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Today's report will be pretty myoptic since I was in the Board meeting from 8
am till 5 pm.  There were plenty of other things going on in the meantime....
Siberian, Japanese, Median, HIPS, Rebloomer, Spuria meetings.... and such -
but one of the downsides of being involved with the Board is that you have to
make some choices.  Lots of folks slip in and out of the Board meeting to
attend the things they want (or must), but since I'm to take minutes... I
can't very well do so.

A good deal of the focus of the Board today was on finances.... approached
from different directions.  Now, to run an organization of our type -
dedicated to the promotion and education of irises.... it takes cash - - and
in order to operate effectively a good cash flow balance has to be maintained.
It's hard to see this from the outside.... you pay your dues, you get your
Bulletin - bada bing bada boom.  The end.

But there's lots more!

AIS has grants and scholarships, a healthy youth program, and various other
programs.  There are even certain special funds that rely almost entirely on
donations from members and clubs.  The Board tries to be as frugal as possible
without compromising the quality of services provided.  

Anyway, I'm sure this stuff is not high adventure and you can all wait for the
movie....(or minutes), so suffice it to say that you should be very proud that
so many people care so passionately about the good of the Society.

Tonight is the real start of the convention.  Everyone is here now and the
convention kicks off with a reception and welcome banquet.  You would NOT
believe the number of people here!!  Almost every state is amply represented
and plus there are folks from England, Germany, and Australia.  

Folks are wearing the geek tags proudly and it's FUN to put faces with names.
I finally met Marte from the Mountains, although we didn't have a lot of time
to chat.  She looks just like I knew she would.  I saw Jeff Walters and
Barbara Mann.  All the usual suspects are here.... and it's like you always
knew them.  It does take me a minute to place them (I have to picture their
address on my computer.... funny).  It's going to be so much fun to have
'critical mass' at the geek jamboree on Friday night.

Barbara and I were talking tonight how having the e-mail people at convention
is like having a convention within a convention!  Some folks are already
making plans for next year and they haven't seen their first flower yet.

The banquet was lighthearted.... and after a meal of Mexican goodies, most of
us hightailed it up to the silent auction.

The silent auction is an effort by AIS to raise funds in a painless manner.
The idea is that folks donate plants or items of value to the auction....
these are laid out on tables and a sheet of paper placed next to each item
where bids may be entered.  The bidding will close tomorrow night and the
highest bidder for each item will win it.  

There are some VERY cool things..... besides for an impressive listing of
bearded irises, there are some beardless and some species.  I have my eye on a
japonica.  There are also the copper plates from various book printings,
various artifacts and artwork, rare books (including an original Dykes), and
doodads.  Almost everything has at least one bid on it... with the most
vigorous bidding being on the book ($400+).

This makes me wonder about all the folks who CAN'T get to convention ... and I
wonder if a mail auction (which has been discussed) and/or an e-mail auction
would be worthwhile.  I'd be interested to hear anyone's thoughts on it.

So... it's late and we're loading busses at 6:45 tomorrow for our first visits
to the gardens.

Over and out
Kathy Guest

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