Grief and Loss: A Way Through
October 22, 2020 — 10:16

By Grace Maselli

The Tampa Bay Timebank took on the subject of grief and loss in its Third Tuesday of the Month member and guest meeting on Tuesday, October 20. Psychotherapy and hospice-trained experts from the TBT leadership team—Nancy Wolf, Christina Bellamy, and Judith Rose—guided about 25 participants in a Zoom meeting to recognize and honor the various faces of grief. The tender examination of loss and its effects included disruption to mourning by Covid-19 and people forced to be separated from loved ones infected or killed by the virus. Grief was discussed in the context of the profoundly unsettling absence through death of someone loved and the painful adaptations necessary before adjustments can be fully integrated.

Giants in the field of grief and loss were invoked: psychiatrist, humanitarian, and hospice pioneer Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her five stages of non-linear grief—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance, and leading death educator and grief counselor, Dr. Alan Wolfelt at The Center for Loss & Life Transition.

Grief can cause a broad range of symptoms both emotional and physical, TBT’s presenters reminded us—from forgetfulness and detachment to everyday life, to fatigue and chest pains.

The discussion, inclusive of a small group Zoom breakout session, extended to the significance of rituals and their power to comfort people in deep emotional pain. Even within the context of Covid, family members, friends, and neighbors can reach out, safely drop food off for grieving families, and be present to another person’s pain with attentive, compassionate listening. Rituals can demonstrate that even in active mourning, we can still be surrounded and cared for by people who remain in our lives. With presenters drawing on Dr. Wolfelt’s work, we understand this can arguably happen (even now using masks and social distancing) through “companioning” with a person who has experienced a loss, being present to another person’s pain—going into the deep wilderness of the soul with another human being—and honoring the spirit, not the intellect.

Grief and its stages, our TBT experts offered, are ultimately a natural and adaptive response to deep loss. The experience is singular and personal and does not follow a prescribed path to reach a given level of adaptation.

The presenters also shared community resources. Following is a partial list of Tampa Bay Area organizations available to assist individuals and families:

 

 

 

Fun! (Say What?)
September 3, 2020 — 10:41

By Grace Maselli

You’ve heard of it, right? Fun fun fun. To say the least, COVID’s put a kink in the pleasantries we took for granted—in the freedom to move around, pre-quarantine. All the more reason why the vital reminder to rip the Band-Aid off ho-hum and jump into some safe boisterousness, or amusements you’re personally stimulated and refreshed by, is so more important. We have Maureen Murphy, Executive Director of Tampa’s  Life Enrichment Center, to thank for a stellar Zoom talk to about 25 people during August’s Third Tuesday of the Month event on August 18.

Maureen’s exhaustive and inspiring presentation on the benefits of fun even in the context of lockdown stirred participants to share what they do to let their coiffs out of the hair net—get into “flow” where time effortlessly slips away— as it motivated others to amp up fun time and creativity in their daily lives. Maureen talked in depth about the psychological and physical health that fun can mean for the psyche and the body.  With pure enthusiasm she delighted us with factoids and substance: Fun reduces stress. It helps people cope better with stress. It trips the seratonin switch, a good brain chemical. It boosts energy and memory and concentration.  And when you make fun a habit, it’s relaxing, it pumps up positive feelings, it helps you sleep better, and it improves the relationships you care about. Whao!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sky can still be the limit if you turn that box upside down and see things from a new angle! Here are some ideas:

  • Dress up your dog and snap some pix for fun…
  • Do cartwheels in your backyard
  • Go to the beach on a Wednesday when there are fewer people
  • Kayak
  • Make art with LEC
  • Get creative with cooking
  • Do 20 jumping jacks in your living room
  • Take the St. Pete’s Mural Walking Tour
  • Blow bubbles lakeside
  • Cut up some magazines and make a collage to tell a soul story
  • Join The Rumpus Book Club
  • Jump into The Sofa King Music Fest
  • Check out BroadwayHD shows for less than the cost of a standard Netflix subscription
  • Explore new podcasts that make you happy and inspired
Everyone Needs to Be Loved
July 25, 2020 — 9:23

By Grace Maselli

There’s Rocco and his brother. And Chevy, Chance, and Blue. And don’t forget Goose. Goose is a dog. A dog who looks like an Irish Setter and has nine brothers and sisters. There’s Nyx the cat too, named for the Greek Goddess of Darkness—a nine lives cat who survives despite the strong odds of being eaten while living in an encampment in the woods.

What do these dignified, intelligent, and unconditional lovers of people have in common? They’ve all been rehomed by Ellen Paul, Founder and Executive Director of the Nature Coast Community Services Foundation, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit; NCCSF’s aim it is to do what it takes to get homeless people living in the subtropical backwoods out from the elements and snakes and into homes and jobs. More formally, NCCSF and its small coterie of devoted volunteers’ mission is to “identify and help fund social needs existing in Florida’s Nature Coast region that are not adequately addressed by existing governmental or private organizations.”

“To date,” the NCCSF’s website makes an important point of noting, “we are getting one person a month on average out of the woods, into a paying job, and into permanent housing.  But for every person whom we help escape homelessness, another one or two [more] find us.” Ellen puts the approximate number of lives changed at 43 since NCCSF’s formalized founding in October 2018, two years after Ellen began her deeply spiritual—strategic, logistical—and compassionate work.

TBT learned more about Ellen and NCCSF at the recent Third Tuesday of the month meeting on July 21 with 30 people in attendance by Zoom and a focus on the topic of building community.

For Ellen, the community of homeless people she and her volunteers help all started with the Rocco’s and Chance’s of the world—homeless people’s dogs and Ellen’s passion for them: This mother of renewal and invention understood canine love from the get-go and what it continues to mean for homeless people on a deep, archetypal level. “The general public will often say, ‘Why do these people have pets? They can’t even take care of themselves. I get a lot of blow back,” Ellen says. “People just don’t understand that these animals are the only source of companionship, love, and protection many homeless people have. Whether an animal is trained or not, whether it’s a dog or a cat, it doesn’t matter. Everyone needs to be loved.”

Living in a Station Wagon with a Five-Year-Old

Things arguably got underway in Ellen’s world with a big woman we’ll call “Chauncey.” Chauncey is a middle-aged female described as 6 ft. tall, about 300 lbs., and living in a station wagon with her five-year-old grandson. “Everything they owned was in their car,” says Ellen of the family, including a 60 lb. dog—people and their beloved pet who were displaced when Chauncey lost her job because of illness. “When this happened, everything unraveled,” Ellen says. Ellen first met Chauncey in a homeless encampment in Hernando County’s Masaryktown woods (until the police threw the dispossessed off the site). “Nearly every person in those woods had a pet; some people had three or four,” Ellen says. She would know. Her job continues to be handing out clothing and food, “and talking with people, to understand where their heads are, to see what we can do to help them.”

One day after such a visit to the woods Ellen “got a strong sense” that Chauncey wanted to talk. “I asked her if there was anything she needed and what she asked for was dog food.” Chauncey’s dog hadn’t eaten in several days when Ellen encountered the family because Chauncey couldn’t afford the cost of the food, or gas for that matter; the whole family including the dog was hungry. “That morning we had met Chauncey she managed to scrape together enough money to get to the Hernando County pound to surrender her dog. But she couldn’t do it. She was crying all the way back to Masaryktown. She was crying and praying for a sign,” Ellen says. “And then I showed up with a 50 lb. bag of dog food. It was the first time I was called an angel. It’s way above my pay grade to be called that! But I understand the gratitude that comes with the remark.”

Four-Legged House Guests

“The dogs are deeply important to these people,” says Ellen, who has personally taken care of homeless people’s dogs in her house so people would agree to get surgical procedures done. “Otherwise, they wouldn’t go to clinics or hospitals,” she says of the deep attachments to animals. Ellen’s most recent canine house guest was Rocco, a puppy pit bull.

“Lyla” was about 62 years old and homeless in the Masaryktown woods when Ellen met her. Lyla was in love with her all-black cat, Nyx. So much so she wanted a better life for her. “Lyla said, ‘This is a special kitty. She follows me in the woods like a dog. She talks to me all the time; we talk together. I want her to have a long life and lots of friends.’ And then Lyla handed me the cat,” Ellen says.

Among the services Ellen and her volunteers provide through NCCSF is low-cost spaying and neutering through the PetLuv Spay & Neuter Clinic in Brooksville. “I’ve had dozens done,” she says. The day Ellen was taking Nyx to be spayed the vet told her the cat was pregnant. “Neutering would have killed the kittens in utero, and I couldn’t do that.” So instead Ellen kept two of Nyx’s babies and found reliable, loving, indoor homes for the other two kittens.

                                                                                A third recipient of NCCSF’s efforts is a woman, “Charlene,” who the nonprofit had helped for a number of years. When Charlene ended up in jail, she asked her friends in the Masaryktown woods to take care of her three dogs. One of them, Chevy, was left without food or water and to fend unsuccessfully for himself. “Chevy looked like he’d just gotten out of Auschwitz,” as Ellen describes it. But even in his emaciated condition the fawn-colored Chevy was a big boy at 60 lbs. and anticipated to grow to 150 lbs., according to a veterinarian’s estimate. Despite her heartbreak over losing him, Charlene went to Ellen and said, “I need your help to get Chevy out of here.”

The Universe Is Listening

“So I put the word out to the universe and said, ‘I need a home for this dog,’” Ellen explains. Within a couple of hours the universe got back to her. Ellen got a phone call from another homeless woman, “Pam,” who told Ellen, “I need a large dog. I need him to be a service dog. I have seizures.” And as soon as Pam got word about Chevy, she immediately wanted him.

Most people living in the woods have jobs, Ellen says based on her years of experience. But these are routinely low-paying, part-time jobs that don’t generate enough money for even a modest rent and living expenses. “Corporations are not hiring for full-time work, so they don’t have to pay benefits,” in many cases, Ellen says. This reality leaves little choice than to live in the woods and participate in the gig economy—short-term contract work or day labor, let’s say, compared to permanent jobs—so people can survive.

And as the universe would also have it, Pam, who was continuously moving on foot or bicycle between Weeki Wachee and Brooksville, is a professional dog trainer. Within seconds of Charlene and Ellen introducing Chevy to his new owner, “Chevy focused like a laser beam on Pam,” Ellen remembers. “And within another five minutes Pam had him sitting on command”—the bent elbow, fist up, configuration in the dog training world. That first night together Pam had two seizures, and Chevy knew instinctively what to do without any training: He stretched out behind Pam to soften her fall and created as much cushioning as possible. “Two days later Pam had Chevy walking through Walmart—this is a dog who had never been on a leash before.”

Now Pam and Chevy are inseparable. In Pam’s meanderings across the nine miles between Weeki Wachee and Brooksville, Chevy is in heaven and in lockstep, jogging alongside the love of his life as she pumps the pedals of her bike through the subtropics. They stop at the halfway point where a store owner gives Chevy water and Pam also gets refreshed. “Chevy loves Pam and he loves the exercise,” says Ellen, who also helped Chevy go legit with the right service dog paperwork to confirm he’s the real deal.  “We got Chevy rated as a service dog with the paper to prove it. So if Pam goes into the hospital, or jail, or Walmart, Chevy goes with her,” Ellen says. Chevy is an extension of Pam.

“The whole thing is a miracle,” says the Founder of NCCSF. Besides seizures, Pam grapples with depression too. “Chevy comes over and licks the tears off her face and leans into her for comfort,” Ellen says with a kind of childlike wonder. As of this writing, Ellen and NCCSF are gifting Pam and Chevy a four-man (one-dog) tent to give the wanderers a much-needed, deeply appreciated home base in the woods—a precious space to call their own. “There are so many incredible stories like this,” says Ellen. “They’re pure magic.”

In honor of this magic, donations of pet food, clothes, and towels for wet dogs in the woods and, of course, cash, are deeply and thankfully accepted by NCCSF at the organization’s website.

Social Adhesive in the Midst of Social Distancing
June 18, 2020 — 11:35

By Grace Maselli

Got uncertainty? Get some glue in the form of social adhesive. No argument that making life big and colorful and filled with art of all kinds requires more creativity in the days of COVID-19. Take member Robert McGinnis’s ingenious approach and arrangement of a mix of paid services and Tampa Bay Timebank resources—our characteristic offers and requests exchange model in action—to celebrate his lovely wife Debbie’s locked-down birthday. Robert hired violinist LaRon Hearst (classic and electric) accompanied by the violinist’s wife Angel’s (angelic!) singing voice. “He played an hour on our deck for the alligator and all of the neighbors on the other side of the pond,” Robert says, adding how groovy it would be, “to get musicians to show up at every members’ house to cheer them up with a song.”

Robert also commissioned some art from brilliant artist/educator/member Qinghong Wei to support the arts and honor the day. This includes a watercolor of a double rainbow taken by Qinghong, auspicious given its powerful symbolism for Robert and Debbie: “On our first real date there was a torrential downpour that broke with a double rainbow,” he says. Way to make it romantic and real and keep it safe, Robert!

For any of you reading, here’s a rolling echo from the TBT Leadership Team—reach out and touch someone by phone. Get on the TBT website and call a fellow member; check in, see how folks are doing. Spread the glue.

Speaking of social stickiness (think: reach out and touch someone in the metaphorical sense and by cell phone), here’s a local Community Resource and Referral Guide that may be of use to readers or someone you know who might benefit.

And as a reminder, here’s another glance at our Five Core Values to Guide all Participation and Decision Making

Assets: Everyone is an asset. We all have something to give.
Redefining Work:  We redefine work to value whatever it takes to raise healthy children, build strong families, care for elders, revitalize neighborhoods, make democracy work, advance social justice, and make the planet sustainable.
Reciprocity: Helping works better as a two-way street.
Community: We need each other; networks are stronger than individuals.  When people help each other, they reweave communities of support, strength, and trust.
Respect: Every human being matters. Respect for all means accountability to all.

Here here. Everyone matters.

No Walls, Only Open Arms for Refugees
May 17, 2020 — 16:27

By Grace Maselli

Invoking the recent words of former President Barack Obama to high schoolers and 2020 college grads, “If the world’s going to get better, it’s going to be up to you.” Or in the case of our Florida Timebanks, which have always been about inclusivity and valuing all members of our society, it’s up to the collective community energy—the social adhesive and grassroots mobilization we  strengthen and invigorate together—that can make a positive difference. And a critical and encompassing change in our neighborhoods and localities, particularly given the intense negative effects of COVID-19 on our most vulnerable populations.

TBT and its nearby timebank partners are forging organizational connections with groups dedicated to helping the Tampa Bay Area’s refugee populations; to reinforce the local social safety net, we’re taking citizen action for emergency responses and aiming to help expand refugee support programs. The locus of initial activity will begin around Tampa’s University of South Florida and Temple Terrace neighborhoods where concentrations of Congolese and Arabic-speaking refugee families live.

Organizational partners have joined TBT and surrounding timebanks to participate in the exchange “system” that uses time as its currency instead of money—welcoming refugee families to exchange “person hours.” Individuals and family members who sign up to do the things they love for other members, offering what they enjoy in a service exchange where every hour of time is equally valued.

To make it happen TBT is working closely with Tampa’s Radiant Hands, Inc. whose mission is to “empower women and families in the North-Central Florida region by providing them with spiritual, emotional, educational, and financial support with the goal of helping them to achieve independence in mind. In doing so, we hope to encourage and enable women and families to contribute individually and collectively in strengthening our community as a whole.”

Like Radiant Hands, we’re also collaborating with new organizational member Ramwi Refugee and Migrant Women’s Initiative, Inc.  Based in Tampa, Ramwi (pronounced ram-wee) places emphasis on support with the potential to blossom into self-actualization that can come with being an independent and much-valued community member: “Our mission is to bring newly arrived refugee, migrant and other vulnerable women, children and their families residing in Tampa Bay together. Doing so, we hope to empower, engage, and support them during the difficult phases of resettlement and transition.”

Volunteers to Deliver Much-Needed Food

The unfolding community work means there’s an opportunity for timebank volunteers to help deliver food in the USF area and to donate storage space for canned food. Also in the planning phase for timebank exchanges:

• A community garden
• Help with Radiant Hands’ and Ramwi’s Thanksgiving dinner
• Mask sewing for healthcare workers in need of Personal Protective Equipment

Many of Ramwi’s female program participants will graduate from sewing classes and be given a sewing machine of their own. The graduate “collective” is talking about potential plans to sell the things they make, including possible wedding guest favors. But of course we’re all open to all kinds of creative ideas for goods that can be handmade and brought to market.

No pairing of timebanks and community stakeholders dedicated to serving refugees could fit the Tampa Bay Timebank mission and revitalization efforts with more symmetry than the work now underway with Radiant Hands and Ramwi. Increases in our 550+ membership is a telltale sign of interest as more organizational leaders and families join, welcoming all who come to our city and its surrounding area.

For donations, to volunteer for food delivery and storage, and ideas to share, contact TBT Coordinator Rita  at 608.335.22382 or by email: ritacobbs@sum.net

Precious Earth
April 22, 2020 — 12:17

By Grace Maselli

Today’s the day. Started in 1970, the global Earth Day event to honor environmental protection and the miracle of our abundant planet involves 193 countries worldwide. A lot has changed since 1970 and the inaugural Earth Day when Richard Nixon was at the helm of the U.S. government (and the year he created the Environmental Protection Agency). To put it in terms NPR’s using, “Earth Day at 50: Climate Activists Go Digital Amid Pandemic Shutdown”the celebration and activism are forging ahead despite the effects of COVID-19.

A stunning “It Can Be Done” Earth Day message also honors Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who was also Research Director at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the UK’s University of Cambridge. Hawking reminds viewers to take protective action in the precious time that remains. But you don’t need to be a theoretical physicist to make difference.

Teen Vogue prompts us to remember we can all become catalysts for positive change right here in our own Tampa Bay Area backyard. Take the lead from our youth and do some simple stuff: plant something, ride your bike, buy reusable bags, stop subscriptions to paper-made catalogs. And Tune into Earth Day Live for inspiration and emphasis on small steps with the power to add up to meaningful environmental impact.

In the renowned words of Rachael Carson, an American biologist who drove awareness of the dangers of pesticides and author of Silent Spring, a powerful book that influenced the environmental movement in the U.S.: “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”

 

Community and Covid-19 Prevention, Big Timebank Hearts Pumped to Help
April 2, 2020 — 14:05

By Grace Maselli

Meet Mary. She’s an “Infection Preventionist” RN at Tampa General Hospital. See her mask? This was donated to her and some of her Infection Preventionist friends through the network of Florida Timebanks and its literal grassroots mobilization. Why? To assist healthcare workers not only in our immediate area, but other places. Take New York, for instance. Once again, Ground Zero for a crisis.

As of this writing, anti-coronavirus queen and TBT member Delphine Geraci has sewn 610 maskswith another 45 in line for completion today. Upwards of 75 of the beauties will be sent to a Brooklyn healthcare center described as a “war zone” by a hard-working physician there.

Delphine’s gotten some help from timebank elves across the region, not to mention timebankers’ neighbors, and the faith-based community. Our “runners” are buying and donating elastic bands and washed-and-cut fabric, bringing them to the drop-off table at Delphine’s house (and any other willing sewer who’s ready to come forward with her or his spools of thread!)

Staving Off Airborne Particles

The masks are intended to extend the lifespan of N95s, aka, “respirators and surgical masks (face masks) that are examples of personal protective equipment used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.” In other words, a calculated barrier against Covid-19. No doubt you’ve heard that N95s are in short supply, with medical staff using them longer than they otherwise would. Supplemental timebank masks are designed to help lengthen the lives not only of N95s, but strengthen their precious and courageous wearers.

Llamas, Mustaches, and “PUL”

The timebank team’s fabric cutters, elastic gatherers, drivers, and sewers are using “The Turban Project” face mask pattern, though there are others among us also using a larger pattern. If you’re in the mood to explore, there’s lots to know and download from this site. Our fabrics are covered in llamas, polka dots, Haight-Ashbury tie dye, Star Wars memorabilia, and mustaches. Delphine, a Bariatric RN, is also making some out of “PUL,” or what’s described as a “disposable, breathable, and waterproof fabric, specially treated so that it is not harmful to the skin, both in adults and babies. PUL has a great variety of utilities and uses, such as the making of disposable masks and other sanitary covers.” According to Delphine, “PUL gives better protection when worn alone. Cotton is best when worn over an existing mask.”

In the meantime, we’ll keep on the move, aiming to help by being part of the larger community effortpart of the whole, as long as we’re able.

It’s true what they say: it takes an (underground) village to grow a heart to 50 times its normal size; this writer has never been more proud to be a member of a community that’s got one big enough to go around.

For donations of breathable cotton fabric and related supplies, contact Rita at 608.335.2382.

 

The Buzz: We Beseech You Dear Member (and Would-Be Member) to Help Us Expand!
January 15, 2020 — 11:27

By Grace Maselli

The Tampa Bay Timebank Leadership Team has been as busy as 80,000 honey bees in a colony. No kidding. They’ve been envisioning, planning, writing, and doingall along the way sweetening the connections between and among our 549 members. This includes a focus on areas of expansion.

This unfolding expansion, dear member, is where you can earn TBT hours for your activities—and exchangeswith fellow members by moving as the bees do: productively (and “in the context of ‘electric fields’!” It’s all true!).

Our all-volunteer org means no paid staff or central office.  No Gal Friday. What we do have: several coordinators managing the website and handling organizational planning. All other activity is generated by you, valued member, for members. And because we charge no fees, TBT relies on volunteer energy and donations whenever materials or cash are inevitably required.

What follows are some significant areas of interest that TBT would like to expand to meet organizational need. Some categories are only bubbling ideas at the present momentor, significantly, they’re being handled by just one person.

So here’s the thing, if you’d like to get involved, don’t hesitate. Be like the bee and getta move on with another person or small group. Jump into something that maps to your passion or skills or both. We’re all ears and also open to hearing suggestions that may not be on this list. So please let us know what strikes your fancy and we’ll attempt to make it happen.

In the mean time, take a look through our Action Groups list and each category’s quick description to see what you think. To get things rolling or ask questions, contact coordinator@tampabaytime.org.

Action Groups

  • Administration Action Group
    Handles administrative necessities including paperwork and phone calls.
  • Community and Group Projects Action Group
    Engages in community service.
    • Co-Production Action Group
    Helps other organizations with their projects.
    • Education Action Group
    Either attends or offers educational workshops.
  • Emergency Services Action Group
    Volunteers to help in an emergency. Those with medical credentials can use them. Others may offer transportation, phone contacts, or general support.  We’d like people to join in various geo areas so we always have people nearby to call.
  • Entertainment Action Group
    Selects fun things to do for members and schedules open social events. It is a good way to get to know other members before making exchanges.
  • Events Action Group
    Puts on events around the area, such as Gathering with a Purpose and Introductory events. Support staff is always needed.
  • Field Trips and Travel Group
    Plans trips and tours around town.
  • Marketing Group
    Handles TBT marketing and advertising.
  • Membership Action Group
    Keeps in regular contact with members.
  • Monthly Program Gatherings Action Group
    Designs monthly programs held at Tampa’s Life Enrichment Center. Support is always helpful. Participants arrange speakers, food, transportation, and communications.
  • Orientation Group
    A trained group of people to help new members get acquainted with the website and members.
  • Social Adventures Action Group
    Selects fun things to do for members and schedules open social events and tours, for example. It is a good way to get to know other members before making exchanges.
  • Social Justice Action Group
    Involvement in specific social justice action-oriented projects.
  • Social Media Group
    Manages the Facebook group and other social media activities and announcements.
  • Speakers Group
    Makes presentations to various organizations about timebanking.
  • Spiritual Study Group
    People interested in metaphysics and spirituality who attend various local study groups and events.
  • Technology Group
    Helps with all the TBT technical requirements, including computer repair, setting up equipment for events, finding necessary equipment and connections for various media purposes, providing software assistance, photography, film-making, and more.
  • Trainers Action Group
    Trained trainers who carry out various programs such as formal orientations, introductory workshops, Gathering with a Purpose workshops etc.
  • Transportation Group
    Helps people who cannot drive to attend TBT events and sometimes arranges for personal travel needs.
  • Welcome New Members Action Group
    As the name implies, members of this group welcome new members via phone calls and small get-togethers to help new members become oriented and connected with existing members. Group members also help to facilitate new exchanges.

Readers can also support our Florida timebanks by donating equipment and supplies and cash for needed items.  Among our ongoing requirements: supplies for potlucks and events, (think, paper plates, utensils, napkins, paper towels, pens, paper, name tags, office supplies, color printing, and bottled water). You get the idea! If you have things lying around that you don’t need and that you think TBT could use, please let us know by contacting coordinator@tampabaytime.org. We’re eternally grateful!

 

 

 

 

The Feast of Saint Valentine, Pagan Potluck
January 7, 2020 — 11:38

By Grace Maselli

Check this out from the History Channel: “While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burialwhich probably occurred around A.D. 270others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to ‘Christianize’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.”

So, in honor of paganalia and crop production, they’re’ll be a TBT Valentine’s Potluck on Sunday, February 16 from 3 to 6 PM. Wear your heart on your sleeve or on a special V-Day T-shirt! Bring your So-Easy Coq au Vin to share or other Vintage Valentine’s Day classics: Salmon Mousse Canapes, Baked Oysters with Tasso Cream (whatever Tasso Cream is), Crown Roast with Apricot Dressing, or luscious Fudge Tort. Or if it’s easier, bring Mac ‘n Cheese and black olives on all of your fingers and thumbs. They’ll go well with the paper plates and plasticware.

And while it’s true that the potluckaroo is five weeks and five days away from this writing, time flies. So mark your calendar for some conviviality and the making of a holiday in your image of what it means! Bring your favorite love poem or ballad to read aloud. Bring a haiku or an ode. A quatrain or free verse. We’re open to Roman gods, creative expression, and food.

Date Sunday, February 16, 2019
Time 3 to 6 PM
Address 2128 Park Crescent Drive
Land O Lakes, FL 34639
Questions? Contact Grace at (215) 834.4567 and reference the Valentine’s Potluck
The White Elephant in the Room
January 6, 2020 — 11:13

By Grace Maselli

Join TBT for our upcoming Third Tuesday monthly member-and-guest gathering. We’ll not only talk timebanking and exchanges, but amp-up the fun with our traditional, post holiday White Elephant—our homage to the Big Season, plus a book and CD swap. Come, join the fun. Bring your stuff to give away, leave with new goodies. Get to know people. Bring a light snack to share. It’s that easy!

Date Tuesday, January 21, 2019
Time 6:30-8:30+ PM
Address Life Enrichment Center
9704 North Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33612; phone: 813.932.0241
Questions? Contact coordinator@tampabaytime.org or call Rita (608) 335-2382