Holiday Overachiever Meets Christmas Disasters

Like most of you, the holidays require time for planning, cooking, baking, shopping and celebrations. I add drawing illustrations to that list. No matter how organized, there’s never enough time and mistakes can be made. Add four birthdays to the Lindau mix and my Type-A, overachiever, perfectionism is really tested. But that doesn’t stop me from setting lofty goals. Nope.

illustrated christmas cards

Looking back on November, I can’t believe I signed up for NaNoWriMo. I knew I wouldn’t write 50,000 words like I did in 2014. I didn’t need to. My new book is almost done, but I signed up for the camaraderie and the word counter. Still, I thought I would write at least 20,000 words to hit my own 50,000 word mark. I was dreaming. I fell 4,500 short of that wimpy goal. I guilted out day-after-day over Thanksgiving for not carving out a little time to write. Then I faced that whiney voice head on and turned it off. I spent time with my family.

After taking my mom and brother to the airport and helping my sister with her paintings for a show, I finally sat down at 7:00 Monday night. The house was quiet. My husband, Danny, watched the Packer game in the other room. I planned to catch up with blogging. It would be nice to sit back and relax for the next few days.

Then it hit me.

IT WAS CYBER MONDAY! December 1st would arrive on Thursday! I scrambled to click on deals until Amazon read, AAmmaazzoonn and my credit card was maxed out. Not really, but I got a lot of shopping done.

The next day, I made a list.

  1. Decorate the house.
  2. Prepare for a holiday party.
  3. Bake cakes and cookies.
  4. Draw the family Christmas card.
  5. Shop for everyone.
  6. Wrap presents before Christmas Eve.
  7. Keep up with writing projects.

At the end of every holiday season, I take pictures of my decorations to make it easier for the next. The following year, I never look at them. I’d rather try something different. Decorating a couple of Christmas trees and evergreen swags which hang on almost every surface, then setting up several tablescapes should be easy. (In other words four solid days of work, at least.)

Fifteen years ago, Danny and I hosted a humongous Christmas party for a few hundred guests. I made ninety-three different delectable dishes, sweets and treats. Ninety-three! I kept the list. I told you I was Type-A, I mean OCD. That stands for Obsessive Christmas Decorator, right? The inside of the house was trimmed from stem to stern. The outdoor decorations made Boulder’s Top Twenty list. I splurged on a velvet Ralph Lauren dress complete with a train. I hired help to pass out appetizers. It would be elegant.

gorgeous dining room christmas

Over-achieving had reached new heights. I planned the perfect holiday party. I hadn’t learned the fact that no matter how you fantasize about an event, it never turns out remotely close to your imagination.

A few flakes floated down adding to the Kincaid Christmas card mood. It kept snowing. The snow blew and drifts rose toward the windows. It didn’t stop until the next day. More than half the guests didn’t make it because of impassible roads. Someone tracked mud through the house from the garage. The kitchen, which is the focal point of my house, was trashed sometime during the second hour of the party. Unwashed dishes and containers littered the streaky counters. I tripped on my train all night and considered cutting it off. Some of the hors d’oevres, which took hours and hours to make, were never served on trays. My heart sunk when I found all of them in the refrigerator the next day. That was the last big Christmas party we hosted.

After that fiasco, I entertained my tennis friends with a ladies sit luncheon. It started with a very small group of five. Over the next few years the guest list grew. The last time I hosted the event, I invited seventy! Only half of them showed up. Key words, “The last time I hosted.”

I had a weak moment in November and we will brave entertaining again, inviting people who have kept in touch through the years along with some new friends. The last two nights,  I woke up in a cold sweat wondering how I’ll pull it off without a caterer. I’m relying on my old mantra: “You got this. You can do it.” I’m trying not to fantasize. Nothing will be served on trays. My new dress won’t have a train. My family is helping with the party. I’ll be “dancing for drought” before the party, just in case.

After brushing off my dusty cookbooks, I listed the dishes to prepare for the party. Cakes, breads, and my favorite cookies will be baked and frozen. I hope they don’t disappear before the holidays. I’ve developed a bigger sweet tooth than Danny!

My Christmas card will be tackled early. The first time I made a popup version, they were so complicated, each one took more than ten minutes to paste together. I missed two holiday parties to finish them. That didn’t stop me from continuing the popup time suck over the last few years.

pieces and parts of card diy

This year, I will create an old-fashioned illustrated card. (See card below from 2008.) No bells. No whistles. No pull outs. Just one fold down the middle. I hope. Okay, so if I do something remotely popup this year, take away my scissors next year. Please!

I still have lots of time before Christmas to shop for presents. Ordering online makes shopping so easy. I had a brilliant idea to wrap gifts as they are delivered or bought. Ha! That would be a Christmas miracle.

illustrated christmas card 06

So how will I balance my writing life through the holidays? I won’t. I wrote a new chapter yesterday and then studied my planner. There’s no way I’ll finish everything on time for the holidays with a 1000 word per day goal. It’s time to cut back, relax, and enjoy a season that only comes around once a year.

The most important thing? No matter how I plan, I’ll remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. “Do you hear that right side?” asks the left side of my brain.

illustration of boy and girl fighting

I’ll do my best and will enjoy the holidays like a normal person. What’s that like? I have no idea. I’ll let you know in January.

 

I have a gift for you! I’m hosting The #Blessed Project until December 17th. Blog a #Blessed Project list and I’ll feature your post on December 19th. Check out the details here. No matter how the holidays turn out, I’ve been blessed by having family and friends like you!

What could go wrong if I stick with my plan? Are you a holiday over-achiever?

A Shia LaBeouf Hitchhiking Update #TAKEMEANYWHERE

Good morning Wild Riders and Happy Summer to you!Shia LaBeouf and Susie Lindau at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Remember when I met Shia LaBeouf in May? Well he, Nastja Ronkko, and Luke Turner have been hitchhiking since May 23rd. Every day, they have posted their new coordinates at noon on Twitter and have taken a ride from whomever picks them up first. GPS placed them north of Seattle, Washington yesterday. Today at noon, they were further north near Maple Ridge, British Columbia. My guess is they will head to Los Angeles, but who knows? Maybe they’ll complete their weird loop by hitching a ride back to Boulder.

#takemeanywhere hitchhiking map LaBeouf, Turner, Ronkko

These are their last few days of hitchhiking. My husband, Danny, and I are road-tripping on Sunday and will just miss them. Dang!

I found the coolest video of Scott Daly and a friend who set out from Utah to track the team down. Being super fans, it soon became a cat and mouse adventure. If you’re a writer, this video includes every step in the making of a great story. It is very suspenseful and worth a view.

Take a look:

Would you have gone this far? Can you see how Daly’s adventure plays out like a great short story?

I wonder what LaBeouf, Ronkko and Turner will do with their #TAKEMEANYWHERE hitchhiking adventure. Will they do something with the GPS coordinates? Will they document their journey in a video or photos? Or is the journey the art installation? Stay tuned. When I find out, I’ll let you know.

Everyone is a super fan of some celebrity. How far would you go to spend a day with your favorite star?

 

Watch for all kinds of Wild Rider adventures this summer. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram too.

 

On Lockdown with Shia LaBeouf #TAKEMEANYWHERE

 

Lockdown from a window inside the Boulder Museum of Contemporary ArtShia LaBeouf and I hung out last Sunday.

The afternoon stretched to more than three hours when two shootings occurred right outside the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. I thought it was some rude person tapping on the wall. Nope. Police crime taped the area and placed everyone in the building on lockdown. Most of us were pretty oblivious.

My interest in Shia’s talk began when local newspapers reported tweets of GPS coordinates for his next art installation, #TAKEMEANYWHERE. I checked it out. Using Google Earth, each photo depicted roads, intersections or land formations. Every day at noon, I checked out his tweet with the latest. Yesterday’s was 41°09’30″N 104°39’32″W. It was very cool. I was hooked.

If you thought Shia LaBeouf had a nervous breakdown, think again.

The team of LaBeouf, Nastja Ronkko, and Luke Turner have been constructing art installations for two years. They spoke at MediaLive – Corruption, after a week of installations by other artists at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.

Shia LaBeouf and Susie Lindau at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

They would like to add sincerity to communication in a way that makes you think, emote, and change your perception of the world in some way.

Transparency is their other goal.

Everyone is treated equally. They don’t give their friends or family a heads up about their latest art installations. Everyone finds out at the same time on Twitter. Instead of working in a bubble, the audience becomes a key element in their work. They have no expectations. Shia LaBeouf’s handle is @thecampaignbook. That’s where you can catch up with their latest installation and you could become a part of it, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The talk included very revealing remarks from LaBeouf.

With an animated and extroverted personality, like yours truly, he talked about growing up in Los Angeles in a black section of town where he got beat up a lot. It didn’t help that the “Chia” Pet was popular when he was a kid. You can imagine. He claims that he is pretty uneducated and went into acting to survive. His father is a blue-collar worker and doesn’t believe acting is anything more than a hobby. He has never seen any of his movies. I’ve rarely heard anyone talk so openly. That’s sincerity.

Remember when Shia wore a paper bag over his head?

“I’m sorry. I’m not famous anymore.” Everyone, including me, thought it was a cry for help. Nope. It was one of the group’s collaborative events and his reaction to being busted by Daniel Clowes. You see, LaBeouf used Clowes’ screenplay and made a short film without citing him. Then he won an award at Cannes. “I fucked up,” Shia said, several times. Wearing the paper bag was his apology. Clowes reacted with a Cease and Desist.

I'm not famous anymore bag worn by LaBeouf in slide show at talk in Boulder

The team rented a room. Curious people waited for hours to speak to Shia. He didn’t say anything, but he did cry on occasion showing that you can still be a man and show emotion after doing something regrettably stupid. It made me think about how most of us react when making mistakes. That took courage.

#TOUCHMYSOUL

I perused LaBeouf’s site called The Campaign Book. They have orchestrated several artistic media events in the last two years. One of my favorites took place in an art gallery. The team wore headsets and sat in front of laptops. They asked people through social media to #TouchMySoul and took calls, broadcasting them inside the room while spectators looked on. One of the people who called hadn’t spoken to anyone in weeks.

Another call was from a man upset at Labeouf for misusing his fame. He felt he should head up a cause to aid people instead.

LeBeouf, Ronkko and Turner #Touchmysoul

After his rant, Shia asked, “Do you think people need to be listened to?”

“Ah, of course they do.”

“And what do you think is going on here?”

“You’re listening to me.”

“Have a good day.” Shia ended the call.

Boom. That’s what connection is all about. We need to be listened to. That’s why so many are addicted to social media. The likes, adds, or whatever the interaction, boosts endorphins because of those connections. That’s not a bad thing.

Susie Lindau with Luke Turner and Danny Lindau

Danny and me with Luke Turner.

How can we become more sincere?

By really listening. Shia thinks everyone has a right to disagree too. It’s all a part of the exchange. The bottom line? Keep reaching out to communicate.

Another favorite of mine is #STARTCREATING. They had it written in the sky and then recorded#start creating sky written people’s reaction.

After the talk, I asked Shia if his “very sincere public apology” helped him to forgive himself and if the healing process was helped or hurt by it.

He said, “It definitely helped.”

#TAKEMEANYWHERE

Those GPS coordinates spelled out #TAKEMEANYWHERE. The team was commissioned by The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and The Finnish Institute in London and will travel from May 23rd to June 23rd.

LaBeouf, Ronnko, Turner GPS Google Earth #TAKEMEANYWHERE

That’s an E.

Each day at noon they will tweet their GPS coordinates. Whoever picks them up first can take them anywhere. The first day, they were near Estes Park. The first person to arrive drove them to Oscar Blues in Longmont. The next day, they tweeted a location north of Fort Collins. The last time I checked, they were in Nebraska. 41°09’50″N 96°08’15″W

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 8.47.46 AM.png

LaBeouf, Ronkko and Turner use social media to hitchhike across the US.

Check it out. Maybe they’ll hitch a ride with you! I once hitchhiked in a very unconventional way.

Nastja Sade Ronkko and Susie Lindau at BMoCA

A selfie with Nastja Ronkko.

Shia still conversed with people after the museum’s doors reopened and we were free to go. He answered questions, had pictures taken and signed autographs. He was patient, relaxed, and took his time with each person even though there was always a crowd pressing in around him.

What about the lockdown?

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Apparently, some crazy dude fired several shots into the Boulder Creek outside the Public Library. Then he aimed at police so they shot him. Minutes later, more shots were fired outside the museum. They haven’t found that shooter yet. How weird was it that we were inside celebrating positive communication while crazy maniacs shot guns right outside? Since we were on lockdown, we had more time to communicate. Bonus!

The Campaign Book site. Be sure to click on hashtags to check out their installations.

@CampaignBook on Twitter

#TAKEMEANYWHERE.vice.com

Click on my home page for more Wild Adventures 

Twitter – @susielindau

Did this surprise you or did you know about Shia’s art?

No, Means NO!

messerschmidt self-portrait

Vexed Man – Self-portrait sculpted in 1770 by Franz Messerschmidt

Messerschmidt had a pretty fantastic sense of humor. I had to take a photo of his sculpture at The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It cracked me up. He looks like someone who reeeeeeally doesn’t want to do something. I only have one question. How did he study his face if he had his eyes closed?

I think we would have gotten along really well since it’s obvious Messerschmidt and I don’t have any shame. We don’t care about our goofy mugs…

mugging for the camera

 Mugging for the Camera – Self-portrait photographed in 2016 by Susie Lindau 

Bored while waiting for hair color to dye my sparkly halo, I took some silly photographs. I especially liked this one since the coat rack behind me looks like part of my hair style.

This is a response to Face – The Weekly Photo Challenge

Do you take selfies?

When Life Imitates Art

The Addams Family 1

Danny and I embrace our weirdness and dress up as Morticia and Gomez Addams every Halloween. I find it transformational when donning a wig, applying dark makeup and slipping into Morticia’s character for the night.

I remember the original drawings of The Addams Family created by Charles Samuel Addams. He had an interesting fascination of the macabre and drew over 1300 cartoons in his lifetime. He inspired and consulted for The Addams Family TV show, one of my favorites while growing up.

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. Continue reading

The Big Reveal and WINNERS!

Holiday traditions are different for everyone. Some cut down their own Christmas trees while others host huge holiday gatherings. I don’t have time for that. I’m too busy crafting my greeting cards.

IMG_1346 (1)

Now that most of them are in the mail, I can relax and focus on the rest of my Christmas traditions, like shopping, baking, shopping, trimming the trees, shopping, wrapping gifts, shopping…

And DANCING!

I thought I would return to my old-fashioned printed cards, but not this year. It’s really hard for me to settle for something less. I’ve never settled in my life. Why start now? This card is another pop-up.

I confided in a friend about the stress involved in making them. She asked why I bothered.

I had to think about that. Continue reading