Wander project dry pictures, because I was sick of rain.


My two weather stations have recorded 7.3 inches of rain in the past week. That, by the way, is nearly four times the amount of rain we get in July in the DC area for the entire month. Not any five days, the entire month on average is roughly 1.5 to 2.0 inches of rain. We are at nearly eight now. But climate change is a myth propagated by the Fake new media (yup). PS, if you believe climate change is a myth, please send me a message, I have some land right on the shore I would like to sell you at a really good price. Please note, once the ocean covers said land it becomes part of the territorial waters of the US and is no longer private property). It has rained every single day in the past week.

Funny thing, Our boat is in Annapolis on a creek/river known as Back Creek. In the past, we had to be very careful getting on the boat at low tide. It could be a two or three-foot step-down. In the past two weeks, it has been the same low tide as high tide, no step down required!

During the winter months when it was cold and miserable, I started my wander to warm project. Today when it is hot, humid and wet I am starting my new wander to dry project. I am sharing pictures of us in a nice dry Mexican location, choosing to get into the water and get wet. Not walking outside to my car to get to work and getting wet.

The rain also does two things. First, it makes Labs wet, and wet labs share water with everyone. Raven almost seems to wait until you are standing right by her, and then shakes off all the water. As a lab, she is water resistant, but someone manages to carry 1000 pounds of water (kidding!) with her. That water is then transferred to whoever is dumb enough not to move away from here. IE, none of us know she is going to do this, so all of us get soaked. Anyway, no rain while we were in Mexico for our vacation a few years ago. Just dry blue skies. Lots of sunshine. Look, if it is going to be rainy at least drop the humidity (I know there are certain rules of the water, it isn’t possible). I am in search of dry!

.doc

Family Historian – and now dry!

Wander project family, Annapolis and boating


I cannot tell you how much fun it is to hang out with my best friend on the boat. Dylan, my best dog friend, isn’t a huge fan of the boat. But my wife is. We wander to Annapolis and then grab lunch. Sometimes it is as simple as a wrap and fruit from the Giant. Giant is a food retailer that has a location at the starting point of the road the marina is on. There is also a Starbucks and a bank there, plus several restaurants. We’ve tried the restaurants and preferred the wraps from Giant. Sometimes, on those guilty Sunday’s we also get a bag of chips. Not the kind that we shouldn’t, we do at least head to the healthy chip area of the store. But we do on occasion have chips instead of fruit.

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The fun thing is we can relax. The boat is our activity. We’ve added tandem biking as another activity to do together. Over time that is the nature of relationships. Either there are activities you have, or you slowly drift apart. The touch base of doing something with the person determines the nature of the friendship, marriage or other relationships. From our marriage, my best man is still around. He and his wife came out this year to visit us in June. We don’t see each other as often as we used to, since once upon a time we lived in the same apartment. But we still have that friendship that has now lasted more than 30 years. If only he weren’t a Laker’s fan the world would be perfect.

Time is the passage of life. In that passage, we find the things that are important to us, and we continue to build on those (hopefully). Friendships are not destinations they are paths. My friend, who many years ago was my best man (twice actually) remains to this day, my dear friend. He is the person that introduced me to my wife. My wife, in turn, is the person who introduced him to his wife. Our paths, as friends, were once very similar. We were both teachers at a school. Neither of us is a teacher now. He owns his own business and works for himself. I moved off to the world of computer consulting. But the friendship and common bond remains. As it does with my boating pal, and now biking pal, my wife!

.doc

family historian

Wander project Thailand 1972


It was the spring of 1971 that we had a family meeting. My father had received an opportunity (before this one, he had been offered an opportunity to go to Vietnam. We choose not to go to Vietnam at that time because of the ongoing War) to set up a Science Education program in Thailand. It was scary to think we would be leaving everything we knew, behind for a period. 1971 was not like today. You didn’t have a cell phone in your pocket that kept you connected to everything. The majority of our communication would be via letters. Well, at least we thought it would be via letters. My grandfather gave my parents a tape recorder, so we did get to send tapes of us talking to people that weren’t there. Of course, they sent us tapes of them talking to us as well, so it wasn’t weird.

One of my three favorite all time pictures starts off the expedition to Thailand. My father with my very much younger sister on a beach. I suspect it is Pattaya, but it could be any one of the many beaches we visited. Thai beaches are amazing. In these pictures taken by my mother and for the most part taken by my father you see two critical. You can see in the pictures how much teaching meant to my father. The last pictures in this collection are of various places and groups where dad was teaching teachers. He always used to say those who can do, those who can’t teach, those who can’t teach teachers. I used to smile all the time when he said that, until I turned 13 then I stopped. I realized it was funny again when I was 22 or so and becoming a teacher myself!

These pictures were hand picked by my father. They were the ones he showed family friends to represents Bangkok and Thailand. Yes, there are many pictures dad had of teaching in Thailand. He loved the nation, the people and he loved building the science education program for UNESCO. But the other pictures are the ones that show who my father was. Each of them shows me, my mother and my siblings (sisters) lovingly. They are not posed images of people captured by a photo studio to be left on a wall. 100 years later a tour guide saying “That is the first earl of peanut and pickle sandwiches.” These are loving pictures taken of real moments from our fantastic journey to Thailand. Thank you, dad, for all the memories and all the things you did for us! Thank you, mom, for the memories, and all the things you did for us! My mother took the picture of my father and my little sister, one of my all-time favorite pictures.

.doc

family historian

Wander project (some of my father’s pictures)


There is a valuable lesson I’ve gotten from the family history project, that is the stories that go with the pictures are critical. In the case today there is a story with two of the pictures, the rest are pictures my father took. All of these are pictures my father took; I recognize the locations of two for sure. I am sure, I know where the other pictures were taken, but I know two for sure. The lesson is that the stories are critical. Capture the stories of the pictures you have and share those stories. You never know when someone won’t be with us anymore. All the stories they haven’t told, are lost forever when they are gone. So take the time to capture the stories with the pictures and memories!

The two pictures I know are of my father’s apple orchard in Kirksville Indiana. Yesterday I shared images of the Wadding my wife and me celebrated 27 years ago. We had our wadding on the lawn of my parent’s farm in June of 1991. The lawn where the reception tent was, and the deck where the ceremony was held at just down the hill (reception) and at the end of (ceremony) my father’s Apple Orchard. To quote my mother from this past weekend, “we started the farm with five acres, then bought more.” The Orchard itself and the wadding were on the original five acres. The first building on the property was a shed that was built by Ai and myself with dad supervising and helping as well. Ai was a family friend from Thailand who came to the US for college.

Over the years people have asked me why I don’t garden. One of the reasons why I don’t garden is that Apple Orchard. It was 130 plus trees planted by hand. That meant digging a whole, putting the tree in, filling in around the tree and then watering the said tree. 135 or more times. When trees died, they had to be dug out and replaced. As the laborer for many of those tree plantings, I don’t like gardening anymore. At some point digging 135 plus holes makes one realize that digging isn’t all that fun. Eating apples is fun. Making Apple Cider is fun. Digging holes and watering trees every single day until the sky opens up and pours water and you don’t have to water, isn’t fun. I don’t like gardening. I am also said that out of all he pictures shared today, the only memory I have is why I don’t garden. I wish I had a story for the rest of the pictures.

.doc

family historian

Wander project Kirksville Indiana June 1991


The images are from my wife and our wadding. All of the pictures in the post have not been edited. You can see one of them, were two pictures originally. I will say that all of the pictures that needed to be rotated to be viewed were in fact rotate. But that was done early in the family history project. These are the most looked at pictures we have. It was a hot June day in 1991. I have so many memories of that day. The first is that both my mother’s parents were in the audience. The second is during the ceremony when the minister who gives these people away, in marriage (we changed the traditional ceremony a little) my father and my wife’s father leaping to their feet shouting we do. My father, having already told my wife before the ceremony, no deposit? No return!

We got married on my parent’s farm. My wife’s parents and my parents kicked in so much and helped us get started in life that day. I cannot thank all of them enough. The reason I am wandering down a long-ago path is that my baby sister and mother came to stay with us over the weekend. It brought memories of the day and the ensuing world that has from that. There are so many moments to remember. Let’s wander a few of the moments. You see the picture of the groomsmen and ring bearer waiting on my parent’s front deck. When the bridesmaid and bride arrived, they brought with them a bee. That bee buzzed my wife, the minister and me during the rest of the ceremony.  At the end of the line of Groomsmen, is the ring bearer. One of my students from the past, a great kid!

Other than watching the bee the ceremony was a blur. I wrote our vows. The one change from the vows as originally written was my wife did make me take the word Obey out of her vows. “That,” she informed me “isn’t going to happen.” It hasn’t, but honestly, it was in the original text to get a rise out of her. It worked! We had the reception at my parent’s farm as well my now in-laws renting a tent that was placed in the front yard area. The reception was a great event. My favorite moment is captured in one of the last pictures. My mother had made my wife’s dress. I was told that I could not, would not and should not do the traditional smashing of cake on her face. We wouldn’t, my then future wife said: “want to get this wonderful dress your mother made dirty would we?” Then she crammed cake and got it all over my suit. Doesn’t seem fair when you look at it that way! It was nice having my sister and mother visit. It is always nice to hang out with people that just like you for who you are!

.doc

family historian

Wander project Annapolis


A good trip can be defined in many ways. The easy way is that you set out to accomplish something, and you do accomplish it. That wasn’t our Sunday, or at least that is not how it ended. But there is a more important thing to consider sometimes, hanging out with family.  My mother and sister were in town that made any trip Saturday and Sunday extra special. We wandered to our upcoming Wadding Caterer on Saturday evening. If you are ever in Buckeystown MD, stop at DJ’s. The food is beyond words. But DJ is a wonderful human being. He will be providing the food our my daughter and future son-in-law’s wadding. He, my daughter’s finance, hadn’t actually been to DJ’s so it was doubly fun.

Sunday we were going to go out on the boat, but we had a small issue. Instead, we had lunch at my wife’s favorite Annapolis place (the picture of the alligator with a number on him comes from grumps).  My mother and sister decided that lunch as a pick on Doc time. I guess, after all these years, it was probably deserved. My wife enjoyed that portion of the meal. From Gramps it was an ill-fated short drive to the boat. We were unable to get power to the port side of the boat. You can’t start the engines without power. I tinkered with it for a bit, but I couldn’t see anything I knew to be wrong. So we packed up and drove into Annapolis proper. We wandered through the downtown area of Annapolis.

It is a small city, but there are a lot of people there every weekend day. I did manage to capture a few flower pictures at the Marina, and then we headed back to Germantown.  Traffic wasn’t horrible, but I did miss the Ikea turn. I must have something against Ikea. I keep missing that turn. I think we have now gone by the Ikea store 100 times and we’ve only managed not to miss that turn one time. I wonder if there might be more to that story than just a missed turn? When we got home, it was just about time to make dinner (after the Labrador walk). We had Teriyaki Steak, Scallops, Asparagus and Corn-on-the-cob. The first three were magnificent. Maryland doesn’t have good corn on the cob. So the corn was just ok. Great day spent with two wonderful human beings.

.doc

family historian

Wander project Prague…


Traveling the world, you rely on the kindness of strangers. Well, sometimes not strangers but people you worked with but hadn’t met yet. They would become in many cases friends. But at the time of traveling, they were people I worked with. I would say, where should I stay. What hotel is the best one for me to be in? I was going to Prague. A city I had read about, thought about and always wanted to visit. Now I was going to arrive. I did not as I said a moment ago stay in fancy hotels. I stayed where the local team recommended. If at all possible, a Marriott. I was and am a huge Marriott fan. Mostly because with over 1000 nights stayed I am a platinum member for life, and that is nice.

I was exhausted walking into my Hotel room for the next three nights. I walked into my hotel room (the very first picture). I didn’t see a bed and for a second was dreading pulling the murphy bed out of the wall to sleep. That wasn’t the case, and I realized a few seconds after standing there, that there were stairs. It was and remains one of the five nicest hotel rooms I have ever stayed in, ever. Only the vice presidents suite at the Blackstone in Chicago and the executive suite at the JW Marriott hotel in Kuala Lumpur are better rooms than the one I got that night in Prague. I wandered over to the Concierge lounge and found beer and smoked salmon waiting. Needless to say other than the meals I ate with the team, I was in the lounge eating!

I had read of Prague in the works of Kafka and other authors. This being posts the cold war, I knew of Prague from spy novels and thrillers. It is a wonderful city. I love the castle. But I am a huge castle person. They had smoked salmon every night I was in Prague. I did walk over to the bar named for Franz Kafka. I had to pay homage to the great writer. As I have for F Scott Fitzgerald (near me in Rockville MD), Edgar Allen Poe (in nearby Baltimore). Or an homage to James Joyce in Dublin. I love seeing where writers created. Tolkien and the Oxford campus. CS Lewis and the Oxford campus. I wonder if I could have created such great works, given the time and location! I know I probably couldn’t have. My dreams ar3e much smaller.  Just happy that I no longer stumble, confused into hotel rooms exhausted.

.doc

family historian

Wander project the caves of Southern Indiana


Growing up in Southern Indiana we were exposed to caves early. First off, spending a day underground wasn’t easy. That is something I’ve done a couple of times. I cannot imagine the terror of not only spending more than a single day but also, not having food for the first 10 or so days. The reality of what those poor kids suffered in Thailand and the heroes that risked everything to save them, is beyond words. I am sharing some pictures from Marengo Cave, located in Southern Indiana. It is not like the cave in Thailand in that it doesn’t have a river currently in it, and it is not rainy season. Caves are formed when the geology is right. In the case of Indiana caves, it is sandstone and limestone.

Sandstone doesn’t erode as quickly as limestone does. The sandstone becomes a cap, with the limestone eroding underneath it. Limestone is water soluble. In fact, if the water has a PH of slight acidic (by nature rainwater is slightly acidic), the limestone will erode fairly quickly. By fairly quickly, in the geologic sense I mean, regarding human time, it is virtually undetectable. Caves are wet and dark.  I held my breath every single time the news came on. You see the caves I grew up with were, for the most part, dry or were lower cavern wet. The cave in Thailand was a wet cave, meaning that during the rainy season the cave was full of water, making it very difficult to move around.

Close your eyes for a second. Imagine that level of darkness without much light for 10, 12 days. It can be scary. A huge thank you to everyone that helped get the soccer team out of the cave. It reminds us, in the midst of all the small things, that when human beings need to work together, we can. That humanity has something great we can accomplish, together! Hero’s are those willing to go into a dark cave, not knowing what is on the other side and if they could even get out themselves. Heroes are willing to do what has to be done, to help someone else.  I cannot imagine how scared those poor kids and that coach were for 18 days and no sun. I complain about how hot it is, but sometimes you have to realize how hard it can be. I am glad they are all safe now!

.doc

Family Historian

Wander project the value of family!


The past is the past. It happened. It, along with the dust and the pictures has been stored now for well at least ten years. Remember the care with which you packed the box as you put the past away? Scanning all our pictures, and then sharing them in the family history project forces me to go through those boxes on the past. Yes, they are smaller now. Fewer actual pictures, just extra hard drives with copies of images and movies. The memories as well, stored in my brain wander around with me. I remember the first time I met Les and Joan Ralstin. I started dating their daughter Barbara in 1990. The story is quite funny, my friend tried to set us up, but I was dating someone else at the time.

We, the person I was dating at the time, broke up. Shortly after that, my roommate/best friend invited my future wife over to our house for dinner. He never showed up that night. He was working. Later he would admit that he was setting us up and making sure we had time alone. Neither of us has been alone since that night. We were dating at the end of that night, engaged at the end of that month and married nine months later. In the middle of that period, I got to meet Les and Joan.  They were the kind of people that would do anything to help people, and they did. They had both lived in Bloomington Indiana for many years. Les worked for AT&T, and then later Indiana Bell before retiring. Joan worked for Bloomington Hospital.

They retired in Hot Springs Arkansas. That was where I went, with my then future wife to meet them for the first time.

The pictures here are around Thanksgiving 2005 in Greenwood Indiana. I miss having the two of them over for Thanksgiving. I suspect they would have loved Thanksgiving in Maryland. They loved joining us in Indiana. There are pictures in those boxes of the past that make you sad. The pictures with Les and Joan Ralstin make me sad now, they are no longer with us. No more smiles, pats or jokes no one really ever heard. No more golfing and no more being called a pill. I miss them from time to time. But I remember them always!

.doc

family historian

Wander project Baltimore MD!


Last view pictures from the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Love the car; my wife is peeking in to see if the keys were still in the ignition. Otherwise, she probably would just hotwire the car and take off! The interesting creation that caught our eye other than Babe (the blue Ox of Paul Bunyan) was the Bra Ball. It was huge. Not sure why I had to take that picture, but I did have to take it. Babe is off to the left of the car in the corner of the building. It is an old converted factory. The first building had three more traditional closed floor areas. The third building had a more open concept with two classrooms/meeting rooms on what was half of the second floor.

That gave exhibitors a huge floor space to work with on the main level. The classroom looked very cool. The image of Julia Child came from the second floor. I also took the airplane sculpture picture from above on the second floor. The third floor, like the second building, was closed for a wedding. That hangs in the space between the first and second floor. The museum also offers guided tours, but you are welcomed to view things on your own. That was what we decided to do, wander on our own. I suspect the docents are pretty interesting and have lots of interesting stories about the creative process that created some of the displays. I enjoyed the large moving outdoor displays. There is something about a huge, moving sculpture that I like. Don’t ask me why I have no idea.

Finally, we wandered down to the boat for a relaxing end to our day. The flowers come from the garden area by the bathhouse. We walked around a bit and started the motors. We didn’t take the boat out, as we were both really tired. Instead, we sat, relaxed and just breathed! I took a picture of the water-taxi sign because my wife kept talking about it. I don’t know why she was suddenly stuck on water taxi’s, but she was. The water-uber concept was one that made her happy for some reason. I wonder if I should be worried about her now?  We ended the day with a relaxing slog through DC traffic returning to Maryland. Even on a Sunday, the traffic in DC can be really bad. In this case, we were jammed until we got to I-95. Sometimes you just have to wonder.

.doc

Family Historian