wander project my grandfather’s pictures

The first picture is of my cousins riding on horses. I haven’t seen either cousin in more than 30 years now (one passed away). Seems funny; my mother’s family is together more often. After the picture with people, the rest are of landscapes. All of them were taken of various things that interested my grandfather near Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. First of all, if you go to Dells now, it is vastly different. I remember the Dells but not the dells of these pictures. All four were taken in 1962. I don’t’ have many strong memories of that time I was a little over a year old and not really in a position to pay attention and remember things that I saw. I do have memories of the Dells, but they come a couple of years later.


My grandfather loved the river near the Dells. When I was around eight years old, they moved from Wisconsin Dells to Racine. Racine is a city nestled between two massive large towns. Well, one medium city and one large city. Racine sits between Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Chicago. Both Milwaukee and Chicago area on the shores of Lake Michigan. As is Racine, I remember going to my grandfather’s house and walking on the beach. There are photos taken of all of us on the shores of Lake Michigan. Water was a huge part of my childhood from the Wisconsin River early in my life and Lake Ripley to later Lake Michigan. I spent a lot of time in or near the water!

The images (last three) are decayed. The decay has stopped now. They are 58 years old. If you went to the exact spot where the pictures were taken, most likely, you wouldn’t know what my grandfather saw. The Wisconsin Dells is a massive tourist operation now. From Putt-Putt, Golf courses, and the Fort Dells amusement park, the city has grown. When I was tiny, we walked from my grandparent’s house to the main boardwalk of the Dells. It was a short walk. That boardwalk is still there, but the town has expanded around the Dells so much. The images my grandfather captured are no more. So, enjoy the slightly decayed pictures of a Wisconsin Dells that is no more.


wander project whimsy

Wandering to the philosophical side of town today. More because I am sitting in my office at home, where I have been sitting now every day since the 2nd week of March. I do feel horrible for those who are suffering. Suffering is never the right place to exist. I also know these are stressful times. Fear is the driver that many have to consider. I wish I had magic words that would calm people down.



it is a difficult time, and for the 474,000 people directly impacted by this, it is awful. It is a pandemic that has very quickly struck the entire world. It is a difficult situation. I would, however, remember the other side of this situation. It is terrible, it is difficult, but as of today, it has impacted around 7% of the world. That is bad, don’t get me wrong. I am not downplaying a disease just wanted to put the numbers in perspective. Covid-19 is something to be worried about, to be concerned about. It is something to help you stay away from other people. It is and has spread faster than nations of the world were ready for. It is the first modern age Pandemic, and it was covered by the systems we use to move about this planet.

I will say that this will pass. That we as humans will all look back and realize that things like Covid-19 can happen. That we as a species need to smarter about how we consider and approach mother Gaia, or mother nature, or Earth if you prefer. As spring bursts around us, flowers push off the yoke of winter and rise to greet the face of the spring sun. We have many gifts we can rejoice in. We can take a moment and fill the site or any site with green. It is the time when the yoke of winter leaves us. We still have hope, and we still have a chance. Let’s all be safe out there.

The world is a better place, with you in it!


Wander project Mexico

I was lucky enough to spend some time in Mexico City throughout three trips. I love the city. On the second trip, my wife got to come along a be a tourist. We had both taken Spanish in High School, so we were able to get around the city. We spent the weekend in Mexico City, thanks to my folks. They watched the twins so that we could get away from a week. We left Indiana on a late Sunday afternoon and flew down to Mexico City. We were staying in a hotel very near the office so that I could hop a cab. But also in an area, my wife could explore and enjoy the site seeing. It was the same setup we used in Paris. Where my wife studied, and I was in meetings.


Then, as we had done in Paris, we spent the weekend wandering. Much of the places we visited were the prominent tourist locations. You have to see some of those. In the case of Mexico City, we went to the main museum.  The first picture is of an Aztec statue in that museum. The museum was broken into periods of Mexican history (Pre-Mayan, Mayan, Aztec, and then post Spanish arrival). There were separate areas to wander for each of the main periods. We had a blast in the museum first because we had both learned of the various societies in school. Second, and less noble, was because we were free to wander an art museum. The twins do not like walking to art museums.

The second part of our experience was wandering to the Mansion of Maximillian. Maximillian was the emperor of Mexico for a time, supported by Napoleon. His former villa sits on top of a hill in Mexico City. To get to the museum you walk up a long winding road that leads to the Museum, We then bought tickets to go inside, but we had a bit of time to kill before our tour. We walked around the outside, noticing the many defensive improvements made to the hillside. In case the Mansion was attacked, Maximillian would be protected. Once we were inside, we saw the beautiful rooms, the weapon and armory, and the beautiful gardens in the courtyard.

It was a fantastic trip!


Wander project time in an airport

1.4 million miles flown. Literally over 11 years.  I flew before and after that period, but that was the bulk of my flying. I have a million-mile flyer plague in my office at home. The thing that cost me the most time, though it was not a million miles, it was the connections and flights. I lived during those 11 years in Indianapolis, Indiana (well technically Greenwood). Other than Chicago and Washington, there were few direct flights from Indy to anywhere. There was on a plane on Northwest for a time that was direct to Seattle. I flew on that flight a few times (300,000-lifetime miles on Northwest0, but they discontinued that flight, so it was a bouncing flight.


What is a bouncing flight? It is a flight that requires a connection. Connections are impressive when you consider flying. You fly from one place to another. Then you sit for a time and then board a new plane to another site. In the early years of my traveling (1998), you read. You carried books with you or magazines, and you read for two hours. There wasn’t the concept of portable internet at that time. The arrival of mobile internet (2g and 3g network services) allowed for email and surfing the web, but in the early days, it wasn’t like that. I slowly climbed the United Airlines status ranks. At the end of 1998, I finally reached the top level, and suddenly I could use the Red carpet club.

For the next year or so, I always got to relax in a comfortable lounge with excellent seats. But it still took time to fly. Before 2001, it was there 45 minutes before the flight and cruise to the gate. After 2001 you had to be at the airport 90 minutes before the trip. Why? Because sometimes it took 30 minutes just to make it through the security gates. For me, living in Greenwood, it meant a 6 am flight to Chicago, said leaving the house at 330 am. I could drive to Chicago. It took 3 hours to give or take. Flying was faster, but my final destination wasn’t always Chicago. So you got to the airport early and waited. I got to O’Hare airport and wait for the next flight.

I flew nearly 1500 segments, so the math is a significant number. I spent more than 3000 hours waiting in airports. Or 125 days!


wander project to the water

Water makes me happy. I have pictures of me; in the lakes, my parents took me too over the course of my childhood. I know my mom and dad also loved the water. Growing up, we spent time at my grandparent’s house on Lake Ripley. My mother’s parents lived right on the lake. My father’s parents lived near the Wisconsin River in a small town called Wisconsin Dells. They, my father’s parent, moved down to a city in Wisconsin called Racine, which was on the banks of Lake Michigan. It is and was on the water near the water or on the way to water that fills many of my childhood memories. When we moved to Indiana (at first), the Army Corp of Engineers had just finished the dam that would create Lake Monroe.


Lake Monroe was a flood control lake built in Southern Indiana. Our first summer in Indiana, we went to the city’s existing reservoir, Lake Lemon. I remember thinking the beach at Lake Lemon was huge. My grandfather (mother’s father) had built a tiny beach near the pier they had. Riddle Point was a large beach, or so I thought. Much more significant than the beach I was used to.

Then Lake Monroe’s beaches opened. I have over the years, spent a lot of time on Lake Monroe. Canoeing and powerboating all over that lake. But the shores of that lake were something that my mom made sure we wandered to once they were open. Payne town Beach was beautiful, and Fairfax beach also beautiful. We were there every summer day we could be. Lakes are a part of my childhood. Then we moved to Thailand. I learned of ocean beaches, and while I still love lakes, the Ocean holds magic for me. The Ocean represents both what was and what yet could be again. You have to respect the ocean.No  matter how mighty a swimmer you are, the Ocean is stronger.

To end with a line form along “Ocean liner to Chinese junk, there ain’t never been a ship that can’t be sunk.”


Wander project Seattle

The moment of capture, it is something that brings both good and bad. In part because you have to recall why you captured the image. These, captured on a Seattle Harbor tour. My favorite is the Space Needle from the water. It looks so cool rising out of the hills of Seattle. I have been lucky enough to go to the Space Needle. It is taking customers to a restaurant for dinner. Restaurants on top of large buildings are fun. You can see the city while eating. The food, I remember, wasn’t ever very good. But the view was always spectacular! A base of the Space Needle is the Jimmy Hendrix experience as well. The building is the speed like a guitar and, once inside, a fantastic experience.


The original Starbucks (Pike Place) is down the road a couple of miles from the space needle. Plus, there is the famous Pike Street Market. The first time I saw that the fish market was in the movie Free Willy. In that movie, the hero steals a thrown fish for his friend, an Orca named Willy. The sole purpose of the film is the freeing of the Orca Willy. I would say that I will never forget that movie because that movie was my daughter’s go-to movie when she was sick for many years. We always knew she felt evil when Free Willy was taken off the shelf and plugged into the VCR. She, our daughter, knew how to do that from age three on. Turn on the TV, plug in VCR!

Seattle is also a working harbor like the harbor in Sydney, Australia. Part of the port is devoted to Ferries. The other part of the port is dedicated to large ships. Seattle is a massive hub in the US for inbound goods from Asia, as is the port of Los Angeles. Large container ships dock and offload their containers full of products. It is fun to watch the container ships unload those containers. Some of them right onto railroad cars others right onto Semi-trucks and then off to distribution centers to be sold in stores around the US. I stood on the shore and watched them unload the container ships many times. One of my favorite restaurants in the entire world is in downtown Seattle. I love the Wild Ginger restaurant; we would go there whenever we were in Seattle!


wander project tracking steps and dogs…

I won’t reveal today where the flowers are from. I shared flowers because it is officially spring. Yesterday as I was out walking, I saw so many flowers beginning to bloom. I have to remember to take the camera with me and share pictures of the growing spring. Getting the twins, dogs, and sometimes my wife ready for, and out the door for the walk helps maybe forget to bring my camera. I have my cellular phone. But I also track my steps on my phone for health and wellness data. So, I really can’t easily use the phone as a camera. I have to get into the habit of taking my camera. It is something that I used to do, then really stopped doing when I started carrying my phone.

Over the years, I have available several things to track my steps. The original tracking system was the Sunnto watch (for me). It was a great watch from Finland that follow how far I ran and allowed me to upload that information to my computer. I could see where I was running fast and where I was slowing down. Honestly, it was usually towards the end of a run that the slowing down started. When my knees started to hurt, I stopped running. The doctor offered surgery (out eight weeks) or build up the strength by walking. I choose the non-surgical option, and my knees don’t hurt as much now as they did ten years ago. But I don’t run anymore either.


I will end with a story. I love dogs. I have always been a dog person, so this story makes me sad. I was out walking, probably a mile to a mile and a half from our house. I was walking in a subdivision that I didn’t often step in. As I came around the road, there was a cul-du-sac. As was my tradition, I walked on the right side of the way. This cul-du-sac did not have a sidewalk. I was walking near the island in the middle of the cul-de-sac when my dog started running towards me. I started talking and backing away from the dog. I noticed what appeared to be the owner of the house, not moving. I backed away, but the dog lunged at me. I stepped in and had to knock the dog down. It jumped at me again. The second time it got my thumb, broke the skin (no stitches), and bent the thumb back. At that point, the owner moved.

I would like to say the owner rushed out and said, are you ok? But instead, he accused me of hurting their dog. I offered to call animal control, and their tune changed. They were accommodating after that. I walked that cul-du-sac for the next three years after that. I would have called animal control, but they put a fence in the back yard, and the dog was never out again!


wander project remembering outdoors…

The pictures are yellow belts, and Tae Kwon Do again. I am not focused on the movies today. I am more interested in the times. When your kids are little, the world is different. When I was a kid, we were on the move. When summer arrived, generally after a countdown. We would start the program in the middle of May. Each day back then seeming to take ten days as we inched closer and closer to freedom. The summer was our freedom. We would hit the ground running, leaving the house, and not coming back until dinner. Things changed in between my childhood and the birth of my children. I was born in the city of Chicago, Illinois. Chicago, Illinois, is the 3rd largest city in the US.


We moved to a city, Bloomington, in Southern Indiana. Bloomington, with the students, was nearly twice as large as it was without the students. But it was a small town. So we were gone out and about. When my children were born, the world had changed again. What was considered normal when I was younger wasn’t regarded as usual when my kids were born. There was a new way of doing things. The first thing was you didn’t let your kids run around unsupervised. It made it harder to be a parent. You have to stop and consider who your kids are playing with. What they are playing on and what adult would be near. I do understand the change and why it happened.

But changed things forever. Childhood moved indoors, moved to screens at times. The reason for this is after a week of mostly being inside; I am already stir crazy. My kids are fine; they don’t need to adjust to always being indoors. They have shown to binge and games to play. I can’t do that. I love watching TV from time to time, but I get bored. I want to be outside. That connection to my childhood is missing right now. I am not bemoaning the change. I understand that it had to happen. The number of child predators in the world makes it essential to keep kids safe and supervised. But for me, suddenly being inside all day every single day is starting to wear thin. How about you, do you feel the stress of being stuck indoors?


wander project Tae Kwon Do

Overall the twins stopped playing sports when they were eight years old. But that year they took up Tae Kwon Do. They loved it and went every week, twice a week, for more than a year. The Dojo closed, and the commute was extended to the new Dojo, so we didn’t continue. Although towards the end, the Twins were getting bored. They did enjoy going and breaking boards. It also helped them focus and learn to focus. I know that many people struggle with that. Premature babies are more likely to have that issue. The ability to stay focused is something that takes a lot of energy. I know that the twins struggled with that process and concept for a long time.


I enjoyed going to belt ceremonies. The twins would break a board with their foot at first and later their hands. It was fun to watch. I know that they had fun doing that part. They inherited my lack of overall coordination. So they struggled with the balance part of Tae Kwon Do. Balance is a two-way street when you start a martial art. It is the internal balance we all seek as well as the physical ability to balance. I am not good at the physical version of balancing. I work hard on the emotional and mental versions of balance. As a parent, I also enjoyed seeing the twins have a chance to do something that was just for them. Twins can struggle at times with the concept of one.

Twins are not one person; they are two. As such, they are often cursed with looking similar. They also, at times, have many habits that are the same. That is a natural extension of being twins. But they are unique. One of our twins is very outgoing. They are louder and often telling bad puns. The other twin is more reserved and quieter. Although also likely to say bad puns. My wife spent a lot of time researching Twins. It was one of our first significant decisions about the twins for us; we would never have twins in the same class. Some parents do that, and it is perfectly ok to do so. We wanted the two of them to have the chance to be one alone, not part of two!


wander project life long learning

I am continuing my sports in the last review. Today, a look at the Fun Run. Every year starting in kindergarten and lasting until we moved away in 5th grade, the kids participated in one-mile spring fun run. Most of the kids didn’t run the full smile, But they did complete a mile, in a combined run/walk. It was part of the president’s fitness challenge, formerly brought to schools by US President John Kennedy in the 1960s. It was a significant event in the spring, and parents came to watch. I won’t spend any more time on the actual run. It wasn’t that exciting. No world records for the mile run were set. Instead, it was a chance for the kids to get outside and exercise.


I know as a former runner that there are always habits we can help kids grow. The two that I think are critical for me are exercise and learning. Life-long learning was a movement in the education world, starting in the 1970s. Many teachers embraced that concept. My father was a huge advocate of the movement. What does it truly mean, though? Well, in part for adults, it is about finding something new and finding something that helps you expand what you know. Sometimes as adults, we focus on what we do all day. I remember, as a professional, I focus heavily on my field. That is why I like reading blogs. I find things that are not something I know about and understand.

I do verify the information presented. It is essential as a life long learner to set rules for the information you consume. The most crucial part is that we learn things. Not that there are specific things to learn but that we learn more than what we do. I know in my field, it is often hard to focus on social issues. The first reaction I have to a social problem is often the impact on what I do. I am working on that just like many others are. It is essential sometimes to let go of what we know and be willing to move forward. That also helps with anger, by the way. Letting go of violence and the things that anger us can help! Lately, my quest in life-long learning is learning about safety products. I know it is odd, but as a learner, I want to know more about the things that make me safe!