Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Well I've been really depressed. I wake up every morning feeling sad. I miss my mother and I wish she could call me on the phone, "Homie!" she would say.

I find myself watching Youtube videos at home. Colorblind people getting those glasses so they can see colors. That guy in Pennsylvania who drives around picking through garbage for scrap metal and stuff to sell on Ebay or flea markets. 1980s music videos. I don't have to think much while doing so.

I am kept busy by taking care of Ruby, who is a lot of work. She likes to chew on things and has ruined three phone recharge cords and some other things. I sprayed bitter apple stuff on electrical cords to hopefully prevent her from getting electrocuted. She is getting better about not pooping in the house, so at least there is that.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Fifty years ago Grandma posed for a slide photograph in the garden near her house. Grandpa Feiger almost certainly took the picture, standing out close to the driveway. I remember the garden, it was slightly uphill from the chicken coop. In the background are the tall cottonwood trees and the little crab apple tree is on the right.

August 1968.

In the photo you can see corn on the left, gladiolas around Grandma, and snapdragons on the right. I don't know what the yellow and red flowers are.

The house was up on a hill, soil dumped by the retreating glaciers at the end of the Ice Age. They built the house in 1947. It was sold in 1998. I spent a lot of time there.

Monday, July 23, 2018

In the summer of 1988, I drove west with Pat and Melanie to Williston, North Dakota to spend the summer digging at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site. This was our second year there, and many of the people from 1987 were there also including Becky, Wally, Karen, Laurene, Pat A., Don, Lynelle, and probably some others who I have forgotten.

Reconstructed Bourgeois House.

Fort Union was a fur-trading post on the upper Missouri River, reachable in the spring through fall by steamboats. Native Americans brought hides and pelts in to trade for beads, cloth, gun powder, ammunition, rifles, and other items. It opened in 1829, was a Union military fort during the Civil War, and closed in 1867. The National Park Service reconstructed portions of the fort. We did the archaeological excavations to clear the areas being rebuilt and to collect data that would aid in the reconstruction.

I spent the summer in the Indian's and Artisan's House, located next to the main gate. The project director, Bill Hunt, ran the entire site and I helped coordinate the work in the building, which was actually a series of buildings one on top of each other, the bottom being a blacksmith shop. In the center of the building was a large fireplace that opened onto rooms on each side. When you go to the rebuilt Indians and Artisans House, you can see the hearth stones in their original position.
Karen S. in foreground with Pat A. behind her.

We were excavating stratigraphically, which some people didn't care for because: 1) it was very difficult, and 2). because they were snotty about working on a historic period site. The summer saw a lot of tension between people. I well remember the day a dust devil sucked my clipboard up high in the air and dumped two weeks worth of maps into the Missouri River.

Melanie and Pat. A.

There were four crews. I worked mostly with Pat A., Mike, Lynn, and a couple of others whose names I don't recall. On the last day I dug a portion of the room where beads had been stored. Many had trickled down through the floor boards. I sent all of the dirt down to the water screen, and they were a little disgruntled until they saw the thousands of beads. 

Trade rings, ceramics, window glass. 

 Gun parts and ornaments, bullets, and epaulet fragment, gun flints, and spear points.

 On a three day weekend, Becky, Joe, Melanie, and I drove west to Glacier National Park. It was beautiful, albeit the drive through the park was very scary on a narrow road.

Joe, Becky, Melanie, and I.

I haven't been back since, I hear the glaciers are mostly gone.


The best part were the mountain goats just strolling around, ignoring the tourists.

 Mountain goats.

I confess to having a crush on Mike. He however met Lynn and 30 years later they are married and living in New York.

 Lynn and Mike.

We had a lot of fun at work and after work, hanging out.

Mike being serious.

Melanie and Becky lived in the apartment across the hall from Pat and I.


 On the last day I worked I felt bad for leaving to go off to grad school. But also a little angry at some of the people who had not taken the work seriously. I told one of the people I worked with "I hope I never see you again" as I walked away to go to the airport.

The 1988 crew. I'm in the back row in the green short.

Still friends with many of these people. The University of North Dakota field school was there that summer and one of my co-workers today was a student at the school.

I wrote my Master's Thesis on the animal bones from Fort Union, examining 13,263 bones!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

I haven't felt like posting lately. I haven't felt like doing many things. I sit in the living room in front of the AC unit and reread Agatha Christie mystery books or I watch Youtube videos. Anything to occupy my mind. Every now and then I remember that Mother has died and it still seems unbelievable. I got a letter almost a month after she died, delayed by the post office. I felt terrible reading it.

Of course I have been busy with things. The main thing is a little puppy that showed up in the vacant lot next to my friend Reuben's apartment. He posted a photo on Facebook asking someone to help with the puppy and I went the next day to get it, intending to give it to a friend who wanted a dog. Well that didn't work out and so now I have a puppy named Ruby. She is super friendly, cute, and rather smart. Is mostly potty trained, although she occasionally poops in the house. I taught her how to fetch and she is able to do that very well. Buddy gets along with her, he doesn't mind her excitement when she sees him.


I've attended two protests about the kidnapped children being held by Border Patrol or I.C.E. or whatever Nazi-Republican entity. Honestly, the anger I feel about this and the other bullshit Shithole is going is affecting my health. I clench my teeth at night. I awake with my entire face aching. I have vile thoughts about Republican politicians. 


Martha Stewart had a pizza dough recipe in her magazine a few months ago and so I decided to learn how to make it. Surprisingly easy.


I have been to pool volleyball twice. 

 Homer, Roger, and Patrick.

I worked the front door of Retro Game Show in June. Always a fun event.

Homer and Tempest DuJour.

At home Buddy Cat and Snowball have decided they don't hate each other. Snowball does not like Ruby. Buddy Cat is used to dogs, just ignore her.

Buddy Cat and Ruby.

After Kevin moved to his own place, I set the dining room back up. I took everything out of the china cabinet and cleaned it, then re-arranged the family heirlooms.

Family heirlooms.

While these things were happening I managed to get a nasty cold and felt awful. I'd forgotten what a baby I am when sick.

The last week of June I took Ruby to New Mexico with me, since I was teaching historical archaeology at the field school. I was almost there when I got a flat tire, the first one I've had since buying my first car in 1993. A kid named Albert gave me a ride to the field school camp and then Allen drove me back to the car and we took the tire to the tire shop, who got me a new one the next day. Anyways, Ruby was super charming with the field school students and the next morning she even climbed into the trenches and dug a little.

Ruby shows Evan the correct excavation method.

I took my friend Peter down to play in the pool at Ray and Robert's. Their friend Travis was there and then their charming friend Aaron came over. It was a nice escape. Ruby enjoyed the trip.

The pool.

The one frustrating thing is that Ruby keeps pooping in the house. I take her outside every few hours, and then bring her back in and she poops. I just mopped the living room floor with Murphy's oil soap, hoping that will kill whatever smell she has left behind. She knows she isn't supposed to do it, and knows I am upset about it. I hope she out grows it. I take her outside and she gets so easily distracted that she doesn't want to go to the bathroom. I haven't had a puppy since 1991 or so, when my roommate Mike stole one and I had to care for it, until I told him to get rid of it (he used to get mad at me for calling it Fluffy).

Ruby behaving at the vet office.

This depression I am undergoing has not made things easier. I hope I get over it soon.

Monday, June 18, 2018

I disliked Reagan. I was ambivalent about Bush I. I disliked Bush II (thought he was an idiot, Cheney was in charge).

I hate Donald Trump. And the people he surrounds himself with. I hate him with a passion.

This separating kids from their parents has affected me greatly. My mother has been dead for 22 days and I am having a hard time dealing with it. And now our government is taking children away from their parents. And Trump supporters like this, or they lie and claim it was a law or policy started by Obama or Clinton or Bush. It wasn't.

And of course all of the Republicans who could do something about this are afraid of that shithole, so nothing is changing.

I am angry right now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Mother wanted to die at home, in her rocking chair. She instead died on the deck outside her window. My sister Susan had spent the morning with her, she was in good spirits. She laid down for a nap at 11:45 and Susan put her dog Darby next to her. She left and returned at 6 and found Mother face down on the deck. We don't know what happened- a heart attack, a stroke, or merely the fall. Her arms were up indicating she knew she was falling. In any case she died.

Susan called me and I had to call Elizabeth. Then I got an airplane ticket and rental car for the next day. Packed. In between crying.

Arrived in Traverse City. Bub was at Susan's house and we sat around talking. Outside purple and white lilacs were blooming. I had not seen there in decades. The smell brought back feelings of childhood. We always had large lilac bushes at our houses.


The next morning we went to the funeral home and made arrangements- mother had wanted to be cremated and buried with father in Greenbriar Cemetery. Elizabeth and I had both written obituaries. I combined them into one.

The night before I announced that I wanted to have an open house for family and friends and my siblings agreed on that.

We went and had lunch at Big Boy and then went back to start clearing out Mother's house.

So much stuff. Probably over 100 dolls. Boxes of doll, quilting, and knitting magazines. Family heirlooms. Clothes. At times it was overwhelming. I held it together until after Susan and Bub took a load of dolls to Elizabeth's and then I sat on her deck and sobbed. And again when cleaning out her food cupboards.

Bub's Amish friends came on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I bought ice cream and cones for them. They were very nice, kind people, although one did send a pamphlet with a sympathy card that described Hell in detail.

Friday I burned 50 years worth of Mother's financial paperwork. The top of my head got sun burnt. I also mowed yard, the first time probably in over 20 years.

Burn barrel.

Saturday, the get together was nice and various relatives came, including two of my nephews. I'm guessing the last time I saw them was 10 years ago. I handed out copies of the family history book I had made for Mother, but which she never saw. It was admired, despite the printer having an old copy of Word that turned every ' into = and every "  "  into A  @. Irritating, since I spent $761 for 10 copies (it was color printed).

Wild iris.

More house clearing. There will probably be some hurt feelings. I didn't take much. My grandmother's spindleback couch and great great grandmother's rocking chair will have to be shipped to be once I pay down my credit card bill. Susan has a couple of boxes of things- some books, toys, dishes, and an afghan.

I brought Mother's cat Buddy back with me. He was very well-behaved on the flight. Cost $125 to bring him. Here in Tucson he has made himself at home. Snowball doesn't like him, but they have not had a fight, merely hiss at each other if they get to close.

Buddy Cat.

And so on. I have the last letter mother wrote me on May 10. It begins, "My dear Homer." It made me cry to reread that. I miss her. She was always there for me. I wouldn't be the person I am. She encouraged me when my father was abusive. She wasn't a saint and was certainly not someone with common sense. But she was a good person and rarely spoke poorly about other people, always looking on the bright side. The last phone conversation, on May 7th, she told me she was planning on living to be 90. I wish that had been true.

 Mother's rocking chair.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Carolyn Mary (Feiger) Thiel.

8 May 1932-27 May 2018


Sunday, May 20, 2018

A six day dig became a seven week dig. Sometimes that happens when you find certain things that have to be taken care of before construction can take place.

They are building the new Caterpillar headquarters near my house and the dig was below the new road. Nearby they are busy removing a 1950s landfill and hauling the disgusting smelling junk away. It is over 30-feet-deep in places. The trucks come by, get filled, and go to the modern landfill.


Spring time is rapidly morphing into summer. The cacti have mostly bloomed.

Backyard cactus.

I went to Phoenix to present a paper at a history convention. Spent the night hanging out with Christopher, and unfortunately the only photo I took is blurry. The paper went well and later that day I went down and saw the Pompeii exhibit at the Science Center. It was alright, albeit a little hokey in one place where they simulated the eruption.

Fountain boar.

Back at the dig we uncovered several pit structures. The projectile points we are finding date to the Early Cienega phase, 800 to 400 B.C. 

Jenny watched Greg uncover the floor.

We finally finished last Thursday. The next night I went to the G3 Happy House and visited with friends.

Addison, Michael, and Homer.

Yesterday was the San Isidro Festival and I attended and manned a booth. Everything is growing well.


I saw the new Chinese and Mexican gardens. At the chicken coop I ran into a couple of archaeologists and their baby. It was nice to catch up.
Adam, Lauren, and little Lucy.

The horses were stomping on the Sonoran wheat again. I liked seeing the colt, who was more interested in nursing.


And last night I helped out at Retro Game Show with Mark. Tempest was in Australia on tour, so Chatty Kathee hosted and people had a great time. Afterward I had pizza.

Mark and Homer.

Flowers (zinnias and hollyhocks) that I planted from seed are growing. I also planted a couple of sprouted onions and they are blooming. 


Little Snowball still thinks he should cuddle with me, even though it is getting hotter.


Other stuff- car AC still out, spending a lot of money fixing swamp coolers and haven't got the main one working yet (need new spider, float). Starting to think about some trips. Mother turned 86 and loved the three knitting books I sent her. And so on.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Five cakes and two pies. Also hummus, spanakopita, and mango salsa. I spent the weekend preparing food for the Annual Meeting on Sunday. Everyone loved the food, it was a fun event and by doing all that worked I saved the non-profit hundreds of dollars.

Hummingbird cake.

Chocolate mayonnaise cake with cranberry filling.

Gluten free carrot cake (Namaste brand mix).

Tres leche cake (made two of these, one got eaten by my crew today).

Coconut cream pie.

Lemon meringue pie.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Spring is rapidly turning to summer. I walked down the street to go to Addison's store and stopped at the palo verde. I love the bright yellow flowers against the green bark.

Palo verde blossoms.

At work the little cottontails hop about. This one stopped to pose for a picture. I've been out in the field running a dig for three weeks. Can't post photos, they don't want publicity.


Last Living History of the season. Four baby goats. This one is a week old, it nibbled at me with its soft lips. So cute.


At the park the ocotillo was blooming too. So pretty and once in a while I take a really good photo.



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