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Friday Five - This Week
Friday, Mar. 28, 2003, 8:47 p.m.

Question: Who needs the shoemaker's elves?

What I Learned: Help can arrive from the most unexpected sources.

1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?

I had to give a big presentation to a large group of peers and colleagues this week. It was a little scary and a little overwhelming but I was too busy keeping up with what needed to be done to worry about anything but pushing ahead. For weeks, I had working on aspects of organizing the whole event including: creating invitations, compiling a resource document, ordering literature, arranging for conference rooms, projectors and so on. I had to gather a group of volunteers to man registration desks and a raft of other duties. I worked frantically to create my PowerPoint, and put together a cool slide show for before the talk started. I sent last minute reminders, made calls, printed documents, and a ton of other tasks, which kept me up most nights last weekend and this past week until 1 or 2. All this - as well as speaking, which is pretty nerve-racking in and of itself. Even though I knew what I wanted to say, I was disappointed by the way it was sounding when I found myself practicing my talk. I felt more like I was stumbling through it – late the night before the program as I practiced all by myself in my kitchen, shifting my weight self-consciously from foot to foot on the fake brick linoleum tile and hearing every error with growing despair. I was worried about blowing it. Worse, there were still a few things about my PowerPoint formatting that were bugging me. What was I going to do? I was sunk.

Amazingly, my teenage daughter came downstairs and said, "Go ahead, mom. I’ll listen to your presentation." Standing there in front of this real audience and my slide show in front of me instead of a printout of it – it all came together. I heard the glitches and fixed them and I heard the good parts and was able to polish them up. Suddenly I felt like it was starting to sound pretty darned good.

Still, I was too tired to do anything with that PowerPoint. My daughter sent me to bed, took my laptop upstairs and made the perfect changes in the formatting without any further input from me. It was all done - and it looked just right.

It was like the story of the Shoemaker’s Elves only much better because I didn't have to make any cute little clothes or such. I'm sure I will have to buy some but that's another story and it will be worth the shopping expedition for the help provided.

The talk was a grand success and to my daughter I say – thank you for being there for me in a way I never could have anticipated.

2. What one person touched your life this week?

Beyond the great kid, another thing that was great this week was hearing from an old friend that I had worked with a few years ago. We had fallen out of touch and I was really excited to hear from her. Like many friends that we lose track of, I thought about her and meant to call or email and just didn’t ever get going on it. Catching up with an old friend was really uplifting because I realized that I hadn’t really lost the friendship although we had lost touch for a while. It had still been there all the time.

3. How have you helped someone this week?

The same answer as every other parent probably could put down here – helping kids with homework, projects, and papers. There’s nothing like Louisa May Alcott at midnight or assisting a kid in scouring the web for articles that provide examples of volunteerism as their eyelids begin to flutter shut.

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week?

Practical - get my expense reports done. Health – get some sleep. Immediate – get some more diet coke. I just found a half-empty can in one of the kid’s rooms and none in the fridge. Life is so unfair sometimes. Where are my car keys?

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place?

Organize my whole life – or failing that, perhaps just clean my purse out and think happy thoughts.

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