A recounting of our Mexican vacation (no sudden veers to the left today).


A few more pictures from our Mexican beach vacation. We (well Barb) loves beach vacations. Not beach on a lake, but beach on the Ocean. This on the Pacific side of Mexico. One of the coolest thing was the pirate ship that fired its canons every night, really a cool experience. Jakki got her hair braided, and we went to a wonderful water park. Every day was a different experience of wandering around, and seeing the many sites. I wonder if tasting wonderful (real) Mexican food is why Lukey loves Mexican food so much. The food was amazing. My favorite thing was table side guacamole! I love it when a restaurant makes the guacamole right at the table right in front of you. I think that is my favorite thing when it comes to food experiences. I don’t know why that is, it just is one of my favorite food experiences.


One of the things that Jakki said to me when Barb was pregnant was that she was going to be the best big sister ever. Kids say things like that all the time. You remember them but you don’t take them seriously. Except that Jakki has accomplished that goal. The boys adore her. To this day they will do virtually anything she asks them to do. They also know they can always go to her and ask questions, seek council and have a great friend. Jakki is without a doubt the best big sister ever for the boys. At least for what they need. Twins are different so its hard to figure out what is a twin need and what is a little boy need. My experiences are muddled at best. This, the three of them in Mexico. Of course, we can’t take a picture without glamming for the camera. I am not sure why that started but I know who started it (Jakki) and it spread to the girls (Courtney, Megan) and then the boys.


So beautiful. They had bar service at the pool so I was in heaven. One afternoon Barb took the boys somewhere, Jakki wanted to swim so I relaxed with beer and a cigar. When Barb got back she asked Jakki “what did you do?” Jakki said “I swam.” Barb looked at her and said “what did dad do?” Jakki smiled and said “he drank beer and smoked a cigar.” She then proceeded to tell Barb every time I had a corona on the rest of that trip and how many I had. Every single time. What a rotten kid. It was actually, like Nick’s apple a running family joke for a long time (how many beers did dad have). I don’t often drink beer, once or twice a month at the most. So of course Jakki made it into a big deal. The image on the bottom was the sun setting into the Pacific ocean. Truly a beautiful shot, so I suspect Jakki probably took it.


Family Historian

It starts out with images of Mexico. It ends with memories of a tough year, 2014.


Traveling all the time has one huge perk. You can go anywhere in the world for vacation. This is our vacation we took to Mexico. I love the country and the food! We went to a Marriott resort in Nueva Puerto and spent a week. Again the one big perk of traveling is free vacations. The downside of that is you have to travel for your vacation. By the 12th year of traveling I was done with it. I missed a lot of things during that time that I will never get back. I got to be part of many things remotely and I did get to see a lot of the world. So the tradeoff was mine to make, and I made it.

This is the day, four years ago that Dylan joined our family. He came to us via Richmond Virginia and Lab Rescue.  Shelters are important and saving dogs from shelters is a noble cause. But rescue organizations spend their own time, their own money and open their own homes to take care of the dogs that are rescued. I admire people that work hard to stop kill shelters and people that work hard to get animals to good shelters. But people that give of themselves and foster rescued dogs are beyond amazing.


The  four years since Dylan joined our family have seen many changes. We lost our older Labrador to cancer (Francine) in 2014. April that year was a tough month. Fran never really shared that she was sick (as Labs often do). I was laid off from my job at the end of March so that spring didn’t start well at all.

In June of 2014 (early June) we lost dad. It seems strange now that two years have passed. Nobody answers mom’s phone “Joe’s Bar and Grill” anymore. 2014 was a tough year. Losing dad brought all of it to a painful critical mass.  I come not to bury Caesar instead I come to praise him. As a teacher dad impacted and influenced so many people. He also was a great parent. I miss calling him and asking him advice about situations. I still call mom and get the same awesome advice I always have, but I miss asking how are you and always getting “I’m wonderful.”


My father was born on March 30th. A day that he would later share with the boys. They were born on his birthday. Dad celebrated many achievements in his life. If you asked him though, if he sat down and quietly thought for a moment about what was the greatest thing he ever did, he would probably answer marrying mom. They were a team the two of them to the last day. They were impossible to crack and drive a wedged between (NOT THAT I EVER TRIED). Dad loved mom. I suspect if you gave him time he would recall the many students that he helped over the years as decent achievements. I can tell you that the many students felt it was more than a minor achievement. Many of them remembering dad many years after his support. Dad was one of the most remembered professors from a poll taken of IU graduates one year. He was on a list with Doc Councilman and Robert Montgomery Knight. Even thought the two great coaches impact was on every student. and dad taught far fewer in a year. He was remembered by his students. He is remember by his children as well. I don’t often since two years ago delve into my feelings for dad. It still hurts the edges of my heart. He still brings tears to my eyes. You see if you asked dad what other important things he did he would answer his children. He would answer his grandchildren one and all. His legacy is more than Apple Trees left at every house he ever lived in and sold. It is more than students and NSTA remembering him. His legacy walks the earth as grandchildren seeking to change the world. His legacy is his children. His legacy is the memories of him.

My father was a grand man. Quick always with a joke (some of them were good but not many). My memories of who I am are bound to the person my father tried to help me become. I don’t know why this morning brought memories to the forefront. Images of a vacation in Mexico remind me of the white sands of the many beaches we visited in Thailand.

Thanks dad. Thanks for all the hours of educational TV you forced us to watch on Saturday. I wish it had been National Geographic specials and not professional wrestling but you can’t have everything. Thanks dad for taking me fishing. Thanks for buying me my first camera. Thanks for protecting us and guiding us.

My apologies to my readers. I did not intend for this to be a maudlin blog. 2014 was a really tough year. Our family has had many tough years and many great years. The great far out number the tough, but 2014 was not one to waltz past. So again my apologies for struggling through feelings and emotions still raw from a bad year.


in loving memory

Of walks, schools and memories…


Turkey Run State park, in this case Lukas, not happy about a morning walk. Until Raven arrived the boys didn’t like morning, afternoon, evening or any other walk, ever. After Raven they still complain and don’t like walks, but I can remind them of the dog agreement. (You get a dog, you walk the dog). Raven, like Dylan loves her walks. So the boys usually tow the line and stop complaining when reminded about the Raven rule. I wish Raven had been around far longer, she straightens the boys up pretty quickly, Just as Fran did with Jakki. Although Raven, unlike Fran doesn’t rat the boys out for food in their rooms. If there is food in their rooms she will eat it. I guess in the long run its a form of ratting, but not as effective for me as Fran’s was. Fran would take me to the room and point to the food. Raven leaves bits of bags and plastic everywhere. I am never completely sure where it came from in the first place.


School even at the boys school. Actually it was Jakki’s Elementary School as well. Jakki, like me, moved a lot in her early school years. She was in Kindergarten and 1/2 of first grade in Cincinnati Ohio. 1/2 of first grade in one school in Greenwood, then they moved all the kids to the new school (to the left in the picture Sugar Grove) when Jakki was in second grade. She is our only graduate of Center Grove High School Greenwood Indiana. Becca graduated from Bloomington North High School and next year with any luck the boys will graduate from Northwest High School in Maryland. They will also be my mother’s last grand children to graduate from high school. Sadly also the first and only grandkids to graduate without Dad being there.


If you sat me down and said what do you miss about Indiana I would quickly answer being within an hour of my folks house. I miss traffic that wasn’t adding 1-2 hours of commute every day. I miss the quiet of the pond to the left. I do not miss the pool. That was a crap ton of work for 12 years that frankly I am happy to be rid of. But not being close to family was tough the first couple of years in Maryland. You don’t realize how important just being able to see your family is, until its a 12 hour car ride to do so, or in our last visit a 2 hour plane ride to see them. Family is important. Maryland was where my career was going, but I do miss family. I don’t miss the pool. I would also say I don’t miss the politics of Indiana either but I suspect that is rather obvious.


Family Historian

The last slides of Thailand #3. Images of a trip to the Ocean…

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Thailand was my first exposure to the Ocean a lot. By that statement I mean that we could, and did go to the Ocean all the time. This beach near Bangkok.

I grew and do love the ocean. I find as I have written about many times the very water to be restful. I realize the Ocean is a mighty conveyance and can crush me with so little as a wave. But I love it. Being in Thailand helped me find that love of the ocean, that love of being in, on or near the Ocean. To this day it is a peaceful quiet part of me. One that enjoy. So as we head into the last day of Thailand #3 posts we end with the Ocean.

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As I have said before dad was a really good photographer. I could get this same shot, but I would have to take 30 to get there. He got it, one shot framed perfection.

I am building a display area in the basement for his old cameras. I suspect someday people will look at the things we are passing down to our kids as something silly. But it is fun to collect things your kids can enjoy later. To say this is yours. We have my grandfather and my great-grandfathers pocket watches – Nick wants those. We have the family copper kettle that passes to Luke and my other grandfather’s coin collection that passes to Jakki. Becca gets the 1920’s working Singer Sewing machine. It actually still sews. So each of them gets something from the past to connect all of us together.

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There in the small distance of this last picture from Carousel Thailand #3 is us. Well most of us. Dad is taking the picture. A trick I learned from him. If you take the pictures you don’t have to be in them!

I recognize me standing, there on the beach. I recognize Lynne sitting on the outside and I think she is next to mom. It seems strange that between the moment the light struck this beach and now it in reflecting off the surface has gone 43 light years. Beyond the closest stars to our solar system. 43 years. Nearly 44 years in fact. Life has intervened in that time. The world has changed. We lost our photographer in that time but the rest of us are still there. We still laugh. We still wander to the Ocean as a group when we can (last August in Hawaii!). Family is captured by pictures, but held together with love.


Family Historian

Remembering on this day of dreams, my father’s dream….

I have a dream.

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The market in Bangkok Thailand. There are many, not just one. The Sunday Market (my favorite) the night market (my mother’s favorite) the floating market (my wife’s favorite). Each of them unique all of them special. They were all fun.

It was a huge change for me. I grew up the grandson of a former grocer. When I was really little Grandpa Ray used to take me to the store. I remember his office and the store itself. I remember walking around after the store was closed and just amazed. Its where my love of business comes from. But this market was amazing, it was new exciting and so different from what I was used to. Vibrant, alive and exciting.

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I was two that day when Dr. King shared his dream. I lived my whole life with my father’s dream. He believed that education should be available for everyone. Dad truly thought, argued and I believe was right, that education is the first step towards making the world a better place. Taking Dr. Kings dream and building a foundation to make it strong.

It’s a tough job, in 1972 outside of Bangkok to harvest food for people’s tables. Its still a hard job in many places. A job done by those who are forgotten by society. Migrant workers who come to town, pick the fruit and then nicely disappear. Invisible to us. They deserve an education as well.

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My father would tell us the Latin names of plants. I can honestly say I don’t remember a single one of them. But he also wouldn’t answer questions. He would ask another question so that you thought about what it was you wanted. You began using the inquiry method to find what you were looking for.

The method, that my father invented, allows for thought provoking education. Why is the internet slow at 7pm at night every night? Well first, when do your neighbors get home, what is the age distribution around you. The questions provoked in answering the first question are the inquiry method. Thinking through how something works. I grew up with the method. So it is ingrained in how I operate. But I can see the method in other models now. When I consider my current learning passion, the work of John Boyd, I see the inquiry method fitting nicely into the OO comments of the OODA loops. It is as much about driving feedback and modifying operations as anything. You see I can’t tell you anything about that plant in the picture. My father probably told me the Latin name 10 times. But, given that the leaves are brown, I have a method to inquire as to what is wrong. Is it seasonal? Is it dry? Is it too wet? I know how to figure out what is wrong.

I have dream. That everyone in the world gets an equal shot at education. That when you look across the table at someone you have never met you will know that they know things as well. Because everyone does. Equality starts with education.


I have a dream…

Stuck in Jackson Hole Wyoming–not a bad way to be stuck…

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Still wandering Jackson Hole Wyoming. It is a beautiful place and we now know that the Carousel labeled Thailand was actually half Thai, half Jackson Hole. I remember as a kid going to places like this with dad. He would take us on expeditions (dad didn’t do hikes). We would wander off into the woods in search of a pond that was rumored or Kharst Topography, there was always something at the end of the rainbow. I miss those walks.

Sure there are places to go, but with the dogs you have limits as to which places you can go. I just don’t have that wonder dad had for things he had not yet seen.

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The pose and shirt says dad. But since it was his camera I suspect that wasn’t him there on the shore. There were always things to explore, frogs to find and a world to wonder about. Everything was a huge science lab for dad. He could turn a simple rock skipping trip into an explanation of the physics of flight or the science of adhesion. People when I would meet them, at various levels of education throughout the country finding out Hans O Andersen was my father used to tell me I was lucky. I would smile and say “you never had to live with him.” because being the son of HOA is different than being his student. But if someone said it now, asked me that now, I would say I was lucky. I am lucky. He was a grand man.

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There was a day when you could stand on a tarmac and take a picture. No one would rush over and say “excuse me what are you doing, please hand me your camera.” No one would suspect your intent was bad or wrong. I do understand why that intent changed. Its just a little sad. It used to be so much more open.

Funny, people rebel against the oppression they feel. So they lash out with acts of terrorism. The governments they are fighting tighten the controls that caused the oppression in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle that will never end, unless we stop and consider what it is we are trying to accomplish and just relax.


Family Historian.

My father was a good photographer…

There are photos every photographer dreams of taking. The various works of Ansell Adams comes to mindcarousel 090

as a starting point – great pictures I want to take. Moments I want to capture. This is one of those types of pictures. Dad was really good as a photographer. He was able to capture depth and view. Plus he always seemed to know what picture to capture.

I think the amazing thing is I have a couple of pictures like this but I have 85,000 pictures taken over the course of 44 years. Dad had 30,000 pictures taken over the course of 60 years and he has many more good pictures than I do. With film you were capturing not only that movement but an entire set of memories that went with it.

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I can honestly say my love of water comes from both my parents (and my grandparents). My happiest moments of childhood were spent on water or in water. As an adult there was much pleasure sitting by the side of the pool watching my kids swim for hours. Barb (my wife) loves the beach. Every vacation she walkways wants a beach stop. We’ve over the years hit a few really nice beaches. A few in Hawaii, a few in Mexico, of course my personal favorite was Cancun (Cerate).

Water is a part of my life that is important. It was to my father and mother as well, it makes me feel closer to both of them. I am the kid that moved away after all. Every family has one, the relative that moves far away. I am that relative imp family.

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The pictures are amazing. While I managed a stop one trip in Jackson Hole for two days, I didn’t go on the rafting trip. I wish I had now. The images of the river are simply amazing.

I was in business mode for a meeting in Jackson Hole, I didn’t have time to stop and smell the roses. That is the one thing you learn from traveling a lot, smell the roses every time you stop. you never know when this stop is your last stop in a place. I went for a meeting in Jackson Hole one time, and have never been back. You never know when this stop in whatever place is the last stop in that place. Except for DC traffic, that you know you will stop before the bridge every day. I promise that is the one eternal flame of stopping, DC traffic. (Or New York Traffic, LA Traffic, Chicago Traffic I’ve seen them all. They suck).


Family Historian