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ok... time to answer my own question... (seems that my problem may be 'unique'?) here is my story...

After trying a lot of stuff, I completely removed everything related to Python and SimpleCV. I used Windows Add/Remove Programs to first remove anything listed, then I deleted all folders that had anything extra related to Python...

I then installed Python(x,y) first. There was only one 'super' installer given from the web site, so I used that. It looks like it installed 32 bit Python 2.7, and just about every math and science package you could think of!... works great!

However, SimpleCV is not part of Python(x,y)... (it should be)... so I used the 'super' installer from simplecv.org (only one choice given on the web). During the install, I cancelled the Python install part since I already had it from Python (x,y). Everything else, I just said yes to (even though some things might have been the same from Python(x,y)).

After installing SimpleCV, calling simplecv from the terminal failed. lots of traceback info with the last line having numpy in it. So I re-installed numpy...

Calling simplecv from the terminal again failed... lots of traceback info, one of the last lines having scipy in it. So, I re-installed scipy.

finally! everything works! AND histogram plots work! yhea!

... although it was a long road, at least I discovered how cool Python(x,y) is! I'm a heavy Matlab user, but this Python(x,y) could be a nice tool for projects outside of Matlab!