Wander project Greenwood Indiana


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Francine Marshmutt Andersen, a wonderful family member. She joined our family as a tiny puppy. I suspect based on where we are in life now, potentially our last dog as a puppy. Francine was a yellow lab. She joined our family at the same time as our older dog, Gwen. Gwen had moved with us from Cincinnati Ohio to Indiana. She (Gwen) was pretty mean to Fran in the beginning. Fran was a sweetheart and let Gwen be bossy and snippy until Fran realized she was a lot bigger than Gwen. That ended the snippy and bossy phase of their relationship. It is funny, some dogs are meant to be part of a family. To have people and, to be part of that family. Fran was one of those. She was most definitely Jakki’s dog, but she loved everyone in the family and was always in the  middle of family events. It is why we’ve continued to have Labs. Fran was the first Lab, you could say she was a lab experiment. Since then we have moved away from puppies (only getting Lab rescues). So the Lab experiment was a success.

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I shared this picture from 1999 when there was no pool, and this one from 2000 when we had added the pool. This from the back deck out towards the pond. The pond was actually full of fish, geese, turtles and muskrats. For one two years period we have beavers also. To the left of the picture there is a creek that flowed into the retention pond. If you went up the creek a ways (I did several times) there was another Beaver home about a 1/2 mile up the creek. Our beavers sadly, were killed crossing the road. It was nice to sit on the deck and watch the sunrise in the morning with a cup of coffee. In the rough beginnings of this blog I actually wrote a couple of blogs out on the deck. I started this blog as a once a month blog. Then moved it to a weekly blog and then a daily blog. That initial once a month period was hard. Like my once a month podcasts, there were months with two posts and month’s with no posts. It is sometimes hard to remember a once a month thing.

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I remember as a child, the ice on Lake Ripley in Cambridge Wisconsin being thick enough that not only could you walk on it, but my grandfather could drive a tractor (small) on it pulling a Tobago behind him. Or you could pelt down the hill full bore on a sled with metal runners and flying off the bank hit the ice without it even cracking. People, after Christmas in the dead of winter would drive cars across the lake. The Ice was that thick. I don’t think the ice of our old pond ever got that thick. Here is one of the reasons. There was a drain in our cul-du-sac that pushed water out, right to the far right of the unfrozen part of the pond. There was warm street water always flowing into the pond in two places. That flow of warm water prevented the pond from ever really freezing over. It was fun however, to watch the ice begin to crawl across the water. It did often freeze all the way over, but there was always a warm spot that was clearly a lot less ice. I did walk across the creek part to the far left a few times, but the water in that case was 2 inches or less in depth so there wasn’t a lot of risk. Not that the pond was horribly deep – maybe 4 to 6 feet at its deepest point. But the mud was a good 2-3 feet beyond that.

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Family Historian

Wander project gearing up to rock climb in Greenwood…


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An activity all three kids love for some reason is rock climbing. These images from 3004 so somewhere near Greenwood Indiana. We have been rock climbing in a number of places. The kids really loved the Rock walls at Galleon’s sporting goods, that later was consumed by Dick’s. Dick’s still had climbing walls for a long time. Now they no longer have them (insurance).

The kids continued their love of Rock Climbing in Maryland. Personally, I am not a fan of intentionally putting myself in a place where looking down is nearly a requirement. I like looking down and seeing water below. The kids on the other hand love it. This is the bean, Jakki, with her harness on nearly ready to attack the wall. Of the three she is probably the most experienced climber. She is actually quite good at climbing. Nick and Luke started later but they are also very good.

I am by no means good, able or willing to climb up a rock wall.

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Ready to go now. Harness on, ready to attach to the rope. It is really fun to watch the 3 of them attack a rock wall. I think, I attacked water that when I was little. I remember grabbing a fishing pole and heading down to the minute we got to my grandparents house. Oh, there was the stop and argue with my sister over who got the cowboy hat and who got the captains hat. For someone reason both my sister and I loved the captains hat. So it was a scalable when we first got there to get the captains hat first. Mom arbitrated our dispute by making us take turns with the captains hat (the horror). So we worked out whoever got it first got it for that trip. There are pictures of one of us looking forlorn (wearing the cowboy hat) and the other beaming (wearing the captains hat). But we didn’t take turns unless we fought about it. Then mom made us take turns. Can you imagine a parent actually making their children share? The unmitigated gall. Parents who make their children share with each other have many other nasty habits. Like making children eat their vegetables at dinner and the clean plate club even if what they were serving was gross.

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Climbing away. It is something I doubt I will ever understand.

Funny how the things you grow up doing are not the things your kids end up doing. My father was outdoors in a rural part of Wisconsin. My mother grew up (they moved to Wisconsin when she was young) on a Lake. I grew up in a small Indiana town, and was outside all the time as a child. My kids grew up in an age where you didn’t let kids run around the neighborhood as freely as in years past. They also grew up with a pool in their yard so they didn’t venture far afield. Funny how that works out. The difference being now, if you ask where your kids are, parents have to know at all times. When I was a kid, we were out and about and none of our parents knew exactly where we were. Times have changed. Not enough however, that I would ever consider rock climbing an interesting hobby. It is like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, not something I would ever do.

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Non-Rock Climber!

Wander project other folder, Indiana State Fair


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When the kids were little we had a pool. We actually had a salt water pool (easier to maintain and less likely to turn green if you miss a chemical application). The kids were in the pool every day from the middle of may until the first week of October. It was a really good investment in getting them comfortable with water and able to be in the water. I spent most of my summers in water. Well, I tried to spend most of my summers in the water. The picture is of Luke, wearing what we called a swimmy suit. These suits were an amazing addition to the arsenal. They allow the child to swim, but keep their heads above the water. They are buoyant and there is no way for the child, once the suit is on, to slip out. That gave them the freedom to be in the pool. We still had rules about the depend. It allowed the adults to relax (a bit) and watch the kids from one end of the pool. As they got older we had a neighborhood college student come and give the boys and Jakki swimming lessons. She was very good at getting the boys in particular to try new things in the water and be more comfortable as swimmers.

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There is a concept in many states called the State Fair. Indiana’s was traditionally held in August. It was hot, there were all sorts of people and things to do. The State Fair was a big deal (once). There are people that love fairs and go every year. I think I am not a fair person. I am not a fan of the atmosphere and the crowd of people. But the food is amazing. One of the fun things about State Fairs is the fried food. Yes, you can get everything fried. Even the glorious fried twinkle. In Indiana the big deal was something called Elephant Ears. Now that I think about it, the name was kind of gross. But the result was really delightful. Deep fried thin batter that is taken out, and then covered in powered sugar and chocolate sauce, or drizzled with strawberry sauce. You then eat that incredibly messy concoction without getting any on you. Well that is the goal, I have never finished the second part of the equation. I always ended up with some of the elephants ear sticking to me. Or worse, I got none on me and at that exact moment I had to pick a child up or they wanted to hold my hand and I was covered in goo.

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Barb found this wonderful red wagon which we used as a less cumbersome stroller when the boys were little. As you can see the boys were not the only ones who liked sippy cups and not the only ones that rode in the red wagon. If she could have figured out a way to harness her dog, and if her dog wasn’t the most stubborn creature on earth, Jakki would have been pulled many more places. As it is, the wagon made a nice resting place during the long day at the state fair. The other part of August in Indiana, is it is hot and sticky. So wandering around a fair with some air conditioned and some not air conditioned buildings changed our walking path considerably. As in, just as my mother and I had done in Bangkok many years before, choose to visit the air conditioned buildings between each of the other buildings. That way we got cool between roasting sections. We also then got to see sewing, quilts and baked goods that are all displayed in the air conditioned buildings. I have always wondered about cooking contents. In the end, you always see pristine cakes with a blue ribbon. But the best part of cake is easting it so it doesn’t make sense to me.

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Family Historian

Wander project other folder, Cincinnati and twins…


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Still wandering the other folder. There are a few picture disks (I had Barb add on the picture disk option when she had pictures developed) that are in the other folder. This one, March 1999. The boys were going to party like it was 1999. This their first birthday. That first year with twins was the hardest. I adore both of them, they are wonderful men, but that first year was pretty light on sleep. There are many memories of that last couple of years in Cincinnati. Jakki and I went to the Children’s Museum (Barb was on bed rest) a couple of times to get Jakki out of the house. The summer before they had finished the Northern Kentucky aquarium so that was fun. We had the boat and wandered the Ohio. The boys arrived early in 1998. That changed a lot of things, but it freed us from the bed rest rule. I think that (bed rest) was the hardest for Barb. She is a very active person. She would rather be moving, than stuck in bed all the time.

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Due to early criminal activity the boys were often imprisoned. Mostly so Barb could take a shower when I was away from home. It never failed that once the first twin was awake, the second was sure to follow. They were mutual assured alarm clocks rather than boys. We moved right after the boys were born (we actually moved right after Jakki was born as well. I wonder if we are crazy). Where we moved ourselves (Barb holding Jakki and some friends and I moving our stuff)when Jakki was little, we hired a moving company to move from our hosue on Shafer, to our new house in the new sub-division Willow Cove. I am not sure why, after moving with a baby the first time, we moved a second time. Other than our house on Shaffer was not big enough for the number of children we had in the house. Four kids, two kid rooms was not ideal at that time. We moved to the hosue in WillowCove that was roughly twice the size of our first house. Plus it was new. The really funny thing is we only lived in Willow Cover for one year. We decided that summer that being so far away from the rest of the family was hard on Barb because she didn’t have as much support in Cincinnati as she would back in Indiana.

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Here they are on the driveway poised for mischief.  It seems funny, to look at the boys then and now. Now, the two of them fill two sections of our couch. They argue over who was there first. They argue over who got to have their feet up, and who didn’t. They argue over who is supposed to clean up various things. Be it a mess they made, or a mess they were supposed to clean up. Funny how the reality of twins evolves over time. Back then they were in it to win it, together. Now they are in it, to avoid work. (that last line is a joke). Overall watching them change has been interesting. Sometimes they want the exact same things. Some times they are so unique it is hilarious. So buying the same things doesn’t work. You end up starting over with the gift process. The other funny thing I realized this morning, Jakki and her brothers were all three born in the City limits of the City of Cincinnati. Barb and Becca were both born in Bloomington. I guess we should have given all three of them names that started with C, so they fit with the city of their birth. Jakki goes by Chuck so she has adapted. We just have to change the boys names to Charles and Chaz!

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Family Historian

Wander project the other folder, Greenwood Indiana…


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We had a ball pit for the boys in their room when they were really little. What that ultimately meant was we had balls all over the floor, most days. They would as they got older get into the ball pit and throw them at each other. There were more balls out of the pit than there were in the pit, ever. We moved back to Indiana in the fall of 1999. End of October to be exact. The moving trucks came to Cincinnati Ohio and whisked us away from what had been our home for 9 years. It was a tough decision to move back to Indiana, but with me traveling and Barb managing twins, the easiest path for us was to move back nearer to family. It was the best decision to be made. We weighed it for a long time, considered it, and ultimately we made the right decision. It is most important to take care of the majority whenever you can. So we did. It may have caused problems for people but like I said it was the right decision. The ball pit on the other hand, was not the right decision. That was one we regretted the first time we cleaned their room with them. Barb always had a rule put one toy away before you get out the other. In the case of the ball pit we should have put it away before we unpacked it.

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This is our house in Eagle Trace taken from down by the pond. This is before we added a pool to the back yard and sculptured the back yard a bit. Over the years we added quite a bit to the house. To the right in this picture is a tree line. On the other side of that tree line was a railroad track. It was a track that led to the IPL plant on the south side of Indianapolis (Indianapolis Power and Light). Trains would rumble by in the mid-morning and late afternoon time periods full of coal. When he was really little Nick hated loud noises. I suspect they hurt his ears. He has very sensitive ears. He would scream and slam his hands over his ears. Or when the pool was finished the next year, he would go underwater until the train passed. He is ok with trains now that he is older, but still not a huge fan of loud noises. This picture comes from the infamous other folder. I am finding all sorts of misfiled and miss-placed pictures in that folder. I suspect, looking at the pictures in the folder I couldn’t put them into other folders because they were done by camera rather than by event. I switched to folders based on time and event in roughly 2001.

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This image of the backyard again in Greenwood. I took this picture many times over the 12 years we lived in the hosue. Honestly I think this may be one of the few pictures taken without the pool. This one of the yard, pond and across the pond the other houses in the distance. The pond was never frozen long enough that we felt safe walking on the Ice. Not that we would have, the pond was full of decaying organic life. IE it was kind of not nice smelling. Still, looking out calmly over water always makes me feel better about what is going on around me. We moved to Greenwood a few months before the boys turned 2. We left Greenwood just a few months before the boys turned 13. They, as well as Jakki, grew up in this house. We added the pool so they would have a place to play. We added an invisible fence so the dogs could be outside when they wanted to be. Gwen actually walked through the invisible fence a couple of times. Then she stopped. We settled into our Greenwood home fairly quickly. Later Barb would go back to school at IUPUI (Indiana University, Purdue University of Indianapolis) to get her Masters. But that was not for a few years yet.

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Family Historian

Wander project–wandering the other photo folder…


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Our first boat, Cincinnati Ohio 1998. It was a Sea Ray 260. Single engine 26 footer. We kept it on the Ohio River. I had forgotten we had these old pictures of our first boat. Being on the Ohio was a learning experience for this long time lake boater. The rules are the same but the reality of current and boat size changed everything. I learned quite a bit about river boating. The most valuable lesson of all, when a barge blows its horn it isn’t moving, you are! Some of the coal and other barges on the Ohio are huge. They kick up massive wakes. Still it was a great learning experience. We traded this boat in for a smaller boat when we moved from Cincinnati Ohio to Greenwood Indiana. Greenwood, being a little more land locked than Cincinnati. Lakes a plenty for boating, but not many larger commercial rivers. So we moved down boat sizes and types. This boat was our first cabin cruiser. With a full kitchen, bathroom and two berths. Although the second sleeping area was very small.

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We have had a fireplace (gas) in every house we’ve owned since 1993. Our first hosue had a very old gas fireplace that we never used. Mostly out of fear. It was very dirty and well just not sure it would work properly anymore. Our second house in Cincinnati had a gas fireplace in our family room/home theater. Our house in Greenwood, decorated for Christmas in the picture here, had a giant Marble fireplace. Our first leased house in Maryland had a wood burning fireplace. We never had a fire in the fireplace there, mostly out of fear. The house had a few quirks and the landlord didn’t respond very quickly. So we moved to our house now. We have a wonderful brick fireplace that the original owners of the hosue actually added a woodstove insert. That insert can heat the entire center of the house. It lets us get away with no furnace until mid- late November. It is funny, for many years because of the mess, Barb didn’t like fireplaces. Now she is the first person to ask for a fire when it gets cold outside.

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Coming into Chicago, O’Hare airport at night. For many years I worked in downtown Chicago. We almost moved to Chicago, twice. I would fly up on Monday morning, or drive up on Monday morning and hang out in the city until mid-day Friday and then drive home. I found a folder in my picture collection called other. I wasn’t really sure what I would have considered other, pictures. It is a collection of pictures moved from Pocket PC Phone cameras, various video cameras and of random things. Such as boats, fireplaces and well just about anything strange you could think of. A huge part of the family history project was the organization of pictures into logical groupings. I still have a ways to go, a few pictures to finish. We started out with more than 110,000 pictures so it has taken awhile. I am down to the 3,300 pictures in this Other folder to finish! There are quite a few interesting pictures in the folder, I will share a few in this blog, (more than my usually 3). I am always intrigued by the way things work. You classify things as a 20 year old, 30 year old, 40 year old and now in my 50’s differently. So it is fun to see what my younger self thought other was.

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This last one a picture of all of us taken around 1999, 2000 time frame. This is shortly after we moved to Greenwood Indiana. We have a large print of this picture in our house. It is Nick, Jakki Luke on the front row. Me, Becca and Barb on the back row.

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Family Historian

Wander Project to Bloomington and Beyond…


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Bloomington Indiana, Indiana University Memorial Stadium located just off 17th street and the Indiana 46 by pass. I never understood why the highway segment that ran just North of campus was called a bypass in Bloomington. It may have been at one time but the city grew around it, now it is just a street in the northern part of the city. Indiana Universities colors are Cream and Crimson. As a young Boy Scout we would often act as Ushers for the games. Helping people find their seats and then watching the games from the stands. This particular image is from Indiana vs. Iowa. For many years the Hoosiers were the worst team in the big ten for Football. As a Cubs fan I could relate to that. Last year the Hoosiers went to the Pin Stripe Bowl game in New York City. They are one win with three games left away from being Bowl Eligible this year. College is an interesting experience. For me however, growing up in Bloomington I loved IU from the moment we moved there. Some of my fondest memories are sitting with dad and listening to the IU Basketball games. Or watching them on the tiny television we used to have in the family room.

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My father loved being outdoors. Here is the camper van they bought in the 2000/2001 time period. When mom and dad had the farm West of Bloomington, dad was always outside. He grew up in the Dells (Wisconsin Dells) and was outside for most of his childhood. Exploring the woods around the Wisconsin River. So being outdoors was a part of who he was. He and mom had a couple of different campers over the years. Because they lived in Indiana I think campers were a better fit than boats. Although, given both of their childhoods I wouldn’t be surprised if being closer to the Ocean it was boats instead of campers. Boats have better beds than campers like the one mom and dad have, had. The main area bed in this camper was awful. My back hurt for a month after sleeping on that bed for four nights on a trip to Wisconsin. We (Barb, the kids and I) made a pilgrimage to Cambridge Wisconsin in the summer of 2001. It took me about 3 years to get over the passing of my grandfather. 5 years after we made a pilgrimage to say goodbye to both him and my grandmother. We used mom and dad’s camper to make the trip. The good thing about having the camper was we didn’t need hotels. We also had plenty of room to bring back cheese!

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Once upon a time my sons were that small. They have grown considerably since then. Like all teenagers they have rough edges that their mother and I are sanding. But they have grown up to be amazing human beings. They care deeply about the world around themselves. This, 2016 is their first official election. They have spent hours with me as we walk around our neighborhood with the dogs, discussing politics. I find myself taking the role my father took all those years ago. Pushing the boys to understand both sides. Not to condemn the other side but to listen, learn and understand the why of the other side. It used to drive me nuts when dad did that to me, but I understand now. It is important to be able to express the concepts, ideas and values of both sides. Your beliefs are separate from your understanding. There are times when you look at the position of the other side and it makes you cringe. You wonder why would someone say that or do that. But you have to understand that position. There may be things you don’t see at first that push someone towards a different position. Understanding how and what someone else things makes your position better. I am still working on that, all these years later dad.

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Family Historian