Wander project the last few pictures on my cell phone…

In honor of the 365-day photo challenge today I am doing the last 20 pictures I took with my camera (cellphone only). The photos encompass two different restaurants and a few of items I had put on eBay. The eBay items are not normally pictures I backup, but the rest are pictures I back up. The restaurant was for my daughters birthday. It is a tradition in our family that on your birthday every year you get to pick where we go to eat.

Years ago we started going to Japanese steakhouses. We’ve been to them in some places. Our favorite in Greenwood was Kubota. That place was great, a fun show and a great meal. It was also the place that we learned one of our sons was a cheesecake fan. Kubota always gave out birthday cheesecake and sang happy birthday to you in Japanese. On my birthday one year, they were singing, my son was eating the cheesecake!

Anyway, this is one of our favorites in Gaithersburg. It is called Ziki. We love it for two reasons. One, it was a place we first went to when we moved to Maryland. It is located in a placed called The Rio. We were staying on the southern end of the Rio in a Residence Inn for the for the first few days we were in Maryland. So we wandered to Ziki and had dinner. We went to most of the restaurants at the Rio over the course of our three weeks there. Ziki is the one we always go back to enjoy again!


Family Historian

Wander project Cincinnati Ohio…

Once we as a family, built a house in Cincinnati Ohio. There is a song from the US 1930’s the time of the great depression (once I build a railroad, made it run on time, Brother can you spare a dime). With the impending birth of twins, our first house on Schaffer Avenue wasn’t going to be large enough. We would have had to have four people per bedroom in the house. We tried to buy another house just down the road but were unable to sell the first house.

So we started to build a house, to our specifications. It was not, a grand house a massive mansion on the hill. It was big enough for our growing family. My daughter had her room. The boys would have their room and for the first time in a house, we a guest room. My wife’s parents were the first guests to use the room. It took all summer to build that house. Although we didn’t do any of the work, just watched the house being built!

We had a laundry room off the master bedroom (costing us a walk-in closet, but worth it). We had a two car garage; our first house did not have a garage. My wife expressed her desire for a garage very clearly. I am sick, she said, of scraping ice off the car for 20 minutes in the winter. I couldn’t blame her; I was also.  Plus, parking on the street our Ford Explorer had been hit twice by other cars. Once a hit and run, no notice just a damaged car that was no longer drivable. The police never got that person. The second time our car got hit, it was well a long and interesting story for another day!


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Wander project Thanksgiving version II

We ended up thinking we were having a couple of guests, so we got a bigger than needed turkey. The good news is we have tons of leftovers to eat for the next few days. There is something about the turkey that I love. The other fun thing that was special is this was the first holiday we could officially celebrate with my daughter’s finance in attendance. I am thankful for the opportunity to have our family meal with our newest family member.

He had to go to work, however, as he just started a new job working at the airport. So we had to get the food ready by noon. We went around the table as is my wife’s tradition, saying what we were thankful for from each of us. The boys, of course, went for comedic on initial thankful remarks. My daughter and her finance both went for the joy of being with family. My wife and I have spent 27 thanksgivings as a couple, of those 27 we have been physically together for 26.

Our very first Thanksgiving as an engaged couple was the one we spent apart.

Excuse me, are we certain this is all the dog gets?

We wandered to the Dutch market to get a fresh turkey. It was a good turkey; my wife felt the turkey we got last year (also from the Dutch market) was better. We also broke into our wine collection. Every year people bring us bottles of wine when we have dinner parties. We started the year at 32 bottles; we ended the year at 44 bottles due to the party wine deliveries. Luckily we managed to kill a bottle, so we are down to 43. I think we should probably drink more!


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Wander project Thanksgiving 2017

The story of Thanksgiving 2017. There was a time when we would have tow Thanksgiving dinners. We would make a dish to pass for my families Thanksgiving (never Jelly as my mother doesn’t like Jell-O anything). Then we would head home and have friends and my wife’s family on day two. I cooked 99% of those meals by myself. Getting up at 5 in the morning and preparing everything. It was a lot of work, but I have to say it was a lot of fun.

In 2011 we moved from Indiana to Maryland. We began a new Thanksgiving tradition, cooking the food and sharing it with everyone in the house. I say that because we did have one Thanksgiving with my daughter’s friend, who was living with us at the time. We’ve had some Thanksgiving now with Dylan and Raven. You can see pictures of them in this share. I am calling this an extension of the #365_photos_challenge. I posted Day 1; this is more of the same.

Please sir, may I have more turkey?

This year, continuing a tradition we started in 2011, meant I didn’t cook alone. My wife made the green bean casserole. (She also made a sugar cream pie). One of the boys made the mashed potatoes and the fresh cranberries. The other boy made the pumpkin pie and the cherry pie. It was a family effort, I made the stuffing (with help from my wife) and cooked the turkey. Although the turkey was too large for pan and we had to improvise.

Wander project cleaning up the 2006 Thanksgiving folder.

Lean into it, when life gives you lemons make Lemonchello! When I was a little, one of my favorite activity was going through my grandfather’s coin collection with him and sorting coins. Free labor, sorting all the coins he had in the collection, but fun no-the-less. Rather than sorting Thanksgiving 2006 into Halloween 2006, daughter’s 2006 (14th birthday) folders and Thanksgiving and then Christmas I am leaning into the reality of my sorting problems.

If only I had the sorting hat from, Harry Potter.

Halloween 2006 was one where the boys were old enough to enjoy Halloween, and my daughter was still young enough o enjoy the holiday as well. That was back in the days when each Halloween or around that time was punctuated by me getting a new smartphone. It was also punctuated by my wife, and I figure out who would take the kids around the neighborhood and who would pass out candy at home.

The candy passing out ended up being me because Fran and Gwen wouldn’t charge at the door when I opened it, they sometimes did when my wife opened it. The advantage of being the one human both dogs saw as an Alpha.

I did take the boys a couple of times over the years, but for the most part, I passed out candy.

(Little known fact, Zorro loved Karate poses. Well the two that were in our house did!)

Now I have to go and clean out my Thanksgiving 2006 folder and break it into the actual holiday’s it was rather than the holiday it is labeled. Sometimes managing digital pictures is easy. Sometimes it is mislabeled as fun.


Family Historian

Wander project Thanksgiving 2006

Thanksgiving 2006 is officially an odd folder in our picture collection. It starts with pictures of Halloween, then my daughters birthday, then Thanksgiving and finally ending up with initial pictures of Christmas that year. I was traveling a lot in 2006, but in fairness, I usually got the pictures off long before three events occurred. I guess in this case; the proof is in the pudding. If you can call a folder full of digital images pudding and if you would stick proof in the pudding.

Mom always had art activities for the kids to do. It was her thing. When all the kids were little mom introduced them to quilting. Each of them made a section of a quilt that mom put away. Little did the kids know but each of her grandchildren made one square of their high school graduation quilt as children. I think that was the coolest tradition ever started! I wish I were able to sew quilts like my mother; I would continue that tradition.

One of the reasons that I took so many pictures is the fact that many of the pictures we had back then were printed. Converting to digital images was a good thing. But you have to make sure you back them up! Those memory cards or the memory of your cell phone can be just one drop or one lost phone away from being gone forever! Why there are multiple events in the Thanksgiving 2006 folder is beyond me. Leads me to believe that the missing 2002, 2005 and other missing events are probably in another folder.


Family Historian

Wander project Thanksgiving 2004

The days of the kid’s table. We don’t have a kids table, but we never actually did. My mom always let people sit where they wanted. But you follow the rules of the house you are in. Over the years we traveled a few times for Thanksgiving. From 2004 down to Tallahassee to share Thanksgiving with my wife’s family. It seems now so long ago. Traveling at holiday times isn’t the easiest and isn’t something I enjoy. The wear and tear, the stress of traveling are bad enough.

Still, it is fun to see and hang out with family. We’ve always tried to open our home to friends over the years. People that couldn’t see their families and instead came to hang out with us. There were many years when we had Thanksgiving two, three and even four times. Going to my parent’s house, and then having another Thanksgiving at our house.  It is always fun to see and celebrate with other folks!

Now we have wonderful conversations, and a group of adults gathered around the table. We found last year that the Dutch Market near us sells fresh turkeys. The actual Turkey is one day old by the time you get to take it home. That makes all the difference in the world. They soak the turkey in brine for you, so when you cook it, you have an amazing feast. It is a wonderful family experience, to share Thanksgiving!

Wander project Thanksgiving 2001

The first blast of pictures today was from 2000. The ones attached to this post is from 2001. I do not have a linear set of folders for Thanksgiving. In part because I started a project to clean up my picture archive and never actually finished it. With 150,000 images it is hard to have a system that works. It is funny how many years later to see the boys at Thanksgiving, to see my daughter at Thanksgiving the way they used to be.

That was back in the days of VCR tapes in the Van. We would load the kids into the van and pop in a VCR tape. Later we would have vehicles that had DVD’s, but in the early 2000’s DVD’s were not as readily available in car/van systems. The big blue van we had then was the first car we had with an integrated entertainment system. We had a Nintendo 64 and a VCR in the car. The kids were happy to have the entertainment.

Funny thing about this Thanksgiving, I don’t remember anything special about it. I should; it is November 2001, Now two months past the events that grounded my travels for two weeks. 9/11 changed everything. It made flying harder; it made travel difficult. But I don’t remember it truly impacting us that year. Gathered as a family and enjoying the food. Mom and dad worked together with each of them making part of the dinner. Each of the families would bring a dish to pass and away we went!


family historian

Wander project Bloomington IN…

When I was a child, we often went to my grandparent’s houses in Wisconsin. Cambridge and Wisconsin Dells when I was really little, and then my father’s parents moved to the town of Racine (well near Racine). That was a tradition that my parents carried as well. We often went to visit mom and dad for various holidays and family events. Mom and Dad’s back deck (which evolved over the years) was always art central.

The spider from the back porch. Really beautiful spider!

Over the years there were many events held there. One of my favorites, after a few years when the apple trees started bearing fruit, was the annual apple cider event. We would all appear, harvest apple’s and then run that apple’s through Dad’s Cider press. Every single year we would always get fresh, natural cider to take home. We didn’t store any in a cool, dry place and try to make Apple-Jack, that wasn’t on the list. Plus that cider never made it a week once we pressed it. It was gone in 60 seconds.

Later in the winter dad had lots of bird feeders in his and mom’s yard. I spent a long day in the winter once taking pictures of all the birds that enjoyed the many feeders he had in the yard. Later, after he planted bamboo, you had to go outside to see the majority of the feeders. The bamboo grew in the middle of the backyard, once the play yard was gone. Bamboo by the by spreads very quickly after planting. The dogs loved adventures in the backyard because of the Bamboo forest!

Let’s call that Dad and the Bamboo Battle. I am not sure he would have said he lost, even when in the end he really had lost.


Family Historian

Wander project images from long ago and far away…

Today the pictures span quite a few years. Some are of my sons as tiny babies. The first twins born into our family. The others are scanned pictures of me as a small child. I stayed with my grandparents in Cambridge Wisconsin when my little sister was born. So the pictures of me in the Cambridge gear were taken by my grandfather during that stay. I stayed in Cambridge a lot as a child, I loved being near the lake, and of course being on the water!

(I loved that sailor suit. That and the trench coat, mom always said they had to fight to get me to wear something else).

The boys were so tiny when they were born. I can’t say how scary that time was. There isn’t a set of words that describe how scary that period was. First off, we were worried about the boys in utero. The bad part about the internet has enough information to make bad decisions. We were convinced early on that the boys, in utero were suffering from a syndrome known as twin to twin transfusion syndrome.

There were tests and things that happened because of that with every doctor visit. We held our breath each time. Around the 10th week of the pregnancy, my wife was put on bed rest. Things were stressful. I can’t recall a time in my life when I was more scared. Plus, we had our daughter, who was pitching in and helping. She wanted a little brother (we already knew that it was going to be boys). One of the shared pictures is of her holding one of her little brothers.

The answer to the question, how stressed were you, still draws a blank stare. I cannot remember.


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