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!!
My sister, Caryl Reed is younger than me by three years. She was always the ticklish one in the family…or at least the one who was the most fun to torture. That made her the “victim” of numerous attacks by all of the rest of her four sisters. We were probably brutal in some ways, because lets face it…not breathing is probably not good for a person. Nevertheless, we tickled for as long as we dared…stopping just short of the point of Caryl passing out. I think the Tickle Torture was a dreaded source of pleasure, for lack of a better term. Tickling doesn’t hurt, and some people even like light tickling, but the torture part was definitely a source of dread…for Caryl anyway. Caryl survived those torture years, got married, and moved away…go figure. It wasn’t her idea exactly, but I’m sure se didn’t miss the Tickle Torture while she was gone, and now that she lives closer, we don’t seem to attack her anymore. Still. she is always the potential “victim” in my mind.
Caryl has learned how to monitor breathing, as a respiratory therapist, so maybe we could tickle her even longer now…hmmm!! Still, she doesn’t live close enough for any kind of daily attacks. Caryl works at the Memorial Hospital of Carbon County in Rawlins, Wyoming, and is a respected, essential employee there. In fact, there are things they would have a hard time handling if she were not there. Caryl is dedicated to her job and her patients, and we are all very proud of her accomplishments.
Caryl and her husband, Mike Reed are working on their retirement home, that will ultimately bring them back to Casper to stay. They have purchased a piece of land out on the Old Poison Spider Road…which takes me back to my own childhood years, when a friend of mine lived out there. They are building a beautiful home there with a huge garage, and beautiful living area. Caryl has always wanted to have horses, and they currently board horses there. It’s a win-win situation for her. Eventually they will live there permanently, and then hopefully they can have horses of their own. Either way, their place is a great place to live, and while it’s further outside of town than I want to be these days, they love it. Today is Caryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Caryl!! Watch out for tickle attacks, because I might mention this to Mike or Andrea. Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Kellie Hadlock is like her mother in so many ways. She is that “good” child, who doesn’t get in trouble, and can always be found with a smile on her face. Kellie can’t help but smile. It isn’t that no trouble passes by her. It’s just that Kellie chooses not to participate in the troubles of this world. There are probably a number of things that Kellie chooses not to participate in, but those really aren’t the important things. It’s the things Kellie chooses to participate in that really matter, because it is those things that define the wonderful woman Kellie is.
As a child, Kellie brought happiness and sunshine into a room with her every time she entered. She was always giggly and happy. Her laugh simply could not be ignored, because it was contagious. She laughed and you had to laugh, because she drew you into her unique sense of humor with every giggle. Her laugh expressed so much glee, that you couldn’t help but giggle right along with her. The reality is that little Kellie didn’t have a serious bone in her body, and I’m not so sure she does now. It’s not that she can’t be serious if she tries hard enough, but Kellie just chooses to take life with a big dose of laughter…and that hasn’t changed to this day. Still, no matter how funny and giggly Kellie was, there was one other bone missing from her body…the mean one. She couldn’t be mean to anyone if she tried. And believe me, Kellie doesn’t try to be mean, any more than she tries to be serious.
Kellie has a beautiful God given gift, in addition to her laughter…her singing voice. Kellie loves to sing, and even records her songs and puts them on YouTube. If you haven’t had the opportunity to listen to her sing, I highly recommend that you check it out. She plays the piano as well, and the music she creates is amazing. While Kellie is an insurance agent, her true calling is music ministry, and I can tell you that she definitely ministers to people through her music. When Kellie performs solos at our church, her message can move you to tears…not because the music is sad, but because it is so totally and completely beautiful. Kellie sings from her heart, and she has a heart for God. Her sweet spirit and her love of God show in every word she sings, every word she speaks, and even in her social media posts. What an awesome woman of God she is. Today is Kellie’s birthday. Happy birthday Kellie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Whether you like the bi-annual time change that most states use or not, it is a fact of life for most of the citizens of the United States. Most of us have no problem with the “Fall back” part of the change, because with it comes an extra hour of sleep, and in the winter months, who can’t use that. The “Spring forward” part of the time change…well, that is a different thing. Losing that hour of sleep is just not so easy to swallow. Enter Napping Day.
In days gone by, an afternoon nap was not just a common thing, it was part of the job description. In fact, the siesta is still a time-honored tradition in Spain. It happens right after lunch and can be traced back to the first years of people having jobs. In fact, if you’re in the Mediterranean, it’s pretty much standard everywhere you go. In Italy they call it the riposo, pisolini, and even old Charlamagne, who was a medieval emperor who ruled much of Western Europe from 768 to 814, has been recorded as having taken 2-3 hour naps in the middle of the afternoon. I want to know where that tradition has gone in our time. I can’t tell you how many times I would have loved to grab a little twenty minute nap in the afternoon.
Fast forward to our time. Daylight savings time rolls around, and you are forced to get up an hour earlier. Most of us couldn’t fall asleep any earlier, and after all, the time change happens at about 2:00am, so why would we go to bed an hour early. The next morning is Sunday, and hopefully you were able to get acclimated to the new time, but more likely than not, you didn’t. So on Monday you are back at it…hard at work, and suddenly you hit a wall. You’ve been a trooper all day. You bravely made it through the morning’s activities…and it wasn’t too bad. Then lunch hits, and that food just makes you sleepy. What do you do? You take a nap! Napping Day encourages you to remember these benefits of youth and take a little time out of the day for you! The idea is to take that little nap, because it really is napping day. I have to wonder just how many bosses would be ok with such an idea. Not too many, I would guess.
As Barbara Jordan, a Texas representative, would say, “Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.” I hadn’t heard of her before, but I like her style. Happy Napping Day everyone!!
Leap Day Babies, by definition are numerically challenged…not age challenged or mathematically challenged, although both of those things come into play…simply numerically challenged. Things just never quite add up for them. They start off behind the rest of the kids born that year, because when that first birthday rolls around, the other kids turn one, but a Leap Day Baby only turns ¼. It’s because the 29th of February only happens every four years. I call those other three years nano-birthdays, because the birthday arrives somewhere between 11:59:59pm and 12:00am. It is a nano-second in time, and that is when that missing birthday occurs. Even their younger siblings pass Leap Day Babies up. The Leap Day Baby is pretty good at fractions, however, because after their first year of life, they are ¼. After their second year of life, they are ½. And after their third year of life, they are ¾. It isn’t until their fourth year of life that the Leap Day Baby turns 1. This is a fact of life that my granddaughter, Shai Royce has had to live with since her birth 21 years ago. She wasn’t always sure she liked it, because the boys, her brother, Caalab Royce, and cousins, Chris and Josh Petersen loved to tease her by saying, “I’m older than you” and it was true in every way except the number of years each had spent on the earth.
Nevertheless, Leap has it’s privileges. While the boys had to wait until they turned 16 to get their driver’s license, Shai got to get hers at the age of 4. She got to graduate from high school at the age of 4½. One of the biggest privileges Shai has as a Leap Day Baby is the fact that she can celebrate her nano-birthdays on either the 28th of February or the 1st of March…or both. Her grandpa and I have our anniversary on March 1st, so we liked sharing our anniversary with her on those nano-years, but often it seems that Shai likes to celebrate it on the 28th of February. That has been a distinct advantage for Shai and every other Leap Day Baby…the ability to honestly have an early birthday. This birthday has been a particularly cool one for Shai…especially in the early birthday department, because how many kids say that they actually got to legally drink the day before their 21st birthday? Only the Leap Day Baby. And since the government doesn’t even know what to do about the matter exactly, they even made it legal for her to cheat the system and start legally drinking the day before her birthday.
I guess that while Leap Day Babies only get a birthday once every four years, Leap really does have it’s privileges. For now, Shai might like being older sooner, but some day she will seriously appreciate the fact that she only ages every four years. Today is Shai’s Nano-21st-Birthday. Happy birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Sometimes the age your kids or grandkids are turning on their birthday has a tendency to shock you. That is where I am on this, my oldest grandchild, Chris Petersen’s 21st birthday. It just seems completely impossible that he could be 21 years old today. Chris has come so far. He finished college last year, and he is busy setting himself up in his chosen career. He has a degree in Culinary Arts, and his work is beautiful. I know that Chris will go far in this field, but I suspect that it will happen down the road a bit, when he is able to open his own restaurant. For now, he is busy getting some experience in all aspects of the restaurant business so that he will know what things that make a restaurant successful and what things make one fail.
A few months ago, Chris moved out of his parents home, and into an apartment of his own. He is enjoying his new found independence. Of course, it wasn’t like he wasn’t independent before, but when you live under your parents roof, there are still certain rules you have to abide by. By the same token, when you live on your own, you don’t have anyone else’s rules to follow, but you are the one responsible for your own bills and such too, so I guess it’s a trade off. Still, I don’t know of a single kid who has moved out on their own, who didn’t think it was worth the trade off in the end. Chris is no different than any other kid, moving out for the first time. He is adjusting to new things, and he really misses his family, especially hanging out with his little brother, Josh Petersen. I suppose that is why Josh has stayed the night several times. Brothers just need to hang out.
All that change is one thing, but the biggest change for Chris and every other kid turning 21 is the legal drinking age. Gone are the days of trying to con his parents into letting him have a sip, trying to find someone to buy beer for you, or going to a party and hoping you don’t get caught. Now I don’t know if Chris ever did any of those things or not, and as the grandma, I can feign innocence, and assume he would never do such a thing. It is my right. Nevertheless, today, Chris is of legal age to have a drink if he wants to. That is sure going to take some getting used to. He is still too young in my mind, so to see him drinking a beer with the guys will be one of those shocking moments for sure!! Nevertheless, that day has come. Today is my grandson, Chris Petersen’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day, and make sure you always have a designated driver!! We love you!!
When a person has Alzheimer’s Disease, everyone tends to feel sorry for them…or so they think. In reality, we don’t feel as sorry for the patient as we do for ourselves. The patient doesn’t seem to know that they are forgetting things, at least not after they are a little way into the progression of the disease. In fact, they truly live in an alternate reality, and sometimes it is a much nicer reality than we live in. If someone in their family has passed away, one of the others becomes that person on occasion. That’s how it is with my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg. Her husband, who is my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg passed away on May 5, 2013, and yet, she talked to him night before last. Of course, she was talking to her son, my husband, Bob Schulenberg, but he like the rest of her family has adapted to her altered reality, so that night Bob became Walt…if only for a minute, because that is how long it takes for that reality to pass and he becomes Bob again. I suppose people might think that strange, but it is actually kindness. She doesn’t have to grieve. Her deceased loved ones are never gone from her. They are there in the people around her, and she is happy.
My mother-in-law does not notice the passage of time, and if she does, it sometimes seems longer than it was. She might tell you that she hasn’t seen you in a year, when in reality it was the day before. Or she might say that you were just here, when you have been out of town for a week. Time is based on her own perception of it at the time, and that’s ok with me. As long as she’s happy, I’m happy.
As her birthday approached this year, I’ve been telling her that February is almost over. She doesn’t always think that is possible, and I can relate to that. Time really does fly by. So, on Saturday when I told her that her birthday was coming, she said it couldn’t be, because we hadn’t had Christmas yet. Now I would love to tell you that I had a quick come back for that one, but sometimes she catches me off guard. I told her Christmas had passed, and it was February. Thankfully she accepted that answer and the conversation moved forward. Yesterday, as we were waiting for the bus to take her back to the nursing home after he check up with the doctor, I asked her what today was going to be. She didn’t know, so I told her that it was February 28th. She perked up. I asked her what that day was, and she said that it was her birthday. I was pleased at that, so I thought I would take it one step further. I asked her how old she was going to be. She didn’t know, so I suggested that she take a guess. Well, I guess that the moment of clarity was over, because she said, “I’m 50 something.” She was only 36 years off, but it doesn’t really matter anyway, because you’re only as old as you feel…right? Happy birthday Mom!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As their youngest child becomes a teenager, parents suddenly have these bittersweet moments. They are proud of the young person their baby has grown into, but they know they will forever miss the baby they once were. That is the very feeling expressed by my niece, Machelle Moore, as she prepares to celebrate her youngest son, Easton Moore’s birthday today. Easton was a cute little boy, and his big brother, Weston Moore was so excited to have a brother. I remember Easton as a smiley little guy with things to do, places to go, and people to see…even if he never left to house. He was busy. No sitting still for him.
Easton, like most elementary school kids these days, got into Lego Robotics, and really enjoyed that, as did his family. His mom, Machelle Moore tells me that phase is winding down now, and it makes her feel sad, because her little boy is growing up. Yesterday, Easton told her, “Today is my birthday eve.” I’m sure her heart jumped a little bit, because her youngest boy was almost a teenager. The time had flown by so fast, and all she could think of is, “Where is the brake pedal?” I knew just how she feels. Our time with our little ones is just a drop in the bucket of life, and all too soon it is behind us. Nevertheless, Easton made her feel better when he said, “Don’t worry Mom, I am still gonna be your sweet boy when I am 13.” That little jump in her heart must have turned into a lump in her throat, because it was tough holding back the tears.
Of course, thirteen isn’t twenty five, and Easton still has a few “kid years” left to enjoy. These days he is heavily into Nerf guns, and even has a Nerf crossbow. His dad, Steve Moore loves guns, and while Easton’s guns are Nerf guns, it is still a passion they can share. They have even re-worked the Nerf guns, so they will get more distance. Guns are a passion that Easton is not likely to outgrow…although the gun type will progress into real guns at some point. Still, I can see them “shooting” each other with Nerf guns far into the future, because lets face it, men never really grow up. While Easton’s early years focused a lot on his mom as little ones often do, he latter years will likely follow along the lines of activities with his dad. Not that he won’t always cherish his mom, because he will, but boys just tend to do more things with their dads as they get older. However, Machelle likes doing the things Steve likes, so I’m sure she will be along for those activities too.
Easton is growing up, and that’s for sure, but as I’ve said, there are still a few years of boyhood left, and he still likes doing the goofy things that most boys do. Things that might gross girls out, are the coolest things to a boy. Most kids like bubble gum and blowing bubbles is the biggest part of the fun, but it takes the little kid in a person to want to film the process, and take special notice of the part where the bubble meets the face. Yes, the little boy is Easton is alive and well, and as long as he enjoys doing the goofy things, that little boy always will be. Today is Easton’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Easton!! Have a great day, and don’t grow up too fast!! We love you!!