Excuse me which way to Napoleon’s Tomb?


The streets of Paris France 1971. This is outside the UNESCO building. Mom was stuck with Lynne, Barb and I while dad got to sit in meetings all day briefing and preparing for Thailand. Mom was forced to go to museums with us in tow. Now mom will say that she was forced to go to Napoleon’s tomb several times but I prefer to think of it as our landmark for exploration. We started at the Museum De La Army and Napoleon’s tomb and then we knew where we where so we could explore the city further.

We did go to the tomb a few times. I was entranced by Napoleon at the time. Not as a hero but as a tragic figure of history.


I have had the fortune to go to Paris many times in my life. Twice early on in my childhood and four times as an adult. It is not my favorite city (doesn’t even make my top 5) but I do enjoy going to the city of lights. I have had the opportunity to wander the many zones of Paris and find myself lost in café’s by the river.

I did go to a Jazz club one time that was amazing. Reminded me of being in a Jazz club in Chicago but no one broke into the blues. The music was amazing and the food was great. I do also remember being in Paris and working on various projects. I was always amazed by the long lunches they took.


The streets of Paris. Such a busy city. I can honestly say it is one of the many cities that I have chosen over the years to not drive in. The streets are narrow and the drivers have no rules about how many lanes of traffic there are (as in Italy.)

Still it is a city that you have to visit once in your life. To walk the streets that Hemingway walked. Perhaps even as Nick or as the Old man from the sea. Where the revolutionaries, American from the 1770’s and Spanish from the 1930’s gathered to speak of the wonder of change. Ah Paris you are a mystery wrapped in glorious old buildings. This last picture is one I am going to print and hang. It is one of the most artistic pictures dad took in Paris. No buildings just a police officer. Really kind of a cool picture. Stop, Arreste, do not proceed.


All tours start at Napoleon’s Tomb….

When the critters come to your back door…

DSC01006So I don’t know why I geek out about the Beaver moving into our pond a few years ago in Indiana. I had seen beavers in the wild quite a few times, but this one was in my yard. Most of the neighbors weren’t happy about the addition to the pond but I loved it.

Sadly the beaver wasn’t aware of the rules of the road. Olive Branch, the main road outside the entrance to our subdivision was a road that people drove very fast on. The male beaver didn’t understand traffic rules and ended up getting hit by a car. I don’t know what mama and the little ones did. We never saw the beavers again. It was cool though that spring to see them there. They even ate one of the trees we had planted along the water.


Every year there was a large group of Canadian Geese that came to live at the pond. The neighbors all loved the Geese. I, after many years of cleaning up after them at Lake Ripley did not. They left stuff all over the yard that had to be cleaned up. It is very slippery when walking around the edge of the pond to step on Goose droppings.

The Geese would wander around the ice in the late spring as they arrived from the south. It happened every year. Every year the yard was full of Geese. Not sure why they thought our pond was the bomb but they did.

Still don’t like them much. Perhaps I should invent Geese diapers for people that don’t like cleaning up after Geese.


The other frequent visitor to the pond was a Great Blue Heron. The ultimate fisherperson. I don’t know if this is a male or female and it doesn’t matter in the end.

These great fisher people would wait by the edge of the pond, or just into the shallow water for small fish for hours. Patience and quiet they waited. The ultimate fishing machine. Reminded me of the people I grew up around at Lake Ripley. They got up at 3:30 in the morning and fished the lake for hours never moving. The only sign of life the occasion casting of the lure out into the lake.

Fishing remains a hobby I don’t do enough but have so many wonderful memories of. I need to get back out into the Chesapeake and fish more!


Critter watcher

Just Another Shameless Review: iPhone 6s Plus

iPhone 6s Plus

So I upgraded to the new iPhone last week. I had the 6 plus previously so I continued the larger phone trend and got the 6s plus. As always the Apple Packaging was amazing. The screen when I turned it one was amazing. I was a Windows Phone guy from 2000-2011. I had every iteration of PPC phones there were (ok well not every but it felt like it). I have to say the seamless upgrade and transition process of the Apple iOS solutions are simply amazing.

A cellular phone is not just a cellular phone anymore it is a CPS/IoT platform as well as personal video and still camera always with you. From call recording to voice recording, data and simple entertainment the cellular phone now replaces a number of devices. Plus it is the platform of expansion for the future of CPS.

For those who always complain when I post a review remember I only review things that I find useful or companies with horrible customer service.

What I liked

· The AT&T setup experience is improving every single time.

· Out of box the phone was ready to go simply needed to be charged. Also you have to activate it via the AT&T website

· Phone battery seems the same which was expected

· Graphics in particular respond much faster than the older iPhone

· iOS 9 is interesting and so far I find it to be much more stable than iOS 8 was

· iOS9 includes the Wi-Fi calling option!!!!!!!!!!!!!

· The new camera and camera options are incredible.

What I didn’t like

· Frankly the fact that the battery is no better than it was.

· Wi-Fi Calling is not available in my area yet for my iPhone.

· My Mophie case for my iPhone 6 plus doesn’t work with the new 6s Plus so that is a bummer. If you have an iPhone 6 plus its available on eBay right now

Overall the phone is a solid improvement over the previous version. All of my accessories (except the one) work perfectly with it. I’ve tested most of my favorite software packages and they operate as well. I was able to connect and reconnect all my Bluetooth devices very quickly. Overall this is a great new version of the phone. I am still waiting for a long conference call to see how audio quality holds up for the entire long call but like I said other than the one minor frustration really solid upgrade.


reformed Windows Phone user

Into the woods and emerging an Apple Orchard.


Long before Bill Bryson’s exceptional book A walk in the woods I liked walking in the woods. As a teenager I did not like walking in the woods as much in the best sense of full disclosure. As a teenager when dad suggested a walk in the woods I usually complained. But now I love being out in nature and enjoying a walk.

This is of a forest in Indiana. One of the state parks a picture taken and buried in an untitled bag with 100 other pictures. A moment in time that without a label is unremarkable. As I said yesterday we have 5 folders titled US, that have 999 pictures in them. We have another set titled FH (Family History) there are 5 of those as well each with 999 pictures. 999 is a theoretical issue the scanner had. It could scan more than a thousand pictures into a folder but it got wonky so we stooped at 999.


A picture from the old path (stone back then before the wood plank walk way) towards the fruit orchard. It was more than apple trees, there were pears, walnuts and many other edible trees. It was a labor of love. They were all dwarf trees with lives that would span 20 to maybe 30 years so this image could never be again. The trees are now long gone.

But so is the creator of the fruit plan. So in the end I guess the trees went with the creator.

I remember watching mom mow around the trees in the orchard. She would fly through on her riding mower. A terror on that machine frankly. Mom decided she loved mowing later in life. Why didn’t she decide she liked mowing when I was 11 and HATED MOWING I will never know.


Where the buffalo roam. Lots of pictures of animals and plants taken over the years. Mom and dad traveled a lot. I think they both have the traveling bug. I know I did for awhile as well. Although upon crossing a million miles flown the bug bit me so hard I think it is nearly dead. My list of places I want to go to is really small now. I’ve been to most of the places I wanted to see when I was younger.

My sister is traveling for work now, I wonder if in the end if it is impacting her. I know there were times it killed me. Being away was hard. But her children are older and the world is much different. When I was first traveling cellular phones were just exploding. Now you can communicate anywhere with anyone. Reminds me of when dad traveled – far away from home and the only way to effectively communicate was to write air mail letters. My how times have changed.



Of sugar, children and the joy of sending them home!


What could possibly go wrong. 40 pound boy and an 8 pound bowling ball. Speed of ball (8 pounds) required to knock down a single pin 3 MPH. Velocity to drop ball on adults foot? 0 mph. Result?

Picture I don’t have frankly of the hopping adult after the ball was dropped. But the scenario is set. I grew up bowling. Like golf my grandfather taught me to bowl. We would go to the old manual lanes in Cambridge Wisconsin. He taught me to release the ball and to spin it properly. I was never the bowler he was. I averaged 170 per game my last year in a league. He averaged 200 his last year in a league. But I was passable for a time. I really enjoyed spending my Saturdays as a kid bowling.


We have seven folders of scanned pictures, 2 called Andersen. 4 called Us and 1 called Ralston that have 999 scans in each. I am wandering through them slowly but surely. They are where all the loose pictures were scanned.

That said this is a great picture of dad. Dad tried for many years to teach me about gardening. My passion was always technology. Don’t ask me why that was my passion. It just always was. Like the Leader of the Band dad kept sculpting me for many years. He taught me so many things over the years. But like I said, this is a great picture of dad being serious.


The best part of a kids party. The moment of setup and ready to roll before the kids arrive. That moment when everything is ready and it is quiet. Soon that quiet erupts into bedlam but for the moment now captured in this picture forever quiet.

I used to, as a teacher, always wait until 3 pm to start parties. Load the kids up with SUGAR and SEND THEM HOME! My sons heard that story of me as a teacher and have ever since adopted the saying “sugar ‘em up and send ‘em home.” They use that against me frequently now perhaps I shouldn’t have told them that in the first place. Anyway, the moment before the kids arrive is magically. The moment they arrive the noise level rises but it is very different kind of magical.


Finding lost pictures….

Rolling along in the unsorted pictures of the past….


So, sorry Becca, I’ve embarrassed all the other kids with baby pictures and here is yours. This was a few years before I knew Becca but this is an old picture from the archives. Becca as a kid was always interested in exploring and finding new things. She still is, always looking over the horizon and thinking of new ways to do things. She is also an amazing actress. I had the pleasure of watching her in many plays.

I promise all 4 kids I won’t post as many baby pictures after this one. I had to make it fair Becca (but sorry). So now it is fair. All four of you have had baby pictures posted.


Lake Ripley but from the far side of the lake from where my Grandparents house was. They were nestled in the part of the Lake just past the marina. Becca and I took a row boat and cruised across the lake, well we crawled slowly rowing across the lake. We went all the way from here, to my grandparents old house. The new owners (this is probably almost 15 years after they had sold the lake house) had a dog that loved to run off the pier to get a ball. We stayed and watched and talked to the new owners for a bit. The house and yard had changed radically since I had last seen it. Changed enough that it no longer felt like the place that was home. But we had a blast getting there!


In the scanning process we had a number (over 3000 pictures) that were simply in plastic bags. This is an image taken from Navy Pier in Chicago of the lighthouse that sits outside the pleasure harbor. The commercial harbor of Chicago is a little further down the shoreline. I have 100’s of pictures of this lighthouse from every angle. Chicago is a piece of me. I was born in Chicago. I was well started as a person in Chicago and then later worked in Downtown Chicago for the best four years of my career. Those were the Halcyon days of my career. Which means of course they were never as good as I felt they were, but oh well that is past. As you can suspect from this I am a water person. So water is critical to what I love.


Water Person

From last to first. Each an impact on my life that I will treasure forever.


To be blessed. To receive a gift that you can never repay. The thing about that gift is there in the end is no expectation for you to repay that gift. It keeps giving and changing. What was the gift 10 years ago has changed into so much more now.

Hourly hugs turn into weekly head nods. Sure turns into “You are picking on me make someone else do it.” But conversations grow, from da to dad and then “can you take us driving?” Each passing moment is a treasure. Each picture, each memory is a moment that will never be again but can’t be taken away. It is a gift a blessing that each day unfolds. There is a joy that comes from each day, each argument and from the moment they suddenly on their own create new thoughts that make you stop and realize that they are thinking creative human beings.


Some burst on the scene right before Thanksgiving and for the next well it hasn’t stopped yet, announce their presence with authority. Each milestone another wonder and joy. Those blue eyes, that were SUPPOSED TO TURN BROWN but never did lighting up the room they enter. The bean. Surely there is no greater joy on earth than holding your child and walking around a hospital. Except there are greater joys. The little smile as she walked by in her graduation gown, a nod and a smile. Or sitting behind the wheel of a car, nervously trying to figure out what everything does. Moments that drift away but are never forgotten. She burst on the scene and ruined Thanksgiving plans. But in the end they weren’t ruined they were made so much better.


First can be last sometimes. When in reverse order of course first is always last. First here with 2nd (dog) and 2nd (child). First was a transition that occurred quickly. I went from teaching kids and then sending them home to, having a child at home. I would love to say it was perfect and the transition was simple and effective but it was a learning experience for both of us. It still is. It probably always will be. Distance sometimes makes it hard to move forward. Time doesn’t always forget. But memories last forever. There are so many wonderful memories of Becca. I think my favorite was the look of sheer joy on her face when she was accepted into the Cincinnati Ohio School for Creative and Preforming arts. I had nothing to do what her talent but I was and am very proud of her always. The first may be last only because of the pictures order, but will always be first. The first lost tooth. The first tears. The first to graduate. There is pride in each one. I cannot express the pride, love and honor I feel for each of Becca’s Firsts. Each of the four kids is Unique, special and loved.

The first dog we had, wasn’t  a good fit for the family. I am not sure that Gwen was a great fit either. She was a dog meant to be free with a large yard and run around and terrorize the world. She ended up in a small yard”ed” house in Cincinnati Ohio. Gwen moved with us to Willow Cove and then to Greenwood. She was never a great dog, but she was our dog.