Microadventure #93: Rebecca’s Wedding

Cutting the Wedding Cake

Weddings are my favorite type of celebration! Even better, when the bride is one of my best friends.

I met Rebecca at least 20 years ago at Toastmasters when we were both married. We went through our divorces at about the same time and were newly single women, navigating our way through the dating world in our 40’s.

Rebecca met Mitchell in about 2007 – 15 years ago! Mitchell was in his 50’s and had never been married! (This is often a “red flag” in the world of dating.) In fact, Rebecca had often told me that they’d “never get married.”

However, over the years, they were progressively more of a serious couple – living together for the last several years. But still, it was a surprise to me when Rebecca told me earlier this year that they’d decided to get married after all!

At the reception, her daughters remembered the night they were told about the engagement. When they asked Mitchell “Why now?” he replied, “After 15 years, it’s about time!”

The ceremony was gorgeous in their backyard on a beautiful day. Rebecca was escorted by her daughters, all three of them looking stunning in their flowered gowns. Mitchell was escorted by his two sisters and also looked happy. At age 70, his first marriage!

Though I’m very happily single, I couldn’t help but feel a bit inspired at the thought of marriage at this stage of life. We are wiser and have retirement days to look forward to. Both Rebecca and Mitchell are very healthy and active and now have the security of knowing they will be with each other always.

I know I’ve often heard the argument (and even thought it myself) that marriage is “just a piece of paper.” It doesn’t change how you feel about one another.

But I talked to Rebecca recently and she said she feels different since the wedding. Marriage does make a difference. The life-long commitment, the sacred vows we take in front of friends and family, that pledge of love — it makes a difference!

Maybe it’s time to get back on! Or not. As I discovered at my 50th birthday party, no need to get married to celebrate love!

Microadventure #92: Soap Making Class

Soap Making Class courtesy of BVSD Lifelong Learning and

Soap Making Class courtesy of BVSD Lifelong Learning and

One of the best things about this stage of life is that classes are pure fun with no pressure, tests, or stress!

I especially enjoy the adult education classes that we can attend in person now that Covid is no longer a threat, so when I saw a 3-hour soap-making class offered by BVSD Lifelong Learning, I jumped on it!

The soaps are so beautiful and, even though I’ve never considered myself naturally artistic, I’ve been embracing a “growth mindset,” realizing that it’s good for our brains to learn new skills! The lower our skill level, the bigger opportunity for improvement, right?

Actually, after taking the class, I realize the skills required have more to do with chemistry, perhaps, than art. Actually, it was much like cooking – starting with a recipe that could be adjusted based on many factors.

Lisa from demonstrates blending of oils

Our instructor, Lisa, owner of, stepped us through the creation of a three-oil Peppermint Ice soap.

The ingredients needed to be measured to the gram and mixed when they were the right temperatures. A peppermint scent was added to give the soap its distinctive fragrance.

Lye is used for the cold-process soap we were making, and because it can be dangerous to work with, we were wearing long sleeves, pants, goggles, masks, gloves, and closed-toes shoes!

Lisa said when she asks her students if they’re going to make their own soap after class, and they often say.. well.. no.. They’re scared of the lye.

I have to admit, I’m in the, “I’m not gonna lye” camp myself.

Lisa reassured us that as long as you cover up and are careful, it’s not that worrisome. My reluctance is also due to my realization that investing in a new soap-making hobby is a bad idea right now when I’m trying to downsize. The fear of lye just helped make that decision a little easier for me.

Pouring the mixture into the mold

We took turns with the various stages of measuring, mixing, and pouring. I especially enjoyed the final stages where we added the tints that would create the designs. The blues were brilliant and the gold sparkled as though there were actual flecks of real gold in this royal-looking soap!

Soap in the mold with the tints swirled in a top design.

Soap needs time to cure, so we didn’t get to take home the actual soap that we made that night. However, we did each get to take home a bar made from the same recipe.

A bar of Peppermint Ice Soap

Lisa offered kits with pre-measured ingredients for those who wanted to try it themselves at home.

Pre-measured kits and recipes from

Even though I decided not to make my own at home, I’m so glad I got to experience and learn about this unique and beautiful art!

Microadventure #91: Into the Woods at Arvada Center for the Arts with Reneya

Reneya and me at “Into the Woods” performance at Arvada Center for he Arts

One shared passion I have with my granddaughter, Reneya, is a love of Musical Theater. I’m so excited that she not only loves being in the audience, but she’s a very talented performer! I can’t wait to see her future performances!

In the mean time, it’s fun to be able to share being in the audience at a professional theater production! For her 11th birthday last month, I gave her tickets to see “Into the Woods” at the Arvada center for the Arts.

I got two tickets for the very front row. Front row seats are not desirable in a movie theater, so I was a little nervous about whether or not it would be hard for us to see being so close up. As it turned out, it was amazing to be so close up that at times, it almost seemed that the actors were talking right to us!

“She’s really crying!” Reneya whispered to me, when we could literally see the tears in Cinderella’s eyes. “She’s a really good actress!” As a budding actress, herself, Reneya notices these things.

Reneya in front of the “Into the Woods” stage.

I loved being close enough to take in all the intricate details of the stage setting and the glimmering costumes. We love the special effects and the creativity that’s involved in getting just the right props, costumes, lighting, and music to set the scenes of the story.

Usually, when I’m going to a professional production at a big theater, I’m so far in the back, I can hardly see anything without binoculars. What a treat to be up front!

“Into the Woods” was also the perfect musical for us because both Reneya and I really like stories that use classic fairy tale characters as back story. She introduced me to the Descendants movies and The Land of Stories book series.

<Spoiler Alert> If you haven’t seen “Into the Woods” and don’t want any spoilers, skip to the <End Spoiler Alert>

Neither of us had seen “Into the Woods” and when the first act ended, all the conflicts were wrapped up so neatly that we both thought the play was over! However, the second act surprised us with it’s unpredictable plot lines! It was a definite deviation from traditional fairy tale, giving it some unexpected depth (and unexpected death.)

Though darker than Disney, we’re reminded that anything can happen in story.. villains might be heroes, what we assume is good, might be bad. And even though it’s not Disney, the dead can come back to life and take part in the happy ending finale, so still appropriate for children. I’d give it a PG rating or maybe even PG13 – not because it’s inappropriate for children, but because of the mature ideas and thinking the second act requires.

The lyrics, by Stephen Sondheim, were incredible in their complexity and substance! As musicals often are, most of the script was in song, but many of these songs had thought-provoking lyrics.

An example is from the second act, Your Fault / The Last Midnight, where the characters are blaming one another for their current predicament, and the Evil Witch reminds them that good or bad, action must be taken.

<End Spoiler Alert>

Coincidentally, the Musical Theater group that I performed with last summer is having a Stephen Sondheim performance this coming up Sunday, so it’s great that I was exposed to more of his music. My good friend, Becky, suggested reading the Sondheim Wikipedia page, and I see his musical genius is more than I’d realized! There are a lot of musicals I’ll be putting on my list to watch!

Microadventure #90: Camping at RMNP with JJ

Cub Lake – Rock Mountain National Park

Senior Lifetime National Park Pass!

One of the things I’ve had on my list to do since turning 62 has been to get a Lifetime National Park Pass! Yes, one of the benefits of getting older is taking advantage of senior discounts, and when you turn 62, you’re eligible to get this lifetime pass for free entrance to any US National Park!

I also bought one of those passport books, so I could keep track of all my National Park visits. Too bad I don’t have stamps for all the parks I’ve already visited. I don’t mind starting over again and revisiting those I’ve seen before, though, starting with the park I’ve been to most often: Rocky Mountain National Park.

My first passport stamp and the Visitor’s Center at Rocky Mountain National Park

Even though I’ve been to RMNP several times before, I’ve never gone camping there… until this week! In fact, I hadn’t been camping since my divorce, almost 20 years ago!

I was very excited that my long-time friend, JJ, had offered to go with me and provide all the camping gear for this microadventure. I, of course, brought my very inefficiently-packed “stuff” so we had a carload to unpack and then pack up again. We were prepared!

Lots of gear for our one night of camping!

We even had two big coolers full of food for one dinner and one breakfast. Boy, did we feast!

Camping Feast!

We’d timed our visit with the Harvest Full Moon — a couple days short, but close enough to look beautiful and light up the sky.

Harvest Full Moon

As often happens in Colorado, we went from unseasonably hot to unseasonably cold overnight. We were prepared for it all! (Packing all that stuff paid off!)

It rained throughout the night and we heard the high-pitched cries of the elk, but we were cozy, bundled up in sleeping bags and blankets.

We were able to get in a good 5-mile out-and-back hike to Cub Lake, despite the cool, damp weather.

Cub Lake Hike

The misty weather gave a kind of ethereal effect to our surroundings, as though we were in another world. It was surprising that there were so few people around.

We saw both the last signs of the summer wildflowers and the beginnings of the fall colors. Even though we’d had a big rainfall overnight, we didn’t have any mud or bad weather on our hike.

Cub Lake filled with lily pads

When we got to the lake, it was filled with lily pads and quite beautiful!

A hollow log filled with pine cones

I’m always amazed at how gorgeous nature is.. I know hard-working humans help with creating the paths and laying the groundwork for the trails, too. We were noticing the work it must have taken people to line the trails with boulders.

It was the perfect hike – just the right length, with a variety of scenery and picture-worthy stops.

In a short 24 hours we were able to experience all the wonderfulness of camping at Rocky Mountain National Park!

Microadventure #89: Santa School Graduation with Michael Bolé

“You’re gonna love it! It’s right up your alley! And I can guarantee, you’ve never done this before.”

Those were my only clues from my friend, Michael Bolé, about our surprise Microadventure event that we enjoyed last night.

My Mystery Microadventure started with dinner, courtesy of the generous Michael Bolé

Michael had told me that a friend of his from Ohio would be in from out of town and that he would treat me to dinner first at a Panera that was close to the event in NorthGlenn.

The mystery Microadventure was already a favorite, just by virtue of the fact that it was a surprise! I love surprises!

So it should be no surprise that I also love the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus!

When we got to the hotel and saw Santas roaming around, the mystery was revealed! We were going to see the Santa School Class of 2022 Graduation Ceremony! Michael’s friend, Kevin, was one of the new Santa Graduates!

New Santa Kevin O’Brien with Santa School Founder, Susen Mesco

This was no typical Graduation ceremony. The Santas and several Mrs. Claus’s proudly entered the auditorium to the tune of “Here Comes Santa Claus” ringing their bells, and laughing with their hearty Ho Ho Ho’s.

These Santas had real beards and gorgeous velvet suits. They were authentic! They each looked like they stepped right out of a greeting card.

The ceremony was fun and entertaining! The Santas recited “The Night Before Christmas,” we sang “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

We also learned a North Pole Dance, the “Ho Ho, Pokey.” Two notes:

  1. This was Michael’s first experience with “Pole” Dancing.
  2. Our friend, Adam, thought this event would be too “Hokey” for his tastes. The “Ho Ho” is on him, because the Hokey was completely removed.

Michael told me about the movie, Becoming Santa, a documentary which features someone who went to this Denver Santa school. It’s available on Prime Video, so after I got home last night, I watched the movie. I learned so much more about the history of Santa Claus and what it takes to be a Santa Claus.

I remembered a time when my kids were young and we ran across a Santa on our summer vacation wearing shorts. He was very recognizable, though, with his belly and beard. We were all enamored and he even had candy canes on him for the kids. He must have been a graduate from a Santa School, and had become a year-round “real” Santa.

I want to go to Santa School!

I felt a little jealous, wishing I could become a Santa. I know there were Mrs. Claus’s at the graduation, and I considered going to the school to learn about being Mrs. Claus, but let’s face it… whoever heard of a single Mrs. Claus? Santa’s really the main event. That’s OK. I can still get a pretty Mrs. Claus costume.

Michael and new Santa Kevin

What a unique and very fun Microadventure! Thanks to Michael and Congratulation to new Santa Kevin! May he bring Christmas magic to us all for many years to come!

Microadventure #88: Reunion with HH Gang at The Keg in Lakewood

Kay, Deborah, Ravi, and me at the Keg in Lakewood, CO – Sept.2, 2022
The 5th Member of our HH Gang, Keith – via FaceTime from Folsom, CA

Twenty or so years ago, when we were all working at Sun Microsystems, I’d get a common email on Friday afternoon that would say something like: “HH at Village Tavern this week?”

“HH” stood for “Happy Hour” and our little group of 5, Kay, Keith, Deborah, Ravi, and I, would enjoy an end-of-week respite at a local area bar.

These Happy Hours were filled with a lot of laughter and (maybe a little too much) drinking. I always looked forward to this weekly Friday ritual. We even had a big adventure trip to Las Vegas, in 2002. (I’d say more here, but What Happened in Vegas, Stayed in Vegas!)

We were an unlikely and diverse group of friends.. almost 30 years difference between the youngest (Ravi) and the oldest (Kay). Keith stood at least a foot taller than the rest of us. They were all coders and I was a manager. (Luckily, they didn’t hold that against me.)

Ravi, who had immigrated from India, was.. and still is… one of my favorite people in the whole world. We all went to see his baby girl the day she was born and now she’s a beautiful young adult. I think Kay (and her husband, Walt) taught Ravi to ski and we all got together for skiing, golf, hockey (Keith and Ravi played) or skating.

Keith, the only single one amongst us back then, would entertain us with his single-life dating stories. I remember Ravi once said something about Keith not wanting to date anyone with too much ‘luggage’! (Yeah, those language gaffes were the best! Ravi still is so funny and innocently cracks us all up!)

Kay was a sky-diver and adventurer. Deborah was super-classy and sassy! Keith was a confident jokester. And Ravi was naive and lovable.

Over time, Keith got married to Yolanda, and I got divorced. There were moves and job changes, family responsibilities. Happy hours became few and far between.

2010 – At my 50th birthday party in 2010 – Deborah, Keith, Yolanda, Ravi, me, and Kay

Though our regular Happy Hours stopped many years ago, we occasionally kept in touch. The last time we were all together may have been in 2010 at my 50th birthday party.

Keith and Yolanda moved to Arizona and then to Folsom, California. Deborah had a baby and moved to Highlands Ranch so Happy Hour wasn’t much of an option for her anymore either.

I tried to get together with Ravi at least once a year for his birthday in August. This year, I suggested we try to get the HH Gang back together and have a FaceTime call to Keith.

Our reunion was so wonderful. Even though the call with Keith was short, he said he’d be in Colorado later this year, and we could maybe get us all together in person.

Kay, Deborah, Ravi, and I reminisced, laughed, and shared stories of the many years that had passed and the changes that we’d all been through.

Deborah still had her half of the $5 bill we split at the end of our Vegas trip

At the end of our 2002 Vegas Trip, Deborah and I split a $5 bill with the thought that one day we’d all go back to Vegas, tape together the two halves, and gamble our lucky $5 (Was the plan Black Jack or Roulette? I can’t remember.)

Well, Deborah is more organized than I am and had her half of the $5. Not me. I can’t even find the CD I’d put together or a single picture from our Vegas trip! (This has me quite upset, but I’ll resist ranting about it on this blog post.)

I have to admit, our reunion brought up a lot of nostalgic feelings for me. This little group of friends was with me to help me through a very difficult time of my life – the year I was going through my divorce. They each are so unique and different from one another, but together, we were the “HH Gang”.. a group of friends that I will forever hold dear in my heart.

My Quest to find Yvettes! Join the Yvette Club!

I admit I’m a nerd.. a dork.. a geek. I love theme parties and scavenger hunts and doing quirky things. Example: I’ve created an Yvette Club.

This isn’t really a unique idea. I’ve read about other clubs where everyone has their own name. I always thought it would be fun to have Yvette Yvents!

The word “event” has been one of the mnemonics I give people to remember and know how to pronounce my name: “It’s just like “Event” without the ‘n’ sound,” I tell them. (Unfortunately, Yvette is a name which most people have trouble with spelling and pronouncing because of that troublesome Y-starter.)

Despite the name being relatively uncommon, there was a Pinterest group for Yvette’s from which I took this screenshot:

There are plenty more “Yvette” graphics where that came from. I love that we have apps these days that let us customize our names into beautiful art or logos.

Whenever I go into a souvenir shop and look at all those named-keychains, I never find the name “Yvette.” However, recently the name did appear on my favorite eCard app, Blue Mountain, an app that lets you customize your eCards with personal names and more. (I’m really amazed at the technology where celebrities really look like they’re singing/saying the specified names!)

(I’m still trying to figure out how I can embed the video on this blog, but I just love this eCard!)

So.. I created the Facebook group and now, I thought, with my vast social media presence, it should be easy to invite a bunch of Yvettes from around the world to join!

Combining with a different goal I have to visit each state, I decided to see if I could find and personally get to know an Yvette from each state.

I started with Alabama and was very happy to find that when I googled “Yvette Alabama” there were plenty of options! Similarly, I went to LinkedIn and found all kinds of Alabama-based Yvettes! It turns out Yvette is a more popular name than even I imagined! Easy peasy! My new club would be populated in no time!

I promptly sent invitations to about 10 Alabama Yvette’s excited that my new club would soon have members who could tell me all about the best places to visit in Alabama… of course, I assumed I would become good friends with each Yvette… we share the same somewhat unusual name, after all.

I kept checking for a return emails or new members in the group. Finally, today, I got one! It was basically a “Thanks, but I’m not interested” email. Oh dear. I guess not all Yvettes are quirky dorks that get excited about a same-name club.

Maybe the problem is that with the advent of social media and Meetups there are an overabundance of groups and so the idea of a same-name group has become passé.

I’m not giving up yet, though! Scavenger hunts are a challenge and I’ve just started! I know I have future Yvette friends out there. We just haven’t met yet!

Boulder: My Happy Place

Boulder is my Happy Place

How fun for me that Downtown Boulder has been celebrating Happiness Happens Month all of August, 2022!

This is so cool for me for many reasons:

  1. Boulder really IS my Happy Place! I love so many things about it! (In fact, it will be hard to limit the length of this blog post. I might have to write an eBook about why Boulder is such a wonderful place.)
  2. I personally know Pamela Gail Johnson, the Founder of Happiness Happens Month. (I’m even quoted in her new book, Practical Happiness!) Pamela has been a great inspiration and mentor for me in my promotion of National Carpe Diem Day!
  3. I’ve lived on the outskirts of Boulder for 22 years but I’m always discovering more. Now that I’m retired, I’ve wanted to learn more about its history and really explore all it has to offer. I also love scavenger hunts and games. The Happiness Happens events gave me the perfect opportunity and appreciate Boulder on a deeper level!

Getting Prepared

I started the month with a trip to one of the Boulder Visitor’s Centers to pick up a lot of great information about Hiking Trails, Pearl Street, History, and Walking Tours.

I also subscribed to the bi-weekly Downtown Boulder newsletter, which is always filled with fun events going on. For example, the email I got this morning told me about these upcoming September, 2022 events:

So much to do in Boulder!!

Here are some of the things I love best about Boulder:

The Hiking

Chautauqua Park – One of my favorite places to hike in Boulder

I do a lot of Boulder hiking! What a great way to get exercise, experience nature, sunshine, and beauty – all things that increase our happiness!

Pearl Street

There are so many wonderful restaurants and stores on the Pearl Street Mall! I once wanted to try and experience every one of them and then I learned there were over 1000 businesses! I love the many unique and local businesses. But one of the things that makes me really happy are all the flowers that line Pearl Street!

The Events

The Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival welcomes Spring to Boulder
Artisans show there wares at Boulder Art shows
More Art at First Fridays in North Boulder
The annual Bolder Boulder 10K race has been a special tradition for me since moving to Boulder in 1999.
The Boulder Band Shell offers up bands and dancing at Memorial Weekend and Labor Day Weekend Festivals, and is a community gathering spot for many events.
Band on the Bricks – Weekly summer outdoor concerts
The Boulder International Film Festival
Mapleton Hill PorchFest

Other Iconic Boulder spots

The Dushanbe Teahouse
Boulder Creek
CU Football games at Folsom Field
The Boulder Library.
Dancing on the patio at St. Julien Hotel and Spa
Dancing at The Avalon Ballroom
Another shot of the Boulder Library!

This is just a sampling of the beauty of Boulder. I didn’t even include pictures of the University, the playhouses, the music venues, the 29th Street Mall, NCAR, the Breweries (I don’t drink beer, but I hear the Breweries are awesome!) I could go on and on.

I think we so often take for granted the beauty in our own back yards. This Happiness Happens month in Boulder has reminded me of how lucky I am to live in one of the most beautiful, cultural, and friendly places in the country.

Microadventure #87: 1964 the Tribute Concert at Red Rocks with JJ

Arguably, the best outdoor amphitheater in the nation is only about 40 minutes from my house: Awe-inspiring Red Rocks.

The scenery and atmosphere while listening to a concert at this stunning venue is definitely an unforgettable experience. Now that I’m thinking of moving, I’ve been making an extra effort to get out to my favorite local-area places. And then I think.. “How can I possibly move? It’s too beautiful here.”

The Beatles actually performed here at Red Rocks in 1964. Obviously, the “real” Beatles are no longer performing, but 1964 the Tribute, traditionally does a great job of giving us the whole Beatles experience, here at Red Rocks in August.

I saw them first in 2008 and remember texting a friend:

“Guess what? I’m listening to the Beatles at Red Rocks!”

to which he replied:

“And I’m listening to the Rolling Stones at Fiddler’s Green.”

1964 the Tribute at Red Rocks

The other night was the 3rd time I’ve seen 1964 the Tribute perform at Red Rocks. I know most of the songs, of course, and they encourage the audience to sing along.

The acoustics are amazing at Red Rocks. Even though we were sitting way back in the “General Admission” section, we could hear everything and see on the big projected screens.

I love how much the band members stay in character, dressing, acting, and impersonating the original Beatles, even with their banter. I never saw the actual Beatles live, but these guys sounded exactly like any recordings I’ve ever heard.

If you haven’t been to Red Rocks yet, I recommend adding it to your Bucket List. And if you’re a Beatles fan, get out and Twist and Shout at a 1964 the Tribute concert!

Microadventure #86: Tales From the Great Northern Island with Minnesota Friends

I just returned from one of my favorite traditional vacations – my reunion with Minnesota friends for an annual island retreat.

I met the host of this annual island adventure, Chris, during my stint as a contractor at Optum in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, in the summer of 2016. Since that summer (minus 2020) I’ve gotten to participate in this much-anticipated event.

The island retreat always includes playfulness! For the last few years, we’ve been coming up with a “theme” and this year we chose a Pirate theme. Our host (“Captain Chris!”) has an August birthday so we had a treasure hidden for him this year.

Brenda (always full of fun ideas) brought T-shirts and stencils along for us to create our personalized pirate attire for our photo shoot.

Nancy brought wine made from her own vineyard!

Food is always a highlight of the trip – each meal prepared with love! Both delicious and beautiful!

Can’t get much better than this!

Friends, food, and plenty of fun!

Brooke, the wonder dog, watching out for neighboring pirates!

Here are some videos and blog posts from previous island trips:

August 2021 on Antler Island
In 2020, since we had to skip, I made a video with footage from all our previous years.

2019: This was Week 33 of my 60 until 60 Project – The 60 week countdown to my 60th birthday: Week 33: Minnesota Island Adventure

2016: My first year on the Island – This group participated with me in the “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen”: GISHWHES on The Great Northern Island

2016: How I met this group, thanks to Scott: Making Friends