2016 Knitting Wrap Up

One of these days I need to write up the story of how I came to knitting — and how quickly it became an obsession, but today I want to do a quick wrapup of 2016.

As of today, I’ve finished 15 projects in 2016 and here’s the breakdown:

  • Craft: 14 knitting; 1 weaving (I am expecting/hoping to finish a couple more projects before 2016  is officially over)
  • Category: 11 shawls; 1 cowl; 2 hats; 1 scarf (I’m sensing a pattern here)
  • Yarn weight: mostly fingering, but also sport, worsted, Aran, and bulky
  • Patterns by Melanie Berg: 6 (guess who my favorite designer is?)

Adventures in mosaic knitting — Eifelgold by Melanie Berg

2016 was also the year when I really started to engage with other knitters on Ravelry and Facebook. I joined a few Facebook groups, became much more active in Ravelry forums (especially Sunshine Yarnies and TOM BIHN Knitting Bags) and started to feel like a “knitter,” not just someone who happens to knit occasionally. It’s very clear that after two years, knitting is a now way of life.

Overall, though, I’m pleased with how my knitting developed over 2016 and am looking forward to making new friends and learning new techinques in 2017. How was your year in knitting for 2016?


On the Spice Market shawl — pattern by Melanie Berg


Knitting with super bulky yarn for a change — Decemberist by Melanie Berg

CFP: Women’s & Gender Equity Book

Women’s and Gender Equity Centers Volume
Call for Chapter Proposals

It’s been nearly 15 years since Sharon Davie published the landmark volume University and College Women’s Centers: A Journey toward Equity (2002), and although the body of literature about women’s centers has grown, Davie’s remains one of the only books about women’s and gender equity centers in U.S. higher education. In the ensuing years since University and College Women’s Centers, how has the work of women’s centers shifted and expanded to include new ways of thinking, being and doing? Where do gaps still exist and what is on the horizon? The proposed volume picks up where Davie left off, and examines the new institutional contexts surrounding women’s centers, the possibilities and the challenges to advocating for gender equity in higher education, and the ways in which women’s centers contribute to and lead that work.

Organization of the Volume

The first section examines the landscape of women’s centers in higher education and explores the structures within which centers live. Who do women’s centers serve, and how? What reporting structures do centers belong to, and what resources are available to them? How have social and political forces shaped contemporary centers? Have they shifted to center the experiences or marginalized and underrepresented voices, including those of women of color and American Indian women? Lastly, this section explores the ways in which many women’s centers have expanded their work to include working with athletics, Greek life, men, transgender students, international students, student parents, veterans, etc.

The second section delves into the profession of women’s center work itself, and asks how has women’s center work become “professionalized?” What does it mean to require a Ph.D. for some center director positions? Is there a value conflict in this? What are the implications of “credentialization” for access and succession? What competencies and credentials do women’s center staff truly need in order to be effective? Is it still important to be/label oneself a feminist in order to work in a women’s center? How does intersectionality trouble the notion of “feminist” identity as a requirement for women’s center work?

The third section addresses some of the threats and challenges to women’s and gender equity centers. As centers have expanded their work to include many populations, how has resource allocation aligned with that expansion? And how does that expansion help and complicate the possibility of collaboration with other offices/departments that share a social justice agenda? How have centers engaged in cultural and climate change in the face of institutional resistance? Lastly, how has contemporary legislation and policy shifted the work of women’s centers, particularly around sexual assault and intimate partner violence education and prevention?

The fourth and final section highlights current successes and forward-thinking approaches in women’s centers. How are centers being nimble in the face of changing landscapes and shifting priorities? What creative solutions have women’s centers been able to employ? What programs could serve as exemplars for other centers to adapt to their contexts and communities? How have partnerships with not-just-the-usual suspects helped centers to transform, thrive and evolve? How are women’s centers looking toward and preparing for the future?


Brenda Bethman – bethmanb@umkc.edu

Anitra Cottledge – cottlead@umn.edu

Donna Bickford – bickford@dickinson.edu

Below are directions to submit a chapter proposal for consideration:

Send a brief (1-2) page single-spaced typed document, and include all of the editors in the email. In the proposal identify: a) the potential author names, institutional affiliations, and e-mails, b) which of the four sections you see your work fitting, and c) an abstract of the chapter (300-400 words in length) outlining your proposed contribution, your connection to critical theory where appropriate, and the organization of the chapter.

This volume hopes to balance:

  • Institutional context (women’s/gender equity center at a public or private institution of higher education: technical college, community college, 4-year college/university, graduate program etc.);
  • Explorations and examinations grounded in theory and practice;
  • Roles of authors, e.g., center directors/assistant directors, program coordinators, violence prevention educators, graduate assistants, student staff, etc.); and
  • Identities of authors, e.g. racial/ethnic, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigrant or undocumented status, etc.

Please submit your proposal by 11:59 p.m., January 31, 2017. Authors will be notified of their acceptance by February 14, 2017.


Well, I haven’t posted here since January (if you want to know how the Senegal trip went, check out our Senegal site). Going to try to get back into it — lots of good stuff happening, including a cute new kitty:


In the next month or so, I will be updating this site and adding new content — and hopefully getting back to regular blogging schedule, so please check back in late December/early January.

Still Not Real

Maybe by the time you read this, it will feel real. That I am traveling to Africa for the first time (Senegal, to be precise). But right now, writing this on the plane (instead of sleeping. Ugh), I still don’t really believe it. Don’t believe that the plan hatched on our porch over red wine more than a year an a half ago, the plan that required multiple modifications as funding sources were pursued, denied, and new ones pursued, the plan that seemed impossible actually worked and we are now just a few hours away from Dakar.

Partly I think it’s due to the way airports and plane travel see to exist outside of time and normal space. Waking up before 5 a.m. In the dark to drive to a place where one’s sole function is to sit and wait, time seems to both exqpnd and contract. Where is the plane? Is it here yet? Can we board? Yes, finally (due to a mixup with the airlines, we were at the airport hours before we needed to be), it’s here! Hurry up and wait again, this time in line. And then, on the plane, sitting again, flying east, towards tomorrow. Leaving this (or yesterday, I guess) morning, we saw a gorgeous prairie sunrise in Missouri, a sunset in DC from the airport bus, and night sky, moon, stars, and a sunrise from the plane as we flew across the Atlantic. All the phases of the day, all while sitting and waiting impatiently to arrive in a new place and day. Waiting to experience new sights, sounds, and culture. It’s the promise of travel and the reason we are willing to force our bodies to stay awake for 20+ hours and endure the brutality of shifting our internal clocks by so many hours.

So, no, it still doesn’t feel real, but I can’t wait to see what the next 10 days bring.

Working Out on Campus

One of the questions people have been asking me a lot (other than “why?”) since I started my fitness project is how I like using UMKC’s campus recreation center to work out. Often, the implication is that it is not a good place for UMKC staff and faculty to work out — the main assumption being that working out with students is somehow problematic. I have to say, though, that I love working out at Swinney — and here’s why:

  • Convenience. If I want to take a lunchtime class or just work out, I can do so and only be out of the office for a little over an hour (assuming I’m taking one of the 30-minute classes or doing a short workout) because I don’t have to drive anywhere. I just grab my bag and walk over from my building (which gives me the added bonus of a few steps towards my 10,000/day goal). If I went to an off-campus location, I couldn’t do lunchtime classes or workouts as I would have to add in driving/parking time. This has turned out to be key to my success at sticking with a program this time around as I absolutely HATE going to the gym in the morning and am also not hugely keen on the post-work gym visit. But lunchtime works well for me.
  • Cost. As an employee of UMKC, my membership is $20 per month. Yes, TWENTY dollars. Sure, I pay extra for classes and training, but it’s still the best deal in town, hands down. Rates for alumni and community members are also very reasonable. You can check out their pricing here.
  • Community. This has turned out to be the best, and most unexpected benefit, of working out at Swinney. Because I knew I would do better with some accountability built into my routine, I signed up for classes, talked some of my friends and my husband into doing so also, and got a trainer. I now have a host of workout buddies and have also gotten to know some folks better. Additionally, I have developed a rapport with many of the employees at Swinney — sure, I knew them before, but now I see them much more often and take the time for a chat when I come in. A lot of my other colleagues also work out at Swinney so I see them in the fitness center or locker room and get to catch up with them. Without the time at the gym, I wouldn’t see many of these people — so I am not just taking care of myself physically, but am also building better relationships through my time at the gym, which benefits me both personally and professionally. I truly was not expecting that, but would argue that it’s the second important thing to come out of this — after decreasing my body fat percentage.

“But,” I hear some of you saying, “what about the students? I don’t want to see my students in the gym.” I have to say this has been a non-issue (such a non-issue, in fact, that I am befuddled when folks ask me about it). Yes, I do see students in the gym — some of them I know and some I don’t. Some who are in my classes, some who are not. If I know them, we’ll greet each other (assuming they recognize me — I look different in gym clothes with my hair pulled back apparently) and then we move on to doing what we are there for — working out. In other words, if you are avoiding using your campus gym because you’re worried about running into students, in my experience that is a non-issue and the benefits far make up for any awkwardness. I should note that I say this with one big caveat — which is that at Swinney, we have separate locker rooms for students and faculty/staff/community. I would feel much differently about working out on campus if I had to share a locker room with students.

Bod Pod @ Swinney Recreation Center

Bod Pod @ Swinney Recreation Center

And remember: If you’re at UMKC or in the KC metro area, and want to get an initial assessment to help determine your baseline and goals, you can get a free Bod Pod before December 31 by calling the Wellness Coordinator at  816-235-5425 to make your appointment. Tell her Brenda sent you!