Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Movies

Nebraska
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn
Snatch
Not Another Happy Ending
Ask Me Anything
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Furious 7
Get Hard
Chef
Punch Drunk Love
Cashback
Captain Phillips
Hector and the Search for Happiness
Gravity
The Princess Bride
Lincoln
Life of Crime
Cake
Welcome to Me
Leap Year

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Langins - My Great Great Grandfather, JJ Langin's, Birth Year

There appears to be some controversy about the birth year of my great great grandfather James John [JJ] Langin. His death certificate appears to clearly show 1849, two years after his wife's DOB in 1847, as the year of his birth. Based on that we proceeded to purchase and engrave a stone for his grave at the Elm Hall Cemetery in Elm Hall Michigan.



Since that time documents have come to light that suggest 1849 is NOT the correct birth year for James. The 1871 Canadian Census appears to show his age as "27" making his birth year "about 1844" as it appears in an Ancestry.com transcription.


We also know from his mother's gravestone that she died in 1847  making an 1849 DOB for James impossible.

James father Samuel Langin did not remarry until 1850 when he married Margret Ferguson. Making an 1849 birth by the "new" step mother unlikely.

The 1861 Canadian Census and 1880 U.S. Census records also  appear to show that the 1849 DOB is probably incorrect and 1844 is much more likely.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Langins - Bertha Eliza Langin - Overview

Ancestry.com overview of Bertha Eliza Langin's profile can be found at: Bertha's overview
[You will be looking at a PDF of Bertha's profile taken from my Ancestry.com page. The links will not work...]

Friday, July 24, 2015

Higgins Lake, Michigan

From the late 1950's until the late 1960's my mom, brother, and I spent the summer at our cottage on Higgins Lake. My dad would come up for weekends or a whole week as vacation time permitted. My parents sold the cottage in the late 1970's after living there for several years after my dad retired.

After my camping trip this summer at Michigan's Leelanau State Park I stopped for a couple of days to visit my brother, Dave, and sister-in-law Jan who were staying at Higgins Lake for a week.

We were staying on the opposite side of the lake from our old cottage but we went over there one day for a walk down memory lane. This road runs in front of the cottage along the lake front. It was nearly a daily routine for my brother and I to walk the road to our grandparents cottage about a mile away.







A few trees have been cut down, a garage added and the space next to the large picture window with the chimney is new but this is the cottage that my grandfather built.

Our grandmother, often still in her bathrobe, unless we protested particularly loud,would drive us back home later in the afternoon. She did EVERYTHING in her bathrobe at the lake. The store, the post office, the hardware... and I don't remember thinking it was anything but normal.   She knew EVERYBODY and had to stop and chat.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Leelanau State Park


In the early 1970's I discovered Leelanau State Park north of Travers City, Michigan and at the tip of the Leelanau Penninsula. I LOVED riding my motorcycle for the several hours it took to get there from Lansing to camp for a few days in the state park. As far as I was concerned it was the BEST there was... period.

So on this summer's trip to Michigan I was looking forward to spending a couple of days camping at Leelanau State Park again. I used to camp in lake front campsites where your tent could practically be at the water's edge. But things have changed a bit in the 30 plus years that have passed since the last time I was there.

When I first came to this state park Lake Michigan came up to where I'm standing to take this picture. You can see that the lake has receded a good hundred yards. On the positive side a lot of new riparian bird habitat has been created... but it's sure different than in used to be.

I stayed here for a couple of days to walk the beaches and bike the peninsula before heading south for a stop at Higgins Lake to see my brother Dave and his wife Jan.

Monday, July 20, 2015

My Langins - The Langin Family Reunion - Part I

I spent a big part of the summer traveling back to Michigan from San Diego to attend a family reunion that my mom's side of the family has yearly near Riverdale, Michigan where my mother's father grew up. My grandfather's grandparents, JJ[1844-1904] & Anna[1847-1892] Langin,  came to the area near Riverdale from New Brunswick, Canada in the late 1800's to run a lumber camp.  A  reunion is held yearly at Lumberjack Park outside of Riverdale, about ten miles west of Alma, 60 to 70 people usually attend.  I think the young man in the picture below on the roof to the right and waving his hat is my great grandfather Charles Edwin Langin[1875-1953]. For a long time I thought it was his brother Samuel Jarvis. Then "someone" [who I don't remember] claimed it definitely wasn't Jarvis. So since I have no OTHER photo's that could be Charles Edwin... I'm saying "roof-boy" is him.

JJ & Anna Langin's Michigan lumber camp in the late 1800's on the Pine River.

The day before the reunion a number of us gathered at three different cemeteries near Riverdale to clean the grave stones if ancestors and family friends.

The gravestone we're gathered in front of is for JJ and Anna
Langin who came from Canada to Riverdale in the late 1800's


We only discovered that JJ was buried here recently and at nearly the same time found a copy of his death certificate. Numerous sources seem to indicate that he was really born in 1844 rather than the 1849 as shown on his death certificate and grave stone. We haven't been able to find a vital record for Anna but suspect she was born in 1847 and died about 1892.

The highlight of the reunion for me was the time I was able to spend with Patrick Langin, now in his mid-seventies, talking about the times he had met my great grandfather Charles Edwin who was living in Louisville, Kentucky where he ran a candy store for many years. In the late '40's Patrick traveled from Ft. Wayne, Indiana to Louisville on the train with his grandfather, Samuel Jarvis Langin, who was Charles Edwin's brother. Patrick was a young boy of 9 or 10 and he had very clear memories of his visits with my great grandfather. Patrick said it was the first time he'd ever seen a television in someone's home and visiting his great uncle's candy store was a memorable experience for a young boy.

Get a free PDF copy of  Recipes From the Langin Side . [7 meg PDF file]

Left to right: Joe Leeak, Mike Langin, with father Patrick Langin, & son John Langin.

Another highlight of the reunion for me was being able to play music with cousins Dick Langin, his brother Scott, and their sister Pam Marsh. In the picture below we're getting our music together to play for the group:

Left to right: Dick Langin, his brother Scott Langin, 
& Joe Leeak, getting their music ready.

Reunion picture.

Reunion quilt.
[click on the picture to enlarge]



Sunday, June 21, 2015

Tired Iron

Tired Iron is a song I wrote that was inspired by a similar song done by the Great Northern Planes who I heard at Bend's  High and Dry bluegrass festival a couple of years ago:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

SeLF TAUGHT GENIUS - at the Mingei International Museum

I kept returning to this exhibit at San Diego's Balboa Park Mingei Museum monthly for the three or four months it was here. An introductory plaque for the display reads in-part:

"What is self-taught genius? During the post-Revolutionary era in the newly formed U.S. this characterization took the profound dimensions that were pivotal to the development of a start-up nation conceived on an experimental model: all of the nation's citizens were self-taught Americans."

Many pieces were part of this display but sadly it seems I only took this one picture:


Friday, May 29, 2015

Laguna Mountain Recreation Area


On Thursday I drove up to the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area in the Cleveland National Forest about an hour east of San Diego. I met up with my friends Jimmy and Mary for a hike to Laguna Meadow. The wildflowers were in full bloom with lots of Indian Paintbrush like what's shown to the right.

After our hike to Laguna Meadow, a little over five miles long, and a nap for me, I hiked a couple of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail next to the roadside park where I made dinner.








On Friday morning I got on the trail early for a quick four mile hike to Water In the Woods and Big Laguna Lake which is nearly bone-dry.





 Lucky for us they're saying there's a chance for an El Nino because ,as you can see here, Big Laguna Lake is bone dry-- normally filled to overflowing at this point. About 1-in-10 trees seem to be dying.

I hiked a little over eleven miles in the last two days and am looking forward to a rest this weekend.  Zzzzzz...


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mission Dam San Diego


Today I took a birdwalk with The San Diego Audubon at Mission Trails Dam.






A Lazuli Bunting is the coolest bird we spotted on this morning's Audubon bird walk at Old Mission Dam. The first time I saw a Western Bluebird I thought it was a Lazuli. This was my 1st "for sure" Lazuli Bunting. [not my picture-- from Wikipedia]

We also saw one of my all-time favs a Belted Kingfisher. This isn't my picture but is pretty close to the one we saw. [Attribution: Michael L. Baird]

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

I've been meaning to visit this area  since I moved to southern California and finally made it in March.



The cactus flowers and other wild flowers were blooming like crazy.










Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lake Havasu SARA Park Slot Canyon Hike

 SARA Park is located on the south side of Lake Havasu City and the slot canyon is a very popular hike. MOST years that is. This pic is from last year and shows my cousin PJ and her husband Craig about to negotiate a dry waterfall. Slide down that waterfall and your committed to completing the hike as a loop because it's VERY hard to go back up the waterfall.
Unfortunately THIS year about fifty yards downstream, and out of sight from the water fall, this is what your confronted with...







There's no going around, or going back, and it's thigh deep. It was a squishy hike out!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The San Diego Zoo

Last fall I bought a zoo pass and manage to go there a couple of times a month.

The pandas are a big attraction and often have long lines.  One of the advantages of going regularly is I can pop in for a quick visit if there's no line.