Humor

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Most of my friends know that I love shoes. In fact, that is truly an understatement. I have shoes for every need and for every outfit. I have hiking shoes, sandals, shoes for jeans, boots…lots of boots, and of course, heels…of every color, height, and style from low heels to platform heels, and even funky heels. Yes, I love shoes. But there is a line that even I won’t cross.

Over the centuries in many areas of the world, shoe style was really a show of status. And in some countries, the size of a woman’s foot was so important that women would stuff their feet into shoes that would fit a young child. Those women were so intent on making their feet small, that they would perform a procedure on them called foot binding. It is a crazy way of tying the toes in such a way, so as to make a point of the front of the foot. The foot was then bent almost in half to fit in a shoe for a young child. I think every woman would like her feet to be smaller, at least every woman who wears size seven or above, but foot binding is extreme.

I love platform heels, but some styles…both old and new, are ridiculous. When the platform is so high, and made of something with no give to it, or has no heel on it, the woman wearing the heel really can’t even walk by themselves. And believe me, I would need help too, and I’m used to platforms. It’s just that these aren’t platforms. No, they are stilts!! Platforms have been a tradition for a very long time in Europe, clear back to the 17th century, and then they were out of fashion until the 20th century. Really, it wasn’t until Ferragamo reintroduced them in the 1930s that platforms came back in style. In 2009, an exhibition was organized, with an accompanying catalog on the topic of these elevating shoes, titled “On A Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels.” Chopines, which were also known as zoccoli or pianelle, are a platform shoe up to 20 inches high. Of course, those who wore them required the help of servants so that they didn’t fall flat on their face…in the name of fashion. The idea of chopines, besides being a fashion statement, was to protect the wearer’s clothes from street mud. Never mind the servant’s clothes, and really, why did they have to go out in the mud anyway? They were aristocrats, couldn’t someone just carry them on a platform chair, or run their errand for them. Whatever the case may be, I will not be buying a pair of these crazy stilt platforms, should they ever come into style again.

I do love my many styles of shoes, and my platforms are among the favorites, but I draw the line at about a 3 inch platform. Much more than that, and I not only have difficulty walking, but I end up taller than everyone around me, and for me that is just too odd. I am used to being one of the “wee ones,” as my niece Kellie Hadlock calls me, and that’s ok with me. I never wanted to be tall anyway. I’ll let my platforms make me look tall. I’m good with that!!

My grand niece, Alice Green has had an exciting couple of years. She finished her last year of pre-school, and now its on to Kindergarten. She has grown so much in the past few years…from the toddler that she was when I first met her young girl ready to get started on the next step in her education. Alice is a little shy, but once she gets to know people, she has a personality that bubbles with excitement. Alice really likes people, and of course, mostly kids. For three of her five years, she was an only child, and that meant that friends were a little bit more scarce, but all that has changed.

On December 21, 2015, Alice got an early Christmas present…a little sister of her very own named Izabella Harman. Alice was so excited. She had a sister, and before long, she would have a friend to play with who was always there in the same house with her. Alice was a good helper to her mom, my niece, Melanie Harman and my nephew, Jake Harman. She wanted to help with the baby, and make her laugh, and just be with her, in general, because that’s what big sisters do, and Alice planned to be the best big sister ever…a goal that I think she has definitely accomplished. But Alice’s excitement wasn’t over yet. On May 30, 2017, Alice got a little brother named Jaxx Harman. Jaxx would have not just one big sister, but two. I’m not sure how much he will like that when he is older, but while they are all little, this is going to be the best experience ever.

Alice is still the greatest big sister ever, because she loves her little sister and brother, and she loves to make them laugh. She and Belle play and giggle for hours, and very soon, Jaxx will join in the fun, because he won’t be a baby forever. Pretty soon, the Harman house will be filled with the laughter of three children in boisterous play. There is nothing greater than a house filled with the laughter of joyful children. For Alice, life is good. She is growing up, and she has Kindergarten to look forward to soon, and each day when she comes home, she will be greeted by her sister and brother, ready to play with the greatest big sister ever. Today is Alice’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Alice!! We love you!!

For the past year, I have worked with Amanda Ingram, who is the 15 year old daughter of my co-worker, Carrie Beauchamp. Amanda’s job is to file, make policy changes, take payments, and of course, answer the phone. It is a typical job for a customer service representative. No matter where Amanda is in the office, when the phone rings, she usually says, “I’ve got it.” Of course, that is her way of letting us know that we don’t have to stop what we are doing to answer the phone, but for me, her statement brings back years of teenaged memories…memories that the kids of today will most likely never have.

When I was a kid, we had just one phone in the house. It was the family phone, and my parents had five girls in the house. Over the years, mostly as each of us became teenagers, and had more friends, and especially boyfriends, we wanted to be the first one to the phone. It was especially important to get to the phone before our little sisters embarrassed us by talking to our friend or boyfriend and saying something that we might consider stupid or otherwise embarrassing…or simply embarrass us just by answering.

In our house, as in the homes of most of our friends, the younger kids just wanted to get to answer the phone once in a while too, but we assumed that it couldn’t be for them anyway, so they should just stay away from what we considered our own personal phone. I even recall being annoyed when the caller had the audacity to want to speak to one of my parents. What did they need to be talking about anyway. The older generation couldn’t possibly have anything important to talk about…could they? At least that was what we thought, with our typically self centered teenaged minds. It wasn’t that we were selfish, because I don’t think we were, but all teenagers are self centered to a degree. They think of themselves and their needs, as well as their insecurities, which were the main reasons that we didn’t want our younger siblings, or even our parents to answer the phone. You just never knew what they might say.

These days, with the invention of cell phones, we all have our own phone to answer, and most of the time, we don’t want to answer the phone for someone else, because that is…just annoying. Still, with the dawning of Facebook, and the fact that our friends can also reach us there, has come a new, and sometimes even better way for siblings to embarrass us in front of our friends…hacking our page. So, in that way, the kids of today can say, “I’ve got it.” And I guess they do.

When a man retires, life slows down, and he begins to take it easy. Ok, let get real. he majority of men retire and have dozens of “honey-do’s” to get done, and not only for their wives. Somehow the “daddy-do’s” are just as big a part of life now…not that Daddy would want it any other way. After all, at least for my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook, his girls, Machelle Moore and Susan Griffith are his princesses, and what they want or need, he will try to get it for them. And of course, now that he is retired, he has lots more time to spend with his grandchildren, Weston and Easton Moore, Jala Satterwhite, and Kaytlyn Griffith too.

Over the past month, Lynn has found himself in the middle of a daddy-do at his daughter, Machelle’s house. For quite some time, Machelle and her husband, Steve had to shovel the snow off of the grass, because there was no sidewalk. Anyone who has done that, knows that it can be a pain in the neck, but you don’t want to wade through the snow ether, so you shovel the grass. Recently, Machelle and Steve decided that the time had come to put in a sidewalk and a patio. Thankfully, they were able to call on Lynn to help with the work…and it does help to know people, who know people. Lynn was able to find a dump trailer and skid steer, and then he worked on digging everything out while Machelle and Steve were working during the day. It was a wonderful help to them!! They all worked together, digging some areas by hand and others by machine. Finally they were ready to pour the cement, and when it was all done, it looked amazing. Machelle and Steve couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Of course, when Lynn isn’t doing his daddy-do’s, he and my sister-in-law, Debbie, his wife of 43 years, love to go camping in the Big Horn Mountains. They will head up the mountain, and stay there two weeks of so, just hanging out, enjoying the quiet peacefulness, and the crisp mountain air. It s a retreat they both love very much. When they aren’t camping, Lynn has been fixing things up around their house…just to keep busy, and enjoying his retirement by spending time with his family. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My little grand niece, Zoey Iverson is quite a character. Always on the go, she makes sure that there is never a dull moment in her family’s home. You see, Zoey is turning two today, and she is into exploring…everywhere!! As any parent of a two year old…past or present…can tell you, a two year old exploring means that nothing is safe, and the parents must always be on guard duty. Zoey’s mom, Cassie tells me that Zoey has made the whole house into a jungle gym. Now that reminds me of my own daughter, Amy who somersaulted down the hallway, and swung from the table. I never knew what she would do next, and that meant I had to make sure everything was pretty well anchored to the floor…or at least not top heavy, because it might become a swing for a little girl. All I can say is…I’ll be praying over your sanity, Chris and Cassie.

Miss Zoey is not just a two year old gymnast, she is also a princess…complete with her princess dresses. She loves to play dress up, and get her bling on, and who can blame her. I think most girls love to get their bling on. Zoey is quite sure that she is the queen of her castle. She is currently working on teaching herself to play the piano. When asked how that is going, her mom tells me that she is “banging on the piano,” so it looks like she might need just a little bit more practice…or perhaps lessons someday. If she likes the piano, she might have a long standing career or at least a hobby for the rest of her life. Kids often develop their likes and dislikes early in life.

Zoey is learning to put her own shoes on too. She loves to get them on the right feet the first time. I’m sure it makes her feel like a grown up. Chris and Cassie love to take their kids out for walks, and Zoey is not into sitting in a stroller. She wants to walk!! Of course, sitting in a wagon with her brother Lucas is ok sometimes too, because Zoey loves her big brother. Today is Zoey’s 2nd birthday. Happy birthday Zoey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I first met my sister-in-law, Marlyce Schulenberg when I was 18 years old, and she was 23 years old. She passed away when she was 39 years old. It has been 28 years since Marlyce passed away in 1989, so she has been gone 13 years longer than she was in my life. While that fact feels like a fact in some ways, it doesn’t in others. Marlyce had such a huge impact on my life. It wasn’t anything specific that she did, but rather it was everything about my sweet sister-in-law. Marlyce was developmentally disabled, and in some ways she remained a child all her life, but in other ways, she was an adult. She had a job, and she loved to bake and knit, and really she didn’t play. She understood that kids games were for kids, and she was an adult. She would play games intended for grownups though. One of her favorites was solitaire. She always had a deck of cards handy.

Still, it was not those things that made Marlyce so special to me. It was her personality. She was such a loving person. I suppose that I had an advantage over her siblings in that I was not her sibling. Coming into the family as an outsider, gave me the ability to be a friend to Marlyce before I became her sister-in-law. There never were the sibling rivalries or the sibling fights, because while Marlyce knew I was her sister-in-law, I don’t think she ever really thought of me that way, exactly. I was maybe more her permanent friend. Permanent in that I was a fixture within the family unit, and friend, in that I was not her blood sister. Of course, all of her siblings loved Marlyce too, but having grown up with her, they did all fight…like all siblings do.

One thing I recall about Marlyce that was kind of funny, is how protective she could be over her siblings. If she was mad at them…well, you knew it. She had no problem telling any one of them just what she thought, but if one of her siblings was getting into trouble…well, that was a different thing. I can’t tell you how many times I heard Marlyce telling her parents that they should be nice to her brother or sister. She was quite vocal about it. And even after the disciplinary action was over, she was still pretty mad at the offending parent. It was pretty comical, but I didn’t dare laugh about it, because Marlyce didn’t like being laughed at…and I would never hurt her feelings that way. Marlyce was so sweet. I couldn’t pick on her. When I think of all the years that Marlyce has been gone, I am saddened, because we are missing out on all the sweetness that was Marlyce. Everything about Marlyce was sweet, and I miss her very much. Today would have been Marlyce’s 67th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Marlyce. We love you very much.

My grandniece, Anna Masterson is her own person. She likes what she likes, and she doesn’t care if that makes her different. She doesn’t care if the things she is into are the popular things that others are into or not. If others don’t Ike what she likes…oh well. Anna is not bothered by her uniqueness…and neither am I.

Anna is a quiet girl, but she’s not a shy girl. People think she is shy, but she is a listener. Anna gets to know people and what they are all about before she dives into the conversation. She likes to “figure you out” as her mom, Dustie would say. Once she figures you out, she will let you into her world. Anna thinks before she speaks, and her mom says Anna tends to astound her with with her observations and thoughts. Anna is a realist. She has questions about a lot of things and she wants a real answer, not a sugar coated one intended to make her think the world is all soft and sweet. Anna loves to sit and watch documentaries with her mom. She doesn’t care what it’s about, just that it’s real. She’s very smart and her favorite subjects in school are Math and Science.

She loves God, family, and country, in that order. Her loyalty to all of those is second to none. Her cousin, Aleesia Spethman is like a little sister to her. They are both the youngest in their family, and they are just like sisters, complete with sibling rivalry and the fighting that goes along with it. Nevertheless, as annoyed as she may get with her younger cousin, She also councils her, comforts her and protects Aleesia even from Anna’s brother, Matthew who is Anna’s best friend. Sometimes, When Matthew is to much for Anna to handle alone, she pulls out the big guns, her big sister, Raelynn. These days, since Raelynn had to have back surgery, Anna is extremely protective of of her older sister too. If she hears her sister crying in the night from pain, she is the first one there to comfort her.

Anna has a bright future ahead of her, quite possibly in the area of science. Her close relationship with God will guide her to what he has planned for her. Her parents have no worries about this girl, who is very comfortable in her own skin. She does have a funny side too, though, and according to her mom, loves cheesy puns. One night, she and her mom were making pizza crust. When they were all done and went to wash their hands off, Anna said that they “had just gotten out of a very sticky situation.” Today is Anna’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Anna!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I think we have all had times when we couldn’t seem to concentrate on our work. Or maybe you had a child who couldn’t concentrate on their homework. Well, in 1925, an inventor named Hugo Gernsback, a Luxembourgish-American inventor, writer, editor, and magazine publisher, invented a helmet to make sure a person focused on their work. It was called the Isolator, and it was…well, bizarre. Gernsback was often known as “The Father Of Science Fiction,” and one look at his invention can tell you why that might be. The Isolator was a wooden helmet that blocked out sound and vision in order to help the wearer focus on whatever task was at hand. Gernsback claimed that the helmet blocked out sound by up to 95%, and the tiny glass spy-hole ensured that no amount of movement nearby could be seen, so that the wearer was not distracted. This would eliminate all outside distractions, and barely give enough room for the wearer to see the work in front of them, and nothing else.

While it might have been a great device to help the wearer focus, it looked more like some kind of medieval torture device. The front of the device had an oxygen tube that was attached to a bottle of oxygen, so it was impossible to eat and study too. So, with no sound, no food, no way to play video games, the modern child would have no choice but to focus on homework. Now, I don’t know if the device could be locked in place…only to be removed when the work at hand was done, but if that is the case, I would think the wearer would get right to the task, so that the device could come off sooner. Just think of how much studying a college student could accomplish. Of course, my guess would be that even a person who was not claustrophobic before wearing the Isolator, would be claustrophobic after wearing it…not to mention a little paranoid, and leery of the person who made them wear the Isolator in the first place.

The Isolator never really caught on, and I think anyone can see why that might be, but I guess it might have been a good idea, had it not been so archaic and confining. Of course, that was only part of the problem. The wearer also looked ridiculous, and while they could be anonymously ridiculous looking in some places, it didn’t work that way at the office or in study hall, where everyone knew who was in the office or class. And, of course, it would be really creepy sitting next to someone who was wearing the Isolator. I think we will have to chalk this one up to a good idea gone crazy.

My grandnephew, James Renville is a quiet sort of guy, but let him decide that he needs to tease his dad or his step-dad, and he’s anything but quiet. He not only loves to tease them, but he loves to video the whole process. I’m sure he has two reasons for the video…re-living the moment, and re-torturing the victims. James isn’t being mean, he is just enjoying the moment…and you have to admit that once you have teased someone you love, you have to laugh about the moment for the rest of the day. James is also a great friend to his cousins, many of whom are much younger. He plays with them and teases them as well, and they all love it, and have a great time. That’s the funny thing about little kids…they love to be teased by their older cousins and such, because they know that it’s all in good fun, and they always love the attention.

James enjoys lots of fun activities with his parents. He loves to travel and they have gone to many awesome places. It has been educational, enlightening, and very fun for James. I’m sure that is why he loves to travel…especially in Europe. James as taken a couple of European trips already, and had a great time on both trips. James reminds me quite a bit of my dad, his great grandpa, Allen Spencer, in that way. My dad loved to travel and loved showing his family this great country. My dad, like James also did some travel abroad, but his travel was during World War II, so I’m sure that many things were different then.

James is in college now, attending Casper College here in Casper. He isn’t sure what field he wants to go into yet, and that’s ok. He is going to get all of the required subjects out of the way, and then he can fully focus on the career of his choosing. James is also a huge fan of and awesome participant in the sport of inline rollerblading. When he puts on his rollerblades, he is in his element. He loves all things rollerblades. James spends quite a bit of time watching YouTube videos of rollerblade tricks and crashes to learn new tricks…and maybe to avoid crashes. He enjoys perfecting his moves, and learning new ones from the videos he watches. His mom, Toni Chase, says he is amazing at rollerblading. Some day I will have to see him for myself. Today is James’ birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

For most of her life, my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg struggled with her weight. Even as a child, Brenda was heavy. She will tell you that her weight prevented her from doing many of the things that most children took for granted, such as riding a bicycle. She might have been able to do it to a degree, but not for very long or very far. As she grew into adulthood, her weight became such a problem that she couldn’t even think of riding a bicycle. Then one day, her health failed due to her weight. She knew that she had to make a change. That day was October 18, 2013…just 5½ months after her dad, Walt Schulenberg passed away. Brenda became a health nut. She learned to eat right, and she walked…slowly and with a walker at first, and later on her own. She walked further and further…often reaching 10 miles a day. The weight came off, and she felt much better. Still, one thing eluded her…riding a bicycle. Finally, the day arrived when Brenda found out that she could ride a bicycle…as long as the peddles were off, and she could reach the ground. It’s called strider riding. It is a bicycle, but the rider basically runs the bicycle down the trail, instead of riding it…and Brenda could do that.

After riding strider style for a time, Brenda was finally able to ride a bicycle in the normal way. She put the peddles back on her purple bicycle and off she went. Brenda became just like the postal service…”Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Ok, Brenda didn’t have appointed rounds…exactly, but she had set herself a goal of riding her bicycle every month of the year. Now, that is not an easy task, especially in the state of Wyoming, where winters can be brutal. Nevertheless, just like the postal worker, neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor gloom of the very early morning will keep Brenda from riding her bicycle. She is determined to ride it, and make up for all the years that she couldn’t even ride a bicycle in the summertime, much less in the winter.

She’s a brave woman, especially when she goes out in the middle of a snow story, and pretty much turns into a snow woman. She reminds me of the Campbell’s Soup commercial where the little boy is so covered with snow that only a hot bowl of soup will melt away all the snow. Maybe she’s not that bad, but she’s close. Brenda, we are proud of your determination, but I do have to wonder if the people driving by the snow woman on wheels have to rubs their eyes to make sure they are seeing what their eyes are telling them they are seeing. Today is Brenda’s birthday. Happy birthday Brenda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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