I'm sitting here on the island counter listening to the rain fall on the sunroom roof while the wind blow outside, thinking of all the things I'm grateful for, especially all the warm comments on my totally lame blog post yesterday apologizing for not being more present. It's one of the things about Spark that is very important to me - this connection I have with you all - that the person who misses my blogs most is ME.
You see, writing these posts is my motivating tool for myself. It reminds me why I started this journey and why I need to continue traveling along this path for many years. I'm happy that it gives you encouragement as well, and glad that you get something from my words, but really, it's mostly just for me. I need this reminder, this Spark, to keep me going and to make me want to continue making the right choices.
A recap of the past few days...
I bought new printer ink cartridges at Costco over the weekend because I knew I would be using a lot of ink for our holiday letter. I had just replaced each of the color cartridges late last week, so I figured with the new cartridges, I wouldn't have any problem. Well, on Tuesday I printed 60 of the newsletters off. After the first 30, I had to replace two of the ink cartridges. After another 10, the yellow cartridge was replaced. After another 20, the cyan and magenta cartridges (that I had just bought on Saturday) were swapped in to replace the two that I put in last week. I could hardly believe it! So I jumped on Amazon and ordered the XL versions of the color cartridges, but they won't be delivered until next week. I have about 30 more newsletters to print, and no color ink to print them. I may have to search around here to see if I can pick up a set of color inks to get the rest of the pages printed, knowing that I won't get many pages from the standard cartridges.
All the ones that were printed have been stuffed into their envelopes, labeled, and stamped. They will go out in tomorrow's mail. Eventually, I will post a PDF version of the newsletter for my friends on social media that I don't send physical cards to.
Yesterday I went out and bought $20 gift cards to the grocery story where Steve works, and I'm giving one to each of my team members (17 in all). I wish I could do more for them, because they have been so great to work with. It was fun to write notes in each of their holiday cards to let them know how much I appreciate each of them.
This morning, around 3:30, Stella woke up and started making "that sound" that dogs make when they want to throw up. Nothing was coming out, but she kept doing it over and over. Between her gagging and the wind howling, I didn't get much sleep after that. I finally got up about 4:45 and got ready to give our presentation at the judge's breakfast. Stella wouldn't eat her breakfast, so I knew she really felt bad. She laid down on the fleece blanket on the sofa while I drank my tea. I was worried about her, but knew that she would feel better eventually.
The presentation itself went really well, except for a comical moment right at the halfway point. We had picked a slide in the PowerPoint where Annette would hand the clicker over to me to finish up. Just before that slide, the power went out in the restaurant. (Did I mention how windy it was?) Right then, she said, "and now, Director Wylie will continue the presentation." Everyone cracked up! She looked at me and said "What???" I just said, "Thanks a lot, Annette!" and laughed. I took over the presentation (her laptop still showed the slides, so I could see the points I was trying to cover) and kept on going. About 5 minutes later, the power came back on. I finished up the presentation, and then the two of us answered a lot of questions. We got some very good feedback about the message, and a few people patted me on the back for not freaking out over the power going out. (I'm an actor - the show must go on!)
This afternoon I took Annette out to lunch so we could recap and catch up, since she had been on the road for much of the previous two days. She is still stressing over a lot of things, and suffering from PTSD from the fire back in September that destroyed her parents' (and her childhood) home. She mentioned breaking down after hearing a commercial on the radio for a dining room table, because her parents' table had been destroyed. I reminded her that those feelings and reactions are totally normal. She really is like a little sister to me. I feel very close to her.
On Sunday, I made a special gift for her that I will give her next week. The September issue of Fortune magazine is titled "the 50 most powerful women in business" and on the cover are photos of numerous CEOs and executives from major corporations. I downloaded the photo she uses for her online profile and pasted it on top of the face of one of the women on the cover and printed a new version of it. If I do say so, it came out really well - you would think that she is really on the cover of the magazine! The printout is framed, and I hope she likes it. It was so much fun to create. I do see her as a powerful woman, and I love having her as a boss. I couldn't be more fortunate.
That pretty much sums up my week. I'm hiring one of our city council people (who is also a graduate of our campus) to be our temporary outreach specialist to see if we can drum up more interest in enrollments for the Spring. And a press release that I wrote got picked up by a couple of our media outlets too:
There is always a lot happening - both on campus and at home! I'm glad that I've at least made a dent in the holiday card mailings and the team gift giving. I still need to figure out gifts for my family (and to mail gifts to the nieces and nephew-in-law back in Kentucky). This can be a time of stress, but it is also a season of great joy. Joy for family and friends, joy for the year that has past and anticipation for the year ahead.
Your support and comments give me that joy, every day. I'm so grateful for each of you, and overwhelmed by your support and friendship. Together, we can accomplish great things!
Let's Keep Sparking!