Wandering the days that were, the people that were, the faces that were. Remembering the days of childhood…


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Family holidays are always fun. July 4th was always a big one when the kids were little. We for many years would sit on the porch of the place where my sister worked (actually on the sidewalk in front of the building) and watch the parade go by. Here we have the girls relaxing and waiting for the festival to start. It was an expedition for us when we lived in Cincinnati, and we have only been back one year around July 4th since moving to Maryland. We didn’t go tot he parade in 2014 when we came back. But those years are stored in our digital picture archive. It is fun to watch the kids when they were that little. They aren’t that little anymore. But they were that little once. It brings back nice memories of them.

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Beanie, braces and bunnies. The three B’s of Easter. This taken at our house in Indiana (Greenwood). In the kitchen looking out over the back deck. This picture from 10 years ago. Jakki (Beanie) was 13 at the time of the picture. She still has that beautiful smile. Jakki loved stuffed animals for many years, so I got her a lot of them. Barb got her a lot of them. Luckily as she got older she got easier to buy presents for. She is really good about saying this is what I want. It is fun as kids get older and are able to share and guide you. You don’t have to worry if they will like the present. When kids are young you know what they want. Sure every commercial on TV is something they react to, but the things that mean the most to them are the ones they come alive for. They see them in the store and make a bee line directly to them. That’s what you watch for when they are little. As they get older it gets harder to remain connected to what they love. So when they stop and tell you, its easier!

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I’ve shared this picture before but I love it so much. This is Halloween 1998. The boys are seven months old. Jakki is dressed as Blue of Blue’s Clue’s. Even as a small child she loved dogs. Now she is a professional dog walker and is extremely exceptional at her job. The boys are dressed as thing 1 and thing 2. Barb is dressed as the cat in the hat. Barb was a theater person growing up and love dressing up at Halloween. Me not so much. I like going as a software architect to most Halloween parties. I used to love dressing up for Halloween but like many things over the years grew out of it. The last time I dressed up in earnest was while working in a pre-school many years ago. My best friend Sean dressed up as Day Care Man and I dressed up as his loyal assistant Diaper Boy.

.doc

Not a Halloween Fan boy

From me to the world…


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Dad and mom took a lot of pictures of little Scott. A lot of pictures.

My oldest memory that I know is real (there are a few that you wonder if they are real) is of wearing dad’s Army Uniform while mom ironed. She was standing next to a window in a fairly small apartment I’ve held onto that single slice in time for many years.

Memory is a funny thing. We can digitize all the wonderful old pictures. But in the end the memories that wrap around the pictures and make them real aren’t always there.

I know at some point in my life I was small and tiny. But thankfully the memories of that time disappear. Mom and dad as well as my grandparents have told me stories. I took my first step at Lake Ripley and promptly hit the ground right after that first step. I don’t remember that moment but my grandparents and parents did. I remember Jakki’s first step like it was yesterday. I was out of the country when the boys took their first steps. But when I got home they stepped towards me and that was magical.

Memories are such a fragile thing in the end.

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There is me with my mother. Goodness knows what we were doing. Don’t they say first children are the throw always anyway? That you make most of your mistakes with the first kid anyway? I am not sure I believe that old adage. I think each child is unique. Each has something to give and needs something from you. There is a sense of love that supersedes the rest in the end.

The first child in my life (Becca) is off pursuing her Doctorate. My second child (Jakki) is a wonderful human being and is considering a career as a college professor. I wish dad were still alive to hear that. I think that would have resonated with him. The last children so far for me are the boys (Luke and Nick). They continue to grow into wonderful human beings and I cannot say how proud I am of all four enough. They are amazing people all of them.

As a parent you wrap tightly around the good memories. Those are the stories of your kids you tell at work. The bad stories slip away. The stuff you forget or place in the memory reset bin of your mind. Lost and gone forever eventually holding onto the good memories.

So four happy memories to follow:

  • Becca: watching her in dress rehearsals at the School for Creative and Preforming Arts in Cincinnati Ohio. She was a gifted and talented actress.
  • Jakki: watching her, barely bigger than they were pick up and manage her twin brothers. She just hopped right in and started feeding and taking care of them from the first day they came to our family.
  • Nick: Being told that you were going to have physical developmental problems by the therapist as you climbed up the outside of the stairs at Eagle Valley Court. The therapist looking up and realizing you weren’t going to have physical issues. It isn’t in the end the size of the dog is it Nick? It is the size of the fight in the dog. You sir have plenty of fight in you!
  • Luke: I remember when Luke learned to talk. Not more than 6 months after he was talking he started using huge words. Huge at least for him. The thing that amazed me wasn’t the words he tried to use it was that he conveyed them correctly and most of the time he used them correctly.

Go change the world my four superstars!

.dad

A trip, a joy and a surprised face…


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I had a meeting in Paris France about 10 or so years ago. It just so happened that my folks were retired at that time and they were able to come up to Greenwood (from Bloomington) and watch the kids so Barb went with me. She wandered Paris for three days while I was in the meetings. We then spent the weekend in Paris returning the following Monday.

This image is from that trip.

The River Seine with the various house boats and a tourist boat floating by us on the river.  The trip was a blast. We walked from the Arc de Triumph to the Eiffel tower and the along the Seine to the Latin District of Paris. We stopped in little café’s along the way and had coffee.

We did the tourist thing and had a blast. We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel by the new Arc De Triumph (the something arch I don’t recall the actual name) unsorted687it’s a wonderful hotel and we were sad to pack up and leave Paris.

The second picture is of Francine Marshmutt Andersen. She joined our family as Jakki’s dog in 2001. Here she is exhibiting the traditional Labrador rule of if I want it its mine. Fran was without a doubt the perfect dog for our family. She established a relationship with everyone in the house. Gwen was initially the alpha dog when Fran arrived but that soon changed. At the time of this picture Fran was about Gwen’s size. She ended up getting a lot bigger than she was in this picture – you can tell from the huge size paws that are where they are not or were not supposed to be.

Fran passed away in 2014. She was a dog of infinite mirth and without a doubt Jakki’s dog.

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Barb did a series of picture with Jakki where she shows various emotions. One was titled “No Cheese” one of titled “happy” and it was written in the base of the picture in blue ink.

This one was titled surprise.

All of the pictures are from 1997 the year before the boys appeared. This one was taken most likely before Barb was pregnant with the boys. Once she was pregnant (after the 10th week) she was on bed rest. So the surprise face was probably coming again.

Surprise you have to get mom everything she needs as she is not allowed to get up except to pee. Oh yeah and mom drinks a lot of tea (as Jakki said way back then “dad, mom drinks tea all day. 100,000,000,000,.000 cups every day. How come she doesn’t explode?”).

That one made me laugh for the longest time. She was so earnest when she said it. That her mother drank too much tea. Mostly I think it was because when I was at work she had to get all the tea’s that were consumed.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Today one direction who knows what tomorrow will bring…


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I normally take notes the day before and then from those notes write my serious blog. Hence its tendency to run along specific blog arcs like the current Law of Innovation arc. This blog I tend towards more Virginia Wolfe style stream of consciousness writing. I let the words fall from my fingers where they may. That is why on this blog you see poems and sometimes disconnected sections of text. Long connected stories I push over to my other blog in the tradition of the great English writers of the 18th and 19th centuries (serial novels).

There are times when this blog is devoted to the things around me. Yesterday I dived into the vast and deep ocean that is family. All of the things that swirl around me like fireflies on a summers eve. I miss a summer’s eve with fireflies. Although I have to say that the firefly population in Indiana has gone down from my childhood or as is often the case my idealized memory isn’t the same as reality.

Then again I devote this blog to the technology reviews that are a piece of me. I started doing technology reviews when I was running “Kindle The Flame” many years ago. That was a dream of mine to start a journal devoted to improving teaching. Kindle had a good run. I wrote reviews for a startup newspaper in Bloomington Indiana, it didn’t make it but I did restaurant reviews for them. I used to host a web site and post reviews there as well under the moniker “The Savvy Tech Guy” but that as well faded. Mostly the last one faded because I started doing Shameless Reviews here on this blog. It should be noted that I only do blogs about things I really like. It has to do with the fact that I cull blogs about things I am interested in. I review them and find out the what and why of the overall solution. I tend to only buy the things I think will work for me. That means I only review things I knew I would like before I bought them. The goal of the review being to help other people along the path of what they are looking for.

Random Thoughts and Deep Thoughts come from the old Saturday Night Live character Jack Handy. They used to have a segment called Deep Thoughts and I’ve modeled both my infrequent Deep Thoughts and my more frequent Random Thoughts after that segment from the early 80’s I believe.

I try as much as I can to keep politics out of my blog. I do on occasion post political views on the blog but I do try to denote that they are my opinion and that a rant is coming. One of the things I used to do on the DTS-L listserv (when it had thousands of members) was post difficult questions. I still post the questions just on this blog as DTS-l is now lost and gone forever. DTS-L was the listserv of the Society of Dead Teachers.

Finally I post a piece of myself here. The great milestones in the life I live. Messages left for my children to read after I am gone (If they are still around by then). Moments in my children’s lives, milestones that shouldn’t be forgotten. My daughter turning 18 and then 21, graduating from High School, starting college, getting her driver’s licenses. The boys starting high school, learning to swim, going off for their first week of camp. There are so many moments in our lives that we should share more. I share those here.

Today my stream actually pretty much flowed in one direction.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

I can’t believe my sons are 16…


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T+1 day. The mission begins.

16 – simply amazing. 16 years ago we were scrambling Barb and I. The boys were born but were in the NICU of the hospital they were 7 weeks early and needed extra care and attention.

Barb was a wreck. She ended up taking a room in the hospital and spending every minute she could with her babies. I brought Jaki and Becca to the hospital. Jaki wasn’t allowed to go into the room at first as she was younger and they were very concerned about infection.

So I sat with her in the waiting room cheering her up. I suspect based on the fact that I was terrified she was probably cheering me up as much as I was cheering her up.

It was a gut wrenching 10 days.

Now, fast forward 16 years later and they are growing into wonderful human beings. I am very proud of the three of them, yesterday on the boys birthday the three of them played Dr. Who Monopoly together, by choice. As a parent there is no great gift from your children than them getting along.

It was also my Dad’s birthday yesterday. He, according to him, has passed the milestone and is 39 years old as of yesterday. Which is a huge step for my dad – he’s been 27 years old since 1972.

Finally our new girl doesn’t have a known birthday so the boys have declared March 30th to be Raven’s birthday as well. She got a cupcake and was happy to participate in cake, ice cream and present opening. I have come to believe that her snout actually grows as she becomes more curious. In the end we are just glad we can be her forever home. Dylan also got a cupcake but still isn’t 100% sure about this new creature. Like the old female Lab we had, Raven can be a bit bossy.

It was a great day.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Breaking the 7 reasons why not to blog…why? for the one reason that matters to me…


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T-Minus 3 days and Counting.

I read an interesting blog yesterday – 7 reasons to stop blogging. I think the author missed a number of critical points. I blog (particularly this blog) to get things out of my head. My technical blogs have many more readers and followers than this blog does. One of her comments was stop blogging if the only comment you get is from your mother. Personally I am honored with either of my parents comment about my blog either on-line, via email or on the phone. So that is another miss.

That is why roughly 6 years ago I split into two blogs. The Docandersen blog (see above) is my serious focused blog where I discuss the technical issues that are my personal passion. Family, which is my other passion is featured here on this blog. Frankly I couldn’t care less if anyone other than my family reads this blog. It is meant as a way for me to write down the things we sometimes wander through life forgetting to say. Like I love my family. 24 years ago a fantastic woman (that anyone who meets her says she is a Saint – just for sticking with me) was willing to share her life with me. I couldn’t be more grateful. My parents are awesome people that I adore. My sisters and their families are incredible people. My children are awesome. Becca is off to grad school, Jaki is finishing her associates and then on for her Bachelors and Nick/Luke are freshmen in High School. Dylan has his new sister (Raven) and they are learning to adjust to each other.

This blog is also home to the poetry of Sandler Boggs. It isn’t great poetry often but it comes from where I am at the time of the poem. I share it because if I don’t it rattles around inside my head for days at a time. What do you do with a poem that is rattling around inside your head?

“Poet’s who read their poem’s out loud may have other nasty habits as well.” Sandler Boggs

I post my reviews here as well. I’ve been doing reviews since 1992. That is the year I started the Dead Teachers Society magazine “Kindle the Flame.” KTF featured technology reviews for teachers. Its where I got my start as I did roughly 90% of the reviews for KTF. We had 85 issues before the KTF flame got too expensive to send around. From there I moved my reviews to a website I hosted and changed the name of the reviews to “The Savvy Tech Guy.” That lasted for roughly five years until I started my blog in 2005. That was when I started my blog series “Another Shameless Review.”

Reviews have three rules for me. The first is I have to be using the technology I am reviewing. Some of them end up on the scrap head (Lexmark S800 printer got a good initial review, later I realized I was not so happy with it – I should have printed a retraction but it was 6 years ago and frankly I forgot to). The intent for my reviews is to show the things I like and the things I don’t like about a specific solution.

Lastly I’ve been adding lately Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects I find intriguing. Why? Because I find the reality of the shift of innovation to be intriguing.

In the end this blog is for me to share what I am thinking about not bound my the rules of my profession. If you need a more serious blog from me, feel free to look up the IASA Blog, Safegov or CloudTweaks. I publish on those as well with more serious topics.

I guess this blog breaks the 7 reasons you should stop blogging right now. There is really only one reason for this blog, it makes me feel connected to the world around me.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

A Saturday to wander and wonder…


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Why do we still give out business cards?

Its one of those questions that sticks in my head every once in awhile. Frankly I need a reset button for the things in my head. I wonder if that is even possible.

Yesterday I blogged about my new favorite Indiegogo and Kickstarter projects. I have for the past year been rumbling about doing a project on KS or IG, I won’t blog the details but will share if I decide to head down the path. Mostly now its because I don’t want to get into a patent or copyright issue with my current employer.

After watching Dylan play at Christmas we’ve decided to get a fence to replace our invisible fence. we will keep the invisible fence installed just in case but will have a fenced in backyard. We haven’t had a fence since we lived in Cincinnati Ohio. In the end that was when we had Gwen. She loved her back yard. We added a wooden play yard and a storage shed both of which Sean and I built. It seems a million years ago that we lived in Cincinnati Ohio. It was only 2 states and 15 years but seems a lifetime ago.

All three kiddos were born in Cincinnati – Jackie at the old General Hospital and the boys were born in a hospital a little North of that. I’ve blacked out the name of that hospital because well, that was a traumatic situation for a time. It all balanced out in the end.

Our journey (barb and I) went across the Midwest. Bloomington where we met and were married. Cincinnati Ohio where our children were born. Indianapolis Indiana where Barb got her Masters at IUPUI and then Maryland.

When we lived in Indiana we loved to spend the weekends at the French Lick resort. Now we love to go to the beach. If we could have 10 beach vacations a year we would do it.

Time and distance are but things we have in our pockets.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow