Saturday, December 05, 2020

Meet my adopted flamingo, Kazi

Flamingos have been my personal mascot for many years now. When Sarasota Jungle Gardens offered the opportunity to Adopt a Flamingo last April, I was so excited! 

Because of Covid, the park was closed at that time, but I was very impressed with all the paperwork I received in the mail, telling me about my adopted flamingo, Kamikaze - "Kazi" #38.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend, Amy Sargent, posted a cute picture on Facebook of a flamingo "kissing" her and, upon further inspection of its tag with a photo zoom, we found out it was none other than #38 - Kazi!   Imagine that! Without Amy even knowing I'd adopted a flamingo, she posts a very cute closeup picture!

Seeing that Kazi was alive and well and that Sarasota Jungle Gardens was open for business, I had the opportunity myself to meet my adopted flamingo yesterday!

As you can see, there are many beautiful flamingos and birds at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. There were many that didn't come out to greet the park visitors. How lucky for me that Kazi is so sociable and photogenic!

I've been especially lonely for a pet lately. With all the travel that I usually do, it's not very practical for me to own a pet, but this is a very cool alternative! Since I hope to make Sarasota a regular winter destination, I'll be able to visit Kazi and his friends at least every year. 

Sunday, November 08, 2020

The Joy Makeover

This girl's dance on Halloween is pure Joy!

In Season 2 of my podcast, Carpe Diem Connections, I'm going to be doing a deep dive into finding joy.  I've become enamored with Ingrid Fetell Lee and her recent Joy Makeover workshop.

She offers a workbook and a very interesting set of interviews, digging deeper with topics about things such as how our joy is affected with 11 different topics starting with time, money, and relationships.

I know 2020 has been a difficult year, and there have been so many struggles. However, those struggles are what help us build resilience and learn more about ourselves, to grow, to persevere, and the overcome challenges.

I'm really enjoying Podcasting, but I want to hear your thoughts and have more of a discussion than podcasting really allows. I hope you'll come join in the discussion on Carpe Diem Connections Facebook group.

Let me know if any of you also are participating in the Joy Makeover and let's share what we're learning! Here are my responses to the first 4 "pre-work" questions.

Joy inventory What parts of your life bring you the most joy?

  • Friends

  • Relationships

  • Playing

  • Warm Weather

  • Time

  • Learning

  • Health

  • Food & Drink

  • Beauty

  • Kindness

  • Whimsey

  • Home

  • Creativity

Joy Goals What parts of your life would you like to transform for more joy?

  • Snowbird Home

  • Deeper Relationships

  • Travel

  • Learning

  • Adding value to society

Joy Barriers What is currently getting in the way of you feeling more joy?

  • Politics

  • Covid Worries and Restrictions

(Other things that can be Joy-Suckers)

  • Financial Stress

  • Other people’s hardships

  • Grief

  • Disappointments with Relationships

  • Fears

  • Bad Health / Pain

  • Rejection

  • Decline with Aging

  • Loneliness

Joy Vision What would happen if those obstacles were removed? What does a more joyful life look and feel like to you?

A feeling that I was always experiencing the comfort of security, gratitude, and love. A continual feeling of awe and excitement at experiencing and learning new things and connecting with people.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Carpe Diem Connections Podcast - The Joy Makeover Spinoff!


I'm loving participating in the Joy Makeover and I bet you would, too! In Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections we'll be doing our own deep dive into finding Joy, starting with finding Joy in the election season! 


About 12 weeks ago I started a podcast, Carpe Diem Connections. I'd procrastinated because I knew nothing about podcasting and was worried that I'd be embarrassed by how amateurish it might sound.

However, with any kind of new hobby, if you go into it realizing that you have a lot to learn, and not having high expectations, you find the learning process and the improvement is usually fun!

When I'd gotten laid off in 2009, a suggestion at a lead's group was to host a blog and interview people who I admired.  This turned out to be awesome advice and it was how I ultimately got a job as a Site Editor at TechTarget and was able to network with a lot of my industry's thought-leaders. Ultimately, I ended up with a successful consulting career and a wonderful network of mentors, friends, and colleagues in the world of Agile Leadership and Quality Assurance.

Chapter 3 of Life

Now, I'd like to do something similar in the field of Positive Psychology, particularly as I'm entering a new stage of life.  I'm hesitant to call it "Retirement" or "The 60's"..   Maybe "Chapter 3"? 

"Chapter 1" was childhood and college, "Chapter 2" was career and raising children. Now, in "Chapter 3," I'm a 60-year-old empty-nester, grateful for the opportunity to discover and experiment with what it means to live life fully. 

I left my full-time contract at USAA in November, 2018, shortly after getting some bad news about degenerative back conditions. After a review of my finances and lifestyle, I came to the conclusion that, thanks to my ultra-frugal ways (and paying house-mates), I could afford to "retire."  (I wasn't sure I really wanted to retire since I loved my job but..  I also wanted more time to travel, visit friends, and be as active as possible while I still felt healthy, energetic, and pain-free.

I had an awesome 60-weeks-until-60 set of celebrations, full of traveling, adventure, and new experiences. My kids and family surprised and honored me on my 60th birthday, Feb.26, 2020, by gifting me with "Carpe Diem Day," officially proclaimed in the National Archive of Days! 

Carpe Diem Connections - Season 1 - Interviews with Happiness and Connection Experts

As the proud recipient of Carpe Diem Day, I promptly bought and have experimented with social media and activities related to"seizing the day."  I also started a Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group, Carpe Diem - Single Snowbirds Facebook Group- and, again, 12 weeks ago, the new podcast.

During this past 12 weeks, I used the same strategy I'd used in 2009...  I looked for guests who I admired and were living life fully.  Most were coaches or somehow involved in the field of Positive Psychology. I'm very excited and grateful to those who I met and interviewed! It's been enlightening to hear their thoughts on what it means to them to live life fully and foster deep meaningful connections, particularly in the midst of the pandemic.

Carpe Diem Connections - Season 2 - The Joy Makeover Spinoffs

On Tuesday (Election Day!) I flew back to Sarasota, Florida, for "Snowbird Season." I'm so lucky to be staying, once again, with wise and witty Becky Burns!  It seemed the perfect time to also start a new season on my podcast, hopefully, with continued learning and improving over Season 1.

Becky has agreed to be my co-host as we talk about Finding Joy.  I've become enamored with Ingrid Fetell Lee and her recent Joy Makeover workshop. She offers a workbook and a very interesting set of interviews, digging deeper with topics about things such as how our joy is affected with 11 different topics starting with time, money, and relationships.

Becky and I are going to do our own deep dive into these topics and add a few more that are particularly relevant for the times or for us.  For example, this week, we'll talk about Joy and Politics since the election is causing so much anxiety for so many people.  As I write this, the vote is still undecided. I find it interesting that the uncertainty is causing so much anxiety, both with Covid and the election..  Uncertainty and its affect on Joy might also be part of that first podcast of the season.

Getting Feedback

In order to learn and improve, we need feedback! One of the few things I don't like about podcasting, is that it's difficult to get feedback.  We base results on how many people listen or subscribe, so, of course, it's helpful to see those numbers go up.  However, what I really want is listener comments and feedback!!

I know that many of us listen to our podcasts when we're out and about, so it's not a very convenient medium for giving feedback.  

However, I would appreciate any feedback you'd like to send my way by email:,  by using the "message" button from the podcast Website, or by commenting or IM'ing me on Facebook.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Goodbye Beautiful October!

As everyone keeps saying, these are crazy times! Like the rest of the world, my emotions have been all over the map. Besides all of the stressful things going on in America, we had the worst fires Colorado has ever experienced, and I had some personal stresses this month as well...  friends and family who are suffering from major health problems and grief.  

With all this going on, it can be hard to stay positive. In fact, it can seem almost insensitive to be 'promoting' a Carpe Diem attitude, when so many people are suffering so much.  On the other hand, we only have control over our own minds and actions. Succumbing to depression doesn't help anyone.

I've been keeping a journal of "good things" and "not so good things" that happen each month and at the end of the month, I review and go through all the pictures I took over the month. When I had my end-of-October ritual, I recognized that despite those sad things that are out of my control, there were so many happy things that happened and that I'm so grateful for.


A highlight of my month was participating in WALKtober Bingo put on by Walk2Connect. Every morning, the talented leaders would fill our inboxes with a beautifully written post and prompt of how we could celebrate each day of "WALKtober."

Daily Hikes and Walks - Rediscovering 10,000+ Steps a Day

On October first, we were asked to set an intention for our WALKtober challenge and mine was to walk at least 10,000 steps each day. Since I did this every single day of 2019, I figured doing it in October should be a piece of cake.  It actually wasn't that easy! On days that the weather was bad, I didn't sleep well, or I just felt depressed, it was really hard for me to make the time to get out and walk.

But every single time, I felt better and happier, for getting out! I have to admit that a couple of years ago, when I had to give up running, I felt like walking was such a wimpy substitute..  it didn't feel like much of a workout. But I realize now that it's more beneficial for my mental health than running ever was for my physical health.

Being in nature... seeing the beautiful colors.. exploring new trails.. seeing the sun rise while breathing in the crisp early morning..  witnessing smiling neighbors, beautiful yard decorations, cute pets, and all the treasure of my neighborhood..  all of it is food for my soul. I realize that there is so much goodness and beauty in the world.. so much to be grateful for.

Enjoyed beautiful Fall colors!

Found new places to hike thanks to The Best Urban Hikes:Boulder by Darcy Kitching!

Snowy walks were appreciated, too! They helped get the fires under control!

Working with American Red Cross

This month I finally stopped procrastinating about doing the on-boarding training for ARC so that I could become an active volunteer. I am SO impressed with all the volunteers and hard work that goes into this organization!

As soon as I had the training finished, I was immediately put to work, helping get all the spreadsheets up to date for all those who had been evacuated from their homes because of the fires.  Though this isn't the most "exciting" job, I know that many people aren't comfortable with installing new apps and working with unfamiliar technology. I felt proud that I was quickly up and running and able to help in a way that was needed.

Joan Cernich has been in touch every day and I immediately felt part of a useful team.  I realized this is something I've been missing since I've stopped working at a traditional corporate job. Joan is amazing and is juggling communication and handling the logistics of all the work that's being done with the area's fires. On top of all of that she hosted volunteer (social distanced) get togethers at her home!

Joan Cernich hosts volunteer orientation

Carpe Diem Connections

This is the first time I've posted on this blog for months, but I've been quite active on my new site:  I've interviewed a guest each week for my new Carpe Diem Connection Podcast! It's been fun and exciting for me to meet, reconnect, and learn from all the people I've interviewed! I've also learned a lot about podcasting (but still have a lot more to learn!)

I also have been having fun with my Carpe Diem Connections Facebook group and love the pictures and posts people add as a result of my little prompts.

Socializing and Halloween

This month I was able to have some very welcomed 1:1 celebrations with friends! I really miss the Pre-Covid parties and traditional celebrations, but I also love having some individualized time with friends.

And Halloween turned out to be better than usual! Socially-distanced street parties and neighborhood displays with safe and creative way to deliver treats to the trick-or-treaters!

Costumed girl joyfully dancing while a band plays for the neighborhood

Trick-or-treating goes on in creative new ways!

Pasta Jays on Pearl Street on a sunny Halloween

And now we're into a new month and new adventure! I'm heading to Sarasota again to start snowbird season on November 3rd! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Dollar Tree is Worth the Risk!


A couple of months ago, I took care of my grandchildren while their parents celebrated their Anniversary. Reneya, my 8-year-old granddaughter and I share a favorite tradition: Going to Dollar Tree!

When Reneya asked me to take her, I was very hesitant because I've been ultra-careful about social distancing.  I hadn't even been stepping foot in a grocery store. (Online Shopping is awesome!) In fact, I was even a little tentative about babysitting, but we all have to weigh the risks of catching the virus and when it comes to helping my kids and grandkids, I'm going to take the risk.  But, I was not crazy about taking the risk to go to Dollar Tree.

Still, Reneya told me she'd pay with her own money and she really, really, really, wanted to get some things so she could make some miniature knick-knacks for her dolls.  We got our masks and safely made the trip and we were all very happy.  

I'd completely forgotten that Reneya had said she'd pay for what she bought until I babysat again last weekend and she gave me a Thank You note with a $5 bill. The note was so cute!

I told her how thoughtful and generous it was of her to write me the thank you note and pay me back from her allowance and how my own Grandma used to tell me when you are generous and give to someone else, it always comes back to you two-fold.  Then, to prove it, I said we could go to Dollar Tree and she could get $10 worth of goodies!

Wow! Was she ever grateful! She said  'Thank you' SO many times and she was so excited by the loot we found.  We even stopped to have lunch at Panera and got some delicious bundlets to celebrate both kids' birthdays. Other than the masks, the world seemed somewhat normal again. Actually, it was better than normal. 

It's true, that I took a little more risk than usual, but we all do that when we get into the car and drive every day (especially me, since I'm not exactly a super-confident driver.)  I tend to be an overly-cautious rule-follower, but my Agile training has helped me recognize that you have to ask why the rule is there and look at the specific context.  Each person's situation will be different.

In my case, I'm very healthy and unlikely to die if I catch the virus. I know I can comfortably self-isolate after a weekend with my Grandkids, so I can feel confident that I won't spread it.

As I've started re-emerging in the world, I'm figuring out my boundaries..  where I'll go, who I'll socialize with, how I'll behave. It's hard to be with groups of more than a couple of people because it seems like people start loosening up with the distancing guidelines.  It feels very awkward to be the only person of a group of family and friends wearing a mask and not touching or hugging.  I was in this situation at my Grandson's birthday party last month, when I was the only one wearing a mask.  It felt like I was at a High School party and I was the only Goody Two Shoes that wasn't drinking beer. (Yes, I WAS that person in High School.)  It was very tempting to give into the familiar feeling of wanting to go along with group norms and take off the mask and join in the hugs...  but there were several people older and more vulnerable than me at that party so I awkwardly resisted. (However, it helped that I have a really cool light-up mask.)

Others are making their own decisions based on their health, the people they're seeing, their jobs, their families, etc. What works for us might not work for others. Another behavior that I'm trying to live by is to not judge others and to not worry what they might be thinking about my choices, as long as I'm good with them.

I get that it might not be true for everyone, but for me, a Dollar Tree date with my grandkids is totally worth the risk! (They really do have amazing stuff there for only a dollar!)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

AARP Movie Night: Lives Well Lived

Last night I was inspired, and, for once, almost excited, about getting older, by the movie Lives Well Lived, put on by AARP's Movie for Grownups series.

Watching the stories of these elders made me realize what an easy life I've had. I know we're in the midst of a pandemic, but hearing stories of people who were impacted by Hitler and Stalin and the challenges that they and their families endured makes me feel so grateful that the biggest challenge in my life right now is the inconveniences of self-isolation.

Seeing the energy and hearing the stories from these upbeat seniors is a good reminder that life can be wonderful, and also difficult, at every age. One woman talked about moving to France after her kids were grown and that gave me renewed excitement about the extended traveling abroad I want to do when I can!  In the mean time, it's fun to plan! (And learn Spanish!)

All of the seniors offered up words of wisdom about living life fully, with kindness and grace.. messages we all hear often and wonder if we'll still be able to do that as our bodies and minds start to decline. It certainly gave me hope and renewed motivation to keep practicing all of those healthy habits.

There was one couple who talked about finding each other... I think in their 70's. I know I go back and forth about whether or not I want to find another partner, and have often thought that I'm happier single.  But in the movie, the woman talked about how happy it made her to share life's joys with a partner and I did think: Yeah...  I really do miss that.

Sharing life's joys and challenges... that's so important for a happy life. And there's nothing better than sharing those with an intimate partner..  after all, that's what creates intimacy, right? But if you don't have an intimate partner, then we can still share those ups and downs with our friends, family, and people in our lives.  But yeah, I'm really missing those face-to-face connections right now.

How about social media? I keep reading it actually makes us lonelier, but I love having a place to share things that make me happy and reading about what's happening with others.

So  I'm going to try and get back into the habit of sharing more happy things every day.. and hope to follow the wisdom from these sages about how to live well each day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Love in the Time of Corona

This is not my typical blog post. I normally don’t talk about my love life anymore. Granted, that’s because I don’t have much of a love life. But sometimes, life throws you a curveball.. Or a corona-virus.. And the unexpected happens.

My last blog post ended with a cliff-hanger! After safely sheltering in Sarasota (my snowbird sweet-spot), I was preparing for a road trip back home to Colorado, to be taken with a man I’d never met!

I can understand why taking a 4-day road trip with a man who I’d only virtually met (from an online dating site, no less!) during a pandemic would raise some eyebrows.

First of all, there’s the question of why I was even on when I really hate online dating.  Here’s the answer: In my 17 years post-divorce, some of my best friends are guys who I originally met from online dating.  “Though romance is a nice fantasy,” I put on my profile, “friends with possibilities is much more likely.”

Once the lockdown began, the last thing on my mind was dating, and I was happy to have the excuse to not meet anyone because of the pandemic. In “normal” times, there’s always the annoying voice in my head pressuring me to “get out there,” but thanks to Corona, I was able to stay home, indulging my inner-nerd with virtual happy hours and Netflix.

However, Gregg charmed me with his wit and playful emails, and I admit, I’m a sucker for a skillful writer with a good sense of humor. I insisted that I was only interested in friendship, and Gregg agreed to be my “virtual man friend” rather than “boyfriend.” (We both thought “boyfriend” was a ridiculous term for people of our age, anyway!)

There were so many reasons we could not be in a romantic relationship…  We lived in different states, he was nowhere close to retiring, and there was a pandemic going on. We probably wouldn’t even be able to meet in real life! Gregg also hadn’t even dated since his divorce, one of the many “red flags” in my book.  And yes, I know I have plenty of my own red flags which I won’t mention, because I like to give the illusion that I’m perfect.

Once romance was off the table, it was a little easier to share all the stuff we normally wouldn’t put on a profile. Gregg bought my book, “The Laptop Dancer Diaries” (Oh dear, very embarrassing!) and he sent me and Becky CDs of music he’d written and had published in his younger days (Impressively talented! - Now that’s something he should share on his profile!) 

Becky and I listening to Gregg's music

Gregg teased me that I had a lot to learn about romance and I teased him that he had a lot to learn about technology… seriously, he couldn’t get his camera working on our first zoom call? Suspiciously “convenient”..  Luckily he figured it out or that would have been the final red flag! 

Gregg wanted to meet (take a socially distanced walk?) but I did not want a meeting to “assess chemistry.” I get that it’s important to do that, if you’re going to “date” but what’s the point of assessing chemistry if you know you’re not going to date? I hate that judgmental part of dating, and honestly, my chemicals are not reacting much to anyone these days. It was a relief to not worry about whether or not he was physically attracted to me, either.

There was one virtual call where I did dress up, though. I was taking part in the GISH Scavenger Hunt, and one of the missions was to dress to the nines and have a virtual kiss on a zoom video call! I quickly grabbed that mission and Gregg agreed to help me achieve the goal! He even sang one of his songs for me and I have to admit, the whole experience was sweet and endearing, romantic and nerdy all at the same time. Despite myself, I was starting to get hooked.

When it was getting close to the day I needed to drive home to Colorado, Gregg was frustrated that we might never meet. I told him if he were retired, maybe he could drive with me, and he surprised me then by saying he could get off work and help me drive home, if I wanted him to.

Though I had a lot of mixed feelings about this, I decided to take Gregg up on his generous offer. I’m a nervous driver and it’s about a 30-hour drive.  By this time, Gregg and I had talked for hours and he knew about my weird idiosyncrasies (he read my book, after all) and I trusted him completely. But this would mean stepping out of the “safety” of a virtual relationship. There was both the potential of being exposed to the coronavirus and even more worrisome for me, there were risks of the heart.

I am SO glad I said, ‘yes,’ to this offer.  Despite my typical overly-cautious self, especially with anything related to dating, I decided to live by the mantra I’m always touting: Seize the Day. (Actually almost a week!)  What would have been an extremely stressful, long, lonely, scary drive turned out to be one of the most enchanting adventures I’ve ever had.

I worried about the first meeting, not wanting there to be any awkward disappointment if we were different than imagined. I asked Gregg if we could wear costumes or masks and I’d video the “big reveal.” It turns out he looked Super HOT! (Who wouldn’t be in this getup?)

There was no awkwardness. Gregg looks better in person than on zoom calls. And we never ran out of things to talk about! We probably shared more in those four days of driving than we’ve ever shared with anyone else. I wouldn’t normally reveal all of my weirdnesses. But it was OK, because Gregg was sharing, too. (And, again, we’d already shared a lot back when we thought we’d never meet.) 

We’ve both been through a lot  -  deaths, heartbreaks, problems with health, finances, family, jobs, rejections, disappointments.  We talked about good stuff, too. Love, pride in our children, overcoming hardships.  We agreed that we each have lived a full, good life. A full life is going to come with “baggage,” but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. We’ve learned from all of those experiences.

Since we both like to write, we talked about co-writing a sequel to my book. It would be sort of a When Harry Met Sally in their 60’s,  post-divorce and in the midst of a pandemic. (I’m very hesitant about this because one embarrassing book is enough.)

Whether we write any more about it or not, though, it is the stuff of fairy tales and romcoms. Gregg drove almost the whole way without complaint. (He kind of insisted after he’d experienced a couple of hours of my driving..) This was such a relief since there was a lot of heavy rain which totally freaks me out, so he may have literally saved my life.

Entering Colorado!

He also brought wine, cheese, fruit, and music for our evening Happy Hours and one evening gave me a necklace with “Y” and Pi Symbol charms - another example of his thoughtful catering to my geeky personality. After we got to my house, he went out to get food and came back with roses.

Gregg’s sweet protection, his thoughtfulness, and his vulnerability opened up my heart after all. (He IS a master at romance!) Little by little, I realized that behind all of those red flags and barriers that I put up, we’re just two people who want to be loved. Life is short and I don’t want to spend what’s left of it protecting myself from heartbreak.

In the Epilogue of The Laptop Dancer Diaries I’d written in the last paragraph:

“Love like a child that’s never been hurt. Reach out your arms and give of your heart. Trust that whether it lasts for a minute or for a lifetime, it will be worth it.”

Totally worth it.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Something Good: My safe haven and my "Earth Angel" friend, Becky

About 3 months ago, I headed out from my home in Colorado to continue my "Snowbird Experiments" which included spending March and April in Sarasota, Florida.  Admittedly, this was an escape.. not just from the Colorado cold, but from some family problems I was having at home.

Never had I imagined that I'd be "hunkered down" with my new friend, Becky, during a "lockdown."  We'd just met last summer and I wouldn't really want anyone to feel stuck with me as a 24x7 visitor! And, let's face it, I'm very independent, so there aren't too many people who I can think of who I'd want to be sequestered with! But Becky turned out to be my own personal "Earth Angel" (Read on...)

Becky's townhouse became my new cozy home and Becky, her little dog, Jack, and gender-confused parrot, PacoPita, became my new little family. Becky's "zoom friends" became my "zoom friends" and mine became hers as we hosted virtual dance parties, birthday parties, and get togethers.

Becky and I have a lot in common..  an interest in language, communication, writing, and coaching. I was thrilled when Becky agreed to be my "guinea pig" for my "Agile in Every Day Life Experiments." 

Our 8 weeks of coaching one another on the goals we set each week worked out better than I could have imagined.  We each made great progress on our respective personal projects, learning, reflecting, and adapting over time.

But probably most helpful for me were the long walks we had, often around sunset. Becky is an awesome listener and a wise yogi.  She'd listen as I'd ramble on about my day, challenging me or commending me for my coaching of her. We both learned and grew as coaches and friends. 

During my time in Florida, I also met a new "virtual male friend," Gregg, who agreed to help me with the drive back to Colorado.  Yeah.. that's right, I'll be driving home with someone I never met face-to-face, and yeah, I've had a lot of anxiety about that, and yeah, Becky and I (and Gregg and I) have had way too many "therapy" sessions about this. But, in my overly-cautious way, I have gotten to know Gregg well enough that I trust him and feel grateful to him for helping me get back home.

I know this is one of those 'woo-woo' things to say, but I think that God sends me the right people at the right time of my life.  I read this book once called "Earth Angels" and I don't really remember what the book said... and I'm not talking about "literal angels"..  But I do thank God for putting certain people in my life at just the right time. In this case, I can't think of anyone else who could have helped to give me understanding without judgment, bring me joy, and help me grow during this confusing time of life.  

Being in the midst of beautiful surroundings, sunny days and breezy nights, sweet puppy dog snuggles, and a wise and loving friend - oh! And let's not forget a place where virtual parties are all the rage --  It's as though I've been living in my personal nerdy version of heaven. Is it any wonder why I think of Becky as an Earth Angel?

But while I've been thriving in this beautiful, secluded bubble, I know so many people are struggling, worrying about their businesses and their health or their families. So many people are mad..  mad at the government, mad at having to wear a mask, mad at people who don't wear masks, mad at people who don't stay home, mad at people who are mad at people (ok... I sort of fit into that last category.)

As I prepare to head out of this safe little haven, I'll try and not let the anger and judgment in the world get to me, but instead, embrace the wonderful acts of kindness I see. I'll keep my inspirational angel in my thoughts as I navigate the road back home and who knows, maybe Gregg will be my next Earth Angel.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Team Carpe Diem takes the GISH 2020 Challenge!

I love games and perhaps one of my favorite types of party games is the good old-fashioned scavenger hunt.  I discovered GISH in 2016 and played it first with a group of new friends I'd met in Minnesota.   Since then, I've been an avid fan of the game for its creativity, silliness, and wide range of bizarre challenges. 

The hunts are usually held in early August and a week long, but this year a mini-one-day GISH hunt was hosted, specifically geared to be a game which would "Connect, Inspire, and Support COVID Relief."  

One aspect of the hunt that I particularly enjoy is that your teammates can be all over the world and you need to collaborate.  Since one of my work-life interests was fostering teamwork, even when you're physically separated, GISH has always appealed to me.  This year, more than ever, it's helping to show that just because we're separated, it doesn't mean we can't connect and work together.

Teams are composed of 9-15 people, but you can get your friends to help (in fact, sometimes that's needed in order to accomplish a challenge.) Here's a sampling of the pictures and videos from some of the mini-hunt's 54 challenges that Team Carpe Diem accomplished:

#4 Let your pet do something she's not normally allowed to do. (This is Scotty's chicken sharing in his DQ sundae!)

#23 The Most Organized Refrigerator - "Wrap it in White" by Rebecca Burns, Inspired by Christo & Jean Claude

#25 Take a Nap (Jack got into the action with Becky on this one.)

#27 Photoshop yourself into a post card

#38 Animal sculpture out of toilet paper tubes

#40 Side-by-side drawing of your big toe next to photo of your big toe

#51 Make a Message of support for LGBTQ+ Community

#50 Paperclip Jewelry

#6 Romantic Virtual Date

#13 Friend to keep you company (like Wilson from Castaway)

#14 Frozen Dinner next to how it's marketed

#54. Haiku about Covid-19

#43 Paint a picture in the mirror of a celebrity with toothpaste. (Nancie paints Einstein!)

#15 Balance something on your chin for at least 20 seconds

Team Carpe Diem is in the midst of making a presentation and slideshow with all of our submissions, but I wanted to post enough so you could see the variety and types of things that were on the list.

What worked well
  • This was the first time that everyone on the team were friends and family of either me or Becky so we didn't have to try and coordinate with people we didn't know.
  • There's an option to play "for fun" (vs. "in it to win it") which I like so that there's no feelings of pressure to perform well.
  • It was great to do this with some friends who I hadn't talked to in awhile, like Shirley from San Francisco and Beth from Omaha.
  • I had a lot of fun, especially with some of the silly videos like trying to sing "Don't Stand So Close to Me" or creating a Zombie Movie or the Virtual Date
  • It's nice that Becky (who I'm in 'isolation' with) was such an active and funny participant!
  • Nice that so many of my friends and family participated.
What could have been better
  • Difficult and time-consuming to coordinate media and communication from so many different technology sources
  • My video-editing skills leave a lot to be desired.
  • I was especially frustrated with myself for messing up my video-recording of my virtual date!
  • We didn't have any families with kids on our team and there were quite a few items that required kids.