Friday, March 27, 2015

Sometimes it is just fun to dress up.

I do it a lot more than I used to. Patrick gave me some hand-me-downs last year and the dress shirts look better with a tie and vest.

Bowtie Thursday.

I have been buying clothing from the Gentleman's Emporium, including a bowler. Last Sunday I docented for the Presidio Trust for a few hours and afterward went to Rosa's for lunch by myself. I caught this older man staring at me in puzzlement. As he was leaving he made a point of turning to look at me again. I guess he has never seen an 1890s dandy before. 

Docent Sunday.

One problem with clothes shopping- my long monkey arms and torso. I have to buy Tall long sleeve shirts and they are harder to find, more expensive, and fewer styles are available. If I was rich I'd buy tailored shirts, but unfortunately I am very much middle class.

A lot of people are commenting on the "Religious Freedom" bills that are busy being passed. Things like, well after discriminating against LGBT people, they will go after Muslims and pregnant women!

Except they won't. As I posted on Facebook today: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides an overview of Federal discrimination laws. It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age (if over 40), and disability. 

Any attempt by a Christian bakery to refuse service to a Muslim or an unmarried mother would automatically open them up to a lawsuit because these people are covered by existing Federal law.

In contrast, there is no Federal protection for LGBT people. None. 

The people drafting the Religious Freedom laws know this. They crafted these laws to specifically target LGBT people. 

The one problem these state legislators haven't thought about is what happens when a bakery refuses to bake a cake for a lesbian couple or a pharmacist refuses to provide medicine to a gay person. The news will spread quickly on social media and people today are not particularly interested in going to businesses that discriminate. I guess there are Christians out there who are just plain stupid and look forwarding to saying NO! to some gay folks. Wonder if they will be equally excited when they have to file for bankruptcy?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Third and final year of teaching Archaeology Field School at a Spanish mission site close to the Mexican border. This year we had nine students busy learning about the glamour and excitement of getting dirty and (sometimes) wet.

We are excavating in two places. In the road bed Leslie is supervising the excavation of two Hohokam pit structures. Nearby we are placing units in a probable horse corral and a probable sheep and cattle pen complex.

Alycia, Katrina, Brandon, Anthony, and Shelby documented the corner of the corral with Leslie supervising.

The animal management areas have a very hard surface, of unknown origin, and cutting into the surface are a variety of trenches and postholes, and sometimes trenches with postholes. Fences were once erected in the trenches, with branches woven in between posts. The mission existed between 1700 and 1775, there was no barbed wire fences back then.

A trench ending in a posthole.

It is amazing to see the students transform into archaeologists, by the ninth day they knew exactly what to do.

Marla and Alycia digging a trench.

We have two more Saturdays and then the field work is completed. Next the students do their projects and eventually our report gets published.
Shelby and Mark.

Lots of animals make the desert their home. We found many small tarantulas. Also a couple of scorpions and a nasty centipede. I also saw jackrabbits, cottontails, a cardinal, and vermillion flycatchers. Every night the coyotes would yip and howl. I lay awake in my tent listening to them.


We stayed at a beautiful ranch and of course the animals remind me of my childhood on the farm. Goats started having kids.


Interesting to see the animals in their modern pens and then to expose the 200+-year-old pens at the Mission.

Alycia, Brandon, and Marla preparing cross sections.

Back at the ranch I visited with the donkeys. They like to rest their heads on my shoulder. One got jealous of the attention I was giving the other two and bit me on the arm to remind me who was the boss.


It is spring time and the flowers are blooming.

Yellow flower.

White and yellow poppies.

The sunsets were often gorgeous. As I walked back from the barn where we had our catered suppers, I would stare at the vibrant colors.


A few minutes later.

The fifth kid born did not want to nurse. I tried to bottle feed it (I used to bottle feed our calves on the farm), but was not particularly successful.

Boy goat.

Giselle was much better at it and by the end of the week the little ram had started suckling. 

Giselle helps the kid nurse while Dean watches.

Giselle and kid.

Because he had been handled so much, the boy goat was very friendly.

Milky kisses.

On Thursday afternoon we braved the rain to documented the oldest building constructed by Anglo-Americans in Arizona. The stone structure was completed in 1858-1859.

Pennington House.

The students drew a floor plan, recorded historic graffiti, took photographs of everything, and filled out a form describing the house in detail. The building is already on the National Register of Historic Places. The information we collected will show what its condition was in 2015.

Face carved on one of the doorways.

We forgot to close the gate so I had to go back after supper and do so. Another beautiful sunset.

On the dirt road.

Besides the goats and donkeys, there were a cattle, including this very friendly heifer who liked to have her head scratched. Also chickens, less friendly.

Barney visits with the cow.

Fabiola arrived on Friday with high school students. She was a student on the field school last year. I made her hug one of the donkeys.


I really wanted to kidnap the triplets and watch them jump around my house. I am sure their mother would be upset about this.

Daddy Homer.

It was sad to pack up the tents and return home to Tucson. However, I am enjoying sleeping in a real bed and not waking up cold and wet.

2015 Field School. Anthony, Mark, Marla, Giselle, Barney, Sarah, Brandon, Leslie, Alycia, Nicole, Katrina, Shelby, and Jeremy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I cannot watch the videos of the ISIS terrorists destroying libraries, museums, and archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria. Too upsetting and depressing. I am also not interested in watching these religious nuts kill people.

Knowledge and culture are threatening to religious fundamentalists, who want only their version of history and religion. We are seeing this here in the United States with attempts to whitewash history books, defund universities, and close museums and cultural parks. You never see liberals doing that sort of thing, do you?

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.


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