100 New Year’s Resolutions for 2019
Here are my 100 Resolutions for the New Year!
This past weekend (+Monday and Tuesday), I visited three state parks as part of my goal to see all of the state parks in Minnesota. As it happens, all three state parks were not terribly far from National Wildlife Refuges. Thus, I also visited three National Wildlife Refuges during my mini-vacation. National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) are administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service for the purpose of conserving…well, wildlife! I will admit that I am not as familiar with NWRs as I am with state or national parks. From my limited experience, it seems that NWRs that I have been to differ from state parks in that they typically do not charge a fee or requite a sticker. At the same time, camping is not typically allowed and there are fewer amenities, programs, and regular staffing. They also seem less busy or tourist oriented than state or national parks. On the other hand, some allow hunting and trapping, which is not always allowed at state parks. My general impression is that NWRs are less family and tourist friendly, but great for bird/wildlife watching and a variety of independent outdoor activities. There are 13 NWRs in Minnesota, which are among the 550 spread across the United States. This is a review of three of them.
Sherburne NWR is located near Zimmerman, MN and about a half an hour south-east of St. Cloud, MN. I visited the refuge with my brother as a Saturday excursion during my weekend visit. The park contains oak savanna, wetlands, and prairie ecosystems and offers hiking, but also a wildlife drive and opportunities for fishing and hunting. My brother and I mostly partook in the wildlife drive, which provides a few opportunities to stop for short hikes. The primary purpose of the visit was birding.
The wildlife drive took us through a variety of landscapes, including the three mentioned on the website: prairie, wetland, and oak savanna. We took a short hike in the prairie area, which unlike the state parks I had visited over the weekend, was devoid of bothersome insects. While it seems that woodland wildflowers peak in the early spring, the prairie wildflowers were in full bloom, creating colorful fields of orange and yellow. As for birding, the park has several species of sparrows which are not regularly seen in Northern Minnesota, where I live. For instance, during our short hike, I heard a Field sparrow. The song is very distinct, even though I have never seen or heard one before. I imagine that it is the sound of a Frisbee being thrown or a UFO taking off. There were also many grasshopper sparrows, another sparrow that I hadn’t seen before. They have an insect like song that sounds like a cross between a buzz and a hiss. Over twenty species of sparrows can be found in the wildlife refuge, so it seems like a great place to visit to see sparrows (even if I only saw a few species).
The wildlife drive follows along some lakes, where trumpeter swans, double-crested cormorants, great blue herons, and various ducks can be seen. For me, a highlight of these area was seeing black terns, which are another new bird for me. I was unable to photograph them, as they zip along pretty quickly. They don’t range near Duluth, but are found in other parts of Minnesota in prairie or prairie transition areas. Another highlight was hearing a Least bittern in a ditch by the lake, though I did not see the bird hidden in the thick vegetation. I am not a great birder, so I would suggest that less skilled birders (like myself) review bird song/calls before heading to the park. It definitely helps with sparrow identification (as they all look pretty plain and brown) and for hard to spot birds. I listened to a bird CD in my car on the way to Lake Maria State Park from Duluth (a three hour drive) so a few vocalizations were fresh in my head.
The only buggy area was on the north-west end of the lake, where there was a small oak forests and trail. We were too mosquito bitten to venture far, but we did see a red bellied woodpecker. This was a new woodpecker species for me and one that I later saw more of at Charles Lindbergh State Park and Crane Meadows NWR. As a whole, I would say that the park offered great birding opportunities. I would definitely return to see more sparrows and to view the Sandhill cranes which migrate through the refuge in large numbers each fall. I like that the park offered a wide variety of ecosystems and a wildlife drive. While we didn’t do much hiking, I would like to return to try out the trails. The park was surprisingly busy, with several vehicles slowly moving along the wildlife drive, also trying to spy on birds. There isn’t much room for passing, so, be prepared to take it slow and follow the caravan of wildlife enthusiasts! The refuge is about 30 minutes drive away from Lake Maria State Park, so both could be visited in the same day (though I visited them over the course of two days).
Crane Meadows NWR is only fifteen minutes away from Charles Lindbergh State Park and only about ten minutes away from Little Falls. This makes it very accessible and very easy to take in along with Charles Lindbergh State Park. The NWR was a welcome reprieve from the mosquito swarms that characterized Charles Lindbergh State Park. Crane Meadows NWR was bright and sunny, and although the trails followed along the Platte River, the wildlife area lacked the deer flies and mosquitoes that plagued my other outdoor adventures over the weekend. Crane Meadows is only 2000 acres (compared to over 30,000 for Sherburne NWR) and does not have a wildlife drive. Instead, it offers a few looped trails along the Platte River to Rice Lake. The longest loop is just under four miles. I hiked this loop, which was the best hike of the weekend because 1.) it wasn’t buggy. 2.) There was an abundance of birds. 3.) The trail passes a variety of ecosystems, such as oak savanna, tall grass prairie, sedge meadow wetland, and more! The trail can only be used for hiking, so horses and bicycles are not allowed. Perhaps owing to the length and limited use, I did not see any other people on the trail.
As I already mentioned, the hike was very enjoyable, with easy terrain and a variety of habitats in one relatively small area. I did not see as many birds as I did at Sherburne, but I also covered a smaller area. There were some noteworthy birds on the hike, including a great crested flycatcher, another new bird for my list. The yellow, gray, and rusty orange bird is easy to identify (which is not true of most flycatchers, which look pretty similar in their variations of pale yellow, olive, and gray plumage.) Another highlight was a few red headed woodpeckers, which I have not seen in Minnesota before. I also saw red breasted woodpeckers and a swamp sparrow. Other sparrows included song sparrows and chipping sparrows, both of which are pretty common in Duluth. The martin house was busy and there were also many barn swallows.
Like Sherburne NWR, I would definitely visit Crane Meadows again. The leisurely hike and variety of birds made for a great way to spend an afternoon. I would say that the main downside of the NWR is a lack of amenities. There are no toilets on the trails, but there is a port-a-potty at the parking area. On the other hand, there was hardly anyone at the NWR, so that was a plus. As a whole, it is a nice, compact wildlife area with easy access to Little Falls.
The final NWR that I visited was Rice Lake NWR, near McGregor, MN. I have visited this area many times, but couldn’t resist making a pit stop on my way home to Duluth. Of the three, this NWR has the widest variety of things to do. There is a wildlife drive, which I have done many times. There is an observation deck and several hiking trails. The NWR also features Native American and Civilian Conservation Corps history. Native Americans continue to use the wildlife area for harvesting wild rice and maple syrup. In fact, Native Americans have used the park since at least 1000 BC and there are burial mounds within the refuge. Each time I visit, there are usually at least a few people fishing, which seems to be the most popular activity. Rice Lake NWR is rich in waterfowl and each spring and fall during migrations. In fact, the area holds the state record for the most waterfowl seen in one place at one time, when a million ring necked ducks were observed in 1994. Like the other two parks, there is a wide variety of sparrows that can also be seen, including the rare LaConte’s Sparrow (which I have not seen).
Where the wild rice grows…
In addition to the hiking trails, wildlife drive, fishing, birding, and Native American history/use, this NWR generally has pretty good amenities (at least compared to the other two refuges). There are several toilets or port-a-poties spread throughout the refuge as well as two picnic areas. There is no running water, however. The refuge itself features mixed forests, lakes, and bogs. Because it is a very wet environment, there are always lots of insects! Of the three refuges, this was the worst, with swarms of deer flies AND mosquitoes. I have never successfully hiked in this refuge since these attempts are almost always thwarted by voracious insects. Even an open window during the wildlife drive attracted unwanted deer flies into my vehicle.
National Wildlife Refuges are a different experience than state and national parks. While they may not be as full of tourists, activities, and amenities, they are great places to spend a day taking in nature. All three of these locations are relaxing, tranquil, and great for birding. All three are places that I would visit again. There are only 13 of these gems in Minnesota, and only 12 can be visited! I will definitely be visiting other NWRs in the future and hopefully you will be inspired to visit them as well!
Well, February is ending. This means that my favorite month is almost over! I feel a little sad, as usually I meet February with such enthusiasm. I often have a long “to do” list of birthday activities. This month, I have found myself feeling sluggish, with less zeal for living. There were some days that I felt downright depressed. However, I still did my best to make the most of the month and celebrate my birthday in smaller ways. This is fine. Sometimes a celebration can look more like hibernation and the best gift is solitude and sleep. With that said, it was a pretty low key birthday month. Here are some of the highlights….
On February 3rd, I braved the slippery roads and headed to the Sax Zim Bog to do some birding. I was even able to convince Adam to come along with me. Although the day was probably a bit long for him, I had a fun time. We drove around and visited several bird feeders. I even saw two new species of birds: snow buntings and Bohemian Waxwings. I almost missed the Bohemian Waxwings, but happened to turn my binoculars to a tree. I assume at first that they were Cedar Waxwings. The two birds look pretty similar. However, I grabbed my bird guide and was pleasantly surprised to see that the birds had a rusty coloration under their tails. This meant that they were Bohemian Waxwings. There are only three species of waxwings in the world (the other is the Japanese Waxwing). There is always something magical about identifying a new species of bird for the first time. There are many birds that I will confuse or forget, but I think I will always remember the plump and rusty Bohemian Waxwing. As for snowbuntings, I have seen these birds before- but not since I began birding a few years ago. So, they were a target species this year. I have driven around looking for them throughout the winter, but finally spotted a huge flock of them. They were too quick and white to photograph (as they blended into the field pretty well).
The birds were pretty far away so the photo quality is not awesome.
On February 5th, I returned to the bog alone and added two more birds that day. I was fortunate enough to find that a flock of Sharp-tailed grouse were active in the early morning. Later in the day, I moved on to Virginia, where I found a lone Canvasback duck. Both were new to the list. I also believe that I saw a Boreal owl as I was driving through Cotton, but I did not have time to stop as I was on a main highway. Thus, I was unable to add that bird to my list.
Since those dates, I have done some birding elsewhere, but have been unable to find any new species of birds. I have been trying to spot a long tailed duck and a spruce grouse- haunting HWY 2 and Agate Bay in Two Harbors. My field trips have yielded nothing, but with some days off in the near future- perhaps I will find them. Of course, birding isn’t about adding new birds to a list. This is “listing.” There is joy in seeing familiar birds and becoming better at identifying what is already known. But, as a person who likes lists and obtains a sense of accomplishment from setting goals- adding to the list motivates me to go out more often. This weekend, I will make my final winter visit to the bog when I go snowshoeing there with my mother. This is how we celebrated my birthday last year (even though this runs into March…escaping the neat borders of my birthday month).
One of the outcomes of visiting the Sax Zim Bog on February 3rd with Adam was that we were both impressed with how people living in the bog area set up public bird feeders. These individuals welcome people to view birds on their property. Feeders such as Mary Lou’s and Loretta’s attract both birds, but also large groups of strangers. It is inspiring to see people open up their yards to strangers. They also invest a lot of their time and money into maintaining these feeders which benefit both birds and people. I wish that more communities broke down the barriers between private and common spaces. This is something that the Solidarity House tries to do by offering a free garden, free books, as well as a variety of free goods on our porch. After we returned from the bog, we decided to set up more bird feeders in our front yard. I purchased two feeders and Adam purchased one. I also bought some more suet.
Our efforts have regularly attracted birds to the yard. Although we do not have a huge diversity of species in our small yard, we regularly have several cardinals visit the feeders. I have also seen black capped chickadees, a white throated sparrow, white breasted nuthatches, a downy woodpecker, and dark eyed juncos in the yard. I enjoy looking out the window and watching these birds. While this isn’t an elaborate way to spend my birthday month, I will say that I have enjoyed my quiet moments at the window. Holly, my roommate Elizabeth’s cat, also enjoys these moments.
Another bird related highlight of the month was getting a new tattoo. I reached my 300th bird in February, so I decided to get a new tattoo. I determined that the new tattoo would be a snowy owl, as this was the first bird that I saw in 2018 and the last one I saw in 2017. It has been an irruption year for snowy owls, so there have been more than usual in my area. I had not seen one before this year, so seeing them several times this winter has been special. I felt that the snowy owl was a good choice since it represents this year (due to more being around) and winter in general. I also thought that the white contrasted well with the black of my raven tattoo. Although the birds have different shapes, I wanted two birds that at least had a sort of imperfect symmetry with one another.
Another activity that I have engaged in this month is painting. I have no training in painting or in art in general, but I have always liked creating art from time to time. This month, I wanted to create a piece of art for an upcoming feminist art show called WTF! So, I created a painting about how capitalism depends upon the bodies of women to function. It is a little graphic, but it is meant to convey the idea that the reproductive power of women is used to create the next generation of workers. Of course, the unpaid care work done by women also ensures the continuation of the working class. The art show will begin on March 8th and it is my first time participating in a public art show! The same day that I painted that piece, I also painted the windows of the Solidarity House to look like a forest. I had promised Adam that I would do this a long time ago, but forgot all about it until recently. We had several ovenbirds crash against the window and die last fall. By painting the windows with a scene, we thought we might break up the empty space and prevent bird fatalities next year. Additionally, I am trying to create a second painting for another feminist art show at UW-Superior. The piece will also have a labor and feminism theme. Finally, Jenny wants me to create a painting for an auction that Critter Harbor is hosting. Critter Harbor is an organization that traps and neuters feral cats. These cats are returned to the outdoors, but are provided with food and water. Some may be rehabilitated and adopted. I think this is all exciting, since it pushes me out of my comfort zone. I know I am not a great artist. I know I have a lot of room to improve. However, I think that I should not be limited by self-doubt or imperfection. If I want to paint, I should paint- skill or no skill.
Every other Thursday for the past year, I have done trivia at Pizza Luce with a group of friends. We usually do okay, but not often well enough to place. On February 15th, we gathered for trivia again. I wasn’t going to attend since I was dead tired from working for nine days in a row and nearly 95 hours. It had been a hard day, I was extremely sleep deprived (I had slept about 3 hrs between a 10 hr shift and a shorter 4.5 hr shift and about 3 hrs before the 10 hr shift the day prior). Somehow I pulled myself together enough to show up for trivia with my friends. Well, we actually won first place at trivia- out of 24 teams. I am glad to be friends with a bunch of smarty pants!
I am going to be honest and say that I have had a very strong drive to sleep this month- though this drive has not always resulted in actual sleep. The drive to sleep has increased since the middle of the month. On my actual birthday, I skipped an activist meeting so that I could get a little extra sleep before my 10 hour shift. I don’t think I actually got any extra sleep, but it was nice to just stay in bed. This week, there have been days were I have done little more than sleep, eat, and work. Like usual, I am working an 8 day stretch of 10 hour shifts, followed by a bonus 9th day with a shorter shift. I have typically had a high tolerance for work and moderate lack of sleep, but lately- not so much. I slept 14 hours on one of my days off last week. I have been taking power naps during my 30 min work break. But, winter has been long. February has been cold and we had three snowstorms in the past week alone. Since I do have some very busy days, I think I am okay with allowing myself to indulge in sleep.
Like every month, there is always a schedule of activist events. This month, I have stepped back a little. Nevertheless, some activist highlights of the month include a union steward training and getting elected to the E-board of my union local. Another highlight was a small, but meaningful discussion on feminism and non-binary gender. On February 10th, I participated in a Valentine’s Themed Letters to Prisoners event. It was a fun event where several local activists sent Valentine Cards to prisoners. Socialist Action organized a modest rally for Immigrant Rights. This was followed by our monthly Socialism and Slice discussion group. The discussion group has grown so large that we will have to seek out another venue. I am also excited to help out with HOTDISH Militia’s Bowl-a-thon. Yeah, I will say that this month I was much less engaged in political activism. Usually, I have far more meetings and events to attend. But, one my New Year’s Resolutions was to step back a little.
I ate too much this month. The downside of my birthday month is that I justify going out to eat with the line….Well, it’s my birthday month! I ate a lot of Mexican food. I treated myself to sushi and green tea tempura ice cream. I had Indian food. I really don’t want to think about how much I treated myself in the form of food. It is little wonder that I have ended the month a little chubbier. Now, as a feminist I should be fat positive. I should allow myself to take up space, fully enjoy life, and not sweat my size. That isn’t the case. While I don’t obsess about it and have come to terms with the fact that I won’t be a thin as I was in my 20s, I am not a huge fan of the scale going in an upward direction. On the other hand, I sure did enjoy all that Mexican food. I guess March can be a month of moderation…
I wasn’t as physically active as I would have liked to have been this past month. But, I at least took time to attend a zumba class and take a sauna. Zumba is really a fun way to engage in fitness. As for taking a sauna, I think it feels so primal and rejuvenating.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to make sure that I hike, bike, run, kayak, etc. 365 miles this year. I don’t think it will be that hard of a task, but it is not something I have ever actively tracked before. Right now, I am behind on my miles. But, February was both cold and snowy. I ended up with fewer miles in February than in frigid January. As of today, I have hiked about 47 miles in February and January combined. Usually, these are pretty mild three mile jaunts. Because I was falling behind this month, I was going to try to do five miles- in a snow storm last week. This did not pan out. It was cold. Snow whipped my face. The wind was wicked. I made it about two miles total. This snow storm was followed by two other snowstorms later in the week. While I should have 59 miles by the end of the month to keep on track, I will likely end the month 10 miles behind.
I had a low key birthday party on February 17th. Years ago, in my late 20s, I would host giant, extravagant birthday parties with pinatas and trivia. For the most part, I have smaller, less involved parties in recent years- if anything at all. I already do a lot of planning and preparation for Marxmas, so I have lost the energy to host two large parties so close to one another. But, honestly it was nice to hang out with a few people without a whole lot to do. Jenny hosted an Arbonne Party for her birthday in January. I actually did the same this year- since I wanted the free protein powder (which costs $60 a bag in their catalog). Yep, so I had a product presentation themed party. This was an unusual choice, but it wasn’t bad. We had some snacks, soaked are feet, and listened to a presentation about products that I don’t NEED but somehow felt compelled to buy because well…it’s my birthday. I think that “it’s my birthday” can be a bit of a dangerous mantra- since it has encouraged me to be excessive all month….
I worked on my actual birthday, but one thing that I did on my birthday for myself (aside from sleeping) was book my flight to Romania. I will be visiting Romania in late August, spending some time in Romania, Moldova, Macedonia (with a day trip to Kosovo), and then ending in Iceland before heading home. I am trying to hit a few European countries that I have not yet visited- but I think that all of them will be interesting. I will be gone for about three weeks. I am excited for an adventure in the lands of Ceausescu, Vlad the Impaler, break away semi-autonomous states, the social construction of Alexander the Great, and geothermal wonders.
Another highlight of the month was seeing Black Panther with Dan. I love Marvel movies, even if they are predictable and cautious. Black Panther was unique in that it was set in Africa with few white characters. It had great costumes, engaging characters, and a story line that wrestled with racism and colonization. Now, I would like to write a longer review. I will say that I wasn’t satisfied with the political conclusion that the best bet is to work within system to uplift the oppressed through charitable institutions. I felt that the character Killmonger had some great lines and was far more politically relateable than a princely and privileged isolationist (or was until the conclusion of the film). Killmonger wanted to arm the oppressed- even though his vision of revolution also involved an expansion of Wakanda as an empire. That is the annoying thing about Magneto/Killmonger type characters is that revolutionary philosophies of liberation are often coupled with authoritarianism/supremacy in comic book movies. There are many visions of how to overthrow systems of oppression and radically alter society- yet so few are represented. It creates a villainous strawman out of radical politics. Oh, and another very annoying aspect of the movie was the fact that the CIA character was a good guy! Come on! The Wakandan characters are very aware of colonization and slavery, but somehow the United States- and the the CIA no less, ends up playing a heroic role. Never mind the assassination of Patrice Lamumba, support of the coup against Kwame Nkrumah, support of Mbutu Sese Seko, assisting in the arrest of Nelson Mandela, fighting MPLA in Angola, supporting the overthrow of Gadaffi in Libya, etc. But this was a Marvel movie and these tend to fetishize secretive organizations (i.e S.H.I.E.L.D) and align the good guys with America. Still, I did enjoy the movie and I don’t want to take away the joy that Africans and African Americans have experienced by seeing positive representations of Africa and Black people. Also, I did enjoy the movie and feel it is one of the better films in the Marvel universe.
Well, there you go, that was my birthday month. There were some positive things, such as fun times with loved ones, birding, painting, visions of travel, time spent outdoors, trivia, and activism. There were some not as positive aspects of the month, such as over-eating and sleeping too much/too little. Looking back, I think I made the most of my month without exhausting myself trying to zealously seize each day. Yes, there is a limited amount of time in a lifespan. Birthdays are a good reminder of that. But, I guess if from time to time, I want to just spend a whole day in bed or eat Mexican food three days in a row- that’s okay too. It would be cool if I ran 4 miles on my birthday or did one celebratory thing each day of the month- but that would be exhausting. Despite some lows, I think the month had a good balance of fun, friends, work, and hiding from the world.
I like making New Year’s Resolutions. In the past few years, I have had about 50 resolutions. I accomplish about half of them. And, to be honest, my New Year’s Resolutions tend to be more like a a giant “to do” list. So, many of the things on the list are things I hope to do over the year. Another portion of items on the list of resolutions are things to track. For instance, last year, I tracked the books that I read, birds that I saw, and political events that I attended. This year, I am going to be even more ambitious and have made a list of 100 New Year’s Resolutions. (I am a little short of 100 in case I think of anything important to add to the list). Some of this requires data tracking. Some is more like a check list. There is no science behind this. I don’t expect that it will make me a better person. Perhaps, it just creates a weird frenzy in my life to check things off or write down data. But, I think it does shape the year and gives me things to think about or plan. Here is my 100 Resolutions for 2018!
There you go! I am sure I will fail at some of these resolutions. Perhaps others will create new patterns in my life. A few will just continue the trends that I have already started! Overall, I am always hoping to be a healthier, more knowledgeable, broader, more creative, and more traveled person each year! I hope that 2018 is a great year.
Pandemonium was founded in October, 2016 as a group that discusses issues related to members of the Bi+ community. The group also tries to build a sense of identity and community among the members. Once a month since its founding, Pandemonium has met for “Bi with Pie.” Bi with Pie is a monthly discussion group which tackles issues related to bi+ identities as well as other LGBTQ topics. This is an overview of some of the discussions the group has hosted over the last year as well as some suggested goals for 2018.
In January, we discussed some of the ways in which bisexuals can avoid homophobia and transphobia, but also the realities of biphobia and bi-erasure. For instance, bisexuals should not assert that everyone is actual bi or bi is the natural state of human sexuality, since this negates and erases the experiences of other sexual identities.
This discussion provided a brief overview of some of the different identities which fall within the bi+ community. Because we have some new members since this initial discussion, it might be useful to have this discussion again.
In March, Lucas lead a discussion about the oppression of trans individuals in the prison system. Problems faced by trans prisoners include misgendering, dead naming, placement with male prisoners if female or female prisoners if male, lack of access to hormones, lack of access or expensive access to hygiene or beauty products, etc. This discussion was followed by an opportunity to write letters to LGBTQ prisoners.
At the April meeting, Lucas shared some of his own poetry as well as the poetry of several famous bisexual poets. The poems were discussed for themes related to bisexuality.
In May, I did a presentation on Frida Kahlo’s bisexuality, as well as her political beliefs. I discussed the theme of bi-erasure in some media depictions of her.
There was no Bi with Pie meeting during the month of June. However, we met again in July and had a discussion on the topic of intersectionality. The discussion introduced the topic of intersectionality the way in which LGBT activists have both succeeded and failed to be intersectional.
In August, we met to plan Bi Visibility Day in September.
We did not have a discussion topic in September. Instead, we gathered together to make posters for Bi Visibility Day.
We had a very small and unprofessional table at Pride. While our table had a very “do-it-yourself” look, we promoted Bi with Pie, Bi Visibility Day, and sent letters to LGBT prisoners as a solidarity greeting from Pride. At least two dozen people signed the cards to these prisoners.
Pandemonium sponsored a very modest Bi Visibility Day picket. The goal of the event was to draw attention to the existence of bisexuals or the bi+ community i.e. increase our visibility. This was the first time we have organized an event like this and it should definitely be on our agenda for 2018. Bi-visibility day is September 23 rd.
Jenny led a great discussion on how intimate partner violence/domestic violence impacts the LGBTQ community. She showed us an LGBTQ power and control wheel and discussed gaps in services and research. Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month it was a timely talk.
Our final discussion of 2017 was on the topic of vampires and bisexuality. The discussion was lively and I only made it through half of the research that I had prepared. We discussed various representations of bisexuality in vampire media.
Looking back at 2017, I think that Pandemonium hosted some really great discussions on a wide variety of topics. I also think it was great that we attended Pride and organized a Bi Visibility Day Event. We attracted some new members, such as G, C, and D, though the group remains fairly small. Our best attended discussions were the topics of Frida, vampires, and bisexual poetry. I am sure the group could be larger and more active, but I will admit that as an organizer, I put this group on the back burner. I do not invest as much of my energy into this group as I do other activist projects that I am involved in. I am comfortable with the amount of time I devote to it, as I think it is okay to have a small and low key group. To avoid burning out, I would like to scale the meetings back a bit, or perhaps mix up discussion based meetings with social activities as we enter the new year. Also, because I often go to Pizza Luce for other events, I would like to explore alternative meeting venues and meeting ideas. Here are some suggestions for 2018.
-Have less frequent meetings- perhaps bi-monthly. -Continue to have meetings with an educational discussion focus combined with some social events -Rethink Bi with Pie. Could we do Bi with Bites- and meet elsewhere for appetizers? Or Bi with Baklava and meet at Coney Island for Baklava. Maybe Bi and Beaners? I would like to move away from buying a pizza for the group for my own budgeting… -Try to promote Prism’s Events and better collaborate with Prism -Do a meet and greet with CSS Queer-Straight Alliance to promote our group. -Try to do something for Pansexual Awareness Day on December 8th! -Consider if we wish to do any LGBT prisoner work this year. If we do, we must re-visit if Lucas is welcome to participate in the group since he is the main contact and organizer with local criminal justice work. He has not participated in the group due to concerns about his criminal history -Consider other avenues of bi+ activism -Promote the BECAUSE conference in October -February- no regular meeting, but encourage members to attend feminism beyond the binary -March: Host a discussion on bisexuality and women’s history/feminism for March/Women’s History Month OR revisit last year’s presentation on various bi-sexual identities. -April: Host a discussion or panel on bisexuality and autism for our April meeting- Autism Awareness Day -May: Topic TBA -June: Perhaps a fun social event- like a bi bonfire on Wisconsin Point? -July: Host a birthday party or birthday celebration for Frida Kahlo. We can revisit the presentation I did last year on Frida’s sexuality or invite someone else to present. -August: Topic TBA -September: Organize Bisexual Awareness Day/ Consider a Pride Table (though I will be out of town)
-October: Host a panel or discussion on domestic violence and the LGBTQ community again. Perhaps work with Prism to co-sponsor this event. We could reach out to the Education Coordinator at Safe Haven to see if she would be willing to present this or facilitate the discussion. This is a great way to plug into Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
-November: Topic TBD
-December: Consider not having a meeting due to the busy holiday season.
Pansexual Awareness Day- December 8th