I thought I would pop back to Oz for a moment. I had the opportunity to visit Australia roughly 12 years ago now. It was a glorious two weeks spend in Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra. During that time I got to take long evening walks in each of the three cities and spent two weekends in Sydney. I learned a lot about the magnificent country. I found that the music coming from a didgeridoo was amazing.
One of the things I found while I was in Oz, was how kind and considerate the people were. I was out walking on the first day I was there, taking pictures (some of the pictures shared today) and it was raining. I had an umbrella in my bag, but I hadn’t gotten it out yet. A person walked by and offered me his umbrella, I didn’t take, but the kindness touched me. There are parts of the US where not only wouldn’t that happen, but the person walking by might laugh at you getting wet.
I also enjoyed the food. I love Lamb and Oz is the land of Lamb. I enjoyed the many different ways they prepared the meat. My favorite was the open fire restaurant we went to one evening in Melbourne. The food was prepared on an open fire, and it was the most amazing food. I also enjoyed walking along the river in Melbourne as the giant gas (natural gas) fountains spewed flames into the air. You could feel the heat!
Fan of Oz
I mentioned a few times that I wondered how the Geese could stand on the Ice of the pond, day after day. The Heron also walked in the cold water. The pond wasn’t very deep, less than 6 feet at the center. We know it was six feet because one year while we lived there, the police came with Sonar and scanned the pond. They were looking for a missing truck and a woman. She had been missing for 4 or more years, and the police were still searching.
The Heron often perched on our edge of the pond. We owned the area from the stream to roughly 1/3 of the pond. The next two houses finished out most of the lower half of the pond. The rest of the houses in our subdivision backing onto the pond had retaining walls. That meant the Heron was limited in where they could fish. They would often walk along the banks seeking lunch, breakfast or dinner.
Baby Herons often ask “mom what’s for lunch?” the answer is the same answer for breakfast, and dinner, Fish! I will say in the 11 years we lived with the Heron’s and watched, not a single one ever rang the doorbell and asked if they could borrow Malt Vinegar. I guess they weren’t English Blue Herons. Sorry, the smart-aleck in me cannot help with dumb jokes like that. I think it is my parent’s fault or possibly my wife’s fault. I know it isn’t my fault
Smart Aleck Historian
I remember a time long ago and a lesson I learned. I mentioned to my grandfather how beautiful Canadian Geese were, as they landed on Lake Ripley and wandered the shore of my Grandfather’s property. I remarked to him that they were amazing. He handed me a shovel and said, they are messy, and you get to clean up after them. After that, I no longer admired the Canadian Geese. They are messy birds. Well actually I still did, I just noticed them now when they were flying not on the shore making a mess I had to clean up!
During the winter, in Greenwood, we were the southern destinations that the Geese flew towards. A way stop for some flocks, a winter locale for others. They would swim in our retention pond the entire winter. As the ice froze, it left the one section of moving water for the last freeze. The Geese would wander around the ice, staying close to the last official hole in the ice. The last gasp of open water. I wondered about that, didn’t standing on Ice make their feet cold?
Over the years, 11 in fact, I took pictures of the geese. I watched them, shooing them off our pool cover and out of our pool often. I didn’t want to clean up after them in a place my kids would be, and frankly I would have to clean up after them. I watched them and wondered. I still do wonder, although now we don’t live near a retention pond. The nearest open water sits in the recreation park that is 3 miles from our house. We still see Geese from time to time, but they are now, as my dog calls them, Have that’s. Anything that either Dylan or Raven think they should be easting becomes a have that in their world.
At least, I don’t have to clean up after them, anymore!
We built two pools for two different houses. The first pool we built was in Cincinnati Ohio behind our house in Mt. Airy. In retrospect, the yard was a little too steep for a pool in that case, but we added retaining walls and built it anyway. The backyard in Mt. Airy was a hill, then a small flat area that backed up to the house. It was the first, and so far the only house my wife and I have ever designed and built.
In Indiana, we added the pool to the much larger backyard. Amazing what moving from a crowded, and larger city to a suburb of a smaller city will do for you. The funny thing is, in Indiana, we had to add retaining walls for the pool as well. In Ohio, it was to create a flat space for the pool (who knew pools couldn’t be built on the slant of a hill. Seems strange to me ). In Indiana it was to have the same flat platform for the pool.
Our Indiana backyard was an undulating set of hills. The retaining wall almost gave us an infinity pool look and feel, except that the wall rose just above pool level. The second retaining wall allowed us to have a nice patio area for the pool. We nearly added a staging area/screened in porch under the deck by the back door of the house, but decided against doing that twice. The first time we decided to wait and the second time we decided we didn’t need it!
former pool owner
Interesting Hodge-podge collection in the folder called Boy’s Baseball. I need to go through many of these folders. The first few pictures are of my office in Greenwood Indiana. Over the years, I have had three home offices, and part of the basement in two other houses. I have, by the way, never had a window in my home office. I hope someday to get promoted at home to where I get an office with a window.
The initial pictures to share today are of baseball practice. Practice and games were pretty similar. Both were fun to watch, and I enjoyed getting to relax outdoors and take video and pictures of the kids. The YMCA of Greenwood Indiana has massive outdoor and indoor sports facilities. Parking was always the issue. I suspect given the number of parents and the divorce rate in the US there were many more cars arriving at the games than there would have been in the past.
They also had a snack area, so every game the kids would get a parent provided snack and of course, also have to go to the concession stand to get a second treat. I am sure that worked out somehow but I am not sure it was ever in my favor. We took our lawn/outdoor chairs with us and relaxed with waters and watching. I can remember thinking some times that a beer and a hotdog would have made the experience perfect, but neither of those was options!
Author’s Note: I still have the snowman in my office (made by my daughter) and I still have big mouth Billy Bass although his batteries are currently dead.
The last weekend with the boat on the water. We had to move from one slip to the other and wanted to see how the dry version of our teak cleaning turned out. We’ve, my wife and I, come to enjoy the time we spend just wandering the bay on the boat. Funny how things change over time and you develop new ideas about what is important. I suspect years ago, when the kids were little, we didn’t enjoy boating the same way.
In fact, I know we didn’t, back then it was a family thing. We fished, sunbathed and towed kids on the tubes behind the boat. It was both recreation and escape. Now it is more escape. For a time leaving behind all the things that are on land and heading away from shore for a time. I guess like anything you have to consider what it is you need versus what it is you want. Sometimes finding the harmony within is a greater need than simply quelling the sound the sound of the world around you.
We moved the boat from one side of the dock to another. The dock was being repaired, and the fueling station on the fuel dock was being replaced. Our slip sits right next to the fuel dock, so we had to move the boat. You don’t want heavy machines lifting and dropping things around your boat; it is just one slip until something destroys the canvas of your boat! So we moved from one side to the other side at the request of the marina. Seemed like a fair request to me!
More pictures of the kid’s rock climbing again. Over the years I took a lot of pictures of them as they all love to climb rocks. Funny overall because they are very different people. My daughter is outgoing and often is the loudest of the three. The older of the two twins is, the more social of the twins but less social than their sister. The youngest of the twins is the least social and yet, at home the most likely to talk your ear off.
Funny how that works. This is them gearing up to climb the Rock Wall at what was then Galleons’ sporting goods in Greenwood Indiana. Galleons’ was sold to Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dicks kept the rock wall for a time. They then moved to the Mall and the Rock wall was no more. We would drive by the old sporting goods store (the old one was near the mall but not directly connected to the mall) and the twins would say “curse you Dicks’” while shaking their fists.
I’ve shared rock walls we found in Maryland as well. There are a number of them near the Great Falls of Maryland and Virginia state parks, but those are natural actual rock walls. The kids like to climb the indoor walls. Funny how that works out! Over the years we went to the rock wall many times. It isn’t the easiest sport. The kids were all exhausted by the time they were done. It is incredible to watch them, as well as all the other climbers. I never had the urge to climb the wall personally, however!
Baseball, based mostly on the English or Scottish game Rounder’s, America Baseball is a sport that many countries love and cherish. Baseball is a game of risk and reward. Lean over the plate, and you may get hit by the ball. But, get hit by the ball, and your reward is a base. It is a game of angles and inches. As a child, my first black eye came from a baseball that I misjudged. Thrown to me, I missed the ball with my glove, and as a result, it hit me square in the eye socket.
The boys played baseball when they were younger. As team sports go, Baseball is similar to football. While you are part of a team and your specific contribution is critical to the success of the team, there are always some players whose contribution is of a larger impact. In the world of young children baseball, you can see that very quickly. I wrote a poem many years ago, describing a children’s baseball game. They are different than the professional baseball games.
The ground ball to first, between the legs overthrown and third inside the park home run, was the name of the poem. It pretty much describes the concept and process that most of those games were about. The ball would roll slowly to first base. The first base person would miss the ball (it would go between their legs). The runner would move to second base and since everyone was chasing the ball keep running to third base. Finally, the big kid with the big arm that was put in the outfield by the coach would get to the ball and heave it in the general direction of third base. The ball would fly far over the head of the third base person, and the runner would run for home.
It was, however, a lot of fun to watch!
I would have to say that the home 4th birthday was also interesting. But that is because of who is in the pictures. We’ve had some dogs that have lived with us over the years (There are four living with us now). Gwen was the dog that moved from Cincinnati to Indiana with us. Francine joined us in Indiana. The images from the 4th birthday are mostly of Francine Marshmutt Andersen. Her name was already chosen when at ten weeks she came to live with us.
There have been dogs in my life over the years, Dylan today is my buddy. Raven is a sweetheart. Tamsyn and Serenity are both wonderful dogs. But Fran was the queen of the house for many years. She was the protector of the kids. She would stand on alert ready to jump into the pool if something was wrong (but never getting wet, Fran used to get horrible ear infections). She would watch the kids, making sure they were ok at all times.
She was my daughter’s protector. She took care of her, always. Except when it came to food hidden in my daughter’s bedroom. If my daughter didn’t share properly, Fran would turn state’s evidence on her, and lead me to the food. Then I would confiscate the food, yell at my daughter and the one thing my daughter never knew, give Fran a finders fee. Normally just a few bits of the food form her Girl’s Room. Enough to keep the system flowing to my advantage!
It seems strange now, to see images of the Boys from long ago. They were once tiny. Born in 1998 they were seven weeks premature. It was a tough time for my wife and I. We struggled emotionally with the reality of potentially losing one of them before they were born. After they were born, we had the same issue, with the same baby, nearly losing him as well then. You don’t realize how hard to fight until afterward.
We fought hard for what period. We were also exhausted. Luckily the world’s greatest big sister was always there helping. She would feed them, somehow able even then to get them to be quiet. My daughter was only six years older than the twins. She was able to keep them calm and focused.
So to see them so small now, makes me reflect.
The memories flow around me.
I guess that is a part of growing older.
It feels now, so long ago that they were this little. They were that little once, but that is a time now long passed!
memories are like candy, once you start you cannot stop…