Wander project snow!


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When I was little, we would go to Wisconsin in the fall and winter seasons. We went in the summer as well but Wisconsin always had a cover of snow in the winter. It wasn’t like Indiana’s often lack of snow. I remember as a senior in High School people were talking about the record number of days the snow didn’t melt (it think it was in the high forties). This image is of the back area of our hosue in Greenwood Indiana looking out over the pond. It was probably a 5 or 6 inch snow. Not much by some standards but more than enough. I am not sure why I am stuck on snow today. In part it is because I have my time-lapse weather station and I would like to get one video of snow falling, but the other part of me is missing being 5 and sledding down my grandfather’s hill. Of course, there were trees. You had to sled carefully. There was a time, I didn’t, and hit my head hard enough to require stitches.

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Our next wandering of snow images is our home in Cincinnati Ohio, actually our house in Willowcove. We built that house in 1998. We actually only lived in the house for one year before moving back to Indiana. This is the front, mailbox and the hand shoveled driveway. That is the last hosue I didn’t have a snow blower! I learned the lesson of not blowing the snow off the driveway but moving it with a shovel. At some point technology is always better.

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Ah snow! These last images from the back and front of our house last year (2016) in Maryland. The largest snowfall I’ve ever lived through. Estimates were between 30 and 35 inches of snow. I snowed for two straight days. Not a little but 2 inches or more per hour often. As if the snow sky opened up and fell to earth. We had to clear off the back porch so the labs had a place to go and pee. Poor things had to slog through all that snow. The snow was actually taller than Jakki’s dog!

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Snow Historian

Wander Project Mexico!


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Ah Mexico! We wandered one year to the western side of Mexico so that is the Pacific Ocean you see there in the background.Well actually in the far background you see more of Mexico, but the water in the bay is the Pacific ocean! We were staying in Puerto Viarta, and it was an amazing trip. There was a time when the boys were young that we literally stayed in one room at a hotel. We paid the cost of two rooms normally but all of us stayed in that one room. Normally the boys would sleep on the second bed in the room, Jakki on a foldaway bed and all was good. That changed sometimes during the course of a vacation (Jakki and a boy on the double bed, and a boy on the rollaway). We did that for a few vacations, not to save money but out of concern for the young boys. Almost losing Nick early on in the process made us a little more on the side of over-protective in some ways that we probably needed to be.

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The Marriott resort we stayed at was amazing. They had beautiful flower gardens, and one of the most amazing pools! Every night a pirate ship would wander out into the bay and fire its canons. We thought about going out on the pirate ship but that was the beginning of our get the kids to be early phase of life. That would last for a number of years. I guess as a parent it is easier to enforce an early bedtime when the kids are really young. That way as they get older they are used to going to bed earlier and simply wander off to bed. At least that was the prevailing theory in our hosue! The first two pictures were taken from the balcony of our room looking out towards the ocean.

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The other thing about the hotel that we didn’t know, is that because it was a resort they had 3 different restaurants on the property. The one that was the biggest hit with everyone was the Japanese Steakhouse. Sadly, you can go to those anywhere in the US, but the kids all love Japanese steakhouses. This was even before I had gotten them to try Sushi. The pictures are of the various gardens around the resort. It was a very restful and idyllic place to just hang out and relax. We didn’t, off on day trips all day every day but we would have wandered the Zen gardens and relaxed.

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Family Historian

Wander Project Ireland


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Fair Dublin, I’ve had the fortune of being in the wonderful city and it remains one of my favorite cities. Due to timing of this business trip, I had meetings Monday – Thursday of one week, and then Monday and Tuesday of the next week. So I ended up spending one 1/2 and one full weekend wandering the streets of Dublin. Plus my hosts took me out to dinner and on a couple of tours outside the city. I started my Sunday (first day in Dublin that I was functional, Saturday I mostly walked around the hotel area and acclimated myself) riding the hop on hop off buses around the city. I hopped on about a block from my hotel (The Four Seasons, Dublin). The first stop I made was Trinity College (my father suggested that one). Then hopping back on I decided to take the stop near the Guinness Brewery (that one was for me) and take the tour! I ended up having a couple of pints at Top of the World (the bar on top of the Guinness Factory).

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I also made a few other stops that were just for me. One was the pub that James Joyce frequented. I love the works of Joyce. The Dubliners remains one of my favorite books. I also wandered the site of the Easter Day Rebellion. Looking for the bullet holes in the statue outside the old Post Office. It was my Irish heritage that drew me to wander historical Dublin. My stomach was rumbling after a morning of sight seeing, so I had lunch in a traditional pub near the post office. It was fun to sit and listen to the conversations around me.

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Part of my trip was to wander up to Belfast Northern Ireland and make a number of customer visits there as well. I got on a train in Dublin, being from the US, I was a little scared, trains aren’t the normal mode of transportation. I became, after the waiter stopped by and brought me breakfast, a fan of Irish trains. In Belfast (at least it was then) the Northern Ireland office of the company was literally right outside the dry dock used to build the Titanic and her sister ships. I wandered around that expanse a little and got to see a lot of Northern Ireland. What a great trip it was!

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Family Historian

Wander project Copenhagen 2006


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Sometimes it is not where you go, although we are going somewhere today, but it is rather who you travel with. We many years ago, drove from Greenwood Indiana to Cambridge Wisconsin. My parents nicely loaned us their camper so we could wander southern Wisconsin and see the sites. We took our dog Gwen with us. Gwen was terrible in the car. She was nervous and with the extra space of the camping van was able to pace more while the car was moving. Our current two dogs however are awesome car riders. That isn’t a coat Dylan is wearing but a post bath towel. Dylan is offended by baths (he is very careful about staying clean).

Today we are wandering as we always do. But I did want to start with the shoutout to our Canine partners. Raven and Dylan are a great paid of dogs, we are lucky they live with us. Actually according to Raven, we are lucky she lets us live in HRMR’s house. In particular she looks at me when she says that.

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Denmark, 2006, on a trip for work I wandered Denmark. This was my second trip to Copenhagen (we also stopped in this city in 1972). I would be  back one more time, before our trip to Copenhagen in 2016. I love the city. It is the one European city other than London where I actually feel at home. I love wandering many cities in Europe but Copenhagen to me, feels like home. We started out this trip in Copenhagen proper, but half way through the week we ended up moving our entire crew closer to the sea. We ended up at a fantastic resort by the shore. This was a great trip and is my third favorite all time trip to Copenhagen (2016 is my favorite all time Copenhagen trip, 1972 is a very close second.) The one thing we didn’t have time to do on this trip was to recreate the Little Mermaid picture. I am not sure the folks I was with would have understood the what and why of the picture, and we just didn’t have time to go see the statue. Also it was dark by the time we were sight seeing.

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A few scattered pictures from the trip. The incoming storm was after we had moved from Copenhagen proper closer to the sea. The incoming storm was quite nasty in fact, it rained for quite a long time and rained quite hard. But who cared, we were sitting in a spa, bar, enjoying a conversation that thunder only punctuated, thunder didn’t disrupt the conversation!

It was a fantastic trip!

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family historian

Wander project Waikiki Beach!


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I’ve shared some of these pictures before, of the iconic beach on Oahu known as Waikiki Beach. It has for years been rated one of the most famous beaches in the world. We got to wander the iconic beach right as the sun was falling. My sisters, Becca, and my mother had tougher flights, making multiple connections. Matt, flying out of Seattle and us flying out of DC, had the direct flights. There are advantages to living near a large city. We were all pretty frazzled after flying since early morning, then landing in Honolulu and getting everyone to the hotel. My sisters had arranged transportation from the airport to the hotel. We got there in the late afternoon, took a few minutes and then headed out to dinner. It was on the way back from dinner in a frazzled traveling all day state, that we enjoyed seeing the famous beach.

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There are moments when the sun is just sliding over the horizon, moments that as you pause you notice the subtle change. That moment when, as in the first picture you see the beginning of night. From the glory that was day to the darkness of night. The boys, Jakki and Becca went off to find a Vietnamese place, the rest of us all went out together. It was the first time in a long time we didn’t have kids at the table for dinner. It was both surreal and fun. We also got shrimp, made Hawaiian style with three different types like you get from the many shrimp trucks on the island. Garlic Shrimp was by far my favorite.

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We waded out a bit into the water, it was warm lapping at your feet. The waves rolling gently into the beach. There were a lot of people still in or near the water. Having just finished dinner we were slowly making our way back to the hotel. It was vacation there was no need to hurry. I think that is the best part of having no where in specific to be, no where in particular to go. We wandered the beach seeing the setting sun and feeling the warmth of Hawaii around us. The next morning was going to be busy, my mother and sisters were heading off to the swap meet to get t-shirts. The boys and I were going off to find Loco Moco.

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Family Historian

Wander project Hawaii (I know again?) :-)


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Back to images of Hawaii. Going to Annapolis last weekend rekindled my missing water. The trip to Hawaii was setup and begun as a tribute to a person that wouldn’t be traveling with us. But it became a wonderful set of forever family memories. We started out on Waikiki beach and ended up on a resort on Oahu. I was watching the show Hawaii 5-0 before the trip, after the trip I was an addict. Every episode shows more and more of the island, and I really enjoy it now even more! This is a tender for the ship. Tenders are interesting in part because they are lifeboats, in part because you only use them for a couple of the ports in Hawaii. Surprisingly for a series of islands that are really just volcanos that are really tall reaching from the sea floor, Hawaii has a lot of deep water ports. (that was a joke fyi). It was fun pulling out of the port in Honolulu and going to all the islands. We had excursions planned for each of the ports.

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When you are in port or near land you don’t worry about clouds like this. When you are on the water you worry a little. The chop is a lot more when the wind blows! This taken from one of the stops we made. We would hit a number of the islands over the week. We didn’t wander to Lanai, where Barb and I had our first Hawaiian experience. We did get to wander to a number of places I had never been before so getting off the boat and exploring was a fun trip for me. I didn’t, however spend much time on the beach. I like to wander beaches but frankly, I am over the stage in life where I want to sit at the beach and bake. I like seeing the world around me when I am out and about. I guess part of that is the writer in me, who loves to find the stories in the faces of people around me. To see the thoughts, and make up the conversations. To create a connection between nothing and something that never was, but I think that is just me.

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The girls took the Kayak out into Paradise Bay while we were on Oahu after the cruise. I love the picture of them heading out to sea. Intrepid explorers, with a water proof digital camera (have I mentioned the Olympus Tough series of cameras today Smile ). The other three are at sea, at port and at sea again. I took quite a few pictures with both camera’s while we were on vacation. Over time the pictures have been seen and shared. That is the most important lesson for our family history project. Actually it is the second most important lesson. The most important lesson is to have multiple copies of the images. The other is to share those images with the world. There is nothing better than the smile on someone’s face when you remind them of a great family event!

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Family Historian

Wander project Racine Wisconsin


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This picture is of me, my little sister and Luke. Luke is the one in red, of course! I don’t recognize the couch but I believe this is from a trip taken up to Wisconsin to see my Grandmother Andersen. She lived in Racine Wisconsin and is the only one of the four of my grandparents that was alive when the boys were alive. Jakki got to meet my grandfather Johnston, my grandmother Johnston had died just a few months before she was born. Although I think Grandma Johnston would have approved of Jakki. We went up to see Grandma Andersen in early spring/summer 2000 shortly after we had moved back to Indiana after our stay in Cincinnati. It seems so strange now, that this picture is nearly 17 years old. The little guy in red still loves to wear red but he is nearly as tall as I am now if not taller.

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These two images are of my grandmother Andersen. She loved to read. I remember, mom and dad taking us to see her and my great Aunt Mart after we had returned from Thailand. Mom and dad were going out for some reason, so they were leaving us with Grandmother Andersen for the evening. Grandma wasn’t much of a cook, which we learned  quickly, she asked Lynne and I if we could cook (we could, and we did). But the thing about grandma was she gave her dogs people food and she loved to read. That I also remember, sitting at the kitchen table and talking to her about books. I could see the same flame of knowledge in her that was in dad so it was a lot of fun to talk about the books we had in common (there weren’t many but there were a few). Racine Wisconsin was a really interesting place. Over the years were there a number of times. The first few years, Grandma and Great-Aunt Mart lived in a duplex with my Aunt Dorothy in the other half.

My father was the only boy of four children. There was his oldest sister Barbara, she died in the 1960’s. My grandfather died in the 1970’s (early). My father’s other two sisters were Dorothy (she died in the 2000’s) and Patty. Aunt Patty is still alive and well living in Texas.

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Two more images of Grandma Andersen and one of Grandpa Andersen. I don’t remember much of my grandfather although I should. He was around a lot when I was little. He passed away when I was 11 years old, while we were in Thailand. I remember the day dad and mom told me he had died. For someone reason right after they told me, I had Armed Forces Radio on in my bedroom, and the Gilbert O’Sullivan song “Alone, again naturally.” was requested by someone and played. That song has stuck with me all these years as the song that reminds me of my grandfather Andersen. I hear it and I am wistful

Back to Racine, the best thing about going to Racine was seeing Grandma. The second best thing was that Racine was where the Danish owned Bakery was. that means Cringle! Cringle is my all time favorite breakfast sweet. It is pastry dough rolled really thin, filled with a gooey concoction of nuts and sugar, and then topped with frosting. Served room temperature, warm or cold it is a taste treat!

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Family Historian