Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Happiness Happens: Reflecting on a Happy Month

Happy Times in August

I'm the kind of person who likes challenges and goals.  This year, I've been setting monthly challenges for myself and then at the end of the month, I reflect on what went well, what could have been better, and what I might want to change.

My goal for August was to blog daily with a theme of "Happiness Happens" in honor of Happiness Happens month. Last year, I was honored to interview the founder of Happiness Happens Month, Happiness Hero, Pamela Gail Johnson, for my podcast.

Having a daily blog post in which I wrote about something that made me happy each day, really made a difference in my overall mood. It was much like a daily gratitude journal, but it went a step above as I searched for words and pictures to describe these experiences. I became much more aware of my emotions and the things that would trigger those happy feelings.

Sure, the news constantly reminds us, very sad things are going on in our world and I don't want to minimize those. However, this daily practice really reminded me of the plethora of wonderful things in my life - simple things, that I often take for granted.. and big things, like the people I love who care about me.

I remember a day earlier this month when I had some personal disappointments.  I had 3 bad things in a row happen.. not big things, but big enough to make me feel moody and irritable.  Then I reminded myself about all my Happiness Happens moments that I'd been writing about. I stopped the downward spiral that was happening in my head and was able to turn it around.

I'd read a wonderful article by another Happiness Hero and "Joyful" author Ingrid Fetell Lee: The Power of Upward Spiral that describes this very phenomenon.

As I've learned by this practice of recognizing all the little things that bring me joy and happiness, that happiness starts with gratitude and mindfulness.  Even being mindful about things that bring negative emotions has been a positive experience.  I can think more deeply and ask myself, Why is this triggering me? Do I need to be angry? Do I need to be hurt?  Almost always, the answer is No..  I can let that go. 

There are times when I have to accept things that are out of my control. And there are times when I'm sad or worried or scared. I am so grateful that I have people in my life who will listen and help me process those emotions and maybe come up with some things that I can do to be less sad, worried, or scared.

In the "Could Have Been Better" category, I did not improve my blogging skills and only earned 1 cent on Adsense (still 44 cents away from getting my $100 payout after 15 years of blogging.)

However, as I browse over all my Happiness Happens posts for the month, capturing the precious moments and memories, the happiness I feel is absolutely priceless.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Happiness Happens: Uke Jamming at Superior Community Center


I've wanted to learn how to play the ukulele for awhile now. My friend, Cathy, is one of the musicians who played at yesterday's performance and she's been super generous about teaching me the basics and even loaning me one of her ukuleles.

When I saw that the new Superior Community Center (that's only a 10 minute walk from my house) had free Ukulele Jam sessions on Monday nights, I asked Cathy if she'd want to go, and she accepted the invitation.

I was a little timid about joining in, seeing as I'd had the equivalent of one lesson with no practicing, but the group was welcoming and it turns out I was able to strum those C chords like a pro!

Even though I know I have a long way to go before I'm able to play well, I had fun singing and playing with the group.  It's pretty easy to blend in with a big group and only play the single-finger chords.  And, just like yesterday, I realize that music is a huge mood booster!  How fun to be part of making that music!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Happiness Happens: Musician Friends Playing in the Park


One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to listen to live music in the park. Today was extra special because the people playing the live music were my friends!

That's right! Many of my friends are musicians! I'm in such awe of their talent. 

From noon until about 6pm today I enjoyed a beautiful day listening to a variety of music, mostly from the 70's, 80's,  but some more current and some original! The final song was Mustang Sally. Many of us sang along, dancing holding our umbrellas to shade us from the sun. 

How lucky for me that I was able to attend this great event with plenty of friends both in the audience and on stage! Pure joy!

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Happiness Happens: Reneya's 1:1 Birthday Celebration

Earlier this month, I celebrated my grandson, Diego's birthday. Well, today it was my granddaughter, Reneya's turn. She's turning big double-digits 10 tomorrow!

I love having this one-on-one time with my beautiful granddaughter!

We started with lunch at Einstein Bagels, followed by a shopping spree at Flatirons Mall.

Reneya has this wonderful ability to get excited about just about anything! She loves trendy clothes, stylish shoes, sparkly accessories, furry stuffed animals, and dangly earrings.

We haven't really established the "rules" for this birthday extravaganza (other than that I'm treating, of course!) Reneya was concerned about prices and wanted to be sensitive about not picking out too many things.  She was trying to only pick clothes on clearance or items that weren't over-priced.

It was nice that she was so cost-conscious and fun for me to be able to just buy everything she wanted and not have to limit her.  

After we got back to her house, we had a Facebook Messenger video call with her Uncle Scotty and added the fun birthday filter.  It even let her blow the candles out! Technology's so cool!

Here's a little haiku that I was challenged to write in my Carpe Diem book:

Reneya turns ten
No longer a little girl
A beautiful tween

Friday, August 27, 2021

Happiness Happens: Great Scotts Eatery


Today my Happiness Happens experience was eating at Great Scotts Eatery in Broomfield with my friend, David.

I've seen the sign for Great Scotts for years and, of course, I always think of my son, Scotty! I can't believe he and I never went there ourselves, but it's definitely on my list to do with him next time he's home for a visit.

The restaurant has a cool, retro vibe, with lots of decor of juke boxes, 50's icons, and soda fountains. The menu had a big variety of options from the classic burgers to healthy soups and salads. 

The music that was playing fit with the theme..  rock-a-billy! I was ready for a sock hop!

Now I know where to go next time I want to Rock around the Clock: Great Scotts!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Happiness Happens: Celebrating Birthdays and 1/2 Birthdays

Michael doing Kilroy impression

August 26 is a big day! It's my half-birthday! It's also my friend Michael's full birthday! That's him, up top, doing a Kilroy (not to be confused with Kiljoy) impression.

When I first met Michael, he didn't even like to celebrate birthdays! Can you believe it? What a travesty! However, it turns out he's a master at celebrating MY birthday! 

For the past few years, I've gotten spoiled by all the fun gifts and attention I've gotten from Michael. I finally was able to talk him into letting me celebrate HIS birthday by reminding him that it's my 1/2 birthday!

Besides giving him less than half the gifts with less than half the value that he gives me, I also do a half-bad-a$$ job of giving him birthday attention.

One shout-out I have to give is to Blue Mountain for their creative eCards! You can customize many of their eCards in a variety of fun ways. Here's the Talking Mona Lisa card I sent to Michael this morning and he replied that it was the coolest eCard he'd ever received.

One other reason today stands out? It's the day my Dad died 11 years ago.  I'm glad that rather than feeling sad, I can be celebrating life, memories, and all the many ways that happiness happens.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Happiness Happens: Getting a Colonoscopy


Even though getting a colonoscopy isn't exactly something I look forward to, I'm very grateful that we live in an age where doctors can detect colon cancer early or prevent it altogether.

My Dad had colon cancer, so I'm at a higher risk.  However, my Dad never got a colonoscopy (until it was too late) or really did well-checks of any kind.  That was just the way he was.  He died in 2010 at the age of 75, but if he'd had regular check ups, he'd probably still be alive today.

This month I've been doing all my routine health check ups. I especially was not thrilled with the "prep" part of the colonoscopy.  But if I think about it, it's not that different from a high-priced spa cleanse and the procedure itself is no big deal.  

The doctor did find and remove a couple of polyps. They still have to do some lab work to find out if they were pre-cancerous, but..  whatever they were, they're now out, so I don't have to worry about suffering from colon cancer myself.

Today I'm grateful for the advancements in medicine and that I have the ability to keep my colon clean!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Happiness Happens: A Surprise Flamingo in the Mail


I love surprises! I love getting mail! I love flamingos! So can you imagine how much I loved getting a surprise flamingo in the mail today? It was a triple love happiness happens moment!

To add even more to the happy love-fest, the surprise was from none other than the Duchess M'DLee , my wonderful Carpe Diem MVP!

How sweet and unexpected to get this surprise in the mail today.  It's rare to get anything but junk mail or bills and it's no where near my birthday.  Actually, my 1/2 birthday IS coming up on Thursday so we're about as far from my birthday as we can get.  (I had been thinking of celebrating my 1/2 birthday since it's in the summer..   Let's just face it.  I'm good with celebrating my birthday on any day.)

But the lovely Duchess sent this not because it was my 1/2 birthday, but simply because she was thinking of me and knew I liked flamingos.  

I'm so grateful for my sweet Carpe Diem M'DLee.  We've never even met in person, yet she takes the trouble to send me this whimsical gift! What a thoughtful new friend she is!

I've been thinking that these little Happiness Happens posts would give me nice little reminders of ways I can create happiness for myself whenever I'm down.  

Even though I can't predict or control getting a surprise flamingo in the mail, I can send one to someone else..  Now I just have to figure out who else loves flamingos!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Happiness Happens: A Massage from Coco of Healthy Healing Hands


"Relax, Release, Refresh, Rejuvenate" say the plaques that hang on the wall at Healthy Healing Hands, where I got my massage this afternoon.

I thought this would be a better picture than one of me laying with my face down on the massage table. It also would have been really awkward to ask Coco to snap a picture..  but believe me, happiness was happening!

Coco has amazing skills as a massage therapist. I've had a lot of massages over the years and it's hard to find someone who knows just the right amount of pressure and where to apply it.  Coco has a good understanding of my physiology and the unique challenges I have.  I always feel so relaxed as she's working her magic!

I started getting regular massages a couple of years ago because of my back problems. I also tried Physical Therapy and saw a chiropractor. They all had various opinions and exercises that felt pretty ineffective.  Getting massages was the only therapy that I really looked forward to every month because I could really feel a difference.

Well, my back has been doing a lot better and rarely hurts these days! Now I don't get a massage because my back hurts..  I go because I love the soothing feeling and I want to keep my back and body healthy, thanks to Coco's healing hands!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Happiness Happens: A Good Sleep

Ah! I just love it when I wake up in the morning after a full night of good sleep! This sleeping lady cross-stitch that my Mom made is one of the first things I see when I wake up and it's just like looking in the mirror! (Until I look in the real mirror.)

I've discovered that sleep is one of the what I'm labeling "Big 5" (Sleep, Food, Exercise, Learn, Socialize) keys to a healthy brain.

I feel pretty good about the other 4, but my history of insomnia has created a bit of an "uh oh - I better improve my sleep" feeling.  

Since I haven't been working, my sleep has improved quite a bit.  It's so nice to not need an alarm clock any more or have all the stress that comes along with work and trying to fit too much into every day.

I even discovered this nifty free function on my Fitbit that has months worth of data with details about my sleep quality.

Last night's sleep got a sleep score of 80, which is labeled as "Good" with:

  • Wakefulness: 13% or 1h 9m
  • REM: 22% or 1h 54m
  • Light Sleep: 53% or 4h 39m
  • Deep Sleep: 12% or 1h 4m
Even though there's a lot of room for improvement here, it is better than my usual tossing-and-turning can't-get-back-to-sleep wakefulness that I often struggle with around 2am.  And if I feel this good with a sleep score of 80, just imagine how refreshed I'd feel with a score in the 90's!

Unfortunately, sleep is a lot harder for me to control than any of the other things on the Big 5 list. Often the more I try to sleep, the more difficulty I have with it.

However, over the years, I have discovered some techniques that seem to be helping.

The biggest culprit for me is my overactive brain. I have always been one who "overthinks"..  Instead of just making a decision about something, I want to consider every angle and then I worry about risks or reactions or I think about all the research I might want to do before making a decision.

I suppose that's why they say meditation (and focusing on breath rather than thinking) is so good for your brain.  Like sleep, it is giving your brain a chance to rest and rejuvenate.  

Too bad not thinking is so boring for me.  But nice that I'm getting a little better at it and improving my sleep!

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Happiness Happens: New Neighborhood Business - Vetka Flower Shop


The Superior Area newsletter included an introduction to a new flower shop that's right in my neighborhood:

Welcome to Superior Vetka Flowers!

vetka logo

Help us welcome the Town of Superior's newest business, Vetka Flowers, in the Rock Creek Village shopping area.

Stop by for the grand opening party Saturday, August 21 at Noon.

I missed the grand opening party, but stopped in this afternoon and really enjoyed the beautiful atmosphere and wide array of flowers and other various items for sale. The new owner and assistant were attentive as they showed me around.

I picked out a single tulip as a sweet adornment for my table. It is a definite happiness booster and I look forward to seeing both the business and the tulip bloom!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Happiness Happens: Watching a Disc Golf Pro Tournament


Who would have guessed that this little town of Superior would be the location for the Rocky Mountain Women's Disk Golf Championships this weekend?

Katie Belty, a young Disk Golf Pro, is my current Airbnb guest! 

I tried playing Disc Golf once, and I was embarrassingly awful. I figured I'd be bad because I never really learned to throw a frisbee well. I went with Scotty and I told him I would be bad, but he assured me I'd be fine. However, once we started playing, he said, "You're right, Mom. You ARE really bad."

The good thing about being really bad at something, though, is that it's easy to improve! I bought a colorful putter disk at the event and Becky told me she would give me a lesson, so we have plans to get out on the course for some practice soon.

In the meantime, I was happy to get the opportunity to watch Katie and some of the other pros for a bit. It was really windy today so I'm sure it must have been difficult for them all.

I don't know the proper lingo, but here's a video of Katie throwing a longer drive shot. 

How fun to get this close up opportunity to witness this tournament in action so close to home!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Happiness Happens: Decluttering


Decluttering is one of those things that I really don't like doing, but I'm happy when I've done it. Similar to yesterday's Happiness Happens moment, I get such a boost of energy when I take care of a long-procrastinated chore.

I sign up to donate to VVA every month or so and that helps me get rid of stuff that I never use and that possibly might be useful to someone else! That's so much better than gathering dust and taking up room in my house.

This month's stash was mostly stuff from my kitchen and included an old bread-maker, wok, mix-master, ice-maker, ice cream maker, and several pots and pans.  I had a lot of memories of meals and special dinners or treats made with these old kitchen appliances and tools.

I especially remember the many different recipes we made with the bread-maker back in the days when I was married and we had our growing family of five.  We kept the bread-maker on the counter and would experiment with different recipes every week. The breads would smell and taste SO good.  

But that old, heavy bread-maker has been stored up high in a cabinet for years now and I'm happy to be eating healthier foods.  I'm also happy to have decluttered my kitchen cabinets (well.. at least some of them!) and that I have the opportunity to donate these things for someone else to create new memories with.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Happiness Happens: Resolving Home Maintenance Annoyances


I'm not exactly a "handyman."  I'm a software geek and love fixing techie problems, but when it comes to house maintenance, I'm useless.  Of course, there are YouTube videos that can help, but when my washer broke this week, I decided to leave it to the experts.

For about the past 5 years, I've been using American Home Shield, an appliance warranty company.  Basically, I pay a monthly bill and choose all the appliances that I want to have covered, like washer, dryer, microwave, refrigerator, heater, etc.  

Even though the vast majority of months go by without me needing any service, when I do need service, like this week when my washer broke, it's extremely convenient!

I don't need to shop around for a repair person..  I can simply put in a service request, and then, Voila! An appointment gets made and a service person comes out and fixes my washer!

Today (just in time for my next Airbnb guest) my washer was fixed and I'm back in business!

On Monday, while I was out hiking with David ( a former Airbnb guest),  Ellen (the current Airbnb guest) texted me to let me know the shower door had fallen off its track while she was showering!

Oh dear! That could have been disastrous! Luckily, the door didn't break and, more importantly, Ellen wasn't hurt.

David offered to come take a look at it with me, and he immediately knew exactly how to fix it! The piece of hardware that holds the door in place had fallen off and it just needed to be glued back in place.  He helped me with getting it fixed and, once again, problem solved!

The third problem I had this week were that fruit flies were swarming in my kitchen! As you can imagine, this was not exactly creating a happiness boost for anyone.

A quick google search revealed an easy DIY solution: apple cider vinegar and dish soap, both of which I had on hand.

I started by disposing of any fruit and then I just let my little trap do its thing.

So there you have it! Three home maintenance annoyances all resolved quickly, thanks to American Home Shield, a friend, and Google!

Maybe I'm not too handy, but it does make me happy when I'm able to get these annoying problems solved quickly!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Happiness Happens: Having Good Listeners in My Life

A couple of months ago, I started learning more about Brain Health so I knew that "Socialization" is really important for a healthy brain.  But what exactly is it about socialization that's important? I've become quite social, but I'm single, which has proven to be bad for brain health.  

Being the inquisitive person I am, I've wanted to get to the bottom of this question: How exactly does socialization help our brains?

Well, a couple of articles I read this morning talked about the importance of having someone who will listen to you!

This article which was in my daily newsletter referenced a study that showed that having someone who listens to you can protect you against dementia. 

The article asks:

"Can you count on anyone to listen to you when you need to talk? Is there someone available to give you good advice about a problem? Is there someone available to you who shows you love and affection? Can you count on anyone to provide you with emotional support? Lastly, do you have as much contact as you would like with someone you feel close to, someone in whom you can trust and confide?"
Luckily, I have quite a few people who are wonderful listeners and who I think of when I answer 'yes' to all of these questions.

However, the one who stands out the most, especially since Covid began, is my sister, Michele.

So, after I read these articles this morning, I sent Michele a gratitude text, thanking her for her listening and empathy skills, saving me from dementia.

It turns out that Michele was in the midst of talking to a contractor, so the reply I got back was from my brother-in-law, Ray, letting me know that she was tied up, but would get back to me shortly.

It's rare that I chat with Ray, and this was the first time EVER that I got a text reply from Michele's phone from him. Some of the things I text to Michele are quite embarrassing (remember, she is my biggest confidante!).  How lucky that this time Ray read it, I was sending her this angelic gratitude text rather than an embarrassing whiny text.  

I followed it up with telling Ray I was grateful for him, too..  He might as well think I'm Mother Theresa, right?  And he sent me a sweet heart emoji. <3

When Michele called me back, we had one of our nice, long, deep conversations about health, death, and faith.  Nothing like some light chit-chat on my morning walk!  But, actually, I'm sure it's having someone who you can talk to honestly about these deep subjects that does feed our brain.

Our phones are so used to calling each other that we each have exchanged a series of butt calls with one another this week. 

I also want to give gratitude to two other highly empathetic listeners in my life: my daughter-in-law, Stella, and my good friend, Becky.   Though I have many other great listeners and people I love in my life, Michele, Stella, and Becky, model amazing listening and empathy skills and serve as great role models!  I love them and as an added bonus, they help keep my brain healthy!

Monday, August 16, 2021

Happiness Happens: Bambi Spotting!

This morning, when David and I first arrived at Lion's Lair Spur Trail, others at the trail were pointing up to a bear! Sure enough, a black bear was roaming up behind the trees (away from the trail). 

In the 21 years I've been hiking in Boulder, I've never seen bears on the trails..  I snapped a couple of fast pictures, but unfortunately, you really can't make out the bear, who was moving stealthily behind the trees.

However, as we started on our hike, I was able to get some pictures of a much more commonly seen wildlife animal: Deer!

Who can help but smile when you spot Bambi on your trail?

As we were ooh'ing and ahh'ing about the deer, a group of people passed us and one woman said in a rather what's-the-big-deal kind of tone, "I get 'em in my back yard all the time."  I know that they are so common-place in some of the Colorado mountain towns that they can even be a bit of a nuisance..  jt's the way I feel about bunnies in my yard.  Yeah, they're cute, but they do eat up all my flowers.  Sorry, Thumper, you're not gonna be making it to the Happiness Happens blog..

Bambi and you other deer friends, however.. you get your Happiness Happens Fame today.  It always gives me a thrill to see your graceful beauty just a few feet away, roaming on the trails.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Happiness Happens: Horse-drawn Wagon Ride at Coalton Trail


Today's Happiness Happens moment was found at Coalton Trail - a trail I know well since it's half-a-mile from my house! 

I've run on this trail, hiked on this trail, and even found our first geocache with Scotty on this trail, but today was this first time I got to ride a horse-drawn wagon on this trail!

From the Superior Newsletter:

National Trails Day - August 15

Come to the Coalton Trailhead at the intersection of McCaslin Blvd. and Coalton Road from 9:00 a.m. - noon. You and your household will can enjoy horse drawn wagon rides into the open space, awesome teaching from Superior’s very own wildlife ecologist Ashley DeLaup and the Hawk Quest Raptor show (9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.) 

Not only is it National Trails Day, it's also National Relaxation Day! Well, that wagon ride was the most relaxed I've ever been on that trail! (Much more relaxing than running!)

I also had a relaxing opportunity at Harper Lake earlier this morning and blogged about this cute scene on my CarpeDiemDay blog!

I'm heading out for even more relaxing (with food and wine!) with my friend, Cathy! 

It's been a full day of Trails, Relaxation, and Happiness!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Happiness Happens: Swimming at the Neighborhood Pool


Yesterday, my "Happiness Happens" moment was when I went swimming at my neighborhood swimming pool!

The water felt so refreshing and energizing! I can't believe that I hadn't been taking advantage of this wonderful neighborhood perk throughout this hot summer!

Before Covid, I'd belonged to a posh gym with 3 gorgeous pools.  I loved the resort-like atmosphere and mourned the loss when I dropped my membership.  I associated neighborhood pools with cold water, big crowds and lots of unruly kids.  I was too lazy to even go to the effort of creating a new registration card for myself..  until yesterday.

What a welcome surprise to find that the neighborhood pool was not that different from the pool at my fancy, schmancy gym!  Now that I'm retired, I can go in the middle of the day, when the kids are back in school, and the crowds are low.  Yesterday, even though it was Friday afternoon, there weren't many people there and no unruly kids in sight! (Come to think of it, I think my memories were of having to watch my own unruly kids!) But yesterday, I was not responsible for any kids and I had the swim lane all to myself!

Wow. This is really a perk that I have taken for granted. What an invigorating way to lift my spirits on a summer day!

Friday, August 13, 2021

Happiness Happens: Wine, Art, Food, and Friends in iconic Boulder


Me and my friend, Mary on Pearl Street Mall

Last night there was a lot of Happiness Happening! 

I was lucky to be invited to my friend (and awesome realtor), Chip's party that was at R Gallery in Boulder. It just so turns out that I had met the gallery owner a few weeks ago and was thinking that it would be the perfect place for an event.. and then I actually got to experience such an event!

There was beautiful art of all types (sculptures, paintings, photos, mixed media, jewelry!) Even the food was artistic as well as delicious, created by Personal Chefs, Debbie & David Pitula of Whistling Boar .

The gallery/wine bar were half-a-block from iconic Pearl Street, one of my all-time favorite places in Boulder! The evening air was the perfect temperature and the flowers were in bloom. Street musicians were playing and it felt so nice to savor the surrounding sights and sounds.

My friend, Mary, met me at the party and joined me on a Pearl Street bench to chat and catch up as we took in the scene.

Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was seeing Pearl Street looking so colorful compared to the previous year, or maybe it was the daily gratitude practice, but as I sat on that bench I truly felt happy to be able to enjoy the perfect summer evening.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Happiness Happens: The Kindness of Airbnb Guests


A couple of years ago, I decided to experiment with Airbnb hosting.  I had a spare bedroom and bathroom and it turned out to be very easy to get the room listed.  Within minutes of listing the room, I already had a request!

Of course, once Covid hit, I took the listing down and I only re-listed in May, asking only for guests who've been vaccinated.  With variant concerns, I may decide to put it on hold again, but, luckily, I'm not dependent on the income. That's just a happy side-product of hosting.

The unexpected benefit is how much I enjoy the guests that I meet. 

I've thought and written a lot about relationships and connection and how we form the bonds we do with people.  Even though I will never see most of the people who stay at my house again, the short time we do share together often brings me a sense of joy, happiness, and new knowledge of a culture or idea.

I love the diversity of ages, places the guests are from, and ideas they have and share. I love the differences in personality, from the soft-spoken to the chatty extrovert. I love to hear the stories from those who are willing to share...  of their families, their backgrounds, their opinions, their dreams.

  • The picture is from Maria, a recent guest who I didn't even get to meet in person since I was in Minnesota during her stay.  She's from Costa Rica and I'd told her I was going to be in Costa Rica in January for a month, so we have plans to meet up then! It was such a sweet surprise to find the cute monkey keyring she'd left for me. Though we didn't meet, we had such fun email exchanges and I can't wait to meet her!
  • Another recent guest, Roger, and I had some wonderful deep discussions about religion and cultures. He sent me a text with a link to a video from a Catholic Bishop, addressing an issue I've struggled with in my faith.  His video was so relevant to our discussion. He also recommended the book, Gilead, which I' plan to check out. Roger, a literature professor, was a wonderful conversationalist and communicator!
  • Rebecca, a guest who stayed in June, has a very interesting story - she's a nomad and minimalist! I suggested she start a blog and she did: Rebecca the Elder Nomad! She was on her way to a 6-week petsitting assignment in Boulder and we got together a couple of times to share lunch, tea, and stimulating conversations!
  • David, also, is a guest-turned-friend. He needed a short-term stay until his Westminster condo was ready for move in.  We are both singles in our 60's and I even was a tag-along on one of his match.com meetings! I was grateful for his support when he came to cheer me on at my recent singing performance and will be going hiking with him Monday! I value his wit and the wisdom he has to share.

These are just a few of the stories from recent guests, but there have been so many more. I have a little guest book where I ask the guests to tell me what makes them happy.  It warms my heart to read their thoughts..  sometimes a few words, sometimes poetic phrases, sometimes a note of thanks for the stay..  

It's hard to explain the feeling I get from these temporary relationships..  a little bit of sadness for their impermanence, but gratitude that for a short time on this earth, our paths crossed. I was able to experience their kindness and, because of them, I'm a better person. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Happiness Happens: 1:1 Birthday Celebration With Diego

One of the things I discovered from my 60-until-60 project is that I love 1:1 celebrations! It's so much easier to give my full attention and "be present" when there are not a lot of other people around.

Today I had my special 1:1 celebration with my grandson, Diego, who recently turned 12.  We had lunch at the mall, went shopping at "It's Your Move" - a game store that Diego loved, went to an escape room - Puzzah (we escaped with 15 seconds to spare!), had our pictures taken in a photo booth, and topped it off with delicious dessert from Cinnabon! 

I always ask lots of questions during these celebrations...  I have my little "Carpe Diem" book that I use to record the latest and greatest interests of the guest of honor. I asked Diego all about his friends and hobbies and what he's been up to lately.  I haven't seen him nearly as much as I used to, both because of Covid and because he's just older with a very busy life!

One thing that Diego did that really impressed me is something that even most adults don't do.  He asked about me!

Since the celebration and day is all about him, I certainly didn't expect him to ask about me, but the fact that he did meant a lot to me.  I thought it was so mature and thoughtful of my sweet grandson to ask what was new in my life, too.

I remember my own father remarking about how nice it was to see the maturity in his grandchildren as they grew into young adults.  I got a touch of that today.  I marvel at how quickly the time is passing and that even my grandchildren aren't little kids any more.

Today I'm grateful for my grandson, Diego, and that I've lived close enough to him to get to see him grow from an infant to the mature 12-year-old boy he is today.