Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"It's Halloween you guys!" ~BLAM~ (Sue's head explodes)

Hey people.  ~Jumping around excitedly~  ~Maybe from the sugar high from the caramel apples I just had-- but probably-- just still excited over Halloween!!!!~

That's right people-- Halloween-- the best holiday of the year.  Yes-- The.  Best.  You get to wear costumes, and eat candy, and be all wacky and ride your bike around in the woods-- wait-- what???

Well, that's what you do if you're me, Dan, or Trusty Pam, or any of the other affable nutballs that populate my local mountain bike trail-- Hillside Park in Elk River.  The big Halloween Race & pumpkin massacre was Saturday at noon and I'm still coming down from it on Sunday night.

I was "Hit Girl"-- a comic book/movie character who is a little girl/deadly crime-fightin' assassin.  Dan was an evil clown.  But look-- you can tell underneath he's still really nice-guy Dan.  He didn't stand a chance against my ninja powers.

Halloween is the *best*-- because all the regular folk get to mix with people letting their zany sides out.  I like the playful spirit it releases, even if it is just for a day.  This race, as one guy pointed out, was my *anniversary*.  It was exactly a year ago I entered my very first race, and really started socializing and getting to know the other racers.

Now I know most of the Hillside regulars, either from races or trailwork sessions.  "Hi Virgil. Hi Pat."  ~waves~

This is *celebrity* awesome girl racer Sam and hubs Jeff.  They are a cord and socket.  And I don't think I really need to say anything more about that.  :)

Lovely Lisa was Pink Lady Sandy.  Va-va-zoom.  (From the small world department-- I now live in the former home of her childhood best friend's mother.  Who knew?)

It took us a while to guess this one-- Eddie here is that little martian guy from Bugs Bunny-- Marvin-- Remember?  Little Roman helmet?  Skirty deal?  He said those redbulls on his amo belt were fuel cells for his laser gun.  I'm guessing he was slightly caffeinated though---

When this was taken!  If you see this coming down the trail at you, your first impulse it probably to RUN!-- But knowing Eddie, he is probably just zooming over to say hi and see what's up.  :)  (Apparently the skirt didn't work so well to ride in.  Hmm.  I had no such problem.  Maybe next time he should opt for micro mini?)

Here's Dan again.  The world's nicest evil clown.

I was excited to see what Tony would come up with this year.  Last year he and his wife Angie were KISS (black wigs, white faces w/black make-up, and jammin' KISS tunes blasting from a speaker mounted on the back of the tandem.  This year he was on his own as Buzz Lightyear.  Woody rode on the back, but let's face it, wasn't much help.  He still managed to pass me and Pam a few times though.  It's mighty humbling to get your ass kicked by a cardboard cut-out.

He kept us entertained by singing along to his cowboy tunes and yelling "yee-hawww!" every once in a while. 

This race was even more fun than last year, because I knew more people, some friends who don't ride (yet-- now their wheels are turning a bit) came to watch, and I talked Trusty Pam into riding too.  Here we are formulating our race strategy.  Pam doesn't like racing, and while I WANT to be really awesome, and therefore like it-- I basically suck, but put tons of pressure on myself and wind-up not having much fun.  So our strategy for this race was basically to pretend it wasn't a race, and just enjoy the beautiful day and the chance to zoom around and act nutty in our costumes.  (Pam was an Indian BTW)  (a cute one)

Our plan to first and foremost have fun and keep *team Sue & Pam* intact (rubber side down, & no blood, & a cohesive unit) in motion, we were race ready!

Here are the expert racers at the starting line.  I want to give extra points to all the guys who wore costumes.  I still think the non-costumed guys should have had to give everyone else foot/back/leg/whatever rubs after the race, and brought us treats and beverages.  I'm looking into a rule change for next year.

None of the girls who showed-up were taking the race real seriously.  We all just wanted to have fun, so stayed in a little pack near the back to begin with.  After a brief-- "Should we go?  Are we going yet?  Oh what?  Now???" hesitation--- we were off!  (The other girls quickly left me and Pam in the dust but we were just fine with it.)  (I'm all for girls being as awesome as possible!!)

So what if I was bringing up the rear?  I was having FUN dammit, and wearing a COSTUME!  And slow to racers still feels zoomy to me!  WOO!  (Oh hey-- you can see Penny's costume pretty good in this shot-- her handlebar A-K and streamers.  What's a crime fightin' super hero without her crime fightin' ride?)

Pam had a few wardrobe malfunctions with the boots, but she was zooming around having fun too.

Dan was way ahead of us somewhere, apparently being attacked by Monkey boy.  I feel a little left out.  ~Sniff~  But I guess he wasn't feeling top notch that day, so probably ran out of attacking energy by the time my driving-miss-daisy self came along.

"All clear back here everyone.  The rear is secure.  I've got your six.  Just so you know."

  In the most spectacular finish of my ~cough~ *career*-- Pam and I crossed the line at exactly the same time for a tie.  Right as we rode across the line someone yelled, "Wheelie!" so we attempted to bust out very meager (but still pretty WOO! for us) wheelies, and crashed right into each other.  But we rode it out people!  As someone i know likes to say,  "Winners find a way."

Winners??? you ask?  Yeah, I'm calling it a solid win.  So what if we were last?--- We tied for second in our class (because hardly any women race), and both won pumpkin pies!  And most importantly-- had fun, and no blood, or puking, or quitting, or getting lapped, and the rubber side remained down the entire race!  WOO!

After the race the hijinx began.  We needed to show these pumpkins who was boss.  They weren't going to get away with their dumb orange inert fatness anymore people.  We were bringing out the big guns-- well, sticks anyway.  (This is *Cool Trail Boss Rich watching his wife-- *Mrs. Zilla* working out some aggression.)

"Cool it honey.  Save some massacring for the children."

And a new addition this year-- pumpkin jousting!  (Note the kids in the background.  They COULD NOT stop pumpkin smashing you guys.  They were smashing MACHINES.)  (I should point out there were a bunch of people monitoring this activity and clearing the line/watching for kids etc etc)  (So what I'm saying is this was safe, good-clean-fun mayhem.  Or something.  Yeah.)

Even Buzz took a crack at it.


As far as I could tell, a good time was had by all.  I'm already planning out my costume for next year!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If you DON'T move, you WON'T move

Hey people.  Today's post is inspired by some conversations I've had with a number of people lately about aging, aches and pains, and challenging one's self.  You guys have probably seen the first video because it was all over FB about a week ago, but I love it.  I love the look on the woman's face.  I can tell she is still feeling the thrill of her body moving through space.  I want that to be me someday.



This next one was posted on the mountain bike forum I frequent.  The younger rider who put it up commented how much respect he had for this guy.  I relate VERY much to him.  The sport I've come to love is regarded by those who don't do it as crazily risky and dangerous.  To me the bigger risk, or what I fear more-- is relegating yourself to the sidelines of your life because of being afraid to get out there and have fun.  I don't want to get injured, but I'm unwilling to give up the joy and thrill I feel when I ride.



I guess how I feel about aging right now, is that I have some apprehension about losing some agility etc over time, but I figure I'm definitely going to get old.  The choice I have is to get old continuing to challenge myself and trying to have as much fun as possible, or to become increasingly more cautious and fearful.  I pick "A".  How about you guys?  Thoughts???

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The *whole time*

Hey people.  Let's review the brief, tumultuous history of me and men.  First-- there was little Keithy Peterson-- My bestest friend in the whole wide world.

Then came a whole bunch of moving around until 10th grade, when I dated this Iranian guy who turned out to be a completely insane abusive stalker.  Note to self at that point-- "Guys can be very dangerous, and weird."  For this and other complicated reasons I'd not understand for decades, I developed some hard-core control issues.

Then along came this guy.  He wasn't a bad guy.  It went something like this-- "Hey, you're cute-- give me your phone #."  Me-- "No."

But I eventually caved.  Then it became-- "Wow- you're funny too, and a little weird, but fun to hang out with.  Want to be my girlfriend?"  Me-- "Okay, but fair warning, I'm not as slutty as most guys would hope, so...  just saying." 

 As one might expect, the fun hanging-out soon degenerated into attempts to paw me, slobber all over me, make me account for every second of my time, and to report my whereabouts & daily activities.  I didn't let my parents or teachers control me,  and I sure wasn't about to let this joker-- or any guy for that matter.  ~See ya.~

Then along came this one.  Same thing-- "Hey!  Cute, funny, fun, rowdy-- be my girlfriend!"  

I wound-up going to the same lengths to avoid this one too eventually-- climbing trees, hiding in bushes, scaling small buildings... this was before cellphones, so all the ditching was pretty old-school. There were also frequent attempts at pawing and slobbering, which were not appreciated.  

God-- these poor guys.  I really thought it should be enough for them just to be able to call me their girlfriend and maybe make-out occasionally.  Mostly I wanted them somewhere on the periphery, where they couldn't interfere with my life.  I swore I'd never EVER get married or have kids, and thought all my gal pals were bats for how into their guys they were.  Didn't they see these guys were just trying to control them????  ~outraged~

Then along came Dan.  Look how young and cute we were.  

 
When we first met I was wearing my fetching York Steak House uniform, that looked basically like the square-necked one here, but burnt orange and harvest gold.  How could he resist?

He did actually, for quite a while.  We were friends for a long time before the light went off and I became *in love* with him.  I knew that's what it must be, because I always felt like throwing-up, and was ~obsessed~ with him.

We were sharing an apartment with some people by this time, and he worked 3rd shift.  When he got home he'd hang out with me while I drew stuff, or tormented him by knocking the cereal spoon away from his mouth just before it got there.  We spent a lot of time together, and I had no idea he too, had pawing and slobbering on his mind, until one night we just suddenly started making-out like crazy.

Turns out, we'd both had big crushes on each other for months.  We've been together ever since.  When people ask how long, I can never remember, so now I just say-- "the whole time", since I was 19.

I lucked-out.  Most of the women I know either aren't, or weren't happy with the guy they first picked. 

It's as if the Universe plunked Dan down in front of me and said, "Here-- You need THIS one.  He'll do your bidding, because you need to learn to not abuse your power, and to become generous from his example."

 "He's funny, but not in the kind of smart-alecky way you are usually drawn to, because you need to learn it's more important to be kind than to go around trying to show everyone how smart you are all the time--- plus, he'll dork-out and do things like robot dance with you."

 "He's calm, and patient, because you need someone to temper the dopamine addict/thrill-seekey part of your personality.  You need to be taught stable and reliable aren't the same as boring.  Also he likes to be outside in nature the same as you, and not be killing everything that moves-- because I, the Universe, know that wouldn't go down with you so well."

 "He loves you, and will show it in unexpected but undeniable ways, by accepting you how you are, and not trying to hold your leash.  He'll let you come to him.  He won't be a flowers and candy guy, because you're on to that anyway.  That's not what you need.  You need someone who'll scrape off your car windows, and build you a super cool workshop, and teach you to accept and value your differences."

"He'll let you take your whole life, if that's how dense you turn out to be, to learn that giving in and loving him with your whole entire tender heart isn't some kind of warped defeat.  He'll wait and wait, until the best parts of you surface.  I, the Universe have given you guys permanent love goggles, that will make you always make sappy love faces at each other, for ever and ever."

 I can't take credit for being smart enough to know I was making a good choice when I picked Dan.  It really does seem like The Universe somehow interceded.  I'm glad it's worked-out, and *work* is a key word too.  The Universe may have plunked him down right in front of my face, but you don't stay together this long by accident, it's a choice you firmly make, and work at.

One key though gals-- any guy cats love this much has got to be a good one.  (He's going to kill me for putting this pic up-- but look how adorable...)

~Makes googley eyes of love at him~

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"WOO MEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!"

Hey people.  That was what I was screaming from the top of my lungs after successfully riding the spiral staircase last Friday at the trail (after yelling"OH MY GOD!  HOLY CRAP!  AHHHHH!  I'M DOING IT! AHHHH! OH MY GOD!  I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!" that is.)  There were actually witnesses for once, even a photographer!

This pic was right after.  The stairs are at the top of this hill.  I really have to thank intrepid, tenacious, and all around *awesome* girl racer Sam for this success.  She offered to let me follow her back wheel-- believe it or not super helpful in learning how to ride obstacles.  (And I'm now 3 for 3 on that.  Can you say nailed?)  (Woo me!)  This was something I never had while learning in the beginning, because I didn't know any of the other riders really.  *Thanks Sam!*  (And Jessica for the pic!) 

Some of you may remember WAY back when I first started becoming fascinated with the racers I described some of the women as-- "gorgeous MN blonds we all take for granted up here, but would knock socks off anywhere else in the country" etc etc.  Now I'm happy to say I do actually know some of them.  I've gotten to know a lot of riders now at the trail, and feel like part of the gang, even though I still wish I had more gal pals to ride with.  (My offer to take anyone wanting to try this on a newbie ride is a standing one BTW.)

Sam came in handy in another way last week too.  Remember the vid I posted on facebook of the homeless kitty at the steelyard?  (If you are not on FB, well, You miss stuff is all I can say.  :)  )

Sam wound-up adopting her.  She was NOT happy about being crated-up though.  She'll be so much safer now, being a pet instead of dodging forklifts & trucks, but she didn't of course understand what was happening, only that she was being uprooted.  ~Dislike~
"Go away-- dumb paparazzi!"

So-- thanks Sam!  (And thanks everyone else who offered foster homes etc.)

It's a matter of time now, before I walk out and see my flowers have all withered from frost.  It's the whole seasonal thing.  It's always a mixed bag of feelings when fall/winter comes.  I hate to see summer go.  I rely heavily on my outdoor workspace for almost all the painting I do, and just-- summer is awesome.  (I wound-up really loving my random mix of annuals.  Just a crazy riot of color.  The nasturtiums went nuts.  For sure doing those again next year.)

I'm not sure what these are, but I'm really into them and will for sure seek them out next year too.

Look how gorgeous!  Man.  Pam took the kayaks this weekend to store for the winter, so we're done on the rivers for the season.  I'll miss a lot about summer, but also know the fact that it's so fleeting is one reason I love it.  Where my sister lives it's always like summer, and the bugs get huge, and it's boring.
 
There are a few things about the cold season I'm NOT psyched about.  One of them is heating the house.  We have a wood-burning furnace, so it's a constant chore to build fires and keep them going.  Usually, when I'm working in the shop a lot it goes out, then seems pointless to light again for my very brief lunch.  It's just a pain always having to think about it and keep the wood supplied etc.  Here's me helping to stack our initial supply.  (We get free pallet scraps from this company that makes them.  Green re-use, plus-- free!)

But there is so much to look forward to:  soup, sweaters, no bugs or ~snakes~ anywhere, cords, my pale doughy flesh being *normal* again-- or at least covered more often, sliding, x-country skiing, winter mountain biking (yep-- going to really learn this this year), and snow boots!  Dan goes the other night, "You have a real problem with boots!" as I was guiltily pawing through a catalog like a porn addict.  Oh well.  I'm totally getting these.  ~boot mania~  ~drool~
Not only all that, but next weekend is me and Dan's anniversary, plus----- IT'S ALMOST HALLOWEEN YOU GUYS!  ~major WOO!~  Me and Dan, and probably Pam are going to ride in the Halloween race at the trail which will be a total crazy blast.  Also, it won't be long until it's clementine and pomegranate season!  Mmmmm!

Meanwhile, I have LOADS of work to get done by Nov 6th (my next show), but I'm determined to have fun and enjoy what's left of fall.  Can't work all the dang time after all.  :)

Tomorrow I'm going to make time to have lunch with my folks at this lobster wagon we've been drooling over for at least a month.  I'll just work extra fast before and after.  ;)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Free Fallin'

Hey people.  It's fall and I feel like I'm missing most of it!  I know, I know-- I just took a whole week off.  Boy do I know.  This morning I had *the dream* again, where it's the morning of the show and besides having a cool outfit to wear (a new twist), I have hardly anything prepared-- no work, nothing packed, my workbench full of unfinished little trees.  I was so stressed-out I got up and cleaned the kitchen-- yes-- it was THAT traumatic people!

Anyway, the trail has been lovely the times I've gotten over there to ride.  I have a hard time explaining to people who don't do this how important riding has become to me.  Being in the woods-- the different smells different times of year, the clattery noise my bike makes jittering over rocks and roots, feeling the weight of my body free-falling as I hover over the bike on steep downhills, even feeling the machine of my body pushed to it's limits on climbs-- it's all become a lifeline for me-- the one place I can count on being fully present, thinking of very little else other than what is going on at that very second.

 My riding goals began rather lofty this year-- to be able to ride even the expert features, and get really fast (for me).  Depending on which day you ask me I either failed or reassessed.  Something major clicked in my head early on and I made a firm decision that to love riding as I do and enjoy it, I needn't risk my health/life.  The penalty for not making some of the features, steep embankments of rocks etc, could easily be a broken bone or worse.  Just not a risk I'm prepared to take right now.

I have, however, improved.  My balance has gotten way better.  I picked up a tip or two from better riders, little techniques that help.  By forcing myself to ride things that scare me but are still doable, or even if not scary, seem like impossible climbs etc, I've learned to trust my abilities (such as they are) more.  Now I can ride a lot more of the trail, better than I could last year, even if I'm not exactly greased lightning.  I no longer chase the perfect ride.  I string little successes together in chains, and when I inevitably fail on something, I get over it and ride on, still enjoying myself.  I'm calling it a successful season.  And I'm planning on tackling winter riding this year.  I hope the snow cooperates and allows this!
 Meanwhile, it's been gorgeous out, and all week I've been working my butt off.  I even put in a double one day.  Everything complains and cracks when I do this now.  Hello oldness.

I've spent most of the week working on a deadlined commission I sort of don't have time for right now, but it's something I wanted to do, and I committed even if I thought it wouldn't take so long (as usual.)  It's wicked cool, but i can't show you yet because I guess it's a surprise.  Let me just say, most artists find the hardest human feature to draw or paint are hands-- and I'll weigh in and say they're pretty dang hard to sculpt too.  (But I pretty much killed it.  Heh heh.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Life is a daring adventure or nothing...

Hey people.  (Fair warning-- this post is long, lots of pics.)  So much has gone on! 

This is my new motto.  "Life is a daring adventure or nothing.  To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength indefeatable." -Helen Keller

Isn't this card awesome?  I'm going to frame it.  I got it at Seasons on St. Croix.  On that note-- First thing here I really want to thank everyone who came to my opening.  Seriously, it really meant a lot to me to have so many friends show up.  I have the coolest friends you guys!  Thank you!

Right after the opening I took some r&r.  I've been working like a madwoman for a little over 2 months, and really needed the break.  Sis flew up and we went on a little hiking trip to the north shore (lake superior).  This is mah seetah.  Isn't she cute???

Here's me.  "Prepare to be concurred, nature."

It was so relaxing, getting to spend two whole unstructured days with her just being goofy and enjoying being outside.  Many of you will recognize these steps at the Temperance River trail.  ~cool~

When we saw this sculpture Katie goes, "Oh look, there's that sculpture they made of the whole family that fell in the Temperance River."  (It's known for it's raging-- like, unbelievably pulverizing-- waters, and for people who fall in being killed.)  Sorry, our humor is kind of warped. 

It was so beautiful up there.  We felt so lucky.  I've never been up there when it's been so sunny and mild.  Everywhere we looked there was more gorgeousness.  It almost gave us beauty fatigue, but not quite.  We wandered in a constant state of awe, feeling incredibly lucky.

I was so happy Katie got to come up and do this.  She LOVES nature.  Like, with her whole little heart.  Where she lives not only are there very few opportunities to enjoy this (Texas-- flat, polluted, super hot & windy, fire ants, dangerous men wandering loose, no parks/trails to speak of, no wild lands reserved for recreation, or even worth reserving, etc etc), but she is pretty constantly ridiculed for even wanting to try to make a difference.  She even has to battle her conservative hubs to recycle, because down there it's considered "radical."

Look how happy she is.  This made my heart feel good.

And, much as I love her kiddos, it was wonderful to see her being able to just enjoy herself without being "on deck" constantly-- holding little hands, taking people to the bathroom, worrying they'd plummet off the edge of a cliff any second.  Instead, WE got to be all adventurous, and not worry about anyone but us.

We talked about how nerve-wracking it must have been for our mom to take us up here when we were little.  Luckily, she wasn't on this trip either, because we definitely did some adventuring she would not have been happy about.  Nothing radical, just stuff that might make your mom nervous.  It was the most fun either of us have had in a while.  ~special~

When I got back in town I still had a few more days off.  I spent one hanging out with my pal Linda looking at cool old stuff in Buffalo, one of our favorite activities, and then went mountain biking for practically an entire half day!  ~Awesome!~

THEN- This so blew my mind people-- On Saturday I met up with a couple of gals that were my best buds in high school.  We lost touch over the years, our lives pulling us various directions, but, thanks to facebook, found each other again.  They looked amazing (as you can see), and I was blown away by how all the things I loved about them all those years ago have actually intensified.  They are super cool women.  I'm completely psyched about resuming our friendships.
 
Aren't they smokin'?  We used to OWN it people.  Seriously.  Forces. to. be. reckoned. with.  My mind is still blown, two days later.  ~kablam~  ~head explodes~

 Yesterday me and Dan went for an urban adventure at Minnehaha park.  There is this cool trail below the falls, which are flowing really impressively right now.  By the falls it's pretty crowded, but still pleasant.  People doing naturey stuff in the city have a way of creating private space by averting eye contact etc.  You can tell who wants to be greeted and who wants to pretend they're alone in the wilderness.  It works out.  Look how cool it is down there!

If you keep walking and are willing to climb around a little over and through a few mud puddles, the crowd thins out considerably.  Even in the heart of the city there are beautiful things to notice.

We brought this machinist's handbook along to press leaves in.  Dan said it looked like the bible and like we were about to bust-out some evangelizin'.  Here's preacher Dan by this GIANT cottonwood we saw.  Huge bark!

We also discovered evidence of ancient civilizations in the limestone cliffs down where the creek flows into the Mississippi.

Okay, maybe not so ancient.  But it was still cool.

There was a cool giant cave too.  (Okay, not really that giant-- I've been in those illegal caves in St. Paul that go for miles.  THOSE were huge.  I'm told most don't exist anymore-- too deadly.  But this one was still cool and something different.)

After our hike we took a little ride.  We saw people riding on the other side of the creek when we were hiking, and wanted to check that out.  Turned out to not really be a bike trail, but that didn't stop us from riding this really steep scary thing we thought was a trail but was really some drainage thing all the way down the bluff and checking it out anyway.  ~adventurey!~

After that we rode down to riverside park to check out those trails, but-- closed!  That wasn't going to stop us.  So what if it said flooded.  So what if we had our road bikes instead of our mountain bikes.  We are adventurers dammit.

There were a bunch more caves to check out down there, and it was fun being in the closed park.  We ran into a few other poachers, like minded bikey people looking for thrills. 

Hi honey, I'm home!

Eventually we got to the floody part.  Undeterred, we shoved our bikes through the muddy woods at the side to skirt around the lake on the trail.  It was kind of hopeless because shortly after our "trail?  We don't need no stinkin' trail!" celebration we ran into about a dozen huge fallen trees, all surrounded by stinky mud and standing water, so we made our way back how we'd come, still happy we'd gone for it.   
Recently I had an opportunity to partake in some real crazy nutball type fun that would seem to be exactly up my ally, but I had that thing again where things in real life are never as fun as I anticipate them in my head.  The things that would have made it fun enough to satisfy me were unrealistic-- would never happen.  It reminded me of being young and constantly chasing a thrill big enough to satisfy me, always failing.  Yesterday was super fun though.  I think because it was unplanned, so I had no chance to form expectations. 

Also, it WAS kind of off the beam, and I was with Dan, who always makes me feel like one damned lucky woman.  I have the coolest life you guys.  I hope you all are using your time wisely-- goofing off and doing whatever you want as often as possible, because we only get so much time.

On that note-- my welder is waiting!