Eating your values


Our very own Peter Ruddock will be participating in a panel hosted by Kim Acker on Thursday, August 15th, 7pm entitled “Eating Your Values” at the Los Altos Library. A second panel will be held the following week as well on the Future of Food.

Inner Transition  – August 19th


Session 7: Engage Jack Kornfield

Sounds True – Waking up in the World

For Third Monday, on August 19, 2019 the plan is 6:30p potluck, 7p viewing of a session of “Sounds True –  Waking Up in the World”, 8:15p Discussion. Location TBD in Sunnyvale or Los Altos. We’ll continue this month with Session 7: Engage.

Jack Kornfield, PhD

Tending the Heart in Uncertain Times

We live in uncertain times. How can we keep our hearts open and wise without being lost in the confusion and fears presented to us daily? How can we serve our community and our world with loving awareness and act with the gracious spirit of the bodhisattva? Join Jack Kornfield, bestselling author and cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, for an important and nourishing conversation. Jack will explore:

  • Practices for tending the heart and setting our inner compass
  • The power of our highest intention and the joy of the bodhisattva
  • Skills for peace amidst all that is happening

To RSVP or ask any questions, please feel free to contact Victoria varmigo at earthlink dot net

6:30pm Monday, August 19th. 6:30pm potluck, 7pm viewing, 8:15 discussion. Check email for details.

Craft Swap

Craft swap 2019 (1)

We return this month (and year!) with our first Craft swap in a long time. We will have this event at our old haunt Opal’z – but in a new, larger location.

Join us to trade arts and crafts supplies, beads, baubles, paper, yarn, sewing needs, instruction books,  and other crafty items in good condition. Bring supplies you won’t use, and take home something new to you. A light lunch will be available.

Would you like to demonstrate a craft? Contact us at bacraftswap at gmail dot com

Where: Opal’z Soap, 897 Independence Avenue, Mountain View building 3, suite C (behind Costco)

When: Saturday, August 10th, 12-2pm (note new time, day, and date!)

A few guidelines:

  • Due to the presence of needles and soap supplies, babies and toddlers should not be unattended indoors.
  • Take home anything left unclaimed at the end.
  • If you have a large amount of one type of item (an entire box or more), please remember to take them home if they are left at the end. Please contact us if you have more than this.
  • Opal’z is a soap-making business with fragrances – if you are sensitive to fragrance, you may wish to take precautions or contact us.

Free and open to all – RSVP not required, but please check in here.

Let’s have fun sharing and creating!


Inner Transition  – New Group Continuing this Month


Session 6: Engage Seane Corn

The Revolution from Within
Sounds True – Waking up in the World

Join Seane in this lively and inspired conversation on what it means to advocate for social change from the inside out, our role as conscious leaders, and how to engage our communities during these complicated times with awareness, compassion, and mindful action. Because stress and trauma live in the body, yoga practice is a perfect opportunity to confront and change some of the patterns that keep us stuck and suffering. When we change on an individual level, we are changing the collective level. If you’re interested in seeing the world become a more healed and integrated place, curious about your own personal contribution, or overwhelmed by the state of the world, this session will offer insights and practices that can provide guidance, lead toward purpose, and ultimately inspire you to be the change you wish to see.

  • How to bridge the gap between yoga, transformation, social justice, and action
  • Understanding the mind-body connection and the impact of trauma on our health, wellness, and reactivity to crisis and conflict
  • What it means to be a conscious leader and ally in the world today

To RSVP or ask any questions, please feel free to contact Victoria varmigo at earthlink dot net

6:30pm Monday, July 15th. 6:30pm potluck, 7pm viewing, 8:15 discussion. Check email for details. Facebook event link. 

Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope: Living in Future’s Past

Friday July 26, 7:30-9:30pm 
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto


In this beautifully photographed tour de force of original thinking, Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges shares the screen with scientists, profound thinkers and a dazzling array of Earth’s living creatures to reveal eye-opening concepts about ourselves and our past, providing fresh insights into our subconscious motivations and their unintended consequences.

Living in the Future’s Past shows how no one can predict how major changes might emerge from the spontaneous actions of the many.  How energy takes many forms as it moves through and animates everything.  How, as we come to understand our true connection to all there is, we will need to redefine our expectations, not as what we will lose, but what we might gain by preparing for something different.

Director Susan Kucera’s documentary “Living in The Future’s Past” brings together scientists, philosophers and politicians to share fresh insights on our subconscious motivations and their unintended consequences. See the trailer…


FREE, Donations appreciated. RSVP here.

Sponsored by Transition Palo Alto.

Transition Café – Conversation

Interrupting the usual format of these intros to say…the conversations over the past few sessions have been fantastic. Sometimes they are just mellow checkins, other times they are highly engaged with the subject, moving and flowing so quickly that I’m hard-pressed to keep with the notes. There are, of course, occasional frustrations, but by and large we have created a conversational culture which has endured for nearly seven years, now. Thanks for being part of it! With that in mind, we now return you to your regularly-scheduled Transition Café prompt…

Walking into a group of feeding Chickadees, Titmice and Bushtits is an experience. Their conversation is often interesting, and the first two can be pretty interactive with Humans, if they see that you are responding appropriately to them. That said, when they are feeding in a forest, they are often up high enough that they don’t get too disrupted when a Human walks through, so they stay more-or-less in Baseline behavior, allowing the Human observer/participant to soak up that mood. Much of their conversation and mood transmits through tone of voice and body language, same as Humans. As with Humans, the words spoken are much less important than voice tone and body language, which move into our nervous systems, allowing us to participate in their conversation. Imagine the feeling of dozens of little Birds excitedly talking about food, an excitement which cannot be contained by one, but has to be embodied by a flock, amplifying and spreading.

Do you get that on social media? Texting? Much has been made about the substitution of virtual non-community for in-person community and conversation. What do you think about this? Online activities, including social media, are certainly addictive, some think destructively so. This is, perhaps, useful for folks using them for surveillance of their users, gathering info on us to sell to high-bidding buyers. I’m sure your favorite social media site would never engage in such a thing, but what about the others? But do data-scooping surveillance websites make for good community or conversation?

A hidden agenda of the Transition Cafés at their outset, not so hidden now, was to get folks interacting with each other, face-to-face, without a digital intermediary. Since then, we have had a steady group of regulars, semi-regulars, visitors, kibitzers, which seems to suggest that this has been filling a need. We have covered a very wide range of topics, intentionally starting our conversations with topics which are conversation-enders, in polite company…

I made a comment, the other night, that when I’m at a party, I usually head to away from polite company, either to the kids’ table, or to the kitchen to do dishes. The first is easily explained, as conversations at the kids’ table tend to be bright, fun, and deeply insightful. They could also lead to a game of Chaos Tag, which is simply the greatest tag game ever conceived by a Human mind.

The kitchen/dishes option is perhaps a little harder, but could be summed up by saying that the conversation and camaraderie among the folks who choose to roll up their sleeves and do dishes so other folks don’t have to, or instead of engaging in the social posturing of the main party has a gravity pull all its own. This is especially true if you get to work with folks who have worked in a lot of kitchens, and a flow develops wherein everyone loses themselves in the work and the conversation becomes nonverbal (after an initial working out of who does what, and how).

One sees this among musicians who have played together for decades, as well, an effortless flow between Humans, instruments, music, audience…bringing us back to a flock of feeding Chickadees, Titmice, and Bushtits. Their enthusiasm overflows the boundaries of individuals, family, species, flock. Do even the Trees get in on the conversation? New/old knowledge suggests…yes.

Have you experienced truly memorable conversations? Verbal? Nonverbal? Confined to your species? Your genus? Family? Kingdom? When you and that Deer or Coyote make eye contact and something passes between you, what you are not sure, but something, certainly. Or when you “just know” that the Plant in the other room needs water?

Or, more mundane, walking with a friend, a Friend, lover, partner? How is that different with someone you’ve just met versus someone you’ve known for awhile? Decades? One of my oldest Human friends has been in my life for ~44 years, which seems like a long time, until I think of folks who have been married for 60, 70, 80 years. What must those conversations be like? Or between Trees and/or Fungi who have known each other for centuries? Millenia?

Join us for a conversation about

Conversation, this Friday, 21 June, at Red Rock. Sometimes we go to dinner afterwards, maybe we will this week, too.

The Guidelines are below. Read ’em, learn ’em, bring a copy if you think yer gonna forget ’em!

Venue Information is below the Guidelines, and check out the Random and Useful Other Stuff below the notes section. Feel free to forward this widely!

Transition Café Guidelines
-Whoever shows up are the right people
-Whenever it starts is the right time
-Speak when you are moved to speak
-The conversation gets to go where it wants to go
-Pauses in conversation are good, they allow information to sink in, thoughts to happen, and quieter people to have a chance to speak
-Silent listening is fine, you do not need to speak if you do not wish to
-The “Law of Mobility”: if you feel like you are neither learning nor contributing, you may use your mobility to find a place in which you are doing so
-Bring friends! If we overpopulate the venue, we’ll figure something else out
-If you are able, please buy stuff from the venues. We’re trying to support local businesses!
Anyone can host a Café! All you need is an hour or two, an independent café you like, this list of guidelines, and a starting subject. Bring something to read while you wait for folks to show up (see the first guideline).

Please note venue changes:

This week, we will be meeting on Friday, 21 June, from ~6:15-7:45pm, at Red Rock Coffee, in Mountain View.

Thanks to everyone who has been supporting the venues by buying stuff while we’re there!

See you at the Café,



Notes: Travel

What can we do, in terms of giving feedback?

Intentionality around travel – more necessary?
Train from SF to Chicago with little change of trains, or buses?
Conscience-easing methods of travel?
Socio-economic class and electric vehicles?
What would it take to pass laws about climate change?
“I bought a Prius, so I’ve done my bit”
Travel methods
-Time vs. Cost
Train is slower, more conversation, getting to know co-travelers
Carbon Credits
Peace Pilgrim – circumambulating the Earth?
Energy use: plane vs. train vs. automobile vs. bus?
Does the number of seats filled matter?

What do you do when you encounter the Wall of Grief? The Wall of Guilt?
Ethical Action-what does that look like?
If petroleum-based travel were ending in one year, how would you use that year?
Doom Tourism: this ecosystem/species/region is doomed, but I want to see it, so I will do so, knowing that in doing so, I hasten its demise. Which ecosystem/species/region would you, personally, do this to?
-This is a thing, by the way…
Travel, Staying Home (Staycation), Local Travel, Inner Travel

Please join us on tpa_cafe, or tpa_chat, you can join at Transition Palo Alto

Random and Useful Other Stuff:
Toby Hemenway’s (author of Gaia’s Garden and The Permaculture City) website: Articles – Toby Hemenway
Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, by Gary Paul Nabhan
Thinking in Systems, a primer, by Donella H. Meadows
Masterminds and Wingmen, Rosalind Wiseman
Queen Bees and Wannabees, Rosalind Wiseman

Why Writers Fight Style Guides Over Animal Pronouns
I’ll post other links and readings in this space, as they occur to me.

Palo Alto Ordinance

drink colorful color tube

Photo by Pixabay on

The City of Palo Alto passed Phase I of the Foodware Waste Reduction Ordinance – part of the Zero Waste plan for the city – on Monday, June 10th unanimously. The plan is only Phase I – and starting in January 2020, bans plastic straws, utensils, stirrers, drink plugs, produce bags, and other small accessories in favor of reusable or compostable alternatives, and receipts given only on request. Plastic retail bags have already been banned in Palo Alto.

Disposable Foodware Reduction Plan 4.22.19 (1)

Here are articles that describe the ban:

The full Zero Waste plan can be read here:

Transition Palo Alto supported the adoption of this ban and switch to reusables. If you’d like to join efforts to do more, email rani pj20* (replace * with @).

Green New Deal Town Halls

We have now had two Green New Deal Town Halls – May 7 and June 13th at the Rinconada Library.

Details of the May 7 Town Hall

Details of the June 13 Town Hall

Green New Deal Resolution has been proposed in Congress by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey. The stated goal is to address climate change by creating millions of new green jobs that will decarbonize our economy. While the (old) New Deal allowed 40% of food to be grown in victory gardens, built public parks, standardized the school lunch program, created a nationwide electricity grid, and a 2nd bill of rights, the new one will be what we make it.

Photos from the first town hall: by Jack Owicki, Pro Bono Photo.


Video from the event by Eric Simon:

Slides from the event here.

Co-sponsored by Transition Palo Alto

Share Faire photos

We had a sunny but cool Share Faire in Mitchell Park, with several demonstrators, plenty of great goods, and lots of help from our volunteers.

Bart sat with each person and discussed computer repair in detail, with examples to see and touch. Hamsa had little hands cutting and sewing bright fabric banners from Fabmo sample books. Jennifer’s handy handout on kombucha-making was accompanied by a taste of her strawberry-flavored brew. Dave pulled hydroponic plants out of buckets like a magician, the intricate root structure below visible clearly. Diane gave out easy instructions and tasting of her always-delicious quick pickles (spicy and sweet!). Victoria patiently gathered an Elder Circle to discuss the climate and all we hold in our hearts. William fostered conversation on what weeds really are – and aren’t. Peter demonstrated the making of nocino – and a quiz on the varieties and qualities of various crops.

Fabric galore, and lots of gadgets and trinkets, books, toys, and household goods were sifted and taken home. We were glad to welcome old and new faces.

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Transition Café – Travel

Some of the folks who cross the land here are regulars, like Chestnut-Backed Chickadees, Oak Titmice, Towhees, Juncos, various Reptiles, etc. Some are seasonals, like Golden-Crowned Sparrows, Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, and others. Every year, I look forward to the Golden-Crowneds returning, with their long-whistled calls. Those on the land here will often forage right around my feet if I’m sitting out on the land. Not so in other areas I encounter them. They often ride in on the first Fall winds, and are around until mid-Spring, when they head to other lands to raise their families.

I also look forward to visits from Human relatives. Family in the North Bay come by from time to time, and we visit them. Corvallis is a home away from home, as has Mendocino been, and I regularly go tracking on the coast and in the hills around here.

It is likely that this will all change, within the next decade, if we take climate change and the impact of fossil fuels seriously. Can renewable energy help with this? For the moment, only if you can afford it, but then, the same could be said of non-renewables. Buying renewable energy from Arcadia has turned out to be much less expensive than non-renewable, but we also live pretty lightly in that regard, and go low-tech whenever feasible. Of course that word, “feasible”, means different things to different folks.

The promise of the Petroleum Age was that we were to be connected, to everywhere and everything, so we distributed accordingly, falling in love with people, peoples, and places all over the planet, scattering our families to the winds. Even somewhere that is a mere hour away by car is much further by bike, and a serious time commitment by foot. Electric vehicles, of course, are the proposed replacement technology, but how many of us can afford those? About as many as could afford Horses in the days before the Horseless Carriage, I’m guessing, but that’s okay, right? After all, the wealthy are the only ones who would really need to travel or have the time to, as everyone else will be too busy cooking for, cleaning up after, and making things for them, yes? Especially if their wages are kept low enough. Whew, solved that problem, and in only one paragraph! But seriously…

Will we go back to family and friends living close to each other? How close? Biking distance? Walking distance? Probably depends on how close we want to be, how often we want to see each other. What of those of who have friends or family who are incarcerated? Those who commute over huge distances, each weekend, to spend time with loved ones who cannot come to them? Can you imagine that life? How many of us who live that life can afford an electric vehicle? I’m guessing not so many.

Humans, of course, are not the only travelers. Our stuff travels all over the world, too, courtesy of Big Industry. What will we eat, when that option is affordable only to those who can afford it? Whatever is in easy biking or walking distance, I’m guessing. Would it make sense to start establishing food and medicine gardens now, before it’s an emergency? Not just the occasional backyard garden or community garden, but everyone growing stuff, and skilling themselves up on the relationships between our leafy or mycelial neighbors and ourselves.

Of course, we’ll probably have to revise that relationship, stop spraying poisons on those wild edibles and medicinals, stop paying folks to blow the life-giving leaf mulch off our moonscapes, and stop calling the Homeowners’ Association or the police on our neighbors who refuse to, or who want to have a vegetable garden with (gasp!) a compost pile instead of (gasp!!) a lawn. Who knows, that volunteer plant in your neighbor’s yard may be exactly the medicinal which could help you with that antibiotic-resistant superbug rampaging through your insides.

The question of Travel comes up a great deal in Transition Town circles, especially when we’re looking at national or international gatherings for those of who only know each other as voices on the phone or faces on a video call.

Travel may get much easier for the non-Humans, though, not having to worry about getting hit by vehicles transporting Humans somewhere or another, and rendering the air- and waterways unfit for traversing, much less living in. What if we had learned to be more respectful, sooner? What if we learned it right now?

I’m definitely not saying we should not be exploring “renewable” energy, I think that is an important step towards what comes next. But I believe it is a step, and that the next step should be on our minds, so we don’t find ourselves in this place again, in another century. I have read that folks were predicting the end of the Petroleum Age before it even really got going, and they were right, for the reasons they cited, can we learn from that and make reasonable plans for what comes next, and after that? There are some very very smart people on this, what would it be like to listen to them and work towards implementing their ideas?

These are just my opinions, my questions. Although the Transition Town movement has Energy Descent as one of its goals, many join us who are excited about renewables, electrics, high-tech solutions. That is fine, and I, personally, think resilience comes from having the most diverse toolbox and set of options we can have.

Meanwhile, lifestyle changes will be happening, whether we like it or not. What will change in your life, in the short term? In the long term? How does this bear on our lives in the Transition Era? Come on down to Red Rock, and let’s talk about

Notes: Fiction
Personal Narrative

Changing vs. keeping your personal narrative?
How does your narrative change, over time?
Does your narrative change, over time?
Is there a relationship between a changing narrative and a changing life?
Does blame figure in your narrative?

Death stories
Family stories/secrets
Finding your story
State-controlled narrative
Fake News vs. Fiction

What story do you tell yourself about the news, after reading it?
Are the ways we change our story a sign of healing?
Family narratives
Where do you get your news?