Monday, March 02, 2015

On Thursday I went to work and around noon mother called and told me she had thrown up and I told her to call her doctor. Around 2:00 Doug texted me to tell me she was throwing up and I had to finish up a volunteer project I was coordinating, so didn't get home until a little before 4:00 PM. I walked in and learned she had been throwing up since 8:00 AM. So we went to the emergency room and then she kept throwing up and they admitted her. Turned out her gall bladder was severely infected so it was removed yesterday.

 She is recovering at the hospital, very weak and sore. I am waiting to find out how long she will be there, then my sister is coming to help her out at home while I am at work. She will probably be going back to Michigan with her, since Mother isn't able to take care of herself anymore.

This morning she said that growing old was "for the birds." I told her the alternative was worse and she said it would only be worse for other people, not for her. Depressing.

It is a cold and rainy night here in Tucson. The house is quiet and the cats are wandering around, looking at me to entertain them. Life goes forward, steadily. I hope that someday I somehow escape the health problems my mother has endured. But you certainly cannot foresee the future.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Yesterday morning I watched as two holes were drilled at the historic ranch site. They will soon be building a structure over the old steam pump building.

1874 restored ranch house.

It is spring time in Tucson. While the rest of the country is freezing, it is in the 70s and 80s here.

Buddy scampers around the back yard, anxious for me to throw a tennis ball for him to run after. He is no good at playing fetch though, since he does not want to give the ball back.


The aloes are loaded with bright red flowers, it is sexy time for them.


I stayed home from work to take my mother to her speech therapy and physical therapy, but the first appointment was cancelled (and I wasn't told) and my mother was acting weird this morning, so I cancelled the physical therapy. She was shaking and walking in tiny steps. She didn't take her insulin on time and her blood sugar was super high. Sigh.

Not a lap puppy.

It is hard turning from being the child to being a parent to an elderly person. I am just worn out. My mother is just oblivious to everything. I do the cooking and cleaning, take her places, monitor her medicines, listen when she gets up in the middle of the night. Just worn out.


The cycle of life continues. There is a spring time and a summer, a fall and a winter. Mother is in winter right now.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I am a member of a non-profit group that does living history at the rebuilt corner of the Spanish fort in downtown Tucson. I normally do not participate in the living history events, but yesterday was the 103rd birthday of Arizona achieving statehood, and they had both Spanish Colonial and Territorial-era interpreters.

Blacksmiths at work.

The Presidio Park gets about 15,000 to 20,000 visitors a year- it is difficult to figure out the exact number because there is no entrance fee and people can wander in and look around at the displays at will.

Horno oven is heating up.

The Trust works to educate people about Tucson's history. It has been very successful, but it is also surprising how many people do not know the origins of our community.


The military has always been important here, from the days of the Presidio up to the present with Davis-Monthan.

And more soldiers.

I am currently supervising a project rebagging, analyzing, and preparing a report on a dig conducted between 1971 and the early 1990s by a college in Ohio. 

Dipping candles.

Yesterday's event was very successful. I stood outside and called out to passerbys to come on in. Some people were skeptical, "Why should we?" and I told them they would get to explore Tucson's history for free.

I need a better jacket.

Afterward, some of the people thanked me for inviting them in, the positive comments were great to hear.

The time machine worked.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mother is approaching 83 and it has become obvious that she cannot live by herself and needs to go into an assisted living facility. The health issues are becoming overwhelming. Yesterday I had to call 911 and have paramedics give her glucose intravenously. And then this morning her blood sugar went dangerously low because she got up at 3 AM, had breakfast, and took her insulin, which she isn't supposed to take until around 7 AM. I have seen and done things now that I never imagined I would have to do.

My sisters back in Michigan are going to find a place. My mother will not be happy about this, but what can we do? 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

It gets tiresome being grumpy all the time. Mother has numerous doctor's appointments. She has numerous pills. Getting her to do the things she is supposed to do (taking medicines at the right time, exercising, taking showers, etc) gets old. She doesn't want to be told what to do, but then forgets or refuses to do them. This morning she left my bedroom French door open and Puff got out. She has no common sense. Luckily Buddy didn't end up in the backyard. If he had gotten hold of Puff, Mother would be on the next airplane back to Michigan.

Last night I went over and collected Scott and we went to BKs for some Sonoran-style Mexican food.

Scott and I have known each other via the internet for over 10 years. Back in the old days he had a blog and that is how we became acquainted. He came to Tucson to visit his friend Julie, and so we had to hang out.

Of course we also had to discuss mutual acquaintances and fellow former bloggers. 

Afterward, I took him to a couple of Tucson's delightful homosexual bars. At Brodie's the bartender was a wholesome gentleman attired in underpants. People were putting coins in the jukebox to play banda music (lots of accordion and tuba, think polka). We chatted and stared at a cute guy with a beard. Later on we wandered over to Venture N. It was a good time.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

After 23 days mother has returned from her vacation in the hospital.

Buddy says hello.

Everything is returning to normal except for doctor's appointments and rehab sessions next week.

She (and I) will be busy for a while.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mother is recovering nicely. She will probably come home from rehab next week. Still needs to work on getting her strength back. They are exercising her like crazy at the rehab place.

I've been out running a dig last week and this week. Nice to be outside moving some dirt and exploring history. The downside- I come home so tired I really don't have the energy to do much.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Quick update. Mother is improving greatly.

She had a weird setback on Friday, very scary. But later that day she opened her eyes and I asked if she was there and she said yes.

On Saturday she had a very handsome nurse named Steve.


She was moved to a regular ward from ICU this evening. She might have some horrible bacteria common in hospitals, so I have to wear a gown. Since it was evening, does that make it an evening gown?

Mother can't wait to come home.

I'm out running a dig so I am exhausted. Last night I went to bed at 9 PM. Crazy!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Mother update. She is making remarkable progress. After the sedative wore off she was able to talk, answer questions, and tell the hospital chaplain I was an atheist. Everyone laughed.

I boasted to Elizabeth about our wonderful weather, and of course it rained a lot today. Buddy is inside now hanging out with her in the living room and making her laugh because he is such a goof.

I feel very relieved and I am hoping that Mother regains her strength quickly.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

On Monday night my mother told me she might have the flu. She asked for a thermometer and she had a normal temperature. I made her supper and around 10 PM she threw up a bit- unusual but about once or twice when she has been at my house that sort of thing had happened.

I am a light sleeper and awake when my mother moves around. Sometime after 1:30 AM Tuesday morning I heard her walking around. She was unsteady and had the appearance of having high blood sugar. I do not know how to make her tester work, and she seemed unable to work it. She asked me to put some insulin in a needle, which I was able to do on my second attempt. But she rapidly became more confused. I waited a short while, thinking that the insulin would work. Around 3:30 AM I called 911.

The paramedics came and loaded her into the ambulance and I followed to the hospital. They called me back in a half hour or so, asking me what had happened. She had a very high sugar count- 1078. The highest the emergency room doctor and nurse had ever seen. Mother was having difficulty breathing- panting, and was only partly lucid. They asked me if they could put her on a ventilator and she was coherent enough to agree. They sedated her and intubated her.

I had been able to hold it together until then. It is embarrassing to weep in front of people. When I pulled my self together I called my sisters and advised them what was happening. Mother was taken to ICU where the doctor explained she was in critical condition and had a 70 percent chance of survival. He also suggested I get one of my sisters to come out, and Elizabeth made reservations.

I live .6 miles from the hospital, so made trips back and forth and finally went to bed after getting no sleep. This morning when I went in she had stabilized and at 10 AM she had improved enough so that they decided to stop sedating her and take out the ventilator. By late afternoon she was squeezing my finger and by 6 PM she had started to talk a little, although still very drowsy. The nurse and doctor were amazed at how rapidly she is recovering.

Mother will probably have to be in the hospital for a while (a couple of weeks?) and may have to go to a rehab place to regain her strength and mobility, depending on how badly affected she is by being so sick. In any case, it was a scary experience.

Friday, January 02, 2015

We are having or three days of winter in Tucson. I have the outside plants covered. Buddy is sleeping in Doug's house. Outside the water freezes and I noticed a snowflake-like patch in a pot.


I don't have fancy central heat. There is a space heater in the living room that my mother has on 24 hours a day. She sits on the couch under a heating pad. It is currently 69 degrees and she is freezing. She complains about the cold. I pulled out the electric blanket and now she is huddled under it.


It has been a difficult six weeks. Every meal I cook is stressful. She is free with criticism, has no reserve about saying things that other people would not say. My mother has always been socially awkward, and that seems to be getting more pronounced as she ages.

So anyways. Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last day. I meant to get a haircut before my annual Last Day photo, but didn't manage that task.

Last day, 2014.

I dressed up and went to work and read through newspapers from 1884 and 1885, culling articles on saloons, deaths, undertakers, butcher shops, and coroner's cases.

I did not spend a lot of time reflecting on the last year. It has more ups and downs. Favorite times: field school, Egg Hunt party, road-tripping with Matt and seeing LeGrand, Jim, George, Mark, and Ted. Visiting with Forrest, Travis, and Colin. The times I have spent with Jesse and Craig.

I've got some work lined up in 2015, and a lot of volunteer stuff to do. I have to go to Michigan to visit the family, and I'm hoping for trips to Portland, DC, and of course, to NC to visit with the guys. 

I hope those people who read my blog have good memories from 2014. See you in 2015.

Monday, December 29, 2014

LeGrand and his boyfriend Dean were in town and LeGrand wanted to go on a hike so I took them to King's Canyon.

It is December and cool in Tucson, but I wore my shorts anyways and was glad that I did.

The walls of the canyon are lined with thousands of saguaro cacti, along with smaller numbers of barrel, fishhook, and pincushion cacti.

LeGrand and Dean.

We wandered along, LeLe dog running ahead. Towards the end of the wash I pointed out the rock art panels.

Click on photo and see if you can find the rock art.

I wrote a book, Rock Art in Arizona, a couple of decades ago, so I know that these images date to the Early Agricultural period (roughly 1200 BC to AD 50).

You see abstract geometrics, squiggles, grid patterns, stylized corn stalks, and human figures on rock art panels from this time span.


It was nice to get outside and see nature. I spend too much time inside typing away at the computer (just like I am doing now).


I attended a couple of Holiday parties- one at Rick and Pat's, the other at Richard and Roger's. This year it is just difficult to get in the mood. Drinks help.

This one is very strong.

Richard's Christmas Tree was very tall and I really liked it. I want to go out in the woods and pick out a tree in 2015.

Richard's tree.

My tree did not have a lot of presents. I purchased pink flannel pajamas, the complete Borrower's books, a spinning yarn book, and a miniature electric organ for Mummy. Doug got a jeep model and an old fashioned miniature pinball machine. I did not purchase gifts for Buddy, Puff, or Snowball.

Holiday decorations.

Christmas was marred by the death of Craig and Jesse's dog Chopper. He was a really nice dog, sweet tempered and lovable. I am very sad for the guys.


I purchased this topper ornament years ago at Linda Ronstadt's uncle's estate sale. I also put a bunch of 1940s-1950s Xmas cards on the tree, something I occasionally do. They are cute and most of them say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

This year I am the Grinch.

Craig and Jesse's Meyer lemon tree is over-loaded with lemons. So I picked some and I canned many jars of lemon curd.

Lemon curd cooking.

Onions were on sale so I purchased many and also made carmelized onions. 

Carmelized onions.

My meringue cookies burned so I took curd and onions to the company cookie exchange. I discovered people like the curd more than the onions.

The drama with the car continues. The insurance companies decided I was 100 percent at fault. So much bullshit. I guess my insurance goes up now. I figured out that in the 21 years I have had the same car insurance and 15 years house insurance, that I have paid about $50,000 in insurance. In that time I have replaced a windshield, a side window, and a back window. No other claims. And now the insurance goes up. Nice.

I was feeling poor and waited until payday to go buy a Holiday tree. Doug drove me over and with the Home Depot gift card I got for giving a lecture, I purchased one. They were down to their last trees so it was shorter than usual, but also much fatter and very heavy- which is apparently a sign that it is also fresher. I ended up paying $14.96 for it.

Came home, set it up, but the little colored lights on (they never show in the pictures). They took Mother to the bazaar, to see Patrick, to the library, and to the grocery store. She totters around in her little baby steps, clump-clump-clump goes her shoes. Terrible balance now and so uncoordinated. She has fallen twice since getting here. 

In the evening I put ornaments on the tree.


I only picked out the glass figure ornaments, and a few balls. 

Abominable is always my favorite.

Mother has her silver tree and some of my childhood toys are around it.

Mother's tree.

Honestly, I am just blase about the holidays this year. There is a lot of stress in my life. The cats are being extra needy- always wanting to sit on me. My cat hair allergies are crazed and have been for months. I wake up with swollen eyes. 

Sometimes it would be nice to have a carefree life like Buddy. Spoiled rotten. Getting fatter and not caring. Interesting things to bark at. That one human who gives tummy rubs so nice.


Sunday, December 07, 2014

I drove the trusty Ford Focus north to Jesse and Craig's House. We went to Thai food for supper.


Afterward we played games with Scott, Curtis, and Brad. 

I had brought along my box of crafting goodness and we spent several hours working on Holiday cards.

Craig sniffing Elmer's glue.

Jesse was very concerned about the glitter and so I did not use the sprinkle glitter, which would have coated every surface. Even the glitter pen caused a few errant glitter flecks to appear.

Blurry Jesse

I tried to do new themes this year and I ordered Jesse and Craig to make cards with a snowman theme. It was a fun time.

Some cards.

The Craig and Jesse card I made is upper left.

I took a nap, picked some Meyer lemons, and got in my trusty Ford Focus. At the 5-point intersection at Dunlap and Cave Creek I followed cars through the green light and a black truck magically appeared and ran into me.

I then was magically given the ticket ($211) and get to pay a $500 deductible to get the trusty Ford Focus back into minty green condition. The rear door is jammed shut (although the car insists it is ajar instead of a door).


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

So Facebook is a great tool to discover which of your acquaintances are racist scum. Last week, after the grand jury decision in Ferguson, I had to delete three gay men who I have never met in person. They were blabbering on and on about "thugs," the new code work for young African-American men. One of the three debated me and claimed he was not racist. Bull fucking shit.

A day or two later, a former archaeologist who now works as a police officer in Phoenix posted an image praising the death of Michael Brown. He deserved to die. I sent Cathy an email asking her why she would post such a vile image. Her response was something like, "I have freedom of speech, if you don't like what I have to say, defriend me."

Which I did. I have absolutely no tolerance for racist crap. The fact that Cathy is a police officer and had the gall to post racist garbage astounds me.

The Maricopa County and Phoenix police department are tainted by institutional racism. Maricopa County has spent millions in fines and payments due to race-based persecution. Seems like the department needs to do some sensitivity training for its employees.

Monday, December 01, 2014

It's that time of year. I pulled out the big bulbs, the one that remind me of Nice Grandmother's tree (I will never, ever have bubble lights or tinsel because those were always on Evil Grandmother's tree) and hung them up on the front porch.

Buddy came out afterward to inspect. He might get some tennis balls this year. No use getting him fake or real bones because he just goes and buries them somewhere, and never remembers where.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

On Friday morning I watched as a tiny backhoe dug trenches at a sensitive location. In the last trench a collared lizard appeared in the dirt and I caught it and carried it across the street to a safe location, away from the construction work.

Collared lizard.

Yesterday I took mother on the Modern Streetcar. We rode the entire route, getting off at 4th Avenue and 9th Street. I sent mother into a bookstore while I went up the street to the barber shop.


Then to the library and Safeway. For supper I made roasted Brussel Sprouts and heated up the last leftover Thanksgiving mashed parsnips and potatoes. Mother commented that the Brussel sprouts would be softer if they were microwaved. I reminded her that I do not have one of those microwave dohickeys.

I spent a lot of the time this weekend abstracting coroner's inquest cases. The last one I did was three men killed while cleaning out a cesspool, overcome by poisonous gases. What a horrible way to go.

I am trying to think of things to do with mother. She cannot walk very far. Stores are good, because she can push the cart around (helps with the walking). Have to get creative.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Catching up. My mother purchased this light-up Santa head to decorate my house. I need to figure out how to hang it up.


I'm feeling poor this year so I am making canned goods for holiday presents. The first thing I have made is apple-onion-fresh sage chutney. Tastes like Thanksgiving.

Mother did not like it.

I do not like the fact that I apparently have a dental caries on the labial side of my right 2nd maxillary molar. Last Sunday it hurt very bad. I have my regular appointment with the dentist next Monday. I have also been grinding my teeth due to stress. Sigh.

For Thanksgiving lunch I tried something new, a chocolate flourless torte. 

Looks pretty while I am mixing the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate and butter mixture.

Finished torte.

Buddy kept me company while I cooked.

My floor needs to be refinished badly.

Also made gluten free cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and parsnips, and cranberry-pineapple-pecan sauce.

Gluten-free stuffing.

I pulled out the 1909 wedding china. I need to buy some wineglasses, I am down to three due to breakage.

Table setting.

Cooking for my mother is difficult. She has gotten so picky, I agonize over what to make her because she hates so many things. The other night I asked her is she liked supper and she said, "Well, it was filling." She has no filter and blurts out whatever she thinks. My feelings get hurt, a lot. It has made my life stressful.

So I was pleased she liked everything I cooked for Thanksgiving lunch. She even liked the leftovers. 

Tomorrow we are going to ride the streetcar. That will be an adventure.


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