Friday, February 23, 2007

Be A Part

Look around you, look up here
Take time to make time, make time to be there
Look around, be a part...
~ Little River Band

I'm not a joiner. First of all, when you belong to any club or organization, that usually means meetings. I have somewhat of an aversion to voluntary things that tell me I have to be in a specific place at a specific time. Oh, I've been a member of many groups over the years: 4H, a women's investment club, a mental health board, church committees, church bell choir, etc. But as time goes by, I find myself avoiding most things that might appear on my calendar on a regular basis.

One group I used to belong to of which I never missed a meeting was "Stitch 'n' Bitch." Five of my girlfriends and I would get together once a month at one of our homes and we'd work on whatever project we had going at the moment.

It started out that we all were into counted cross-stitch, so that's what we would do. We had young children, so on a Friday night, after we got our kids to bed and kissed our husbands good-night, we'd head to the home of whomever was the host for the evening. This meant that we rarely got started before eight or nine o'clock. But we had all night!

We had loose rules. You had to bring a snack to share. But it was okay if you didn't, because there was always more than enough for everyone. You had to work on something. But it was okay if you didn't do that either, because it was really the 'bitching' part that brought us together. And like the Girl Scouts, we had an official uniform - pajamas. I told you we were loose.

Since we were out and about in our jammies, it was understood that if anyone had car trouble or slid off the road in snowy weather (yes, that happened once), the husband of the host was responsible for taking care of the 'rescue.'

We watched Friday Night Videos in its early days (it debuted in 1983). I can vividly remember seeing Land Down Under by Men At Work. It had to be one of the very first videos that aired on the show and I thought it was the coolest thing. As our interests changed, there was variety to the busy work that accompanied the bitching. We baked cookies, sewed clothing, shampooed carpets and even had a baby shower for one of our members. There was very little actual bitching going on and we were all a wonderful support to each other, giving and getting child-rearing advice and solving the rest of the world's problems. It was a great time and I have no idea why we stopped doing it. I miss those days.

I am currently a card-carrying member of the American Horticultural Society. My mom introduced me to it, as she has done with a lot of gardening things, and it's got to be one of the best values for the money in the gardening world. Just $35 gets you:

  • One year of membership in the American Horticultural Society
  • A one-year subscription to The American Gardener magazine
  • Access to a Member's Only section of their website
  • Special discounts on gardening products and books
  • Free Seed Exchange
  • The AHS Reciprocal Membership Program, giving you free or reduced admission to over 160 botanical gardens and arboreta throughout the U.S. and Canada and discounts in their gift shops
  • Free or reduced admission to over 25 regional flower shows

I just renewed my membership, and in the last year I used my card numerous times when visiting public gardens and flower shows, including The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Cincinnati Flower Show, Kingwood Center, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, and our local Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.

My admission fees to these places would have been $61.50 without my member card. I also got 10% off my purchases at their gift shops. This year, I purchased a three-year membership for both Romie and myself, at the special price of $90. That breaks down to $15 a year for each of us, and that alone is the price of one day's admission to the Cincinnati Flower Show.

Convinced? No, I don't get a commission on membership sales; I just think this is a fabulous deal not only for active gardeners, but for those that just like visiting gardens. If you agree, click on the AHS logo below, and it will take you to the online sign-up page:


Sisah said...

Those were the days...I remember similar meetings in the eighties here in Berlin with other mothers of our Kindergarten. We were really creative and busy (chattering) in these days.My son has grown up now, so there is no reason anymore to meet other "mothers"! And I am too tired or (lazy) to meet anyone when I come home from work in the afternoon.
This is really a nice piece of cross stitching you have done in your stitch´n bitch era.
I am also member of the german "Staudengesellschaft" (perennials society), but a very passive one. Every year you can order plant seed the for little money. I am quite surprised what the American Horticultural Society is offering their members.

Kylee Baumle said...

The piece of cross-stitch pictured was a gift from my best friend from high school (and maid of honor in our wedding in 1975). We made identical samplers for each other. Pat passed away in 2003, after battling thyroid cancer for six years. :-(

tina said...

Thanks for the information. I got this link from Dave's blog. Never heard of this organization and it sounds worth it.

P.S. I also like the name of your club "Stitch and Bitch". Too cute.

blogger templates | Make Money Online