wander project Christmas

Happy Holidays to all!

(for those who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas to you and yours this 25th day of December 2019).

The pictures today are of Hawaii. The wander project is hitting Paradise Bay Hawaii. There are pictures from several events that occurred. The best thing for me was getting up early in the morning and blogging! This was back when Niume was still around, and I realized most of the Hawaii posts were on Niume. I have covered the trip to Hawaii a few times on Virily but nowhere near to the depth.


The trip in 2015 was focused on remembering my father. He did not want a funeral or awake. He wanted all of us to be together to share a meal. It was his last wish. My mother decided that all of us, together in Hawaii, was the answer to that last request. My father loved Hawaii. He loved anything tropical but Hawaii was a place he had gone to often in his life. We spent the first few days in Hawaii on a cruise. It was the Norwegian Cruise line’s Hawaiian Island hopper. We ended up visiting seven islands. Each of the islands had a unique expedition. From hanging out on the beach to visiting Volcano National park, we have fun every day. It is interesting that where we had stood at the Volcano national park was partially destroyed in the eruptions of 2018.

The primary pictures shared today are from Paradise Bay. We spent our last four days there. We rented cottages on the beach. Each morning I got up before everyone else and watched the sunrise. There are a couple of pictures of the sun rising. There is also a picture of the expeditions that were taken while hanging out at the Bay! The first expedition was the daily walk the Twins and I took. The second was my wife and daughter heading out into the Bay with one of the resorts Kayaks. I will share more pictures and memories from Hawaii later this year. But this is a starting point, images and memories that I promised another Virily member I would share again!


Fear of Giants Bowling

Driven by the fear

of Giants bowling.

The crashing sound loud and penetrating

the world

and shattering the glass

that explodes


piercing the air

as screaming banshees explode

in the night


rapid breathing leads

to calming quiet

and the sharing

the sound of comfort conveyed

pushed into the air stopping the screeching banshees


Giants bowling

lots of gutter balls

the hand


The fear wrapped around me


a boa

a python

begins to fade

the air

flowing back

into empty spaces

and finding them


pushes them


listening often


to hear the gentle sound


but it is now gone.


from the Sandler Boggs Poetry Collection

Wander project Singapore 1972


Dad and mom went to Singapore in 1972. I thought I would share some of dad’s pictures of that trip. In part because that is not the Singapore you would find now. I have wandered the same streets some 30 years later and they were much cleaner and brighter in the 2005 time period than they were in 1972. The kids stayed behind in Bangkok while mom and dad got some time alone. Singapore is a very interesting place. First off the food is amazing (I love chili crab!) and the people are extremely friendly. Singapore is now a modern city. Then it was very similar to Bangkok. A little less clean and antiseptic than it is now. Mom and dad stayed at the iconic hotel the Raffles. Famous, because that is where the drink the Singapore Sling was invented. Even more famous in that it is very near all the English Lawn and Tennis club. That is where the international cricket and international tennis matches were played in the city for many years.







Dad didn’t take many pictures that weekend, so I thought I would share them all with this post. In part because they are quite the study of Singapore, 1972 and in part to share the tradition of the family history project. My father was the one who came up with digitizing the slides he had. For the most part he wanted to see the slides my grandfather Andersen had taken.



Due to time issues etc I had only scanned one tray of my grandfather’s slides before my father died. I regret that. Anyway dad, was working for UNESCO at the time they went to Singapore. So he actually visited a classroom and talked to other educators about building a stronger science education program in the country. It is not a huge country, you can easily (if there was a road that did it completely) drive around Singapore in a day. It is the city of Lions. It is also the city of don’t spit on the sidewalks now. But then it was just beginning to be independent from Malaysia and from Britain. Like all nations just setting out on their journey they had things to learn and do.

It is however a wonderful city to land in, stand in and walk around!


Family Historian

Wander project back to the living history project (Indiana)…


Another cool project was the living history project. The past coming alive through the eyes and thoughts of children. We are wandering more in time than space today. This project was one the kids did for school. Luke is portraying a famous Hoosier Red Skelton. I had the fortune, when I was working at a restaurant in college to actually cook dinner for Red Skelton. He was a very funny man. This is Luke portraying the famous Indiana clown. Indiana is an interesting place. They call the state the cross roads. If you look at the history of Indiana, once upon a time it was the western border of the United States. It played a huge part in the early formation of the country. Indiana was the limestone capital of America for many years, until cutting and shipping limestone wasn’t effective cost wise. Then it wasn’t. Indiana has a geography however, that is extremely interesting There are no true mountains in Indiana but there are lots of hills. The southern border of the state is the Ohio river. The northern border of the state spans from Illinois, Lake Michigan all the way to Michigan itself. On the East is Ohio. On the West is Illinois and to the South Kentucky.


Another Indiana Legend, Ernie Pyle. Newspaper journalist and war reporter. The Indiana University school of journalism is named for Mr. Pyle. He was killed during WWII. This is Nick sharing his vision of the newspaperman (I think). Luke has a nice sign that tells who he was, I don’t see a picture where we can see who Nick was for sure so I am guessing based on Indiana Legends. There are many more legends in the state to consider. Over the years I had the opportunity to visit many of the cities in the state. During my teaching career I was hired as a Star Trainer by the State of Indiana (Star trainers were teachers who had technology skills to share with other teachers) so I went around the state and taught other teachers how to do certain computer tasks with kids. I got to visit many of the smaller parts of Indiana. The funny thing about travel in my family is this. No matter which type of travel you pick I finish second to one of my parents. My mother ran an organization that spanned the entire southern half of the State of Indiana. She would routinely travel all over Southern Indiana, far more Indiana travel than I ever did. My father worked internationally for many years, he traveled to many places I have never been to. So no matter how much I travel I am always second to one of my parents.


Except wandering Maryland. Then I have both my parents beat. Travel is an interesting beast. I love to travel but I hate the process of traveling. Airlines and hotels try really hard to make you comfortable but the reality is, it isn’t home. I guess because I did travel so much in the past, traveling now isn’t an adventure for me. That sense of adventure the wonder of what you might see, is the real magic of travel. Sometimes you can travel in time. Sometimes you travel in space. But you know no matter where you go, there are always new things to see. Sometimes, when we stop and remember, when we stop to recall it is truly time to share the memories. My greatest regret in life is not starting the family history project while my father was alive. My mother has supported this project, corrected errors and given me many wonderful ideas. But I would liked to share dad’s pictures with him. Dad put his pictures in boxes neatly. He stored them in a safe place. But no one really saw them. Oh we saw a few, the hand picked the one’s dad felt were worthy. We saw 100 pictures of the Sydney Opera house and pictures of mom. Mom never felt the pictures of her dad shared were good, but dad did. The family history project was started and within it the Wander Project, to share the memories with the world. So that someday you can look back and remember my family without me there.


Family Historian

Mother’s day 2009 and well a different day….


From mom and dad’s house on North Kinser pike in Bloomington Indiana. A great example of buying a house that was perfect and than making all the changes to make it more perfect. An Andersen family tradition. Or maybe a Johnston family tradition since my grandfather and my great grandfather built the lake house (and the lake cottage). Make that cottages in fact as well as a bath house. The lake cottage was on top the hill and had beautiful stone walls. The basement was made entirely of the stone and had cool nooks and crannies. I remember going in there because there were things stored in that basement. The cottage part was rented out after my great grandfather and great grand step-mother died.


Mother’s day 2009, we would gather on the back porch of mom and dad’s house and celebrate all the mother’s in our family (we have quite a few – four in fact)! This picture includes my sister Lynne and her son Matthew. Matt is an impressive young man. He is living in Seattle Washington now. Very smart and very capable young man. Its funny when this picture was taken, I was traveling all over the world for weeks at a time. Just like dad had traveled when I was little. But now my sister is the one traveling all over the US. Funny how that works out. My longest trip is 160 minutes from Germantown to downtown DC. (its more of a waiting for traffic to clear issue than it is a distance issue).


Dad, mother day 2009. Dad would man the grill and prepare the mother’s day grill fest. He would also make the best salsa ever. It was a tradition to have something grilled. Be it beef roast or brats (a Wisconsin tradition) we would have something from the grill on warmer days. I guess that was the holiday tradition for a long time. It is a little harder now with people in Washington DC, Washington State and Texas for all of us to get together. So we are down to the big holiday’s now (Christmas).



Family Historian

One missing smile, memories of the past and a missing plant.

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Dad loved taking pictures of children and normally they would smile and laugh. Dad could be quite funny. For some reason this young girl wasn’t impressed by dad’s comedy.

It is a wonderful picture though. It is one of the many he took that as I find them I wonder about the person all the years later. What is this young lady doing? Is she a doctor? A lawyer? Leader of the regional government? A picture now more than 40 years old filled with potential and possible. As I look at these I am amazed by how good a photographer dad was. I am also struck with wondering, what became of the young girl in the picture?

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The river gives and takes. For thousands of years people lived along the river. Over time the houses evolved. You can see it in the background on stilts. That way your stuff wasn’t washed away when the river decided to exceed its limits.

In 1972 when you got out of Bangkok this was the traditional homes you would see. That is different now, Thailand has a vibrant and growing economy and actually exports food to the rest of Southeast Asia. When I went back in 2004 I half expected to see this world still there, but it is not as wide spread now as it was then. I suppose if you get well away from Bangkok there are still people living as they have for the past 500 years. But near Bangkok now is modern.

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My father by love was a biologist. He knew the Latin names of all the plants, and used to torture us by reciting Latin names as we hiked (at his request) into the wilderness. This image however is interesting. First I have no freaking clue what this image is. I don’t know if it is up-side-down or down-side-up. I don’t even know if it is supposed to be on its side or perhaps inverse.

It is of a plant. Dad loved to take pictures of plants. It is an interesting plant but I have no idea what it is.

I am sure there was a story that went with this. But the story is lost to me now. I looked at this picture in all four rotations and if I wasn’t following a set of rules I wouldn’t have posted this one. (every fifth picture of the Carousel). So here it is. Anyone know what this is? I am hoping it is not pictures of Opium pods or something that I shouldn’t have posted (like a human consuming Venus flytrap). So if you know comment or send me an email!


plant historian

The river (again) and memories of Temples and peace…Tree. Apple. Ocean.

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Another view of the ill fated canoe journey. Yes the canoe sank below river level when we got going fast. Yes as evidenced by the number of pictures my father thought it was hilarious.

Mom and I disagree about the where of the event. We don’t disagree about the after, dad and the crocodile comments. It was a blast. The rest of the family was sitting in a more stable boat. I guess they lacked a sense of adventure. Although I don’t think Barb at age 2/3 would have been given the option of being in the smaller boat. It was a fun trip down the river. Just glad we didn’t have to paddle upstream.

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I was always impressed by the willingness of Monks to be out and in the streets helping and being part of the city. The bright orange robes are visible everywhere.

It is a different perspective to take a year and learn the inner workings of a religion. I was always jealous of the understanding you would gain from that.

There is a majesty and a peace in going to the temples. So spending a lot of time there would be magical. I always felt at peace when I would visit one of the temples.

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No matter where you go in the world the religion of that area is important. Both that you should acknowledge the religion but also that it is something of value to people. As I said I found peace walking among the many Buddhist templates we visited. I know dad did as well, he actually told me that when I visited mom and dad on my way home from Malaysia. Dad wasn’t often at peace other than when he and mom were watching a movie. Certainly he wasn’t at peace watching IU Basketball games. Sometimes, when he was working in the yard you would see a face of relaxed. Or sometimes when he was teaching you see that relaxed face. Not that dad was tense or nervous just that he was always thinking. I spent a long time separating from my father. Being my own person. Going my own way. In the end he and I were more similar than I was able to admit then. But I am proud to admit now. To combine two things, a saying from my sons and an old adage. Tree, Apple, Ocean.

The thing I learned from my father that impacts me every day. Do what you love. If you are happy doing what you love to do, then the rest doesn’t feel so bad.


Family Historian