Clubs with Me as a Member

Clubs have the promise of consistency. You don't accomplish things just once, but regularly and with help and support (unless you're the only member...). However, I am also pretty fussy and impatient and do not usually do well with other people's agendas. That's why I like to start my own clubs. Here are some clubs I've founded or joined at the very beginning.

The ALS: Animal Lover's Society. I think I was the only member though I may have issued memberships to my parents. I was about 10. From what I recall, the club's main purpose was to cut out and keep pictures of animals from catalogs and flyers received in the mail. Also I did chores to raise money to send to various organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund. I liked to send $5 to $10 at a time, and would get my parents to write the checks.

AAE: Americans Against Executives. I founded this with my friend Annie when I was 15. Basically we didn't like corporations and chose to express it with our logo of a fellow in a trenchcoat and hat carrying a briefcase, with a big slash over him. We believed in the free distribution of capital and goods, or something like that. We'd been reading a lot of Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe at the time.

STOP: Save Trees or Perish. This had something to do with hiding in trees and then jumping out at people who might want to cut them down. They weren't even endangered Redwoods or clearcutting, just average trees around the neighborhood. I have since reversed some of my feelings on this--I think it's OK to remove some trees sometimes, especially if they're not well, or if they're IN MY WAY.

Plant Club: As a grownup, my friend Erica and I went on Field Guide expeditions to explore wild plants in our area. We had 2-3 meetings that involved lying in fields with our books, taking notes, and discussing things like Brassicas and sepals.

Sewing Club: This was probably my most successful club. My friend Traci and I met a fair number of times to do sewing projects. We alternated houses. We made diaper covers, boxer shorts, quilts, placemats, gifts, languishing projects that are still not finished... We managed to keep it up even after we had children, until she moved to the other end of the state. I miss you Traci!

Book Club: This seemed like a great idea--4 smart fun women get together every month to talk about books. Except we had very different ideas about what we wanted to read. I wanted best-sellers, the "popular" books I would never pick up otherwise. Others wanted to get some classics under their belts. As an English major I had zero interest in reading Dickens ever again. Actually I didn't want to read anything published before 1990.

Mix-Tape Club: Some clever people got together via email and organized a mix-tape exchange... except everything was on CD of course. We would choose a theme, then half of us would create CDs on that theme. The best thing to come out of it was the song "Beef & Broccoli" by Immortal Technique that showed up during our fruits & veggies round. (Thanks Chad!)

Running Club: Another great idea that was not exactly a failure! I and another mommy succeeded in getting up at 6 am and running 2 miles on several occasions! However, we were not able to keep this up for long.

Winter meadow

A few years ago, even though I had no money to spare at the time, I could not resist buying this Angie Lewin card because the design was so beautiful. I hung it at my desk and it made me happy.

Now that I'm trying out Pinterest, I'm discovering more and more Angie Lewin images, and also that I really love the look of dead Queen Anne's Lace, and dried up leathery milkweed, and prickly crunchy teasels, and tall faded meadow plants like that. At the same time, I've decided I would like to try to get back into rug hooking (I made 1.5 rugs in 2003 and then never picked it up again). Perfect rug subject: My own version of an Angie Lewin weed scene--dead weeds. I made a draft rug sketch and had a discussion about the whole idea with my daughter. Today, on a still-snowless clear blue January day, we decided to make a special expedition to find some of these beauties for ourselves, and maybe get some rug inspiration on the way. Here are some photos from our winter meadow research.

Stalks with round wasp galls might be a cool motif.

I'd love to have milkweed somehow coming right out of the rug.

Queen Anne's Lace, you gorgeous old thing

Some more old ladies in profile

Mullein stalks! Another interesting idea. They're like the saguaros of Vermont. Kind of.

Mullein close up. These must have been about 8 feet tall. Super fabulous.