Honey Bear’s extra vacation and wandering the Dunes of Indiana.


Indiana is a land locked state, except on the very northern edge where the last glaciers as they retreated carved out a massive lake we call lake Michigan. Along the coast of that massive lake in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan are huge sand dunes. We went to the Indiana dunes quite a few times over the years. An interesting place set amidst the corn fields and limestone quarries. (Indiana is a lot more than that, but it is what the perception is sometimes of the state from outside in). The first time I went Mom and Dad took my sisters and I. I remember racing down the big sand dune. They have, because of the ecological impact of humans closed off more of the park now than when I was little.


This trip was Barb and the kids. I was working in Chicago at the time. I couldn’t get away to hang out with them so they had a blast without me. This trip is however, infamous in family history. There was, once a trip to Chicago where the boys forgot their bears. We ended up going to FAO Schwartz and getting them new stuffed animals. This particular trip Ma Bear (Nick) and Honey Bear (Luke) made it safely to the Dunes. They enjoyed their stay in the hotel. On the way back to Greenwood however, Honey Bear took a side trip to Chuckie Cheese. Actually they all took a side trip to Chuckie Cheese in Merrillville Indiana. Honey Bear (Luke’s) stayed. Barb and the kids had driven home on Wednesday. Luke was devastated that Honey Bear was lost. They didn’t find out about it until they got back home so going back to get Honey Bear was a 3 hour trip and not going to happen. Luckily I was coming home on Friday. Barb called Chuckie Cheese’s and they had found the bear, being a kids focused restaurant recognized the love (some would call it wear and tear) and saved it. I picked it up on the way home from Chicago on Friday and it was returned to its rightful place.

27_24ASuch a magical place. Not an easy place to choose for wander Indiana (not as much non-scientific material and glaciers aren’t really jaw dropping and eye catching. At least not glaciers that built something 10,000 or more years ago.) So the Dunes were never a wander Indiana project. Hard to talk about a huge wall of Ice as much as 20 or more feet tall that moves about an inch a year. “really dad, does it do anything else?” “Well son eventually it will melt. As it melts it will form the hills that are Southern Indiana. It will do that by scraping Northern Indiana completely flat (not really, its a joke).” You get the idea. A hard sell for a kid they would have to put a lot of effort into that report.


Family Historian

A visit to King’s Island and memories of happy and sad events…


This crew loves amusement parks. I have to be honest when I was thinner I loved them, when I was heavier not as much. So this summer we will have to see which camp I end up in. The roller coasters kill my back so I think my favorite ride now is the park bench in front waiting for the rest of the crew. This from outside King’s Island in 2009. We went back 10 years after leaving Cincinnati for a family outing. We used to go to King’s Island 4 or 5 times a year when we live in Cincinnati. Barb is a roller coaster addict. I think she has ridden about every major roller coaster in the Midwest. This spring is a number of anniversaries that are coming (a couple have already passed). The first is the anniversary of Fran’s passing (our Lab) The three big ones coming up are June 1, the day 25 years ago that Barb and I moved away from our Childhood’s and haven’t looked back as we moved to Cincinnati Ohio. The next one is a lot harder and is the passing of my father in early June. Finally June 15 is the anniversary of 25 years of marriage.


I don’t mean to sound wistful and sad. Its just that over time you collect a number of good and bad memories about time periods. Memories that stay with you until you wrap them up and make them part of who you are. You can’t move past anger without accepting that no matter how angry you are  about something it wasn’t the other person’s fault. You are partially responsible and need to be accountable. The same is true for the sad memories that float around you. You have to own them. To stop on the anniversary of the sad memory and recall happy things about that event or person. My father taught me how to read. My dad taught me how to throw a baseball. My grandfather taught me about boats and how to golf. Fran was there protecting her girl when I couldn’t be there. She protected the whole family when I couldn’t be there.


Nick and I climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower at King’s Island an.took pictures from up on top.





We lived off in that not to far distance at our last apartment in Cincinnati Ohio. We (Barb and I) started out with Becca in a Townhouse in Fairfield. When Jakki was on the way we moved to a two bedroom apartment in Maineville Ohio (just South of King’s Island) and then after Jakki arrived, Becca, Jakki, Barb and I moved to our hosue on Shafer Avenue. in Western Hills. My grandfather came and spent a week with us at that house. Our last house in Cincinnati Ohio was WillowCove, which was in Mt. Airy. The last move in Cincinnati was the first entire family move with Barb, Becca, Jakki, Nick, Luke and Gwen all moving at once. Seems like only yesterday that all of us were together.


Family Historian

To be on the water, and why not to give 12 year olds a camera….


Water, it is the one thing I love. Images of lighthouses, or boats or just water. The sun gently setting onto the water. Settling in for a night of tree frogs and the gentle swaying of the boat. When I was very little I didn’t sleep well, except when my grandfather tooled around the lake in the boat. Then I slept. I think my poor mother was frazzled by the end of my childhood. I was a handful. But water was always my love. When we lived in Thailand we visited the beach. I have pictures of those beaches. Memories of playing in the water for hours. Of building in the sand and of being in and around the water. Memories of fresh crab and the delight that was fresh fish. I learned in Thailand as my parents said I would, that I actually liked fish. I just fish that is fresh from the ocean. Moving to Maryland has reminded me of how much I love fish. I can’t wait to head out early into he morning and go fishing again on the boat.


The kids love/d playing with the settings of the Olympus Camera. I still have one, because it is the most versatile camera I have ever owned. It allows you to be creative, but you can also dropt he camera, go underwater with it (to 40 feet) or even a case and go 350 feet underwater with it. It takes reasonably good pictures, not as good as my canon and significantly better than any of the phones currently in the house. Its not the number of megapixels but the quality of the lens that matters when taking pictures. It does a good job with video as well. Frankly I wish I had when I was learning to take pictures, a digital camera. I would have taken thousands of pictures (I have – take more than 80,000 pictures since getting my first digital camera in 1993). I imaging all the moment I would have missed hiding behind the camera so maybe not, but it would be nice to capture some of those lost moments. It is funny, because my kids grew up digital cameras and other my daughter Jakki, the boys avoid taking pictures. Oh well.


Max is my mother’s cat. Here sitting on the table of the screen in porch of their house on Kinser pike. We had many a wonderful conversation around that table when the bugs made actually going two feet further and being outside a little risky. <p, mad dad ;lived in that hours for around 20 years. There are a lot of photo memories from that house. Max is still around he moved with mom to the new house. Max is a cat that is used to living with dogs. He however retreated to the highest place he could be in while Raven was around. Raven probably would have gotten her nose scratched but she looks fierce. She is if she doesn’t know you, but once she knows who you are she is a fantastic dog. She has been with us for two years now. Dylan will be with us the first week of June for 4 years. Sadly the first of June is also when my father passed two years ago. So that becomes a bittersweet memory. Happy that Dylan joined us, said that Dad left us.


Family Historian

Memories of snow as a child, and snow as an adult.

I was thinking about our snow storm of earlier this year, we were locked in our house for four days and then basically like the rest of the area slogging through melting snow for about 8 more days. It was a mess coming down, a mess on the ground and a mess melting. One of those things that you can look back on and say I was there. But not one of those things that while it was happening you stopped, and said I am here.

As a child I loved snow. As an adult I dread snow. What a difference time makes.


This image from the “Blizzard of 2007” while we lived in Greenwood Indiana. A solid 15 inches of snow that took us two days to clear enough to get out of the driveway (we had a double entrance driveway in Greenwood). Like the storm this year the aftermath was worse than the actual moment. There is something nice about sitting in your living room as the snow is falling, a blazing fire to keep you warm. Going out to shovel the snow, not so much. Watching it melt and flood the neighborhood not so much either but it is what it is.


Another view from the 2007 storm. Snow is so beautiful. When I was little and we were heading to see my grandparents I couldn’t wait. If there was snow on the ground I was outdoors the whole day sledding down the big hill to the lake. I would spend hours out there. If it wasn’t snowing, I was in the lake or on the lake Fishing and Swimming. I wasn’t indoors much when I was at my grandparents house and I was younger. Funny story when I was running many years ago, I stayed with my grandparents. I actually ran all the way to London (Wisconsin). It was a nice 8 mile run (there and back). London was much smaller than Cambridge.


This last image from the storm here in the DC area 2016. A little more snow, so it lasted a few more days than the storm in 2007 did. It snowed solid for two days. 34 inches of snow on the ground. It took us two days to get to the end of the driveway. Then another day to clear the driveway after the snowplow came through (day 4).

Lot’s of snow, so pretty now. Not so much at the time it fell.

I don’t have many pictures of the epic blizzard of 1977 in Bloomington Indiana. That one actually froze the pipes in my parents house. While it had less snow (22 inches) it was far worse than the storm in 2016. There were 6-8 days of wind chills below zero that followed the snow. But like I said no good pictures of the snow. That was long before digital images! Plus I can’t find any slides or pictures my dad took of the event.


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4th day of Christmas pictures (I promise I am not doing 12 days!).


This is Tamsyn from Christmas 2014. She joined our family a little over a year ago. She is a sweet little dog that tries very hard to be a part of the family but she was raised in a shelter and frankly it is really hard for her. Luckily the other two are happy-go-lucky so her occasional need to be alone doesn’t really impact anyone.

It is hard to believe that this picture was taken when she was about three weeks as a member of our family. That was over a year ago. Now she gets just as excited for the walk as the other two! She really is a very sweet girl and I am glad she is a member of our family. I have to say however. our sectional gets crowded at best. Last night we had everyone on the couch watching Jeopardy. Everyone. Tamsyn. Dylan. Raven. Barb. Jakki, Nick, Luke and me.


Nick’s picture of his brother. Send the two of them out with Camera’s and say take pictures, they take pictures of each other. They don’t quite get it yet, I am trying to pass the family photographer role off to one of them. Jakki gets it and is happy to take lots of event pictures but she was still in Maryland working. I guess its going to take a few more events before I get them understanding the importance of taking family event pictures. They did a good job, it just takes some convincing.

I suspect my dad would say the same thing about me at their age so what goes around. comes around. Karma is a heartless b*&$*h.

PIC_0537There is a little Santa Clause beard started there in the left corner of this picture. It didn’t used to be gray when it would come in. It used to come in a really dark brown. Of Couse when I was younger it came it less than thick.  Now it is thicker but gray. It seems fate intervened. Or perhaps time intervened. What used to be young is now old.

My primary reason for not wanting to take pictures is to watch the joy on other people’s faces when they open their presents. I really enjoy that a lot more than I enjoy opening my own presents. If I really want something I will buy it. But watching someone else open a gift is just a wonderful experience.


Family Historian…

I didn’t learn to be me until I left, but I do miss Bloomington Indiana.


The Indiana Memorial Union. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent there as a student, and before I was a student of Indiana University. The IU Bowling alley (I was in a blowing league from the time I was 12 until I was 18) was there. The Kiva (Coffee Shop) was there. I spent so many hours in the Kiva coffee shop I was amazed they didn’t name a table for me.

For the most part of 23 years I was in and out of this building. I’ve taken the kids through it a couple of times since then, but upon leaving Bloomington as a resident 25 years ago I’ve not spend time in this building. It seems strange now, when I watch this building to think about what once was.

109A2667Mom and Dad have been in Bloomington since 1965. So this marks their 50th year in the town. Dad spent more than 40 years as a student and professor at Indiana University. We were there for perfection (1976). We were there for the peaceful riots of the 1960’s (IU had less violence more peaceful marching). We used to have parties well my parents had parties where there would be discussions of how to save the world, how to fix what was wrong. I remember those conversations.

Christmas Eve 2015, I had to take this picture because years from now I will remember the fact that it was 51 on Christmas. Oh boy are we due for a bad winter. (For those doing the math I moved to Bloomington when I was around 5, lived in Thailand for a year and then moved away when I was 30. I have visited Bloomington 100’s of times since moving away because my family is still there, but haven’t lived there since moving away).

109A2676Today is Indiana University campus day. Its funny, my best memories of campus are actually of being in the school of education. At some point in my sophomore year my dad said hey have lunch in my office. By my senior year that was the lunch ticket in the school of education. Everyone wanted to eat lunch with my dad. We ended up having to move from his office to the corner classroom because there were 10 people eating lunch with us everyday. Dad was a rock star. Everyone who ever had his class loved him. Every student that ever had an issue, or wanted guidance and advice, even though they weren’t his students, he helped them. He was a rock star.

I took some of the pictures dad took, 10 and 20 years later. Not much has changed. I remember back in the day people would tell me “he’s your father – you are so lucky.” Its different when you are his student than when you are his son. I would always smile and say “you never had to do the dishes to his specifications.” As my response to that statement. Yes I was lucky, but its different than people think. I was lucky because I had two great parents who cared. They didn’t always know what to do with me. I was more interested in business and technology and I suspect it was a tough gap to bridge at times. But in the end I was lucky they were my parents, just not for the reason all the students and teachers I met thought.


Family Historian…

A love of parades. A love of teaching. And the always amazing Slip and Slide!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

either the Bloomington Indiana 4th of July Parade or the IU Home Coming parade. Dad loved parades. This one of the queen and her court so it could have been either of those two parades.carousel 065

I do know it is somewhere in Indiana – few other places on earth have as many buildings with native Indiana Limestone lining the street. New York City has the Empire State building made out of Indiana Limestone but not a whole lot more buildings around it made of pure Indiana Limestone.

I used to marvel at the quarry’s when I was little. Amazing holes in the ground that would fill with water and become great (but illegal) swimming holes). The thing about quarries is that they have a bloody history. In the early days of pulling stone from the ground a lot of people died.

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Ah the sound of summer. Who can forget the slip and slide. First off the house is flipped. The driveway should be on the other side of the picture. The scanner doesn’t have a logical memory of the location of driveways so it scans the slides as they are put into the tray.

We loved our hill on Chelsea Court. It was steep enough that we would build a ramp of snow in the winter and fly into the air. It was long enough to support a slip and slide in the summer. Dad wasn’t a huge fan of the slip and slide. It tore up his lawn. But he never told us we couldn’t have the slip and slide. Just that we were tearing up his yard. Had it torn up Apple Trees I suspect the slip and slide would have quickly become not slippery and no sliding.

There are a couple of people on the porch watching us. I have no idea who they are because the image is so small. I will have to print it and examine it up close and see who is standing there watching us slide down the lawn.

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Bloomington Indiana was a great place to grow up. There were student riots after we moved there in the late 1960’s. Nothing like some of the other campus of Big Ten Schools but still marches and unrest. There was also a lot of great people. Over the years mom and dad would have parties and I remember waiting for the parties. I remember talking to professors about literature, math and the world beyond Bloomington Indiana. There is something about being young and getting to not only share you ideas as though they had value but to in end feel like the ideas were valued. I remember those great conversations from the past so many topics and so wonderful.

Yesterday I found out that my Favorite High School teacher William “Bill” Sturbaum had died. Mr. Sturbaum was an amazing teacher. He introduced us to the Northern Indiana Author Jean Shepard (Wanda Hickey’s night of golden memories. A Christmas story (later made into a movie). But Mr. Sturbaum also encouraged us to think. To have opinions and ideas. To share and express our thoughts about the world around us. He opened doors for so many people. He changed the world for me. He touched so many other members of my family as well. What an amazing human being.

I grew up in the house of an amazing teacher. I treasure teachers. There are many who reached me and touched me. To each of them I thank you. One of my father’s gifts to me was a love of education. I thank every single teacher who helped me get to where I am.