|Greetings from the Executive Committee, Board of Directors|
Even though our WEAC-Retired members are the WEAC members that have been around the longest, none of us has ever before experienced what we are experiencing now. Though we have some centenarians who may remember the (misnamed) Spanish Flu pandemic of a century ago, the world and our experiences in it are different now. We want you to know that you are all in our thoughts. We hope you are safe and healthy and will stay that way.About UsYou are receiving the WEAC Region 10/Retired e-newsletter, Keeping in Touch Online, because you are a member of WEAC Region 10/Retired. Send your feedback to Region10@weac.org.
WEAC-Retired Executive Committee
President Ginny Bosse, Park Falls; Vice President Tom Zigan, Milwaukee; Secretary/Treasurer Carol Krogmann, New Berlin; Membership Coordinator Mary Jarvis, Wausau; and At-Large Representative Marlene Ott, Greendale.
2020 WEAC Region 10/Retired Annual Meeting
Hopefully all members who have provided us an email address have already heard that due to the pandemic, it was necessary for us to cancel our Annual Conference this year, but our retired Annual Meeting will be held, as a Zoom meeting on May 28 at 10:00 a.m. One Action Item on the Agenda is a vote to change our Constitution and Bylaws to go back to our former name, WEAC-Retired. WEAC-Retired is a much less confusing name than WEAC Region 10/Retired, which doesn’t sound at all like the statewide organization it is! Information on how to participate in the virtual Annual Meeting will be sent out soon.
We know that sometimes members don’t receive the emailed KITOL even though their email address is in our list. (This has even happened to me, and in March happened to Carol Krogmann!) Ah, sweet mystery of
May Day and Mayday, a Comparison
May Day is a spring holiday that brings maypoles and picnics to mind, and in some places is a celebration of working people. Mayday, on the other hand, is a call for help and makes one think of imminent danger. This year, the first day of May arrived under Safer at Home, which is sort of a Mayday kind of situation. It also came with a more May Day celebration of workers side – in the form of our ETF statements for our May 2020-April 2021 pension amounts. The Core adjustment was up 1.70% and the Variable up 21.00% – a raise for all retired WEAC members! Thank goodness for the foresight of those who set up the ETF on a five-year flattening system! We don’t know what our ETF statements will look like a year from now, but at least we know that they will not have as bad news as they could have because of the foresight of those who set it up!
More Election Victories Needed
The election of Jill Karofsky to the WI Supreme Court was a great victory for public education and other Wisconsin values! Another very important election is taking place on Tuesday, May 12th to elect a replacement for Sean Duffy, who resigned last September. Though the most geographically gifted of WI’s eight CD, the 7th CD is home to only about one-eighth of Wisconsin’s population, but if each of us contacts friends and/or family members who live in the 7th CD to vote, we can help to elect a new, pro-public education Congresswoman, Tricia Zunker! Tricia’s mother is a proud union member (USW Local 2-224). In 2013, Tricia was elected by her People, the Ho-Chunk Nation, to serve as Associate Justice of the Ho-Chunk Supreme Court. She was re-elected to that position in 2017. In 2018, she was elected to the Wausau School Board and currently serves as board president. On the school board, she works hard to ensure that all children receive a good education and is also an advocate for policies that improve staff morale and treat teachers like the professionals they are. From her office in Wausau, Tricia teaches remotely as a professor at three institutions. In each of these academic environments, she works with non-traditional students, helping them achieve their academic goals that would not be possible in a typical brick and mortar setting. Trisha Zunker is the WEAC endorsed candidate and is running against Republican Tom Tiffany, who is currently a member of the Wisconsin State Senate.
The WEAC RA was postponed from in-person on Saturday, April 24th, to via Zoom on Saturday, May 23. It will have an abbreviated agenda, but because it is the ultimate decision-making body for WEAC, it must follow very stringent rules. Parliamentarian Helen McFadden will keep it on the correct procedural path and NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia will make a guest “appearance”. The 2020-2021 WEAC Budget will be approved and dues will be set. WEAC Region 10/Retired, with 48 delegates, will again be the largest delegation.
By Sarah Borgman, NEA Retired President
(April) Now you know beyond a doubt how important it is to have your friends and family around and near you. With the virus running rampant and we are of necessity separating ourselves physically, we still need to reach out to one another in various ways. We are so attached to our electronic devices, but when was the last time you sent an old-fashioned note via the U.S. Mail? Have you baked, fashioned a new project, or done a good deed for your neighbor, leaving it on their porch or in their mailbox? Phone calls, e-mails, and texts are always welcome, too. Use your imagination to reach out. I’m sure you’ve seen these on TV, Facebook, and You Tube.
(May) What’s been said about COVID-19 has been said. I pray this all passes soon and we can get back to normal. Now there’s an interesting thought. Maybe we don’t want to return to what was. I like what I saw: the reaching out to the lonely, the hungry, the unemployed, kids with no school as a shelter. It wasn’t my imagination when I saw more smiles returned – even if behind a mask, more helping hands, more phone calls and friendly e-mails, more letters and packages sent, more photos shared. I really liked that. Some of you shared what projects and cleaning you did. Me, too, and maybe I shouldn’t have waited so long to do some of them! Maybe, just maybe, we’ll enter a kinder and gentler world. Let’s not forget what we’ve learned of what really can be. To each of you, I wish good health and a settling in to new every day possibilities. Our Retired work remains, and I trust we’re ready to move ahead somewhat refreshed!
NEA RA and NEA-Retired Annual Meeting and Conference
The following 12 delegates were elected to represent WEAC-Retired at the NEA RA and NEA-R Annual Meeting: Mary Bell, Ginny Bosse, Britt Hall, Bob Henning, Mary Jarvis, Carol Krogmann, Marlene Ott, Glenn Schmidt, Patricia Schmidt, Dianne Slivka, Bill Stuessel, and Tom Zigan. Both meetings will be virtual.
The NEA-Retired Annual Meeting will be held on the original dates of June 29th and 30th, but for shorter times.
The NEA RA will be held on July 2nd and 3rd. Our Wisconsin Caucus will meet four times via Zoom in order to ensure that all of WEAC’s delegates are prepared!
Letter from our NEA-R President Sarah Borgman
Election 2020 LOOMS before us. All year we face severe state and national attacks that threaten our pensions, Social Security, Medicare, our schools, our profession, and our students! must act and act now! Retired members are fabulous supporters of the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education. Every donation given can make an impact on our students, our profession, and our very democracy! We need leadership in the White House! We need leadership in the House and Senate in our states and in Washington. YOU can help make a difference by supporting the NEA FUND. President Lily invites to join again in this effort.Yes, we’re asking you again to dig deep and contribute to our PAC so that NEA can help the candidates who help us. We need folks in Congress who will say, “No!” to privatizing Social Security and Medicare and say, “Yes!” to finally getting rid of GPO-WEP. You understand better than anyone that elections matter. Thank you! There are many ways to give. Go to the address above in the red box. Find a retired member on the GO FUND page. Every donation is credited to you, to Retired, and to your state. For those of you who like to write checks, send your donation to NEA Fund, P.O. Box 96225; Washington, D.C. 20077-7501. Please give, not till it hurts, but because it will hurt if you don’t! Thanks for all you do!
Sarah Borgman, NEA Retired President
Silent, and sometimes live, auctions at the WEAC and NEA RAs and at the WEAC-Retired and NEA-Retired Annual Meetings raise money for the NEA PAC. (NEA PAC dollars are used for federal elections, while WEAC PAC dollars are spent on state elections.) A call went out in an earlier KITOL asking all our members to donate to both the WEAC and NEA PACs. As of now, eight months into the fiscal year, 64 of our 11,846 members (just over 0.54%) have donated to the NEA PAC, none in the last two months. This is a presidential election year, and we need to elect a pro-public education President! We also need to replace a few Senators and Representatives with more pro-public education ones! The NEA delegates are expected to donate at minimum $200. In the past, we’ve had a Silent Auction at our Annual Meeting, with undesignated donations split between the delegates. That’s not happening, but maybe you’ll find yourself invited to some Facebook Live auctions between now and the RA!
Remember the $19.99 for WEAC PAC added to our active WEAC dues? It was automatic! Almost all of us paid lifetime dues to become members of WEAC-Retired, so now it is up to us to fill out a form and mail it in with our check. Way, way too few of us have done ever done that, and even fewer remember to do it every year.
Please go to www.region10.weac.org and click on FORMS to find the WEAC PAC donation form, fill it out, write a check, and mail them to WEAC!
We hope you are able to maintain your health, relationships, and sanity through these difficult times. Hang in there, WEAC-Retired members!
And now for some fun
The following list of 100 things to do during the pandemic is from USA Today. Try some out! Which ideas are your favorites? What did you enjoy doing? What would you never do, even if you had accomplished the other 99? Did some ideas make you laugh at just the thought of doing them? Did you try something new that isn’t even on this list? Send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org about your experiences during the pandemic, and I’ll put some of them in the next issue!
1. Complete a puzzle: The more pieces the better! Feeling extra saucy? Take on a Rubik’s Cube. More of a word person? Crossword puzzle!
2. Start a journal or blog. Sure, it can be about the coronavirus, but it could also be about a specific interest from chess to cheese.
3. If it won’t bother your neighbors: Dust off that old instrument and practice.
4. Text all your exes just in case you have one more thing you wanted to get off your chest.
5. Write poetry. Perhaps you can craft a haiku for Mother’s Day, or something without a specific structure. Just try it!
6. Watch all the really long movies you’ve avoided until now.
7. Download Duolingo, or a similar app, and teach yourself a foreign language.
8. Finally read “Infinite Jest,” “Les Miserables” or even “The Stand.” Go all in and read “Ulysses.” You got this.
9. Meditate. Try lying down with your eyes closed, palms up and while focusing on your breath. Or spend 20 minutes sitting crosslegged and repeat a soothing word to yourself in your head. (The latter is more like transcendental meditation.)
10. Face masks, moisturizer, oh my! Treat yourself to a 10-step skin care routine you don’t have time for during a normal work week.
11. Look at pictures of puppies.
12. Put together the most attractive charcuterie board possible, but you can only use foods you already have in your fridge and cupboard.
13. Take note from “Tangled” star Rapunzel, who has an entire song about how she’s spent her days alone in a castle. Activities included in her ditty: Ventriloquy, candle-making, papier-mâché and adding a new painting to her gallery.
14. Write actual letters to family and friends. After that? Write thank-you notes to service people who you remember went out of their way for you.
15. Learn calligraphy. YouTube can help.
16. Finally read the rules to those long and intense board games you’ve never played with the family. Encourage the family to play.
17. Put on a soap opera. Mute the sound. Create your own dialogue.
18. Have a space in your home where all of the tupperware goes? Organize it and actually match lids to containers.
19. Try on all your clothes and determine whether they “spark joy” á la Marie Kondo.
20. Better yet, go through this process with your junk drawer and supply shelves.
21. Have a roommate meeting about how to be more considerate of one other, especially while you will likely be spending more time together. Bring baked goods.
22. Bake those goods.
23. Watch the films that won Oscars for best picture.
24. Watch films that won Independent Spirit Awards for best picture.
25. Watch films that critics say should have won those aforementioned awards.
26. Read all the New Yorker issues piled on your desk.
27. Will Tom Hanks into recovery from coronavirus by watching every Tom Hanks movie chronologically.
28. Knit or crochet.
29. Use Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Marco Polo to video chat with your long-distance friends.
30. Try out at-home aerobics or yoga videos. Consider downloading a fitness app with curated workout playlists.
31. Look at yourself in the mirror. Attempt a self portrait with pencil and paper. 32. Take a bubble bath (bonus: Add a glass of wine).
33. Make a classic cocktail, from negronis to Manhattans and aperol spritzes. Don’t forget the garnish.
34. Coloring books: They’re not just for kids.
35. Take time to reflect: What have you accomplished in the last year? What goals are you setting for yourself in the next year?
36. Write a short story or get started on that novel.
37. Actually try to reproduce something you see on Pinterest. Probably fail. Try again.
38. Clear out the family room and camp indoors with all blankets, popcorn and scary movies.
39. Finally get around to fixing that broken door knob and loose tile or cleaning scuffed up walls.
40. Acquire a foam roller and treat yourself to some physical therapy.
41. Pretend you’re 13 years old and fold a square piece of paper into a fortune teller you put your thumbs and pointer fingers into. Proceed to tell fortunes.
42. Learn how to braid (fishtail, French, etc.) via YouTube tutorial..
43. Throw out all your too-old makeup and products. (Tip: most liquid products have a small symbol on them noting expirations, usually six months to a year. This includes sunscreen!)
44. Interview your grandparents (over the phone, of course) and save the audio. Can you create an audio story or book with that file?
45. Go through your camera roll, pick your favorite pics from the past year and make a photo book or order framed versions online.
46. Go on a health kick and learn how to cook new recipes with ingredients you may not be using already, from miso to tahini.
47. Create a Google document of shows or movies you’re watching and share it among family and friends.
48. Make a list of things for which you are grateful.
49. Have your own wine tasting of whatever bottles you have at home. Make up stories about the journey of the grapes to your mouth.
50. Work on your financial planning, such as exploring whether to refinance your loan or ways to save more money.
51. Perfect grandma’s bolognese recipe.
52. Make coffee, but this time study how many beans you use, which types, how hot the water is, how long it brews and whether any of that makes a difference.
53. Buy gift cards from your favorite local businesses to help keep them in business while we quarantine.
54. Watch “Frozen 2,’ which went up early on Disney Plus. Another new movie on the streaming service: “Stargirl.”
55. Write a book with your family. Pick a character and each member writes a chapter about their adventures. Read aloud to each other.
56. No March Madness? Have a Scrabble tournament. Or Bananagrams. Pictionary, anyone?
57. Get into baking with “The Great British Baking Show,” but your technical challenge is baking something with the ingredients you have on hand (that you didn’t already use in the charcuterie board).
58. Indoor scavenger hunt.
59. Alternate reading the Harry Potter series with your kids and cap each one off with the movie.
60. Dye your hair a new color. No one else needs to see it if you don’t like it.
61. Read Robert Jordan’s 14-book “Wheel of Time” series before it streams on Amazon starring Rosamund Pike.
62. Write a play starring your loved ones. Perform it via a video call app.
63. Go viral in the good way by making a quarantine-themed TikTok.
64. Rearrange your sock drawer. Really.
65. Stop procrastinating and do your income taxes.
66. Make lists of all the museums, sporting events and concerts you want to visit when they finally reopen.
67. Get into comics with digital subscriptions on your tablet, like Marvel Unlimited.
68. Rearrange your furniture to make it seem like your home is a totally different space.
69. Practice shuffling playing cards like a Poker dealer. Be ready for employment opportunities once all casinos open back up.
70. Organize your spice rack alphabetically or get crazy and do it by cuisine.
71. Teach your dog to shake. Hand sanitizer optional.
72. Memorize the periodic table. You never know when that will come in handy.
73. Order and put together some IKEA furniture. Time yourself.
74. Get a free trial of a streaming service and binge-watch as much as you can before it expires.
75. Apply for a new job. You have remote work experience now.
76. Learn a new style of dance via YouTube, from bellydancing to breaking.
77. Update or write your will and organize your affairs. Yes, it sounds melodramatic and morbid but let’s face it: This is a task many of us avoid because we never have the time. Now we do.
79. Bring out the Legos. Build your house inside of your house.
80. Watch the “Star Wars” movies in this and only this order: Rogue One-IV-V-II-III-Solo-VI-VII-VIII-IX.
81. Two words: Coronavirus beard! Grow it, moisturize it, comb it, love it.
82. Learn the words to “Tung Twista.” Get them so ingrained in your brain that you can rap them as fast as Twista can. Impress everyone.
83. Been meaning to get some new glasses? Try on new frames virtually on sites like GlassesUSA.com.
84. Attempt things with your non-dominant hand, from writing to brushing your teeth. Prepare to be frustrated.
85. How many words per minute can you type? See if you can get speedier by taking a typing course.
86. Prepare to verbally duel a bully who wants to discuss the evolution of the market economy in the Southern colonies, by memorizing Matt Damon’s “Good Will Hunting” speech.
87. Learn origami. Make cranes for your loved ones.
88. Stretch. Work on your flexibility. It’s possible to get the splits back, right?
89. Try to speak in pig Latin. Or, “ig-pay, atin-Lay.”
90. Talk to your plants. How are they doing? Make sure they are getting the amount of sunlight they should be. Check their soil. Water if necessary.
91. Deep condition your hair and put paraffin wax on your hands. Enjoy your soft hair and nails.
92. Consider donating money to food banks to help families struggling to get meals.
93. Write a song. If you want to make it about your time inside and put it to the tune of “My Sharona” and replace “Sharona” with “Corona,” do what you have to do.
94. Study the art of beatboxing.
95. Try moving in super-slow motion. It’s OK to laugh at regular speed.
96. You know how there are dozens of ways to wear a scarf, but you only wear it the one way? Learn the other ways.
97. Learn Old English words. Pepper them into your conversation. Wherefore not?
98. Try on a new shade of lipstick. See how long it takes your partner to notice it.
99. Take deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth.
100. Sleep. Get lots of it.