off my donations and spotted my mother who was shocked that we hadn’t been called to leave. I asked her to be sure they knew we had the kids because I had a feeling there was miscommunication when taking the roll call the day before.  We hugged and exchanged sentiments. After arriving back to the room and settling in with a margarita, assuming we had been put on the next day’s list, there was a knock and a friendly “Hola?” I jumped up and greeted her with excitement. She asked if we were ready, we were but had about 10 minutes worth of changing and grabbing last-minute items to do. While my sister and brother-in-law checked the room for important items I started down the hall with the kids to be sure the bus waited.  I swept my youngest nephew up into my arms and told him to hold on, he held me tight and something changed inside of me.  We caught up with my parents who had made a case for us to be with them and it turns out the owners wife was to thank for making sure the kids were safe and on their way.  We road in the resort owners extended cab truck through downtown Cabo and saw so much destruction it reminded us how lucky we were.

A long bus ride to the airport gave us more visuals of destruction that Odile left.  We arrived at San Jose Del Cabo Airport to find at least a 2 mile long line of people waiting, the airport was destroyed, it looked like a war zone.  As we dredged through the sand and dirt someone informed us they were letting mothers and children stay under a shaded vestibule. I went with my sister and the 3 kids to wait and hopefully find out as much information as I could to relay back to my parents and brother-in-law. We waited a long time, maybe an hour before we spotted the resort General Manager, who recognized us right away. He asked where everyone was and I pointed them out the best I could. He went in the direction I pointed a little while later he returned and spoke to a representative of the military, he yelled over to me that babies go first, I looked at my sister and said let’s go, I asked him if I could go get the rest of my family and he motioned yes and to hurry.  I sprinted the fastest I could to retrieve my family.  I told them “we came here together we leave together.” We hustled up the driveway at least a mile and heard airport representative motioning for Mexico City, Guadalajara, Tijuana, LA.  I heard LA and made the decision to head there, it could not have been better timing. We were in the line to fly out to LAX within the hour. No security, no customs just generous Southwest staff greeting us and helping us get boarded, offering us water while we waited for them to manually “check” everyone in.  As we started to taxi we were given a sack lunch, that had to have been the best lunch I had ever eaten.  As we took off and felt the plane turn I looked out the window and saw the wrath of Odile, I started to cry, I couldn’t contain it any longer.  I was relieved that we made it unharmed and safe but I was sad for those living there that couldn’t leave.  They would have to clean up, rebuild, start over. I felt guilty for leaving but happy my family was together.

We landed at LAX later that evening, I can’t tell you what time it was, it was exhausting and we still had to get home to Ohio.  We settled up to the American Airlines counter and got put on the first flight out in the morning, non-stop to good ol’ CMH. I searched for a hotel close by and decided against the $50/night hotel for a more trusted option in Marina Del Rey.  One 10 minute $80 taxi ride, 2 $150/night hotel rooms, 2 $20 pizzas and 1 Coors Originals, shared with my best buddy brother-in-law, later – we were safe and sound. The next morning we flew home and not until the taxi ride back to our cars did I realize she got it, my 10-year-old niece got that we were lucky.  A man asked if we were in Cabo during Odile and my niece answered back, “Yes, and we were lucky, some people lost everything” She was right some people did lose everything and we still had everything.

Knowing that my 4-year-old nephew trusted me to get him home and having my family give me the lead at times gave me a new sense for what life should be. I never thought I was meant for a family until he grasped my arm because he trusted me, or that my niece donated practically her whole suitcase because she knew what it would mean to someone else, or how unphased by the rain and wind my 8-year-old nephew slept through Odile.  I think about those days spent in my favorite place at least once a day and think back to how it could have been worse.  We were lucky, we were protected and because we were I am thankful everyday or this life.