Wander project Snow…(of the past)…

The concept of the snow falling, sometimes it falls so fast that it piles up. In 2007 we had a blizzard in Greenwood IN. Blizzards are combinations of cold (well below 20 degrees) wind and snow. The whiteout conditions are when the snow is blowing so much that you really can’t see more than 10 feet in front of you. Then the storm passes day returns, and it is cold. The rising sun in the pictures was post-storm. The actual storm started the night before and stretched throughout the night. We awoke to the view of a world blanketed in white snow. Pristine until Gwen and Fran got outside. Then the snow had dog footprints all over. Fran would tromp the snow, Gwen always walked lightly, she hated the melting snow on her feet!

Fran, on the other hand, loved pushing through the snow. She would sit in the backyard with her girl and play in the snow for hours (Gwen would go back indoors). Fran loved her girl. She also was a second mother, believing herself to be in charge of the girl. It made for some funny videos during obedience training. I was never quite sure who was training who back then. Based on the pictures I think Francine was training my daughter.  Fran would also watch her girl in the pool, but the pool was closed for the season when the snow was in the air or on the ground. We had a heater, but heating pool water just to freeze in the air to get to the pool wasn’t my idea of fun.

We did use the hot tub on occasion when it was freezing. The same concept didn’t apply as much to the Hot tub. There is something magical about being in a hot tub as the snow falls around you. No, our Hot Tub is not a time machine. For the moment of these pictures, the snow is pristine. It covers the ground perfectly with no dog footprints. Those would come, the two using the dog door on the back porch (although not for this particular storm, we didn’t get the dog door on the back porch for another year or so). They always say you cannot teach old dogs new tricks, but both Fran and Gwen were adult dogs when we got the dog door, and they both learned how to use it in a matter of hours. I guess dogs love the freedom of coming and going as they will!


picture shareererer if that is a word!

Wander project Gwen (and snow)

The hill in our backyard in Greenwood wasn’t the hill my grandparents had. But, there also weren’t trees. As a six year old (maybe five) I flew down the hill and ended up riding my sled right into a tree. Lots of stitches in my head and a story I’ve told before. Sledding, like snow skiing and water skiing, can be dangerous. Except on the tiny little hill we had at our house. First, the hill went down may 10 feet. The only danger back then to sledding was the angry Australian Shepard that didn’t like people messing up her yard. She barked and tried to herd the sledders.  It was never that Gwen was unhappy. I am not sure Gwen understood her place in the family.

The twins were born into the house Gwen ruled. Fran joined us after we moved to Indiana. Gwen was a bit skittish as a dog. Smart, however, like a whip. But, skittish about everything. I miss her herding the kids. She was very good at it. The last couple of years of Gwen’s life were not as easy, as I am sure the first few months of her life were not easy. She was happier overall in Indiana that she had been in Ohio, but there was a lot more yard to roam in Indiana. We had an invisible fence that covered the entire backyard. Other than snapping turtles on the yard, there were no other predators than Gwen and Fran (the Labrador that joined the family while we lived in Greenwood).

Gwen and I used to go on long walks. As she got older, she couldn’t go as far, but she loved going on walks. She was my walking pal for nearly eight years from Ohio to Indiana. Fran was my daughter’s dog and never really walked with me. I regret not making Fran walk more when she was a puppy. But that is for another column. This is all about sledding. But sledding without getting enough speed that you end up with a managed head. What could happen with a herding dog herding your sled anyway? She would bark, and dart in and out, but when you are wearing a coat, nipping doesn’t work. Gwen was only big enough to physically make the Twins move when they were 2, or 3 years old. Once they got to be 5 or 6, she could no longer move them and moved to barking and nipping.


family dog soft touch

Wander project Sun Rise, Snow Fall.

Snow is an interesting thing. First, as it falls from the sky, it is a moment of reflection. You stop and look up. How often do we do that in life? Just stop and look up? Sometimes with the clouds, we do. Sometimes we do check the weather. But mostly we keep our heads down; today is the most pressure we will feel. There is a gap between yesterday, it was bad but today is worse. Today is always worse. Yesterday gets a different color over time. Snow clears the machine, resets the color and brings us all back to where we started. Snow resets the world so that for a time everything is the same. The mad rush to get to work slows down. People stop and look up to see the snow.

I have a good friend that believes snow is both fragile and resilient at the same time. Anyone snowflake unique, and fragile. 10000000 together resilient and strong against nature, against man. Pitting each of what we are against the snow that much is moved. Snowflake weights less than a gram. A shovelful can be pounds of snow quickly. The snow blower, bursting to life with smoke and gasoline, throwing the snow into the air. We don’t look up, as the world changes from watching the snow to moving the snow. That my friend says is the move from fragile to resilient. The snow system, one that we consider, curse, love and as a child hoped for (no school, snow day!)

The snow is a moment. Like any moment it begins and ends. But it also evolves with us as people. As a small child, I saw snow and thought sledding, snowballs, and cocoa. As a slightly younger child, I thought, I have to move that snow off the driveway before dad gets home.  It is the evolution of snow. As an adult I wonder how much will fall and can I get to work. Will the snow blower start or will we shovel by hand. The evolution of snow involves accepting the fragility and the beauty of the fragile moment by not pouring gasoline all over your yard and melting the snow in a blaze of fire. Of course, the police might respond if you do the second thing. Snow is the enemy and the guide. If it could just learn to fall everywhere but my driveway!


family photog

Wander project recent pictures…

Wandering the last few pictures more because there are some interesting pictures and I am closing out on the challenge goal. It has taken me 364 days to post 361 pictures. I am only four away from finishing. First off I am proud of the fact that I will be able to finish a year’s posting in only 368 days. It is something that I can say I did. I am not sure I would ever do anything challenge like that. It took a lot of effort and a lot of changing my way of looking at things daily. The rules for the contest simply posted a picture for every day of the 365. The pictures were not supposed to be more than seven days old, and I have managed actually to achieve that. There were lots of people that started the contest with me. Very few people have finished.

I started the challenge in the second wave of people. The first wave of people started in early November 2017. Some people finished early by posting more than one picture, but the goal was to post a picture a day for a year. The second wave started a little after the early group, about a week and I was part of that second wave of posters. There were more than 100 people at the beginning of the challenge; I suspect there are very few lefts now. Some have started later, and they are most welcome to do so and to keep posting! During the challenge, I’ve shared many different types of pictures. I wanted to do a year in review post before I finish (4 days to go).

I’ve posted still images of the weather from my weather station. Occasionally my thumb has shared pictures. Not my choice, but my thumb insisted that everyone does it. I asked my thumb if everyone jumped off a bridge would my thumb, it said yes, and it would take me with it. That felt like a threat, so I’ve managed to avoid thumb pictures the past few posts. I’ve also shared pictures of the dogs that live with me — the boat, Annapolis, and many other places I’ve wandered to in the past year. Honestly, the next four posts are going to be fun! On Wednesday of this week (November 28th) I will be posting my last 365 Day Challenge photo, that should end the contest! Point your camera, click the button and take a picture, then share that picture!


familial photog

Wander project blended holiday traditions!

How crazy do you have to be to let ten children have access to dye? Well, we did, and it was a lot of fun! Easter celebration at church a few years ago. Yesterday we started a fire in the fireplace around 9 am and ran it all day. It was cold (high around 35), and the fire was a nice addition to the overall holiday ambiance. We did play classical music during the meal, my wife and I sometimes disagree about what good holiday music is. She likes the old standards all the time; I like a mix of old and new. It has been a long-running disagreement. When we met, she liked a mix of old and new, and I like the old standards. We’ve both moved closer to the other’s original position leaving the disagreement in place!

Over the past 27 years, our holiday traditions have come to be our holiday traditions rather than her traditions and my traditions. Funny how over time, things come together like that. I remember when the twins and our daughter were young staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning Christmas Eve to put toys together. R I grew up in a world where everything was wrapped under the tree. My wife likes to have someone unwrapped left by Santa. Funny, one of my favorite holiday movies is”the Santa Claus” in which Santa leaves unwrapped presents. So we did that, but when the twins were little we had to assemble the toys first, before putting them under the tree.

Santa, after all, has elves that make the toys, and they are fully assembled.

Now, how long they were assembled is directly proportional to the number of pieces. Some of the action hero stuff they twins got, has 1000’s of pieces. 3 am came quickly. Then sadly we told the kids they couldn’t be up on Christmas Day until after 5 am. 2 hours was not enough sleep. We would then have our Christmas, and then head off to Bloomington (when the kids were little it was only a 45-minute drive). Then I would fall asleep at my parent’s house or not. The or not part was wholly dependent on the number of noisy toys my sisters gave the twins. Twins, just being themselves make a lot of noise. Give them things that make noise also and bedlam ensues.


photo historian

Wander project Thanksgiving of the past

In 2006 we wandered down and had Thanksgiving in Tallahassee Florida with my wife’s parents and her brother and our sister in law. We had gone down to visit my wife’s brother on Thanksgiving when we lived in Cincinnati, and they lived in Birmingham Alabama. My wife’s brother and her parents moved to Tallahassee Florida after we had moved to Indiana. It was a long drive, but well worth it. It was funny leaving cold Indiana and ending up in Warm Florida as well. All of us got a cold when we got back, gradationing between warm and cold that much. It did make for a wonderful holiday. My wife’s parents would move back to Indiana a couple of years later.

Thanksgiving is a big holiday for the family, so it was nice to hang out with family in Florida.

It is another of the 27 consecutive holidays my wife, and I have spent together. We got together in the time before portable cell phones. We’ve seen a lot of changes in those ensuing years. We lived in Bloomington Indiana when we got engaged. We lived in Cincinnati Ohio after we got married. We moved to Greenwood Indiana, and in keeping our new G name tradition moved to Gaithersburg and then Germantown Maryland. We’ve had Thanksgiving dinners in Hot Springs Arkansas, Birmingham Alabama, Tallahassee Florida, Cincinnati, Greenwood, Bloomington, and Maryland. Funny how time leavens the bread but the memories continue to evolve.

The pictures shared today are of twins at the kid’s table.

My favorite one of all of these is of big sister checking on the twins. She was a great caretaker of her little twins from the first day they came home from the hospital.

Tomorrow is another day, today we enjoy the holiday!


tech wiz

Wander project Thanksgiving images of the past…

The thanksgiving 2002 pictures exist but in a different folder so today we skip from 2001 to 2003. Funny, you don’t think about it but time is a progression. Yesterday becomes today. Today become tomorrow and of course, tomorrow never comes. Today the adage says is the present, open it and enjoy it. Yesterday is the connection, the past, the memories, share those! Thanksgiving 2003. We survived the Yam shortage of 2000, the year of the yam. November birthdays were celebrated, and the annual family event was held. We were Sitting in the office of my parent’s house. Over the years there were two offices, my father collected books, many books. He loved sharing them with all of us.

I can still hear the giggles. The oh so very loud sounds of joyous celebration. The smell of wonderful food and family. Food, family, and fun the 3 F’s of Thanksgiving. The only thing we never really did for Thanksgiving was a jello mold. That would be mostly because my mother doesn’t like Jell-O. There were a few years when either my wife or one of my sisters would bring one to share, special for my mother. There were years we had Turkey. One year we had Turducken. (A turkey stuffed with a duck and covered in Cajun spices). We never tried the deep fried turkey. I’ve had deep fried turkey a couple of times, but we never did that for our family Thanksgiving. I suspect that may have been a good thing, in the long run.

Tomorrow is the holiday, Monday was my daughter’s birthday, and no one in these pictures is as young as they were then. This year, 2018 is the 28th year my wife and I have been a couple. But it is only the 27th year we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving together. The first year, after our engagement we went our separate directions, my wife to visit her family in Birmingham Alabama (she had to drive my car, heir’s was not a long trip worthy). I rode with my parents to Cambridge. We were celebrating my Grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. The only Thanksgiving in the last 28 my wife and I didn’t spend together. Since then we’ve done Thanksgiving as a couple!



Wander project Thanksgiving of the past…

Yesterday I shared pictures from Thanksgiving 2000; Today it is Thanksgiving 2001. We wandered down to mom and dad’s house for the celebration. Sometimes the weather was perfect. You could, without a heavy winter coat go outdoors. So we did, go outdoors. Mom and Dad’s driveway had a slight slope. So the kids hopped on the various riding implements and raced down the driveway. Not fast enough that they couldn’t stop. The driveway is flattening out a bit as it got closer to the radio. So Friction would stop them long before they were at risk for being near traffic. Not mind you,  that Kinser pike was a huge thoroughfare on Thanksgiving day. Or for that matter not that it was a busy street virtually any day of the year. It was more a spur connecting the houses than a major road.

My daughter was born close to Thanksgiving, so she, like me got to share her birthday with another holiday. My birthday is near Christmas. My niece was born in early November, so she as well celebrated Thanksgiving. It is funny when I look back at old event pictures I went from taking 10, 12 pictures per event to taking 30, 40 pictures per event. Later I would take many many more pictures per event. Overall the change had to do with cameras and memory cards and ultimately me converting to taking pictures. For many years my dad and I split the duties, but he stopped in the early 2000’s, and it was only me taking pictures of events. Some of dad’s old pictures are amazing.

As we wind down Thanksgiving 2001, the kids rush outdoors. Well, they rushed outdoors before and after the meal. They would have eaten their turkey on the driveway playing with the various rolling vehicles, but we did make them come in and sit down for the meal. Mom and dad never really had kids tables and adults tables, so we all kind of groups together based on the day. There were kids and adults at every table. Although the grandkids usually wanted to sit with Grandma. The transition by then from mother to grandmother was complete (as my mother always said: “eat your broccoli.” As my mother the grandmother always “let them eat what they want. They don’t have to eat the broccoli”.)


thanksgiving fan~

Wander project wave jumping!

Wave jumping, I am not sure why it has not caught on as an Olympic sport. One of my wife’s favorite things is to be on, near or by the water. She loves beaches (and while she didn’t always, she loving boating now!) and so we try once or twice a year to get to the beach. A couple of years 2013 and then 2014 we wandered down to Oak Island North Carolina. I have an Oak Island NC hat, I’ve had people come up to me and say “I love the TV show.” I love the TV show as well, but it is set on an island off the coast of Nova Scotia in Canada. Oak Island North Carolina is part of the outer banks and a wonderful place to go and relax on the beach. We went in 2013 with my whole family, and then in 2014, we went with the dogs and just us.

There are lots of pictures I won’t share them all. Many have been shared with other posts. I just happen to love the pictures of the twins playing in the water. Every time we go to the beach after they turned 12 or 13, they started the trip with “I’m not getting in the water.” The minute, however that they saw the water as evidenced by the pictures shared, they were in the water.  Funny how perception becomes more important sometimes than reality until reality kicks in and you forget the perception. Both times, the twins played in the water. The first time we didn’t take the dogs with us. We stayed on the southern part of Oak Island. As I said, my whole family was there.

The second time we did bring the dogs. Its funny, Raven had joined our family in April of 2014 and was already bonded with the twins. She, however, hated water. Well, I should clarify that she hated the moving water of the ocean. She was scared of the water. Dylan just waded right into the water; he loves water, lakes, and oceans. Raven for the first part of the week was scared. After a few days of seeing her twins playing in the water, she went in. Now she is ok with water, not that she jumps right in, but she won’t avoid water as she did when she was first with us.  I do have to admit it was funny having a water dog that didn’t like the water living with us. Fran loved water; she just didn’t go in because she got ear infections. Gwen wasn’t a water dog and hated the water. Funny how dogs are like people sometimes.


connected tissue

Wander project the year of the yam!

Thanksgiving is a North American tradition (harvest festival) the first week of October in Canada and the third week of November in the US. For the US celebration, it is this coming Thursday. Traditionally it is a time when families gather. When we live, in Ohio, and when we lived in Greenwood, we would wander down to see my folks in Bloomington, along with my sisters and all the kids and spouses.  It is a 10 hour trip from Maryland, so we haven’t got to Indiana for Thanksgiving since moving East. But before we went to Bloomington for Thanksgiving, we used to go to Cambridge Wisconsin for Thanksgiving. Often there would snow on the ground and the next holiday in a child’s eye is the greatest, Christmas.

My grandmother (my mother’s mother) was a phenomenal cook. Everything was amazing and perfect. I remember all of us sitting around the dining room table. The Dining room of the house (built by my grandfather and great-grandfather) wasn’t big. The table stretched to form the kitchen all the way into the living room. The turkey was perfect. I remember helping that morning as the meal was prepared. We wandered by Racine on the way home, so I know it was when I was probably seven or eight years old. My cousins and sister were there as well, I remember them. My father’s parents lived in Wisconsin Dells when I was really little, and around the time we moved to Indiana they moved to Racine.

We would stop that year for a second Thanksgiving dinner before heading home to Indiana.  The pictures today are from my folks house in 2000. This is the infamous year of the Yams. My mother always made Yams for the holiday. It was a tradition that really other than my mother and father nobody ate a lot of the years. In that year the twins decided they liked Yams and ate most of the tray of Yams. The next year my mother made more Yams, but the moment had been lost. The twins never again ate Yams. Funny I remember that, my mother, wife, sisters and the rest of the family remember that. We called it the year of the Yams. It has never returned.


do you yam?