Can you help us get better?, Elections, and other topics: November 2017

President’s Message

By Chris Wojno

Come over here. Yes you! C’mon. Can I ask you something? Do you accept the scientific method as the best mechanism for determining knowledge? You do? Fantastic, we need your help! This month, we self-reflect and look forward to our elections.

For Science: Testing Pasta-filled waters

You know by now that I love our community and everybody in it. I love the opportunities it brings to people’s lives to prosper and grow as humans and individuals. The teamwork required to bring it all together inspires all of us with friendship and a desire to improve.

The good

Photo courtesy of Nicole Osborn

One of our time-honored traditions, the Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner, took place on October 14 of this year. Unfortunately, we did not have the benefit of Ann Marie and Bruce’s experience assembling this event. You were both sorely missed (you too, Elizabeth!). Regardless, we had a large turn-out. Lots of children, both adult-sized and fun-sized, attended. Some wore costumes, others reverently attended to honor him who boiled for your sins. Everybody had a wonderful time. I’d like to recognize some star volunteers from that evening:

  • Alex Zygmunt, I couldn’t have done this without you, buddy. Alex picked up most of the food on his own. Thank you Alex, for heavy lifting and smart dietary choices!
  • Christina Hepler decorated the entire center. She bought supplies and worked with the Children’s program to have them create custom decorations for the party. I’ve never seen so many and various decorations. I was so impressed. Thank you Christina!
  • Anita Romanowski arrived very early and helped prepare food and set up the service area. We would be lost without you. Thank you, Anita!
  • The Khalafs, Bobbi and Joseph: You tirelessly toiled in the kitchen to prepare just about everything that needed to be cooked that we set out. You worked through the event the entire night, without relief, even through dinner service. We could not have done it without you. Thank you!
  • Sarah Jones came up with pirate-related activities that kept the large number of children engaged and having fun. Thank you for making this event fun and welcoming to families!

Thank you to all of our other unsung heroes. I know many hands went into making this event as fun and fulfilling as it could be.

I can’t recall having so many children attend. They were running around with balloon swords, climbing trees, and taking the ice-foot challenge (not a thing). There was face paint and glitter everywhere–it was glorious. I’m overjoyed that so many of our children had so much fun. I hope for a repeat next year!

The not as good

As of this writing, we had 28 people RSVP on the meetup page, and 6 people bought tickets via the website. That means, we had about 30-ish confirmed as some RVSP’ed the day of after we had purchased the supplies and food, as some people RSVP’ed the day of. So Alex Zygmunt and I doubled that and expected 60 people and bought food for what we should feed about that many. We bought last-minute extra sauce and pasta, though we didn’t end up needing the extra pasta. Alex and I bought more salad and croutons and vegetables than we thought we needed.

Wouldn’t you know it, at least 56 people attended the event by the official counts, but it seemed like we had more than that to me. We had at least 5 full tables inside and 2 tables outside that were half-full. Unfortunately, it seems that we missed the mark on some portions.

I take full responsibility for this. This being the first Flying Spaghetti Monster dinner I’ve ever chaired, I believed I had done the requisite research with Ann Marie, planned the event hour-by-hour, and estimated the amount of food properly, but as is often said: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.”

Improving the future: a survey

As we look forward to our next events, including next year’s dinner, let’s science the hecken’ out of this. Please take less than 2 minutes to complete the following survey about the dinner. This will provide us with the critical feedback we need to make next year’s event even better.

Expanding our Vocab

Our Sunday Speaker events are our flagship events. Every other Sunday, our program director, Andre Salais, works months in advance to book and confirm qualities speakers. These talks are intended not just to interest you, but also to challenge you and to give you a taste of a perspective that you may not have had, previously.

We endeavor to bring you the best and most interesting speakers available to our community. While I have disagreements with Vocab’s views and I find some of them repugnantly immoral, I do respect him as a person. He’s just a guy trying to find his way in the world. I think he’s headed in the wrong direction, but he doesn’t. I am sanguine that, with time, he may change his views as I have throughout my life.

However, regarding his talk on Oct 22, I hear some of your complaints and objections. I thank you for your feedback, it’s the only way we’ll grow and improve.

Since we’re on a science kick, I have another survey! If you had just 2 minutes, please tell us what you thought of the event and how we can improve it. It really only takes a few minutes. We want to provide you with the best events possible. If we missed, let’s figure out why and try to have hits more frequently. Thanks for helping us learn and grow!


As you know, HSGP elections for the 2018 Board of Directors are just around the corner, November 19! We have a full slate of nominations! Here are our nominations thus far!

  • Christopher Wojno: President
  • Alex Zygmunt: Vice President
  • Chris Appleton: Treasurer
  • Kathy Pettycrew: Secretary
  • Pam Heward: Program Director
  • Joe Blankenship, co-chair Steven Metzger: Property Director
  • James Osborn: Membership Director
  • Andre Salais: At Large: Communications Chair
  • James Woods: At Large: Fundraising Chair

If there are no contested seats, the election will be done by assent.

Looking forward to November

That’s all I have for this month. The weather is absolutely gorgeous this time of year. Go out and enjoy the Arizona Autumn. Take lots of pictures, drink just enough wine, hike one too many trails, just get out there and live it up.

Membership Director

Since I will be retiring from the Membership Director position at the end of the year, you will be seeing a new face at the Membership table during the Sunday meetings.  Please say hello to Elizabeth Sowell when you walk in the door and make her feel welcome.  She is one of the people who will be taking over my duties next year.

By the way, I will be continuing my monthly crocheted sleeping mats workshop.

We are in the process of planning HSGP’s annual Solstice Celebration which will be held on December 16. This year we’ll be doing things a little differently.  Instead of an auction or sale, we’ve compiled a list of items and services that we would like to encourage members to finance.  Many of these items are ongoing expenses that HSGP incurs every month/year.

Sunday Child Care One Sunday $30.00
Sunday Child Care Two Sundays $60.00
PO Box Rental Annual $64.00
Winter Electric Bill One Month $65.00
Internet Service One Month $89.00
Security System One Quarter $105.00
Water, Trash, and Sewer One Month $122.00
Insurance One Month $129.33
Food for Sunday Breakfast One Sunday $150.00
Housekeeping and Cleaning One Month $170.00
Paid Speaker One Event $250.00
City Fire Safety Inspection Annual $255.00
Summer Electric Bill One Month $320.00
Landscaping & Grounds Cleanup One Month $300.00
Painting Community Center Interior One-time $1,000.00
Insurance Annual $1,551.96

Continuing Sleeping Mats Workshop:

This workshop is held on the second Saturday of every month, except December.  The next one will be held on Saturday, November 11. Here’s the link to my Meetup page:  November Crochet Sleeping Mats . Any questions can be sent to me at the email address located beneath my name at the end of this message.

Don’t know how to crochet?  No problem.  You actually don’t have to crochet; you can just make “plarn” (plastic yarn).  However, I would like more people to crochet so we can get more mats completed. I or some of the “old-timers” will teach anyone who wants to learn.  For those who want to crochet, you’ll need to bring a 10mm (size N) crochet hook.  I also have some 10mm hooks available for $3.00 to 5.00.

Come join us in this very worthy project.  Make new friends, have fun socializing, bring snacks, learn a new craft.

Optional request:  The HSGP Community Center is owned by the members.  Subsequently it takes money to run and maintain the center.  It would be greatly appreciated if you could see your way to place a small donation in the jar on the card table by the entrance door.


Prior to every meeting and event a volunteer request is emailed and/or posted on Meetup with a link to SignUp Genius where you can schedule your volunteer choice and time.  As always, to insure that there is enough food for breakfast, we need at least three people to bring a breakfast casserole to the Sunday meetings.

We also are always in need of people to help prepare and set up the breakfast buffet, tables and chairs and anything else that is listed on the SignUpGenius. Please click on  SignUpGenius  here to let us know what you will be doing so we can plan accordingly.

If something comes up and you can’t commit to your volunteer choice, please let us know so we will know to compensate for the gap.  We so appreciate your willingness to volunteer.

A good volunteer base of many people goes a long way to lessening the burden on the small handful of people who do everything all the time, and will be much appreciated.  Thank you to the people who do help.

Your Participation is Welcome:

This column is for the members.  I’d like it to also be about and by the members by encouraging all of you to send me announcements of life events, questions about HSGP, contribute a piece for this column or suggestions of subjects you’d like to see posted here.

Please contact me if you need any membership information or have a change of address, phone number, or email.

Anita Romanowski, Membership Director