wander project exhausting twins

An Adventure, to adventure to leave the safety of where you are, to go off into the woods. We did when the kids were little a lot, and When you have twins, you try to get them tired enough so that they will take a nap in the afternoon. Sadly, that usually also meant mom and dad were exhausted as well. Luckily the one thing we established when the twins were little was a consistent bedtime. If we missed a nap, we at least had them in bed early enough that we got some time. When they were 2, 3, and even four, they had two naps a day. That dropped to 1 nap a day by the time they were four and no maps per day after they were five years old. We missed naps! Series, we missed them a lot!


There are many parks we went to while we lived in Indiana. Turkey Run (where today’s pictures are from) was one. But there were many other parks. Springmill was both a recreated mill town from the early 1800s but also a wonderful park we went to often. We would take e picnic lunch and wander the park. There was a Brown County state park, and we went there often. We didn’t pack a lunch when we went to Brown County. My wife’s all-time favorite restaurant is on the way to the park (Called the Nashville House)! We would go, wander the park, and then at lunch, we would wander to the Nashville house. They make the best Fried Biscuits with Apple Butter.

Nashville Indiana is a more tourist trap than the city. But we went there as well, without going to the park. There were many other parks we would visit, most of them were city parks. There was a time when as we drove by playgrounds there were groans from the back seat. Now there is groaning from the back seat, but that is more the sheer desperation of being seen in public with your parents and or being forced out of the house, to sit in the car and go somewhere . But, when the kids were little the groans were when we passed a playground and didn’t stop. Not that we did that very often. We mostly stopped, let the kids play, and then moved on to the next one (easier, to exhaust twins when you can stand, and they are running!)


wander project pool fountains

One of the things that dominated our summers in Indiana was the pool. My daughter and I spent a lot of time trying to find the right fountain for the pool. For the most part, a fountain is used to keep the water of the pool a little cooler. It also is fun to sit and watch the water fly into the air.  The kids loved the 2nd one we got that CCRC could be moved to anywhere. For the most part, it was put right under the diving board. The Diving Board was not used as a diving board. I had to ban three kids from the neighborhood because they refused to follow the simple, no diving room. Our deep end of the pool was 14 feet, deep enough for safe diving, but we decided at the very beginning that we would not allow diving.


There are horror stories of home pools and paralyzed kids that dove into the deep end that wasn’t deep enough. We banned the diving part from day one. We also banned kids swimming without adults there. It was never that we didn’t trust the kids; it was when you get 20 kids in a small space, bad decisions happen. The other issue we had was the slide, but that one had one accident in all the years we had the pool (11). We also had a rule for who was allowed in the pool, but that was more that we had to ban a couple of the boys in the neighborhood. One of them we banned the first day we had kids in the pool because he dived into the pool headfirst.

I pulled him aside saying “we don’t allow that” he got on the diving board and dived again. So I called his parents to come to get him. Telling them he was not allowed to swim because he couldn’t follow the rules. His parents looked at me like I was crazy. I finally had to say “our house, our rules.” They accepted that as their younger son was allowed to swim (he never dove in). But beyond that one time, we never really had issues with people following the rules. Getting to swim all day was a reward for most kids in the neighborhood. Our adult rule was one that most of the parents around the house welcomed. They agreed that you need at least one adult watching kids swim!


wander project the dogs!

The dogs that live with us. We were relaxing at the end of the day yesterday when my wife asked the question “why, with a couch in the room, do the dogs prefer their beds.” Sometimes we forget that dogs, like people, like to have space that is there. Space that belongs to them. The dogs like their dog’s beds, because they are dog beds, they belong to the dogs. Now when our Grand dogs (Tamsyn and Serenity) come to visit, then we have issues. Two Dog beds, four dogs, the math doesn’t work. For the most part, though we only have two dogs, so the number of beds works. The beds used to be positioned differently, but the dogs moved them to be right in front of the fireplace.


In the winter, they curl up when there is a fire. Raven, like her momma, would have a fire every day one the weather gets Cold! Raven is a fire dog, and she loves the fire. Dylan loves the fire as well, but he is happy to be on the couch, as well.  One of the funny things about dogs and fires, when the dogs get too hot from sleeping by the fire, they move to the couch. They don’t get too hot in the summer, the ceramic floor traps heat in the winter from the fire, and cool in the summer from the AC. The floor was added by us, and the room had carpet when we moved into the house. My wife doesn’t like carpeting, we’ve removed carpet from the entire house.

(well there is carpet in two places, the master closet, and my office)!

In the basement, the dogs sleep on the couch when I am working at home. They do like to be on the couch, and both dogs prefer to sleep in beds during the night. Raven has taken over the guest room as her bedroom. My wife and Raven have an ongoing argument about the guest bed. The two dogs like to sleep directly on the mattress. My wife doesn’t want them on the mattress and covers it with a quilt. The dogs move the quilt so that they can sleep on the mattress.


wander project on the way to Bangkok 1971

The first time I flew in an airplane, it was a prop plane. We flew from Indiana Indiana to General Billy Mitchell Field in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I didn’t fly into Milwaukee again for near 30 years. I don’t remember much about that first flight. The next time we flew, we ended up going from Wisconsin to Thailand. The reason we didn’t leave form Indiana, as we were leaving our car with my grandparents so that they could let it run every once in a while. Our house in Indiana was rented out for the year to some students who were taking care of our dog Phoebe. My mother’s parents drove us from Cambridge to O’Hare Field in Chicago, and we flew to Shannon Ireland.

carousel 042

I suspect starting our international travel by landing in Ireland, and the Emerald Isle was perfect. We got into a car, driving on the wrong side of the road, and my dad clipped a parked car (it happened to be the car of the local police officer.) We got on the way from there. We landed at Shannon International airport and went off to a small cottage near Galway Ireland. We had lunch after the car situation was cleaned up, and I will never forget the place. The owner came over and asked my father, “and the lad will have a Guinness?” My dad said no; he wouldn’t, but for me, that was a huge change. First, I love Guinness. Second as an 11-year-old to be asked if I wanted a beer was awesome.

My suitcase went to Prague; the rest of the family got their luggage. I ended up getting a new pair of jeans and a wonderful seater. I have been o Ireland several times in my life. It remains one place that felt like home to me the minute I arrived. Bangkok was initial strange and different, but it now feels like home as well. But Ireland was the first place I went to that just felt like home. Copenhagen is another like that for me. Ireland was a pre-Bangkok vacation. Dad didn’t have to work for the few days we were there. My dad did vacations like he did life. We hit the ground running. We wandered all over the town of Shannon Ireland. (across the bay from Galway). From farms to scallops, we made sure we experienced Ireland!


wander project differences.

The reality regional differences are something I often find funny. In the US, like many countries, we have several regions. There are the folks that live on the East Coasts and the folks that live on the West Coast. In between is the land called the middle. The regional difference when you get to the Middle of the US is as much cultural as is agricultural. The middle of the US has been a verdant farm area for many years now.  It is one of the largest producers of corn, soybeans, and alfalfa in the world — the alfalfa going right to cows, horses, and other livestock.

Let us out

Today I wanted to wander to the two things I miss most about the Great State of Indiana. The first is the best watermelons on earth. The second is the best tomatoes on earth. Now I do understand that my taste buds were created and matured during the time I was exposed to Indiana Melons and Indiana’s Maters. ‘Mater is an Indiana slang term for Tomato. They are also sometimes called matters. The Melons grow down near the area between Vincennes and Evansville, Indiana, along the Wabash River. The tomatoes grow in the upper part of the state by West Lafayette.

But, 100 years ago, Indiana was more know for steel production than melons or tomatoes. When the Steel Mills moved out of Indiana, the great explosion of using Indiana Limestone in buildings occurred (fun fact, the Empire State Building is built out of Indiana Limestone)! But as the Steel Mills began to reduce production in the 1940s after WWII was over. The limestone quarries began to be less needed in the 1940s. By the 1950s more than half the people employed in quarries no longer had jobs.

(pictures are the twins over the years).


wander project walking with dad…

How far is the furthest you’ve ever walked in a single day? I am thinking about a hike my father had us take when I was in scouting. Dad was our pack leader for a year. He planned all sorts of interesting hikes during that year. One of the hikes we went on was one that dad found out about from one of his students. It was along a ridge in Brown Country, Indiana. The ridgeline, I apologize I do not remember the name of the ridgeline, wandered along the edge of the state park (Brown County State Park) and private land.


Dad had called and gotten permission for us to walk on the private land. We were going to walk along the ridgeline for 6 to 7 miles and then basically walk back to the cars. We had two other adults with us for a total of 3 cars to fit the entire troop. We were in search of something my father thought would be of interest to a bunch of 14-year-old boy scouts. We had packed with water, lunch, and snacks. Dad had his camera, and we headed off into the wood on our expedition.

It was at about 2 hours into the hike (roughly 4 miles in) that we came across a herd of deer. By came across I mean that while we were walking the trail, we woke the deer up, and the entire herd, one buck and eight or so do and maybe four fawns jumped across the trail we were on. I have seen deer many times, but that was the first time, that close and with a buck very angry staring at us. We trekked on for another couple of hours (including lunch) and arrived at a building.

It was a simple building, but my dad took us to the plague at the base it said erected by the CCC completed June 1933. The CCC was part of the WPA, which is how President Franklyn Delano Roosevelt helped the US out of the great depression.

WPA – works progress administration

CCC – civilian conversation corps


Wander project dad’s books

I suspect during the time I traveled that I missed many events. The pictures today are of my father’s home office. Originally my father had a different office in the house, but when he retired he brought home all his books. The books were so heavy that it made the floor bow a little. So they converted the garage into a new office and put on shelves. The former garage (they added a new garage) had concrete floors strong enough for all the books dad brought home. My dad always loved books. I do as well, but most of my books are on the Kindle now. I don’t have as many books as I used to have. When I was first living on my own, as a young adult I had more than 2000 books.


I realized, moving twice in three years, that having that many books weren’t conducive to easily finding a new apartment. I needed a certain amount of space to store books. So I got rid of them. There was a great used book store in Bloomington, Indiana. Well, it is a college town. It probably wasn’t a great store. I suspect I didn’t get the full value, but the transaction was quick and easy. Today I have some books, some from my father that I am keeping, others that are treasures that I will never get rid of. The same with LP’s, I have a few that I have collected over the years. In many cases, I have copies of the LP’s as backups on my phone (using a great product that converts LPs into MP3s).

But I have two shelves of books now, where once I had 4 or 5 times as many books. It is the change over time. I love sitting and reading a book, but I also love having a book read to me. That makes audible a great choice for me. I can walk, sit, be in a plane, or stuck in traffic listening to the book I am interested in hearing! It is a great time killer when waiting for someone, to be able to grab a book and listen!

Anyway, the pictures are of my parents in my father’s old office in Bloomington.  The house that they moved to after they sold the mini-farm. In the office, they built after dad brought all his books home. Oh yeah, and then the kids got the camera, so we have a Dogs eye picture!