Monday, December 31, 2007

The fourth annual end-of-the-year self portrait.

December 31, 2007.

This is the 66th photo of myself I've posted this year. That's one for every 5.5 days. In contrast, I only had one photograph of a lemon meringue pie. My priorities are very warped.

So 2007 was interesting. I'd like to thank everyone who has been reading my blog and especially those people who left comments, nice or nasty.

I've got some ideas for 2008 floating through my head- but I've learned not to set goals because, at least for me, I never fully achieve the laundry list.

Hope your 2008 is equally as exciting. See you there.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

At the Humane Society it was discovered that ElliottJr was actually Elliotina. My cat sexing skills have declined in my decrepitude. I hope those two kittens find a lovely home to live in. Unfortunately, as I have discovered in the past, three cats are alright but five cats make you undateable.

The remnants of HolidayCold07 are rapidly disappearing, just the occasional cough and resulting flotsam. Last night I came home and lay down after dinner and woke up with my mother putting the electric blanket on me. My house has been cold, and the little electric floor heaters do not make it seem much warmer. Mummy looked cold so I moved the electric blanket to the couch and she spent yesterday warm and comfortable and was very pleased to be in such a condition.

I'm now pondering what kind of cake to make for a New Year's Eve party I am attending. I'm thinking a simple yellow cake with raspberry filling and chocolate ganache frosting dripped over the top will be the likely choice- easy to make, tasty, and looks dramatic.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

List of foods Mummy doesn't like:

- mushrooms
- spaghetti sauce
- catsup
- gravy
- nutmeg or anything with nutmeg in it (e.g., eggnog)
- hummous
- spicy foods
- beef tamales
- lettuce
- salsa
- persimmons (make her vomit)
- oregano
- food with that extra stuff in it (spices)
- mayonaisse
- lasagna if it has too much tomato stuff in it
- spicy mustard
- salad greens (hard to eat)
- brie cheese
- eggplant
- alfredo sauce
- pesto

List of foods Mummy likes to eat:

- yellow potatoes
- very well-boiled root vegetables (carrots must be mushy)
- lemon meringue pie
- coconut cream pie
- apple pie
- any form of chocolate
- licorice
- mashed potatoes (the kind I make)
- Steve and Bob's corn chowder
- Spanish rice
- rice and beans
- crunchy crackers
- chocolate milk
- bananas
- acorn squash (but not other varieties)
- rice pudding
- cinnamon
- BLT, minus the L
- scrambled eggs
- Miracle Whip
- tomato soup
- grilled cheese
- frosted flakes
- avocado (but in a salad, not as guacamole)
- macaroni and cheese
- cauliflower and cheese sauce
- four-cheese pizza (the frozen kind)
- tater tots
- veggie corn dogs
- beans
- French toast and waffles

I'm at my wit's end trying to think of something new to make. When I asked Mummy what she wanted for Holiday lunch she said "Mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Holiday Cold progresses and I my nose runneth over. Santa brought me a waffle iron so guess what Mummy and I will be having for dinner. If you guessed waffles, you'd be correct.

ElliottJr wishes everyone a Happy Holiday.

I am the Cat Whisperer. Little ElliottJr has gone from being a wild, feral kitten to a purring lap baby in less than 48 hours. He likes to play with blue yarn and enjoys tummy rubs. Little Girl is still a tad skittish, but will purr when she gets petted. Neither enjoyed the ear mite drops although they behaved very well when I was cleaning out their ears. I'm hoping to have a new home for them by Friday.

The problem when having a cold during choice Holiday times is that the things I enjoy doing- lying in bed, reading, cooking- are not enjoyable to do. I feel like valuable Holiday Hours are being wasted blowing my nose and cursing meth addicts for making the pharm companys dumb down their medicines. The stuff I'm taking- I should have known better- has had no visible benefits.

Enough! What did Santa bring you?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mummy finished the bedspread she has been working on.

Bedspread and catspread.

Just in time for a Holiday season cold. I'm taking some stuff and going to bed early. I hope Santa is making a visit to your home, whereever it is.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I was able to catch the two kittens who have been coming to my porch for food. They are now locked up in my bathroom. Little Girl is the scaredy-cat. ElliotJr sits on my lap and purrs very loudly, much louder than my three cats. In a couple of days, after they've been tamed a bit more, I'll take them to the Humane Society where they can go be someone else's kittens.

Little Girl and Elliott Jr.

My sister Elizabeth called me this morning to tell me that Uncle Fred died. He was my mother's brother, two years younger than her. I remember being at his wedding in the late 1960s (1967?) and they handed us rice to throw and I started eating it. It is funny how you remember seemingly pointless things like that. He was a very good man, funny, smart, always honest and forthright with his opinions. My two cousins had a great father and Aunt Janell a great husband.

Another thing I'm not shunning in 2008- handsome men.


Brady's friend Paul was in town visiting from England, where he's getting a master's degree. I went over and hung out with Brady, Patrick, and Paul for a while.

Ray and Homer.

Afterwards I stopped by the bar and ran into Ray, Michael, Rick, et al. I looked like a fisherman in the sweater my mother made for me years ago. It was nice to see my friends for a little while, I haven't been out much since Mummy arrived.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Things I'm shunning in 2008. The Amish, which my brother is a member of, shun people who do naughty things. This is my list of things I will be shunning in 2008:

- Iraq and the rest of the fucking Middle East
- Romney, Huckabee, and Guiliani
- cookies
- anorexic/drug addled/preggers starlets
- fake bloggers with their fake drama, fake medical problems, and fake deaths
- about 20 pounds (where did that come from?)
- text messaging devices (today while eating lunch three people around me were texting instead of eating)

In contrast I will be welcoming the following:

- size 32 waist jeans
- visits to the east and west coast
- learning some new kitchen skills
- painting my kitchen
- publishing a genealogy book

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A pair of stray kittens, a boy and a girl, have started coming to my front steps for food. I bought them some fancy stuff and sit there with them as they eat. Tonight I was able to pick up both of them.

Little girl.

The boy is more skittish and I was surprised that when I picked him up he was completely tame. I'm going to borrow a cage and take them to the Humane Society and I hope they find a new home. They are young enough and relatively sweet kittens, so that seems likely. If I didn't already have three cats, I'd take them in.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I've received two beautiful homemade cards so far this HOLIDAY season. One was from Albert, which unfortunately, does not photograph well (very shiny!).

The other is from Mike and from the cover you'd think it was a plain, ordinary card.


But when you open it, surprise!


Thank you Mike and ALbert for the beautiful cards. I appreciate the thought and effort that went into them. XO

Happy Holidays. I am an atheist, I don't have any religious beliefs. So I make a point of calling everything associated with the end of December "Holiday."

A few minutes ago I was in the front office and the mail came in, including a box from Amazon with a present for Mummy. I made a comment that it was her Holiday present. A co-worker responded [I'm paraphrasing here, of course I didn't have a tape recorder handy], "Why can't you just call it Christmas?"

"I'm not a Christian, that why I call it Holiday."

"I don't think that is right," she said.

I then said, "Our Governor put up a Holiday Tree in the Capitol building. She said that something about how the tree represents everybody in Arizona including Hindus, Muslims, atheists and other people."

The conversation continued for another minute and then she said, "You always have to be a little different don't you. Just like my brother" she replied. "Why can't you just blend in?" She gave me a look as she was saying this.

The conversation ended at that point. I felt completely uncomfortable that a co-worker would say something like that. I walked down to my office and asked my two cubicle neighbors (one Catholic, one Jewish) their opinions. And they agreed. Strange and inappropriate.

Guess who won't be getting a Holiday present from me?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bob, Steve, and Peaches are coming over for dinner. I made an apple pie, the top crust didn't turn out so I cut out little leaves and placed them on top.

Apple Pie.

I'm serving white trash food- veggie corn dogs, tater tots, and three bean salad. Afterwards, we'll be making some holiday cards.

It was nice hanging out with Trachalio last night. He's a friendly, cute guy.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My sister Elizabeth is scanning pictures and sending them to me.

This photo is from October 31, 1963. I am exactly 46 days old and sitting in Mummy's lap. My father, Bub, Jerry, Susan, and Elizabeth are there as well. This may be the only picture of our entire family together.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I have a reputation for being a fast digger. So they needed someone to go to a site we are working on to dig out the postholes in a pithouse, and I volunteered.

Patti and I left the office at 5 AM and got back at a little before 6 PM- it was a 2.5 hour drive each way since we were going a few miles north of Gila Bend. We only got really lost once and sorta lost another time.

Hohokam pit structure.

The Hohokam placed posts around the perimeter of their houses, along with a few to help hold up the roof. In the above picture, you can see the back row of postholes that I cleaned out. They are usually filled with dig with bits of charcoal and ash. Two of them had burned posts still in them, one about 5 inches in diameter.

Entrance way.

I helped find and clear out the groove around the entrance to the house. There was probably some sort of matting placed in the groove to make a vestibule opening that could be closed off to keep cold air out in the winter. Beyond the grooved-entrance way is a large circular fire hearth and an apron of plastered floor. There was probably an elevated wooden floor in the rest of the house, with only the post holes for a few floor supports remaining.

I forgot to ask how old the site is, it is somewhere between A.D. 650 and 1400.

Space Age Lodge.

If I ever have to stay in Gila Bend, I'm going to stay at this motel. Above the restaurant is a large UFO. So cool, but I didn't get a picture of it.

Jimbo will be jealous, on the way back we drove past an irrigation canal and I saw about 5 great blue herons and over 25 white egrets, along with several small and large hawks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Favorite Holiday Tree ornament.

Ice skating snowman.

I told Archerr I would post a picture of my favorite ornament. I mostly have the old-fashioned glass ones on my tree. The day after Holiday I go shopping and buy a half dozen at the drastically reduced prices. I'm thrifty sometimes.

Holy crap.

The Huckabees.

This could be our next Presidential family.

What was Ms. Huckabee thinking when she bought matching (hideous!) shirts for the guys in the family. Those big elbow patches are ..... well, I can't come up with a word. She definitely needs to send her rosy-cheeked sons to charm school so they can improve their posture. I like how Mr. and Mrs. H. are firmly grasping their dog. The Ms. is probably whispering through those clenched teeth, "Take the fucking picture you fucking slow-as-molasses photographer!!!" She looks a little like Liz Smith in the photo, dontcha think?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A rare happening in Tucson: Fog.

On Mission Road.

The weather is usually very boring here (hot and hotter). I was surprised by the fog, I don't remember ever seeing it like this before.

I was amazed that everyone was driving carefully- when it rains it is usually the opposite.

I know, I know- boring weather post.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It has been raining for the last few days. There is snow on the mountains. The damp and dreary weather makes it finally seem like winter here in Tucson. My feet are cold as I type this.

Brian was my saviour tonight, helping me to fix my Amazon Wish List. You are more than welcome to visit it. Those who do so will learn my first name. And my last. My real first and last name. Homer is really my middle name too.

In case you forgot, I was named after an elderly man who lived next door to my father when he was a teenager. Daddy would go next door to help him shave after he got Parkinson's. Homer died about six months after my parents were married, in 1953. My parents picked John as my first name because there were no close relatives with that name, they didn't want anyone to get mad at them. And of course John was the second-most popular name in 1963 and 1964, so when I got to kindergarten I had to go by my middle name and it stuck. I'm ornery that way.

Trachalio is coming to town this weekend, it will be nice to see him again. I can ask him what he's been up to in person, since his blog is a little behind.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

After the party there are the leftovers. I ate cranberry duff for breakfast. It was very good. It should be, I doubled the recipe and it had two sticks of butter.

Forrest and Homer and the Holiday Wreath (thanks Brian!).

Jimbo will be horrified that I took Mummy to the Macy's store and she bought a pair of light blue Crocs with the fluffy stuff inside. She's wearing them right now.

Otherwise, I had a couple of naps, did some genealogy research on the internets, read a few pages in a book, and chatted with Sandy before he left for California.

Next week: Holiday shopping. This year I only have six present to buy.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Holiday Party 2007 was a fine time had by all. Except Forrest who had a super fine time making Holiday cards.

Cobban, Brian, Sandy, Frank, and Jim.

Five bloggers, count 'em, five!. Bed post notching fever time!!!

Mummy and Jeffrey.

About a dozen folks, much smaller than normal, Mummy and Patti were the only non-gays. We sat around and talked, did crafts, ate food.

Vince, Bob, and Chris.

The cakes I made went over very well. Not enough time for a lemon meringue pie!

Coconut cake.

Sandy from Australia, Brian from Phoenix, Ray and Cobban from Palominas, and Mummy from Traverse City- people came from far away to attend.

Brady and Brian.

The gingerbread cookies were also very fine.

Decorating cookies.

The Holiday Tree makes the living room smell nice and is real pretty.

Holiday tree.

I hope you will have an excellent holiday season.

Holiday party prep. Sandy's here, I've got the three desserts done, getting ready to make frosting.

Mummy's all-white tree.

Mum and I went shopping, she really wanted big white (expensive!) lights for the tree, so what she wants, she gets.


At the CostPlus store I bought a handful of ornaments- my favorite was the cucumber. I sorted the rest of my ornaments- this year's Holiday Tree will have gold balls and the various blown glass animals, people, and other things.

Macaroni and Cheese are next.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Simple things. If you write something and post it on the internet, it is very easy to make a screen capture and save the text, images, comments, etc. This becomes useful when an individual goes back and changes entries, deletes comments, and then accuses you of lying about said entries.

If someone tells the truth, they do not need to go back and repeatedly change entries and delete comments.

In fairness, I have deleted one entry at the request of a friend, I have removed two photographs at the request of the people in the pictures, and I have deleted portions of perhaps 10 comments in the last 4.3 years that were offensive in some way- always noting that I had done so on the comment. I have also banned one person from commenting.

Occasionally I correct typographic errors, but that is it. I don't need to go back and make extensive changes because my blog is a reflection of my life on a series of days. I write about what is happening. It is as simple as that. I want to go back later and see what I was writing about a certain day (e.g., on August 22, 2007), not what I wrote about that day with subsequent changes or deleted portions, and so on.

We now return to reality, which involves making a coconut cake and pumpkin pie for tomorrow's holiday party.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tonight I made holiday cookies with the assistance of Mummy. She picked out the shapes, although I made sure I made several guitars for Brian. There are currently about 10-dozen cookies cooling in the kitchen.

Gingerbread and vanilla-almond cookies.

I pulled out the boxes of Holiday stuff and hung my stockings by the side of the chimney. I have a small aluminum tree and Mummy insisted on putting ornaments on it. Before I had a chance to get a string of lights on it. When she is not looking I'll remedy that. Saturday, Brady, Mummy, and I will go to the tree lot and pick out a pricey tree for the festivities that night. I've already warned her not to say her usual thing, "Oh, on the farm the trees were free!" I don't live on a farm anymore.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Trash talk.

This afternoon I was out at the mission site as a giant trackhoe excavated trash from 1957.

Digging up trash.

Where exactly the edge of the landfill that the City of Tucson put into the remnants of the old mission isn't certain.

September 1957.

I'm there to see if they hit undisturbed areas, and if they do to make sure nothing important is present. The trench will be the location of the new wall surrounding the rebuilt mission.

Loading the trash.

The sun was so shiny and hot today, it certainly didn't feel like winter. The trash is being sent to another landfill where it will probably confuse future archaeologists.


Another guy is watching for hazardous waste. We spent a while talking about our jobs.

Safety first!

The hardhat gets real uncomfortable by the end of the day.

Now I'm going to go make cookies.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I post pictures of chairs in compromising positions. Because that's what chairs will do, naturally. Obscure reference to an email I've just read, I laughed when I saw it.

The right chair.

The left chair.

These are the other two chairs, the ones that sat on either side of the table in my grandmother's living room. (Seth, what say you?). My mother's cherry wood dresser with the two large glass bottles with ribbons sat to the left of the table. Uncle Fred's grandfather clock was to the right, with the picture that now hangs in my dining room on the wall above. I can close my eyes and see every piece of furniture in that room.

Today I got a call and a request to be interviewed/photographed to appear in a 4th grade social science textbook. I'm spreading the evil of archaeology to the youths of tomorrow.

Tonight's cooking adventure- bananananananana bread. Because you can never have too much nanas.

Monday, December 03, 2007

When they divided Grandma F's house up a few years back I got the two chairs that sat at the table in the living room, the spindle-back couch, and the rocking chair from the upstairs bedroom. They've been sitting at my mother's house since then and for some reason my sister decided to send the chairs and rocker to me. They arrived in a box. With a quilt. That's all. No padding, nothing wrapped. The UPS box had a couple of stickers marked fragile. But the box was basically crushed in so bad that UPS wrapped it in plastic to keep it from falling apart. It turns out she had taken the chairs to one of my brother's Amish friends who ship furniture.

The chairs survived with one seat popped off. The rocking chair has a very busted arm and the finish rubbed off on one side. Doug will probably be able to repair the arm, although it won't look as nice as it used to.

Rocking chair.

My sister was very sorry, I asked her not to send me any more furniture in the mail! She meant the best but the people she had ship it were complete idiots.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

In case you were undergoing lemon meringue pie withdrawal...

Six egg whites make a Mt. Everest.

It was a dark and stormy night with lotsa rain last night. Mummy and I went over to Bob and Steve's beautiful adobe house for dinner (hence the pie) and Peaches the cutest Pomeranian in the world was espcially cute.

Peaches and Mummy.

It is Saturday morning and I have been lazy, lying around with Puff and Mama Cat, who snuggle up to me because it is a little chilly in my house. Mummy is doing the crosswords and I've been in the study examining various websites for terrorists. Amazingly enough, I've yet to identify a single one on bigmusclebear, but you never know when one might turn up.

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