Wander project the days of runny noses.

The twin’s birthday is in March. So is my nephew’s birthday and my father’s birthday. The twins were born on my father’s birthday. The first couple of years, the twins were alive were tough. The first year is still a blur. We thought we were going to lose one of the twins right away. Then there was the illness issue. People tell me all the time; I wish I had twins. I always smile and say, no, you were lucky. You see, the twins have connections genetically to each other, but they are also able to incubate anything. One caught the illness, and the other shared. Early in their lives, we were nervous. Again we almost lost one of the twins, so we were soon on tense about the illness.


The other thing about the illness was that the twins also had a connection to each of us. One of the twins gets sick, and my wife will guarantee to get sick. The other gets sick, and I am guaranteed to get sick. So, the arrival of illness meant, at some point, all of us were going to get sick. That is what I tell people when they say I wish I had twins, or I want twins. Be prepared to spend the winter being sick—my poor wife at that time. We were in a fortunate position that she didn’t have to work. Not all can do that, and I am not saying that is the best way, just that is the way that worked for us. My wife used to have sick twins at home when I was off somewhere in the world.

She would call the Doctors office for an appointment, and the Doctor would say, come to the back door. She, my poor wife, spent a lot of time at Doctors offices for quite a few years. Not including the hours we spent waiting and finding out if we would have ear tubes in one or both twins. That was a nerve-wracking day for both of us; the twins were in pain and small enough that they didn’t understand why. I can honestly say now, that pain than was worth it. But then, I suspect I was too tired to see that happy ending. I am not sure we would have been able to make it without my sisters and parents. We moved back to Indiana to be closer to family, and they saved our sanity!

wander project message to my kids…

I am going to wrap up my message to my future grandkids and my kids today. It has been a lot of fun, and I’ve published six or so things to convey to future generations. My last message would start to be careful about the small stuff. They always say they don’t sweat the small stuff, but sometimes you have to be aware of the little thing. It may derail your situation. Small stuff can sometimes be significant later. So make sure you understand that small stuff before you don’t sweat it. That is a lesson that took me many years to learn. I wonder that maybe I should share the things that made me forever to understand.


Or are those things inherent in growing up?That your father or mother is probably right, I do say “probably” no one is perfect. But, I found over time that my parents, my grandparents, were, in fact, right more than they weren’t right. I would pass that lesson on. It was a tough won lesson for me. You see, I realized that sometimes my mother, my father, or my grandparents evaluated the small stuff. So when they guided me, they saw the impact of that little stuff. Learn from those who have been around. They sometimes know the way things work. I find myself telling people that all the time about the internet. Pay attention to those that already walked the mile you are about to walk!

I do know from personal experience that passing on the lessons I’ve learned doesn’t work, but if my mother does it, the kids listen. There are a generational thing and connection that happens. But I would say that at least look. Sometimes the best advice comes from someone that has been there and done that. Expertise is occasionally hard-won and always has value. You may disagree but always consider the lesson. You never know if you missed something in evaluating a problem. There will come a time, now for me, that I know I miss my grandfather and my father. I asked them questions all the time and now I can’t. I still ask my mom, and she always gives great advice, but there will come a time when you will realize the value of those you request.

Remember how you got here!


wander project messages to your kids…

What would you say to those who follow after you, about the things that were important to you? That you loved water? But warm water doesn’t mean anything. What about water, did you like it? For me, it is being out on the water and relaxing. But that got me thinking a lot about the feeling I seek. When I was a little kid, I watched many times Hot Air Balloons fly overhead. The sound of the gas burner igniting and heating the air of the Balloon. The wind is pushing you in the direction it is going. The balloon, like a sailboat, doesn’t argue with the wind. It lets the wind push it where it is going—that feeling of o control but control. The pilot of the Balloon chooses to be high or low in the sky.


As you float over the land, that is the feeling I get as I consider being on the water and the feeling I hope I will enjoy on the water. Those are things I would tell my future grandchildren. But I would also share with them the people that came before them, That their great grandparents had contributed and helped build the world they live in. I would tell them that their great=grandfather’s father had served in WWI that their grandfather had served during the Korean war. In both cases, neither of them went overseas to the war. But their other grandfather on their mother’s side had served in WWII and had been in that horrible war as a signalman on a landing craft.

I would tell them that their great-grandmother had been a driving force in the women’s movement. That their grandfather’s mother was an extraordinary person, she was one of the people that changed the world for the better, not by violence but instead by competence. That, as those who inherit the world, they are getting something that their family helped build. I would give them the family history project not just that I have, but also the pictures that go back to the 1950s. The movies that go back to the 1940s. Memories of our family from all those years. Plus, all the blogs I have posted and saved in PDF Form for them, 1000s of posts now that wander the edges of what once was.

I would tell them to make the world a better place.


wander project things to say

I am continuing my series within a series (Wander project, what would I say to my grandchildren/children). Today talking about the many places, we went with the dogs to take dog walks. The pictures today are from Cabin John, Maryland, a lovely area that is right by the highway, most famous probably from our perspective from the day we spent wandering there, in the time before Raven. Raven doesn’t like to walk as much as Dylan does. It is overall funny dogs have personalities just like people. The twins are not huge walking and wandering fans, and their dog isn’t either. So I would remind the twins and, by extension, their children if they so choose, about dogs.


When a dog joins your family, the dog looks around at the people. Dogs have an innate ability to understand dynamics quickly. They both seek and understand authority. Dogs like humans wish to be part of a stable pack. Stable packs, take the dog back to their wolf ancestry. A firm package is more likely to be able to get food and make sure the entire package is taken care of and provided with what each member needs. So when a dog enters a family, it begins a selection process. Dylan decided that I was his person the second day he lived with us. The first day was a rush around the day, and I think Dylan was trying to figure the old lady out (Fran). Fran was most likely already sick when Dylan joined our family.

Dylan picked me because I protected him. That was the critical thing for him. Raven picked my wife and the twins because they needed her. Dogs are attuned to need often. I would remind the twins that consistency is essential in life. Dogs show us the strength within us. They, dogs, tell us of what we need to do for the world around us, and them. Dogs like consistency, as I said, they look for stable packs. If the package is unstable, the dog isn’t able to bond as quickly. They will still bond with humans, but it will take longer. So, I would tell the twins or their children to be consistent when you can. The value in doing the same things consistently is it makes those around you more secure!


wander project messages by month

There is a song I learned to play on the Piano years ago. Do you remember, it starts with the months of the year? It wanders to each of them. But the thing is in leaving a message for my yet to be grandchildren, or for that matter the more present reality of my children, there is much to consider by Month. So let’s take a month by month memory.


January – it is cold outside, and as your mother has long told you to dress for the weather. But most importantly remember your mother’s birthday!

February – The winter likely still holding on to the world tightly. But also remember this is the season of love, remember those you love.

March – the Month of some of your birth – remember to honor those around you that reached to you when you were young.

April – spring has arrived, and in your hearts, reborn the world!

May – honor the day your grandmother was born, smell the flowers!

June – the summer begins its long drag – but stop for a moment and remember the many summer adventures we had!

July – the Month you never left the pool when you were little. Remember the pool!

August – the Month we moved to Maryland. It was a hard month for all of us; remember hard times disappear eventually.

September – remember your first day of school? Remember how much you loved that. Never forget the joy of discovery!

October – ah the fall begins, remember all he Halloween costumes your grandmother made for you. Remember the new birthday in October! We celebrate your-brother-in-law! We moved back to Indiana in October; moving can be hard.

November – another birthday appears a plucky person indeed, remember your sister. Make sure you connect for a moment this Month!

December – honor dad’s birthday. But also as another year closes call your sister, call your brother, connect and remember!

By Month the messages I would leave for my kids!


wander project handing my wife a list

A message for those not here has been my theme for the past two days. But today, I again dipped my toe into the well of inspiration and using the same bucket I used the last time; I found new inspiration. What if you handed your partner, best friend, or someone in your life a sheet of paper with the words Wish List on it. What would they write? Would they share things with you that you didn’t know? We shall find out, base don the inspiration I got today, I gave my wife that sheet of paper this morning. No influence, suggestions, or guidance, just a blank piece of paper with two words printed on it, Wish List. I do not know what she will write on that sheet, and I don’t want to know.

Saturday, we will both share our lists with the other. It is a mystery to be unveiled. Perhaps we will have fanfare, music blasting from a string quartet as we walk into the room. Saturday has become date night. Although unlike the date night of the past, we don’t leave the house now. We shoo the children from our space and launch the date night concept in our living room. We make order dinner to share and watch movies. But this week, instead, we will sit on the couch, and with no other noise than the sound of my wife’s and the Twin’s dog (Raven) snoring, we will share your lists. What would your wish list have on it? Would you wish to travel to see the world?

Or would you wish instead to find someone, To have that person in your life that you can share a list with? Or perhaps instead, you would want to for a moment with someone gone now that once was critical for your life. What would your list contain? Would you wish for time? Time to wander with the person you have in your life, or time to reflect? Would you want to for a crafted message to leave? I was here. I made a difference. What would you put on your Wish List? I know mine will start with well I won’t publish that now because my wife reads my blog. Instead, let me say that I have a list started of the things of which I wish. Do you have a wish list? One to share with someone?


(link to the Wish List Challenge!)

wander project what would i say to my grandchildren?

I was wandering further down the path of what I would say to my grandchildren. The message would be different based on personality and interests, but the generic messages are easily shared. I would tell them of the world before 9/11 happened. What it was like to walk to a gate in an airport and not be delayed. It was a time when you could park your car 45 minutes before the flight and be on the plane in no time at all, where you didn’t have metal detectors and people checking everything. Where your luggage wasn’t scanned, it was a different world than when you traveled. I would tell them that reading about something, or seeing on television isn’t the same as looking up and seeing it.


I would tell them that seeing Bangkok in person brings the pictures of their grandfather and great-grandfather to life. My grandchildren can watch the videos of their great-grandmother taking by the great-great-grandfather and see the world of Lake Ripley. You can; I would tell them, read the wander project files you have to understand what it meant to be in the house in Cambridge. To be by the lake, to be cleaning up after geese. First on the water to be in the boat, fishing as soon as the car stopped racing to be the first into the front room to get the captain’s hat. The one in the pictures wearing the cowboy hat was a consolation prize. That their great-aunt and grandfather raced to get that paints hat each time we arrived.

I would tell them that moving is hard, but not something that is bad. That Chicago Chicago is a magical place. I would say to them of the museums and the aquarium. I would tell them of having lunch in Marshalls Fields cafeteria with their great grandmother. Or trekking as a family to Chicago so that your parents could sit and smile in the America Girl Doll store. Or that they could be going to the top of the hotel we were staying in, swim and see the skyline at the same time. I would tell them, as others told me, to respect. To listen and in listening to not only hear but to validate the feelings of those around. I would say to them to remember. To write down the dreams before they are gone.

I have much to say to my grandchildren.


wander project the message…

Influence and inspiration come from many places. I am often taken by a post made by someone else. Today’s wonder was inspired by the end of Ghostwriters’ job (the link is at the bottom of this text). The line that struck me was one of the last lines of the post, and to paraphrase was what message needs to be left for her grandchildren. Six years ago, I got my father’s slides and pictures. Many of the photographs and slides I knew had seen before. Some I had scanned. Some were my grandfather’s slides, my father’s father. I knew of these, of my grandfather’s love of the Wisconsin River near Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin. My grandfather loved to wander the shores of the river and took many pictures.


I wanted to add a story to those pictures. That was why I started wandering. To share a message that went with photos to share more than the hopes and dreams, to share what I was thinking. You see, I have all those slides, and I would, in a moment, throw them in the trash if I had that time again with my father and my grandfather.  My mother reads these posts and comments, reminds me, connects with both the words the pictures. My kids sometimes read these posts. My wife reads every day. We talk about the things I remembered. The inspiration for me is to carry that message forward to my yet non-existent grandchildren; perhaps they will be in this world someday.

What message would I leave for them? That the creation of a picture is a two-part process? That there is the moment that the artist/photographer sees and the moment, the butterfly, the river, the smile that is captured. That connection between the moment and the story. I look at the pictures today that I am sharing, and I am humming Otis Redding’s “Sitting by the dock of the Bay.” Not that the song is often in my heart, rather than it fits the pictures. But the message I would leave my grandchildren doesn’t listen to that song. By all means, it is a brilliant song. The message I would leave my grandchildren is that their grandfather loved being on the water. So, did their great grandparents. So does their grandmother. So did their great-great-grandfather. That initial message that would convey to my grandchildren is that I love water. I love being on the water.

What would I say to my grandchildren? It is a new addition for me to consider my audience isn’t yet here.



wander project cars of the past

As I thought of these things, I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labor continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God; and at their perfect labor my mortality grew heavy, and I cried out, as so many dreamers and men of letters in our age have cried, for the birth of that elaborate spiritual beauty which could alone uplift souls weighted with so many dreams.

William Butler Yeats

ford explorer

Quotes are something that allows us to share the thoughts of others. Today, the four of five cars I’ve shared in the Car Crazy Challenge. I won’t talk about cars other than to mention stories of vehicles in my life. I have so many memories of vehicles. For the first sixteen years of my lie, I dreamed of cars. I drove a Woodie Station wagon at my grandfather’s house when I was 12. It was my first driving experience. My grandfather took me to the unplowed snow-covered parking lot to teach me how to drive in snow. My dad drove me to the football stadium parking lot in Bloomington, Indiana, so I could learn to drive. A huge piece of me as a driver came from those two people teaching me.

When I was 14 or 15, and the first learner’s permit was achieved, the car meant freedom. I was not bound to my parent’s house. Funny, now, everyone is attached to a home. But then each car was freedom—the wind in your hair. Turn on the radio, something my father never did, feel the wind on your face, and just drive. When I was little in the days of cheaper gasoline, we would go for country drives on Sundays. We would wander around Southern Indiana, finding interesting places. I suspect we didn’t do that in Chicago, living near Washington DC now, I can tell you that even on the weekends, even in a pandemic lockdown, traffic is pretty much always bad!

Then there was the second transition from freedom to the job. Where the car represented no longer the freedom (but the radio was still on), but now was my way to get to work. Transportation became the model of the car. I no longer saw the vehicle as freedom. Now the car was the path to get from where I was to where I had to be. Had to be, no more extended school but now my life. The last transition for me was responsibility. When my kids started to drive, it changed everything. I was no longer just driving to work. Now I suddenly had to worry about my kids driving. Now it is about my kids being at risk as they got behind the wheel of a car and drove somewhere. They may have felt the freedom I once did, but for me now, I couldn’t see freedom.


wander project how far can you chunk a punkin?

Weekends are for slowing down. My wife and I like to either go boating or do something on the weekends. One October Saturday, we were thinking bout making an orchard run. Orchards are something we always do in the fall. Apples and the other excellent stuff that you can get an orchard makes both of us happy. So we wandered over to the farm just over the county line in Frederick County. When we got there, the parking lot was full, and we had to park in the overflow lot. There was a line of people (back in the days when you could be in a proximity line), and my wife wanted to see what they were waiting for; after all, the goal was relax.

IMG_0053(Edited) (2)_LI

So we walked around the building, and there was the pumpkin chunker. A pumpkin chunker takes a pumpkin and launches it into the air. The goal is to hit the target. If you hit the target, you get 500 dollars from the orchard. I asked they have given it away every year (the 500 bucks) for several years. All the money collected is given to charities. So, we launched a pumpkin. We missed the target, but the moment was fun! The second picture is of Thanksgiving dinner after the turkey had been carved. It was more a picture today as a filler rather than a story. I have to say one of my favorite Thanksgiving stories has to do with a turkey. For many years, I have been the family cook for significant holiday events.

My wife decided our first year in Maryland that she was going to make Thanksgiving dinner. I, of course, said yes. I reminded her that she would have to get up at 6 am to get the bird into the oven so it would be ready for a 1 pm dinner. I assumed (incorrectly) that I wasn’t going to have to get up. I was going to get to sleep in and relax on Thanksgiving day. Something I hadn’t done in more than I can remember. Except for that morning, my wife gently shook my shoulder and looked at me. I said, “your cooking, I am sleeping.” My wife smiled that sad smile that tells me both that I was wrong, and that she was going to ask something. She replied, “so who is making my coffee.”

I got up and made the coffee.