Dear Holiday Diary

christmas-decorations

Dear Holiday Diary,

I thought I would take some notes to document Christmas 2016. Danny keeps saying flying to Tahiti would solve most of my problems. I wouldn’t have to decorate. The kids could join us and we could skip the gift exchange. He’s dreaming. This is a transformative time of year for me and my house. Besides, I love sparkly things. We’re staying in Colorado.

Note to self:

Next year, make sure to wear a leather outfit and gloves when using angel hair to decorate. It resembles a swirling snowstorm, but it’s not really hair from angels. It’s hellish fiberglass. It sticks to everything including my hands, clothes, and surfaces within one mile of the “construction area.” It especially likes to pierce my sweat pants and poke through my undies when I’m working underneath a table. “Yowch!

christmas-village-and-hellish-angel-hair

Second note to self: Add changing clothes and laundry to the long list of things to do. *strips down in front of washer*

Oh, yeah, and there’s a light bulb out at the Town Office.

For other holiday disasters click here.

Check out The #Blessed Project. There’s still time to join us and get featured.

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?

Join the #Blessed Project!

It’s been a Wild month and the holidays are upon us. How did that happen? It can be hard to switch gears from stressed-out to happy guest or entertainer right before Thanksgiving. Compounded by worry and lack of sleep, our usual energy may be zapped. We may feel far from blessed.

I have a solution for you! Sometime between now and December 18th take a break and make a blessed project list. This will remind you of what makes you happy. We can only think about one thing at a time, so this project should hip-check negative thoughts out of your cranium for a while. Endorphins will fill the space. Can you feel it?

Your post can be as long or short as you like. It’s your Blessed Project.

Time is a commodity and I don’t want to add to your stress level. If you get into it, take as much time as you want. Include photos, videos, artwork. Or keep it simple and only write a list. You can easily jot down the first few things that come to mind. Done.

There is no right or wrong.

Ask your family why they feel blessed. It could be a sparkly distraction if things get tense over Thanksgiving break. Remember, we can only focus one thing at a time.

  1. Write a #Blessed Project article and post it on your blog.
  2. Include a link to this post. Spread the positivity!
  3. Paste your link in the comment section below by Saturday, December 17th.
  4. Stop back anytime to read other posts. You know the drill. Tell them “Susie sent me from the Blessed Project,” and they should click back to your place.

BONUS! On December 19th, I’ll blog the list of #Blessed Projects pasted in the comments, to reach out to more readers.

Here’s the start of my list. I’m sure it will grow with updates throughout the season.

I felt blessed to ski in Breckenridge with family and friends on opening weekend.

skiing Breckenridge on opening weekend with friends and family

I’m blessed to live in Colorado and

breckenridge-10-mile-range

to have found a physical therapist, so I can do this:

There’s nothing like Thanksgiving! #Blessed

I am blessed to be surrounded by friends and family and dogs!

I am blessed for having a partner in adventure

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and for having a sense of humor, which really came in handy this month.

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To walk on moonlit nights. #Blessed

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And I am blessed for all of you!

Think about your own blessings. Make a list, post it and then leave your url in the comments. I’d love to link you up in another post in December.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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?

Click for more of my wild adventures.

Need a Susie Whisperer? Random Acts of Chat

This photo is begging for a caption dogs begging for treats

My husband, Danny, and I watched the Dog Whisperer on TV last Saturday. An aggressive Ridgeback named George needed to learn submissive behavior. When leashed, he disobeyed his owners and picked up rocks along the trail.

So the dog picks up a rock and that’s a terrible thing because… I sipped my coffee and half-listened while skimming the newspaper.

The show’s host, Caesar Millan, explained the root problem for most aggressive behavior: Insecurity.

My ears perked up. That sounded a lot like human behavior.

Caesar planned to introduce George to a huge pack of similar size dogs including Rottweilers and Pit Bulls. He mentioned if he didn’t show control over George when introduced to the pack, the Ridgeback would be attacked and torn apart.

Well, that seemed risky. More than twenty humongous dogs circled Caesar and poor George inside the enclosure, but I trusted Caesar. *gulp*

Caesar unsnapped George’s leash and the dog’s tail and ears descended. George snarled. Caesar sprang to action and cornered George. He commanded him to lay down. He never touched the dog or praised it.

When George showed calm behavior, ears and tail up, he was allowed to check out the group. The pack took turns sniffing the new dog in all the best smelly dog places. Accepted, the Ridgeback had a wild romp with others in the pack.

Later, Caesar introduced rocks to George. The Ridgeback looked at him like, why would I want to play with those stupid things when I have all these fine canine friends?”

Reunited with his owners, George walked down a rocky trail and ignored rocks and other dogs. His owners couldn’t believe the dog’s transformation.

Credits rolled at the end of the show.

ME: Wow! Did you see that? One minute he was freaking out and the next, the dog was having a blast. He just needed to know Caesar was in control.

DANNY: I need a Susie Whisperer.

ME: I have one. They’re called writers conferences. *wags tail*

 

Wild Thoughts on Election Day #MyVote2016

keep-calm-and-go-americaThis election has been a crazy reality TV show where the most unpredictable moments have blown our minds. Admit it. Jaw-dropping shock value is addictive. The lack of decorum and respect, name-calling, accusations and bullying has been like watching a high school kid troll on Facebook, only the actions came from a seventy-year-old man. On the other side, gnarly old scars hiding secrets and lies of deceit were reopened in the hope the truth would finally come out. Many waited with held breath, but no earth-shattering revelations have surfaced. Even if our candidate wins, many of us will continue to worry long after the election.

Unlike reality TV, the hatred and lack of respect spewed every day, seeped through the screen into some of its viewers. Anger and frustration boiled over into real life. They became trolls on the internet. Some became vicious.

60 Minutes aired a story where a control group, led by Frank Luntz, spiraled out of control. People interrupted. Name calling ensued. They exhibited rude behavior even though they were being recorded and millions would see them. Luntz said his mother would have disowned him for the horrible language they used. What’s up with that? 

Luntz concluded that no one is interested in learning anything. They only want to be heard. He blames the internet.

I think he’s wrong.

I blame the program. We’ve been watching this show for so long and from the beginning, it has broken all the rules. Moderators didn’t take control during the debates. Commercials include bleeped out words little kids can figure out. Our voting system and democracy itself has come into question. Many of my online friends who live in other countries wonder how we ended up with these candidates. So do I. World leaders who hate us are asking their citizens, desperate for freedom, “Is this what you want?”

Many voters defend their choice of candidate by pointing a finger at the other. Instead of voting for a candidate they have chosen the lesser of two evils. Our country stands divided.

I believe we’ve outgrown the two party system. Most of us want the same things; quality of life for ourselves, our children and for others. We love our country and its freedoms.

It’s time to stop pointing fingers and reach out to those less fortunate as we approach the season of giving. Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, people!

I would expect this reality show to continue waaay after election day, even after the inauguration. Eventually, acceptance of our new president will quiet the noise of frustration. Most will change the channel to focus on something else.

In the coming months, show others you are above those characters on crazy reality TV.

End the hatred.

Be kind.

Be respectful.

Be grateful to live in the United States of America.

I am.

 

Check out more of my Wild Colorado Adventures!

Happy Halloween, Wild Riders. Let the Wild Rumpus Begin…

Happy Halloween, Wild Riders! Let the Wild Rumpus begin. This is one of my favorite holidays. As I write this, I’m watching The Prophecy with Christopher Walken. So creepy! I love it.

wild-thing

I had to came up with a costume for a Halloween Party. I’ll dress tonight as Morticia Addams, but I wanted to be someone or something different. I laughed when I thought of this. I had to be one of the Wild Things from Maurice Sendak’s popular book Where the Wild Things AreDoing the makeup was the best part.

Wild Thing costume

This has been a fun month of Halloween posts starting with 31 Days. To get in Halloween mood click for all kinds of spookiness including a Wild Blog Party. It’s never too late to drop a link and meet my friends!

What are you doing for Halloween? Are you dressing up?