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

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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!

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

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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.

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.

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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?

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.

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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!

I Survived the Halloween Circus

When I read about Apex Movement’s SpookArray: A Halloween Circus Night, in the newspaper under adult themed Halloween activities, I had no idea what kind of entertainment they would provide. Hosted by the Fractal Tribe, they advertised movement play in an interactive gym. I wasn’t sure what the heck that was, but they had a haunted house and suggested wearing a costume. It sounded like my kind of party.

Deciding to go at the last-minute my husband, Danny, and I reached for the easiest of costumes: Morticia and Gomez. We have getting into character down to five minutes, tops.

We arrived at a Boulder warehouse and walked up to the entry with several other costumed partygoers to the bouncer dressed as a butler outside the door. He held a sign-in sheet of some kind. Maybe we were supposed to call for a reservation.

Nope.

It was a waiver. The butler explained they didn’t want to be held accountable for any accidents while inside the gym.

What????

Of course we signed our lives away and stepped inside. A very fit and gorgeous woman DJ sat behind a booth, rocking a ten-inch mini skirt and bra top. She swayed in rhythmic motion like a belly dancer with her rock hard abs. I would rock my bare midriff too if mine looked like hers. We paid a zombie with a black hat $25 each and stepped inside.

We met very charming Jessica, AKA, Wednesday Addams, at the party.

Halloween Circus with the Addams Family

Jugglers performed in greeting as I scanned the strange interior. It was a parkour gym complete with an interior building-like structure on one side of the room and monkey-bars throughout. I imagined someone leaping from one raised structure to the railings, then landing on the soft cushioned ground below. Zombies stood on top and performed with glowing hula-hoops. While we made our way to the back of the room, we passed a table full of drinks and snacks. Several people stretched out in the lounge on sumptuous chairs and couches. Another area was set up for a band.

A view from the top.

A view of the Halloween Circus

The haunted house opened and we stood in line. Nervous with tentacles around my feet and a partial knee replacement, I climbed to the top of the structure and then stepped down the ladder to the foggy darkness below. After being frightened by ghouls and zombies and creeping through a maze of small rooms, I came upon two dead ballerinas.

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Too much fun!

Every twenty minutes throughout the night, the emcee interrupted the music with an announcement for a performance. One of the first was an acrobatic couple’s dance smoothly executed by a muscular bare-chested fox and a young maiden. Their intricate and gravity-defying fluid motion made Dancing with the Stars look like the Hokey Pokey.

A couple practiced acroyoga inside a spiderweb.

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Acrobatics flowed to music in a new kind of dance. In solos and duets, performers used ropes, silks, and trapeze demonstrating incredible feats. Danny and I had a front row seat, except for one. The DJ played keyboard and a violinist accompanied her in the theme from Game of Thrones for a floor dance of some kind. Did I mention there were a ton of tall guys in attendance?

I was in the front row for Thriller.

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Performances moved to the back of the room where acroyoga was performed in fluid display of body stacking and core strength. Yep. I’m a rank beginner. By then there were a couple hundred people and this was my view.

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All of the acts were brilliantly executed. I didn’t notice any slip ups and most performed above the ground. Whoa. I think twice before climbing my apple trees.

My favorite?

A woman in army fatigues ran onto the stage screaming, “Help! Help me! Don’t take me, please!” She stepped inside silks draped from a circular trapeze. Wrapped up inside, she twisted and writhed to the top of the mother ship. She crawled and struggled against the invisible aliens and at one point fell halfway down the silks then clawed her way back up. In the end, she stopped fighting and slid back down inside the silks to the ground. She emerged in a skin-colored bodysuit and stared with blank dull eyes. She had transformed into an alien. Cool or what?

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Everyone was super friendly and approachable. Most knew each other from classes. Many of them practiced with instructors during the party. I was tempted to try acroyoga, but at the risk of ripping a tentacle, I watched instead. Most everyone was in costume and no one was drunk or out of control. This event resembled a recital without the stuffy formality. There was no sense of competition, instead everyone cheered for their friends.

One tall Elvis impersonator told us he had worked at Apex for two years, but had never attended a performance. He couldn’t believe the level of talent. Neither could we.

What are we doing next weekend?

It’s a toss-up. Halloweird is a costumed dance party at the Dairy Center of the Arts. It starts with a showing of John Carpenter’s film Halloween for $5.oo. Or we can learn to tango at the UMC Glen Miller Ballroom at their Masquerade Ball. Comfortable costumes are recommended and it’s free. Saturday night there are too many choices including a Halloween Masquerade Party at the Stanley Hotel at a steep $110 each.

All I know is I have a basement full of costumes with somewhere to go.

Apex Movement has performances every few months. Next time, I’ll leave my tentacles at home. Maybe I’ll join the Circus…

 

Do you like dressing up in costume?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance – Author or Blogger?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance - Author or Blogger?Five years ago someone asked me, “Do you want to be an author or a blogger?”

I scratched my head and wondered why I couldn’t be both.

Balance is something I struggle for all the time. I take a few steps on the slackline and feel in control just to plummet face first in the grass. “I can’t do it all.” I said that to my husband, Danny, a few weeks ago and he laughed. He knows how hard I work. Blogging while writing books and screenplays, promoting through social media, pitching, and querying, are all a struggle of priorities. I just love to write.

With requests made for my book, I set aside my new manuscript to polish the old. I wanted The Foreboding to shine brighter before sending it out on a wing and many prayers with hope that an agent or editor would see value in my work and want to represent it. But ideas for my new one have cried out from recesses of my tiny cranium and I had to work on it too. Blogging became a low priority. It threw me off balance.

I can’t imagine life without my blog. I already write in a vacuum alone with my thoughts most of the time. Blogging is where I practice. It’s where I get instant gratification in views and comments and feedback. It’s where I “see” and meet up with my writing friends. It’s my hollow in the woods where I let crazy ideas flow and I share my life adventures.

Therein lies the conundrum, the paradox, the tangled cat’s cradle that trips me up and tosses me off balance.

If blog posts are like paper to the flame, books are the mighty oak. I’m still waiting for the gratification of feeling the weight of my first novel in my hands. It will happen. In the meantime, I stoke the fire with kindling and fan the flames, and breathe life into my words until they crackle and burn. I watch the word count rise up until…. Sorry. I got carried away….

Any writing is like breathing. It’s all good practice and something I have to do.

Last weekend I met someone online who gets thousands of views a day on her blog through social media. Seduced by the thought of going viral, I downloaded her tips and tricks. I assumed she held back. She didn’t, but the list was dang long. It would take a huge time commitment promoting, editing photos, and writing generic or shocking posts to get views and shares. And there is still a ton of luck involved. That’s when I hit a wall.

Slacklining Susie“Nope. Not doing it. It’s not my goal to be a professional blogger.” Don’t get me wrong. I would love to get thousands of views here every day. Most writers want to be read. “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s what we do when sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook. If I didn’t want people to read my work, I’d write in Dear Diary.

But spending even more time blogging is not why I started writing. I have much longer stories to tell. They require many hours and self-discipline.

And so I’ll continue to seek balance on this unstable line between blogger and author, even though it’s an ephemeral, momentary mirage. It will never be perfect. I’ll rise up to the line and I’ll flail. I’ll fail. I’ll fall. I’ll face plant and it will hurt. But I’ll brush myself off. I’ll take a deep breath.

I’ll rise up to the line to try again.

Do you find it hard to balance your time with blogging? Where are you seeking balance?

Click for more of my life adventures!

An Unexpected Visit from Wild and Wonderful Old Man Winter

An Unexpected Visit from Wild and Wonderful Old Man Winter

We drove up to Breckenridge last weekend, expecting wonderful weather and golden-hued fall color. I couldn’t believe it when the snow began to fly as we approached the Eisenhower Tunnel. I had wondered when Old Man Winter would pay us a visit, but I figured he might wait until the middle of October.

Only a day after the official start of autumn, he surprised us.

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I have been predicting an early winter. I’m gifted and talented in that way. There’s a slant to the light and the birds have been flocking together for weeks now. The perennials died back early, I’ve never seen so many owls hunt during the day, and the squirrels have been in hyper-drive. What does that have to do with an early winter? I have no idea. I’m not even an amateur meteorologist. Someone told me pinecones packed high on the tops of trees indicate a cold, snowy winter. YES! Must be a Farmer’s Almanac thing. Why would trees do that? Maybe if there is a megaton of snow, the pinecones won’t get buried and rot in the spring melt. Who knows? I’m ready for snow.

Wonder why I’m excited? This photo says it all…

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Yep. Those are ski runs in the hills out yonder.

It melted today (moan), but I think the Old Man is lurking. I bet there will be more surprises on the horizon. Winter will arrive early this year.

Are you ready for winter? Has the Old Man surprised your neighborhood yet?

Click for more Wild Colorado Adventures!