The Kings Apple’s and shouting Police, Police!!!

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This is the exterior of the Kings Palace in Bangkok Thailand.  The King was experimenting with Apples so he was on dad’s really cool people list. One memory that I have (or as my mother like’s to say “it is your memory”) is of being in the Hotel the first month or so we were there. UNESCO put us up in a nice hotel and I actually started going to BPS (Bangkok Patana School) while we were still at the hotel. The memory is getting up really early (school started at 6:30 am to avoid the heat). The thing or memory that I have is mom telling me I could be responsible for my own restaurant meals in the early morning. She would get up, make sure I had a clean school uniform then she would head back to watching my sisters. I got to go downstairs like an adult and order my own breakfast. I felt like I was an adult.

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Mom and I have the same taste in Movies. We both love physical comedy. So we made sure to go to every single one of the Pink Panther movies starring Peter Sellers. But in Bangkok the movie that we ended up going to was it’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad world. Mom and I embarrassed dad because of how loud we laughed. I loved going to movies with mom. It was a time we could forget about everything and just enjoy. But the movie story from Bangkok was the great wuthering heights debacle. Mom and Miss Hart decided that Lynne and I needed to see the classic English Drama Wuthering Heights. There was a theater that had been playing the movie. Sadly the Wuthering Heights run was over the day before we went, which we found out when the Vampire movie came on the screen. Mom and Miss Hart rushed Lynne and I out of the theater.

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Another fun mom story from back in the day. I wasn’t with her when this one happened but mom was incredible funny retelling the story and it has stuck with me for more than 40 years. Mom was out one day in our Opal (a really great car we had in Bangkok). While stopped at a stop light another car hit the back of the Opal. Mom got out of the car as the man who hit her got out of the car and mom began shouting “police, police”   in Thai. The man kept trying to tell mom something. But mom kept yelling police, police. Eventually the man was able to convince her that he was in fact an off-duty police officer. Everything was fine in the end. No one hurt and the car was repaired. But mom’s retelling of the story made my laugh then and still makes me laugh. Mom has an incredible sense of humor.


Family Historian

Memories of a Sherlock Holmes Cape,,,

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One really quick arrange and then on to talking about Thailand (mostly because while this is an entrance to something, I have no idea what the something is).

I am a cutting edge technologist. I push the edges of what is possible in my daily life, it is part of what I love to do. That means that when things fail I expect that. So, I frequently have two sets of technology. Stable, easy and consistent and the cutting edge. I’ve noticed more and more that my stable environment is Apple based. In part because I couldn’t be an Apple user for many years, but also now because of two very simple things. 1. Being that everything just works. 2. Being that not only does it work, but setup is simple and managed. So end Arrange – Google and Microsoft time to make setup easier!

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Some of dad’s students in Thailand or as they eventually became his peers. Dad and mom were both awesome about teaching people how to succeed and then transitioning to that person being their peer and working side by side. It is  an amazing gift and they both have it in abundance.

Mom was staying home while we were in Bangkok. She actually returned to work shortly after Barb was born but took the year in Bangkok off. She was always there for us when we got home from school. Everyday she would be there waiting, sometimes in the pool with Barb, or first semester Barb and Lynne.

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Mom was/is amazing at designing and sewing clothes, quilts and well just about anything. While we were in Bangkok mom cut out cold weather gear from wool. She actually made a Sherlock Holmes cape that she wore on our way home from Thailand. We stopped by to visit our friends the Kondo’s (the same one’s we visited this August while in Hawaii). Dr. Kondo, like dad was working for UNESCO and was stationed in Kabul Afghanistan. We stopped by for a week on our way back to Paris, and then the US. Mom wore her amazing Sherlock Holmes cape the entire time we were there. Hopefully as we move through pictures we will find a picture of the cape and hat. I think the most important lesson mom taught me was to be creative. That to think differently was OK.


Family Historian

Do you remember, those days in September?

I remember visiting Bangkok in 2005 and standing at an ancient Wat my father saying to me “I feel carousel 050connected to Buddhism. Dad was not a religious man he understood and participated in many Unitarian Church activities when I was younger. But later in life, on his many visits with mom to Thailand he found peace in Buddhism. Its why I think early on he took so many pictures of the spiritual side of Thailand. He felt connected to that particular expression of religion.

My personal favorite is the reclining Buda. It is lactated in what is called the old city, near but not in the current city of Bangkok. Well not in what was the Bangkok of 1972. Bangkok is a huge city now that spans much more land than it did in 1972.

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The most important lesson I learned very early in Thailand beyond the fact that its tough being a minority was that people are the same regardless. There is nothing a person can choose to do, be or a lifestyle that doesn’t make them a person. There are no anti-person activities. Certainly there are those that spew hate into the world. But they are still people. They are no less and no more than the people that walk up to them and hug them. People are comprised of dreams. Those dreams are what make us human. All of us have them. The dreams are no more or less because of where we are. They are no more or less because of who we are. They are because we are. I am a huge fan of Dr. Kings dream, not because it is a dream but because it speaks to the fairness of what is equality. All equal, from the day they are born to the day they die.carousel 059

Not the type of canoe I was in in the river. You get the idea though. Dad loved canoe’s. We didn’t have one before we went to Bangkok but he got two after we returned (and around the time we moved to Sycamore Knows). We went to the sporting goods store up in Indianapolis and bought two Old Town canoes. One was a square rig (blue) with a place for a small motor). The other was a traditional canoe. We took those canoes and put them in the water all over southern Indiana. We took them with us on a couple of vacations in Wisconsin. I guess I never connected the dots until much later just how much dad loved water. I always thought it was mom that loved water but now thinking back dad did as well.


Family Historian

Sometimes a picture, needs the photographer to explain why…(and 20 inches of snow…seriously)…

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There are so many pictures that without the context provided by the photographer I have no idea other than they come from a Carousel named Thailand 2. This could be anywhere. There are a few slides that were put in the various Carousels that weren’t of the location specified. But that was dad’s sense of humor. He would enjoy the patter of talking about Thailand, like when he was driving a tour boat in Wisconsin Dells as a young man. Then out of the blue someplace that he thought was funny or strange enough that people would stop, and then he would make a joke about something. You could see them coming from 100 miles away but more than 1/2 the time he got me.

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Slides, pictures and VHS tapes decay (audio tapes as well). The rate of decay is relevant to the storage environment and the age of the media. Recently while cleaning my basement I found a collection of my father’s old (or possibly my mothers old) classical records. One of them slipped out of the case as they were being carried, and because of the age of the records it shattered (two more records then leapt to their death) sad to lose records that were more than 50 years old. Media that isn’t digital decays. Digital media decays as well, but if you have multiple copies including one in the cloud you aren’t impacted by the life span of a hard drive. So, my semi-monthly plea to write down your memories and share your pictures Smile family history projects aren’t just remembering what happened 20 years ago. They are also about what happened this week and the memories associated with the media you have!

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Dad often took pictures that captured both the life style of the people but also the determination. These ladies carrying goods to market to sell. Perhaps at a market (there were many) or perhaps simply along the side of the street.

Street vendors are the health of a city. If there are many the city is doing well. If there are few, the city isn’t doing as well. You can gauge oppression and frustration by the presence or absence of street vendors. I enjoy stopping in the many cities I’ve been to, sampling the food and talking to them. Finding out what makes things go. Street vendors know so much!

PS this link is for my sisters. The Blizzard of 1978 dumped 20 inches of snow on the ground (the month of January 1978 had 30 inches). So well…


Family Historian

I can honestly say, it was a tough transition from Bloomington Indiana to Bangkok Thailand.

There is poverty in Thailand. As a bright eyed idealistic 11 year old it shook me.carousel 015

I worried and still worry about the poverty in the world. So much of poverty requires we build, maintain and deliver education that gets everyone moving forward. My father believed that and spent his entire professional life working towards that.

Personally I believe technology can offer the educational equality world wide. I wrote, in my book The Syncverse, of an educational system that would be available for teachers anywhere. Pieces of the dream I have in that book are live now. Ted Talks and the Khan Academy are two great examples (and there are many others) of ways to educate more people.

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When water is the highway boats are the cars you need. I love boats. Well I love water, I love being on water and I love boats. So the many trips we took where we were on the water always amazing.

Teak is a strong wood that works well for so many things. It has a deeper beauty than many woods do. It is a softer brown when treated than the darker Mahogany more like a Red Oak. My mother has a lot of teak furniture that is more than 40 years old and you couldn’t tell it was that old. Partially because for many years I was banned from even being in the same room (kidding mom) as the furniture. No it is actually strong wood that last a long time.

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When rivers are roads and roads are still roads than the shop at the intersection of the two has the best of both world’s. You get both kinds of traffic! The street vendors are very different at least they were for an 11 year old that had been living in Indiana. At the end of the year I grew to love street and roadside vendors. I will always stop at neat looking places along the way. The best peaches I’ve ever had were at a Road Side spot in South Carolina. We stopped there on a lark and found amazing things. The best lunch I ever had was a street Gyro in New York City.

Sometimes you just have to be willing to try new things.


Family historian

After three days we reached the end of the driveway and as you can see the street in front of the house!!!!!!


Around 4pm yesterday we were finally to the street. Able to move the fan and as you can see the street itself was plowed and we were able to cross it. So a picture of the house. You can see two solar panels on the upper left side of the roof. Just the edges of the panels so they weren’t producing much power the last few days.

That mound of snow is what the boys dug through after the plow rolled by. Just wide enough for a car and a little extra. That way someone backing out won’t accidently back into the snow pile. That took awhile but I suspect some of that was boys taking breaks. They did a good job overall. Just like to take the occasional break.


Here is the work crew after finishing. They were in the back yard playing with their dog. Although as you can see from the picture there was no dog, and lots of snow balls flying towards each other. The dog was out there for awhile but got bored with the snow ball fight and went back inside.

There evening activity on their last night of freedom (School resumes Wednesday) was to invite the neighbors over and have a D&D campaign. They are really into D&D right now. I remember being really into D&D around their age. I also remember it was fun to be into something my dad thought wasn’t well he didn’t care much for D&D.


The boys and Tamsyn. She is an interesting dog. She grew up in a shelter and really hasn’t been around other dogs directly, and people directly. She is really trying to be part of a family but she doesn’t understand the rules yet. She is a lot better now than she was when we first got her. The first 6 months she disappeared and hid in the basement. Now she comes up, interacts with everyone. She growled at Barb one time, but now comes and sits with her. Its part of the wind down process we do every night, relax and watch Jeopardy. It is fun to just be there and relax, answering questions. So Dylan and Raven come join us and sit on the couch, getting Jeopardy pets. Tamsyn does as well now, although not as long, she normally ducks out before double Jeopardy.

Family history projects aren’t always about what was. Sometimes they can be about what happened yesterday. In this case, the last three blogs about the big snow in DC. Back to Slide Carousel’s tomorrow!


Family Historian

Day 2, finally made it to the street


After all was said and done. 36 straight hours of snow. More than 24 inches of snow finally hitting the ground. It is day 3 and as you can see the plow hadn’t hit our street yet. We weren’t even on the list of streets to be cleared. As of this am (Monday) we are still not cleared. So everyone is home for one more day.

I enjoyed watching the magic of Peyton Manning get the offence going again, but the Denver Defense was amazing. I don’t like the Patriots much, so watching them not win was good. Watching the way they handled losing at the end was however, a bit of a waking up for me. They were classy and sporting about losing. Perhaps not as bad as I have always thought.


Snow removal crew threatened to Unionize on day 2. Nick watching his mom run the snow blower on the section of snow they had just loosened. There were fears of mom running them over with the snow blower but they got over it (eventually).

We let the Labs out a couple of items so they could see what we were doing in their front yard. I am not sure all this snow registered with them. The most snow Dylan has ever seen was the year Raven was born and that was only 12 inches. We did make it to the street early in the morning of the second day. It took a concentrated two hours to actually get the driveway clear. But over two days it wasn’t as bad. It wasn’t like we were going anywhere anyway. We had food, water and power. What else do you need?


The puzzle crew hard at work. They finished one puzzle and started on a second puzzle. Me, I would glue the finished puzzle, laminate it and then hang it on the wall. The puzzle team just quietly takes the puzzle apart and puts it back in the box.

Makes you want to distract them and borrow puzzle pieces. But that activity has been expressly banned by both members of the puzzle team. I was told if that (missing puzzle piece roulette I like to call it) ever happened again there would be blood coming out of my body and it would be my blood. I got the message and haven’t done it in years but still, when I see a puzzle on the table…

#Blizzard2016 was the first hash tag I saw on the news.

#Digout2016 was the second one. Both are cute.

#themeltedinnundation is the one I want to start. When it melts all that water has to go somewhere!


Documenting the great snow of 2016

We are predicting 20 inches of snow. They weren’t kidding. We ended up in a band of snow that literally sat all day yesterday and snowed. All day, 1-2 inches an hour. Roughly 24 inches on the ground now…


Mom asked for pictures of yesterday’s snowfall in the DC area. We live north and west of DC proper. This picture was taken at around 8 am. You can see it was not a full whiteout but really close. There is no reference in this picture as to how deep the snow is. But normally based on standing in the front door of our house you would be directly ahead seeing the street. Our yard and our two step porch. None of that is visible in part because of the light available and in part because of the snow available. The snow started in our area around 1 pm Friday. There was enough snow to cover the ground when we went for a walk around 4 pm. By the time we returned from our walk around 5:30 or so, our previous tracks were covered. The snow picked up considerably that evening and during the night.


This picture taken end of day around 4 pm Saturday. You can see the points of reference endow, the roof of the van shows a good 24 inches or more of snow. By the time of this picture it had been snowing for 27 hours. The boys are out shoveling (so was Barb and so was i). It took us 2.5 hours to shovel about 2/3’s of the driveway. We didn’t make it to the street but I figure when they plow our county street they will block the driveway so we will dig out this morning for the last time. There were no cars on our street yesterday all day. I remember big snows, we had 17 inches once when we lived in Greenwood Indiana. We had 14 inches once when we live din Mount Airy Ohio ( a suburb of Cincinnati) but I have never lived through this much snow. It happens in the DC area about ever 10 years. Lucky us to move in after the last one but before the next one! Now we get a 10 year break.


This final picture give you a much better idea of just how much snow fell. Plus it gives the boys proof of parental meanness to share with their children when that time comes. Smile

So we spent most of the day indoors.  I forgot to record the IU Ball game so I missed a great game (IU Won!) but I did catch up on the Mystery of Oak Island. I know, it’s a guilty pleasure but I really love that show.

And we shoveled. Three times we went out for roughly 30 minutes and moved snow. As I said we got 2/3’s of the way down the driveway. Today we make it to the street. I suspect with any luck the temperature today will help us more than hurt us as it rises to above freezing. Luckily we all made it through the blizzard of 2016. The generator didn’t even kick on one time during the entire event. It is however nice to have it out there waiting.


Blizzard Reporter

Thailand is one of those places to go where not only are there wonderful sights to see, but you have to meet the people!

Today we move to Carousel Thailand 2. Each of the Carousels was labeled but so far as you know from reading the posts, there are often surprises included in the slides of any Carousel.

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My grandfather owned a grocery store. So I saw, again not as much as my mother did growing up as an employee of the store, but I got to see the inner workings of the store frequently. I wasn’t prepared for the amazing reality of what was possible at the Sunday market. In part because the fresh food available in Wisconsin was more cheese and apples. They do grow a lot of tobacco in Wisconsin as well. But in the Sunday Market in Bangkok it was amazing what you could see and buy. Things I didn’t even know existed or, more fairly knew existed but had only seen pictures in books or small examples of, were suddenly there, smoked, fried or raw ready to cook. It was both amazing and eye opening.

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There are places I have been that are unique. Places where you go and see the most amazing things of wonder and delight. Paris is such a place, you go and you enjoy the wonder that are the sights of Paris. There are many places that people ask me what should I see when I go, and I tell them all the wonderful and cool places you can see.

But some places it is not just the the things to see. It is the people that make the place even more special. Meet people I tell them when they ask. Amsterdam, London, Sydney and Bangkok are the four primary where I say see the sights but no matter what you do make sure you meet the people. In those places and there are others Kuala Lumpor is another where the sights are amazing but the people are beyond description.

There were people we met back in 1972 that took us in. Made us part of their lives and helped us adjust to a very different world than Bloomington Indiana. I can’t thank them enough, all these years later, but they were wonderful!

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A spirit house. It sits inside, outside but always near your house. You place offerings and gifts near the house to protect those who live within.

This one is particularly beautiful. Many were a sight of beauty and wonder. The tradition of having a house like this for your family is one that I enjoy. I still have  a spirit house.

As I said, it is as much about meeting the people as anything. Thailand is a land of smiles and wonderful things to see. But the people are what make Thailand unique.


Family Historian

The last slides of Thailand #3. Images of a trip to the Ocean…

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Thailand was my first exposure to the Ocean a lot. By that statement I mean that we could, and did go to the Ocean all the time. This beach near Bangkok.

I grew and do love the ocean. I find as I have written about many times the very water to be restful. I realize the Ocean is a mighty conveyance and can crush me with so little as a wave. But I love it. Being in Thailand helped me find that love of the ocean, that love of being in, on or near the Ocean. To this day it is a peaceful quiet part of me. One that enjoy. So as we head into the last day of Thailand #3 posts we end with the Ocean.

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As I have said before dad was a really good photographer. I could get this same shot, but I would have to take 30 to get there. He got it, one shot framed perfection.

I am building a display area in the basement for his old cameras. I suspect someday people will look at the things we are passing down to our kids as something silly. But it is fun to collect things your kids can enjoy later. To say this is yours. We have my grandfather and my great-grandfathers pocket watches – Nick wants those. We have the family copper kettle that passes to Luke and my other grandfather’s coin collection that passes to Jakki. Becca gets the 1920’s working Singer Sewing machine. It actually still sews. So each of them gets something from the past to connect all of us together.

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There in the small distance of this last picture from Carousel Thailand #3 is us. Well most of us. Dad is taking the picture. A trick I learned from him. If you take the pictures you don’t have to be in them!

I recognize me standing, there on the beach. I recognize Lynne sitting on the outside and I think she is next to mom. It seems strange that between the moment the light struck this beach and now it in reflecting off the surface has gone 43 light years. Beyond the closest stars to our solar system. 43 years. Nearly 44 years in fact. Life has intervened in that time. The world has changed. We lost our photographer in that time but the rest of us are still there. We still laugh. We still wander to the Ocean as a group when we can (last August in Hawaii!). Family is captured by pictures, but held together with love.


Family Historian