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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.

Lilac.

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

Mother.




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.

Trash.

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.

Sunflower.

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.

Wheat.

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. 

Onion.

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

Yawn.

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.

Cottontail.

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.

Kid.

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

Ocotillo.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

It takes a special skill to read the dirt as an archaeologist. To be able to see the subtle changes, to know when you have reached the edge of a pit, to see it and feel it. Steve was one of those kind of archaeologists. He worked with me on many projects over the last 10 or 15 years, sometimes digging, sometimes running the backhoe.

Steve died a week ago Saturday, very unexpectedly, too young. Besides being a great archaeologist, he was also one of the nicest people I have ever met. I never heard him say a bad work about anyone. He was a good person.


Steve (on the right).

Thank goodness Carlos was able to fix the plumbing ($600), in time for the Egg Party, and I will not have to worry about that. Having a 91 year old house means many things are falling apart. Right now the walls are cracking all over the place from settling. It is a little unnerving to see.

This year I made a tres leche cake, a chocolate mayonnaise cake with chocolate frosting, potato salad, hummus, and guacamole. I managed to forget the tahini in the hummus, but it still was mostly eaten up.

Tres leche cake.

I had a basket of goodies for the five kids and three for the adults who found the most plastic eggs.

 Prize baskets.

I managed to forget to take pictures of people decorating eggs. And I am too tired to go to the fridge and take a photo of decorated eggs. Having a party is a lot of work. Cleaning, more cleaning, yardwork, cooking, more cleaning.

Daffodils.

Not as many people as usual for the party. They lined up in front at 3:00 and I yelled Go!

 Egg Hunters.

There were over 400 eggs to find, so it took a while.

Luke and Allen finding eggs.

Honestly, it was easier to guess who had the most eggs rather than count them. 

Tim (1st), David (2nd), and Allison (3rd).

The kids had a great time and the adults did too. It was nice having my friends over and I got to visit with everyone.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

I noticed a damp smell in the study. I finally emptied out the closet and lifted the flooring of the hatch and looked down in. The pipe running from the cat bathroom to the main sewer pipe was leaking. A puddle of black water was visible. The first plumber refused to fix it. I have another one coming tomorrow. I climbed down there, vacuumed up the disgusting water, spread lime and sprayed bleach. I discovered the kitchen pipe was burst too, it appears that the pipe froze back in December.

Crawl space.

Super tired of the house being a mess. Can't wait for the pipes to be fixed and my house back to normal, especially because I am having a party on the 25th.

Things are beginning to bloom. Spring is here. 

Acacia.

I've been grumpy. Tired of home repairs. In my spare time I've been reading, watching Youtube videos on painting conservation. Tonight I'm watching a video about mosaics.


Sunday, March 04, 2018

Spring has arrived. The weather is a little weird, windy some, rainy some. And then it can get warm in the afternoon.

A geranium on my front porch is starting to bloom.

Geranium.

Progress on mother's family history book. It is over 350 pages long. I'm not happy about the way it is formatting, Microsoft Word is useless. But the people who get copies with enjoy it (I hope!).

An Admiral Dewey "Hero of Manila" paperweight that belonged to great-great grandfather Ransom.

Out on a testing project. Found some interesting things. The soil is rock hard. I was so tired from scraping and digging. Also, I am the fattest I have ever been and it is difficult to do things with a belly in the way.

Today I went to an Oscar Party at Nate's and this morning I watched a video on how to make a tres leche cake. Once years ago I made one and it was awful. But I decided to make one. Turns out it is super easy. Also very pretty with the canned peaches and pineapple and fresh strawberries lying on the whipped cream. I arrived at the party with it and within 40 minutes it was gone. People were raving about it, so I think I will be making it again. Temporary roommate Kevin is having a colonoscopy tomorrow and had to see the cake, I felt bad about that.


Tres leche cake.

I have a leaky pipe under the house and have to wash dishes in the shower. I need to call a plumber tomorrow and arrange for someone to crawl under the house and replace one or two pipes. Yeah- NOT.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

I have been in such a bad mood because of the horrible things happening in our country. I have been keeping myself occupied by working on a family history book for my family. I've pulled together various family sketches that I have written over the last 25 years, editing, adding missing references, and finding new information. I'm back to my mother's fourth great grandparents and contemplating going back one more.

It's a little cool lately, it has been raining on and off for the last few days. So Buddy is coming in and sleeping on the couch. When he comes in he demands a treat so I give him a little shredded cheese.

Snore.

Tonight I made lemon cupcakes with lemon curd filling and lemon cream cheese frosting for my co-worker Lisa's birthday.

Sprinkles!

I have many plates on my kitchen wall. This is one of my favorites, a decal-printed souvenir plate from my home town with a very fey bear.


See-saw.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Artist Joe Pagac painted this in the last couple of years. There are a number of beautiful murals be placed on the sides of buildings throughout downtown Tucson. I gave a tour Saturday and one of the women was talking about how much she loved them, so I made a point of deviating from the tour route to show the group one on the side of the Rialto Theater. They were very pleased.

Joe Pagac mural, northeast corner of N. Stone Avenue and 5th Street.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Oh another mass shooting and the usual Republican "prayers and thoughts" bullshit. The gun nutters will run to the store to buy more mastabatory supplies. And it is too soon to talk about it even while survivors and the parents of the kids killed are being interviewed begging Republicans to do something. Because the NRA dollars are more important than the lives of school kids. And concert goers. And people attending church. And so on.

I'm working on a family history book for my family. Currently checking everything, adding footnotes, adding marriage and death dates for children. It is unexpectedly tedious, partly because new records have become available and I need to hunt those down. It will be several hundred pages of texts, maps, photographs. I hope the family members like it, but you never know.

I recently make lemon cupcakes with lemon curd and lemon frosting and chocolate cupcakes with malted milk frosting for my non-profit's living history day. They were quickly consumed. I need to develop better skills at applying frosting, to me it looked like a pile of poop ended up on each.

Snowball is shedding and there is hair everywhere. It is gross.

This has to be the most dull blog post in the last few years.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Oh I find myself so angry.  President Shithole and all of the bullshit he and his buddies spew. Lying constantly. Rewriting history. Racist. Homophobic. Transphobic. Anti-immigrant. Anti-science. Anti-environment. Everything has to be about money, white people, Christians, straight.

We were spoiled for eight years and now there is a backlash and the kind of people I knew back in northern Michigan are happy as fuck. They were the type that hated education, hated minorities, desperate to think they were better than other people.

Every day it is something awful. You can't help but wonder how all of this bullshit will end.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I don't know who this man is, but I like his clothes and think he was a handsome fellow.

1890s hipster.

I was at an antique store in Safford and purchased a pile of photos that had names on their backs. I have started researching them and will be posting them to Findagrave, so relatives can see what their ancestors looked like.

Doing things like this make me feel a little better in a time when it is hard to be positive. 



Saturday, January 06, 2018

Well I decided to send away for the 23andme DNA test kit. I have previously done the Ancestry DNA kit and I was curious to see how the two compared. For the 23andme you spit into a test tube and put it in the mail. It took maybe a month for the results to show up on my email.

First the Ancestry DNA results:



Ancestry results.

I am very European. The family story that we had a Native American ancestor on the Clawson side was not true.

Similar, although not identical results from 23andme.


23andme

23andme did not detect the Jewish, Greek/Italian, or Caucasus genes picked up by Ancestry.

Both companies provide a list of likely relatives. Ancestry lets you look at family trees, if the person has posted one. 23andme allows a list of surnames (searchable) to be examined.

I looked through them and saw Ransom, Chandler, Rollenhagen, Faunce, Coburn, and Oberholtzer. These are names from my my father's father, and both my maternal grandparents sides of the family. 

Interesting that none of the surnames or relatives from my paternal grandmother's side have shown up. Perhaps relatives on this side haven't taken either DNA test. It does make me wonder as to whether Grandma T was adopted. She was born nine years after her parents married. She used to claim one man was a relative, who wasn't, and denied that another man was her relative, when he was. Would be curious to figure out whether this was the case or not.




The end of 2017 happened. I picked lemons off my two trees and then some from Addison's tree and the Presidio tree. I made lemon curd and caramelized onions to give away.

Lemons from my tree.

On Saturday before Holiday Eve I went out to the Venture with Patrick and had several gin and tonics. I ended up sleeping on his couch.

Homer and Patrick.

Holiday morning Kevin, Doug, and I exchanged presents. Buddy is sleeping on the couch when it gets below 45 and he had the most fun that morning tearing up the wrapping paper.

Buddy.

New Year's Eve I went down to Ray and Robert's. Ray made an enchilada lasagna and I had more gin and tonics. We played Scrabble. Jordan showed up and we sat around and talked. This is how my camera posts photos on Facebook. I thought it was Poseiden Adventure appropriate.

Ray, Robert, and Jordan.


We had champagne and I had a little hangover the next morning. Back in Tucson I attended John and John's party, nice food and met a new arrival in Tucson, a pilot. It was a nice get together.

So 2017 is done and I have to say good riddance. This ongoing SNL sketch at the national level is tiresome. 2018 better be better.

End of the year portrait.

I've decided I need to make some new friends and to focus on those friends who actually do friend-like things, like ask me to dinner or to a movie or to just hang out. I'm letting go a few people who do not meet those criteria.

Real friends Mark and Kevin.

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