A place that was and a dog that just arrived and took over.


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Beck Chapel, the Campus of Indiana University. I loved this place when I was a student. I solved many of the world’s problems here, sitting and thinking in and around the Chapel. It was a place of quiet resolution for me.

My first marriage (the one that didn’t work) was held here. I won’t say more except that neither of us was ready to be married, but our relationship had reached that point of what do you do next. So we did what we thought we were supposed to and that isn’t always the best direction to take. Anyway, I love this campus. I have many memories of wandering this campus, of the preacher who would stand just down from Beck Chapel and assail us with our failings and the end of the world.

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Raven comes for comfort when she is unsure of either herself or the situation. She is an amazing dog. Dogs come into your house with their baggage. You have your baggage. The impact of the dog is how they work their way into your lives. I can’t remember the last time we watched a movie and Raven wasn’t curled up with one of us, snuggling and verging with us. She has the Alexander Haig “don’t worry I am in charge” personality of a female lab, but at the same time she loves snuggling more than she loves being in charge. I remember the day she joined our family. We were working with the incredible Maryland/Virginia Lab rescue group. They find labs that need to be rescued and well you get the idea. We had been looking for a second dog after Fran passed. Dylan was lonely, the kids were lonely and we needed a new dog.

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We had specific requirements. Dylan is so chill we needed a dog that was able to work with a chill Lab. We were looking for another female lab. There were a number we considered but in all cases they were adopted before we could decide or just didn’t fit. We drove down to Richmond Virginia to meet Raven. Funny that both our rescues are from the Richmond Virginia area. She bounded up to the boys greeting them as though they were long lost friends of hers. She and Dylan hit it off, so we decided to take her home with us. That was 20 months ago. We have learned that she doesn’t like thunderstorms. She isn’t as bad now, as she once when she first joined us, but she hates thunderstorms. She is a horrible food thief (if you leave food anywhere she can reach and leave the room the food is gone). But she loves her family. She adopted the boys right away as hers. She yells at them, snuggles with them and makes them do whatever she needs done. Shortly after arriving Raven decided that Barb belonged to her as well. She began making an effort to win Barb over. Barb grew up with small dogs, and throughout the reign of Fran was never really favored by Fran. Raven, however, has won her over. Now Barb even claims 1/3 of Raven as her dog. When she gets home at night after a long day, Raven hops on the couch and they put their heads together.  Her full name is Raven Marie Poe Andersen. We added the Marie because she needed a fourth name. Raven because she is Raven colored. Poe, because it continues our current author or literary character dog name theme (Dylan Thomas).

I watch the horrible stories of what people do to dogs. I cry and give money to the organizations that help rescue dogs in terrible places. But there are also many forever home stories that are touching and show that people do care, they do love dogs. Raven’s forever home is forever changed by Raven. I can’t remember life without her and I don’t want to!

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Raven’s blogger

4th day of Christmas pictures (I promise I am not doing 12 days!).


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This is Tamsyn from Christmas 2014. She joined our family a little over a year ago. She is a sweet little dog that tries very hard to be a part of the family but she was raised in a shelter and frankly it is really hard for her. Luckily the other two are happy-go-lucky so her occasional need to be alone doesn’t really impact anyone.

It is hard to believe that this picture was taken when she was about three weeks as a member of our family. That was over a year ago. Now she gets just as excited for the walk as the other two! She really is a very sweet girl and I am glad she is a member of our family. I have to say however. our sectional gets crowded at best. Last night we had everyone on the couch watching Jeopardy. Everyone. Tamsyn. Dylan. Raven. Barb. Jakki, Nick, Luke and me.

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Nick’s picture of his brother. Send the two of them out with Camera’s and say take pictures, they take pictures of each other. They don’t quite get it yet, I am trying to pass the family photographer role off to one of them. Jakki gets it and is happy to take lots of event pictures but she was still in Maryland working. I guess its going to take a few more events before I get them understanding the importance of taking family event pictures. They did a good job, it just takes some convincing.

I suspect my dad would say the same thing about me at their age so what goes around. comes around. Karma is a heartless b*&$*h.

PIC_0537There is a little Santa Clause beard started there in the left corner of this picture. It didn’t used to be gray when it would come in. It used to come in a really dark brown. Of Couse when I was younger it came it less than thick.  Now it is thicker but gray. It seems fate intervened. Or perhaps time intervened. What used to be young is now old.

My primary reason for not wanting to take pictures is to watch the joy on other people’s faces when they open their presents. I really enjoy that a lot more than I enjoy opening my own presents. If I really want something I will buy it. But watching someone else open a gift is just a wonderful experience.

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Family Historian…

I didn’t learn to be me until I left, but I do miss Bloomington Indiana.


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The Indiana Memorial Union. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent there as a student, and before I was a student of Indiana University. The IU Bowling alley (I was in a blowing league from the time I was 12 until I was 18) was there. The Kiva (Coffee Shop) was there. I spent so many hours in the Kiva coffee shop I was amazed they didn’t name a table for me.

For the most part of 23 years I was in and out of this building. I’ve taken the kids through it a couple of times since then, but upon leaving Bloomington as a resident 25 years ago I’ve not spend time in this building. It seems strange now, when I watch this building to think about what once was.

109A2667Mom and Dad have been in Bloomington since 1965. So this marks their 50th year in the town. Dad spent more than 40 years as a student and professor at Indiana University. We were there for perfection (1976). We were there for the peaceful riots of the 1960’s (IU had less violence more peaceful marching). We used to have parties well my parents had parties where there would be discussions of how to save the world, how to fix what was wrong. I remember those conversations.

Christmas Eve 2015, I had to take this picture because years from now I will remember the fact that it was 51 on Christmas. Oh boy are we due for a bad winter. (For those doing the math I moved to Bloomington when I was around 5, lived in Thailand for a year and then moved away when I was 30. I have visited Bloomington 100’s of times since moving away because my family is still there, but haven’t lived there since moving away).

109A2676Today is Indiana University campus day. Its funny, my best memories of campus are actually of being in the school of education. At some point in my sophomore year my dad said hey have lunch in my office. By my senior year that was the lunch ticket in the school of education. Everyone wanted to eat lunch with my dad. We ended up having to move from his office to the corner classroom because there were 10 people eating lunch with us everyday. Dad was a rock star. Everyone who ever had his class loved him. Every student that ever had an issue, or wanted guidance and advice, even though they weren’t his students, he helped them. He was a rock star.

I took some of the pictures dad took, 10 and 20 years later. Not much has changed. I remember back in the day people would tell me “he’s your father – you are so lucky.” Its different when you are his student than when you are his son. I would always smile and say “you never had to do the dishes to his specifications.” As my response to that statement. Yes I was lucky, but its different than people think. I was lucky because I had two great parents who cared. They didn’t always know what to do with me. I was more interested in business and technology and I suspect it was a tough gap to bridge at times. But in the end I was lucky they were my parents, just not for the reason all the students and teachers I met thought.

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Family Historian…

I am not embarking on 12 days of blogging about Christmas just to let you know…


My sisters, their spouses and of course my spouse and I recreated the picture taken on the Cruise Ship this summer by the grandchildren. The grandchildren63C

informed us that we stole their idea and of course took the picture wrong. I would like at this juncture since I have the sole voice until there are comments, that the grandchildren’s picture was great. It stands on its own, but lacks the gray hair required for a great picture.

Trivia question for today – of all the people in this picture who is not wearing a Hawaiian shirt they purchased in Hawaii?

We actually had a lot of fun on a rainy Wednesday evening in Greenwood Indiana hanging out at the photo studio. We later went out to dinner (Lynne and Gary had to duck home and weren’t able to join us). The picture (people) in order starting with Dana on the floor. Barb on her knees and on the left Lynne, Gary, Barb and then finally me. This crew unchanged for the past 23 years.

I think the last time you saw pictures like this was at one of three weddings. We always did formal pictures of the grandkids but not often of the children. I guess it is part of the transition from child to parent.

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Nick and Luke each took a camera and took pictures. This of Courtney and Grandma with the wonder Poodle Napoleon. Napoleon is a massive dog – nearly 100 pounds of Poodle if you can imagine that.

He is also a big sweetie (like Raven) that wouldn’t hurt a flea. He does sound fierce though. Christmas was filled with dogs, people and joy the only person missing was Jakki who had to work through the holidays in her new dog sitting business. She and Tamsyn spent Christmas day at home relaxing and enjoying the peace of quiet of nobody else there. This picture taken by Nick!

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Christmas Day lasted about 4 hours. This image taken by Luke of Nick. To the reader that sent me the email about Christmas pictures, I am not going to do 12 days of the pictures taken at Christmas. A funny idea though so I may reconsider. 12 days of blogs about 4 hours of Christmas!

Both of the boys are almost as tall as I am. Luke is maybe a 1/2 inch short of me. Nick is probably an inch to an inch and a half shorter than Luke so there is still hope he stops growing before he passes me. If they get too much taller than dad they have already been told that they will be walking around the house on their knees.

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Visual Family Historian!

The argument against getting older. Time passes and never looks back…


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While we were in Hawaii we had a picture taken of all mom’s grandchildren in Hawaiian shirts. Mom got the picture, loved it but then asked why not my children? So this picture was taken, along with another that we framed and gave to her with her children and their spouses. I will share that one later on.

I wanted to point out that I talk about my mom and my dad a lot in the family history project. But I do have two fantastic sisters. My sister Lynne is on the left of this image and my sister Barb is on the right. I can’t imagine there are two better sisters in the world than these two. There might be, but they would be extremely rare.

As their big (and significantly older) brother I am proud of them. They are both amazing people.  I don’t say it nearly enough but Barb and Lynne I love you both, and I only wish the two of you the very best!

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Madam Raven decided that in her royal way “her was to go” so we packed the Van and the Labs and headed off to Indiana. Raven and Barb argued about who was supposed to sit in the front seat most of the way there. That reminded me of going to Wisconsin years ago with Barb and Gwen arguing the entire way about who was supposed to sit in the front seat. Barb won (barely) that time, but in the end this time Raven used her magic to get Barb to let her ride in front. She rode across Pennsylvania on Barb’s lap in the front seat. A Raven compromise. Raven being a force of nature assumes the world will change around her and because of her. Frankly it has to, Raven doesn’t budge.

She is a wonderful dog by all means, just Lab stubborn.

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We spent some time wandering campus while in Bloomington. I had two motivations the first was a mini-college visit for the boys. They haven’t really jumped on the idea of visiting colleges yet but wanted them to have their first one at The Indiana University. Secondly I wanted to create some of my own versions of some of the pictures dad took over the years of campus. This of the mighty Jordan River behind the Indiana University Memorial Union. I know its silly to recreate pictures but sometimes you have to. It is at the very least recapturing a moment years later Thant he original. I love the old limestone bridges (there are two) that cross the Jordan river. It isn’t that the river is deep, but it is polluted. At least it was many years ago it may have been cleaned since the days of old. Barb and I realized that on June 1, 2016 we will have lived away from Bloomington for 25 years. We moved to Cincinnati Ohio on June 1, 1991 and haven’t lived in Bloomington since then. It feels somewhat strange to say that to say that we don’t live there. It feels like a piece of me will always be there. Mom and my sister still live there. We have been there 24 out of the last 25 Christmas’s. It just isn’t where we live anymore.

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Wistful Family Historian

a special post for my mother..,.


Late blog today so we could take off and drive back from Indiana. Pulled out of mom’s driveway at 6 am and pulled into our driveway,

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This is the menu from Christmas Eve. Mom had it on the stove. I don’t know why I had to take a picture of it but I did. It was a fantastic meal but the menu made me laugh.

I told mom I was going to post it.

She was thinking perhaps I had finally gone off the deep end. I may have but I don’t believe this event was the reason.

It is interesting over the past few years how Christmas has changed. The one thing that remains constant is the simple joy of being around family all day. We had so many wonderful conversations and so much good food and just a wonderful day.

Now we have to unpack. That is the worst part of traveling, unpacking.

I will share pictures from Christmas tomorrow when I get a chance to move them over. A huge thank you to my sisters (for setting up the special photo shoot) my sisters for the food and sharing their families and of course my wonderful mother for everything.

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Family Historian

Random history project wandering historic Maryland/Virginia…


The C&O canal. This is the output from one of the locks from the canal. Some of the locks are still operational.  This is Dylan’s favorite walk. The only problem is the number of rabbits and squirrels.

We are doing lessons this spring to reduce the overall stress of the prey drive and help us become better canine citizens. I am sure there will be some frustration on both sides (human and dog) during that process.

The thing to remember about the C&O canal is that for the most part it was hand dug. There were tools used but human labor dug the canal. I find that amazing to see now. It has held the test of time and when you think about it was an amazing feat not only of engineering but of the human spirit.

Happy Holidays to all on this day!

There are a number of trails like this on near our house. We are close to three separate C&O restorations and we have the Great Seneca state park literally two miles from the house. Maryland is into planned committees in particular the concept of greenways between neighborhoods.

The lawn in Front of Mount Vernon. We spent a long day there a couple of years ago. Just a really beautiful place to go, wander and see the amazing things the first president of the United States was working on. He also had a number of really cool engineering projects going on. I was amazed the first time we took the tour many years ago, they have really expanded what you can actually interact with. I think it is one of the cooler places in the DC area beyond museum row.

The Smithsonian (on the national mall or museum row) is hard to beat. There are more things there than anywhere I have ever been. But Mount Vernon is a close second to the Smithsonian’s. Unless you count the Air and Space museum then in my book it is Air and Space, Rest of the Smithsonian’s, Mount Vernon and then number 4 various segments of the C&O canal.

I have no idea who the child are in the actual picture. Random children playing that I took a picture of.

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Family Historian…

Random Project Day 2–Germany and Bloomington Indiana.


This morning’s guest blogger is Raven. She sat next to me as I started the blog this morning to point out there are not enough dog pictures in the blog. She feels that while I have interesting things to say in fact they would be more interesting if I actually included a picture of a lab while talking about them.

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This image is of a Smart Car in Munich Germany. The first time I saw a smart car was in Paris (Barb and I were walking towards the Eiffel Tower) Barb said that is so cute. Fast forward 8 years and we own one.

They are fantastic cars but when driving with aggressive drivers they aren’t the optimal cars. People think it is ok to cut off a smart car anytime they want. But it is an easy and fun car to drive.

Plus the gas mileage of the car is amazing. On a bad day (otherwise known as a weekday) I am average 41 mpg. On a good day without traffic I run 45 to 48 mpg.

This image at my mothers house last year. It was a panorama image taken with my iPhone I have taken a few panorama images in the past couple of years. They are interesting but never quite capture the moment.

I like the Bubl for capturing images in this mode better. It actually does a 360 degree view of the world around you. I have a few images I’ve taken with the Bubl and will share those in a later blog.

I had a great discussion with some really smart people about the point and shoot camera dying. I argued as I have on my other blog that in fact point and shoots will live, but as specialty cameras. Having focused cameras remains what I think will happen.

Our two images for the random project today a smart car and a picture from my mothers house of people playing the card game magic.

Who knows what randomness tomorrow brings.

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Random Family Picture Project

Random picture project for the Holiday Season…


Wandering random folders for the next few days. I have organized the pictures into two categories, current pictures and picture archive. It was originally because I used to back up the pictures in current pictures to a DVD many years ago (24 of them to be exact) but I stopped doing that and use Carbonite instead for backup.

IMG_6553So the random pictures project like the Carousel project has some rules. The first is the pictures will come from the archive not current so they will be roughly 5 years old and older. I will not be selecting from the scans as they are in the current pictures. So these will be pictures I took, or Jakki took or the boys took. They will be from the many family events and trips we had and a few from family trips and some from the many trips I had for work.

The stories will be based not only on the pictures. I gave up on blogs that only focus on the pictures about 4 months ago. They will be my memories not always of the event itself but instead of all the things that I remember triggered by that picture.

This first image is from our many boating expeditions to Lake Lemon. We had our boat there for 8 years or so. This one of the kids and Barb as we wandered the lake. Ah the happy hours of summer spent there.

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Geese on the pond that was behind our house on Eagle Trace. We lived there for 12 years. I can honestly say that I never enjoyed seeing the geese land on the pond because that mean more to clean up.

Its funny but I learned that early in life.

So this new project we are only going to share two pictures each day. I think that is easier since they will be from random events and random times. With more than 100,000 pictures to pick from there will be some interesting pictures.

Day one the holiday random series done!

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Family historian

Of Christmas ghosts and images of times now past…


Moving away from Carousels for a few days to share a few random pictures from various times and events. I will start off with Christmas past.

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This is an image of The Bean circa 2007. Back in the day, when Fran was little we used to put a bow on her head. That became our Christmas tradition. Every year we would put a bow on Fran

s head and she would sit there, on the couch the Queen of Christmas.

I miss Fran sometimes.

The other tradition was the kids not coming downstairs until we were ready. You can tell your kids are getting older because Christmas morning starts later and later. Once we had our celebration in Greenwood we would head down to Bloomington and have a family Christmas. Usually a wonder meal made by mom and ad.  Always family cheer and the joy of hanging out with our family members and enjoying the joyous holiday.

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Fran was a great dog. Here she is in 2008 ready for Christmas. No bow on her head but she is ready. We always got her a treat so she was probably waiting for her treat or more likely the people breakfast that was to come next. Fran was never subtle about the demands for a percentage of food. If the food was yellow she would plop in front of you and point out the logical rule “yellow food for yellow dogs.”

Fran was also in charge of Jakki so she was constantly watching Jakki and making sure she wasn’t doing things Fran didn’t approve of. Which as I recall was most of the time. Jakki often sat wrong on the couch, ate wrong and well sometimes even was just wrong. Now if anyone else touched her girl in a way Fran didn’t approve there would be actual growling but Jakki got the special cold should treatment from Fran. It was funny how a dog could clearly without any misinterpretation show that not only was she unhappy with her girl but that her girl in fact was in big trouble.

Christmas with little kids is different. I can honestly say that as a kid I loved Christmas. I counted the days to presents. Now, as a parent I love Christmas more. I love getting my kids what they want, what makes them happy. I love seeing the smiles on their faces. It is a chance to share love, to share something with them that is special. I think honestly I love Christmas more as a parent than I did as a child. I just don’t do lights. Jakki made me do lights when she was young and the boys made Barb do lights a couple of times when they were young. Luckily we wisely got them involved in taking the lights down in the freezing cold so that ended pretty quickly. We did have a fun light reindeer in the yard one year.

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There are always tr4easures in the old pictures. Here we are in 2009 with a fantastic picture of Jakki and her Grandma. My mom doesn’t really like pictures taken often so you have to sneak them in. Basically it has to be done when she is looking away like this one.

We’ve had many different traditions on Christmas over the years. But the one constant that has occurred since I was little was Ebel Skivers. These are a Danish round pancake filled with apple sauce (Ebel is Danish for Apple.) You can make skivers of other flavors, but we always did Apple. Once they come out of the pan, round and brown, you roll them in powdered sugar and then pop them into your mouth. Fran adored Ebel Skivers. She would sit in the kitchen as they were being prepared and of course apply the Yellow Food Tax (her evolution of the Yellow food for yellow dog’s rule became known as the Yellow Food tax.) I think she was color blind because later in life it just became the food tax.

We do involve the dogs in the holiday experience. They are an important part of the family and make the holiday that much better.

Every once in a while I find myself missing the old Christmas celebrations. When all the kids were little and we could watch the wonder and joy on their faces. They still have wonder and joy and now the conversations are amazing, but there is a magic in a little kids eyes on Christmas.

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Family Historian