Carol Mandera
at home in

Welcome to my home place!!

Hiya. Again, it has been far too long since I've updated. This time, a lot has changed. I don't have time to get into it all right now because Paige is trying to teach me HTML in an instant. Good luck to her! For now, I'm just typing over what I had and hoping it works out okay.

 ... clm 01/20/06

The Basics

As the heading already explained, I live in Montana--in Helena, Montana, to be exact. Montana has been home since July, 1991. Before that, home was in Erie, Pennsylvania, for three years; Winton and Merced, California, for two years; Ambridge, Pennsylvania, for 12 years; and Wexford, Pennsylvania, for 18 years--beginning with my birth on November 1, 1954. To save you the math exercise, I'll provide the answer--I'm 51 years old.

My favorite picture. (Thanks to  John Stafford, Winona, MN, friend, photographer and owner of Pico.) Here's a better view of Pico. (And another photograph by John Stafford.)

This photo is another favorite. The 'little' kitty, an orphaned Montana mountain lion, is now fully grown.

And this one is from much, much younger days!

The Family

Home--regardless of where it was at any given time and until recently, has long been shared with three pretty fantastic people whom I truly admire, appreciate and enjoy. These three have tolerated my many quirks; forgiven some rather blatant indiscretions; supported my wisest decisions, as well as some of those not-so-wise ones; encouraged my greatest successes; overlooked my many failures; challenged me in my strongest moments and comforted me in my weakest. Each, in his and her own way, has given to me far more than they have ever asked of me. And yet, when I see them as they are today, I know that while they have been giving of themselves to me, they have also been taking from me in more ways that I've ever hoped that they would.
  • Shawn, known beyond the family as "Tom", is my oldest son. He is responsible for forcing me to overcome computer phobia and to cross the threshold into this virtual world. He did so by taking total advantage of my weakened state during a post-surgery recuperation period that included a couple of weeks of bed confinement. His set me up with a bedside computer with Internet access, provided a brief introduction and pointed me in the direction of Usenet and Even before the pain medications had had a chance to wear off, I was hooked.

  • Shawn has been the dominant male of the family since he was about six years old, and he's always taken that role very seriously. To him, that meant doing all that he possibly could to make life a little easier for his mom. The only fault I could ever find with that was that he was sometimes guilty of what I called "over-kill." Which means that sometimes, by going beyond his abilities or his authorities in his attempt to make my life easier, he'd inadvertently compound my problems. However, the help and support that he's provided throughout the years has been invaluable and has enabled me to accomplish much that I would have been unable to accomplish alone.

  • Michelle is a more recent addition to our family. She and Shawn were married in October 2003. I couldn't have picked a nicer, more caring daughter-in-law. She's pretty talented, too. Michelle is seriously into scrapbooking. Most importantly (from my view as Shawn's mom) is that she is my son's best friend, too. She not only tolerated but embraced his passion for International Scouts, 4-wheel driving and off-road racing. In fact, her win record as the driver of his racer tops his!
  • Michelle used her scrapbooking talents to present me with a very unique Christmas present this year. She created a beautiful calendar with an entry close to the end of July that announced the due date for their first child, my second grandchild.

    Visit here to see pictures from their wedding. Also, if you're extremely patient, you can visit Shawn's Page to immerse yourself in all things International and learn more about Shawn and Michelle.

  • Ric, known also as "Rich", is my second son. Ric's special gift to the world is his desire and ability to bring laughter into lives--especially at times when laughter is most needed. Ric is the most difficult of my children to describe. He's quiet most of the time, and yet he can be quite animated as well. He generally takes things in stride, and yet can be passionately committed to a particular interest. He makes few stands, but when he does, he won't be moved. He seems disinterested in the physical evidence of caring--seeking instead the evidence of respect for his individuality and awareness of self.

  • One thing I can be sure of with Ric is that he will come through for me in those situations where I'd have least expected him to do so and in ways I would not have thought possible. I just don't have any way of knowing what those situations will be or when they will occur.

    Ric abandoned Helena and home a few years ago. But he hasn't gone far--only as far as Missoula. He spends his time there playing hockey and working for UPS.

    Here's an early picture of Ric. Wasn't he adorable? And, here's a photo of Ric on ice. Finally, check out this more recent picture of Ric with his girlfriend, Krissy.

    Here's the entire family as of 2004. Obviously, a new picture will have to be taken after Shawn and Michelle have their baby later this year.

    The Animals

    Home is also shared with a couple of four-legged family members.

    The Fun Stuff

    Yes, there is fun stuff to do in Montana...Montana...Montana. (Splitting logs for firewood is not one of them.) In fact, there are so many fun things to do in Montana, that the completion of this section will have to wait. For now, how's this: hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain climbing, wildlife spotting, rodeos, skiing, boating, panning gold, mining sapphires, rafting, hockey, ice skating, snowmobiling, and 4-wheeling in the mountains.

    Then there are my personal favorites:

    The Virtual Bar & Grill

    Unfortunately, the motorcycle exploration activities are limited during the winter months. That's when I find the most time for Internet exploration and visits to my favorite Usenet place: The Virtual Bar & Grill of Be sure to check out the rmh FAQ.  It is filled with lots of valuable information about rmh and the people you'll meet there, about bike maintenance and repair and about motorcycling in general.

    And Finally

    Well, this page has been created, and it has been recreated a few times over. But I know there will be more. If you'd like to suggest improvements along the way, or to just say "hi," use this link. (It even works!)

    Thanks for stopping by. Take care, be safe and enjoy!

    CLM -- created, 1/25/98; last revised, 01/20/06.