Wednesday, August 09, 2017

I traveled back to Michigan. I drove from Detroit to Michael and Greg's house in Bay City and we met for the first time in person. Michael was a blogger back in the old days. We had a very nice visit.

Then I drove north to Kingsley and arrived at Mother's house. Right before the 4th of July she fell and broke her ring finger. Apparently there was a small stroke involved. Her speech is affected, she mixes her pronouns and has a hard time thinking of certain words.

On the porch.

Mother has a horrible 3-pound poodle, Darby. The dog pees everywhere, it is gross. And it likes to molest Buddy cat.

Darby being romantic.

There were lilies blooming at Susan's house. I hadn't been back in August for a long time. The corn was growing tall.

Tiger lily.

I could hear sandhill cranes hooting every morning. I also saw turkeys, Canadian geese, cardinals, deer, a raccoon, and a skunk.

Sandhill cranes.

My Amish brother came north to Sault Ste. Marie where I went to attend my 35th high school reunion.


I haven't been up there since 2002, when I attended my 20th high school reunion. Nothing really has changed in that town. The K-Mart has closed. The downtown seemed really dreary.

I had a great time at the reunion, catching up with people. I look nothing like I did back in 1982.

Bill, Mike, Melvin, Tom, Tom's wife, and Bill's wife.

Pennie, Homer, and Missy.

The reunion was held at the American Legion, right along the St. Mary's River. A 1000-ft ore ship passed by us after passing through the lock that separates Lake Superior from Lake Huron.

Ore freighter.

Mike and Mike.

The next morning I got up and went down to the locks to watch a couple of ships pass through. There is a 22 foot difference between the two lakes, and the ships go into the lock and the water is let out or in to raise or lower the ships.

Passenger vessel.

My brother and I drove back down and I handed him my camera to take a picture of the Mackinac Bridge.  

Mackinac Bridge.

Back south I went and spent a couple of nights at Susan's house. I slept in the Fillmore bed, which once belonged to my great great great grandparents. They died in the early 1890s.

Fillmore bed.

The last day Mother and I went on a drive. We went past the house near Buckley where we lived between 1974 and 1979. The house has been fixed up a lot since we lived there, it looks much nicer. We moved to Sault Ste. Marie when my father had his mid-life crisis. The only good thing about that was that I was able to go to a much better school.

Buckley house.

Back in Arizona I got sent down to monitor heavy equipment along a creek near Nogales. Here I am waiting for them to pull a stuck bulldozer, something that took 6.5 hours.


I had to stay there until almost 10 PM. I watched from a distance the heavy equipment. Fire flies blinked around me.

Heavy machinery.

Today I picked the four peaches from my peach tree (last year I had only one). This is the peach tree that grew from pits I tossed into my compost area. They aren't quite ripe, so I will be taking them along with me on my road trip that I am taking on Friday.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

I've had a mental list of things that I have always wanted to do. Today it would be called a "bucket list," but I'm not really fond of that phrase. So far I have done the following:

1). Become an archaeologist.

2). Have a letter in the New York Times.

3). Have a book in the Library of Congress (to date, I have eight plus a book in which I have a chapter).

4). Go see the island of Santorini and visit the site of Thera. In 1972 my mother showed me a National Geographic article about the village, buried by a volcano, and that started me wanting to be an archaeologist.

5). Buy a house. I still owe $43,000 on it though.

6). Soon I will be seeing a total eclipse of the sun.

There are some things I haven't done yet.

A). Visit Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Oplontis.

B). Find out who were the parents of James Ransom and Ebenezer Fillmore.

C). Go to Africa and see elephants and rhinos in the wild.


Monday, July 10, 2017

25th Anniversary. Today marks 25 years of working for the same archaeology company. Over the last quarter century I have dug at Spanish presidios and missions, Territorial period downtown blocks, graves from historic and prehistoric cemeteries, analyzed 1000s of artifacts, researched buildings and dead people, reconstructed the past.

A couple of years ago someone said to my face, "We can never know anything about the past." Well, that certainly isn't true. The discoveries I have made over the last 25 years has helped change what we know about the people who have lived in southern Arizona over the last 4,000 years.

I wrote a blog post for our company website about what the first 25 years of my career as an archaeologist has meant to me. It is actually one of the better things that I have written lately.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

The summer continues. Fires up on Mount Lemmon, hellish heat. At night I spend a few hours on the couch in front of the little window AC unit. The cats come and sit next to me. Poor little Puff is so skinny and he demands I sleep on my right side so he had use my arm as a pillow. If I don't, he cries loudly. I don't get much sleep lately.

The Fourth of July was on a Tuesday. I made vanilla ice cream. Then climbed up on the guesthouse roof and watched the explosions of the city-fired fireworks and the ones my neighbors were lighting. So many loud booms.


Afterward, I took the ice cream next door to Pete and Rose's and they and their friends enjoyed it. 

Now it is the weekend and my house is hot. Have to figure out something to do to cool off. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The heat is hellish here, 115 yesterday, 111 predicted for today. Last year the same thing happened. The monsoon hasn't started yet, but the humidity is starting to creep up.

I have my fourth article in American Ancestors magazine. I have also completed two newspaper transcription books for the genealogy society back in Michigan. I'm busy working on the next one.

First page of my article.

I drove north to Phoenix last week to go to the State Archives and finish up some research. was successful. On Thursday night and Friday morning I made chocolate mayonnaise cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting, lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, and a hummingbird cake with a lemon glaze, then vanilla and chocolate ice creams for two co-workers who have retired. Strange to see people I have worked with for 18 and 20 years leaving the company. Then on Sunday I drove up to Flagstaff for the night before going to Fossil Creek the next morning to take the Forest Service archaeologist to some of the sites we recorded. So hot. 

Agave bloom.

I got back home and saw a juvenile hawk in the neighbor's yard. There is a huge pine tree in the yard across the street and young fledglings will jump out of the nest if it gets too hot. The poor thing was busy panting and so I went and caught it. I was watering my orange tree and basically forced the hawk to drink water, which it did. After posing for a picture (it was surprisingly docile), I put it back in the yard beneath the pine tree. Its parents are busy taking care of it again.

Juvenile hawk.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Buddy is all smiles, but he will be frowning when he gets a bath soon.

Buddy and Homer.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Last weekend was the festival at the Mission Garden. I worked my non-profit's booth, but had time to wander around the garden and see things. There are a lot of hollyhocks. They remind me of my childhood in Buckley, where every year I'd pluck one of every color of hollyhocks and press them between pages of old Sears catalogs. I wonder whatever happened to them.


While I was at the booth, people were busy cutting wheat and putting it on a giant piece of canvas. They then had a pair of horses stomp over the wheat, separating the heads from the stalks. I wondered aloud what would happen in one of the horses pooped in the grain, and almost immediately afterward one did. I don't plan on eating any of that wheat.


Every day when I come home from work, Buddy is super excited to see me. I sit on the porch and rub his tummy. And then I get to clean up his poop. He certainly makes a lot of that.


Summer has arrived and I am watering things. I mostly have a black thumb, so I have a few potted plants, some bushes, a hackberry that sprouted in the front yard, and the trees. One of my two lemon trees looks like it will actually produce lemons this year.


To save money I gave myself a haircut. On Saturday night I worked the door of game show. This was the second time. The woman who has been doing it for a long time snapped at me a couple of times. That was a tad annoying.

Game show.

My next genealogy book is 300 pages of newspaper transcriptions from 1866 to 1869. I am busy entering the names for the index into an Excel file. I just finished page 140 tonight, almost half done (90 pages over the weekend). I'm hoping to complete it in the next couple of weeks.

And then there is the crap show of our presidential politics. Crazier and crazier. What will happen next? I remember watching Nixon resign in August 1974, at the house in Buckley with all the hollyhocks. Wonder when I will get to see Orange resign. Hope he takes closet case Pence with him.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Thirty years ago, in May 1987, I was working at the worst job I have ever had- taking care of the journal collection at the University of Michigan Business School. After graduation, I had no clue how to find an archaeology job, and of course the professors didn't know either. So I went to work at the library, replacing a woman with a learning disability. What took her eight hours to do took me four hours. And then I had to look busy. All while making $5.19 an hour and being nagged because I did not come to work dressed in professional business attire. What a joke.

I had stopped by the Anthropology Department and saw a job listing and applied for it, knowing full well it was pointless. And one day I came back to work from lunch and there was a message, "call the National Park Service." So I ran home and did and was hired to go work at Fort Union Trading Post, National Historic Site. The next day I turned in my resignation, my immediate boss Melody congratulating me (her husband was an archaeologist) and the head of the library making a nasty face because they were going to have to find someone to replace me. Whatever!

I went home to Sault Ste. Marie and my parents drove me out to Williston, North Dakota in the truck with a homemade camper on it. We got there a day early and drove up to Canada. We passed Fort Union and I wanted to stop, but of course my father (who hated archaeology) said we would stop on the way back, and made sure we drove a different way.

The next day people met up and I managed to invite myself to live with Melanie, Becky, Dana, and Colleen in a house trailer in Fairview, Montana. $28 a month for each of us. We were getting paid $7.11 an hour, so after half a day out month's rent was paid.

We were divided up into four crews. Dave Ford was my crew chief and Melanie, Pat, Scott, Jeannie, and Matt were my other crew members. We first worked next to a bastion, uncovering the wall and post holes.

Lunch time under the ramada. Dave Ford in cowboy hat. Don on the left. Eddie on the right. Bill the boss in white teeshirt and shorts.

SO MUCH FUN! Going to work was exciting. You could find pretty beads and sometimes other cool things. And on the weekends we went places. One weekend we went to see the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, where you could see the depressions where houses had stood back in the 1820s-1830s, before the village was ravaged by small pox.

Wallie, Matt, Martin, Pat, Becky, Homer, ???, Lynelle, Bill, and Blaine at Knife River.

Becky was from Akron and was a lot of fun to hang out with. 

Becky and Homer.

 Not sure where this picture was taken. Everyone wore short shorts back then!
Becky, Matt, and Homer.

One weekend we drove north to Wynyard, Canada to attend the Wynyard Kinsmen Chicken Chariot Races.
Homer, Melanie, Matt, Wallie, and Jeanie.

 Over the summer we cleared two of the four sides of the fort, uncovering walls and a bastion. Melanie is standing in front of the reconstructed Bourgeois House, which had been dug up the year before. The rock foundation of a bastion is behind her.


 Pat lived in Williston. He was busy working on a family history book in his apartment. Sometimes we would drive the 45 miles to Williston to get a Dairy Queen blizzard.

Melanie, two kids, and Pat.

We worked with a lot of volunteers. Laurene was there a lot and she still sputters about the time I reached into her screen and pulled out the only crucifix found at the site.


I got a lot of skill working at the dig, discovered I was very good at archaeology. I developed a lot of self confidence that summer, something I had never really had (thanks to my abusive father).

Dana, Scott, Laurie, and Becky at the back gate area.

The coolest thing I got to dig that summer was part of a cellar filled with things discarded in the 1840s. A gold leaf-decorated decanter, bottles, clay pipes, and a pregnant wolf were among the items I found. Melanie dug the other half and found beaded moccasins.


Matt was nearby digging a drain. For weeks. He hated historic period archaeology. He liked to wear short shorts.


We dressed up for the Rendezvous, when re-enactors camped out next to the fort. 
Homer, Melanie, Laurie, and Eddie.

I'm still friends with many of the people I met that summer. I would eventually analyze animal bones from the dig for my Master's Thesis. It seems amazing how a few months affected my life.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I really hate drama. I do not know how the idiots in the White House can stand going to work when it is all drama-mofo drama-more mofo drama, every single mofo day.

It is pretty obvious that we have a Manchurian Candidate situation going on. Donald Trump is a traitor. Back in the old days, back when Republicans were patriotic, any hint of collusion with Russia would get you hauled in front of Congress and forced to explain your actions. Not anymore. Apparently being a traitor is fine and dandy.

Anyways, every day just seems like a train wreck and it just gets tiresome. 

Sunday, May 07, 2017

I planted some zinnia seeds back in January or February. Three or four came up. Here is the first one to bloom.


They remind me our gardens back in Michigan. 

Friday, May 05, 2017

Catching up.

I skipped the annual egg decorating and egg hunt party. For several reasons including my busy schedule and being somewhat grumpy. I did invite Kamron over to decorate cookies and then Dino stopped by and I made him decorate one.

Egg Day Cookies.

And then back north traipsing through the woods. And finding many sites and occasionally seeing some wildlife,


Gopher snake.

The scenery along Fossil Creek can be very lovely, as long as I forget that I just walked three hours in to see it and have to walk all the way back out again.We had to scramble up and down some truly scary slopes. In the picture below I am clutching the rocks to keep from falling down. Unpleasant.

Several hundred feet up.

We also had to wade across Fossil Creek in several places. I took off my pants once to keep them from getting wet.

Remnant of a dam.

Lots of wildflowers blooming, I really liked this perky cactus.


Along the endless trail was some fun rock art, including people holding hands. What you cannot see in the picture is someone named Oscar scratched his name across the image. According to a previous survey, this happened before 1987. Vandals suck.

Rock art.

Paul and Jon came over and we played cribbage and Mexican train dominoes.

Paul and Jon.

I won the last game of dominoes.

Mexican train.

For the annual meeting of the non-profit I am president of I made a chocolate mayonnaise cake with chocolate meringue frosting, a gluten free carrot cake (Namaste brand spice cake mix) with vanilla cream cheese frosting, a lemon meringue pie, and a coconut cream pie. All but two cake slices were eaten up.

Cake and pies.

Then back north to finish the survey. I managed to lose my new glasses and my compass. I am a clutz during surveys.

Tyler, Connie, and the Clutz.

We had our last lunch sitting on boulders next to the river watching the fish. I stuck my hand in and two fish grabbed my fingers. I almost screamed.

Apache trout?

Rob was driving from San Francisco to Oklahoma City and spent the night in Tucson. We went to Rosas and had Mexican food and caught up. Nice to see him and we had a fun time.


Every afternoon I come home from work and Buddy is excited to see me. He usually hates having his picture taken, so apparently I caught him in a good mood couple of days ago.

Happy Buddy.

Swamp coolers are going. Jeffrey gave me his old one and Kamron came over and helped me hoist it onto the roof. It is very effective, if I leave it on my house goes down to 55.


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