Images of the past and memories of a special person. They all come together as a family history project!

Somewhere in Thailand. I recognize the building architecture.carousel 210

Mom reminded me yesterday of the value of the Family History project. Actually she encouraged me to keep going by reminding me why I started. Losing dad was tough. The first parts of the family history project were trying to relive and remember the things about dad that were important and share them. Now I am sharing things that are important about mom. The difference being and the value I missed was dad wasn’t alive when I started. So for those of you with stacks of pictures and your parents still around, start now! The value of remembering the family history isn’t that generations from now will read this and be happy to know their ancestors. Its that you can share your memories with your parents and they can share memories with you. Again to steal from the Carpenters. Don’t worry if its not good enough. Just write down the memories. Thanks mom for reminding me of the value!

carousel 215

As I said this Carousel was one where dad put a lot of slide shows when he was changing them out. This one of my youngest sister with her friends at Halloween.

Mom used to make Halloween costumes. I remember the kids (all the grandkids) lining up for Grandma to make their costumes. We aren’t talking a little face paint either. We are talking lions with full manes and tiger outfits that fit from head to toe. Not wear once out for Halloween but costumes you wear for two or three years of Halloween. Plus use them as dress up and costumes for everything. The kids all loved the wonderfully constructed and amazing Halloween costumes. It was funny because when she got old enough Jakki worked with Grandma directly and they would never tell me what the costume was going to be!

carousel 219

Somewhere in Thailand.

Quilts and Halloween costumers, it’s the legacy of a Grandmother. Grandparents are very important in our family. They are the connective tissue that reminds the parents they will survive being parents, and the tissue that reminds the grandkids that their parents were once young as well. Being that they are important parts of the larger family, Mom and Dad hosted most holiday events. You could, given the circumstances forgive mom for saying no mas. But instead she continues to bring all of us to one place for the holidays. We travel from Washington (the state) and Washington (the district of Columbia) now. So spanning this country. But we come home to celebrate the holidays at mom’s house. Why? Grandparents are important but so is keeping the family traditions going. Opening the first gift tether, sitting at the tables or in the chairs talking to each other and celebrating another year. Family are the people you know and don’t worry about. You may disagree with family but you accept them. Mom brings that all together still, her and the poodles continuing to host the family events.


Family Historian

Gross Picture and you ain’t seen nothing like the MIGHTY QUINN!!!!!

carousel 196

OK no clue what this picture is of. But gross.

Funny mom story…well maybe its more a funny mom and her mom story. I had a very successful summer fishing one year. I caught several blue gill (sun fish) and bass that were worthy of keeping. I decided I would take some of them home for my mother so we froze them. I asked my grandmother to show me how to clean them, but she said “You mother loves cleaning fish.” I presented mom with the fish only to find out that Grandma had not only yanked my chain but mom’s as well. Mom did not particularly like cleaning fish. She did appreciate the freshish fish, but cleaning them was not her idea of fun. Grandma laughed at me. Mom didn’t laugh. We did enjoy the fish for dinner (it ended up being a very good meal the first time I really liked fish. But mom didn’t let me forget that for a long time.

carousel 200

Without a doubt dad had a photographers eye. He has some amazing pictures.

After a few years of being boat free (we are staying pool free frankly forever. They are more pain than joy.) we decided to buy a boat that we could take out into the Bay for fishing and weekend trips. Mom’s first thought other than I want to be on the boat, was that she would make us nautical quilts. I couldn’t imagine a better way to decorate the boat than with mom made nautical quilts. I can’t at this point say what I am more excited about. The quilts or getting the boat!

Is there anything better than a nautical themed quilt?

carousel 205

Low tide. tide fascinates me. I love being by the ocean at high and low tide. It is a fascinating thing for me.

For years mom watched IU Basketball games with dad. She even went with him a few times to Assembly Hall. I am not sure (since I don’t think she follows IU BBall now) that she didn’t do that for dad. I do remember however mom loving Quinn Buckner. I think we all loved Quinn Buckner. He was without a doubt the best guard IU had in the 1970’s. He was the one player mom mentioned. She didn’t really mention many others over the years, just the mighty Quinn. QB could have run for mayor of Bloomington and won, he probably still could. One of very few Basketball players to win at Every Level of Basketball. State Champion in High School, National Champion (76) at IU, NBA Champion with the Boston Celtics and Olympic Gold Medal Winner. Oh yeah, and my mother’s all favorite IU player!


Family Historian…

One of Dad’s old teaching slides and memories of sickness…

carousel 179

One of dad’s overheads from 40 years ago. This is part of the slides for the inquiry method. Correction from yesterday I listen to MUSIC in the morning not MUCUS. While there are times when the congestion forces me to listen to the sound of my own mucus it is not part of my daily routine. Thanks Lynne.

When you were sick mom kicked into high gear. I was sick a lot when I was young. I had serious Pneumonia or Bronchitis every year for 4 or 5 straight years. I was indoors, sick and they were contently telling mom that I needed to be in the hospital. Her feeling was taking a really sick kid to the hospital was asking for trouble. So she took care of me at home. My favorite memory is of getting to give an orange shots after I got my shots. That poor orange.

carousel 186

I think the box for this Carousel was dad’s idea box. Several different slide shows that he used over the years all in one box. This somewhere in Thailand.

Now, while I wasn’t as sick as I got older I can still say the quality of care was fantastic. As I said regardless of who in the family was sick mom rallied around them. What I don’t remember is mom being sick. Well sick enough that someone had to take care of her. Mom didn’t get sick very often and when she did, she would power through. But if one of us got sick (or later one of her grandchildren was sick or injured) everyone in the family knew mom would be there. Mom was the family care giver. Frankly I trust her advice more than any doctor I’ve ever met.

carousel 190

This young man is looking far off towards something. Great picture!

The other side of great care giving is mom would caution me against any number of activities over the years. She stopped cautioning me when I was 12 and I actually asked her. “Why didn’t you tell me not to do that.” She looked at me with a My Pen Rai look and said “because you were going to do it anyway.” But before that mom was always telling me not to climb that rock, don’t jump off of that. Don’t walk along the edge of that. In part because I was so sick as a small child and she worried. In part because she is a mother. Mothers always worry about their children. In part because I was a bit of a wild child. Mom always says now “you had a few bad years.” Luckily I came out of them because I had a couple of great parents!

I devoted a lot of blog time and space to talking about my dad after he passed away. Its nice to be able to talk about mom while she is still alive. Sometimes you have to stop and tell the people around you that you love them. That they mean everything to you. Mom was one of the gentle hands that guided and shaped who I am. I love you mom!


Family Historian

From dad’s eye perspective pictures of Thailand. And music, it’s my memory…

Dad often did slide shows for guests. I think the reason this one spans so many countries is that first off therecarousel 165

were two carousels worth of slides in this box. One he had of Thailand that he took out and the new one he made.

When I was about 14 mom and dad bought an electric organ for the living room of the house. I loved playing on the organ. It had so many different instruments and such a wonderful sound. Mom encouraged me to play music (my sisters also). Before the organ mom had gotten me a guitar and guitar lessons. She took me to the lessons once a week. I love the sound of music (and I like the movie a lot as well). Mom encouraged all of us to explore our creative interests. Music is something that I love listening to. I am not as good playing. But I wouldn’t know that if mom had offered us the chance to explore.

carousel 170

Along a roadside in Thailand.

Another gift that mom gave us but probably less one that we noticed as we were growing up was the encouragement versus pushing. Mom encouraged us to explore what we were interested in. She certainly supported the schools we attended as far as our academic goals and what skills we needed to improve. But beyond school she never pushed us to do things she encouraged us to explore. To wonder about the world and find the things that intrigued and interested us. It is interesting now looking back to realize that was what mom was doing. A person both encouraging and enforcing the world around us. Subtle and you wouldn’t catch it unless you went back and remembered.

carousel 175

Elephants are beloved in Thailand. Helpers and companions.

There was one time though that mom didn’t encourage. She didn’t understand how I could study, read or do something and have music playing all the time. Every morning as I write my blog I have classical music playing. When I was 15 I listened to music as I was studying. Kansas (Point of Known Return), Peter, Paul and Mary and the my favorite Neil Young. I listened to the mucus to relax and focus. Mom didn’t understand that and she and I had a few discussions about the what and why of music while studying. I wouldn’t say either of us won those discussions. I continued to listen to music and mom continued to ask me how I could concentrate.


Family Historian

Of travel and dogs…

carousel 150

Elephants at work.

Mom gave me a book of my poetry one year for Christmas. My actual poems published in a book. It was the most amazing gift (I still have the book). I never published much poetry over the years but there have been that made it into magazines. Mom was the first person to publish more than one of my poems. That book is a treasure for me. I even hand wrote in a couple of other poems (they book had a few blank pages as well). My handwriting isn’t great so they are hard to read. But more importantly was the gift itself. The thought and the consideration to take poems I had written and make them into a book for me. It is one of those gifts you never forget.

carousel 155

This particular carousel had a lot of loose slides so I believe we have moved back to Thailand with these pictures.

Mom loves dogs. It started with Macgregor who was clearly dad’s dog but we all loved him. He was a great collie. We had Phoebe and Frosty next a Great Pyrenees and a Newfoundland. But the dog that was probably most mom’s was Loch Nyssa She was a Cairn Terrier, and she and mom were connected at a very special level. Nessie as she was called became the second boss of the house. She would defer to mom but the rest of us worked for Nessie. Nessie was mom’s dog and the two of them were very close. I think the most interesting thing about the two of them was that when mom would talk to her, Nessie would cock her head to one side as if listening. As if about to comment on what mom was saying.

carousel 160

No clue where this picture is from.

Nessie passed away a few years ago and while mom still has dogs around I think she misses her pal. Phoebe was her co-mom, but they were often at odds due to a constant disagreement about the amount of food Phoebe needed to be consuming (as in Phoebe wanted all the food in the house for the most part). We had cats as well. Mao was our Siamese cat that lived with us in the city and moved to the farm. But Mao didn’t like people much. She liked killing birds and mice but people were not high on her list. Mao had been declawed while we lived in the city. She was declawed because she and mom disagreed about the purpose of curtains. Mao believed curtains were something you should use to practice climbing. She would literally shred the curtains in the living room. So to end that argument we had her declawed. She still managed to kill birds and mice. She just didn’t play with them as much. The look on mom’s face when she came home and decided to open the living room curtains and found that instead she had living room tatters was one I will never forget.


Family Historian.

Of Elephants and dreams of technology…

carousel 130

For pictures (this one of India) you don’t use Carbon 14 dating you use Car14 dating. In this one the cars are clearly ones from the 1960’s/70’s.

I was never the student mom had been. (or dad for that matter). I found that I could spend hours studying and figuring out something I was interested in. Early on in my academic career though I struggled. Mom always told me that I would eventually find something I was passionate about and then that would change (she was right but please don’t tell her). For me the passion was technology. Not the consumption of things technology (although I do like that as well) but the connection. Mom’s passion was nursing. She could off the top of her head talk about all sorts of treatments and what was being done. Everyone called on mom for medical advice (we still do).

carousel 136

Scan those old slides and photos. Overtime some may decay. They have a shelf life of 20-25 years. These are more than 40 and you get the occasional obvious damage marks.

Mom organized and came up with the idea for the Hawaii get away last summer. We had a great family vacation that everyone found something to enjoy. Mom said it was her last big airplane trip. I hope that isn’t true. Once, and I remember the days, mom was scared of flying. I think it was as much having all her family on one airplane. She had a special lucky ring she wore.

Now in fairness to mom she was flying with 3 fairly young children at a very different time. You didn’t land and check in with family and friends via cellular phone. When you got there you didn’t check your phone for directions. Different times cause different stress.

carousel 141

Elephants (India).

I talked about the fact that mom went back to work when we got back from Thailand. We in the course of two years changed everything. Mom went back to work and we moved to a new house. We left behind our first Bloomington house (Sherwood Oaks) and moved into a house in Sycamore Knolls. 1910 Chelsea Court to be exact (we move from 1523 Dunstan Drive). Mom suddenly had a sewing room. Mostly I think because she got a lot of fabric in Thailand and was now collecting fabric. That fabric collection would eventually fill more than a room in the house but that wasn’t for a few years. She could spend her weekends sewing. At first when we got back mom worked on Saturdays so Lynne and I took over making family lunch on Saturday. We had so many parties and events at that house. Sadly it was also the time when mom’s first moody teenager appeared.


Family Historian

India, right before Afghanistan, and forgiveness…

carousel 115

A cow in India. It was funny to see cows in the middle of the street and no one honked at them. In Indiana if there were cows in the middle of the street people would be standing on their horns!

Mom spent a lot of time telling us about the cultural differences in the places we went. She had talked about what to expect when we were in New Delhi. So it wasn’t a shock. It was strange to see,  cows in the middle of the street walking as if they owned the place. Which I guess they did. No matter where you go in the world you will find things that are different from what you are used to. Mom worked very hard to prepare us for that difference. She and dad had also given us our Kodak 110 instamatic cameras. My second camera (my grandfather had given me an old Kokako 135 camera that I still have and reassure before the trip). It got me hooked on taking bad pictures!

carousel 120

A couple of days ago we saw someone carving one of these gorgeous platters. Now polishing it for sale.

Mom has one of these plates. It used to be on the wall (it may be in the new house I haven’t looked at it in years). I don’t remember how she got it home, we had several more stops to make after New Delhi. We went to Kabul and Copenhagen before heading back to the US. Mom had Barb, Lynne and I the entire trip across the Atlantic. Although we did have an exceptional movie (Play it Again Sam by Woody Allen) which certainly beat the movie we had going over (The Andromeda Strain). Play it Again Sam was very funny, but mom and I laughing wasn’t as loud as the Canadian Youth Hockey team line for the bathroom was. It was a very long flight. I think by the end mom was frazzled.

carousel 125

Farmers are really cool people. They are Outstanding in their field! (that is my father’s joke not mine)

When we were back in Indiana, after our year in Bangkok mom went back to work full time. First off, her career was a difficult one. It was the right thing to do, but mom took a lot of personal abuse from people that made a disagreement personal. I was always proud of the fact that other than the occasional utterance of Turkey Buzzard mom never denigrated the people that denigrated her profession. I remember once in a comparative religion class where the professor talked about the language of forgiveness that is in every single religious text. To forgive is divine. To hear someone, knowing they are not forgiving, and still forgive them takes more tolerance than I have. Mom is able to do that – which in my book is amazing!


Family Historian

Just another shameless review–Smartboard by Kapp

A one day break from the family history project to do a review. I have a huge number of reviews stacked up now. I do restaurant and services reviews on yelp if you are in the northern DC area and looking for a good meal. But technology reviews are here, so let’s do one! For those of you that have followed this blog for a long time my shameless reviews started out on this blog 10 years ago. I moved them to my other blog for a couple of years or so but pulled them back to here based on reader feedback.

I have searched for the perfect combination of paper and pen to digital for a long time. I love the abeam products that convert whiteboards into digital interactive spaces. The problem  with the eBeam products is the size of the markers.

Enter the Smart Board by Kapp. Use regular dry erase markers. Any dry erase markers. No special holder or casing required. You see the magic is in the Smart Kapp board and its software.

What I like:

  • Setup was fast and simple. Using the app on my iPad I literally took a picture of the bar code and was connected to the board.
  • Real time display of what is being drawn on the screen
  • Not huge but big enough to express yourself. (I need whiteboard real-estate)
  • Cleans easily
  • No more camera or iPhone pictures of my whiteboards (I have 100’s of from over the years)
  • I can using my iPad share the active whiteboard in a live meeting. That makes meetings so much more functional.

What I don’t like

  • Has to be mounted on the wall
  • PC software isn’t available today
  • software is ok, could be a lot better. I am hoping upgrades are coming!

Wall space is my one concern. I don’t have as much in my basement work space as I would like so losing a chunk for a smart board is a little painful. It is worth it however. I have a large rolling whiteboard, two on the wall painted whiteboards and this new board. It works very well in the space I’ve put it in. For a classroom or conference room setup for conferences it would be an amazing addition. In fact you could for less than 2000 create the ultimate audio and video/whiteboard integrated office by simply getting the Logitech conference system and the Smart Board by Kapp.

The software is the weak point right now. Real time capture of whiteboards is however something that adds a lot of value. Some people think better on their feet. It really works well in a web meeting format (I’ve tried MS Live meeting and WebEx, I haven’t tried any of the other services yet).

Overall I would, if you are in the market for an interactive whiteboard that you add this one from Kapp to your list of considerations. It gives you more features and the ability to just use whiteboard markets of any kind on the board. It is nearly flush with the wall so you don’t add a lot, the 42inch is great for one person and the larger wall mounted unit would work for two or more people at the whiteboard.


just another shameless review!

Transitioning to India I think and learning from two master educators!

The mission of UNESCO is to make the world a better place. The professionals that give up their lives for UNECSO and go to places where people need help are amazing people. They deserve all the credit in the world.

carousel 100

Mom put everything on hold for a year. She adapted and flourished in a world that was extremely different than the Wisconsin of her youth, the Chicago of her first and second child, and the Bloomington Indiana where we were right before Bangkok. Mom may have been scared, she have dreaded the change that was Bangkok. But the thing is, I never knew it. I always felt mom was happy to be going, to be on an adventure. That is the hardest thing about being a parent. To show the brave face to the world. I do now wonder, if for a moment mom feared or even worried about moving her family 12,000 miles away from everything. Remember this was before the days of cell phones, before the days of easy communication from anywhere in the world. Plus we were flying to the part of the world embroiled in a War that wasn’t popular at home or well in Vietnam.

carousel 105

Hand carved intricate work, just amazing. You could create something like this with a machine but it wouldn’t have that human touch.

The first time we went to Pataya,  a beach along the Gulf of Siam from Bangkok, it was an amazing trip. I remember mom and Miss Hart making dinner. Miss Hart made apple pie with clotted cream.  Mom and Miss Hart were dear, dear friends. Mom tried so hard to get Lynne and I to like Miss Hart. Miss Hart was a math teacher, a person built to interact with adults. She was brilliant. As an adult I truly enjoyed talking to her. As a child I didn’t understand her. It was good that we tried but confusing at best. Some people just aren’t meant to be around younger children!

carousel 110

A subtle shift but I believe these pictures are now of India, in particular our trip to New Delhi just before we flew to Afghanistan.

That’s the thing though about mom. She takes everyone at face value. Mom accepts all. If you are who you say you are, she will accept that. She taught us that skill it is just a little harder to do when you are 11 and 12 years old. Accepting people as who they are takes a little maturity and well I know I didn’t have that. But mom kept trying and teaching us. She kept exposing us to experiences that were new and different. I guess in fairness, mom was teacher just like dad. They two of them had a classroom (Lynne, Barb and I) that went with them everywhere. They had a world to educate us about and in. So they did. I am who I am because my mother (and father) were great educators!


Family Historian by day, education junkie by night!

Bikes, Parks and the beach at Lake Monroe…

carousel 085

There is nothing like riding your bike through the streets of the city you love!

Mom and my sister Barb walk nearly every day. (Huge thank you to my much younger sister for helping mom all the time).  Years ago it was mom and I that walked. Often because I was restless and didn’t nap well. So mom would get me out of the house so I didn’t wake up my other much younger sister Lynne. I talked about my favorite that mom and I took heading down to the Fudge Shop in the Dells. When we were at Lake Ripley the walks were normally done on a boat. Grandpa used to have to take me out on the boat to get me to sleep. Many of mom’s stories of my childhood are of her trying to get me to go to sleep.

carousel 089

The streets of Kabul were a mix of old and new. Much more old than new often.

There were two times in my life when I injured myself bad enough to need lots of stitches (more than 70 in both cases). Mom was the one who changed my bandages. That you would expect (dad did once for my head injury and ended up fainting). I have also talked about the calmness mom has in medical situations. There is one more part to all of this. My first major injury was a fluke. I was looking the wrong way and didn’t turn the sled in time, and struck a tree head first. The second was a stupid, a dumb thing that I should have known better. Mom never brought it up again. She mentioned to me that it was stupid what I did. She let me wander away from my dumb choice with no repercussion other than the horrible scar I have on my arm. Its still there and it reminds me every day of being stupid. Mom on the other hand does not remind me of that, ever.

carousel 095

The park and a sunny day are the same, everywhere in the world.

Mom used to take us to the beach in Indiana. Once Lake Monroe filled in they build Fairfax beach (which now that I think about it is pretty funny, I worked in Fairfax Virginia for nearly two years).  I learned to swim or swam for the first time on my own far enough to count as swimming at Fairfax beach. Mom would pack us into the old station wagon (and before that they white sedan) and take us to the beach. Usually a picnic lunch and an afternoon of water and sun. I remember those trips, wishing that we could go every single day of the week. I loved and love being in, on and around water. So did mom, we did go often. The reality was Lake Monroe was 35 minutes away. So going meant a little planning. But when we did go it was an amazing event. Lots of great memories there!


Family Historian…