Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The bullshit. So tired of it. Former judge Roy Moore calling the five women liars who have related stories of him abusing them or asking them out on dates when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. And his supporters blabbering that these women are liars. A common statement is something like, "Why did these women wait 30 or 40 years to tell the public that Moore was a pervert?"

When my maternal grandmother was in her 80s she was riding in my mother's car and turned to her and told her that when she was a child her uncle Harrison had molested her. She asked my mother, "Did it make me a bad person?"

People who are molested often have complicated emotions about the experience of being molested. Seventy-some years after it happened, my grandmother felt guilt and shame for something a man 22 years older than her had done to her.

And you look at the reaction of these Moore supporters- calling these women liars. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to this? Those five women are so much braver than these mindless Moore followers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

 We headed north a fourth time. The first day in Payson and the second in Strawberry. Three sites each.

 Tyler, Mike, and Connie.

We then headed back to Young. The day after Puff died we stopped at the Cherry Creek Store and there were these little dogs running around. I picked one up, and then the other two ran over. It was so soothing having these little bundles of energy crawling over me, licking my face.


Tromping through the woods, past juniper, pinon pine, agave, the dreaded cat claw, and bear grass. Fewer sites in the areas we examined. Scary cliffs in some places. Hills to climb up and gullies to cross.

Bear grass.

I had brought along two wreath frames and Connie, Tyler, and I made wreaths. Tyler was amazed at how crafty we were.

Pinon pine, two types of juniper, and manzanita. 

Connie's wreath was mostly juniper with its bright blue berries.

Working on the wreath.


Mine was a mixture of pinon and juniper.

I'm going to add some pine cones and large holiday light bulbs.

We were unable to complete the area, have to go back for a few more days surveying.

Tyler, Mike, and Connie looking off into the distance.

We had a lot of fun- one night we played cards and watched horrid 1950s videos on Youtube. We also worked very hard. My legs are rather muscular now. Too bad my belly is so big too.

Puff. 1 April 2000 to 8 November 2017. His body finally gave out. He had been getting skinnier and started having problems walking. I had to go north for work and Kevin called me to tell me on Tuesday that Puff was very sick. I arranged for Kevin to take him to the vet the next day, and alerted the vet office that if Puff could not be helped, that he could be put down.


In some ways it was easier, being away and not having to be there. I know that is awful, but Puff has been an important part of my life for over 17 years. I did a Google search and see that he was mentioned on my blog 263 times, about 10 percent of the entries.

I went today to the vet and paid the bill. I'm having him cremated, I did not want to bury him in the yard and risk Buddy digging him up.

So long Puff. I love you.

A few days before Halloween I arrived late at Richard's house to attend his and Roger's pumpkin carving party.

All of the Jack-O-Lanterns.

I quickly disemboweled my pumpkin.

Mine, front left.

On Halloween night I had only one trick-or-treater. One. I couldn't believe it. 

I began work on my Offrenda (altar) for All Soul's Procession. I watched a couple of videos on how to make tissue paper flowers. Over the next few days I made a variety of flowers.

Tissue paper flowers.

I went to Home Depot and looked for something to make an arch. A worker suggested PVC pipe, which is quite bendable. I made a U, tied the ends with two twine lines. I then attached a fake pine garland, and then attached the paper flowers.

Completed arch.

On Saturday, Kevin vacated his room for the the next day and I set up the offrenda.


Above it is a set of photographs of friends who have died.

Tony, Bob, Donny, Sam, Jose, and Scott.

On the table are old photographs.


On the side bookshelf was a large bouquet of roses. On the way to the Procession guests hand out flowers to people. 


On Saturday morning I made gingerbread and sugar cookies. Chris came over and helped me decorate them.


Menu for party: hummous and pita bread, chops and pico de gallo salsa, sour cream and carmelized onion dip and potato chips, olives, spinokopita, and a lemon cake. (note for next year, skip the sour cream dip). The lemon cake was really, really good.


Anthony came down the night before and helped me set up for the party. He then helped me apply the sugar skull makeup.

Anthony helping out.

I spent most of the party doing other peoples' makeup.

Painting Elliot's face.

Richard and Hiram arrived, always nice to see them. The following photos were taken by Richard.

David and Anthony.

Mark and Fred.


We walked to the procession. The women getting the flowers were so happy. Eventually the Procession arrived and as always I was moved by the creativity and the remembrances by those friends and family members who have died.


And then I came home and quickly cleaned up since I had to head north for work again. Luckily, it wasn't too difficult. It was a very nice party.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Another field session, another eight days wandering through the woods

I forgot my boots and had to buy a new pair in Payson. On the second day I got a blister on my left foot. It grew terribly painful. Sometimes I made unattractive noises when I took the boots off or hit my foot in weird ways.

List of animals seen: elk, deer, jackrabbits, cottontails, blue jays, cattle, horses, llamas, and a couple of dogs.


18 sites visited this time. Sometimes you see artifacts (flaked stones and ceramics) first, and sometimes you see architecture.

Tyler stands at the west side of a structure.

Occasionally you see pretty scenery. But mostly you stare at the ground and stumble over manzanita or rocks.


One night Mike and I went to the Antlers and I had a salad with 1000, grilled cheese, and French fries. It was alright.


The last night I made mac and cheese with fried onions for supper, Mike and Tyler enjoyed this. I drank a whole bottle of cheap wine. It was nasty and at first I thought it had not affected me, but later realized I was a little buzzed.


The last day we looked out over the area to the east, where we have to go in the next session.

Mike and Tyler.

Of course, the excitement was on Saturday, the sixth day, when I was sauntering through the forest and was walking between two juniper trees and looked down. There was a bone. You see a lot of bones in the woods- elk, cattle, javelina, coyote.

This bone was different, it was the distal end of a right humerus. From a person. I looked at it again, yes it was human. I called Mike and Tyler on the walkie-talkie, "I have found something weird, you need to come over." They came over. Neither knew human bones. I decided to collect the bone, wrapped it in paper towel and put it in my back pack. Tyler found two small pieces that I put in a small plastic bag. We surveyed a little more while I puzzled over what to do. Finally I decided we should go back to Young (we have no phone reception where we are surveying) and 1). look at pictures of human humeri to verify it was in fact human, and 2). call someone, anyone.

The internet provided a photo and drawings that verified that yes, it was human. I called Sarah, I left messages with Denise, I called Connie who called Denise. Denise called me and told me to call 911. I called 911 and spoke to an operator, who called the Deputy Sheriff in Young, who called me back. He came over and I handed the bone over. We then took him out to the forest, met a Forest Service employee, and took them to the bone discovery site. Crime tape was put up. The deputy said that the bone might be from one of two missing hikers. The strange thing was that Chris had joked on Thursday that we might find the hiker and I said, no, that hadn't happened.

Back in Tucson I was called by the Gila County sheriff's office and chatted with a woman who said that they thought the bone was from one of three people. "Did I want to know the DNA results when they came back?" Of course I do.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Another field session done, eight days struggling through manzanita, cat claw acacia, and scrub oak. Searching the ground for traces of the past. We surveyed south of Payson and one day south of Strawberry.

South of Strawberry.

Easy to forget that it is fall when you are in Tucson, where it is still in the 90s and my car AC has died. But up north there are less subtle changes.

Fall colors.

The last flowers are out. In Strawberry some yellow flower made me sneeze terribly.

Purple aster.

Some of the juniper trees are loaded with light blue berries- very pretty.


But even amid the signs of fall there are signs of renewed life. Butterflies busy collecting food, little bunnies hopping around. And grasshoppers fucking.


At home on six days off. One day I got up and went out to feed Buddy and discovered the water heater was leaking. Had to buy a new one for $450. This was after I discovered my bedroom ceiling leaking due to water from the swamp cooler pooling near the scupper. So I bought asphalt patch stuff and coated places and filled in the low spot and after it dries the entire roof gets coated. Joys of home ownership.

Yesterday I dressed up for living history and was hot and sweaty. I had made lemon cupcakes and they were delicious. Afterward I got a pizza and salad and Kevin and Nate played dominoes. I eventually won.


Tomorrow back north for another 8-day, this time to Young. Another adventure.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Two dates after my 54th birthday, I traveled north with three co-workers to start my next project, a big, lengthy archaeological survey of National Forest land. They are thinning trees and bushes to help prevent forest fires from affecting three communities.

The terrain varies from rocky slopes to areas overgrown with manzanita, scrub oak, and super thorny mesquite.

Project area.

Over the course of seven days, 62 hours in the field, we walked 41.5 miles. At times my feet and legs hurt badly, but by the end that had mostly stopped.

Looking north toward the Mogollon Rim.

Lots of archaeological sites to document. A lot of small 1000-year-old farmsteads with single rock masonry rooms. Also present, quite a lot of rock art carved onto boulders.

No one really knows what the symbols meant to the people who carved them.

On the seventh day, a surprise find- a plane crash site. Scattered all over a west-facing slope in a large area were pieces of frame, aluminum skin, various parts, and aviation oil cans. 

Frame fragments.

We will be researching this to find out what happened to the plane.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mid-Life Crisis Road Trip 2017, days 15 to 21.

A woman at the campground had her cat in a stroller and chatted with me about our respective trips. She told me that that was beeweed and sure enough, there were plenty of bees on it.


I packed up and drove toward the visitor's center, stopping at one trail leading to some petroglyphs. A small cottontail posed for me.


The petroglyphs were made by the Fremont culture, roughly contemporaneous to the Hohokam here in southern Arizona.


At the visitor center I said hello to a stegosaurus. Like many kids, I was obsessed with dinosaurs when I was a kid.

You get on a little bus and it takes you up to the wall of fossils. The enclosing museum is very nice and up-to-date (and air conditioned!).

Replica skeleton.

Lot of bones visible, they are no longer exposing more. I had a little guide that I bought and gave it to the father of a boy, who was so excited because they had sold out.

Skull and cervical vertebrae.

After ward I went to Vernal, Utah and washed my clothes. I haven't been in a laundrymat since 1996.


I then drove to Salt Lake City and got a hotel room for two days. The airport Ramada. Avoid this place, it was gross. The windows are covered in see-through curtains. If you turn the light on, people walking down these rusty stairs can peek at you. The whole place was falling apart, the sidewalks cracked and buckled, cardboard patches next to AC units, nasty landscaping. A terrible Indian restaurant attached to it, the worst Indian food I have ever eaten. The "complimentary" breakfast was horrible.


On Saturday, August 26 (day 16) I went to the Family History Library and obtained my 4th great grandfather's will from England, in which he left my 3rd great grandfather his loom (he was a linen weaver). I walked around Temple Square and saw the LDS Temple, very grand.

The next day I went hiking with Jon up in the mountains overlooking Salt Lake City. It was very attractive.

Jon and Homer.

Afterward I drove west from Salt Lake City across the Great Salt Lake. The Great Salt Lake Desert is in fact very salty.

Great Salt Lake Desert.

I tasted it. And later on wished I had grabbed a plastic bag and bagged a sample.

Salty Homer.

I arrived in Reno, where I spent the night at Circus Circus. Casinos are depressing as fuck. No one looks happy pulling the handle or pushing the button on slot machines. I did have an excellent pizza there.

On August 28 (day 18) I drove to Lake Tahoe and spent a day with Kevin. It was nice to see him after two years. We took his two dogs on a long walk, and he made me vegetable kabobs for supper.

Homer and Kevin.

The next day, August 29 (day 19) I drove south to Yosemite National Park. There was a controlled fire within the park and another larger one outside. Going in, it was very smokey.

Crazy smoke.

I found a space in Porcupine Flats campground, set up my tent as ash fell on me.

The sun was red from smoke.

And of course I got bored and decided to go find a candy bar. The store to the west of Porcupine Flat was closed and there was a young couple sitting there, waiting for the bus. For the first time in my life I picked up hitchhikers (Anthony and Claire), and took them back to their vehicle, which was near the only other store nearby. They bought me an ice cream bar. It was fun talking with them. That night I could hear something sniffing around the campground near my tent, I shined my phone light out but could not see anything.

So I got up, had a PBJ sandwich, and then headed eastward toward Las Vegas on August 30 (day 20). I wanted to go through Death Valley National Park but I wasn't paying attention, and Google Maps decided to send me down a deserted road north of the park. Very pretty scenery.

Once again in Nevada.

 Most of my pictures don't show how lovely the wide open spaces of the great American west are. These antelope were nice enough to pose for me.

Antelope, somewhere in Nevada.

I arrived in Las Vegas only a few minutes before Jim and George got home. George made me a couple of very strong drinks. 

Jim, Homer, and George.

Hadn't seen them in a couple of years, so it was nice to catch up. They are the nicest guys.

And the next morning, after a couple of bowls of cereal, I got in the car and drove to Tucson. Buddy, Snowball, and Puff were delighted to see me, as was Doug. 

And there you have it, my 21-day road trip. It was lovely, even despite the lost wallet and Collin's totaled car (I gave him some money to use as a down payment for his next vehicle).


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