Today is the day: Packed and headed to the airport

We wanted to keep a record of the trip for the girls, and to share the adventure with friends and family. It will likely come in handy for Marcia and me, i.e., when our memories evaporate with advancing years.

A fun aspect of travel is planning and anticipation of things to come. Discovering what’s possible and imagining the options are the first and perhaps the most critical part of the adventure. They may not be the most critical, but they are right up there. Over the past year we have spent countless hours reading books and webpages. Talking with friends we have gathered recommendations on places to see and things to do.

One of the cool features of the blog will be for you to comment and make suggestions. With the Itinerary link to the right of the screen, you will have an idea of when and where we will be. If you have a suggestion about something we should not miss, shoot us a comment.

At some point in elementary, junior high or high school, I occasionally got grief in the form “Cummings, Goings, ha ha”. Not bullying, but more on the level of annoyance. Since we will travel around Europe for four and a half months, seemed to be an apt title for our travelogue.

The anticipation phase has come to an end. We are now packed and ready to head to the airport.

Four weeks and counting

Last night on, January 30, 2016, Sid and Janet hosted a party as a send off for our European sojourn. Exactly 4 weeks from the time of the party we will be on Air Canada 880 to Charles de Gaulle.

Sid prepared an incredible array of French themed hors d’oeuvres: smoked salmon, turkey, and beef; molten chocolate cake; and tarte aux poires Normande. Everything from scratch. Textures and flavors that would rival restaurants with the highest Zagat ratings. A sparkling wine from the Champagne region was apropos for the occasion.

While enjoying the hors d’oeuvres, the conversations were filled with memories of times spent in different parts of the world. Marcia and I got great suggestions on Paris, Naples, Venice, and Trieste. It was quite an experience, exploring everryone’s best memories of living and traveling abroad and getting advice on places that should not be missed. If our time in Europe is half as fun as the party, it will be a trip of a lifetime.

Another Football Weekend

A beautiful day, blue sky, unseasonably warm for the third weekend of October.  Although the morning started in the low 50’s it was 70 plus and sunny for the game that started at noon.  We had a brief tailgate before the game.  The girls had CapriSun drinks and we had bottled water. It was a cold snack, strawberries and brownies. The walk to the stadium was interesting because this time we were on the side of the stadium that all the RV’s park.  It was clear that there were folks that were serious about tailgating.

This time we headed for our seats early.  Since our seats were purchased with the Coke Pack Special we received a 32 oz Coke or lemonade, hot dog, and popcorn.  Plenty to fill all of us up.Arkansas State 34, IU 36. The first half looked as though IU was going to add to their loss column. It teetered back and forth until the fourth quarter when IU finally up by 10 with a couple of minutes left. Here’s what the Herald-Times had to say about the game.

“It doesn’t matter now, Indiana’s players said, what the score was. It doesn’t matter that they trailed Arkansas State at the half, or that they were in danger of suffering a defeat until the final minute. It doesn’t matter that they escaped the humiliating fate of losing to a team the program paid $700,000 to serve as a sacrificial lamb for Homecoming by the narrow margin of two points. All that matters, they said, is that they escaped. That’s what the Hoosiers did Saturday, nipping Arkansas State 36-34 in front of 40,480 at Memorial Stadium. “A win is a win is a win is a win,” senior quarterback Ben Chappell said. “We got a win, that’s what’s most important.”

Walk to School Day

It was walk to school day.  Sarah, Rachel and Ella arrived in time to meet the group and walk to school.  They were not in time to get a balloon so I tried to teach them a sharing lesson.  See how bad you feel when others don’t share with you.  Next time you have something and someone else doesn’t, you should share what you have.  It was clear no one got the point.  I tried again after school and I may as well have been speaking another language.  That sharing concept is tough for kids, actually for adults as well.

Sarah brought home a class assignment.  She made a list things she likes:


Mrs Mongold

Ms. Bonde



















spigati (her spelling)


Chrishmish zoo

since (science)


An interesting list.  I was happy dad made it to the list.  It was missing on a comparable assignment during first grade.  It was a surprise that butterflys made the list before mom.

We walk to school everyday, so the special part was having a big group to go with.

Megan, Jennifer, Justin and Jack Michigan-IU Weekend

After weeks of drought conditions and unseasonably hot weather, it cooled off. Saturday started with a drizzle and by noon there was real rain.  It wasn’t a downpour but it was not weather for a tailgate party.  Marcia and Jennifer had spent Friday night prepping vegetarian chili, carrot cupcakes, cutting veggies and getting us ready to head the tailgate.  While they were doing that Justin and Jack were playing table tennis.  We played to a 2-2 tie and then had to leave because the HPER closed at 9:00.  We were unable to get our rubber match in due to the building closing.  Justin was as shocked as Jack was that I was even in the game.  It was a pleasant shock for me.  But back to the tailgate…

At noon on game day when it was raining, Justin and Jack were out and picked up some ponchos.  Since we were prepared for rain, it stopped.

While at the tailgate, Justin and Jack played challenged James Thomas and John Misz.  We were as close as you can get, 21 to 20.  There were long lines to get into the football stadium. It was hard to believe that it was an IU football game with such a crowd.  Another surprise was seeing the “sold out” sign on the ticket window.  Since we were hung up in the line to get into the game it started without us.  We were walking around the open south side of stadium when we saw IU draw first blood.  To have IU score first against #19 Michigan was almost as unbelievable as the sold out stadium. We arrived at our seats and then Michigan scored.  It went back and forth trading touchdowns.  A defensive display it was not.  Both times marched up and down the field.  It was 21 to 21 at half.  Jack said the lady behind us, “imagine the people watching TV and see Michigan 21 – Indiana  21.”  It was a nail biter.  IU tied the score at 35 with only one minute left. Unfortunately it took less than a minute for Michigan to score and go ahead 42 to 35.  With 20 seconds left, IU was unable to get another score.  At least Justin was happy with the outcome.  It sure deflated a lot of IU fans.  So close, but a loss nevertheless.

Inter-Department Game and Grandson Jack visits with Jennifer and Justin

Another action packed weekend. Friday night was the counseling/school psych softball game.  Jack pitched for the school psych team.  Unfortunately he gave up 17 runs.  The good news was he caught 3 fly balls and picked up two grounders and threw the runners out at first.  One of the balls should have gone to second, but an out is an out.  For team school psych Scott Bellini contributed two homers, Jonathan Plucker hit another over the fence, and Jack was able to get on base when the throw to first was overthrown. Despite the 17 to 7 loss, we had a good time.

Jennifer and Justin arrived with Jack on Saturday afternoon. Jack looked every bit of six months. His hair was about a half inch long, very soft and somewhere between black and brown. His eyes are still blue.  We’ll have to wait six months or so if they stay blue.  Regardless, Jack has Jennifer’s big eyes. Big Jack couldn’t get over how often he smiled. What a great temperament. What fortunate parents.  His downside is sleep.  Jennifer and Justin would appreciate it if he would sleep longer at night.  He is still up multiple times each night.

Jennifer has turned out to be the best mom. Her willingness to sacrifice is impressive.  She is committed to breast feeding and has given up dairy due to Jack’s digestive difficulties. During pregnancy she developed diabetes and was willing to give up more than ten years of not eating meat.  Fortunately she was able to continue the vegetarian diet.

Justin, Jennifer and Jack went out to the Scenic View restaurant to meet her girl friends. Their dinner was marginal.  Jennifer did not like that salsa on her dish and left hungry.  Justin and I went out later to My Thai to get Jen some dinner.

While they were at dinner, Marcia, Jack, and the three little guys went to the Inn at Brown County park. Jack wanted Marcia to hear the Dave Miller’s one man acoustic classic rock.  The same guy that was such a pleasant surprise last Saturday night. He was just as good but a bit louder because instead of sitting to side of him we were directly in front.  All and all a pleasant dinner with music and the girls.

On Sunday Marcia took the three girls to Sunday school at Beth Shalom, and later headed up to Mooresville for a wedding shower. Jennifer, Justin, Little Jack and Big Jack had pleasant breakfast at the Uptown Cafe.  Then it was back to 720 Ballantine so Jack and Jennifer could take a nap. Meanwhile, Justin and Jack headed to the HPER building to play table tennis.  Justin had been playing during lunch and after 5 at work.  He also has been learning some of the finer points of playing at some Chicago table tennis clubs.  Needless to say, Jack learned humility for a second time that weekend.  Justin won ten games to Jack’s one. 

What Rachel and Ella learned in kindergarten today

When talking about her day at Rogers Elementary Rachel said, “It is good to toot, but bad if you don’t say excuse me.”

Ella added, “Tooting is good for you.  It is good for your tummy.  It was the first thing we learned from Mrs. Lund.”

Later Rachel said, “We were supposed to learn about apples and instead we learned about farting.”