Welcome to Texas and to my home!
I want to welcome you to my personal Web site. I first put this site up in 1996 so that friends and family could keep up with what was going on in my life. It has turned into something of a personal history- in particular the online photograph album that is part of the site.
As you can see, there is a column at left that contains links to the various pages within the site. Those links will remain in place as you navigate through the site. To return to this page, just use the "Welcome Page" link. Some of the links at left will take you to different Web sites, but these will open in new windows, so that this site will remain beneath them.
Most people visiting a "personal" home pages want to find out something about the person who created the site, and you are probably no different. To find out more about me, use the "Personal Life" link at left or just click here. Although I was born in Michigan (Muskegon) and grew up in North Carolina (Charlotte), the first place I lived for a long time on my own was Chicago. If you'd like to find out more about my life in that great city, you can use the "Chicago" link at left or just click here. In 1985, my friend Grant Wagner and I moved here to Dallas, where I have lived since then. To find out about Dallas and where I live, you can use the "Dallas" link at left or just click here.
Before I retired at the beginning of 2005, I was a systems consultant- at least for the majority of my career. I left the U.S. Army in 1971, and went to work for Continental Bank in Chicago- thinking that I'd make that my career. But, early on, I got involved in data processing, and in 1974 I embarked on a career in Information Technology. I've worked for a number of firms large and small over the course of a 30-year career in the industry. I am one of those people who have been fortunate to have spent their career doing something enjoyable and rewarding. If you want to learn more about what I've done for a living, use the "Business Life" link at left or just click here.
My business career involved a great deal of traveling. Two side effects of that travel were that (1) I have lifetime Platinum status with American Airlines and more airline miles than I will probably ever use and (2) I was able to visit over 2000 Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream stores and become the recipient of a Baskin-Robbins "Golden Scoop" Award. If you'd like to read the humorous story about my ice cream odyssey, use the "My Golden Scoop Award" link at left or just click here. And, if you'd like to find out if I have visited the Baskin-Robbins store nearest your own home, you can use the interactive map of all the stores I've visited to find out. Just use the "Baskin-Robbins Map" link at left or simply click here.
One of the largest projects I've undertaken since retirement is to digitize and organize the thousands of pictures that I have in albums all over the house and then put them together into an online photograph album. This digitizing process has been a large one, and I enlisted the help of the folks at Scancafe to accomplish this task for the photos taken before I got my first digital camera. At the moment, the years from 1981-2016 have been completed, and now I am working backward to add the years prior to that. The album is much more than just a collection of pictures- there are maps, narrative, movies, aerial views and other links and content that will bring the many pictures to life. I have written the pages so that you can experience the many wonderful and interesting places I've visited. You can use the link at left or the one at the end of this sentence to access my online photograph album. Check back frequently because I will be adding the years prior to 1981 as fast as I can.
I have been very fortunate throughout my life to have been surrounded by many friends, most of whom I would consider close. From college, through my life in Chicago and Dallas, in my travels and in Fort Lauderdale, friends have been a mainstay of my life, as I am sure they are in yours. I'd be pleased if you wanted to find out about some of these people, and you can, either by using the "Friends" link at left or just clicking here.
I've also had the good fortune to also have some close friends who weren't human. Like many of you, I have been chosen by a number of cats to have the honor of caring for their every need. You should meet some of these furry friends by using the "Pets" link at left or by clicking here. There are also special pages in my online photo album for these felines; there you will find more pictures and even movies.
When I'm not doing something with my friends, or engaging in the myriad small tasks that come with home ownership, I have two hobbies. One is my online photo album; the other is stamp collecting. One of these days, I want to put some details about my collection online, but for now, I'll just say that my collection of mint stamps is complete from the year I was born up through the end of the millenium, and I am now working on my collection of plate blocks from the same time period. (The advent of self-adhesive stamps, the ones you peel off sheets, has, I think, killed the hobby, and that's why I stopped at the end of the millenium.)
The older I get the more active I try to stay, and so I do a lot of exercising out-of-doors (biking around town or throwing a frisbee), using a recumbent exercise bike indoors on most days, and also going to the gym up the street. I used to be an avid jogger, and I've had the opportunity to run and jog in cities and towns around the world- from Rio to Montreal, from Honolulu to Boston and from London to Dhahran. But in recent years, I've thought it more prudent to save my knees, and that's why I use the recumbent bike and low-impact aerobics. I really like cycling, and do most of it in Fort Lauderdale, where bike lanes and great scenery are more prevalent than here in Dallas. In fact, Fort Lauderdale was the venue for the longest bike ride I have taken in one continuous trip- 100 miles from Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach and back!
I try to keep up with current events by reading newsmagazines and financial publications. I don't find TV news to be very informative, but I confess that I do keep up with quite a few favorite TV shows. How I do that has changed over the years. I used to have six or seven VCRs around the house which I programmed weekly to record all these shows. Then I watched the shows in the order they aired. During the TV "season" I tended to fall behind, but I usually caught up over the summer. I moved from VCRs to DVD recorders for a while, but eventually gave all that up and began downloading these shows from the network Web sites or other sources the week after they air. Then I created DVDs from those digital files. Finally, I got a "smart" TV that can play AVI and MP4 files directly, so now I simply put the downloaded shows on a USB thumb drive. I've also joined a book club, and enjoy reading and discussing the selections at our monthly meetings.
I am a Star Trek fan, but not quite a Trekkie (no costumes or conventions). I have been able to collect every episode of every Star Trek franchise on DVD, and am working my way through the ones I missed on broadcast television. I also collect classic movies, and am aiming to finally watch all of the AFI's 100 Greatest Films; at the moment I am just about halfway through.
Obviously, the computer and the Internet are a big part of my day; like many people, I use the Internet for just about everything. I get lots of email from friends and colleagues and I can easily get lost on YouTube for an entire afternoon. Also, I have been playing backgammon on the Internet for years now, with people from all over the world. If you would like to do so yourself, you can get some hints about how to get started by surfing to the home page for the First Internet Backgammon Server. If you decided to play online, or already do, email me and we can set up a match.
Many of my friends have some of the same interests I do- hiking, biking and board and card games- and there are always good movies to see and each other's company to enjoy. I and a close friend of mine go hiking and camping a couple of times a year, and have done so many years now. We've hiked and camped out in some spectacular areas in the United States and Canada. If you'd like to follow us on some of these hiking and camping trips, just use the "Photograph Album" link at left. I think that when you see the pictures, narrative, movies, maps and memorabilia in the album, you'll really feel as if you've been along with us on some of these trips. In the last fifteen years, we've spent at least three weeks a year in National and State Parks all over the western United States and Canada, in Appalachia and in New England. When we don't feel like hiking, we might just go to the small condo in Fort Lauderdale that I had the opportunity to acquire in 1989. Now that I've retired, we're able to spend a good deal of time there, and you can follow along on some of these trips in the photograph album. You can also learn more about the city of Fort Lauderdale and our condo there by using the "Fort Lauderdale" link at left or by just clicking here.
In 2008, Fred and I took our first cruise; we were introduced to the activity by my friend Greg. While a lot of folks disdain cruises, we have found them immensely enjoyable- not so much for what you do on the ships (and there is a LOT to do) but for the places the ship goes. We have cruised five times now: an introductory Caribbean/Mexico cruise, a repositioning cruise from Barcelona to Miami, a cruise through the Panama Canal from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego, a transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rome and a Mediterranean cruise starting and ending in Rome. These cruises have been amazing experiences, and I hope you will take them yourself via the online photo album. Our last cruise was something special- a naturalist's cruise to the Galapagos Islands; we combined that with some time in Quito, Ecuador, Macchu Pichu, and Lima, Peru. It was an amazing South American odyssey.
One place we go frequently is San Antonio, where two of our best friends have moved and opened a wonderful Bed and Breakfast called Ruckman Haus- one of the nicest (and certainly the friendliest) B&Bs in that great city. We have made trips down to visit them from the days when they had first purchased the home that they renovated until now. Our friends closed the B&B in 2013, but they still live in the house. I have a page here on my site that will tell you more about Ruckman Haus and the two wonderful people who run it, and you can access that page by clicking here. If you would like to go directly to the web site for Ruckman Haus, though, you can use the "Ruckman Haus" link at left.
My family is spread out. My sister Judy lives in Elon, North Carolina; she has built her own wonderful home page on the Web, and you can use the "Judy Barbour" link at left to visit it. My nephew is a police officer in Charlotte, North Carolina, and my niece lives in Prague, the Czech Republic, teaching business English to anyone who wants a refresher. My father died over thirty years ago and, sadly, my Mother died here in Dallas in 2008. I'd be pleased if you wanted to learn more about my family, and see some old pictures of them. You can use the "Family" link at left or you can just click here. Of course, my family figures prominently in my photograph album- particularly my Mother, who has her own special sections each year.
I have mentioned my friends numerous times just on this first page. I am fortunate to have and have had so many. But, like many of you, I have lost some over the years as well. I have created "In Memoriam" pages for three of the closest that I have lost- Grant Wagner, my partner of seven years who died in 1991, my wonderful friend Lowery Evans, who died in 2000, and my close friend Mike Racke, who died in a motorcycle accident on the morning of 9/11. I hope you will visit each of these memorial pages, and I have provided links at left for you to do so.
I hope you'll take some time to wander around here and look at whatever interests you. I'm still working on expanding some areas of the site, but most of it is complete (except for the photograph album). Remember that you can always use the links at left to navigate through the site. And if you have any questions or comments, please email me. If you will please put "Personal Web Page" in the subject line, I guarantee a response.