The Big Reveal and WINNERS!

Holiday traditions are different for everyone. Some cut down their own Christmas trees while others host huge holiday gatherings. I don’t have time for that. I’m too busy crafting my greeting cards.

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Now that most of them are in the mail, I can relax and focus on the rest of my Christmas traditions, like shopping, baking, shopping, trimming the trees, shopping, wrapping gifts, shopping…

And DANCING!

I thought I would return to my old-fashioned printed cards, but not this year. It’s really hard for me to settle for something less. I’ve never settled in my life. Why start now? This card is another pop-up.

I confided in a friend about the stress involved in making them. She asked why I bothered.

I had to think about that. Continue reading

You Still Have a Chance!

I have spent hours sketching, drawing, crafting, cutting, slicing and pasting my Christmas cards in a sort of elf-like assembly line without the elves. While up to my elbows in paper scraps, I looked forward to that blissful nirvanic state attained after slipping them into envelopes.

A lot of love goes into each card and I would like to share it! Here’s your chance to win one.

Elf materials

Every year, I draw my family engaging in some kind of holiday or winter activity.

Guess what we are doing in this year’s card, leave a comment, and win!

Merry, merry!

 

Win a Handmade Card!

I’m the type of person who sets my bar so high, I can’t see it without binoculars. Many years ago, I toured Patsy Ramsey’s house (Yes. That Patsy Ramsey) as part of the Historic Homes for the Holidays tour. Afterward, I took my decorating to a whole new level. And my life was ruined.

Then it happened again. *gulp*

Since Danny and I married, my annual Christmas card portrayed our family engaging in some kind of holiday activity. I would sketch something, ink it, and then take it to a printer. This process became a lot easier with the invention of computers and printers.

The problem? I’m always in search of a challenge. Dang!

On a fateful day a few years ago, I flipped through a Christmas pop-up book by Sabuda and was cursed again. This started a whole new level of insanity.

Inside of Christmas Card

Last year’s card.

I was sucked into the vortex of drawing, slicing, cutting, pasting, and folding. This year, the pop-up mechanism was so strange looking, I had to refer to my prototype to fold it for the first 50. Yep. I’m producing a lot of cards this year.

Other examples of past Christmas madness.

So! Want to win one of these crazy creations? I have five cards to give away.

Guess what we are doing in this year’s card, leave a comment, and WIN! 

BONUS! I’ll link up your latest blog post.

If I have too many winners, Roxy will draw them from a hat.

On your mark, get set, GUESS! 

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The Hunt Continues

In a recent post, Roxy, my fearless Bichon, attacked a hapless and humongous coyote and lived to perch on the back of my couch another day. How she got away with only four puncture wounds, we’ll never know. She is all healed up and has become a house dog for the winter. This is not a big sacrifice since she prefers to stay inside while sleeping on a fluffy blanket and pillow.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my son brought two of his furry friends for a visit. When Danny and I took them for a walk, we spotted a more normal-sized coyote hunting in the open space near our home.

We see you

The coyote looks much farther away than it was.

We stopped and stared at it. Would it stalk us? Would it ignore us? Would it howl? While we thought about whether to continue our walk along the trail, it sat down and stared at us.

Luckily, a fat rabbit struck out of its hiding place. They began a new staring contest.

Jack Rabbit: You can’t see me because I’m playing statue.

Milly Coyote: Ha! A much better feast option.

Jack Rabbit: Ha! You are looking right through me. I am so good at this.

Milly Coyote: How stupid can rabbits be?

Milly Coyote: Ha! I scared off that couple with their tiny appetizers. I am so powerful. Where did that rabbit go?

We let the animals play their game and walked up the hill instead. I glanced over my shoulder several times to be sure the coyote wasn’t following us. When we arrived home, the three fury friends piled into bed, thankful to be alive another day.

Three friends are we

I haven’t seen Adolf, the gargantuan coyote, but I ran into a couple who had. They were surprised to see one that huge. After a comment from List of X, I looked it up. A hybrid of coyote, wolf, and dog, called a coywolf, is taking over parts of the country. According to Field and Stream, it is a “super-predator.” That makes Roxy even more lucky.

Why did Roxy go after it in the first place? Vanessa-Jane Chapman said it best – “I often think domestic animals behave oddly because they retain part of their wild instincts, but they’re generally protected by us, so aren’t always as streetwise as they think they are, and hence don’t always make the best decisions!”

How did Roxy get away? Pegoleg and TedBook suggested Adolf laughed hysterically when he saw my ferocious pipsqueak. Maybe he couldn’t get a good grip.

Would you rather sleep inside or look for an outdoor adventure? Do you have predators in your neighborhood? Do you hibernate for the winter?

Looking for the first post about Adolf the Coywolf? Click here.

 

 

Elfish Holiday Survival Tips

If you are a little behind in your holiday shopping, decorating, and baking, don’t get down on yourself. You can always regift, dim the lights and order from the bakery.

This is the time of year when everyone believes in Santa and Christmas miracles. If you don’t, keep it to yourself.

Embrace your inner elf. You’ll burn extra calories from the overwhelming anticipation of Christmas, so you won’t gain any weight from the dozens of cookies you’ll consume. Continue reading

Change Your World

black sunset

We live in violent times. When we turn on the news and are inundated with horrific events, it feels like a punch in the gut. We feel ordinary, helpless, and without hope. Some become angry while others spiral downward in various levels of depression.

One person can’t change the world, right? So we vent. We rant. We play the blame game. There may be truth in those words, but I doubt many with an opposing viewpoint will say, “Oh. Wow. You’re right.” I gotta believe sending out all that negativity, cursing, hatred, and frustration makes us feel worse. Without being aware of it, this powerlessness can spill over into other aspects of our lives.

Instead, I have a proposition for you. 

Each day you are presented with choices. With a little self-control and patience, you can shift the way you react in your own world.

I challenge you to take all that negative energy and funnel it in a positive way. It’s the holiday season. It shouldn’t be hard. In one trip to the mall you will be faced with all kinds of opportunities to make a difference.

How?  Continue reading

Transition – A Photo Essay

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Seasonal transition in Colorado often means snow, one of my favorite things. What’s your favorite?

This is a response to The Weekly Photo Challenge – Transition. 

What was she thinking?

Fierce Bichon1

We all can be impulsive from time to time. We don’t think before speaking or can behave recklessly. I size up most situations, but sometimes it’s difficult to anticipate the reactions to our actions.

I’ll never understand my dog, Roxy. She’s a Bichon who is pint-sized at a whomping fifteen pounds of fur and energy. She’s submissive to us although she can be “independent” like most dogs.

When a dog is about Roxy’s size, she will play for hours. The kennel workers love her since she is “gregarious” and “super friendly,” much like her owner. She shies away from larger dogs.

With coyotes she gets a Wild Hair. We have a pack who frequently sniffs around our yard. It’s a part of living in Boulder County. We live in their territory. I respect them and try to stay out of their way.

Roxy doesn’t see it that way. She thinks she owns this plot of land and God help anyone or thing that trespasses.

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My office is upstairs with the best views of the house. While typing yet another query letter late yesterday afternoon, Roxy sat in her usual spot up on the back of couch. She likes to keep a watchful eye from her perch.

She growled and then barked. I assumed someone walked by with a dog. I kept typing. When she flew off the couch and rocketed through the house with a frenzied howl, I knew it was trouble. That particular yap is reserved for coyotes. Continue reading

Blog post ideas for NaBloPoMo or WHATEVER

I thought NaBloPoMo was a new game of swimming pool tag.

“NABLO!” I shout with my eyes closed.

“Pomo,” replies a meek little voice while splashing away.

When I discovered it stood for National Blog Posting Month, where participants are expected to post something (anything), every single freakin’ day for one month, I knew I was out. I had looked forward to NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, and had planned to finish a couple projects. Well, that isn’t happening either. Last year I enjoyed riding the super soaker tidal wave of tireless typists. (Say that three times fast.)

I’ve noticed a few blogging friends huffing and puffing their way to the halfway point. Some have posted about how hard it is to come up with new ideas. Many blank out under pressure. The stage is empty as the restless crowd murmurs. Someone in the cheap seats coughs while the clock ticks away. Tick…Tock…Tick…

Nanowrimo 5

My problem is having too many ideas, which comes from having a creative, ADD mind and not enough time, so I thought I’d share a few links. I hope to fill your stage with self-effacing stories, snowstorm driving, swooping airplane jockeys, crazy dreams, imps, and wimps, but first things first.

Relax and click on the blue links. Let ideas flow onto your empty stage with a new storyline and cast of characters. Open your mind. Release the tension from your neck and shoulders. Feel yourself float above your computer as ideas rush into your head. …zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..

*snort* What? Oh, you’re still here. *clears throat*

Here is a list of blog post ideas to make your last 15 days of NaBloPoMo a lot easier. You’re not posting? Sit back, relax and read on and try not to fall asleep:  

nanowrimo 2014 2

How about sharing your most mortifying moments? My list is long. I could add more embarrassments to it, DAILY. Here are My Most Mortifying Moments just for You! 

WARNING: With this prompt it is helpful to have no shame, but we’re all friends here. Right? Continue reading

What the WHAT? Signs of Life

After traveling to Wisconsin twice over the last three weeks for funerals and memorial services, I woke up with renewed energy and looked forward to “Birthday Week.” Wanting to catch up with writing and blogging, I planned to take care of a few errands first. Imagine my surprise when cleaning up the breakfast dishes. I discovered this in my garbage disposal.

plant in insinkerator

How could a plant germinate on the rubber shield? Three weeks ago, I donned rubber gloves and scrubbed that filthy thing with bleach. We don’t eat sprouts, so it had to be some kind of seed that stuck in the crack. A pumpkin seed? Continue reading

The House Sitter – 450 Word Flash Fiction

haunting house

After turning off the ignition, the wiper blades stopped their rhythmic beat and Megan stepped into the mist. She pulled the mail from the wrought iron box and then shook rainwater from the plastic sleeve covering the newspaper. Glancing at the Victorian home cloaked in a gray shroud, she shrugged uneasy feelings from her tight shoulders. The home was horror movie cliché with its peeling paint and saggy railings propped up around its wraparound porch. Taking care of the Friedmans’ house while they traveled through Europe was easy pocket money, but something about it creeped her out. One more week.

She avoided stepping in puddles on the uneven sidewalk and made her way to the front door under a canopy of ancient oak trees. Megan imagined they stood guard with watchful eyes hidden within gnarled trunks until their knobby and arthritic branched arms reached out with claw-like fingers to snatch a length of her long hair. She shuddered.

Tapping the number into the lockbox, she retrieved the skeleton key Continue reading

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

Dad collage

I don’t think we are ever prepared for the death of a loved one. It is a loss so profound, it cuts a hole in our center, our core and our heart. It leaves us unbalanced, wounded and bleeding. We mourn the ones who die before us and struggle to imagine life without them.

dad and mom

Our family has been hit with three deaths in seven months. I knew Danny’s family before I discovered the Lindau boys had an older brother. Our parents were very close friends and our families often celebrated holidays together. Danny’s brother, his mother, (one month ago), and now my father have left us.

dad mom patty and me

My Father the Madman.

You can’t prepare for it. No matter if it is a slow goodbye or a shock, the finality is something hard to comprehend until it happens. I have imagined it and nothing comes close. I thought I wouldn’t be able to function, but instead I’ve been in hyperdrive. I think I’m still in shock.

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The Secret to Living a Long and Happy Life

But I have found a few things that help. Gathering with family to share memories is the first step in healing. The night my dad died, I made an autumn supper for my husband and children who live in Denver. We laughed and cried over the loss of my dad. He was a great man and could be very funny.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

dad and the gang

Trippin’ Through Dublin – A Photo Essay

The other way to deal with extreme stress is to get busy. Do housework, laundry, cook, clean, any mindless task or normal activity. I washed windows when I got the news. I cried while finishing. After cleaning up, I cooked our family dinner. Exhausted and reeling, it was worth the effort.

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A Passionate Lifetime.

Writing has become a part of my daily routine, so the next morning, I wrote his obituary. I had thought I would regret not preparing it ahead of time, but discovered a healing process in Continue reading

Drop and Hop for New Followers, If You Dare…

Boston graveyard

Want new followers? The party starts right now. It will be fast and fun. Speed is good especially when zombies may lurk and your name is whispered by the wind. OooOOoooOOOoooo…..

DROP a link to your blog in the comments, including a pitch, describing what you write about.

haunted drop and hop

HOP to other blogs and check them out. Like what you see? Subscribe. Want them to know you came from the Drop and Hop Party? Tell them, “Susie sent me,” and they should click back to your haunt.

Blast this link on Twitter and Facebook or whatever flavor social media you prefer. The more that participate, the more followers you will gain.

The witch’s brew is bubbling and the finger sandwiches are fresh. The barista can make anything you like. The bar is always open.

The party will last as long as the ever living dead, so stop by anytime. 

Enjoy!

Please consider following my blog too, or else…. *insert cackle here*

 

A Twenty-Eight Year Adventure – Photo Essay

mordor

Every young couple starts out with the basics: a map to where you think you want to go and a compass that always leads you back home.

Beaver pond aspens

We started off like many naive newlyweds, sinking our toes into the grasses of verdant valleys not realizing what lay ahead. Our journey has led us to wicked wintry peaks where we slipped from our foothold, but we bundled up and braved the biting wind together.

Sometimes we struck out on a new path and bushwhacked our way through avalanche areas filled with fallen trees as the sun set over the next horizon. When one of us tumbled from the mountain, the other was there to lend a hand. The worst days were spent heading in the wrong direction while scrambling over fields of boulders and taking leaps over deadly crevasses and yet we never traveled alone.

And that was just last weekend. Continue reading