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 with Kazi! Out of all the flamingos in the world, what are the chances?

There are many beautiful flamingos and birds at Sarasota Jungle Gardens and many that didn’t come out to greet the park visitors. How lucky for me that Kazi is so sociable and photogenic!

I get a chance to “flamingle” with Kazi and friends. I had them eating out of my hand!

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. 

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The Joy Makeover Spinoffs – Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections

Season 2: The Joy Spinoffs

Summary

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! 

History

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 CarpeDiemDay.com and have experimented with social media and activities related to”seizing the day.”  I also started a Carpe Diem Connections Facebook GroupCarpe 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: yvette.francino@gmail.com,  by using the “message” button from the podcast Website, or by commenting or IM’ing me on Facebook.

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I Started a Podcast – Carpe Diem Connections!

My new podcast on Anchor.FM https://anchor.fm/carpediemconnections

I’ve been wanting to create a new podcast for awhile. Thinking it would take a lot of time, I’d been procrastinating, but I found a platform: anchor.fm, which included a podcast named, “I Should Start a Podcast” and it turned out to be super-simple! Of course, I didn’t do anything fancy. I just kept it short and tested out the process and 30 minutes later, I’m a published podcaster!

I love listening to podcasts, more than reading blogs, because I can listen while I’m walking or exercising. One of my favorite podcasts is Optimal Living Daily about Personal Development and Productivity. Justin Malik narrates other blogs about topics I’m interested in, and in the process I’m introduced to a whole bunch of other like-minded people.

One thing I love about this age of social networking is that we can often meet and get to know the people behind our favorite blogs and podcasts. It’s like a whole new dimension of a library – getting to actually meet the authors and thought-leaders who we admire and getting to know them on a personal level!

On my new podcast, I’m hoping to have weekly interviews with people who are themselves writing or speaking about personal productivity, happiness, and living life fully.

Whether or not my podcast takes off, I will get to meet and learn from people I admire which is really cool!

I already have a long list of people I want to interview, including John Lagomarsino who hosted “I Should Start a Podcast” and Justin Malik of Optimal Living Daily.

When my podcast becomes famous you’ll know that it all began today!

What have you been wanting to do? Maybe today is a good day to get started!

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Create a Walking Scavenger Hunt

If you want to have a “Carpe Diem Mindset,” first you might want to figure out things that bring you happiness and joy. For me, three things I love are walking, sunshine, and playing games – like scavenger hunts!

Now that it’s summer and there’s plenty of sunshine, I’m creating my own “scavenger hunt” by walking the trails in my neighborhood and hunting for things that make me happy… and it turns out there are SO many things I’m finding!

To start this adventure, I found a map of my neighborhood at the Town of Superior’s Website that had all the walking trails marked:

Superior Trail Map
Superior Trail Map

Every day, I’m hitting the trails and taking pictures, looking for things that make me smile.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Purple Flowers!
Painted Rocks with Inspirational Messages
Signs Congratulating Graduating Seniors
“Mutton Mowers” – Goat Grazing to Mitigate Noxious Weed
Beautiful scenery
Kids and Dogs!
A TireSwing!
Lovely Parks!

What things can you find that make you smile?

I’m grateful to the Town of Superior and all the people who make this area such a wonderful place to live.

I also thank Walk2Connect and Walk With a Doc for all their inspirational and motivational encouragement to keep walking!

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So long, Sarasota

My lyrics to the tune of “Shallow” – sung by Brian Thulson

My time here in beautiful Sarasota is nearing an end.

Here are some of the good things I’m grateful for during this unexpected lockdown:

  • My friend, Becky, for sharing her lovely home and life with me
  • My friend, Brian, for singing Shallow (with my rewritten lyrics!)
  • The beautiful weather I’ve enjoyed the whole time I’ve been here
  • The gorgeous beaches, sunsets, trees, birds, moon, water, parks of Sarasota
  • Hosting a virtual dance party
  • Taking part in Seniors with Skills video chats
  • Zoomba!
  • Long phone calls with friends
  • Long walks
  • Making new friends
  • My family
  • Getting my Mom on Zoom!
  • My friends that joined my Carpe Diem GISH Scavenger Hunt Team!
  • Virtual games
  • Virtual dates with my new virtual man friend, Gregg
  • Getting cards and letters in the mail from Jackster, Michael B, Sonja, and Lisa
  • Creating my CarpeDiemDay Website
  • Learning iMovie and all the slideshows I made
  • Getting Gregg’s CD in the mail
  • Learning Spanish (Conversation Exchange with Jhonny, Conversa, Duolingo, Stella, reading with Becky, Pimsleur)
  • Netflix (Binging on Unorthodox, Tiger King, After Life)
  • Online grocery shopping
  • Chocolate
  • Book Club and CD Club with Gregg
  • Reading positive stories about all the people helping others
  • Adopting a flamingo from Sarasota Jungle Garden
  • Snuggly little Jack
  • Arbor Day Tree Slideshow prize of a Blue Spruce
  • Getting interviewed for a podcast
  • Helping Sara Dance get introduced to Zoom
  • Agile coaching with Becky
  • PacoPita, the Parrot

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Team Carpe Diem competes in GISH 2020!

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt 2020

Participating in GISH (the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt) is always fun for me. I love the creativity involved and having fun with teammates scattered around the world.

This year, GISH put on a special 1-day “mini-hunt” and I actually like the 1-day version better than the usual week-long version. Given that we’re all spending more time at home, this was a great reminder that we can bond, have fun, and “Seize the Day” even when we’re not physically together.

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Happy National Superhero Day

Hello to Super Carpe Dee!

This video was made as part of the Online Buddy Program for Seniors with Skills.

Here’s how you can help:


Join the Online Buddy ProgramIsolated Seniors:

Do you know anyone who is facing social isolation who might want to join the Online Buddy Program?  Please have them contact SWS at volunteering@seniorswithskills.org.


Senior Facilities:

Do you know of a senior facility that houses seniors who would benefit from receiving video chats and might want to be part of the Online Buddy Program. Please have them contact SWS at volunteering@seniorswithskills.org.


Volunteer:

Do you want to volunteer to be an Online Buddy?  Fill out this form.


Spread the word

Do you know anyone (news, blog, social media?)  who might be interested in featuring this story to raise awareness of this cause, and encourage more seniors living at home who are facing social isolation to join the Online Buddy Program?

Please share this post with your network

Contact volunteering@seniorswithskills.org for a news story or blog post.


Social Media


Donate
GoFundMe to help provide iPads to senior facilities.

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My 60 until 60 Project

  1. Keep doing strength building exercises do at least one unassisted pull-up. Accomplished Week 2: 1/11/19. 
  2. Hike in beautiful spots Including Crested Butte during wildflower season Accomplished Week 32 
  3. Participate and dress up in at least one fun race like the Bolder Boulder Accomplished Week 22
  4. Research bone-healthy recipes and make dinner to share with other friends who are working on their bone strength Accomplished Week 6: 2/7/19
  5. Learn a choreographed dance Accomplished Week 21: 5/25/19
  6. Try PickleBall Accomplished Week 34
  7. Call 10 friends and relatives who I haven’t seen in a long time to invite them to my 60-week virtual BD party and get a song for my playlist. – Accomplished Week 1: 1/7/19
  8. Take a work mentor to dinner. – Accomplished Week 37
  9. Every week share a “Cool Thing of the Week” via social media and encourage others to do the same. Accomplished Week 12: 3/24/19
  10. Foster strong and deep communication with everyone I meet. Aim to have at least one positive social connection every day and at least one event every week.  Accomplished Week 30
  11. Write a gratitude letter to the police who helped me during a family emergency Accomplished Week 44
  12. Visit my Mom & brother in Sacramento as well as others in Northern CA who are available: Accomplished Week 50 
  13. Visit my sister in Southern CA and go to this super-cool bookstore (among other things). Accomplished Week 3: 1/18/19
  14. Practice a mindset of kindness and gratitude and journal weekly about reflections Accomplished Week 46
  15. Contribute to any cause that a friend asks me to support Accomplished Week 27
  16. Participate in efforts to help those with ALS and their caregivers Accomplished Week 48
  17. Learn digital photography better with the help of a professional photographer (my sister, Michele) Accomplished Week 4: 1/28/19
  18. Learn how to Meditate Accomplished Week 19: 5/11/19
  19. Learn more about poetry and write a poem Accomplished Week 16: 4/21/19
  20. Practice the piano and be able to play some of the pieces I used to play well along with some new pieces Accomplished Week 38
  21. Experiment learning a new instrument – maybe the ukulele Accomplished Week 18
  22. Sing with a group Accomplished 8/8/19 (Blogged about Week 33)
  23. Explore an acting class or group and try to get a part in a play Accomplished 8/8/19 (Blogged about Week 33)
  24. Get better at a foreign language (Spanish, French, and/or Italian) and practice with a friend Accomplished Week 24
  25. Put together a playlist of at least 60 songs by gathering songs from friends Accomplished Week 58
  26. Plan and host my 60th virtual/real birthday party Accomplished Feb.26, 2020
  27. Create slideshows of the celebrations I have throughout my 60-week ‘party’ Accomplished Week 36
  28. Host a theme party (Flamingo, Carpe Diem, Wine-Tasting, Murder Mystery, Games, Purple,etc.) Accomplished Week 25
  29. Go to a foreign country and practice speaking the native language Accomplished Week 54
  30. Research and explore snowbird locations Accomplished Week 15
  31. Go to Disneyworld with the Tidds Accomplished Week 9: 2/28-3/1
  32. Go to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival with Stella and Matt Walk 2019 miles in 2019 Accomplished Week 49
  33. Go to the Meowolf exhibit in Santa Fe with Stella and Matt Accomplished July 6, 2019 (Week 28 Blog Post)
  34. Visit New England in the Fall with Rebecca R. Accomplished Week 41
  35. Do some TBD adventure with Scotty Accomplished Week 5: 1/30/19-2/1/19 Road Trip to CA
  36. Visit Minnesota friends in August Accomplished Week 33 
  37. Do a roadside altar road trip with Rebecca M. Accomplished Week 39
  38. See all the movies that are up for Best Picture Accomplished Week 8
  39. Dress up and go to a musical at the theater Accomplished Week 29 and Week 31
  40. Read a book that’s on the best seller list Accomplished Week 45
  41. Binge watch a Netflix series with someone Accomplished Week 23
  42. Clean my basement window-wells Accomplished Week 17
  43. Try marble contact paper on an old table Accomplished Week 40
  44. Clean and organize the ‘craft area’ of my basement Create a Girl Cave
  45. Sell, give-away, throwaway and organize what’s left of my games, puzzles, and toys Accomplished Week 29
  46. Sell, give-away, throwaway and organize what’s left of my books Accomplished Week 14
  47. Clean out my wardrobe and get rid of old clothes that I never wear Accomplished Week 10
  48. Put DIY flooring or carpets in basement Accomplished (sort of) Week 47
  49. Put DIY walls in basement that will allow me to hang pictures, etc. Accomplished Week 52
  50. Refurbish window sills and baseboards that are old and chipped Accomplished Week 20
  51. Label and repair my breaker box Accomplished Week 29
  52. Get rid of or repair floor lamps Accomplished Week 29
  53. Hang pretty lights in basement and bedroom Accomplished Week 43
  54. Fix up den as a potential airBnB room for rent Accomplished Week 11
  55. Buy something at a Thrift store and fix it up Accomplished Week 51
  56. Create a course about using Agile in everyday life
  57. Sign up on sites to get freelance Agile coaching / training gigs: Accomplished Week 2: 1/13/19
  58. Update Website with my coaching / training / writing accomplishments Accomplished Week 42
  59. Create outline for book about Agile in everyday life Accomplished Week 26
  60. Continue to write freelance articles Accomplished Week 13
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