Sunday, November 22, 2015

For two widely different reasons I was pissed off on Thursday, so I decided to put up Holiday decorations. There won't be much to celebrate this year, no one to buy presents for. No spare cash to do so.

White and red trees, red and white decorations.

Monday, November 09, 2015

So busy. It seems like I never sit still (although I do). 

Couple weekends ago we had a wedding reception at the park and I did an initial set up, the final set up, acted as host and busboy, and put away tables, chairs, and lights. It was a lovely event and now I know how to do it so it will take much less time in the future.

Then Seumas came to visit from Australia. I took him to see the park, the gardens, the Mission, and Mount Lemmon. Also Mexican food at La Indita. He had a good time.

Homer and Seumas on Mount Lemmon.

I set up my All Soul's Altar. It is a time for me to think about the people I have known who have left us. 


Craig and Jesse came down to help do things. I showed them how to make soap.

Jesse melting the soap and Craig getting ready to add rosemary and lemon.

This was in between rolling out cookie dough and baking them, and before we started decorating them.

I am rolling gingerbread.

Despite problems with the white icing, the cookies came out nice.


We went to Saguaro Park West and walked the Discovery Trail. Lots of different kinds of cacti.

Fat saguaro.

The El Nino event is bringing lots of rain. The wildflowers will be crazy in the spring.

Skinny saguaro.

I made stuffed grape leaves and a yellow cake with chocolate frosting Saturday morning. Sunday morning Craig helped me make hummous, spanikopita, and pico de gallo salsa. The one problem, I didn't have a lot of drinks on hand. Having a cocktail party with few drinks is problematic.

I showed Craig a video of the Day of the Dead makeup and he did most of the makeup application.

Makeup application.

He did a great job.

Makeup completed. So itchy.

I just managed to get dressed before guests arrived.

The end result.

For some reason, most of my pictures of the party did not turn out. I ended up applying makeup to five people (Helen, Chris, Matt, Julia, and Jeff), and I did an alright job. Having the correct makeup really helps, although the black face paint really wanted to run.

Jeff and Olivia came down from Flagstaff.

Surprisingly little mess after the party. 

I shaved off my beard for the makeup application, and I think I look goofy. The extra weight I am carrying makes my face and neck look puffy. The Doctor today told me I need to lose weight and restrict sugar and carb intake. I will starve, but if I get my regular chin line back, that would be a bonus.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I haven't been back to Michigan in the fall since 1987. I went back to see the family. Mother wants to live in her own house, but can't because she is too frail and other problems. She has a nice woman come 10 hours a week to do things with her. She is living with my older sister and brother-in-law. Eventually she will have to go into an assisted living place. The trees were gorgeous.

My other sister's front yard.

I went over and hung out with mother and her helper, Desiree. We went on walks and I collected leaves.

Winter is coming.

We went to visit my namesake's grave. He has been dead for 62 years.


One night a beautiful rainbow lit up the sky. I had been cooking supper for Susan and called her to look at it.


Traverse City has changed. They tore down my great great grandfather's house to put up an ugly building. The downtown is losing its historic character, replaced by tall modern brick things.


New apartment buildings across from Grandma's old house. The McGill house torn down. The trees taller than I remember. Grandma's house painted bright red (it was always a pale green or white). I guess I am getting older.

I left on Saturday morning to head south to go see Brodie.

It was snowy at times.

At the Canadian border, the hot border agent grilled me on why I was going, whether I owned a gun, how I knew Brodie. It was ridiculous. I got there and we hung out.

Breakfast at Cora's.

We made the unfortunate mistake of going to Toronto, not realizing that there was a marathon being run by enthusiastic runners. We were trapped in traffic for hours, with the gas running out of the rental jeep. Somehow we survived.

Homer and Brodie.

It was nice having a few days of actual vacation while on vacation. I drove and flew back Monday and now I am sooooo tired. I need a post-vacation, vacation!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Last three weekends have seen busy times. My buddy Dave arrived for a visit from Austin, Texas. He was here to visit galleries to sell them his beautiful ceramics.

I took him out into the desert so he could see cacti.

Homer and Dave.

Of course he had to do the saguaro pose.


We went up to the top of Mount Lemmon and I forgot to take pictures except for this one of a pretty flower.


The lunar eclipse happened, my cell phone camera takes pretty ugly photos at night.

Lunar eclipse.

I woke up one morning with a perfect handlebar mustache.

The Scientist in his native habitat.

Last weekend was Rob's turn to visit from San Francisco. We ate Mexican food. On Saturday we went up to Mount Lemmon.

Rob really liked the views.

I saw a pretty poppy. At the top of the mountain the wind blew really hard as we had a picnic lunch.


That night I invited Patrick and Kamron over to play Risk.


I don't think Rob and Kamron had ever played Risk before.


Patrick and I battled each other over Australia and Asia.


I was defeated after about three hours.


We eventually gave up, after probably three hours and many drinks. It was a fun night.

Rob had a nice visit, taking lots of naps. I even made him watch Lawrence Welk.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

I've been an archaeologist since 1986. For most of this time I have specialized in historical archaeology- excavating sites dating from about 1700 to the 1930s. I've worked for my company since 1992, and have excavated many historic period sites in southern Arizona. Occasionally we recover artifacts that can be linked to a specific person. Our recent work on Block 92, at the northwest corner of E. Broadway Blvd and S. 5th Avenue, is one such case.

The first individual to live on Lot 8 of the block was David John Boleyn, known in Tucson as Jack Boleyn. He was born in New York state in the 1840s and arrived in Tucson with the railroad in 1880. He set up a transfer business, hauling freight around Tucson and surrounding areas. In 1881, he was one of the founding members of the Tucson volunteer fire department. By 1883, he was the Chief of the department, a position to held for most of the years until 1898. Ironically, in that year his buildings on Lot 8 burned and the charred debris was thrown down a well shaft, which Desert Archaeology excavated in June 2015.

Among the artifacts found in the well were metal buttons marked FD for Fire Department. A photograph of Jack Boleyn shows him wearing his uniform with its shiny buttons. He is also wearing an identification badge. An identical badge was found in a planting hole during the excavations.

Jack continued to help out on fires after he retired as Fire Chief in 1898. In 1910 he was helping out on a fire at the Goldring Store when the roof collapsed. A beam fell on his stomach, perhaps causing internal injuries. Water had accumulated on the tin roof, boiling from the intense heat, and this also fell on Boleyn, scalding him from the waist down. He was able to walk home, but died the next day. His funeral was attended by the mayor, city council, and the volunteer fireman. His grave in Evergreen Cemetery was unmarked until 2008, when a modern tombstone was installed.

One of the reasons I like doing historical archaeology is being able to learn details about the people whose homes I dig up. In Jack's case he was known for being a strong man, a hard drinker. He was also a bigamist, at one time married to three different women at the same time. I think I would probably have liked this man in person.

Friday, September 18, 2015

So it was my 52nd birthday and I decided to do something fun. So I invited Kamron and Mark to come over and decorate sugar cookies. I made the cookies the night before, picked out a dozen favorite cutters, used the Better Homes and Garden recipe. Kamron showed up first and helped me color the powdered sugar and lemon juice frosting.

Kamron mixing frosting.

We spooned the frosting into plastic baggies and nipped one corner. Mark showed up and the cookie decorating commenced.

Mark, the artiste.

We talked about Burning Man (Kamron went) and life in general.


The frosting was a little too runny, unfortunately, but we did out best.

I made the frowny bear.

It was a fun get-together. Everyone should have a good time on their 52nd birthday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Version 52.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Today I got in my car and drove toward work, listening to NPR. About half way there I realized that it was Sunday instead of Monday.

Oh lord. I'm turning into an old person.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Craig and I drove east on I-10 towards Las Cruces.

Road trip.

We spent the night in Las Cruces.

On Friday we headed east to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. I was last there in 1989. Craig has never been there. We took the elevator 750 feet down. It was a cool 65 degrees. The old restaurant that was once there was gone.


The cave formations were huge, interesting, and unexpected.

Enormous column.


As we were leaving the park we saw a car stopped and looked over the edge of the road and saw a large number of bighorn sheep. I'm not sure whether I have ever seen bighorn sheep before.

Cute little lamb.

Afterward we drove north to Santa Fe. The sunset was beautiful. It rained a few times.
New Mexico sunset.

The next morning we headed east to Pecos National Historical Park. My friend Jeremy is the archaeologist there. We stopped at the museum first.

Lots of interesting things to learn.

Craig and I headed up to see the pueblo and the cathedral. As we went along I showed Craig how to spot pottery. 

Pecos church.

That afternoon we went to downtown Santa Fe. Escaping rain under an overhang. Later we had supper at the Plaza Cafe with Jeremy. They managed to charge my debit card for a meal we paid cash for. Not cool. The chili was delicious and burned throughout my digestive tract.

We drove down to Albuquerque and spent the night, watching silly fancy tv. The next day we drove south through back roads to see the Spanish Mission of Quarai, built in 1625 and abandoned in 1677.


Craig enjoyed seeing the well-preserved ruins.

Inside the church.

Outside the church.

The trail led through a wild area where we ate chokecherries and some other berries. It was fun to sample them.

We then drove to Mountainair. I lived there in 1986 on my first dig, and lived at Gran Qivira in 1989 while teaching field school. I hadn't been back since.  


I was kind of surprised at how poorly I remember the town. I spent 10 weeks there in 1986, but little had stuck in my mind. One of the things I recalled was the Rosebud Saloon, where I learned to love Patsy Cline, who was popular on the jukebox, as well as the Cattle Call song.

Rosebud Saloon.

We had lunch at the Ancient Cities Cafe. Church was getting out and the town elders arrived to have the buffet, which Craig enjoyed. I had the red chili cheese enchiladas and then an order of super delicious onion rings.

Jerry's Ancient Cities Cafe.

We went back to Tucson, and Craig headed home to Phoenix. It was a lovely time with a good friend.


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