October Learning: Hacking Exercise in Retirement

My 2023 Year of Learning continued this month with a deeper dive on ways to hack exercise in retirement. Exercise is critical for our mental and physical health, but finding the time and discipline to do it daily can be a challenge.

As a matter of fact, this month I’ve found it a challenge to do my daily exercise routines regularly, despite being retired! I’m still laying in my bed with my laptop at 10:30am!

One of my self-imposed “rules” is that I have to do a minute of push-ups as soon as I get up, so I get those out of the way first thing! However, with no commitments on this first snowy day of the season, I’m delaying those pushups for as long as I can. And to further justify my lazy morning, I have another “rule” – to write at least one blog post a month about a focused learning project.

Writing this blog post about exercise has reminded me of its importance. It’s great that I’ve gotten into the habit of daily exercise. However, I’ve also learned that it’s OK to miss a day, here and there. In fact, I also have a rule to have at least one day (usually Sunday) to not worry about all my self-imposed rules.

Hacking Exercise for Health – Coursera Class

In the spirit of “focused learning,” I took a Coursera class: “Hacking Exercise For Health. The surprising new science of fitness“.

This was a motivating class! The short videos and assignments described different exercise hacks – ways we could most efficiently make exercise fun and easy.

Most of the class was a review for me; however, the importance of maintaining fitness and building strength are especially important as we age.

The class talked about techniques such as HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training, explaining the science behind building strength and endurance. I was surprised that strength-training can be really effective with resistance bands and by exercising using our own body-weight. Dumbbells and weight machines are not required!

If we are using weights, one of my takeaways was that the first set of reps in weight-building is the most effective. Even if we are just doing strength exercises for 5 minutes we get benefit from it.

Since I travel so often, I wanted to find a way to keep up my fitness and strength regardless of where I was. The class helped me feel much less worried about losing strength if I couldn’t get to a gym.

Strength-Building Hacks

My daily push-ups prepared me well for the challenge at the Bolder Boulder

One of the easiest strength-building hacks is just to use your own body-weight and execute exercises like push-ups, planks, lunges, and squats.

When I first started doing a 5-minute strength-building routine, I couldn’t even do one push up! But every day I tried to do one more than the day before and within a month I was able to do 20. Now I do a minute’s worth of push-ups every most mornings. I usually go at a pace of one per second, so get in 60 pushups!

I then go on to do the 5-minute plank routine that’s available on Alexa.

I sometimes add a YouTube strength routine or resistance bands.

I tried The Exercise Coach which uses “exerbotics” and two 20-minute workouts a week. Though this was a cool new way to get in strength-training, it was expensive and required me to go to a gym with the specialized machines.

Now I know that I can get in the benefits of strength-training with resistance bands and exercises I can do these anywhere. Twenty minutes, twice a week is all it takes!

Hacking Exercise by Doing What You Love

One of the best hacks for fitness is participating in sports you love.

Sports I love? My younger self would say, “I’m terrible at all sports!” PE was my worst subject. I hated it and was that kid that always got picked last for team sports.

However, as an adult, I discovered I wasn’t nearly as terrible an athlete as I’d believed. I started running at 39 and loved the races. The annual Bolder Boulder became a big tradition in our family.

Dancing, hiking, and walking are all social and other activities I love. These activities are all great for building bone density on top of keeping me fit!

I’ve written a lot about the benefits of hiking and walking and my obsession with walking at least 10,000 steps every day.

Even though I’ve given up running because of back problems, I LOVE so much about walking or hiking regularly. It’s probably been one of the best things I’ve done for my mental health. I’m usually either listening to a podcast, audiobook, or music or talking to a friend. The combination of exercise, getting outside, and socialization, are all perfect remedies for managing the stresses in my life.

And my bone density has improved! I no longer have to worry so much about a vertebra fracture, so can even do an occasional fun run! I had so much fun run/walking with my granddaughter at yesterday’s Trick-or-Trot. She doesn’t like running, but I taught her about my walk/run strategy (basically to pass the wimpy walkers in front of us.) She ended up getting 2nd place for her age group and I was 3rd place for mine!

Arvada Trick-or-Trot – I’m “Weird Barbie” and ran/walked with my granddaughter, Reneya


Getting into the habit of daily exercise has been one of the best things I could have done, not just for my fitness, but for my mental health.

It can be tough to find the motivation, but with exercise hacks you can find ways to make fitness fun. It doesn’t require a gym to build strength and fitness. Even doing a little will improve your health and your mood. As they say at Nike, “Just Do It!”

September Learning: Improving Improv in Retirement

If there’s ever a time to take ourselves less seriously and enjoy life, it’s retirement!

Like many of my monthly learning goals, Improv is a skill that I tried before and liked it well enough to think: I’d like to IMPROVe!

Since I had a bandaid on my nose, it seemed the perfect time to expose my “nerdy” silly side.

Improving Improv with Play Your Way Sane

I’d read that Improv skills were very much like the skills encouraged in the Agile community… skills to help with teamwork, communication, collaboration, and dealing with uncertainty.

I ordered the book, “Play Your Way Sane: 120 Improv-Inspired Exercises to Help You Calm Down, Stop Spiraling and Embrace Uncertainty” last December and had been waiting for the opportunity to really dive in. Each exercise was a little activity aimed to help become more spontaneous, silly, grateful, positive, and funny!

The exercises were easy and adaptable and absolutely things that didn’t require a group, but rather, exercises that would help us individually become better, healthier, human beings.

The book is split into 12 “lessons”, each with 10 “games.” The “games” are the “exercises” or “activities.” As a big game player myself, I particularly liked Lesson 3: Finding the Game. These exercises were all about finding ways to play games in every-day life. I’m quite an expert in this and have always gamified chores or different aspects of my life.

For the most part, the lessons reminded me of the importance of finding the humor in life. My natural personality is pretty “Type A” driven by lists and plans. Improv is all about spontaneity and thinking fast, but with a chill, laid-back kind of attitude.

Improving Improv at a Broomshticks Meetup

Broomshticks Imrpov Meetup is a Fun Way to Play Improv Games

Even though I’m quite an expert in doing exercises similar to those described in Play Your Way Sane, I’m nowhere close to being willing or ready to entertain an audience!

Luckily, Broomschticks Improv is a safe and easy way to simply play improv games without the pressure of performing for an audience.

This Broomfield Meetup group meets monthly and even newbies like me feel welcomed. Once again, improv really is all about just having fun and playing games!

I wish I could be as quick-witted as the experienced players. I think it’s amazing how they can so quickly snap into different personalities and accents.

Improving Improv by Playing with Friends and Family

Celebrating Fall Hat Month with my GGG Women’s Group

In the spirit of Improv Games, I always enjoy costumes, photo-booth props, and celebrating unique holidays, like Fall Hat Month. I have a closet full of dress-up clothes and accessories and love any opportunity to celebrate.

It’s also been an awesome month to play games since my son Scotty has been visiting for the past two weeks as he’s recovering from knee surgery. Game-playing is his specialty!

When my grandkids were visiting for the weekend, Scotty taught us all to play The Fishbowl Game which is a perfect example of a good improv game. Players act out different characters while their partners guess who they’re supposed to be.

Reneya playing The Fishbowl Game

For the final day of September, creative costumes paid off! Megan, Scotty, and I won a Best Dressed Team Award for the Beauty and the Beast CluedUpp Game! I’d invited my family to join me for this event months ago. They’re all pretty busy, so I was excited that Megan and Scotty were able to play with me!

Megan arrived at my house this morning in a perfect Belle costume. Scotty and I hadn’t really put much effort into our costumes. I was the French Maid Feather Duster and he was the Beast using my gorilla costume and a cutout mask. However, Megan helped us add a few accessories and we looked great!

Team Carpe Tiem wins Best Dressed in the Beauty and the Beast CluedUpp Game

Scotty really was a Beast and did the entire event on crutches! It was fun to win the Best Dressed award with our “improvised” costumes. (It really helped that hardly any other teams dressed up!)


Initially, I believed that “improv” was only for those talented people like Wayne Brady who can whip out clever lyrics and witty punchlines instantly. Improv comedy on stage is something I greatly admire but there’s no way I wanted to perform on stage.

However, after this month of focused IMPROVement, I’ve discovered that improv skills have countless everyday applications that can make our lives more fun. These skills are all about adopting a mindset that finds humor in life, and I absolutely love that!

July Learning: Trying Psilocybin in Retirement

Women’s Wellness Retreat

Psilocybin can be good for your brain!

When I started my “Year of Learning” project, I didn’t expect “psilocybin” to be on my list of something to try or even learn about!

Unlike many of my peers, I never tried “magic mushrooms” (or even pot!) in my youth. I’ve always been sort of a nerdy rule-following health nut, and was never even tempted by any kind of drugs. I remembered the “This is Your Brain on Drugs” commercial and the last thing I wanted was to fry my brain.

But for the past couple of years I’ve been really interested in Brain Health, and was amazed to learn that psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”) has been proven, with proper usage, to actually be good for your brain!

Since talking to Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield on my podcast, I’ve known that building neuroplasticity in our brains is a key to preventing Alzheimer’s.

Learning that psilocybin actually builds that neuroplasticity… improving our brain health, rather than destroying it, was an incredible discovery!

Besides wanting to build neuroplasticity to prevent Alzheimers, I’ve learned that building these pathways in our brains helps us gain clarity and cognitive skills, helping us find new ways to solve problems.

How does one try psilocybin?

Despite the discoveries of the benefits of psilocybin, there is still a lot of stigma and legalities associated with its use. I live in Colorado where possession and use are decriminalized.

However, I don’t take any mind-altering substance lightly. Taking psilocybin does come with risks. I wanted to be fully informed, safe, and legal.

I got my opportunity when I found out through Facebook that one of my trusted friends, a therapist, was co-hosting a women’s wellness retreat in Manitou Springs, which included a guided plant-based medicine “journey.”

The Psilocybin Journey

The Psilocybin Journey was the original reason I signed up for this retreat. I had wanted to try psilocybin in a safe and controlled environment and, without me even seeking it out, the opportunity presented itself.

The “journey” itself, for me, was like conscious dreaming. We were in a comfortable bed with eyeshades and headphones, listening to curated music, designed to evoke different emotions and heighten the experience. For me, it did evoke a variety of emotions including grief as well as gratitude and contentment. At the same time, with eyes closed, there were the psychedelic images, shapes, and colors that seemed to flow with the music and my thoughts.

I especially appreciated the “integration session” in which the group shared their experiences with their journeys. It was wonderful to have the guidance of Heather and Monica who reassured us all of the magic of the mushroom. The “download” and neuroplasticity will continue in the coming weeks, helping us gain clarity in areas that we may have previously felt stuck.

They are passionate about removing the previous stigma associated with mushrooms and instead honoring it as plant-based medicine, designed to heal.

I’m excited to think that this acceptance and appropriate use will become more available for people over time, helping people to overcome depression and PTSD.

Sharing the experience with Megan

Megan joins me on the Manitou Springs Moon Magic Journey

It’s funny how this memorable weekend materialized. I’m quite logical so don’t talk too much about ‘manifestations’ or anything too ‘woo woo.’ However, I do believe in being intentional about living our dreams.

One of my primary intentions is to spend time with the people I love.. to share new and memorable experiences and adventures with them. I don’t often get the opportunity to have a 1:1 adventure with my daughter, Megan. She’s married with two kids of her own so her priority, of course, is her own family. I felt so lucky and excited that she was able to join me on this special women’s weekend! She even drove us (no hands!) down to Manitou Springs in her new Tesla!

Self-Driving “EV” drives us to Manitou Springs

Indulging in a Women’s Retreat

Besides the adventure of trying psilocybin for the first time, there were so many other memorable moments throughout the weekend.

I’ve never splurged on a “retreat” before. It always felt too indulgent. But this is the time of life to try things I’ve never done before… not just psilocybin, but also treating myself to a luxury weekend. I’m so glad I did!

Admittedly, yoga is one of my least favorite activities. It seems to be the main attraction at most women’s wellness retreats. At this retreat, the main attraction, of course, was the psilocybin journey, but an optional pre-journey yoga class was offered.

Wanting to take advantage of everything offered, I joined, and was, once again, surprised at how the experience exceeded expectations. The beauty of the studio with the magnificent view inspired awe with every stretch. The yoga instructor repeatedly reminded us that there were no ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’ and put my over-thinking mind at ease.

Each meal was prepared so beautifully, full of healthy, colorful deliciousness. There was ritual and sharing and a feeling of tribal sisterhood throughout the weekend.

On our final night, we had a surprise full-moon ceremony at the gorgeous Garden of the Gods (Goddesses!) How wonderful that the park was open at night!

As we stood together, hand in hand, an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love filled my soul. Maybe it was the mushrooms building the new pathways in my brain. I felt the presence of past spirits, the moon, the sisterhood, the wind, the magnificent universe.. and God. Maybe I’ve become more woo-woo after all. It was magical.

Memory and Movies

Coursera Class: Understanding Memory through Movies

This month in my Year of Learning, I’ve been focusing on Memory. It’s been enlightening and interesting, and … well, hopefully, memorable!

I enrolled in the Coursera Class: Understanding Memory: Explaining the Psychology of Memory through Movies offered by Wesleyan University and taught by John G. Seamon. By the way, Seamon has a book available with the same content.

John G. Seamon does video lectures in the Coursera Class about Understanding Memory

This has been one of my favorite Coursera classes. Each lecture highlights a movie. Seamon gives an overview of the plot and then explains concepts from the movie that help us learn more about how our memory works.

I’ve seen many of the movies that are from the course, and it’s been super-interesting to me to dig deeper into the psychology of the characters and the plot and for Seamon to help us understand what’s realistic and what’s not.

First Lecture: Sometimes Life Imitates Art – Film:Fifty First Dates

In the first lecture, Seamon gives us an example of how the movies we see may influence what we believe and affect our brains in unexpected ways.

He showed us clips from the movie, 50 First Dates, in which Lucy (played by Drew Barrymore), suffers from a type of amnesia that she gets as a result of a car accident. Each day when she wakes up she can only remember her life up until the day of the accident (which she doesn’t remember.)

She creates new memories only for a day, but she loses those memories at night when she goes to sleep.

We learn in this first lecture that amnesia doesn’t really work this way.

If Lucy’s brain damage were severe enough to stop her from making lasting memories, she would find it hard to remember anything new for more than a few minutes. 

Lucy would be able to follow short commercials on television. But longer stories would leave her baffled and confused, as she would forget earlier scenes.

Lecture 1: Sometimes Life Imitates Art – Film: 50 First Dates

However, shortly after the film came out, there was a patient (known as FL) who experienced a similar type of amnesia as Lucy. The doctors were baffled because the brain scans did not indicate any damage that would cause this amnesia, but also didn’t think FL was faking her amnesia.

They discovered that FL’s favorite actress was Drew Barrymore and that she had seen the movie, Fifty First Dates, before her accident.

The researchers surmised that FL was experiencing amnesia, but it was functional not organic amnesia. The origin of each type of amnesia is different. Functional amnesia has a psychological origin, while organic amnesia has a biological basis.

Lecture 1: Sometimes Life Imitates Art – Film: 50 First Dates
Amnesia can be either Functional (psychological) or Organic (biological)

Movies and other media affect our beliefs and our brains

I found it incredible that a movie could affect someone’s psyche enough that it could create functional amnesia. I’m finding that there is so much more that might affect our brains than I realized. And, in turn, our brains and what we think, affects our health – mental and physical!

News, social media, music, and movies will influence our beliefs and our brains!


  • Coursera’s class about Memory and Movies is very interesting and informative!
  • There are two types of amnesia: functional (psychological) and organic (biological).
  • Movies (and other media) can influence us into believing a false reality.

Memory Improvement Podcast Binge: Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik

Listening to Podcasts for Learning

My 2023 Project is to do more focused learning, picking a new topic each month. The 3 topics for the first quarter of 2023 were Purpose, Blogging, and Taxes, specifically in retirement.

For April, my primary topic is “Memory Improvement.” (Stay tuned for my end-of-month summary post.)

One of the awesome ways we have of learning in this modern era is by listening to podcasts. Each month, as my primary topic has changed, I’ve searched for podcasts related to my primary topic. (By the way, listening to podcasts while doing my daily walk, has been a great way to keep me motivated to always get those 10K+ steps in.)

When April rolled in, I searched for podcasts having to do with Memory Improvement.

I’ve always been pretty good at memorization and some of the podcasts are specifically designed to help learn and practice memorization techniques. For example, a few years ago, I learned 100 digits of Pi, and this month, I’m learning about the 46 US Presidents (which is also helping me learn more about US History.)

Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik

Even though memorization skills are handy, what I like about the Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik podcast is that the topics he covers are all about Brain Health which is a lot more than memorization skills.

I’ve been so interested in Brain Health that after doing the “Napkin Test” with Richard Leider, I discovered that my “purpose” was to “Have a healthy mind and help others with brain health.” This is exactly what Jim Kwik is doing with his books, podcasts, and coaching!

At the end of each podcast episode, Kwik encourages his readers to leave a review about what they learned. Since I’m always walking while I’m listening, I don’t have a very handy way of doing that, but I’m going to summarize some of my takeaways.

Brain Health Takeaways from the podcasts

  1. Having a positive attitude about aging is one of the most important things we can do to maintain a healthy brain. With all we are learning about brain health, scientists are finding that are brains can continue to improve throughout our life.
  2. From 314: Lessons From The World’s Longest Study on Happiness with Dr. Robert Waldinger: Relationships are key to mental health. We need to have people we can trust and confide in who will listen to us and help us “destress” at the end of the day.
  3. MEDSRX Acronym to help remember healthy brain habits: Meditation, Exercise, Diet, Sleep, Relationships, Xtra!
  4. From 311: Simple Ways To Get Your Daily Brain Nutrition with Maria Shriver and Patrick Schwarzenegger I learned about Mosh Bars, a health food bar that I want to give a try.
  5. From 326: Revitalizing Your Brain: Unlocking the Power of Mitochondria with Dr. John Lieurance I learned that Dr. Lieurance practices in Sarasota! He’s doing exciting work with regenerative medicine.

Next steps

There’s a lot left to explore in this area and I’m excited to keep learning! Besides the many podcast episodes I have yet to listen to, I also want to check out Kwik’s books and classes.

Kwik’s podcast doesn’t have ads, and he depends on listeners for reviews and to spread the word, so I wanted to leave this blog post. I’m very impressed with all of his podcasts. They’re interesting and he has a lot of high-profile, trustworthy guests.

Brain health is an important topic at any age, but especially can affect those of us who are in our 60’s and worried about the possibility of decline. I highly encourage anyone who wants to maintain a healthy brain to check out Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik.

Making a Trip to the Museum Fun

How to Make A Trip to the Museum Fun

This blog post was inspired as a response to a recent episode of the Happier Podcast by Gretchen Rubin.

As is often the case, Gretchen and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, provide happiness hacks.. their own and those from their large base of followers.. on everything under the sun. In this episode, they talked about different ways to look around a museum that might make it more fun or enjoyable than usual.

And, as always, they encourage listeners to write in with their own ideas.


My family loves games. While my kids were growing up, I made games out of everything. This was especially effective at getting chores done. Note: A “Beat the Clock” strategy is highly effective at getting chores done quickly, though can lead to some breakage and poor quality.

A “scavenger hunt” strategy is often something done at museums to make museum-viewing more fun for kids. And even for adults! If one isn’t offered at the museum, then with a little research, you can create your own.

The scavenger hunt doesn’t necessarily need to be researched ahead of time. Instead of having a list of what to look for, you can ask everyone to find their favorite piece in each room. Taking a “scavenger hunt” daily walk looking for things that brought me joy was something I did regularly during the pandemic. I discovered so many treasures this way!

My Unique Game at Museums: Guess Favorites!

And this brings me to my own unique idea at making museums more fun. I ask everyone to secretly pick out their favorite piece in each room and also guess what the others will pick.

We then ask each person what their favorite piece is and why. Sometimes people like the colorful pieces or a certain style of art. Sometimes it’s the composition or something unique about the piece.

As we go through each room, we discover more about the taste of the people we’re with. We also discover more about our own taste. What draws us to a certain piece of art? What feelings do we have when we view different pieces?

This “game” is not one where we keep careful track of how many correct guesses we have. (Well, maybe Scotty does. He can be competitive that way!)

It’s not about winning the most points, though. It’s about observing, discovering, and embracing what brings us joy. At the same time, we are learning what brings our companions joy.. deepening our understanding of them.

And sometimes what we learn is that they’d rather stay home and play a “real game” instead of going to an Art Museum.

Note: As adults, my kids still will play these “games” with me that originated in their childhood. They pretend that they’re doing it for my sake, but I can tell they love it. Well, except the one about picking up dog poop. I could not convince them that it was just like an Easter Egg hunt.

Celebrate love by sending cards

Celebrate love with DIY Cards. This screenshot was taken at the AARP free class: Make Your Own Valentine’s Day Cards and Envelopes, Hawaii 1/31/23

It’s February! That means it’s Carpe Diem Seizin’ – or for you language purists, Carpe Diem Season (I love a good pun!) There are so many February holidays that celebrate love.

We all know about Valentine’s Day, but peek into one of those sites that list all the many, many holidays you never heard of and you’ll find that February also has little-known special days that celebrate love.

Of course, you can celebrate love by sending a card on any of these thousands of holidays, but I’d like to highlight a few of my favorites:

Carpe Diem Day (Feb.26)

Celebrate Love during Carpe Diem Seizin'
Celebrate Love during Carpe Diem Seizin’

That’s right people, Carpe Diem Day is coming up on February 26th, but of course every day is a good day to celebrate! (Note that this Website carpediemday.com, was created in honor of CarpeDiemDay!)

I love that Walmart has an option to create your own custom cards with photos! This was such an easy and affordable option! For those of us that have difficulties getting our traditional holiday cards out on time, this is an opportunity to write back to those who sent us holiday cards! I love including photos with memories of the times I spent with the person I’m sending the cards to.

Random Acts of Kindness Day (Feb.17)

February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day.

Celebrate love with kindness

Not only does kindness spread happiness to all those around us, but it improves our health and longevity!

Letter to an Elder Day (Feb.26)

I love that Letter to an Elder Day is on February 26th! That’s the same day as Carpe Diem Day! This is a NEW special day. But what’s even more cool is that I’ve volunteered for the organization that created this day: Love for our Elders.

As I blogged about before,

Every Day is a Good Day to Celebrate Love

Whether with a card, eCard, text, phone call, smile, song, picture, hug, kiss, or whatever else you can think of, seize this day and show your love.

2023 Tuesdays with BB & Yvy #1: Robinson Preserve

Yvy (pronounced “Evie”) and BB at Robinson Preserve

Last year I blogged at least once a week about my Microadventures. This year I’ve been going with “Healthy Aging” as my loosey-goosey theme. I’ve also thought about blogging each week about someone I admire. I can do a twofer with this post by blogging about Becky and how she contributes to my brain health!

Healthy Aging

One thing that’s super-important for healthy aging and brain health is having good friends. Having new experiences is also great for the brain, so new experiences with good friends is like a double-dose of brain food!

During my snowbird months while I’m in Bradenton, FL, I’ve wanted to get into a routine. My best and very wise friend in the area is Becky Burns. We are both busy with our various projects, but I asked Becky if we could have a weekly get-together while I was in Florida. I love weekly rituals and rather than comparing calendars every week, it’s so much easier to just have a regular day/time blocked off so I can look forward to “BB Time!”

We agreed that Tuesday mornings worked well for both of us and Becky suggested that each week we could do different “microadventures” such as walks, paddle-boarding, cafes, beach, etc. Perfect!

A New Experience: Robinson Preserve and Sage Biscuit Cafe

I asked Becky to pick our first outing. The next morning I got an email titled, “2023 Tuesdays with BB & Yvie #1: Robinson Preserve.” I love the title of the email, both because it caters to my systematic titling of activities and uses my self-suggested nickname! (Though, I like spelling it Yvy, even more to really confuse people!)

Our scenic walk through Robinson Preserve was followed by a healthy brunch at Sage Biscuit Cafe. CarpeDeeLicious!

Robinson Preserve is a 600+-acre coastal preserve located in northwestern Bradenton.
Plenty of scenic hiking for Jack, Becky, and I to enjoy.
Delicious healthy brunch at Sage Biscuit Cafe in Bradenton

Someone I admire: Rebecca Burns!

Becky is a wonderful blog-post topic for a variety of reasons:

  1. She’s always interesting, fun, creative, witty, and willing to try new things.
  2. She doesn’t mind being the topic of blog posts!
  3. She’s one of the few people who reads my blog and often sends me a supportive comment, even when I know I’m being lazy about the writing.

In the Spring of 2020, we were Covid Lockdown partners at her home and she was my co-host on Season 2 of my Carpe Diem Connections Podcast.

In fact, I’ve blogged about Becky quite a bit, as an example of beauty and birthday-celebrator, as a supreme listener and animal-lover, as a guest on my podcast talking about self-acceptance, and on countless other posts as a fellow-adventurer.

BB & Yvy!

I’m so grateful to know this wise and wonderful friend and I bet my brain is 10x healthier than it used to be, thanks to our friendship!

Adventures in Water Drinking

Water Drinking is not usually considered fun, but it’s time to change that!

It’s a new year and I’ve really been struggling with figuring out my 2023 “theme.” The year of Microadventures was so successful and I wanted to figure out something equally fun that I could blog about each week.

I had a lot of different ideas that sort of fizzled.. a year of learning, a year of helping, a year of new people, a year of healthy habits. My friend, Michael Bolé shared an article about a woman who did a new thing every day! Oh! That’s appealing!

I’m nixing any of the “every day” ideas, though. I’m already pressured enough not to break my Duolingo streak (I’m on Day 1403, thank you very much!)

Healthy Habit For Week1: Drink More Water

The “healthy habit” I was focusing on for Week 1 was “Drink More Water.” So trite and boring. Been there, done that. Certainly water-drinking is about as opposite of a “new thing” as you can get. We literally do it every day and it doesn’t even taste that good! Which I guess is why it’s so hard to drink as much as we’re always told to drink. And don’t get me started at how inconvenient it is to have to pee so much!

Making Water Drinking Fun: Hydration Bars

But that new-thing-every-day article got me thinking: How can I have an “adventure” with water drinking – do something I’ve never done before.. I’d remembered hearing something about “hydration bars” and I excitedly googled “Hydration Bar near me” and several local-area options came up!

“That’s it!” I thought. “I will have an adventure at a Hydration Bar this week!” I pictured myself in a new-age spa doing something really edgy and trendy, yet healthy… a healthy version of a Hookah Bar experience. (This idea excited me. I once wanted to try a Hookah Bar experience… but then I learned it involved smoking.)

Anyway, I checked into Hydration Bars and found out that these aren’t really “bars.” They are IV treatments that start at about $150!

This idea quickly lost its appeal. I’ve had an IV and it’s not at all exciting. Also, I’m really cheap. I don’t even like to pay for the fancy waters in the grocery store.

And just because they call it a “Cocktail” does not make it a fun drink! Those are cockamamie tales! “Crocktales!” That will be my new word for these “Hydration IV Treatments” that you get at “Hydration Bars.” (Not to be confused with Mocktails, which really are quite lovely non-alcoholic drinks you can now get at some real bars.)

Poor man’s “hydration treatment”

I googled “Why do people go to hydration bars when they can just drink water?” thinking I must be missing something. The AARP article, The Truth Behind Trendy IV Vitamin Water Therapy confirmed my assumptions that basically, this would be a ridiculous over-priced “adventure.” (Come to think of it, that’s true of many “adventures” but I’ll save that rant for another day).

Cheaper Ways to Make Water Drinking More Fun

I decided to “be me” and do something cheap, yet pretty and different to liven up my water-drinking experience: Making infused water.

My attempt at “infused water”

The result was not nearly as pretty as the pictures in the article.. are the strawberries supposed to float? Of course, the “Squeeze the Day” quote on the water bottle makes it fun even if this doesn’t look like the magazine or taste much different from water.

I also splurged on a “fancy water” from the grocery story! ($2.49 is much better than a $239 Kate Crocktale!)

This was surprisingly delicious. It was sweet. I’m guessing that whatever sugar (or fake sugar) they put in this drink to make it so tasty negates any of the health benefits from drinking it. Oh well. It still was a new experience.

Finally, to round out this exciting water-drinking adventure, I bought a new water filter pitcher. This will not only keep my water clean, but helps me monitor that I’m drinking my daily quota. (Logging was not working for me.)

As for me 2023 theme? I’ve decided on “Healthy Aging.” .. on the cheap!

Microadventure #99: Arvada Trick or Trot with the Tidds

Pizzas do well at the Arvada Trick or Trot!

This Microadventure made me very happy! My daughter, Megan, invited me to run this Arvada 5K with her family in costume. Running in costume is my specialty! In 2014, I ran a race every month in a different costume!

I gave up running about 4 years ago because of back problems, but I figured I could make an exception for a family 5K. I ran slowly. (This was entirely due to wanting to protect my back, of course! It had nothing to do with my fitness level!) Still, I managed to snag second place for the Women’s Over 60 category. And Diego scored first place for the Boys 13-18 so we both got medals. What an unexpected surprise and very exciting!

This proves my theory that competition is so much more fun when there are very few competitive competitors.

The Tidds win best group costume!

Not only did Diego and I win medals for running, but the whole Tidd family won for best group costume. They were a Food Buffet, with Megan as a sushi roll, Reneya a burrito, Diego, a pizza, and Chris, spaghetti and meatballs. They are always super-creative with their costumes.

The whole event was so much fun. The weather was absolutely perfect and there were plenty of games, food, and decorated pumpkins.

Diego voting for Best Decorated Pumpkin
Pancake Breakfast! Yum!

All-in-all this experience brought me such joy! I’d thought my days of running races were over, but, not only did I get to run another race, I was able to do it with family. I’m so grateful that we are all healthy enough to run, to celebrate, and to share in the excitement of a successful race!