Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Well it has been a year since Mother died. For a long time I did not think about it, put it out of my mind. Little by little this stopped working. And then Buddy Dog died. I couldn't keep hiding the feelings.

So I've had a pretty severe depression. I've been lucky in that that certain someone has been there for me. At times I just feel so sad and miserable. I miss my mother. I miss the sometimes ridiculous phone calls where I could not get a word in. I miss having her at my house and cooking meals for her. I miss taking her to Safeway and the library and the other places she used to go. I wish she was around to see little Ruby and disapprove of her naughtiness.

Speaking of Ruby... she is so weird. Decides to not poop for two whole days because there are so many more interesting things to do than go poop. The other day she must have pooped in her sleep because there it was in the bed. Not nice. Same with peeing, usually three times a day. Yesterday it was once. She gets so excited by random dogs barking, people on bicycles, and gross things on the ground that she doesn't want to go.

I've been finishing up a project- short biographies of all of the men who died during World War II from my home county in Michigan. There are about 90 or 95. A handful are listed on the monument back there, but I cannot locate any information on them. Hopefully when I go back the last week in June I will be able to look through the newspapers that are not online and find them. I have also been putting together some puzzles including a 1,500 piece one that Doug gave me for Holiday. I never look at the picture while doing so, it is harder and more of a surprise that way.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

For my non-profit's annual meeting I made desserts. Several reasons. I like baking. I have a new-used stove that has a working thermostat. And Homer-made desserts saves the non-profit hundreds of dollars.

 I started around noon on Saturday with the cakes. Matt bought me a fancy bundt pan so I made a lemon bundt cake. It came out beautifully and was delicious (have to find that recipe again).

Lemon bundt.

I made the chocolate mayonnaise cake. t had two layers of cranberry filling and one with vanilla cream cheese frosting. It was also delicious.

Chocolate mayonnaise cake with cranberry filling.

I made two smaller pineapple upsidedown cake. I put maraschino cherries in the center and mango salsa in other spots. I took one to work the next day.

Pineapple upside-down cake.

I saw rhubarb at Safeway and bought some. Found a recipe online for rhubarb cake with a cinnamon sugar topping. This one was mostly left alone. I admit, it was not attractive. But it did taste good and I ate most of it the next few days.

Rhubarb cake.

One of my volunteers has celiac disease, so I made a gluten-free spice cake mix and added carrots, raisins, and walnuts.

Gluten-free carrot cake.

Another volunteer liked the coconut cream pie I made last year, so I made it again. And then she didn't come to the meeting. This one was not popular.

Coconut cream pie.

Made something new- a vanilla wafer, vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and banana trifle. It was really good and was very popular.

Banana, vanilla wafer, whipped cream, and vanilla pudding trifle.

Lastly, I made a lemon meringue pie.

Lemon meringue.

The annual meeting went well and people really enjoyed the desserts. I'm moving to be vice-president after being president for four years. 

The new stove worked well. I have discovered that the top heats up much more than the old stove, so I cannot have anything sitting on it when the oven is on.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

I've been looking at estate sales listed on a website. Most are the type where you go and fight the crowds hoping to get what you want. A smaller number are actual auctions- which is how I obtained my new/old secretary and the two bird paintings.

Anyways, from an archaeological/anthropological viewpoint the sales tell me a lot about late 20th and early 21st century Arizonans. It seems that most people, especially those in retirement communities, get rid of everything but a handful of family heirlooms when they move to Arizona. They then proceed to decorate in "Southwest." Pastel fabrics, often striped. The same three or four prints (roadrunner, Native American woman sitting down, etc.). They purchase modern Native American pottery and Mexican crafts. I guess it would be comforting to visit your next door neighbor and see the same junk that you have in your own home. I wonder how many of these immigrants to Arizona who decorate in "Mexican" (of course bought in Tucson or Tubac) voted for Trump?

You also see the stuff the kids don't want. Complete sets of china. Fancy glassware. All of those "Southwest" and "Mexican" art pieces. The "collectibles"- Franklin mint plates, Hummel figurines, Lladro figurines, dolls. Plus the usual books, Christmas ornaments, garden pots and decorations, and travel souvenirs. Sometimes you learn something about the people whose house contents are being sold. This one liked to sew quilts. This one collected stamps. This one did wood-working.

Towards the end of the photos you see the grim reality of why estate sales are held. The walkers, wheelchairs, potty chairs, and unopened packages of adult diapers.

Of course when I die off some day whoever gets to go through my house will probably have an estate sale because, honestly, who would want the stuff I have? One of my nephews might want some of the family heirlooms, but the rest of the stuff will be pawed over by people, some of whom will probably talk about what a bunch of junk I had.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A while ago I failed to buy a pie safe at an estate sale (it was $300, learned my lesson). I have been wanting another storage/display piece for my dining room. A space for tablecloths and to display some of my antique transferprint platters.

I discovered by accident the estate sale/auction website and diligently check to see what comes up. I got two bird paintings a few months ago for $24.

Anyways, I  checked last week and this antique secretary was up for bid. $8. The sale ended on Monday night and I put a bid in. On Monday evening I watched as the sale started to end and the bidding went up. I was determined to get it, and for $197.98 I did (plus tax and commission, it came out to about $246). Today Doug and I went to pick it up. There is a small area of broken glass, they said they had the piece but they didn't. Some glue running down one leg. Otherwise it is in pretty good condition for a piece that has to be over 120 years old.

Secretary. Heirlooms displayed, tablecloths now in lower drawer.

I moved my china cabinet to the other side. The room is a little cramped now. I moved some heirlooms into it. And Matt hung the antique Spanish mirror that I got last year above it.

China cabinet.

The 1930s dining room table and chairs are in the center of the room. On the back wall is the Burwood plastic flag my mother got in the early 1970s and that hung on her living room wall for decades.

Dining room table and chairs.

I should have a dinner party before it gets too hot.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Non-Denominational Egg Decorating and Egg Hunt Party, 2019. Many hours of preparation work were undertaken. I took Friday off and Robert helped me do yardwork. I made lemon sugar cookies and chocolate cookies. On Saturday night, I sat and decorated them, as well as making hummous, potato salad, and pasta salad.

Decorated cookies.

Sunday morning I got up to make a tres leche cake in the new-old stove. I have not figured it out. It baked the cake so quick. I let it sit for a while to cool and then poured the milk mixture in. Then something unexpected happened. The Pyrex pan exploded, showering me and Ruby with shards of glass. Luckily we were not injured. The milk mixture ran down into the stove. It was a mess. I was a mess. Matt helped me clean it up.

Exploded cake.

So no cake. I drove and picked up Robert and he helped me with last minute preparation. And then people arrived. I prepared the dye and eggs started being colored.

Phil and Penelope.

I put the cushions back on the couch. They had been removed because Miss Ruby thought they were delicious. It is much more comfortable to sit on.

Jeff, Doug, Tracy, Eleanor, Missy, and Penelope.

At four it was time for the Egg Hunt. Somewhere between 300 and 350 eggs hidden throughout the yard.


I told people that they had to collect at least one (some people are not inclined to do so!).

Matt is collecting eggs while wearing his fancy shorts.


I did not count the eggs, merely looked at the bags. I decided that Robert had the most, followed by Tracy, and then Mark. They were excited to get their dollar-store-filled baskets.

Tracy, Mark, and Robert.

Matt was very helpful cleaning up. I will be eating leftovers for a while, but luckily it is things I like to eat. The people at work are enjoying the cookies and decorated eggs.

It was a lovely party. The kids had a great time. It was the first egg decorating and hunting that Robert had ever done, and he was so happy to have participated.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Last Friday I boarded a bus with archaeologists, a conservator, and some other folks and headed to Mexico to go see Catholic missions founded by Father Eusebio Kino, a Jesuit priest who served in Baja California and then Sonora. We headed south, passed through the border (NO CRISIS), got our visas stamped at Kilometer 21, and went to Imuris, where we picked up a dozen Mexican archaeologists, conservators, and historians.

The first stop was the Mission of Cocospera. The structure is in bad shape, no roof and exposed to the elements. A scaffolding keeps the front of the building from collapsing. The INAH people stated that there is a limited budget to spend on these monuments, and they have to pick and choose what to do.


Behind the church is a cemetery that is still in use.

I really liked this fence.

Afterward we went to Magdalena and looked at the supposed grave of Father Kino (the Mexican archaeologist doesn't think so). Then on to Caborca where we had margaritas and I had a delightful salad. Mexican food is very meat, bean, lard, and tortilla (lard!) focused and that makes things a little difficult for vegetarian.

The next morning we headed  first to San Antonio de Oquitoa. The church there was really charming, with a flat roof and corbeled beams. Nice plaza out front. This building was in great shape.

San Antonio de Oquitoa.

The cemetery was fabulous, lots of ornate architecture. I checked Findagrave and was surprised at how few Sonoran cemeteries have any graves listed. That is a future project.

The beautiful cemetery.

We went next to Atil, where the church is basically an adobe ruin. Then on to Tubutama. The church there is in fairly good shape, with a few beautiful paintings. We had lunch there, where I enjoyed some snacks, and gave half of my snacks to a charming dog who was starving.

As we drove around the scenery was beautiful. The heavy rains have made for lush landscapes, with many wildflowers blooming. The cattle and horses we saw seemed sleek and well fed. Large areas have little evidence for human activity, at least from the bus window.


We went next to Pitiquito. Back in 1966 they discovered painting that were covered up by lime plaster and paint. They exposed some back them, and more were uncovered recently.

Skeleton, fairly anatomically correct.

Lucifer holding a snake.


We returned and I enjoyed salad for supper again.

There are a lot of stray dogs wandering around. On Sunday morning I got up and there was a little black puppy at the base of the stairs. So friendly. I went back and got half of a bagel, which I broke in little pieces and fed it to her. I went and had breakfast and came back and left my door open . I went down to the bus and for some reason went back to the room and discovered the puppy was inside the room hiding. I carried her out and she sat on my lap for a while before we boarded the bus. If I could have, I would have brought her home to be friends with Ruby (the vaccination rules require 28 days after being vaccinated before you can bring them over the border).

Little puppy.

We headed out to the Caborca Mission, part of which had fallen into the adjacent river a long time ago. Some painted areas have been exposed and a few elements have survived elsewhere.

Caborca Mission.

Inside Caborca Mission.

Outside, the palo verde and ocotillo were blooming, as we were driving around some of the palo verde trees were enormous.

Palo verde.

The last mission we went to was at San Ignacio. I liked this one because it had the most artifacts from the Mission period.

San Ignacio Mission.

Religious artifacts.

Lunch was snacks again. Then we said goodbye to the Mexican travelers and headed north. At the border we saw a group of refugees awaiting a medical place open, but not the enormous hordes that the Orange Thing is blabbering about. It took us 1.75 hours to get across, including getting off the bus and having our bags x-rayed. I would like to go back soon.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The orange and lemon trees bloomed, for a week the outside smelled lovely.

Orange blossom.

Of course my allergies went crazy and my eyes were weepy. Also, periodically, I thought about Buddy and about Mother, and my eyes were weepy. Poor Ruby tried to comfort me.

On Saturday morning I retrieved Robert for a busy day. Craft activities were accomplished. I had seen a video on making Egg Day wreaths, so I went to the dollar store and bought lots of eggs. Hot gluing took place, I singed my fingers a few times.

Robert waiting for the glue to hold.

It came out nice, I will hang it up on the door in two weeks when I have my party.

Robert demonstrates the wreath.

We also made lemon-rosemary soaps. We went down to 4th Avenue and I had my hairs cut. Then to the ice cream place and I saw they had grape nut ice cream. I had to have it, having recently sent the recipe from my great grandmother's 1940 cookbook to a well known magazine writer. It was delicious.

We walked to the 4th Avenue underpass and looked at the photo tiles. Forrest's has a few chips on it. Always nice to see his smiling face. Really need to go see him in North Carolina.


Robert had brought Pickles (AKA Twinkle Toes) and Taco to visit with Ruby. Ruby was obsessed with Taco. She is a lot bigger than him, and I think he was rather scared of her.

Homer, Taco, Ruby, and Pickles in the foreground.

Lots of yardwork taking place, my Egg Hunt Party is in two weeks. This morning I was astonished to see a little violet blooming, who knows where it came from. Violets and pansies are my favorite flowers.


Friday, March 22, 2019

It happened very quickly. On Wednesday morning Buddy was limping slightly on one of his front legs. This happened occasionally, but always would clear up after a few hours. He often ran around like crazy, barking at bicyclists or the mail person. I thought this was another time when he had strained a muscle. I came home that afternoon and discovered him sitting next to the back gate. He could hardly walk, both front legs barely able to move. I brought him inside and watched over him. Coaxed him to eat a can of wet cat food and dribbled some water in his mouth. He occasionally moaned and panted. By yesterday morning it was worse.

I called the vet and arranged to come in. Took him outside and he peed twice while lying down. He didn't seem to be in pain. I carried him into my car and took him to the vet. The nice vet discovered that his front legs were not responding- he apparently had no feeling in them. It was either something to do with his brain, a neurological condition, or possibly a tumor on his spine. In any case, there was nothing that could be done.

Buddy was otherwise in excellent health for a 15-year-old dog. The hardest thing to do is to say goodbye. Buddy was a mostly good dog, although lately he had chewed up a lot of the back gates. He barked every morning (once I counted 34 barks in a minute). He wanted to chase my cats. I guess those were the naughty things. He liked tummy rubs, treats (I spoiled him), sleeping on my couch, chasing his ball. He even put up with Ruby dancing around him. He especially liked Robert's dog when Robert stayed with me.


I will miss him a lot.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

It has rained a lot here, in the fall and the last two months. The desert erupts in life afterward, the wildflowers are plentiful. I asked Matt to take me to see some flowers and we drove north to Picacho Peak.

Saguaro and brittle bushes.

Lots of other people had the same idea, but we quickly found a parking spot. We wandered down the road and went up a trail.

Homer and Matt, St. Patrick's Day, so we wore green.

Most of my flower pictures did not turn out. I counted perhaps seven or eight varieties.


Not as dramatic as the pictures I have seen of California, but still patches of color against the green.

Nice way to spend the morning. Got a little too much sun on the top of my head, so a small headache ensued. Lesson learned- carry water!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

There are not a lot of pictures of me as a child. I was the fifth baby and by then the parents were tired of taking pictures and there wasn't much money.

I'm probably about two-years-old in this photo. Sucking my thumb, something I did until I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. As a result, I ended up with very crooked teeth.

Here I am pulling tissues out of a box. Grandma F would talk about this one, how naughty I was.

Daisy was Grandpa F's dog (there was also a beagle named DeeDee because I wanted to call it Daisy too, but couldn't say that name correctly). Susan is combing Daisy, with Grandma F sitting in her chair next to the fireplace. Looks like I have a comb in my hand too.

I'm in some sort of stroller device. That's Uncle Fred on the left and brother Gerald in the background with Daisy. I do not know who the other dog is. This is in Grandpa and Grandma F's living room. 

Difficult to see, but here I am playing in a sandy area. I'm probably about three here. Lots of toy trucks and trailers, none of which we still have today.

This is probably at the Bolling farm. One of the three pictures of all five of us. I'm in the center with Gerald and Lee to the left and Susan and Elizabeth to the right.

Here I am perched on Babe, our Shetland pony, with Elizabeth. I was very scared. Wasn't until I was about 12 or 13 that I became confident riding horses.

My early childhood, from what I remember, was a happy time. Things really didn't start to go downhill until I was about nine, when Grandma T sold that field that was supposed to go to my father and things started to change. 


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