Please, Don’t Send Clowns to My House on Halloween Night

Clowns on parade. Don't come to my house Halloween nightOur local newspaper is holding an outdoor Halloween decoration contest. I had a photo ready to post on their Facebook page even though my dead guys and pumpkins weren’t displayed that early in October. In a month’s time in Colorado, decorations could blow to Kansas. I figured the dramatic lighting would make up for some of the missing details. I had the photo teed up and ready to upload when I hesitated. They required an address. It would post on their page so others could vote. Did I really want my house advertised this year? I would be opening up my door to a lot of strangers. Have you heard about evil clowns?

I always think of Judy Collins’ rendition of Send in the Clowns. She asked for them. But don’t send clowns to my house, please.

Clowns have never scared me, but I’ve never liked them either. Ridiculous in their little funny cars chasing each other and honking horns – as if they needed any more attention – they circuitously made their way down the street in parades. I remember cringing. Even as a kid I knew they were grown men. I wondered why they chose to dress up and wear face paint. Too gaudy and with predictably silly behavior, I would yawn and look forward to the next group to march down the street.

clownsIs it the garish face paint, the oversized and bright-colored costume, their humongous feet, or the crazed hair? Maybe our wee brains went into sensory overload as children. Maybe I could see the smile painted on some, which didn’t match up with their glum expression underneath or vice versa when a frown decorated their face. I just know that they creeped me out.

According to Wikipedia, the clown’s exaggerated appearance is for viewing from a distance. That explains some of the revulsion, but not all of it. Remember when circus clowns would fight each other and kick with oversized shoes? Sometimes one of them would squirt water from a flower into another’s eye. I never liked that either. Maybe I’m a sensitive soul.

I remember a new kid in my class who bragged about being a guest on The Bozo the Clown Show. Bozo asked him his name and the new kid supposedly said, “Cram it, clown.” The rumor spread like a grassfire. I stayed away from that kid. It seemed pretty aggressive for a third-grader. Now some of the clowns have become the aggressors.

When Stephen King’s book IT came out in 1986, I was super stoked. After the first few chapters, I set it down. I couldn’t sleep with those frightening images in my head. A maniacal clown, so evil and nasty, who stalks and kills little children? Ughh. After that, clowns really repelled me.it_1990_promotional_poster

For one of my daughter’s birthdays, I made the mistake of hiring a clown. I thought it was just me who wasn’t enthralled. In the video, one of the little girls cried while the rest of the kids squirmed and fidgeted. “That was a bust,” Danny said after watching it recently. We shared a giggle. I guess, I wasn’t alone.

I love dressing up and have a room full of costumes bought at garage sales along with my own castoffs from trends that never set. I’ve also made some for my kids. But I don’t own one clown costume. The thought of being a clown for Halloween never crossed my mind.

Although the clown originated from the “rustic fool” in ancient Greek and Roman Theater, it’s the modern circus clown developed in the 19th century that captures our nightmarish imagination. We can thank the traveling circus for each and every one of them.

With news of the worldwide clown attack epidemic, I wondered how much of IT had to do with the evil clown persona. So did Stephen King.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-10-00-25-am

Local law enforcement agencies in more than twenty states are prohibiting clown costumes this year. Some clowns, like the one we hired for Courtney’s birthday, may be out of a job, at least until this quiets down.

super creepy clownAll I know is on All Hallow’s Eve, Danny will be up at 0’dark thirty and will be yawning when the last of the trick-or-treaters ring our bell. I usually keep the lights on for high school kids and answer the door for the last of them, alone. Our neighborhood has aged out and the amount of kids who call is waaaay down. But I’m relieved I didn’t enter the contest. I won’t run out of candy at 7:00 nor will people come from miles around to see my house and ring my bell. Most of all, I won’t be a beacon for some crazy clown who comes to call on Halloween night.

But there’s no guarantee.

IT may find our house anyway…

 

You may have missed this ironic photo essay about the Halloween Circus we found. It was a super cool and entertaining party. Don’t worry. Not one clown attended.

What would you do if a clown knocked on your front door Halloween night?

If you enjoyed this, click for more Wild Adventures!

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?

You Need to Jump

Lured by the rush of adrenaline and weightlessness, Hank Caylor and his friend planned to jump. They entered the revolving door of the Embassy Suites Hotel, slipped past security and the front desk. The two-story escalator took them to the mezzanine. They dashed to the elevator. After riding up to the 38th floor, they made their way to the roof and climbed onto the ledge. With less than 400 feet and mere seconds from the impact of concrete, there was no room for error. BASE jumping is illegal in Denver. They had been warned.

BASE jumper on ledge of building

Hank and his friend dropped their gaze to the street below. While timing the traffic lights, so they wouldn’t get hit by a car or truck, the wind picked up.

Hank hesitated. His friend jumped. His parachute opened and he landed on the street. Crowds formed.

The longer Hank waited, the higher the risk that someone would run inside the hotel to tell security. They would call the cops. Security could be on their way to the roof already. He didn’t want to get busted.

He jumped.

At first he sailed down in a free fall, hands and legs splayed out. The rush of air whipped through his hair, stung his eyes and screamed in his ears. As he dropped, he pulled the ripcord of his parachute. But a sudden burst of wind blasted between the skyscrapers.BASE jumpers off antennae

It spun him around. Instead of floating to the street, the gust slammed him into the side of the building. His body smashed through a plate glass window on the 21st floor.

My heart pounded while Hank Caylor told me his story. I met him while he worked as an electrician in our home in 2000. He was recovering from that infamous BASE jump. Ironically, my husband and I lived on the 35th floor of the apartments at The Embassy Suites Hotel for two years when we were first married. I could picture everything.

I knew Hank survived, he stood right in front of me, but I hung on his words like I clung to the building beside him. It was the ultimate cliffhanger. Hundreds of stitches, jail time, and an acquitted lawsuit weren’t a part of his plan, but at least he took a chance. He didn’t wimp out.

So what does this have to do with you? Why should you jump?

You need to create cliffhangers in your life in order to challenge yourself.

Attaining a new goal can be exhilarating and can take you to a whole new level in life’s journey, but you have to be willing to take the leap and risk crashing in failure.

My son applied to an exclusive music production school. It required a detailed application, a Skype interview, submitting original music, and answering personal essay questions. He created a cliffhanger. While we waited to hear if he’d been accepted, he flew out to Los Angeles and took a tour. Impressed with the direction of the school and its graduates, the pressure to get in increased ten-fold. We all sat on the edge of our collective seats. Last Tuesday, he received an email. It contained a fantastic acceptance letter saying he had the talent they were looking for. Go Kelly! 

My daughter works in digital marketing, but has always been physically active. She participated in ballet, high school pom-pom, and CU’s Dance Team for half-time shows at football games. Now that she is working full-time, she goes to the gym on a regular basis and calls herself a “gym rat.” She is taking an intensive course to become a personal trainer to supplement her income. She created a cliffhanger. So far she’s passing with flying colors. Go Courtney!

Both of them have climbed up on the ledge, looked down and then jumped.

I can’t wait to see where they land in the next year or two. I sit on the edge of my seat and watch.

I’ve taken a huge risk in investing thousands of hours writing for this blog and my books. Now I am taking a leap in querying agents. Every day I check my email for responses. The rejections aren’t as painful as smashing through the plate glass window of a building, but they can be gut-punching setbacks.

Use failure as a way to improve.

I’ve received feedback in several rejections and my manuscript has been out on submission. Instead of giving up to self-publish, I’ve taken the constructive criticism, worked on my technique, and repacked my parachute. If I end up self-publishing anyway, I won’t look back and regret the querying process. The professional critique has hugely impacted my manuscript and it’s been free advice by top professionals.

You’ll never please everyone.

I want my book to be the best it can be. I’m not in a big hurry to publish. It’s worth the extra time.

Regardless of how it is published, someday I’ll face public reviews of my work. Talk about nerve-wracking while looking down at tiny traffic lights as turbulent wind pummels my face. I expect that no matter how much I revise and improve it, my book will be panned by someone.

Cliffhangers are a way of life.

Will I score an agent? Be traditionally published? Will my words find ten readers or ten thousand? Who knows?

The only way to find out is to climb out on that ledge and jump.

By the way, ElSalvador.com posted a video of Hank and two friends skydiving from a hot air balloon a few day ago. Go Hank!

Do you take the safe route in attaining goals or do you jump off the ledge?

A “Tail” of a Whale Adventure in Three Acts

ACT I

Last Friday, a monstrous spring snowstorm promised downed powerlines and trashed landscaping in Colorado. My husband, Danny, and I shrugged and headed up to the mountains. We looked forward to tremendous ski conditions and assumed we would share the highway with many others. Forecasters predicted snow in feet.

Funny thing. As we merged onto I-70 in Golden, our daughter, Courtney, called on her way home from work. She had to pack and pick up a friend before driving up to meet us in Breckenridge.

As expected, we got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. One mere mile outside of Georgetown, we came to a dead halt. CDOT had closed the highway hours earlier because of “hazardous driving conditions,” but we had ignored all the warning signs.

I-70 in snowstorm

Then Courtney called. She had just started on I-70. I suggested taking the frontage road to Georgetown instead of the crowded highway.

An hour later, we started to inch forward. As we passed Georgetown, Danny said, “I think we just passed Courtney’s car.

They ended up right behind us. No lie.

ACT II

It’s been over a year since my partial knee replacement. Before going under the crazy laser scalpel, that is Makoplasty, to replace messed up bone and cartilage, I could only ski two, maybe three runs before calling it a day. Since surgery, I’ve been careful.

Peak 7

 

The dump of snow proved to be heavenly for skiers and snowboarders. Saturday, I sailed through fifteen inches of ice cream snow in Breckenridge and took NINE runs. Courtney and I quit before exhaustion caused a crash and burn scenario. She had a business trip in Utah the next day.

snowboarder Courtney Lindau at Peak 7

On our way down the gondola, we met three people in the medical field from California. They all looked twenty-five because California. One was an orthopedic surgeon. Whoa! I asked him about my squeaking, squawking knee after replacement. He said that was normal for some people. YAY! Then he added the technology was so new, they don’t know how much time we have before wearing it out. Bummer. I did point out that I was pretty small and wouldn’t stress out my joints as much as a linebacker.

That boosted my confidence. It concurred with some on my online research for mule-kicking, hee-hawing knees. I tuned out the part about not knowing how much time I have on these manufactured parts.

Forecasters predicted more snow, so I planned to ski again on Sunday.

ACT III

Sunday night seven more inches dropped. A little stiff and sore from the day before, I headed out with the intention to ski a couple of runs and quit early. My son, Kelly, and I, took three chairlifts to meet his girlfriend and Danny on the top of Imperial. As we ascended into a cloud and white-out conditions, I assumed we would ski down the face.

Nope.

Danny led us to Whale’s Tail.

Whale's Tail

My favorite bowl, in the shape of its name, had just opened for the first time that weekend. Danny said it would be filled with feet of deep powder, meaning sweet, easy skiing for me.

I followed my group by sidestepping up the mountain to the steep catwalk. Yes. This was farther into the deceptive angelic clouds masking a sheer head wall on the edge of the bowl forming the tail fin.

Then it hit me.

They hadn’t skied it.

We had no idea what conditions existed. I wasn’t sure if my knee could handle heavy, deep snow.

It had been painful to ski Whale’s Tail before surgery and I hadn’t skied it since. My shoulders tightened as we hugged the mountain. Then we skied down to the edge.

I would be dropping into my favorite run from a cornice, but we were still in thick clouds and it snowed hard. We had very low visibility. I wouldn’t be able to see where I was going.

I wanted to ski down to the middle of the tail and drop into my usual spot. Everyone else wanted to drop in from the tip of the fin. I lost.

looking down whales tail

Whale’s Tail on a clear day.

I had always had skied this after several warm up runs.

This was my first run of the day.

I stood on the edge of the mountain and looked down. As everyone dropped in, they disappeared into the cloud.

FullSizeRender (7)

In the cloud.

I freaked.

Then I had a flashback to my heli-ski trip. After being dropped off on a mountaintop by helicopter the first time, I followed the group and carved fresh tracks alongside the rest. Sounds wonderful, right? My new boots dug into my calves. The skis they provided seemed way too long for me. They chattered while I carved turns in the wet, deep snow. It put tremendous stress on my knees. I didn’t know how to up-weight through the turns and fought through every one of them. I lagged behind and then watched in horror as our guide headed into the trees. I had never been a tree skier. I couldn’t control my crazy equipment.

Hail Mary’s became my mantra.

I made it through the trip and learned a lot about skiing and myself. Sometimes I had to dig deep.

This time, I took a deep breath and dropped in.

My pole sunk into the soft fin, never reaching bottom, unbalancing and thrashing me about. Unsupported and unsure, I kept my weight over my skis instead of my more aggressive stance on a steep incline.

When I turned to the left, I said, “This is your good knee.” When I turned to the right, I said, “Right turns have always been your strongest.” I said this every time, back and forth and back and forth until I reached the bottom.

As I caught my breath, I looked back up the mountain. It had cleared and the word was out. Tons of skiers learned there were fresh tracks to be made on Whale’s Tail.

skiers and boarders on Whale's Tail Breckenridge

Those dots are people along the ridge to give you scale. Scale on the fin of Whale’s Tail. Ha!

 

They hooted and hollered as they made their way down the fresh snow. Some tumbled. Others face-planted, but they all had fun in the deep snow.

My knee felt strained as if I had taken twenty runs already. Pain from tendons and muscles made me wonder if I would make it down the rest of the mountain. I wasn’t even halfway.

Danny caught up with me.

Danny skiing Whale's Tail

I was furious. “I can’t believe you took me down this. It was my first run.”

“You did great!” he said and then reminded me of rule #1: “A skier never trusts their friends. Not when there’s fresh powder.”

As I iced my knee at Vista Lodge, I swore I would never ski anything that difficult again. The orthopod’s warning rushed back and I felt like I was on borrowed time. I had to face facts.

More snow dumped in Breckenridge as we drove back to Boulder. I woke up and expected to be gimped out and limping, but my muscles only felt the usual strain after exercise. We only lost one branch in the wet snow over the weekend.

Both the trees and I survived.

If we had skied another day, would I have played it safe? Would I stick to easy runs? Keep my knee functioning as long as possible?

Nah. I’m going to wear a full-on knee brace next time.

I am kind of a Wild Child.

Do you take chances to live your life? Has fear gotten the best of you? What is holding you back?

Ski Therapy in Beaver Creek

Aspens in Beaver Creek

My family went skiing at Beaver Creek Ski Resort, Colorado last weekend. I wondered if my knee would be stable and strong enough in the heavy wet snow. I knew it would be therapeutic to exercise in the fresh air.

I had a partial knee replacement over a year ago. Although my doctor thought I would be back to my wild life in a few weeks, it started squeaking and then became really noisy last summer. Now it grinds and squeaks! Weird right? What’s really weird is it’s totally painless, but can swell. My orthopedic surgeon thinks the scar tissue could wear off as I use it. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Anxious to get back into shape after a broken wrist, I overdid it a few weeks ago. Stationary biking, walk/running, working out with weights and playing tennis was too much in one week. My angry knee swelled up like a gargantuan grapefruit. It took a few weeks to calm it down.

I knew skiing would be risky and I didn’t want to endure yet another setback. But sometimes you just have to go for it to find out if you’re ready.

My son, Kelly, me, Leksy Wolk, and my daughter, Courtney.  Do I look confident?

Kelly, Susie, Leksy Wolk, and Courtney Lindau at the entrance to the terrain park

I survived the first run without a problem.

Skiing under the chairlift at Beaver Creek

The April, ice cream-like snow was smooth and easy to carve. Although I felt my muscles work hard, my knee felt great.

I’m the one behind the camera.

Skiing the slopes at Beaver Creek As the day wore on, my confidence grew. I even skied a rail in the terrain park. Ha! Sorry. I have no proof. You’ll have to take my word for it.

My husband, Danny, and daughter, Courtney, clowned around in the snow. 

Clowning around trick skiing

The day after, my muscles were sore, but it was a good kind of sore. Although my knee was a little swollen, it resembled a knee and nothing from the produce department.

We drove down from the mountains and I took our Bichon, Roxy, for a walk. No running. No weightlifting. No biking. Just a walk.

This time, I’ll get back in shape by adding a small amount to each workout. Maybe my knee will quiet down and someone will record me in the terrain park.

That would be WILD!

Do you have a tendency to overdo it or do you ease into activity after a setback? Have you ever been to Beaver Creek? 

This is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Landscape.

One Life, Lots of Love

I am all about spreading the love…

…like this art project on my ceiling. I painted the angels to set a welcoming tone in my house even though you would have to strain to hear their horns.

Lots of love up there, don’t you think?

ceiling mural of angels by susie lindau

I love old family photos:

1960s family photo

I love joking around and never take myself too seriously: Continue reading

You Still Have a Chance!

I have spent hours sketching, drawing, crafting, cutting, slicing and pasting my Christmas cards in a sort of elf-like assembly line without the elves. While up to my elbows in paper scraps, I looked forward to that blissful nirvanic state attained after slipping them into envelopes.

A lot of love goes into each card and I would like to share it! Here’s your chance to win one.

Elf materials

Every year, I draw my family engaging in some kind of holiday or winter activity.

Guess what we are doing in this year’s card, leave a comment, and win!

Merry, merry!