Monday, April 30, 2007

My grandmother's divorce papers were an interesting read. I got copies of them when I was back home. I wanted to know more about this woman, who wrecked so many lives with her actions.

There were some surprises. Alice had gotten pregnant by Morrell in early 1930, was sent down to live with her cousins and secretly give birth, and the baby (my father) was given away. Morrell found out and tracked the baby down and took him to his own parents house, with the grandparents raising my father until he was four.

The surprise was to find that Alice and Morrell were married in 1932, before Alice's mean mother had died. They did not live together at first, I suspect it was a secret marriage, hidden from Alice's strict parents. It came out into the open after Alice's mother died in 1934. In May of 1939, shortly after the birth of my aunt, Alice decided to end the marriage and rid herself of Morrell, who wanted to use the family farm as collateral to start a new business.

The Friend of the Court described the family life. My father was "somewhat in poor health, is unsettled, nervolus and absent [from school] a great deal... Is reported as being very find of his father, and was given to understand at home, that his father was away attending school... He later was told that his father was not coming back." My mother says that later, Alice would invent really fun things to do when it was time for Morrell to visit the kids. Of course they resented him. I never met my grandfather, he died when I was 12.

Alice was "evidently inclined to be selfish and martyr like in her attitude....one party, well qualified to judge, believes that she is not giving her son proper training, in denying him opportunities of associating with other children." My father picked up that trait- he never wanted us kids to have a social life.

Why the divorce? Alice wanted a more compliant husband, and had already found one: "It appears that the hired man is the real bone of contention. One witness states, the conviction that [Morrell] had done all that any man could to patch up the affair, that, he was very much disturbed over hired man's attentions to his wife...and had stood more than the average man could, and that [he] was long suffering and patient. The hired man is described as being young, uneducated and away beneath [Alice's] mental plane." Alice was married to Howard less than a year later. Howard was perfect for her, so easy to boss around, unable to stand up against her when she was doing the evil things she did. I don't have much respect for him.

It's like a soap opera. Except no hermaphroditic serial killers that I know of.

Of course, there is my cousin on my mother's side who was the girl friend of a mass murderer.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What's that on your bed ? (a B-52 reference).

Poor Mama Cat, her left canine tooth fell out and was lying on my bed. She doesn't seem to be in any discomfort, still it is scary to think she is now 8 or 9 years old. Mama Cat didn't start out being the sweet cat that she is, but as she ages she becomes more and more cuddly.

I am officially the gay man I once feared. My cats are my babies.

News alert! I knew I should have balanced my check book before mailing those pesky checks. Sigh.

Brian alerted me that Passions has been renewed after all. What a relief, since I have become addicted to watching it while working on my history books. Now I will continue to have quality entertainment like this to look forward to:

The hermaphroditic serial killer rapist peeper. And Theresa.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

At the Traverse City airport, I was right behind Carter Oosterhouse going through security. I know what color socks he put on this morning. He looks really good with three days of stubble, you can see he has a scar of the right side of his chin. He also has a very hairy chest, albeit it trimmed.

Carter's behind me.

I'm now back in Tucson and exhausted. I'll be going to bed way early.

It was spring time in Michigan and the last of the snow was melting and the flowers were starting to peek out. In the afternoon and evening the peepers (small frogs) chirped loudly. I picked up two painted turtles and placed them in Susan's pond.

Painted turtle.

A bunch of sandhill cranes nest near my sister's house- one likes to hang out in the pasture behind my mother's house (they live next door to each other). Last night I saw about eight in the field across the road. When they call to each other, it is pretty amazing. Jimbo can do a good imitation of it.

Sandhill cranes.

My mother's new toy poodle, Darby, was a bone of contention. It is very poorly house trained and has peed all over the carpets in Mummy's house. She is just about 75 and has a very poor sense of smell. The place reeked- it was awful. The damn thing tried to pee on me too.

Mummy at the mailbox.

We went down and got my Amish brother and brought him over to Susan's house to fix fences.


My brother joined the Amish church 10 years ago and is content living a 1850s lifestyle. I convinced him to take a picture of his dog with my digital camera:


Bub raises hogs. One of the boars bit him badly last year and he still walks with a slight limp.

Mama pig.

The baby pigs were cute. I try not to think about what is going to happen to them.

Baby pigs.

My sister Susan coaxed Ya-Who to come up to the fence right before we came back home.

Susan and Ya-Who.

By the end of the week the daffodils were blooming everywhere.

Pale daffodils.

Yesterday I spent three hours photographing tombstones for an article I'm writing.


The little mausoleum had a really beautiful stained glass window.

Oakwood mausoleum.

Ohmigosh, the sexton at the cemetery office was sexy! Never thought I would think that.

So back in Tucson, tired, need to go to bed early since tomorrow is a busy day at work. Next trip- visiting Mark & Brian, Adam, and Justin in Dallas in June.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

On the way to the library this morning I saw a muskrat swimming in the pond. There is wildlife everywhere here. I've seen deer, a muskrat, ducks, male turkeys fighting, turtle, tadpoles, sandhill cranes, hawks, red-winged blackbirs, robins, and garter snakes. The snakes made me jump- they wiggle through Susan's backyard.

Yesterday I called my mother and said, "Let's go shopping!" I bought Susan a new microwave (she had the one my mother won as a prize in 1979!), a new toaster, and some measuring cups. I tried cooking in her kitchen and it was difficult. I came back and cleaned her kitchen, organized her cupboards and fixed the broken drawer. Hopefully, that did not annoy her too much.

At the library now, looking up old newspaper articles. I'll stay a few hours and then go to the cemetery to take photos of tombstones. Exciting!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A list of things to remember.

- cheese curds at the A. & W. in the Minneapolis Airport.
- the Traverse City airport is completely new and beautifully done.
- the chirping of the frogs.
- seven deer in the field next to my sister's house.
- sandhill cranes, Jimbo would be jealous at how close I got to them.
- Mummy's absolutely awful poodle Darby. Who pees in the house and tried to pee on my leg.
- the turtle crossing the road that I put in Susan's pond.
- horrible pizza- beets!
- my brother's baby pigs
- trying to cook in my sister's kitchen, very difficult

It is spring time here and the last of the snow is rapidly melting. The daffodils are blooming and the tadpoles are swimming in the water. Red-winged blackbirds and robins all about. I miss spring time in Michigan.

Tomorrow- a visit with my other sister.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Getting on the airplane tomorrow to go see Mummy, Susan, Elizabeth, and Bub. Flying used to be fun and exciting, now it is a chore and oh so annoying. So much stupid airport behavior to look forward too. I'm bringing a book, a pair of manuscripts to work on, and my new Ipod (with circa 490 songs!). I'll check in once or twice while I'm gone (I'm in Michigan for a whole week). Behave yourselves while I'm away.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Every morning is the same. I get up, turn the computer on, get out a bowl, pour cereal in, pour milk on. I sit in front of the computer to read email and the news, and Joey meows at me. She really, really wants to lick the bowl for that tiny taste of milk.

Joey papoose.

I don't let her have much, it makes her barf. But she really, really likes that little taste of milk, that I can't not let her have it. Afterwards she climbs up on my lap and butts me with her head. That means, "Pet me!" and so I do. Sometimes I roll her on her back and tuck her into my shirt and she lies there, reaching up to grab my hand or pat my chin, looking for attention.

Joey is not a perfect cat. There was the nightmarish year of her peeing on the furniture, back when she was mad at the two extra cats that I found a new home for. And she's good for a scratch now and then when you don't expect it. But still every morning I look forward to her asking for that little taste of milk.

Monday, April 16, 2007

My oldest nephew Peter is a graduate student at Virginia Tech. I was sitting at my desk when I saw the New York Times article this morning that 20 people have been killed there by a gunman. I called Mummy to have her call my sister to find out what was going on, and she just called back. Peter is safe, he is at his office in his department waiting to be taken somewhere off campus.

It is a relief, of course. Tempered by the fact that there are many, many people who won't have the same news.

I hate guns. I don't understand the desire to hurt other people. These massacres seem to happen regularly here in the United States. What will it take before our society decides that maybe it isn't such a great thing to have so many guns readily available?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Ipod matches my eyes.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

So Brady bought me an Ipod Nano. Isn't the bestest buddy ever? He's been busy loading my CDs onto it, and I've purchased a few songs from ITunes. The problem now, I have about nine dollars left on the gift card from ITunes, and I'm at a loss for which songs to download.

Suggestions please...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Link Potpourri.

The Pope says evolution can't be proven. Is this a joke? Pope-dude is the head of a church that believes Jesus snuck out of Mary's vagina and somehow left her hymen intact. A church that burned people alive who did not believe this was a proven fact. I'll take Supernatural facts for 200, Alex.

I wrote a piece for Patrick's Words on "things that aren't said enough" that included something similar about religion. I'm not a big fan of organized religion, especially of the money-grubbing, I'm-so-much-better-than thou sorts. And that includes the current prancing, Prada-shoe-wearing Pope.

The archaeology dig that I'm involved in, is featured in a newspaper article today.

So I'm totally not surprised that Karl Rove's emails have disappeared, at least for a while. He's a craft guy. But I wonder if he understands that hitting delete really doesn't make it disappear forever?

So what else? I don't have any plans for this weekend. What should I do?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's for dinner Thursday? So you are trying to impress me by making me dinner (lacto-ovo vegetarian please), what are you going to cook? I await your menu in my comments.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I had an interesting comment. Tim says that "every time you use the term "Mummy" I grit my teeth. It seems so pretentious and "I want to be english like Madonna." You are the only grown man that I know that uses that term."

I imagine Tim would grit his teeth if he heard me call my Mummy on the phone. "Hello, Mummy, how are you today?" Yes, I call my Mom/Mommy/Mums/Mother/Mater Mummy. She, in turn, called her mother Madam. I guess we are a pretentious bunch. All I know is that I love my Mummy very much and I wouldn't be the person I am today without her encouragement and love.

I love you Mummy!!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Glenn is a wonderful guest to have come visit. He fixed my locks, he rented a covertible that was fun to drive around in, my friends enjoyed his company.

Glenn driving the convertible.

We went to The Host with Brady, John, Frank, and Chris. At one point I made a loud sound. Not a scream, I swear I did not scream. I also complained that I wanted one character to be killed off, the character was that annoying. A very good horror movie. Homer recommends.

So the next excitement is a trip to see Mummy and the siblings in Michigan in a couple of weeks. A whole week visiting relatives, hopefully none of the annoying ones...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Let's have a party! Tucson is abuzz after the grandest social event of the season. Sixteen guests descended upon the Homer Estate, many bearing bottles of fine, sparkling soda of '07 vintage. Among the celebrities present were Jim, from the swanky west Tucson foothills; Brian from beautiful-city-of-bountiful-highways, Phoenix; and Glenn, the latter making a special appearance from oh-so-provincial New York City. Patrick, Brady, Jeffrey S., John, Vince, Kyle, Michael, Michael, Mark, Ken, Deshawn, Chris, and Travis also walked the concrete runway to the delight of the papparazzi.

Brian, Patrick, and Brady carefully decorate the boiled chicken ova.

Unfortunately, only 54 eggs were decorated, leaving an additional 54 pristine in their cartons.

Eighteen decorated eggs.

Many masterpieces were created. Apparently, the party's host can decorate boiled chicken ovas like a pro.

Mollie and Glenn.

The servants- Puff, Joey, and Mama Cat- were noticeably absent, locked away in their quarters. Mollie served as hostess, wandering about and carefully cleaning up spilled foodstuffs.

Ready, set, go!

At 4:15, the drama began. The guests assembled for the requisite photograph, and the host exclaimed in his deep, hyper masculine voice, "You go gurls!" And they were off.

Jeffrey and Kyle gather eggs.

Alright, some of the guys didn't understand the competitive nature of Boiled Egg Decorating Day Plastic Egg Hunt. One guest managed to find a total of three eggs. In contrast, Patrick found 44 eggs worth a total of 99 points.

3rd place, Glenn; Winner, Patrick; 2nd place, Brady.

In the end, Patrick placed first, Brady second, and Glenn a third, although a major controversy later developed when it was discovered that the host had accidently forgotten Jeffrey S., who actually had second place.

Princess Brian.

The special eggs with Smiley Faces yielded a prize for each guest. Brian looked dashing in his tiara (but then, Brian always looks pretty in diamonds!)

Afterwards Glenn and I took a nap and then went to The Grill where he enjoyed a chicken-fried steak and tater tots. Fine dining at its finest. The food was actually very good. We also saw two men with elaborate tattoos on their faces. I wonder what their mothers think.

After supper we journeyed to the Venture Inn and met up with John and eventually his uber-handsome husband Frank. We totally closed that bar and came home and this morning another adventure awaits us.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Party prep. Checklist:

Yellow cake with vanilla whipped cream and strawberries. CHECK.
Floors swept. CHECK.

Homer-made Salsa made. CHECK.

Yard searched for doggy mess. CHECK.

Handsome handy man Glenn replacing my locks. CHECK!

In an hour the plastic eggs get hidden in the backyard.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Day 15,795. A frustrating situation accelerated to such a degree that I had to leave or explode. Not worthy of doing so, I have better things to explode about.

Under a palo verde tree.

Eggs boiled, potatoes boiled, dog doo raked up. Things are getting settled for the Non Denominational Boiled Egg Decorating and Backyard Egg Hunt tomorrow.

Awaiting Glenn's arrival, back from his trip to California. If he gets here in time Brady, Glenn, and I will go see The Host. I can't tell you how excited Brady is over that movie. He's like a little kid again. He likes his toys and shows, he does.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How not to do archaeology. I wouldn't recommend having your lawyer claim that someone was salting an archaeological site with human bone and then sue for $472 k. That's just in real poor taste.

Where does someone get human bone to fraudulently toss around on a site? Why would someone even want to do this? I guess desperate times calls for desperation. Especially after recommending that no further work be done at a site, and 124 human burials magically turn up afterwards.

I have a strong ethical view about archaeology. I've spent 21 years digging and running projects. It irritates me that there are archaeologists more interested in making money than doing a good job. But I guess every rose garden has its skunks.

Tomorrow we return to more interesting topics, such as what happens when Homer and Glenn go to the bar.

Between 1200 B.C. and A.D. 50, a series of agricultural villages were established along the Santa Cruz River. At that time the river ran year-round, before groundwater pumping dropped the water table by about 100 ft. The early farmers grew maize (corn), beans, squash, cotton, and tobacco.

At the Mission site we are starting a dig in the area where the new walls will be built. The first thing we do is scrape the area with a backhoe. We can see where their small round houses are by the different colored sediments that filled each house pit.

We immediately mark their locations with spray paint, this allows us to keep track of them.

We excavate a sample of the houses, typically by digging a unit down to the floor, and then expanding the area if there are floor artifacts.

Thaddeus clearing dirt off the floor.

We find the holes for the posts that supported the domed framework of the house, and then clean them out. Sometimes we find floor pits. So far we have recovered spear points, grinding stones, shell jewelry, and bone tools inside some of the houses.

The east half of a house, the west portion was removed in an earlier trench.

There are two periods of houses. The most recent ones were filled with silt from a big flood. Many of the older ones are heavily burned- those should be very interesting to dig.

Your vote counts.
Please go here and vote for my buddy Joe My God.

Really. Do it. Or else. Don't make me get all worked up. You don't want to see a Homer tantrum. Have you voted yet? What's taking you so long. If you don't vote for Joe, The Terrorists Win. That's better, don't you feel all nice and slightly sore inside now?


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"She'll make some one a good home."

Alice Elinor Welborn, 1929.

I put together a newsletter for the local genealogy society back in my hometown in Michigan. I'm always on the look out for new material, and I frequently purchase stuff on Ebay- old letters, photographs, and yearbooks. Last week I received the 1930 "The Pines" and was surprised to see a picture of my grandmother Alice Elinor Welborn. A few days later I happened to glance at the text next to her picture. I laughed out loud.

"She'll make some one a good home." A prediction so wrong, so completely utterly wrong. Alice was pure evil, an evil fucking evil person. I've written something about her before, maybe you remember it. Maybe not. Take my word, Alice was a nasty piece, and her home was the nightmare of soap operas and insane asylums, all combined with a sickly sweetness that outsiders saw. Most people did not know or understand the mess she made of the lives of her three children, the horrific mental suffering they endured. Some of her grandchildren carry these problems onward, I'm lucky to have escaped them, very lucky.

To be sure, perhaps some of this wasn't her fault. Her mother, Jennie Blanche Cole Welborn, was probably just as evil, very skilled in beating her only child black and blue back in the day when that was perfectly alright. Her father, Ernest Garfield Welborn, was pliant and complacent. Together, the two of them took their only child into the cellar of their stone house and beat her with a coal shovel when they learned she was pregnant at 16, perhaps trying to induce a miscarriage. It didn't work, my father was born in 1930. Alice always hated Daddy for that, for something that happened when he was in the womb. In turn, my father tried everything he could to get her to love him, but it never took.

I guess I should feel sorry for her, but there reaches some point in your life when you should be able to look at your actions and understand whether they are right or wrong. Alice never reached that moment, in her mind everything she did was for the best. She discarded the first husband because he had his own ideas, made the kids think he was a demon, and then married the compliant farm hand, a man probably similar to her father, easy to push around and afraid to say no. She plotted and schemed and ruined the lives of her children. In the end her favorite son put her out of her own house and later left her ashes in a box in a shed. He threw away almost all of the family photos- so seeing this yearbook picture was startling.

It startled me to see Alice as young, seemingly happy. Maybe she was dating Morrell when the studio portrait was taken. In a few months, the end of January or early February 1930, she would get pregnant. But when that picture was taken she was apparently carefree. Even though I have strong feelings about her, I guess I'm glad that she had a little joy in her life before everything came crashing down. I just wish she had made an effort to control the demons inside her, everything would have been different.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Unknown man, Traverse City, circa 1890-1900.

Picked this photograph up on Ebay for 99 cents- a man from my hometown. He's kinda dreamy.

Glenn is driving a blue Mustang convertible up to see his grandmother in Prescott. He is very excited about the car. I feel almost guilty for owning an uninspiring Saturn, but then I'm exciting in other ways I guess.


We had breakfast at the Hotel Congress and afterwards went over to the dig site and Glenn was able to see the soil differences that we use to find where things start and end. I foresee him ditching his teaching job and becoming a convertible driving archaeologist in the near future.

Monday, April 02, 2007

So far today:
- I took chocolate chip-walnut bars with chocolate ganache frosting to the crewmembers digging at the Mission site.
- I then took Thaddeus over and we excavated a 1 m by 2 m unit into a Hohokam pithouse at the Presidio site.
- afterwards I came home, took a shower, and drove to the office
- where I completed paper work and checked in bags of artifacts and samples and then
- I finished editing the 12 inch by 12 inch tiles for the Presidio park
- and then I drove home, stopping at Larry's rental to take down the For Rent sign because magically it appears to have been rented in less than one day
- and then I took a nap with all three cats
- after which I washed dishes, swept floors, Brady vacuumed the rug, I mopped floors, washed curtains,
- and now I'm going to take a shower
- and in about two hours Glenn will be here.

Below, some images of the new Presidio Park being built:

Church on mural.

Soldiers on mural.

Horno (bread oven) being built.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Happy Birthday Puff and Joey. They turned seven today. To celebrate, Puff scratched my wrist in a sadistic manner. He wanted to go outside, and those awful birds scared the crap outta him.

Running around doing errands, at the College Hottie Safeway there were two college hotties but no coconut milk or poppyseeds.

When I got home the Jehovah's Witnesses had left a piece of propoganda featuring Hottie Jesus. Apparently Jesus has a hairy chest. Who knew? It isn't in the New Testament. Nice furry forearms, Saviour!

Today is one of those Days of Many Errands that I strongly dislike. OfficeMax, Ace, Safeway, work, Larry's rental house (3 times!). I'm supposed to make a dessert and I'm having difficulty making time. So I think I'm just making cookies. I'll let you know if they turn out.

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