THINK BIG!

Think (1)

Monday morning, I drank my first cup of coffee of the day and alternated between checking blog stats and answering comments. Then a very loud voice shouted in my head.

“THINK BIG!”

I stopped what I was doing. What did you say? Think big?

“YOU’RE THINKING TOO SMALL,” the voice bellowed again.

I sat up and pondered this scream from my sub-conscious self.

It usually criticized and said cruel things like, “Are you ever going to stop surfing the Internet and get something done today?” Or “You are such a gimp. You wouldn’t have broken your wrist if you had gotten into shape after knee surgery last year.” Or, “You have no life. Make a plan.”

I immediately thought of how my voice was right. I was thinking too small. As part of my resolutions I had committed to blogging more frequently and have been working to get into a daily routine to finish old and new projects.

IDEAL SCHEDULE:

  1. Catch up on blogging and social media.
  2. Write new blog post.
  3. Hit exercise bike.
  4. Write a few chapters in my new book
  5. Work on querying first book series.

Like I said, I had been working on it, but hadn’t quite mastered the routine.

MONDAY’S ACTUAL SCHEDULE:

  1. Checked on blog and social media.
  2. Wrote new blog post.
  3. Checked on blog and Twitter.
  4. Postponed hitting exercise bike until afternoon.
  5. Checked on blog, Twitter and Facebook.
  6. Wrote one new chapter.
  7. Checked on blog stats and social media.
  8. Thought about hitting the exercise bike.
  9. Rewrote blog post.
  10. Checked blog stats and comments.
  11. Finally rode a few miles while reading a book.
  12. Watched The Bachelor while checking my blog stats, answering comments, live tweeting, and rewriting my blog post and then checked stats again.

Do you see a vicious cycle occurring?

Tuesday morning, I had a conversation in my head. Yes. I’ve embraced talking to myself:

ME: So how can I think bigger?

THOUGHTS: How about planning to hike Everest?

ME: Too big and I think you were talking about something more career related, right? Continue reading

BEWARE of Cyberspace Snake Oil!

Have you been bought?

Seduced by the glitz, the glam, attracting paparazzi like steel filings to a magnet, and for some, the bouffant hairdo their personal stylist creates, many are in a full-out sprint to the top. They don’t care what they have to do to get there. Nothing is comparable to feeling adored and having screaming fans shout out, “We want more! We want more!” They sneeze and fans applaud.

Beware of snake oil salesmen

 

Most of us, like 99.99%, will never experience this. But what if you could buy this feeling?

Would you consider buying people to like you?

Continue reading

An Open Letter to My Left Hand

Dear Left Hand,

I am sincerely sorry for falling on you and breaking one of Wrist’s bones. It was painful. What might have been worse was the relief I felt when realizing your superior twin, Right Hand didn’t break, because it’s like my, never mind. You have been in a rivalry since birth, but that isn’t what I meant.

An open letLet me start by thanking you for not waking me up at night. It must be difficult while being restricted by the air cast. You’ve never complained, except for when you reflexively tried to grasp the lettuce box as it slipped from Right Hand. I felt that yelp of pain.

I’m sure you think I like Right Hand best. I use it a lot more often than you and the truth is I find it stronger and more dexterous. So I’ll admit that I am guilty of this favoritism.

I shouldn’t have been so insensitive when frustrated by your limitations in the past.

When I heard that it was good for you to be used, I let you blow-dry my hair. You missed my head altogether. Then you tried to brush it, but couldn’t get the angle of the bristles into the strands. The worst was when you bruised my gums when brushing my teeth.

I oftentimes have no idea what you are doing. Continue reading

Discovering the Past to Understand the Future

Sometimes discoveries from our past can help us understand our journey to the present and the road between. No matter how we envision our future, it never turns out like we imagined.

When retrieving my daughter’s birthday presents, I discovered a long ago forgotten and deteriorating cardboard box hidden in the dark corner of my art room closet. It was filled with Badger Herald Newspapers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I had illustrated the top stories for a few issues when I was an art student. I pulled out the first three.

Badger Herald

Nostalgia washed over me with a glimpse into my college days and memories associated with some of my drawings. At that time, I imagined illustrating for an advertising agency after graduation. I hadn’t dreamed of becoming a medical illustrator. Like the golden hue of the old newsprint, I remembered popcorn for dinner, skip-and-go-nakeds (beer, vodka and lemonade), and all-nighters spent in creating art projects and cramming for blue book exams. I found them too.

I thought about how much my life has changed in those thirty-five years. I worked as a professional illustrator, married, moved to Colorado, have two amazing kids and only recently found my passion in writing. Talk about wildest dreams.

It’s funny how ironic life can be. I gasped when this flash from my past peeked out from the box. I had totally forgotten that I had drawn it. Back then The Empire Strikes Back was the newest movie in the Star Wars franchise. Finding my old illustration coincided with the new release. The two movies echoed my life with changes of their own.

The Empire Strikes Back
My name has changed from ‘Sue McCartan’ to Susie Lindau.

When attending a premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it struck me how the thirty-five years had been melted down and recast to reflect changes in our society. Instead of the typical male lead, the movie began with a badass female protagonist, Rey, who meets her black sidekick named Finn. Their romcom chemistry sizzled on the screen similar to the attraction between Han Solo and Princess Leia.

Star wars geek

That’s a pretend light saber in my hands. A real one is too dangerous.

Compared to Leia’s confining robe, Rey’s leggings and layered garb proved to be a better choice for fighting and running. She could take care of herself and didn’t need to be rescued. Another role reversal duly noted.

Instead of Yoda, we meet Maz Kanata, another female to balance out the male cast. She is the leathery, wizened counterpart without the strange manner of speaking.

When my favorite characters, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, R2D2, C3PO, and finally Luke Skywalker, appeared on screen, it was like reuniting with old friends. I slipped into the comfort of their easy banter and one-liners like my college hoody. We had all grown older, hopefully wiser and wore more smile lines than frown. I didn’t want it to end.

When the credits rolled, my shoulders slumped. This spectacular feature film ended in the ultimate cliffhanger. Another new episode won’t premier until May 26th, 2017. Just like when my college days had ended and I packed up that cardboard box, I wondered what the future would bring. This I know. It will be different than I imagine.

Are there characters from a movie you would like to see again? Did you see The Force Awakens? Are you looking forward to your next class reunion?

For more stories click here!

 

Elfish Holiday Survival Tips

If you are a little behind in your holiday shopping, decorating, and baking, don’t get down on yourself. You can always regift, dim the lights and order from the bakery.

This is the time of year when everyone believes in Santa and Christmas miracles. If you don’t, keep it to yourself.

Embrace your inner elf. You’ll burn extra calories from the overwhelming anticipation of Christmas, so you won’t gain any weight from the dozens of cookies you’ll consume. Continue reading

Are You Adventurous? Take the Quiz!

According to Wikipedia, adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking with an uncertain outcome.

DSCN1731

Although I have a reasonable amount of fear which prevents me from doing anything super crazy and life threatening, I get bored doing the same old thing. I tend to seek out new experiences in almost every aspect of my life.

soap tastes yucky

Soap on a rope tastes yucky, but at least I tried it.

When we were children, we approached new experiences with wonder. My family went on Sunday drives to explore Southern Wisconsin. I have memories of hiking, camping, canoeing and making new friends.

Girl Scout Camp

When was the last time you made a fun weekend plan that didn’t include mundane tasks or a trip to Home Depot? 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

Surrounded by Vivid Color

Last week, I biked outside for the first time since knee surgery. Surrounded by vivid color, I had to stop and take a few photographs. I had looked forward to riding to Hygiene, about ten miles away, but the skies threatened.

bike hike in Boulder County

It has been stormy here in Boulder County. When I rode again yesterday, I made it to the tiny town. I returned home as the skies opened up. After going out for dinner, tornadoes, torrential rain, and a lightning show like no other, made driving a challenge.

Stormy skies above Niwot

Thunderstorms rolled in early today and the landscape is muted. When the skies clear, mountain vistas will once again burst with vivid color.

Have you been spending time outside? Has the weather been stormy in your neck of the woods?

This week’s photo challenge is “Vivid.

Spamming Aruba

Aruba beach

Many of us dream of island sunsets and endless beaches. I have written a few photo essays about this kind of family vacation. One of them, Aruba, Natalie Holloway, Bad Hair and Photos, recently received a spike in views. Classmates reported Natalie missing ten years ago last weekend. I included a waiter’s conspiracy theory in my post, drawing legit traffic.

Unfortunately slimy spammers also staked out turf on my Aruban beach. Continue reading

Help Solve The Mystery!

While vacationing in Santa Barbara, California, my husband, Danny, and I walked to the farmers’ market. I spied something enveloped in a garden bed. I took a double take. Yep. It appears someone partied hard Friday night and trounced home naked or in their boxers or thong. I left the pair of jeans in their new habitat and didn’t investigate for size or gender. I didn’t want to find *gulp* underwear.

Where

The de-pantsing (unpantsing?), took place around the corner from the main drag, State Street, and one mile from the ocean. 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

I’m Planning On A Happy Birthday!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it never turns out exactly the way you plan. All of your hopes and dreams may be realized, but it’s never the same as we imagine. This can be very true of birthdays too.

Susie Baby Picture 2

Continue reading

The Intelligence And Stupidity Of Spring

Have you noticed your trees, shrubs, and plants perking up after the long winter? Well, some of mine are really stupid.

See that crabapple on the right? It is showing superior intelligence.

stupid crabapple

Here in Boulder, the month of March is generally our snowiest preceding an April where buds burst into brilliant spring color. But March has been warm; warm like May warm. The weather has the first two letters right, but that’s all. It’s the kind of warm that has butterflies bursting out of chrysalises and Boulderites hitting trails in shorts and T-shirts. Grocery stores are sold out of burgers, hotdogs and buns. Okay. I made that up, but it could happen. Continue reading

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

Twitter Verification Just Got Interesting

In social media, a little blue badge next to someone’s name means they have been verified. It differentiates the person or business as the real deal and not a copycat or crazed fan. Twitter has been verifying accounts for a while. Facebook began distributing badges last fall and Instagram is about to join the verification club.

I get pretty stoked when blue check people follow me like YouTube vlogger, Jenna Marbles. She has 3.75 million followers! That’s her dog, not Jenna.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 5.20.10 PM

For a few days, *I pinned my tweet, How to Get the Little Blue Check On Twitter,” and received a DM (direct message) from someone who has over 200,000 followers. Whoa. He has a lot of fans!

Anyway, he said someone had DM’d him with an offer to sell him verification. The coveted badge could be his for one hundred and fifty dollars. He wanted my opinion. I told him it was probably a scam. Then I Googled Twitter verification and found this: Continue reading