Month: April 2018

Roller Skating in the ‘80s – The 1880s

Apparently, roller skating was a big thing in the metropolous of Leadville, Colorado in the 1880s.

Who knew? With all of the historical novels I read, I should have run across this before.

But, there it is, in black and white.

I loved roller skating in the 1980’s. But the 1880’s?

After a little research, I learned that roller skating was a big thing in all major U.S. cities in the 1880’s. Roller skates had been invented about twenty years before and the technology had improved enough for mass adaptation.

Not only did everyone roller skate, but there were roller skating professionals. When the tax form asked for occupation, how many people put “Skatorial Star?”

Roller skating provided an alternative to saloons and dance halls. Just like in the 1980’s, where the roller rink was one of the few places I could hang out with my friends without parental supervision..

Our roller rink wasn’t first class like the one in Leadville. The ladie’s restroom would never have passed for a “large ladies’ reception room.” And anyone caught smoking in the men’s room would have been kicked out.

And, no brass band in the 1980’s. We skated to tunes like Roller Skating Mate and Disco Duck.

I tried to imagine skating in a long dress and old time clothing. Even looked it up on YouTube. This is what I found. Don’t know if it is historically accurate or just fun. Click on the picture to watch.

Roller rinks offered games and prizes.

Notice that the main prize is for most popular men and women, not the best skaters. Just like in the 1980’s, it wasn’t about skating at all. Although, the article above does offer a silver cup for actual skating ability.

Over time, the competitions evolved. Note the article below.

Now the prize is for most awkward skater. A prize I could win.

The makers of St. Jacob’s Oil hoped to profit from the dangers of roller skating in their 1883 advertisement.

I certainly wouldn’t want to be an enemy of St. Jacob’s oil if I were to get a cut nose or bruised body.

Here’s a poem about someone falling in their roller skates.

I didn’t think anyone used the term “dude” back then. And “dudely.” Oh, my.

And, finally, something that I could see in a viral video on social media.

The cymbals crash every time this man falls down. I’m sure he was mad.  It would have made for great video.

Some things never change.

Give Me A Break

If the song from the 1988 Kit Kat commercial isn’t running through your head after reading this blog title, click on the picture below and it will be.

I took a much needed break last night and read a novel until way past my bed time (which isn’t as late as it used to be).

Being a compulsive, all-or-nothing person, I run as hard and fast as I can. When I get tired, I want to quit.

For good.

Never to do the thing again.

Last night I felt that way about this blog. Life has worn me out. But I took a break and here’s a blog about breaks. . . Because that’s how my mind works.

Some things have their own natural breaks, like school and novel writing. Other things go on and on. I have to be smart enough to rest when I need it.

Last summer my husband, my daughter, and I hiked Grays and Torreys Peaks. Two fourteers in one day (fourteen thousand foot mountains, for you non-Coloradans). Ambitious, but doeable.

After two hours of hiking uphill, we could see both peaks. So far away. The people on top were smaller than ants. On some fourteeners, I can’t see how far away the peak is and imagine it is around the next corner, pushing through until I get there. Not Grays and Torreys. We hadn’t even begun the ascent.

My legs had turned to jello and I sat on a boulder, unable to go on. “I can’t do it,” I said. “I’ll go back to the car and wait for you.”

“You can do it, Mom. At least do the first peak.”

So, I tried.

I stood up and walked a little farther. Each time I got jello legs, I stopped. I sucked in air and the oxygen made its way to my leg muscles and did whatever it does there. And eventually, I reached the top of both peaks.

I’ll admit to waiting at the trail head for my husband and daughter to fetch the car afterward. But I climbed both peaks.


My daughter understands the value of a break.

On her wedding day, we took outdoor pictures before the ceremony. Then she slipped into the bride’s room while the guests arrived.

When I peeked in the room to make sure she was ready, her dress sat in a pile on the floor, with a hole in the middle awaiting her return. She sat to the side in a dressing gown, surrounded by bridesmaids, drinking a bottle of sparkling water. “I’m taking a break.”

Good thing it was only a break. The groom would have been disappointed if she’d decided she was too tired to go on.

As for me, in the chaos of transition – moving, weddings, writing, and etc. I’ll try to remember to take a break when I need it, the theme song to the Kit Kat commercial playing in my head all the while.

No guilt.

Read that novel all night.

Watch stand-up comedy instead of mowing the lawn.

Binge watch a new favorite series.

Never give up. Never surrender. But take breaks as needed.

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Is It Tax Time Again?

I filed taxes last year and tax day is almost here again. It’s like the government wants me to pay taxes every year or something.

I was reading a book about the history of the Santa Fe Trail. It said that the Spanish treasury was so broke that people were required to pay taxes on their taxes.

I told my daughter about the unique phrase “taxes on taxes.”

Her response, “A co-worker used that pharase the other day.”

Obvously, her co-worker read the same book about the history of the Santa Fe Trail. Because, I can’t be that out of touch.


I recently learned that there is such a thing as a hobby income tax.

How did that happen?

I tried to research the origin, but it wasn’t readily available on Google.

So, I made up my own story.

Someone, like my daughter and her friends, made jewelry to sell at a craft fair.

At the end of the day, they took home $500 and gave themselves a big high five, or fist bump, or whatever.

The government said, “Where is my tax on this $500?  You must report it.”

And, the government created forms to report the income.

Someone like my daughter received the form in the mail to report and pay taxes on this money.

“But it cost me $2,000 to make the jewelry that I sold for $500. I shouldn’t have to pay taxes on that.”

“I must be a business.  I’ll file a Schedule C and put in all of my expenses.”

After following the instructions, the person showed a loss of $1,500, which actually lowered their tax burden. Cha Ching!

And the government said, “No. No. No. You can’t lower your tax burden by selling jewelry at a craft fair.”

So they created the hobby tax rules.

“Okay, you can deduct $500 from your income to offset the $500 you made (but only if you itemize deductions). You can’t lower your tax burden.”

All of this paperwork and drama for the same tax result as if the government had stayed out of the way in the first place.

As a contracted author, I must answer the question, “Is it a hobby or a business?”

My husband says hobby.  I say business.  The government has a handy lists of questions to make the determination, although it is subject to interpretation – like everything else in the tax code.

Will any of this stop crafters from making jewelry or writers from writing?


As for me, I hope to avoid an audit. But if get audited, I can always use the experience in a story.  Would the audit then become a business expense? Or a hobby expense?

A coffee mug is a business expense. Right?

I’ll Take The Purple Llama

Spring has sprung and flowers are blooming. Everyone who knows me sends pictures of purple flowers. Text messages, Snapchats, Pinterest messages, all with purple flowers.  They make me smile.

Purple is my favorite color. I don’t know why, but it is.  And llamas are my favorite animal. Not real live llamas, which are known to be mean and to spit, but llamas in pictures are soooooo cute. (Or alpacas. Both are cute.)


People send me pictures of llamas and llama themed gifts. For Christmas, my daughter gave me a llama coffee mug.  Super cute, but my husband thinks I’ll poke an eye out.

In a perfect world, llamas would be purple, like the purple cow, immortalized in the poem by Gelett Burgess.

I never saw a Purple Cow,

I never hope to see one,

But I can tell you, anyhow,

I’d rather see than be one!


I’ve always loved purple.  Growing up as the oldest girl, I got to chose the clothes that my sisters would later wear.  I chose purple.  My younger sister grew to hate the color.  I doubt she has any purple in her wardrobe today.

As a gift, my mother gave us a purple bedroom.  Curtains, bed-spreads, and accessories.  She used my favorite thing to show love.

It’s important to have a favorite thing.  Without it, how would anyone know what to buy me as a gift? My future daughter-in-law quickly figured out that purple things and llamas make me smile.  It doesn’t matter if I saw the same cute llama picture last month.  Seeing it again can brighten my day.

When my husband selected flowers for his father’s funeral and had no way to choose, he selected a purple arrangement.  At least one person (me) would like it.  Turns out his sister likes purple too.

One of my sisters loves snowmen.  She has more than anyone needs, but at Christmas I buy her another one anyway. Thankfully, as her home filled with snowmen, she decided to collect giraffes, too.  Now I buy her giraffe blankets, purses, and statues at every opportunity.

My daughter and her husband are musicians.  And, you guessed it.  Any gift item, statue, ornament, or picture with music notes or instruments is fair game.  Their house will be full of musical paraphernalia, and it will reflect their tastes.

I don’t know about my son.  His favorite color is orange.

Seriously? Orange?  How did that happen?

As his fiancé planned to replace his worn-out couch, I said, “It could be worse.  He could have a brand-new couch and it would be orange.” Perhaps he is secretly a child of the seventies.

He won’t be allowed to select furnishings for their new home.  But he will wear the occasional orange T-shirt or Polo.

My point is that it is important to have a few favorite things.  Butterflies, puppies, collectable plates, . . . whatever. Tell your friends and loved ones so they can brighten your day.

And if you see a purple llama, send it my way.

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