The original Carpe Diem Day was inspired by Craig Dunham, who lost his life to ALS in 2010. His initials, CD, along with his “live life fully” attitude are what prompted me to pick “Carpe Diem” as my mantra.
What do each of these three Carpe Diem inspirations have in common besides living life fully?
Yes, each of these three Carpe Diem Superheroes have earned admiration from me, not just because of living life fully, but because they do so (or did so), despite challenge, grief, and hardships.
Dee, at age 88, was told she only had a couple of months left to live and was put on hospice care. That was almost 2 years ago! I wrote a blog post about her then titled:
Dee is not afraid of dying. In fact, she is very much looking forward to, what she calls, the “ultimate adventure.” Dee is also very dynamic, witty, happy, and full of good humor. She looks and acts much younger than her 90 years!
Despite physical ailments, she never complains! She has had falls and broken bones and so many problems that I’m sure doctors are scratching their heads trying to figure out what the super-power is that keeps her alive.
Dee’s Superpowers: Optimism, humor, fearlessness
Could it be that Dee’s longevity is due to her optimism, humor, and lack of fear? According to studies, the less we fear aging and death, the longer we will live healthy, happy lives.
Certainly, that’s not a universal truth as we all know. Many happy, optimistic people, such as Craig, still die young.
And we all die, no matter how optimistic we are. It will be hard for me to accept Dee’s death, even though I know it’s inevitable. Just because she’s accepted it (and even is looking forward to it!) doesn’t mean those of us who love her are in any rush for her to die. Every minute that she’s on this earth is a better minute for those of us who love her.
My Guardian Angel
Dee, my mother’s best friend, has always referred to herself as my “guardian angel.” She has been close enough to our family that I think of her as a beloved Aunt. I’ve always admired her spunky confidence and fearless attitude. She’s been my guardian angel in life and will continue to be so after she dies.
Now, in this final chapter of her life, she’s still guiding me with her humor and grace. Though I doubt I will be able to show the same good humor when my time comes, I’ll remember that she’ll be wherever I’m going and show me how to live the afterlife to the fullest!
(Of course, given her uncanny super-power, she may out-live me and I’ll just have to hang out with all those other dead people until she joins us.)
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)
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.
I rarely take the time to respond to podcasts, but it’s January 1, and I’m always motivated to take action in the New Year. Also, I have a great answer to these questions!
What’s the best gift you ever received? Who gave it to you? Why was it so great? If you have an answer to that question, make a voice memo. Use your phone. Just talk nice and directly into the phone, in a quiet place. Tell us your name, and send it to NSQ@freakonomics.com, and we may play it on a future show.
The best gift I ever received is “National Carpe Diem Day”! My friends and family, led by my daughter-in-law, Stella Min, were able to purchase and register National Carpe Diem Day on February 26th, my birthday, in the National Day Archives. The gift came complete with a Registry write-up that still makes me tear up. I was been inspired by my friend, Craig Dunham, who, despite an ALS diagnosis, lived fully until his death in December, 2010. Since then, I’ve spread the message of “Carpe Diem” in his memory.
Since receiving this gift, I’ve created a Website, CarpeDiemDay.com, and use my blog and social media to try and promote the same kind of Carpe Diem attitude that I learned from Craig.
Note 2: Stella is the most Stellar gift-giver EVER! I have to resist from telling you what she gave me for Christmas… ok, ok, I’ll tell you. I’m getting a photo collage every morning in my inbox of times we spent together.. On Dec.25th, there were 63 days until my 63 birthday, so it’s a 63-to-63 gift!
Mary and I enjoy Carpe Diem Week with some fun girl time in Florida!
My 2022 New Years Project has been to have at least one microadventure each week with another person and to write about it. And if you’ve forgotten exactly what that means:
A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.
This week I enjoyed a series of microadventures with my friend, Mary, who flew out from Colorado to spend most of my birthday week (aka Carpe Diem Week) with me, here in Florida!
We found this wonderful little Airbnb in Tampa which served as our home base during Mary’s stay. It was the perfect location, only about 15 minutes from the Tampa airport and close to Tampa’s River Walk.
Mary arrived on Tuesday afternoon. After we settled into our Airbnb, we headed out to the Tampa River Walk and enjoyed the colored lights along the walkways in the breezy evening air. We (finally) found a dinner spot, though, clearly I hadn’t done enough planning since there weren’t the many restaurants that I’d imagined there’d be. To be honest, even finding a parking garage was an adventure! But we returned later in the week to explore this area more and I know I could come every day and never get bored.
On Wednesday morning we made our way to Ben T Davis Beach and walked enough, both to get more than our share of steps, and a couple of well-earned blisters from walking with the wrong shoes. Still, the scenery was pretty and conversation with Mary is always interesting. We dipped our feet in the water to cool them off before heading back to get ready for our evening in Gulfport!
Becky joined Mary and I at The Tiki Bar & Grill for some delicious drinks and dinner. If you look off to the right hand corner of this picture you’ll see there’s a guy playing the guitar. We had “front row seats” to the Open Mic Night performers. Becky knew the lyrics of one of the songs better than the performer herself! Next year, it will be her up on stage!
After dinner, we headed over to the famed Gulfport Casino for some East Coast Swing dancing! The dance floor was expansive and the experience reminded me a lot of going out dancing at the Avalon in Boulder. The music included two of my favorites: the Stray Cat Strut and In the Mood. Even though I didn’t know this crowd, there were plenty of willing and talented dancers. So much fun! It’s quite a drive from Sarasota, but they have swing dance every Wednesday night, so I hope to make it out at least once or twice a month.
On Friday, we ventured North of Tampa to explore Weeki Wachi Springs State Park. The “main event” that makes this park so unique is the live mermaid show that’s performed twice a day. We arrived at the park just in time to get in for the first showing. The performance was a little like an underwater ballet performance of “The Little Mermaid.”
Unfortunately, we weren’t at the park early enough to be able to enjoy any of the boat rides and the water park area was closed as they were preparing for the next season. We got to explore Tranquility Trail and the Park Ranger show but I’d like to come back here some time, maybe with Diego and Reneya to get the full experience.
On our way back to Tampa, Mary and I stopped at this charming Nature Coast Botanical Gardens located in Spring Hill. I learned about both Weeki Wachee Springs and these gardens from this Only in Florida article. I didn’t really know what to expect, but was very pleasantly surprised by the beautiful themed gardens with sweet settings, benches, and gazebos. I could just imagine a romantic picnic around every corner.
Our final Microadventure was back at Becky’s townhouse in Sarasota where she hosted a very fun birthday luncheon for me to celebrate my 62nd birthday! We had princess decor and pink balloons from Dollar Tree! My favorite! Friends, food, and lots of birthday attention! What a perfect way to spend Carpe Diem day! Even though I was away from my Colorado home, I was happy to receive fun greeting cards and gifts from friends and plenty of texts, calls, and birthday wishes!
It was hard to pick just one photo from each of these microadventures. Each one was filled with moments I want to remember.. music, sunshine, laughter.
There are memories of things that aren’t even part of any of these microadventures…
Struggling to uncork a bottle of wine until the cork finally popped with a bang spilling wine everywhere!
Watching romcoms and still loving a happy ending, even when they are cliché.
Mary and I trying to line up a double-date Bumble lunch and both inviting the same guy!
Sharing cheesecake, red-velvet cake, and maybe a little too much wine
Morning Dance Workouts
All of these beautiful moments (and so many more) add up to microadventures that add up to major adventures that add up to a very happy life filled with love.
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.
I got involved with the ALS Never Surrender non-profit a few years ago and was inspired by the founder, Steph Courdin, who gathered a group of colleagues and volunteers to create a mobile app that would collect valuable ALS patient progression data.
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!
Right after I bought this fun umbrella hammock swing, I discovered that today, July 6th, Is “Umbrella Cover Day.” I’m choosing to be creative in interpreting this as a day to have umbrella’s cover us rather than celebrating the covers of the umbrella, which apparently was the actual intent.
By the way, today is also International Kissing Day, but for those of us who are single and social distancing, let’s focus on umbrellas. Stay positive, people!
Yes, there is actually an Umbrella Cover Museum in Peaks Island, Maine… the only Umbrella Cover Museum in the whole world! Nancy 3 Hoffman wrote this book and is the director and curator of the museum and I’m guessing, the one who originated the special day! Here’s a picture of her book and as you see, she also enjoys umbrella hats, like me, so it’s not JUST about the umbrella covers.
What I love about these special days, my new bright green palm-tree-like hammock, Nancy’s middle name (3!), the museum, and umbrella hats is that they are all whimsical!
Whimsical is defined as “playfully quaint or fanciful behavior or humor.” Yes, whimsy is definitely something that makes me happy!
The description of Nancy’s book says the museum “celebrates the mundane in everyday life” and finds “wonder in beauty in the simplest of things.” Wow! That is exactly the essence of what I’d like to capture with my Carpe Diem Day philosophy!
I think umbrellas themselves are very fun and can be so colorful and unique. I just heard a story about how the Queen gets color coordinated umbrellas and is using them to keep the social distance guidelines. (I’m very interested in the Queen these days because I’ve been watching, The Crown.)
And, of course, I’ve always loved cute little beachy, colorful cocktails adorned with little umbrellas!
I’m going to have to check out Nancy 3’s book and see if I can maybe even get an interview with her, but for now, I’m relaxing, happily covered with my whimsical umbrellas.