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

Getting My Creepy On!

Desiccated leaves, dismembered from branches, rot in the dying light and crunch like brittle bones under my boots. The wind whispers ghostly verses of songs sung long ago. Halloween is approaching. It’s time to get your creepy on.

“How do I do that?” you may ask. Sometimes eating candy corn and slaying a few pumpkins isn’t enough. Summerlike weather may defy the season or you feel like you’re too old for the holiday.

Watch thriller movies.

Freaky movies like Single White Female starring Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Steven Weber will get you in the mood. I twitched for hours afterward while sending quick glances over my shoulder. I half expected my husband, Danny, to come home with my identical haircut and color. It’s one of those movies where you want to shout, “Get out of the house, NOW! NO! DON’T GO DOWN IN THE BASEMENT! NOOOO!”

BONUS – It’s a great cardio work out without breaking a sweat.

single white female

Decorate indoors. 

Before I became obsessed with writing, I collected antiques on the weekends. Found objects are perfect for creepy Halloween decor. Old framed photos, black containers, and silver candlesticks highlight the season. Don’t polish the silver! The tarnish adds to the effect. I know. You’re welcome.

creepy Halloween decor

Sticky spider webs are not for me. I don’t want to find them months later. Instead, I use cheesecloth, cut the edges and rip holes by shredding it with my fingers. Continue reading

We’ll Be Waiting for You…

Why do I love Halloween? As an artist, this holiday serves as a canvas for my creative imagination. Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage.” My stage is a little creepier than most.

haunted kitchen

This year’s setting evokes a dark theme. With bold strokes, my home has transformed into a haunted castle where vampires lurk and bats swoop down in hoards at unsuspecting guests. The bats have multiplied since last year. Continue reading

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother

The relationship with our mothers is the most powerful bond we’ll experience. They have the ability to lift us up from the ground or to put us in our place. It doesn’t matter how old we are, we as children still seek approval. Nothing makes our hearts sing more than the words, “You can do anything,” or, “I am so proud of you.”

Europe and Courtney and Grandma 001 (2) …Or, “You’re in time out!”

There are many kinds of love. A mother’s love is our first love. It is the first human connection we make. Without it, many children end up with lifelong emotional attachment issues. I think I was attached to my mother’s hip. One of my earliest memories is being carried up the stairs. She held a bag of groceries in one arm and with the other, she squished me.

Being a mother comes with an assortment of hats to wear. A few of them fit more comfortably than others. We will outgrow some of them, but most are worn with pride.

europe and baby kelly 001 (3)

Shameless even back in the day!

(With Kelly and a bearded Danny)

I feel lucky to be a mom. I am very lucky my own mother is still alive and thriving.

There is no one who knows us better, knows what we are capable of and our limitations, but life surprises us all the time. Sometimes we exceed our own expectations and then Mom is there to celebrate with us.

Europe trip and Kelly 001 (3)

On the top of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin

The most wonderful gift is unconditional love. No matter what happens, nothing will destroy the bond I have with my mother or my children. It gives me strength when going through life’s challenges.

She always points me in the right direction.

europe and baby kelly 001 (2)

Lost in Ireland

When feeling like I may have overreacted or made a mistake, there is nothing like a mother who says, “That could happen to anyone. Forget about it now.” With gentle hands Mothers smooth our hair and wipe our tears even if it is from miles away through a phone call.

Sometimes Moms know when we are hurting and call us before we call them. How do they do that? There is a connection unlike any other.

We learn how to weather all kinds of storms through the help of our mothers.

europe and baby kelly 001

Cliffs of Moor parking lot

They oftentimes give us new perspective and something to ponder.

Europe trip and Kelly 001 (2)

Hanging out with statues in Menton, France

I can spot a new parent in line at the grocery store. They are the ones swaying back and forth from one leg to the other while waiting. This is a condition developed while trying to get newborns to fall asleep. It is what I call RBWSS: Rocking Baby While Standing Syndrome.

Moms pass along all kinds of traits and habits.

Europe and Courtney and Grandma 001

This shot could have been taken hundreds of times while driving through Europe. “Backseat drivers…” 

As a mom, I know we sometimes make mistakes. We are only human.

Europe trip and Kelly 001

Overheated or what? This shot was taken of Kelly indoors!

I remember feeling like my mother was the fairest in all the land. She still is!

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Happy Mother’s Day! 

All photos by Susie Lindau

Several were taken in Europe in August of 2001.

Do you have fond memories of your mother?

The Secret to Living a Long and Happy Life

mom and dad1This is a photograph of my parents at their breakfast table. After being married for 56 years and weathering all kinds of storms, they sit quietly and enjoy each other’s company.

My father celebrated his 87th birthday two weeks ago and my mother will be 83 on Saturday. I took this photograph while back in Wisconsin.

Every day they dress and set the table for breakfast. It always includes my mom’s homemade bread made seven loaves at a time. She expresses her love for her family through the meals she serves.

When my dad went on a salt and vitamin K-free diet, at first it was a challenge for my gourmet mom. She had to think outside the box and can, literally. While I was there, she whipped out her splattered, but loved cookbooks and concocted dinners worthy of a fine restaurant: Salmon doused in a fresh tomato ragout and pork chops with apples and cinnamon. Stir-fried fresh vegetables and meatloaf with peppers and onions. More vegetables filled that loaf than meat!

My dad is an artist and still paints. While visiting, I had him sign all of his work. Some dated back to the early 1950’s. His artwork chronicles the passage of a long life from the depictions of his farm while growing up during the depression in Holy Hill outside of Milwaukee, to many of my family while living in Madison and the latest of his beloved Collie. Continue reading

Random Acts of Chat

ACT I

While my husband Danny drives us down the highway after our Valentine date, I wax philosophical. Philosophy is not one of Danny’s strong suits.  

Me: I wish I could get over the whole, “I want everyone to like me,” thing.

Danny: So do I.

Me: I bet I’m not the only writer who has friends that don’t understand. Like Dave Barry. I bet some people don’t like Dave Barry.

Danny: I don’t know. Dave Barry seems like a pretty likable guy.

Me: Yeah well, What about Erma Bombeck?

Danny: Isn’t she dead?

Me: Or Stephen King. I bet he gets all kinds of crap from some of his friends.

Both of us: Silent for a minute. Continue reading

The Visit – A Photo Essay

California girls

Hanging out with the California girls – Debra Kristi, Debra Eve, Lynn Kelley, August McLaughlin and me. We can’t keep our hands off Thor.

I found Debra Kristi’s blog through her Immortal Mondays where she covers many different types of legends, myths and folklore. I met Debra in person while visiting California. She introduced me to Thor. He has been on a world tour ever since.  When she asked if I would like to host her little friend, of course I jumped at the chance. I planned to show the God of Thunder a great time in Colorado!

After Thor arrived, my daughter Courtney introduced him to the village. He didn’t waste any time.

Courtney and Thor1

Continue reading