First Snow, Finally – Friday Photos

sprinkler snow sculpture

It snowed for the first time yesterday, November 17th, the latest snow on record. I’ve been waiting through dry months more similar to August and September. It was 82 degrees the day before. Yep. We didn’t turn off our sprinklers before the storm. Oopsy. But it made a pretty cool sculpture.

All of these photos taken on my iPhone this morning are unedited. The colors are amazing!

november-snow-2016

I think we can finally take down our wasp traps. In my defense, they were flying around on Thursday and I’m allergic.

first-snow-niwot-2016

The pond has been my muse for years, but I never get tired of this view.

November first snow on the pond

The temperatures are going to bounce back to the 60’s tomorrow. You gotta love Colorado.

I’m so grateful for the change in seasons and my life in Colorado!

Stop back next week for a chance to participate in a fun Thanksgiving party. I’ll give you a hint – Make a list of simple pleasures you are grateful for and I’ll give you a chance to link up.

Have a Wild Weekend!

Is this storm headed your way?

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Dodging Bullets and Creepy Crawlers

Roxy is a hunter. If you looked at her body, you’d say, “Nah, I don’t believe it.” She’s pretty puny with front legs about eight inches long.

Believe it.

Dodging bullets and creepy crawlers

She has been known to take down grasshoppers and the occasional mouse. In the beginning of the summer, she had been outside for quite a while. I became concerned. There were plenty of rabbits around, so I wasn’t too worried about a repeat performance with the Coywolf. In fact, I haven’t seen him or his kin around all summer. Instead, there’s been an owl, who (no pun intended) has hung out for months. Anyway, I worried Roxy’s radio collar’s battery had died and she was off gallivanting somewhere. It happened to be trash day.

I found her all right. She stood over something furry and freshly killed judging by the blood in the grass. A young rabbit. Euww! I ran inside for two grocery bags, picked it up and tossed it out. What could I say? Bichons are known for their mad hunting skills. I couldn’t punish her. I checked her coat, but she was as white as the pure driven snow. Hmmm. I wondered about the owls.

A few weeks ago, I found her in the very same place, right on the edge of her dogwatch system standing over her rabbit prey. The owl flew from the thick green canopy when I walked outside later that day. Aha! Roxy must have scared it off and stolen the owl’s dinner. Then I stole it from both of them and into the bin it went.

Dodging bullets and creepy crawlers

Flash forward two weeks. I returned from a quick trip to California and arrived at midnight on Monday. All I could manage the next day was a quart of black coffee and the newspaper.

There it was. An article about Tularemia. I had seen a sign posted at the trailhead last summer when I went on an epic waterlogged bike trip around the Boulder reservoir. It warned (and I paraphrase), “Contact with dead rabbits with the disease could cause high fever and swollen lymph nodes. It can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.” The article suggested we call animal control for any dead animals in the yard. If we insisted on removing them ourselves, we should use a shovel and cover our bodies with long sleeves and pants.

What??? I’d been in a t-shirt and shorts every time. It had been two weeks since the “incident.” I looked at Roxy. Her eyes were clear and she seemed to be her old high-spirited self. The rabbits must not have been infected.

Bullet dodged.

I took a nap in the afternoon and Roxy cuddled with me. I scratched her fur and found a speck of dirt. She must have rolled around while playing at the kennel. She needed a bath and a haircut, so I made an appointment for 10:00 on Thursday.

When I dropped her off, the groomer said, “It’ll take about three or four hours.” I returned home and caught up with writing. I planned to get a lot done since it had been a short week.

At noon, the phone rang. “I have some bad news,” she said.

I thought about the tularemia symptoms and wondered if she detected the disease somehow.

“She has fleas.”

Her words struck me like shrapnel. “No!”

“We found a few eggs. They’re just like specks of dirt.”

I just about fell on the floor. I flicked the egg I found in her fur onto the bedspread!

She would give Roxy a flea bath and give her some kind of treatment. In hyperdrive, I asked about a zillion questions and she finally directed me to the Internet. Of course, that’s always a reliable source. Ahem.

The top search was a first hand story about a lady in England who had an infestation problem of monstrous proportions. According to her, I needed to vacuum everything that couldn’t be washed and then repeat it every day for two month. She used flea powder everywhere. I had cancer thee years ago. I don’t want to be anywhere near insecticide.

I imagined how many times Roxy had run through the house shaking flea eggs all over the place. It grossed me out.

It took seven hours to do all the work. Is this what my next month would look like? I’d have no time for anything else. I went to bed that night exhausted and depressed about all the cleaning ahead.

The next day, I caught up on writing and blogging, and planned on cleaning in the afternoon.

The phone rang. It was another groomer from the same place. “I see that Roxy is due for a visit. Would you like to book an appointment?”

I laughed and said she’d been in yesterday. “She has fleas.”

“Oh, no.”

Her reaction added to my already heavy heart. “So I guess I’ll be cleaning every day so I don’t get an infestation.”

She explained that soap and water kills them. “She got the Advantix treatment, right? You won’t have an infestation.” She explained that the eggs stick to their fur and she wouldn’t have shaken them everywhere. I was somewhat relieved since I washed all the bedding the day before. Hopefully that  tiny little sucker I found in her fur didn’t roll under the bed…

“So is Advantix a repellant or insecticide?”

“Insecticide. Don’t worry, she won’t get bites from fleas, ticks or mosquitos. August is the last month for treatments, so you won’t have to come back until she’s ready for another grooming.”

Oh, God. Apparently, I will have a freakin’ bug bomb running around the house on four paws for the next month. I hate insecticide. At least she can’t be infected by anything and I don’t have to spend seven hours a day cleaning.

Another bullet dodged, sort of.

In the meantime, I’m reducing the size of her yard. Her dogwatch radio fence can be changed by the twist of a button.

She’ll be only hunting for a warm spot to cuddle.

You’re welcome, owls.

Owl Thanks You

Have you ever dealt with fleas or other pesky pests? Have you ever seen an owl?

It’s Not too Late for a Weekend Getaway Like This One!

It's not too late for an end of summer getawayThink summer is slipping away? It is. Mental lists of activities planned for the summer will fade as days shorten and cooler air rolls in. It can be stressful to think about fall if you haven’t enjoyed your summer. You might think it’s too late for a weekend getaway.

I stressed out about two weeks ago. I had made a list of everything I wanted to do this summer and then conquered less than half of it. The list was written on a note. It must have gotten tossed out with the morning paper. Been there?

One activity stuck in my mind. I wondered if it could recapture summer. There was only one way to find out.

My son, Kelly, moved to Burbank, California and has been attending Icon Music Production School since July. He’s heading home between quarters, but I thought a beach trip might be just what I need to get my end of summer fix.

With less than two weeks before leaving, I wondered if the flights would be astronomical. I booked roundtrip flights to LAX for $140 through Southwest. Whoa! My daughter, Courtney, joined me.

I used VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and booked a place in Venice Beach. I’ve rented many through the years, but poor location, lack of air-conditioning, hard beds and pillows can add up to a not-so-great experience. I’m usually pretty lucky.

This one was the bomb. Super modern and a few blocks from Abbot Kinney, I wanted to move in permanently. We were more than pleased.

We spent a lot of time on the beach. Being landlocked, I appreciate the rhythmic thrum of the waves breaking on shore, the sandy beaches and am always awed by the ocean.

I had seen The Easy Lay on The List and bought one on the beach two days later!

Plan a Weekend Getaway

It’s as comfortable as it looks.

We ate like Kings and Queens at Killer ShrimpWater Grill and brunch at The Tasting Kitchen. It was hard not to overeat.

Killer Shrimp

It’s a good thing we visited. I walked into Kelly’s apartment and it looked the same as when I left. He and his roommates hadn’t bought any furniture for the living room or kitchen. There was no place to eat or sit down.

A trip to IKEA was in order. For just under $500, we bought a sleeper couch, table and four chairs, a side chair and a coffee table. Thank you IKEA!

Two guys and a woman in front of IKEA with furniture boxes

I hope everything is out of boxes and put together by the time I need another summer fix around November. UPDATE: Three more chairs to go. Yes!

The best part of my end of summer getaway? Hanging out with my kids!

Collage of Lindau family on vacation in Santa Monica

Yes, I recaptured summer and just in time. It’s not too late for you. Check something off your list.

What’s on your end of summer list? Where would you go to getaway? Have you used VRBO or AirBnB?

Stop Negative Thoughts and Be Creative!

How think more creatively

Most of us would like to think more creatively. I would. As human beings, we dream every night and play out all kinds of creative scenes. Writing is my thing, so I want my mind to be filled with new thoughts. I love it when new characters, scenes or plot ideas pop into my head, but I wish they would appear more often. With such an over-active mind, how do I do that?

In one of my first meditation classes at Wanderlust Yoga Festival, I learned that up to 90% of our thoughts are old and repetitive.

Wow. I consider myself a creative thinker, so I was horrified that much of my time is wasted.

The instructor explained there are many kinds of old thoughts. The most common are negative. We play out scenes where we have felt loss or have been wounded long ago. They’re on a loop. We replay them over and over again. There is nothing we can do about these scenes. They happened. They’re in our past. Most of the time these loops make us feel bad, guilty, or fill us with regret. Not only do we hold them in our minds, we hold them in our muscles, our gut, our heart, our bones. It’s not healthy.

We think about the people in our lives that don’t understand us.

They can live in the present, but the memories imprint and then we regurgitate our latest conversations. They may be one of our acquaintances, a co-worker, or a neighbor. Their negative impact can hold us back in some way when their unkind words make us doubt ourselves. We don’t need more doubt. We have enough as it is. Everyone is on a path, but these people seem to trip us up. These “viral” loops in our brain make us feel inadequate. For some strange reason, we continue to regurgitate them anyway. We add them to our already heavy load. We are sensitive human beings.

On top of that, we have worries and fear.

Oh, my God. They are the worst. We all have them. They live in our future. We make plans and try to control what happens. A certain amount of planning is important, but what if the expectations become huge? It can paralyze us. I have held off sending emails that could further my career in writing because of the fear of a typo, an awkward sentence or a rejection. Instead, I hesitated and had to build up my confidence before pressing send.

There is also the fear of choosing the right path. What if we made a wrong turn somewhere? We may have faltered, twisted and turned around, or may have been seduced by sparkly things along the way. How do we know?

resolutions illustrationAll of these thoughts weigh us down. They take up the majority of our time. In order to free up space for creativity, we shouldn’t think about something that happened last month or ten years ago. The negative people in your life? They aren’t worth your time either. Obsessing about the future doesn’t help since it’s more out of our control than we think and it never turns out exactly how we plan, anyway. So make your plan and move along.

Sound easy? It is.

I say this because I stumbled upon part of this technique before the yoga adventure.

When I received a request for my full manuscript, I was so excited! Then I panicked. Over the previous two weeks, a few new ideas had popped into my head. There were a couple inconsistencies that needed to be fixed. Since they had bubbled up at weird times during the day, I hadn’t written them down. I couldn’t remember what they were. I was leaving town! I had a doctor’s appointment at 2:00! It was noon! I had two hours!

What would I do?

My stomach knotted while all kinds of negative thoughts popped into my head. I didn’t have time to sit and read through 370 pages, but I wanted to send it as soon as possible. Timing is everything.

I stared at my laptop on the kitchen counter and then I looked down at the rug. It was worth a try. After getting comfortable on the floor, I took a deep breath and tried to clear my frantic mind. I concentrated on my breath (this may sound weird), and stared at the insides of my eyelids. I took several deep breaths and thought about my main character. Then I drifted over (and I mean barely thought about), a few plot points and BAM! Those five corrections popped into my head.

Instead of thinking, I freed my mind and listened.

This happened because I calmed myself and stepped away from the source of stress. Breathing does that. In two three, out two three. Over and over until the heart rate slows and our brains fill with oxygen.

In the case above, I had thought about these corrections before, but only momentarily. I had been in that creative space when they were formed, so I had to get back into that level of calm and relaxed thinking in order to bring them back.

If you’re facing a brain block, sometimes it gets worse if you try to force it. That’s when we are using the wrong part of the brain. I don’t believe good books get written with the cerebral cortex. It’s too logical. Creative thinking has to come from that dreamlike state where the book flows like a movie. I write what I see in my mind’s eye.

I set aside time to write creatively and try to hit between 1000-2000 words. If I’m having a problem settling down, I do what I did when I panicked. I slow my breathing. I think about my last scene and the characters. I try to come up with the most interesting event that could happen, the worst-case scenario, or a way to reveal something new. Then I start writing.

At the festival, I learned another way to become more creative. By letting go of all those negative, unwanted, or unneeded thoughts, the brain can flow to new ideas . The process of letting go makes room for them.

Imagine them as black smoke deep inside your bones, your muscles, your gut. Breathe them out. Get rid of them. You don’t have the time for old negativity.

It’s funny, how it feels weird to let them go. It’s as if we’ve clung to them for protection, but they don’t protect us. They hurt us. They keep our wounds open, so they don’t heal.

The first three days of the festival, all of my old wounds broke wide open. It was scary, at first to be so vulnerable. I had to think about them, so I could finally release them.

Negative memories and thoughts hold us back. They undermine our confidence. We’ve learned our lessons. We don’t need reminders of misunderstandings or mistakes. They need to go back to where they belong. In our past.

resolution illustrationI thought I had to go out and fix everything by doing, but I was wrong. I needed to accept who I am and chill. Everything will ebb and flow the way it’s supposed to if we trust we are on the right path and keep working hard toward our goals. We need to quiet our minds, so we can listen to our sub-conscious thoughts, stop forcing everything to solve problems, and be.

We are human beings after all.

Are you able to let go of negative thinking? How does the creative process flow for you?

 

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Another inspiring post for you!

 

How I learned to fly!

wanderlust yoga festival learning to fly

I learned how to fly. I let go. I trusted. I flew by being, not doing.

Yesterday, I returned from Wanderlust Yoga Festival in a peaceful state of bliss, feeling renewed, refreshed and very sore. From meditation to slack lining, this four day adventure blew my mind.

I had worried about my first class, acroyoga, mentioned in my last blog post. As I sat among sixty others waiting to become fliers, I wondered how my mending body would perform. Partial knee and broken wrist notwithstanding, I hoped I had the strength. I wasn’t worried about my own body crashing as much as face planting someone else. My mind jumped from doubt to regret that I hadn’t worked out enough. I worried my body wasn’t strong enough. That I wasn’t enough. As I sat under blue skies with the breathtaking mountains in the backdrop, my heart raced and my palms perspired.

Our instructor said we couldn’t fly without one, three letter word. Yet. We couldn’t fly, yet. He said we would all fly by the end of the class.

No way, I thought.

How did we practice? Through grounding trust exercises. We would have partners and had to learn to let go.

Looking back, this was the perfect class to start the festival.

supporting a flyer

That’s me on the bottom as the support system.

So much of the festival was about letting go. Letting go of the same negative thoughts. Letting go of old wounds. Freeing our minds to create space for new thoughts to grow. Learning to listen so we could trust our soul to guide us along the way.

Did I fly? In many ways, yes, I did. Old wounds both mental and physical reopened, so they could be released.

Was is painful? Yes! I was close to tears for three days. On the fourth, I felt stronger, lighter, happier. When I came to Whistler, I had planned to solve problems by doing. When I left, I had made a decision. Being and letting life happen was enough. My body was enough. I was enough.

I could fly!

flying high in acroyoga
Have you ever gone on an adventure that changed you in some way? Would you consider going to Wanderlust? Do you want to open your mind to new ideas?

Warning! Wanderlust Adventure Ahead

practicing yoga in tree pose near a pond for WanderlustWhen my daughter, Courtney, asked if I’d be interested in going to Wanderlust, I said, “Sure!” I’m always up for traveling, but had no idea what she was talking about. Last week, she sent me a video of a class we’ll be taking. I laughed until I cried.

I hope no one gets hurt…

Wanderlust – Whistler 2016, is a four-day yoga festival that includes everything from the obvious, (yoga) and meditation to paddle-boarding, hiking and rocking out to DJs at night. I signed up. After all this isn’t my first yoga rodeo.

In seventh grade, I took a class as an elective at Our Lady Queen of Peace. I was hooked. I loved the relaxed atmosphere and how it slowed my active mind. I continued my interest through college. For a few years after having kids, I took a class poolside at a beautifully landscaped Boulder home. When the sessions became more aerobic than meditative, I dropped out.

It has been a few years since I’ve really been into yoga. With wrist and knee issues, I recently attended a few classes in Boulder to test my body. With a pad under my knees, I could do everything, in restorative, gentle yoga, anyway.

I thought I was good to go.

Courtney instructed me to sign up for all of the classes on her schedule, so I blindly clicked away. Last week, she sent me an email and asked if I had read the class descriptions. Of course not. I rarely read instructions.

One of the classes we’re taking is Acrovinyasa. She sent this video and I laughed until I cried.

We’ll be partners. I assume I’ll be on the bottom. I just watched the video again and it still cracks me up. Think of me spinning around like a top next Thursday. Ha! Still laughing.

My husband, Danny, is coming with us. His yoga themed bad dad jokes have been hitting me in waves. He is running two 5Ks as part of the event and will go on a hike, but he also signed up for a couple of yoga classes. There is hope. I think I’ll buy him that guy’s bandana. Could be a good look for him since he’s planning on walking around town with a cross-body yoga mat and a water bottle. Ha!

I’m really looking forward to the classes, especially the ones involving positivity and opening up the mind to creativity. I truly believe writers, musicians, and artists get into a creative flow that seems to come out of nowhere. It’s why I write with a vague idea of my plot points and could never use an outline. Whenever I concretely think about what should happen next in my book, I go into “deer in the headlights.” Instead, I imagine the characters and setting, and the scene rolls in my head like a movie.

Wanderlust should be a mind bender. I hope my body bends too. I can’t afford any breakage.

Don’t worry, Courtney and Danny will take lots of pictures. Remember, I have no shame.

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Are you into yoga? Have you been to Whistler or Vancouver? Is Acroyoga for you?

Solid Gold Summer Sunsets and What Lies Beneath

Solid gold summer sunset at Malibu Beach

There is nothing more breathtaking than a solid gold summer sunset. Malibu Beach provided an amazing foreground for an unforgettable night. As the sun dipped lower on the horizon, I left my seat in The Sunset Restaurant, kicked off my shoes and snapped a few photos.

Solid gold summer sunset in Malibu

It was one of those magical nights when the color glinted off the waves. That’s when I noticed a few heads bobbing in the ocean. Wasn’t it feeding time?

Golden sunset at Malibu Beach

It made me think of a year ago when I watched another beach …on a movie screen.

Da dum.

Da dum.

Da dum.

Dadumdadumdadumdadum… Jaws at the pool. What a blast, but it freaked swimmers out. Soon very few heads bobbed in the water while watching the film.

jaws at the pool

I spoke with my mom while on my epic road trip. When I mentioned my son, Kelly, was surfing, she expressed concern about a rash of shark attacks. After some surfing of my own, I learned less than 1 shark death a year occurs in the United States and an average of 19 bites. I couldn’t find any news about shark attacks. Then I had a thought.

IT WAS SHARK WEEK!

Have you been enjoying the summer sunsets? Have you watched Jaws? Would you go swimming in the ocean at sunset?

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