Wander project (literally wandering)…

We moved from Cincinnati Ohio to Greenwood Indiana in October 1999. The pictures shared today are of our first spring in our new house. We would start building the pool (our big addition to the house) the end of April 2000. These pictures come from March 2000; you can still see the yard heading to the pond, before the pool. We also still had some flowers planted by the previous owners. That would change over the years. We took out the fence you can see attached to the garage in one of the pictures. We dug out the railroad tie garden area that was next to the pond. We also removed several railroad tie planters that were in the yard (2 or 3 of them I think).

Ripping up the railroad ties that were embedded near the pond was a tough project. It took my pal and me two full days. That was before he got married, so he would come up and spend the weekend with us. He introduced my wife and I. My wife would later introduce him to his future wife. But then, he was still single and came to help yank out the railroad ties. My wife and I pulled out the planter boxes. I pulled out the fence by myself. It took me two full weekends, and I ended up having to leave one of the fence posts. There was also a rock porch area by the garage. My daughter and her friends dug up the porch area and threw the rocks all over the years.

Needless to say, I hadn’t planned on digging up that stone area. I wasn’t happy when I found what they had done. Interestingly that was one of the last time she played with that set of kids. Until the pool arrived, then there was a long line of friends that wanted to come over and swim. The Bradford Pear tree in the front yard would only last three more years. Its root system was rotten, it literally fell over (away from the house luckily) during a light wind storm. We ended up digging up most of the flowers that the previous owner had planters around some o the trees. When you buy a house you want to make it your home. It is part of the overall process we go through!


former railroad tie remover.

Wander project the Cake Dive…

Their first year is a blur. The twins were born prematurely by seven weeks. After 23 weeks of Bedrest, my wife was both ready and terrified. We had thought for most of the pregnancy the twins were suffering from TTS. (Two to Twin transfusion syndrome) A very rare disorder. They were not, by the way, victims of that disorder. It was simply that, to use the timers of that Baby A, was literally on top of Baby Bs umbilical cord. That cord was twisted as well. The twins did not have TTS, just a twisted cord. Seven weeks premature resulted in us feeding every four hours when they first came home from the hospital. Then Baby B went back into the hospital, and things got hectic. I would like to say that we cruised through that first year. Don’t worry the Twins first year was a cake walk, but it wasn’t. Although I would suspect walking on cakes isn’t that easy.

But the year is a blur. We realized after the Twins were born, or shortly before that our first house in Cincinnati Ohio was far too small. We ended up building our second house, and five months after the Twins were born moving from Western Hills part of Cincinnati Ohio to Mt, Airy which is a little north of Western Hills. Yes, we moved with twins. It was part of the year that was a blur. We did hire a moving company for the first time. The first four moves my wife and I completed were done by my wife and I (and a lot of friends). The first move was my roommate, and I move to the house my wife was renting in Bloomington Indiana. The next move was leaving that house and heading to Cincinnati. We had friends come by the house to say goodbye and put a box or two into the Ryder truck. We moved to Fairfield a suburb of Cincinnati Ohio. From Fairfield, my wife and I borrowed my dad’s truck (some new friends came along to help), and we moved to Maineville. Friends came one last time as we moved from Maineville to Western Hills.

We’ve used moving companies since then! I suspect based on that first year of the Twins being with us; we would have gone crazy trying to move. The highlight was that first birthday party. The pictures today are of that event. It was a festival. The Twins are the last of my parent’s grandchildren. It, the first birthday was the last of the family first birthday celebrations of grandchildren. Perhaps the next generation will come, but not now! My wife was a huge, first birthday cake dive fan. I tried to get her to buy small cakes for the boys and a 3rd cake for the rest of us. That didn’t happen, but I do understand why she wanted the bigger cake! The pictures of the two covered in the frosting are priceless.


I am still trying to get cake out of my hair!

wander project waiting for the snow day announcement

For some reason when snow falls, I take pictures. These, from snowfall in 2004. The folder the pictures are in is labeled the “First Snowfall of 2004.” As if it is significant at that moment. That until the snowfall there wasn’t 2004. We couldn’t look back upon a summer of swimming in the pool. Or sitting on the deck watching the sunset. Those didn’t happen until the snowfall.  The snow that contributed so little in 2018 in Maryland to the overall rainfall totals. Five inches or so of snow equals an inch of rain. Just to be fair and in the best sense of reality, if all the rain in Maryland in 2018 fell as snow, it would be more than 300 inches of snow. Nearly 25 feet of snow piled up on my driveway.

I’ve seen 25 feet of snow, crossing the rainbow pass in Colorado. Drive on a road that was cleared, but towering snow on both sides.  It is a lot of snow not, what is shown in these pictures. This is a snowfall that happened overnight. We went to bed, the world around us green and awoke in the morning, a white blanket covering the world. Looking out from various angles towards our backyard to see snow.  On School Days, the made dance would begin. Children are rising to prepare for school but then seeing the snow turning on the radio or the television. Waiting for the scroll. “we have to know.” They would say and then return to waiting for the scroll.

The scroll upon its mystical appearance would provide either smiles or frustration. “It can’t be safe to have school buses on these roads.” The tiny voices would say. Or, a more simple “yeah!” and bundling up the tiny voices would head outdoors to play. The scroll was, of course, the news providing school closures. There were always a school that closed if any snow fell — those rural schools with hills and small roads that were not safe with any snow on them. The suburban schools our children attended having the advantage of a county with snow plows and salt trucks. Oft there would be freedom from school, but only once enough that school was extended (Indiana built in 5 snow days. They only got more than five days once while we lived there.)


lost in the cold

Wander project Mt. Vernon!

I’ve shared these pictures before; they come from the back “yard” or barn area of Mt. Vernon. The kids had a day off from school, and I had a day away from the office. We had just moved to the DC area, and the kids wanted to go to Mt. Vernon. Mt. Vernon is famous for being the home of the First President of the United States George Washington. Washington is sometimes called the parental unit of our country. A grand man, from a time in American History when heroes could have been a little better, but they were of the time. Washington had slaves, which remains a really bad mark on his legacy. He was an innovative farmer who did at the end of his life free all his slaves.

For some reason, the kids were in a play mode that particular day. We started off waiting in the big field (sort of a pavilion) before we could go through the house. Mt. Vernon, particularly on school holidays is packed with kids, parents, and teachers. We waited on the front lawn area for a while. The kids were doing crazy things for the video camera. I’ve posted those on our YouTube channel; they are buried somewhere in the feed. We then wandered through the house. There was a time when I admired Washington for his stance and his choices. I don’t anymore; I feel bad that he had slaves. While his farm was innovative and cool, it wouldn’t have worked without the slaves.

Finally, after turning the house, we walked down towards the milling barn. On the way to the milling barn, there are three things to see. The first is an animal husbandry barns Washington had. The second is his grave site. The other thing is the remains of a fence and the stone fence that kept the animals away from the veranda of Mt. Vernon. The kids, as you can see from the pictures had more fun with the old fence poles and the fence. They were all trying to be funny and honestly it was quite successful. Well, if they intended to make me laugh, it worked. We were all laughing and had a blast. When the tour was over we went to the twins favorite DC area restaurant, 5 Guys. 5 Guys is a regional burger joint, and they make amazing burgers!


5 guys fan

Wander project boating on the Severn River…

If you, click the shutter you’ve captured a moment. There are before and after pieces to that moment. They say a picture paints a 1000 words. That the actual picture was taken is worth a thousand words. But the picture that wasn’t captured is at times worth more. The one, that got away — the greatest fish story of all time. The picture missed.  We spent a day wandering up the Seven rivers with friends on the boat. It, the Severn River is nestled in the land between Annapolis and not Annapolis. Its banks are filled with grand houses and yet, only two marinas. It isn’t the river that flows past Baltimore, that lies east of the Severn River. It is the river that flows by the US Naval Academy.

We start with pictures of Lars. He is now home, sitting in our kitchen. His hat needs a coat of paint. But Lars is the spirit of our boat. The wandering adventurer, the water Troll that captains our dreams. Lars is the boat troll or gnome depending on the cultural reference you choose. Lars joined our family in Norway and had lived on our boat ever since. He chooses not to winter on the boat. However, He is a captain, not a frozen statue. Lars likes motion so now he sits on the Lazy Susan on the kitchen table. Going round and round, not the bobbing of the river or the Bay that he prefers, but better I suspect for Lars than sitting on a frozen boat during the long dark winter months.

There are moments when in the winter, as the cold air squeezes the warmth out of us, that we miss the boat. There are times when the smell of salt spray seems to appear well. As if, standing on dry land, the sea suddenly there with you. I miss that water feel. I miss the the sound the gulls flying overhead. The sight of an Osprey on its nest, The beatifies as you watch birds dive for small fish. The joy of watching someone as they learn to sail. Pulling the mainsail up, catching the wind and seeing the look on their face as they move out towards the bay. Or the joy of seeing the Naval Cadets on a Sunday. The towboat pulling them out to where they can practice tacking. They can practice sailing. There are few sailboats remaining in the US Navy now, but still, it is a critical skill. Know what the wind can do at all times!


Follow the Kringle crumbs

Wander project wander to warm…

Still wandering to the warm pictures and memories right now mostly because yesterday was a 1.4 inch rainfall day. Somewhere early in the morning yesterday, the DMV (Washington District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) passed the 61.25-inch mark for rain this year. That makes this the all-time recorded history wettest year. It should be noted, as a weather geek, that we were 5 or more inches below average as of June 30th. To go from below average to the wettest year on record means there had to be a wet group of months. The wettest July and August recorded. An above average September and October were recorded and finally the wettest November on record.

By July 31wt the year was already above average for rain. The reality of climate change isn’t the long bemoaned global warming. That is something that happens in some places. But the presence of heat in Antarctica means it has to be cold somewhere else. If the arable lands in the world are suddenly dry, there will be a huge impact on the world. Food production is a fragile thing.  In 2018 April showers brought July Deluges! All that water has to go somewhere. It has been one of the most flooded falls in Maryland and Virginia. Add to that the fact that two hurricanes have impacted the US East Coast in the same year and the weather has been historic.

Sometimes as a person, you don’t want to make history.

The pictures today are of Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. It is a clean and wonderful beach right on the Atlantic Ocean. We enjoyed lunch in the English Fish n ’chips place. We all got hats and t-shirts on the main drag. We went to the beach for Mother’s Day. My wife loves to go to the beach. I suspect if you totaled her five all-time favorite vacations, five of them had a beach. Well maybe Europe was in the top five, so she only had 4 out of 5 beach vacations. But she loves the beach!


lost in a sea of pictures

Wander project on being a blogger….

I’ve shared the pictures before. Today, believe is the word. Inspire is the hope, but belief is the word. I am bound by who I am. I know that I have flaws. I know that I have strengths. I know the most important thing that I can do is like myself. I am not perfect nor do I think myself perfect. I know my flaws. That doesn’t mean I need others to point them out. If you point out my flaws, I expect the right to do the same for you. Sending me a message with a diatribe on the things I do wrong, doesn’t work. First, I will most likely have my feelings hurt. But second I will also place distance between myself and the other person. It is a natural reaction to being hurt particularly when it is someone that doesn’t allow that they make mistakes.

I am a person, not a blog. I try very hard to interact with other bloggers following three simple rules. They are the rules that I try to follow as a person as well.

  1. I am a human being. As they say on Reddit, remember the human.
  2. There are two sides to every story. One side may be wrong, but it deserves to be heard.
  3. No one is perfect.

My grandfather used to tell me that it was important to hear what people say. Not listen, but hear. His argument was always that listening is nodding your head. The hearing are you putting yourself in the shoes of the other person. That hearing shows that you care enough to follow rule 2. My grandfather introduced me to that; my father helped me understand the value of knowing both sides. You see if you know both sides, if you check both sides, in effect, you cannot be misled by either side. You know when one side has facts, and the other side has supposition.

Listen to what people say. Hear them so that they know they are understood, but most importantly trust but verify!