Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Shhhh...it's a secret

Well, not entirely a secret as a few people at work are in the know.  (No, I did not win the lottery and can retire early - I wish!).

I've talked about our charitable campaign which kicked off at the end of September and will wind-up on Thursday.  We set a goal of $35,000 and 35% participation, both of which were significantly lower than last year and the year prior.  However, we knew we'd had a number of larger donors retire so wanted to set a goal we thought we had a hope of achieving.

AND we did!  Or at least we`ve reached one of our targets - the dollars, but not the participation but we`re closing in on that.  As of 4 p.m. today, we were at $36,600 plus with a participation rate of 30.4%.   When we add in the funds from events held throughout the year, we've reached $40,000.  Hurray!!!

We may not make our participation goal, but then we never really have.  We used to set 50% as a goal and except for the year where we created pledge forms for small donations of $2 or more (normally would be $10 plus) we`ve never come close to that number.

In previous years we were able to build hype by having fun events, like frozen turkey bowling, a not-so-amazing race, mini-golf tournaments, and even a carnival.  This is no longer permitted. Fun at work....omg sacrilege!!!  So as our campaigns have become more passive, the participation and the donations have decreased.  You wouldn't think that fun and donations would tie together but they do.

We were really worried this year, as one of the union groups has been without a contract for two years, while the other started bargaining last week.  Add in the major changes and the negative impact these have had on morale and we really thought we`d see a further decline.

Since I'm a bean counter I was doing some analysis on the number earlier today.  Almost two-thirds of those who pledged this year are new donors or have increased their pledge from last year.  Only a handful decreased their pledge which is incredible.  The average donation increased by nearly 10%!

What made the difference?  Is it possible, that despite the low morale, the issues surrounding the contract negotiations (and potential strike), and the lack of fun, that people are realizing we are still more fortunate than most?  For the most part we have job security...as long as we do our jobs... and while our pay hasn't kept up recently with private sector wages we do have a good deal of flexibility (such as my up-coming leave).

I don't know though I do plan to ask for feedback. Perhaps I can identify that elusive factor that encourages people to give back so we can continue to grow our campaign and set loftier goals.  But regardless, the benefit of having reached our goal is the work that can be done by the various charities within our community.  Ultimately that is most important!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The countdown continues

It's been another busy week, which is a good thing as time certainly is flying by.  Did you realize it's now less than two months until Christmas?  AND after that, it's only an additional nine days until I fly out to Vancouver Island or the month?

One of my closest friends said to me the other day..."don't even try to tell me the countdown has anything to do with Christmas, it's all about your leave in January."  Uh...I have to admit there is a lot of truth in that!

We had another work function in Saskatoon this week, so I drove with a couple of our employees on Wednesday and back again Friday.  The program was good, and best of all most of my staff were able to attend so we spent a good couple of days together.  A few of us were able to get together for dinner the first evening without the rest of the group.  We went for Mexican food - if you're ever in Saskatoon, check out Las Palapas on Victoria.  The food, drinks and service were all very good!

On Thursday, several of us joined the rest of the managers and employees at the German Club.  We were a fairly large group and had reserved the dining room so we could wander between tables after we ate.  Certainly different food from the night before but also very good.  Later a few of us met in the hotel lounge for a couple of beer and to watch the end of the San Diego-Denver football game.

All in all, it was a good event for the employees to get to know one another and to hear the same message from management.  My boss put a bit of a damper on it for me, when he announced that I would be planning next year's event.  Little does he know, but I have no intention of planning an event for the employees.  I'll coordinate it but the ideas of what they want to hear/discuss/learn will have to come from them!

After getting back to Regina on late Friday afternoon, I ran a couple of errands before going to dinner with friends.  One of the couples who attend infrequently have a four-month old son.  He provided the entertainment at dinner, cooing and chewing on his fingers.  Though when he was ready to go home, he certainly made everyone aware!

Yesterday was furniture haul-away day. While the old stuff is only six or seven years old, Saku has done a real number on it.  (I recently got the cats a real scratching post - which Saku will use).

It also didn't really fit with the color scheme of this house, which is gray.  While gray is a neutral color, I never really liked the contrast.

A few weeks ago, I went out to see if I could find something new and reasonably priced.  I picked a couch and chair in contrasting colors that I would fit well in the living room, and best of all, could make payments without interest for a few months.

The junk removal guys were here by 10:30 in the morning and took the old stuff away.  The living room certainly looked bare!

The ottoman is still here - I'm going to try to recover it myself, because it is still in decent shape, and it will save me a little on costs.  

Ta da!  Here is the new furniture in place.  My son told me I did it backwards by having the couch upholstered in blue and the chair in gray, but I like it.  

The chair is much smaller than I remembered and although it fits Sasha and I, it isn't a good chair to work on the laptop from.  

So I'm at the dining room table instead.  That's probably not a bad thing, since I tend to spend a lot of time at the computer - maybe I'll get more housework done this way.

Speaking of housework, the list of chores are long and plenty.  I also need to get outside to take care of the last remaining containers and the leaves that have gathered.  Our forecast for later in the week (by Halloween) is that dreadful four letter word sNOw.  It probably won't last but the thought of it makes me shiver.

Is it any wonder I'm counting down the days until January 3rd.  That's 69 sleeps if you're wondering!

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, 19 October 2014


From Wikipedia:
An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, "manifestation, striking appearance") is an experience of sudden and striking realization.

I have to admit, I've done a lot of whining lately about work.  Most of it well-deserved but still you've all been very patient and kind to listen to me.  This weekend I came to a profound realization.  It came about when I was sitting in the thinking room (TMI perhaps?) when the aha moment hit me.  

It is this:

Every time I get frustrated at work, every time I give in to my feelings, and every time I vent my anger at the ridiculous actions, the stupid decision, the thoughtlessness of others.....they win.

I've always been a competitive person and allowing someone power over me is so against my nature. And yet, that's exactly what I've done.  I say, no more!

Tomorrow is a new day.  I know I'll still get annoyed with the people around me, frustrated with the constant changes that make no sense, and angry at the lack of cooperation.  

I may not be able to "be the change" I want to be, because I simply don't have that authority. But I can strive to do my best, yet not get so overwhelmed with the tasks and demands on my time that I forget what is most important.  

When idiots happen, and they will, I will remind myself DO NOT let them win.  

Monday, 13 October 2014

Mellow Monday

Ahhh...it is so nice to have a full day off with nothing much to do.  Of course there is lots I could do if I chose to - does housework every get done?   But unless I get bored with doing nothing I plan to relax the day away.

We had a lovely day yesterday.  I set the table very simply (sans napkins and food at this point).

There wasn't much talking during the meal, we were all hungry and it all tasted sooo good!  But as we relaxed around the table after dinner, the memories flowed of holidays past spent with Grandma and Grandpa (my parents).

Something my mom always managed that I never have is getting all of the food to the table hot.  She was an amazing cook!

The star of the meal was the turkey.  George must have been a girl because it was mostly breast meat, just the legs and bit of dark meat.  My daughter loves the dark and my son and I prefer the white meat so it was perfect.

If that sounds as though we ate it all in one sitting, no worries, we didn't!  There were lots of leftovers.  No one was ready for dessert after our big meal.  I had my pie before bedtime, while the other two had turkey sandwiches.  Maybe I'm a better cook than I thought I was!

So I won't have to cook today, our Riders play in a couple of hours, and I started reading a new book yesterday.  AND I still need to get caught up on my blog reading.  Sounds like a perfect day to me!

Have a good one everyone!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Grateful, appreciative, and thankful

This is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  It's been a very long and tiring week at work so I'm most grateful for a four day weekend.  (This is NOT going to be a whining post so that's all I'm saying about work)

Friday was spent running errands, buying groceries and getting my nails done before I went out for dinner with friends.  Saturday was housecleaning day, since I've accomplished next to nothing here at home all week.  Even the dishes were piled up in the sink!  I did laundry, vacuuming, washed floors and windows, dusted, and cleaned bathrooms. By 8 p.m. I was exhausted and ready for a good night's sleep but grateful for all that was accomplished.

I'm appreciative today will be a little less hectic. George (the turkey) is in the fridge defrosting, the bread has been chopped up for stuffing and for now I'm going to relax, read blogs and watch a bit of television.  A friend is stopping by shortly so I can help her with a task, and my daughter will be here later today for dinner with my son and I.

I'm thankful for the time we'll have together but I'll know I'll be happy when she heads home tomorrow.  We love each other but get along much better at a distance!

We've got weather for the weekend as well.  The sun has been shining and the temperatures are warm enough I've been able to open the sun room for the cats and get a bit of fresh air into the house. I'm appreciative of these last few days of more summer-like weather with the brightly colored leaves and the freshness of the air for my walk this morning.

There are so many things to be thankful for this year.  Family, health, and friends and even my job.  I'm also most grateful, appreciative, and thankful for this community I've found through the blogs I read and those who take the time to read and comment on mine.  The laughter and the tears that your words invoke in me are both inspiring and encouraging.

Thank you for sharing a little of your life with me and allowing me to share mine.  Happy Thanksgiving!