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.

mom and dad1

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.

Kelly's first christmas 001 (2)

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.

dad in the studio 1

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

Now Everyone Can Sing Happy Birthday!

In 1893, Patty and Mildred Hill composed the Good Morning Song and sang it to Patty’s kindergarten class. In 1922, the sisters published the Everyday Song Book containing the Good Morning and Birthday Song. The Summy Company bought the rights in 1935. For the next eighty years royalties have been collected for singing the popular tune. When Warner/Chappell bought the song in 1988, singing it in movies, restaurants, or any other paying venue, could cost up to $10,000. That’s why you seldom hear the song sung in movies. Restaurants like Red Robin composed their own Happy Birthday song to stay out of trouble. Customers could sing it in restaurants, but not the staff.

Happy Birthday Song

On September 22nd, after years of disputing the rights to the song, Continue reading

Please, don’t pass the squash.

When watching contestants eat strange animal parts or bugs on the cancelled show Fear Factor, it seldom made me flinch. Bear Grylls boiled a mouse in urine and ate it. I nodded my head and said, “I could do that.”

But hand me a plate of acorn squash with its savory steam rising up to fill my nostrils and I gag.

fear factorWhen I was a kid and my taste buds were all fresh and new, a lot of flavors were too strong for my virginal palette. I’m an adult now. My tongue has gotten around. Years of burning out taste buds by accidentally eating hot peppers, or tasting hot soups and stews still bubbling in the pot, has made them less sensitive. About the only foods I won’t eat is something that tastes spoiled….or squash. Continue reading

How to Add Excitement to Your Life

Remember when you were a kid and you went out exploring, wide-eyed and full of enthusiasm? What happened to that childlike wonder? Are you so bored, you find yourself watching Bachelor in Paradise and realize you’ve hit a new low? Here are a few ideas to keep summer from becoming a yawnfest.

Take a stay-cation. Become a tourist in your own town. Check out new shops, restaurants, food, festivals, music, museums and events.

Pearl Street Mall

Check your city’s calendar. Many have summer events like outdoor movie night. Google: calendar of events for your city. Your local newspaper or Chamber of Commerce should have a website with a list.  Continue reading

Deconstructing the Avant Garde: Ed McCartan’s Art Retrospective

When my dad moved into the nursing home, I didn’t think an art show would be possible. I shelved the idea of a gallery opening. His amazing work has only been shown publicly at outdoor art shows once or twice, more than fifty years ago. He has always been a humble man and he remains unrecognized for a large body of artwork created during his lifetime.

Ed McCartan Self-portrait

Ed McCartan’s self-portrait.

Then Hospice took over. They came up with an idea to do a retrospective at the nursing home where he is living, the Evansville Manor, a few blocks from my parents’ house in Evansville, Wisconsin. Danny and I had to go.

Drawing had helped my dad with the transition into the nursing home. He would sit in the window of his small room and sketch from photographs or from a book of animals. A few weeks before the show, he stopped drawing.

Ed McCartan Art show 2

Dad and Mom.

My mom had framed many pieces over the course of the last year. He had forty paintings to show. We set them up in order from earliest to latest work. Continue reading

Is it safe to go back in the water?

When I read in the newspaper that Jaws would be shown at a local pool, I had to go. The last time I saw it in its entirety was in a Madison, Wisconsin theater in 1975. When a bloated dead guy floated out of a capsized boat’s window, I kicked the seat ahead of me so hard, I bruised my leg. I didn’t want to take a bath for a week.

The idea of allowing people to swim while watching a film that terrified me forty years ago was too much. This was an adventure I didn’t want to miss.

When we arrived, we staked out our turf across the pool from the big screen. The showing was free so I expected a mob. A surfing music band played poolside to get us in the mood.

photo 2 (5)

There were about as many people in the water as out of the water.

Continue reading

Feel Like Summer is Slipping Away?

Once the 4th of July has been celebrated, the lazy days of summer accelerate at warp speed. Soon, our shadows will stretch, the leaves will begin to change and the kids will head back to school.

I’ve learned how to slow down this special time of year while the days are long and warm. Want to know my secret? Make time for yourself and get outside!

These are a few of the hikes I’ve taken in Colorado this summer.

Fitness challenge hikes

Join the Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. Create some memories while exercising your body and I’ll link you up. Take a couple of pictures while walking, running, biking, swimming, cliff diving, or dancing (the very best exercise), and post a picture or two on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WRFChallenge. I’ll include it here on the Wild Ride. Continue reading

Introvert or Extrovert? Maybe You’re an Ambivert.

We all know people who are so shy, we have to pry words out of their mouths. The whole room goes quiet when they begin to speak. We call them introverts. Other people can talk to anyone in any social situation. We label them extroverts.

introverts and extroverts

Introverts and extroverts are polar opposites, so how can we be one or the other? My eyes roll with every debate. Introvert or extrovert? GAH! There’s a gap the size of the Grand Canyon between them. It’s the perfect place for another personality type called, ambiverts. I would guess it comes from the Latin word ambi – both and verts – green. Both green? No. That’s probably not right.

In order to understand this new personality type, we need to review what we know about introverts and extroverts.

Introverts are reflective and happier alone with their thoughts. They energize through being by themselves. They stress out in social situations. If they do go out, they are exhausted afterward.

Continue reading

A Passionate Lifetime


Imagine living without the internet, television, or electricity. It’s hard, right? My dad, Ed McCartan, grew up in such a place; A farm located miles away from the closest town, Lake Five, Wisconsin. He went to school in the classic one-room school house and graduated, the only one in his class. Although he is quick with a smile and a joke, it’s possible his shy manner came from this isolation. Somewhere along the line, he discovered art. He bought a motorcycle and commuted to Milwaukee to attend the Layton School of Art. Continue reading

An Insane Circumstance


This could only happen to me.

Have you ever questioned your sanity? I never expected that going to a ladies’ room to pee would cause an alarm to go off inside my head. I seriously had a moment when I thought I might be going crazy. Not in a, “Oh, wow. That was weird,” kind of way. More like a, “So this is what it’s like to lose your mind,” kind of moment. I haven’t questioned my sanity very often. Like never.

Last Saturday, I volunteered at WordCamp Denver. After I helped with registration, took a few informative classes about WordPress and drank three cups of coffee. I had to pee. Continue reading

Boccone Dolce, Sewing Machines, Tallboys and Mom

This Mother’s Day, I look back at simpler times and honor my own mother who set the bar pretty high. She is still there to listen to me. When I visit, she pulls out her well-worn cookbooks and concocts gourmet meals. The last time, she made boccone dolce, a layered dessert of meringue and chocolatey goodness. I know!

mom patty and i2I’m not sure I could have survived the drama of elementary or high school without my mom. After skipping home from school, she would greet me with a smile, something warm from the oven, and the question, “How was school today?” I would plop down at the half-moon counter my dad installed in our small kitchen and snatch a warm cookie, its chocolate chips still melted, and would proceed to recount the trivial events of my young life. I always had a lot to say, as you can imagine, but she would listen and hand out Continue reading

I’m Back! A Photo Essay

I have emerged from a long winter of isolation. Two years of recovering from surgeries broke me in places, but where my body and psyche were shattered, I am stronger. Focused. Driven. I am stoked for the challenges that lie ahead. I am ready to take back my Wild Life.susie's knee

For me, skiing symbolizes health, strength, and freedom after setbacks. I looked forward to hitting the slopes again.

I had hiked and biked to get back in shape after a Makoplasty partial knee replacement on January 5th, but my physical therapist instructed me to build strength in my muscles to stabilize the knee instead. I took a few weeks of Pilates and strengthening classes.

Were my muscles strong enough or would I have to ride back down on the chairlift?

I made it to the top! Now for the true test.

The top of A-BasinI would be skiing the heaviest and slushiest snow of the year. It would have been painful to ski with my old knee. How would my body handle it?

Continue reading

New Music from Muse! Released One Hour Ago

Muse is one of my favorite bands. I rocked out to them live in Denver and will never forget their incredible show. While running errands today, I heard their new release “Dead Inside,” on two different radio stations. As soon as I got home, I checked out their YouTube channel. They uploaded their new release an hour ago. Woohoo!

Their Album, Drones will be released on June 8th, 2015.

I turned a corner with recovery from knee surgery, so I am rocking out!

Had to share. Enjoy!

This may not be suitable for work. Artistic nudity abounds.

Check out their website HERE! 

 What is your favorite band? What music really gets you moving?

Trash-Talking and March Madness – I’m In!

While perusing my WordPress reader, I noticed a new post by super blogger and author, Nathan Bransford. It was titled, “7th Annual Blog Bracket Challenge!!

I could not figure out what kind of bracket challenge could warrant two exclamation points so I clicked to find out. He was creating a group for the ESPN [college basketball] Tournament Challenge for March Madness. Joining would mean choosing the winners out of 64 teams. All I knew was CU was out and my alma mater, UW-Madison, was ranked pretty high.

I left a comment:

“It sounds like another social media time suck, so I’M IN!”

old basketball photo

Even though it was free to enter, ESPN will award the first place winner a $20,000 Best Buy gift card and a trip to the 2015 Maui Invitational. Another winner will be chosen from the top 1%. Nathan is offering a query letter review or something else agreed upon to the first place winner of his group. There was plenty of incentive, so I checked it out.

After creating a profile, I found Nathan’s group. I knew I wouldn’t have a chance in hell of winning since I would be guessing while competing against 39 others, but I’m always up for meeting new people and liked the idea of trying something new. I was drawn into The Madness for the first time. Continue reading

Trippin’ Through Dublin – Photo Essay

Every year on the 17th of March, the Leprechauns scatter their gold coins throughout my house and I boil corned beef and cabbage while listening to Irish music. This year, I’m taking a trip back in time, back to our trip to Ireland.

Danny and I traveled with my dad and mom and our two kids, Kelly and Courtney, in 2001.

We stayed in a friend’s apartment a mile away from Dublin’s downtown.

Dublin apartment 2

While walking downtown, the Lord Mayor arrived in style at the Kerrygold Horse Show.

Downtown Dublin 4

We walked through an arched passageway

Downtown Dublin 7

and were welcomed by a harmonica player. Continue reading