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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Time seem strange, my routine is different hiding out at home.

I drove over to Matt's workplace and he gave me a box of gloves. We stood and talked, he still has to go to his office and people there are not behaving correctly. He is very worried.

I took the gloves up to Robert to wear at the convenience store. We stood and chatted for a while, standing on opposite sides of the car. He is also worried.

Afterward I came home and did things. Don't ask me what they were, they just seemed to run together.

Now I am watching episodes of Gilligan's Island to make me forget the fact that about 1,000 people died in the last 24 hours.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

My PC is probably 10 or 11 years old and it is getting full. I guess 66,000 photos and many files will do that. I attempted to compress the computer and deleted a bunch of files. I will have to delete a bunch more in my efforts to make it go a little faster and to allow me to view PDFs (won't let me now).

I just put up the small holiday lights on my front porch. At night they will be a pretty thing to see and maybe cheer someone up a little. I certainly need the cheer.

Governor Ducey has "locked" the state down. His idea of doing so is pretty pathetic. Nail salons and hair dressers are ESSENTIAL services. As of today 1,289 people in the state have tested positive for Covid-19 and 24 have died. We are at the stage that the entire US was 20 days ago.

Yesterday 807 people died from it. And the government finally admitted the current estimates are that between 100,000 and 240,000 people will probably die in the next two weeks. Meanwhile conservative people like Rush Limbaugh are saying it is a hoax, that people aren't really dying and that the hospitals are empty. I hope he gets it.

Monday, March 30, 2020

I made a list and went to Safeway. I did not bring re-usable bags because they are not allowing them. I have a contained of wipes in the car and I took two in with me, wiping the cart handle. I kept re-wiping as I went through the store.

I genuinely felt scared in the store. People coming close to me. In the cheese section a woman was rifling through various Mexican cheeses, taking them down and putting them back. Luckily, I was not getting that sort of cheese.

At the check-out Crystal was working. A plexiglass shield separates the cashiers from the customers, not much protection. She has a small boy with asthma. She is a saint for working around people who are doing irresponsible things.

When I came home I carefully washed my hands. I did not wipe down the boxes and cans, it was too much, too many items (I was buying enough food to last for a couple of weeks including things for Doug and Birdy).

Last night Robert, who works at a Circle K along the interstate, sent me a picture of hand sanitizers, telling me he was using it over and over again. I asked if he had gloves and he said no. Matt gave me a bunch of latex gloves on Saturday. So I got in my car and drove north. He was busy wiping down the door handle, as various people went into the store (including a very elderly man) and was surprised to see me. I handed him the gloves. By the time I got home he sent me a message saying that he and his co-workers thanked me.

Later I sent Circle K a message asking why their staff didn't have gloves. The response I got was that staff got to wear gloves restocking food, but not allowed to wear them while handling cash. WTF. I asked the person who answered whether they would handle cash themselves without gloves. Not surprised that I got no answer back.

Ray and Robert are back from Spain, they got one of the last flights out last week. The situation there is terrible. We went on a socially distant walk at Sweetwater Wetlands and talked about things. It was so nice to see them. And see lots of birds, turtles, and even a frog.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

I sit on my front porch and the smell of orange blossoms is strong. I had lost my sense of smell while having the cold, which incidentally is one of the symptoms of Covid-19 so who knows whether it was actually a cold.

Orange blossom.

I have started making a shopping list but it doesn't have enough things on it to warrant going to Safeway. I'm going to see how long I can last. The last time was on the 23rd.

Flowers are popping up all over the backyard, some are blooming, others are growing. 


Poppy.

In Arizona 919 people have tested positive for Covid-19 and 17 have died. Nationally, 461 people died in the last 24 hours. I check the Coronavirus website every day. Perhaps a little too obsessively.

And yet our Republican governor is doing next to nothing. And the people who support him are praising him for not shutting down non-essential businesses. I had a short debate with a hair and nail salon owner from Cave Creek about this. She is open for business, and she claims that doctors and nurses are coming in. I think she is a liar, but who knows. It is also amazing to see the people who think the virus is a hoax or that it will be okay if one or two percent of the population dies. We live in a bizarre time.

The internet is slowing down. Everybody must be on it, just like me. After doing chores and putting up a laundry drying line, I have been transcribing articles while a cold case crime show plays on the other screen. 



Saturday, March 28, 2020

And another day. 400 people died in the last 24 hours. It just seems unreal. I remember what it was like immediately after 9/11. It feels similar.

I had a socially distant picnic with Matt, Doc, and Hoffman.


Me and Matt.

Doc, Hoffman, and Matt.

Doc and I went over to see the pool at the park and a homeless lady came over and rifled through my stuff before Hoffman and Matt could stop her. I had to tear off a piece of garbage bag and through everything away, including one of my vintage Mallo Ware bowls. You have to be careful. 

Afterward I went to Michaels and bought a bunch of craft supplies. Things to do and learn in the coming weeks and months. Watercolors, a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn, embroidery thread and a hoop and fabric. Things to keep me busy besides the hours spent transcribing newspaper articles.

I told Matt the next time a pandemic occurs we will be isolated together, just us, Ruby, Snowball, and Buddy Cat. But I would prefer that we didn't have another pandemic.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Just talked to Travis, who is a respiratory therapist in Atlanta. He says the situation is far worse than the media is telling us. The common trope is that people are dying because they are old or have health conditions. He says that he is caring for numerous people under the age of 50. If you get put on a ventilator, you have a 50 percent chance of surviving. It really doesn't matter if they manufacture a bunch more ventilators- there won't be the trained people to operate them. He says that there aren't tests available for healthcare workers to see if they are infected. He doesn't have the proper safety clothing. As this progresses more and more people like him will be infected. There will be fewer people trained to operate the existing ventilators. He has friends sleeping in their cars and garages in an attempt to not infect family members or roommates. That fucking piece of shit "running" the country has no clue what is going to happen. Currently the death rate is about 1.5 percent.

Today has been a shit-show. Discovered the fridge had died. So had to go buy a new one at Home Depot. Had to go back twice more to get the upper hinge working right. The fridge is smaller than my old one. Inconvenient. Eventually it will end up in the guest house and I will get a regular-sized fridge.

And the death toll from Covid-19 is 1,593. Two weeks ago it was 36.

The thing that claims to be president is threatening to not provide help to Michigan. Almost all of my family lives there. On his Facebook page his cult members are saying how great this is. I cannot believe how evil people are.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Amazingly enough, we are doing a small testing project next to the Interstate. I got to go out today to help record features found in the backhoe trenches. It was a nice escape from reality.



Archaeologist.

You really wouldn't know we are in a pandemic here in Tucson because the Governor refuses to shut everything down. So people are getting their hair done, getting tattoos, going to some of the Big Box stores, and all the while the coronavirus is slowly spreading. As of today there have been 577 confirmed cases and 8 deaths in Arizona. On March 9th the United States as a whole had about that number. Extrapolating, in 17 days we might expect 80,000+ infected people and over 1,000 deaths here, possibly, except Arizona has one of the lowest testing rates in the country, so it could possibly be much worse.

So I have had a friend staying at my house for a very long time. He does not believe any traditional media. New York Times is all lies. Anything on Facebook is fake.  Obsesses over conspiracy theories.  Watches hours and hours of conspiracy videos. Thinks Tulsi Gabbard and Russia are awesome. Obama was as bad as Trump. I don't think he really believes in the coronavirus, thinks it is a government lie or something.

I related a story today and he went off on me about how it wasn't true. I had had enough and yelled, "I'm tired of being mocked in my own house." And slammed the door as I walked away. Really, I cannot talk about many topics because of his comments and looks. I am so over it.

So I drove over to the Sweetwater Wetlands and walked around. Lovely ducks and loons and red-winged blackbirds singing. Matt called and we talked for a long time. That was a comfort.


Sweetwater loons.

Nothing like being trapped in your house with a "temporary" roommate during this horrible time.  So over it.





Tuesday, March 24, 2020

I had to go to the office twice, once to send some files to the editor and the second time to pick up a replacement credit card, my old one having disappeared somewhere. The first time there were three people there, the second in the afternoon five. I used one of those wipe thingys to open and close doors. I was lucky to have a container bought months ago, which now lives in my car.

Working at home is difficult, too many distractions plus the big distraction. I check the Covid Tracking Project website in the morning and afternoon. 204 people died in the last 24 hours. And the Lieutenant Governor of Texas is blabbering the new Republican mantra- that we will have to sacrifice the lives of countless people because money is more important than lives. Of course if he gets sick, a ventilator will be found for him.

I finished a puzzle tonight. I transcribed some articles. I talked with Matt and Jeffrey on the phone. I read a couple of articles in Historical Archaeology. Soon it will be time to go to bed.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Things I did today, as the coronavirus killed about 73 people in the United States:

- bought two rolls of painter's tape. The window frames and screens will be repainted soon.
- went to Safeway and bought a few things- milk, lasagna noodles, some pastries for Doug. Still no toilet paper- I bought a 20-pack over two weeks ago, before everything got bad. I am glad I filled my pantry up before the hoarding started, I have enough food to feed myself and if need be Doug and Birdy for two or three weeks.
- took a nap
- did some work. Went to where Erina is doing a testing project and looked at some bottles.
- made lasagna
- transcribed more articles.
- watched some Netflix and some Youtube.
- talked to Matt. I miss seeing him.
- trimmed my beard. I look much younger.

And that's the way it is. I also sent Gov. Ducey's office an email asking for him to lock down the state before it is too late.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Back in early February, before all of the craziness started, I got up early and went to an estate sale. I had seen a picture of a transferprinted platter on the website, and I knew I wanted that particular vessel.

I ended up purchasing a bag full of beautiful dishes.

This bowl is marked T. MAYER STOKES. I don't know what the pattern is.



This huge platter is marked CANOVA STONEWARE. Canova was a pattern made by numerous companies.


Canova pattern.

Another platter is the INDUS pattern. The registry mark on the back suggests it was made in 1915. IT does have a small chip on the front, but not very visible, and anyways I wanted this one because I already have an Indus pattern plate hanging on my kitchen wall.

 

Indus pattern platter and plate.










Ruby loves playing fetch. So she is getting a lot of that now that Daddy is at home all of the time.

Throw the ball, Daddy.

I've been doing chores, cleaning house. Also did a bunch of yardwork yesterday, mowing the two areas where grass grows (most of my lot is just bare dirt) and pulling nasty goat's head up. That plant has a very pokey seed cover that sticks to everything and is painful.

I also sat in front of my computer and transcribed newspaper articles from 1907. Occasionally I come across articles mentioning my relatives.

I pulled out my two Better Homes and Garden cookbooks. Mother gave me one in 1982 for a Christmas present. Years ago I threw out the meat chapters. I found this recipe and decided to make it. As is typical, it is bland. The Better Homes and Garden staff did not believe in adding spices and herbs to most recipes. I added red bell pepper, ground black pepper, and grated parm cheese to make the recipe more interesting. I not a particularly annoying thing for this cookbook. Instead of listing salt with all of the ingredients, it is always down in the actual recipe. Who thought of this moronic ingredient placement, I hope they got fired.

Better Homes.

It took longer to bake than the recipe called for. It was also slightly wet, I guess the moisture came out of the corn. It was okay, but not the best recipe ever.


Corn custard pudding.




Friday, March 20, 2020

Matt got me a complete set of Gilligan's Island episodes. I'm watching them one after another. They still make me laugh.

I have been waiting for a prescription for several days. Safeway had to special order it, so I kept having to go back. Finally today I got it, along with just a few more groceries. I do not plan on going back there for a while. The shelves are half bare. I talked with Crystal, my favorite cashier. She told me that cashier Freddie had died. He was always so nice to my mother when we would go there. He was younger than me.

Yesterday I tried to make a loaf of bread. It did not work. Now I have a batch of biscuits in the oven, hopefully I will be more successful. And I was, although they needed a bit more salt.

Biscuits.



Wednesday, March 18, 2020

It is raining, the sky is gloomy. I went to the office this morning and finished a report. Then I went to the credit union to get my card replaced, it had broken in half.

The teller was chatty. At one moment she paused and asked, "Is it hot in here? I am really warm!"

I felt like I was an actor in an epidemic movie, you know the kind of movie where the people watching it know what is going to happen, but Customer No. 1 doesn't and then goes on to spread weaponized syphilitic herpes to other people.

When I came home I washed my hands immediately.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Everything is blooming, but because I have the remnants of a cold I cannot smell anything. The pear tree that Matt got me had lots of blossoms.

Pear tree.

Before I had the cold I went over to Matt's and played with cutey Gandalf, who lives to have his tummy rubbed.

Gandalf.

So on Sunday I was feeling stir-crazy so I went on a walk. The nearby rich people house has a nice mural. I liked this hummingbird detail.

Hummingbird.

I stopped by the corral at the end of my street and said hello to the friendliest horse, who wanted his head scratched. I found a handful of barley to give to it, which the horse appreciated.

Horse.

Birdy has done a remarkable job in my yard. Lots of flowers. This was a surprise, a beautiful poppy.

Poppy.

Towards the back there is a big penstemon.

Penstemon and cactus.

And of course while all of these things are going on there is the pandemic. Every day it gets worse and worse. My non-profit museum is now closed. Today the City of Tucson is closing restaurants (take-out allowed) and bars. 

My local Safeway is still fairly well stocked. No toilet paper or paper towels, potatoes, and as of today virtually no rice or beans.

Paper aisle.

Pasta, sauce, and Mexican foods are mostly gone.

There are signs up telling people they could only have two of certain things like milk.

I had to go twice today to get a month's worth of medicine. The second time you could feel the panic developing. The couple in front of me had probably twenty cans of canned pasta. I ended up buying a bag of flour and yeast. Even though I am not supposed to eat much carbs, let's see if I can make bread or pizza dough or maybe cookies. I dread what life will be like in a week or two.

After watching a trench being dug in the morning, I worked at home the rest of today, finishing most of a report. This may become the new normal for a while, although honestly I find it difficult. Mainly because Ruby, Snowball, and Buddy Cat are needy. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

I'm almost back to normal, after spending the last six days feeling cruddy. Mostly lying in bed, too tired to do anything. Today I've been able to do some record transcriptions and watched a couple of Men in Black movies. Currently watching the first episode of a documentary series called Pandemic. Yikes.

I went to the Safeway store.  My friends elsewhere are reporting shelves stripped of everything. At my Safeway I saw the bottled water and toilet paper aisles seemed empty, but everything else was well stocked. Perhaps the full-on panic has not hit my neighborhood yet. I have enough food to feed myself, Doug, and Birdy for a while if necessary (I guess I should get more dog food).

Irritating to think this started coronavirus started because some people in China had to eat some wild animals that they should not have been eating. Perhaps this pandemic will stop the wild animal trade, but I am skeptical because people are stupid and prone to think stupid things.



Monday, March 09, 2020

I'm home with what I hope is a cold. Coughing up junk, body aches, headache. Slept on and off all day. And of course reading about the spreading Covid-19 virus and the utterly inept response by our Dear Leader and his syncophants.

I've seen a few pandemic movies and read quite a few apocalyptic novels. We seem to be at the start of The Stand, when the US government was pretending nothing was wrong. Jesus, it is happening right now. And Dear Leader is busy blaming the Democrats. Strange to think that this will probably bring him down.



Friday, March 06, 2020

Whenever I see old photos on Ebay from my home town I purchase them. They frequently end up in the genealogy newsletter I edit from there. This is a rarity- a photo taken of a man with his dog. I have had only one other in the 15 or 20 years that I have been buying photos. In both cases the dogs must have been very special to be taken to the studio and included in the photograph.


Unidentified man and dog, circa 1890-1895.

Dog and two unidentified girls, circa 1893-1905.



Thursday, March 05, 2020

I'm not panicking (yet) about the Coronavirus/Covid-19 plague. But at the staff meeting last week we were told not to come to work if we got sick and told some of the things one could do to protect oneself.

Meanwhile, the dump-fuck we have as President is down-playing the lethal nature of the disease. I have seen no public announcements about what one should do to protect oneself. I am seen incidental lists of preventative measures. We are busy heading toward a pandemic and the Trump administration is pretending that it isn't serious.

I do a lot of research on dead people. There have been pandemics and epidemics and people seeking a cure for tuberculosis in the dry Sonoran desert. The thing that kills many (most?) people is a lack of education about how to prevent yourself from acquiring the disease. In 1898, the City of Tucson passed an ordinance requiring spittoons in public places in an attempt to stop the spread of tuberculosis.

I called Senator McSally's office and spoke to the person answering the phone, in a nice manner, that some sort of public announcement about simple preventative steps would be useful. I know it won't happen from the current administration, but perhaps Bloomberg could pony up some money for a commercial that plays in prime time with some doctors and scientists explaining what to do.

End of ramble.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Being named Homer means that you don't get those name things (key chains, mugs, etc) at gas stations. When I was in second grade I had a Mexican kid named Homero in my class. One day he took the class and showed up the shack his family lived in. Shortly afterward, he and his family were sent back to Mexico. We had played together, even though we couldn't speak each other's language.

Well last year I met another Homer and then on Saturday I met another.

Two Homers.

It is spring time in Tucson. The flowers are blooming, At the Courthouse I admired the pretty yellow blossoms.

Blossoms.

My peach (or nectarine?) tree is starting to blossom. 

Peach or nectarine.

I filled out my primary ballot tonight. I like Joe Biden. He seems like a genuinely nice guy. He has always been my top choice, perhaps because he came out for marriage equality before it was popular. 

I'm with Joe.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

I could never understand why people hate dandelions so much. They sell gross herbicides that fanatical lawn enthusiasts spray on the reportedly offensive flowers, thereby introducing disgusting and dangerous chemicals into the soil, killing off lots of other things besides the cute dandelions.

Dandelion.

When I was in kindergarten Mrs. Harrison had throat surgery and we had a substitute teacher for a while. Things I remember about kindergarten:

- On my birthday Mommy made me cupcakes (almost certainly from a box mix) and put little plastic animals on them. Mine had a llama and because Pam wasn't there I got to eat her's too, which had a tiger on it. Wish I still had those little plastic animals. I can see them in my mind.

- Hearing Roger's arm crack when he fell down on ice and broke it. Even then I thought Roger was cute.

- Making a thread spool rack for Mommy's Christmas present. We painted a piece of wood (I think mine was light blue) and Mr. Harrison came in with another piece of wood with holes drilled in it and we put nails in each hole and hammered them down. When we removed the piece of wood, there were two lines of nails to hold the spools in place.

- Being sent out to collect snow which we melted and then saw how dirty it was. This was back in 1970 when air pollution was a problem.

- Going outside and clapping the chalkboard erasers was so much fun.

- The time a spring tornado was sighted and we had to push our desks against one wall and crawl underneath. George was rather fat and had a hard time crawling under. The wind blew the porch off the music trailer. It was very exciting.

-We got a little carton of milk and a cookie each day (Kindergarten was only half day). And Mrs. Harrison had us say a prayer every day.

- There were too many boys named John so I was asked to go by my middle name.It stuck.

Anyways, that substitute teacher. One day she was out of ideas for things to do so she asked us if we knew any songs. So I sang a song I had made up, "Dandelions are so prettily." She was not impressed and told me that prettily wasn't a real word. I felt bad afterward. Years later I learned that it actually was a real word.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

I haven't decided who to vote for in the Democratic primary here in Arizona next month. However, I do know the one candidate I will not vote for in the primary- Bernie Sanders? Why? Because his followers include many horrible people.

Someone on Facebook posted something denigrating one of the other candidates. I suggested that maybe it would be a better thing not to do so- that we should focus on defeating Trump. Then the nastiness started. I discovered that I was "privileged." That I needed psychological counseling. That I was suffering from "masculine fragility" and that person provided a purportedly helpful video link that was supposed to educate me on that issue. I eventually deleted the comment and unfriended the person who left the original post. His friends were really nasty.

Then someone else described Pete Butigieg as being immoral and a psychopath, linking to an article in some magazine (Current Affairs? I can't remember). I looked up what other articles the author had published. Surprise, he is a Sanders supporter. The other articles denigrate the other Democratic candidates- apparently Elizabeth Warren isn't progressive enough or maybe she can't win because she is a woman, I confess to not reading it. Only Saint Sanders can win. When I pointed out that the author was a Sanders supporter, that Facebook friend was nasty. So I unfriended him. Also unfriended the person who wanted a Sanders-Gabbard ticket and was full-on nasty about everyone else.

I really don't understand the whole Trump cult thing or the Sanders cult thing or the worship of any political candidate. Yes, I liked Obama, and even gave him money. But I never thought he was perfect and I never felt the need to be nasty about Hillary Clinton back in 2008.

Anyways, Matt made a suggestion- don't go on Facebook. Matt is wise. I haven't been on there in three days and my mental health has improved.

So now the big question, who to vote for?

And if Sanders gets the nomination, yes I will vote him, despite the actions of his cult members.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Everyone in my family has diabetes. So, surprise, I started feeling super thirsty and drinking a lot of water and peeing every 45 minutes or so. Very unpleasant. I went to the doctor and they discovered that my blood sugar was super high, as was my AC level. Luckily, my pancreas is producing some insulin, so I do not have to inject. Instead I am taking pills, eating a no sugar, no-carb diet, and attempting to get more exercise. Matt and I walked up to the top of Tumamoc Hill, me panting all the way.


At the top.

My blood sugar levels have dropped dramatically, but are still above normal. Not that everything is rosy. I have been feeling gross and depressed, and having blurry vision. So today I went to the fancy eye doctor and had my eyes dilated. Yuck. And then as I was driving home, my glass lens decided to pop out. You do not want to know how ridiculous I looked driving.

Dilated, with Snowball and Ruby keeping me company.

I could not work, the dilation lasted until almost 3 PM. At last it was done so I could run over and collect my mail (a bunch of stamps I ordered on Ebay had arrived), and talk with people about our winning proposal that we did last Thursday. I will be gainfully employed later this year!


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In 1971 my mother gave me a United States stamp book for Christmas. It probably came with a batch of stamps and she had some in an older stamp book. I happily licked the little stamp hinges after I found the correct page with the little black and white picture of the stamp.

When new stamps came out at the post office I was allowed to get one. You could also purchase stamps in the mail via approval books sent by stamp companies. I well remember picking stamps out and send back coins in the return envelope. Once I got a letter telling me not to do that. Later I was given a World album.

The US and foreign stamps taught me a lot about history, geography, and other cultures. As a kid the foreign stamp book and National Geographic maps provided hours of entertainment. I wonder whether kids today know what a simple pleasure that is.

Stamp collecting is one of those dying hobbies I suppose. That did not stop me from purchasing a set of very expensive albums to put my collection in. They have plastic holders for the stamps and have a very neat appearance. I spent the last week or so transferring stamps into the album, sorting the stamps I have, finding the correct placement. I went on Ebay and purchased a couple of things. I'd like to complete the affordable stamps (no way can I afford the ones that are hundreds or thousands of dollars each!).


The books have places for stamps from 1847 to 1984.

I know, exciting, right? But it makes me happy and reminds me of my mother, always encouraging me to learn.

1971 commemoratives. The four at the bottom have always been one of my favorites.




Wednesday, January 22, 2020

I have nine bird plates hanging from the picture rail in my study. I have found them in various thrift stores. Pheasants, quails, and some shore birds.

Birds on the picture rail.

A few weeks ago I got up early and went to an estate sale and saw a pile of bird plates, but they wanted either $60 or $70 for them, and I instead purchased five transferprinted dishes instead.

Yesterday Addison, who knows I like bird and fish plates, sent me a message alerting me that there were these bird plates at a thrift store. I looked at the picture and recognized the pile from the estate sale. The thrift store was asking $2 a plate and $7 for the platter. I drove over this morning and was glad to see they were still there. Someone honked in the parking lot at me, and it was Addison who had come to get them for me.

Quail.

I don't know!

Another quail.

The complete set, click on picture for a larger view.

I had to order more picture rail hooks and plate holders so I can hang them up. I think I have enough bird plates now.




Saturday, January 11, 2020

Milk. Lots of people drinking soy milk or nut milk. It isn't really milk, not sure why manufacturers are allowed to call it that. It is also not particularly healthy either, since it is often loaded with sugar. 

Anyways, I still buy a gallon of milk (usually 2 percent, sometimes skim) at Safeway about once a week. Currently at about $2.19 a gallon. Not surprising that so many dairies are going bankrupt.

When I was a child we were poor and mother bought that nasty dry milk in a box and mixed it up. Horrible taste. Grandpa and Grandma lived next door and they had real milk and sometimes we would get a glass. Grandma was a firm believer in Carnation Instant Breakfast, packed with vitamins, and had a glass every morning. Sometimes we would get to have a glass, I liked the chocolate malt packet the best. Grandma had those long bendy straws and after drinking our Carnation Instant Breakfast, we would carefully wash the straw out so it could be used again. Grandma also bought Space Sticks and Tang, because that is what astronauts used and so they must be good for you. The Space Sticks kind of had a plastic taste, and the sugar in Tang would settle at the bottom so you had to remix it occasionally. Tang came in orange, but also in grape and grapefruit. I probably did not have real orange juice until I went to university.

Eventually the family finances improved enough so that mother could buy real milk and she would do halves, half dry and half real. Still tasted nasty. Every morning I would pour it into my cereal. This is back when cereal boxes had plastic toys and I can still remember sticking my little hand down into the box to fish them out. I still have some of the Winnie the Pooh spoon sitters that came out of the cereal box.

Back in 1973 my father came home from truck driving and discovered a 4-SALE sign in the 10 acre field down the hill from our house. This was the piece of land that his father (actually step-father) had promised to him. Father went down to his mother's house, across North Long Lake Road and down a couple of houses, and asked her why she was putting it up for sale. She said something like, "Promises don't mean anything." She was a real nasty bitch, paranoid, vengeful, mean. Back in 1940 when she was divorcing her first husband, my father's father, the friend of the court report noted that she was starving my father, that he was malnourished. In 1973 Uncle Tom was busy divorcing his wife and my parents were asked under oath if our aunt was a good mother and they said yes. Grandma never forgave them for that and even though she lived three houses down North Long Lake Road from nice Grandma, I never saw her again. She died in 1989 and I felt nothing for the lousy bitch.

Anyways, my father could not stand to see the land that he was promised developed for housing and he was tired of being a long-haul trucker so the parents decided to become dairy farmers. They purchased an 80-acre farm for $46,000 near Buckley and we moved there in January 1974. Father continued to drive truck so mother, Bub, and I became dairy farmers.

Cows and equipment were gradually purchased. My father often bought cows because he felt sorry for the owners. My favorite cow was Dorothy, who had horns, a chain with a pendant with 4 on it, and a very droopy udder. She eventually would have two calves, Patsy and Little Dorothy. Here I am showing Little Dorothy at the fair. She was the only cow in her category and kicked the judge, so I ended up with a B ribbon.


Homer and Little Dorothy, circa 1976.

Gradually things improved, we were actually making some money, despite my father's often stupid business decisions. But then the Buckley oil boom happened and oil wells appeared all over the place. However, my parents had not bought the mineral rights with the farm, so no chance for them to participate in the purchasing frenzy the neighbors were undergoing, buying new tractors, equipment, RVs.

So father had a mid-life crisis and moved us north to the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie. Another stupid mistake, it was too cold and the cows didn't produce the same amount of milk.  Reagan cut the milk subsidies and the amount my parents got paid for their bulk tank full of milk drastically declined. The land was red clay and impossible to grow corn or other grains. It was a nightmare of my father screaming at mother, Bub, and I. We could never do anything right. One time he threw a hammer at me and Bub. Another time a tractor was stuck in the red clay and he wanted me to pull it out and I couldn't. He screamed and screamed at me. I grew to hate him. You only remember the bad things when that is all there is to remember, right?

He wanted me to be a dairy farmer too, part of the control thing passed down from his mother. I wanted to be an archaeologist. I won. He lost. Towards the end of his life he admitted that I had made the right decision.


They still manufacture Tang and Carnation Breakfast Essentials, but I am not tempted to purchase either. The doctor wants me to drink skim milk with my bowl of cereal. It is so bland. But I guess I had better because I am plump and I have clothes that I cannot fit into. Bub is now an Amish man and sometimes helps out his neighbors, who have dairy cattle. People are interested in raw milk and small dairy farm milk, free from the growth hormones that some of the big dairies use. I have no desire to ever milk a cow again, but last summer I did enjoy petting the calves.

Friday, January 10, 2020

I always take an end of year selfie. So here it is.

Goodbye 2019.

Many things are happening in 2020. I attended the January 8th Memorial Ceremony in the 1929 Pima County Courthouse courtyard. Back in 1992 I dug trenches in the courtyard and found the eastern Presidio wall, as well as many other things. I am just finishing up the work on the other side of the courthouse, where the Memorial will be constructed.

Ceremony.

Mike stopped by to visit. He is sporting a bunch of staples in his head. Ouch! Ruby was ecstatic to see her number one boyfriend (Matt is number 2, I am number 3).

Mike and Ruby.

It is supposed to be cold today, so she is wearing her blue hoodie.

Hoodie.

At work I see coyotes and a bobcat walk by my window frequently. Shortly after taking this photo, the bobcat decided to come around to the front of the building and wanted to go into the kitchen for a snack. Rob told it to go someplace else.

Bob.

I headed north to Marana to visit Robert last Sunday. Twinkle Toes (AKS Pickles), Taco, and Odie all wanted to sit on my lap at the same time. Taco is Ruby's number .5 boyfriend. When he comes to visit she wants sexy time with him (they are both altered).

Pickles, Taco, and Odie.

My front yard orange tree and my Meyer lemon tree are loaded with fruit. Over at the Presidio Museum the last of the quince have fallen from the tree. I gathered them up and have made two batches of quince preserves. I have also made orange marmalade and lemon curd. Some of this will go over to the Presidio tomorrow and be used for Living History.

Orange marmalade, Meyer lemon curd, and quince preserved.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Holiday has come and gone. My artificial flocked tree was so pretty with the bright little lights and the antique and some modern ornaments. See below.



New ornament- Krampus.

The plastic Santa has been in my family for over 50 years. Originally, he had candy in his sack.


Big Santa head is one of my favorites.

I had my Cookie Decorating party on the 22nd, later than normal. I made about 8 or 9 dozen sugar and gingerbread cookies.

Also many bags of frosting.

I made veggie chili, cornbread, sweet chex mix, fruitcake, and a lemon bundt cake. Not shown, the punch bowl with Martha Stewart's eggnog (used half the alcohol).

Food!

Birdy decorated the dining room nicely.

Red tree with white ornaments.

1830s secretary with bottle brush trees and plastic garland.

Many cookies were decorated.

Chris, Rich, Jane, Addison, and Kate at work.

Despite the frosting being just a little runny, many lovely cookies were decorated.

Cookies.

My house was well decked out. It was a nice party.

House.

Holiday morning Santa Matt gave me a painting, a set of Smokey the Bear stamps from 1984, and a Smokey the Bear jeep. He got a quail egg photo from his favorite photographer and a vintage cactus lamp.

Santa Matt and Homer.

It was a nice holiday season, for a while I was able to overlook all of the cruddy things happening in the world.


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