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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The hospital bill from when I was born in 1963.

This involved a Caesarian operation, completed replacement of my blood (mother and father had A- and A+ blood, Rh factor), three day stay, and (unfortunately) circumcision ($3.50 to mutilate your kid's junk!).

In 2013 dollars, $353.30 comes out to about $2,653.47 (using an online historical currency converter). My parents had to pay $9. Seems rather ridiculous considering today this would be 30 or 40 thousand dollars minimum. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Every once in a while I have The Class Dream. I am in college and it is the end of the semester and I suddenly realize I forgot to drop a math class that I never went to. I will get an E and I won't be able to graduate. A terrible feeling of dread envelopes me.

And then I wake up and I cannot shake that feeling. Anxiousness, my heart pounding in my chest. I have to lie there and think, think, think. I have not been in school since I got my Master's Degree in 1992. Remember that, it was only a dream.

Just typing this makes me anxious.

My other recurring dream is the Hurry, Hurry! Dream in which I try to get people to leave a burning building. And of course people are dawdling, wondering whether they should get their cell phone or purse. Wondering why they should move faster out of the building. This dream became a regular nightmare after 9/11 when I read that so many people died because they were unable to process the fact that either the building they were in was burning up or that the building next to them was burning with people jumping out. I realize that under very unusual, stressful circumstances many people are unable to think rationally. My mother is a good example of that. She would never, ever dream of calling 9-1-1 because that is embarrassing or shameful. Luckily I seem to have a lot of common sense.

Anyways, so I wake up scared out of my mind and can't go back to sleep. And I've been having the two dreams a lot recently due to some stress I have been having in real life. What fun.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I created an altar for my the annual All Souls Procession cocktail party.

Ancestors, friends, family heirlooms, musical instruments.

A prominent place for dear Sam. I miss him.


Many of the photographs are unidentified people. I purchase many of the photos on Ebay from my hometown in Michigan. 

Mostly unknown.

Jesse and Craig came down and helped me decorate sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies.


Jesse and Craig did an excellent job decorating. They got to see me in a bad moment, brought on by stress.


I made a pound cake in my skull pan and decorated it like a sugar skull.


That night we went to see Interstellar. It was very long. We did not get back home until almost 2:00 AM. I haven't been up that late in a long time.

The next morning I made breakfast burritos from leftover Spanish Rice and scrambled eggs. Then Craig carefully chopped things to make salsa.


I attempted to do a nice make-up, but it was very sloppy.

People began to show up.

Catelyn and her friend.

Craig and Jesse.


Nicole and her husband.

Amy, Matt, Fabiola, and I.


At 6:00 we walked down the street. I handed out gladiolas to women along the way. One woman told me it was very sweet. We watched people go by in the Procession. I think Craig and Jesse were impressed.

Craig and Jesse.

And so another year has gone by. This year I lost a co-worker and the former boyfriend of one of my best friends. I guess as I get older death will happen more often and someday it will be my turn. I hope somebody walks in the procession in my memory.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The bush across the street is blooming and a bunch of butterflies were landing on it.

I'll have to ask Doug what kind they are.

Today at work I worked on a Powerpoint presentation that suddenly came up. I get asked to do talks all the time and I mostly say yes. It is good PR for the company and I am an excellent public speaker. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so good at it.

In the afternoon, Bobcat  strolled by the window. I tapped and she stopped to look at me. When she got bored she walked around to the back of the building and I went out to take some photos.

She is a pretty thing. I am glad she is having a good life and seems very healthy.

Tomorrow I get to find out whether I have to take cholesterol drugs. Sad face.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

I carved a pumpkin at the last moment and Doug and I handed out candy. I had about 25 kids come by this year.


Had a migraine last week, seven hours of skull-splitting pain. Very unpleasant and days later I can still feel it.

Today I went off to the office and finished the genealogy newsletter that I put together four times a year. Have been doing that since 1999- 15 years, 12 pages per issue.  

On the way back I stopped off at the Catholic Cemetery. Today is All Soul's Day and dozens of people were out visiting the graves of relatives and friends.

Emilia died in 1933.

The tombstone of Guadalupe and Victoria, a new one installed about 10 years ago, was almost completely buried so I went to my car and of course I couldn't find a trowel, so I found a tablespoon and a brush and uncovered the surface so people could see it.

Elisa died in 1911.

The metal vases on so many tombstones have been broken off- taken to scrap dealers and sold for money by drug addicts. Other stones are broken and the cemetery has no money to repair them.

Vicenta died in 1930.

A woman stopped me and pointed to an enormous mausoleum, which has a cross engraved into the concrete but no other markings. "They say she was a singer or a ballet dancer. She must have been very rich."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I cleaned out the closet in the dining room and among the boxes if my Black GI Joe doll. Mother saved the box and uniform.

My brother had the blonde one, which I also have.

Jeff was in town from Flagstaff and we went to a Greek restaurant and spent a couple of hours discussing the ups and downs of contract archaeology. It was nice to catch up. We have been friends since 2005.

Homer and Jeff.

I drove north to spend the weekend with my buddies. We had Ethiopian food Friday night and were somewhat horrified by the presence of a cockroach on the table.

Saturday morning we took Chopper to the dog park and he ran around excitedly for a while.



In the afternoon I demanded we go to an antique mall and I found a couple of photographs with names on them to research and return to descendants.


It is an enormous antique mall with mostly junk. I did see a painting I admired a lot, but I am not spending extra money if I can avoid it.


We left the antique mall and traveled to a Kroger's store and I bought nacho ingredients and I made nachos and salsa and guacamole. Craig chopped things. It was tasty. We later made plastic bead mosaics and watched Gilmore Girls and I yelled at the dumb characters.

That night I admired the dragon fruit blooming in the backyard. I had never seen one before.

Dragon fruit.

This morning I attended a double wedding ceremony. It was really informal and lovely and I had a really nice time. I was glad I had brought extra tissues since Drew and Adam needed them.

The couples.

It was on the roof of an apartment building with nice views and high enough fences so I did not freak out (I hate heights).

Robert and Ray.

Jeff and Chuck.

I told Adam to pose against the 1960s inspired wallpaper.

Adam matches.

Afterward we had lunch at a New Orleans-themed restaurant and I had a fried green tomato po' boy sandwich. The French fries were super crispy and good.

Jeff and Chuck's first drink as a married couple.

Such a nice weekend. I had a lovely time.


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