wander project the story of us (continued)…

Continuing the story of us I started a couple of days ago. Roughly ten days after we had finally started officially dating (I had been dating someone casually, and had asked her if she was interested in a serious relationship. She was not. About three or four days after that my wife and I started officially dating). Two funny things happened in the early days of dating. The first was the infamous lunch. Infamous because in between breaking up with the previous girl and starting with the new girl, I didn’t tell my mother. The lunch was with my mother to meet this new person in my life. To start, my mother thought it was someone else. That made the initial start to the lunch a little awkward. My mother is amazing; my future wife is also amazing, they were both able to quickly adjust to my error.

The second funny event that happened was my father’s doing. The Wednesday lunch with my mother and my new girlfriend was followed by a Saturday dinner at my parents. My parents were having a party, and at lunch, my mother had invited us to wander out to the farm and join the party. My future wife, new girlfriend was fine with that. We wandered out to the farm. My father was in the kitchen cooking. My father didn’t like my ex-wife. I found out after the fact he didn’t like her. He decided to test this new person to see if she would be a good fit. As we walked into the kitchen of the farm my father, who was cooking, asked my future wife, then girlfriend if she wanted to try something. He gave her a spoon full of fresh horseradish as a test. She managed to swallow it, and polity asked for a glass of water. She passed the test.

The last funny story involves a week after the party. On the Sunday after my parent’s party, we had attended a wedding of a friend of my then girlfriend, future wife. That week around Wednesday I decided that this was the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I began writing and planning an elaborate proposal. I was going to take her to the Carillon Towers of Indiana University. One of the most beautiful on campus and propose. I decided to do this on Saturday evening after we had dinner out. We got in my car and got on Walnut street heading north. The Carillon tower is located on the far side of the campus of Indiana University. I was nervous but had my proposal printed and in my pocket. As we prepared to turn on 17th street, my then girlfriend looked over at me while we were turning and said: “we should get married.” We never made it to the tower, and I didn’t ask her to marry me until our 10th anniversary. That was 28 years ago, October 1991.

The story of us that as we!

(10 days after our first official date we were engaged).


Family Historian

Wander project the Moon song…

I will not say it happens often, but from to time, I wonder not with the pictures, but the wander is not related to the pictures shared in any way. Today is such a day. I would mention in passing that the pictures today are of the twins when they were tiny. Funny, they are not tiny any longer. First of all, as the parent or one of two parents I should say with multiples, it is vastly different than a single child. Our daughter came to the world, to borrow from the song, in the usual way. She was a baby that slept through the night fairly quickly. I remember creating the moon song to sing to her each night. I recorded it and shared it on my podcast (you can listen to me singing “The Moon song” here). Every night I would sing the Railroadman’s Lament (500 miles) and then the moon song.

The moon song changed every day, as I would tell my daughter what the schedule was for the next day in the song. I later adopted (with my daughter’s permission) a variation of the song for the twins.  Sometimes when the kids were older, I would start to sing the Railroad Person’s Lament (I made the song title PC). The twins or my daughter would say, “dad stop, I am not tired.” The song 500 miles and the Moon Song had, for our kids become synonymous with time to sleep. It still to this day will get the I am not sleepy response. Even though the tiny children that it worked on years ago, are long since gone. It is sort of like the other forbidden activity in our house.

My wife is reading books to the kids in voices. “mom, do it without the voices” they would always say. Of course, my wife would just do it with more voices then. Funny the things you remember sometimes, I guess that is why we have to share!, Do you read books to younger people using voices? Or do you sing songs to them before they head off to sleep? I know a lot of people read to their children I guess I am curious how many people read in character voices. I never knew what all three little pigs sounded like until I heard my wife read the book. I am still not sure that is actually what they sound like, the three little pigs, but I am sure that is what my wife thinks they sound like!


family rememberer

Wander project the Origin story of The bean…

The shortest distance between any two points is never time. Images today from the past focusing on my daughter when she was younger. The Bean, as we called her then, was a high energy kid (she is still, from time to time high energy). But, she was also someone willing just to do things. There were times, as I was starting in my career and my wife was starting in her career that weeds were lost to work. The Bean didn’t care, she just wandered along, with her crayons and dolls and had fun. She did love going to my office on Saturday’s because we had a conference room with a huge TV and a VCR. She could sit comfortably in the big conference room chairs and watch a movie. As things in my job changed, I was later able to work from home more, but in those early years, it was hands on.

Bean was born in University Hospital Cincinnati Ohio. University Hospital is probably most famous as a building. Why you ask is it famous as a building? Because, if you see the old US Proctor and Gamble Soap Opera (episodic TV, sponsored by P&G a soap company back in the day, so the term was coined Soap Opera to describe the shows they were funding) General Hospital, the Hospital shown in the opening of the show is, in fact, University Hospital. The Bean was born there a few days early (two weeks early based on what my wife’s doctor said on Monday before she was to be born). The Bean was born just before Thanksgiving more than 20 years ago now. We were living in a two bedroom apartment in Maineville Ohio (just north of Cincinnati off I71).

We would move from Mainville to Western Hills (also a suburb of Cincinnati) when the Bean was too young to recall. The other thing she would only know because we’ve told the story of why she got the nickname The Bean. It comes from two different things. The first was calling her the Quillybean, and eventually the second part dropping Quilly and calling her The Bean. Quilly Bean came from the old cartoon, Chilly Willy. Don’t me why that Chilly became Quilly. In part Quillybean, because it rhymed. I used to sing a song for The bean all those years ago. Actually, it was born from a song. The lyrics basically were “Mashed Potatoes bless my soul, Quilly loves that rock and roll.” Later we added a song for my wife (Mambo Desousa) but that is for another post.


family historian

Wander project part of the story that is us.


At the end (October in fact) of 1990, I met someone. I had met many people before this person. But for some reason this person was different. In 1991 we were married, and in 1992 we welcomed our daughter into the world. I would say that as a parent I am below average. I have made many mistakes, many bad moves, But none of that is reflected in my children, they overcame the obstacle of me as a parent. As one of the twins likes to say “you are the best dad, I have.” In October 1990 at J Arthurs in Bloomington Indiana, my future wife met for the first time, for the fourth time. We had met before three other times for the first time, but the last first time was the only first time that matters.

Other than, would you walk around in a white rabbit suit and not respond to “do you have the time or are you late?” The first time, by the way, we met, my wife and I, she was wearing the white rabbit suit, I was the one asking the questions. The second time we met, she was working at the Trojan Horse restaurant in Bloomington (which by the way is a restaurant we still go to every time we go to Bloomington!) A friend introduced us again for the first time, but that did not take as well. The third time is out there in the ether I am sure it happened/ Bloomington is a small town when IU is out of session in the summer. We went to the same schools and lived in the to same part of town.

The last time we met was at J Arthur’s. It is a restaurant that is long closed. The location is still a restaurant in a town, Bloomington that is vastly different than the town that we started from. Both of us grew up in Bloomington; my wife was born there. I was moved there, from Chicago. That was a trade off for me. I still love Chicago with all my heart! (Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks and of course my Cubs!). The pictures today are of our daughter as a young child. When she was born, we lived in Maineville Ohio (right next to the Kings Island amusement park). We moved to Yesterday Hills a suburb of Cincinnati when she was seven months old. The house had a Paddington Bear bedroom that she loved. The bits and moments we remember to make up our lives.

Wander project Chicago…

I’ve shared various pictures of many different trips to Chicago. For three years (starting in 1999 and ending in roughly 2002) I worked with and on some downtown Chicago accounts. So, I was in Chicago starting Monday morning and lasting until roughly Thursday night. We had the four by 10 rule back then for traveling. Although I can honestly say, I probably worked 40 once in a blue moon. For the most part, I was closer to 60 hours per week. I figured I wasn’t home what else was I going to do. I did end up collecting Marriott hotel points (I miss those days), so the family could, and did spend time with me in Chicago (and later in New York) on school vacations.

All of the pictures are actually inside the American Girl Doll store in downtown Chicago Illinois. I was not invited to attend the tea party. I do not properly lift my little finger when sipping tea and speaking in a fake English Accent. I also, do not probably lift the tiny tea sandwiches when participating improperly in high tea.. plus, at that point the twins were mobile, agile and hostile. Putting them at a table with hot tea and cookies (read sugar) was not a good idea. The twins and I stayed in the hotel and enjoyed the pool for the afternoon. The girls all went off to the American Girl Doll store. I cannot tell you how long this event was talked about, planned, and ultimately how completely disinterested I was in the overall event.

Not, mind that I wasn’t happy my daughter, my nieces, etc., all got to enjoy a special event. That was great. The reality of what that event was, was, of course, something I was not interested in. Had there been some fun events planned other than High Tea I would have possibly been more interested. Actually no, there was no way I would be interested. It was simply hiding a fabric store in a fake doll store. I figured it was another plot by my mother to get me into a fabric store. So, in the end, I stayed and played in the pool. I think the twins and I also watched a movie. We also had a short walk on the Miracle Mile (that is what Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago is called).


cruising the miracle mile in old pictures

Wander project back when I was a school teacher…

Hodgepodge pictures of the past today. My then roommate/best friend and I spent a lot of time teaching, but we were always looking for other ways to make money. At times we served as the night janitors for the school. On Holidays that weren’t national or state holidays, we would do daycare in one of our apartments for one day. Mostly the kids whose parents we were close to and understood. We also babysat kids from our classes. One of the nice things about being the teacher was getting to hang out with the kids after school as the babysitter. I babysat for four or five of the kids from my class. I also babysat for a couple of the kids in the other classes as well.

At that time I stayed away from watching babies, I did from time to time but didn’t want to do that. I wasn’t ready for a baby then. Funny babysitter means when the job is done you get to go home. I think I liked that in my 20’s. That changed, I love being a dad. But there was a time when I just wanted to be a pal. The cool older person that came over to the house and hung out. I guess all of us grow up. The pictures of my hair, scare me. Yes, I once had that much hair on my head. Most of that hair has moved to other locations (like Florida, Mississippi and such like that there) no longer wishing to be seen on my head. But then, in my mid-20’s, then I had hair.

I do not remember my mother’s father having hair. He did, I’ve seen pictures of him, but by the time he appears in my memory, there was about the same amount of hair on his head that is on mine. I inherited my father’s early gray hair, and then like my grandfather my hair all left. Now there are only a few bits of hair left sticking around to the bitter end. Lo these many years, I toiled to keep my hair. In vain, or perhaps a measure of vanity.

Not mind you that chasing lost hair matters anymore. What is gone, is gone. Chasing it does me no good. I am proud to be where I am now. I just wish I didn’t have to wear a baseball cap outside when the sun is up.


Hair free since 2010

Wander project images of the past…

We had many school events when I was teaching at the Karst Farm Park. It was a wide-open park where the kids could play, run around and be outdoors. Personally one of the things, well one of the two things I think is wrong with schools today is that there isn’t a focus on science as a basis for the education used, and kids are indoors. While I understand teachers not liking being outdoors I will say it publicly now; I believe it is a sexist program that only supports education indoors. The focus on the 3R’s is geared early on to the communication skills. I believe you have to teach the whole child from the very first minute they are in school. It is too easy for the teacher’s comfort (stay inside) becomes the driver. Education is about experiencing the world!

So I took the kids outside, a lot. I started every day with a science lesson. I did fun experiments in the classroom with the kids. (two of them were picked up by Instructor and Learning magazines). One of the experiments we did every year4 was built a Rocket, then go outdoors and launch the Rocket. I had to stop that my last year because of school system rules. But for the first few years, we did the math, launched our rocket and figured out how close we were. We also designed and delivered an acid rain experiment that was one of those things that the kids truly loved. My argument was depending on the wind, the acidity of the rain falling on our school would change.

The kids didn’t initially understand why I felt that so we took a field trip to the IU power plant. IU owned and operated a coal-fired power plant that spewed smoke into the air. We measured the acidity of water right by the plant (no change) and then downwind of the plant. The further downwind the more like the acidity of the water would increase. At the end of the experiment, the kids understood the impact of acid rain and why it mattered where power plants were. The documentation of the impact was published by Learning magazine. I loved being a teacher over the years. There were many things going back I would do differently. I made some really poor personal decisions when  I was a teacher (all outside the classroom) that I wish I could undo.


family reminder “er”