Sunday, March 17, 2019

Week 11: Become an AirBnB Host

Top o' the evenin' to ya, lads and lassies. 'Tis St. Patrick's Day, so please read this post with a pleasant Irish brogue, why don't ya?

This week's goal (#54 on my list) was to become an AirBnB Host and that I did. I tidied up my beautiful green master bedroom and bathroom 'til it was sparklin' more than any pot o' gold. My first booking was to a handsome young lad named Alex. Alex was full of fun and blarney and humored me with a silly selfie to commemorate my accomplished goal.

After the successful experiment with my master bedroom, I decided I wanted to keep my beautiful sanctuary all to myself. Instead of the master bedroom, I repurposed my first-floor office to be the room that I'd rent, so I went on another de-cluttering frenzy and listed that room tonight. 
Love to relax at the end of the day in my tub!

Beautiful shades of purple and green in my room!
My office transformed into AirBnB room for rent
What worked well

  • Creating a listing on AirBnB motivated me to declutter and clean up!
  • Alex was so friendly and personable. He's originally from Honduras and he helped me with my Spanish study!
  • I enjoy being able to share my home with others and having a full house.
  • I was able to learn how the AirBnB software worked.
What could be better
  • I already have two awesome tenants so having more might get crowded and cause some contention, especially in the kitchen.
  • The AirBnB software was a little cumbersome.
  • This isn't really much of a money-maker and may not be worth the efforts. It would be convenient for the times I travel, but then I'd have to pay someone to do the property management and might inconvenience my house-mates.

I don't think I'll host AirBnB that often, but now I hope more out-of-town friends come to visit!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Week 10: Wardrobe Cleanup

We're in Week 10 of my 60 until 60 count-down and the goal I accomplished (#47 on my list) was not very fun:

Clean out my wardrobe and get rid of old clothes that I never wear

You have to realize, this goal is following DisneyWorld, so.. obviously, not all goals are created equal. This was much more of a chore than a 'bucket list' kind of activity, but it has been something I've needed to do for a long time. 

I accomplished "Part 1" of this goal a couple of weeks ago when I cleaned out the spare closet in my bedroom. "Part 2" was cleaning out my main closet, my dresser, my shoes, and my downstairs coat closet! 
I didn't take a "before" picture, but, trust me, this is much more organized!

Second large load of clothes and shoes to donate
What worked well:

  • This wardrobe cleanup was way overdue. Many of my clothes were over 20 years old! I even found the very first suit I wore on my first day of work at IBM in 1982! 
  • It's hard to believe how even after clearing out so many clothes, my closet is still full! I obviously had way more than I needed.
  • I found a beautiful coat that I'd completely forgotten about!
  • I'm able to donate a lot of clothes that will hopefully find their way to someone who needs them.
  • This was the same week that Gretchen Rubin's new book about decluttering came out: Outer Order, Inner Calm.  And cleaner closets do create more inner calm!
  • I watched some Marie Condo videos that also helped 'prep' me for parting with my old clothes.

What could have been better:

  • I still kept a lot of clothes that I don't love or that look old because I need stuff to wear.
  • I still kept that business suit from 1982 for sentimental reasons. Also kept the dress I wore to my daughter's wedding and other fancy clothes that I'll probably never wear again, but I'm not ready to part with yet.
  • It kind of made me sad that I have a lot of nice work clothes that I may not get a chance to wear any more (which made me kind of bummed that that contract fell through.)
  • I need to buy myself some new clothes! 

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Week 9: DisneyWorld!

The goal I accomplished in Week 9 from my 60 until 60 list was #31:

Go to DisneyWorld with the Tidds

It's no coincidence that I planned this goal for my birthday week. I am always looking for a way to escape Colorado's winter cold with a trip to somewhere warm at this time of year and there's no better way to celebrate than introducing my grandchildren to one of my favorite places: DisneyWorld!

I love the music, the princesses, the magic of Disney. I'm a sucker for those "Happily Ever After" fairy tales. My eyes still well up when I see Belle dancing with the Beast or Ariel longing to be 'Part of That World.'  

Though I know it's not the "real world," I joked that DisneyWorld was my perfect snowbird spot.  OK, maybe it would have to be Orlando with an annual Disney pass. And maybe I could get a princess dress and pretend like I was 7 years old again..  Yeah. Though they probably don't allow crazy old ladies in DisneyWorld, so.. maybe not. 

Well, I don't know about future plans, but for vacation with my daughter's family, DisneyWorld was awesome! 

What worked well:

* Perfect warm and sunny weather throughout the week (and escaping the extra cold weather at home!)
* Lines were not too long for the most part - only one that was over an hour wait
* Loved seeing the excitement from the kids
* Really noticed the beauty of everything more this time..  enjoying not as a kid, or as a parent, but as a mindful grandparent 
* Exploring the different "countries" in Epcot's World Showcase (other times at Epcot, I didn't really spend the time here, so I saw a lot for the first time.)
* Soarin' was an amazing ride at Epcot
* The fireworks at the Magic Kingdom were incredible
* Everything, from the gardens to the architecture was so beautiful, perfect, and clean
* Love the creativity and innovation
* Able to also combine with a visit to Kennedy Space Center and Cocoa Beach


* Back aches...  Even though I put this in the "not-so-good" category, my back aches were not nearly as bad as I thought they might be. Who's back doesn't hurt after a full day of Disney?
* Expensive (but, of course, that's expected.)

In other news...
It turns out the contract I'd gotten at Anthem in Norfolk, VA, got put "on hold." Though this was a bit disappointing and surprising, I was able to quickly get back into "excited to NOT be working" mode. I really have been LOVING not going into an office every day and Spring and Summer in Colorado is beautiful. And I still have a bunch of goals left to accomplish before turning 60!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Week 8: Celebrating!

This 8th Week has been a productive week in my 60 until 60 project.  I made progress on a bunch of my house project goals while I was home in Colorado because I will soon be temporarily moving to the Norfolk, Virginia area for a new 6-month contract at Anthem!

And, of course, I've been doing a lot of celebrating, since my 59th birthday is tomorrow!

Here are some of the goals I either accomplished or made good progress with this week:

15. Contribute to any cause that a friend asks me to support
16. Participate in efforts to help those with ALS and their caregivers
22. Sing with a group
28. Host a theme party (Flamingo, Carpe Diem, Wine-Tasting, Murder Mystery, Games, Purple,etc.)
46. Sell, give-away, throwaway on organize what’s left of my books
47. Clean out my wardrobe and get rid of old clothes that I never wear
54. Fix up my room as a potential airBnB room for rent

The thing is, I don't feel like any of these are really 'done done.' I need to do a better job of defining my 'acceptance criteria'!

In March, after I get settled into my new place in Virginia, I'll do my "quarterly planning" and rework my goals based on all I learned from the first quarter.

Family Birthday Party
In the mean time,  here are a few highlights from my week:

Nancie Participating in Virtual Academy Awards Party
Singing with Dueling Pianos - Adam says I can't count this as my 'Singing with a Group' goal, but my goals, my rules..

I'm so appreciative of the birthday attention, fun gifts, and visits with friends!
Before picture of spare closet

Monday, February 18, 2019

Week 7: Goal 38 - See Movies up for Best Picture

Goal #38 on my 60 until 60 list is: See all the movies that are up for Best Picture

Like many of my goals, this turned out better than expected! I really enjoyed the variety of movies, places, and people that I saw the movies with!

Why did I want to do this?

I hardly ever go to the movies so I'm usually clueless when people start talking about their favorites. I always thought it would be fun to watch all the movies nominated for best picture and then have an Academy Awards party, so that's what I'm doing! Virtual participation is encouraged, so join in!

The movies (in the order of my favorite to least favorite):

1. Bohemian Rhapsody - I saw this in CA at the theater with my sister, Michele and my niece, Rebecca (It was our special "60 celebration since she's passionate about music!) Excellent movie! I'm voting for this one for Best Pic.  We had fun afterwards with recording a Dubsmash clip.

2. A Star is Born - I saw this at the end of last year in San Antonio with a couple friends I worked with at USAA.  I liked the music and was impressed with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Good music and good tear-jerker chick flick.

7. The Favourite - Actually, I'm just guessing this will be my 3rd favorite (or should I spell it 'favourite'?) based on the trailers.  I'd planned to see it tonight with girlfriends, Diane and Sue, but we needed to postpone until later in the week.

Update: Disappointed by this movie so moving it down to #7, but it was fun to have Sue and Diane over to my house and to be able to watch via Amazon Prime.  Still, it was $15 and totally not worth it. Weird and ridiculous ending, but maybe that's because I didn't get it. I suppose the costumes might be a reason for a nomination, but Best Picture? No way!

3. Black Panther - Even though I'm not much of a Superhero movie fan, this was surprisingly impressive! And very nice that I was able to watch this with my nephew, Reece, who could fill me in on all the Marvel backstory.

4. Green Book - I went to this on my own at a theater in Vegas during my short stay there. It was pretty interesting, though, didn't really seem 'best movie material' in my opinion.

5. Vice - I thought I'd be super-bored because I hate politics, but it was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be! And fun that Matt, Stella, and Scotty could go with me in Denver. Even though I listed this as my 6th favorite (because of the content), I was impressed with the acting and the movie.

6. Black Klansman - I saw this in Vegas with Scotty when we were at the hotel during our road-trip. It was OK but nothing special. I don't know how much of this was true because it seemed like these cops were really stupid in the way they took risks at getting caught.

8. Roma - I saw this on Netflix at home in CO with Scotty. Neither one of us liked it too much. It was too 'artsy' for my taste..  in black and white with subtitles. I actually had a hard time staying awake. This is the only movie that I liked less than I thought I would.

What worked well
  • I liked not having to make decisions about which movies to see, but to just see all of them that were nominated for Best Picture.
  • Good to see movies I normally wouldn't have chosen (such as Black Panther and Vice) and ending up liking more than I would have guessed.
  • Nice that a couple of the movies (Roma and Black Panther) were available on Netflix.
  • Great opportunity for bonding with Reece (Black Panther) and Rebecca (Bohemian Rhapsody).
  • Fun to discuss the movie /socialize afterwards.
  • Got me out of my comfort zone to go to a theater alone. (Green Book)
  • Learned more about the nomination process for the Academy Awards
  • Helped me 'prepare' for my Academy Awards Party.
What could be better
  • Movies at the theater are expensive! I prefer watching them at home, but most of these were not yet available via streaming or on Netflix.
  • Didn't see The Favourite yet, but will see it this week! Update: Disappointment! (See updated comments above.)

Friday, February 08, 2019

Week 6: Goal #4: Make bone-healthy recipe

I'm spending the 6th week of my 60-week birthday party back in Southern California with my sister, Michele. She and I have both been diagnosed with osteoporosis, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to work on Goal #4 of my 60 goals:

Research bone-healthy recipes and make dinner to share with other friends who are working on their bone strength

I got this cookbook for Christmas with recipes to help build bone strength and I choose Scallops with Orange Sauce as the recipe to make and share with Michele. See my photo 'demo' below:

What worked well:
  • I'd practiced this recipe a couple of weeks ago and had trouble getting the scallops to sear. This time went more smoothly (probably because Michele did the actual cooking of the scallops..) 
  • There weren't too many ingredients in this recipe and it was easy and fast to make.
  • It tasted delicious!
  • I'm learning the foods that help to build bones and I've been eating a lot more healthfully!
  • It's fun to cook and share a healthy meal together!
What could have been better:
  • The cookbook doesn't have any pictures and does not really explain how to cook the scallops well (both times I made this, there seemed to be a lot of excess liquid, but this time we spooned it out, and the scallops cooked up faster.)
  • It would be better if alcohol was not on the 'bad' list for bone strength. 

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Week 5: Goal 35 - Adventure with Scotty

The goal from my 60 until 60 list that I accomplished this week was #35 on the list: "Do some TBD adventure with Scotty." 

This year my "Theme Word" is "Connection." I especially want to have one-on-one adventures with my family and closest friends.   Scotty is the youngest of my 3 kids and he's been my companion on many vacations, adventures, excursions and road trips over the years. Now that he's an adult, I want to be sure to have at least one adventure every year with him.

I hadn't really figured out what our adventure would be this year..  last year we went to an escape room convention in Nashville which was a blast.

At the end of last year, I'd sent Scotty information about an escape room competition put on by Red Bull.  He, as usual, was game and immediately started recruiting to get the requisite team of 4 needed to compete.  I offered to join the team if needed and when it turned out the second qualifying round was to be held in Santa Monica,  I was called in.  I'd wanted to get out of cold Colorado and Scotty agreed to drive out with me. (He flew back home, but I'm staying in the warmer weather for a couple of weeks!)

What we did

We left Denver Wednesday afternoon and made it to Grand Junction in time to have dinner with my good friend, Rebecca.

The next day, we drove to Vegas, and, after memorizing all the strategic moves throughout our road-trip, we did well (came out ahead, anyway) at the black-jack table and made a little at the slots, too.

We made it to Santa Monica on Friday afternoon, timed to meet up with my daughter, Megan (who was also on the team), and my two grandkids, and we spent the afternoon and evening walking along the Venice channel, the beach, and the boardwalk.

On Saturday morning, Team Puzzlicino (Scotty, Megan, me, and my niece, Becca) met for the second qualifier of the Red Bull competition. I'm afraid we did not make it to the finals, but we still had fun and now we are much better prepared for next year!

What worked well

  • Easy driving! Great weather and not a lot of traffic the whole way. Even I was driving fast and passing trucks without my usual anxiety.
  • Always fun to do road trips with Scotty. We like to play a goofy version of 'Name That Tune' (as evidenced from the video in this blog post) and have deep discussions and the time flies by!
  • It was really nice to only drive for 5-7 hours each day.  Plenty of time to get a workout in and my back didn't hurt at all!
  • Very lucky to be able to stop in Grand Junction and have a visit with my friend!
  • Very fun to practice blackjack and come out ahead at the tables! First time I'd been to Vegas with Scotty as an adult and able to gamble
  • Happy and proud to be included on Team Puzzlicino!

What could have been better

  • Because Scotty and I have had so many road trips in the past, it didn't feel like this was much of a special adventure. On the other hand, I savored it more because I know that once he gets in a long-term relationship, he's unlikely to do too many more road trips with his Mom.
  • Scotty was not impressed with the Book on CD that I brought along, "Stranger in a Strange Land" so we only listened to one CD.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Week 4 Goal: Digital Photography with Help from a Professional Photographer

It's the last day of Week #4 and that means it's time for my "demo" of the goal I focused on this week: #17 in my list of 60 until 60

Learn digital photography better with the help of a professional photographer (my sister, Michele)

Why did I want to do this?

I've been wanting to improve my photography skills for years. Michele is a professional photographer, so who better to help me? I especially wanted to learn to take better photos this year for my 60 until 60 project! I'm really focusing on celebration, connection, and experiencing new things, so I want to capture those special moments. I wanted to take advantage of the photo apps and editing tools that are available so I can create a special slideshow at the end of my project.

How will I know when I'm done?

This is tough because learning a skill is on-going.  The more I learned, the more I realized how much more there is to learn! For this particular goal, my acceptance criteria was:

* Complete any lessons Michele gave me and review my photos with her for a critique
* Feel confident and have a system for organizing and collecting the photos for my 60 until 60 slideshow
* Write a blog post about the experience (that's what I'm doing now!)

What we did:

Michele took her role in this goal very seriously.  She patiently taught me some basic rules of composition as well as some good tips about using my iPhone camera. She also introduced me to Snapseed, a photo editing app.

My first assignment was to capture some "rainy day" pictures. I was spending the day at Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with my friend, Nancie, and, being a Hermione-like student (always an over-achiever), I took my assignment very seriously! By the end of the day, I had enough rainy day pictures to fill a rainy day art gallery. 

I'll include the 3 I choose for my assignment in the post below. Even Nancie wanted to get in on the assignment and was snapping puddles, rain-drops, and umbrellas. However, I have to include the video she took that CRACKED ME UP! She had the camera in 'selfie mode' pointed at herself as she was struggling to take a picture of me!

Throughout the week, Michele gave me more assignments, and every day I looked at the world differently..  looking at colors and angles and artsy photo composition in mind. I noticed the twinkling sparkles the sun made on the water and the iridescent bubbles in the foamy aftermath left from a wave, and the tree-like design left in the wet sand at the beach.

I tried to capture the natural smiles and candid moments of connection: my thoughtful nephew who guided me with my selfie-stick up a steep hillside to explore some caves. I love the photo I caught of him at the entrance to the cave. 

There were just so many photos and memories from the week that I absolutely loved.

What worked well:

  • I absolutely LOVED this goal! It's like I've discovered a whole new world. 
  • This really helped me tap into being more creative with my pictures.
  • I learned a lot about using my iPhone camera more effectively and how to edit pictures.
  • This was quite a bonding experience with Michele. I really appreciate how patient and supportive she was in helping me to learn. I also have a deeper appreciation for her talent and art.
What could be better:

  • OMG! I have a zillion pictures now! And way too many apps that are confusing me! I really need to spend some time getting more organized in how I process these pictures.
  • I have so much I want to learn. I've barely scratched the surface and I know that to really get better will take a lot of time. 

My rainy day 'artsy' shot

Rainy day selfie that shows we were at Universal Studios
I loved the colorful park against the cloudy sky

We laughed so hard when we saw this!

My nephew, Reece, after guiding me up a steep climwith my selfie-stick

Original: Michele taking photos at Oxnard Beach

Cropped and edited

Bubbles left from a foamy wave
Tree-like 'art' in the sand
Twinkling sparkles

Monday, January 21, 2019

Week 3 Goal #13: Visit to The Last Bookstore

We are at the end of Week 3 of my 60-week-birthday party and Wow! This week has been AMAZING! I've been in southern CA, staying with my sister, Michele, and she has gone above and beyond in supporting and participating in my project! She has been celebrating with me, given me a theme-based present every day of my visit and helped me with so many of my goals! However, I'm going to focus right now on: 

Goal #13: Visit my sister in Southern CA and go to this super-cool bookstore (among other things).

The first thing we ask with goals is why do we want to do them? What value will we get from accomplishing this goal?

OK, this is kind of a no-brainer. I wanted to go to a super-cool bookstore because I love bookstores! But WHY? Why THIS bookstore? The name of the store was, "The Last Bookstore" with the implication that bookstores may soon be obsolete. Even though I'm a nerdy techie who loves apps and digital everything, I also love, love, LOVE books! If they are at risk of becoming an endangered species, I will do what I can to protect them! Fear not, precious, old books! You will not just be shelved and forgotten in some dusty, old, attic. At The Last Bookstore, you might be chosen to become...  ART!

Yes, The Last Bookstore not only housed books to be purchased, but used books to create a variety of book sculptures and art work. (I'll need to refine Goal 46 which has to do with figuring out what to do with all my books!) The creativity and unique displays were really why I wanted to go to this particular bookstore and they didn't disappoint!

The second part of this goal that makes it so valuable is that I did it with Michele! She is as gaga about books as I am! In honor of our excursion, she gave me a beautiful bookmark and a Nancy Drew Mystery journal (I placed it so it was mysteriously peeking behind the Nancy Drew / Hardy Boy section for a photo op). We both nostalgically browsed throughout the store reminiscing about many favorites we found and had read.  She's a photographer and I'm a writer, so it's no wonder that we both love books!

What worked well
  • I just loved sharing this experience with Michele! So wonderful when you both share a passion!
  • Very fun, unique, and creative bookstore! Exceeded my expectations!
  • I loved that Michele made our celebration into a 'book-theme-party-day!' We even watched a movie, The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society, which was a story that centered around the love of books and literature.
  • We each found some great books at good prices that we were very happy with!
What could have been better
  • The location of The Last Bookstore in downtown LA was tough driving on the LA freeways, and getting back to Michele's place was slow-going. I'm grateful she was driving!
Next week's plan:

Another goal that I've been working on with Michele is #17: 

Learn digital photography better with the help of a professional photographer (my sister, Michele)

Stay tuned for next week's exciting revelations!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

To Fly or To Drive - That is the Question!

I’m flying to Los Angeles as I write this, starting my obsessively-talked about “Snowbird Plan” to escape Colorado’s winter cold. Unfortunately, it appears to be the one week of the year that southern CA is experiencing a lot of rain. Better than the snow that’s expected in Boulder this week, so I’ll take it.

This trip is just the first in a series of trips I’m planning for the winter.. a week-long-vacation to visit my sister and friends and not really in contention for the sought-after “perfect warm-weather-winter-spot” that I might retire to some day. (Too expensive and crowded, but great for a visit.)

But let me get to the point. I’m coming back to Los Angeles on Feb.3 to compete in an escape room competition and from there, I’d like to spend a few weeks in Arizona. I need to be back home in Colorado for the final week of February before flying to Florida for the next in my series of snowbird excursions.

I need to decide today whether I’m going to:

Fly: Fly to CA, Fly from CA to AZ (rent a car or use public transportation & Uber), Fly Home to CO

Drive: Road trip to CA with my son, Drive to AZ (have my car while there), Drive back home to CO

Here are the advantages of both options:

Fly Option: Low-stress; Someone else does the driving (not my strong suit). No need for multi-day road trips in winter; (My phobia about winter-weather-driving is one of my primary reasons for doing the snowbird thing in the first place!) Road-tripping (sitting for several hours at a time) is bad for my back.

Drive Option: Overall, cheaper (but may be a wash, when you consider the road-trip time.) More of an adventure; Much more convenient for getting around and exploring a new place; Ability to transport more of my stuff when I hole up for a few weeks. Would have a memorable road-trip experience to CA with my son. I’d possibly be able to find someone who would road trip back to Boulder from AZ with me which would be fun. I’d be getting out of my comfort zone (which is always empowering for me!) If I fly, I’d probably end up renting a car, and stressing about driving in unfamiliar place with unfamiliar car--better to drive with my CARpe DM-mobile!

What say you, O-Wise-Readers? I especially want input from family and good friends who know both about my driving “issues” (too slow, fear of being sandwiched between big trucks, prone to provoking road rage from neighboring drivers, being directionally challenged, phobias about winter weather), but also know that I get excited about facing my fears and accomplishing something that’s a challenge for me.