It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

Dad collage

I don’t think we are ever prepared for the death of a loved one. It is a loss so profound, it cuts a hole in our center, our core and our heart. It leaves us unbalanced, wounded and bleeding. We mourn the ones who die before us and struggle to imagine life without them.

dad and mom

Our family has been hit with three deaths in seven months. I knew Danny’s family before I discovered the Lindau boys had an older brother. Our parents were very close friends and our families often celebrated holidays together. Danny’s brother, his mother, (one month ago), and now my father have left us.

dad mom patty and me

My Father the Madman.

You can’t prepare for it. No matter if it is a slow goodbye or a shock, the finality is something hard to comprehend until it happens. I have imagined it and nothing comes close. I thought I wouldn’t be able to function, but instead I’ve been in hyperdrive. I think I’m still in shock.

mom and dad1

The Secret to Living a Long and Happy Life

But I have found a few things that help. Gathering with family to share memories is the first step in healing. The night my dad died, I made an autumn supper for my husband and children who live in Denver. We laughed and cried over the loss of my dad. He was a great man and could be very funny.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

dad and the gang

Trippin’ Through Dublin – A Photo Essay

The other way to deal with extreme stress is to get busy. Do housework, laundry, cook, clean, any mindless task or normal activity. I washed windows when I got the news. I cried while finishing. After cleaning up, I cooked our family dinner. Exhausted and reeling, it was worth the effort.

dad in the studio 1

A Passionate Lifetime.

Writing has become a part of my daily routine, so the next morning, I wrote his obituary. I had thought I would regret not preparing it ahead of time, but discovered a healing process in Continue reading

A Twenty-Eight Year Adventure – Photo Essay


Every young couple starts out with the basics: a map to where you think you want to go and a compass that always leads you back home.

Beaver pond aspens

We started off like many naive newlyweds, sinking our toes into the grasses of verdant valleys not realizing what lay ahead. Our journey has led us to wicked wintry peaks where we slipped from our foothold, but we bundled up and braved the biting wind together.

Sometimes we struck out on a new path and bushwhacked our way through avalanche areas filled with fallen trees as the sun set over the next horizon. When one of us tumbled from the mountain, the other was there to lend a hand. The worst days were spent heading in the wrong direction while scrambling over fields of boulders and taking leaps over deadly crevasses and yet we never traveled alone.

And that was just last weekend. Continue reading

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

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

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 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’! 

My Secrets Revealed on Podcast

Recently, I played tennis with friends. One of them mentioned, she and her husband would be celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I chimed in that Danny and I would be celebrating our twenty-seventh this October. “Not bad after dating for one weekend,” I added. Their collective jaws dropped.


Memorial Day weekend, 1987.

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Independence Pass, July, 1987.

I’ve written three blog posts about how we took a leap of faith. Okay, it was more like catapult. At the time, it seemed very logical to get married after such a short time of dating. Later, we wondered what our kids would think. So far they haven’t run off to Las Vegas to get married after meeting someone new. Whew!

weddingphoto1 001

October 10, 1987.

My blogging friend and author Neville DeAngelou has a very popular radio show called The Journey. He read my blog post, “Letting You in on Ten Little Secrets,” and asked if I would be interested in being interviewed. We Skyped a few months ago. I included my story, “Our Secret is Out,” which is based on “Oprah and Me.”

It is really hard for me to listen to a recording of myself, but it wasn’t that bad! I’ve told these stories about a thousand times.

I’d love it if you listened. Click the link below:

 Do you have any secrets to a long lasting relationship that you’d like to share?

Why blog? And what the heck is a writer’s platform?

A few years ago, a friend made a comment which changed my life. “You really should write these stories down,” she said after laughing at one of my wild tales. This began a whole new adventure. The germ of an idea for a humorous non-fiction book about Boulder women was born. Editors suggested, I blog in order to build a writer’s platform. I had two problems. I didn’t know the definition of a blog or a writer’s platform.

When I first heard the word blog, I thought of McElligot’s Pool. Remember the dreamer who fished in a tiny pond and imagined an underwater world filled with sea creatures? I think one of the fish made the sound, “Blog.”


My only experience with blogging came from the movie Julie and Julia, but I hadn’t seen it. By the time I looked up Julie Powell‘s blog, she had taken down most of her posts. 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?

Do You Want More Followers?

When we receive an email alerting us that someone has subscribed to our blog, it’s exciting. Later when publishing a post, we hope to see the see those new friendly little gravatars pop up in “likes” or “comments.” Most are never seen again. They disappear like Oreos at a Bronco training table.

No one wants to feel like the guy with the microphone speaking to an empty room.

“Hello?” *tap*tap*tap* “Hello?”

I’ve discovered a secret.

You need to meet people. REAL people. Introduce yourself and check each other out. Chat a while. Go to each other’s place and chill. Or better yet, DANCE!

“Where can I do that?” you ask, “I live on an island off the coast of Newfoundland. I haven’t seen anyone for days.”

At another Use Me and Abuse Me Day this Thursday, August 22nd! It’s where all my friends come to meet up, hook up and if it works out, subscribe.

DJ Wild Rider in the House

Yeah baby. Rest up. It’s going to be another rager!

Are you ready to party?

Photo taken by Susie Lindau in front of the Hotel de Ville in Paris, France with a Sony Nex 3N


The Boob Report – A Sticky Situation

I bet the photograph of me with the tubes coming out of my body is forever etched in your memory. Sorry about that. I had hoped to get the drains out on Friday, but I had to go into the doctor three more times before they were removed a full week later. It was hard for me to slow down. Imagine!

Talk about shivering before an appointment. I was so afraid yanking the tubes out would hurt like hell since they were so sensitive early in my recovery. They slipped right out and I didn’t feel a thing!

Looking forward to a shower took on a whole new meaning. With no belt, tubes or hand grenade containers to mess with, I was finally free and ready to jump in to really suds up. Then I realized another problem had arisen.

1942 Girl Scout First Aid Kit

Girl Scout First Aid Kit from 1942 – I don’t think Danny broke into this antique.

We had run out of bandages and my husband Danny had placed four old and deteriorating ones over my entry tube holes the night before. They left nasty glue everywhere. Gahhhhhh! I had looked forward to the relief of being drain-free, but now my arms stuck to my sides under my armpits. When I say stuck, I mean my skin stuck together like fly paper!

I took a shower, but nothing would remove the sticky glue.

ME: Oh my God! I can’t believe it! How am I going to get rid of this stupid glue? I waited all this time for some relief and now I have to deal with this shit!

DANNY: What about turpentine?

ME: Are you kidding me? The holes in my body from the tubes are right in the middle of the sticky mess. I can’t put turpentine on my wounds!

Tears welled up in my eyes. 

DANNY: What about fingernail polish remover?

ME: God Danny. Are you serious?

1942 Girl Scout First Aid Kit 2

Or did he???

It was quiet for a while as I moved my arm up and down and watched the skin stick together and then pull apart.

DANNY: What about a Stayfree Mini Pad?

ME: A Stayfree Mini Pad?

After I stopped laughing, I thought about it.

ME: I guess it’s worth a try.

I grabbed a pad from under the sink and folded it in half. Then I stuck it under my armpit.

DANNY: Well? Is it working?

I put my arm down at my side and lifted it up. The skin didn’t adhere!

ME: It worked! A Stayfree Mini Pad? How did you think of that brand?”

DANNY: Their advertising must be working.

Who knew I would be freed by a mini pad?


They’re nipple-less and bionic. I love them! I can throw on a tank top and run (Okay, so I can’t run yet), outside without a bra and I won’t nip out.

There have been four fills so far. I told my reconstructive doctor, “You should post a sign in the waiting room that says, We will pump you up!

I would name my new boobs, Hans and Franz, but come on, they’re girls.


The Fill = Youch!

First the nurse uses a magnet to find the half-dollar size fill area under the skin of my breast and pectoral muscles. I wonder if they will set off alarms while going through airport security… Then she inserts a needle and “pumps me up,” with saline. 50 cc’s hurts like hell, but no pain, no gain. My boobs are stretching out to their original size and my dinky right boob is no longer dinky!

They are not like the soft silicone implants which will replace the expanders in September. These freaks are like headlights, halogen high beams, or Barbie boobs. They stick straight out and are as hard as rock. I smacked one while pulling the clean clothes out of the washer today. Ho! It smarted!

“My new girls could take a bullet for me,” I said to my mom.

My poor mother has never gotten used to my crazy sense of humor.


I wondered if Danny could use my new boobs as a flotation device in the untimely event that our plane plunges into the Atlantic while traveling to Europe.

“I could save two people,” I told the nurse while she filled them up.

“They would be easy to grip,” Danny added.

“No. They are filled with saline so you won’t float,” said the straight-faced nurse.



If I am ever high on the general anesthetic and Oxycontin again, try to remember the drug will obliterate my filters for a whole month. I over-shared my boobectomy with the landscape guys who stopped by to give me an estimate. I told them since I no longer have nipples, I can run around bra-less. “How cool is that?” I asked.

Then I proceeded to tell them my WHOLE double mastectomy story, for FIFTEEN MINUTES.

Next time, pay attention to the color of people’s faces, if their jaws drop and if they start to back away towards their vehicle.

Hey! At least I didn’t flash them…

Can you think out of the box?

Other Boob Reports – 

The Boob Report I – Roadblocks and U-Turns

The Boob Report II – Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Boob Report III – Post-op

The Boob Report IV – Coming Out of the Haze

The Boob Report V – Bosom Boosting Buddies

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.

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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.

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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.

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Cliffs of Moor parking lot

They oftentimes give us new perspective and something to ponder.

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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!


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