Happy New Year 2018!
Shortly after we were married, Georgia and I took our daughters on our first overseas trip. We enjoyed England and France but, the part we liked the best was the time we spent in Scotland. I hope we can get back there again.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
Tom and Georgia
This last weekend, Georgia and I traveled to Milwaukee to attend a moving memorial service for my cousin Jim Moore.
Jim was diagnosed with ALS on December 2nd, 2016. The terrible disease took him from us on November 2nd of this year. He was a loving father, devoted husband and companion, amazing teacher and loyal friend to more people than I think even he knew.
I have been dealt a hand I will deal with in my own fashion.
His family, friends and students gathered together on Saturday to say a final farewell to Jim.
As is too often the case with cousins, I knew Jim best when we were children. When we grew up, life took us our separate ways. Distance, starting our own families and careers meant we only saw each other on rare occasions. Those times to reminisce and catch up were never enough but they were all we had. Still, Jim was always not only my cousin but also my friend and I will miss him.
Jim Moore was a scientist and a science teacher. He taught Biology, Environmental Science, Intro to Physical Science and other science courses to thousands of students at Germantown High School in suburban Milwaukee for over 40 years. I know from listening to his students and colleagues that Jim was an exceptional teacher.
Like all good teachers, Jim never stopped being a student of his chosen subjects. He was an avid hiker, cyclist and skier. He loved being outdoors and observing the natural world around him. Whenever he could, he took others with him to share his knowledge and his wonder.
Jim truly loved to share his passion for science with the world and not just with his students. He maintained a blog called Science of Reality where he shared his science based world view. His blog became a vehicle to document his struggle with the terrible disease of ALS. But, beyond that, it was also a way to continue to teach all of us about how we can co-exist with the natural world that we are a part of.
I AM NOT DONE TEACHING! I need to know that I did everything I was capable of to help insure my children, my students and the people I love have a planet and a civilization available to them to continue our existence on this, the most beautiful (and only) “Garden of Eden” that we know of in this Universe.
I invite you to click the button below to learn more about Jim's world view and his final battle by reading his own words as he wrote them in his blog.
Spend time with your family now - for too soon they are gone.
It has been very summer like well into October here in the Chicago area. We took advantage of the weather by getting outdoors over the long Columbus Day Weekend. Max was staying with us so we had fun together.
Indian Boundary Park in Chicago is home to an annual Fall Festival especially for children. Max has gone to the festival in each of his four years. Max's mom Angeli (Georgia's daughter) went with us as she has every year. His Dad had to work Sunday so he couldn't join us.
Activities at the festival included pumpkin decorating, kids games, bouncy houses, a petting zoo and pony rides.
The warm weather brought out more people than usual so we had to wait in a long lines for the pony ride. We used the wait time to eat the subs we brought with us. We finaly got to the fron of the line and Max had his turn riding a pony named Minnie.
There was another line for the petting zoo so we decided to skip that. Max was happy to look at the animals from outside the fence but many of them still came over to him for a quick pet.
It was a beautiful day and a fun family outing.
The warm, sunny weather held into Monday so, after some errands in the morning, we went fishing in the afternoon.
We started out at Bangs Lake which is close to our house but didn't get and action there. After an hour of no bites, we moved on to Lily Lake which is just a few miles away in the village of Lakemoor.
Max got plenty of bites and almost landed his first fish - it got off the work right at the waters edge. Still, it was a fun fishing trip.
I think Max enjoyed getting worms out of the carton as much as he enjoyed fishing with them!
On Tuesday the temperature dropped and it rained most of the day. If this was the last summer like weekend of the year, it was a good one.
Before I retired, I thought retirement would mean I had more time to pursue my own projects. In some ways that is true. I can now spend my time doing what I want to not what a "boss" tells me to. Still, I never have enough time to do everything I want to do.
This blog is a good example. I have had the best intentions about keeping it up and making regular entries. Obviously, that hasn't worked out for me. A big part of the reason is that I have five web sites to maintain. What that means for me is that none of them get the attention they deserve.
Because I think Winging It is the most important of my web sites, I am going to concentrate on this one and eliminate the rest of them.
As the other sites expire, I will not be renewing the domain registration on them. For my genealogy and 3d printing sites, I will post my activities in those hobbies on this blog. I will also keep my Facebook pages devoted to those hobbies.
My marketing web sites will just go away. I am retired after all and I don't choose to keep promoting those sites.
So, here is a brief report on what I have been up to lately. Sort of a "how I spent my summer" report.
Our Grandson Max still stays with us two days a week and we love having him visit. We had several outings to carnivals and events with him this summer. He is four years old now and really keeps us going when he is here!
In late June and early July, we took a road trip to Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. We were celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary with this get-away.
From Door County, we drove to Manitowoc, Wisconsin to catch the SS Badger car ferry across Lake Michigan. In the more than twenty five years we have been going to Michigan, we had never gone by ferry so we wanted this experience. It is a four hour trip but a relaxing way to travel. We arrived in Ludington, Michigan in the evening and spent one night there.
The next morning we drove north to Arcadia and checked into the Pleasant Valley Resort Motel. This place is a family tradition. Georgia stayed there several times as a child and her and I stay there every time we go to the area. It was our base for the next few days.
From Arcadia, we made day trips to Glen Lake, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Maple City (where Georgia's family is from), and generally exploring the area. On one rainy day we even visited a casino.
The next day we went to the flea market for a day of shopping and lunch. That night we had dinner at the Blue Gate Restaurant.
The next day was spent shopping in downtown Shipshewana and visiting some of the countryside. We had dinner at a local spot a friend recommended.
That night, we both got ill with what we assumed was food poisoning. In the morning, Georgia was feeling better but I was still pretty sick. We just stayed in the hotel all day while Georgia did some laundry from the trip. That night, Georgia was feeling sick again too.
Out last destination of the trip was going to be Fort Wayne to do some genealogy research at the Allen County Library. Since we were both still sick, we debated about going there or going back home. In the end, we decided to go to Fort Wayne since it was a short drive. If we felt better we would go on with the research. If we didn't feel good, we could rest in the hotel. We were both sure we would be better soon.
We made a stop at the library but Georgia was getting pretty sick again and I was still feeling bad myself. We called the hotel and asked if we could check in early. They said it was OK so we did that.
The next morning, I was still feeling a little bad but I was OK to drive home. Georgia was still pretty sick. That drive back to Wauconda seemed like it would never end!
The day after we returned, I was doing a lot better but Georgia wasn't. Her doctor told her she should go to the emergency room so we went. She ended up being admitted to the hospital and was there for almost two weeks.
To top it all off, we learned that our credit card number had been stolen and several thousand dollars charged to it. MasterCard caught the fraud and, in the end, we didn't have to pay any of the charges. Still, it took almost two months to the investigation completed and a new card issued.
So, what started out as a great trip ended up a with a horrible last couple of days.
My Grandmother's maiden name was Dearhamer and this summer, the Dearhamer family held a reunion in Bruce, Wisconsin. Georgia and I just had to go up there for it.
The reunion was held at Trails End Youth Camp in Bruce and was very well attended. It was great to see so many aunts, uncles and cousins gathered together.
We were only able to stay in Bruce for a couple days but it was a very nice visit.
Besides these special events, we have made a couple short trips to Wisconsin Dells over the summer and one other trip to Michigan.
Georgia is on a planning committee for her 50th high school reunion which is coming up next year. We made the trip to Michigan so she could attend a committee meeting in person. For most of them, she is on a net meeting.
We took a couple extra days while we were there so we could visit family and friends in the area.
Now that summer is over, we are starting to make our fall and winter plans. I am going to try to stay up to date with this blog. Eliminating my other sites will be a big help I am sure.
I know, I have been lax about posting for a while – again. We haven’t been doing any traveling for a while now.
In my last post I said that Georgia was scheduled to have hip replacement surgery in May. That surgery went well and she is now in the rehab stage of recovery. She has been getting physical therapy at home three days a week. Next week she will start going to a local facility for out-patient therapy for another four to six weeks. After that, we wont have to stay so close to home.
We have been talking about getting a 3D printer for a while now but just hadn’t gotten around to it. So, while we have been home more, I started looking into them.
There are a lot of commercial 3D printers available now but I couldn’t find one that has all the feature I want. I plan on getting into 3D printing as a hobby so I want a printer that I can modify and expand as I learn more. To get what I want, I decided I would build my own from a kit.
I have ordered the kit I chose and it should be delivered soon. I will post occasional updates here but, I have also started a new website just about 3D printing for hobbyists. If this is a subject you are interested it, you can see the new site at 3DHobbyist.com. I hope you will enjoy it.
On Wednesday of last week, Georgia and I took a “cabin fever” break by making a short two night trip to Wisconsin Dells.
We stayed at our favorite hotel in Baraboo and spent much of our time at Ho-Chunk casino. They had a promotion going on that awarded rewards play for certain tasks. 10 points for dining at one of the casino venues, 10 for signing up for the newsletter and others. We each ended up with $50 dollars of free slot play.
It was nice to get away during the winter and we ended up doing just a little better than break even so we were happy.
When we got up Friday morning, Georgia had a message on her phone telling her that Virgina,her mother-in-law from her first marriage, had died during the night. It wasn’t totally unexpected since she was 90 years old and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years. This was Angeli’s grandmother and Max’s great grandmother. So, we started planning a trip to Michigan for the funeral.
We got home Friday night with the intention of staying there a couple nights then leaving for Grand Rapids. Saturday we learned that the viewing and funeral would both be held on Wednesday so we decided to wait until Tuesday to go.
We went through our usual routine with Max staying at our house Sunday afternoon to Tuesday. He didn’t really understand what going on a trip was all about, since this was going to be his first, but he was excited that something was going on. He must have heard someone talk about a family trip because when we talked to him about it he would always say; “A trip with my family.”
Tuesday we loaded the car and got going about noon. The forecast was for show showers in Grand Rapids but nothing serious. That would turn out to be wrong!
We dropped Max off earlier than usual because he would be going with his parents. From their home in Chicago we continued our trip east. The roads we good for the first part of the drive.
We had decided to stay inland away from Lake Michigan to try and avoid lake effect snow but still, when we were still about 100 miles from Grand Rapids, we hit the first light snow. It was melting on contact so it was just making the road wet.
The closer we got, the harder it was snowing. As the sun went down, the wet road turned to slush and then to snow covered ice. Our last 30 miles we were only going 30 to 40 miles an hour and the last 10 was more like 25 MPH.
We were relieved when we got to the hotel but we knew that Angeli, Edwin and Max were still behind us since they left later than we did. We could only hope the plows and salt trucks were out doing their job.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. They had even worse conditions than we did and for a longer distance. What should have been a 3 hour trip ended up taking them 4 1/2 hours and was white knuckles for the last 1/3 of the way. Everyone of us was very glad when the arrived about 11:30 PM.
Wednesday the weather was clear and the main roads were good. Georgia and I got to the funeral home about 10 AM for gathering of Virgina’s immediate family. Then at 11 the visitation for the public began. Angeli and Edwin slept in a little after their harrowing drive of the night before but they got there with Max before the funeral at 1 PM.
Max was a big hit with all the relatives he hadn’t met before. There is nothing shy about him. He was happy to talk to everybody. The only problem was that he couldn’t stop talking when the service was about to start so Edwin took him to a room reserved just for such occasions. Speakers on the wall let them hear what was going on so they weren’t completely left out.
After the funeral service, we went to the church for a late lunch. Max got to run around and burn off some energy there at least.
That night we met up with friends for dinner before turning in to rest up before the drive home.
When we got up Thursday morning it was snowing again. Luckily though the roads were just wet so we went ahead and made the drive back home. The last 2/3 of the trip was on dry roads.
Any time we have to travel in the winter around the Great Lakes it can be a challenge. Lake effect snow can pop up on one or the other side of Lake Michigan anytime the wind blows. Sometimes though, we just have to go anyway.
This is a review of the Kindle version of Last Man Out: Glenn McDole, USMC, Survivor of the Palawan Massacre in World War II. By Bob Wilbanks.
Disclaimer: I have a personal connection to the main characters of this book so I might be biased in my review. That said though, this is a great read. I found it very hard to put down while I was reading it. I give it 5 stars!
The defense of the Philippines by the U.S. and Filipino military at the start of WWII is fading from memory and it never should. With no supplies and no hope of evacuation or reinforcement, the men and few women there went through more suffering than anyone should be expected to.
On 14 December 1944 150 prisoners of war housed on the island of Palawan in the Philippians were sent into their air raid shelters by a fake alarm. Once in the shelters, the Japanese guards threw in barrels of gasoline and flaming torches. The men who did not die in the flames were killed by machine gun and rifle fire. 139 men died in the massacre. Only 11 escaped.
Last Man Out is the story of what the U.S. forces in the Philippines had to endure before, during and after the events of 14 December. While the suffering they went through was truly horrible and the book makes clear just how cruel humans can be to each other, that is not the lesson to be learned from this compelling tale.
Don’t dismiss this as just another war story. Last Man Out is really about how the men in the prison camps were able to support each other to survive. It is an inspiring story of loyalty and perseverance in the face of incredible adversity. As terrible as the events recorded were, the personal stories of the POWs is an uplifting lesson in the power of the human spirit.
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