Year in Review Part Two: My yo-yo year


It’s been up and down, but I’m happy to say that 2011 finished with a sharp up-snap, and the yo-yo is in hand, ready to go for another year.

On the work front, my agency faced possible defunding that would have put our continued existence into question. In the end, the funder has budgeted flat funding for us in 2012, not even cutting the amount they give us. Yes, there was wild dancing on desktops when that news was announced. Well, maybe not dancing, but morale is up, up, up and everybody is sleeping much better at night. Helping on the morale front is that we have a new boss, and this time it’s a promotion from within of a well-liked and respected colleague. We have problems galore - oops, I’m supposed to call those nasty pimples “challenges” - but we ended the year stronger, not weaker.

My job is changing for the better as well. I applied for a couple of positions in the course of the year. One would have taken me out of the agency, and another would have kept me in the agency, but added a bunch of regional accounting duties to my responsibilities. I’m happy to report that I was not chosen for either position. What I am doing instead is adding Farm Business Management Educator duties to my job. I get to step away from the computer and work with people, hopefully strengthening a group of local entrepreneurs who are doing work that I believe in - growing the food that sustains us. With this job shift, I feel like my masters degree will be put fully to use. I also get to go to very interesting in-service trainings and to spend time with a whole new group of colleagues. I’ve had this job for 10 years now, and was due for a kick in the pants. It feels great to be excited and nervous and a bit overwhelmed about my job again.

It’s been an excellent year on the fiber front. It seems I may be picking up some knitting speed, because there are a very respectable number of finished items in my project notebook. A quick photo show of the work finished during 2011:

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4 shawls, 1 scarf, 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of mittens, 1 baby sweater, 1 tea cozy, 12 projects in total. A respectable year’s work, especially considering the inconvenient fact that I must work. I even managed to put three knitted gifts under the Christmas tree!

I ended the year with 4 projects on the needles: 2 pairs of socks, a shawl, and a cardigan sweater. If there is a glaring omission in the year’s work, it is a lack of sweaters. I intend to focus on completing at least 2 sweaters in 2012. My wardrobe needs some new material, and a hand-knit cardigan is perfect as both professional and off-duty clothing.

I also started learning to spin. Spinning terrified me but using a wheel is much more natural than I thought it would be, and I think I am turning out some respectable, even usable yarn. Here is a photo shoot of what I spun in 2011, in chronological order, bottom to top:

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There will be knit items in 2012 that feature yarn I spun myself. I don’t have a lot of interest in spinning arty lumpy bumpy yarns. My goal is to spin good quality yarn that I can use to make good quality knitted items.

The last accomplishment of 2011: a financial plan for 2012. We have enough to pay what we owe, eat well, stay warm, live comfortably. With some forethought, we can manage our income to minimize financial crunches and even out the flow of money during the year. To quote Dicken’s Mr. Micawber: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” By this time next year, I’ll know if a little planning and monitoring reduce misery and increase happiness.

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