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

Your Face Yoga Is Killing Me!

Susie Lindau self-portraitLast year, I noticed my thighs had shrunk and wrinkled and my upper eyelids began to droop. WTH? I suspected it was from aging. When I learned swollen knees cause muscle atrophy, I hit the gym hard. It’s been over three months since knee surgery. My quads grew and my thighs are smooth. Woohoo!

This made me think my upper lids could be a result of weak and lazy muscles. Back in school my friends teased me every time someone called my name. I would raise my eyebrows and give the person a bug-eyed look. I have big eyes to begin with. The days of overreacting to people are over. I work in my home office during the week and my face remains flaccid except when talking to my dog, Roxy, or laughing a funny blog post. Huh. I wonder if that’s why I’m exhausted after a night out. My face is out of shape! Continue reading

My Project Unveiled For All To See. Yikes!

I’ve sent out all of my greeting cards, so it’s time to unveil my project. I’m so nervous. I hope you like it.

Every year an idea comes to mind which becomes a sketch and then transforms into some kind of 3-D popup creation. I know what you’re thinking. Most people don’t even take the time to buy and send ready-made greeting cards. I keep telling myself, “This year I will simplify.” HA! I don’t know the meaning of the word, “simplify.” Two things about me never change: I was born sunny-side up and I love challenges. “Bring it on” should be my middle name, but it’s not. It’s Mary which is pretty dull in comparison. Don’t tell mom. Her first name is Mary.

The front is very similar to last year’s. Take your complaints to Yelp.

So here it is. Drum roll please…………….

Front of card

Ta da!

Here are the innards skinnards. Now you can imagine how weird they would have looked with duplicated drawings. That was a close one! Continue reading

Twinkle, Illustration, and Elves

oh christmas tree

I’m ready for the next project on my long list. It’s my absolute favorite. Can you guess?

Nope. I’m not wrapping presents. I always leave that chore until the last minute. I’m not hanging the stockings. NOTE TO SELF: I need to buy sticky tack. I’m not writing my letter to Santa. I’m playing with my new Apple computer right now! I don’t need another thing. I’m not stringing popcorn or making ornaments or running out to the mall to finish my Christmas shopping. I’m done. I’m not running to the grocery store. Not my favorite thing at all although I will take my new fangled warmer jammer list next time.

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2006 Christmas card. Continue reading

What Twins, Who Inhabit My Brain, and NaNoWriMo Taught Me

boy and girl fighting 2

When I decided to write a novel for National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, I had no idea if I could. You see, a five-year-old child inhabits my brain and can throw quite the tantrum. If I don’t want to do something, she sends waves through the entire length of my spine which becomes rigid. Then she starts chanting, “I don’t want to. I don’t want to! I DON’T WANT TO!” This screaming fit is usually accompanied by the stomping of feet and the transformation of ordinary household objects into projectile missiles. Continue reading

The First of Many Wild Rides

Impulse and risky choices have taken me on all kinds of adventures. This story epitomizes who I am.

After graduating from college, I struggled to find illustration jobs. Every month or two, I drew promotional advertisements for an upscale women’s clothing store where I worked selling clothes. The intermittent opportunities paid a meager wage. I made more money selling clothes than drawing them.

Esprit Girl

Then, I had a brilliant idea. Madison, Wisconsin is only a few hours away from Chicago, so I took the Van Galder Bus to the Merchandise Mart. I hoped to find a few businesses willing to pay me to draw their clothing and accessories.

With an art portfolio held tight in my hand, I knocked on doors all day, but only found one interested company. I showed the owner my drawings and paintings. She picked a purse from a pile on a table and said, “Draw this one.” She handed me a #2 pencil, a piece of typing paper and escorted me to her desk. She and her staff watched as I drew. Perspiration dripped from every pore on my body. Somehow, I managed to finish. She smiled and paid me $10.00. It covered less than half of my bus fare.

Purse Illustration

I took the elevator down to the lobby and stepped into the chilly spring air. After reorienting myself, I made my way to the bus stop. I thought about my career choice and if it would be worth it to travel to Chicago again.

While I stood shivering on the curb with my back against the Lake Michigan wind, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and a thirty-something, unshaven man in a light jacket and jeans asked, “Are you waiting for the bus back to Madison?” Continue reading

The Big Reveal, DIY and a Message

After almost sixty hours, my annual Christmas cards are done. Whew! I smiled while dropping them into the mailbox and imagined my friends and family opening up my little art project. Time is at a premium and many don’t even send store bought cards. We live in an electronic age where communication is at our fingertips. We make contact through texts, tweets and Facebook. Very few pick up the phone and actually talk to people anymore. Everyone is too busy.

I am a dinosaur in today’s world. I plodded through the week while drawing, printing, cutting, and pasting. My gift to others is not just about the card. It is about the love  and time it takes to create them. Each one  took over 45 minutes. Yep, That was a little overboard. Thanks to Timethief, I have a wealth of new ideas for next year and promise to start in July!

The Process:

First I decide on an activity. My family is found skiing in many of my cards, but I wanted to come up with something unique for 2013. It has been an exceptional year in some ways, but I was derailed by breast cancer. When I thought of the concept, Dancing on 2013’s Grave, I laughed out loud!

Yes Wild Riders. I am ready to dance once again. Did you miss me?

First I sketch my ideas. Once I have a workable drawing, I use tracing paper and a marker for a final copy. I  hope to capture the likeness of everyone. I only draw once a year, so I am always a little nervous when I start. Sometimes the illustration just works like this year when it only took two hours. Other times, I find it challenging to recreate the shape of the eyes, the nose, the mouth, and the jawline. There’s always some printing involved. Thank God for the invention of the inkjet. I used to run back and forth to a commercial printer in a neighboring town to get the pieces camera ready.

2013 drawing Continue reading

Guess What’s Spinning Out of Control – A Contest!

While growing up, my sister and I kept busy by creating all kinds of art projects. Accustomed to drawing, I chose an art degree and graduated with a Bachelor of Science. I worked at a hospital as a medical illustrator for a few years. When Danny and I were married in 1987,  I drew our first Christmas card which started a family tradition. They never took more than a day. I dashed off to the printer and picked them up when they were done.

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Last year’s card. They were a piece of cake compared to this year’s.

What started out as a simple illustration  has become a complicated marathon. It all started a couple of years ago, when I paged through Robert Sabuda‘s Christmas pop-up books. I stared in wonder at the amazing crafted paper which transformed into 3-d objects before my eyes. The BRILLIANT idea of creating a moving card was born. Continue reading

Scarred for Life

Katniss_Everdeen

In the book The Hunger Games, the protagonist, Katniss, wakes up and finds all of her scars have been removed. My reaction surprised me. Parting with some of mine, would be like losing old friends.

I want to keep my scars.

What?

The other side of me relishes the thought of having perfect skin, especially as I approach another birthday. Having an unblemished epidermis does appeal to me, for a fleeting moment.

Susie Lindau self-portrait

Somehow, scars are different. They have meaning. History left its mark upon my flesh and with history there is a story to tell. Believe me, this Wild Rider has more than a few. Continue reading

All Done!

First of all, Happy Holidays to everyone out there in the blogosphere!

After all the drawing, printing, folding, cutting, and pasting, I am happy to say that my Christmas cards are finished. Whew!

They are a little different this year. They are a modified pop-up and more like a fold-up.

step 1

Step 1: Fill coffee mug. Use up entire red ink cartridge. Punch out trees. Refill coffee mug.  Continue reading

Guess What? A Contest

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One of my annual holiday traditions is creating our family Christmas card. In the last couple of days, I have drawn and copied, cut, folded and stacked all of the parts that will be ready to glue and assemble. With around 24 hours into this art project, I would guess that I am just about half way to finishing them. I am hoping to make 90 cards. I know. I am ridiculous.

This year’s card is another pop-up, meaning there will be folded paper inside that will have some dimension after opening.  Last year, I added beads and half of the envelopes were returned before Christmas with postage due. Ugh. This year, I avoided any extra dingle dangles that would mess up the otherwise timely delivery.

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Last year’s card. Those beads cost me!

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Another pop-up from two years before.

I thought it would be fun to  run a contest for those of you interested in receiving one of my homemade cards. No matter what your faith or how you celebrate, this is a card made with lots of love for you! Continue reading

From Virtual to Reality

My illustration of the virtual people who read my blog for the first time.

When I began blogging, I remember getting the jitters. I had worried about using my real name. Since I was blogging for a writer’s platform, it made sense to send it into the blogosphere along with my words.

My friends and family wondered how smart it was to expose myself to strangers. Some thought I could be conversing with thugs from prison. “Hey!” I retorted, “Everyone makes mistakes and if they enjoy my blog, well, that’s a great sign of positive reform!”

They wondered how I could possibly make friends online. Continue reading

Reflected Addiction – Blogfest

When I read that August McLaughlin would be hosting Beauty of a Woman Blogfest on Friday, I just knew I had to join the party. Last September, I wrote a very personal account about my sick relationship with a magnifying mirror. Now this was no ordinary mirror, but one that I picked up at a garage sale  because someone else was most likely trying to break their addiction. This evil 2ox magnification mirror should have been destroyed, but instead I bought it for $2.00…. Since my only commenter was the GoodGreatsby, I knew he would be a sport and wouldn’t mind if I posted it again.

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Self-Portrait with Mirror by Susie Lindau

Last fall, when my 19-year-old daughter informed me she didn’t want to take her magnifying mirror back to college since she would stare at almost non-existent blocked pores and proceed to unblock them, it made me think. “Whoa! I don’t know if I could give up mine.” Then it hit me. “Am I addicted to the magnification like a junkie in a back ally? Would I be crying out for a fix at the end of the day?” Continue reading

Reflected Addiction

mirror

Self-portrait with Mirror 

When my 19-year-old daughter informed me she didn’t want to take her magnifying mirror back to college with her since she would stare at almost non-existent blocked pores and proceed to unblock them, it made me think. “Whoa! I don’t know if I could do that. Am I addicted to the magnification like a junkie in a back ally? Would I be crying out for a fix at the end of the day?” That horrid instrument of ego destruction has bound me to my cast reflection more times than I would like to admit. Blocked pores have been the least of my concern since gazing for the first time into that high powered tool mounted on a wall of a hotel. It nearly ruined my vacation! I stared at what seemed to be an alien landscape which was really my upper epidermis complete with pot holes, peaks, and valleys. “How could this be my skin?” I thought in horror.

Years have gone by and the slow deterioration of my close-up vision has hastened my growing addiction to my own magnifying mirror. The fear of errant nose and eyebrow hairs as well as failed attempts at applying eyeliner has kept me glued to this specialized looking glass.

“Come on! For God’s sake you don’t need it.” With that thought the intervention began. I wistfully took one last look, careful to tweeze any unwanted hairs for I did not know what fate awaited me out there in a brave new world that didn’t include enormous image inspections. Sobered by my decision, my heart began to race as I anticipated life without it. Gazing at my enlarged reflection like having my nose pressed up to my own image on an IMAX movie screen had become a daily routine. I had become numbed to scrutinizing my moonlike surface with small wrinkles that appeared like huge crevices among my crater-esque pores. My self-image had been bruised and battered over the years of self-examination.

At that moment I split in two. My strong-willed tough side said, “It’s time,” to the pitiful wimpy weakling inside of me which sighed taking one last look. Then the two became one and picked up the offending tool of terror, placing it on a high shelf where it could be forgotten.

The next morning I peeked into my old free standing mirror. “Geez!” I was taken aback by how tiny my head was. My entire body part fit inside the small mirror! I applied my make-up somehow without looking like a cast member ofA Rocky Horror Picture Show. I stood back, smiled at my reflection and said, “I can do this!” (Of course I may have looked like Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter and didn’t know it.)

That evening went well too, but I tried a new gizmo that started my demise. I had purchased a battery operated skin buffer at the grocery store. “What a deal!” I thought, “A good sanding is what my skin needs.” My mistake was using the granulated cream with it. I always have an allergic reaction to anti-age creams, but for some ridiculous reason I get it in my head that this new miracle cream will be, “The One!” – Angels sing in background

The next morning I looked in the mirror and even though a pinhead-sized reflection stared back, I could see that my skin had begun to react. A rash had formed only now I couldn’t do the usual recon mission. It just about killed me to ignore the magnifier to see what devastation had arrived in the wake of the newest anti-age treatment, but I was strong.

Proudly, I strode by my shelf not looking at that mirror once that day! I treated it the best I could, working on my ravaged skin in braille.

Everything seemed to be going well until I had to go to a party the next night. By then the redness and peeling had taken over my entire cheek. What would I do? I needed to cover it up, but I couldn’t see what I was doing. I tried relenting, but I was weak. Weak I say! I am so sorry to report that my magnifying mirror barely had any time to collect dust on that high shelf before I grabbed it and plunked it down on my counter with a resounding, “Bang!” Armed with caulk, filler, and paint I began to reconstruct a somewhat presentable version of myself before going out although I hung my head in shame for the addiction had raised its ugly head.

I know I have let you down, after all my lack of magnification only lasted a few days. The cold turkey approach although effective at first became disastrous. Like so much we experience in life, moderation is the key to balance. I am happy to report that I have come to terms with my addiction and only use the magnifying mirror in dire emergencies. Seeing my shrunken pea-sized head staring back at me is no longer a shock. I have a better self-image knowing this is how everyone sees me anyway!

Beauty is only skin deep after all…

Illustration by S. Lindau