Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Driving Day

Today was a driving day- to be honest, it wasn't actually that much driving. I definitely have done a lot more driving. The driving is stuck in my mind because I did have a funny experience on a one-way street in Dorchester. I was trying to find a homeless shelter that we scheduled a donation for. I'm not very familiar with Dorchester, so I was relying on my GPS. I turned down the street- it was a one-way (Yes, I was going the correct way!), so I'm crawling down the street, trying to find the shelter. I see a school with a similar name on the right, a church on the left, but no shelter. I drive down to the end of the street, peering at house numbers, but couldn't find the place. Since, it was a one-way street, I couldn't turn around and I didn't want to drive around the block and get stuck in traffic. So I decided to reverse up the street- I reverse half way up the street, still can't find anything. Then I drive down the street in slow motion again- no luck. I decide to reverse up the street yet again- still the building hasn't magically appeared. I didn't have their phone number, otherwise I would have called. Then I decide to park and go into the school and ask for help. So, I park my car on the street, then I decide that maybe I didn't look closely enough, so I drive down the street again- this time cursing. Still no luck, so for the 3rd time, I reverse up the street, park and ring the school's doorbell, probably more times than necessary. I hope no one was watching my reverse up the street routine, because it must have looked slightly insane. The good news was that the lady in the school knew where the shelter was (entrance on another street) and I was able to drop off our items. The guy that took our donations was very nice, we chatted for a few minutes and he gave me a t-shirt. The shelter is run by Catholic Charities. I believe he said it was home to 16 children, I don't remember. After Dorchester, I hightailed it up to Lynn PD, then made a slight detour on the way home and stopped at my favorite supermarket of all time- the Market Basket in Chelsea. So, I only did 2 stops today, but it felt like a lot more.

I still didn't get to submit our web updates for the month. That needs to be a priority for tomorrow. I want to get stuffed animals to children in Haiti, but I don't know how to do that. Obviously, there is a great need for emergency items for Haitians, but I really would like to send some. Carolee spoke with the Red Cross a couple of weeks ago and they were receptive but said the basic supplies were needed immediately. I was thinking of trying UNICEF or another organization that is focused on children. It was much easier when we did our donation to the children who survived Katrina. I keep watching the news feed of the children in the hospital in Haiti and it would be nice if they could be given a little stuffed animal to hold. I'm going to do more research tomorrow on how we can arrange that. I'll keep you posted on what I find out.

Anyways friends, I think that's it for tonight. I'm getting tired and might actually head to bed earlier. I've been doing some pre-birthday organizing tonight in my room and my office- there still is quite a bit more. I just finished a grapefruit before I blogged and now I'm getting quite hungry- I should just go to bed before I raid the fridge and munch on all that good food I got at the Basket! Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Week

Well, last night was pretty funny- I was a few minutes from starting my blog, then we lost power! It was out for a little over an hour, but by the time I was already heading to bed and didn't feel like turning the computer back on. So what's new? The homeless shelter donations are going well. I think we've donated to 5 so far. Most of the shelters are in neighborhoods and look like private homes from the outside. I'm glad that we've expanded to shelters, but I also feel the most connection to donating to the police/fire departments and DCF- maybe it's just because the shelters are new and I'm not as familiar with it. I still haven't heard back from DCF in Connecticut, so I'm going to call again tomorrow. It was so easy to start our partnership with DCF in Massachusetts, I'm hoping that it goes smoothly in CT too. Sometimes messages can get lost in an abyss, so I really need to follow up until I speak with someone in charge. I'll keep you posted.

There was some really sad news yesterday, a friend of mine had a heart attack last week and now may have an even more serious illness- I'm so shocked and sad. There are certain people in your life that you can't imagine not having there and he is one of them. He knew me before I started Project Smile and he means a lot to me. I'm hoping that things will be fine.

Anyways, on to happier topics. I need to get back to work on grants and start working on getting sponsors for our 2 big fall events. I haven't done any grant writing this year yet. I've had our wonderful intern Amanda work on grant research yesterday and she did find some new grants that we might fit into. I also need to submit our web updates before the end of the month. We get an hour of update time included in our web hosting fee and I haven't used my hour yet- if I don't use it, you lose it. I do have quite a few updates and I shouldn't have delayed in sending them in.

So this is my last week of being in my twenties- how funny is that? So of course, I'm in somewhat of a reflective mood. I can't believe I'm about to start a new decade- it still seems like yesterday that it was my 20th birthday and I was in NYC, watching a sappy Kevin Costner movie and talking on the phone with my best friend Regina. I also can't believe I was only 23 when I started Project Smile- my sister is 23 and I think of her as so young, but I never thought of myself as so young. Without a doubt, for this decade, I'm most proud of Project Smile. I'm proud of how far we've come, I'm thankful for all the wonderful people that I've met and things that I've experienced because of Project Smile. It's funny to think about what the next ten years will bring. If someone had sat down with me on my 20th birthday and told me what my twenties would bring, I never would have believed it. I wouldn't have imagined that there would be so many good things. Of course, there are dark times too and lots of angst and stresses. Sometimes, I get so focused on the difficult things, I really do forget about all the good stuff that has happened. A lot of my job is to solve problems and focus on the future, I can't spend much time looking back. But it is a good thing to sometimes take a few minutes and think about all the good that has happened- it is a good motivator.

Well friends, I'm tired. Eyes are hurting again and I need to sleep. It's only 12:15, so I think it will be an early night. I'm off to Lynn PD tomorrow to drop off more items and I think there are more shelter donations scheduled too. I was going to have a grapefruit, but I might just skip and go to bed. Until tomorrow friends..

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Well, this is going to be a short post because I'm a tired little monkey. Things went pretty well today. I did our first donations to two homeless shelters- one in Dorchester and the other in Framingham. I also dropped off more items at the Somerville PD. I didn't get a lot done in the office today besides make a few calls and send some emails, but it wasn't a lot. It's hard to get other stuff done on days when I have a bunch of donations scheduled. I'm glad that we've expanded to shelters. The Dorchester shelter is home to 26 children. It seemed like a very nice place- it was in an old home in a pleasant neighborhood. Obviously, it is sad that anyone has to live in a shelter, but it definitely makes a difference to be in a decent environment. Hopefully, with our donations, it makes things a little happier for the children that have to be there.

I don't know why I'm so tired- I did have a busy day with the running around, then I had some home related things that I was working on before I went out tonight. I got a bit of a late start today because I made sure to exercise before I started work. I could have skipped the exercise and started work on time, but it really makes a difference when I exercise and I didn't want to skip. The downside was that it made things really rushed for the rest of the morning and I was delayed in getting to Somerville, but things worked out fine in the end.

I find it so annoying when you call a business and ask for a specific person, then the person who answers asks for your name before they tell you that they are the person you called for- or even more annoying- they don't say anything and you have to then ask- "are you ____?" Especially if you are in the business world, the least that you can do is identify yourself when someone is on the other end of the phone, asking for you. Usually when I call someone, I do say who I am as soon as someone picks up, but I don't always do that- especially if I'm calling a main business number. This happened today, that's the reason that it's on my mind.

Anyways friends, my eyes are hurting and I need to sleep- it is only 12:22- a relatively early night. I also wanted to add that my grapefruit last night was one of the most delicious ever- so good that it is still on my mind. No grapefruit tonight though- I already had yogurt and pineapple. Ah- the excitement of Catherine's late night snacks! Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Well, today was a good day. I felt back into the swing of things and got a lot done. Amanda, our intern, was here today and she did a great job as usual. She is one of the best helpers that I've had- she gets a lot done on her own and does a really good job. It really makes a difference having her here. I was working on our anniversary celebration today. I contacted Dick Ferrucci and he is ready to host our event. I also wrote to a local news anchor who was interested in being a special guest speaker last year, hopefully, she will be able to participate in this year's event. I really like having news anchors as our special guest speakers. They are intelligent, good communicators and reliable- 3 very important things and they're interesting too. I also worked on our date auction sponsorship package, I need to start getting that out soon. I was supposed to be donating stuffed animals and other items to the Dedham PD today, but the weather was pretty dodgy this afternoon, so I rescheduled that to Thursday. Tomorrow, we're doing our first homeless shelter donations. I'm donating to two shelters, one in Dorchester and another in Boston. I'm also dropping off more items with the Sommerville PD. I also contacted the Connecticut Department of Children and Families because I want to expand our program to help children entering foster care in CT. I left a message, so hopefully I will hear back soon.

So next year we're going to be holding a road race. It was Michelle, our board member's idea and I think it is a really good one. She has been talking about it for a while and did want to hold it this summer, but we discussed it and we're going to hold it in 2011. Road races are very big undertakings and it requires a lot of planning time. Since I don't have a large staff, we need a year to organize a big event. We could have done something small, but the amount of effort it takes to run a small event, compared to the return makes it not really worth it.

What else is going on? Probably a lot, but now I'm getting tired and can't think. I went to bed at 3am last night, I got a major energy boost at midnight and did a lot of housework. I've been really distracted lately by some pretty big things that are going on, so I was really happy today that I focused on work and got a lot accomplished. I'm going to try to make every day like that. The distractions aren't going away anytime soon, but I can't let work suffer. I've been doing better with exercising every day- I had slipped with exercising daily lately, but I've really made an effort to get back on track. I also know that I've been blogging less lately and I want to fix that. I really do enjoy writing my blog- I can't imagine that it is always interesting, but it makes me happy to write about what's going on and share things. It is also a nice way to unwind at night.

Well friends, I'm off to eat a grapefruit. I've been on a clementine binge- I have some incredible ones from Trader Joe's and I'm trying to savor them and not eat 4 at a time, so I'll have a grapefruit- also very good. Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting on Track

Well, I wasn't going to blog tonight- I'm so tired, but it didn't feel right to go to bed without blogging, so here I am. It's the start of a new week and I'm trying to get things on track. I feel that this year is not starting out quite right- I'm already behind on things and I've had quite a few personal distractions lately and that is affecting my work productivity. I can't put the personal issues aside the way I wish I could, but I need to get back to full production. I have a lot of goals for this year and we are already almost at the mid point of the month, so I can't waste anymore time.

I need to make a decision on a date for our anniversary event and the venue for our date auction. I am leaning towards Friday, 10/1. I have talked to a few people and the general consensus is that a Friday night is much better than a Thursday night, even if there is a Sox/Yankees game going on. I got an email today from a woman who attended the Yelp event last summer which supported Project Smile, she also came to our date auction. She wants to be involved and help at this year's date auction, so that was pretty cool. She's our first volunteer for the date auction. I do need to get the date set so I can get the details out to people.

So what else is going on? So much, but my little brain is tired. I was awake much earlier than usual this morning because I was so stressed out about things. The good thing was that the day really did pick up- I did have some personal things to attend to, but I did get some work accomplished. I just feel like I need to pull things back together- I feel like I'm a bit off my routine. I've slipped with my daily exercising and I haven't been writing my daily list either- those are both important things for me.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. It is almost 1am and I'm off to sleep. I'm sorry this isn't exactly the most interesting blog post, but I did at least want to say hello. Until tomorrow..

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Scheduling Issues

Well, plans are underway for this year's two big events- our 4th annual date auction and our 7th Anniversary Celebration. Seven years already, it doesn't seem real. I'm having a bit of an issue though in terms of scheduling. I want to hold the date auction on Friday, Sept. 17- that is it's usual time of the first Friday after the Memorial Day week. I also want to hold our anniversary event two weeks later on the first Friday in October (10/1), but the problem is that night is the start of a 3 game Red Sox series against the Yankees. It is the last baseball series of the regular season. I'm not sure what I should do. The following weekend is Columbus Day weekend and I already know that some people go away. If I move it later in the month, then I'm competing against possible Red Sox play off games. The post season schedule won't be out for a while and I can't wait for that before I set the date. One solution is to have my event the night before, Thursday, Sept. 30. I've done it once before on a Thursday and have heard that people like Friday nights better since that is the "going out" night and they don't have to head home early for work. Most people that come to our event are not traveling very far and our event is over by 9pm, so it shouldn't really be that big a deal though.

Obviously, some people are going to have an excuse for not attending no matter what. I just want to make every effort to pick a good night for our event. I know Red Sox/Yanks games are always a big deal, but who knows- maybe one of the teams may have a miserable season and those games won't be that important- or it may rain and the game will be canceled. Friday nights are generally a better night to host an event, but I also don't want to compete with Sox/Yanks at the end of the regular season. Our event is also early, so people could still come and go home and watch the rest of the game. We could even have a television brought in, but I don't want people to spend their time watching a baseball game and not bidding on our items or listening to our speaker. Maybe, Thursday would be the better night then- I'm really not sure. I'm going to email our board tomorrow and get their opinion and I'll also email a couple of other people and see what they think. I can't do it the week before because that is only 1 week after our date auction and I don't want to wait until November- the WS is still played in early November, so it would have to be after the first week, and then there could possibly be weather issues and also- it is too long to hold off the calendar debut until November.

Please let me know what you think we should do- I'm definitely looking for some feedback on my scheduling issue. Do we go with Friday, Oct. 1 and compete with a Red Sox/Yanks game or move it to Thursday night and deal with peeps potentially not wanting to go out on a Thursday? Or should I contact MLB and have them move the Red Sox/Yanks game to Thursday instead? I think that would be the best solution!

I don't need to make an immediate decision, but I do want to pick a date by the middle of next week. I'm also trying to decide whether or not I should venue shop for our date auction. I do love Gypsy Bar, but I think we might be outgrowing our space and need a bigger venue. Venue shopping is a big undertaking, and I'm not really sure that I need to do that. Gypsy Bar is still a cool place for our event and we definitely would make it work well again this year. It just would be great to have more space. I'm going to think about it a bit more.

Well friends, that's the latest and greatest for tonight. I can't believe I'm already back to work on the date auction and anniv. event- I don't feel quite ready to start work on them. Anyways, I'm off to bed- it's a new year, but I'm still working on trying to get to bed earlier. It's 12:35 right now, so that's actually pretty good! Until tomorrow...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy 2010 friends! It's the start of a new decade. How exciting is that? These last 10 years- my entire twenties- have brought so many new and unusual things and many wonderful things, I never could have imagined what would have happened. I can only wonder what the next ten years will bring. I want to learn more this year, expand our program, expand our fundraising and become more efficient. I also want to be more assertive- both personally and professionally. Sometimes, it can be hard to ask for exactly what I need and this is something that I'm working to improve on.

Last week was supposed to be my vacation week and I had also intended to do more 2010 planning, but the vacation didn't happen because I was sick from Monday to Friday. I didn't feel back to my normal self until Sunday. So, needless to say- it was a pretty disappointing week and I'm still in need of an actual vacation! I was back at work today, but I had some personal issues to take care of and that cut into a big chunk of my day.

I've been thinking about what I wrote on my last post about letting hurtful words go in one ear and out the other- it's not so easy to do. Certain things are easier to forget and I have let go of some of the things that I heard recently. But, the pain from hurtful words lingers and it changes things. Sometimes, things happen and I realize how little I understand people- I don't understand why people say the things they do sometimes, how they can justify things with reasons that make no sense. Maybe, it doesn't matter that I don't understand. I wish that things could be fixed- I've always been the "fix it" kind of girl. Give me something that was broken, someone was that was broken and I'll try to make it right again. Give me a problem and I'll find a solution. It is a hard lesson to learn that some things can not be fixed and even harder that some things are not worth fixing. When one gets hurt badly, only a fool sticks around to get hurt again. I've made plenty of mistakes in life and I've let a lot of hurtful things go in the name of peace, but a fool I am not.