Wander project pictures of DC

First of all, the idea to take pictures while walking comes from the wonderful posts shared by Kim and Vidocka. I am not claiming it was my idea. Tuesday I had to be at a series of meetings in Downtown Washington DC. In order to get from one location to the other, I walked rather than moving the car and trying to find a new parking place. The mall of America is the open space that runs from the Washington Monument (the tribute to the first American President George Washington) to the Congressional Dome or the US Congress building. Along the mall of America is a lot of the Smithsonian museum and many other interesting buildings including the US Supreme Court and many offices of US Federal Government Agencies.

It was around a mile to make it from the one customer location to the other. I snapped a few pictures, with my iPhone. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because it was a little colder than I expected. I parked near the second customer location knowing that I would walk to the first location. I am not sure that was prepared for the early am 38 degrees. I didn’t have gloves. I did have a jacket, so I wasn’t freezing, but it was cold.  As I walked, I noticed there were a lot of tourists. Frankly, the Mall of America is more of a tourist location. The work locations for most Washingtonians are a little further from the mall although you do see, like me, the occasional business person with their briefcase or bag walking through the mall.

As I was freezing, I did stop for a moment and ponder the walk. Like walking in Paris, which I have had the chance to do many times, or walking in London, there is history around us. No horse-thief canyon to wander into, sorry Kim. No beautiful gardens to walk by, sorry Vidocka. The gardens are closer to the museums and a little out of my way for that particular trip. Luckily it was warmer on the way back. The last picture I took on purpose, it is the lock screen of my phone. Dylan hates technology and frequently hits my phone. Even though his picture is there on the device, he doesn’t like technology much. I will end with that, my walk in Downtown DC!


wander project what dad saw

I am going to mix in the what my father saw with the wander project, but I won’t go into a 20 plus day blast of either for a while. Today, some interesting pictures, a couple of my father and one of my mother. I spoke yesterday about trying to transition and the difficulty that we can have at times, moving from dad to friend. I know its hard because I struggle with it myself now. My father struggled with it as well. But I do know one thing my father loved and respected me. Many times after we moved to Maryland in 2011 he would remark on things I shared in my blog or things from one of my books. That always made me happy and still does, my mother often comments to me on things posted.

Sometimes, she even agrees with my memories. Sometimes, she does not agree. Either way, it is wonderful to hear!  Dad traveled a lot after we came home from Thailand. He did a little before but traveled more after. I do remember one trip he took, we went to the homecoming parade and managed to lock ourselves out of our house in Sherwood Oaks. In fairness, we didn’t lock ourselves out of the house mom’s purse was moved and she didn’t know it while we were at the parade.  I ended up climbing in the only open window in our house (unlocked) in my father’s study. In the process of getting into the room, I knocked my fathers bust of John Kennedy over. It ended up breaking the nose of the bust!

After Bangkok, dad traveled quite a bit. He was in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, visited Malaysia and Fiji and Papua New Guinea. In all cases, he was helping the nations education system start a science education program. He was a long time member and president of the National Science Teachers Association in the US. NSTA was in Washington DC, so dad traveled often to DC. Long, many long years before we moved to Maryland. Of course, dad also went back to Thailand as well. Over the course of the years after we returned to the US, mom and dad sponsored many Thai Students at Indiana University. Dad believed and so did mom that you have to, as John Kennedy said “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”


Wander project what my father saw.

I promised I would return to pictures from the what my dad saw, series. These are of one of his trips to Thailand. One of the things that my father and I struggled with was the transition. There is a time when the child and the parent become equals. My father was always one who respected and listened to his children, but the initial transition to having to acknowledge his children knew more in an area that he did was difficult. I know that is a difficult thing because I struggle with the same issue. My mother was always someone that was able to do that, at least on the surface. I have no idea what mom was thinking on the inside unless I asked her. Dad and I struggled with that issue for a few years after mom and I were able to accept and move on.

It is not an easy transition, and I suspect it is one that all parents go through. It doesn’t make easier knowing that everyone has to do it, until after the fact. My dad and I used to disagree with computer management and how to operate computers. I got him a free copy of Microsoft Office in 1996, but he continued to use WordPerfect for two years. We were finally able to settle the issue around 2000. Then I got dad to start taking digital pictures. Did I cure him of the full memory card issue? No, dad would, when the camera said memory full, buy a new memory card. After he passed away, I found more than 20 memory cards in his desk

The pictures today were taken with his digital camera. I believe the pictures are from either 2005 or 2006, mom and dad spent winters and springs in Thailand when they could. Dad took around 30,000 prints and slides throughout his life from 1956 (when he first took pictures) to 2005 when he last took print and slides. Nearly 50 years and nearly 800 pictures per year. From 2005 to when he stopped taking pictures in 2011, he took 8000 pictures. The reality of digital pictures you took a lot more of them! Getting dad to digital took time, but when he got there, he took off! Dad’s eye for pictures didn’t change film to digital. He was a very talented photographer. He loved taking pictures.


Wander project Beijing!

Images today are from Beijing. I have many pictures of my two trips to China. Although in working towards clearance with the US Government, I can say trips to China aren’t fun conversations. The trip to Beijing as part of a three-country, three presentation trip. The pictures are of my approach to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The huge gates of the Forbidden City used to be closed, no one was allowed inside the emperors home. The two things I wanted to do/see in Beijing was Tiananmen Square (I remember that from many years ago) and the Forbidden City (they are connected). I got to walk around both in the two hours I had.

The Great Wall was the third; my goal once was to touch the three walls I had read about as a child. The Great Wall of China, The Great wall of Constantinople and finally the Wall of London. I have managed to touch all three now. I guess I should have set higher goals than simply touching walls. Honestly, a lot of my traveling goals came from my childhood. We visited Ireland, Denmark, France, Iran, India, and Thailand. All of those countries fueled my future desire to travel. In fairness now, I am down to one country I want to visit (New Zealand). I’ve been to all eh places I imaged I wanted to see traveling as-as a 10 and 11-year-old. Of course, in fairness, my author goal was to be a full-time poet. That hasn’t come to be!

Traveling for business is different than traveling with your family. I know that I spent a lot of time, thinking about being at home. It was difficult at times to be always away from home.

Plus, when I think about it, there isn’t that many famous walls left that I could go to, just to touch!

Funny how traveling for all those years made the world a smaller place to be. I remember the last time I went to Europe I listened to the wonderful book “The world is flat.” It is a great book about the reality of the modern business world. Where what once was something that was beyond, is now part of what we do. I used to, when traveling a lot, listen to audible books all the time. Now, I do, but in the car!


Wander project NYC

I spend 28 straight weeks in NYC. First, I got to hang out with one of my dearest friends and favorite people (and her husband). New York City is a huge place. Like many larger cities, it evolves. During the day it is a city of business. At night, it is a city of lights! NYC is a busy place. In 2006 I had a September Business trip to NYC. It ended up being that we were there on September 11, the fifth anniversary of the event that changed my world. I went from literally taking 15 minutes from checking in to b sitting in an airplane to more than 90. What took me no time, now took a lot of time. I used to cut flights close than when the world started flying again in September 2001; I couldn’t do that anymore.

Throughout my traveling career, I spent a lot of time in NYC. We at lunch in the World Trade Centers Top of the World restaurant. We stayed in the Marriott hotel that once was right by the World Trade Center. We spent many hours in the city. Because of the project I was on, we drove the entire family for the kid’s spring break, to spend a week in NYC. My wife and Daughter had a blast going to some of the museums they had always wanted to see. The kids were cold on the last day and didn’t want o go to the statue of liberty. My wife has harassed my kids about not going to the statue of liberty for many years now. It is a running joke that makes the kids groan.

That week was fun for me, instead of being along in the evening I got to go home to a cramped hotel room, with my family.   That made the week so much better for me.  On other trips, there were also memorable events. We did training in the customer’s training facility for the IT team. The training facility was in Brooklyn. There was a restaurant across from the training center. On the first day, I thought about going but ended up doing something else. On the second day, I walked the street with some of the team; the restaurant had been closed by the Health Department the nth before! I guess I dodged a digestive bullet there.  We ended up the 2nd evening meeting my friends finance and going for Pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge. A wood-fired pizza oven that hadn’t stopped burning for over 100 years!


Wander project puppy day!

Today in the US is National Puppy Day. (this blog is published 3 days in arrears), Our puppies are a little older. They are both Lab Rescues. The Lab Rescue of Maryland and Virginia to be exact. They have been together, the two of them for five years in just two weeks. Raven joined our family in April 2014. Dylan joined our family in June 2012. In between the arrival of Raven, we still had Fran who passed away in March 2014. 2014 was a bad year for our family. But today is a celebration day. In the spring of 2014, we decided to get a second dog. Fran was older and had a leg injury (torn ACL) that limited her ability to walk. I wanted a dog that could go on walks with me, so I didn’t have to walk alone.

As happened with the adoption of Fran, My daughter and I spent some time thinking, researching and selecting a dog. It was my daughter who said: “we should adopt a rescue dog.” We met with the LRMV folks; they decided that we were worthy of a second dog. It was interesting we filled out a survey and had a home visit before we were allowed to adopt a new pal. We went through the same process when we got Raven two years later. Then we started working with a coordinator to find the right dog. It was in late m May of 2012 that we were informed that there was a possible dog for our family, would we be interested. We had originally said, female, but the dog they found was male.

We drove down to Richmond, and Dylan joined our family. He is a lab mix, with some hound other than Lab in his background. He doesn’t bark, the bays. Richmond VA is roughly 2 hours away from DC, and nearly 3 hours from Maryland. We ended up going to the house where Dylan was with Fran. Fran never liked Dylan. But she tolerated him. We picked Dylan up and drove home. Raven was also picked in Richmond VA. She was on the east side of Richmond, Dylan was on the West Side. Where Fran never liked Dylan, Raven and Dylan were besties from the first moment they met. Raven also picked the Twins as her people. So today we celebrate the graduated puppies in our house!


wander project KL at night

The Petronas towers at night. That was often the view I saw of the towers. We would start early (well I would) because I was still working a US project as well. I would have my US 6 and 7 am calls. Then head to the towers, and we would work until the evening. We would often pack our computer bags, drop them off at the hotel and wander off for dinner. There are many wonderful restaurants around the KL Towers. I suspect over the course the project we hit all of them. There were also wonderful restaurants both at the JW Marriott and the Mandarin Oriental. I stayed in both hotels during the three trips to KL. They are both wonderful hotels and have several restaurants.

My favorite thing about Malaysia was walking the KLCC mall. Now I shouldn’t say that was my favorite thing; it was something I enjoyed. There was a movie theater there, plus one of my favorite mini-museums. The Malaysian Oil Company built the Petronas Towers then known as Petronas (I believe it still it, but it has been ten years, and I haven’t’ checked). They, Petronas were huge sponsors of a Formula One team. Plus there is a KL race every year. It is in the Palm Plantations just outside KL on the way to the international airport. I wasn’t there at the time the race was run, but I enjoyed the Petronas Formula One museum that used to be in the KLCC Mall.

The other thing was the season; the KLCC mall was filled with amazing Holiday Decorations. My first trip was during Ramadan, so most of the team wasn’t eating lunch. I was on my own for lunch and wandered the Mall to various restaurants for Lunch. The team during Ramadan fasted during the day. I was amazed by the dedication and devotion. I was careful to not bring food into the team area; it would have been disrespectful. We would often meet in the Mandarin Oriental lounge in the evening the first trip, but in the afternoon on the later trips. It was a comfortable lounge, and the chairs were nice. Back then I was traveling all he time; I usually worked 12-14 hours a day and most of the weekends. My goal was to finish as early as possible so that I could go home!