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

Dylan stops by and says hi and nearly done with Carousel Thailand #3.

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Apparently significant Lab work has shown that cute pictures of dogs makes blogs better. Mostly, the lab work was done by the Labs in our house, but they insist that if you want a cute blog add pictures of Labs.

Here is Joe Cool, funny this is he has been with us now for almost 4 years. In that time he has managed to cure me forever of yelling at the television during sporting events (he bites my feet when I yell). Dylan was a lab rescue. First off he is a sweetest guy on earth.  When we first got him almost 4 years ago, he wouldn’t wear clothes ever. His sister (Raven) loves clothes. So Dylan, adapting to the changing world around him now loves clothes. He loves wearing his Darth Vader sweater. Again, he is Joe Cool!

I can’t imagine a house without dogs. Its sad when they go, I miss Fran, Gwen, Duo, Frosty, and even Blackie. Although Blackie had to move to another family he actually nipped Jakki when she was little so he had to go. Joe Cool doesn’t care if I had a great day or a bad day, he just curls up in my lap and says I am here, and I love you.

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What is the function of a building? Depends on who you ask. If you ask the architect they will tell you to fill a purpose but to also show the architects vision. The engineer will tell you that a building is built for safety and structural integrity. The people will tell you as they go into apartments or places of work that the building just has to work for the organization or family.

I love Bangkok’s mix of old and new. There are still buildings that are more than 2000 years old in the city. Plus there are buildings that are barely 20 minutes old. I love that mix of old and new. Plus the trees that grow in virtually no soil. The tropics has amazing vegetation.

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When we lived in Thailand we went to a lot of places. Partially because the team of people dad worked with for UNESCO had to visit all the universities of the country, partially because dad had wanderlust. He loved to see new places, to capture new moments with his camera. We went to several remote places, one a river like this we rode down all day on inner tubes. By we I mean I rode down all day, mom and dad took care of my sisters. My friends and I rode down the river over and over on inner tubes. I probably fell right asleep that night. I know I was exhausted. But I remember riding down that river like it was yesterday. It is stuck forever in my memory!

Tomorrow is the last day of this Carousel. Although Labs have argued that I should spend a couple of years blogging about the funny things they do so it may be a new series, we shall see.


Family Historian, official documenter of the Labrador Experience…

When the road is covered by water and the snake you never appears what time is it?

Great comment yesterday on Linkedin for my blog. We are born of water, so we seek water to paraphrase. I have heard that quote for years, I think its true but I think the reality of the quote is that some people find peace in or on water, some people find peace seeing water and a third group find peace knowing water exists.

carousel 101We lived on Soi 12 off of Sukcumvit (that is miss spelled sorry).  During the rainy season the street actually flooded. There was a good 8 inches of water on the street itself. I loved it. Mom, was lucky enough to see the snake that lived near our apartment swimming across the water near the pool. I suspect based on her love of snakes we are lucky she didn’t hop into the water and get the family a new pet. Mom has a healthy love of snakes. She loves to see stuffed snakes. She is even willing to acknowledge there is a place and purpose for snakes to exist on this planet. She however, does not want snakes anywhere near her. Ever. Fastest way to get my mother to scream is to say “look at the pretty snake there by your feet.” I know because as I said I was a difficult child.

carousel 105Our apartment complex was near the end of Soi 12. There was not much beyond us. We lived on the 4th floor of the apartment complex. I think it was around 8-12 stories high. I know there were a few apartments above ours and a roof we could gain access to. We used to play on the roof of the building. Not my sister and I, but friends from school I had over and I played on the roof. I suspect I would have been in trouble had I encouraged my sister to play up on the roof (either one of them). This second picture of the traditional bicycle transportation. You would also see motor scooters. We used to count the people on a single scooter. Two for, meant two people, I once saw a five for, five people riding on a single scooter.

carousel 110The Apartment itself was quite large. Coming in the main entrance there was to the left a huge showier area and a kitchen. To the right was a study that later became Lynne and Mao’s bedroom. (Mao was the daughter of the woman that lived with us and cooked, cleaned etc. Calling her a maid wasn’t really fair, she taught us Thai, about cooking and life in general. Simply Patana was an amazing person. It was like having a second mother at a time in my life when the first mother was more than enough. No offence mom, I was a difficult child I know). Next up was the dinning room and the connected living room. If you continued straight you would walk out onto the huge patio/porch. On the left past the kitchen were two bedrooms the first was originally the kids room, later was Barb and my room. The last room was mom and dad’s and there was a bathroom between the two bedrooms. The water heater was not always on which was an interesting experience. If you wanted to take a bath or a shower you had to pre-heat the water.


Family Historian

The dream to live by the water. It is a strong dream.

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The River gives and the River takes. So you plan for when the river, angry with the intrusion rises. You see this in many river side and sea side communities regardless of nationality. Raise your house so the river doesn’t wash you away.

You get the beauty each day of being by water. You reduce the risk of being by moving water by raising the house. Plus by raising the house you get a nice safe place to moor your boat. It is protected under the house and ready to start the next day. I loved the majesty of these houses, the beauty. Many of them constructed with teak wood. Teak does very well exposed to water. its why it is the preferred building material for the decks of boats.

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Waiting is universal, all of us do it. There is no part of the world I’ve visited where people don’t wait. We wait for buses, airplanes, friends and family. We wait for stores to open and we wait for the world to catch up with those of us who rising early start the day long before everyone else.

To wait is the divine gift. It means you have the time to stop and reflect on what is happening around you. Buddha choose to wait and often waited for long periods of time. In that waiting he found the path beyond this world to the next. So waiting is something that can be used to build on and grow greater understanding.

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I’ve said it before, Bangkok like Venice was surrounded and filled with water. The easiest way to move from place to place was via the water. Bangkok is often called the Venice of the East but that is wrong. Bangkok was around before Venice. People were building in or near the water long before Venice was more than a dream. Venice is the Bangkok of the West.

Historians wrote that one down wrong. Bangkok was far away and culturally vastly different than what Europeans were used to. Interesting to note, Thailand is one of the few countries in that part of the world that wasn’t a colony of a European Nation.


Thailand Fan!

Remembering on this day of dreams, my father’s dream….

I have a dream.

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The market in Bangkok Thailand. There are many, not just one. The Sunday Market (my favorite) the night market (my mother’s favorite) the floating market (my wife’s favorite). Each of them unique all of them special. They were all fun.

It was a huge change for me. I grew up the grandson of a former grocer. When I was really little Grandpa Ray used to take me to the store. I remember his office and the store itself. I remember walking around after the store was closed and just amazed. Its where my love of business comes from. But this market was amazing, it was new exciting and so different from what I was used to. Vibrant, alive and exciting.

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I was two that day when Dr. King shared his dream. I lived my whole life with my father’s dream. He believed that education should be available for everyone. Dad truly thought, argued and I believe was right, that education is the first step towards making the world a better place. Taking Dr. Kings dream and building a foundation to make it strong.

It’s a tough job, in 1972 outside of Bangkok to harvest food for people’s tables. Its still a hard job in many places. A job done by those who are forgotten by society. Migrant workers who come to town, pick the fruit and then nicely disappear. Invisible to us. They deserve an education as well.

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My father would tell us the Latin names of plants. I can honestly say I don’t remember a single one of them. But he also wouldn’t answer questions. He would ask another question so that you thought about what it was you wanted. You began using the inquiry method to find what you were looking for.

The method, that my father invented, allows for thought provoking education. Why is the internet slow at 7pm at night every night? Well first, when do your neighbors get home, what is the age distribution around you. The questions provoked in answering the first question are the inquiry method. Thinking through how something works. I grew up with the method. So it is ingrained in how I operate. But I can see the method in other models now. When I consider my current learning passion, the work of John Boyd, I see the inquiry method fitting nicely into the OO comments of the OODA loops. It is as much about driving feedback and modifying operations as anything. You see I can’t tell you anything about that plant in the picture. My father probably told me the Latin name 10 times. But, given that the leaves are brown, I have a method to inquire as to what is wrong. Is it seasonal? Is it dry? Is it too wet? I know how to figure out what is wrong.

I have dream. That everyone in the world gets an equal shot at education. That when you look across the table at someone you have never met you will know that they know things as well. Because everyone does. Equality starts with education.


I have a dream…