The kids, Les and Joan from times long now past…

unsorted764This is a picture of the boys when they wee really small on the couch that was our foldout bed in the living room of our house on Shafer Drive in Cincinnati Ohio. This couldn’t have been more than 2 days after the boys came home. They were seven weeks premature and they stayed in the NICU for nearly two weeks after they were born. Then they came home, and Nick got sick and went right back to the hospital. My mom and dad came the day of the birth and then the first weekend. Les and Joan were in Hot Springs AK and drove all the way to see their grandchildren about a week or so after they got home.

Our tiny house (three bedrooms 1.5 baths) was crowded beyond believe. It was a very tough time overall for all of us. We had to adjust to having many more people in the house for awhile. One of our family members was not interested in the boys at all. That was her majesty Gwen. She ignored them for the lonest time. Until she realized that food would rain from above when the boys ate, then the boys were her best friends.


Here is a picture of the two girls on the couch in the living room. Gwen wasn’t happy to be forced onto someone’s lap but she did stay because right in front of her was food.

Jakki is wearing her I’m a big sister shirt. She would still be wearing that today if she hadn’t outgrown it some 16 years ago.

Gwen passed away in April 2011. She was 14 nearly 15 years old at the time. Her last year was not the best, her eyesight and balance had started to go. It was hard seeing the grouchy old dog suddenly become a needy I need help dog. I will never forget working in the dining room (where my original office was on Shaffer) on my first book “There are days you just want to go home.” Jakki was playing in the backyard on the swing set Sean and I built for her (Sean is her God Father). She came up to me and said “Gwen is herding us.” Gwen loved to herd Jakki and her friends. Jakki of course didn’t like that not one bit. So she complained. I would walk out and Gwen would look at me like I didn’t do it. So I would go back inside only to be interrupted again.


This is the boys on the couch at Grandma Joan’s house. Les and Joan had moved from Hot Springs AK to Tallahassee FL by then. They boys are hamming for the cameras something they often did.

They are holding two stuffed dogs. While they loved stuffed animals as youngsters there were two very special stuffed animals they loved more than anything. Honey Bear was Luke’s best friend. Ma Bear was Nick’s best friend. One time by accident Honey Bear was left in a Chucky Cheese in Northern Indiana. Barb had taken the kids up to the Indiana Dunes state park. The bear was left in a restaurant off the road in Merrillville Indiana. I was working that week in Chicago so the day after the horrifying loss I was able to swing by and pick up Honey Bear. Luke had cried himself to sleep the only night he didn’t have Honey Bear.

Needless to say neither of the boys acknowledge this period in their lives now.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Trips to China and Germany (pictures of travels from the past…)


Just to point out how bad the air gets in Shanghai this is as night is falling. The air was really bad the day I took this picture.

China was wonderful. We were in Shanghai working with a fantastic customer and he encouraged us to see the city and the sites. We spent a lot of time just wandering around. Although as you can see from the sky – there was a lot of smog.

We got to see the modern China, growing rapidly. It really was a great trip. China was always a bucket list country for me. I have read about the great empires, the wall and so many other places in the country that it was fantastic to actually see the sites and listen to the sounds of the city. One of those trips you 1/2 go on simply to go, the other half of the trip (intentionally different) was of course business.

We went to the top of the financial tower in Shanghai. That however is a sad story for another day.


This image is of the Shanghai Onion. The building in the middle of the picture looks like an onion. Shanghai is an interesting city that well as you can see also from this picture has an air inversion and therefore air pollution problem.

What a fantastic city.

During my clearance conversation this was the first question asked of me. “I see you’ve been to China twice, why was that?” I have to say that caught me by surprise. Not that they asked that I expected to be quizzed about traveling the world. Rather that in the end it was the only question asked about my years of travel. Why were you in China. When I answered work related for both the inspector asking the questions moved on.

I guess it is a smaller world and still a bigger world than you would expect.

Still the air pollution was really bad.


This picture is from Germany circa 2007. The cigarette vending machine always intrigued me. They are all over Europe and basically un supervised as you can see from this one. You can literally walk up and buy cigarettes. I guess in the end it doesn’t matter how old you are if you can just walk up and buy them.

Most of the other pictures I have are of the German countryside, we stayed near the edge of Munich so we got to walk quite a bit. The other pictures are of the inside of various locations that served German beer.

I went with a really good friend who is a master-brewer so we had a beer tasting experience that was amazing. Andy and I wandered about several times in the city and countryside and had some amazing beer. I also learned about hops, on one of the walks we found some hops actually growing on the side of a house. I hadn’t seen hops in the green phase only in the just before they were dumped into the water to make beer phase so that was a great lesson, and a really fun thing to learn.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Sometimes stepping back allows you to see what was really there in the first place…

DSCF3221Dad teaching a class of science teachers using the inquiry method. The class was in Petchaburi Thailand most like 2008 or 2009. Dad was a great teacher. One of the things that drove me nuts my entire school career was that the teachers I had instructing me were often the very same people that had my father as a teacher. They would start off every year saying “You are very lucky that he is your father.” As a son trying to separate from the legend of a father it isn’t as much fun when you start off like that.

My father was a great man. My father was a great teacher.

My father was a great father. But there were times I wished people wouldn’t say to me “you are so lucky.” Its hard to rebel when everyone thinks your father is perfect. The worst things was Dad knew people said that kind of stuff. He used to tell me “Its not a competition.” He was right. But I was also trying to make my own way – so in the end I couldn’t see what he was saying until many years later.


One of the proudest moments in my father’s life was when he received an honorary Doctorate in Thailand. He beamed for weeks before and weeks after. It does in the end make everyone in the family very proud. People that get honorary degrees do so because of what they have given to the place.

Dad, as I have said loved Thailand. He was alive there both in the climate and the people. He was so honored with that honorary degree. So were the rest of us.

I followed dad into education and was a good teacher. But I didn’t love teaching like my father did. I loved fixing and solving problems with technology. I wandered away from education fairly quickly. I became a computer person in 1991.


Finally a picture of all the honorary degree recipients that day. Day is the second one on the right.

In the end it seems funny now to speak of him in past tense. I hear his voice in my sons all the time. Things he said and ways he said things that they adopted over the many years. The inquiry method ingrained in them as it was in me. The inquiry method works really well in the technology world.

He was a great dad.

Still proud today of that honorary degree dad.

Still think you grew the best tomatoes on earth, also.


Scott Andersen

Former Teacher.

It seems so long ago now, 24 years later…


Les and Joan Ralstin’s house in Hot Springs Arkansas. This is take from the road towards their house. Sometimes the scanner can’t pull images apart when the scannees put them too close together.

Our guest photographer today is Joan Ralstin. All of these are her pictures from Hot Springs Arkansas.

I first visited this wonderful location in December 1990. Barb and I had gotten engaged (a long and sad story I’ve shared before) in early November. Barb’s parents had sent her a plane ticket to visit them in Hot Springs. unsorted524They extended the invite to include me. Bloomington Airport was literally frozen closed the day of our flight so instead we drove to hot springs for that Christmas.

They were tucked into the mountains (Ozarks) in Arkansas above the town of Hot Springs. We drove there (Becca, Barb and I. Jakki didn’t appear for another year and a 1/2) in my old Ford Tempo. The roads weren’t bad until we got to Effingham Illinois and we ended up stopping and spending the night in Southern Illinois. The next day the roads were passable and we made it to Hot Springs.

We were a day late, but we had called Barb’s parents. Back then they were volunteering for the life alert system and were actually out installing the system when we got to their house. Barb was nervous (her parents were never late) but in the end they drove up a little after when we got there. I will never forget that first meeting. People had never met but who I would spend a lot of time with and in the end grew to love very much.

They were truly great in-laws, and eventually I would even say drop the in-laws and just say parents. They accepted me from the first day.


Walking sticks, Armadillos and many other wild creatures came to visit their house out in the middle of no where. The first time I went I was still running (minor knee issues back then) and got to run in the mountains. It’s a lot different running in mountains than it is running on somewhat flat and hilly Bloomington Indiana. Barb, her mom and dad got a little worried the first time I ran there and her dad came to find me. I was struggling to make it up the final hill (1/2 a mountain) when he found me.

Like I said they welcomed me into their home from the first minute. That was more than 24 years ago now (we left their house on January 2nd as I had to get back to teaching. 1/2/1991). We saw them again six months later as we celebrated our wedding. 6/15/1991.

My fondest memory of that first visit (other than the welcome) was playing sequence with Les and Joan until 3 in the morning several nights. We were there for six or seven nights and we played sequence at least 5 of those nights. I was and am addicted to that game.

It seems so far away now.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

Family Christmas 2014–Bloomington Indiana

As promised th945A0483e picture blog resumes with a mix of old and new. Today the pictures are about as new as you can get. All of them were taken by myself, Jakki, Luke or Nick.

This is Tamsyn. She is the newest member of our clan.  I promised earlier to include a picture of her. She is like Raven a ham. Dylan doesn’t much like his picture taken but both Raven and Tamsyn do. Tamsyn is the pickiest eater I’ve ever seen in a dog. Funny because once upon a time Jakki was the pickiest eater in our family (and by once upon a time, I mean yesterday).

All three dogs came with us. Over the river through the snow (the GPS knew the way) to Grandma’s new house. For a time on Christmas day we had 8 dogs in the house. More dogs than grandchildren (7). We didn’t get to meet Barb and Dana’s newest (ella) and Lynne and Gary didn’t bring Corky with them or it could have been nine dogs.


Barb and the boy’s played a round of Magic on Christmas Eve. Barb ended up winning the game which was fun for her.

You can see them helping her, it is a very complex game and it takes time to both understand and learn how the game works.

The family gathered together from a great distance this year. We came in from Maryland. Matt came in from Seattle Washington. And Becca came in from Austin Texas. Megan came down from Fort Wayne Indiana. There was a time when family gatherings only had one family traveling (us from Cincinnati) but those times are now long past.


Megan continued her Christmas tradition of making faces at the camera. I can’t tell you how many pictures I have of her making faces at me or the camera in general. At least I hope she was making a face.

It was wonderful (although long) to see everyone. There is a natural connection you have with family that is reassuring. It was also nice to take blast one of the family history project and give it to my sisters and mother. 33.000 pictures of various events, moments and wonderful occurrences in our family history. Plus a 1/3 of those were taken by our Grandfather (Henry O Andersen) and father (Hans O Andersen). In the end that shows the reality of digital photography. I took over Christmas pictures and famliy event pictures in 2002/3 and from that time period to now (roughly 12 years) I’ve taken 20,000 pictures at family events with a few more to come. Digital camera’s in the end are great game changers.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

As 2014 nears its (welcomed) and inevitable end there are a few housekeeping things to consider…

Next week I am going to resume picture blogs. I am trying to balance my backlog of blog topics. I have two different picture topics. Pictures we’ve taken over the years (mixed in with places i have traveled to) and old photos either Barb took or my father, and now adding in Joan Ralstin’s old photographs.

Beyond that I want to get back into my Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects. I am adding a new concept of projects I wonder about. Not good wonder but projects that I think have missed their market or worse have identified the wrong market. I will continue to post projects that I am excited about and also adding now ones that make me nervous (promise too much or promise something that just doesn’t feel right.).

Then there are the occasional family event posts that I need to get back to doing and my reviews. I have a number of reviews that I have considered writing that were never posted. I am open to suggestions and additions

Last year in review blog for 2014 is coming next week probably new years eve or at least around that time. This has been an interesting year and frankly I am happy to nearly see 2014 in the rear view mirror.

To all my readers I wish a happy holidays and the best possible start to the new year coming. To everyone that commented and provided email feedback I thank you as well – your comments, emails and phone conversations are why I blog!

scott andersen
IASA Fellow

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night

I had the fortune (or misfortune) of being born 4 days before christmas so sometimes the whirlwind that is this time of year passes me by far to quickly.

This year is also tough, it is the first year without my dad.

Mom was always the one that loved Christmas. Mom and dad got married 4 days before Christmas and frankly mom always made Christmas a huge family event.

This year was no different.

We gathered together and celebrated the day as a family. It was a magical day that was filled with laughter and memories.

My grandfather loved Christmas (as did my Grandmother Johnston). They always had a beautiful (perfect) tree to celebrate. Wisconsin always had snow at Christmas, the ground white with the perfection.

Years ago we would follow the routine of one gift opened Christmas Eve and the rest opened on Christmas day. There are fewer pictures of the older years but since the digital world I’ve taken pictures of videos of the entire process.

As a parent I can say you derive great joy from watching your children open the gifts that have been picked for them.

scott andersen
iasa fellow