Friday, June 30, 2006

Let's clean the house. Three cats. A 14-year-old dog. An archaeologist. Altogether that equals a dirty house. I took the day off from work to clean. I swept. I dusted. I mopped. I scrubbed the woodwork. I spritzed the shower. I washed various fabric items. While doing so sweat was dripping off of me because the monsoon has arrived and it is both hot and immensely humid.

Tomorrow- yardwork. Luckily not much grass to cut, but some raking to do. I'm having a few friends over for the fireworks on July 4, they shoot them off a few thousand feet away from my backyard.

In other news, I paid someone to cut my hair, the first time in 17 months (second time in four years).

Blue Homer.

I cringed when I gave the gal my money- I don't tip myself when I pull out the clippers and buzz away.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A trip to New York City? Should I or shouldn't I? JetBlue is starting a red eye flight in September to NYC and for the month of October the fare is $258. Hmmmm, should I or shouldn't I?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I have a letter to the Editor in Wednesday's New York Times..

Getting one in the New York Times is pretty much a dream come true. I mean, I have letters often in Tucson's two newspapers. I never thought that I would have one in the New York fricken Times! And the letter at the top of the page! That deserves an exclamation point! Or two. Or three.

Thanks, Tinman for alerting me. Now he and I have something else in common.

Part 1. An explanation on the bad food list. Meat and seafood- I've been a vegetarian since 1983, so obviously those are out. Lima beans- I know they are Corky's favorites, and if he ever came to visit I'd serve him a heaping dish, but the darn things have that awful, gritty taste. Raw celery is stringy and there really isn't much use to it. Cantelope and muskmelon- had enough when I was a child, thank you. Spaghetti noodles- I'm a sloppy eater- those noodles just spray sauce everywhere. Stir fry- like dullsville. Cabbage- in every form, in every way, the most disgusting vegetable ever invented. I've tried to like it- cole slaw, sauerkraut, kimchi, wrapped around things, etc. Never, ever worked for me. Republicans- they leave a nasty taste in your mouth afterwards.

I forgot to mention tofu or soy ice cream (toxic gases), canned pears (also had enough as a child), marzipan (might as well be called puke-zipan), and maraschino cherries (who invented those things?).

Part 2. Tucson experienced a sun-halo today. A rainbow-like ring around the sun, very pretty. I did not stare straight into that burning orb of fire, ignoring the taunts of my co-workers.


My camera doesn't have a wide angle lens, so I couldn't get a picture of the entire halo.

Saint Homer, patron saint of archaeologists.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I'm hungry. So many things I'd rather be having than what I had for dinner. Got me thinking about foods. A list of favorites, in no particular order:

Onion rings
Tater tots
Chocolate milkshakes
Strawberry shortcake (with biscuits)
Carrot cake
Fried parsnips
Whipped cream
French fries with lots of salt and catsup
Watermelon rind pickles
Tomato sandwiches
Pumpkin pie
Mashed potatoes
Palak paneer
Bitter chocolate
Homemade macaroni and cheese
Nachos with lots of sour cream and black beans

On the other hand, things I generally avoid putting in my mouth:

Lima beans
Spaghetti noodles
Stir fry

Saturday, June 24, 2006

At Michael's 40th birthday party a group of us were looking at his collection of 45s from the mid 1980s- the music I listened to as I was finishing college. A young girl came up. "What are those?" she asked, "Are those mini-records?"

We were stunned into a moment of silence. Suddenly we felt very old.

As a child I played Disney 45s on a little record player. I still have a few, including a Pooh exercise record. "I go up, down, touch the ground, when I'm in the mood for food." The song is etched on my brain.

One of the things I regret after Grandma F. died was not taking her turqouise blue record player and her collection of 1950s records- Sinatra, Bennett, mood music. I wasn't thinking clearly- I'm sure they were tossed out or taken to Salvation Army or perhaps Uncle Phillip has them. I don't know, but I wish I had grabbed them and tonight I could be listening to some of those funny pressed-vinyl dohickeys.

I'm not afraid. Of terrorists. Seems like the people running this country are either afraid or want American citizens to be very, very afraid. As they slowly transform America into Amerika.

I'm old enough to remember the Red Pinko Commies. I remember drills in case of nuclear attacks and what to do if bombs went off. And the pointlessness of the whole process. The process was successful in making people very, very afraid of Communists. My under-educated father once told me we should just nuke Russia and kill them all. He didn't understand that the radiation would drift over to us, kill us too if the bombs didn't get us first.

We were taught that Commies were suspicious of everyone. They actively sought out people who were different. They peered into people's private lives secretly to find out who to arrest. Commies locked people up without trials. They tortured people. They accused the people with different opinions of being traitors. There was always the spector of arrest, detainment, and torture.

So familiar now in AmeriKa. "Oh, it's okay for them to tap international calls." "Oh, it's alright for them to trace domestic calls without court warrants." "Oh, it's fine to track bank transactions." "Oh, we don't talk about the Jones, they just sorta disappeared and you know, they probably did something wrong."

I'm not afraid of anything. Except the creeping transformation of Amerika.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

At work none of the artifacts we found today were particularly interesting. Instead we were stalked by dozens of hungry pigeons. The baby ones will eat out of your hands. The sparrows will say "thank you" after getting their crackers. None of the birds like string beans.


Someone asked what happens to the artifacts we find. While in the field we sort them and count and throw out nails, tin can fragments, horseshoes, and plain bottle and window fragments. The rest are sorted by material type (glass, metal, ceramics, etc) and sent to the lab to be washed. In a while they will be identified and the information put into the computer. We throw away a lot more stuff then- broken bottles, duplicate bottles, plain dish fragments, and so on. It is very expensive to turn stuff over to the museum.

Someone also asked about Mexican Safeway. I live in a largely Mexican-American neighborhood, Vince (who lives in my guest house) and I are the only Anglos or Euro-Americans on my block. Mexican Safeway is about half a mile north and is where I shop and where blond, beefy, furry Byron works. I always look for him when I go in.

Mexican Safeway.

The staff is super friendly. Most are bilingual. Many of the customers are Mexican-American. There are a few areas in the store where this is evident- lots of votive candles, hot peppers, and a small Mexican candy section.

Mexican candy.

Now Mexican candy is different. A combination of salty/sweet/hot. Mango and chili lollipops. Salted dried plums. Tamarind on a spoon. I've tried a few, and honestly thought "yuck."

I think that about covers the questions. Feel free to ask more.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I had dinner with Jim W. In January I thought I saw him walking down the street. Last week he emailed me after seeing my on television.

We ate dinner at the Cup Cafe (I had the eggplant parm and I am way full!). Caught up on the last eight years of our lives. I informed him he'd be coming to pool volleyball with me. Jim claims to be shy. He hasn't changed much, still tall and lean and cute.

Meet Jim's hand.

Nice way to end a busy day. Work was super frantic- backhoe digging out deep outhouse pits, moving around wheelbarrows of dirt for later screening, picking bottles and broken dishes out of the dirt. Some really cool artifacts- Chinese opium pipes, old medicine bottles, decorated dishes. I'll take my camera to work tomorrow in case we find anything interesting when we screen the dirt. Only complaint, 107 fricken degrees or some such nonsense.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hippy Homer. I'm letting my hair grow out, I haven't buzzed it off in about six weeks. I even bought some product to glue down the unruly spots.

Still going bald though.

In other news, my archaeology dig is nearing completion. I'm looking forward to some nice, air-conditioned office time. I can't remember if I mentioned that I'm doing to DC July 26-31 to hang out with Archerr and Jimbo. In August to Vancouver for a week to visit with Larry and Eric. And in September back to northern Michigan to visit Mummy and the rest of the family. After that I'm sitting on my butt and paying bills!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

1,000 points of life. According to Blogger, this is my 1,000th entry. Pretty words and pictures posted over the last three years. Sometimes not so pretty, but always reflecting what was going on in my life at that particular moment.

Someone recently asked me how many hours a week I spend writing my blog. They were surprised when I told them that it rarely takes more than five minutes for each entry. I carry my camera around and take pictures when I feel like it. I file ideas away in my head. Sometimes when I'm driving I'll say things out loud, working on the words. More often I just sit down and spill my guts.

I haven't changed much since I wrote the first entry, although my writing has improved. A few more gray hairs, a couple of pounds, a few new scars. Lots of new friends around the country and across the oceans. Thanks for reading and the comments (mostly!). Who knows what the future holds, I'm glad I don't know.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I have not seen my oldest brother in 30 years. Sometime in the spring of 1976 he decided to cut off all contact with the family.

My mother, who should know what happened, claims that this is one of the time periods for which she has no memories. My father, who knew what happened, is dead, and if still alive would never have told the truth.

I have the vague memories of a 12-year-old. My father cursing at my brother on the phone. Oldest brother had decided to change his major from accounting to history and theater. My father had picked out careers for each of his children, and oldest brother was going to be an accountant and work for my uncle Fred. Or else. The shouting and threats worked too well.

My oldest brother was also gay. When he had come home for Christmas I did what many little boys did- snooped for presents and found Tom of Finland-like porn. Naturally, I assumed that all guys looked at pictures of other guys. It wasn't until later that I found out otherwise.

I suspect oldest brother told my father and in 1976 that was not the thing to do. He simply disappeared then. Once, while cleaning out our pickup truck, I found a Father's Day card he had sent my father, crumpled up and hidden behind the seat. As far as I know that was the last contact. My parents never got in the car and drove down to Lansing to find him. He was never spoken of. My mother said he was dead in my father's obituary. She was surprised when I told her he wasn't. "Well, he's dead to me."

Back in 1991, just as computer databases were becoming available, I found his address and wrote him a letter and had my friend Brian mail it, because I was too nervous. I told oldest brother some basic family news and said, "We have more in common than you might think." I never heard back from him.

He probably remembers me as the brat. I was ten-and-a-half years younger than him. I have a few vague memories of him. He didn't like me, was always yelling at me. In particular I remember the night Grandpa T. died and I walked into our living room, with its turquoise carpet, corner curio cabinet, and that little electric organ, and there was oldest brother on the couch crying with a pillow over his head. He looked up and shouted at me to go away. It's strange that all the memories of him are him being angry at me. But then he was the oldest and well, actually, a spoiled brat.

I wonder if he ever wonders about me the way I wonder about him. I just checked and he's still apparently living in Michigan. I guess I don't feel compelled to try again, I'm not sure what I would say to him after 30 years.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Another crappy day.

Well, it didn't start out to be one, with clouds keeping it from getting too hot and interesting things being found at work.

Another outhouse pit.

I spent the afternoon digging in an outhouse pit, the sifted dirt drifting back down onto me and sticking to my furry forearms.

Green poopy dirt.

The dirt in this particular outhouse is particularly green. I had to trowel through it because there were so many bottles and broken goblets dropped into the gloom and stink. A coin from 1900 suggested when this happened, the types of items suggested they originated from a saloon.

Bottles from one eight-inch layer.

So I was tired and I tore a gaping hole in the only pair of jeans I have that did not already have gaping holes and one of my crewmembers said something surprising to another and then I pinched my thumb really, really bad. So I told off the crewmember in front of his co-workers.

I can't remember the last time I yelled at somebody. Well, actually I can, but yelling at the Ex while he is dumping you doesn't count. So I'm a little tense and embarassed because I don't want to be like my father, you had a Ph.D with post-doctoral training in yelling, man was he ever good/bad at that. And now I have to go buy a new pair of jeans and I wish my thumb didn't hurt more than it already did.

Monday, June 12, 2006

An article about my current dig is online- front page above the fold, thank you.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I made pineapple-mango upsidedown cake and an onion quiche to take to the water volleyball party.

Pineapple-mango upsidedown cake and onion quiche.

I knocked on Vince's door and asked him along, then Patrick called when we were in the car so I swung by and grabbed him.


Lots of games, won some, lost some.

The guys.

A nice, lazy Sunday afternoon.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I had just sat down at afternoon break, picking up the newspaper to look at the opinion page, when to my right I heard someone shout, saw a truck go by, and then saw someone flying through the air. Around me my workers are shouting "Oh my god, did you see that!" I stood up and reached in my pocket for my cell phone, dialing 911 as I walked out of the gate.

The bicyclist was picking up his red mountain bike and a book, squashed at an unnatural angle with pieces broken that shouldn't be broken. Past him, heading south, is a Tucson Water truck, driving away as fast as it can. "Why are you calling the police?" the guy asked me. He was in his 20s and was limping. "You are hurt, I need to call." I told him. He was in shock, didn't quite understand what had happened.

It seemed to take forever for the firemen to come, although really it was a short time. We made the bicyclist sit down and gave him something to drink. He lifted his pant leg to look at his swollen knee and abrasions. I think he was lucky to escape worse injury.

Over the course of the next hour the police came, then City officials. I imagine all of the Water company trucks will be examined for red paint and fresh scratches. The driver knew he'd hit somebody- he'd stopped to look back. My guess is that he was drunk at work and had hoped he'd escape undetected. I hope they catch the asshole.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I haven't had any caffeine in 17 days. Before the explosive stomach flu I was drinking too much diet pop. I knew it, but had little inclination to stop. Since I couldn't drink any while sick (caffeine is a diuretic), I just quit. No headaches. Once in a while I look longingly at the cans in the fridge. But I really don't miss it. Once before, in 1999, I stopped cold turkey and didn't have any for three years. I'll be saving a little money, I guess.

In other news, I vented a little about not getting the fancy contract and feel better, less bitter. Why waste time being angry when there are more interesting things to do, like wash all my silverware because a billion ants suddenly appeared in the drawer, totally weirding me out.

Jimbo posted the following video on his blog a little while ago (I borrowed the image from him, thanks Jimbo!).

I love you hot dancing man

The guy catches my attention, reminds me of redhead Philip from Nebraska and dancing with him on the speakers in a bar in Omaha. Nice memory.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What a crappy day.

We are busy digging outhouses, finding old bottles, animal bones, broken dishes. The three women working together found a silver coin today, very corroded and mostly unreadable.

The Outhouse Girls: Tylia, Regina, and Alycia.

Notice the green-colored soil. At times it actually smelled bad, or perhaps it was the people at the bus station next to us who pee through the fence. Nasty.

We sometimes find nasty artifacts, such as the enamelware bedpan found a few days ago.

Damien models the bedpan.

The portajohn, gosh after heating up to 105 degrees, is very fragrant. I have to eat lunch somewhere aways so I don't have to enjoy the tangy smell of the blue fluid.

So yesterday I put on my suit jacket and went in with a team and did a proposal for a very interesting archaeology project and today I learned that the competition got the contract. I could be very grown up and wish them well, but today I simply don't feel grown up at all. Let's leave it at that.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mexican Safeway was just bizarre tonight. I told Moby that I hoped to see blonde, furry, beefy Byron when I went. And sure enough, there he was in his blonde, furry, beefy self. He flirted way more than usual with me. Except he never really flirts with me and is totally straight, so straight he has difficulty tying his shoelaces.

Moving right along, there was the tall, skinny cowboy-like man with the ornate pistol stuck down his pants over his right buttock. Why anybody feels the need to strut around with a gun in between their panties and their Wrangler jeans is not something I understand clearly. Are they afraid onion robbers and eggplant terrorists are going to ambush the produce section?

Well the only terrorist was the three-year-old boy who knocked over the sponge cake display and looked like he was supposed to cry until he saw me laughing. Then he smiled slyly.

Ohmigod, what was up with the Mexican hottie guys tonight? Three, count 'em, three Mexican hottie guys. The one with the muscled arms and the lovely skin was my favorite.

Leaving Mexican Safeway it was raining, the first real rain since October. That's something like eight months ago. I didn't mind the raindrops landing on the Cheerios boxes or my gallon of two percent milk. It was a nice way to end an adventure.

Wish me good luck.

Monday, June 05, 2006

My house is an oven. It is very humid here and very hot. When combined, the swamp cooler does not function well. Sweat is running down my back at this very moment. Big sigh and all that.

I confess, I just got up and stood in front of the freezer with the door open. Frosty goodness.

Last night at karoake it was like a big ole soap opera. Alcohol and homosexuals and people examining each other's junk and so on. I had a good time, who wouldn't?

Jennifer and Patrick.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

So tomorrow, once again, The Great Decider is going to blather on about how gays and activist judges are ruining 'Merica.

Well he can go suck Saddam's barbed-wire wrapped cock for all I care. Twice.

In certain societies, people are selected to be shunned for their activities. I'm going to shun TGD. I won't invite him to my parties. He's not singing with me at karoake. Next time I'm in bed with a hot man, I'll make sure the curtains are closed just in case TGD gets all perverty and wants to sneak a peak.

It amazes me how little regard I have for this "person." Rich, spoiled brat, never held a successful job, drunk, cocaine-addict, Mama's boy, liar, lazy, just plain stupid. Why half the country didn't figure this out in 2000 is beyond me.

In other news, it is freaky hot here in Arizona. 83 degrees at 5:30 AM. Ouch.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I dug for potatoes this morning, running my hands through the dirt to find the little ones.

Potato plants.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a bowl full from just two plants, I have another two plants still in the ground.

Fresh taters.

While I was doing that, Vince was busy painting the guest house.

Vince paints.

I ran to the store to get some celery, onion, and mayo and after the potatoes cooled, made potato salad.

Arizona Potato salad.

You can send the farm boy to the city, but you can't remove all of the farm-iness from him, I guess.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I finally convinced the cable company that something was wrong with my cable. Every day I lose access to email and internet as it gets hot. I kept explaining this is Adam, Mandy, Kathy, et al., but at last Garth understood that something was wrong when he examined my modem history. I hope he wasn't looking at the websites I had been studying, purely for research purposes on variations in human male anatomy, when the modem was actually working.

Yesterday at work we finally found an outhouse filled with saloon trash (the downtown block we are excavating was the location of numerous saloons, an opera house, and a billards hall. Lots of liquor bottles including a cognac bottle with a partial label bearing the date June 1906- strange that it is exactly 100 years later. We are also finding an Anheiser Busch mirror with embossed decorations and fragments of the saloons plate glass window with hand-painted lettering, including the word "saloon." Perhaps some pictures will be posted tonight, once my modem decides to work again.

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