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Day 376 - Weather Changes

Friday, December 11, 2015

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!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great blog, Steve. What a great idea for Annette. I am sure she will love it.
    Hope Stella is feeling better by now too. One of my resolutions this next year is to blog more often. I think it helps tremendously.

    You are an inspiration to us all.
    1905 days ago
  • no profile photo JEANNETTE59
    Steve, the world would be a better place if we could clone your thoughtfulness!
    I would love to see Annette's face when she sees your gift. I'm share your team will appreciate their gifts and especially your personal note.

    I have a little trick I use on our cat and the dogs when they start to make "that sound".
    I very gently massage their throats till the spasms subside. It works well on Horatio, a small elderly kitty, and Pooh a medium size princess pup, as well as on Jack, a jolly 85 pound dog.

    I sympathize about the ink cartridges. They are the bane of my existence this time of year.

    May your days be merry and bright emoticon
    1905 days ago
    I envy your listening to that heavy rain and wind on that roof top...awesome!
    I totally get your need to write the blogs...I am finding that in writing responses to others blogs...it's not just a response for them...it's for me, too. It solidifies what I think, it gets me being sure of what I think and how I feel about all kinds of things! And, to my surprise, I see my writing skills growing and my ability to express myself and my personality expanding! That was a big surprise I am happy about! I spend a couple hours on SparkFriends blogs each day!
    A few comments:
    Return those ink cartridges...especially the Costco ones, as they should never have run out that quickly and Costco really stands behind there merchandise!
    I so hope Stella Stevens is better? Pitiful on the fleece blanket while her Daddy drank tea! Please do update!
    Loved the humorous power outage story! And I can tell you Annette is going to LOVE your gift! Great idea! And the gift certificates are most thoughtful and generous...but I know it would be your personal words in the card that would mean so much to me!
    Great article on enrollments for Spring, Professor!!!
    Good Luck with Christmas shopping!
    I am grateful, as well, for your support and friendship, Sparky (your new nickname!)!!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1905 days ago
    Love your blog Steve!

    Inkjet printers are really expensive to use. I switched to a laser jet printer. While the upfront costs are higher the operating costs are significantly lower.

    I hope your little Stella gets well soon.

    Congrats on the successful presentation and the cool head during the power failure. I always had a paper backup PowerPoint presentation - -that way I was prepared for any sort of equipment malfunctions, etc.

    Finally, I think your gift to Annette is fantastic. You're a sweet and thoughtful guy!

    Have a great weekend.
    1905 days ago
    I love this blog. Your touching gift of the magazine cover will be a hit. So will the grocery cards. You need a new printer! I just bought one at Costco for $50 and it printed 100+ Christmas letters. Love the press release too. You will be great!!
    1905 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    I am giving theater tickets to my great-niece..SHe loves them,,she is 17 years old.

    Great presentation pick-up!!
    1905 days ago
    Ohmygosh, the XL cartridges rule!
    1905 days ago
    Sometimes it's more cost effective to take it to a printing shop. It's certainly a lot easier.
    1905 days ago
    that's funny about the magazine paste up - I've done that with my boss a few times. Pasted his picture on the cover of those 'top 30 under 30' and other issues along those lines. I'll just put it with his daily mail & messages. There have been several times that he didn't even notice his own picture on the cover!

    I took an HR certification course several years ago. I was in 'middle management' at the time and most of the course I heard the instructor and the other students (who all worked in HR) talking about all the problems that managers cause HR. None of them knew what I did; they just took it for granted that I was in HR too.

    I just think it gives me the ability to do my job better if I can get an understanding of the people I work with & what they do.
    1906 days ago
    Love your blog! I think you are an amazing person! Wishing you much success!
    1906 days ago
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