Friday, April 29, 2011

I took a day off, doing chores, lounging around. If the cats are sleeping they are busy trying to sit on my nap.

Puff and Yours Truly.

I am feeling just as lazy as them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Donald Trump wants to see Obama's school records. I pulled out my manila envelope in which my mother carefully placed all of my report cards, some drawings, poems, and other school-related items. It is interesting to see what other people thought of me as a child.

On 10 November 1969, my Kindergarten teacher, Marie Harrison (1905-1976), wrote the following:

Consideration of others: Shows thoughtfulness and fairness to others.
Response to rules: Very good.
Following directions: Is learning to follow directions.
Personal growth: Manages own clothing and personal needs nicely.

I am the boy on the far left.

In June 1970, Mrs. Harrison wrote: Homer is a mature, well adjusted little boy. He is a pleasure to have around.... It would strengthen Homer's arms and legs to take part in a short period of strenuous exercise each day...He has very good work habits...


I was a physically weak child, even though I was older than most of the kids in my class (I was born in September and started school when I was almost six). The things I remember about kindergarten- taking cupcakes with little plastic animals on them for my birthday, making a spool holder for Mama for Christmas, praying before we could have our milk, playing on the teeter-totter, collecting snow and watching it melt to see pollution, planting beans and watching them sprout, and giving a speech at the school pageant about Holland.

Things were a lot simpler then.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The dragons in Flagstaff come in different colors. They are not particularly dangerous.

Orange dragon.

This one liked to have his head rubbed.

"I will breathe flames!"

I do not know if these are the same species.

Grey-brown dragon.

Evan and I had climbed to the top of a tall volcanic thingy and looked at the sites on top, many of which had been damaged by nasty looters.

Scenic scene.

He helped me collect pine cones for a craft activity. Afterwards we retired to Evan's new shed and he showed me how he works glass.

Evan has a hot glass.

We put together a stained glass square for Mummy, who unfortunately fell down on Thursday back in Michigan and had to have screws and a metal plate put into her ankle on Friday morning.

A get-well present for Mummy.

Today we had breakfast and then went to look at some petroglyphs and wandered about looking for sites. Unlike the nasty folks, we left everything in place and only took photographs.

Prehistoric spiral.

A lot of the pine trees are being damaged by beetles.

I need to trim the beard.

Most of the biggest trees have already died.

Deceased pine.

Apparently global warming is also causing problems.

On the way home I stopped off along the highway and looked at the lovely blooming cacti

Yellow blooms.

Pink blooms.

I stopped off at IKEA and bought a new cutting board and two spatulas. I fail to understand why people like the butt-ugly, cheap furniture in that mega-store. And I looked at sheets and I am sorry, if you are going to sell sheets you should include a top and bottom sheet. So stupid.

The cats were glad to see me when I got home. It is too quiet here without Evan.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I graduated from the University of Michigan 25 years ago. The students had asked the administration to give an honorary degree to Nelson Mandella. The university refused, stating that because he was incarcerated in a prison in South Africa, and could not attend the graduation ceremony, he was ineligible to receive one of those fancy pieces of paper. The old white folks on the Board of Regents had previously refused to divest university funds from companies doing business in South Africa. The students had held numerous protests about this, and I suppose refusing to give Mandella a degree was a pathetic slap at the students by those old white folks. So the Secretary General of the UN got the fancy piece of paper and gave a speech, which I missed because I got totally fucked up on champagne on the way to the stadium because I had no clue what I was going to do after graduating (7 bottles divided by 5 graduates equals a messed up Homer). That is another story.

Anyhows, flash forward to the next century in 2011, the law dean at the University of Michigan invites former Senator Rob Portman to speak. Rob Portman has voted yes on the Marriage Protection Amendment and yes to ban gays or lesbians from adopting children in Washington, DC. Portman and I actually overlapped at the University- he graduated from the law school in 1984- but I did not know him (at that time I was a nerdy, closest case and he was probably a conservative asshole).

The dean of the law school, Evan Caminker, sent an email out to the students "The Law School remains steadfast in its commitment to create a supportive environment for our LGBT community, and also to create an educational environment in which diverse viewpoints can be represented. Anything less would undermine the Law School’s core values."

So typical, a white, straight, rich man, who has never faced discrimination, basically telling the LGBT law students to shut the fuck up and stop whining. I hope next year Caminker invites the head of the KKK to speak at graduation so that the law students can hear the "diverse viewpoints" espoused by that gentleman.

I sent Caminker an email telling him that until people stop honoring homophobes with fancy pieces of paper, the homophobes will see no reason to stop their hateful behavior. I doubt Caminker really understands how insulting it it to the LGBT law students graduating that day to have some piece of shit, who has voted against equal civil rights, to blather about how great America is, unless you are a queer.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My great great grandmother Edna Helen was born in 1851 in Steuben County, New York. Her parents, Ebenezer and Harriet were relatively poor farmers there, living amid Harriet's relatives. Edna had six older siblings- Eliphalet, Phebe Ann, Susanah, William, Jonathan, and Emmet.

The family moved to Lenawee County, Michigan, perhaps hoping to improve their lives, sometime between 1857 and 1859. They took the Erie Canal west, probably sitting in their one or two wagons loaded with household possessions.

The family continued to farm. To the south, the Civil War raged. In 1863, Edna's brother William died at age 19 (no one knows why). Edna's father had enlisted in the army the previous month, and the day after his son's death he was mustered into the military. It appears Ebenezer was having a mid-life crisis (He was 49, but claimed to be 35 on his enlistment papers). Edna's mother was left with a large family to support since Ebenezer was not sending his pay home, apparently he was using it to buy food for his fellow soldiers (he was working as a cook). Times were difficult, the three oldest children had married and left the family and there were now three more sons, Edwin, Wilson, and Benjamin Franklin. Harriet had to grow flax, go through the process of creating linen thread from the plant, and weave coverlets in an attempt to make money. My mother still has a piece from one of the coverlets.

Ebenezer came back from the war a broken man in 1865, reportedly often in bed sick. The following spring the family loaded up a Conestoga wagon and traveled north to Grand Traverse County, settling in a small log cabin on the shores of Long Lake.

Edna was a teenager. She met a young, handsome man named Elijah (nicknamed Lije). They became engaged and Edna traveled to Traverse City, where she picked out a hat at Ada Sprague's millinery shop. On a snowy day in November 1869, the family headed to the school house, which also served as a meeting place and a church, and Edna had to wait during a snowstorm for Lije to arrive.

The couple moved to nearby Almira, where Lije operated a mill on a small creek. Edna started having children, Francis in 1871, John in 1875, Emma in 1877, and Ebenezer in 1879. Sometime in the 1870s, Edna and Lije posed for a tintype picture (my grandmother had this on her bedroom dresser).

Seated, Edna and Lije. The identities of the other people are uncertain, the man may be Edna's brother Jonathan and one of the two women is probably his second wife Cora.

In 1880, Lije was still operated a lumber mill and was farming on the side. This decade saw Edna give birth to Leland (1881), Colonel (1886), and Harrison McKinley (in 1888). The family waited until after the presidential election was decided in 1888 before naming Harrison, who was born in late June (if McKinley had won, that would have been his first name).

The family lined up in front of their house in 1885.

Four more children were born in the 1890s- Ada Kate (1890), Perry (1892), Charles (1894), and Althea (1897). The first three were named for prominent Traverse City residents. The family moved to Grand Rapids for a year, before moving back to Traverse City, where Lije ran a produce store and operated a dairy farm. In 1898, the youngest daughter Althea died from croup. Weeks after her death, her little shoes were found in the fireplace ashes, placed there apparently by the child.

Circa 1902-1905.

A final child was born in August 1900. It died unnamed in December 1900, perhaps because the child was born with Down's Syndrome or some other condition.

It seems strange that I know so little about Edna. My grandmother claimed she was a clothes horse, always liked having nice outfits. The photographs suggest this may have been the case, her clothing styles change through time, reflecting an awareness of what was currently in fashion. She was apparently a skilled homemaker, and the family had enough money to a afford a servant girl in 1900.

Edna in the late 1890s to early 1900s.

Ten of her 12 children lived to adulthood, in a time with high child mortality, that was pretty remarkable. Her husband was quite successful financially, and it seems the children were mostly spoiled. Many of them, including my great grandfather Colonel, were not well-behaved as adults.

Lije and Edna, 1910s.

Elijah died from a stroke in 1921 and the family farm went to oldest son Francis. He was not particularly kind to his mother, refusing to allow her to keep her flock of pet chickens.

Edna and a unidentified man in the 1920s.

By 1930, she was living with her daughter Ada and Ada's husband in Traverse City. She died in February 1931 and her obituary stated:

"The life of Mrs. Ransom was an outstanding example of purposeful living and her death brings sorrow to a community in which she so long endeavorer to be of service to others. She was a devoted wife and mother and through her charitableness and kindliness, endear herself to innumerable friends."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Practically the first thing I did Saturday was go buy wheat products, since while my mother is here my house is gluten-free.

Last night I made sugar cookies. I used the Joy of Cooking recipe, which I would NOT recommend. The Better Homes and Garden recipe tastes better and come out a lot nicer. For frosting I mixed the juice of a lemon, some vanilla, and powdered sugar together. It is rather tart.

Boiled Egg Day cookies.

And this morning I buzzed my head and decided to wear a tie.

I like vintage ties.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Today is six months since Evan and I met. He is so awesome.

He sent me flowers, he knows I am secretly sentimental.

State Senator Frank Atenori is an idiot. The Arizona legislature passed a "birther" bill last week. The bill allows the elected Secretary of State to determine who is or isn't eligible for the presidential ballot. Atenori wrote an amendment that states that baptismal or circumcision certificates be included among the documents that could be submitted to the Secretary of State to prove citizenship.

Circumcision Certificate... Males are born with foreskins attached to the end of their penis. For various reasons, many parents mutilate their sons by having the foreskin sliced off. However, males can be circumcised at any point during their life. I know at least two men who had this done as an adult.

Can you imagine a politician submitting a Circumcision Certificate as proof of citizenship. First of all, I have done genealogical research for 34 years and have never heard of this type of document. Secondly, it isn't an official government record, stored in some secure place. It could easily be forged. Thirdly, how does a Circumcision Certificate indicate someone's citizenship? A baby could be born in Douchebagistan and be flown the next day to the US and be circumcised.

Who decides whether the certificate is real? Can you imagine the conspiracy theories that would start if a politician actually submitted one? Does the Secretary of State then have to examine the politician's penis to verify that it is circumcised? What if the Secretary of State says the man is uncircumcised and the man says he is? Will there be a bi-partisan Board of Circumcision to examine each politician's cocks to decide? Will the public be allowed to view photos of the politician's penis in flaccid and erect states to make up our own minds as to whether he is in fact circumcised? And of course, what about women?

And this is just one example of what a complete idiot Frank Atenori is. And basically the Republicans in the State Legislature, who never seem to be able to think past the signing of a bill to the potential consequences.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mummy leaves tomorrow. I had to weigh her luggage today and she was surprised that the bag was 16 pounds overweight. Guess who spoiled her by buying her so many knitting books?

This afternoon we went out to the Sweetwater Wetlands. Most of the birds have flown up north, we did see and hear a long of red-winged blackbirds.


A surprising number of killdeer were splashing around in the shallow water. I also saw a few Ruddy Ducks and some Cinnamon Teals.

The palo verde trees are blooming.

It is always a strange time when she goes home. I worry about whether she will get enough exercise and good meals.


Starting this fall I will have to fly back and forth with her, since Mummy is having difficulty getting out of the plane seats. But she has already said she wants to come back in November, so I am glad about that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What have you been up to? I am busy finishing reports for work. It looks like I will continue to be gainfully employed for the time being.

At home, Mummy is getting ready to go back to Michigan on Saturday. She is much healthier now than when she got here in November- a combination of exercise and my cooking, I think. And social interaction with my friends. And she really likes Evan. Cobban told me that at the Boiled Egg Party she was decorating an egg and he saw that she had written on it "E + H" and asked her what it was and she said, 'Evan plus Homer."

Once Mummy leaves it is time to get to the gym and lose some pounds. My clothes are too tight.

At home I am busy with genealogy projects. And at Ace Hardware tonight Mummy picked out a color for her bathroom- PINK. It is what she wants, so sometime soon I will be repainting that room.

Homer and Puff.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Annual Egg Decorating and Backyard Egg Hunt Party was a success.

Mummy had made baby Milo a knitted rabbit and he really liked it. He liked the chocolate bunny even more.

Milo and stuffed varmints.

The guests arrived and enjoyed the menu- potato salad, cole slaw, dill pickles from Mark, watermelon rind pickles, butterscotch pudding, and gluten-free carrot cake with coconut cream cheese frosting.

Jeffrey and Ray.

Evan was introduced to my friends.

Many eggs were decorated.

John chats with Mummy while Chris decorates.

Chris, Jim, and David.

At 3:15 the guests assembled outside, I explained the rules (10 points for a fruit, 5 points for the big and small eggs, 1 point for the medium eggs). And then... GO!

The assembled egg hunters.

I had scattered 100s of plastic eggs throughout the backyard. I only found three that were missed.

Egg hunt underway.

I tallied the results with Jeffrey's assistance, because I am so bad at doing numbers.

The winners: Steve (240 points), Patrick (220 points), and Brady (156 points).

Patrick was also best dressed and made the best decorated eggs.


Pretty eggs.

For me the most amusing aspect of the party was discovering the Vicodin bottle, which had been in my kitchen cabinet with two leftover pills from when I had shingles, had mysteriously ended up in my bathroom medicine cabinet empty. That takes some balls to come to a party and steal pills. I hope whoever it was enjoys them!!!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Let's make lemon soap! First buy some glycerin at the craft store and some lemons at Safeway.

Have your handsome boyfriend remove the zest with the zester.

Zested lemon and 1950s Mallo Ware plate.

Chop up the cubes of glycerin and make a double boiler.

Have Evan stir.

The glycerin cubes start to melt.

They look sorta like ice cubes.

Keep stirring.

Almost melted.

Add the lemon zest.

Stir once again.

Pour into your re-usable molds you purchased at the craft store. Extra soap has to go into plastic cups.

Play Mexican Train dominoes while waiting for it to cool.

Then place in the freezer to help the soap pop out of the mold.

The zest settles into the bottom of the mold, so that portion is slightly darker. No artificial colors were needed. We made rosemary soap last night.

Rosemary soap.

It had a much stronger scent.

Now I guess I better go take a shower.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A couple of days ago I realized that in a month or so it will be 25 years since I graduated from college. How did that happen? Twenty-five years ago this summer I went on my first archaeological excavation and decided that I was going to be an archaeologist.

And last night I had THE DREAM again. It varies slightly, but it always includes the fact that it is the end of the semester and somehow I forgot to go to my math class and also forgot to drop it. I am going to flunk.

In reality, this never happened. I graduated from University of Michigan with a GPA of around 3.8 (Grad school was 3.89). But I still wake up trying to figure out if the dream is real or not. You wouldn't believe how panicked I have felt sometimes. It usually takes a moment or two to calm down.

The otherrecurring dream I have is the Hurry-Hurry dream, where I try to get other people to leave a burning building. That one always frustrates me.

How come I couldn't have dreams about puppies and kittens?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

As I was talking to Jimbo on the phone the Gambel's Quails were busy cherping at each other. Suddenly there are numerous pairs wandering around at work, including this couple outside my office window. Soon they will have a bunch of babies chasing after them as they wander around.

Female and male Gambel's quail.

At home most of the frost-damaged trees have woken up and are busy putting out leaves. Unfortunately, the lovely wildflowers we had last year are lacking. I am starting to clean house prior to my annual egg party. Good lord, how much hair did Snowball shed?

Evan and I have plane tickets to hop on the aluminum tube of death in May and fly eastward to North Carolina to see Forrest, Travis, and Chas. Hijinks will ensue.

Monday, April 04, 2011

I think I will hot glue things on my car some day.

Mummy and art car in Bisbee.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Puff and Joey are 11-years-old today. So of course it was important to pose for a picture.


They were both naughty and refused to smile.


If you ever stop by my house you will see how awesome they are. Puff will jump on your lap and demand to be petted. Joey will take a little while longer, but soon enough she will be there too. They are the best cats ever!

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