The Transition Network

special interest groups

Submitted by Erin Campbell and Julie Efta

Several months ago, we had two fantastic brainstorming sessions on potential TPG activities. Since then, we have started several new short-term and ongoing SIGs including Movies, conversational French, On Being, Dancing with the Wolves, and a new Book Group. We have also taken ideas from the sessions and included them in our Wellness Wednesdays and created a new working women TPG. All are very exciting additions to our chapter that has made our chapter more vibrant and helped us to attract new members. Let's keep it going!

Could you help by becoming a co-leader of a new SIG? Your idea could be for one gathering or for an ongoing SIG. Please contact Erin at or Julie at with your interest. Here are some of the activities/areas brought up at the brainstorming sessions:
  • Spanish, Italian, German or Other                     
  • Cohousing
  • Volunteer Project – Open Arms or Other          
  • Physical Fitness
  • Art & Craft Making or Handicrafts                      
  • Book & Puzzle Exchange
  • Games                                                                
  • Tea, Coffee Breaks, Cocktail Hour
  • Salons on Various Topics                                  
  • Social Justice
  • Random Acts of Kindness                                  
  • Read Your Choice Book Club
  • Staycations                                                         
  • How to Create a Blog
  • Laughter and Joy                                   
  • Trivia Night
  • Cultural Learning                                    
  • Journaling
  • US Civil Rights Trail Tour                                   
  • Technology Practices
  • Story Telling                                                        
  • Making Good Trouble
  • Music, Singing or Dancing                                 
  • Online Theater Discussion
  • Podcasts – Land of Discarded Women, The Moth or Other

NEW SIG Looking for interested participants
Submitted by Julie Efta

We are inviting other creatives to join us for impromptu live outdoor gatherings to encourage writing, drawing, painting or any portable art. Since this is dependent on good weather, meeting dates, and times will be set on short notice. We will meet anywhere outside proposed by members.

There will be some chatting at the beginning and end of each meeting, but the main purpose is to get together for independent work and inspiration.

Interested? Sign up! The size of the group may be limited.

For more information or to sign up, email Melissa Cathcart at or Julie Efta at

 - NEW SIG Looking for interested participants
- submitted by Karen West

On Tuesday, March 9, 17 women attended the first meeting of the Second Half of Life Book SIG. We introduced ourselves to each other by identifying ourselves as being a Denialist, a Realist, or an Enthusiast when it comes to aging. There were several Enthusiasts and aspiring Enthusiasts, and Karen suggested that this group may grow as we read and discuss the many empowering books being written about aging.

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00, so our next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 13, at 7:00 PM. We will be reading and discussing to P. 89 in the book that started the conscious aging movement: From Age-ing to Sage-ing (either edition) by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. 

Please contact Karen West at for more information or to join this group.

submitted by JeNell Jacobson

The March 10 meeting focused on Indigenous art submitted by participants including painting, sculpture, beading, pottery and weaving. 

Our next meeting is on Wednesday, April 14, at 1:00 PM. Participants can submit photos of art focused on symbolism to Terri Evans by April 7. Symbols can have powerful meaning and evoke strong emotion in the viewers of the artwork. Artists use realistic and abstract symbols to represent human thoughts and emotions.

If you are interested in participating or want to be on our contact list, contact Tracey Baker at or JeNell Jacobson at

submitted by Robin Getman

This SIG is taking a hiatus due to Covid19 as the in-person meetings are essential to the purpose of the group.

For more information, contact Robin at


submitted by Eleni Skevas

In March, eight women met via Zoom to discuss Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Opinions were strong about this disturbing dystopian novel. Some would have preferred not to have read it at all. A very few would recommend it, not to all, but to the “right person”. Briefly the book posed questions about the morality of scientific advances which favored one class of people at the ultimate expense of other human beings. Now do you understand why it was a challenging read?  

Coincidentally, Ishiguro, who won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature, released his newest novel, Klara and the Sun, the very same week we discussed this older one.

On Thursday, April 1, at 10:00 AM via zoom, we will discuss Circe by Madeline Miller, a tale which expands on what little we know about Circe, the witch of ancient myth. The author cleverly gives Circe a back-story that is intriguing and fun. The novel can be read as a stand-alone story; no knowledge of the myths is necessary.

On Thursday, May 6, we will discuss The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett which is about identical twin sisters who escape their “small, southern black community” to live very different lives, one returning to her community with her daughter, the other passing as white while married to a white man. As of March 21, this book has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for 40 weeks.

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the book club or if you just want to join us for a single meeting, we’d love to have you!!! 

This group meets in the morning of the first Thursday of the month from 10:00 AM - Noon.

Questions? Contact Eleni Skevas at

submitted by Chris DiPietro

Pot Luck defined: A situation in which one must take a chance that whatever is available will prove to be good and acceptable. 

On March 8th, the Food SIG group held a virtual pot luck. The menu: what makes for an organized and well stocked pantry, a review of the unique cookbook Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music, the joys of brightening up dishes with vinegars, finding new uses for kitchen tools, hearing the story about award winning chef Ann Kim’s newly opened Uptown restaurant in the middle of a pandemic, a Foodie Quiz, fun with fabrics and tablescapes, and a sighting of a lovely loaf of gluten free Irish Soda Bread. When we left, we were full of new ideas and hopes for gathering together for an actual pot luck meal in the future.

Plans for the April meeting: In this online recipe age, many of us have neglected to turn to our old, new, or never used cookbooks. In April, we will prepare a cookbook recipe that we have never before tried to make. We’ll view pictures and talk about our experiences. We hope that you will join us for a lively discussion. Cooking ahead is not required.

Here are the details for our next meeting:
Date: Monday, April 12
Time: 4:00-5:30 PM on ZOOM
Topic: Cookbook recipe

Everyone is welcome to attend the Exploring Food SIG. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for an invitation, please email Chris DiPietro at

In a change from the group's ad hoc meeting dates and times in 2020, for the first half of 2021, the SIG plans to meet on the second Monday of the month from 4:00-5:30.

If you are interested in attending or for more information, Contact Kathleen Peterson at


submitted by Cyndy Nelson

On March 16, 13 women gathered to discuss the subject of things we can do to save money. We opened the meeting with a check-in that focused on something that had changed in the way we spent during the pandemic. Many women reported the obvious reduced costs of eating out and traveling, less spending on clothes and gas/maintenance since we weren't going anywhere, increased costs of home repair/improvements since we spent so much time at home, and increased gift spending on grandchildren to help as they learned at home. 

Our discussion focused on ways our members had found to save money. Ideas suggested were to re-evaluate home and auto Insurance, eliminate cable, learn about all the services included with Amazon Prime membership, consider refurbished phone purchase at CPR in Roseville, buy cards at dollar stores or Trader Joes, reconsider how you do laundry by checking out Patric Richardson or purchasing True Earth Eco Strips, and use Facebook Marketplace for used items you need. 
On Tuesday, April 20, 6:30-8:00 PM, we will continue our discussion about saving money with a focus on travel and dining out since we hope to begin thinking about those activities. We will also share spending changes you want to carry forward as you come out of the pandemic 
Our May meeting will be on Tuesday, May 18, 6:30-8:00 PM.

We meet via Zoom on the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30-8:00.

The purpose of this group is to increase our personal financial literacy. The knowledge of members about financial topics varies from beginner to more experienced. Our topics will be selected based on what individual members are interested in. We meet on the third Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM. New members are welcome. Come and give it a try.

Please email Cyndy at if you are interested in joining us, have ideas for topics, or have questions.

- submitted by Jane Harrens

The members of the French Conversation SIG are gradually expanding our vocabularies and topics of discussion. We are keeping the conversational balle rolling for longer times and more topics each week. Power points, flash cards and the occasional pantomime help us communicate.

We meet via Zoom on Mondays at 10:00 AM.

Please email if you are interested.

- submitted by Julie Efta

This SIG has been renamed to the SISTERS IN AWE SIG – please see info below.


- submitted by Julie Efta 

Welcome Spring and New Ideas!

Last summer was the first for this SIG. Those of us who participated enjoyed visiting other's outdoor spaces. A few of us have outstanding gardens to share while others simply liked the opportunity to visit with a few women safely outside on a beautiful summer day.

This is not a garden competition. The only requirement to host is to set a date (weather permitting) and have a few chairs to sit and chat face to face. Your space can be a front porch, back deck, patio, lawn, fire pit, or even a full walking tour. This a wonderful opportunity for those who simply miss entertaining and hosting a fun small group!

This year, if you are willing to host others outside on a specific special day or week (birthday, half birthday, best blooms of the season, etc.), send Julie an email with that information by April 15. Once she has collected that list, she will share the available dates and hosts. In May, all TTN members may sign up for a lovely opportunity to meet others this summer and chat in a small and safe outdoor setting. Members must sign up to attend and receive addresses and specific times.

Questions? Contact Julie at


- submitted by Karen West

Six members met on March 4 via Zoom. Since January, we have been working on our “Life Review,” as Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi suggests we do in his ground-breaking book From Age-ing to Sage-ing (271-273) in preparation for writing legacy letters. Rabbi Zalman suggests we access our memories in 7-year cycles, designating each cycle as one month in the year. In February, we shared our memories from January-March (ages 0-21), and in March, we shared the next two cycles, April-May (ages 22-35).

We meet on the first Thursday of the month from 1:30-3:30 PM. At our next meeting, on Thursday, April 1, we will be sharing our memories from June (ages 36-42), and we will be talking about our transition from youth to adulthood, about who we were when we were young, about any conditioning we had to overcome, and to what degree we were able to leave our family “freely, as a larger person” (Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, 142).

New members are welcome!

We meet on the first Thursday of the month from 1:00-2:30 PM.

If you are interested, have questions, or would like more information please email Karen at  

- submitted by Erin Campbell

The Movie SIG met and discussed The Trial of the Chicago 7. The trial was in 1969 however the film’s events feel very 2020. The backdrop is a country at war, young people fighting against the establishment, and Black people fighting racism and police brutality. It is wonderful to hear each other’s perspectives and the discussions always bring new insights.

The group also met and discussed Mank, which is a 2020 American biographical drama film about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and his development of the screenplay for Citizen Kane.

All of our meetings are 1:00-2:30 PM and we have selected the following dates and movies:
Thursday, April 15 - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Thursday, April 29 - Sound of Metal

We would love for you to join us for any or all movies.

Please email Erin at or Jean at if you would like to participate.

- submitted by Julie Efta

In March, 14 women met to discuss “Wintering” with Katherine May and Krista Tippett. Patty led a thoughtful group and Mother Nature treated us with a lovely spring snowfall. Did you know that snow often foreshadows change or transition in children’s books? Discussion topics included: nuclear and extended families, rituals, the power of rest and respite/retreats, celebrating seasons and the progress of light, cycles of life, and resilience. When “winter” approaches in your life, greet it and let it in. Ask yourself, “What change is coming?” Treat yourself like a pampered child and practice self-love in all areas of your life. We felt that this subject was perfect for all women in transition and thus our TTN group in general.

Here is a favorite quote from the book: “We need friends who wince with our pain, who tolerate our gloom, who allow us to be weak, while we find our feet again."

Debra Dorgan will facilitate the discussion for our meeting on Monday, April 19. Debra has chosen Ellen Langer on "Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness.” This conversation is #8 on a list of best ranked by listeners! Please listen to the podcast and/or read the transcript before our meeting.

We meet at 1:00 PM promptly on the third Monday of each month. Members rotate selecting an interview and leading the discussion. New members welcome! You do not need to attend every month.

To join this SIG and to receive your Zoom invite, please email Julie at or Ginny at


- submitted by Jean Forrey

Stay tuned for updates on the possibility of playing mini-golf together again soon! Of course, that will depend upon the weather, vaccination status, and what courses are open!

Looking forward to actually meeting everyone in person and putting around rather than just puttering around the house!
If you are interested in joining us, please contact Jan Weller at or Jean Forrey at


(aka Skywatchers)
- Submitted by Julie Efta and Melissa Cathcart

Welcome all to a new name/concept! Although Full moons, Seasonal Celebrations, and Sky Watching will remain the central focus of this group, we plan to appreciate the Awe in all aspects of nature and welcome ideas for future gatherings/meetings in person and outside this spring/summer/fall. While the newsletter will continue to report on the main events that are open to everyone, we would like interested women to email us if they wish to join a small group in novel and impromptu experiences of awe and joy that will not always be reported via the newsletter/TTN website/meetup.

On March 20, a large group of TTN members met at Como Park’s Labyrinth and Frog Pond for an Awe Walk and Celebration of the Vernal Equinox. This was TTN’s first live event in more than a year and the first live event ever for some new members. It was a beautiful day and we were giddy meeting in person and trying to recognize women wearing masks, sunglasses, and hats!! It was almost like a Halloween costume party with only our voices to identify each other. A few women also wore special spring green coats which added to our delight. We will continue to collaborate with the Urban Hiking group and Wellness Wednesday programing. Enjoy Spring!

Scheduled April events:

Friday, April 16, at 8:30 PM - Zoom with the Bell Museum’s Skywatcher program. Program is free but you must register for the link.

Wednesday, April 21, at 11:00 AM. Meet at Reservoir Woods Park in Roseville for Forest Bathing Awe Walk. See details in Upcoming Events section above. Co-sponsored by Urban Hiking and Wellness Wednesday.

Monday, April 26, is the Full Moon called Pink Moon for the flowers of the season. Enjoy this on your own in your favorite place or email to meet with others to watch it rise. If cloudy, try the day before or after!

The Aurora Borealis have been visible several times Up North this past month. Sign up for the Aurora or Aurora Forecast App and be prepared to make a last-minute trip North since it is a last-minute notification!

If you are interested, have questions, or would like more information please email Julie at or Melissa at

- submitted by Robin Getman

This SIG is taking a hiatus due to Covid19 as attending in-person theater events together was key to the purpose of the group.

Got questions? Need help? Contact Robin Getman at

- submitted by Marilynne Roberts

Flowers, trees, orchids, cacti and shrubs, oh my! Travel SIG members shared visits to arboretums, formal gardens and natural spaces both nearby and around the globe at our latest meeting. These destinations provide information about what you might grow in your garden, insight into completely different options, expert advice, seasonal inspiration, many test plants and plantings, classes, cultural knowledge, and often extensive libraries. We identified locations nearby we hope to visit when we can, and added many grand ideas for future travel of all varieties. How about inhaling the scents of cherry blossoms, rose gardens, or fields of lavender? Or perhaps relaxing for tea after visiting English gardens, the Chelsea Flower Show, much of Paris, or the botanical richness of Brazil? From home, you might enjoy watching YouTube videos of Monet painting outdoors in his garden at Giverny. Near the Twin Cities, The Sioux Chef is planning a garden to feature food crops important to indigenous food producers. Following The Lower Phalen Creek Project provides another way to learn about Native plants and peoples. Recently the Project shared news of the return of the Thunderbeings, spirits that bring thunder and lightning, marking the beginning of spring.
March is Women's History Month, and a recent book relates a fascinating story of the role of Native American women in saving traditional plants. The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson was described by Robin Wall Kimmerer as "Compelling . . . invokes the strength that women, land, and plants have shared with one another through the generations." Travel SIG members are waiting excitedly for spring, and now there are even more visions dancing in our heads - plants and Thunderbeings among them. 

We will meet on Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 PM. Janis Weller will enlighten us about RV travel, and our imaginations will explode with new possibilities.
Please email Marilynne at, Debra Dorgan at or Julie Efta at if you are interested in joining us, have ideas/resources for future meetings, or have questions.

-submitted by Chris DiPietro

The Urban Hiking SIG explores parks, trails, and new locations in the metro area during monthly hikes. 

In March the group had two hikes. On March 20, a large group enjoyed the glorious weather and welcomed spring with a stroll around the frog pond in Como Park in Saint Paul. We were in awe of the weather, the trees which were nearly budding out, and being able to talk face to face (with masking). On March 28, the group enjoyed the sites and sounds of Central Park in Roseville, walking through the park from Lexington Avenue to Dale Street and back.

We have two hikes planned for April:

Our first hike of the month will be held on Saturday, April 17, at 1:30 at Moir Park in Bloomington. At a moderately brisk pace, we’ll explore the trails along 9-mile creek which leads to the Minnesota River. We’ll plan to walk about 3 miles over about an hour. (Rain date is Sunday, April 18th.)

Our second hike will be in conjunction with the Wellness Wednesday program. On Wednesday, April 21, at 11:00 AM, we’ll meet all Reservoir Woods Park in Roseville to enjoy a contemplative walk and forest bathing experience in honor of Earth Day. We’ll stroll a short distance and take in all that is around us. See the Upcoming Events section of this newsletter for additional details. (Rain date is Thursday, April 22.)

 If you’d like more information about the Urban Hiking SIG, contact Chris DiPietro, the Urban Hiking SIG’s coordinator at


submitted by JeNell Jacobson

The Writer’s SIG 1 meets on the first Friday of the month on Zoom. Our next meeting is Friday, April 2, at 10:00 AM. This SIG was launched in May 2018 at a member’s home where the group continued to meet until the pandemic interrupted our lives. We are looking forward to again meeting on the patio and/or indoors. This group is currently closed.

Check out the New Legacy Writing SIG or consider starting a new group via zoom that fits your focus and schedule. 

Group contact is JeNell Jacobson

Material from, 20:05:29 April 18, 2021.
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