humor

My niece, Jessi Sawdon has a great sense of humor, and by that I don’t mean that she can tell a good joke once in a while, although, she can, but with Jessi it’s different than that. Jessi just likes to be silly. Even from her youngest days, she liked to tease her mom, my sister, Allyn Hadlock, by telling her that she (Jessi) was the mom. It went back and forth for a while, and then, Allyn would tell her, “Don’t you ever say I’m the mom.” Jessie, would instantly say…while pointing her finger up…not down…at her mom, “Don’t you ebber!!” How do you not laugh at this little 2 year old girl…bossing her mom around.

While things like that were a god beginning to Jessi’s silliness, they were by no means the end. As a kid, she used to take pictures of her cousins that were at her grandmother, my mom, Collene Spencer’s house, and turn them around, or move them to the lowest spot, elevating her picture to the higher spot on the display, saying, “I’m Grandma’s favorite!!” She wasn’t being mean, but rather was teasing. A big smile on her face every time. We all laughed at her antics. When Jessi and her family would be visiting my mom and dad, Al Spencer, someone would tell her to ask Grandma something, and she would look right at her grandma and say, “Who’s Grandma?” My mom would laugh and laugh, as would everyone else. Jessi was always so quick witted and so random that you just never knew what to expect from her.

Jessi was known for having “name calling” sessions with her siblings. I’m sure that sounds terrible, but this was a competition…and they all participated, trying mot to laugh the whole time. They might call each other dummy. Her sister, Kellie Hadlock often calls Jessi…Jeffica McHaddlo, Jeffrey, Jeff, or just Re. Jessi in turn calls Kellie…Pie, and on National Pie Day, always wishes her youngest sister, “Happy Pie Day!!” Jessi and her sister, Lindsay Moore, both celebrate their “unbirthdays,” and idea they got from Alice in Wonderland. I guess you might as well have more than one birthday in a year…or maybe several, since every day that isn’t your birthday, is by definition, your unbirthday!! You never knew what Jessi might do. She has even been known to dance like a rag doll while riding in the car.

While Jessi, being the oldest, often had the upper hand in the teasing sessions, once in a while they got her back. Her family took her to a local Mexican restaurant called Guadalajara for her birthday. When the family had the waiters sing “Happy Birthday” to Jessi, they crowned her with a sombrero and sang. Kellie tells me that is the only time she has ever seen her big sister embarrassed. I guess that once in a while, even the funniest among us can be “had!!” Hahahahahaha!! Today is Jessi’s real birthday. Happy birthday Jessi!! Pretend I crowned you with a sombrero!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Karen is my grandson, Chris Petersen’s fiancé, and they are having my first great grandchild, a baby girl, just about any time. Since she was just a little girl, Karen has wanted to be a mommy, so this baby is a dream come true. I have seen Karen with her friends’ babies, and it’s plain to see that Karen is totally in her element with babies. She is going to be an amazing mom. Her sweet disposition and her caring ways really shine when she is caring for and playing with a baby. Her little girl is due on my daughter, Amy Royce’s birthday, but you just never know when these babies will decide to make their appearance. Early or late, we don’t have very long to wait, that’s for sure.

Karen has a great sense of humor, and loves to pull of a good joke or prank, and since she has been around my grandsons, Chris and Josh, her pranks, like theirs, tend to be aimed at the grandma…me. Of course, they are all in good fun, and so nothing to get upset about, but it is plain to see that those boys have corrupted that sweet girl already!! Hahaha!! It’s a good thing for her that Karens/Caryns have to stick together (as she puts it), because if that weren’t the case, I might have to retaliate on some of the pranks she has pulled on me.

Karen has been such a great blessing to my daughter, Corrie Petersen, and her husband, Kevin, who always wanted a daughter, and consider Karen to be the daughter they never had. And to top it off, she is giving them a granddaughter, which they really never expected to have. For Corrie and Kevin, this is a twofold dream come true and they are excited beyond words. For them and for me, we love Karen because of the happiness she has brought to Chris’ life. I have never seen my grandson so happy and fulfilled. For him, there is nothing he wants more that to have a family. He is so ready to be a husband and daddy, and I have been so impressed with him as he prepares for the birth of his little girl, and I attribute much of that to Karen. They have been stashing away a savings for after the baby’s birth, and buying diapers so that when she arrives, Karen can stay home with her for a few months. I am so excited for all the wonderful things that are coming in their future…many good things ahead. Today is Karen’s birthday. Happy birthday Karen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As the second anniversary of my mom’s passing drew near, my family and I have been talking more and more about the woman who was our mother. Mom was many things, as most mothers are, but one of the parts of my mom that never ceased to amaze me, was her ability to maintain a certain level of innocence, or at least what we thought was innocence. As I look back now, she was a wise woman, who managed to keep her world…quite pure and innocent. I’m not talking about her personal life, but rather our family life. There were certain lines we all knew not to cross. My sisters and I would never have cussed in front of our parents…if we wanted to live, that is, but somehow we knew that our boyfriends and husbands would be required to live up to that standard too…and they did. It was out of respect for her, my dad, and their home. That was something I always though amazing. I don’t think I even remember having to tell a boyfriend twice, not even the ones who weren’t the keeper I ended up with. It was as if they thought mom might pass out if they were to talk in an inappropriate manner. I don’t know…maybe she would have. I never dared to find out, and I’m not sorry that Mom was that way, because my sisters and I were raised to speak decently, and we have never regretted that.

Another way that my mom always seemed so innocent was in her sense of humor. Mom never cared if she looked silly, if it could make her arguing children laugh. When you have five daughters, complete with all the drama that can be associated with it, you either get silly, or you go crazy. Well, mom was an expert at making her girls either straighten up, or laugh, usually in a very unique way. I remember Mom clearing the living room floor so that two of us could “fight it out” and once we had a good hold of each other’s hair, and were both basically pinned to the floor, the room broke out in laughter, because lets face it, it was pretty hilarious. I remember Mom making some crazy faces that we couldn’t help but laugh at, and even if we knew that Mom was mad, it was sometimes hard not to laugh about her face, but we knew that it was in our best interest not to.

Life with our mom was never dull, but then again, Mom would probably tell you the same thing about life with her girls. If there was some crazy antic that we could come up with…we did. I remember ruining my brand new penny loafers because I felt the need to go trudging through the mud and the construction site at the new Kmart building. The shoes cleaned up ok, but they were now of a size to fit my younger sister, Caryl. My sister, Alena was a whiz at concocting formulas. Of course, using the “shampoo” she created was out of the question, because it would probably burn your hair off. As far as terrorizing my sisters…that would have to be, yours truly. I was born with strong fingernails…well daggers actually, and I did not hesitate to use them. Sometimes I wonder how I survived childhood, because if anyone drove our mom crazy, it was me. I’m sure that my wedding day was cause for celebration on many levels. Just thinking about what I put my mom through…well, I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. I think that is how Mom had to have felt. It really was get silly, or go crazy in our house.

Young ShawnIn the relatively short time that our family has really reconnected with our cousins on my dad’s side, I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know my cousin Shawn Fredrick. I have to say that his personality has been such a pleasant surprise. For some reason I always thought of Shawn as really shy and serious, but now I know that he has an amazing sense of humor, and a real talent for history, especially family history. I think that part is in his blood. His grandma, my Aunt Laura Spencer Fredrick, and his great uncle, my Uncle Bill Spencer, have been studying family history for a long time…as have his Uncle Dennis Fredrick, and his dad, Gene Fredrick, both of whom are my cousins, and of course, his older brother, Tim Fredrick. I’m sure that Shawn and Tim got into the history about the same time, with their dad’s interest in it, and he was helping Uncle Bill with copies, layouts, scanning, and researching. Nevertheless, once you start looking at family history, it is very easy to become additced to it…I should know.

I find, the more I get to know Shawn, that we think a lot alike…especially politically, which I love, but for the sake of my friends who disagree with me politically, I won’t go into now. Nevertheless, I think Shawn and I have a similar sense of humor too, because we also seem to find the same things funny. Shawn likes trivia, which is, in my opinion, a lot of fun too. I love to see what might have happened on a certain day in history, or even just learn about unusual facts. I think Shawn is a lot like that too, because of the things he posts on Facebook. I really like the way Shawn explains the things he is telling you about. He is very thorough, and when he is done telling you the story, you really feel like you know what was going on. Not everyone has the ability to tell a story in a way that makes you feel like you are there too.

I think both Shawn and Tim are very intelligent men, and both are very excellent computer programmers, but they both also love woodworking, which is another thing that is in their genes, through their dad, Gene, grandfather Fritz Fredrick, and great grandfather, Allen Luther Spencer, and probably other people on the Fredrick side of the family too. Their dad made beautiful dressers, desks, and cabinets, and taught them how to Shawn Fredrickmake them too. Still, I’m not sure that just anyone could learn that. I believe it takes a bit of inherited talent too. I am not sure that I could make anything that would look like it was anything much, and that is one area that Shawn and I differ greatly. Of course, not all of his projects are geared toward beauty, necessarily, some like the mirror that fell, are geared toward functionality, with a little humor mixed in, as you can see from Shawn’s comment about that project. “My mirror fell in the middle of the night and shattered so in the tradition of my father for sturdy building projects that never have to be fixed again, I just installed another one with drywall anchors rated at 60 pounds. Unless we have a 7.0 earthquake, it’s not coming down again in my lifetime” No, I’m sure it won’t Shawn. Like your brother said, “When Mt. Cheyenne suddenly and unexpectedly erupts and the pyroclastic flow brings down mirrors across the city, yours will be standing!” If you can pull that off, you are a great craftsman. Seriously though, Shawn is a very talented man, and I am proud to call him my cousin.

cheryl104Most of us have either sent or received a group text. Usually the reason is to get information to several people at once. The problem with a group text is that they usually start a series of group texts that, at some point will annoy at least one of the participants to the point that they ask that the group text move to another group that excludes them. Often this is because that participant is at work, or otherwise engaged, and the constant back and forth of a group text is interfering with whatever they are doing. While I understand the problems that group texts can cause, I have to say that such is not always the case.

In recent months, my sisters and I have carried on a series of group texts, that we all agree have been very fun. The texts might start as a way of passing information to the whole group, but before long, someone says something funny…usually teasing or picking on one of the other sisters, and the game is on. It’s all in good natured fun, and nobody gets upset, because we all know it’s just good natured fun, but then, that is the kind of relationship my sisters and I have. It is a blessing to be sure.

The texting often turns to teasing, as I said, and it is logical progression in our conversation, because after all, we have known each other all of our lives, and we have a lot of ammunition on each other. Good and bad ammunition. Nevertheless, our text play is never about seriously bad ammunition. We would rather tease about the goofy things we did as kids…with a little bit of “how did you manage to stay out of trouble, when I couldn’t” mixed in. Allyn Hadlock was the baby, and somehow never got into trouble…but then we all agree that she imagenever did anything to get into trouble either…hence the Polly Purebred comment. Alena Stevens was the curiously mischievous one, and always seemed to be mixing up some concoction designed to make a mess. The rest of us, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, and I fell somewhere in the middle, but I was probably more mischievous than the others…or at the very least, more sassy!!

I know that many people get upset with group texts, and I understand that, but my sisters and I always look forward to them. We have laughed and reminisced through all these, and it has been not only healing, but I think if it is possible, we are even closer to each other than we were before, and for sisters who have always been close, that’s really saying something. I know that many people would still say that group texts are annoying, and to them I would just have to say that maybe they are texting the wrong crowd. Group texting with my sisters is a new adventure every single time we do it.

RobbieAs every parent knows, all too well…kids will be kids, and my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s kids are no exception to that rule. Sometimes we wonder how any of our kids ever survived their own antics. Cheryl raised her family of five children as a single mom for most of their lives. Her daughter Chantel Balcerzak is not quite sure how her mother survived. And, maybe Cheryl isn’t either, if all of their antics were of this caliber.

Chantel tells me about one incident in which she, her sister, Toni Chase, and her brother, Rob Masterson decided that they wanted to skip school. They knew they would need a good reason to get their mother to agree to this. Well, they came up with a good reason to stay home alright!! My nephew, Rob was into skateboarding at the time, so they decided that if he wiped out and hit his head on a parking pylon, their mother would completely forget taking them to school, in order to take him to the hospital.Cheryl's family when they were young

Being what Chantel calls geniuses, they knew that proof would be needed, such as a bump on the head. Chantel is quite short…4’10” to be exact…so to accommodate that, Rob would need to bend over so she could administer the bump. He stood bravely, bent over at the waist, and waited for his older sister to club him. Chantel knew that no ordinary hit in the head would work, so she picked up a 36″ x 24″ wooden shelf that was about 1½” thick. Not knowing how hard she would need to hit him to create a bump of believable size, Chantel let him have it…full force. Of course, Rob was just flattened and hit the ground in a spread eagle position. Their sister, Toni immediately let out a blood curdling scream, and yelled, “You killed him!!!”

Toni, Chantel, Rob, & LizI don’t know if it was Toni’s screams or if the girls ran and got their mom, but needless to say, school went out the window for the day. Rob did wake up and he is just fine, but the emergency room was the next visit they made. As for the kids, they weren’t sure if skipping school had been worth this, or if it would have been better just to buck up and go to school. I’m sure this was not the last time they considered devising a plan to skip school, but in Chantel’s words, “Ironically, Rob never offered to let me hit him again.” No, I don’t suppose he did, unless that initial hit on the head rattled his brain more than first thought. It would take a crazy person to allow such a thing twice…wouldn’t it? Today is Rob’s birthday. Happy birthday Rob!! I would keep a close eye on your loving sister, if I were you. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Zina HansenJust seventeen hours after my mother passed away, my son-in-law, Travis Royce lost his grandfather, Zike Hansen.  I knew Zike even before I knew my son-in-law, because I worked for Zike’s sister-in-law, Jimmy Foster and her husband, Don. When I went to work for Don and Jimmie, I had never even touched a computer. I’m sure you are wondering what that has to do with anything, but believe me, it does. At that time Zike and His wife, Virginia, who is Jimmy Foster’s sister, were working in Deadwood, South Dakota on the gambling machines. What struck me the most was that they knew about computers, and when laptops came out, they got one right away. That impressed me, because I knew so little about  computers…unlike the me people know today.

When my daughter married, her husband, Travis, a new connection to the Hansen family. I had known them in a round about way for years, in that I went to school with their son, Randy, but I never knew them personally until I worked for Don and Jimmy. Now, we were family. Most people might think that it wouldn’t have changed too many things, and I suppose it didn’t exactly except that we saw a little more of each other.

Nevertheless, it seems strange to me the number of things I didn’t know about Zike Hansen. I knew that he was a Christian, because the kids got married in their church by our pastor. It was a good way to join the families. What surprised me at the funeral is that the cross that graces the alter at their church was built by, none other than, Zike Hansen. I have always though it was beautiful, but I had no idea that it wasn’t manufactured at some factory. Good job Zike!!

Another thing I had never heard about Zike is that he was struck by lightning…not once, but twice!! The first time he was about fifteen or sixteen years old…that was about 1949 or so. The second time was in the 1950s. Now I can’t imagine being imagestruck by lightning once, but twice…well, all I can say is, “Wow!!”  Zike was never struck by lightning again, so I guess that he must have decided, that given his electric personality, it was best to…run whenever the sky started to grow even the slightest bit cloudy.

Zike Hansen was a one of a kind sort of guy, with a great sense of humor. He was the kind of man you thought of as a friend from the first time you met him. He just made people comfortable that way. I’m thankful that he knew God, because I want to see him again when I get to Heaven. In the meantime, I’m going to miss his electric personality, but I know that he and my parents are having a great time in Heaven.

Something Funnyscan0084My husband, Bob Schulenberg, likes to laugh. From the time he was just a little kid, it seems that in a crowd of smiling people, there would always be one, who had to laugh, because somehow, a smile just did really express his true feelings about whatever was said, or what someone did. He really finds it hard not to laugh if something is the least bit funny. This was one of the things that I liked the most about Bob right from the start. He has a great sense of humor, and is a teaser from way back. I can’t say that his sisters always liked that aspect of their oldest brother, but it was a part of their childhood, nevertheless. Like so many boys, Bob’s humor as a young boy was not always shared by his sisters, who thought he really should just leave them alone.

From cartoons, as a little boy and even into the early years of our marriage, to “The Three Stooges” and “Laurel and Hardy”, to comedies of today, television has been a source of entertainment bringing much laughter for Bob. He can be sitting in a room all by himself, and suddenly he just bursts out in loud laughter, because something on the show struck him as very funny. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the rest of us would have thought it funny too, but it is just so funny to hear Bob burst out laughing in the other room, when you have no idea what is so funny. That makes no difference really, because it is what is funny to him that matters, not what is funny to those around him.

Bob has always been the kind of person who finds humor all around him. And looking back at all the pictures of him as a kid, I can see that is true. Not to mention, that I have heard all the stories of Bob’s antics…especially the ones his sisters didn’t find very funny. From chasing his sister, Jennifer Parmely with spiders…which he still tries to do these days too, but then thinks better of the plan…mostly because he wants to live, to goofing of with his sister, Brenda Schulenberg, during family pictures, to the point where his dad just about had to knock them silly, Bob is known for stirring things up a bit…not is a bad way, but as a boy, it was a way that his sisters didn’t always appreciate. Of course, I think they would all agree now, that he has always been a comical guy.

scan0089Marlyce Schulenberg, Kathy Kanta, Ellen Kanta, Carla Kanta, Vina Hein, David Kanta, Debbie Schulenberg, Gloria Kanta, Bob SchuleThey say, laughter is the best medicine, and for Bob, I think it has always been something that has made his life…and mine…a happy one. Life has it’s ups and downs. No one can get by with no sadness in their life. Those things are what makes the need for laughter such a big need, and Bob has always found humor in the simple things around him. It is probably the one biggest asset that he has. I have been blessed to be married to him all these years, so I can say that in our house, never a day goes by without a bit…or a lot…of laughter. Even if we don’t always know exactly what is so funny.

KeiferMy grand nephew, Keifer Balcerzak has been a part of our family since his dad, Dave married my niece, Chantel. Keifer was a young man of fourteen years when he became a part of our family. I have watched him grow from a kid into a man, and I have always felt like he was a very nice fit into our family. He is so much like his Dad that it is amazing. Chantel says that he is Dave’s “mini me” only two inches taller. Keifer and Dave play softball together in the summer, darts in the fall and winter, and watch football together on Sundays. They are and really, always have been pals. Their personalities are a lot alike, so they get along well. Keifer has seen the value in sharing interests with his dad, and just how close it can make them. I know it means a lot to Dave.

Keifer has been dating his high school sweetheart, Katie Davidson for seven years now, and he decided that it was time to take the next step, so he asked her to marry him, and she said yes. The wedding is set for May, and they are making plans for the future. They just bought their first house, and adopted two dogs, so they are set…until they decide to start a family anyway. Keifer is a lot like his dad, and has a great sense of humor, so I know that he and Katie will have a wonderful home…filled with love and laughter. Of course, according to Katie, Keifer puts up with her shenanigans…which amounts to being treated like a three year old…but then, what guy doesn’t need to be treated that way most of the time. Needless to say, I think Keifer & KatieKatie and Keifer might both have a great sense of humor.

Keifer has worked for Charter Communications as a cable guy…his words, not mine, but I’m sure he likes that because of Larry, the cable guy. Keifer is an all around hard worker and loyal employee, and he likes his job. Now with his life taking that next turn into the future, those are great traits to have. If you are willing to work hard, and be honest, loyal, and truthful, there really is no place you can’t go in your life. I think Keifer is a fine young man, and I know that he and Katie are going to have a wonderful life together. Today is Keifer’s birthday. You have grown into a good man, Keifer. You will go far. Happy birthday Keifer! Have a great day! We love you!

199325_10150121801297236_5242878_nOur nephew, Tucker has always been such a happy kid. He loves life and all that it has to offer. Tucker find humor in things that the rest of us might not see as humorous…a good trait to have when you think about it. Tucker gets very excited with he sees someone that he likes to be around, often running up to them like a streak to give them a hug!!

Tucker started Kindergarten this year, and he is quickly showing his parents what a smart little boy he is. He was coloring with my brother-in-law, Ron, his step-dad, and they started talking about the colors he was using. Tucker wanted to know how Ron knew the specific color of the crayon, like yellow orange. Ron showed him where the color 185930_10150121803742236_6668521_nis shown on the crayon, and Tucker immediately began checking out each crayon, and reading of the name. Reading seems to be one of the areas Tucker likes best, which is a good thing, because we all know that if you are a good reader, you can pretty much excel in any subject you are interested, and many that you aren’t.

I don’t know if Tucker has a girlfriend at the moment, but in the past, he has been totally smitten with his early life best friend, Kaytlyn, who has now become his cousin by marriage. I don’t know how that would work out, but since he is only 6 years old, I think we are safe…for 196457_10150121813422236_1356812_nnow. Of course, his all time best friend is his big brother, Riley. They do lots of things together, and Tucker knows that Riley is there for him, no matter what. A guy really needs a friend like that sometimes, and Tucker is very glad that his brother, Riley is that friend.

Tucker also loves the dogs, and they have some really great times together. I can’t tell you what joke the dog told Tucker, but it must have been a really good one, because Tucker had a really good laugh over that one. Today is Tucker’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great time at Six Flags!! We love you!!

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