Monday, July 29, 2019

Week 30: Social Connection

One of the most ill-defined, yet also one of the most fulfilling goals on my list of 60, is goal #10:

Foster strong and deep communication with everyone I meet. Aim to have at least one positive social connection every day and at least one event every week. 

This is one of those goals that's more about having a mindset of being friendly and outgoing.  My natural personality tends towards a left-brained "thinker." I spent my younger years perfectly happy being in libraries or bookstores or hidden away somewhere with my computer. (I even wrote a book about realizing that my closest relationship seemed to be with my computer, "Laptop Guy.")

In that book, I was determined to fall in love (with a man, not a laptop). What I discovered, is that love is so much more than "romantic love." Every single person and relationship I have is an opportunity to both give and receive love.

This year, I have been making an intentional effort to foster every relationship, dig a little deeper, and look for new opportunities to get to know people.. to find what I love about each person I have the honor of having in my life, whether for a day or a lifetime.

Again, this doesn't come naturally, but there are some things I've been doing during my '60-until-60 project' that are helping me foster deeper connections:

One-on-One Celebrations

Instead of (or maybe in addition to!) a big 60th birthday party, I have wanted to have 60 one-on-one celebrations with friends and family.  I like to find out about the passions of my fellow partier and hopefully find a way to celebrate that passion.  Then I find out a song they particularly like and create a 30-second slide show with a clip of the song playing in the background.

This week I had three of these celebrations: One with my grandson, Diego, who turned 10 this week, one with my friend, Isaac, and one with my friend, Sandy.   Below are just single representative pictures, but full slideshow with music will be in place in time for my 60th birthday! 

I just love when people talk about something they're passionate about and teach me about it. I learn something new--often something I'd never even known existed--and I see the excitement in their eyes and voices as they tell me more.

Diego and I went video game shopping and had his favorite lunch (Hawaiian Pizza) at the mall.

Isaac combined his passion for photography with his interest in insects to take very unique macro shots of bugs!

Sandy taught me how to defend myself using Krav Maga

AirBnB Hosting

A very unexpected benefit of becoming an AirBnB Hostess is that I really enjoy meeting all the guests and finding out more about them. This week I was honored that one of my first AirBnB guests, Christina, created a "Watch Party" highlighting her stay in Boulder and featured a short interview with me!

Saying 'Yes' to Invitations

Since I was doing so much traveling in the last few years, I had to miss a lot of local events and parties. I'm taking full advantage of saying 'yes' these days! Last weekend, one of my friends, Sonja, hosted a 7am gorgeous breakfast on her patio, complete with flowers everywhere. I'm an early riser, so 7am didn't bother me at all, and what a special experience! Five-star beauty in all ways!

Sonja's Garden Party Breakfast


Some of the best new friends I've made have been from Meetups. Here's a picture of me with my new friend, Rebecca, who I met at a Bowling Meetup. She was visiting Boulder and has a home in Sarasota! Since Sarasota is one of my snowbird locations, I'm excited that I already have a friend I'll be able to stay with when I'm out there!

New Sarasota friend, Rebecca!

Introductions from others

Another new friend I've made is Mary, the mother of someone I worked with in Omaha. When Amy texted me and asked if I'd want to meet up with her mother, little did I know we'd become fast friends! She was even my walking buddy for this year's Bolder Boulder!

This week, Mary's sister, Katie was visiting and the three of us got together both Saturday and Sunday nights for fun conversation, cocktails, and dancing! So my friendship with Amy led to a friendship with her mother, Mary, and now Katie, as well!

Me, Katie, and Mary at the St. Julien for fun cocktails!
Celebrating Goofy Holidays

Did you know that there are SO many zany holidays? Every day has multiple special ways to celebrate which really appeals to my inner child!  And what better way to celebrate a special day than with a friend?

Celebrating National Ice Cream Day with Michael!
I've been pretty nervous about being lonely in retirement since I'm single, my kids are all grown up and independent, and most of my friends are busy with jobs or with their own families. But I'm learning how fun and easy it is to make new friends and to really enjoy spending time with all the people in my life!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Week 29: Let's Play a Game!

This week I was really an over-achiever with my goals, completing four from my 60 until 60 list and even blogging about a bonus goal: Tube to Work Day!

Now, the goals aren't "officially" complete until I blog about them, and I've been trying to keep to a pace of only completing and blogging about one goal a week, so as not to get too far ahead of schedule. (I tend to get a little over-zealous with my goals.)

However, better to be ahead of schedule than behind schedule, and since some of these things do not make very interesting blog topics, I'm going to make this post into a game for my multitude of blog readers and game-players out there..

Here's how it works:

I'm going to post four pictures below that represent the four goals that I accomplished this week.

The first reader who creates a comment on this blog with the correct goal numbers from my list wins a game of their own (either one from my stash or one especially chosen for the winner.)

I'm planning on writing a "real" blog post about that last picture, but I'll save that for another week!

Game on!

Week 29: Bonus Goal - Tube to Work Day

 'Nothing more Boulder than this' was the headline in the Colorado Daily describing Friday's "Tube to Work Day" (TTWD) at the Boulder Creek. Yeah, that's right. Tubing in work attire. Just the kind of off-the-wall odd celebration that I absolutely love!

This event hadn't made it on my 60 until 60 list, simply because I didn't know it existed but, as soon as I heard there were costumes and frivolity, of course, I had to do it!

I was very excited about my new flamingo inner tube filled with sparkles. I also bought myself a fun new wetsuit and was able to find a purple skirt and wear makeup (happy to have a chance to  'dress up for work' again!) My always-prepared fire-fighter housemate, John, loaned me a very pretty aqua and purple life-jacket and I had a purple bike helmet and old pink running shoes. (I was actually considering my hot pink high heel pumps, but.. let's be real.) Yes, I was feeling very chic for this adventure, looking oh-so-color-coordinated and ready to ride my cute new flamingo.

In my usual fashion, I put out an email to a bunch of friends to see who would join me, and in the usual fashion, hardly anyone even replied. But I was able to convince my friend, Adam, to do it with me.  I'm so proud of how I was able to capture his excitement with this photo:

And then, Darcy, a new friend and leader from the great organization, Walk-2-Connect, also sponsored a walk from Central Park to Eben G. Fine for the fun "Put in Party"! (Darcy provided most of the photos in this post!)

The "Put in Party" was filled with creatively dressed tubers and such a variety of unusual tubes. Whenever I'm at any kind of costume party, I vow to be more creative next year, but glad to be in the midst of people who love to play as much as I do.  And even though there were other pink flamingo tubes, mine was one of the few with sparkles.

Co-founders Jeff Kagan and Andy Gruel emcee'ed, announcing prizes and having us all recite the Tuber's Creed before throwing in the first "tuber" (potato) into the creek.

Yes! There was music and excitement in the air as I entered the creek riding my new flamingo, settling my butt in the middle hole and holding on to my flamingo's neck as I felt that first cold shock of water. Here we go!

Within one minute of heading down the creek, as I felt the rocks knocking around my tail bone, I had a thought: "What the HELL am I doing?"

Yeah... I was sort of picturing a lazy river kind of thing, with maybe a few Water-World-like thrills thrown in. I hadn't anticipated those sharp rocks or the very fast and scary rushing falls.  I'd been a little worried I might flip, but thought that if that happened, all I'd have to do was climb back in my tube and keep going!


Within the first few minutes of the ride, on the very first fall, my flamingo flipped and out I slipped, floundering around trying to get my bearings.

Within seconds, some strong arm was around me saying, 'I got you!' and was pulling me over to the side out of the creek. "MY FLAMINGO!!" I didn't say that out loud, but I sadly watched my flamingo keep going without me. I had so many future plans for us lounging around together at the Boulder Res..

However, I quickly put Flamingo out of my mind, as my hero rescuer got me safely out of the creek.  His arms were much stronger than Flamingo's neck. I know if he hadn't pulled me out, I would have chased after my precious flamingo, going down the creek without a tube and probably ended up in the emergency room.

I never even saw the face of my unsung hero because he was off rescuing someone else before I had the chance to thank him, but I must admit, it was a very romantic moment. It felt sort of fun to be a rescued damsel in distress. Too bad I had to miss out on the part where he kisses me and carries me off into the sunset....

As it turned out, Adam was having his own problems (he didn't have as nearly as romantic rescue experience as I did). His tube was not inflated enough and he'd already gotten several bruises, so we both exited the creek and walked back down to Central Park for the after-party.

It was disappointing to miss out on the main event, but I have to admit, the little bit of time I spent in the creek was enough for me to realize this is probably not something a person with a bad back should be doing.

The after party was fun, with food, and (one of my favorite things) a photo booth! Another friend, Brendan (who was the one who even told me about TTWD) had made it down the creek, and since Adam didn't want to do the photo booth with me (can you tell Adam is not into photos?) Brendan humored me.

He also sent out a picture from the Colorado Daily with a mermaid blowing bubbles, saying he was sorry he'd missed that.

What? Why didn't anyone tell me being a bubble-blowing mermaid on the sidelines was an option? I am definitely doing that next year!

What worked well
  • Unique, fun event
  • Loved costumes, creativity, music, party-like atmosphere
  • Wonderful to get rescued so quickly. Feel so grateful for my nameless hero.
  • Glorious hot, summer day
  • So nice that Adam came with me and made the early exit with me
  • I finally experienced 'tubing on the Boulder Creek' (at least for a few minutes!)
  • Nice, hot day
  • Great that I was able to meet up and walk to the Put-In with Darcy and she shared her photos (she's an awesome photographer!)
  • Enjoyed the food and fun at the after-party
What could have been better
  • A bit too dangerous for my fragile back
  • Lost my pink flamingo tube
  • Too bad I flipped and missed most of the experience

Monday, July 15, 2019

Week 28: Meow Wolf and More!

When I had the idea of putting together a list of 60 things to do in the 60 weeks leading up to my 60th birthday, I'd never even heard of "Meow Wolf." At Christmas, I asked my kids for inspiration of places we might go together, and my daughter-in-law, Stella, suggested "Meow Wolf" in Santa Fe, so I added it as #33 to my list:

Go to the Meowolf exhibit in Santa Fe with Stella and Matt

 I was so ignorant then. First of all, I was wrong about the name. I'd imagined "Meowolf was some kind of anime character and it would a cosplay or Pokemon-kind of thing.  I found out it's two words: Meow and Wolf, apparently two words that were chosen out of a hat after a group of artists got together and submitted a bunch of random words.

I also discovered that it was not exactly an "exhibit," but a very unique new form of interactive entertainment..  kind of a mix of artsy, creative rooms, fun house, with a bit of escape-room-like back story.  I LOVED IT!!!

The Santa Fe version of Meow Wolf was called, "The House of Eternal Return." It's been so successful, that there's a Meow Wolf opening in Las Vegas this year and one scheduled to open in Denver in 2020! I don't know how similar they'll be to the version in Santa Fe, but I'm excited that there will be a Meow Wolf right in my back yard!  Maybe I can even go visit the site when it's getting built and meet some of the artists!

I'm posting some pictures here so you get a little bit of an idea, but I'm afraid my photos don't come close to describing how cool and creative everything was. I just love exploring big houses and it was so fun that there were all kinds of hidden rooms. We kept thinking we'd seen everything and then we'd discover a new room or hidden nook.

I loved the 'portals' that would allow you to move into a different dimension...  Here's Matt coming out of the refrigerator with the bright light adding a very sci-fi effect and there's a picture below of him going through the washing machine.

Matt heading through the washing machine portal
Learning about the back story of the family who lived in this house.

There were three huge beautiful tree houses with romantic, intricate staircases.

I loved the "theme" rooms! This was a pink candy room!

Matt and Stella stepping into a cartoon room!

This barely begins to scratch the surface of all the rooms and fun things there were to explore there. I feel so lucky that Stella told us about this and can't believe I'd never heard about such a fun place! So amazing to have had such an amazing thing on my list that I hadn't even known existed!

But beyond Meow Wolf, this 4-day trip with my son and daughter-in-law was full of fun surprises. Stella has this amazing knack for being able to find the most perfect places to eat.. to pick out the most perfect gifts.. to find the most unique and beautiful AirBnBs to cater to my exact tastes! She's very observant about what people love and then, somehow, is able to find these very unique treasures.  And I'll give my son, Matt, some credit, too, especially when it comes to the hikes and outdoor adventures.  Our trip to Santa Fe went through Silverton, where we stopped to see fireworks, and included many scenic stops and beautiful hikes.

This blog post is already long and I could go on and on about how fun our four-day trip was, but I'll just post a sampling of my many photos. What a special trip!

A Moose Sighting!

Rio en Medio Trail
Outside of Silverton

One of the many fun cafes with outdoor patio and music!

The first night we stayed in an RV and enjoyed the beautiful stars!

In Santa Fe, we stayed in this AMAZING AirBnb with a Hobbit House!

Hallway in Hobbit House with Mosaic Tree leading to a Magical Bedroom
Flamingo Sighting!

Haiku Park with Haikus written on the rocks
What worked well:

  • I loved that this trip was so full of surprises for me. Even the destination (Meow Wolf) was not something I'd even heard of before creating my list. A bucket list is fun, but this is another category of "bucket list"..  It's like a fun "discovery"!
  • It was fun to have a trip with just Matt and Stella! This is the first time it was just the 3 of us and we really had some deep discussions! How great to have a deeper connection with my son and daughter-in-law.
  • Meow Wolf was absolutely amazing. It exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds!
  • I loved the Hobbit House AirBnB as much as Meow Wolf! What a super-cute and magical place to stay!
  • Matt and Stella were so thoughtful and I felt so genuinely surprised and excited by all the places they took me. What a wonderful gift this was for me on my 60 until 60 journey!
What could have been better:

I can't think of anything that I wish had been different about this trip. It was perfect!

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Week 27: Contribute to a Cause

This week my blog post is in honor of my friend, Bill Strauss.  He's the guy in the middle of this group of men wearing high-heeled shoes.  Last week, Bill participated in a YWCA fund-raiser to fight domestic violence, "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes."  Look at those beautifully adorned feet! I don't think I could walk two feet in those shoes or even stand two feet in those shoes! (Love the extra accessorizing, too, Bill!)

Bill helped me achieve Goal #15 in my list of 60:

Contribute to any cause that a friend asks me to support

This is one of those goals that is ongoing, but I wanted to blog about it this week because I'm especially happy to be able to support Bill since he has been such a huge support of mine for many, many years.

Bill and I were Electrical Engineering majors together at U.C. Davis (class of '82!) And though EEs are known to be geeks, I think Bill and I are not your typical geeks. I'd like to think we are playful geeks! Bill has always been one of those friends who would play along with whatever crazy virtual party or event I had going on. He was one of my "Virtual Running Buddies" in 2005 when I ran in the Disney Marathon,  he submitted a sweet story about he and his wife in 2010 for my 50th  Birthday "Love Party", and  earlier this year, won the prize for "Best Predictor" at my Virtual Academy Awards Party

But beyond his awesome creativity and playful spirit in every thing he attempts, Bill is also one of those friends with such a generous heart when it comes to charity. He has contributed to every cause that I've raised money for over the years, and since we have known each other for so many years, that has really added up! I am so happy to be able to reciprocate now and support a cause of his. 

I'm going to mark Goal #15 as complete, but in my mind change the wording to be a goal I hope to be doing for the rest of my life:

Help and support any friend who asks...  or offer help when I see the opportunity

There are a lot of ways to help friends in addition to contributing to a cause.  I'm happy to be able to help friends who might need a ride somewhere, help when they're sick, help with finding a job, need a place to stay, or maybe just need someone to listen. I love having these opportunities to pay it forward for all the times that these things were done for me.

I also know that besides my annual ALS fund-raising, there will probably be times when I'll need to ask for help. That's not easy for me to do, so I'm selfishly trying to "earn karma points" by helping others.  Give me those opportunities! You know how much I like earning fictional points!

What worked well about this goal:

  • I love to have the opportunity to support a friend who has always supported me
  • Love that Bill sent pictures, raised a lot of money to fight against domestic violence, and, in his usual style, went 'all in' with the shoes
  • This is one of those great goals that I hope I can do for the rest of my life! (although I'll mark as accomplished on my list with this Blog Post!)

What could be better:
  • More people need to ask for help or support!