Wander project of Yelp reviews!


I am rapidly approaching my 100th yelp review (number 98 was posted this past weekend). I am not saying this is a stop everything, the epic event just that I am excited about number 100. To get to the number 100 I’ve posted reviews from some places. Some of the reviews are of places I love in Seattle Washington. Some are of the places I love in Bloomington Indiana. Finally, there are some reviews of places in Maryland that we have visited since moving here.

P6270033My first exposure to good sushi was in Seattle, so I have fond memories of the good and bad food in the city. I did learn that while sushi seems easy to make it is not. We’ve tried a couple of times with success after getting the Sushi Bazooka, but before that, it was not a good result. Seattle was also a place I spent many weeks visiting. I worked in a Seattle office for roughly 22 weeks, before my job went back to field based. During that time in Seattle, I was there Monday – Friday is every single week. I worked on documentation on the four-hour flight home as well. It was an eye opening experience.

IMG_5579Bloomington has a couple of classic restaurants but the most important for me as a person is the Trojan Horse. Why? That is the first place I met my wife after high school. We met once when she was a senior, and I was a freshman. But that meeting did not go well. We were introduced by friends of mine and hers at the horse, but that also didn’t go that well. The last time we were introduced was when we were ready to be a couple, funny how that works out.

Maryland is the land of sea food, so we’ve come to have more and more seafood in our diet. There are some awesome additional ethnic restaurants that we just didn’t have in Greenwood Indiana. (Our favorite ethnic restaurant closed until a new Thai place opened up. The only restaurants with significant spicy were the New Orleans style restaurant and the Thai place. Everything else was pretty bland overall) Moving to Maryland we could suddenly experience Pho, Sushi, and many other cultural food experiences. It is amazing. My wander project today is all the wanders that brought me to 98 Yelp Reviews. You can find my Yelp reviews, here.



Wander project Shanghai China

IMG_0759Christmas Season, Shanghai China the lights and displays were amazing. Shanghai is a very interesting city as it was where the Chinese Communist party was started, in the very buildings that are now a mall, interesting reality there. We got to wander the city (at night, we were working all day) so most of my pictures are of the night time events.

IMG_0817We stayed in a Marriott hotel; I love Marriott hotels. They have an amazing rewards program, over the years I enjoyed the many perks of many Marriott stays. The hotel was very nice; it had an amazing breakfast buffet that was uniquely Asian. I found the same buffets in hotels in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok. You don’t find the same buffet in Japanese hotels.  But the rest of Asia you get the buffet. My favorite part had white rice in the morning. I love rice in Southeast Asia.

IMG_0914There were two distinctly touristy things we did while we were there (I was there with a co-worker). The first was going to the top of the Financial Tower; the second was wander the market. The market was mostly so both of us could find something to take home for the various members of our families. I found several things to take home that were small and would fit into my suitcase. That was one of my determining factors in picking souvenirs for family members. They, the souvenirs, had to fit in my suitcase. Some times, my wife would also ask to go with me, and there were a couple of trips she was even willing to fit in the suitcase, but she couldn’t someone had to watch the kids!


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Wander project Munich Germany

IMG_0019As we wander pictures taken in Munich Germany, there are two disclaimers I need to make. The first is that my grandfather’s on both sides and my father, all took pictures of historical markers. My father used to screech to a halt when he saw a historical marker by the side of the road. We would get out, read it, and move on to the next (ok that is a slight exaggeration, he did that a few times, not every time). From that heritage or lineage I am now here, and take pictures of signs, people taking pictures of me and historical markets.

IMG_0006Oh yeah and when I am overseas, I take pictures of vending machines. The following pictures were taken while walking around Munich Germany. I have had the fortune of visiting several times, so I took the opportunity to arrive a day before my meetings started, and wander around the city. The images shared are things that caught my eye as I walked around.

Yes, vending machines catch my eye.

IMG_0069I’ve stayed near Downtown Munich and near the airport, so I got to experience the city and the suburbs in my two trips. The images are from a trip in 2007 for an internal meeting. I attended the meetings during the day but more importantly got to hang out with a dear friend in the afternoons and evenings. We went on a couple of long walks around the city. My friend is a beer maker, some of the best beer I’ve ever tasted, so he shared his knowledge of beer and brewing as we wandered one of the founding cities of the beer world. Plus we stopped and sampled a couple of beers along the way!


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Wander project Sydney…

IMGA0191There are trips you take that you remember. There are trips you take that you forget, I know for example that I have been to Omaha, and I have been to Nebraska City. But other than a couple of memories of things that happened there, I don’t remember the trip. I do remember heading to Sydney, landing, riding in a cab and sitting in the hotel of the city though. I remember hanging out, wandering around the city with a good friend and just having a blast. I remember taking pictures (many) of the Opera house.

IMGA0210In part, the many pictures I took of the Opera house were for my father. He had been in Australia 20 or so years before me and took many pictures of the Opera House for my mother. I took them for him, just to tease him with many more Opera house pictures. The first day I got to Sydney I was there alone, the rest of the team I was traveling with, was arriving later in the day or the next day. My first couple of forays into Sydney were on my own. I wandered to the quay and got to see the Opera House right away.

IMGA0189I also found out that the hotel had a cigar bar, so it was nice to relax and smoke a cigar. Not that smoking cigars is the only thing I would do that day. I ended up going out on three or four walks that day, exploring the city and walking off the jet lag. I got to see some street performers and enjoyed the show. I also found two boomerangs that I brought home. We still have them hanging on the walls of our house! My daughter wanted a didgeridoo, but they are far too large to fit into luggage or the overhead bay of the airplane so that was a solid no!


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Wander project Hawaii 2008

IMG_1041Our first trip as a couple to Hawaii was on the island of Lanai. Lanai or what was once called Pineapple Island had two distinct resorts located on it. The first was the ocean front the second was the inland resort. We stayed at the inland resort and had a blast.

IMG_1095We were there for five days. These pictures are of the many different things we did on that trip. From just relaxing and enjoying the day (Barb did a spa day I did a relax by the pool with a cigar day).  We went horseback riding, which was a lot of fun, riding up into the hills of Lanai. We also got to take the Ferry over to Oahu and enjoy a wonderful dinner overlooking the bay.

IMG_1104One of the best parts was being kidded free. I love my kids, but sometimes you just need to get away and remember why you got married in the first place. My parents stayed with the Kids in Greenwood, while my wife and I had a wonderful time in Hawaii. We brought home so many macadamia nuts it was insane. I love macadamia nuts. The best art the garlic infused macadamia’s, well the chocolate ones are good as well. Oh heck, they are all good. We brought home roughly 12 bags. Plus other fun trinkets for the kids. The ones they hated were the Hawaii Pencils we brought them. My wife thought that was a good idea. The kids all said, “you went to Hawaii and all we got was pencils!”


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Wander project from the shore to the sea, Seattle WA!

IMG_0076Yesterday we wandered from the sea to Seattle; there are some bits of downtown Seattle, including the shore. Over the years I walked some long walks along the Seattle Shores (or along the River in Redmond, my favorite walk). Starting near the heart of downtown and walking out towards the Salmon Farms and towards the commercial harbor. It was always relaxing when I had to spend the weekends in Seattle, and there weren’t work events I had to attend, to just walk.Just walk was always my way to adjust to the time-zones and to get some exercise. My knees won’t take running anymore. Walking along the shore in Seattle was always fun.

IMG_0096There are a couple of wonderful parks you walk through on your way. Plus if you start out in the Convention center area of Seattle, you can wander down to Pike Street. The Pike Street fish market, featured in many movies over the years, is a wonderful fun place to stop. Plus you can wander past Starbucks One (Pike Place).

IMG_0099From there you head towards the wonderful park. I am not sure I ever knew the name of the park, it is past the water front condo’s and is one of the coolest pedestrian, biking and just wandering parks in the Seattle area. It is fun to wander along the coastline towards the Salmon Fisheries. I had never seen a fishery, so it was always fun to wander by and see what they were doing. Then the walk would end near the beginning of the other side of the commercial port (the walk I often took was between the two parts of the commercial harbor, with the people harbor there as well (where ferries came into the Seattle port). I’ve come to realize I miss Seattle more than I thought I did. I guess you spend 15 years going in and out of a city, and you get used to the reality of that city.


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Wander project Seattle by Sea

IMG_0543Funny, one of my all time favorite Seattle Activities was on the various boats you can take, that have lunch, dinner, and other fun activity cruises. My all-time favorite cruise was the harbor cruise (went on that two or three times) that left from downtown Seattle and wandered around the Puget Sound. You saw Seattle from the water side. I enjoyed that cruise and the images shared of from the very first time I had an opportunity to be on the longer of the two cruises (this one goes all around the Seattle Harbor).

IMG_0573The food was ok, not anything that I would post a Yelp review of, but the overall cruise experience was amazing. Plus I got to hang out with some of my favorite folks and have a couple of beers. The only thing that would have made this a perfect cruise was the ability to smoke a cigar top side (you could smoke cigarettes on the top side, but no cigars).

IMG_0531There are three or four iterations (lengths) of the cruise. Over the years I went on three (really long, long and nowhere near long enough) of the four cruises. I also took the ferry to the San Juan islands and enjoyed wandering the islands as well. We did a whale watching cruise one year that was also amazing. Overall Seattle is a fun city, great restaurants and a lot of really cool activities. I realized, as I started this series (over the past two days) that I miss heading out to Seattle from time to time.


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Wander project Seattle Washington

DSCN0168Seattle Washington is a city I’ve often visited in the past. Working for a company that was based in Redmond Washington for 15 years. That meant Seattle Washington was the nearest major airport. SeaTac is the airport (Seattle Tacoma) to Redmond. Of the pictures shared some are flying in or out of Seattle and images of clouds and mountains.

DSCN0171Over the next couple of days, I will share other images that wander further around Seattle. One of my favorite places to be, go in the Seattle area was my friend’s house in Duval. I realized the other day that I used to go to his house (and his wife’s house) that I always went there for fun and never really took pictures while I was there. It means I don’t have any pictures around from Duval Washington. I do however have lots of images of Seattle itself, Redmond and the area around Redmond.

DSCN0162Downtown Seattle is the place where there were a huge number of amazing restaurants. I loved Wild Ginger, Brooklyn and the Metro Grill. I spent many a weekend afternoon at the two sports complex’s just outside the core of downtown Seattle. Over the years I went to a Seahawks game, a Mariners game and did get to see the Soccer team play, prior to my not going to Seattle as often.

Anyway, enjoy the first blast of Seattle pictures!


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Wander project the backyard (Greenwood) and visitors!

IMG_1445We modified the backyard of our house in Greenwood so that it was a place the kids would enjoy. We’ve modified the back yard of every house we’ve owned over the years, but in particular, Greenwood was the second time we built a pool. We have added play yards to each of the back yards we’ve owned our current house, in this house where we are now, we removed a play yard (the kids are a lot older now).

IMG_1455The other part of the pictures I am sharing today is the wild life that lived in the pond. The retention pond or drainage pond was built as part of the neighborhood. There were three ponds that made up the front of the subdivision we lived in (It was called Eagle Trace). Starting with the first spring we were in the house we built the pool and the play yard. We then later added a trampoline. I wish I had never added the trampoline. I spent more times being the mean neighbor to kids that lived in our house than I did enjoy it.

IMG_1459We later added a basketball goal in the front of the house (it was after all Indiana). Over the time we lived there, we had Beavers in the pond, Muskrats, Blue Herons, and Geese. In the pond, there were bass, bluegills and large Alligator Snapping Turtles. There were also Natrix Americanus, or common North American Water snakes. Natrix is mean snakes; they will bit anyone with little or no provocation. One time one of them took on our riding lawn mower. That didn’t end well for the snake.


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Wander project in search of Dolphins!

P6250008Another day on the bay! In particular lately, we’ve been searching for Dolphins. They (Dolphins) have been spotted in the Bay as far north as the Bay Bridge (and even North of the Bay Bridge) I love Dolphins. I want to see some in the wild. They are the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen and seeing them in the wild is an amazing experience. Seeing them from a boat that I can control and slow down to enjoy the view, is something I want to do.

P6250021I’ve gone whale watching and Dolphin watching in the Seattle area. I’ve been shark watching in Florida as well as Dolphin watching in Florida. We went Dolphin watching two weeks ago, with no success although in part I suspect that is because it is also prime boating season. As we wandered out looking for Dolphins, there were tons of sailboats and power boaters out and about. I can’t share the pictures as easily because they were taken with my Canon DSLR and they are huge files (more than 20 megs in size per file).

P6250049Searching for Dolphins, once we get the boat renamed (it is currently called IT Pays, but we have the letters, and we are going to put them on the boat this weekend). The new boat name is “Labs’ Lair Too” in honor of the dogs that love to ride along!


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