wander project water and words….

There are two parts to my wander project. The first part is the images. Sometimes they are pictures I’ve taken recently. Sometimes they are pictures my father had taken. Sometimes they are pictures my father’s father had taken. Sometimes the pictures were taken by my mother. Sometimes the pictures were taken by my wife. Sometimes, the pictures were taken by my children. The pictures are a journey, but the text is a memory. The difference between the two can be vast. Today I am wondering the very concept of the words and really nothing to do with the pictures. Am I a voice in the wilderness? I posted something yesterday, and some read the words some did not.

Are you a word reader or a skimmer? Do you dive into the depths of the meaning, or look at the pictures. I don’t care, honestly. The pictures are shared because they are captured moments. Something someone, from the long list above, felt was important. That is the value of a picture that at one point, someone thought it was important. It was, it is, and it always will be important, but the more people that see the image, the more it will be cherished.  The text sometimes isn’t cherished or remembered. That is ok as well, as I said read, don’t read I don’t care anymore.  The box I live in was built for me. By me, for me, with my guidance and help. This is a secret message for those who read. Thank you!

I am who I am. I am to quote a poem happy in my skin. I don’t fall prey to people calling me names. Well, I do on occasion, but it is something I am working on as a person. Words matter, pictures are nice, and I love sharing them, but the words matter as well. I know that those read words, read the posts. I know I do. I know that if I like a post, I share it on various Social Platforms. I also know that I bring other viewers to the things I read. It matters I don’t post comments that make people uncomfortable. I don’t say things that make people upset. I try to share words that matter to me. I post words that are important to me. I often fail because I am still learning. But I know that I am trying.

To those who read the words, I salute you!  I am honored that you took the time.


Wander project our When Harry Met Sally Story…

Water relaxes me. Just the pictures of and the memories of relax me. But being on the water makes the week easier for me to move through. One of the side conversations I’ve been having here on Virily was about the movie “When Harry Met Sally.” During that movie, there are vinegar, or cuts, scenes of couples talking about how they met, and the resulting relationship. My wife and I love that movie, and a few years ago (oh say 28) I created our “When Harry Met Sally Story.” I started to share that in a comment on Virily and realized that I should probably share the entire story. It is one that I’ve told and retold over the years many times. My wife has a variation of the story as well.

The first time, my wife and I met we were both in High School. She was a senior, and I was a freshman. On April 1st of that only year we shared in High School, my wife wore a white rabbit suit to school. Now, knowing my wife now, I understand why she wore the suit. But as a freshman, I came up to where she was in the freshman hallway, and asked her, “Do you have the time?” I assumed that she was the White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland.” She was not, looked at me as if I was an alien, and walked away. That was the first time we met.

The second time we met, I was with a bunch of friends (we were dreaming of being a band at the time). My friend had a friend, who worked at one of my ALL TIME favorite restaurants in Bloomington, Indiana, The Trojan Horse. He said he thought we would hit it off. He introduced me to the waitress, also a college student but, nothing clicked. We talked, but that was it. We went our separate ways, again!

The next time we met was a double introduction. The first was an interesting evening. My best friend and I used to go to a place in Bloomington called J Arthurs. We would go there on a Friday and a Saturday night to dance. That evening he invited my wife to join us. I was in the final stages of a relationship with a different person, and he brought along this person to introduce us. She was a parent of a child in his class at the Bloomington Developmental Learning Center where he was teaching. She had, the previous weekend, asked him if he knew any nice guys. He said no, but there is my roommate. We talked a bit, and things seemed different thing time. But I was in the midst of a breakup.

A longer version of the WHMS story is on my podcast. You can find that here.

That next week, having ended the previous relationship, my roommate toles me he was inviting someone over for dinner. I was making cookies for my class and potato soup. It was the same woman from J Arthurs. We started talking while waiting for my roommate (it was a setup, he never showed). She was interested in why I was making cookies; I told her I had promised my class if they read 100 books that year, that I would make them cookies. This was the last time we were introduced. We started dating that night. We’ve been together ever since. The first time we met my wife was in a Rabbit suit. It wasn’t the bunny from Alice in Wonderland; it was the rabbit from Harvey. She mentioned on our 3rd date that an obnoxious freshman had approached her and assumed that she was the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. I had to admit that Freshman was me.


Wander project boating…

During the work week, our time is not our own. We are bound to our employer’s needs. That is fair; they pay us to be employees. We get benefits and value from our empowers. But come the weekend, that is our time. The one activity that we do every single weekend is boating. Not, every single weekend there are times we cannot go. But we go more often than not. Boating is often done spur of the moment. We get in the boat, and we go, where the will of the wisp takes us. Our plan for boat trips is, let’s go where we want to go. Most days we figure out what we want for lunch on the way, we figure where we will point the boat when we get there, and we leave more to chance.

The pictures today are from the Rhode River. Rhode River is the river that is just south of the South River. Ok, being that we are South of the South River I had to bring that up. We aren’t north of North River. We are south of South River. South of North River or east of West rive, west of East River also fun. But south of the south makes me smile every time. Lunch was a visit to Safeway. We don’t often stop for a longer lunch. We tend towards places that we can pick up and take food to the boat. Safeway is a grocery chain that we’ve used many times for boat launches.  The boat has a table (two actually), so we can sit and relax enjoying lunch. Sometimes we head out and then have lunch.

Sometimes we sit at the dock and then head out. There is a significant drop in temperature once you get away from shore. Ninety degrees with 90% humidity drops to a more comfortable humidity level. The water, after all, is what humidity is made of. The water is cooler, rising throughout the summer, but still cooler than the air. Shallow water quickly becomes air temperature, but with rivers and Oceans, that water is frequently replaced by tidal and river flow. The air is cooler, and as long as you aren’t near the shore, smells wonderful. The freedom that the water brings is magical — relaxing and something that recharges me for the week. Now, I am ready for the work process.


wander project why, back to the beginning

The origin of the family history project, for me, was the passing of my father. But my wife parents passed a few years before my dad did. They, my in-laws, were awesome and supportive human beings. The pictures today include a visit they made to our house in Indiana in September 2000. They, my in-laws, were living in Tallahassee, Florida at that time. It is funny, most of my family other than my wife and I, stayed in Indiana until recently. My sister and her husband moved to Chicago in the past couple of years. Before that my wife and I were the rolling stones on my side of the family tree. On her side of the family, everyone in her immediate family left Indiana. The rest of her aunts and uncles stayed in Indiana.

My wife’s closest cousin also left Indiana.  My wife’s brother moved first to Alabama and then to Florida. My wife’s parents moved first to Hot Springs, Arkansas and then to Florida. So while on one side we were the first to leave Indiana when we moved to Ohio and on one side we were always the furthest away from family, on my wife’s side we were the last to leave Indiana. So far on either side of the extended family, we are the only yo-yo family. Yo-yo is moving out of the state, then back into the state and then leaving again.  I guess that is the nature of families sometimes. Some stay, some move and some never go home again. I still love to head back to the place where I spent the majority of my childhood.

Still, the pictures today are of the people that raised my wife. They were grand people.  My wife and I met in Bloomington in the fall. My in-laws to be were in Hot Springs by then. It was the Thanksgiving (the only one we’ve spent apart in the last 29 years) that my wife was heading to Alabama to see her family. I was heading to Cambridge Wisconsin to hang out with my family. We decided three weeks before that separation that we would get married. That event freaked her parents out and freaking my parents out. We had been dating for two weeks and decided to get married. It took both sides a little time to accept the sudden change. My wife’s parents invited me to visit with their daughter and granddaughter that year right after Christmas.


Wander project my wife’s graduation!


I am very proud of my wife. When we were dating, she was finishing up her internship (and her bachelor’s degree). We moved to Ohio, and she started her career as a video producer.  I had told her to not worry about where she found a job. If she got a starting job, that paid more than I was making as a school teacher, I would move. I didn’t think that a first-time video producer would make a lot more than a school teacher that was heading into their tenure year, was making.  I was wrong, so off to Ohio, we would go. My wife did video production for an advertising agency for five years. At the end of the tie with the advertising agency, she had an experience that changed things.

Our daughter was outside playing at my parent’s house. She fell and hurt her knee. She ran past my wife, my mother, and my sisters to her dad to fix the boo-boo. My wife decided she wanted more children and that she wanted to come home and not work for a while. From 1996 to roughly 2008, my wife’s career was staying at home mom. That is a career in and of itself. The transition for us was tough as I took a job that would later be more focused on travel. It wasn’t at. First, I was responsible for several customers in Cincinnati, Ohio. The traveling started when we moved back to Indiana. But that was also the time period that the twins arrived. There are many stories there, but not for today.

My wife, in 2008, decided that she wanted to go back to work. But, she no longer wished to be in advertising. She didn’t want to be in video production either. Her long-held dream from the time she was a little girl to be a therapist. She applied for and was accepted to the Indiana University School of Social Work. She was starting her college career a little later than most people do. At the time, I was traveling, so there were many evenings when our daughter ended up watching the twins. I was out of town, my wife was in school, and I have to be honest it was a stressful time. The funny part of this story is that when we moved to Maryland, all my wife had left for her degree was the internship she was going to do in Maryland.

Funny, when we met, she was doing an internship. When we moved away from Indiana, she was doing an internship!

These pictures are from her graduation from the IU School of Social Work. She was allowed to walk, even though she technically wouldn’t finish her degree until the internship was completed.


wander project dad’s garden…

Pictures are from my parent’s farm. I should point out that it wasn’t a farm. Dad, decided when I was a junior in High School, that he was going to build a self-sustaining life. He started out buying 5 acres in a small Indiana town known as Kirksville. Kirksville is a dot on the map, a small little town with a long-closed Elementary School, a grocery store and a volunteer Fire Department. When I was a school teacher in Bloomington, one of my co-teachers had been the very last principle of Kirksville Elementary School. But that is a story for another day. Today it is my father’s beloved gardens. One of the reasons, I suspect that he wanted to move to the farm, was to have more room for gardens.

Once dad moved to the farm, he started planting a lot more things then he had in the city. The first two big gardening projects were the planting of grapes and the Apple Orchard. Dad planted non-wine grapes along the back part of the original farmstead. (the first 5 acres he would eventually buy ten more acres). The first 5 acres ended up being where the apple orchard, gardens, and grapes were planted. There were also two ponds, one dry one with water. The one that had water when my parents owned the farm was often called “Kirksville Lake” by the people that had lived there for many years. There were fish in the pond that had been added by folks over the years.

From the pond with water you went downhill to the empty pond. About 300 yards past the now dry pond there was a cave entrance, but it was not large enough for a human to go through it. You could feel the cool air in the summer near the sinkhole where the cave roof had collapsed.  The collapsed cave entrance was on the last 5 acres that dad bought. We added fencing around that wooded area one summer. I learned a lot about the barbed wire that summer. The most important lesson is, I stay away from it now. I had cuts all over my hands, arms, and legs from pulling barbed wire through the woods. , Dad bought the second five acres as pasture for the cows, and later for my little sister’s horse Woodstock.


Wander Project My father Honored Teacher (Arjan)

I have talked about my father, the teacher many times. These pictures are from a class he taught in Chiang Mai now ten years ago. Chaing Mai was and is the Northern Capital of Thailand. The Kingdom once now as Siam. It is still known as Siam, but now more of a constitutional Monarchy than it was in the days of Siam. Then the king ruled the entire land. The king of Siam once wrote a letter to the President of the United States, offering to send war Elephants to the president to help his cause (the presidents). Abraham Lincoln replied to the king saying, thanks but no thanks. Thailand is a wonderful country. I now both mom and dad loved being there; they went many times!

When I was traveling, I remember when I finally made it to the top level of United Fliers. I got a letter saying that I could upgrade someone to the Silver level automatically. It helped mom and dad when they were traveling to have that! While dad traveled a lot, it was normally once a year. To move way up into the systems of an airline, you have to travel 100,000 miles a year. It isn’t a badge of honor. Flying a million miles and sadly spending more than a 1000 nights in a hotel, isn’t something to celebrate. We did, once a year spend all the miles and free hotel points on our family vacations. That was the one time of year that all that travel for work, paid back!

Dad was a teacher, and he loved teaching. I had the honor of taking his class one summer. It was a tough class, but you could see his connection as a teacher. I know I was never as good a teacher as my father was. He was amazing. I was a good teacher, but I was not in his category of teachers. When it came to technology, then I was in my world. Funny, I did for a time follow my father into education. I suspect now that was something I needed to do, to honor my father. It wasn’t the best choice for me, but the value of time is you can come to realize the error. I was meant to be a technologist. I just didn’t have that path in my heart until I was ready.