Heads UP! Valentine’s Day Party ahead…

meteor Valentine's Day Party

Come to the Wild Ride tomorrow, February 14th, and #SharetheLove!

  1. Drop a link to your blog in the comments.
  2. Invite others to your place with a short hook.
  3. Check out other links.
  4. Hop to a few!

Be my Valentine and make some new friends. Maybe they will follow your blog.

Shout it out on social media with #Sundayblogshare #Weekendbloghop and #sharethelove!

See you tomorrow, February 14th! The party will start at 6:00 AM Mountain Time.

10 Ways to Win Like the Broncos – Parade Photos

The 2015 football season taught me a lot about life. The Broncos started out strong and then faltered. Their offense fell apart and their exhausted defense couldn’t win games on their own. After quarterback, Peyton Manning, threw several interceptions, he admitted to suffering with plantar fasciitis. Manning sat out and our back-up quarterback, Brock Osweiler, took the field.

Trophy, Manning

We thought we were doomed. Television commentators assumed the team had divided.

But that didn’t happen. The team supported Osweiler. The Broncos continued to win games while Manning healed and watched games from the bench.

After Manning recovered, he regained the #1 position. Osweiler showed a lot of class in quietly retreating to the bench. Our team supported both quarterbacks. Fans wondered who would start in the championship game, but Manning was back. With a supreme team effort, they won the Super Bowl.

Manning and trophy

So how does this relate to you?

I think there is a huge takeaway from this year’s season.

Learn from the Broncos and reach your goals.

  1. Surround yourself with people who support you.

Build a team of those with common interests or who will be there for you throughout your career. Continue reading

Breckenridge’s Short-Lived Masterpieces – Photo Essay

breck snow sculpture

Last weekend the International Snow Sculpture Championship began in Breckenridge, Colorado. Sculptors from around the world came to compete. They all started with the same block of snow.

These were my favorites. Continue reading

The Boob Report – A Comedy of Terrors

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, all doctor appointments become a big deal especially since the drugs I’ve been on have side effects. It can be terrifying.

hot as hellLast week, I went to an OB/GYN appointment and a wrist and knee follow-up. I worried they all could go south, like in the Deep South of hell where it is as hot as hell since that’s what it is. After having several surgeries, I want to avoid any more of them at all cost. I scheduled a facial afterward, my first in years, as a reward.

OB?? Yeah. I got my period for the first time in three years on December 29th. My OB/GYN had told me to come right in if I had ANY kind of bleeding after ONE year. Full on sad, depressing PMS for two days should have been my first clue.

I’d been on Tamoxifen which can mess with hormones and is why my period probably stopped in the first place. I switched to Anastrozole this August since my oncologist believed I was post-menopausal and Tamoxifen has some cancer-causing side-affects. It caused night sweats and hot flashes.

After being off Tamoxifen for a week, the pit in my anxiety-filled stomach disappeared along with the other symptoms. To say I was stoked was an understatement. Anastrozole can cause osteoporosis. Not as bad, but still bad. Did you hear I broke my wrist?

The whoosh of bleeding and my “Oh, shit!” moment happened at night while binge-watching Homeland. I wasn’t about to go anywhere. Instead I did what anyone would do to calm her nerves.

I Googled it.

OH, MY GOD. WHAT A MISTAKE! I freaked and thought I would bleed out while sleeping that night. I almost called my family to say my goodbyes, but figured that would be way too dramatic and they would be annoyed if they worried all night and I survived.

When I was still alive the next day, I called my doctor. He and the phone nurse assured me as long as the bleeding wasn’t uncontrollable, I was probably okay.

It turned out to be a period, complete with a trip to the grocery where I was tempted to proudly tell people, “This box of tampons isn’t for my daughter. It’s for me. Haha!”

Humorous breast cancer storiesYeah, I know the bleeding could indicate a lot of bad things. But I had an endometrial biopsy last September. Don’t worry. It came back negative. Last week’s appointment was scheduled back then. My doctor was taking precautions. According to him, a biopsy is usually good for one year.

Doctors don’t fool around if cancer is on your permanent record. That is a very good thing. I like the pro-active approach.

During my follow up appointment, my doctor said he would be amazed if I started getting regular periods after all I’ve been through. You should have seen his face when I said, “I hope I’m getting my periods again. My wrinkles won’t come in as fast.” I must be in the minority…of one.

Did I mention that he rescued me during last summer’s biopsy?

Last summer I had a routine pap and pelvic. My OB-GYN Physician’s Assistant thought my uterus seemed larger when examining my womanly innard skinnards. She ordered a pelvic ultrasound.

Well, how do I describe this? Hmm. They put a condom on it. Continue reading

THINK BIG!

Think (1)

Monday morning, I drank my first cup of coffee of the day and alternated between checking blog stats and answering comments. Then a very loud voice shouted in my head.

“THINK BIG!”

I stopped what I was doing. What did you say? Think big?

“YOU’RE THINKING TOO SMALL,” the voice bellowed again.

I sat up and pondered this scream from my sub-conscious self.

It usually criticized and said cruel things like, “Are you ever going to stop surfing the Internet and get something done today?” Or “You are such a gimp. You wouldn’t have broken your wrist if you had gotten into shape after knee surgery last year.” Or, “You have no life. Make a plan.”

I immediately thought of how my voice was right. I was thinking too small. As part of my resolutions I had committed to blogging more frequently and have been working to get into a daily routine to finish old and new projects.

IDEAL SCHEDULE:

  1. Catch up on blogging and social media.
  2. Write new blog post.
  3. Hit exercise bike.
  4. Write a few chapters in my new book
  5. Work on querying first book series.

Like I said, I had been working on it, but hadn’t quite mastered the routine.

MONDAY’S ACTUAL SCHEDULE:

  1. Checked on blog and social media.
  2. Wrote new blog post.
  3. Checked on blog and Twitter.
  4. Postponed hitting exercise bike until afternoon.
  5. Checked on blog, Twitter and Facebook.
  6. Wrote one new chapter.
  7. Checked on blog stats and social media.
  8. Thought about hitting the exercise bike.
  9. Rewrote blog post.
  10. Checked blog stats and comments.
  11. Finally rode a few miles while reading a book.
  12. Watched The Bachelor while checking my blog stats, answering comments, live tweeting, and rewriting my blog post and then checked stats again.

Do you see a vicious cycle occurring?

Tuesday morning, I had a conversation in my head. Yes. I’ve embraced talking to myself:

ME: So how can I think bigger?

THOUGHTS: How about planning to hike Everest?

ME: Too big and I think you were talking about something more career related, right? Continue reading

When People Think You’re Crazy

You’ve seen them, disheveled and disoriented people who mutter or sometimes curse at no one in particular. They are upset by others, both invisible and only seen in their mind. Their conversation may have taken place years ago only to be acted out again and again.

I talk to myself all the time. I blame my kids. When they were babies, I talked to them all the time even though they probably didn’t understand much of what I said. I had read an article claiming this would improve their intelligence. I remember taking them to the store and asking them what kind of baby food they would like to eat or which tampons I should buy. I got all kinds of amused looks from strangers who thought I was out of my mind. Although I looked like a fool, my kids grew up to be very intelligent adults. People think you're crazy

When I became a writer, I discovered reading what I had written aloud helped me find errors and create realistic conversation. It works! I don’t think I had completely gotten out of the habit of talking to myself, so writing compounded the issue.

I would catch myself muttering, “Where’s my car?” in the parking lot, or “Man, this is way too much laundry,” or “Oh, my God. This line is going to take forever,” while waiting at Costco.

In the movie, Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett nails the role of an unstable woman who lives out her socialite lifestyle in her imagination. She takes talking to yourself to a whole new level. I realize there is a big difference between saying your thoughts out loud and being in an altered state of mind. I loved that movie, but it made me more conscious of my occasional habit.

Last winter, I drove to King Soopers grocery store late in the day. I ran into my friend, Jack, who works in the produce department. We chatted until I sensed that I had taken up enough of his time, yammering on about the weather and the price of beans.

I said goodbye and pushed my cart forward. Someone to my right muttered something unintelligible. My cart hadn’t bumped into to anyone, but I said, “Sorry,” just in case I had impeded their progress between the bins of potatoes and the mushroom display. Continue reading

BEWARE of Cyberspace Snake Oil!

Have you been bought?

Seduced by the glitz, the glam, attracting paparazzi like steel filings to a magnet, and for some, the bouffant hairdo their personal stylist creates, many are in a full-out sprint to the top. They don’t care what they have to do to get there. Nothing is comparable to feeling adored and having screaming fans shout out, “We want more! We want more!” They sneeze and fans applaud.

Beware of snake oil salesmen

 

Most of us, like 99.99%, will never experience this. But what if you could buy this feeling?

Would you consider buying people to like you?

Continue reading

An Open Letter to My Left Hand

Dear Left Hand,

I am sincerely sorry for falling on you and breaking one of Wrist’s bones. It was painful. What might have been worse was the relief I felt when realizing your superior twin, Right Hand didn’t break, because it’s like my, never mind. You have been in a rivalry since birth, but that isn’t what I meant.

An open letLet me start by thanking you for not waking me up at night. It must be difficult while being restricted by the air cast. You’ve never complained, except for when you reflexively tried to grasp the lettuce box as it slipped from Right Hand. I felt that yelp of pain.

I’m sure you think I like Right Hand best. I use it a lot more often than you and the truth is I find it stronger and more dexterous. So I’ll admit that I am guilty of this favoritism.

I shouldn’t have been so insensitive when frustrated by your limitations in the past.

When I heard that it was good for you to be used, I let you blow-dry my hair. You missed my head altogether. Then you tried to brush it, but couldn’t get the angle of the bristles into the strands. The worst was when you bruised my gums when brushing my teeth.

I oftentimes have no idea what you are doing. Continue reading

Blogging Tips from a Wild Rider: How to Hook Readers

Blogging tips

I’ve been to spam prison and the school of ‘We’ll Knock Your Ass Down and See How Fast You Get Up, Sucker,’ but through it all I’ve been that long-lasting sponge that soaks up information without the nasty smell. So I will begin 2016 with a new series. One that will help you transform into “Super Blogger” without the unwieldy cape and tights. Okay. You can wear what you want.

Credentials:

Although I haven’t made a dime from this blog, not even a penny, I’ve learned a ton over nearly five years and writing 460 posts. Yep. If you disregard my lack of income, you could say I was something of a professional.

Where did I learn these valuable lessons I am willing to impart? Why through zillions of blog posts read online as well as the aforementioned ‘School Of Hard Knocks’ or SOHK. If you’ve been blogging for a while, you have probably been there too. It’s located in a war zone where IEDs explode all around you. You hide inside a windowless, bombed-out shelter in the middle of a sandy desert wilderness exposed in all directions. Afraid to step, you fear blowing your beloved blog to smithereens. You remain inside, trapped, naked and afraid, and with no way out until you solve the problem. I’ve been there many times.

I have a designated parking spot with my name on it.

Lesson #1 a.

You may be unaware of this simple trick to bring readers to your blog. No. Not by using the word, ‘sex, boobs, or I’m cheating on my husband’ in the title. I’ll get to that another day. This trick is solved by simply pushing a button. NOT THE RED BUTTON! Continue reading

Discovering the Past to Understand the Future

Sometimes discoveries from our past can help us understand our journey to the present and the road between. No matter how we envision our future, it never turns out like we imagined.

When retrieving my daughter’s birthday presents, I discovered a long ago forgotten and deteriorating cardboard box hidden in the dark corner of my art room closet. It was filled with Badger Herald Newspapers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I had illustrated the top stories for a few issues when I was an art student. I pulled out the first three.

Badger Herald

Nostalgia washed over me with a glimpse into my college days and memories associated with some of my drawings. At that time, I imagined illustrating for an advertising agency after graduation. I hadn’t dreamed of becoming a medical illustrator. Like the golden hue of the old newsprint, I remembered popcorn for dinner, skip-and-go-nakeds (beer, vodka and lemonade), and all-nighters spent in creating art projects and cramming for blue book exams. I found them too.

I thought about how much my life has changed in those thirty-five years. I worked as a professional illustrator, married, moved to Colorado, have two amazing kids and only recently found my passion in writing. Talk about wildest dreams.

It’s funny how ironic life can be. I gasped when this flash from my past peeked out from the box. I had totally forgotten that I had drawn it. Back then The Empire Strikes Back was the newest movie in the Star Wars franchise. Finding my old illustration coincided with the new release. The two movies echoed my life with changes of their own.

The Empire Strikes Back
My name has changed from ‘Sue McCartan’ to Susie Lindau.

When attending a premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it struck me how the thirty-five years had been melted down and recast to reflect changes in our society. Instead of the typical male lead, the movie began with a badass female protagonist, Rey, who meets her black sidekick named Finn. Their romcom chemistry sizzled on the screen similar to the attraction between Han Solo and Princess Leia.

Star wars geek

That’s a pretend light saber in my hands. A real one is too dangerous.

Compared to Leia’s confining robe, Rey’s leggings and layered garb proved to be a better choice for fighting and running. She could take care of herself and didn’t need to be rescued. Another role reversal duly noted.

Instead of Yoda, we meet Maz Kanata, another female to balance out the male cast. She is the leathery, wizened counterpart without the strange manner of speaking.

When my favorite characters, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, R2D2, C3PO, and finally Luke Skywalker, appeared on screen, it was like reuniting with old friends. I slipped into the comfort of their easy banter and one-liners like my college hoody. We had all grown older, hopefully wiser and wore more smile lines than frown. I didn’t want it to end.

When the credits rolled, my shoulders slumped. This spectacular feature film ended in the ultimate cliffhanger. Another new episode won’t premier until May 26th, 2017. Just like when my college days had ended and I packed up that cardboard box, I wondered what the future would bring. This I know. It will be different than I imagine.

Are there characters from a movie you would like to see again? Did you see The Force Awakens? Are you looking forward to your next class reunion?

For more stories click here!

 

Want to change your luck?

How lucky are you? Lightning has struck my pointy head several times in my life. I’m that person, but believe you have to play in order to win. So when I drove to pick up Danny after skiing late Saturday afternoon, I made a pitstop at City Market to buy a Powerball ticket. I assumed there would be a long line and was glad he waited inside the Grand Lodge at Peak 7. The sun had set behind the Ten Mile Range and the temperature dove.

primark line

I thought the line would be as long as this one.

Across the country, hopeful winners waited in long lines to purchase their winning tickets. Not at this Breckenridge grocery store. No line existed.

I haven’t played in over a year and messed up the first two tickets. Luckily, no one waited behind me. When I finally filled in the little empty squares properly, the clerk asked, “So if you win, will you take the lump sum or a yearly payout? They take about sixty percent in taxes.”

The sound of a needle scratching a record drowned out the hum of bustling shoppers and Muzak playing from overhead speakers.

Whoa. That’s a lot of money for Uncle Sam. It doesn’t really seem fair since he doesn’t buy a ticket and then sweat while looking up the winning numbers.

“I don’t know. Probably a yearly payout.”

Chances were 1 out of 292,000,000 and nobody won. If you lived in an unplugged world for the last few days, you probably don’t know the jackpot grew to 1.3 BILLION!

I Googled the tax. They take 40% of the one-time payout. You would pay 4% in taxes if you live in Colorado and choose the thirty-year payout. Would I want Sammy boy to hang on to my money? I’m not sure. I would LOVE to have that problem.

There is quite a range of taxes. It depends on where you live. I got this from the USA Mega Millions Site: Continue reading

When Best Laid Plans Go Wrong

While waiting for my name to be called in urgent care, I thought about the last two days. No matter how much you plan, life has its own ideas. And why do they call it urgent care? There never seems to be any urgency at all.

me

It all started on Monday. Taking my own advice from A Tiny Tale of Terror, I purchased a planner and jotted down to-do lists for the week. It felt satisfying to cross off small steps toward my 2016 goals, but I was up in the air about Wednesday. Our mountain house is in the midst of a remodel and my husband, Danny, planned to drive up to check it out.

Angst formed in my gut. I considered going, but the round-trip drive would take four hours out of my day. “Why are you going?” I asked. “We’re paying a contractor to handle all of this for us.”

He shrugged and said, “You don’t have to go.” Unhindered by my concerns, he drove up. I decided to work at home. The angst in my gut twisted into a tight knot.

After working all morning, the Colorado warm before the storm drew me outside to take down Christmas decorations. It was another chore on my list and forecasters predicted snow to roll in late Thursday.

Angst evaporated in the afternoon sun. I made progress.

As I turned a corner to continue stuffing artificial garlands into a container, I slipped.

My brain went into s l o w  m o t i o n. That has never happened to me before. It’s always in hyperdrive. Talk about a crazy feeling.

One second slowed down to thirty.

THOUGHT PROCESS: Continue reading

When There Are No Words

I never have writer’s block. Words pop into my mind all day and all night in my dreams. They pop out of my mouth when I least expect it. Ask anyone.

Tell me to pick ONE word to symbolize 2016 and I go blank.

words

Diana S. Schwenk from Talk to Diana and The Bloggess brought the one word challenge to my attention. Diana chose “tenacity” in 2014, “service” in 2015 and “love” for 2016. The Bloggess chose “simple.”

Those were the words I was going to choose. GAH! Several other words crossed my mind and then swirled away in the wind like January snowflakes.

I’m pretty stoked for the new year, so “go” came to mind. It seemed a little too high energy. I don’t want to burn out by February.

Several Aries horoscopes suggested writing down goals and checking them off lists to keep me grounded and feeling like I accomplish something this year. This was after my last post about the SAME THING! Great astrological minds think alike. Wait. I don’t have one of those... Anyway, “grounded” seemed too blah or like I would be in “time-out” for a year. Not good.

When driving down from the mountains took longer than expected, I tuned into the week’s Top 40 Countdown. 

And then this happened. Continue reading

A Tiny Tale of Terror or How to Train Your Resolutions

Many of you will innocently make resolutions for 2016 not realizing the kind of monsters they will become or the terror they will wreak. Be forewarned. This is not a tale for the faint of heart. This could happen to you.

On the first day of the year, many of us make a list comprised of all the goals we would like to accomplish. At that moment, our New Year’s resolutions are born. We point them in the right direction with a compass and strict orders to focus on the path and most of us don’t give them another thought. We assume they will find their way to achieving our goals by the end of the year. Sometimes they have other ideas.

new resolutions 2016

Many lose their way while meandering through the early months of the year without a care or a clue. Being young, restless and irresponsible they take breaks, play games, and socialize since they have an entire year to cross the finish line.

By May, Continue reading

How do you know if you’re ready?

The New Year is only days away, but how do you know if you’re ready? Don’t worry. I’ve made a list for you. If you can relate to five or more of them, then you are ready for 2016.

You are ready for 2016…

when your goals for 2015 are not only unattainable, but laughable.

laughing

when going to the gym next year seems like a lot more fun.

fun with balls

when 2K15 has been so overdone, you just can’t. Continue reading