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.

Gamify!

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!

Carpe Diem Seizin’ 2022

Seizing the day can be as simple as enjoying a meal. Every day joys are especially important during difficult times. Come share your joys on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook page.

Woo Hoo, People! February 26 is Carpe Diem Day so we are in Carpe Diem Season or as I like to spell it Carpe Diem Seizin’! Let’s seize those beautiful days of February.

Last year, I created a video and hosted theme-day contests throughout the month:

Even though we still have not completely kicked Covid to the curb, we have made progress. Still, 2021 was another tough year for our country. And it ended with the most destructive fire that Colorado has ever seen, right in my neighborhood!

My house was spared, but over 900 homes in Superior and Louisville were burned to the ground. While I certainly was relieved that my house survived, it hasn’t felt right to promote “Seizing the Day” when so many people are experiencing so much grief.

On the other hand, I know from personal experience, that finding and celebrating every day joys is more important than ever during times of sadness or grief. Gratitude for what we do have and for the people we love is what helps us get through those very difficult days.

My project for 2022 is to have a “Microadventure a Week” with someone else and to blog about it. This has been fun and it often pushes me a little bit out of my comfort zone. It takes planning and finding someone to join me and involves learning and socializing – two things that keep my brain healthy.

So, that takes care of “Seizing one day a week” but what about the other 6 days? Every meal is an opportunity!

Yesterday, I “seized the day”, enjoying a refreshing glass of white wine while having a healthy dinner with the lentil and eggplant meatballs that Becky had made. Becky lit some candles and joined me for a delicious conversation to go along with the delicious food.

This morning, I spontaneously bought an unusually vibrant blue and purple orchid. I was so impressed with the color that I bought it (and only slightly disappointed to learn that it was artificially colored.) I love orchids and will still enjoy it when it comes back white after its dormant period. Eating a big healthy breakfast is always a “Carpe Diem Moment” for me and now I can do it in the presence of our new orchid.

Even though I’m not hosting contests this year, I’m still hoping to see pictures on social media of those every day joys that we all experience and so often take for granted.

Please come share your pictures or Carpe Diem moments on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group!

Baroness Susan Greenfield talks about the future of Alzheimer’s

Baroness Susan Greenfield talks about Brain Plasticity and the Future of Alzheimer’s in this interview with Carpe Diem Connections.

Dr. Susan Greenfield talks about Brain Plasticity and the Future of Alzheimer’s Disease

I’ve been looking forward to my interview with Baroness Susan Greenfield since I heard her speak at the Douglas Adams Memorial lecture in March.

Besides being a world renowned neuroscientist on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s, she’s an interesting and entertaining speaker! She’s the epitome of what many of us yearn to be: highly intelligent, funny, and working on unraveling some of the biggest mysteries of the mind, including the meaning of consciousness.

She also is an entrepreneur. In 2013, she co-founded Neuro-Bio, a company that develops diagnostic tests and therapeutics to help in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

In our interview, I asked Dr. Greenfield about her views on a cure. She mentioned the recent FDA approval of the controversial Biogen announcement of a drug claiming to slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s.

She expressed more hope and optimism about the approach and drug under development at Neuro-Bio. Though not available to the public yet due to regulatory phases, Dr. Greenfield indicated that, with fair winds, it might be “two years away.”

“We are on the case. It’s in the foreseeable future, ” she says.

I’m so impressed that a woman of this caliber would make the time to speak on my podcast. When I sent her the request, I hadn’t realized the extent of her achievements and fame.

What a honor for me to have personal time with someone of such status and influence. She is someone who is making breakthroughs in the treatment of one of the world’s most tragic diseases!

In preparing for our interview, I’ve learned so much myself about the brain and its adaptability.

I’m excited that there is hope for a cure for Alzheimer’s in the not-so-distant future and that we all can take control over maintaining a healthy brain by living life to our fullest potential!

Carpe Diem!

Alzheimer’s diagnosis motivates Dan Jaworski to fulfill his dream: Participate in the Kona Ironman

Dan Jaworski is fighting Alzheimer’s and participating in his dream of participating in the Kona Ironman.

“I thank God for the gift of TODAY – CARPE DIEM!” ~Dan Jaworski

When Dan Jaworski received a devastating diagnosis and a recommendation from his doctor to move forward on his bucket list, he knew what he needed to do.

“Within hours of my diagnosis, I contacted Sarah Hartmann at The IRONMAN Foundation. I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity to race Kona on October 9, 2021”

The month of June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.

You can read more about Dan and his inspirational story here. His attitude of resilience and strength is the same “Carpe Diem spirit” that I saw in my friend Craig Dunham when he was faced with an ALS Diagnosis. It’s the reason I started CarpeDiemDay.com.

Rather than ask for money, Dan asked for 140 names – one for each of the 140.6 miles of the race – of others who are battling Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

His list of 140 names, along with notes and tributes are listed on his site. And despite not asking for money, he has currently raised over $70K in donations for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Gratefully, I don’t currently know anyone personally suffering from Alzheimer’s, but I certainly understand the devastation and fear most people would have in the face of such a diagnosis.

Dan’s optimistic attitude, his drive, tenacity, and resilient spirit will most certainly work in his favor in the coming months, both in his training and in his overall health.

Let’s follow his lead! Whether it’s participating in an Ironman, writing a book, or repairing a relationship, don’t wait. Follow your dreams.

Carpe Diem!

Carpe Diem: See Free Movie Today, May 6!

Information about how you can see feel-good movie Duty Free today, May 6, 2021

This morning’s blog post in honor of Older Americans Month is to let you know about this opportunity to check out the movie, “Duty Free” for free!  But hurry and sign up. It’s today!

The movie is SO up-my-alley!  It’s about a 75-year-old woman who gets fired from her job and her son helps her make and fulfill a bucket-list of dreams. (Very much aligned with my whole Carpe Diem Day message.)

I originally got a notice from AARP about a showing today at 6pm MT.  (I just love AARP’s Movie for Grownups series.)

However, I had a conflict for tonight (It’s the second session of my Agile Workshop that I blogged about all last month.)

I was disappointed for about 5 minutes until I continued reading my emails and saw that Encore.org was also offering a free viewing earlier in the day – at 3:30pm MT! 

So, to recap, there are TWO opportunities TODAY to see Duty Free for free!

At 3:30pm MT: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cirkel-presents-a-pre-release-screening-of-duty-free-tickets

At 6:00pm MT: https://local.aarp.org/aarp-event/movies-for-grownups-screening-duty-free-wzn83s63gg2.html

Exercise and Happiness with Sarah Schwallier

Sarah Schwallier of Strides Life introduces herself as a nature walking health coach. She has a passion for helping others be their most healthy selves and to achieve their goals, whether that’s to lose weight, build strength, or just to get moving.

In this episode of Carpe Diem Connections, Sarah and I talk about the 3rd Key to Happiness as defined by Action for Happiness: Exercise.

Sarah always adds an element of fun and playfulness to everything she does. I’ve gotten to experience this first-hand as I’ve participated in the Walk2Connect Community where Sarah is a core-coop-owner and leader.

Tune in to the podcast or the YouTube video and find out how you can stay motivated to keep exercising and why that’s so important to both our physical and our mental health!

Then join us on the Carpe Diem Facebook Group and let us know what your favorite type of exercise is.

And then go one step further and join Sarah’s TAG {Kick-Ass Accountability Group}!

Let’s Get Moving for Health and Happiness!