Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Oh, I'm tired. I know that isn't exactly interesting news, but my energy level feels like its running in the negative digits right now. It is barely 11pm and I'm actually going to bed early tonight. I haven't had enough sleep for a while now and it is catching up to me. Last night made it worse because I didn't go to bed until after 2am. I'm also watching a very tedious World Series game (I'm a Yankees fan), so that isn't exactly helping raise the energy level. Anyways, enough of my griping. What's new? Well, I finally got my October newsletter done and sent out today. I changed the subject line to make it more interesting, so we can increase the open rate even more. It is so important to do a test email before sending out- there was a error in the test email that Lisa had to fix. It is embarrassing to send out things that contain errors, so I'm glad that was caught.

I went to a networking event in Providence tonight. It was an interesting event and I think I made some connections that have real potential. There are quite a few people that I will be following up with tomorrow. I went with a friend- I really enjoyed going with her because she does a lot of networking and she was also very encouraging. I find it difficult sometimes in large networking groups like that to approach people, so it was helpful to have a friend to be with and to keep you motivated. One of my goals this year was to participate in more networking events and I have done that, but there is definitely more that I can do.

Last night, I finished the grant which was due next Monday and emailed it over. I have 3 other grants that I need to work on in the next few weeks. I also need to contact more police and fire departments tomorrow. I've been working on trying to stay updated with emails by taking action immediately, but that hasn't been going so well. Some emails I do respond to as soon as I get them, but I wait to come back to quite a few- I'm trying to break that habit, but it is really hard.

Well friends, I'm sorry to be boring tonight- I'm awfully tired and need to sleep. Hopefully, with a good night's sleep I will be back at full force tomorrow. I have so much to do, so much to catch up on- this tiredness just isn't kicking it. Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wrapping Up October

Can you imagine this is the last week of October? It doesn't seem real. It has been a pretty interesting year so far- things have been picking up financially- mostly due to the success of our 2 big events, so that has definitely been a good thing. This has been a tough month and I'm not where I had planned to be after our events- I had a lot of things that I was going to work on that I simply haven't gotten to yet. Maybe some of it was a bit too ambitious (if there is such a thing), but mom's injury also really threw me- probably more than it should have. But, I can't worry about time lost and things that I didn't get done. The most important thing is that I'm getting back on track and will get to the things that I had planned to already have done. Mom is getting better too, so that has been a relief.

Things were moving along pretty well today. I was late as usual in working on our October newsletter, but I did get it almost all done. I just need to send it Lisa, so she can format it, then send it to our web host. Earlier this year, I set a goal that we would double the number of people on our email list- so far, we have already more than tripled it. It is such a great feeling when you set a goal that you're not even sure you'll get too and end up passing it. I usually do our newsletters at the end of the month, but I don't like leaving it to the very end like this.

I was also working on a grant which is due on Monday. It is a slightly different grant than ones we usually work on. We are asking for the maximum amount of $5,000. We are a perfect fit for what they fund, but I'm not sure how much of a chance we have. They only choose a couple of organizations to fund and they don't have a lot of money, but we would be ideal. They like to fund organizations that help children and smaller non profits as well- perfect for us.

I did read an interesting article today about dealing with email. I have a problem with my email- I'm sure it is a very common problem. I get a lot of emails everyday, I will read them, but don't always respond immediately, but then sometimes I will forget to respond. I know it is bad to respond late or to forget to respond at all and I need to fix that. The article was based on advice by a Google CEO. He responds to every email immediately- either forward, delete, reply or decide that you will never reply. I need to train myself to do that. I did try this afternoon, I responded to some, but then got distracted with other things (the grant) and told myself that I would come back to it later, but I still haven't and it is now 1:30am. It takes 21 consecutive days to develop a new habit, so I need some time. I think that's a great idea though and I want to improve my handling of email.

Well friends, it is 1:34 and I need to sleep. I was slightly traumatized with a super early wake up call this morning, but I survived and managed to get quite a bit done. Except right now, my eye is closing and I'm starting to think that I can just roll over and fall asleep without turning off computer, getting laundry from dryer, putting out lights, brushing teeth, writing my list for tomorrow- it seems like too much work. Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Must Blog

Well, this is going to be a short posting. I'm so tired, but I didn't want to go 2 nights without blogging. It's not like I even have anything fascinating to say, but it didn't feel right not to blog. I don't even know why I'm so tired, my day wasn't any busier than usual. I still feel out of my regular schedule and I think that is what makes me feel tired. The networking event that I went to last night was great- it was speed networking at the DWC Worcester chapter. I was helping out at the event as the time keeper. For most of the evening, I sat next to Donna, a professional photographer, and one of the group organizers. So I spent a lot of time listening to her talk to the other person at the table and I really learned a lot from her. I had already heard that when you talk about your business, you also have to say what you are looking for- what your needs are. I don't usually do that. I'm very clear when I talk about Project Smile and what our mission is, but I know that when I go to networking events, I'm not usually specific about what we need. When I'm working on fundraising events, then I usually do say what we're looking for, but that is the only time. Donna was very clear when she talked about what she was looking for and she also asked the other person what they were looking for. Donna came across as very professional and engaging. Listening to Donna, made me realize how important it is for me to specify what we need when I talk about Project Smile.

Anyways, I think that is it tonight- my eyes are hurting and I need to sleep. One of my goals tomorrow is to clean up my office- I have lots of little things piled up that I've been meaning to get to, but haven't. I have more auction items to get to some people before I can close the folder on that event. Tomorrow, I want to work on the grant that is due by the end of the month and I want to reach out to more police and fire departments. Well, I'm off to close my eyes and sleep. I'm glad that I blogged- even though it was brief- my nights don't feel like they end right if I don't blog during the week. Until next time friends..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Getting Things Done

Well, it's a new week and things are getting back onto the right track. I did have some family things to take care of during the day, but I also managed to get quite a bit of work done. I finished the grant that was due and sent it out overnight mail. This was the same grant that I lost the application for. On Friday, I emailed the my contact person there and asked her if she could email me another copy of the application. I didn't hear back from her, so I called the only other contact that I had this morning and he said that she didn't work for the organization anymore. He thought it would be fine to use last year's grant application form, so that's what I did. I also added a note explaining that I lost the original form and wasn't able to get a new one on short notice. I hope they understand and don't hold it against us. I know it looks bad to lose things and I've never done something like that before, but with all the distractions that have been going, I must have done something with it. I'm glad that I got it done today and I was also relieved that it was a simple application. Some applications are a lot more complicated and take a lot longer, so it is always appreciated when the grants are less intense.

I was also back at work on calendar sales today- there is a lot more that I need to do, but I did make some progress today. I also scheduled our next donation to the Dept. of Children and Families for Thursday. I also spoke with Morgan Memorial Goodwill about donating stuffed animals and other items again for their annual holiday party. We've donated to them for the past 2 years for their children's party and I'm always happy to be involved with them. I would also like to work with the Worcester Schools again to donate items for their children's holiday party.

It felt good to be making progress today. I still have a lot to do to catch up, but at least today was a good day and I got things done. My list for tomorrow is going to be really long, but I will be working in my office almost all day, so I should be able to get a lot done. I have a networking event in the evening, Downtown Womens Club, Worcester speed networking which I'm looking forward to going to. I'm also helping out at the event too.

Well, I am very tired. I haven't exercised in 3 days and I hate that- I always feel better when I exercise. I try to do it every day and I usually do, but I've been falling off my schedule lately and not exercising the way I should be. I also wanted to read tonight, but now I'm too tired. Anyways, off to write my list- then bed. Until tomorrow friends..

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Still Behind

Ah, so what's new? Well, I've been trying to catch up on the million little things that need done, but I'm still really far behind. This has been a rough week in terms of getting a lot accomplished. I also have a grant application that came in the mail a couple of days ago, but it seems to have disappeared. We received a grant from this Foundation for the past 2 years, so it is important to get our application done. I know I can probably ask for another application, but i don't like having to ask because it makes me look disorganized. I'm sure it will turn up tomorrow, it probably just got misplaced with the ton of other things that need attention. I also have a lot of web updates that I need to send in and I have to finish our October newsletter. I also need to get moving with calendar sales. I think that things will be better next week. My sister is moving out this weekend and with my mom being injured, I've been trying to help her out as well. Things are going OK with the move, but it has been really stressful. I feel really guilty because of all the work that I haven't got this week and last. I had so many plans for what I was going to work on once my big events were over and I haven't done any of them yet. Of course, i didn't plan on these other things happening that required my attention. I wish I wasn't missing work, but when family needs your help, you have to be there and I want to be there to help. I think that things will be better next week- my sis will have moved and even though my mom still needs help, I will get a better grasp on my schedule and really focus on getting my work done.

I'm tired. I know I should go back and work, but I don't think my little mind can focus. I am really proud of myself with one thing though- I listened to my instinct. I met someone recently and although they were saying all the "right things", my instinct told me that things weren't right. I don't know why, but I definitely felt it. So, instead of ignoring what I was feeling, I paid attention to it. A few days later, my instinct proved me right- I didn't even have to do anything. I know it doesn't sound like much and it was only a small thing, but I'm proud of myself for paying attention to my instinct. I do it all the time in work, but in personal matters it is a lot harder for me- so this was a really good thing.

Anyways friends, that's my story for tonight. I'm going to write my list for tomorrow- it will be a multiple page list, then I might read for a bit. I'm trying to read more, I have so many good books that I want to read, but it is hard to find the time. I might also just go to sleep- which, since it is already 12:20 and I'm tired, I should probably do. Ah decisions! Until next time..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nice Surprise and Trying to Catch Up

Well, not a lot has changed since my post last week. I'm still really behind on work. Things have been stressful with family issues and I haven't been working the way that I need to be. I am trying to do the best that I can, but it is not enough. I have a lot of work that needs attention. I need to be back in full work mode tomorrow, otherwise it is going to get overwhelming. I'm trying to balance everything that needs to be done, but work has suffered this past week. I know it is OK to take days off and I shouldn't feel so guilty- they are important things that need attention- it's not like I've been goofing off. It is just hard when you're not able to spend the amount of time on things that you need to. I should work more at night, but I've been so tired it is hard to get anything done. Anyways, hopefully tomorrow I will get back to an almost normal schedule.

I did get there was some unexpected good news today- we received a $1,000 donation from Curtiss Wright Controls. They donated to us last year as well- the employees donated at their annual summer event and the company matched their donation. I'm not sure if they did an event this year too, it wasn't mentioned in their letter. I was so happy to get their donation. I totally wasn't expecting it. Ongoing donations like this one are so important. We need to keep getting annual donations and continue to bring in new sponsors in order to really grow financially.

Well, I am hungry and tired. I went to my monthly DWC Providence networking event tonight, it was good as always. It is a really good group of women and I've made a lot of excellent connections. I probably don't need anymore food- I had dinner at home early, went to networking and then came home and finished off my cucumber/yogurt mixture, had some toast and salmon pate (from Ikea- love it!) and then a banana- which is quite an odd combination. Now, I'm craving cheese and a warm French roll. Doesn't that sound delicious? I think I'll heading towards the kitchen in a few- until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Need to Catch Up

Yikes, I am so far behind on things. It is funny, I thought that after our events were over, I could relax a bit and get back to normal work. Except, I still have a lot of people to contact that were involved in the event, checks to deposit, grants that need attention, bills to pay, a few more auction items to get to people and also I need to work on getting auction items sold that didn't sell at the event. I also have a lot of work to do to help Michelle with our NH efforts and also with Carolee and our CT efforts. There was a really sad thing that happened last week- the night before my big event, my mom fell down a flight of stairs at a house she was showing and broke 2 bones in her foot. She wasn't able to make it to our event and it was really sad not to have her there. We had such a great turnout and it was such a good event, I really wish she could have seen it. To make matters worse, she fell on Monday while using crutches and badly sprained her wrist. It is really hard to see mom like this- she has always been so active and energetic, so to see her laid up with broken bones is dreadful. I've been trying to help as much as I can to make sure she is comfortable and to help her out with her work when she needs. I know that things will be OK with her and on the grand scale of everything that could go wrong- a broken foot and sprained wrist is not so bad, but it is very stressful to see her like that. I know that work has been suffering these last couple of days because of everything that is going on. Usually I would stay up late to catch up on things, but these last couple of nights I have been so tired, I haven't had the energy to go back to work.

It was a horrible sight last week to see mom being taken to the hospital by ambulance. Ever since I can remember, I've always worried about something happening to her. I can't imagine life without my mother- it is such a lonely, painful thought. I know that in the natural progression of life, it will happen- but I don't know how I could ever be whole again without her in my life. I can't imagine going through my days without ever talking to her, without telling her all my silly stories and without all the encouragement she gives me. Just the thought of it makes me cry. I need to get off this train of thought- she only has a broken foot and a sprained wrist- it's not like we found out she has a serious illness. Hopefully, things will heal up quickly and in 4-6 weeks she will be off the cast and moving around normally. Someday, I will have to walk in this world without her, but hopefully that day will not be for an extremely long time and in the meantime I will enjoy the time we do have together- just like I always do.

It's been so nice how some of my friends have offered to help out if I needed anything. I really appreciate that. It means a lot to know that people are there when things get rough.

Anyways, what else is new? Well, today I went to pick up our auction items that were sold for way less than the min. bids at our Anniversary event. There was a guest who attended our event and towards the end of the night, wrote in bids on our silent auction items that were so far below the min bid listed on the auction sheet, that it wasn't even funny. The ladies volunteering at our payment table inadvertently allowed the payments to be processed and the woman left with our items. She bid $10 on a number of items which was just a tiny fraction of the min. bid. The items included golf outings, autographed sports memorabilia, theatre tickets, hotel stay, symphony tickets- really nice valuable items. I called her on Monday when I saw the bid sheet and explained that the items should not have been given to her since they didn't meet the min. bids- she told me she had already given them all away and got off the phone. I called her back a short time later because I wanted to come to a resolution, she didn't call me back. The next day I sent her an email and mailed her a certified letter asking for the items to be returned and we would refund her money or a donation made to cover the amount of the min. bids. I explained that businesses donate these certificates in order to help us raise funds (not to be given away as if we were running a flea market) and that the money that our items could have generated is extremely important for us. She emailed me back that evening saying she would send me back the items and I could refund her money. I picked them up today at her home. I didn't want to wait for them to arrive in the mail or deal with the whole "guess they were lost in the mail" excuse. I was so happy that the situation was resolved and we got our items back. I was so angry and upset that someone would attend our charity event and walk out with a gift certificate worth $225 that she just bid $10 on (as well as the 8 other items)- even though each bid sheet clearly stated what the min. bid was. I don't know why someone would do that.

I really made an effort to communicate effectively with her- I was as polite as possible, but also firm. I wanted her to understand why it was a problem that she spent so little for our items and to give her options to resolve the situation. I also wanted her to know that I was serious about needing the items back. I did tell that if I didn't hear from her or if she didn't return the items or pay the difference to reach the min. bids that I would take steps to have the gift certs. voided. In this situation, I wasn't going to give up until it was resolved in our favor. I work too hard to get all those items donated and also, it is my responsibility to protect Project Smile's interests. And it is in our interest that merchandise worth well over $1,000 is not sold for $140. The gift certs. can be used in other events or other ways to help raise funds.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. It is so early, only 11:53! I am going to go clean up in the kitchen, write my list for tomorrow and maybe read for a little bit. That was another of my self promises- that when our events were over, I would read more. I do enjoy reading, but it is hard to find the time. I'm so tired, I'm not sure if I'll actually get to the reading portion of the night- might be more like the usual- turn on ESPN and roll over and fall asleep immediately. Until tomorrow..

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


What a wonderful evening! We had our best attendance ever at our Anniversary event. It was so exciting and I was so incredibly happy to see so many people. I would like to thank everyone who attended- thank you for making it a successful night. Thank you also to everyone who donated and helped sponsor, our volunteers who helped and everyone who helped spread the word and made it such a great event. It is funny how it always starts out slow- it was 6:30 and there were maybe 10 people there. I was starting to get worried and had visions of a miserable event, but then it seemed like I blinked my eyes and the room was getting full. We actually ran out of food really quickly- something that hadn't happened before. The ballroom looked terrific. The Doubletree did a great job. Karen Swensen was absolutely wonderful, she gave a great speech and really tied it into Project Smile's mission. If anyone is looking for a speaker for their event, I would definitely recommend her- she is terrific. Miss Massachusetts Sweetheart was also very nice- she was very friendly and really did a great job interacting with guests and also showing off our live auction items. Our host, Dick Ferrucci, did a great job with the live auction- I love the way he does auctions. So what was the dollar amount? Well, we are at over $7,000. I still have more auction items to get to people and I don't count that until we get paid.

I'm so happy it was a success. I need to get some photos up on our site and on FaceBook too. There are also a lot of auction items I need to get to people. It was funny today not to have to work on getting auction items- it has been on my list since January. I don't miss it though. I have so many other things that need attention- contacting police/fire and grant writing in particular.

Well, it is 1:25 and I am very tired. There are some personal issues happening and it has been very hectic here lately. Until tomorrow friends...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hours to Go

Well, here we are- just a few hours away from the big event. This is going to be a short blog, because it is already 2am and I should be in bed. How are things going? The bid sheets are all done, everything is packed and ready to be loaded into the car tomorrow. We can't get into the hotel to set up until 4pm which is a little frustrating, but still plenty of time. I've been trying to get everything done tonight so that my to-do list tomorrow is very small. I do need to go to the bank in the morning and get small change. I also need to work on my speech. It is only a brief speech, but I do need to take some time and think about it more. I'm really nervous and excited. I hope that everything goes smoothly- that it all looks good, the slideshow plays properly, my credit card machine works, I don't drop the very pretty cake, our musicians and special guests and host show up and most of all- lots of people show up, have a great time and buy all our auction items. I know that I've put together a great event and I'm really proud of it. I couldn't have worked any harder to get great auction items and I don't know what else I could have done to get people to attend. Hopefully, tomorrow night everything will come together as it should and we will have a great night.

Anyways friends, I need to sleep- my eyes are hurting and I want to be fresh and glowing tomorrow night- not frazzled and exhausted! Wish me lots of luck and if you're anywhere near the Milford area or have friends near here- join us tomorrow! Until next time...