GISHWHES Highlights

My daughter, Cameren, is a wise, wonderful 15 year-old. By insisting that our family participate in GISHWHES, a world-wide week of shenanigans, she not only gave me the gift of new-found appreciation for my husband and kids’ beautiful, generous hearts, many and varied talents, creativity, problem-solving prowess, and potential for spontaneity–but she also restored my faith in the essential goodness of human beings, and made me feel hopeful for the future.

As we embarked on the week-long scavenger hunt, I was terrified of being faced with impossible and/or ridiculous tasks that would impinge on my life, and I had no capacity to envision whether or how my participation in the event might actually matter. Then, somehow, things just began to unfold, and I was suddenly in the thick of the sheer magic we were making in collaboration with our teammates from all over the U.S.  In one week, our 15-member team completed and submitted upwards of 75 items, including acts of kindness throughout our communities, and raising funds to house, clothe, and provide medical care for Syrian refugee families in dire circumstances (see previous post).

And so, I hope you’ll enjoy seeing just a fraction of the wild and wonderful items we completed in our hunt:

032Create a Vision Board from items found in magazines to represent the things you want more of in your life that can’t be bought or sold.

This item took me about 30 hours over the course of 3 days to complete. Dimensions:  18″ x 24″



There’s a lot of hype in the news that undocumented “illegal aliens” are stealing jobs from citizens and overflowing from our hospitals and prisons, but what we should really be concerned about is the burden created by aliens from outer space. Capture a photo depicting this scourge on society, and caption it with a message that emphasizes how aliens are a drain on our civic infrastructure.

This item specified that the space alien costume must be “impeccable” — and it just so happens that we proudly harbor a fugitive, fully-functional, life-sized Dalek (meticulously crafted by my husband, Mike, and operated by my daughter, Cameren). Having a  wonderful neighbor who is a police officer with a penchant for the theatrical, was icing on the cake… 



Have a child under the age of 6 draw your family’s portrait. Then take an actual family portrait in which you make whatever contortions necessary to recreate the drawing.

For this item, we thank my 5 year-old nephew, Corban, for his inspired rendering replete with labels (for most of us). Cameren is on the top left, my husband, Mike, is seated in front of her, my son, Matthew, is seated beside Mike, and I am the speck in the back. Corban also included an additional family member named, “Sir,” who he said is “the one who tells you what to find in the scavenger hunt.” We figured that “Sir” must in fact be the Grand Master/Brain Child of GISHWHES, Misha Collins, and so my daughter’s best friend, Sadie, wore a Misha mask and posed with us. Since GISHWHES is a (mostly) family-friendly event, posing in the nude (as we were drawn) was not really an option, so we decided to pose in the color we’d been drawn in…

I’d like mention a few other highlights that come to mind, the photos for which I don’t have access to at the moment:

Drone Battle: Cameren and Sadie faced off with my son’s Quad-Copter (which resembled a giant mosquito hawk in the photo) while dressed in battle armor made entirely of kitchen items, featuring a turkey baster and a rolling pin.

Create a Coin worth a Half Penny out of actual metal to commemorate the 7th anniversary of Misha Collins’ on-off affair with the Queen of England. Mike machined an aluminum medallion, and etched the recognizable visages of Misha and the Queen with Ferrous Oxide… This was his plan B, and it worked like a charm.

Depict the fairy tale, Trumpunzel, in an illustration. Cameren showcased her artistic genius and knack for subtlety.  

Badminton Match in a Mall Food Court. Yes, with a net, racquets, and sporting our “tennis whites.” In her badminton debut, Cam deftly served the birdie over the net and into her friend’s frozen yogurt cup!