The Transition Network

special interest groups

Submitted by Erin Campbell and Julie Efta

Our Special Interest Groups continue to amaze! Some are having in-person meetings while others remain on ZOOM, but whatever the method we are coming together for friendship. Checkout all of the activities of the last month and be sure you are making the most of your TTN membership. If you have an idea, contact Erin at or Julie at with your interest. 

Short Term Group Looking for interested participants
Submitted by Barbara O’Sullivan

Do you have interest in joining a Special Interest Group to explore together Julia Cameron's book It's Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife & Beyond? Attached is a description of the book from the publisher. Here are two choices of dates to attend an informational/ planning meeting depending on which date and time works for you: Thursday, July 8, at 1:00 PM at Como Park south of the Lakeside Pavilion off the large parking lot or Monday, July 12, at 6:30 PM on Zoom.

"Julia Cameron has inspired millions with her bestseller The Artist's Way. Writing this book at the age of sixty-five, she shows her contemporaries how retirement can be the most creative and fulfilling stage of life yet. For some, retirement is a day to work toward with anticipation. Others approach retirement with greater ambivalence. While the newfound freedom is exciting and filled with possibility, the idea of retirement can also be very daunting. You are in a unique position to explore yourself and your desires from a place of experience. But the line has been drawn in the sand: The life that you have known has changed, and the life to come is yet to be defined. This book is a twelve-week course aimed at defining--and creating--the life you want to have as you redefine--and re-create--yourself. Filled with essays, tools, and exercises to be done alone or in groups, this toolkit will guide and inspire retirees wishing to expand their creativity. This fun, gentle, step-by-step process will help you explore your creative dreams, wishes, and desires--and quickly find that it's never too late to begin anything"

We will meet periodically over a 12-week period to share our insights from the book's process. On-line and in-person options will be available to accommodate busy schedules and varying locations. Also, there will be opportunities for those who want to meet in person for some of the exercises together which include nature walks, exploring new places and making discoveries. Since this is a short term group, you do not need to be a TTN member to participate. If you are interested, please contact Barbara at

submitted by JeNell Jacobson

On June 9 we had planned to have our first in-person meeting having lunch and a visit to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, but that was cancelled due to extreme heat. Instead, we meet on Zoom to do some drawing exercises and had a lot of fun producing some interesting sometimes crazy art.

Our plan for July is to be outside again, this time visiting the extensive murals of the Chroma Zone in the St. Paul Midway area. We will plan on meeting on Wednesday, July 14, at 1:00 PM. Details about where we will meet, and the route will be sent out shortly before our meeting.

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

June’s book was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, a novel written in the voice of a genius named Don who is on the Asperger’s Spectrum. Don is in search of the perfect wife. Instead of relying on social contacts for introductions to suitable women, this genius develops a questionnaire which inquires, with excruciating detail, into the habits, routines, preferences, skills and body types (specifically BMI’s) of the women answering his questions. His questionnaire doesn’t work. Instead, he meets Rosie, an untamed spirit with her own agenda who entrances him and manages to endure (or accept) his quirks. Rosie and Don fall in love.

Don’s limited understanding of Rosie and the other supporting characters in the book formed the basis for a good discussion about those we have known on the spectrum. We also talked about the representation of such people in literature, the visual media (movies and TV), and especially science fiction.

Join us on Thursday, July 1, at 10:00 AM via Zoom to discuss Before 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. Contact Eleni for Zoom info.

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

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.

September 2Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. A historical novel set during the Great Depression and the “harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and have-nots”.

October 7Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. A novel featuring an ambiguously gendered child who grows up in an era when ambiguity was not recognized in her culture and not tolerated by society. Along the way the author gives the child and the child’s family a very interesting back story.

November 4Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. We previously read Circe by the same author. Song of Achilles, like Circe, takes a Greek myth and reimagines it, richly filling in the details of what more might have happened among the gods and heroes as we know them.

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 Kathleen Peterson and Chris DiPietro

On Monday, June 14, twelve members of the group met in person in a lovely shady backyard in St. Paul, hosted by Chris DiPietro. 

On the menu:
Appetizers- Cowboy Caviar, Cheese and Crackers, Caprese Salad plate
Main Course- Deciding meeting days and plans for the coming months. A number of delicious ideas were served up. (See below)  
Sides- Conversations and Hugs
Dessert- German Chocolate Cake (Café Latté) to celebrate a milestone birthday of one of the members
A wonderful afternoon to enjoy being present with one another again!

July Meeting Details: Friday, July 2
Time: 1:00-3:00 PM (including a late lunch)
Location: Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis.
Topic: Explore Ethnic Foods/Support Minority Owned Restaurants. The restaurants at Midtown Global Market include broad mix of ethnic cuisine: Venezuelan, Moroccan, Indian, Mexican, Cambodian. Thai, East African, and Soul Food. We’ll stroll around the market and each person can purchase lunch from the cuisine of their choice. We’ll enjoy lunch together in the common dining area. We’ll also have time to enjoy shopping at the grocery, clothing, and gift shops representing the diverse heritage of our community.

August Meeting Preview: Open Arms Service Project - SAVE THE DATE: Friday, August 13, 1:30-4:00 PM
Open Arms is a community-based program located at 2500 Bloomington Ave. So. in Minneapolis. In their large kitchen they prepare and package thousands of meals for their 1400 + clients who are dealing with life threatening illness or other serious health needs. These meal packs are delivered in person or by mail (to outstate residents). Open Arms requires a commitment of 10 participants to be there at the session on August 13. Members work in groups on basic food preparation tasks in a lively and enjoyable environment. Please consider participating in this worthwhile activity. You do not need to be a regular member of the Food SIG to participate in this volunteer activity; please email Chris or Kathleen to express your interest. More information will be provided as we get closer to the date. 

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 June 15, 13 women gathered via zoom to discuss the topic of banking. As always, we had a great discussion. 

Key Learnings:
· Many women have had their checking account at the same institution for many years. The highest was estimated at 50 years!

· The majority of women had their primary account at a credit union, rather than a traditional bank. At least 8 different credit unions were mentioned. It was noted that requirements to be in a credit union have eased in recent years. Many women like their credit union because of the small, home-town feel vs the institutional feel of large banks. They also can have good savings and loan rates.

· Services provided by banks and credit unions have changed significantly in the past 50 years with the introduction of ATM, online banking, and mobile banking. It has reduced our need to go into the physical location.

· Online banks are banks that have NO physical branches. These have become possible given the introduction of online and mobile banking. Since their costs are less, they can offer higher savings and CD rates. The disadvantage of an online bank is that there is never an opportunity to meet a banker in person.

Our July meeting will be on Tuesday, July 20, 6:30-8:00 PM, via Zoom. Our topic will be "Keeping our financial lives secure". This is a broad topic that can include scams, online security, physical mail, etc. Bring your ideas to share with the group.

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 French SIG is taking a relaxed approach to summer learning by reviewing topics already covered in the app, with members listening and/or discussing, or even sitting out for the season. Weekly Zooms continue at 10:00 AM on Monday. 

Please email if you are interested.


- submitted by Julie Efta 

The purpose of this SIG is to help our TTN members who are garden lovers share their garden beauty with others and encourage new garden projects. The SIG only meets together if some decide to visit a public garden together. Instead of meetings, this SIG allows you to make connections with other TTN members who are interested in gardens and would like to tour and be inspired by the gardens of other group members as individuals or small groups.
If you are interested in participating in this SIG, email Jean Forrey at to request access to a Google doc so you can add your name, city, garden description, and email address. Other TTN members who have been granted access can email you to set up a time to get together and receive your address. Email addresses could also be used to share other ideas for appreciating flowers, gardens and the great outdoors for future summer month get togethers.
Questions? Contact Julie at


- submitted by Karen West

On June 3, the Legacy Writing SIG met on Zoom, and we shared what came up for us as we remembered the August (50-56) cycle of our lives. As the facilitator of this group, I am really happy with the way the group is progressing. Each person is approaching their legacy work a little differently, and we are all learning from each other.

Next month, we will meet on the first Thursday, July 1, from 1:30-3:00 PM. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can intentionally create your legacy, email Karen.
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 Jean Forrey

5 of us attended the premiere showing of In the Heights and we all agreed it was excellent! Personally, my face hurt from all the smiling- although there were definitely tears mixed in with the smiles. Afterwards, we ate at a nearby restaurant and discussed the film. Aside from the fun music and lyrics, phenomenal choreography, talented singers and actors and great costuming - we all noticed the age and size diversity among the cast of predominantly Latino actors and dancers. One of the criticisms has been the lack of dark skinned, Black Latinos in leading roles, but for this white girl, it was refreshing and exciting to learn more about Latino culture. We also noticed how they paid homage to old musicals, with visual tributes to Esther Williams, Fred Astaire, and Gene Kelly.

As of this writing, the discussion on The Zoo Keeper’s Wife has not occurred but I expect it to be interesting as we all bring our different experiences to the table.

UPCOMING ATTRACTIONS! We will continue this hybrid approach of live movies and Netflix or Amazon Prime selections.

On Monday, July 5, we will attend Summer of Soul at the AMC Coon Rapids theater at the 3:30 PM showing. This movie is a 2-hour documentary of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival directed by Questlove of the Roots. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the US Documentary Competition. I expect we will meet afterwards to discuss the movie and avoid rush hour traffic.

On Tuesday, July 13, at 1:00 PM, we will meet on ZOOM to discuss The Professor and the Madman which is available on Netflix.

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

On Monday, July 19, at 1:00 PM on Zoom, we will meet to discuss Krista Tippett’s “It takes a Cosmos to Make a Human” with astronomer Jill Tarter. Debra Dorgan will lead the discussion. You can find the episode here. “We are all made out of Stardust. Ultimately, we actually all belong to only one tribe, to Earthlings."

Thanks to JeNell Jacobson for leading the discussion on Joy Harjo’s interview in June. We talked about the relevance of poetry, art, saxophone music, humor, time, hope for future generations, dreams, native Americans, stereotypes, story, songs and spirit.
  • “Humor makes holes where laughter can get through.”  
  • “A poem can be like a pocket, it can hold anything.”  
  • “Everything is spiritual.” 
Consider the stories behind closed doors and challenge yourself to open doors.

We meet at 1:00 PM promptly on the third Monday of each month. We welcome ideas and leadership for future months. New members welcome! You do not need to attend every month. 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

We were lucky enough to golf twice this month! Due to some last-minute changes and the hot weather, we decided to not go to Taylors Falls and instead discovered a wonderful golf course which is part of the Three Rivers Park District. It was at Eagle Lake Regional Park in Plymouth and was well kept, very natural with some shade, but no water features. (Thank you from those of us who tend to end up in the drink.) The second place was at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Richfield called MaltTees. This was also a pleasantly lovely golf course! And we were joined by a new TTN member which was fun for all of us. 

On Friday, July 9, we will make a second attempt to go to the Taylor’s Falls mini golf and drive-in which gets rave reviews. The course opens at 11:00 AM and we would like to be the first to tee off. Carpooling is advised due to the distance.

Feeling revolutionary? On Tuesday, July 27, Par-Tee on will par.ty like it’s 1984, at the iconic Betty Danger’s Animal Farm in NE Minneapolis, where we’ll meet for drinks and snacks and perhaps the most outrageous mini golf in the Twin Cities. This interactive 9 hole course presents some, er,  novel challenges. Wacky good fun! It opens at 3:00 PM so we will meet then. Food and or drinks are required so eat a light lunch! 
If you are interested in joining us, please contact Jan Weller at or Jean Forrey at


RACE & HISTORY SIG: Changing the Narrative
NEW SIG Looking for interested participants
Submitted by Ginny Jacobson

This four-part SIG explores U.S. history most of us did not learn in school. We’ll use material researched and published by the Equal Justice Initiative on the topics of Slavery, Reconstruction, Lynching, and Segregation, along with a variety of other online sources. We’ll explore what was happening in Minnesota during these time periods and learn about positive actions people are taking in the United States and in Minnesota.

Monthly on Wednesdays from 11:30 AM-1:00 PM on June 16, July 21, August 18, and September 15.       
For our June session of this SIG, we met and discussed slavery in the United States and in particular the Montgomery, Alabama slave trade. We learned that Minnesota also benefitted from slavery. 
To prepare for the Wednesday, July 21, session, we're studying the period of Reconstruction. We use materials found on the Equal Justice Initiative's website as well as other online sources. 
By learning history, we hope to better understand racial dynamics in our country, state, and neighborhoods today.
To sign up or for more information, please email Ginny at

 - submitted by Karen West

On June 8, nine of us met on Zoom to discuss the last third of the book From Age-ing to Sage-ing, by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. This is the book that started the conscious aging movement. In this book discussion group, we are reading books and having discussions that will help us make the most of our second half of life, this exciting new stage of life that our longevity has made possible.

On Tuesday, July 13, from 7:00-8:30 PM, we will discuss the first three chapters (to P. 89) of Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally Really Grow Up by James Hollis.

This SIG meets on the second Tuesday of the month from 7:00-8:30 PM.

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


- Submitted by Julie Efta and Melissa Cathcart

Friday, July 23, is the night of the full moon.
Annual Perseid meteor showers will be active from July 17- August 26.

For ideal Milky Way galaxy gazing, enjoy the night sky near the New Moons of: July 10, August 8, and September 7.

Hope everyone finds a great place and clear dark sky for viewing these celestial wonders!

Please share your ideal and wondrous places to view. Contact Julie if you would like to meet with others for any of these.

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

Submitted by Julie Efta

When we stop chasing our tails and the weather is inviting, our small group plans to meet outside to exercise our creativity, paws and minds.

Contact Julie if you would like to join, or have a plan and place to meet on short notice. Bring a project and supplies that are meaningful and enjoyable to you.

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

The Travel SIG will not meet in June, July and August. We hope members will be able to travel as they choose! We welcome all MSP TTN members to share pictures of their summer travels, and commentary, with us, by replying to an email from the SIG. If you are not on the list and would like the email addresses, please email Marilynne Roberts and she will forward the email addresses to you. Safe and happy travels!
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. 

We took two hikes in June. During the first hike, at the Lyndale Park Rose Garden near Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, we endured the high heat and humidity as we enjoyed the sight and aroma of roses in their prime. The second hike was at Woodlake Nature Center in Richfield. We were lucky to see some ducks and ducklings, a ground hog, and some red-tailed blackbirds. The drought provided a silver lining for hikers: The trails were fully open all the way to the (usually) marshy south end of the park.

We have two hikes planned for July:

Our first hike for the month will be our “Awe” walk on Thursday, July 8, at 10:30 AM at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary in Minneapolis. July is a good time to slow down and wander quietly through the garden and take note of the world around us. This will be leisurely paced walk of a mile or so over an hour or so. (Rain date is Friday, July 9.)   

Our second hike in July will be at 10:30 AM on Thursday, July 15, around Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis. We’ll go once around the lake and cover around 3 miles in about an hour. We’ll meet up and end our hike near the beach area which will offer a great opportunity for the group to share a post-hike snack or beverage from Sandcastle restaurant right on site. (Rain date is Thursday, June 22.) 

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

submitted by JeNell Jacobson

On Friday, July 16, our meeting will be held outdoors at a member’s home. The June meeting was not held due to unforeseen circumstances. In May, we began meeting in person and it is GREAT. This group is currently closed to additional members.

Group contact is JeNell Jacobson

Material from, 03:53:59 July 29, 2021.
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