The Bright Side Top Ten List

Most of you come to the Wild Ride for an upbeat quirky post and I don’t think I have let you down yet. This is Boulder, Colorado’s eighth, yes, 8TH week of snow in a row. Talk about quirky!

My husband, Danny, and I enjoyed summer-like weather last weekend. We spent Saturday afternoon and evening on Pearl Street taking in all the sights and sounds of spring in gorgeous 75 degree weather. I walked barefoot on Sunday. I should have known it was temporary.

Pearl Street Mall

Our never-ending winter cycle continued when another six inches dumped from the sky. Instead of a traditional Maypole dancing kind of day, we got a picture postcard of Christmas in May.

May Day 2

Being a hopeless optimist, here are my

Top Ten Reasons Why I am Still Welcoming the Snow:

#1 – West Nile has not been reported in our state.

#2 – The ants I slaughtered last year at this time, are still deep down in their little ant apartments where they belong.

#3 – After realizing I am allergic to yellow jackets, I am happy to report not one buzzed around in the snow today. My traps are locked and loaded.

May day 2013

#4 – I can’t mow the lawn, weed, trim hedges, or deadhead (dang!), so I have more time to write.

#5 – With all of this amazing moisture, we won’t have to start the sprinkler system for at least a couple of days. Our bill may stay in the two digit range this month.

#6 – No wildfires have been reported in our state for the month of May.

#7 – Prolonging my hibernation means wearing cozy Smart Wool socks and eating fresh bread and homemade soup. My Dumb Ass cotton socks will have to wait a few more days.

#8 –  This crazy weather gives me lots of fodder for social media posts.

May TweetMay day 3

#9 – I have another chance to make a snow angel with Roxy.

#10 – I will appreciate spring so much more when it finally arrives, even if I have to wait until July.

Are you an optimist, a pessimist, or a realist?

Related posts:

April 2011,2012 and 2013 – A Photo Essay

April! April! Where for Art Thou?

April 2011, 2012, and 2013 – A Photo Essay

someone give me a sign!

This morning, I watched these robins ruffle their feathers to keep the snow from accumulating. Poor birds…

In March of 2013, a cycle started with snowstorms arriving every Monday. Mother Nature must be on steroids because this has continued for seven weeks!

This is last year’s post comparing April of 2011 to 2012.

A Heatwave Cometh Early 

April 13th, 2011

A lot has been written about global warming and it has become a hot political issue. Pun intended. Regardless of your stand on whether it exists, it has been a warm spring here in Boulder, Colorado. Last year there was so much snow in the mountains, we worried about flooding. This year it was warm and dry. Snow totals are 39% to 49% of normal.

March 23, 2012

This is the first year my wisteria has bloomed. I am amazed that it has survived our harsh winters here over the last 10 years. This is Colorado not California for God’s sake. I love it!

I am kinda digging this warm spring.

April 24th, 2012

Temperatures reached a very hot 88 degrees today and it feels more like June 24th than April 24th.

I have already battled ants this season. The miller moths that usually migrate in the millions at the end of May became the next unwelcome early arrival. I can hear them flapping their wings in the night above our bed. They are one month early and they never knock before coming into the house…So rude!

This foreshortened photo of my legs is really weird and so attractive!

In April 2011, we had a seasonal snowstorm that set back the spring foliage and nipped our fruit trees. The pruned die-back on the rose bushes filled a humongous trash can.

April 24th, 2012 – There is very little die-back and that will save me soooo much time!

April 13th, 2011

An icy garden

April 2011

April 24th, 2012

These are the last of the tulips in 2012 and it isn’t even May!

Last year in April the snow slowed down the tulips and this year they have already bloomed!

This year our spring is so summer-like.

Last year was like an ice age. What a difference!

Lilacs are in full bloom on April 24th, 2012. I have similar photos from last year  in the middle of May!

We are not out of the woods for freezing temperatures until May 15th, but if we continue with this warm weather, we will have amazing fruit this year!

I have already made fresh rhubarb pie and the raspberries are about to bloom.

Raspberry rhubarb pie. Yum!

This is the end of a very lean ski season.

Avoiding the rocks.

Climbing them instead!

If it does threaten to freeze, I will be the crazy lady in the yard protecting everything with sheets like a Hampton’s homeowner covering furniture at the end of summer.

It is a good thing that weather isn’t like a bell curve or we would hit temperatures in the 140’s in July. It is supposed to chill out at the end of this week, but I have lost my faith in weather forecasters.

In the meantime, I will take advantage of the nice weather!


April 2013? Not so much.


We’ve had over 40 inches of snow this April and it ain’t over yet! Last week’s snow melted over the weekend. Another 8 inches fell overnight and it is still snowing…

Scientists are scrambling to make sense of the strange weather. A press release from CU-Boulder yesterday, announced findings that climate zones will shift faster as climate warms. This was the result of a joint research project conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and CU.

All I know is every inch of moisture is welcome respite after a long dry winter. We won’t have any forest fires as long as snow is on the ground.

Breckenridge and Vail Ski Resorts reopened for three days last weekend due to the enormous snow totals. Maybe ski areas should start opening in December and close in June!

Do you think we’ll ever be able to work in our gardens here in Boulder?

Will Harry ever regain the respect of his flock? 

All photos by Susie Lindau

Related articles:

Climate change



Are you feeling it yet? That creepy spine tingling shiver that crawls up your back leaving your little hairs all electrified? Are you seeing shadowy figures in the dark corners of your house? Do they vanish as you gasp while swinging around towards the entity? Well, I am here to get you in the mood. For what? HALLOWEEN! Continue reading

Surrounded by Eye Candy – A Photo Essay

Here are a few of the 400 photographs I took while hiking in Summit County, Colorado last Saturday. I know. 400. I couldn’t help myself. Everywhere I looked was another breathtaking shot.

It occurred to me why Pinterest has become so popular. With the advent of digital photography, there’s an explosion of new photographers on the scene. Continue reading

In Search of Simple Pleasures – A Photo Essay

When you live in Colorado, you don’t have to go far to find pleasure in the beauty that surrounds us.

Simple pleasures can be as easy as taking a walk. Last Saturday, my husband Danny and I hit the Mt. Royal Trail in Frisco. It is an intermediate hike that winds through Masontown which was destroyed in 1926 by an avalanche. Now it is a ghost town. The forest had been primarily evergreen, but aspen grew in its wake.

This steady climb was like stepping up stadium stairs. As we gained elevation, I imagined a new bride on the back of a burro mumbling, “How much further is it Charlie?” as she regretted her quick decision to marry a miner.

I took these photos with my Droid cell phone. Click on each photo to enlarge.

Continue reading

Stalked – 100 Word Flash Fiction

Wheat swaying in the moonlight swished like waves in an iridescent sea. She cut a path through the field, propelled by hunger and the seductive aroma of dinner. Clouds that had flitted across the sky now obliterated the only light source and she found herself concentrating on her footing.themoon

Continue reading

Life Interrupted – 100 Word Flash Fiction

Sunlight flickered through the leaves of the maple tree creating moving patterns on the sidewalk. The swish of leaves seemed like ancient melodic music filtering down from above. While looking up at its canopy, she heard the warning call of a robin protecting its nest. She continued her work with urgency. Continue reading

A Heatwave Cometh Early – A Photo Essay

April 13th, 2011

A lot has been written about global warming and it has become a hot political issue. Pun intended. Regardless of your stand on whether it exists, it has been a warm spring here in Boulder, Colorado. Last year there was so much snow in the mountains, we worried about flooding. This year it was warm and dry. Snow totals are 39% to 49% of normal.

March 23, 2012

This is the first year that the Wisteria has bloomed so profusely. It only had about 8 blooms last year. I am amazed that it has survived our harsh winters here over the last 10 years. It is Colorado not California for God’s sake! I love it! Continue reading

Dance with Me! 100 Word Flash Fiction

Growing up alongside the river, she had never tired of the sweet music it provided as she danced along its bank. At times it mimicked a rhythmic lullaby, bubbling over rocks as smooth as silk and she would sway in time to its steady beat. Continue reading

Small Dog Warnings in Boulder County

Now that is some wind!

Okay. I’ll admit it. I am a weather chaser. No, I am not a lunatic that races across the country with a million pieces of crazy equipment trying to find the center of a tornado, nor do I go out of my way to drive in snowstorms although I love winter driving. However, I do find myself out on the porch (way too long) during thunderstorms and I keep an eye on the sky for tornadoes for I have seen several since moving to Colorado. Continue reading

High Mountain Adventure – A Photo Essay


The clear blue skies over the grand vista beckoned to us Saturday afternoon in Breckenridge. We decided to risk it and break rule #1: Never go out hiking in the mountains past noon.  Thunderstorms tend to gather and lightning is deadly. Even with intense two-mile-high sunshine, September had ushered in cool temperatures so I threw on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. Armed with a fifteen-year-old trail guide, my husband Danny and I set out with our Bichon Roxy to trek up to Mohawk Lakes.


We realized after driving up and down Highway  9 that our guide was now antiquated. We finally found a new trail head and Danny pulled into the empty gravel parking lot. My first thought was, “Where is everyone?” Usually when hiking anywhere in Colorado, we share the trail with many others. This being Labor Day weekend, I expected more traffic than ever, but this was almost eerie. I also wondered if it was because of a bear warning I read in the morning’s Summit Daily Newspaper. This time of year they come down to lower elevations to feast before hibernating. It warned that their keen sense of smell combined with their inquisitive nature could spell trouble. The writer listed everything a hiker or camper should do to avoid an encounter with a black bear. The article suggested avoiding fragrances that attract them such as the smell of food and toiletries. “Toiletries? Would my shampoo attract one of those massive creatures? Nah! I have such a vivid imagination.” I didn’t even mention my concern to Danny and immediately dismissed it since we had only seen one bear in 15 years as it ambled across the road.


As we started on the trail, I was struck by the verdant understory. The magnificent evergreens towered over us and the burnt orange of their trunks contrasted with the emerald green of the forest floor. How could this be Colorado? By this time of year it is usually drought-ridden and fire danger is extreme, but it has been usually wet. What we were seeing seemed out of a movie set in Europe somewhere. While I took a deep breath inhaling the fresh pine scent, I noticed it was mysteriously soundless except for the roar of a nearby river. Where were all the birds and squirrels that usually chirped incessantly?


This was a new hike for us. We followed a lush trail along the river and saw the prayer stone stacks we had seen in Aruba. At first I delighted in seeing these familiar stacked stones, but after the 5th pile in so many yards I thought it was taking away from the natural beauty of this place. Kind of like, “Hey nature! We Humans are here to mess everything up!” I grumbled something to that effect to Danny as we continued up the trail.


Many trees had fallen recently and I found their roots fascinating. It must have been the inner botanical illustrator in me.


The terrain seemed like a fairyland complete with mosses, overgrown mushrooms, fungus, and lichen. More than once I felt watched and would stop to look around as well as up. I remembered a story of a biker who was attacked by a mountain lion as she biked under a tree. I had never felt this nervous hiking before, but the forest was still unnervingly silent as if in warning.


At one point as we followed the river upstream and lost the trail. “Danny!” I shouted above the crashing river, “I think we need to cut back up the mountain and away from the river. I think this is just a path made by animals.” He agreed so I swung back into the thick brush, bush-whacking as I scrambled across boulders and fallen trees, all the while keeping my eye out for the trail we had lost. When I realized he hadn’t followed, it dawned on me how easy it would be to get lost. I have written several fiction stories with this theme and yet I never imagined I would feel a similar panic. I called out to him, but with the crashing of the river, I knew he would never hear me. As quickly as possible, without breaking an ankle, I scrambled back down and found them farther ahead along the stream. Together we made our way back through uprooted trees and found the trail once again. This time I was happy to find those stacked stones marking the path.


As the trail wound up the mountain, I began to see many caves and hiding places peering out of the cracks and crevices of the earthen and rocky landscape.


Dead lodgepole pines, the recent victims of beetle kill, were now home to silver lichen which laced its branches like a veil of frost. The sun had disappeared behind a cloak of gray clouds and the temperature began to drop.


We continued on, driven by curiosity of what new extraordinary landscape we would discover. Our Bichon Roxy had been very excited to be out exploring the forest with us and was usually out ahead. Since there was no one on the trail we practiced keeping her under voice command. The trail opened up to a boulder field and again the stacked stones guided us. For being such a little dog, Roxy clambered through like a billy goat and she wagged her tail delighting in scents undetected by us. We had been hiking for almost an hour when we heard her whimper on the trail and she would go no further. “What’s wrong with her?” Danny asked. He ran back, leashed her and we continued on. Soon we let her go free again and she investigated with her sensitive nose continuing to forge ahead. But once again she stopped dead in her tracks, now she visibly trembled. This time we realized she sensed something we could not see and heeded her warning. We turned back with heightened awareness in this primeval-looking forest not sure what we would encounter on the trail.


As we hiked back down I was overwhelmed by an acrid musky odor. “Do you smell that?” I asked Danny.

He nodded and said, “Wow. It was just here!” Our female Bichon began marking her territory and we laughed, but picked up the pace.


It wasn’t until we were back down to the main trailhead that we heard the familiar sound of birds calling out and the chirping of an angry squirrel upset that we invaded its territory. Finally I relaxed when I heard the rumbling of cars going by on Highway 9. I am sure that many little creatures peeked out from their hiding places and watched us as we hiked by. The real question is were we being stalked?

When was the last time you felt watched?

Does your hair stand on end or does your spine tingle?


Photos and words by S. Lindau

I Am Going Straight to Hell or Household Confessional


Being a product of Catholic upbringing, I carry around my fair share of guilt. As a child, the night before making my Confession at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, I would lie awake trying to recall all of my most recent transgressions. Disobeying seemed to be at the top of the list most months. Why was it so hard to Honor thy Father and thy Mother? I guess I was never that kid who jumped when I was called to help. When the devil named laziness beckoned, I followed. “In a minute!” was my mantra and then I would conveniently forget.

Now that I am an adult, life has gotten a lot more complicated. I still stare at the ceiling some nights with one regret or another because try as I may, I am still far from perfect. Being Human sucks sometimes. But there is a new transgression that has seeped into my psyche and can cause that same sick feeling of guilt. I recite a slightly different mantra, “Oh, just this once.” Maybe I don’t lose sleep over it, but the pang at the time of committing the offense is the same. My shoulder slump when I have let myself down. Once again laziness is at the core of this new evil deed.

I am paving my way to RECYCLE HELL! Okay to be honest I am extremely OCD about separating my trash. I have three bins under my sink which I periodically empty out into large containers in the garage. One is for non-recyclable waste and another is for mixed use, such as paper, aluminum cans, and glass. If I make a mistake, I stuff my hand down into the garbage and fish out the misplaced rubbish. After all I figure hands are washable, right? But I have the biggest problem with the newest addition to the recycling family. Compost is by far the smelliest and the most foul. Ugh! I scrape most of the disgusting food down the garbage disposal. I fill my composting bin with any other leftovers which would otherwise result in having to call a plumber or cause the replacement of the unit.

But that’s not all dear reader. (This is hard for me.) I admit that one time while cleaning out my refrigerator, I came upon an old jar whose contents had become an unrecognizable organism. After staring at the specimen (probably from 2002), for several minutes, my hands began to shake. As I turned on the water and the disposal, I began talking myself through what was almost inconceivable to me. I had survived changing many repulsive and leaky diapers, the messes made by my dog after she ate several chocolate kisses, and I have removed the puke off all kinds of surfaces. I knew I could do this.

I gathered my courage and began to unscrew the lid. I turned my head as far away from the aberrant jar somewhat resembling an owl as I squinted while peeking over my shoulder. It wouldn’t budge. I had to run water over the container to loosen the gooey slime. Then using all my strength until my arms quivered in exhaustion, the jar suddenly untwisted, simultaneously unleashing the most vile, repugnant, and nauseating smell of death I have ever experienced. Not daring to inhale again, I glanced inside to determine if I could just throw it under the tap to squelch the rot and dispose of the revolting glop, but was horrified at the discovery of an other-worldly array of colored mold which seemed to move as the air struck its membrane. It was no use. The mold had sucked any moisture the gunge once possessed in a previous life form. I had reached my limit. With trembling hands I returned the lid to the top of the jar (warning – this might be too much for you to read) and screwed it back on.

Then I looked around to see if anyone would observe the sin I was about to commit. The 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not throw recyclables in the trash. I ran with my quarry through the back door to the garage, opened the cover on the small garbage pail and threw it in. With a resounding bang, my fate was sealed. I dragged myself back into the kitchen with heavy shoulders and thought to myself, “I am so weak.” Then I cried out to no one in particular, “Next time I will be stronger!”

I know I have disappointed you. I make myself sick too, but I can assure you it hasn’t happened very often. I remember seeing the final scene of The 9th Gate when Dean Corso played by Johnny Depp willingly stepped through the fiery gates of Hell. Although it was a dramatic ending, I don’t really believe in an afterlife filled with fire and brimstone. Being buried “alive” in compostable garbage would be a more horrible fate for me. If I do go to Recycle Hell, it will be kicking and screaming!

Do you feel a pang of guilt when you don’t recycle? 

Click here to read about garbage and recycling fun facts.

Click here for an article in the August 22nd Boulder Daily Camera newspaper about harnessing landfill methane gas 


Aruba, Natalee Holloway, Bad Hair, and Photos

Aruba beach

After landing in Aruba, we were engulfed by humidity, but cooled by a steady breeze from the prevailing trade winds. Most people would recoil to the sultry heat, but I welcomed the rich moisture which vaporizes on our skin back in Colorado. After arriving at our hotel, I sauntered through the open-air lobby to check out the grounds and was struck by the intensity of vibrant color from the coconut palms, flowering bushes, and azure blue ocean water. It was set off by the bleached white coral sandy beach. And yes the pool had a swim up bar. I knew it would be a great vacation.

Tiki bar

Since our room had not been cleaned, the hotel offered a complimentary lunch on their lush outdoor patio. My family and I sat down and noticed we were not alone. Several iguanas sunned themselves on the tiled floor. One large one captured our attention with its prehistoric scales, talons and spikey doo. He wasn’t the only one in the room with an interesting headdress. My husband said he watched my hair grow by the minute as I sipped my Balashi beer. He used his hands and said, “It has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger!” It had been relatively flat when I last checked back in Boulder. Now every hair seemed to dance. Each fine strand found a new way to curl, not in a movie star wavy way, but in a frizzy, “for God’s sakes put a hat on” way.


As my hair grew larger, my lines on my face grew smaller. Always a trade-off. “If only I could encapsulate the island air to refresh my skin later,” I sighed.

The colors of the island hit me like a blind person seeing for the first time. Our first sunset was Maxfield Parrish-esque. I snapped away, desperate to capture the contrast. I gasped when I saw the time was only 7:10! Back in Boulder, the sun sets at 8:30 this time of year. Bummer! We went to dinner after dark every night.


We quickly learned that the people who were native to the island, as well as the Dutch that govern it, are some of the friendliest I have ever met. A pretty blonde waitress from Holland cleared up a mystery for me. Dutch, Holland, and the Netherlands are all in the same. Duh! I must have been sick that day. With a lilting voice and a smile on her face she asked, “Is this your first trip to Aruba?” She pulled out a map and circled all the points of interest. The island is only 10 miles long, but we rented a car to go out and explore.

 I am not sure where the people were from that always got on the elevator without making eye contact, but when they exited said, “Goodbye!” It never ceased to bring a smile to our faces.

Aruba lighthouse

As we drove the winding roads out to the east side of the island, we noticed the saguaro cactus thriving in big forests. They have a Haystack Mountain like we do in Boulder, but theirs is all covered with enormous cacti giving it a thorny appearance.


Once we reached the eastern coast, it became obvious why we had been told, “Surfing here is suicidal!” The island is surrounded by rock and coral reefs. The leeward side is too calm and the windy side had tremendous waves, but tremendous rocks as well. I could see my son gaze longingly at the enormous swells, but we only found a few reckless boogey boarders.



An ancient looking castle ruin looked out over the eastern sea. When we asked about its history, no one knew anything about it. “Seriously?” This cracked us up since it was one of the most extraordinary landmarks in Aruba. We found out later when the Spanish discovered it, they felt it was the most worthless island in the area, so none of its history was preserved. They actually named it, “Useless Island.” Now Aruba is touted as having the highest occupancy rate in the CaribbDSCN0751ean. It has one of the most advanced desalination plants, an oil refinery, its own brewery, (Balashi Beer), and a pretty substantial aloe export business. The population of the island has grown because of the constant increase in job opportunities. It is home to 80 different nationalities and four languages. Lucky for us everyone spoke English. After arriving home, my research found that historians speculate the ruins are from a pirate castle. How cool is that?


The dog cemetery 

We did not see one homeless or begging person during our stay. Security patrolled constantly and we pondered if it was a result of the Natalee Holloway case or if they had always been vigilant. Either way, we felt extremely safe the entire visit.

We did ask a waiter native to the country what it was like when Natalee went missing in 2005.  He said, “It was crazy here!” He told us a conspiracy theory we had never heard before. He believed her mother, Beth, arrived on the island too quickly and must have known something beforehand. The prime minister gave everyone three days off with pay to search for Natalee. They found evidence, but it disappeared when the FBI arrived and took over the case. The bar where she partied was across the harbor from our hotel and one half block from Parliament. Beth went to the spa several times after she arrived and the islanders were appalled at her laissez-faire attitude for someone whose daughter was missing. He believed Beth committed insurance fraud and helped Natalee cover up an incestuous pregnancy. “What?” He felt her body would have washed up on shore on the leeward side or nearby Venezuela on the windy side. He is convinced that she will be found alive someday. I didn’t want to argue, but that really didn’t add up in the light of Joran van der Sloot’s recent confession to another murder and imprisonment. It was an entertaining story and it was probably not the only theory on the island.


The last couple days we spent snorkeling. We went on a catamaran where the bar opened at 9:00 AM and they served sandwiches as we pulled away from shore! To think that I worried as a child about the 30 minute rule. We started with a dive to see a German ship wreck from WWII. While protecting their island, the Dutch threatened to blow up the ship. Fearful that the Dutch would learn of their weaponry and latest surveillance techniques, the Germans sunk their own ship and came to shore without injury. The body of it was rusted and had made a home for barnacles and other living creatures. Its mast was still intact and poked upwards towards the surface. From there we sailed to two other locations along the shore line where multitudes of colorful fish swam without any fear of us. They served a gourmet lunch that makes my mouth water as I think about it again.


The emcee liked our family and asked Danny to help take down the main sail and Courtney to take down the jib. I took note of his shaved head and wondered if he once had hair like mine. He made us special drinks afterward. Mine was so full of alcohol I took a few sips before “accidentally” tossing it overboard.

“Will you be coming back next year?” he asked.

“Maybe,” I lied knowing we always go someplace new.

“Make sure you bring your daughter with you again. She’s beautiful.”

That kind of freaked me out since he looked like he was at least thirty-years-old!

I caught a glimpse of my hair in the mirror as we left. It found a new way to stand on end with all the evaporated salt that left it sticky and straw-like. I had transformed into Pippy Longstocking without the braids. I spent $130 on it before I left. What a waste!

sunset in Aruba

We really enjoyed the trip and now that I am home, I put away the magnifying mirror. I don’t think I can manage the shock of seeing my wrinkles re-appear. I am happy to say although I am no longer relaxed, my hair is. It is always a trade-off…

Leepin Lizard! With a little help from his friend…
6th photo by K. Lindau, the rest by S. Lindau