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As I contemplate this week’s blog, I look forward to the last week of happenings and the next week of activity.  It’s been an emotional week with discussions at the Civil Rights movie, concerns expressed in Jay Sieling’s Senior College teachings on The Internet of Things and the political discussions.  And the coming week hints no end to the possibility for emotion.

Dying to Talk!  Feb 7/21 & Mar 6/20 @ 6:30 PM at the Nest in AAHS

Our 4-session discussion group Dying to Talk! begins again this week.  I will help facilitate people through discussions of end-of-life concerns such as facing terminal illness, POLST forms, determining ideals for the aging process, dealing with aging parents, death with dignity, and designing your own funeral.  We will learn from each other as we share experiences, ponder aloud on ideas and work our way through understanding a process through which we will all walk.  I hope I provide some good fodder for the discussion and I’m excited about the group that will be participating.

Civil Rights Struggle   Loving Story  Feb 4 @ 6 PM Grand Arbor

We watch the final film in the series (postponed due to weather last week, so I don’t want to hear any crowing about how amazingly adept us Minnesotans are with regards to weather) The Loving Story billed as a “heartwarming story of Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple who married in 1958 despite Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws”.  http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/the-loving-story  I adore that their name is so perfect for their story!  But again, as with the other films in the series, it will bring up details in a story to which most Americans have never been exposed and one that some today still wish had never happened.  It is making us face the racism inside each of us and I’m enjoying the discussions with all those who come to share. 

Reading for the week

Lots of books in the agenda at present:

  • Ordinary Grace – the Community Read and William Kent Krueger will be here the 9th.  As I read, I have the strange feeling I read this book before… it happens.
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer – Have to at least get the first two sections read for the Non-Fiction Book Club this Sunday at Cherry Street Books – 6:30 if you want to join us!
  • Socialism, Seriously by Danny Katch – I’m about halfway through this but it’s been in progress for months (I am always reading so many books that some get finished in hours while others languish on the pile).  It’s really making good points about the nature of capitalism and socialism.
  • Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson – A new ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of a book on the idea of 4 students from Berkeley heading to Braggsville to intervene on the Civil War reenactment rebranded “Patriot Days”.
  • Felicity – This book of poems by Mary Oliver will be relished this week as we move closer to Valentine’s Day.
  • The Essential Bernie Sanders by Jonathan Tasini – This will take a few weeks to process but I figure I better get more up to speed on my candidate.
  • The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott – the opening of this ARC includes the crashing airplane of the town hero and it’s drawn me in already.
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pemo Chodron – It’s been on the pile for weeks but may get cracked this week if time allows.
  • Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande – Should finish this one this week for sure.

Is this too much to expect?  We’ll see!!

I read a book this past weekend called “George” by Alex Gino about a young child named George who has been born with the body of a boy but feels like a girl.  It’s geared for 8-12 year-old kids and is written in a clever story addressing the feelings and circumstances of this experience.  I hope it will help kids and families who are dealing with this issue which I personally find difficult to understand.  While I don’t completely comprehend feelings of this sort, I struggle to find comprehension.  I sent a long note to the author and then had a discussion about the topic with my son and his girlfriend which brought even more food for thought on this issue.  The idea of gender is getting much attention of late and our ideas about gender are changing.  Homosexuality is more accepted than ever, women and men both are breaking stereotypical gender roles in the workplace and at home, and I find myself ever more frequently asking if the person I am seeing is a boy or girl.  But the question I believe I should be asking is, “Why does it matter?”  I think one reason it does is in respecting the person for their preference in how to be addressed.  I found great insight in this blog regarding the singular “they” by the author: http://www.alexgino.com/blog/ And for those who don’t believe they can be singular, did you just read past, without noticing, my use of it a couple sentences back?  I think there is opportunity for much discussion if I can only find a group of grammar-nazis like me.

Having just checked Urban Dictionary for the details they have on the use of the term grammar nazi (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Grammar+Nazi) I’m now a bit worried about the trail I have left in the Interwebs…  Jay’s class these past few weeks on all things Internet was interesting but created an increased paranoia of how much information the Interwebs now has on me!  It also prompted me to update some passwords, adding length and symbols to them which really increases the probability of security… from what?  Who knows?  But it made me feel a little more cozy.  If you want to check your password’s strength, check it out here: https://www.grc.com/haystack.htm  Though in talks with my son last night about rainbow tables, now I’m not so sure again…

I should probably go back to worrying about my tooth which may need to be replaced with an implant.  Cha-Ching!  Thankfully we have dental coverage.  Which many Americans still don’t.  Which brings me to a plug for Bernie:

Healthcare costs - Bernie Medicare for all

And the big news for this week, the Iowa Caucus!  It will be interesting to see how things turn out… on both sides.

Dan and I will end the week goat sitting for our friends in Becida.  It will be good to get north to the Harn again and maybe we’ll even get over to Itasca State Park which this year will celebrate 125 years.  Hope that you have a wonderful week full of fun too!

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