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Cister Pride: Promoting Ally Visibility

Celebrating Pride with Michaela and Cister: Embrace Your Authentic Self

Introduction to Cister – Celebrate Authenticity

On this 4th of July, I’m excited to introduce a new nonprofit, Cister, founded by my dear friend Michaela Avis. Cister’s mission is to promote ally visibility within the LGBTQ+ community.

Michaela and I have been friends for nearly 20 years, first meeting on Match.com in 2005 when Michaela was still Michael. Our bond has only grown stronger over the years.

In fact, if you read my book, The Laptop Dancer Diaries, Michaela was a main character, one of my best friends and confidantes. We’ve met Friday mornings for coffee for 18 years, discussing everything from quotidian delights to deep and dark concerns. We’ve listened and supported one another through each of our family’s joys and tragedies.

Michaela founded Cister to create a visible support network for the LGBTQ+ community, allowing cisgender allies to show their acceptance and solidarity.

Being a centrist, I shy away from political activism and I wasn’t sure what might be expected of a “Cister.”

Initially, I wasn’t familiar with the term ‘cisgender,’ which describes people whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth. Cister aims to empower cisgender allies to visibly support the LGBTQ+ community.

Wearing Cister gear is a way for those of us who are Cisgender to outwardly show our support and acceptance to the LGBTQ+ community.

Fellow Cister Superhero, Bonnie, and I run in the 5K Freedom Race in Louisvile, CO

Let Freedom Run 5K

When running-buddy, Bonnie, suggested we participate in the Let Freedom Run 5K, I was all for it! The ads encouraged us to come dressed as Superheroes (one of my favorite costumes!) Why not come as “Super Cisters?”

We are so lucky to live in a country where we have the freedoms we do, thanks to countless sacrifices. Those of us who are “cisgender” take for granted the freedom to be authentic, with no fear of bullying or judgment.

I feel strongly that as a nation, we love and support one another in our choices. As a Christian and an American, I’m proud of the diversity we experience in this country. This diversity opens us up to a wide range of viewpoints, expanding our minds, recognizing our uniqueness as well as our common humanity.

As we journey together to lift one another, to lean on one another, to love one another, as we work to get this right for everyone, for all the people, we encourage you to walk in the world as your best authentic self. Because that is the most important gift you have, and everyone else needs to see it.

Cister Mission Statement

I’m so proud of my friend, Michaela, who has created this new and unique non-profit. What a great way for Cisters to stand side-by-side LGBTQ+ in unity. (I’d like to suggest we change the acronym to LGBC-QT. That way we can get the “Cisters” represented and end with QT… Maybe next year.)

Do What You Can!

Every Effort Counts: Do What You Can

I was struck by the phrase “Do What You Can” at the Start and Finish line at today’s race. When my friend, Craig, was dying from ALS, and continued to lose physical abilities, I realized he still did what he was able. The rest of my life has been influenced by seeing his determination to remain positive in the face of such adversity. Sometimes we don’t realize that our efforts, no matter how small they seem, can make a big difference.

I told Michaela that I’d blog about Cister, but warned her that my reach was very small. I’m not a celebrity or an “influencer.” Very few people read my blog.

But still, I told her, “I’ll do what I can.” (She expects to see a big uptick in sales after this blog post, though, so I’d appreciate it if you’d help me make it go viral by sharing it, please.)

Not only do I think it’s important to show our “Cister” Support, I love the product line that’s available. Besides the leggings and racerback tank that I’m wearing in these photos, there are a wide variety of hoodies, cute caps, mugs, and bags, all reasonably priced and (currently) free shipping!

Show your Cister Support

No matter your politics, religion, or beliefs, we all deserve to express our authentic selves. Let’s support the Cister community and show our allyship with pride (and trendy new clothes!) Please join me in supporting the Cister Community!

M-Weeks: Memories, Music, & Merriment

My, My! Many Magnificent Memories Materialized in these two weeks that Mark the Mid-Year. I don’t want to Modify My Methods, but I have a Multitude of iMages Marking Many Memorable Microadventures so photos will be My Main Media.

Memories

Mirror image of the Monday Matinee Movie.

Miniatures Made Meticulously to coM”M”erate Marriage of Mom and dad

Mentalist Magician and Mind-reader, Alec Mueller, perforMs in longMont

Meandering through Meadows with a view of Magnificent Mountains

Mighty Moon-rise from the Mountain Mansion of My Munificent friend, Tina.

Modeling My Modern Cister gear with Michaela for Pride Month

Mushroom-themed Myco Cafe with Cathy. Medicinal Mushrooms are Magical.

Meeting with Man-friend discussing Monk Meditation and Miracles

Music

Musical (Frozen) at the Buell with Mini-Megan (Reneya)

Musicians perforMing Mountain Melodies and More

More Music by Marvelous Musicians, Sage & Aera.

Merriment

It’s time to Mention of My CarpeD”M” Connections Facebook group. I love the Mischief and Mirth and the Many creative Messages that Materialize as a result of the “M”boldened letter.

Heidi McClean Made a Mellifluous haiku. My friend, Becky, eMailed a guided Meditation. There were Many sweet shares of Memories and photos, including this one from Ms. McClendon who I Met in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico! (She looks just like Mandy Moore!)

Many More Members Mentioned Memories.

SuMMary

Midway through the year, we Seized the ‘M’ (Carpe de M) with Memories, Music, and Merriment. Musing about the Marvelous Memories has Moved Me with “M”otion – I feel Moxie and Mojo that sometimes go Missing. Let’s continue to “M”brace Memories and Make New ones Next week iN N-Weeks!

L-Weeks: Lovely Ladies, Lilacs, and Laughter

Lovely Ladies Lounging

L-Weeks were w”L”comed in with a “Lovely Ladies Lounging” get-together. We usually call this GGG – Girls Gathering Greatly. But Last week we were LLLs, We were Lounging Luxuriously, Lazily Lollygagging, Loafing, Lurking, and Laughing. Yes, we raised more than a Little L.

ELLE’s Belles!

We Looked Lovely for our “ELLE” photo-shoot. Whether Light-weight, Loose, Lavender, or “L”-egant, we were Laudable Ladies.

Lasagna, Latkes on Lettuce, Little meatbaLLs, a Loaf of bread, Licorice, Lemonade, Lacroix, and even Lavender chocolates were on the Lavish List of foods and Libations.

Lilacs and Lavender

Lucious Lilacs

Isn’t it Lucky that the Lilacs were Lush during none other than the week we were celebrating the Letter L? I absolutely Love the sweet fragrance of Lilacs and Lament that the Lucious aroma doesn’t Last Longer.

Last year, I sent a few Lilac Letters, and I decided to make this an annu”L” tradition.

Lilac Love Letters

These Little Lilac Love Letters are Lavender-scented and Light-hearted. I Like that they’re “L”ementary, yet Like a Little Locket of Love.

Laughter

2004 L-Weeks

Long ago (2004), my “L-Weeks Field Trip” was with my sons, Matt and Scotty, and we went to Lakeside Amusement Park. I’d hoped to reLive that experience by going with my grandchiLdren today, the fin”L” day of our tribute to the Letter L.

Instead we were very Lazy aLL day and did very Little. We did Laugh quite a Lot, which is even better than going to Lakeside.

And, as usu”L,” my Carpe Diem Connections Facebook group provided Laughter and Levity to my weeks.

I asked:

As a Logophile, I Love Learning about the English Lexicon and I Learned a new L-word today: Lucullan – it means Luxurious and Lavish! Let me know what L-words you Like?

Responses included:

Rising contributor, Heidi, also added this Haiku:

Lingering long

A lackadaisical day

Lazy and lovely

Heidi

That Literally describes this Last day of L-Weeks! Living Life Lackadaisically!

K-Weeks: Kataluma, Kismet, and Kindness

special K

K-Weeks have been a little KooKy. K’s don’t Kontribute as many words as I’d like, so let’s Kreate a bit of K-os on this post with Krazy, Kool, and Kreative spellings, oK? These two weeks K’s were King! I hope there were Kit-Kats, Klondike bars, and Key lime pies in your Kitchen.

Kataluma

My K-Weeks outing was to Kataluma Chai. I’m Keen on chai and this Kataluma must have Kilos of Kinds available.

I met Irma from Kompassionate Hospice Kare here for a Konversation. I’ve been looking for a way to earn “Karma points” and volunteering for hospice Kare Kould provide that Kurrency. (I once thought about Kreating an app, where one Kould earn and spend “Karma points” through volunteerism.)

( Kudos to my Kick-ass Kind friend, Michael Bolé, who took this photo and is rich in Karma points.)

Kismet

As I mentioned, K-Weeks were Kind of Kooky and I was thinking of putting a Kabosh on this Kindergarten-like project. Yeah, I was going to Kill the whole Kit and Kaboodle.

Then I went to this Boulder Rambler meetup and spoke to two new Konnections. It was Kismet!

Jules and Luisa were Kindred spirits and were Key in reminding me of ways to Keep my spirits high.

They were like the KooKaburra spreading a message of Kumbaya.

Kindness

The Keyword – the King of all K-words, of Kourse, is Kindness. Yes, it seems each letter has at least one Killer Kick-ass word. Starting with G we have Gratitude, Happiness, Intention, Joy, and now, Kindness!

There is so much Kindness in this world, that I Know I often take for granted. I spend so much time Katastrophizing about what might happen that I Kan miss the Kindness.

There was this Kool Krochet for Kindness site that I disKovered today.

My Karpe Diem Konnections site is always full of Kind Komments like these two from Kelly and M’Lady maKivor!

Elizabethe’s Grateful Gathering, and my friend, BecKy, Kreated a Kind space for me to share the grief I was feeling on the 27th anniversary of my bother’s death.

I’m surrounded by Kind Kohorts, Kompanions, Kids, and Kin. Using the last 5 Killer words:

When I’m Intentional about my Gratitude for Kindness, I’m filled with Happiness and Joy! And you know what all this is Leading to? L-weeks, and that means Love!

The Boulder Ramblers and the Power of Connection

New friends, Jules and Luisa, with invaluable insights

Walking with Boulder Ramblers is a good remedy for the blues

The power of connection is stronger than I realized. As a natural introvert, I often have to talk myself into socializing. This is especially true when I’m in a funk, as I have been lately.

One of the best ways to improve my mood is to hike with friends and one of my favorite walking/hiking groups is the Boulder Ramblers, led by the awesome Darcy Kitching. (Check out this Ice Cream-themed Walk she led last summer!)

The Boulder Ramblers is not just about hiking or walking, it’s about connecting. Darcy does such a wonderful job of facilitating connection. She really has a gift of making everyone feel welcomed and part of her big extended family.

Connecting with two new friends

The first two women I saw as the group gathered were Jules and Luisa. Both were relatively new to Boulder Ramblers and had friendly smiles.

Luisa was sporting a “Pura Vida” cap. Spanish for “Pure Life,” the phrase is used to describe Costa Rica’s culture. Living in Costa Rica is something I’ve been dreaming about for years. I’ve been obsessing about it even more lately, thinking about switching my “snowbird location” from Florida to Costa Rica.

Within 30 minutes of talking to Luisa, she’d given me two super-valuable Costa Rican resources: A Spanish language school, CPI-Spanish, and a Volunteer Organization, CEPIA. Both are in Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste, the very area I’ve been wanting to check out! (Not just because of the “Flamingo” name, either! It’s known for its beautiful beaches and ex-pat community.)

In the course of our conversations, Jules, also, made me aware of more resources that sounded really interesting: A Bolder Women’s Meetup Group and Girl Catch Fire – Finding Meaning in Midlife. Even though I’m a bit past “mid-life,” I know my moodiness is often related to the lack of purpose I feel at this stage of life.

A tool to help us realize our value and purpose

Jules shared a simple yet powerful journaling tool: each morning, write down three things you’re grateful for, and each evening, three things you want to celebrate about the day. This practice helps reinforce our value and purpose, and brainstorm ways to continue pursuing happiness.

Jules recommended using pen and paper, which I find charming. On this first night, however, I’ll “cheat” and use this blog post and publicly celebrate.

The power of connection

It’s amazing how a single morning with the Boulder Ramblers could potentially redirect my life. The resources and ideas shared by Jules and Luisa have filled me with excitement and possibilities, from new Meetups to the prospect of living in Costa Rica.

My celebration journal for tonight includes:

  1. Went to Boulder Ramblers Meetup – Grateful to Darcy for all she does to foster connection and community in this group!
  2. Grateful for my conversation with Luisa about her Costa Rica experience – Explored CPI-Spanish and CEPIA as possibilities for next winter!
  3. Grateful for my conversation with Jules about finding purpose in Midlife and the journaling tool – signed up for upcoming Meetup and learning more about Girl Catch Fire.

Have you found unique ways to lift your spirits? Share your experiences in the comments or in the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group!

J-Weeks: Journey, Joy, and Jokes

Journey Home

Just today CarpeDM completes the Journey!

It’s time for J-Weeks Jabberwocky! Maybe we should start with some Joints, now that I’m back in Colorado. Just Joshing. Joints aren’t my Jam.

J-Weeks began with my Journey Jetting home to Colorado after a Jolly winter in Florida.

I was Juggling a lot of balls and Jumping through hoops, trying to get my car shipped. After two weeks of bad JuJu, I was finally able to schedule a pickup.

Just today, CARPEDM was Jettisoned from the car carrier and is home with me at last. The driver did an excellent Job and I’m in a much more Jovial mood than I was when the Journey began.

Journaling about Joy

Journaling helped Jog my memory about the many Joys of my Colorado life. In particular, the Juniors who live in Colorado.

Mother’s Day Jubilee

My two weeks home have been Jam-packed with Juicy reunions.

I did Jumping Jacks and Jogged to celebrate my J-Weeks Jaunt through my neighborhood. Reminiscent of the Jacarandas of Florida, there are lilacs of Jordy Blue, filling the air with their perfumed scent.

Lilacs Jazz up my Jog with their sweet scent

A bouquet filled with Jacinthe-colored tulips bring me Joy while I drink a cup of Jo in my Jammies.

I asked the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group for examples of Joy. Answers included Jets, Journeys, Jersey, Jasmine, Joie de Vivre, and Jiving to the Jitterbug.

J-Weeks: Jokes

Jokes were another opportunity for the Carpe Diem Community to Join in with Jocularity.

I liked Kelly’s J-Play, both with Jaywalking and Blue Jay:

Judge and Jury would agree that these Jokes would make any Jester Jealous.

All Joking aside, though J-words are limited, Just one small word is all we need to hit the Jackpot: Joy!

Activities Galore at the Superior Community Center

So, I’m back in Superior after my Florida stint, psyched to be home. But guess what? My car’s MIA, stuck in shipping hell. Oh dear. But here’s the silver lining: while I’m carless, I stumble upon a treasure, practically in my own back yard—the Superior Community Center. Turns out, there’s a whole bunch of cool stuff for the over-60 crowd like me that I never knew about. Book clubs, Texas Hold’em games—you name it. It’s like I hit the jackpot!

As I learned during the pandemic, a “Staycation in Superior” is an awesome opportunity to explore my beautiful town!

Activities for all Age Groups

The Superior Community Center is only about 1/2 mile from my house. I love walking there, even when my car is available. Last year, I often walked over for a variety of events – open-mic night, ukulele jam, DJ Bingo, and Thursday night choir practice.

One of the many great things about this intergenerational community choir is that it’s very informal! No auditions necessary! Even though I was gone all winter, I was able to join right in again, as if I’d never left.

Activities for 60+

I decided to check what activities were on the schedule for the over 60 crowd and what a surprise! There’s such a variety and abundance of classes!

Since I’ve been home, I’ve joined the Book Club, the Fountain of Youth drop-in group, and played Texas Hold’em yesterday at the Games group.

The young woman (2nd from the left), Hannah, works at the Superior Community Center and helps facilitate many of the activities. Next to her is Carol, who was teaching Texas Hold’em. I almost didn’t go, thinking I was already a pro, but I learned a few things myself!

Fun Atmosphere

Besides the variety of activities that are being held at the Superior Community Center, it’s just a fun place to hang out.

It’s funny that I’ve been actively looking at moving to a 55+ community so that I’d be able to find new nearby friends, activities, and clubs. A couple of weeks ago, I found that so much was available at the library close to my Bradenton condo. This week, I find there’s an abundance of activities available walking distance from my Superior home.

Feeling inspired to explore what your local community center has to offer? Don’t wait! Check out the activities calendar, gather some friends or fly solo, and dive into the fun. Whether you’re into book clubs, card games, or just looking to meet new people, there’s something for everyone. So, go ahead, discover the hidden treasures of your own neighborhood, and make some unforgettable memories along the way!

Are you finding new opportunities for community? Come join us on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook page and share your experiences!

I-Weeks: Ice Cream, Images, and Internet

I-Weeks: Indulging In Ice Cream

I-Weeks: Ice Cream Indulgence

I’ve been Imagining Ice Cream since the Initial days of I-Weeks! I Indulged Individually. (I’m Independent that way.) But, of course, I also Issued an Invitation to my MLC learner and her Irresistible Infant during our final Informal In-person get-together.

Our Informal Instructions are Improvised and sometimes Inspired by Interacting about Information pertaining to the celebrated letter.

“I Before E” Is Irrelevant Instruction (Image taken from a Facebook post)

In an Inordinate number of Instances, Inglish spelling Is Infuriating. Indeed, I’m Intentionally Inundating this post, even spelling Inglish Incorrectly, just to be Irritating (and to Introduce more I-words).

I-Weeks: Images

In my Inbox, I often receive Interesting Invitations Involving my iPhone. I took an iPhone Photography class and this week, the same photographer was offering an Instagram class. I’ve been Interested in Improving my Influencing skills with better Images, so I signed up!

My photography and Instagram skills are In their Infancy, so I’m Insecure. However, the Idea off capturing Incredible Images of joy, Is, In Itself, an Illusive goal to keep me Inspired.

An Inadvertent I-Weeks discovery was an Innovative park at The Bay in Sarasota called “Ibis Playground.” I’m Inserting an Incredibly Inferior Image as an Indication of the “before Instruction” quality of my Images.

Inferior Image of Ibis Innovation

I’m Intrigued by the Infinite and Illuminating expressions that can be made simply with ones “I”s (eyes). (This time I’ll Insert an Internet Image.)

Internet Image of potato with “I”s (Eyes)

I-Weeks: Internet

It’s my final week of the snowbird season, so I’ve Intentionally avoided the Internet. Instead, I’ve spent Impromptu time, enjoying the Idyllic Iridescent ocean.

The beauty of my surroundings has been Ineffable. In-person Interactions have been Illuminating.

Inevitably, however, the Intelligent Interactions of the Internet are Irresistible. (In particular, the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook group.)

The answers to my request for Individual Introductions Include these Insights:

In Conclusion

I-Weeks remind us to be Intentional about the Infinite choices In life. Invest In Individual Innovative Ideas. Introspect on your Identity. In-joy the Ineffable. And above all, Indulge In Ice Cream!

From Books to Spanish Conversation Class: Rediscovering the Library

Manatee County Central Library in downtown Bradenton, Florida

I have always been a lover of libraries. Yup, I was that nerdy kid that went to the library at recess. Nothing made me happier than books!

Then computers came along, and I loved those even more than books! With the advent of social media, we could literally befriend authors! (If they were alive, that is.)

Thanks to the digital age and the Libby app, I didn’t even have to physically go to the library in order to check out books. I marvel at how, no matter where I am in the world, I can instantly check out eBooks and audiobooks!

With all the convenience of the digital age, I hadn’t really even thought about physically going to the library this winter while I was in Bradenton, Florida. That is, until I found out Spanish Conversation classes were being hosted there!

Spanish Conversation Classes at Manatee County Central Library

Spanish Conversation Class with Ginette

Wow! Did you know that high quality classes were being held at the library for free? I’ve been exploring 55+ communities, wishing for a chance to experience clubs and classes, and here was an opportunity right under my nose!

I love, love, love this Spanish Conversation Class that’s held Tuesday mornings at the Central Library. I’ve been volunteering at the Manatee Literacy Council and the dynamic teacher of this class, Ginett, is one of the advanced learners at MLC! How exciting to see her here helping people learn Spanish!

Ginett makes every Spanish Conversation Class fun. The first class I attended, we broke up into groups and did some role playing, as though we were in a restaurant. Ginett had provided actual food to be served! The class was not only a good opportunity to practice Spanish, but also to get in a little Improv play, and to meet fellow-Spanish-learners.

Classes and Events and Even Things

Spanish Conversation was just one of many free classes that were offered at the library! A very popular Country Line Dancing class is held every Friday in the Auditorium.

You can even borrow things, like cake pans, binoculars, and musical instruments.

Lifetime Access to the Library

Partners in Enlightenment Sculpture
Manatee Sculpture
Book Art!

Besides all the wonderful books, classes, events, and things you can borrow, the library is just a really cool place to be. It’s like a museum, with sculptures and fun art in every corner.

Could all of this really be free, even for snowbirds? I verified that even non-residents could take advantage of many of the library’s services. However, for a $100 donation, I’d have life-time access of all of the library’s services! Perfect!

Throughout my life, as a student, an employee, a mother, a book-lover, I’ve spent time in libraries. Maybe it’s now, post-pandemic, as a retired person, that I’m realizing how valuable it is for me to physically be inside a library. Being around stacks of books brings back that same joy I felt as a kid. It’s my happy place.

Whether you’re yearning for community, a good story, a class, or just a place to sit and reflect for awhile, check out your local library. Like me, you may rediscover your happy place.

Thank you to all those at The Library Foundation of Manatee County and to the Friends of Central Library Manatee County for your valuable services!

H-Weeks: Happiness, Hygge, and Haikus

Hello, Humans. H-Weeks have been a Hoot as we’ve paid Homage to the letter H. (Here’s a History of my 2024 goal.) Let me give you some Highlights from H-Weeks.

Happiness

Manatee Literacy Council‘s Open House! “Bee” Happy!

Happiness is the H-Weeks Headliner.

On the Home Page of CarpeDiemDay.com, you’ll find a wHole lot of other Happy Sites including:

Happiness is such a Habit that I entered the Helsinki Happiness Hacks competition earlier this month. I’m Hoping to Head to Helsinki and learn from Happiness Heroes. However, we can learn from the world’s Happiest country, even from Home.

There are Hundreds of Happiness Hacks: Heart-Healthy Hiking, Helping Hands, Hugs, Hula-Hoops, Honey, Hootenanny Hoedowns, Hearts, Hunks, Horny Hanky panky! Hang on… Hold your Horses. Holy cow and Heavens to Betsy!

This post is Hurriedly going to Hell in a Handbasket! Haha. Are you laughing Hysterically like a Hyena? I admit in all Humility, that my Humor is Hilarious. Or perhaps Humiliating. Hurrying on…

Hygge and Happy Hours

I’ve Had several Happy Hours in the past two weeks, including at the Home of the Hugely Hospitable Hostess, Felicia!

Felicia Has the superpowers of Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home. Her Home Heralded Hygge in every corner and Hallway. The key, I believe, comes from Her Huge Heart.

Happy Hour Hosted for the release of Brain Bitch

I also attended a Happy Hour Hosted by Terri in Honor of Brain Bitch, How I Quiet my Inner Mean Girl. Congratulations to the author, Jenny Greene, and Terri, who Helped throughout the writing process. Highly recommended book.

Haikus

It turns out International Haiku Poetry Day falls during H-Weeks on April 17! (Hooray for Hardly-Heard-of Holidays!)

I Hit up the Carpe Diem Connections Community and they Handed over Halcyon Haikus.

Honestly, the Haikus were Heartwarming. I Hesitate to repost without permission, so I’ll Humbly only offer my own Here:

Happiness Heyday!

Hearing Heartfelt Honesty.

Heidi’s Haikus; Hugs!

Hey now, Hey now, Don’t say it’s over…

I Heart H-Weeks, Naples, FL.

I know we Hate to Hail out H-weeks with all those Happy, Hygge Hearts and Hugs. If it Helps, Imagine the Ice cream that’s coming up In I-Weeks!