wander project family reunion…

My wife’s family is much larger than my family is. There are two distinct groups. Her mother’s family is from Wisconsin, and her dad was from Southern Indiana. My wife was adopted, and the wonderful people that adopted her had these magical families. We attended family reunions in Wisconsin that had more than 40 people at the event. The other family in southern Indiana also got together, and we would have 40 people at the events as well. The pictures today are from a part just outside of Martinsville, Indiana. Martinsville sits between Bloomington and Indianapolis and is famous as the birthplace of College Basketball coaching legend John Wooden.


The part was perfect for a reunion, and the family took over one of the shelters. I was outside watching the kids. My wife had to make the rounds to see all the family members and say hi. I did the same later, but to start somebody had to watch the twins. The pictures are of the kids playing on the playground equipment. The other fun thing bout this particular park was that one end of the park was at the bottom of a huge hill. The other end of the park was at the top of that huge hill. We climbed the hill twice during the event, and the twins went to sleep the minute we got into the car to head home. Sometimes with twins, that is the best way to spend a day!

The hill was the remains of the last Ice age. 10,000 or so years ago, a giant block of ice flowed down from Canada.  The glaciers dug out the basin for the Great Lakes and pushed the soil, rock, and debris through Indiana until stopped by temperature.  The resulting melting Ice created what is called a Marriage. That is, the debris pushed all the way across Indiana and left as debris. The hill in part was glacial till. Indiana is split, and Martinsville is the line. On the north side of Martinsville, Indiana is pretty flat. On the south side, there are hills and valleys created by the rushing water from melting glaciers. I learned that when I was six years old. It was repeated every time we drove north during my childhood!


wander project Redmond!

Before my knee gave out, I used to run a lot — today, pictures of one of my favorite running trails in Redmond, Washington.  I shared pictures from another running/walking trail yesterday. These pictures are actually from the trail that ran alongside the river in Redmon Washington. Redmond was a place I was often in for nearly 15 years. I spent a lot of time running along this very trail. I could go about three and a ½ miles along the river seeing Otter, Beavers, and very few human beings. I had my earphones in and listening to Audiobooks. I would run until I was tired and then walk back to the hotel. I had long before then stopped running a specific distance.


This trail was fun in that on the left was nature on the right was the human world. One was built and bustling; the other was quiet and reflective. It let me separate the two parts of myself. The further away from Redmond you got, the less and less large buildings. There were houses as far along the trail as I ever walked or ran — a fun trail no matter what. I did see the otters playing often. That was fun. I read all the signs and followed the rules, staying away from the Otters. I got to see Beavers as well; they built their dams alongside the river. The did not try to dam the river, simply coexisting along the banks, I also when walking back to the hotel, always picked up trash.

It made me sad to see such a pristine place littered with snicker bar wrappers and leftover cups form the burger joint down the road. So I picked them up and put them in the small bag I carried when running. In that bag, I had my Zune for audiobooks and room for trash. Sometimes I ended up carrying trash because there was more than fit in the pocket of my bag. The last time I ran or walked this trail was in 2010. I am sure it has been built over, and the otters and beavers are gone. Or perhaps because Seattle/Redmond is more open around conversation, they have kept this place. I hope it is still there that others can walk the trail and find the peace of nature.


wander project Seattle Flowers…

Of the course of 15 years, I was in Seattle Washington (US) and Redmond Washington at least six times a year or more. I often stayed in several hotels over those years, but as that moved along, I usually stayed in the same Residence Inn near where I was going. It was a hotel I knew well, and I had running trails near the hotel that I could hop on at the end of the day. The pictures are from that hotel and a couple of offices near the hotel taken during a trip to Seattle. I am not going to modify the pictures and make them Black and White. I am also not going to ask for the names of the flowers. Instead, I am just going to share them! The garden of the hotel often had amazing flowers.


There were several office buildings around the hotel as well. Plus, there was a short walk away, one of the coolest car dealerships I’ve ever been able to wander around. It had Maybach.  Rolls Royce and other high-end cars. They were, without a doubt, some of the most expensive cars I had ever seen. I never had the guts to walk in and ask for a test drive. I always figure they would do a credit check and ask for a 40,000 dollar us deposit to drive the Maybach (the car starts at 400,000 US for a base model. Nobody that buys a Maybach buys a base model). But I did enjoy walking by the parking lot of the dealership. I remember the first time I walked by, noticing their camera system.

They had the old CCD cameras that were night vision capable. It was a perimeter around the dealership. The majority of the real expense cars were inside. I never went into the dealership. I did notice a year or so after the first time I walked past that they upgraded the camera system. They also added motion detectors on the edges of the parking lot. I have seen a Rolls Royce on the roads, I have never seen a Maybach. Perhaps I will someday, see someone driving their Maybach to get take out at a McDonalds. I shall await that day! It should be a lot of fun to see someone one rollup on the window in a Maybach. I know, I think about strange things sometimes.


wander project beyond the picture…

There is a difference in pictures today, versus those taken 20 or 30 years ago. Years ago, you had 24 pictures of 36 pictures. You know every single shot you took. Now you have infinite, so, like today, I can identify one of the pictures. The other two, I have no clue. I choose these at random (random folder the number generator gave me 33. When I opened 33, I picture 27, 37, and 88. Those were the three numbers the random number genitor gave me.).  I would love to tell you what the pictures are of, but well, I can’t. The reality of the pictures we have is they do, however, tell a story. So without further adieu the story of these three pictures as well, I imagined them!

smart car

Was it the Hawaiian shirts, that combined made the green field in the blender? Or some combination of shirts and leftover salad mix from the refrigerator that combined created the greenness? Perhaps the wearers are blending the shirts and then just leaving it to sit on the counter. No one would touch the drink as it sat there. Perhaps, it was something no one wanted or perhaps and more likely those in the Hawaiian shirts not yet awake, had left for the night before. We want a green drink, they said, entering the kitchen. Taking the loud Hawaiian shirts and sticking them into the blender and adding liquid. You always have to add liquid when blending the liquid, perhaps an orange liquid or potentially something else.

Realizing the green drink created could not be consumed without mandatory backing and adding the shredded pictures of the moments captured in Hawaiian shirts, to a mix of eggs and flour and then pouring that into a glass dish to bake in the oven. Sampling their creation, well not the drink, that remained untouched forever, No sampling the mix of flour and ground pictures — smacking their lips, producing it the best picture casserole every made. Perhaps though in fairness, the only picture casserole ever made. Today, they shout, we will drink the green drink, eat the picture casserole, and upon the world, we shall rise. Or, better, we will sleep late and pour the mess down the drain.

No frogs were injured in the creation of the green sludge.


wander project a Valentines 2020 tribute…

There is a moment when you meet someone that they change everything. Not in a negative way in ways you can’t imagine. The pictures are of my wife over the years before she was my wife — images of a person that rings true to me every single day. I remember as a child taking a bag to the classroom that I decorated, hoping to get valentines to form my classmates, I did, but not everyone. I don’t know why I remember that to this day. I always made sure when I was a teacher that every kid got a valentine. Now I only get one Valentine, and it is worth more than all the Valentine’s I got when I was a teacher, all the valentines I got as a student, it is worth everything to me.

With Tiger in 1962, age 4

The person that changed my life has been my partner now; this is our 30th valentines as a couple. I shared via podcast our story set in the style of the moving when Harry Met Sally. I won’t retell that story. It has been shared before. Instead, let me share a different story for Valentine’s day. We, my then-fiancé and I, moved to Ohio. We had both grown up in Bloomington. My wife was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and left for Phoenix, Arizona, then returned. I moved to Bloomington when I was five or so, left for Thailand, and returned to Bloomington. We met, as you can hear in the story, several times over the years. It is funny how you have to be ready to be with someone.

But that was then. The layers of dust on the past shakes loose today, doesn’t change anything. The moments we have shared are treasures. We moved on Memorial Day in 1991, drove to Cincinnati, Ohio, to start our life. We moved to Indiana again, both of us Yo-Yo Indiana residents, leaving and returning twice each. We became us in Cincinnati. We added we (twins) in Cincinnati. But we were always we, us. Today is a day many celebrate the romance, the love the fire. We have celebrated that, my wife and I for many years now. I would add that now we also celebrate the friendship. The compassion and having someone that not only knows you, but has the history to remember you.

Thank you again, my Love, for 30 years of Valentine’s day!


wander project jury duty and snow

If I may indulge for a moment, a little education for everyone, this week I had in the US what is called Jury duty. Like the English system of justice in the US, we have juries. A jury, in theory, is a group of people that are your peers. They listen to the Civil or Criminal case, and then the jury decides the outcome of the trail.


I was lucky enough to have my name drawn and so spent Tuesday form 8 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon in the jury room. The eligibility in the US to serve on a Jury is to be over 18, be a US Citizen, and live in the country where I live. Every US county has the same three rules. They reach into the pool of registered voters and homeowners in the county and invite them to serve on a Jury!

You go on the day in question to the courthouse, and you wait. The judge will ask you questions to determine if you are a fit for the trial or not. The defense and the plaintiff/prosecution have passes they use to remove some people (in the case of my last two experiences me!) from the Jury. I have been the room for Jury selection twice now, once for a criminal trial and once for a civil trial. It is a civic duty like voting, but I did complain about it a little.


wander project snow

When the kids were little, I was either traveling or working at home. I didn’t always get to work from home, but I often did. My wife was working for the Church and home with the kids, and I was in a job that required me to be elsewhere in the world. But when I worked from home, I could work my 8 hours over 10 or 12 hours of the day. Ok, I worked 10 hours but got to spread it out over the day. The pictures are of snow from many years ago — the pictures of our backyard in Greenwood, Indiana. I took the pictures from inside, was on a call with my headset on, so I could listen and snap pictures. I did clean the windows first so that there weren’t smudges visible in the picture.


The first is looking out towards the railroad track in the back of the house. The second is the twins sledding down the staircase. We added a sidewalk from the end of the deck stairs to the pool area in the backyard.  The snow was probably 6-9 inches in total. Throughout the winter, we would have one or two snowstorms like that. There were a few that were bigger. When I was a kid, we lived a little further south in Indiana. If you look at a map of Indiana, Indianapolis right in the dead center of the state (just about), on that map, you will see the highway I-65 and the beltway around Indianapolis I-465. Greenwood, where we lived, was just south of I-465.

If your map is detailed enough, you will see two state highways. Indiana 31 and Indiana 37. We lived between those two highways. We choose that location because when we moved to Indiana, our goal was to be closer to family. My sister was just down the street from where we lived (well down the street, right on the road and then a left turn at the top of the hill). My parents were less than 45 minutes away. My other sister was also only 45 minutes away. It made life a little easier to have family close. Anyway, when the snow fell, the kids were out in the backyard playing in the snow. I looked through the pictures and didn’t see Fran. She was usually out supervising her girl in the snow!