Arts and Crafts and Four-Legged Friends: Getting to Know Christine Diamond
In the more than two decades since Operations Manager Christine Diamond joined VPCS, she has been instrumental in helping us adapt and grow into what we are today. But Christine brings so much more to our team than what her title implies. Yes, she’s skilled at the arts of operations, bookkeeping and HR. But that’s not where her artistry stops.
Discover a bit more about Christine in this Q-and-A:
It’s well known that you wear a lot of different hats at work. What are your non-work-related superpowers?
Well, I’m not sure if this qualifies as a superpower, but I do a lot of sewing and quilting. I’ve always been a sewer – ever since I was a little girl. I probably started as soon as I could hold a needle! My mom was always sewing clothes and doing crafts, so I picked it up by watching her. But she was never a quilter; I taught myself how to quilt when I was in college. So now I have a dedicated room in my home where I do it all – hand sewing, machine sewing, hand quilting, machine quilting. I’ve actually lost track of how many sewing machines that I have! I used to have my own long arm (that’s a specialized industrial sewing machine that you use to stitch together all the layers of a quilt), but it was very old and I’d gotten it fourth-hand and it eventually died. Now, I just do that work on my domestic sewing machine.
Do you give away a lot of quilts as gifts?
I do! I’ve also donated some for fundraisers. And my dog, Penny, is always wrapped in some quilt or another.
Can you tell us more about Penny?
Penny is a rescue. She’ll be five in January and I’ve had her for four years. She’s the VPCS corporate dog; she comes to work with me every day. She’s very sweet and gentle, even though she tends to be very cautious around new people and places. That’s actually Penny in the casual photo of me on the VPCS website.
Have you always had animals?
Yes. When I was a kid, we always had animals – dogs, cats and fish. When I was growing up, my mom would refer to all of our dogs as my “brothers.” She’d say things like, “Could you let your brother outside please?” and I knew she meant my four-legged brother, not my human brother. So I learned from her how to pamper animals; they’ve always felt like more than pets.
Is that what inspired the volunteer work you do?
Yes. For the past eight years or so, I’ve work with an animal rescue organization called Cat Tales Rescue based in Vacaville that helps protect, spay and neuter stray cats before placing them with local households looking to adopt. I’m one of many volunteers who babysit and foster cats before they get adopted. I used to do more fostering, but it’s too easy to get attached and want to adopt them all. So these days I’m more focused on the babysitting (weekend watching when the other fosterers are on vacation) and volunteering at our adoption events. With babysitting, I get to play with and spoil the kittens and then I send them home without really having any of the attachment issues. It’s a lot of work but I love it. And yes, I admit that I did end up adopting one of the kittens I recently babysat. But only one! His name is Parker (as in Peter Parker). He’s the one on my shoulder in the picture shown here, and the other two kittens are his brothers, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent. They were the superhero gang from their litter. Kent has been adopted, but Wayne (the black kitten behind me in the picture) is still looking for his forever home.
How does Penny do with the cats who come into your home?
She does great. She’s always gotten along well with my older cat (who’s now 10) and when the kittens come to stay, Penny likes to play with them. It’s fun to watch this big dog roll around and be so gentle with the kittens. It’s also great for the kittens because they get exposed to a large dog from a very early age, which is something we can tell potential adopting families.
You studied art education in college. How do you use that in your daily life?
Well, my degree introduced me to a little bit of all the different art disciplines – ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking, textiles and other areas. Needless to say, I don’t use that training in my work at VPCS, since there’s not a lot of art in bookkeeping or HR! But when I get home after work, you can usually find me doing something creative, which I guess is a way for me to transfer that art education and appreciation into the things I make.
How else do you like to unwind?
If I’m not sewing or quilting, I love to hike and travel. Otherwise, my favorite thing in the world is to play with my animals. If I have a dog at my feet or a cat crawling all over me, I’m happy.