Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thank God for syndication...

In my life time many actors have died some from old age, some from illness but the ones I find most perplexing are the ones who die tragically.  The ones who under sedation, be it alcohol or any other drug find themselves operating heavy machinery. 

Now most of humanity at one point or another has had a time when they shouldn't be operating.....anything.  It's not rocket science or brain surgery it's just plain intelligence.  Which brings me to my next point.  When these accidents occur and they do...why are we surprised?

I think it's because we expect the actor to actually be like the people they portray.  But folks they are just regular people who are very good at convincing you to believe in anything they want.  That's what acting is all about, bringing life to people who do not actually exist.

So why are we devastated when these actors make unbelievably stupid mistakes or something goes wrong and they die? They made a choice and they have to live or in this case die with it. In many fantasy situations, like movies, books, D&D campaigns or European board games....mistakes are made, chance taken and conclusions dealt with.  In life we get no do-overs, no take another turn or can I take that back?

So here we are mourning someone who we have never met and if we are lucky we can watch in syndication for the rest of our lives.  Instead as we enter into the New Year let's not mourn the loss of these people, let's take the time to connect with the folks who are all around us.  The stranger in the game store who is short a few cents, the elderly person who has a cart to put away in the grocery parking lot, the neighbor who hasn't come out to shovel yet, the folks at church whose cars are covered in snow.  These are the people who will notice if you go missing and will help you along the way.  Your neighbors, friends and when you do it right.....fewer and fewer strangers.

Happy New Year,
Love Lynn

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Do you believe in fairy tales?

It's that time of year when folks go from store to store trying to find the "perfect" gift.  I often wonder if it even exists?   At The GameBoard we offer new and unusual gifts. Plus ways to try the product without making a deep commitment or without searching for the fairy tale of perfection.

In the last 30 years games have evolved becoming more elaborate and unique. Like clothes, not every game 'fits' or like a gourmet meal 'tastes' right for everyone.  Our lives are fast paced, our homes are busy and often have little room for storage. So we created a program that enables the game player to comfortably "try on" a game.  

5 years ago we took a chance and started our Game Rental program.  Others told us it couldn't work, that we would end up missing components of our games.  We told them our customers love games, they'll be careful, this will work!  We were right!

Not only does renting make your game closet is as big as ours but we store it for you! Every year we shop at 5 different conferences nationwide to bring you new and interesting products.  Some that you may want to play once others you might like to own. So then we stepped the program up a notch and offer you the rental fee as a credit towards your purchase of that game.

So next time you want to get a unique gift, first bring your family on a trip through our store.  Rent a game and show them a good time and if they like it, then you have a perfect gift idea!  One that will last for years and years of play-ability and great fairy tale memories!    

Here's to a great Thanksgiving and don't forget to rent a game and make those fairy tales come true!

Happy Holidays,
Love Lynn                                                                                              

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen...fasten your seatbelts.

A while back I received a newsletter from the middle school, some of the tidbits in the letter struck me as odd, maybe even dated.  For example: "Pleasant good-byes can set the tone for the day. Get in the habit of saying, “Have a terrific day!” before going off to school and work."  See what I mean?....dated.  I mean I say love you or have a great day but I have always done that.  Can you imagine if your parents had never made a point to do this and tomorrow out of the blue they start with “Have a terrific day!” that your reaction would be "HUH?"  But I digress.

After all WHO wrote this?  Now granted the Principal doesn't have all the time in the world to be writing a whimsical newsletter or to make one sound as if he was update and cool so I was rather curious. At the bottom I found my answer, it was from an education resource company on the east coast.  So basically there is someone on the east coast thinking this stuff up or perhaps re-reading 1950's magazines for some 'new' ideas?

By now I was truly curious as to what else the newsletter requested of me.  So I went back to the top and continued reading on, reading regurgitated information....After all this has been said over and over again for years.   Give your kids a happy healthy environment and life will be a bed of roses, really do you believe that?

Then there it was..... perched at the bottom of the page in the font meant for important matters, my favorite part:
Tip: If your middle grader is uncomfortable seeing you at his activities, volunteer
for others. Or work behind the scenes — you could be on a parent committee
that meets while he’s not even at school.
WHAT!?!?!?!  Did you really just tell me that I am an embarrassment to my child and that  I should hide where he isn't offended by me?  That this is okay?  Are we back in the 19th century but only now it's 'Parents should not be seen or heard'?

By this time you can imagine what the neighbors are saying....because they can hear my reaction from a mile away. Can you blame me?  What are they teaching our kids, if the newsletter is telling me, I make my kids uncomfortable?  Isn't that my job? to make my kids uncomfortable? Comfortable people never grow and stretch, they don't test their boundaries.... they are complacent.

I want to be with my kids.  I want them to be proud of my help.  I want them to be willing to kiss me goodbye in public....oh wait....mine are all these things.  But why is that?  BECAUSE I don't allow them to stuff me in a closet or hide me away.  When my eldest son entered 3rd grade a mom told me in the hallway that she wasn't "allowed" to walk him to his classroom.  She thought this was "cute"... I was appalled.  It isn't cute, it's scary.  How did this 8 year old ever get in the position of telling his mom what to do?  Because she allowed it.

So folks, take it from me, don't let your kids parent you.  Parent them.  They will thank you for it.

Ladies and Gentlemen we are about to land....please return your tables and chairs to an upright position and stow your pride.  We should be landing in Parent Central in 2 minutes.  Thanks for flying with us!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Come play mind games with me……

Let’s jump for joy, shout from every mountain and sing the praises of our brains!  I love my brain and sometimes it needs a vacation.  Giving my brain exercise is something we overlook in our day to day routine.  We ignore brain stimulation and instead plant ourselves in front of some mindless task.  Our brains are screaming for more!
By using a combination of board games and puzzles, not only do you stimulate your imagination but you enhance your mental capabilities.   The best part is its fun!  In today’s board game market there are lots of choices for social game play and solitary game play, too.  These are not your grandparents’ board games!  Board games took a turn in 1995 when a little known game made its way to America from Germany.  The game was, Settler’s of Catan, and is today one of the best known European style board games.
Our brains eat up the game play, because it is engaging.  We are in control of our turns, because these games are based more in strategy then luck.  For instance, when rolling dice we hope to roll a high number, but when given a hand of cards we can decide which card is the best to be played.  Sheapshead, Euchre, Chess, Dominos, Cribbage are all based in strategy and decision skills.  We love them!   Sadly there isn’t always the right amount of people to play with or maybe our family doesn’t like our favorite game.  Sometimes this leads to playing video games.
There is another choice; board games occasionally have solitary play options.  By changing up the game it creates another format of enjoyment.  Every now and then, playing alone is a great way to stimulate your brain.  When you play alone, you can give your brain the massage it needs and challenge yourself to improve your game play.  In singular game play, you can take a risk that you wouldn’t take, if the game was riding on your actions.

Board game themes are full of rich, captivating story lines. So bring out that old friend you haven’t played with in years and reconnect with that game.  Or take some time and peruse your local board game store.  Remember there is something very enjoyable about holding the weight of the latest board game, feeling the beautiful linen board and rifling through the crisp untouched cards.   Your next adventure awaits you and it is at the tip of your fingers.

By Lynn Potyen, Owner of The GameBoard in Sheboygan WI

Friday, August 30, 2013

Running out of Time

I am running out of time.....again.  Every year this happens and every year I berate myself for not being organized enough. So you would think by now I would be prepared? it comes sneaking up on me like a Bengal tiger....stealthy in it's approach....stalking me like the prey I am.  Labor Day weekend.

For most of you outside Sheboygan you are saying 'so what?'  But here in town we know what that means.......First day of school.  And before you get all up in arms about how you have been back for so many weeks, we don't get out till sometime after June 12 and even then there is a high probability that we still have snow.  (under bushes...but it's there)

So now I am running out of do what, you ask?  To be with my kids.  It's that simple.  Every year we make plans, 'This summer we will do______'...plans.  For instance, painting their rooms...never been done, but has been at the top of the list for 9 years running!  Going for a long bike ride down Old Plank Road, taking all 3 to the beach and having a bonfire, going to Milwaukee for the day.........But as of Monday summer is over.  Plans get put on hold and summer is gone.

I get frustrated just thinking about how many years I have wasted not getting any of this stuff done. Then my kids walk in the room  and smile and say "Mom, I love you".  It's then that I remember why I am okay with being "disorganized" because as my friends are shuttling their kids off to college for the first year.  I still have 2 summers left to be disorganized, not paint, ignore the bike trail, before I have to pack up my kids for College.

Now before the day evaporates I think I'll go love on my kids......

~Love, Lynn

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Summer, in Sheboygan, took too long to arrive.  We are half way through the month of July and our weather has finally caught up. As our summer visitors come to our little city for peace and rejuvenation, I am aware off what drew me to this corner of the world. I can sum it up in three words "lack of anonymity".
I had grown up in Illinois 30 miles outside of Chicago.  Where everything you did outside of school was pretty much anonymous.  Anonymous is defined as lacking individuality, uniqueness, distinction, not being seen or acknowledged. For a teenager the suburbs of Chicago was a pretty happy anonymous place. There is a lot to do if you are not being held responsible for your actions.
Before you go thinking I was a bad kid though, I wasn' old high school friends will vouch for me.  I truthfully was afraid to get in trouble...afraid someone would see me or tell.  So I was good all the time, did my homework, was polite, kind  and helpful.
I didn't realize that folks didn't know who I was, until one day after college on my way home from work.  I was stuck in the infamous Chicago traffic and listening to music.  When the young man in the car behind me started smiling at me in the rear view mirror.  I had my sunglasses on so I was careful not to move my head just my eyes.  But he still seemed to know every time I was looking.
Finally when traffic started to move he pulled alongside my car.  Imagine my surprise when he proceeded to tell me how pretty I was and asked me to marry him!  Right there on the highway I was proposed to by a total stranger. I smiled and politely told him he was too late I was already engaged.  He seemed truly sad, laughed and said oh well...and good luck, before he drove away.
5 years after Mark and I were married we were settling into our house here in Sheboygan.  We were new here and wanted to take Erik out to the park.  Along our walk we were passed by not 1 or 2 but 3 separate groups of teens who said hello to us.  I was shocked and then i realized they weren't anonymous.  They assumed somewhere, somehow we would know them or their parents so they were just being kind, nice people.
I see this a lot in Sheboygan, even more today then back in 1997. I see it at the store I run and I'm proud of my customers, they welcome in total strangers.  They encourage them to try a game, watch what is going on or visit.  The best part is when our younger members are prompted to introduce themselves and out comes their hand too for a shake.  WOW.  It actually takes my breath away.  I'm glad my kids are growing up in Sheboygan where something so simple as a hello, a handshake and a name, takes away all anonymity.  

~Happy Summer Sheboygan! Love, Lynn

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 12, 2013

I had the pleasure this week of presenting not 1 but 2 awards for Teacher of the Year.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…Friday June 7 was the end of the nominations for this award.  My employees gathered as a team and read through the entries that the customers had submitted.  We had an overwhelming response and the nominations were touching and heartfelt.  After we tallied up the names, the staff and I had a long drawn out conversation.  We never expected to be faced with such a tough decision.  The numbers spoke for themselves and we had a tie.  After much discussion, we came to the conclusion that both teachers needed to be saluted.  But without devaluing the award, how to do it?
Then it hit us, the Teachers were from different cities.  We would have a Sheboygan award and a Sheboygan Falls award this year.  So off I went on Monday to present the certificate at the already closed for summer Middle School in Falls.  The Principal was there on site and pleased to receive the certificate for her teacher.  Sheboygan Falls Teacher of the Year 2013 is Vickie Udelhoven.   Her students love her sense of humor and encouragement.  Congratulations Mrs Udelhoven. 
I had to wait till Tuesday to present the other award because the class was on a fieldtrip and I really wanted the kids to be there too.  Tuesday morning I arrived at ESAA and walked the quiet halls.  Knocking on the teachers door, I was greeted with a hearty Hello and Good Morning!  I was pleased to be able to Congratulate Helen Timm, as Teacher of the Year 2013 for Sheboygan!
This was the moment every kid in that room had been waiting for….as Mrs Timm teared up and got hugs all around.  Not only was she surprised and pleased but she was humbled by the love of her students. 

We have a lot of amazing teachers in the Sheboygan County area, we are incredibly blessed….but it doesn’t speak for the dedication and involvement that these folks give to our children.  This last 3 weeks your kids spoke up and nominated many wonderful people who have touched their souls.  From elementary to high school these teachers were nominated and deserve recognition too!

Mr Zeuner-Lutheran High School
Mrs Nicora- North High School
Mrs Jelinek-Zittel -North High School
Mr Brown- North High School
Mr Johannes- North High School
Mr Guy- Oostburg High School
Mr LeClair- Oostburg High School
Mrs Machut- Mosaic Middle School
Mr Baranek- Sheboygan Falls Middle School
Mrs Udelhoven - Sheboygan Falls Middle School
Mr Howard- Trinity Lutheran (8th grade)
Mrs Brumer- Urban Middle School
Ms Kimme- ESAA
Mr Timm- Grant Elementary School
Mrs Mentink- Washington Elementary School

Congratulations to all the wonderful folks who commit themselves unselfishly to growing good strong people!  We are eternally grateful for your dedication, hardwork and love.  Have a wonderful summer and we will see you in the fall!

~ Lynn and The GameBoard Staff

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Teacher of the Year

It's the end of May and I can hardly believe it because the weather here in Sheboygan is just NOT cooperating.  In a matter of weeks the kids will be gone from the classrooms and hallways.  Leaving behind the warriors of education to dismantle another year of excitement alone.  In the quiet of the rooms the chalkboards will be wiped down one last time before summer, the floors swept or vacuumed, desks rearranged and books stacked.  In some schools the world will be even more hectic.  As we wish a sad and solemn "Goodbye"  to Washington school forever, and we wish ESAA "Good Luck" as those Teachers pack.  Then move across town to their new home at Pigeon River.  While some of our Teachers will be moved from Washington to other schools, we wish them all well in this process.

Teachers are the backbone of our students energy and excitement.  They not only educate but engage and encourage the 3 E's the GameBoard lives by.  This year as we round that corner to summer we ask all our students to think back fondly on that Teacher that really touched their heart.  You know the one who carried you through.  Who asked you all the right questions and kept you enthralled.  WE all have them...sometimes we forget to say "Thanks" but they are still there anyways.  They LOVE to Teach, they ask little in return but for you to try your best.

I had such a Teacher her name is Marjorie Sterrett. She was my 2nd grade Teacher and for those of you doing the math, she had her 92nd Birthday last week.  YES you read that right and I could write it because she helped me to learn how. 92.....and ladies and gentlemen still sharp as a tack!  I was a lucky kid I had many more awesome Teachers along my journey many I have kept as a mentor and friend.  One even married into my family, giving my sister a wonderful husband, that's how lucky I am.

I know that all my customers have stories like these of Teachers that they LOVE!  so now it's your turn...don't put away your pencils yet.  Send us an email, or drop us a note and tell me the name of your favorite Teacher and a sentence of why.  Send them to  subject: Teacher of the Year.  Send it before June 7th and make sure your friends and family speak up too!

We want the Teachers to know how much they are loved and on my future blog we will list all the nominees and who nominated them.

I'm going to start this off:  I, Lynn Potyen, do nominate Marjorie Sterrett, as my Teacher of the Year.  Teacher of my Lifetime, because she didn't stop teaching me 39 years ago....Thanks Mrs Sterrett, I love you.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The past isn't broken...we are.

On my walk the other day I saw a perfectly good, beautiful, clean, comfy looking arm chair on the curb.  I was shocked that someone would put out this piece of furniture.  It was a waste...then I got closer and I could see the back of the chair.  The seam at the top was undone, not ripped, not dirty....just unattached.  Some stuffing was coming out and the metal that was part of the seam was showing.  All in all, the chair was fixable.  But why was it out on the curb.....then it hit me.

We, as a society, don't have the knowledge to fix broken things.  Now if this angers you because you are a person who can fix things.  Then.....GOOD, it should.

If we go back a very short time like say 50-70 years ago...people could preserve and can food, plant a garden, sew clothing, work with leather to repair shoes, create things with wood...shelves, bookcases, bed frames, dressers, chairs, toys, wagons, tables, window frames....the list goes on. They also had friends and neighbors who would teach the children the skills that the folks didn't have.  We as a society were pretty self sufficient.

What did it take but time.  Today we have time and we fill it with things like the I-pad, cell phones, Blue Ray players....we throw away the things that are used, torn, slightly damaged and hurry to get the latest and greatest.  We have lost the knowledge to fix things.  Then we watch shows that talk about apocalyptic ends to the world or reality shows and pretend we could "survive".

It's funny....because the fixers out there know the truth.  Those who can garden, sew, build things with wood and leather.  Those who have taught their kids the knowledge and passed on the torch.  Those who scour the curbs for a treasure to recreate.  They will survive.  So fixers next time you have a project, grab a kid you love and pass on the knowledge and skills, we used to call this an apprentice.   Kids if you are too busy with your cell phones, and I pads....then maybe it's time to "break" a habit and "fix" something together, grab a fixer!  

As for me, I think I will drive over and get that chair....

Friday, May 3, 2013

Future Self

Every now and then my family members refer to themselves as "Future Self".  This is a term of endearment to the person they some day will be.  As for me, I wonder if the kids who come to the store, believe me to be my "Future Self".  Do they think this is my "end", is this the most adult I will be.  Little do they know that I have years to go before I stop playing in the game of life.

When you are young you can't quite envision where you will land, what you will look like, how you will end up.  We all want to skip to the end and revel in that final chapter and see if we succeed.  But to what detriment?  To what sorrow? Or better yet to what happiness!  Don't rush it!

I like to enjoy these 'Future Self' moments.  They remind me that day by day and moment to moment we change and redevelop.  We always have that chance to redefine ourselves....create a new you.....embrace an  old you....and forgive ourselves for those little side trips we make, before we are finally comfortable and secure.  

So 'Past Self', love the new black sweater and pleased that you went to get that mammogram that you put off for 3 years.  Don't do that again!  'Future Self' keep going, you are building a community of people who love one another and I am proud to be you!!!  

To all my "Future Friends" out there-- believe in YOU, I do. Keep working hard, it's worth it. Try new things and don't believe anyone who says gaming is just "For Kids". Fun and Games are for everyone and "Play" is important for your good health!

~ Love, Lynn