Just another Shameless review: Yowza Elliptical Machine!!!!

The value in excursive equipment is actually using it! Recently we got rid of the treadmill we’ve had the past five years because no one was using it. It sat in the basement unused and taking up space.


Barb decided instead she wanted to replace the treadmill with an elliptical. She spent a lot of time researching the impact of front versus read mechanism. Apparently (I used to hate Elliptical they hurt my knees) the rear drive machines are much less wear and tear on your knees).

The thing is heavy (we moved it Luke, Nick and I.) it weighs a solid 300 pounds. It is sitting on a mat to protect the floor a bit.

What I love:

  • First off my knees don’t hurt when I use this elliptical. They have, always, hurt when I used elliptical in the past.
  • The device works both legs and arms. The arm bars move back and forth working your core, and both arms as you walk.
  • It is solid! As I said it weights a ton.
  • The connected software is very nice. It’s a Bluetooth connection that you can use to play music, or use your device as a dashboard getting more information from the machine. The software is well done.
  • The unit is quiet. You don’t hear  sound other than what you are trying to hear.
  • The controls are easy to operate while in motion.
  • There are four distinct hand holds so you can vary the workout considerably. You can have short motion, long motion, mid range motion and a pulse bar (no motion).
  • You can easily vary incline of the machine and the resistance your arms get when moving the arm unit.

What I don’t like:

  • Honestly the only big thing I don’t like is the speakers. It has a nice airplay an plug in speaker system but frankly the speakers are lower quality.  So I don’t use the onboard speakers very often if at all.

First off, I had never heard of Yowza. Barb did a lot of research and gets the credit for all that hard work. The company is great (we had a piece break and they were out 6 days later fixing it. Six days isn’t bad when you consider they shipped the part then came out to fix the unit). The unit is solid, quiet and as I said in the review it doesn’t impact your knees as much as the front motor units do. 

If are in the market for excursive equipment there are two simple things to consider. The first and probably most important is can you fit the equipment into your busy day. I use the elliptical in the early am now, adding 15-20 minutes in the early morning. It adds around 2000 steps to my day which is good (fit bit records the steps even when you are just standing still well moving up and down but not forward). The second is how much do you want to spend. I’ve bought the 900 dollar treadmills and frankly they break eventually. I’ve gotten the 300 dollar front run elliptical and they also break (and hurt my knees). The Yowza is a little more cost upfront but if you are in the market – I highly recommend it!!!!

Like this review? I have more localized reviews on Yelp (https://www.yelp.com/user_details?userid=94Spks2KcXSwNHIfVwLSmg) posted as Docandersen.


Elliptical Walker

Allow me to introduce two new adults to the world. My son’s turn 18 today. I am so very proud of both of them.


It seems like only yesterday. I was in training in Toronto Canada. Back before the day’s of easy cell phones (you turned them off internationally because it cost a ton and it was 1997, so they weren’t as good then as they are now). Barb actually left messages for me at the Microsoft office and my hotel. She never did that. I figured something was really wrong and called her the minute class was done. She asked me if I was sitting down. I wasn’t but said I was. I would regret that. “We are having twins.” she said. I dropped the phone and hit my knees (that hurt). It was the most fantastic beginning to a journey. Today that announced bundle that was to bring joy, happiness and wonder to our lives both turn 18. They arrived on my father’s birthday. He would have loved to see this, his twins turning 18. The image, first one, is of their 3rd birthday and dad’s 66th. Interesting Andersen/Misner/Ooley family trivia – all male grandchildren of my parents were born in March. The boys to quote the Harry Chapin arrived to the world in the usual way. Well it wasn’t the usual way. It was a difficult pregnancy. For a time we were convinced the boys were in utereo suffering from Twin to Twin Transfusion syndrome. That meant we had a number of sleepless nights and lots of really scary doctors appointments. The Doctor put Barb on bed rest around week 14 and she wasn’t released from bed rest until after week 33 when the boys were born.


Here they are in 2005 – again their birthday. Their favorite activity when they were little (ages 3 to 5) was to wait until I fell asleep and then jump on me. It got worse as they got older.

My favorite young boys story is when they were having developmental therapy (they were 7 weeks premature). The physical therapist came to our home and asked Barb “do they have difficulty walking or with balance?” At that exact moment Nick was 1/2 way up the staircase, the outside of the staircase. Not the normal stairs but the actual 2 inch section of stairs that stuck out. Barb said “no.”

As 3rd graders they were the top readers in the Center Grove School system. They were tied, and were the top two 3rd grade readers in the entire system. They love to read!

Funny story – my family has a tradition of naming sons with a middle initial 0. My father’s middle name was Oliver. Lukas has that middle name. But, we were able to get around the tradition and name Nick after Barb’s dad Les. His middle name was Otto. A happy coincidence but one that makes me smile to this day. We honored both fathers and kept the family tradition alive.

They were born in Cincinnati Ohio, Barb and my 3rd Buckeye contribution to the world (Jakki was also born in Cincinnati). Jakki decided when the boys were born that she was going to be the best big sister ever. If you ask the boys, they will tell you she was successful. The three are extremely close and she helps them deal and adjust with high school.


Swimming was a big part of their early years (we had a pool from the time they were 1 years old until they time they were 13). We still have a neighborhood pool, but now they go but don’t swim. Imagine teenagers being contrary.

The thing that I love the most is the many wonderful conversations we have now while walking. We have deep discussions around the mythos of Star Wars (they are much deeper than I am there). The boys started convincing me that I would like the movie Deadpool in December. They kept talking about how much I would like it. They were right. It was a huge transition, in the past I usually choose the movies that we went to. This was the first one that I wasn’t aware of (never read the Deadpool comics) and the boys convinced me to go. It was a really good experience to have them convince me.

Lately we have been talking politics. Not me influencing them, but hearing where they are and what they are thinking. The mud being slung by both parties right now upsets them. But they got their Maryland voters packets last week. They can vote, and have a voice in this election.

There are so many more stories I can share of the last 18 years. Fragments and moments that came and went. Events we enjoyed and those we hated. Movies, trips and tears all coming and going in the past 18 years. It has been the most amazing journey. I can’t imagine nor do I want to even think of what the world would be like without the boys. Raven would be sad. Her boys mean the world to her. They mean the world to their mother (Barb) as well. Me? I am so proud of the men they have become. I am proud of the people they are and have become. I see a lot of Barb in them. I see a lot of my dad and mom in them. Sometimes when Luke turns to the side, I see my grandfather in him. I see a lot of Jakki in their two awful senses of humor. I see a lot of Barb and Jakki in the way the view and care about the world. I do see myself in them from time to time as well.

I am so proud of you boys. Happy Birthday! 18.


Proud Father

Random pictures of where we were (at various times)….


This picture taken in Annapolis Maryland almost a year ago. When I hand Jakki the camera (or Nick and Luke) I always end up with pictures of me. I don’t really like pictures of me. As you can tell from the face I am making.

This restaurant is on the main street of Old Town that heads down to the old harbor. Downtown Annapolis is such an interesting place. It reminds me of Cambridge Wisconsin when I was little. Friendly and old with everyone out walking around.

For the next few days I am pulling pictures from random events and chronicling those events. More to have something new and different on the blog than anything else. I have so many pictures I am never going to share all of them. But I want to make sure that my pictures, my kids pictures, my grandfather’s pictures and my father’s pictures are at least partially shared. Pictures sitting in a box that are only seen on holidays or rare occasions are the worst kind of pictures.


The Washington Monument. It was damaged in the earthquake of 2011/12. I remember that earthquake. It actually rumbled the floor of my office where I was working. I thought it was them firing up the generators as a test. I found out later, it was a rather large earthquake in Northern Virginia. My office was in southern Maryland at that time.

I’ve been by, to and around the monument many times. It is majestic and unique. Just past the monument a short walk away is the beautiful WWII memorial and just past that (also a short walk) is the Vietnam Memorial. A couple of miles walk is the Lincoln Memorial and the Cherry trees. I had the misfortune of needing to be somewhere that the Cherry Blossoms were between me and where I needed to be (government office). I slogged through the traffic to get to the meeting. It took me an hour to get a distance of 4 miles. It usually takes about 12 minutes. But with all the tourists there for the festival it was kind of hard to get anywhere downtown. I ended up coming home the long way and got out of DC in less than 30 minutes. That was better than trying to make it back out via the Cherry Blossom route though. DC has interesting traffic patterns that are easily changed, and when changed ultimately become snarled.


Christmas picture 2013, before we headed off to Indiana. Stockings hung there by the fireplace. A roaring fire in the wood burning fireplace. The previous owner installed a woodstove in the fireplace. We can heat the entire center of the house with a fire in the family room. I suspect our room naming is screwed up based on traditional naming. We don’t use the rooms of houses the way most people do. This picture is of the last Christmas Fran was with us.

We changed out the flooring in this room after this picture (it is carpet in the picture you can see at the very edge by the window). It is a ceramic/stone tile now. We also ended up mooting the TV on the wall so we had more space in the room. Then we added a bigger couch so we had less room. Like I said, I am not sure we use the rooms the way they were originally designed.


Family Historian

Random Picture week!

The passage of time, has it really been 18 years (nearly)…


2016 The year the snow wouldn’t stop falling. It was the most interesting storm I’ve ever experienced in the winter. First off 34 inches of snow was the most I’ve ever personally lived through in one storm. Then add to it that it was 45 degrees a week later and while the snow was gone from the roads, it took more than a month to melt all the piles of snow the storm forced road crews to create. Without a doubt the most interesting storm I’ve ever lived through.

This is a very interesting year. In just a few days the boys are 18. That day, their birthday is a little tough but also a lot joyous. They have become well rounded and very intelligent young men. I truly enjoy hanging out with them. I was nervous about going to the movie Deadpool but they convinced me I would like it. They were dead on – (pardon the pun) I loved the movie. We have had 5 or 6 extended conversations about the movie since going.


These two will become adults. The state of Maryland sent them their first voter packets. They are legally allowed to vote in this election. They are adults. It seems strange to say that.

Anyway, I will have another longer post about the boys turning 18 on Wednesday.

It’s a busy week this week, lots to do and many places to be. I like to be busy at home and work so busy weeks are good. I will need a long nap at some point this coming weekend.

One of the things I haven’t done over the past few weeks is do reviews. I have a few stacked up and will share them, but I am also prepping for my 25 posts about Barb as well.


I don’t miss our pool. I miss living in Indiana sometimes. But I don’t miss having a pool. Our neighborhood pool is wonderful. They open it the end of May (unlike me opening the pool after two weekends of work). They keep it clean. They worry about chlorine. All I have to do is go to the clubhouse and swim! I like that a lot more. Plus now that I have a boat again, I have the world’s largest swimming pool just outside my water front condo in Annapolis Maryland!

I still love having a hot tub, but having a pool was something that mattered when the kids were young. None of them really love the pool as much now as they did. They used to be fanatics when it was in their backyard. I guess distance makes all things different.


Family Historian

The last blog focused on Mom. Thank you for everything mom!!!!!!


The last pictures of the boat I shared were from the day we wandered around it and decided it was the one. These are from yesterday, when the boat was officially ours. Luke and I went to get it ready to move it across the bay (Kent Island to Annapolis).

Happy Easter all!

Mom was a fantastic egg hider. The problem was she was better than the egg finders she was working with. What does that mean? It means that mom would hide stuff in the house and we would find it, 4-5 months later where she had hidden it. She was really good. Or her kids were really bad at finding the eggs she had hidden. When her Grandchildren were old enough mom moved the festival of egg snatching outdoors. It just meant that later that spring when she was mowing, she would run over the occasional rotten egg. Better outdoors than finding candy indoors because there is a trail of ants!


We are changing the name to Lab’s Lair and it will have a new port of call as well. We love Annapolis. Perhaps someday we will wander back to Kent Island to store our boat. When they put a 2nd and 3rd bridge across the bay. (Luke and I crossed the bay bridge yesterday and it still took 30 minutes even in March!)

The other big holiday for mom (other than Christmas – she loves Christmas) was July 4th. It was our family tradition for many years to gather at mom and dad’s house and then go watch the Bloomington 4th of July Parade at the office where my sister worked. We had a great spot there at Barb’s work to see the parade wander by. Then back to mom’’ and dad’s for a 4th of July meal. Usually brats and burgers. The tradition ended when we moved away (again) this time a little out of a short car ride back to Bloomington. But that was mom’s other big holiday event. We were there for 4th of July 2014 but the circumstances were far different and it was less a celebration. July 2014 was the last one in the old house on Kinser pike. Mom sold that house and moved to a smaller (and extremely nice) new house on the West side of Bloomington. Mom has lived on the west side of Bloomington Indiana for the past 35 years (since moving to the Farm in 1981ish).


We’ve taken many family vacations as a clan over the years (Ooley’s, Misner’s and Andersen’s) this image from the last one dad took with all of us Oak Island North Carolina in 2013.

To end my series of mom stories seems strange. I have more and I will share them from time to time. Mom is a huge part of why I am.  On one hand she and dad are the only reason I am here. Of course, from a legal and distancing perspective mom would probably argue that me or who I am comes from the compilation of events that occurred after she and dad brought me into this world. But the things that mom helped with, guided and supported are huge parts of who I am. When you look back at the influence one person has had on your life you find good and bad. Its only natural that you remember the times that person did things you didn’t want done. Mom was always there. Like that ever changing, never changing Ocean in the last picture mom was and is there. I called her Friday night for advice. In 10 seconds she had me thinking clearly about the problem and not making a rash decision. It is as much that mom was there Friday night as anything. She is an amazing person. This Friday (April 1st) the NSTA is honoring Dad with a life time achievement award. Mom has organized a trip for the adults to go and be there when Dad is honored. Why? Because that is mom. She is a person that loves to share the great moments with everyone. She keeps the bad stuff inside. You could share the bad with us as well. But she always made sure that the good spread to everyone. The world is a better place because mom is on it.

Thanks mom. I can’t tell you I love you enough. I can’t thank you enough for all the things you did, all the things you didn’t do and all the times you told me to stop. I love you.


Son and Anniversary ruiner…

Next to the last blog of mom– remembering what once was.


Grandmother Andersen holding one of my cousins. No reference points in the picture to guess who.

Mom loved the television show Faulty Towers. I actually didn’t enjoy it at first but mom convinced me to give it a second try. I also loved it (on the second try) but not as much as mom did. It was mom’s kind of comedy (physical) and (intellectual) mixed together. I tried for the longest time to get mom to watch Monty Python’s flying circus but I couldn’t (back in the day). I figured she would love the comedy of Monty Python since it was very similar to the comedy of Faulty Towers. Mom also loves older movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. That was a movie that mom and Barb (my wife) bonded over. It is a good movie but in their eyes it is a masterpiece.


Grandfather Andersen and 95% sure Kristin and Ricky.

When I got married (the second time) my wife to be had a daughter. Mom was delighted (and so was dad) that they would finally have a grandchild. It changed how we did Christmas. Matt (my sisters son and my oldest nephew) would arrive for the next Christmas (March) as would Jakki (November) but that first transition Christmas was all about Becca. Mom really embraced the Grandma role. She once told me (later) that had she known “How much fun grandma was, I would have skipped having kids and gone right to Grandma!” They embraced being Grandpa and Grandma very much. I was never worried about that transition for mom. I just hoped that their grandchildren would love being around their grandparents as much as I loved being around mine.


One of my cousins. This is the last image of metal box 1. I am going to take a break from metal boxes and just do random pictures for awhile.

Tomorrow is the last day of the “Blogs of Mom” series. I will sprinkle mom stories throughout the blogs I write going forward but tomorrow will be the last focused one. Not that I don’t have 100 more stories or even 10,000 more stories, I do. Just that I suspect mom is getting tired of reading my memories of her memories.

So tomorrow will be the last one focused on mom for awhile. I am going to print this last blog collection as a book and give it to mom as her birthday present (her Christmas present last year that arrived late was a book of all the blogs I did about dad). I can’t express in words all the things mom has given me, my sisters and our spouses. The guidance, love and support she (and dad as well) has given over the years is priceless. You can’t measure the starting point when you’ve come so far you only see the finish line. We wouldn’t be where we are without the guidance, love and support mom has given freely over the years. Sure all of us stumbled. All of us have made mistakes. But mom was always there. First with a band aid (and that nasty red stuff she used to coat cuts with. “This won’t hurt.” It did hurt mom. It BURNED!), first with a hug and always a caring smile.

Thanks for being there mom. You are the best!


Family Historian

Memories of the books mom used to read to me. Also, introducing Lab’s Lair.


As of noon today we again own a boat. That was the one thing I missed about Indiana (we had a boat there for 11 years on Lake Lemon). I grew up around boats and I love fishing and relaxing on the water. I guess this qualifies as history yet to be made. The boat is currently called the NanSea, but we are changing that (and will have it painted soon) to Lab’s Lair. Admiral Raven and Vice Admiral Dylan decided that was the best name for their humans to choose.

When I was little mom read a book to me, well she read several but there are two that stuck. I don’t know why those two books in particular were the ones she read to me that I cherish. The first one was is the book “Are you my mother.” I loved it when she read me that book. The second book (and yes the movie ruined it) is the glorious “Where the wild things are” as an adult and a parent I loved reading the “Giving Tree,” but as a child those were the two books mom read me that I cherish to this day.


Slightly different view. The boat is current on the island across the bay from Annapolis. We are going to moor the boat in Annapolis this year. We may move it in the future, we may not. For now, we want to be in the thick of things!

Mom and I (as I have mentioned before) used to read the first paragraph of various books while waiting for everyone else. I suspect we drove them nuts, we would read that first paragraph and then start creating a whole new book. It was just something we did although if you asked the rest of the family I suspect they would say it was something WE DID to them. My parents taught me to love to read. Although now I tend more towards reading with my ears (Audible) than reading with my eyes.


Beaming new owner sitting and the Dread Pirate Roberts standing, the DPR was talking about potential gun placement to make the boat into a pirate ship. (for those who don’t know him, its actually Luke in his beanie phase). It was cold the day we went to see the boat the first time. Really cold.

Mom always loved sledding the hill outside her parents house at Lake Ripley. One year she was in the toboggan with Lynne and Barb, she tried to stop the toboggan before it went off the bank onto the icy lake, and tore up her knee. That knee ended up being replaced 50 years later (new knee cap) but mom limped on a bad knee for all those years. Then had both knees replaced at the same time. Pain was never a big deal for mom, never slowed her down or stopped her. She just kept going. You don’t realize how strong an influence someone is in your life until you stop and remember all the times they helped you, guided you and read about wild things to you.

I love chicken soup because of the wild things book. I can’t go by a construction site with an earth mover without wanting to ask it if it is my mother.


Family Historian

Boat Captain!!!!!

Mom, and the quest for a clean room…


The rise (or setting) of the sun a few yesterdays ago.

Mom reminds me that the title of the Herald Telephone article many years ago (in the mid-70’s) was Super Nurse. Super mom was mentioned in the article but wasn’t the title. I just prefer to remember her as super mom.  Memories are a funny thing. Until they are shared they are yours. Once you share them though, they belong to everyone involved. Mom always says “its your memory.” It’s a polite way of reminding me that in fact, until its shared it is my memory alone. Once it is shared it moves to the common reality of everyone involved in the moment remembered. People remember different things about different events.


Great picture – on the far left my Uncle Fred. The kids are his and my Aunt Pattie’s kids Laurie and Michael, finally my Aunt Patty seated and my grandfather Andersen wearing a tie again.

Mom spent many years trying to adjust my fashion style. I am a bit of a stick in the mud. I like to wear the same types of shirts now, that I wore 40 years ago. Out of style every once in awhile but its what I wear. Mom tried for many years to get me to try new things, didn’t really take. At least that is my memory. One year however mom got me Eddie Bauer shirts. I don’t remember the colors but I remember the fabric. I wore those shirts until they were tatters. I loved those shirts. They weren’t flannel just a chamois type fabric. It was the only thing I liked to wear other than oxford shirts.


Aunt Dorothy facing the camera. Holding – well no guess there, and Grandma Andersen facing away from the camera.

The other thing mom tried for years was to get me to clean my room. Dad focused on us cleaning the kitchen (he was a cook in the US Army) and dad liked the kitchen done a certain way. Mom was always trying to convince me to clean my room. I would always tell her I know where everything is. But she was more interested in me actually having a visible floor. When we moved to Sycamore Knolls I got a much bigger room. I guess mom thought more room, great chance of neatness. Effectively it just got me more room for book shelves. I loved (and still love) books. Now I collect them on my Kindle but then I had bookshelf after bookshelf. Mom and I didn’t see eye to eye on what organized was.


Family Historian

They once called her Super Mom in the Herald Telephone (newspaper) frankly I still do.


Boys and water it is as ageless as girls and water!

Mom still lives in Bloomington Indiana. Every year she holds the family Christmas gathering and we assemble. It is now quite a journey (my nephew comes from Washington the State, we come from the other side of the country) but we come because it is mom’s favorite holiday. I thought about that the other day and it makes me both happy and sad. Happy in knowing that there is a family event coming in December. But sad and bitter sweet in that mom is the one who loves these events the most. Our family has always been driven by the generation before. Still mom has always done Christmas right. When I was a little kid I struggled for a long time because my birthday if 4 days before Christmas (It was also on mom an dad’s anniversary). I still struggle with that although less now than I did then. One of the drivers for not worrying about it as much was mom always making sure there was a difference (and giving up her anniversary for many years, they would celebrate on other days).


My guess is this is my cousin Ricky.

I can honestly say another thing about mom that is amazing is her willingness to listen. She is a great listener. She isn’t someone that won’t make a decision and move on, but she will listen to the arguments and discussion. Once mom decides though, that is that. But until she makes her final decision she always listens. It makes her someone that you can bounce ideas off of. Someone that you can reach out to when you are wondering and say “what if…” She will give you her honest opinion about the scenario. She won’t sugar coat it, or play games. Mom will listen. evaluate, and respond with her honest thoughts. Every time and that is a treasure. Sometimes she and I disagree. But I know she will listen and hear what I have to say!


Kristin and Ricky (Aunt Dorothy on the chair in the shadows) as youngsters.

Beyond the fact that mom has never gotten a traffic ticket she also seldom gets sick. Well she gets sick like the rest of us, but it isn’t like the rest of us. Mom is the caregiver in the family, the nurse. It is that gift of healing, of nurturing and caring that mom always brings. But she doesn’t get sick that often, in a way that would slow her down. I suspect she does get sick but she puts it aside and powers through. Next time she coughs while talking on the phone, I am going to Grub hub chicken soup to her house. To return the favor for the many times she had to stop and take care of me when I was little. Or the many times she had to take care of my dad. Or the many times she took care of my sisters. Or the times when all of us except her were sick. She was probably sick as well, but she took care of all of us. She was the person we turned to when we didn’t feel well. So mom, next time you don’t feel well, tell me. I will make sure to have chicken soup delivered to your house. Its too far for me to come over in person, but I will be there virtually offering care!


Family Historian

Pictures of yesterday, people of the past and memories of a great mother…


A birthday party. My Aunt Dorothy is the person standing in the picture (I am 60% sure).

Mom used to let me do science experiments in the freezer. I was curious about what would freeze and what would not freeze. I had a junior chemistry set and I mixed up compounds and then they would explode all over the inside of the freezer when they expanded (freezing). Mom would find the mess and I would get to learn how to clean the freezer. By the third time I was pretty sure I knew how to do it, but admitting that meant I would actually have to clean up my mess on my own so I answered the question do you know how, with a I think so.


One of my cousins (maybe Ricky? not sure).

We used to take hikes on vacation. Walking through the forest and exploring/photographing nature. Well dad did the photographing and led the walks. Mom’s job on hikes was to make sure none of us got lost. She would herd the cats who were always in varying stages of not wanting to be on the walk we were taking. Be it outright defiance or walking as slow as possible mom had to deal with the stragglers on the walk. I never asked her if she minded that job. She just did it because that is the way mom is. She always makes sure everyone is included in what is going on, even if they don’t want to. She makes sure we all have common and shared experiences.


The shores (I think) of Lake Michigan near Racine.

Mom reminded me that the great snow storm (40 inches or so of snow) was in 1947. I would think although I’ve never asked mom, that she would consider her home to be the lake. Perhaps it is the house they lived in Aurora Illinois. But my gut would say if you asked my mom where her childhood home was she would answer Cambridge Wisconsin. Its funny really mom moved just a small number of times as a child. The vast majority of her childhood spent in Cambridge Wisconsin. As an adult mom moved a lot. She moved to an apartment in Whitewater Wisconsin with dad when they were first married. We lived in two or three places in Chicago. We then moved to Bloomington Indiana where we lived in 5 places as a family, mom and dad had one more house together (Kinser Pike) and then mom has her house now. In between Bloomington and Bloomington we lived in Thailand. I guess moving is something that is in mom’s blood.


Family Historian