Saturday, July 18, 2015

Remember when people took slides and forced you to sit through boring slide shows of their summer vacation?

 Road trip 2015:

On 3 July, I drove up to Phoenix and hung out with Taco until Craig came home and stayed at his place. Taco growled at me and then decided he actually loved me and wanted to sit on my lap. The next morning I drove north to Las Vegas.

On the way I stopped at Hoover Dam. The water is very far down from its usual levels due to the drought.

Hoover Dam.

I was actually more impressed by the amazing bridge that was constructed post 9-11 next to the dam, to handle the traffic that used to run across the top of the dam.

Note the smudge which appeared on the first couple of days of pictures on my camera.

I attended Ted and Mark's Redneck 4th party, wearing a costume I created.

Redneck patriotic Homer.

I stayed at the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas. Would not recommend it.

On 5 July I drove to Yosemite. Once you get off the Interstate the scenery becomes amazing and there were very few fellow travelers.


I had lunch at the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, Nevada. No onion rings this time. I stopped on the way out at a famous motel.

I did not stay here.

I took lots of landscape photos, but then after you look at them you wonder why.

Mono Lake.

At Yosemite, I stayed in the Porcupine Flat campground ($12 a night, but they got $15 because I did not have change). The next morning I got up and drove down into the valley early in the morning and looked at the enormous cliffs.


Nothing was open because it was so early, but that was alright.

Me at Yosemite.

I then drove north to Lake Tahoe. The route took me high into the mountains- at one spot over 9000 feet. Beautiful, breathtaking scenery.

I arrived at Kevin's house and we took Blue and Koa for a nice walk.

Kevin and Blue.

Later we went to see Lake Tahoe, which was gorgeous.

Lake Tahoe.

While Kevin worked the next day, I entertained the dogs, read a book, and bought stuff to make cheesy corn burritos and pico de gallo salsa.

On Wednesday, 8 July I got in the trusty Ford Focus and drove to the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, where Matt is a facilities intern. He lives in a cute little house in the woods. I really liked meeting the people there, including his friend Alana who was a lot of fun.

Matt's house. He built the deck.

OAEC is a wonderful place where people can come learn about organic farming, permaculture, woodworking, how to run a non-profit, and other things. The interns and staff cook delicious vegetarian meals. I ate plums and a peach right off the tree. The plant life was gorgeous and I got to see deer two or three times a day.

Flower in the garden, distant relative of artichokes, I think.

On Thursday, while Matt was at work, I picked blackberries and raspberries from wild and domesticated bushes.


I also went up to the pond and lay in the hammock.


The water lilies were beautiful- pink, yellow, and white.

Water lily.

That night, Matt helped me make a shortbread with blackberries. I had made a version of this at home, and vaguely remembered the recipe. We used too much sugar, I think, it was very sweet. But it was rapidly devoured.

Blackberry shortbread.

Matt has Fridays off so we went on a drive to see things. We stopped at the Pacific Ocean, which has a lot of water in it.


At Bodega Bay, we drove past the schoolhouse (now a home) used in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds.

We were not attacked.

At another ocean spot, we stopped and looked at pretty rocks.

Matts next album cover.

The vegetation along the coast is so different, of course, from Tucson.

Yellow wildflower.

The next day we went to the Armstrong Redwoods. They were alright, perhaps a little touristy. I would skip it. We went to Guernville and had bizarre Korean food and then to the RRR bar and hung out with Matt's friend John. 

The next day we went to a different redwoods grove near Occidental, whose name now escapes me. This place was awesome, the trees enormous.

Another album cover.

We went to the beach near Goat Island and saw harbour seals enjoying naps.

Harbour seals.

A little baby seal was so cute I wanted to seal-nap it. I don't think Puff or Snowball would like it.


I showed Matt how to make the famous chocolate mayonnaise cake with cream cheese frosting. The cake did not rise as much as it normally does, but it was delicious and quickly disappeared. The people at OAEC don't often make desserts, so I am guessing is was a special treat.

Monday we went and saw Jurassic World with Matt's friend Allen, after eating at a Puerto Rican restaurant in Santa Rosa. 

Finally on Tuesday morning it was time for me to go, so I drove south to Sequoia National Park. I saw a cute brown bear along the road, unfortunately being hounded by tourists. I did not get out of my car, not wishing to add to its stress.

I slept (poorly) in my tent that night and got up early and drove to Kings Canyon and wandered around Grants Grove. The picture below does not clearly express how absolutely enormous these trees are. One is over 300-feet-tall. 


I sat on a bench looking at one of them for a while, until I realized pine cones were falling down and smacking the ground very hard. I decided that would hurt.

On the way out a pair of deer looked at me.

One of the deer.

I drove to Riverside, spent the night, and then drove back to Tucson, arriving home on 15 July. What a lovely trip. 

And Puff won't leave me alone for a second. He was very upset that I went away for so long.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

BANG! I was lying on the couch and suddenly a lot of loud bangs against the window. I looked out the front door and was amazed to see enormous hail hitting the ground, some about one-inch in diameter.


Luckily, no windows were broken. It was very exciting.

At the moment I am making a big batch of carmelized onions to can and give away as presents on my upcoming road trip. My house is extra hot and sticky.

Monday, June 29, 2015

I'm featured in this segment of Arizona Illustrated, discussing what Tucson was like in 1776:

Well my excavation went well. We had a press day on Wednesday and I appeared on live television three times and did not make any major flubs.

Among the things we found during the last week was a dog burial. We located quite about three dogs and probably a dozen cats. And lots of dead chickens.


I made a nectarine shortbread from Martha Stewart's Living magazine. It was delicious and fattening.

17 tablespoons of butter.

And then it was Friday, June 26th. Hey, the second anniversary of being made single! And I checked my phone and discovered that the Supremes had decided that us gay folks should be equal. What a lovely sentiment. I decided to go home to celebrate.

Waiting for the street car.

A rainbow hung above Tucson. 


I ended up hanging out with a friend and had a lot of gin and tonics. It was a great night to be gay.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Last Saturday we played pool volleyball. I made a white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and strawberry buttercream filling. Everyone really liked it.

The guys.

Third week of the dig. I worked last Sunday with Dan and by Thursday we completed stripping the site. The various pits and postholes are marked in white paint.


Along the north side we found a well. The upper fill was broken bricks. Dan dug below and found trash-filled earth, containing a lot of broken crockery (unusual for Arizona), dishes, and some other junk. 

Upper portion of well filled with bricks.

Nearby is a long, rectangular pit that contains a lot of artifacts (but mostly nails and tin can pieces). Tyler did find a really cool stoneware ink bottle with a preserved paper label.

Carter's Writing Fluid.

Tyler was also digging another pit and found a cat burial.


In other news, SO HOT! It was above 104 all week, peaking at 108 or so. Nasty. I could not believe how much I sweated.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

I went to Swank to get my haircut and I had a new barber who surprised me by charging a lot.

Expensive grooming.

My latest archaeology dig began last week. Another downtown block, this one will be a nice hotel, replacing a parking lot and a brick building that had been so heavily altered it no longer had any historical integrity.

After a few days we had stripped about one quarter of the project area, exposing some walls, a 1930s gas station, and a variety of pit.

The gas station is on the left foreground. The wall to the right of the red flags was built between 1889 and 1896. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

A couple of pits contained trash discarded by a 1930s automobile repair business.

An engine block is among the various auto parts.

The first few days the sun wore me out. I came home and lay down and felt the heat leaving my body.


Wednesday afternoon I went over to the office and as I was coming back a little dog was running in the road, cars swerving to avoid it. I stopped, ran after it, and she came to me when I called her. I took her to the Humane Society but they were closing. They verified she did not have a chip. So I brought her home and she spent the night with me.

Homer and Doggy.

Buddy hated her with a passion and tried to attack her. Naughty. On Thursday afternoon I took her back to the Humane Society and they said she would be quickly adopted if the owner did not claim her.

Saturday I attended a concert at the Presidio Park with Jeffrey and was amazed at Gabriel Ayala's guitar playing. It was a successful event. This morning I went back over and helped clean up and put away things. I then went back over and watched the demolition of the building. The big machinery made the building disappear into a pile of rubble quickly.


Mac n cheese for lunch. I had to wash my silverware after discovering a cockroach had been in the silverware drawer. Another HUGE one was in my bathroom cupboard. So gross. I guess it is that season.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I've been following the Duggar molestation story. This family has always seemed creepy to me. I've never seen the reality show that the family stars in (I don't have fancy cable). But I've read about the family's treatment of women as vaginas, the anti LGBT crap the parents and their son Josh have spouted. These have suggested to me that there wasn't something quite right with them.

If you had asked me I would have thought it would be the father that sexually abused the daughters. It would not have occurred to me that the brother would be doing it, but then I am naive about these sort of things. Josh Duggar had been a rising star among the fundamentalists, working for the Family Research Council, speaking at the March 2015 anti-gay marriage rally in Washington, D.C.  Of course, now the fundies are all scrubbing their websites of mentions of him and the rest of his family (although the NOM website still mentions the family five times).

What is really weird is to see the fundamentalist Christian response to the sexual molestation. On the family's Facebook page and the TLC network Facebook page, there are literally hundreds of people demanding that the reality show be put back on. Josh has confessed and repented, so the show should be on the air again. The molested girls? They are either ignored or it is claimed that they forgave their brother, therefore the show should be aired again.

Some sample comments:

Julie Anna Allen: I dont understand why the devil attacks those who are on God's road but he attacking your family hard right now. Praying for you guys.

Beverly Hope Ruttschaw: It makes sense that the only wholesome family on TV would be under attack by satan.

Joan Barto: Full support and prayers for your family!! No-one is immune.to scandal ...we all make mistakes!! Unfortunately you have people who want to.see you fail....I remain a dedicated Duggar fan and look forward to the joy you all bring to my life with your show. 

Debbi Utter Howard: I support your family. My heart especially goes out to Josh & Anna right now. I wish he hadn't resigned his position with FRC. Josh was a kid. He made mistakes like many kids and confessed, sought help, turned to God and has had a productive adult life. 

Kayla Willemkens: Praying for your family. I love the show and hope it doesn't get cancelled over this. I praise Josh for coming forward about it after it happened and for the family for getting him help. True Christ believers will forgive and unfortunately there are many who will believe everything that comes out about this regardless if it's truth or not. I continue to support this family and their show.

It is becoming clearer to me why there is so much physical and sexual abuse in Christian households. All the perpetrators have to do is "repent," and their victims have to shut the hell up, because their God has told them to.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Craft night. 

 My friend Mike came over and we went to Rosa's for supper. Then we returned to my estate and made decorated sugar cookies.

First I had him pick out cookie cutters. Then I showed Mike how to roll out the dough and we filled three trays with cookies. The third tray was half-burnt when I took them out, but we still had about two dozen cookies to decorate.


While the cookies were baking and cooling, we made a simple frosting with powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Then we colored six batches (along with an uncolored white batch), and put the frosting in plastic baggies to squeeze out. 


Mike said it had been years since he had made sugar cookies.


We had a good time and were quite creative.

Mike made the "Bacon" pig cookie.

I like my zebra and turtle cookies.

Afterward I helped Mike with his family tree. Discovered that Italians can be difficult to trace. It was a fun night. I need to have more craft nights.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What have I been up to? A lot and not a lot.

Have a dig starting next week. In my spare time I have been rebagging artifacts from a field school from the 1970s. Lots of nails, tin cans, and olive green bottle fragments. An occasional cool artifact. The volunteers I am working with are plugging away and we should be done soon.

I became president of a non-profit and I find it is a thankless task. Perhaps I am not made out to be a president. At this point in my life I do not need the stress.

I made one-pot caprese spaghetti tonight for supper. Last night I made eggplant parmagiana (using mozzarella cheese instead). I ate too much and tonight my shorts feel too tight.

I watch 1960s and 1970s TV shows while rebagging artifacts. The writing for shows like Wonder Woman, Bionic Woman, and the Lucy Show were so bad. How did we not notice this at the time?

I'm planning a road trip to Las Vegas to see Jim, George, Mark, and Ted; to Lake Tahoe to see Kevin, and then to rural California to see Matt. This will take place in July, perhaps for two weeks.

And so on.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

My boss found a little abandoned puppy in the parking lot of his non-profit. The puppy is so cute.

Unnamed at the moment.

He likes to give little kisses and then he wants to chew on you. I hope Buddy isn't mad because I let Puppy sit on my lap.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I wore myself out working on the Annual Meeting and lay in bed with a cold for a few days, feeling all of the delightful things people with colds feel. But by Saturday I had mostly recovered and Kevin arrived to visit.

That afternoon we went out to San Xavier Mission and ran around in the few minutes before the church closed. Afterward we took the streetcar downtown and had supper at La Indita and then came home and hung out.

Kevin at San Xavier del Bac.

The next morning I made pancakes with carmelized bananas and cheesy scrambled eggs and then we went to King's Canyon for a hike. It was a beautiful day and very few people were about.

King's Canyon.

The palo verde trees were blooming like crazy, big splotches of yellow everywhere.

Looking east.

We saw several herds of young deer. The second group was very curious and watched us as we approached.

Mule deer.

Definitely the least shy deer I have ever seen in Arizona.

Hello humans!

Kevin was impressed by the enormous saguaros.


The last of the wildflowers were blooming, helped out by the thunderstorm we had the previous night.

Unknown flower.

The cacti are still blossoming. There is one particular kind with long, skinny arms. It blooms in red, orange, and yellow- very attractive.

Red cactus.

We wandered off the trail and climbed a hill, then went up another hill thinking we were on a trail but it turned out to be an animal path.

Kevin capturing the Sonoran Desert.

I did really well, considering how sick I had been a few days earlier.


We made sandwiches and drove to Mount Lemmon. Kevin noticed a truck that had driven by had snow on it. The weather report had said it was in the 40s. I was not expecting to see winter weather.

Sprinkling of snow.

At about 7,500 feet suddenly there was snow, a lot of snow. It was awesome, suddenly it was like Christmas time all over again.


We were above the clouds and here and there some snow was falling.


We ate lunch sitting in the car, watching the Mexican kids playing in the snow piles. 

I didn't want to leave.

Supper at BK's. I wanted Kevin to try the genuine Sonoran-style food. He really liked it, including the Sonoran hotdog. Then I said, "Let's go watch the sunset at Gate's Pass."

It was cold enough for me to wear a sweater, probably last time until Fall.

We sat for an hour watching the colors.

Kevin and red cactus.

It was very dramatic.


At home we had gin and tonics and talked for hours. So much fun.

The next morning I took the day off from work. Decided to go down to Madera Canyon. A beautiful drive up into the mountains and then a nice hike.

Mount Wrightson.

We saw some jays, more deer, and later on listened to a male turkey gobble excitedly.

Kevin and Homer.

Madera Canyon is known for its birds. What impressed me was the enormous diversity of plant life.

Madera Canyon.

Napped in the afternoon and then I took Kevin to Cafe Desta for Ethiopian food. So good. The next morning he drove off to the Grand Canyon for another adventure. I'll be seeing him again this summer when I go on my road trip to see Jim and George and Matt.


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