Wander project Oak Island North Carolina, and the reality of rose colored pictures…



Wave jumping, Oak Island North Carolina. There is something about the ocean, maybe it is the salt water. Maybe it is the sheer size of the ocean. Maybe it is the waves. I am sure there are a thousand reasons why the beach is amazing. Even on an overcast day in August 2014. A lot happened that year, the worst year I have experienced as a person. In rapid order three events happened that changed not only how I faced each day, but what I did every day. How that day started, how things were done all changed in the span of March to June 2014. We needed this vacation. To get away from the reality of where we were. We returned to the beaches of North Carolina. To relax on the beach for a week and collect a measure of control again. We found out that our water dog, that had joined us just two months before, Raven (formerly known as Raleigh) didn’t like water. We had, over the course of the 4 months she had been with us become aware of a dislike of running water, it applied we found to the Ocean as well.




She did eventually by the middle of the week warm up to the Ocean. But at first she wasn’t going to go into that water! I had gotten a new digital camera and I am sharing the pinkish hue I created pictures with before I realized my error. No, I do not view the world through rose colored glasses, although based on the pictures taken and shared today that is a fair assessment of my current state. There are a number of pictures of the kids cajoling Raven to try the water. Dylan walked right in, didn’t both him at all. It did bother him later when mom made me stand outside our rented apartment and get his feet sprayed off. Then he didn’t like water.





The good news is these images can be fixed. My ego not so much. I knew better than not checking the pictures but I didn’t check anyway. I realized when we got home and I dumped the pictures over to a computer that they were all infected with Pink hue! Rose Colored Oak Island North Carolina. Now, all said and done, based on the rules of the family history project set arbitrarily by me, I had to share them. There are so many pictures that live in the world unseen. At least some of them have to be ok!


Family historian…

Wander project Mouth Vernon (Virginia)…



As a child my parents took my sisters and I to Mount Vernon. Know as the long time home of George Washington, the first President of the United States, the person most often called the “Father” of our country. Shortly after we moved to the DC area I took the kids to Mount Vernon. We explored the entire facility. First of all I learned, which I probably knew from my first journey but is not what I remember about Mount Vernon then. George Washington was an agricultural innovator. When people talk about the founding fathers of our country usually it is Thomas Jefferson that is said to be the innovator. Washington actually was very interested in how to improve agriculture on his farm as well as for the entire nation!




He tried many different garden styles and combinations on his estate. That reminded me of my father. My dad tried many different styles of gardens over the years. He would visit a country and return with a new idea for the garden. Washington only visited Europe, but he read ideas put forth by other people about improving the process and concepts of agriculture in America! The gardens at Mount Vernon are laid out as close to the way Washington left them as is possible.





I had a blast wandering the grounds and seeing Mt. Vernon. It was without a doubt an amazing day for me. If you ask the kids they would probably tell you the best part of the day was stopping at the 5 guys on the way home for burgers (grilled chasse for Jakki she doesn’t like burgers) and a swing at the new fangled soda machine that was fun to watch the kids figure out. I think we actually saw the majority of the estate that day. We wandered to the lower gardens, we wandered inside the amazing mansion (you have to have a set time for your tour, there are so many people that want to crowd in) and we saw the flower gardens.


Family Historian

Wander project Hawaii and flight delays…



One of the most remarkable things about taking a family vacation to someplace far from home is the fact that you feel rested and relaxed until you have to leave. Then you need a couple of days to get back into the concept of working. The transition from family only time to work and family time is exhausting. Getting back from Hawaii was an 11 hour flight for us. It was less air time for the rest of the family but their flights had stops, so they took nearly as long or longer. Except for the Seattle bound person that had a direct Alaska Air flight! Delays on flights is what used to get me back when I was flying every week. One delay cascaded into an hour, two hours or more. It always bothered me on the way home, when a flight was missed or a delay caused me to sit and wait in an airport far from home. Our flight from Hawaii back to the mainland was delayed coming, and delayed going home. That didn’t bother me as much, my family was with me!




In 2008 when just the two of us went to Hawaii for our first trip there together, we were on one of the islands we didn’t visit during on 2015 family expedition. The island of Lanai, that was once owned by Dole and was called Pineapple island. We actually, in 2015, spent a day at the Dole Pineapple plantation (I have the baseball cap to prove it). It was an enjoyable afternoon. Hawaii is a wonderful get away for the family! Horseback riding on Lanai is still one of the all time favorite vacation moments. I did love the Dole Pineapple plantation as well that was fun. Going to the Macadamia nut farm was also an amazing experience. We enjoyed the Macadamia nuts we brought home for several weeks. I really liked the chocolate covered ones, Plus the garlic flavored (we got garlic flavored in two varieties) were beyond amazing.





We also got to see Kool and the Gang live in 2008! They played a private concert just for all the folks there on the island It was a company award get away). There are a number of events that I recall form the first trip Barb and I took. I think my favorite was heading across to Oahu via ferry and having a wonderful dinner just the two of us. We sat on the roof of a restaurant and got to enjoy the setting sun and wonderful company. Those are the family memories that make flight delays easier. Otherwise, the delayed flights are painful. Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it, so having memories of places you have been while you are delayed on the way home, or the way to someplace new makes it a little easier!


Family Historian

wander project holiday shows and holiday lights, Greenwood Indiana circa 2005…



Every major holiday season we would head out to two different schools, one for Jakki’s show and one for the Boy’s show. I loved seeing what the kids were doing in school. The part of teaching that I personally miss is hanging out with kids. They have a view of the world that is new and fresh. As a teacher I found that every problem that was raised, had an answer, a solution. That is something that we teach out of children and adults, but it is something you can still see in young children. So leaping into the concert to see and hear all that potential was one of my favorite things to do come the holidays. As kids get older, out of elementary school those events go away. High Schools produce plays and musicals but the holiday theme goes away. It is less than about being there for a moment with your children, then!




When the boys were little (and when Jakki was little) we used to pile in the car and drive around looking at the holiday decorations other people put up. I would say over the course of the 24 years Jakki and then the boys have lived with us, we’ve setup Christmas lights 5 or 6 times total. But we always loved driving around to see what creations other people had put up. So the holiday concert that started this blog led to a consideration of holiday lighting. For a long time we lived in a neighborhood that actually had rules about the lights you could put up (white) in front of the house. That also made it hard for me. I loved living in the neighborhood but well being told no makes it really hard for me to actually want to not actually do what I was told not to do.





I can hear Barb now, “Husband, stay away from the colored Holiday lights, those go up inside the house only.” I suspect she had to say it more than once, or probably more than twice. I acknowledge that I can be a little stubborn. It is funny, I love looking at the lights but I have never enjoyed the creativity required to put them up. To create a visual image that is conveyed with light. I just don’t have the eye for that or the ability. I admire anyone that can do that, and still enjoy pointing out Holiday lights when we are driving in the seasons that have them. But doing them myself, not so much!


Family Historian

Wander project Hawaii (I couldn’t help it)



The ocean and our 2015 trip to Hawaii! We started out on Oahu in the city of Honolulu. Funny thing or funny note, Matt Misner flying from Seattle Washington and us flying from Washington DC were the only ones with direct flights. Even though it takes 2 hours to fly from Indianapolis to DC (well in fairness it takes 1:20 but there is the take off taxi and landing taxi that adds time to the overall flight). We ended up at the airport first and waited for everyone else. Our flight was delayed, but so was everyone else’s. Honolulu is an interesting airport. It is more open allowing air to flow in some areas. The baggage area is not one of those areas. It is kind of dingy and dirty. But then you are outside in Hawaii and it is so beautiful that you realize the first part, the dingy baggage claim area, may have been on purpose to make the stunning beauty outside, well, more stunning!




We began and ended the trip at the swap meet located just outside Aloha stadium. Well, the boys and I began the vacation looking for the Hawaiian dish Loco Moco. Barb and Jakki went to the swap meet the first day we were in Honolulu. On the last day we were there, the boys and I went with Barb, Jakki, my sisters and my mother and everyone else to the swap meet. Our flight was in the middle of the afternoon back to DC, landing around 6:30 am the next day. We actually had a great flight back, no delays and it was direct again. The advantage I learned in my many years of traveling is the reality of airports. The bigger and more central the airport you are leaving from and going to, the more likely you are to have direct flights. Sometimes you end up paying a little more for the flights, but you can cut hours from your trip so it is a trade off.





I took these early morning (well most are early morning) photos from our stay at the Paradise Bay resort. We were nestled on a river, that led right out into the bay, with the cabins we were in looking right out into the bay. Every morning really early I got up to write and share my blog as I have done for many days in a row now(I haven’t missed a day of posting in more than 3 years now). But I stopped and took pictures as the sun rose every day. Just an amazing view of the world beyond the porch on which I was sitting!


Family Historian

Wander project Derby England…



I have over the years had the chance to visit England quite a few times. During those many visits I have found a number of English traditions amazing and interesting. I love the London Cabs. I do find it a big disconcerting that the sign shared says no drinking out of the box, it is after all a small box. One of the things I enjoy about visiting London is simply the wealth of options they have for the consumption of food. From pub food, that truly is similar to US bar food, to the uniquely English breakfast buffet. I love roasted tomatoes for breakfast. Plus I really enjoy the variety of choices on the English Breakfast buffet. Not sure I understand the what and why of baked beans for breakfast. Seems a bit off to me, but that I suspect is my inner puritan talking. I really enjoy a good English Breakfast Buffet!




One of my earliest trips to England ended up in Derby working with a customer. The best part of visiting Derby was the train. You land at Heathrow and take a train to Derby. I really was exhausted after flying to the UK, it is an overnight flight but timing is roughly 7 hours. By the time you take off, settle into your seat and try to get some sleep you are already out 2 hours. So you are running on 3 or 4 hours of sleep by the time you land. Add to that the stress of making it through customs and getting your stuff. Then you hop on the train system and head across London to Paddington Station. There you catch the train that take you to Derby. So there are a lot of moving pieces in the overall experience.





We actually had our meetings in the office of the Derby Rams. That was a lot of fun, actually sitting high above the pitch. The hardest thing about the trip frankly was the reality of telephone connectivity. This was right before most hotels added wi-fi to their guest offerings. So I had to have the English phone adapter, the English power adapter and to get my email and do any customer research it had to be done via the phone. I really rarely complain about internet speeds now, I remember searching via phone line! Really enjoyed my sojourn in Derby!


Family Historian

Sometimes you wander close to home. Sometimes you just wonder…

Part of my journey as a writer was through a Royal Manual Typewriter. My father taught me to write what I was thinking. Then when I was done to go back and clean things up. I should probably do a better job of cleaning things up. I found a Royal like the one my father had all those years ago on Etsy. I also have a 1930’s portable typewriter with the case, but it is in really bad shape. I keep them to remind me of my father. I also keep them to remind me of the journey. I used to sit in front of a blank sheet of paper, now it is in front of a taunting flashing cursor. Either way there is blankness in front of me as I start my journey, my wander project each day. It is a journey that mixes the joy and sorrow of my life around me. This blog focusing on the various components of the Family History project my kids and I began now nearly three years ago.

Nick used to take lego sets and make new creations!

Over the years there are a number of things that change and a number of things that stay the same. The family history project focuses on tracking the things that changed. We got married on the hottest day of June 1991. It actually wasn’t the hottest day, but we were outside in wedding attire and it was hotter because of that. As we stood there on the porch of my parents farm, listening to the minister read the ceremony a bee buzzed around us. That moment in 1991 was not the end of a previous journey nor was it the beginning only of a new journey. It was the mixing of two journey’s together. The past, present and future captured in a series of photographs and video. We have 20 DVD’s worth of family videos, plus more than 100,000 images that have been scanned, archived and we have begun sharing them.

I still love to take pictures of people taking pictures.

The folder I found to share for today is one from 2006. Many things happened that year. I actually finished my project in Malaysia that year. I stopped by Bangkok to visit my parents who were there (dad was still teaching in Bangkok long after he returned from IU). Barb’s parents were living in Franklyn Indiana by then, in an apartment as part of a retirement facility. The world was still shaken by the events of the previous five years. 2001 had a huge impact on those of us that traveled for a living. The kids were growing. The boys turned 8 years old in 2006. Their sister was 14. Great kids then (that hasn’t changed they are still great kids).