31 March 2007

A quickie before moving on to other things..

The pansy Jaywalkers are finished!

They're.. well, not my favorite socks. :/ Even though I knit the ribbing on needles a size smaller than the leg, the ribbing is loose and the leg is still a bit snug at the top, due to my shapely calves. The foot is a bit loose as well, because the stockinette for the sole should also likely have been done on a smaller needle size but switching between two different sized needles for each round would have driven me to distraction. *shrug* I'll wear them, I just won't likely make another pair.

In other areas of productivity, we've been back at the remodeling this weekend. Dad came to help us finish hanging the rest of the drywall:

That's Dad hamming it up as he paused before mudding the last corner so I could take the picture. *smile* You may also remember that there was a heating vent over the large hole in the wall on the right that was painted that lovely (*choke*) green; that was picked up this morning, along with the hardware from the door, by a man who lives just outside of town who does sandblasting. We should get them back all nice and clean later this week. We won't be painting them. Ever.

Hanging the rest of the drywall also meant that I could dig the door out from under the tarp (where it had been stored with the drywall to keep it from getting rained on - really an extra cautious step since it takes a very hard blowing wind to get rain back to the porch wall!). Now, before you look at the next set of pictures, remember that this door had been painted over completely at least four times, on top of a coat of varnish...

The worst part, not surprisingly, were the bits around the panels - they're rounded, or concave or however you describe them; the paint stripped out pretty clean thanks to the varnish underneath, but getting the varnish out required quite a bit of hand detail sanding and at least an entire pack of medium grain sandpaper. It looks infinitely better, but in truth, we still need to strip the varnish off the other side. :(

In a fit of.. something.. not quite sure what.. we also decided that it was time to make the stairs not quite so squeaky. At the moment, each and every stair creaks when you step on it. And this morning, there were rectangles of what used to be an off-white, rather thick nap carpet on each step that was *impossible* to clean - the vacuum couldn't quite get to the back corners, it was nearly impossible to clean the area up to the edge of the carpet without a toothbrush, etc. So the first step was to rip out all the little carpet pieces. Fortunately, they weren't glued down, just nailed, so while dad was mudding corners upstairs, I pulled nails out of the stairs, swept and mopped:

They're still rough - they really need to be properly refinished, but that's a bigger project than we're ready to undertake at the moment, so we're doing what we can with the knowledge that we'll need to undo it at some later time to do it all properly.

Tomorrow, Jack will nail the steps all down again, which dad tells us should stop the squeaking. Once that's done, we'll put in the carpet runner I picked up this evening:

(You can really see how bad the stairs are in this shot.. *cringe*) I think it will look really nice with the woodwork, but it does somewhat limit our options for painting the wall in the stairwell. *shrug*

29 March 2007

Now with 100% more knitting pictures.

Okay, so I'm still recovering from last week and it's already Thursday (! How did that happen?!). That's awfully pathetic. *sigh*

Since I showed you the picture of the too-small-Jaywalker, I figured I owed you pictures of the right sized ones:

The color is a smidge off in this, but you can see that they no longer pool the way I didn't like in the ankle. They do in the foot, but I'm strangely okay with that. *shrug* I have a couple rounds left to finish up on the toe of the second one and then they'll be finished. I'm really not in much of a knitting mood these days, though, so I might just switch to spinning for awhile (at least assuming the remodeling hasn't left my hands too rough to work with roving.. hrm..)

There might have been more.. but I seem to have forgotten what it might have been. Oh well!

25 March 2007

A different type of fiber..

Specifically, fiberglass.

This is how our upstairs bathroom looked Wednesday (all pictures are clickable thumbnails; click them to get a bigger version):

You can see that we've already started ripping up the linoleum flooring, and that we've removed the sliding glass shower doors, but otherwise, very little has changed. Yet. (Yes, we had lovely hardwood floors throughout the upstairs.. lovely hardwood floors that someone decided to cover with linoleum. Poorly, at that.) Note the absolutely atrocious paint - that's some brand of aqua green and it's the same as the color I'm trying to eradicate from my kitchen. What you can't see in the picture is that they also painted the entire door a combination of this aqua and white - an entire, old, farmhouse door with four recessed panels. The most egregious part of this bathroom, however, isn't clearly visible from the door.

Those are two shots of the plumbing nightmare that Dumba$$ Do-It-Yourselfer who decided that a 5x8 foot bathroom needed a shower concocted. You'll notice in the second shot, which was taken with the camera resting on the floor of the bathroom, that the copper pipes come up above the level of the floor. Presumably, this was done to allow the pipe to travel over a floor joist (though we're not quite sure why that was necessary at all) rather than acquiring the tools to route the pipe through the floor joist. To cover this unsightly mess, said DDIY built a shoddy "box" out of 2x4 and plywood that created a still unsightly and unstable step up at the back of the bathroom. Also note that there's a sewer trap that's just barely visible in the second picture that also comes up through the floor boards. This trap was installed for the shower and connects to the toilet sewer drain.

We decided some time ago that there is no need for this house to have two full bathrooms (or rather, 1 and 3/4 bathrooms), especially given the terror that was the upstairs bathroom. We've speculated that this bathroom may at one time have been the only bathroom in the house and that there may have been a small-ish clawfoot tub where the shower was installed. However, the owner prior to us had an addition put on the first floor that consisted of a large full bathroom and a back entry/laundry room, so there's no longer a need for a full bathroom upstairs (and we've never used the shower, not least because the drain in the floor was set 1/2 an inch too high so it wouldn't drain properly). The first order of business, then, was to remove the damned shower:

That's my dad - who is really quite an accomplished carpenter, plumber, electrician, etc. This is at least his fourth bathroom remodel - he did the bathroom in my parent's home some twenty years ago and has more recently constructed and/or remodeled both bathrooms in my sister's house extensively. We hope this will be his last bathroom remodel, but there are no guarantees!

At any rate, you can see pretty clearly the mess they made in installing this shower. To begin with, the room simply isn't big enough, so in order to brace the back wall of the shower, they had to install a piece of 3/4 inch plywood that covers most of the window. They then proceeded to epoxy the shower surround to the plywood and the adjacent wall. We had to utterly destroy the surround to get it out, but both glass doors were salvageable.

We removed all the trim in the room because the better part of it needed to be replaced anyway; they cut through the window sill to install the shower, so we need to completely reconstruct the trim around the window. We didn't think it was worth stripping the paint off the 6 inch kick board, or the door trim, so we'll be replacing it all with something likely smaller and pr'bly more modern (for better or for worse) once the rest of the room is finished. In so doing, though, we found that the lumber for the trim in this room (and likely the whole house) was supplied by H.P. Nelson & Sons, Caledonia, MN:

Up next, we wanted to move the vanity. We're almost 100% certain that the vanity has been in the front corner of the bathroom since the house was built because they worked the lathe-and-plaster around the drain and the water pipes. However, we wanted more counter space in the bathroom and without a tub or shower by the window, there's plenty of room to put in a 4 foot vanity and still leave adequate space around the heating vent. So we moved the vanity and sink over by the window. (By the by, if anyone knows someone in the SE MN/SW WI/NE IA area who wants a 30 inch wide by 22 inch deep bathroom vanity and sink, have them contact me.)

Because the shower was already plumbed (albeit poorly), we didn't have to run new water pipes up to the bathroom; we just had to fix the ones for the shower and route them properly through the floor. (We also capped the water pipes and drain for the old sink.) We opted to move the only outlet in the room from the front corner to the back corner so it would be closer to the new vanity, and to remove the built in medicine cabinet that was above the old vanity.

The plumbing and electric work took dad the better part of Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In the meantime, I stripped the paint and old varnish off the door (no pictures - it's out on the porch under a tarp with the remaining drywall at the moment), which involved no small amount of detail sanding. Sometime after dinner last night, though, we were able to lay the first concrete board for the new floor:

You can also just barely see the new outlet in this shot, as well as the fully unobstructed window and the mess of the wall left after we removed the shower. The wire that you see along the back wall is actually our phone line, which was glued in behind the shower and tacked to the kickboard to run through the room into the den, which is the next room over on the right.

This morning, we laid the rest of the concrete board for the floor and hung the drywall on the left hand wall:

Dad will be coming back next weekend to help us finish hanging the drywall (he has a small bit of plumbing work left, too: the old sink drain is capped, but sticks out too far from the wall, so he needs to open up the wall and remove the elbow just inside to put the cap inside the wall), after which we'll prime and paint the room (we picked up a lovely lavender paint) and then lay down ceramic floor tile (a matte grey that looks like chiseled rock) over the next few weeks. (We'll put the toilet back in after next weekend so we can use it in the interim; not that it's necessary, just nice in the middle of the night!) Dad will be back in early May, at which point we expect to finish the last bit of floor tiling (some of the tiles will need to be cut to go around the toilet and the plumbing for the new sink and we're not quite up to that job without supervision!) and install the vanity & trim.

All in all, it's been a very productive and moderately exhausting week, especially as all of this remodeling fell immediately on the heels of a work-related trip to South Carolina for three days. That said, I'm very, very pleased to have this project started and well on it's way and can't wait to get the rest of the dry wall hung so we can start the painting and tiling in earnest.

18 March 2007

In brief..

I ran out of yarn with 6 and a half rows to go to finish the toe of my first Jaywalker. This happened while I was on a plane from Minneapolis to Detroit, so I could really maneuver so that I could try the sock on to see if it would be okay to just rip back and start the toe decreases a repeat or two earlier. Now that I'm settled into my hotel room, though, I definitely think that's in order.. the sock is.. boxy at the toe now, so decreasing earlier, even if I end up decreasing more in the long run (the pattern says to kitchener the remaining 28 stiches.. way to boxy for my comfort in shoes) sounds like a good plan. I'm a little torn, though.. going up a needle size definitely fixed the issue with the socks being too tight, but I think they're also now just a tad too big. *sigh*

My other option is to start a different pair with the Lorna's Laces (Barb - it's the Bucks Bar colorway which is a sort of pale blue/green/pink/beige one) I brought, but I sort of want to finish the Jaywalkers. We'll see.

Sorry about the lack of photos.. I decided that I didn't want to try to figure out how to get the digital camera into my carry on safely, so it stayed home.

I thought there was more of this post but it seems to have wandered away. *shrug*

16 March 2007

If only all things were this easy to undo..

My husband had oral surgery on Tuesday. It was not terrible, but it was a bit more invasive than your typical tooth extraction. I'll spare you the details of the surgery and instead show you what I started to occupy myself while waiting:

Yup, it's a Jaywalker done in KnitPicks Memories in the Pansy colorway. It's a quick little pattern, easy to memorize, and therefore just about perfect for waiting rooms. I have to admit,though, that I wasn't thrilled with the striping - I didn't like that the colors *always& pooled in pairs, so that the black and dark purple were always striping and the yellow and magenta were always striping - so I wasn't too terribly upset to discover that the sock was much to tight when knit on US 1 needles.

So I ripped it out and started over, doing the ribbing on US 1s and then switching to US 2s for the chevron pattern. So far, I like it much better - the striping seems to be more mixed up and it's definitely not as dense as the first time.

This will likely be my plane knitting for my trip to South Carolina this weekend, but I'm also bringing some newly acquired Lorna's Laces (my first time ever using this yarn!) just in case I finish this pair before I get home.

15 March 2007


Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter that is intended to demonstrate to House Appropriators how important the Sexual Assault Service Program (SASP) is and to request full funding for the program in Fiscal Year 2008. Dear Colleague letters are generally initiated by two Members of Congress (usually a democrat and a republican). These letters are sent to each Congressperson to ask for their signature to show support for funding a particular program or to gather support for pending legislation.

We need your help to get as many members of Congress as possible to sign on to this letter to show that SASP is an important program to all communities across the country. The deadline is this Friday, March 16. In 2006, 110 representatives signed a Dear Colleague in support of SASP funding for Fiscal Year 2007. It's crucial that we show the same level of support for SASP in 2008.

Background: The Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) was authorized by the Violence Against Women Act of 2005. SASP is the first federal program to provide a direct and dedicated funding stream for services to victims by rape crisis centers and other sexual assault organizations. SASP funding is also directed to Native American tribes as well as culturally-specific organizations to better reach and serve victims in communities that have been historically underserved. In addition, SASP makes resources available to state, territory, and tribal sexual assault coalitions who work to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of local programs. For more information on SASP, visit the National Center for Victims of Crime website.

Please call your representative today to ask him or her to sign onto the Baldwin/McCotter Dear Colleague letter in support of SASP. Congressional staffers who have questions or want to sign on can contact Elizabeth Pika in Rep. Baldwin's office at 202) 225-2906. If you don't know how to reach your representative go to www.house.gov or call the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121, and they will connect you.

If you have any questions, please contact Ilse Knecht, Deputy Director, Public Policy at 703-732-2446 or iknecht@ncvc.org.

Current signatures include:
1. Tammy Baldwin
2. Thaddeus McCotter
3. Dennis Moore
4. Rick Boucher
5. Neil Abercrombie
6. Jim Costa
7. Carolyn McCarthy
8. Todd Russell Platts
9. Luis G. Fortuno
10. Elijah Cummings
11. Howard Berman
12. Mike Michaud
13. Dianna DeGette
14. George Miller
15. Jim Langevin
16. Michael E. Capuano
17. Stephanie Herseth

[Note: We are still uncertain about the Fiscal Year 2007 funding levels for SASP. Because Congress passed a continuing resolution for the whole of 2007 for all agencies and did not direct how federal agencies are to spend those dollars, federal agencies are still sorting out how they will spend those funds].

{All above text excerpted from an email message forwarded by the staff of Houston County Women's Resources.}

12 March 2007

On gardens.

Yup. Gardens. It's mid-March, there's still at least 10 inches of snow on our yard, and I've been pondering garden thoughts for some weeks now. Now, before we wander off down the paths of my mind, let me remind you that I'm by no means what any sane person would call a gardener. But I am learning, and we have plans that will help me learn more.

I don't recall if I talked last year at all about the plans for the front yard when we pulled out all the bushes, so bear with me if this is old news. Basically, there's no real grass in the front yard - it's all weeds and dirt with just enough of a smattering of actually grass-like substance to require us to mow it. We find this annoying (really, Jack finds this annoying since he ends up mowing more often than I do) and decided that it would be just lovely if instead of a front lawn, we had instead a nice little garden area there. Something that is mostly perennials, with maybe room for an annual or two as the mood strikes us.

So this past weekend we met with two greenthumb-enabled friends - who themselves have an absolutely beautiful and self-sustaining garden for their front lawn - to plan what to put in there. There were some rules - for instance, given that we just tore out several monstrous evergreen shrubs that were as tall as the first story of the house, we didn't want any bushes that would get unmanageably tall or dense. We also didn't want it so dense that it was just a patch of vegetation with no rhyme or reason. Finally, we wanted it to "flow" or "transition" well visually into the grass of our neighbor's lawn, without threatening to overtake said grass.

After flipping through lots of catalogs and books, we decided on the following to fill the approximately 15 foot square space:
*Closest to the porch, where the old bushes used to be, we'll plant three weigela bushes. The two on the ends will be of the Wine & Roses variety, and the middle one is Variegated.
* In front of the weigela bushes, from the left to the right if you're standing on the sidewalk in front of the house, sort of on either side of the Variegated weigela (which is bigger than the other two), will be some mixed foxglove.
* The front left corner will be a combination of Bright Lights Cosmos, a smidge of Evergreen Vinca, and a fronting of either sapphire blue or white delight creeping phlox.
* The rough center of the patch, in front of the variegated weigela and between the two patches of foxglove, will be a Blue Star Sea Holly.
* By the sidewalk to the porch, from the corner of the porch to the main sidewalk, will be a patch of Ipomopsis Hummingbird Mix, with more of the phlox in front of it, then some more of the evergreen vinca and another corner of the phlox. Tucked in behind the phlox and to the front right of the Sea Holly is a small patch of Balloonflowers.

In terms of height, it will be shorter as you work toward the front corners and sides, and we're pretty sure that we'll have something blooming most of the summer. The weigela and ipomopsis are both attractive to hummingbirds, which will work well considering I have a hummingbird feeder on the porch.

I ordered all the plants today (they won't ship until they're ready to go in the ground - likely the last week of April or the first week of May). We'll need to rent a sod cutter to get rid of the weeds and such that are currently in the yard, and put down some gardeners cloth and edging to keep things from getting too invasive where they shouldn't be, but I'm hoping that by mid-May the front lawn will be more or less set.

We also planned a rather extensive vegetable garden - 3 different types of tomatoes, blue potatoes, sweet potatoes, french radishes, purple carrots, garlic, chives, watermelon radishes, three kinds of peppers, three kinds of basil, and Walla Walla Sweet onions - that will go into raised beds that my dad's coming to help me build the second week in May. Oh, and a couple different kinds of squash, but we're going to train those up the fence in the back yard. At least half of the crop from the veggie garden will go to the friends who are helping us with the planning (they're also going to come help get things in the ground and teach me what I need to know to maintain and care for everything), but I still expect that I'll have more than my share of fresh veggies this year.

The raised beds will run the length of the yard where we took out the bushes-gone-wild last year, with a space between them that will have a smaller raised bed where I can plant something that will vine - maybe clematis or trumpet vine? - and an arbor over a sitting area across from the apple tree in the side yard. I might also try to plant a row of sunflowers on the street side to give a little privacy screen, but I haven't decided on that yet. I'll be ordering the plants and seeds for the veggies in a week or two, once I have a chance to confirm with dad that we really can make the beds as large as we planned.

So now that the plans are done, we wait. Fortunately, I know the time will just fly! Dad's coming down next week to help us rip out and remodel the upstairs bathroom and we're trying to pick out paint colors for the dining room to get at least one of the interior rooms painted something other than white before summer hits, so between that and work, I'm sure it'll be planting time before I know it. Yea!

It's that time of year..

.. in the next week or so, I expect to receive 3 email messages from U.S. News & World Reports containing the links to their annual survey of undergraduate institutions. While the data provided in these three surveys - the Main Statistical Survey, the Finance Survey, and the Financial Aid Survey - comprises the bulk of the data used by USNews to calculate their annual college rankings the largest single factor in the ranking - coming in at a whopping 25% of the final ranking - is a so-called "repuational" survey of University administrators. This survey is rather highly subjective in that it asks top administrators to provide their opinion on the reputation of their peers. This reputation survey, as well as USNews's method of statistically imputing missing data such as average admissions test scores, is now under attack by a small group of college presidents who feel that it's time for higher education institutions to "fight back" against USNews.

The text below is excerpted from a newsletter I prepared for distribution on my campus last fall to try to shed some light on the USNews Rankings and what they might actually *mean*. Given the current kerfuffle, I thought it might be interesting reading, though I am just about 100% positive that my colleagues at other higher ed institutions won't find anything particularly new in it.

The rankings are based on data collected by US News from a variety of surveys and sources in “15 areas related to academic excellence”. US News participates in the Common Data Set Initiative, which means many of their survey items are drawn from a common core of questions used by many of the larger publishers. The Common Data Set saves colleges and universities time by allowing them to answer one set of questions on a given topic, rather than slightly different variations from each publisher. This consistency also means that consumers — students and parents — will find similar information about each college even if they look at different publisher rankings. Data not provided by institutions via survey response are either computed from other sources, such as the US Department of Education, or statistically imputed.

US News assigns each indicator a weight determined by their editors. Weights reflect which of the various indicators US News feels provide the best measure of the quality of a school. Rankings are based on the total weighted score for each institution.
... Understanding how each factor is weighted explains why some institutions rank higher than others in any given year and also why US News provides a ranking for Public institutions separate from the full rankings.

Factors included in US News Rankings, including their weights and sources

Academic Reputation (25%). Determined by the Academic Reputation Survey completed by the President/Chancellor, Provost, and Dean of Admissions at peer institutions. Each individual is asked to rate peer schools' academic programs on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). The survey is administered by Synovate and had a 58% response rate for the 2006-07 rankings.

6-year Graduation Rate (16%). The Department of Education requires institutions to report on the percent of students who start at their institution and complete their degree within 150% of expected time. For most baccalaureate institutions, 4 years is the expected time to degree completion and 6 years is 150% of expected time.

Average Educational Expenditures per Student (10%). Educational expenses are reported to the Department of Education annually; US News uses the same data supplied to the Department of Education and available in the Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data Systems (IPEDS).

Incoming First-Time, First-Degree Seeking Student ACT/SAT Scores (7.5%). First-time, first-degree seeking students are what are considered “traditional” undergraduate students. This group includes only students who have enrolled in college credit courses for the first time with the intent to complete a degree-granting program. High school students participating in post-secondary options and students who transfer from a prior institution are not included in this group.

Average Faculty Salary (7%). Average faculty pay, plus benefits, during the two previous academic years, adjusted for regional differences in the cost of living (using indexes from the consulting firm Runzheimer International).

Opinions on the usefulness of the rankings vary. For many looking for a simple way to compare institutions, the rankings provide a quick and easy reference. Critics claim the rankings simplify the value of higher education too much by focusing on inputs, such as funding sources and student test scores, when the real focus ought to be on how much and how well students are learning. Of the top 5 factors by weight, the only output measure is graduation rate. While other “outcome” measures — such as 1st-to-2nd year retention rate (4%) and a value added measure that compares actual graduation rates to the graduation rates predicted based on various input measures (5%) — are included in the total ranking, they are dwarfed by the effect of academic reputation and financial resources.

Sources: U.S. News & World Report ranking methodology website
V.M. Conley & G. Fink. “Using National Data Sets in Institutional Research”, Association for Institutional Research Foundations Institute.

09 March 2007

PSA: Support women & women's shelters!

Click to donate feminine hygiene products to women's shelters in your state!

To quote a friend, "Seventh Generation,a green paper products and cleaning products company, has a do-good attitude and will donate a box of sanitary products to a women's shelter in your chosen state - just for clicking the link. Talk about easy, and, yes, it is legitimate!"

Please take a moment and make a few clicks to support women and women's shelters!

Thoughts on stewardship

Those who've been reading for a bit pr'bly know that last summer, after having served on the HCWR Board for just six months, I was elected President (I swear I talked about this here, but I can't find an entry on it.. hrm.. maybe you don't know this?) after our then-President was reassigned to another parish by her Bishop mid-year. This was in no way any sort of overwhelming statement about my abilities - it was simply that I was the only regularly attending Board member left who wasn't already an officer. While the Vice President would normally have stepped up, the woman in that role had stated unequivocally that due to other projects she was engaged in at work she did not feel she could serve as President. She assured me, though, that she felt she would be able to step up to fill the role at the turn of the new year when the next full round of Board Officer elections was scheduled.

Two or three months after I was elected, the Executive Director of the agency for the past 14 years decided to pursue a new opportunity and I was suddenly President of a Board of Directors faced with replacing a much-loved and admired Executive Director. While I can claim none of the credit, we managed to mount a successful regional search and hired a new ED before the end of the calendar year. We celebrated our annual meeting by paying tribute to the outgoing ED, introducing our incoming ED, and welcoming no fewer than 7 new members to our Board of Directors, more than doubling the size of the Board from the previous year.

Due to the transition in ED and the comparative new-ness of a large portion of the Board, the Board elected to postpone new officer elections until our April meeting. This allowed the remaining members of the Board - all officers by necessity - to work as an Executive Team with the new ED through the first few months of the transition period while the newer members of the Board learned more about the agency and our responsibilities as a Board for a non-profit agency. It also allowed me to take some initiative to craft the new, larger board into the body that I felt we should be in order to best serve the agency by establishing an updated committee structure and making some changes to regular Board meetings that will allow the committees to meet as part of the regular Board meeting time each month, a move that I hope means our committees will be more viable and productive.

I've been on the fence about the April elections. Part of me knows all too well that I'm not prepared for the role of Board President - I'm comparatively new to the area and not at all well connected within the community we serve; while I'm grounded in domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy principles, the vast majority of my work in the field has occurred in much larger cities with inbedded infrastructure such as public transportation and multiple emergency shelters, not in the considerably more rural environment HCWR serves; and I'm facing another uncertain year of expectations in my day job, with 5 of the top 7 administrative positions currently held by interim appointments, including my direct supervisor.

Another part of me, though, recognizes that I *can* lead (this is a part of my skills and ability that I'm still adjusting to, so my confidence wanes at times, but in the end, I do know I can be a capable leader). The simple fact that in a few short months, I've managed to enact several changes in the Board operations that I hope will move the agency as a whole forward stands as testament to my ability to make things happen (instead of just talking about the need for change). My fellow Board members are also extraordinarily supportive - they make it easy for me to lead and seem generally appreciative of the thought I tend to put into proposed changes. And our Vice President keeps reminding me that she has a son who is a high school senior, so this year really isn't ideal for her to step up, either.

So, while I can't count the number of times I've wished to be "ousted", I'm also recognizing that the bulk of the "hard" work is done. Things are settling down to the more routine work of the Board, but unlike last year, there are many more members of the Board to assist in that work which will hopefully mean we will all work hard, but none of us will have to work to the point of burn out (hopefully including the agency staff).

And that leaves me on the proverbial fence.. I'm perfectly willing to step aside and let any of the many equally (or even more) capable Board members take the helm; but I think I'm also willing to stay in the role if my fellow Board members want me to. It's sort of an odd place to be after several months of turmoil and change.

05 March 2007

Good Monday Morning!

I walked into my office this morning to this gorgeous sight:

Quite lovely! It's been blooming more or less continuously all winter, but this is the most blooms it's had at any given time. There are still a few more buds that have yet to open, and I suspect it will continue to bloom for another month or so and then go dormant again for the summer. In the meantime, though, it's a wonderfully welcome splash of color in my office, especially with the sunlight streaming in behind it.

In other news, I whipped up another Felted Bucket Hat this weekend for my mother-in-law. No pictures - I forgot to get any before I wrapped it up - but I might try to get one of her wearing it tonight when we meet them for dinner.

03 March 2007

More shopping!

Yea! As you may remember, today is Herberger's Community Day. I love this sale. I really am not just saying that because Houston County Women's Resources gets to participate. I really *hate* clothes shopping, mostly because it just seems that everything is so expensive and I just can't seem to bring myself to pay $40 for a simple shirt or $60 for a plain pair of slacks. I can get over it when I have help, but it's because I need convincing.

This sale, though, has some truly amazing deals on clothes that are both comfortable and I think fit my style. Today, for instance, I picked up two nice 3/4 length sleeve button down shirts, a couple Relativity tanks (which I love and now have 6 of - light turquoise, coral, cream, black and these two new ones) in a medium blue and a dark blue, both of which work under the two button down shirts, a knit short sleeve light-ish blue sweater, a black knit tunic-style shirt with a lace insert cuff, and a lovely coral long sleeve button down shirt. Jack got a new belt (which was the most expensive thing on the receipt at $18) and three hooded sweatshirts. The grand total was all of $134. Eleven items, most of them nice clothing that normally retails between $35 and $60.

Yup. Love this sale.

02 March 2007

And it just keeps coming..

This was a shot out our front door this morning:

You'll notice my husband - who is 6 foot 2 inches - and our PT Cruiser on the other side of the snow berm that's built up over the last week from the plow and shoveling. Judging from the walk, we had about 4-5 inches overnight. We came home early today and there were another 3 inches or so, and it's still snowing. They keep telling us it will stop.. I'm not sure I believe them.

In the meantime, I've been less than motivated on the knitting front, but I did pick up the Baby Camel Tussah Silk Top that I got from my Secret Pal*:

I had to go back to this picture:

to be sure I had actually made some progress. I mean, I know I had, but it was sort of hard to tell without having a prior progress picture as a mark.

* My Secret Pal from SP9 seems to have been attacked by Real Life(tm). She started a new job about the same time the swap started and that seemed to suck up all her energy and time. I haven't heard from her since getting an email during the last week of the swap in February asking me to re-send my mailing address as she'd mislaid it. I did, but never got a final package or another email revealing who she is; because I know what it's like when Real Life(tm) attacks, I've not wanted to pester her and risk making her feel guilty, but that means I have no idea who she is. :/