A side visit to Bangkok…


http://docandersen.podbean.com
http://docandersen.wordpress.com
https://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://www.safegov.org

My favorite all time picture of my dad and I was taken at my first wedding. Dad and I standing side by side and arm in arm smiling at the camera. I have so many memories of dad smiling. Often because he had just said something or done something to entertain himself. But also because in the end he loved the world around him.

Another great memory I have is visiting my parents on the way home from Malaysia in 2005. I spent the weekend with them in Bangkok. Dad was Ajhan again. He was a simple man in that as long as he felt he had something to give he gave it. His friends and colleagues in Thailand wanted information from him and he just lit up.

Mom and her friend Miss Hart took me to a restaurant near the Chao Phraya river that runs nearly through the city. We had a wonderful brunch at the hotel and I got to play grandpa and pay. My grandfather taught me a number of tricks you could use to make sure they always brought you the bill instead of anyone else at the table. I learned at the hand of the master. We had a wonderful meal – the buffet had virtually everything you could ask for.

Why the story about lunch? First it was a wonderful chance to hang out with mom and Miss Hart. Miss Hart and mom became friends in 1972 and 33 years later they were still close and now dear friends. Miss Hart was English and often very proper but she made the best clotted cream apple pie on earth. We sat at that buffet and talked for over an hour. Then headed back to the IPST building where dad was teaching.

The Ajhan had been teaching all day and was ready for dinner when we got back to IPST. The upper floors of the IPST building were living quarters for visiting scholars and the rest of the building was the science, math and education preparation area for the people working for IPST. We ended up going to a seafood place that was about 4 miles away from IPST. I love Thai seafood. Partially because it reminded me of 1972 and partially because it is amazing. We sat at the restaurant and talked. The conversation wandered around the various people in the room. It filled me with a sense of pride to see how much the people at the table with us loved Ajhan Hans and Kuhn Sandy.  I had long past that moment in life realizing my parents were human. But it was nice for a couple of hours to get to see them through the eyes of others.

May my teachers be well, happy, and peaceful.
May my parents be well, happy, and peaceful.
May my relatives be well, happy, and peaceful.
May my friends be well, happy, and peaceful.
May the indifferent persons be well, happy, and peaceful.
May the unfriendly persons be well, happy, and peaceful.
May all meditators be well, happy, and peaceful.
May all beings be well, happy, and peaceful.

.your loving son

Dad the botanist and yes he was a great father…


http://docandersen.podbean.com
http://docandersen.wordpress.com
https://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://www.safegov.org

When I was a teenager as I am sure many teenagers do most of my conversations with my father were arguments. I was trying of course to separate and be my own person. I don’t know why I struggled with that so long. One of the things that used to drive me nuts then was that every teacher I had in school knew or had my dad in class. They would always start the year with “Your so lucky he’s your father.” Or some other statement about how wonderful a teacher he was.

Dad was a fantastic person and a wonderful father. I grant that. But it was hard to be facing his legacy as a teenager as I was starting to build my own legacy. Dad took that crap from me and helped me out grow it. It was really hard lesson for me and one that he was patient (mostly) and willing to wait for me to grow out of. Those are the kind of lessons that you think about later.

That period impacted my mother as well. I think I stretched the bonds of our relationship just as far as I stretched my relationship with dad. In the end it took me well after college to grow up. But that is another, darker story.

Dad could identify every plant and tree (or so it seemed to me at the time) when I was a kid. When we would go on hikes he would stop and point out a plant. I loved his story of the simple fern. He talked about the fact that the fern had been around since the time of the dinosaurs and was part of the oil we consumed for power and gasoline. But the fern kept going. He talked about flowers that when you touched them they popped. The goal of the flower being the spread of pollen onto an insect that landed on the petals. He took us as Boy Scouts deep into the heart of Brown County State Park near Nashville Indiana where there was a virgin forest. A forest untouched by humans. Trees that whispered of time long gone. It was a pristine ancient forest and dad showed us the trees that had been around well since before Bloomington.

I am not sure mom loved being outdoors on those hikes as much as dad did but she was always there. Bringing along the girls and I and trying to keep up with dad. Even though he wasn’t tall he had the longest stride of anyone in the family. So when he took off into his beloved woods he was gone. The difference on the walk between the two of them? Mom would look back more often to make sure we were keeping up. Dad would get wrapped up in the walk taking pictures and could end up a 1/2 ahead before he realized he had lost us.

Oh how I hated those walks as a teenager. Just one more thing now that I would love to have a chance to do again.

.your loving son

Just another amazing thing my dad taught me…


http://docandersen.podbean.com
http://docandersen.wordpress.com
https://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://www.safegov.org

When I was five or six years we old we moved from Vernon Hills Illinois (just outside Chicago) to Bloomington Indiana. My father (I didn’t know it then but I do know it now) got a National Science Foundation grant to complete his doctoral degree in science education. We ended up living in old converted either Korean War or World War II army barracks. The place was called Hoosier Courts.

I was a bit wild as I have mentioned previously so that is the first of the stories. There was a fire escape on the buildings (the old barracks) and my friends and I would climb up and drop off the fire escape. It was a good fall probably 3-5 feet and within weeks I was covered in bruises. What happened next is something I owe my mother a huge apology for. At a Doctor’s appointment the doctor asked my mother if she was abusing me. My mother responded no to the question. I suspect knowing her nature that was probably one of the worst days up to that point of her life. For me it was just another squiggly hour at the Doctor, school or anywhere else I had to sit for more than 10 minutes.

Near Bloomington Indiana on the map is a large lake called Lake Monroe. It was an early 1960’s Army Corp of engineers project. They were cutting huge flood plains and building a massive damn to create this new reservoirs when we first arrived in Indiana. The dam was in place in 1965 but the lake was still filling in. They also cut large boat docks and flood water release gates out of the limestone hills. In so doing they revealed geodes. My dad was a biologist but he loved science. He taught me all about the wonder of sedimentary rock. We would go to those swath’s of suddenly visible bedrock and he would point to the fossils and layers of rock there. Then we would wander off to the debris field and search for geodes. My mother loved the beautiful quartz crystals produced in the ancient mud bubbles. My father loved my mother so we went looking for them.

One time when I was very young mom found the perfect Geode. It was huge and dad had to lug it out of the place we found it and back to the car. When we cracked it open it had the most beautiful quartz and other crystals. It weighed a ton. That rock was displayed in every house my parents owned in Bloomington Indiana.

Those memories are strong. I remember dad talking about Limestone and the wonder that it represented. Millions of years of history just there for the touching. He also introduced me to Crinoids and Crinoid Stems. They were all over the limestone. As the limestone (a soft rock) wore away the Crinoid stems would be left behind. In the creek near our house in Sherwood Oaks we found thousands of them. If you think about the fact that they could have been as much as 450 million years old it is well just another amazing thing my dad taught me.

.your loving son

On a journey to the moon and beyond…


http://docandersen.podbean.com
http://docandersen.wordpress.com
https://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://www.safegov.org

The greatest gift a father can give you is direction. 45 years ago yesterday my father, a man who always rose early in the morning. Somewhere between 4:30 am and 5:00 am every day for most of his life and went to bed every night at 9 am stayed up. Last night my father pitched a tent next to my joyous exaltation of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. I will never forget that movement. I will never forget who sat there and watched with me on a grainy black and white picture in the family room of our house on Dunstan Drive in Bloomington Indiana. So much of my love of technology comes from the moments that led up to that night. So much of who I am today came from the man that stayed up and was there with me. Over the next few Christmas’ dad fed my love of technology. He and mom got me Radio Shack’s 100 electronic experiments. I was hooked.

“One small step for man, One giant leap for Mankind.” Neil Armstrong. One magical night for an 8 year old and his dad.

My dad loved Bolo’s. I have seen pictures of my Grandpa Ole with bolo’s so I suspect it was a family tradition. I just don’t think I could ever wear a bolo. I barely like ties as it is.

Dad loved to grill. His particular specialty was garlic infused crown rib roast or prime rib if you must. Many family holiday’s were spent with mouths watering as the smell of dad’s grilled perfection wafted into the house and filled the air with the most amazing smell. He also grilled brats being from Wisconsin and burgers but his crown rib roast was the best. He also made a Danish treat called Ebel Skivers. Ebel is Danish for apple and skivers are pancakes. It’s a special round pan with round cooking sections. You pour the batter into the pan’s round holes and then add flavored applesauce. Dad taught me how to make them when I was little. It is a family tradition to serve them Christmas morning. No matter where we are we serve Ebel Skivers on Christmas day, its part of our families Christmas celebration.

Mom gave understanding. I struggled with my place in the world for many years. Trying to both not compete and yet be seen as a contributor to the world based on where my parents where. They were both high achievers and I struggled with my place in the sun. Mom always understood even in my darkest longest worst time periods. Mom was always there. I say this because its true. I was a hard kid. Mom and dad were always there for me. Mom always understood that was trying to find my way.

In the end the greatest gift my parents gave me was friendship. They are people that I would have had as friends if they weren’t my parents. I can think of no higher praise to give.

.your loving son…

Of books and falling trees…


http://docandersen.podbean.com
http://docandersen.wordpress.com
https://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://www.safegov.org

My father wasn’t a computer person. He had a computer in his house from about 1981 on but he wasn’t a computer person. The original computer in the house was a TRS-80. Dad then graduated to an Apple Iie and than later an Epson PC. We spent a lot of time fixing and upgrading that Epson PC that in the end simply died one day. Back then dad’s office was in the room next to the Greenhouse. He had a greenhouse for year round tomatoes and other vegetables. His office was connected to the Greenhouse. Originally that was the master bedroom but as children moved out of the house things were rearranged.

Dad had a woodstove upstairs (I think given what he knew he would have preferred the woodstove be downstairs but it was in the main part of the house by the kitchen.) He would cut and split wood for the fireplace on the back five acres he had that was woods. One weekend he asked if I would help him take down a couple of tress. I said sure and showed up early (for me) on a Saturday morning (late for dad – he was already working on other projects). We walked down the hill from the house to the woods to cut down two trees that weren’t doing well.

Dad had carefully measured and prepared the trees for taking them down. I was there as the spotter. The first tree came down perfectly and gave dad confidence to take on the harder of the two trees. This one started down and then quickly shifted and without quick feet it would have landed right where I was standing. It ended up missing me by a good 20 feet, it took a long time to fall. I asked if that was on purpose, it landing where I had been and dad just smiled.

Mom and I used to riff on books. We would read the first two or so paragraphs of a book and start making up all sorts of crazy things that would happen next. My mother has a great sense of humor and we could entertain ourselves for hours with the riffs. Sadly no one else in the family really understood what we were doing so we made them a little uncomfortable but mom and I loved to do that.  It did in the end ruin a couple of books – I can’t read them without starting to laugh.

.your loving son…

Still no puppy and books…


http://docandersen.podbean.com
http://docandersen.wordpress.com
https://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://www.safegov.org

What does relaxation mean to you? For me as a teenager it meant curling up with a good book and reading. For my father relaxation meant being outdoors and puttering around the garden and lawn. You can imagine what kind of arguments that produced. I do not to this day have or manage a garden. I do however maintain  my fathers tradition of making everyone go on family walks.

Dad’s idea of a fun vacation was going to a place that had no technology. No TV or later no Internet just nature. We went to the UP of Michigan (Porcupine Mountain State Park) The Turtle Flambeau flowage of Wisconsin. Estes park in Colorado and many other places over the years. The rest of us didn’t love the outdoors as much but I am not sure there was ever an option to not do it dad’s way.

On the other side my dad loved books. He gave me so many books over the years, things that I should read to improve not only my viewpoints but also give me a chance to consider both sides of arguments. They, the books he gave me were either spy novels (he loved Robert Ludlum) or they were technical education books focused on delivering new ways of solving or considering problems. If he wasn’t outdoors he had his nose in a book consuming it, thinking about it.

Dad would based on information change his position over time. That flexibility took time frequently but he did in the end come around to a number of new ways of doing things. A huge change for him came one day when he asked me if I had the Harry Chapin song “Flowers are red.” I didn’t have that album but I do now. The song is a touching story of what can be wrong with an educational system so bound around rules that it can’t get out of its own way. I played that song for dad a few times over the years.

The week my baby sister was born is memorable for me. Grandpa Ray came down with Grandma. Grandpa had to go back to work so Grandma stayed with us for the week mom was in the hospital. Note that even then I STILL WANTED A PUPPY rather than a little brother or sister. I guess mom knew that in her heart of hearts so she arranged for Grandma to give us a special present (picked by mom) each day. It was a way for her to connect with us while she was in the hospital. It wasn’t as good as a puppy but it certainly helped.

.your loving son…

Over there, Over there….


http://docandersen.podbean.com
http://docandersen.wordpress.com
https://scottoandersen.wordpress.com
My Amazon author page!!!!
http://www.safegov.org

“well we won’t be back until its over over there.

Over there

Over there

The yanks are coming.

The yanks are coming”

Rinse and repeat.

How many times can you sing that song? Driving from Bloomington Indiana to Cambridge Wisconsin in the winter (freezing) my father’s record was 20 times in a row. Seriously. No radio. Cold as all get out so no opening the window. Everyone in our family gets car sick when they read so dad had a captive audience and sang that song over and over. Its burned into my memory.

I would give almost anything to hear it, one more time.

My father had a very senior position when he was in Thailand. The Thai culture is very driven by age and respect for this new job was critical. So dad being the kind of person he was began telling people he was 27 when they asked his age. He stuck with that age (27) until his grand children started graduating from high school and college at which point he switched to 35 years old.

My father believed that education could solve many of the problems in our society. Not simply reforming education but making it a priority. He read “A Nation at Risk” and then had me read it. We spent hours talking about that book. He was very worried about the state of education. It was one of the driving factors in my starting “The Society of Dead Teachers.” Dad worked very hard his entire career to influence people around education. He was the president of the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) and HASTI which was the Indiana Hoosier Science teachers association. He was the chairman of the NASA Region 6 team for many years (they picked the experiments NASA would fly into space in the space shuttle) and he won the Prestigious William Carleton award.

He worked his whole life to help others see the value of education. But he wasn’t just that educator person. During parades on the 4th of July in Bloomington Indiana my father would stand by the side of the road and yell at conservative candidates that he felt were heading the wrong direction. He believed in the inquiry method with his heart.

By the way the string of 20 consecutive songs mentioned above was ended by mom simply saying “please not again.”

Update from my mother: we did use the Christmas trees planted (a couple of years). Dad picked the trees that needed to be culled. I had forgotten affixing the tree to the window so that it wouldn’t fall over. We celebrated a few Charlie Brown Christmas’s the the trees we planted.

.your loving son