Okay, so here's the skinny on the last week or so of my life, if anyone is curious...
Tuesday, August 29
I'm starting with Tuesday because it was the first day of the insanity. As everyone already knows, that day was the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Being the communications person for an organization that does disaster relief, and that was very active in the relief efforts following that particular storm, I had a pretty busy day. We planned two commemorative events. They were different from the many others, however, in that we were actually beginning some new programs that will help with disaster relief. We are not just remembering, we are planning for the future. We had a few politicians at our events, as well as local media. Since my goal is always to ensure good media coverage and to make the local politicians aware of the things we are doing in their areas, I had a good day. But what touched me more than the politicians coming out to join our commemorative events, and what made the day better than a hundred articles or segments on the news, what really made the day worth all the effort was the opportunity to see people I haven't seen in person since just after the storm, and the opportunity to see that progress is being made in some areas. There is still a lot of work to do, but some things almost look normal again.
Later that night, I went to two benefit concerts for my food bank. We actually had nothing to do with the concerts, the radio station (92 Zew, which I love!) called us and asked if they could do a "Show the Love" promotion on the Katrina anniversary with two concerts they had coming to town: Lyle Lovett and G Love. They were at two different venues, but were only about a block from each other. We set up tables and collected food and funds before each show, and when everyone had entered the Lyle Lovett concert, Marcus (who was generously helping me) and I went to Soul Kitchen to watch G Love. It was a great show... or what I saw of it was great, anyway. We were there for about 3 songs, until an extremely drunk girl staggered up to Marcus, took his drink from him, drank about half of it in one gulp, and then gave it back to him. He wanted to leave after that (understandably) so we split. So that's the way my 16 hour day ended. Interesting, huh?
Wednesday and Thursday
After that, I had one day to endure before having a few days off. Wednesday is kind of a blur. I was so tired that I don't really remember what happened. I had arranged to be off on Thursday and Friday, and we were closed on Monday for Labor Day, so all I could think of was my time off. Unfortunately, I'm obsessive and can't let things go. I ended up working all day Thursday. Our quarterly newsletter has to be mailed on Sept. 18, so I needed this week to print it and next week to fold it. We send out 6,000 of them, so it takes some time to prepare them. Every quarter I have to find groups of volunteers who are willing to fold and label 6,000 newsletters. It is more difficult each time, I'm afraid. (ah, the joys of working for a nonprofit!) But anyway, I had to finish the newsletter before I left town, so I worked on it from home on Thursday. There are some major advantages to working from home, especially when you work for an organization that is as "high tech" as we are. Everyone is used to using messenger and email to communicate, so you can actually do most of your work remotely if you must. I managed to write the entire 8 page newsletter in about 5 hours, including having to wait for coworkers to send back emails answering questions about articles that had to do with them. So I'd say that's not bad. One thing I loved about working from home on Thursday was the fact that I could sit on my bed, in my PJs! I stopped only to make lunch, and got so much more done than I ever do when I'm at the office, with constant interruptions. (not that I mind the interruptions... I like the people I work with and enjoy the occasional visitor, but I really needed to get that newsletter done, so it was nice to be able to do it all in one day. Another advantage... I did laundry while working from home, so I was able to prepare for my weekend trip.
I was supposed to be off work, but I ended up going in anyway. I had to pick up a banner and drop it off at the local United Way for their kickoff rally (which was today, actually) It was okay, though, because I had to pick Rhea up at home and it's not too far from work, so it was kind of on my way. Kind of...
Anyway, I picked Rhea up, we went to lunch, and then hit the road. Our destination? Atlanta. Why? DragonCon! It was our first DragonCon experience, and I have to say it was an interesting one. In fact, I've already decided to go next year if the guests are good. Hopefully I will have some time to check out the writing track next year. I didn't get to do that this year. I'll post some pictures from DragonCon later, but let me just say that it was a lot of fun and I met some truly awesome people. Geeks are so nice! (and I can say that, because I'm one too, lol) Anyway, we went to lots of Firefly/Serenity panels, the Buffy prom, the Serenity Shindig, the Harry Potter Yule Ball, a Star Trek panel, and several other interesting panels and events. Actually, looking at the people milling around in costume was the most fun I had all weekend. Well, the Shindig was a lot of fun too. Emerald Rose played at the Yule Ball, and they were great. I checked iTunes and found them, so I'm going to have to download some of their music soon.
Oh! On Friday and then again on Monday we spend some time with Chris. I've never missed anyone like I miss Chris, and seeing him twice in such a short time just makes me miss him even more now that we are apart again. He is the dearest friend I've ever had, and I enjoy his company so much! Everyone needs someone in their life that helps them recharge, you know? I spend most of my life encouraging people, helping them to feel good about themselves. Sometimes I need a friend who can do that for me, and when I need that, Chris is always there. Even when he has other things going on in his life, he makes a point of being there for me. I can't say how much that means to me. (and Chris, I know you're going to read this, but I want you to know it's the truth. I love you!) So anyway, we met Chris and his boyfriend for dinner on Friday and Monday. It was the first time we both met the boyfriend (whose name I am not mentioning because I don't know how he feels about having his name "out there" on the Internet) and we both really liked him. He's nice and funny, and really seems to care about Chris, which is the most important thing. He's also smart, which is extremely important because Chris is very intelligent and needs someone who can provide stimulating conversation. We are very much the same in that respect, we both need someone we can really talk to about important things. So anyway, it was great seeing both of them, and even though our dinner experience was sort of bad on Monday, it was still nice to see them and spend time together.
Today was fine. We started printing the newsletter, so everything is on schedule. If I can get all of them printed by Friday, everything will be okay. I did get some good news today. I got a raise! It's not a big one, but my boss kept saying, "it's only a mid year review, your annual will be better" so I guess I should just wait until January to see what is going to happen. It's nice to get a raise, even if it's smaller than expected.
The writing is still moving along. I've found that even when I'm not writing, I'm thinking about my various stories. I've even been dreaming about the stories and the characters lately. I love when I'm in that place with my writing. The stories become like friends that I can't wait to visit. It makes writing every day very easy. Of course, the challenge is writing every day when it isn't easy, and I'm working very hard on that.
The healthy lifestyle program is back on track. The weekend was very bad for me! When you're at a convention and the only places to eat are fast food joints in the mall next to the hotel, you tend to gain a few pounds. I did get a lot of exercise walking between the three convention hotels and our hotel, which was about 3 blocks away (up a massive hill) but I didn't eat right, and I won't even report how many sodas I had!!! So today I started over and did very well. Luckily, the rest of the week will be pretty calm for me, so I'll be able to come home from work, work out for 45 minutes, write for a few hours, and do everything else I need to do before going to bed. And this weekend, I plan to rest as much as possible! I only have plans for one evening, and that's Saturday. I'm going to see a band at Soul Kitchen with some friends. I think it'll be a lot of fun.
So anyway, that gets everyone up to speed on what's been going on.
That's an important step in your creative process -- even when you're not physically writing, you're thinking about it. It gives you more momentum when you get back to the page.ReplyDelete
RE: the volunteers. I know what you mean. I was the administrator for a foundation for five years. The staff was myself and the executive director. To keep volunteers coming back, we gave them incentives (okay, bribes). Sometimes, it was pizza and soda. Other times, I'd bake soemthing. Or, on the computer, we'd design some sort of sticker or make buttons or get someplace to donate a bunch of hats or tshirts or something.
And, we took the most dedicated volunteers out to lunch once a year.
It didn't entirely solve the problem, but it helped. It was a bit more effort on our part in some ways, but made less work in the long run.
Awww, I had a great time, too... even if I never got to eat. What you said is so sweet, and I feel the same about you. Now that we live a little closer to one another, we simply HAVE to see each other more often. It's my turn to come see you... I'm looking for a good weekend to make into a three-day weekend! I love you tons!ReplyDelete