Saturday, August 12, 2017

GISHWHES Must Continue!

I've been participating in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen (GISHWHES) for the past week and it has been a blast. Teams get a list of 198 'missions'to perform... each worth various points... No team has ever completed all of the missions... some of them are virtually impossible.. but with 198 to choose from, there are many that are very achievable. Some are silly, some will challenge your intellect or creativity, and many are heart-warming.

There are many things I love about GISHWHES, so I was really bummed out when I heard this was the last year it would be held. So... this blog post is my attempt to Save GISHWHES!!

Last year, GISHWHES started on the same day that I'd happened to be invited on a trip to the Great Northern Island in Minnesota with 11 other people. I told them about the hunt and we had so much fun that Chris, the island host, said that we could do the hunt every year on his island.

This year we had a blast, again! GISHWHES is the perfect thing to do when you get a bunch of friends together.

The missions we completed ranged from Tree Hugging,making a mosaic out of dog food, pancake art, and creating a hammock self-containment unit, complete with live entertainment, and a Romeo and Juliet sock puppet show.

There were missions aimed at understanding one another (giving flowers to someone practicing a religion different from your own) or meaningful (take your parent back to the place they were when they were 10) and life-changing (helping a dying woman with her final wish.)

Things I love about this hunt:
* The registration fee and many of the missions go to charitable causes.
* The hunt combines fun with helping humanity.
* The emails leading up to the hunt are full of humor.
* You join teammates from around the world.
* The missions tap into hidden talents and creativity. There's something for everyone.

This is definitely the type of activity that fits my motto: Carpe Diem! 

Though I don't think I could pull off a hunt of this magnitude, if GISHWHES dies, I'll try and pull of MOSH (My Own Scavenger Hunt) next year.  But I'm still rooting for GISHWHES to survive. Long live GISHWHES!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January, 2017 – Managing my resolutions with Agile

January is very motivating for me. I’m always excited about starting all my resolutions and this year was no different…  well, except maybe in my ‘methodology.’ I decided to use a lot of “Agile” techniques in ‘managing’ my resolutions this year. It’s been so successful that someday I may write a book about it… but for now, I’ll stick with a blog post.

Putting everything on a backlog
In Agile, we have the concept of a “product backlog.” In software development, a backlog would be a list of requirements or functions that need to be coded, but in my personal life, it’s basically a ‘to do’ list of things I want to do for the year.  

This backlog will never be complete even by the end of the year because I’ll keep adding more to it.  I also might change my mind about what’s most important for me to do this year. That should be a good thing..  After all, I can decide what I want to add to my list and since one of my mantras is to “life life fully” that means I always want a big backlog of fun and fulfilling things to do.  But, because I’m OCD when it comes to “todo” lists, I like the satisfaction of finishing things! Having a never-ending, ever-changing todo list can be stressful!

The sprint backlog is the week’s todo list
Enter the sprint backlog.  In Agile, we take a subset of the “backlog” and decide what we can do in a “sprint” (which, in my personal life, is 1 week). Every weekend, I had a little “sprint planning” session where I created a “sprint backlog,” taking high-priority items off of my long ‘product backlog’ and putting them into my sprint backlog.  Unlike the product backlog, the sprint backlog is something we commit to finishing during the sprint. This helps satisfy my OCD personality that wants to finish things. I feel so productive and I’m very motivated to finish the things on my list because they’re realistic.

How did it work?
This was the most productive January I’ve ever had! I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish for the month (these would equate to “features”) that I split into things I could accomplish in a week (equating to “user stories”). 

The 4th sprint ended on January 28th, and I decided I would take the final 3 days of the month to reflect and plan my February. (This is equivalent to the “Retrospective” or the “Innovation/Planning (IP Sprint)” in Agile.  One of the things I wanted to do during this 3-day period is write a blog post and post some of my favorite pictures from the month, so here goes!

Some favorite memories from January

We're a family of puzzlers!
I'm a lucky Grandma!

Meg introduced me to Aerial Yoga

I'm much more comfortable in an upright position!

Short road trip to Southern CO with Matt and Scotty with a stop at the Hercules Beetle..

and Bishop's Castle! Spectacular winter site!

Women's March was empowering and a true show of unity and democracy.