Monday, December 13, 2010

Fishie, fishie, fishie

Back to crochet.

I have a friend (who I don't think reads this blog...if she does, CLAIRE, STOP NOW! DON'T LOOK AT THE PICTURE! (I'M SHOUTING SO SHE'LL HEAR IT BEFORE SHE SEES THE PICTURE.) She is not a cat person but she is spending a long time (I thought it was 5 months but it turns out to be more like 10 months) caring for the cat of a friend while that friend is in another province for college. I decided poor Kittums (the cat, I kid you not that's the name her human slave gave her) needs lots of toys. Claire has made friends with the cat; they bonded over sushi. But she still needs toys.

I made this out of an unidentified furry type yarn. I am assuming it's bulky (5) weight because most such yarns are. This isn't the kind of project that requires a gauge swatch so I didn't even consider doing one. I used a size G crochet hook. If you want a large fishie, use a larger hook. Smaller, use a smaller hook. You can also adjust based on the type of yarn you use. I make no promises that your yarn will give the same results but no cat would criticize for that reason alone.

Make 2:

Chain 7
SC in second ch from hook, continue until end of row (6 stitches), ch 1, turn
SC in each stitch up to the last stitch, skip last stitch (5 stiches), ch 1, turn
Continue as above, skipping last stitch, until 2 stitches remain, ch 1, turn
SC twice in each stitch, ch 1, turn
SC twice in first stitch, SC up to last stitch, SC twice in last stitch, ch 1,. turn
Repeat until there are 8 stitches, ch 1 turn
Work one row straight (8 stitches)
SC in each stitch in each stitch up to the last stitch (7 stitches), ch 1, turn
Continue as above until 2 stitches remain
Tie off, leaving a long tail.

Put the two pieces together and sew, keeping the long tail on the outside, leaving an opening with enough room to add stuffing. Stuff to the size you desire. Finish sewing seams. Feel free to add catnip, but don't  blame me if the cat goes nuts.

I'm waiting for the paint on a wooden chopstick (*UNUSED* chopstick) to attach the fishie with the yarn left dangling, and it's a bouncy toy.



Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Getting paid to work for a it counter intuitive or not? I say not.

This is for my approximately 1.1 readers who do not also read Copperbadge's blog. He has a really good post up there today, about the how and why of non profit agencies' paying decent salaries to their Executive Directors. I urge you to go forth and read it.

I've worked for non-profit agencies, on and off, for over fifteen years. I also took a few classes in non-profit management and fundraising. I admit I'm not an expert, but I do know a few things.

At the lower echelons, many non-profit agencies pay their employees a little less than what the employees could expect to earn in the for-profit world. It is easy to take that fact and interpret it to mean that non-profit employees are there because they love the work and they are willing to make less in order to further the good works of the agency. You might be right. But you'd also be overlooking a few other facts that influence many employees' decisions about working in the non-profit world. 

To compensate for those lower salaries, the vacation and sick leave policies at most non-profits are much more liberal than the policies at comparable profit making companies. Additionally, bereavement leave, bad weather absences, and things like that are treated much more leniently. When my father died, I was given up to two weeks to fly across country, attend his memorial, and hang out with my mother and sister until we were all on an even keel. (Mind you, I didn't take all that time, but they told me I could have that much, and after that it would be coming out of my considerable accumulation of sick leave.)  Many health insurance companies give favorable rates to non-profit agencies. So for most employees of non-profit agencies, they have vastly superior insurance, at a lower cost if they pay any of it at all, than they would have had with employment in the private, for-profit, sector.

Add it up, and non-profit employees are frequently paid AT A MINIMUM on par with their for-profit counterparts. Why should the chief executive of a non-profit agency be treated any differently?

A non-profit expects its Executive Director not only to work full time for the agency, it expects hir to work between 80 and 160 hours a week for your agency. Additionally, the ED is expected to donate money to the agency AND hir spouse is frequently called upon to donate money and/or volunteer to help out with events. If there are children, they will be expected to volunteer if old enough or look cute in pictures if too young to volunteer. The return on investment on the Executive Director's salary is pretty impressive.

For a while I was the volunteer development officer of a start up non-profit. It went to pieces because the founder and executive director was a flake. But he put his heart and soul into that agency. He put almost all of his own money into it. None of the staff got pay I would eventually find just the right grant opportunity, the right words to write, and the right eyes to see those words, that we would be funded to pay a decent wage to all of us. Including the flaky ED.