Monday, June 30, 2008

On Going Debate on Where to Meet

I've been having an ongoing debate in an organization I belong to about where the board should meet. The President has been very disparaging of our current meeting spot, which is adequate and centrally located because it happens to be a room at a long-term care facility. Her argument is that younger members won't want to come to a meeting in such a facility. Hello!!!! I'm one of those 'younger' members! I don't know why this bothers me so much except that rather than use the term long-term care facility (or nursing home) or retirement home the term 'old folks home' was used which for some reason didn't sit well with me as a social gerontologist. Ageism is still alive and well in our society and the last acceptable prejudice.

The argument that we need to meet in a location where 'younger' people will go, doesn't sit well with me for a number of reasons. It is the same argument used by the faulty church growth people who have forever advocated building a church building and the people will come. The literature shows that this doesn't work. It is also based on a scarcity model and a model that says we need to build program around where we think we are weakest rather than build on our assets. I'd be much more ready to assist my services and less critical is I saw some asset based planning going on rather than strategic planning that focuses on weaknesses.

Out reach and building an organization and attracting the population for your membership is transferable from the world of the church and its evangelism and outreach literature and to the marketing of secular organizations. I've been thinking a lot about this lately and hope to do some more writing and reflecting on these ideas and I read more materials on this topic. As much as I hate to admit there are some marketing ideas out there that work for evangelism and outreach. I've been thinking about WORD OF MOUTH marketing lately and how that might apply to the church. I'm currently reading a piece I found because of my participation as a Buzz Agent called The Word of Mouth Manual Volume II. Here is a link to get the book for your own reading pleasure in PDF format from The Social Consumer Manifesto blog

Now some would think it smarmy that I am a pastor and a Buzz Agent (buzzing is one of my hobbies...I like to try new stuff and as a Buzz Agent I get to try new stuff and then talk about it both good and bad) I have to admit that I like getting free stuff and enjoy trying new things.

What really annoys me about this ongoing debate is that I am not being heard. Instead it is suggested that I become part of the membership committee. If I wanted to be part of the membership committee I would have volunteered to be on the membership committee. I was once the membership vice-president and resigned from that position because I don't like to have tasks assigned to me without first being asked if I will undertake a task and that was happening. I went back on the board after being away from it for six years and I see the same stuff happening again.

I have only a limited number of hours in my day. My primary task is to pastor a congregation. The work I do in this social organization is part of my community service work. IF these ladies would jump into the 21st Century and grasp the importance of a web presence and the power of social networking they might be able to attract some of the younger demographic that they believe is missing. I use to be one of the younger women...I've now become one of the middle aged women, but I do see the value of facebook, blogs, and other social networking sites for getting connected, building coalitions, etc. and I've attempted to keep up with the technology.

So out of this debate on where to meet has come a philosophical debate on the need to attract younger members. It's a old debate and some helpful suggestions on how to go about it are being ignored and that ticks me off a bit. It has nothing to do with meeting location, it has everything to do with listening to and valuing the opinions of those around the table and trying new technologies even if you aren't comfortable with them. It's a philosophical debate and I'm not feeling heard and I get really annoyed when the conversation gets shut down because older members of this organization don't want to discuss it and farm the work off to a membership committee that will then have its ideas squelched in the general meeting.

My DH has asked me why I am wasting my time and I'm beginning to think seriously about that question. I think I will be looking for someone to take over these duties so I can concentrate on other things I find important, but I do enjoy the basic philosophy of the organization, my friendships with some members, but this moot debate on where to meet and the reluctance to try new technology just gets in my craw.

Back from San Jose

I've been away from the knitting needles for TEN (10) days! I debated about taking my knitting to General Assembly with me and part of me is mad I didn't and part of me is glad I didn't have another thing to carry.

I'm glad I am on 'vacation' this week. I need it to recoup and recharge and figure out how to come back after an amazing experience and pastor my little church where most of the decisions made by the Assembly will not really have any real impact or meaning.

While I was gone I received two lovely swap packages. One from the three month long Summer of Yarn Love Swap: A muffin cook book (with how much I love muffins, I'm surprised I didn't already own this book), two lovely skeins of yarn (Southwest Trading Company Bamboo) with a pattern for a crocheted market bag .... time to really test those crochet skills I say I have, a lovely skein of blue sky alpacas dyed organic cotton, a bag of dark chocolate Hershey's Kisses (which survived the summer heat) and a earth friendly grocery shopping bag. Thank you secret swap partner and I'll post pictures when I get to my camera.

I also received my Knit if Forward Swap package and my spoiler (Kristen) Angel101580 went over the top. Two hanging hand towels, two dishcloths, a mug cozy (which will fit my new General Assembly Mug perfectly!) bracelet row counters in a cute tote sack, and the most adorable sock shaped point protectors. Thank you Kristen and I will post pictures when I unpack and find my camera.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ktichen Towel (Knit it Forward Swap)

I found this wonderful pattern for a Kitchen Towel (Worsted Towel) on the Kraemer Yarns site and made one for my swap spoilee out of Sugar and Cream yarn from Lily.

I'm going to be making more of these towels. I also made a dishcloth and a scrubbie. Two skeins of Sugar and Cream makes this wonderful gift ensemble.

I sent this along with some goodies to my spoilee. Hope she likes it.

Sock Yarn from Your Stash Swap

I've signed up for a few more swaps than I thought. I mailed off my package to my swap spoilee yesterday and this is what I received from spoiler earlier in the week. Dawn (Pakerbelle) even sent some goodies for my kitties. I received Ghiradelli chocolate, three skeins of wonderful sock yarn that I know I will use, a cute kitty notebook (which I needed for my purse to keep notes), candles, which I often burn to focus attention and when I write Sermons, some hand cream and some wonderful treats for my cats.

Here's the photo of the package and a picture of the cats playing with the toys. The big furry cat, who loves catnip, is Mookie. Pooh is smaller and more reserved but she likes catnip too. The toys are adorable.

Thank you Dawn

Cotton Lover's Swap

Thank You Angela

This is the wonderful package that I received from Angela in the Cotton Lover's Swap. This will keep me knitting for a long time. Since I have declared myself on a yarn diet (I need to knit up my's getting too big) this will help keep me busy in the coming months. I am overwhelmed by Angela's generosity and kindness and I am grateful for her.

What more could a person who loves cotton yarn want?
First there is a Green Bag. Tote bags are my weakness and I am starting to use my own bags at the grocery.

Second, Angela crocheted me four different bags, one large hobo bag, a knitting needle bag, an a
accessory bag, and cell phone bag. For those who aren't into the needle arts, there is often a lack of understanding in the time, energy, effort, and love that gets poured into these projects. This aspect of the swap process always gets me a bit verklempt (in the words of Linda Richmond).

On top of the crocheted bags was a box of yarn, yarn and more yarn (three kinds of cotton yarn in multiple skeins) along with other goodies like knitting needles, a booklet of crochet patterns, some paper accessories, a bar of Dark Dove Chocolate, a bag of sour Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, coffee, and crocheted baby cap.

I am truly overwhelmed by this swap package.

Lawn Mowing Made Easy - Edgetta the Lawnmower

This is a picture of our SECOND Robotic Lawnmower.

Our first, which we named Edger, is in need of a new wheel motor, so we recently purchased Edgetta. Edger is an RL500 and Edgetta is and RL550. We bought Edger when we bought the house and he has worked hard for us since 2002. My Dear Husband (DH) customized both Edger and Edgetta by painting their unique faces on them. They are truly part of the family.

This robotic mowers are manufactured by Friendly Robotics and is the best 'gadget' I have ever purchased. Keeps our lawn in tip-top shape and allows us to do all kinds of other things like read, surf the web, and mow at night. The mower is only 85 decibels. What I like is that it electric and runs on a rechargeable battery. No gasoline or other flammables in the garage.

Of course we painted the face on Edgetta because she is one of the family.

Here's an up close and personal picture of Edger.

What is so remarkable to me is that these Robotic Mowers haven't caught on more. They are easy to use and easy to maintain. They are wonderful adaptive technology for Older Adults who want to stay independent in their homes and loath lawn maintenance.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

It's an Afghan

My great nephew is getting married in August and I finished part of the wedding gift. I decided it might be fun to give the newly weds an afghan. This pattern is called Embossed Diamonds and it is made from Caron Simply Soft in Country Blue. I love this yarn because it is so easy to care for and the finished product is so soft and warm.
If I were to do this afghan again, I would do the Russian join for the yarn rather than the join I did use. I'm really pleased with the finished product and I hope they like it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's almost a sock and some other completed projects

I have been knitting a lot lately to divert my attention from some serious matters at my church and procrastinate in preparing to be a Commissioner at the upcoming General Assembly meeting of my denomination later this month. Oh, I've been preparing and I've been doing my work, but what I really want to do is knit.

I sat down last week and wound some yarn into a usable ball. I don't have a swift or ball winder -- yet! I bought this beautiful purple yarn from my friend Kay off of her Etsy site, Dome Hill Yarns. Kay hand dyes sock and worsted weight yarn. I found a pattern for socks that I liked and thought would show of the variegations of Kay's yarn. I'm almost done with the first sock in the Nutkin pattern. If I'm lucky I will have two pair of hand made socks to wear to General Assembly. I'm wondering if I can get any knitting done while at GA and hope to pack some sock yarn and needles and will probably do something like the Nutkin since it is an easy pattern.

I've also made myself a HUGE Hobo Bag that I refer to as my Hippie purse. It is made out of Banana Fiber Yarn the I bought from the Hunger Site. It is a really interesting fiber to knit with, not exactly soft or easy on the hands, but it does make a strong garment. I have some teal, black and white so it looks like I will be making some more market bags or such. This Hobo Bag is my own design. Not real pretty but it does do what I want it to do...hold a lot of stuff. It is going to General Assembly with me. I've also been working on getting a couple of swap packages together that need to be mailed this weekend. One is a swap for sock yarn out of my stash (which is getting big) and one is for a mini purse/bag swap. For that swap I knitted a really cute bag of my own creation/pattern based on the 'basic' design of another pattern. It is really cute and I'm going to make a second one for myself. I'll post that picture when I get ready to mail the package.