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

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

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

My Blurred Lines

I’m back in Wisconsin and took these selfies in my parents’ living room. The rectangles in the background are my father’s paintings.

Going home will be like waking from a dream. Flashes of memories will surround me after focused time with my parents. The clarity I have now will dissolve after returning to Boulder. Like most memories, this week will become a blur.

selfie 4

Selfie 3

Do your vacations race by? Do you photograph special moments?

This post is a response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge – Blur

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

My Impulsivity Can Be Surprising!

When my husband, Danny, was invited to go hut skiing the same weekend as our trip to Wisconsin, skiing won. You’re not surprised, are you?

Anyway, last Tuesday, Danny remembered we hadn’t transferred the tickets. I had spaced them out too. Duh! We would lose them on Thursday. One ticket could be used in April, but I couldn’t think of another time to go back.

While taking a walk on the trail near our house, I had a thought. Why should I stick around the house while Danny has fun and my mom’s eighty-fifth birthday is the same weekend? (Danny says I’m the queen of rhetorical questions.) Then BAM! I had a Eureka moment. I’ll surprise my parents!

This being totally last minute, I called my brother to make sure this would be a good time to come. He thought it was a great idea and arranged to pick me up at the airport. I hoped I wouldn’t give them a heart attack. My dad turned eighty-nine a couple of weeks ago and my mom would turn eighty-five on the 9th.

When I arrived at DIA, I had two hours to spare. Security always takes forever, but glancing over the railing, the line was non-existent. What? Was the airport shut down and I didn’t get the memo? Continue reading

“Share the Love!” A New Idea for Valentine’s Day

Cupids and heart Valentine

February 14th is Valentine’s Day, the most divisive holiday of all. Some love it while others hate it. No news there.

But I had a thought.

What if we transform the couple’s celebration of exclusive, romantic love, to a day of inclusivity? Okay. I’m not talking about threesomes, but what if we twist the term, refocus the lens, and define it differently?


We could celebrate a day of sharing the love by sending out positive vibes to everyone we meet. There are a bazillion ways we could do that.

  • Pay it forward. On Valentine’s Day, put yourself out there to help someone who’s struggling.
  • Pay it backward. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
  • Go out of your way to use manners. Hold the door. Offer your seat. Say “Please,” and “Thank you.”
  • Make a few sincere compliments and someone might feel good about themselves.
  • Smile. I promise it won’t kill you and you’ll be surprised at the reaction, no matter where you live.
  • When driving, slow down. Use your blinkers. Let others into your lane. Why not go all out and actually stop at a stop sign.
  • Share the love with friends and family. Think outside the box. Plan an activity or have a get-together.
  • Share the love with yourself. Indulge in a treat or take some personal time doing something you love. Something that says, “I am so good at what I do and I appreciate myself.”

Instead of the FOMO (fear of missing out), on Valentine’s Day, you will feel like you did your part to share the love. Maybe you’ll will even have a story to tell when everything goes back to normal on the 15th. Who knows?

If everyone would share the love on February 14th, Valentine’s Day could become the best holiday of all!

Do you have any other ideas for “Sharing the Love?”

Follow me on Twitter at @susielindau and share your ideas at #ShareTheLove.

Check out my new Wild Ride Facebook page. Don’t have a WordPress account? Follow me on Bloglovin’! 

The Nutcracker Sweet – A Video

A few days ago, I mentioned a few of my Christmas traditions, but excluded my favorite. There were many guesses. Some readers were right. BAKING. We used to watch my daughter, Courtney, dance in the Nutcracker. I had an idea. I could combine the two!

gingerbread dancers 1

I saw an adaptation of the traditional gingerbread man on The Rachael Ray Show and had an BRILLIANT idea. I had to bake them and make a movie. It seemed like the logical thing to do after creating 80+ handmade Christmas cards, right?

With a little bit of help from my daughter, Courtney, the “show” was a success!  It’s been years since she performed in a ballet. *chuckle*

Tune in to see what I’m talking about. It’s a totally sweet production! You can hear me cracking up while making the video. Continue reading

Throwback Thursday – 1962

My father was one of the original Madmen and worked in advertising. On the weekends, he sometimes created art projects like transforming a baby buggy into a shoe.

Susie and Patty July 4th 1962

It was the 4th of July and my sister, Patty, and I were characters from, The Old Woman and the Shoe. I’m the old woman and she’s one of the children who lived in crampt shoe conditions. My mother was a fine seamstress and sewed our outfits. Patty is wearing a rosebud dress and I am in the hoop skirt. We gathered in front of Queen of Peace Church and paraded down the streets of our neighborhood.

It seems, I was directionally challenged from the start. Note the stroller next to us. It appears we’ve crashed.

Do you remember this abusive nursery rhyme?

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;

She gave them some broth without any bread;

Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

Fun times!


I can honestly say, my kids almost killed me.

Commemorating my children’s milestones has always included taking tons of photographs. I have boxes of them in the basement waiting to be assembled in albums. When they went to college, I framed and hung their first day of school pictures in our upstairs hall. I always smile when I see their eager young faces.

Back to school 4

To me, my children are a miracle and I am grateful. Not just because they are amazing, but because I was hospitalized with both of them.

Kelly was positioned face up and I went through horrible back labor. My body fought hard against giving birth to him. It was eighteen hours before I reached four centimeters effaced which is the golden measurement for receiving an epidural anesthetic. Once I could finally relax, I progressed quickly. When he crowned, I had nothing left, no energy at all. My doctor said I wasn’t pushing hard enough and he threatened to perform a Cesarean section. I begged him to give me another chance. I asked Danny to play the cassette tape I brought. Minutes later, Kelly was born to the sounds of Oingo Boingo. Danny filmed the birth. The mirror reflected the overhead fluorescents onto my hooha and the doctor pulled Kelly out of a heavenly white light.

back to school 5

Hours later, I awoke to a crazy strong heart palpitation. Doctors and nurses rushed me to the cardiac care unit thinking I’d had a heart attack. Continue reading

Another Birthday. Thank God!

It’s my birthday! Last year, I looked forward to being a year older. I couldn’t understand why so many people loathe them when we all want to live a long life. That’s the goal, right? We all want to live to be 100! To get there, you have to attain all the numbers in between.

Christmas,  CC birthday, and decor 2009 019

Five days after my last birthday, I had a routine mammogram. I was shocked when I learned I needed an immediate ultrasound. I thought I may not see another birthday. After recovering fully from boobectomies and reconstructive surgery, I still can’t believe I was diagnosed with cancer. I have never gotten used to saying that word.

As I hunkered down with close friends and family to heal, I reassessed. I looked honestly at my life and how I was spending my time. Now I surround myself with people who enjoy my company and support me. I’m excited about my projects and am working hard. Yep. I’ve got another one in the works. I’m sending my book to a professional editor on Monday. Whew!

I don’t feel any different about my birthday this year. I’ve always felt that life is precious. I am grateful to have so many candles on my cake and I plan to add a lot more. I am not a woman who dreads being another year older. I’ve earned it!

2013 Birthday

Last year’s birthday

There are things I can’t change such as my height, the fact that I will never be a pro tennis player or a rock star, or the fact that I had cancer. But I can be a redhead! I made an appointment and plan to get pampered on my birthday.

Last year, I wrote a list of ways to celebrate. Number 1. was getting together with family. I’m looking forward to a celebratory dinner with them once again, but afterward we’re going to DANCE!


 This is from my rain dancing days with the photo bomber.

My ordeal was more positive than negative. I’ve learned a lot about myself. With adversity, and the gift of living another year, comes clarity. I know who I am, what I’m capable of, and where I’m going. That’s my birthday gift to myself.

Getting older is a very good thing! 

Do you look forward to your birthday?

Wearing It Proudly!

Last Saturday, Danny and I rode the chairlift with a friendly gentleman. We commented on the the fine weather and fresh snow and noticed his accent.  This started a guessing game. He removed his goggles and squinted into the bright sunshine as Danny and I tried to guess his nationality. After naming 8 or 9 countries, we gave up. He said, “I’m Ukrainian.”

We continued talking after we arrived at the top. Then he wanted to guess my heritage. He asked me to take off my goggles and look at him straight on and then in profile. “Irish,” he said, “Your nose gave it away! It’s the same one they drew on Leprechaun’s in books and cartoons back in the day.”

st pattys profile

My father always claimed he was full-blooded Irish. Then out of the blue a couple of years ago, he mentioned a Scottish great grandmother who came to live with them for a while. “What?” My mother asked with skepticism and just about fell over.

Knowing that I’m more than 75% Irish (maybe closer to 70% with this recent revelation), always put a spring in my Irish step this time of year. Another part of that spring comes from nostalgic memories.

I grew up in a creative household. My dad was one of the original Madmen and my mom was always whipping something up in the kitchen or on the sewing machine. They started a new and unique tradition. Every year, on St. Patrick’s Day Eve, the Leprechauns visited our house. They were a messy lot and would spill their chocolate filled coins all over the house while we slept. My sister and I searched high and low for the little fellas, but we never found them. Later, my brother joined in the shenanigans.

gold coins

My mother would bake an apple pie while corned beef, carrots and cabbage simmered all afternoon on the stove top. The scent was heavenly. As if that weren’t enough, she baked soda bread. After my dad returned from work, we would sit down to an authentic Irish feast while traditional music played from my dad’s record player.

I continued this tradition with my own family. For my son Kelly, this is one of his favorite holidays. Every year, he makes an Irish feast for his friends. I am still working on an invitation.

An Irish Leprechaun

So when I look in the mirror at my pug Irish nose, I smile. I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, even for a glimpse of those elusive Leprechauns.

 Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

To watch Danny and I dance an Irish jig – Click HERE!

For the more about my family’s fun with Leprechaun’s – Click HERE!

2013 – A Year with a Mean Streak

One year ago, I tried to shake off a strange trepidation, an ominous foreboding that unlucky number 2013 would be trouble. It appeared with many personalities just like any other year. On most days, it wore taupey beige, occasionally donning colorful ups and dappled gray downs. These clever disguises fooled me, but every so often it revealed a glint, a glimmer of brass knuckles clenched in its fists under the hem of its cloak. It lurked in shadows. I shuddered.

2013-04-11_13-48-56_997 (2)

After flaunting a kaleidoscope of prismatic luminosity on my birthday in April, the bully bared its metal mitts. It punched my gut and flattened me. I never saw it coming. I caught my breath then stood. Nostrils flared, I stared hard into its cold dead eyes, (there were three of them). It laughed and receded into the shadows. Continue reading

Jumping for Joy! Literally…

As part of our family’s Christmas traditions, I shop, bake, decorate, and create homemade greeting cards. I am always up for adding something new to the list.

My son Kelly figured he would receive a Playstation 4, but he still expressed over the top happiness when receiving his gifts. That’s when I had an idea…

Kelly jumped for joy, but what happened to his feet? His new snow pants need a hem.

Kelly jumping for joy 1

Then my daughter Courtney jumped! Continue reading