Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye to 2008

Well, here we are- about to say goodbye to 2008 and welcome in a brand new year- how exciting is that? I always love the start of a new year and all the promise it brings with it. I am feeling a little anxious though- I'm concerned about fundraising in particular. Every time one turns on the news or reads the paper, it is more bad economic news after another. However, that being said, there is still money out there and it is my job to find it. I do want to work on more events, not only to raise additional funds, but to supplement the grant money that we may not be getting. We're in the early stages of a great mothers day event, I will have more progress on that next week.

I was thinking these last couple of days about what I learned this year- I like to take a little time and reflect about what they year brought. I'm not sure how many new things I learned, but there was a lot of reinforcement about things that I already knew. I already knew that events are important fundraisers, but this year I got to experience firsthand just how great events can be. Even though our events are still small compared to what other chairities do, they were record amounts for us. For the rest of my life, I will remember what it felt like to stand and look at the hundreds of happy people enjoying our date auction at Gypsy Bar. I can't describe the feeling very well- it's pride, but its also a feeling of awe- of actually believing that dreams can come true- that you can work really hard, worry a lot and have a lot of tough times, but wonderful things can happen. It is similar to how I felt standing on centercourt at the Celtics game, but it was also a little different.

I'm really happy with the way things went for us this year. It wasn't perfect of course, I've made some mistakes and there are things that I want to improve upon for next year, but we are headed in a good direction. Expanding to work with the Department of Children/Families was our biggest achievement. Our elder care program has been successful. I was working on networking more this year and had some great results- need to do more next year. I've met some great people this year and I'm really happy to have them in my life. Of course, I've met the usual amount of twits and flakes and had some unpleasant experiences, along with one quite frightening one and I'm concerned about finances. But this year has been better than last year and I can announce that our trend that has been running for the last 4 years of every year being better than the one before it- continues.

I hope that 2009 brings wonderful things for everyone who reads my blog- I don't know who most of you are, but thank you for taking the time to read and for caring about what goes on with me and Project Smile. It never fails to amaze me when people tell me that they read this blog. When I started this in January, I didn't think I'd ever have any readers- couldn't imagine that anyone would find me interesting!

I've been watching the highlights of the year on TV, and they were showing the sports highlights- with the Giants winning the superbowl being one of them. Now, I like the Patriots a lot, but I fell in love with the New York teams- particularly Giants, Yankees and the Jets too- so of course, I was pulling for a Giants victory in the Superbowl, but I never thought they would win it. They did win- they were a tough, scrappy team that hadn't gotten any respect and they went up against perfection and won- it is inspiring. I remember watching the Giants in the 2001 Superbowl- I was going through difficult family times and was feeling very sad and stressed most of the time. I was alone in a huge bar/restaurant in Times Square. I watched the game on a huge television, standing the whole time. The game sucked and I was sad anyways- only a few hours earlier I'd been walking to Times Sq. crying on the phone with my mom- I remember thinking how the game summed up how I was feeling about things. What a difference it was 7 years later- those dark days have been replaced by many wonderful things and I am so incredibly grateful.

Anyways friends, I am off- it is 12:17, I am going to read my book- total chick lit, but I'm loving it. Tomorrow, I am continuing my end of the year clean up and organizing my office and also hoping that we don't get too much snow and the roads are driveable tomorrow night- I'm heading to the Resolution Ball- my first time going to a huge NYE event. Happy new year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quiet Day

Well, today was a pretty quiet work day. There was a water main break in Hopedale today which lead to us having no water this morning- it was only for a brief period of time, but just the fact of having no running water is very distracting and I fell behind on things this morning. Grafton calendar sales went OK. I did get an unexpected check today for 6 calendars, so that was helpful and I also received a donation from a police association. Although calendars sales were bad this year, it wasn't a complete disaster.

I didn't get to do much planning today. I was finishing up with emails that needed sent, I have some more to catch up on, taking care of financial things- always such a good feeling to deposit checks- and I did other little things like that. I need our December bank statements to come in before I can finalize all our revenue/expenses for the year.

I can't believe it's almost Christmas time. I've always loved Christmas- the trees, decorations, family time, shopping, gifts, cookies, food, cards- there's nothing about it that i don't love. Last year, I bought a Christmas tree for my office- it's a fake tree, about 6ft tall, and it makes me so happy when I look at it. Sometimes, late at night when I'm done with everything, I'll switch out all the lights and just sit on the sofa looking at the tree- it is so pretty and it always reminds me of how lucky I am for all the good things that I have in my life. I don't know what the future will bring- I'd like to dream that there will be many years of lots of wonderful things to come and hopefully there will be, but I know that inevitably there will be sad and difficult times too, so I really try to cherish all the great things that I have right now. I'm so happy to have my family- my mom and my sibs- I can't imagine life without them and my friends and a job that I love and good health. It's not all peachy of course, but it is pretty darn good.

Anyways, there's probably more things that I'm forgetting to write about- as usual. I'm not sure if I'll be blogging tomorrow night, so Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Good Day

I love soup! Vegetable soup to be exact- I just finished my 4th bowl a second ago. I made some as part of New Food Monday today- it was my own recipe. I had found a great recipe for Italian vegetable soup last week, but I couldn't remember where I found it and I couldn't find a recipe that really struck me today, so I decided to create my own and I really like the result. Anyways, enough on that fascinating topic. I really do have more to write about than vegetable soup. Today was a pretty good day. I spoke with the rep from a sports memorabilia company that I've worked with, he said his company had some items that they want to donate for our upcoming silent auctions. He asked me to send him some info that he can forward to the owner. It would be really helpful to start having items donated for next year's events. It is especially great when people call up offering items!

I also spoke with a fellow who produces comedy shows. He'd like to work with us on a comedy show in the spring. Comedy shows can be great fundraisers and I would really like to host one. Obviously, we need to work out the details, but it is a start.I didn't get to do much 2009 planning today, but I really need to work on planning this week. I really want things to get firmed up with the Valentines event- I am very anxious about it. I approved the contract with the venue last week, so now we have real money on the line. The cost was decreased and considering the quality of the venue and the amount of food being donated- the cost was relatively reasonable. Even though it is a reasonable cost, it is still significant money. I approved the cost because it is a great venue- it has serious name recognition and the fact that we are holding it there really adds a lot to the event. Also, considering that we have only about 6 weeks until the event, we can't spend more time trying to find other locations. We now need to line up the entertainment. I don't doubt that this event can be successful, but I hate being in the position of having so much to with so little time.

I have so many ideas running through my head for next year- events that we can do, networking and public speaking ideas and more- I really need to sit down and focus the ideas. We can't do everything and they probably all aren't feasible ideas. I want to go and work on some planning now, but it is 12:15 and I'm working hard on the bed earlier routine and my eyes are hurting. The new glasses have helped with that, but I think I'm wearing the wrong pair right now- yikes, I sound like a grandma! Well, that's it for tonight- I'm going to go and search for my list book which seems to have disappeared. Until tomorrow friends...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Planning for next year

I can't believe I haven't blogged since Tuesday! There's no excuse either- I haven't been sick. So what's new? Well, I was up in Quincy on Thursday night at the midnight roll call selling calendars- it went well. I'm not a morning person, so going to the midnight roll call is much easier than getting to the 8am one. Quincy has always been a very supportive department, so I enjoy going up there. Tomorrow, we are doing the raffle drawing, which means that I will then have the fun task of contacting the raffle winners. I love doing that! It is great to call people up and give away prizes. I'm usually calling to ask for support, so it is wonderful to be in the opposite side at least once a year. Especially with Christmas this week, it is good timing to be giving out things.

What else is new? Not a whole lot of other things. This week will be fairly quiet- a lot of people are on vacation and it is generally just a really hard time to reach anyone- for fundraising and even with reaching new police/fire departments. I do have a lot of things to work on though- particularly planning for 2009. We need to have a lot of growth next year- both in terms of reaching new departments and continuing our work with DCF, but partiuclarly in regards to fundraising. I think we need more events as well as grants. With the economy, grants will probably be harder to come by, which means we need to work harder on finding new grant sources. I think that there will always be a market for smart, well priced events. I need to figure out what those events are going to be and who I'm going to work with. I also want to work on more outreach- attending more networking/social events and finding more public speaking opportunities. Those are really important for raising our awareness. I didn't do much speaking this year, so I really want to work on improving that for 2009. I did do a lot more social/networking events and those were great- not only fun, but really helpful as well. I want to find even more for next year. It is exciting to work on next year's plan. There is always so much promise with the start of a new year. I've been lucky that since 2004, each year has gotten progressively better and I want to work really hard to make sure that 2009 is on that track.

I know I'm talking like it is already New Years Eve and it is only Dec. 22, but most of the rest of this month will be planning for next year. I'm still working on calendar sales, I'll be in Grafton on Tuesday. After Christmas, it is pretty hard to sell calendars. People have already spent their disposable money, so asking for a donation isn't easy. I will work on contacting more departments, but like I mentioned earlier, it is hard to reach people this week and next. I do want to take a couple of days off as well. I can't afford to travel anywhere, but I want to find some fun things to do and there are some museums that I want to visit.

Anyways, that's about it for tonight. I'm going to finish watching the end of this now exciting Giants game- it was a pretty lousy game for most of it, but now it is in OT. Then I'm going to read some more of the new book that I have- I finally finished my John Irving novel, Widow for One Year- it was great. I have to write my list as well. It is only 11:30- I think this may be the earliest I've ever finished blogging. Giants won! Good night friends!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday News

Today was an odd day- not unexpected since it is a personally significant day. I was in Worcester today dropping off our donation of toys, coloring books, crayons and books for the childrens party that the school department runs for an elementary school that has some very disadvantaged children. I want to have our own Christmas party for children. It would be great to have an event on the same scale as our Halloween/Child Safety event or even bigger. There is such a need in so many communities. I don't think we will be able to do it next year though- I would have to start working on it now and it needs a lot of corporate sponsors, which are in short supply these days.

There is no news on the Valentines event and I'm getting worried. The event planner left me a message yesterday saying the hadn't heard back from the venue manager to resolve that issue. Valentines is less than 2 months away- there is a lot to be done in a very short period of time. I'm going to start working on the date auction and our 6th Anniversary Celebration in early January. I'm not saying that we need nine months to plan an event- its only a fundraiser not a mission to the moon, but I am concerned about where we are 7 weeks away.

I had a frustrating experience at the local office supply store which I usually love. I stopped in tonight to pick up the posters for our new PS tri-fold display board that Lisa designed. She did an awesome job and I was really looking forward to seeing them printed. The sales associate found my order, then started rolling it to put in a bag, which was unusual since they usually bring it over to show you first. I asked to see the posters, so he unrolled it and showed them- it was the worst print job I have ever seen in my life. I had asked for color, they printed black/white on lousy paper and it had huge streaks running through the entire thing- the signs looked like a joke. Even worse than the print quality was the fact that the associate was ready to have me walk out of the store with that horrendous mess. He told me that I had it printed on the wrong machine. Now, I don't know anything about their machines. All I do is send a job over, specify what I want, pick it up and pay for it. I have no interest in what machines they use, all I want is my order done right with a reasonable price. Needless to say, it has to be redone.

Calendar sales are still going badly- the window is closing on them. It's been the worst year for calendar sales since our first one. It was still a fundraiser- I don't want to give the impression we lost money on them, but it hasn't raised the amount of funds it was intended to- at all. I need to rethink things for next year. We will still do a calendar of course, but I need a better sales plan or a special event in Boston for the calendar- they're just ideas right now. I do need to take a couple of days and work on our 2009 plan.

I did see two things of interest today- they aren't related to PS, but still want to share. I was driving on Rt. 140 in Grafton today and was following an old man driving a Buick with a Kennedy/Johnson bumper sticker on it. Now, the only Kennedy/Johnson that I can think of is President Kennedy. Could that bumper sticker actually be that old? Or is there another Kennedy/Johnson that I don't know about? The Buick was about 15 years old or so. The other amusing thing that I saw was in Walmart tonight- they had sweatshirts for sale that actually had "sweatshirt" delicately printed across the chest. What's next? Pants that have the word "pants" down the leg or skirts that say "skirt" across the bum?

Well friends, that's it for tonight. Tomorrow, I am working on calendar sales, end of the year donations and more outreach and grant research. It is 12:31- I'm failing miserably at the bed earlier routine, but still trying to make it work. I think I went to bed at 2:15 last night- it was very hard to wake up this morning, but I made sure to exercise and that really helped. Until tomorrow..

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 Year in Review

I know the year isn't over yet, but I was thinking this weekend about what a year it has been for us. There have been a lot of good things and of course some not so good things, but the good has definitely outweighed the negative. So here's a look at the highlights and lowlights- in no particular order:

Expanding to work with the Department of Children & Families
Success of the 2nd Annual Date Auction
5th Anniversary Celebration success
Decorating for the Halloween/Child Safety event and the event itself being a success and running smoothly.
The great people that I've met this year on Meet Up and other places
Doing the calendar photos- it is always so much fun
Getting the 100 auction items
The Boston Bruins Foundation grant
TJX Foundation grant
Operation Elder Care program
Our donation to Goodwill for the childrens holiday party
The 2009 calendar- it looks great
Our new webhost- he does an awesome job with our website
My blog
My book of lists- this may sound stupid, but it keeps me on track during the day
The volunteers who are so reliable
The event in April that Jennifer ran for us
Having Gail Huff and JC Monahan attend our event
Working with Boston FF Assoc. to get single FF for our date auction
Donation at Newton City Hall
Now working with 143 police/fire departments

Economic crisis, particularly for what it will bring next year
The many flaky people that I meet
The Worcester sports team that committed to sponsoring our Halloween event and having their mascot attend the Halloween event, then disappeared- never returned phone calls or emails to this day
Calendar sales
The legal issue that surfaced before the date auction
The difficulty in getting sponsors for the date auction and Halloween event- particularly date auction
All the worry about whether people would show up to our events
The end-of-the-year donations that we haven't received
Pressure of not having the resources to hire staff so that we can expand the way we need to
The constant follow up phone calls/emails that I need to make to get results
Getting the calendar ads sold
People who auction items but never give them

Haven't decided if this will fall into the highlight or the lowlight section- right now it is in the neutral section- our valentines event. I'm getting a little worried, but I still think it has the potential to be a highlight

I know there are things that I'm forgetting from this year, so I will add on during the week as the memories come flying back..

Not a whole heck of a lot new today- I was plugging along on calendar sales and outreach, but I had to skip out to an unexpected appointment which cut into work time today. Tomorrow, I'm off to Worcester to drop off the toys and other items for the elementary school party, then back to work on calendars and reaching more departments. I also have to work on next year's fundraising plan. It is almost 1:30- I did my cardio exercise at 11pm- I didn't exercise this morning b/c I was running late and I'm not feeling very healthy, so I made sure to exercise tonight. I'm still struggling with bed early- I don't know how to fix this. It wouldn't be a problem, except that I feel like I get too late a start in the morning. Anyways friends, I'm yawning, eyes are getting blurry, hair is almost dry after my shower- so now I need to write my list and sleep. Until tomorrow...

6 years ago today you were here. 6 years ago tomorrow, you were gone. I miss the person that I wish you were. If I could tell you one thing, I'd tell you that the world is beautiful and I wish you could have known that. I know there is a lot of ugliness and so much that is wrong, so much that is horribly unfair and so much pain, but there is more wonderment, more love and more beauty. I wish you could have found your peace.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Slow Day

Today was not such a good day. Nothing bad happened, but I wasn't very productive and had trouble getting things done. I went out on a coloring book mission to Family Dollar in Medway tonight and felt like I was getting sick, but then I came home and cardio blasted and ate grapefruit and actually feel better than I've done all day. So hopefully, I won't get sick. I don't even know what the problem was today- I felt tired and sluggish and a little moody (usually a sign of getting sick). I didn't exercise this morning which is bad and I didn't write my list last night which isn't good either. I'm worried about money, about my lack of calendar sales, about how I'm getting funding for next year, concerned about the Valentines event (more about that in a sec). I did get some things done today, so it wasn't like I didn't accomplish anything and I got my office straightened out late this afternoon- it was a mess this morning and I replenished our supply of coloring books and got the donation together, with the help of Leni, for the Worcester elementary school Christmas party next week- so it wasn't that bad really, I was just feeling disconnected and really struggling with things.

There was a glitch that surfaced with the Valentines event today. I can't go into the details of it, but it is venue related. I'm confident that the event planner will work it out, the current terms are a no-go, so some adjustments do need to be made.

On a personal front, I'm also worried about buying Christmas gifts. I'm working hard to stick to a Christmas budget which is a hard thing to do. I'm usually really good with any type of budget, but Christmas gift budget has always been hard to stick to. It's even harder this year and I feel bad. I want to do more, but can't realistically, so it just makes me feel a little down that I can't get very much for people. I know many people are in the same position as I am. My solution is to stay out of the stores as much as possible and to shop really slowly.

I've been thinking about the issue I was writing about on Friday night and about the importance of listening to your instinct. I feel like a fool for what happened on Friday, because I didn't listen to myself and the things that had been bothering me- the feelings that I tried to dismiss all turned out to be true. I felt like a fool for putting myself in that situation, for not saying anything when I thought things weren't quite right a week before and for spending time making excuses for what I was thinking. It's pretty simple really- when you think something is wrong, it is wrong. If you think there is a problem, then there is a problem. Sitting in silence and ignoring it doesn't solve anything. It's an important premise to follow personally and professionally.

Anyways friends, that's it for tonight. I'm going to go write my list- no forgetting this time. I'm in the office all day tomorrow and working hard on calendar sales and contacting new departments. Until tomorrow friends..

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Good News

Greetings! What's new? Good news came in today- we received a $3,000 grant from the Brown Charitable Foundation. They have funded us for the past three years now. Ongoing funding like that is so important for us because it is our bedrock. We need to come up with new sources of funding constantly, but in order to keep building every year, we also need the support of organizations who will continue to fund us.

I was in Worcester today doing our donation to the Dept. of Children & Families. We donated coloring books, books, 80 large packs of crayons and small toys. These items will be given in Christmas stockings for children in foster care and group homes. I'm really glad that we arw working with DCF, they have such an immense task to accomplish and don't have enough resources.

I started working on Christmas cards late this afternoon. I bought some pretty ones at Home Goods the other day. I try to send them to as many donors and supporters as possible- it is hard because it does get expensive, but I think it is important to send a card. It takes a while, but I personalize each card with a brief message. I hate getting those impersonal machine generated holiday cards- they really don't mean anything. Even when we become a much larger organization, I still want to send out hand written cards.

I can't remember what else is new- there is a lot more going on, but my little mind is blanking. I was at the DWC Providence networking event tonight- I like that group a lot. Tomorrow, I'm planning on going to the Worcester chapter's meeting tomorrow night for the first time. I also need to buy some coloring books tomorrow. We are down to our last 10 coloring books. I really need to find a good source for ongoing coloring books- either donated or wholesale if we have to. I buy them at Family Dollar which gives a good price, but their supply is unreliable and I think we can find a better price/source.

Well, it is 11pm. I'm going to go and cardio blast- I haven't exercised in a few days and I'm really feeling it. I feel like my schedule has been slipping a little lately and I'm not getting things done the way they should be- I'm not managing my time well enough. I'm tired now. There is so much that I wanted to do when I got home tonight- emails, more cards, read my John Irving book, clean up office, blog, exercise. I got home a little before 10pm and the only thing I've done is blog. I feel like sleeping, not exercising. But, I don't like how I feel- wouldn't it be wonderful to build muscle, trim hips and exercise the heart all while sleeping? Fantastic! Anyways friends, off I go- I'm looking at my dumbbells right now- they are calling my name- loudly.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Blogging on a Friday night- yikes! Not something that usually happens- but things ended early tonight, in a somewhat dramatic but not unpredictable terms. So, I'm home, watching Jay Leno and blogging. Today was a pretty quiet day- I was working on making calendar calls and fundraising, but with little progress. I had lunch with a friend who I hadn't seen in 6 months, so that was great.

It's so important to always trust yourself and follow your instinct. I know it sounds like a simple thing to do, but it's not always so easy to follow. I trust my decisions with work implicity and I use my instinct when making business decisions and it works out well. However, when it comes to personal issues, it is a different story. I like to believe that people are better, that situations are better than what I feel they are deep down. My instinct tells me one thing, but I'll ignore it- because I don't want to believe what is happening. Not trusting myself put me in a potentially dangerous situation this summer and the events of tonight could have been avoided if I listened to myself. I knew where things were headed almost a week ago, but didn't want to believe it and I knew it even more last night, but still wouldn't listen to myself. I consider myself an optimist and also a realist- I've never walked around with my head in the clouds, but I always make an effort to find the positive, to look for the good in people, give others a chance and make the best of a situation. I think it is wonderful to be optimistic and always look for the good in others, but that can't come at the price of denying your intuition. After this summer's frightening incident, I told myself I'd never not listen to myself. Well, it happened again, but it's not the end of the world- the wind is out of my sails right now, but I'll be back to normal in the morning. Even more than what happened tonight, I'm annoyed at myself for not listening. So this is my new year's resolution- 3 weeks early. I will always listen to my instinct in all matters personally and professionally. I did well with my new years resolutions this year- it was my first time ever making them- so I'm holding onto this one.

One may wonder why I'm blogging about this- since it doesn't seem to have much to do with work. I know that I'm not alone when it comes to not listening to my instinct. I think it happens with more women than men, but maybe I'm wrong. I don't even know who reads my blog and I never want to preach to people, I just want to tell my story and if people can get some use out of it, maybe some inspiration or just learn something from what I write about, then that is wonderful. I hope that people don't make the same mistake that I consistently have done- your inner voice is there for a reason and it needs to be followed.

I always make an effort to not say hurtful things- sure, I get angry and I can yell, but there is a line that I'll never cross. I've been hurt by painful words and actions that were said many years ago and it made me careful to never treat others in that way. It amazes me how people will act with disregard and say things in such an unnecessary way. I guess it probably shouldn't amaze me- I know there are a lot of lousy people in the world, I've met quite a number of them, but even still, it takes my breath away every time it happens. It happened tonight and the way things were said took my breath away. I would never dream of acting that way, so when it happens to me it is somewhat shocking.

Anyways, enough on that. It is 1:16- I have a ton of things to do tomorrow- taking sis to the dentist in the morning, which means I get to have spinach pies from Sam's Bakery in Fall River- which has been one of my favorite foods since I was about 9 years old- can't wait! I should go to sleep, but I'm feeling kind of wired, so maybe I'll read for a little while. Anyways friends, that's it for tonight. I'm looking forward to a happy weekend and I hope you have one too!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Progress and a Marriage

I wish everyday could be like today- full of tangible progress. I was speaking with police academy recruits this morning- I spoke with two classes about Project Smile. The goal of speaking to the recruits is to raise awareness and encourage the recruits to use stuffed animals when interacting with children once they graduate and start work. I think it went over well. I was sharing the feedback that we get from officers who use our items and the impact that such a small gesture has on children. The Lt. was with me and he spoke with the recruits as well about the importance of having items for children, so that made a difference as well. The police academy is very formal- they stand up when you enter the room and leave and when they speak it is always 'yes m'am, no m'am, good afternoon m'am..' It is a little unnerving, but sort of cool as well- having a room full of attractive single men stand up when you walk in does have a pretty good effect on a single girl!

I also did a stuffed animal donation to Fallon Ambulance. They are the primary ambulance service to Quincy and a number of other south shore towns as well. Lt. Sullivan had recommended working with them and he organized it for me. They were very receptive. It always feels so good when we expand and work with new departments. Then, I was back at the station to sell calendars at roll call. I had a about an hour to wait before roll call, so the Lt. set me up in someone's office so I could use the computer and get caught up with emails and make some phone calls- I really appreciated that because I hate to waste time hanging around. I sold 13 calendars at the roll call which was pretty good- almost everyone who was there bought one. I'll go back either next week or the following week to a midnite roll call to sell calendars there- they are always very responsive- probably because they know that I wouldn't be there at midnite if it wasn't a big deal. Today felt great because I was getting things done, meeting new people, selling some calendars- it was perfect. I wish every day could have results like this. I usually work a lot but won't necessarily get any results for a while.

I spoke with the event planner when I was driving home. She had a successful meeting earlier today with the venue which was great. The event is still taking form and is changing direction from what we had originally settled on. Kait had some new ideas that she wants to explore. I'm all for changing direction if we are going to improve an event, but I'm not on board with the new ideas. I told Kait that and I also told her that I trust her judgment and if she thinks that this will be a successful event, then she can go ahead with it. I know that I don't know everything and I believe in letting professionals do their job. I judge a lot of things by stepping back and deciding whether or not it is something that if I had nothing to do with PS, would I like it. I use this as a marker for basically everything- our website, our Aidmatrix page, my voicemail, grants and particularly events. I want to have an event that I would want to go to if I saw it advertised. Every event that I've done is an event that I would want to go to. Right now, I'm not feeling the event with these new ideas and that makes me worried. It's a fine line to walk between trusting someone elses vision and my gut reaction. Honestly, I'm not sure what to do- I've never been in this position before. Everything that I've done has been my vision- of course I've gotten help along the way, but the events are my idea and they have worked out well. However, the whole point of working with an event planner is for her to develop some great events that are going to raise money and I believe that Kait has the potential to do that- I wouldn't have signed up with her if I didn't think that. But I also need to listen to myself and not ignore my own thoughts- blind faith in someone else is a sign of stupidity. So to sum it up- we have some issues to work out- I believe they can be worked out and we can have an awesome event, but it needs to come together at rapid speed since we are only two months out.

Anyways, that's about it for tonight. I'm having lunch with a friend tomorrow that I'm looking forward to. I also have about 50 other things to do. There were other things that I wanted to talk about, but can't remember. Yikes- I did forget some really cool news- I should have said that in the beginning- a date auction couple got married! How totally awesome is that? I found out when I was at the police academy today and we were talking about the date auction to one of the officers that runs the academy and he said that he had been in touch with one of the guys that got auctioned off last year and he had just married the girl. I had emailed with the girl about 6 months ago and she told me they were together, but I had no idea they got married. That is so cool and will definitely be used to promote next years event. Project Smile dating service here we come!

OK, it is 12:51 and I'm going to bed. I say that every night and can't seem to master going to bed before 2am. I know it must be getting pretty boring to read the same thing every night. My eyes are hurting and I have a bit of a headache, so I really will go to bed. Until next time friends..

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quick Post

This is going to be a quick post- I have to be in Quincy in the morning and I have to finish getting things ready. I'm speaking with police academy recruits in the morning to promote their use of stuffed animals and other items when they interact with children. It is important to reach the new generation of police officers, so that they know what is available to them and the difference it can make to have comfort items for children. Then, I'll be doing at donation to Fallon Ambulance and in the afternoon, I'll be at the roll call selling calendars. Quincy officers have always been very supportive, so I enjoy going up there- really hoping the support will continue.

What else is new? I was working on fundraising and calendar sales today. I sold 25 calendars which was good, but I have so many more to sell it is dreadful. The Foundation dinner went well- it is a wonderful organization. I don't know yet the amount of the grant- won't know that until we get the check next month.

I was at the bank today- depositing some PS checks- when I met an old man who reminded me so much of my grandfather. I was next to him in line (something that doesn't happen very often at Ben Franklin) and he turned to me and said he was just waiting for the Hawaii quarters and he didn't think the bank would even have them. He collected the quarters from each state and Hawaii was the last one in his collection. He was collecting coins not only for himself but for his granddaughters too. We ended up walking out together and I told him how I collected magnets. He didn't really look like Jimmy, but he was so happy and energetic and seemed so kind- that reminded me of Jimmy. I wanted to hug the old man and tell him how much he reminded me of my grandpa, but I didn't do anything. I felt so teary when I got in the car, seeing him reminded me of how much I miss Jimmy- just as much as when he died 14 years ago. I know they say that time heals, but it doesn't heal everything. Here is a photo of mini me and Jimmy and my grandma-

Anyways, I know writing about Jimmy doesn't have anything to do with Project Smile, but it was on my mind today and this blog is about what goes on during the day. Well, I need to go exercise, shower and get ready for tomorrow. I also have a couple of letters that I wanted to finish up, but I probably won't get to that. There is other stuff that I wanted to write about too, but I can't remember. Wish me many calendar sales at Quincy please! Until tomorrow friends..

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Lights and Work

Greetings! So what's the latest and greatest today? Not much actually- I was working on calendar sales without having anything to show for it, I was also working on annual donation request letters that needed sent out- I didn't get to contact new police/fire departments, so that's the first item on tomorrow's list. I did schedule our next DSS donation for next week- this will be for the items for holiday gifts for kids who are in state care. We'll be donating stuffed animals, books and crayons and some small toys to the Worcester office- if there are any items left over, they'll be sent to Fitchburg or Leominster.

I ended work a little early today because I really wanted to hang Christmas lights outside. I was following that motto- there is no day like today, no time like the present- that probably wasn't written to skip off work, but I was working earlier tonight and I worked late last night- so it all balances out. It felt great to be outside decorating- it makes me so happy to look at the lights. It's not an elaborate decoration at all, it's not even that big, but it is the largest light display that I've ever done. My sister- full of that support that only siblings can give- informed me that it looked like a crazy person did it. Of course, I disagree with that observation. It took 2 hours and two trips to Ace hardware to get it done.

My trip to Worcester to pick up that infamous auction gift certificate was rescheduled today- the amount of effort that is going into getting this gift certificate is becoming pretty funny. Tomorrow, I need to track down the missing date auction sponsorship check- the same check that was supposed to have been mailed weeks ago. I'm also waiting on checks from Halloween sponsorship and I need to follow up with the calendars that people have so I can get the money for that. The more time that goes by the less likely it is that the money will come in. However, I never give up on money owed- I can't afford to write anything off. I'm also feeling like I'm not getting a firm grasp of where our Valentines event is going and I don't like that feeling. I was trying to explain the event to someone today and I couldn't explain it clearly- if I can't manage that simple a task, something is wrong. The event is still in early planning stages, so fluidity is expected, but the problem is that we are 2 months and 2 weeks from the event date and fluidity this close is not good. So I'm going to call her tomorrow and see if we can schedule a meeting together next week.

Well, it is midnite and I should go to bed- I know I say this every day- isn't it boring? I went to bed really late again last night and it was hard to get up this morning. Tomorrow, I'm heading out late afternoon and meeting with Carolee, then going to the Foundation awards dinner, so I need to be bright eyed and awake tomorrow morning so I can get things done. I totally don't want to go to bed- I want to go and sort my office, pay our bills, respond to a bunch of emails- all that stuff which is good to do late at night, but I'm trying to stay on a regular work day schedule and fight the night owl insincts.

Anyways, I think that's it for tonight. I'm probably forgetting a bunch of things that I wanted to write about and I still haven't talked about my trapeze adventure- but I guess that will have to wait until next time. Wish me luck in calendar sales tomorrow please! I need some serious help with moving these calendars. Until next time friends..

Monday, December 1, 2008


I was thinking today when I was driving about having people in your life who will always be there for you. I've known my best friend since I was 19 and to this day, I've never known anyone who I can laugh with as much as her- we laugh about the silliest things, things that other people would never laugh about- it is awesome. For the rest of my life, I will remember the day when she was just there for me. To this day, I don't think she knows how much it meant to me. It was my 21st birthday- I was going through very difficult personal times, my world had been turned upside down- it was very upsetting and chaotic times. I hadn't told her very much about it, I didn't really talk about it to anyone because it was too hard and complicated to discuss. So there it was- my 21st birthday- we had plans to meet and hang out in the afternoon, but I was running very late, at least a half hour. I was going to meet her by the 7th floor escalators at our school, I remember riding the escalators up and I didn't think she would be there- part of me was saying to myself that I shouldn't even bother going upstairs, because I was so late and there was no way she'd still be waiting. I got up the stairs and there she was- she wasn't mad, she didn't have an attitude- she was just herself. I wanted to hug her and cry, because I was so grateful that she had waited. Because of what was going on around me, I had felt so hurt and alone and this was the first time I realized that there are people who will be there for you even when you're late, when you're struggling and when you're at your lowest point. I think of that moment often, I've been thinking of it even more recently. It may not sound like very much when I retell it, but it was momentous for me.

So why am I sharing this story? Because I've been thinking of how important it is to have supportive people in one's life- people that will actually show up when you need them. It is easy for someone to say they like what you do and to wish you all the best, but when people actually help- when they actually make an effort- come to events, volunteer their time, bring other friends, buy a calendar- whatever they can do- it means so much. I only have a few people in my life that do that and I'm so grateful for them. I deal with a lot of unhelpful people, I meet a lot of flaky and unreliable people and a lot of people that say they are going to do something and never do it, say they want to help, but disappear when you actually ask for something, people that say they are going to call and never call- it is all part of the job. It is the most frustrating part of the job and it has made me less tolerant of unreliable people, but it has also made me more grateful for the people that really do make the effort- the people that I can count on.

So what's new today? Not a whole lot, I had an appointment that took up most of the day, so I didn't get a lot accomplished. Tomorrow, I am off to Worcester to pick up that missing gift certificate- yes, the same one that I just refunded the money on. I'm hoping that the winner may want to buy it back, if not, then I'll hold it for another event. The problem with that is that my next event out in my area isn't scheduled until next fall and the gift cert. expires next fall. So, I don't know what is going to happen with that. However, it is a lot better to have it in hand and then figure out what to do with it.

I also need to work on calendar sales- it is going pretty badly and work on grants and contacting new departments and following up with others. Remember that story I told last month about the person who asked me how we were going to survive the economic downturn and basically suggested that we wouldn't? Well, I found out that they recently lost their job- how ironic is that? Today, I had someone that I'm friendly with ask me if I was hiring. On her message she said she would even be interested in an internship in order to gain experience in this field- so that may be something that could work out well.

Well, it is after 1am. I'm not doing well with this bed before 1am thing- I went to bed at 2am last night. I'm feel really energized right now and there is a bunch of things that I want to do, but if I start, then I won't go to bed until 3am- which is fine except for the fact that I'll be a slug in the morning. I don't know how people manage going to bed early and waking up at 5am- I don't think I could ever do that. I love the night time anyways- love working when it is quiet, there is no pressure- it is great.

Anyways, enough on my love of the night time- it sounds a little vampire-ish. I'm off to write my list- I forgot to write it last night. I really want to work on my 2009 plan, but I still have so much to get done before 2008 ends, there really isn't time for that. Until tomorrow friends....