The Transition Network

special interest groups

Submitted by Erin Campbell and Julie Efta

Spring is here and people are getting vaccinated! All exciting news that we will be able to see each other in-person soon. The SIGs are going strong and we have had a few out-door gatherings. You can read all about our SIG activities below. Keep in mind, we are all open to a one-time activity or a longer-term SIG. If you have an idea, contact Erin at or Julie at with your interest. 

RACE & HISTORY SIG: Changing the Narrative
NEW SIG Looking for interested participants
Submitted by Ginny Jacobson, Jan Weller, and Jill Goski

The purpose of this SIG is to enable participants to learn U.S. history that we didn't learn in school, particularly the perspectives and experiences of people of color. To help us understand our present-day racial dynamics through a historical context, we'll delve into the history of Slavery, Reconstruction, Lynching and Segregation. We'll also become aware of the many hopeful actions that people are taking to rectify past wrongs, with emphasis on the Twin Cities and Minnesota.

We'll have four monthly sessions, June through September, 1 1/2 hours in length, using a format somewhat similar to a book club. However, no purchase of books required. Readings, videos, podcasts, etc., are all available online; the amount of time to prepare for our monthly sessions will be about 2-4 hours, similar to reading a book for a book club. At the conclusion of our 4-month study, members may choose to continue to meet to discuss additional topics of interest and also to discuss meaningful actions we can take as an organization or as individuals.

Date and time for this SIG to be determined. 

Leaders of this SIG are Ginny Jacobson, Jan Weller, and Jill Goski. To sign up or for more information, contact Ginny at

NEW SIG Looking for interested participants
Submitted by Julie Efta

We are now a group of 4 groovy kits and welcome 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.

Our first outing may be on a Saturday afternoon at a park or on a boat on the Mississippi River.

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

submitted by JeNell Jacobson

Our meeting on April 14 focused on symbolism by viewing a variety of paintings, sculptures and mosaic works submitted by members for a slide show.

Works by Minnesota Artists will be featured in a slide show at our meeting on Wednesday, May 12, from 1:00-3:00 PM. The participants can also share information about art tours, and events in our state that could be of interest for groups or individuals to visit. Participants are encouraged to submit their photos of art by Minnesota artists to Terri Evans by Wednesday, May 5.

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

Books, books, books.

Every member of the Daytime Book Club has pretty strong opinions about what makes a book worth reading. In reviewing our reading over the last two years or so, we determined that as a group we tried to cut each other a lot of slack in choice of books. Yes, we might not love a recommended book, but we would still read it and find that we got something out of it in spite of ourselves. Maybe we learned something we didn’t already know. Maybe we stretched into topics we never would have explored if left to our own devices.

In April, we moved into Greek mythology and read the novel Circe by Madeline Miller. The book is a skillful retelling of the story of Circe, the sorceress and witch who turned deserving men into swine. Miller created an engaging backstory with feminist elements thrown in.

Here are the books we are slotted to read in the future:

May 6The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. A novel about Black light-skinned identical twins who separate as young women, one choosing to live as a privileged white and one continuing to live a very different life as a black.

June 3The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. A comedy written in the voice of a young man on the Spectrum about his search for the perfect woman.

July 1Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. A novel based on a real-life American scandal wherein children were abducted from their parents, disappeared and adopted out to wealthy families.

August 5Ordinary Grace by Minnesota author William Kent Krueger. A murder mystery and a coming-of-age novel woven out of the stuff of small-town living.

A book club is a beautiful thing. We invite you to join us every first Thursday of the month at 10:00 AM via Zoom. 

Questions? Contact Eleni Skevas at

submitted by Chris DiPietro

Over the past 20 months the women who attend the Food SIG have truly been explorers of sights, aromas, textures, tastes, and techniques-sometimes in person, but most often virtually. Those in attendance bring many ideas, talents and curiosities. Anyone is invited to visit this fun group as we continue to explore the many facets of food. We will hope to establish safe outdoor meeting experiences later this spring.

In April, members prepared a recipe that was previously untried from a forgotten or favorite cookbook. They then photographed it and shared their experiences. We enjoyed delicious inspirations and aspirations!!

Our next meeting will be held on Monday, May 10, from 4:00-5:30 PM via ZOOM. (Invitations sent out about a week in advance.)

We will continue our exploration of recipes. This time the subject is Enticing Appetizers. Attendees are encouraged to prepare an appetizer, photograph it, and share their experience. However, cooking ahead is not a requirement of participation. Come to enjoy the sights and stories.

For the first half of 2021, the SIG plans to meet on the second Monday of the month from 4:00-5:30 PM.

If you would like to be added to the email list of Food SIG participants, please email Chris DiPietro at If you have other questions about the Exploring Food SIG, please contact Kathleen Peterson at


- submitted by Cyndy Nelson

On April 20, 13 women gathered to discuss how to get the most for your money when traveling. We quickly discovered that we have added a reason for travel – to get out of the house/escape! Nobody was ready to fly yet, but people were considering/planning train, car, or RV trips. Most will travel domestically or locally in the short term. We learned that rental cars are currently in short supply and expensive due to fleet downsizing. Women have used Costco travel as a way to save money. Women have also found Airbnb to be a way to save money, but one needs to be careful so you know what you are getting. We discussed how we are focused on getting the experience you want in the most cost-effective way, rather than traveling as cheaply as possible. Some members recommended we take a risk and try something new as we plan our travel.
On Tuesday, May 18, 6:30-8:00 PM, we will be discussing the article from The New York Times titled “Are you emotionally ready to retire?” It asks 8 questions; those who have already retired can help to provide insights for those who are thinking about it. Article can be found here.
Our June meeting will be on Tuesday, June 15, 6:30-8:00 PM.

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 

Thanks to the 10 members who volunteered for our pandemic garden meet ups last summer: Jean Forrey, Debra Dorgen, Eleni Skevas, Mellissa Cathcart, Tracey Baker, Robin Getman, Susan Zimmerman, Jill Goski, Janis Weller and Nancy Bargsten.

 I have heard that several more members are working at redesigning their gardens and many others continue to enjoy their special spaces, gardens, decks and patios for relaxing and entertaining.

This year there is no sign up to join this group of hosts. There are no special group events. Everyone interested is encouraged to reach out individually to arrange in person outdoor socializing throughout the summer. You can find email addresses for other members in the member directory of the TTN website; you must be logged in to see this information.

Invite a few members or be bold and ask to visit someone for inspiration. Meeting at parks and having a picnic is also a great choice.

Be spontaneous and enjoy the beauty and fresh air and warmth!

“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” Winnie the Pooh

Questions? Contact Julie at


- submitted by Karen West

On April 1, five members met and shared the “significant experiences and events” from June (ages 36-42) of their ongoing “Life Review.” Next month, on Thursday, May 6, from 1:30-3:00 PM, we will share our experiences from July (ages 43-49). Before our May meeting, we will also reflect on, or write about, how July’s experiences and events “contributed to the continuum of our life.” Eventually we will be able to use our “Life Review” to help us decide what legacy letters we might want to write.
We meet on the first Thursday of the month from 1:30-3:00 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 on April 15 discussed Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The movie was an adaption of the play which is set in Chicago in the 1920s, and deals with issues of race, art, religion, and the historic exploitation of Black recording artists by white producers. On April 29, the group discussed the Sound of Metal which is about a heavy-metal drummer's life that is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing. Both films are heavy drama and filled with many discussion points. The group hasn't yet decided on future movies or meeting dates.

All of our meetings are 1:00-2:30 PM.

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

Thanks to Debra Dorgan for selecting and adeptly leading the invigorating discussion on The Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness with Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychologist and author. We were encouraged to 'actively notice' nature, objects, and people around us. This is an action that is more than simply being present. Instead of seeking work/life balance, seek integration. How we use language matters, as do our beliefs. Instead of asking 'can I?' do something, ask yourself 'how can I?’ do this. If you change your mind, your body may also change. Seek out, create and notice new things every day to experience direct mindfulness.

On Monday, May 17, we will meet at 1:00 PM via zoom to discuss The Art of Being Creatures with the poet farmer Wendell Berry and theologian Ellen Davis. For additional pleasure listen to the Extra poems read at the end of the On Being podcast. Julie will lead the discussion. Listen to the podcast before our meeting. Or read the transcript, but you shouldn’t miss Wendell Berry’s voice!!! Podcast can be found at this link

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

Well golfing girls! Are you ready to party on the links?

Weather permitting of course, we have chosen to meet on Thursday, May 6, at Lilli Putt in Coon Rapids. This is just a basic, solid course which we thought might be convenient for all members. We are going to suggest 2 times in order to accommodate our working members - those who want to do both can chat and chew in between games. The first meet-up time will be 3:00 PM and the second at 6:00 PM.

With our Senior Discount, rates will be $8.10 a game. The address is 1349 Coon Rapids Blvd, Coon Rapids, MN 55433. 

I am unsure of their Covid masking policies, but if you have not been fully vaccinated, we ask that you wear a mask and let others know your status. Otherwise, we will comply with those in our foursomes or twosomes who are the least comfortable not wearing masks. We recognize that everyone has different comfort levels so we want to be respectful. I can foresee a totally unmasked group and a masked group or maybe a combo - but this will be a no judgement activity.

We will play if temps are above 50 and maybe a slight drizzle? - after all we are hardy Minnesotans. If in doubt, check your e-mails if you are on the mailing list.

We are looking forward to this so much and hope to see you there!
If you are interested in joining us, please contact Jan Weller at or Jean Forrey at


 - submitted by Karen West

On April 13, 15 women met to discuss the first 89 pages of From Age-ing to Sage-ing by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. We had an interesting discussion, and we missed the four women who were absent. Thank you to each of the women who shared specific sections or quotes from the book that they wanted to discuss.
On Tuesday, May 11, at 7:00 PM, we will continue to discuss From Age-ing to Sage-ing through P. 184.
I also want to give you the name of the book we will read next, so you have plenty of time to locate a copy. It is Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally Really Grow Up, by James Hollis. This is my second favorite book on conscious aging. I’m saving my favorite for later.

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


(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.

Wednesday, May 26, is the Full Moon. Enjoy this on your own in your favorite place (please share) or meet with others to watch it rise at White Bear Lake on the boardwalk in front of Aqua restaurant. If cloudy, try the day before or after!

We are considering camping at a few Wisconsin State Parks this summer during the week. Let us know if you are interested in camping or just a day trip of forest bathing and fun. Attendees will be limited.

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

RV Life: From Pandemic Distraction to (almost) Hitting the Road. At the April Travel SIG, Janis Weller graciously shared her covid-inspired learning about self-contained RV travel, including NEW terms for many members, such as the difference between a Class A, Class C or 5th Wheel rig. Not only rigs, we learned about gear, too. Janis explained so much about the 'WHY' in planning this adventure, along with what and who has inspired her, including a short clip of Frances McDormand (Fern, in Nomadland) talking about the importance of connecting to the natural world as we age. We hope Janis will check in with us as she begins her RV travels this summer.
We will meet on Tuesday, May 25, at 6:30 PM. Our topic is outdoor adventure travel with TTN MSP member, Kim Keprios, executive director of Wilderness Inquiry.
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 April the group had two outings. On April 17, we walked for about 3 miles along Nine Mile Creek in Moir Park in Bloomington. The trees were just budding out, the creek was full and playful, and we even saw a nesting bird or two. Our “Awe” walk in April was in conjunction with the Wellness Wednesday program. We enjoyed a forest bathing experience at Reservoir Woods in Roseville. Look for additional details on this event elsewhere in the newsletter.

We have two hikes planned for May:

Our first hike of the month will be held on Thursday, May 13, at 4:00 PM in the Saint Anthony Park neighborhood of Saint Paul. We’ll hike for about an hour at a moderately brisk pace around the neighborhood. We’ll take in the diversity of architecture and age of homes and enjoy the small parks tucked here and there throughout the area. (Rain date is Friday, May 14, at the same time.)

Our second hike will be our “Awe” walk. On Tuesday, May 18, at 1:30 PM, we’ll meet at Langton Lake Park in Roseville for a contemplative walk. The park has about a mile of trails around a small lake. We will enjoy whatever we can hear, see, feel, or smell as we walk at a relaxed pace for about 45 minutes. We will likely spend some time considering the history and mystery of the smokehouse ruins at the southern end of the lake. (Rain date is Thursday, May 20, at the same time.)

If you’d like to join either or the hikes in May or would simply like more information about the Urban Hiking SIG, contact Chris DiPietro, the SIG’s coordinator at


submitted by JeNell Jacobson

The Writer’s SIG in April marked the end to holding our meetings on Zoom. As always, we enjoyed some chuckles and writing together. We are delighted to get back to meeting in person on the patio in May! Our annual review will be the focus of the Friday, May 14, 10:30 AM meeting. This group is currently closed to additional members.

Group contact is JeNell Jacobson

Material from, 15:06:06 May 6, 2021.
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