Wander project Oak Island North Carolina 2013

clip_image002clip_image004In June 2013 my mom and dad rented a cabin on Oak Island in North Carolina. At the time the entire family stayed together. We didn’t know then, traveling all the way to North Carolina (which was less for us than the folks living in Indiana) that this was the last vacation the entire family would take. It was one year later that my father would pass away. This blog, three years later now, looking back to a different time and a different world now than was there, then. I wouldn’t trade the minutes we spent there for anything. They are precious memories that remind me oft of what was. When I look into the quiet moments that are those memories it makes me smile now.

clip_image006clip_image008clip_image010First off, we’ve been to Oak Island since. In fact the very next year we trekked back to Oak Island and stayed a little North of the house we stayed for the first time. It is one of those places you go to, and you remember. The funny thing is, it is also the name of the island in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Nova Scotia, where there has been pirate treasure buried, or so the legend goes. I love the show “the Curse of Oak Island.” A television show about two brothers sharing their search for that treasure! I have a really dear friend that loves the TV show as well. When we were working for the same company we used to not be able to talk about the show. He watched it live as it first came on, I watched it later via DVR. But we both loved the show. Different Oak Island all though, the same part of the world.

clip_image012clip_image014clip_image016The passage of time dulls the pain of loss. But it doesn’t take away the memories. I am who I am because of the man my father was. I am the man I am because of who my mother was. I stand on their shoulders and move in a new direction. That is the ultimate power a parent can give a child. Not the clarity to understand what they want to do for the rest of their life. No, the, to use my grandfather’s favorite word, gumption, to just get it. To hunker down and get it done. I got that from my parents! Oak Island is a moment in our family history, one that we visited twice. The first time would be different I am sure if we knew then what we know now.


Family Historian

Final home remodeling project done (until the next one) :-)

We have in the last 25 years owned 4 different houses. In those four houses we have replaced thecooktop

cooktop twice. Both times we went with a new Jenn Air top. The last home improvement project is now done. We have a new cooktop and stove in the kitchen. We had gas before which was nice but so hard to keep clean. So a nice induction cooktop was the decision.  Induction cooktops are very nice. This one is all electronic, no knobs that break or get lost. No crevices that fill with stuff and then boys say “you didn’t tell me I had to clean that when I do the dishes.” The last thing is true, we don’t start out each night as they start dishes saying now here are the 10 things you have to do. Barb wrote them down on a sheet of paper and taped it by the sink but that isn’t the same as telling them to do it. So often the sheet gets ignored.

Cleaning off the cooking area was one of the things that was often forgotten so now, it is readily apparent when that was not done. Plus we get a nice new cooktop!


The other part of the project was a new oven and Microwave. This was a first time project for us. We have never replaced the oven or microwave built into a house before. We went with Jenn Air again, figuring if we ever sell the house the new owners will want things to be from the same company. We decided after long thinking to get a convection oven rather than a traditional oven. I used a convection oven when I was cooking at the Whimples of Walnut Street in Bloomington Indiana now more than 30 years ago. I loved the oven because it cooked evenly and didn’t burn things.

So convection it was for the new oven! Had to be black of course to match everything (I guess ovens talk to other ovens if they don’t match your kitchen décor exactly).

So our first oven replacement project!

It was a tumultuous time in the Andersen house over the past three months. Jakki moved out which was a little hard but luckily she still comes to occasional Sunday dinners and stops by often. So while we miss her its nice to see her spreading her wings. As talked about before ripped out most of the remaining carpeting in the house. All projects are done now so we can relax for a bit.

Funny, you buy the perfect house, and then you make changes.


Home remodeling survivor

Idyllic days on the Farm and the dog who would not be caged!

carousel 001

A Carousel simply titled subject 17. This is a picture of Frosty our insane Great Pyrenees and behind her the pond on the farm. Frosty for whatever reason didn’t like fences. She would run away all the time. Once while in heat she returned with a special surprise (giving birth to a puppy one night. We stayed up all night with her but the puppy didn’t make it). She would climb over an electric fence to get free. For whatever reason she decided she was not a dog to be fenced in.

Directly behind this picture is where mom and dad put the barn (Ogle’s place) and later the house. The garage was back and a little behind this particular spot. There was a long wooden walkway from the garage to the house. Originally it was gravel but the wood walk way was added later.

carousel 005

We built a volleyball court. I love volleyball and it took a whole day to find the right spot, dig the holes for the poles, let the cement dry and then mount the net. We would set up the volleyball net for parties dad would throw.

He would have his students over twice a year or so, and there was always a volleyball game. We also had a basketball goal out behind the house and for a time there was an above ground pool. Both my sister (Lynne) and I ended up having pools at our houses. I wonder if that old above ground pool influenced those decisions? I know having a pool influenced my decision to move to a house in Maryland with a neighborhood pool (I don’t have to open that pool or clean it, just enjoy it!)

carousel 010

Subject 17 so far has been Andersen Acres (The Farm). Dad put two large A’s above the garage door. We begged him not to put AA on the garage but he was determined. I think as much because we asked him not to as anything else.

This also from a party showing the Farm. Dad was going to be a self-sufficient farmer. He did for a time raise cows, pigs and chickens. In all cases the eggs were superior, the ham, bacon and pork chops amazing and the beef was incredible. But the self-sustaining thing never really came to pass. It would have required solar or wind power, and a way to reuse many more things than ended up happening. It was a grand dream for a time though.


Family Historian

Random project continues–today’s features Cincinnati Ohio

Today’s random folder was the fifth folder in the fifth folder and this is the fifth picture in that folder. It isn’t a very good picture which as I talked about P0000028yesterday the risk is not knowing where the picture is taken the other side of that is that it won’t be a good picture. Gwen’s face actually did extend to the end of her nose. Unlike this picture of her begging which I suspect was taken in the Kitchen of our house on Shafer.

Gwen was an interesting dog. Her personality was never really that of a family dog. She was a loner that just happened to hang out with a family. I remember countless times have to intercede with Gwen herding Jakki and her friends in the back yard.

The picture is from Cincinnati Ohio. Based on the flooring it was taken in our house on Shafer avenue. We lived on Shafer for about 5 years.


While in Cincinnati I started doing STEM outreach (later expanding that to STEAM and then CSTEAM). This was a class of kids I took the newly released Microsoft Barney kit to show them. We talked about the many potential things that robotics could accomplish.

Barney was a great tool to show the initial integration between a device, a computer and software. We would talk about what was possible with the tools, what happens with connectivity and the potential of software. The Barney tool has independent and dependent actions it could take. You could interact with it in a number of ways. I never hacked the device, although I have friends that did. I always wanted Barney to say Barney things. I suspect there are millions of children in the US that say please and thank you because of Barney.


Growing up going to Kings Island (an amusement park just north of Cincinnati Ohio) was a big deal. When we moved to Cincinnati we actually had season passes the first three years. That as things local often do wore off eventually. We went there a number of times in the nine years we lived in Cincinnati.

The most magical experience we had was when Jakki was a tiny baby and we went to see the Kings Island Festival of lights for the holidays. It was an amazing display of Christmas lights. You got to ride on the old town train in the park and see the lights. Jakki’s little eyes were wide open and staring in wonder.

They stopped doing the lights displays the next year so we never really got a chance to go back and see them again. They started up again many years later but we had moved to Greenwood Indiana by then and Kings Island had fallen prey to Six Flags over mid America in Louisville and Holiday world.


Family Historian