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Have you attended a ceremony or ritual from another culture?


Last weekend we attended a Native American Giveaway ceremony for our patient and friend Marilyn, who passed away a year ago.

ChemoQuiltAlthough I rarely blur the boundaries when it comes to patients, Marilyn was one of the first people I told when John was first diagnosed with throat cancer. I not only knew how powerful her support would be, I also knew she would be deeply disappointed in me if I didn't honor our friendship by asking. She stepped up in a profound way, performing healing ceremonies for him behind her mountain home and lecturing me frequently about asking for and accepting help.

When she heard that John would be hospitalized overnight for his chemotherapy she insisted-- rightly -- that he not be left alone for one minute in that setting, and took a shift sitting with him while I was at work. When I arrived that evening, as the Cisplatin was dripping in, Marilyn and my sister mimi2three were both there. John's quilt was spread over the bed, and Marilyn had laid a few of her most sacred objects on top of it for John to draw strength from throughout his grueling treatments. The atmosphere was both peaceful and highly charged.

Marilyn was of the Lakota/Sioux and was a Sun Dancer, a retired Tai Chi instructor, an artist, and a fierce mother. In June of 2012, a few weeks after John's treatments were over, she suffered a massive stroke from which she would not recover. When I visited her in the hospital she could not speak but we were able to communicate, and when I laid the two rattles on her lap she smiled and nodded...yes, she did need them more than we did now, and seeing them again clearly gladdened her heart.

Though I wasn't sure if it made me a greedy person, I was hoping to see those rattles at her Giveaway ceremony.

When we entered the back yard of her old friend's house, four beautiful white-haired women in long skirts and shawls were seated around a large round drum, playing and chanting. Three long tables were set up under a canopy behind them, piled high with possessions. When the drumming stopped an Elder spoke about the meaning of the ceremony, about the sacred aspect of water, and about prayer. "I don't close my eyes when I pray," he said. "Do you close your eyes when you speak to your best friend?"

My heart sank, though, when he said that to take part in the ceremony "women must be dressed as women, in skirts and shawls." I had dressed modestly but was disappointed in myself for not realizing I should have dressed more formally and was resigned to being a witness and not a participant. He then sang a hauntingly beautiful song in an unfamiliar tongue for Marilyn's son, who was unable to attend.

When he sat back down Linda, the eldest drummer, stood and said that while it is traditional for women to wear skirts and shawls, for this particular ceremony everyone was invited to participate no matter how they were dressed. She said this in a skillful way that showed respect for the Elder while also making all of us feel welcome to take part in this exception. She acknowledged our unspoken discomfort by saying that in the western culture's way of thinking one should only take a small keepsake, but that we must put those thoughts aside. The eldest would go first, and in other Giveaways she had taken part in the older women brought shopping bags. Everything truly had to go by the end of the day, and there were enough items for each person to take at least three things. "Do not be shy!" she concluded.

Marilyn's daughter Dalina then spoke about her closeness with her mother and read bits from Marilyn's journals dating back to the 70's and 80's. She spoke of her difficulty in deciding which things to part with, and how this struggle culminated in several arguments with Marilyn's voice in her head. Every time she decided to hold something back Marilyn would chide her, saying, "Are you going to display that or keep it in a box? Because if you're just going to keep it in a box then you must give it away!" We all laughed, able to hear Marilyn's stubborn and bossy streak in that argument.

It was at this point I realized the Giveaway ceremony was actually for Dalina, not for Marilyn.

Each section of the tables held a piece of Marilyn's life and spirit. One table held her art and supplies. Marilyn made fine paper and had studied Chinese brush painting. There were her brushes, and her paper, and even some unfinished paintings. On another section of table were clothes from her many travels, ceramic items she had made, and a tiny gourd Sun Dancers sipped from. Here were books from her Comparative Religions studies, and there sat a pile of leather bags she had made (she made the leather bag in the picture above, and it held a sacred pipestone necklace she had given John). Statues and art from her Tai Chi classes mingled with handmade jewelry. I smiled in memory of how I had once admired a rose quartz necklace Marilyn had made and was wearing, and she had promptly taken it off and given it to me. I didn't see either of the rattles anywhere.

Hopi rattleDalina said that before we began there were a few gifts she wanted to give to specific people. To each of the drummers she gave a Sun Dancer dress. And then she held out the Hopi rattle to John, having seen the picture of him in his hospital bed with it. She gazed down at one last object in her hand for a long moment, and then concluded by saying (a bit defiantly, through more tears), "I am keeping this one for myself!" and this time no one argued.

The eldest went first and were indeed given shopping bags. We were in the last and youngest group to approach the tables, but there was still such a wealth of Marilyn's creativity and spirit spread out. The mood was festive as Linda exhorted people to come back for seconds and thirds. We mostly picked out books as we already had paintings of hers, along with a small statue of a Taoist sage and, improbably, an AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap CD. We chose not to stay for the potluck, evening drumming and sweat lodge.  

As I gave Dalina a long hug goodbye, someone jostled a nearby table and several items fell to the ground. I looked down to see a small obsidian arrowhead resting on top of my foot and could almost hear Marilyn saying "Hey! Take some more!" So that went home with us, too.

I have never felt a more appropriate memorial for someone as we laughed and swapped Marilyn stories. I hope to learn more about Giveaway ceremonies from those here who have lived them, and I hope I have done this one justice. I have this image of someday giving away all of my possessions -- not in a ceremony like this one, which does not belong to me, but in a spirit of generous release nonetheless, and hopefully when I'm still alive to enjoy it.

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Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Below the New Day sunrise cloud

:: COMMUNITY BUILDING UPDATES ::
Let's build communities!

Every region needs a meatspace community like SFKossacks.
We take care of each other in real life.
I urge YOU to take the lead and organize one in your region.
Please tell us about it if you do and we're here for advice.


THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY

Click >>>HERE to see a list of all the regional Kossack groups that have organized for social and activism events. There are handy links to contact each organizer to join.

>>>Instructions on HOW TO FORM A NEW DAILY KOS GROUP

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:: Events Currently on the Books for ALL Kossacks ::
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Maryland Kossacks
Wide-angle interior shot of Union Station in Washington, D.C.. Taken July 17th, 2007, assembled from 20 individual shots stitched together into one pano image. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Union_StationDC.jpg
Sunday, June 9th

Maryland, N Virginia, DC Kossacks Meet-up

TIME: 12:30 PM
LOCATION: Union Station Food Court
50 Massachusetts Ave., NE • Washington, DC

ORGANIZER: Send JamieG from Md a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. JamieG from Md
2. STI
3. Sreeizzle
4. mollyd
5. pademocrat
6. memofromturner
7. dcatalin
8. Bronx59
9. VeenaS1
10. JG in MD
11. JanetT in MD
12. Uncle Cosmo
13. stevenwag
14. Gordon20024
15. restondem
16. NinthElegy
Maybees:
liz dexic
agrenadier
billlaurelMD
Something the dog said
Deep Harm
JTinDC
Navy Vet Terp
Dimpled Chad
oortdust
Latest diary: Virginia/DC/Maryland meetup, June 9th
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Saturday, June 15th

SFKossacks Visit The New Exploritorium!
TIME: 2:00 PM
LOCATION: Exploratorium [Get Tickets]
Pier 15 • San Francisco

Dinner Afterward
TIME: 5:30 PM
LOCATION: [TBD]
Near Pier 15 • San Francisco

ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. belinda ridgewood
2. TLO™
3. remembrance
4. Glen the Plumber
5. norm
6. Lusty
Maybees:
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Saturday, June 15th

Los Angeles Kossacks Roll Out the Red Carpet for navajo

TIME: 5:00 PM
LOCATION: Saladang Song
383 S Fair Oaks Ave • Pasadena

ORGANIZER: Send Dave in Northridge a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. Dave in Northridge
2. navajo
3. jakedog42
4. azazello
5. Mrs. azazello
6. SanFernandoValleyMom
7. susans
8. otoelbc
9. Zack from the SFV
10. mangolind
11. mangolind's Shaun
12. Shockwave
13. 714day
Maybees:
CSPAN Junkie
Otoelbc's brother
Latest diary: LA Kossacks: Meetup: June 15, 5 PM, Pasadena, Saladang Song
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Netroots Nation Header
June 20th - 23rd  •  REGISTER HERE  •  BOOK YOUR HOTEL!



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These tables have been organized for our groups to connect during NN13 in the plenary sessions. This is where the opening and closing keynotes take place along with many noon-time-speaking events. Box lunches are sometimes provided and it's great to have a place reserved with familiar faces. If you're attending you're invited to start a table or sit at any of the established ones. Just let me know in the comments or send me a Kosmail. Please note: This is not assigned seating. You may sit at any of the reserved tables at any time. I plan to move around and mingle. There will be over 2500 people there so being able to find each other is nice.

Netroots Nation 2013 in San Jose: Plenary Session Table Reservations

SFKossacks:
1. side pocket √
2. mrs. side pocket √
3. kimoconnor √
4. citisven
5. lineatus √
6. Cali Scribe √
7. Glen the Plumber √
8. remembrance √
9. jotter √
10. aha aha √
SFKossacks:
1. Lusty √
2. RainyDay √
3. norm √
4. catilinus √
5. Lorikeet √
6. madhaus
7. boatsie
8. maggiejean √
9. paradise50 √
10. smileycreek √
SFKossacks:
1. Kamakhya √
2. dharmasyd √
3. Ebby
4. Bustergirl
5. highacidity √
6. sfbaytransplant
7. Senor Unoball
8. paradox
9. slouching √
10. shanikka
SFKossacks:
1. edrie √
2. Jeff in CA
3. Mrs. Jeff in CA
4. mber √
5. Susie Raye √
6. vcmvo2 (Honorary)
7. N in Seattle (Honorary) √
8. dangoch √
9. timethief
10. ceebee7 √
SFKossacks:
1. Malacandra
2. Cedwyn √
3. pixxer
4. Sreeizzle2012 (Honorary)
5. BentLiberal
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Central Valley Kossacks:
1. tgypsy
2. Kestrel √
3. Caddis Fly √
4. Sychotic1
5. peregrine kate (honorary)
6. ProvokingMeaning (honorary)
7. mrsgoo √ (mrgoo √)
8.
9.
10.
Texas Kossacks:
1. nomandates √
2. texasmom √
3. texasdad √
4. doraphasia
5. krwheaton
6. TexMex √
7. cosette
8. mr. cosette
9. cosette jr.
10.
Los Angeles Kossacks:
1. Shockwave
2. jakedog42 √
3. susans √
4. murphy
5. gmats
6. Susan
7.
8.
9.
10.
NYC and beyond:
1. sidnora √
2. belinda ridgewood √
3. hayden
4. Todd Beeton
5. theroaringgirl √
6. thankgodforairamerica √
7. devtob √
8. LuLu √
9. chicklet √
10.
Community Quilt Project:
1. Sara R √
2. winglion √
3. loggersbrat √
4. ramara (Arizona) √
5. Horace Boothroyd III √
6. linkage √
7. watercarrier4diogenes
8. allensl
9.
10.
Military Community Members:
1. DaNang65
2. drnatrl
3. angelajean √
4. exlrrp (Maybe)
5. ccasas
6. llbear (Maybe)
7. Mark E Andersen √
8.
9.
10.
Cheers & Jeers Readers:
1. vicki √
2. Sharoney √
3. Spousal Unit √
4. brillig √
5. mik √
6. K1 √
7. cskendrick
8. Arenosa √
9. SanDiegoDem
10. PerfectStormer √

Gay Men of ANY Certain Age:
1. gizmo59
2. gizmo59's partner?
3. Dave in Northridge √
4. Steveningen
5. scaboni?
6. cooper888 √
7. gotmooned √
8. FogCityJohn √
9. slksfca
10. sfbob √ (Plus TrapperSF √, dinner only)
Native American Netroots:
1. navajo √
2. Meteor Blades √
3. 4Freedom √
4. no way lack of brain
5. translatorpro √
6. Kitsap River √
7. Charles Curtis Stanley √
8. TheFatLadySings
9. TFLS's guest
10. TFLS's guest

Netroots for the Troops:
1. TexDem √
2. Velovixen √
3. bsegel √
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Misc:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
raines √
ukiyo √
Megan √
Mr. sidnora √
Mr. Scribe √

Those with the √ have RSVP'd for the dinner below, you can join us also.
Just say in the comments or Kosmail me.

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Wednesday, June 19th

Cheers & Jeers - * New Day * Dinner

TIME: 5:30 PM
LOCATION: The Brit (Britannia Arms)
173 W. Santa Clara St. (0.5 miles walking distance from Conv. Center) • Downtown San Jose

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Every year since 2007, Common Sense Mainer has organized a dinner for the readers of Cheers & Jeers who attend Netroots Nation. It has grown every year. Last year we had over 100 Kossacks attend. CSM always chooses a restaurant willing to handle a large crowd WITH SEPARATE CHECKS. (!?!) Yes, I know, hard to believe but it's worked the last several years. This year CSM has negotiated with The Brit for a special menu and separate checks are secured. If you'd like to join us please leave a comment in this diary and you'll be put on the RSVP list below. This year * New Day * and SFKossacks are co-hosting. All regional groups are invited to attend in addition to the loyal C&J following that Bill and Michael have.

ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend or leave a comment.

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The above event is followed by the official opening event featuring Howard Dean:
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Wednesday, June 19th

Liquid Courage party to open NN13

Our friends at the Courage Campaign have announced that they’re throwing a party to open Netroots Nation 2013. Gov. Howard Dean will be there!

TIME: 7:30 - 9:30 PM
LOCATION: The Tech Museum

201 South Market St. (walking distance from Conv. Center) • Downtown San Jose
Arrive early on Wednesday to pick up your credentials at the Convention Center which will get you into the Liquid Courage event. You can let them know you're coming on their facebook page.

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Do You Need a Power Scooter or Chair at NN13?


TheFatLadySings is working with Eric at Netroots Nation to try to assemble a fleet of power scooters and power chairs that can be reserved and rented by those who need them at a discount. We need to assess how many people will make use of this service. Please Kosmail TheFatLadySings with your needs for NN13.
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American Indian Caucus
DATE: Thursday, June 20th
TIME: 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
ROOM: TBD
EVERYONE IS WELCOME!
You can let us know you're attending at our facebook event page.
linkage has volunteered to video record this event and we'll be able to provide it in our caucus recap.

Our speakers this year include:

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Actor Michael Horse and Pennie Opal Plant: Michael was at Wounded Knee and participates heavily in the national American Indian Community. Pennie addressed the huge crowd at a climate change event in San Francisco this spring. Her activism focuses on protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.
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Corrina Gould: A member of the Ohlone tribe that inhabited the East Bay before the European invaders. Corrina fights to protect Glen Cove (Sogorea Te), a sacred shellmound burial ground and village site on the Carquinez Strait in Vallejo, CA from development.
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Native Vote:
Why Winning Indian Country Matters to You

DATE: Thursday, June 20th
TIME: 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
ROOM: TBD

This panel of Native Vote organizers and strategists will engage participants on why winning Indian country is vital to all people, not just one demographic. How do the political and public policy interests of Native Vote intersect with larger voting blocs? How can progressives ensure that Native issues and the Native community are addressed and well-represented?

Moderator: Prairie Rose Seminole
Panelists: Peggy Flanagan, Kevin Killer and Meteor Blades

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Community Quilt Project

Community Quilt Project NN13 Flash Mob Photo


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smileycreek is organizing and asking all Community Quilt recipients to bring their quilts to NN13. It will be a group hug celebrating one of the most beloved community building projects we have here at Daily Kos with Sara R and winglion at the center of it.
Date: Saturday, June 22nd
Time: 6:30 PM after the closing keynote
Location: Vista Point seating area
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In front of Exhibit Hall I there are two staircases leading down to the main entrance to the Convention Center on San Carlos Street. It's called Vista Point. Access it from the inside of the building because the outside entrance is currently under construction.
1. paradise50
2. Dave in Northridge
3. remembrance
4. BeninSC (not attending, quilt only)
5. mimi
6. cskendrick
7. DaNang65
8. llbear (not attending, quilt only)
9. MsSpentYouth
10. Smoh (not attending, quilt only)
11. slksfca
12. belinda ridgewood
13. Ebby
14. Bustergirl
15. Kitsap River
16. Charles Curtis Stanley
17. Dr. Lori (not attending, quilt only)
18. Regina in a Sears Kit House (not attending, quilt only)
19. peregrine kate
20.
linkage has volunteered to video record this event and do interviews of the quilt owners.
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Sunday, June 23rd

Post NN13 Birding Event

TIME: 11:00 AM (if this time is problematic notify lineatus)
LOCATION: TBD
TBD • TBD

ORGANIZER: Send lineatus a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. lineatus
2. Senor Unoball
3. peregrine kate
4. Kestrel
5. angelajean
6. Ebby
7. BCO Gal
8. Belinda Ridgewood
9. tgypsy
Maybees:
Latest diary: Dawn Chorus: Meet the locals!

"At Netroots Nation, we will try to introduce you to as many of them as possible.  There will be an "official" birding trip on Sunday after things wrap up at the convention, but I'm up for early morning and lunchtime quick trips whenever it works.  There's a lot to see within minutes of the convention center.  Any local Kossacks who aren't able to attend NN13 are still welcome to join in any walks or trips - Kosmail me." [lineatus]


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Boston Kossacks logo, 550x100 pixels.
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Friday, June 21st

WarrenS Invites Boston Kossacks to His 350ma Benefit

TIME: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: Emmanuel Church
15 Newbury Street • Boston

ORGANIZER: Send WarrenS a kosmail to attend.

Three dance companies representing diverse movement traditions will join together to draw attention to the global climate crisis. Featured artists are the Zoé Dance Company, the Navarasa Dance Theater, and Nani Agbeli & The Agbekor Society. Tickets are $20; $15 students/seniors. All proceeds will go to 350ma, the Massachusetts chapter of the environmental organization www.350.org. For information and online ticket purchases, please visit the event website.

RSVPs:
1.
2.
3.
Maybees:
Latest diary: Dancing For The Planet - 350ma Benefit Concert: Boston, MA, 06/21/13
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Monday, June 24th

SFKossacks Hike Cliff House Coastal Trail, Muir Woods & Marin Headlands

TIME: TBD, start mid-morning
LOCATION: Cliff House Coastal Trail, Muir Woods & Marin Headlands  • San Francisco

ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. navajo
2. belinda ridgewood
3. kimoconnor
4. side pocket
5. Lorikeet
6. slksfca
7. Glen the Plumber
8. Mark E Andersen
9. Dave in Northridge
Maybees:
norm


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Tuesday, June 25th

SFKossacks take the Ferry to Tiburon for Lunch at Guaymas

TIME: TBD
LOCATION: Meet at Ferry Terminal behind Ferry Building
Embarcadero & Market • San Francisco

ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. navajo
2. belinda ridgewood
3. Lorikeet
4. dharmasyd
Maybees:
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Glacier National Park
June 27- June 30th

Glacier National Park Kossack EPIC Meetup!

TIME: 24/7
LOCATION: Glacier National Park
402 9th St W • Columbia Falls, Montana

ORGANIZER: Send arizonablue a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. BlueJessamine
2. arizonablue
3. Mr.arizonablue
4. Truman
5. Ojibwa - arriving for the weekend
6. MTmofo
7. figbash!
8. spottedbear
9. jakedog42
10. Oke
11. cooltraveler
12. Mr.cooltraveler
13. state of confusion
14. Lute the Norwegian
15. Josh Blue
16. Thinking Fella
17. Blu Gal in DE
18. NormAl1792
19. winifred3

Maybees:
Joan McCarter
slksfca
Ed in Montana
BoiseBlue
BoiseBlue GF
Timmethy

Latest diary: Glacier National Park Check In! Glacier National Park Meetup - Part II w/ lodging and campground info!
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Houston Area Kossacks banner
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Saturday, June 29th

Houston Area Kossacks Meet-up

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: Goode Company Taqueria and Hamburgers
4902 Kirby Drive • Houston

ORGANIZER: Send Chrislove a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. Chrislove
2. nomandates
3. suesue
4. Mr. suesue
5. cosette
6. Delilah
7. MarciaJ720
8. jmbar2
9. mister mustardhead
Maybees:
GrannyOPhilly
Mr. cosette
Bridgitt (honorary Kossack)
Latest diary: Houston Area Kossacks: Meet-Up Scheduled for Saturday, June 29!
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Sunday, July 7th

Chicago Kossacks Go to a Ballgame!

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: Fifth Third Bank Ball Park
34W002 Cherry Lane • Geneva

ORGANIZER: Send NormAl1792 a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. NormAl1792
2. winifred3
3. figbash
4. broths
5. Mr. broths
6. edwardssl & her family
Maybees:
luvweasel
Jennifer Clare
Latest diary: Chicago(land) Kossacks Meet-Up July 7: Take Me Out to the Ball Game
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New York Hudson Valley Kossacks

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boran2
Saturday, July 13th

NY Hudson Valley Kossacks' First Meet-up

TIME: NOON
LOCATION: Hudson House
2 Main Street • Cold Spring, NY

ORGANIZER: Send boran2 a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. boran2
2. thankgodforairamerica
3. betson08
Maybees:
Latest diary: [Coming soon!]
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Thursday, July 18th

Phoenix Kossacks Meet-up for navajo

TIME: 6:30 PM
LOCATION: Rancho de Tia Rosa
3129 E. McKellips • Mesa

ORGANIZER: Send arizonablue a kosmail to attend.

navajo's in town one day, even though it's a Thursday we hope you can make it.

RSVPs:
1. arizonablue
2. Mr. arizonablue
3. navajo
4. Azazello
5. Mrs. Azazello
6. ninothemindboggler
7. Mrs. ninothemindboggler
8. thomask  
9. mrs. thomask
10. BluejayRN
11. Late Again
12. Mother Mags
Maybees:
Kane in CA
Kane in CA friend
cosmic debris
PSzymeczek
Mr PSzymeczek
Mr. Late Again
dewey in the desert
Latest diary: ATTN Phoenix Kossacks: Let's Welcome Navajo to the Valley of the Sun!
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Dkos Asheville
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Saturday, July 20th

Dkos Asheville, North Carolina Kossacks Meet-up

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: The Bywater
796 Riverside Dr. • Asheville

ORGANIZER: Send randallt a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. Randallt
2. Otteray Scribe
3. davehouck
4. Joieau
5. SteelerGrrl
6. SteelerGuy
7. Captain Sham
8. Smiley7
9. Burns Lass
10. DawnN
11. Gordon20024
12. Phil S 33
Maybees:
eeff
Audri
gulfgal98
PearlJamSteelworker
Amy
Miniaussiefan
Latest diary: DKos Asheville Open Thread 5/18/13: Frogs and tomatoes and snakes, oh my!
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Send navajo a kosmail if you post a diary about an event so we can update our round-up.
Okay. Floor's open.
Tell us what you are doing on this NEW DAY?

Originally posted to Connect! Unite! Act! on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 07:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by SFKossacks.

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Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

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