How to Be a Gaper – A Photo Essay

Gaper Day is a tradition at ski resorts. Even if they don’t have a party, the last day of the season brings out the gaper in most skiers and snowboarders. We drove to Vail for their closing day. They had their spring splash the weekend before, but it didn’t dampen the party atmosphere.

What’s a Gaper?

How to be a GaperThis term generally describes someone whose helmet slips back on their head creating the dreaded gap between their noggin protector and their goggles, revealing loads of forehead. This usually accompanies first time skier attire: Jeans, firefighter, camouflage or blaze orange deer hunting jackets… You get my drift.

On the last day of the season this is expanded to skier attire circa 1970-80’s or full on crazy costumes.

We went all out this year. Continue reading

When Death Sits on My Face

I went to a therapist for the first time with the intention of getting over my brother’s sudden death after trying to save him. When my father died, it hit me harder the second six months. I needed some coping skills. I wanted to expedite the process of grieving. Get over it faster.

“I know you want to move on quickly. Are you avoiding the death of your brother?” my therapist asked.

“Are you kidding me?” I said and threw my hands in the air while looking skyward. “Death is sitting on my face.”

It has taken up residency in a part of my brain and won’t move out. I would love to give it an eviction notice. Better yet, break down the door and beat the crap out of it.

While sprawled out in a recliner, death takes control of the remote and oozes a lens over my eyes throwing everything askew. My clouded perception warps sunny days and blows a draft through my heart. I shiver.

I’m done with death.

It’s a lying, cheating, deceitful son-of-a-bitch. I don’t want anyone to die ever again.

When I told my friend, Bill Hurtley the funeral director, he laughed.

“That would be a disaster.”

I imagined airlines for the elderly and low profile nursing homes replaced by skyscrapers. Soon there would be more golden agers than any other age group.

“So what?”

It’s been a struggle. Death comes in waves. My waves are timed different than everyone else in my family. While one of us is chillin’ in the water doing the backstroke, another is drowning. It’s unpredictable.

The water metaphor comes up all the time. It’s ironic how we arrived home to water pouring through the ceiling. “You should immerse yourself in death,” said my therapist. “Write about it.”

“Do I have to?” I felt like a kid who was told they couldn’t go out for recess, but had to stay inside to do homework. Continue reading

A Cosmic Joke after Trauma

When life becomes a cosmic joke, I’m ready for the punchline.

It’s more than traumatic when someone healthy dies moments after you speak with them. My mind has been flooded with what ifs and the disbelief that anyone could sit down and pass away from a clot. I’m still in shock after almost three weeks.

So what’s the joke?

My husband, Danny, and I returned home to regroup before the funeral. We stepped inside and a steady dripping sound greeted us. Part of the ceiling lay on the floor of the guest bedroom. Water collected in pools on the hickory floors around it.

Remember my demon washing machine story?

This is the guest bedroom on the first floor under the laundry room.

When it rains it pours - a cosmic joke

In a panic, I ran upstairs to the laundry room. Water poured from the cold faucet. Why now? I checked those faucets three times a day for five weeks and they had never shed a drop.

The drain under the washer remained dry. Water ran inside the wall and had collected in the ceiling, which caved in. Then it traveled through the floor to our unfinished basement below.

I ran down the steps. Water sprinkled our kid’s apartment furniture and inconsequential storage containers. My eyes fell on a large rectangular box. It had leaned against the wall since we moved in seventeen years ago. It contained some of my artwork.

“Are you effing kidding me?” I shouted and shook my head. I didn’t need this while planning for my brother’s funeral.

Then I rushed back upstairs, stood in the guest bedroom doorway and laughed. Continue reading

Twelve Reasons To Use Twitter

I was shocked to read an article by the Associated Press about Twitter. Few have signed up for an account since the US election. I assumed with political tweets making worldwide news, people would be curious to see them first hand. Nope.

People use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. It remains the social media of choice. But Twitter has an expansive reach. We have the opportunity to connect with just about everyone with a public account. How cool is that?

According to Alexa website ranking statistics, Facebook is #3 in the world and in the US. Twitter is #18 in the world and #8 in the US. It seems this social networking site has become even less popular after the election.

Twitter Traffic Statics from Alexa

Twelve reasons to try Twitter:

1. You can follow anyone.

I can follow anyone with a public account. Although non-follower’s tweets won’t show up in my feed, I can check out their tweets and can tweet to them by using their Twitter handle. @susielindau is mine.

2. You can communicate with celebrities, politicians, athletes, comedians, best-selling authors… from around the world.
  •  A few years ago, a blogging friend wrote a satirical piece about Roseanne Barr. I tweeted the article to her along with my friend’s Twitter handle. Roseanne responded and they had a conversation on Twitter. How cool is that?

Continue reading

My Demon Washing Machine is Haunted

Have you seen the latest Kathy Bates commercial for Turbo Tax?  Haunted by ghostly dead children, she wants to know if she can use them as a deduction. I can relate. I have a demon washing machine.

my-demon-washer-is-haunted

One morning, I sat at the kitchen counter and my washer beeped. It was an unusual sound. Persistent. Frantic. Nonstop. The machine had never warned me like that before. It seemed to be crying out for help.

“What the hell?” I ran to my laundry room. The door of the front loader hung wide open. How could it beep with the door open? As I stepped toward it, cold water seeped through my socks. My gaze dropped to the puddle on the floor.

“Are you kidding me?” I picked up one soaked foot.

The empty washer had filled with the door open…. by itself. But how? The machine had been turned off.

I set it to Drain. The washer obeyed while I wiped up the water. I dismissed it as a random washer failure.

Two days later, I walked into the laundry room with a basket of dirty clothes and towels. I stepped into yet another cold puddle of water.

Crap!

Setting the basket on the counter, I looked inside the empty washer. It had filled with the door open, AGAIN!

I wiped the floor and then made small piles to launder the following week. There would be a lot more after a weekend in the mountains. My washer works better with full loads, anyway.

This time I unplugged the machine. There was no way it could work without electricity. I smiled and packed up to leave.

Late Tuesday afternoon, I walked into the laundry room with more dirty clothes and stepped into water all over the floor. While hanging limp across the top of the washer, the plug gloated as if to say, “See? It wasn’t me.”

How did it fill?

I turned off both the hot and cold water taps. Righty tighty. It couldn’t possibly fill now. I shut the washing machine’s door, just in case. I usually kept it open to keep mildew from growing on the rubber gasket. Poor design, in my opinion.

For four days, piles of clothes and towels had soaked up tepid water. They stunk. Lifting the sodden mess into a laundry basket, I dragged it downstairs to my GE stackable. Starting with towels, I washed them with soap and they still smelled musty. I washed them again with vinegar and a third time with soap to get the vinegar smell out of them. What a process.

Filling the upper dryer with clean towels, I decided to go to bed.

The next morning, I walked to the stackable’s dryer, but the door was already open. What? The weight of the towels must have pushed on it during the night. They were still wet. I had to run them through the wash again. Such bad luck.

I felt like Kathy Bates. Was the ghost in my house a compulsive clothes washer? Had it used a rock to clean its unmentionables down by the river when it was alive? Surely I had fixed the water problem by turning it off.

With fingers crossed, I entered the possessed laundry room. Slowly, I opened my washer’s door. Water poured out. I slammed it shut. How? HOW????

It didn’t make any sense. My husband checked the water lines. Yep. They were shut off. The cord still dangled across the top of the machine. It taunted me. How could this be happening?

Danny shrugged. “Maybe you should call someone,” he said.

“Like an Priest or an exorcist?” I asked.

I called an appliance serviceman and said, “Yes, I have a demon washer,” and then explained what was going on.

The resident expert suggested disconnecting the hoses. That way I would know if the valves were broken. A new machine wouldn’t fix the problem if a valve needed replacement or repair. Danny disconnected them.

As I stared at the dangling plug and disconnected hoses, I wondered what I would do if the washer filled and spilled water onto the floor again. Was this the start of some new crazy haunting? We’ve had bangers and I’ve seen ghosts, but this one could be destructive. I imagined wading through a flooded home, Roxy dog-paddling beside me.

It’s been a few weeks and the faucets remained dry. No wet socks. No mysterious filling. No beeping in frenetic warning since that very first day. The washer was definitely the demon. My stackable has been doing all the work.

I asked Facebook friends what kind of washing machine I should buy. A friend replied, “One without a demon.” We’ll see. I plan on purchasing a new washer this week.

Stay tuned my friends. I hope I don’t say, “I’m going to have to move again,” like Kathy Bates. I’ll keep a lifejacket in my kitchen, just in case.

Have you ever experienced unexplainable events in your house? What kind of washing machine should I buy? My Frigidaire front loader was the worst.

Related posts:

Being Haunted – A True Story

Haunted at The Stanley Hotel

Unnerved at The Winchester House

On Glamour for Fashion Week, but What Does that Mean?

What do I know about fashion, glitz, and glamour? Not much these days, but I care about my appearance. I live in Colorado where casual defies formal attire. My friend, Sherilyn wears the latest trends and bought me a flashy metallic scarf for Christmas. I couldn’t imagine how I would wear it.

A scarf like one in the Michael Kors collection

This is Fashion Week in New York City where all the 2017 fall lines are being unveiled. I worked retail many years ago and imagined my boss sitting at a runway show while making notes on the latest styles. Attending one is on my bucket list.

Twitter hosted the Michael Kors live fashion show Wednesday morning. I clicked on it and went full screen HD. With ten minutes remaining before it started, attendees found their seats and chatted. I felt like I was there rubbing elbows with the likes of Blake Lively and Anna Wintour.

As the cameraperson moved through the large room, superimposed phrases appeared. I didn’t think to write them down. One said something about fashion and glamour. I understand fashion, but what the heck does glamour mean, exactly?

I conjured an image of my mother getting ready to go out for the evening. Tightening her lips, she applied lipstick in the bathroom mirror. Makeup from a bottle of Revlon evened her skin tone. Her bright violet eyes popped with eyeliner and mascara. A fabulous new dress would be worn for dinner out with my dad and their friends, most likely a Vogue dress sewn on her Singer sewing machine. She may have worn a matching coat. She was the most beautiful woman I knew and still is.

Was being glamorous more easily understood? Continue reading

What Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher taught me last Friday

Last Friday, I shared the same small coffee shop with Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis,  and had a mind blown moment. Not because they’re celebrities. I’ve seen a ton of them over the years. And I don’t count those I pay to see. I do count the night at Mr. Chow when Sir Elton John held court at a table filled with beautiful men. The same night, Billy Bush stopped at our table to talk to my daughter and her friend. They had run into him on the way to the ladies’ room. Benicio Del Toro, Cybill Shepherd, Emily Blunt, Billy Idol… Trust me. It’s a long list.

I believe in The Secret. For those of you who aren’t aware, it’s a bestselling book about the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction. I’ve always felt like I’m that person. Lucky. The fact that my husband, Danny, and I got together is pure luck times ten. When I read The Secret several years ago, I tried it out. It asked the reader to imagine something cool happening and live like it already happened. I finished the book on our way to a resort in Costa Rica. I imagined running into a celebrity. Once we arrived, I realized how stupid that was. It was filled with families and everyone spoke Spanish. If there were celebrities at the resort, they would be lost on me. I don’t watch Telemundo.

After a long day of traveling, my husband and kids checked out the ocean. I sank into a recliner near the pool. A young man and woman walked past. He noticed my mesh bag. “Are you reading The Secret?”

“I just finished it.”

“Here.” He took out his ear buds and handed me his iPod. “I’m listening to it right now. We’re going to get something to eat. I’ll stop back in a little while.”

I listened to his iPod until he came back. He and his girlfriend sat down and we became acquainted with the whole, “Where are you from? What do you do?” kind of questions. Wait for it….

He was a freakin’ actor from Vancouver. NO LIE! He had just finished a series for the History Channel.

Flash forward over the next few years. I won EVERYTHING including a heli-ski trip in Canada and every raffle I entered. One time I bought an extra ticket for a friend and said, “Don’t worry. You’ll win.” We both won.

Then I came down with breast cancer three and a-half years ago. My luck had run out. I stopped winning. I worked really hard at positivity, but it was tough. I felt screwed over. I carried a weight of anxiety in my gut only released for a while between estrogen suppressants, (what my cancer ate) and for a week after the Wanderlust Yoga Festival last summer.

I turned a corner in January. I began meditating and the anxiety disappeared. For the first time in a long while, I looked forward to events. A happy feeling replaced the weight in my gut.

So what does this have to do with the Kutcher family?

The week before my trip to Burbank, California to visit my son, Kelly, I watched the movie Friends with Benefits starring Mila Kunis and remembered The Secret. I put the intention I would love to see Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, into the Universe. I figured visualizing specific people might help. I also visualized Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Work Week fame. I’m a new fangirl.

I borrowed Kelly’s car for the weekend and planned to take it in for an oil change before heading to Malibu on Saturday. While driving to a coffee shop on Friday morning, I vibed out. I had to get the oil change now. On my way to a Jiffy Lube, I discovered a Valvoline with open bays. Bonus! I pulled in and checked it off my list.

Knowing Kelly had worked on music until the wee hours of the morning, I let him sleep in. With that same strong vibe, I changed direction and headed to a coffee shop back near my VRBO in Burbank. I had gone to a cute one the day before, but I wasn’t feeling it.

When I walked in, I was glad to see that although it was small there were several places to sit and hang out. A couple of bars with swivel chairs stood perpendicular to where you ordered, and bench seats and tables were scattered throughout. It was bright and I considered wearing my sunglasses, but slipped them into my purse. I cued up behind a few others to place an order for a $5.00 cup of joe and a lady with curly brown hair lined up behind me.

Seeing Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis blew my mind, but not for obvious reasonsFrom where I stood, I could see the door. In walked Ashton Kutcher. The Ashton Kutcher from my intention the week before! I just about dropped over. My heart slammed in my chest. He wore a baseball cap, a puffer jacket, (it was a bitter 58 degrees for Los Angelians) and jeans. I couldn’t help but stare. He knew, I knew who he was. His intense brown eyes glinted like, Don’t even and then quickly looked away while conversing with the lady behind me. I assume I smiled like an idiot or a kid on Christmas morning.

That’s the funny thing. I never ask for autographs or for photos and don’t talk to celebrities unless they hold eye contact, smile back, and say hello. Even then, I test the water with a, “Hi, how are yah?” If they answer, I might continue depending on the situation. By the way, he has amazing lips. I could see why Mila crushed on Ashton since starring opposite him on That 70’s Show.

The lady behind me gave Kutcher some estimates, but music blaring from overhead speakers drowned out his voice. I strained, but couldn’t hear much of anything. It’s probably why they chose that particular place. “Mind your own beeswax,” my deceased grandmother would have said.

I took a seat at the bar so I could watch Kutcher order and hoped they would sit nearby. The contractor chose a seat next to me. Whoa. Ashton walked toward me after ordering. I could have easily taken a great photograph, but just couldn’t. Not one person hassled him the whole time he was in that coffee shop although I suspect the Asian guy sitting on the end of the bar got some great photos.

I immediately texted my family and they begged for pictures. I took a subtle shot when he ordered breakfast. Then the contractor shuffled her binder and folders on the bar and slid closer to me.

aston-kutcher

“Do you need me to move down?” I asked.

“Maybe. Someone is joining us with a stroller.”

Holy mother of God! Mila Kunis and their new baby????

I slid as far down as I could and texted my family the update.

“Pictures of Mila Kunis, please,” said Danny and my brother, Joe.

I started writing this post when I sensed someone staring at me. I looked up. “Oh, hi,” I said.

Mila Kunis stood at my right elbow and carried baby Kutcher in a car seat. I couldn’t believe it. She flashed her gorgeous eyes over me and smiled. Then to my dismay, they moved to the back corner right in the window of the coffee shop to continue their conversation.

Mila walked to the line for coffee. She wore jeans, a cute gray sweater, and fancy-like tennis shoes. Tennis shoes are a big thing in LA right now.

I was impressed that both Ashton and Mila waited in line like regular people. They didn’t pull the, “Hey, I’m a celebrity, so I’m not waiting,” card. Nor did the contractor offer to wait for them. Cool.

Again, I could’ve gotten a straight up shot of Mila walking right toward me, but took a subtle photo of her ordering instead.

mila-kunis

I picked up Kelly so we could order breakfast and we returned right when Ashton left. Mila still sat in the corner with the contractor.

My observations:

If they would’ve worn sunglasses, I might not have recognized them. They didn’t seem to care. They didn’t engage with me at all although their contractor was friendly. They chose a public place for their meeting and took a chance on paparazzi.

Good on them for living their lives! I can’t imagine having to hunker down all the time and stay out of the public eye. I’ve had some mistaken identity moments and the attention can be awkward. Watch for another post about that. Crazy.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis remind me of Danny and me. I have a feeling this couple will last. I obviously trust my feelings. I crushed on Danny when I was in the 8th grade, but he was four years ahead of me. Our families went to a Brewer game on Memorial Day in 1987 when he was in Wisconsin for the weekend. He rarely came back from Colorado to visit. I flew out for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June and we booked the priest and the Church over the 4th of July. Truth. Check out this post.

The biggest takeaway? The Secret works when you believe in it. I had felt down and kicked in the gut until a few weeks ago. Seeing them after that crazy ass intention, blew my mind. After all my setbacks, I’m back. Thank you Kutcher family for being so amazing and setting me back on track.

I’ll see Tim Ferriss next time.

By the way, don’t bother entering any contests. I’ll win.

Have you seen any celebrities? Who would you like to meet?

Other crazy stories that could only happen to me:

Our Secret is Out!

An Insane Circumstance

When People Think You’re Crazy