I’m so grateful for the love from my sister, Michele.
I have lots of wonderful pictures of Michele, but I picked this one because when we have our hair the same length, we look so much alike, and people ask if we’re twins! That makes me happy, because I’ve always admired (OK, I’ll just say it… been jealous of..) how pretty my sister is.
In the month of August, I want to blog daily about things I’m grateful for… things that make me happy, things that I don’t want to take for granted.
The most important thing I don’t want to take for granted is the love and acceptance I feel from the people I love most.
Here’s a list of 63 Reasons I love Michele.. I made the list with 62 things last year for her 62 birthday, but since she just had her 63rd birthday, added one more: You listen to me!
63 Things I Love about You, Sis!
You leave mints on my pillow when I visit
You can find treasures at flea markets
You patiently teach me how to take better pictures
You introduce me to your fun friends
Tú hablas español conmigo
You look out for me
You laugh at my jokes
You love to celebrate birthdays (including mine!)
You find fun, creative, things to add to theme parties
You keep yourself pretty and healthy
You will talk to me while I’m walking
You like learning new things
You are empathetic of the troubles and joys of others
You like surprises
You love your Golden Retrievers
You’re a caring mother, sister, daughter, wife, friend… and person!
You love family
You’re a great cook
You send me pictures of purple flowers
You are a talented photographer
You are a founding member of The White Bathrobe Club (and include me in meetings!)
You are very flexible with your yoga poses!
You bring me joy
You’re a talented gardener
You are friendly and a popular neighbor
You are playful
You find the perfect presents for me
You like the smell of lavender
You’re relearning the piano!
You like massages
You’re great at interior design and home improvement
You can confidently advise me on paint colors
You love old books
You love new books!
You love bookstores!
You like to try new things
You can balance an oar on your chin!
You influenced my early music tastes: James Taylor, Jim Croce, Van Morrison, Chicago, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
You’re my confidante
You’re a wonderful hostess
You like celebrating goofy holidays
You care for Veterans
You likes to play games
You built a successful food photography business
You’re a confident driver
You’re a scuba diver
You participated in my virtual Academy Awards Party
You had a Royal tea party
You’re stronger than you realizes
You’re continually improving yourself
You introduced me to Ham/Apple/Brie Panini
You surprise me with flowers and little gifts when I visit
You make strong drinks that put me in a happy, mellow place
Yesterday was the first in-person family get-together I’ve had in two years. Last summer, my youngest son, Scotty, had moved to Dayton, Ohio because of his job. Between that and all the Covid restrictions, this was the first time I was able to physically be with the people who are most important to me – my kids and grandkids.
Since I love a good theme party, I checked the “special days” on July 8th (Scotty’s birthday) and July 13th (the party day.. and his due date):
Be a Kid Again Day – July 8
Coca Cola Day – July 8
Math 2.0 Day – July 8
National Freezer Pop Day – July 8
National Ice Cream Sundae Day – July 8
National Milk Chocolate with Almonds Day – July 8
SCUD Day (Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama) – July 8
Video Games Day – July 8
Embrace Your Geekness Day – July 13
Any of these would match Scotty’s personality!
However, the ultimate theme was just to have the party be “All About Scotty.” My youngest son unabashedly loves to be the center of attention. As a Mom, who has been missing having kids at home, I capitalized on the “Be a Kid Again” theme with plenty of low-budget party treats and games.
I enjoyed printing out photos of Scotty at various ages and told everyone to come dressed in his typical attire – sports shorts and a T-shirt and then we all held up one of the photos for an “All About Scotty” family portrait.
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.
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.)
Sure enough, even though my Spring garden is covered with snow, I have my indoor orchid to enjoy. I can still see my iris leaves peeking out and know that they usually survive these April snow showers.
It’s been a long cold season, and though I know I can never count on the weather here, there are undoubtedly warm days and plenty of flowers to look forward to in the months ahead.
I’m celebrating this lesser known holiday by reading this book and will attempt to get to know the author, Phyllis May.
This morning when I asked Alexa, “Alexa, what special day is it?” she answered that there were 54 informal holidays! FIFTY-FOUR!! It was even too much for Alexa. (She only talked about Women’s History Month.) Maybe we have just gone a little too far with these holidays.
For each “special holiday” that’s out there, Carpe Diem Day gets a little more lost in the crowd. Oh well. Even if Carpe Diem Day never gets famous, it’s still the most important — the matriarch, if you will, of all these other ‘special days’ that people are seizing.
With 54 days to sift through, I was thinking I’d be fine with embracing just another lazy Monday (celebrated by listening to the Bangles and being grateful that I no longer was having Manic Mondays) when I came across this one for March 1rst: Refired not Retired Day.
As I read the description, I found it was created by Phyllis May who retired (or should I say “refired” at the age of 55 in 1998 and started a new life in Key West, Florida.
Retirement and living a “Fiery” Carpe Diem Life is one of the topics I’m most interested in! In fact, one of my many project ideas has been to write my own book about this phase of life, especially as a single… maybe a sequel to The Laptop Dancer Diaries (without the embarrassing dating stories.)
I’ll be curious what Phyllis has to say in her book and I’m hoping I’ll be able to connect with her on my Carpe Diem Connections Podcast! Maybe the next season will be about being “Refired not Retired”!
For a #carpediemday celebration, Lee MacIvor leaves her late husband’s huge book collection to a local nursing home.
I’ve been hosting Carpe Diem Day contests throughout the month of February mostly in a selfish attempt to gain followers and recognition for Carpe Diem Day.
I’d venture to say, no one cared about winning the $25 prizes I was suggesting for any of my contests. The few people who were playing, were playing for the fun of it. I loved seeing the creative photos and captions for both Wear Red Day and Umbrella Day. Picking a clear winner based on quality of entry was too difficult so I went with a “random draw” approach.
With my final contest.. the “big one”… in celebration of Carpe Diem Day.. there ended up being one very clear winner. Her “entry” into this contest is much more than a creative photo.
Her story captures the spirit of what I envisioned for Carpe Diem Day celebrations so perfectly.. showing resilience, love, generosity, and the preservation of legacy.
Lee’s story begins over 50 years ago when she met her first love – the love of her life – Brian MacIvor. They were high school sweethearts at Karachi American School in Pakistan.
A few years after high school they went on to live separate lives. They reconnected in 1995 after Lee acted upon a dream she had a few days before by telephoning. Despite living in different countries, Lee – in a very “Carpe Diem” -like way, seized the day. She made the bold move from the US to Europe and later in 1998, she and Brian were married. Who says those romantic movies are unrealistic?
When Brian died tragically in an accident in 2017, the grief for Lee, of course, was unbearable. Grief is an emotion that is indescribable. Though it might remind us that life is precious, ‘seizing the day,’ when we don’t have our partner to seize it with anymore, feels empty. Life can feel meaningless.
But life is NOT meaningless. Brian’s life gave so much meaning to Lee and to countless others. Brian’s art, his poetry, and his amazing, eclectic library of books — these all had meaning. Brian’s passions and joys affected other people. Brian brought love to this world. He made the world a better place. Most notably, he made Lee’s world a better place.
When a loved one dies, we’re entrusted to a legacy that’s more than their possessions. We hold this intimate knowledge of this beautiful soul that changed our lives. When we see their writing, perhaps a signature on an old card.. Or hear their voice, perhaps on an old video.. We want to imprint those memories in our minds and our hearts so they’re never forgotten. We want the world to know this amazing person. We want the world to know this unique, one-of-a-kind genius who we loved.. This person is gone from this world now, but we want the world to be able to experience their magic.
Lee, holds a gold mine of memories of Brian in her heart. Her Carpe Diem Day celebration is to donate Brian’s amazing collection of over 4000 books to the right home.
Donating a collection of this size, however, is not easy. Donating anything after a great loss is not easy. Lee’s quest for a home for Brian’s treasured collection came with challenges.
She put a social media post out looking for a home, describing the unusual collection and Brian’s parameters in his selections:
Brian, a quiet, handsome, and easy to love man from Toronto started collecting books at a young age. As he grew, so did his passion for books. He formed his own parameters as to what would be suitable for his personal collection. The basic genres for his collection were science fiction/fantasy and detective mysteries, although there are many classics in the collection as well. The books had to be used and in paperback (with a few exceptions allowing for availability and books received as gifts). Brian would never lend a book from his collection; instead he would generously buy and give a copy of the book to the one who had asked for the loan.
So now I am here to ask for what I need and for what I envision. I see someone with a big heart and big respect for a book lover’s beloved collection. I see a person/persons with a plan to receive/retrieve these books and to give/find them a home or many appreciative homes.
Thank you, dear Universe, for connecting me to what I need and want. It may be through FB, email, phone, or a knock on the door, but somehow your magic will prevail.
Lee received various leads and ideas and helpful communication from book store owners, university library directors, and SciFy/Fantasy book clubs. She had different ideas about donating to youth groups, local prisons, or nursing homes, but all came with complications. Her preference was to keep the collection together, but it was difficult to find a recipient who wanted the entire collection.
When she saw my Carpe Diem Day contest, and that it was on February 26th, 2021, the day after Brian’s February 25th birthday, she was determined to donate the cherished collection in celebration of Carpe Diem Day, despite any complications.
As often happens when we put our intentions out, the Universe provided Lee with an answer on February 23rd. She happily wrote to those of us involved with her story:
Just received a call from Genesis nursing & rehab – they will take Brian’s ENTIRE collection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so elatingly, heart-pumpingly high! Brian’s books will have a forever home and we may be able to visit!
This week will continue to be emotional for Lee, as the whole month of February has been, with Anniversaries and special days that she and Brian celebrated together. I am thrilled that she found a home for Brian’s collection and that his legacy will continue to be shared with the world. Despite challenges and pain, choosing to spread joy, love, and happiness.. choosing to persevere.. Now that is what Carpe Diem Day is all about.
Yesterday was the first of my February contests. I asked people to post their National Wear Red Day pictures on my Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group and tag with #carpediemday.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. This whole month I’m experimenting with trying to get more exposure for Carpe Diem Day and having fun celebrating various wacky holidays. It’s just so much more fun to be playing with other people.
I picked National Wear Red Day to start with because I figured it should be kind of easy for people to find something red to wear and post a picture. I didn’t put any “rules” around how I’d pick a winner. I wanted to see what people would come up with without much guidance about what “qualified” for a prize.
Here are some of the great entries! I just love the creativity!
Lee says: "Red reminds me to celebrate, to stop and smell the (red) roses, to create and give red-hearted valentines, and to party with loved ones until the (red) rooster crows!"
I love Lee's mysterious tease as she peeks out of her long red cape.
Eva’s red shoes walked 10891 steps yesterday. She keeps her heart healthy with daily walking.
Sean and Jack didn’t have any red, but still get mentions due to their supportive posts. Even though Sean was working, he posted a fun red Gif. And I’m very grateful to Becky and Shirley for passing on the word of the contest! Ashley also posted a supportive heart and has a whole event she’s sponsoring for the month of February!
All who participated (including those who shared the link or shared their support, even if they didn’t post a picture) are going to get a Valentine from me in which I pay them a genuine compliment (in honor of today, Pay A Compliment Day.). I’ll put the Valentines in my special Valentine basket and pull one out to reveal the $25 prize winner!
I had fun thinking about some fun prizes like some red sparkly piece of attire – shoes, mask, bowtie, or shirt.. Or I thought about a $25 donation to the American Heart Association.. Or maybe a Red Carpe Diem shirt? But, I decided to let the winner pick their own prize so they can get exactly what they want!
Now, on to the video for the Big Reveal of the Grand Prize Winner!
National Carpe Diem Day is February 26th. Throughout the month of February, 2021, I’ll be hosting 3 #CarpeDiemDay contests. The winners will receive a personalized prize designed to help them live more fully and find ways to “Seize the Day” despite the pandemic.
I’ve made it my mission to actively promote and help others celebrate and create a “Carpe Diem Mindset.” I think this has been especially important in when the world has been struggling with the challenges of the Global Pandemic. I’m especially keen to get National Carpe Diem Day recognized in 2021 while people are still struggling. We don’t need to wait for our challenges to be resolved in order to celebrate each day. It’s more important than ever to celebrate in spite of the challenges!
I’ve created this Website (www.carpediemday.com) that shares many other Websites and resources aimed at helping others live full and meaningful lives and fostering deep and meaningful connections.
I host a weekly Carpe Diem Connections Podcast aimed at sharing ideas and talking to guests aimed at living a full and meaningful life. I also manage an active Facebook community of others who are living fully and sharing ideas and deep connections.
In 2010, I lost a good friend, Craig Dunham, to ALS. Craig taught me the importance of living each day fully, despite the challenges we’re facing in our lives. I’ve written and spoken a lot about Craig. Passing along his message helps me to keep his spirit and legacy alive and pass forward his personal message of living fully:
I especially appreciate the opportunity to show my children how life can be lived without anger, resentment, bitterness or regrets. I have purged all of that from my life and intend to leave this life with nothing but love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion in my heart. I am so ready to live life to its fullest, I only wish I would have thought to do it sooner.
~ Craig Dunham – upon learning of his ALS Diagnosis
Since his death in 2010, I have used “Carpe Diem” as a mantra in his honor, and as a reminder to live fully despite the challenges that life throws you. CD are both the initials of Craig’s name as well as the initials of Carpe Diem and form the emblem of Super Carpe Diem Woman, who leads the Walk to Defeat ALS.
It’s Mad Hatter Day! And since I have a big collection of silly hats, I’m well-prepared!
Hats are great way to liven up an otherwise dull Zoom meeting or just to help you out if you’re having a bad hair day.
A bit of history about Mad Hatter Day:
In 1986 some computer-folk in Boulder, CO celebrated a general day of silliness, inspired by the drawings of the Mad Hatter by John Tenniel in Alice In Wonderland. It was announced that year on computer networks, becoming more popular as people realized its value – some people did less damage by celebrating silliness than if they had done their jobs.
Boulder, Colorado! That’s where I live! And I’m also a “computer-folk”! Funny, that I’m right here, where it all began, and I hadn’t even heard of it until this year.
However, now that I know about it, you can bet your mad hat that I’ll be celebrating every year… and any other day I get a chance!