Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The blue door is now purple.

Homer and Snowball.

Doug the Handy-Man is busy doing some work for me- painting, repairing a chimney, coating the roof, fixing the mailbox, and so on. Things that I am too lazy or uncoordinated to do myself. It is nice to come home and see things looking better or actually working.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day- I stopped by the cemetery on the way back from Lowes. I wandered around looking at the tombstones, searching for soldiers.

Unknown soldier.

They moved graves from the old cemetery here in the 1910s and there are several unidentified soldiers from the Grand Army of the Republic plot.

I saw tombstones in English, Spanish, Russian, Georgian, Chinese (possibly Japanese too), Arabic, and Greek. Some of the old stones have little enameled photographs, long gone people peering out at you. Some of the new stones now have engraved images, in one case a woman with her dog.

There was a ceremony going on, but for whatever reason I was feeling sad so I came on home instead. I'm going to work on my latest project- compiling biographies of the 380 or so Civil War soldiers buried in the local cemetery back in Traverse City. Never a dull moment at my place.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A week away.

Evan and I journeyed east to the mountains of North Carolina. Here are a bunch of photos.


We boarded airplanes and learned some sign language (skunk, beaver, eagle, tent) from the video the very well-behaved 2-year-old girl was watching in front of us.

On the Aluminum Tube of Death.

We only got slightly lost on the way to Forrest and Jason's abode. We drove into the driveway and there was Karl, visiting from Montana. It was nice to see him.


After a while, Forrest came home from work and it was just like old times.

Hello Forrest!

I ended up conking out early, probably because of the several beers I drank. There was music played and some Bocci after I fell asleep.


Forrest and Jason went off to their careers, but Forrest first drew elaborate directions to go see things. We promptly got lost, but that was alright because I got to see up close some of the dense fields of flowers planted along North Carolina highways.


We got lost but winding our ways through the dense, lush, green vegetation, we eventually found some place near Lake James called Wolfpit and climbed part of the way up the mountain.

Evan and Mountain Laurel.

That afternoon we met Forrest and Jason for supper at Judge's. I had salad bar. The banana pudding was disgusting. In contrast, the fried foods were delicious.

Fried pickles and onion rings.

That night, Evan and Forrest played music. They had a good time doing so.

Forrest and Evan play music.


The next morning, Chas and his charming beau David arrived and we went to Morgantown, where I insisted on posing in front of the memorial. Seven of my direct ancestors were Union soldiers during the Civil War.

The Morgantown Confederate Soldier Memorial.

We had an excellent lunch at Yanni's. I recommend their eggplant sub.

Chas and David.

Back home, Travis showed up and it was great to see him. We said farewell to Chas and David, and then prepared to go camping in the woods. The drive was long and windy, I was glad to get out for a few minutes.

Pisgah guys.

Jason brought along his doggy, who enjoyed herself.


After we found a camping spot, we had some trouble getting the fire started, but at last it caught.

Travis and Forrest.

We were way up in the mountains, and all I could hear was some crickets and a frog or two.

Trees at night.


The next morning, I was slightly sore from sleeping on a root.

Good morning Forrest.

We went to Ashville and ate at a vegetarian restaurant. Evan's food was better than mine.


Evan, Travis, and I went to Table Rock, way and ways up in the mountains. I admired greatly the flowers.


The trail was nice, not too scary, and if you fell over the edge you'd eventually catch on a tree or something instead of falling thousands of feet.

Evan on Table Rock.

At the top there was nice scenery.


I wish Forrest and Travis could come live half the year in Tucson.

Three guys.

I saw many small lizards and even some yellow blooming cacti. This little feller surprised me on the way down the trail.

Green snake.

Below is my favorite picture that I took. Click on it to make it bigger, I order you to do so.

Pretty Red Flowers.

That night we played Glow-In-The-Dark Bocci and I was dismal at first.

Glow-in-the-dark Bocci.


On Tuesday we drove west to Waynesville to see Chas. and the four of us drove up into the mountains and hiked up to the top of Max-Something-or-Other and admired the beautiful views. It was very Sound of Music-like.

Chas and David.

Homer and Evan.

We ate at the new Thai place and the food was great. That night Chas and Evan discovered that they had much of the same taste in music. It was awesome to spend quality time with Chas, he is a good guy.


After leaving Chas' abode, we drove back to Nebo and hung out with Travis for a few hours. He took us to Bruce's in Marion and we had sandwiches and then cheesecake. I asked to go to cemeteries to look at tombstones. I liked this homemade one a lot.

Tombstone in Marion. Click picture to see inscription.

DEC 20- 1922
DID JAN 9-1923"

The letter N is backwards.

I am famous.

We arrived safely back in Tucson, where is it now hot, but the swamp cooler is working really well. It was an awesome week away, but hard to say good bye to people I wished were closer. I was happy to introduce Evan to people, and happy that he and Forrest got to play a lot of music together. Many great memories were made.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I have four pictures of my great-great grandmother, DeEtte. I know a handful of facts about her, some official records, a couple of newspaper articles. One item she owned, her Bible, is the only heirloom passed down through the family.

Sarah DeEtte Pierce was born in December 1851 in Jefferson County, New York, the oldest daughter of Robert and Julia. As a teenager, she moved to Wisconsin, living near her father's family in Sheboygan County while he went off to serve in the Civil War. Afterward, the Pierce family moved to Grand Traverse County and settled on a farm.

DeEtte met handsome David Chandler and they were married in February 1872. I'm guessing the first two tintypes were taken shortly after the marriage. She is almost certainly posed with some contraption holding her head in place so that she couldn't move and blur the images.

David and DeEtte, circa 1875.

DeEtte gave birth in 1873 to John, 1875 to Grace, and in 1881 to David Garfield.

Sarah in the 1880s.

She was a mid-wife, assisting women in her neighborhood. DeEtte also was a church-goer and once helped organize a fund-raiser for a local minister. She was involved in the one-room schoolhouse near her home.

DeEtte and Grace, mid 1890s.

Her life ended unexpectedly:

Mrs. DeEtte Chandler, wife of D.G. Chandler of East Bay, died quite suddenly at her home of paralysis Tuesday afternoon, aged 46 years. Mrs. Chandler had not been in strong health for some time, but was as well as usual the day before her death, and was not taken seriously ill until after breakfast Tuesday, when a sudden stroke of paralysis prostrated her, and death came about two o'clock in the afternoon. The funeral services will be held at noon today, and the burial will take place in Oakwood cemetery.

Mrs. Chandler was prominent in many good works and will be greatly missed, especially among the young people of the Potter school house Sunday school of which she was superintendant, and her loss will be felt deeply by the whole community."

Her husband erected a tombstone in Oakwood Cemetery in Traverse City.

DeEtte's tombstone.

DeEtte's whole life- 4 pictures, a few words, and a Bible.

I am older than she was when she died.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two concerts. On Sunday night, Evan and I dressed up and went to the Fleet Foxes concert at the Rialto Theater.

Fancy duds.

They were awesome, and despite the drunk, dancing hipster jumping around in front of us, we had a good time.

Fleet Foxes.

Tom Goss.

Tonight Tom Goss was in town and he sang songs in someone's backyard. It was lovely, a suddenly cool night, a smokey fire to keep people warm, and Tom singing. Again, a good time.

Tom Goss.

At the last minute I read the invitation and discovered it was a potluck. So I brought along a jar of watermelon rind pickles and was surprised that Tom knew what they were- he really liked them!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

A busy weekend. Yesterday afternoon we went to the Grande Street Fair and I saw these interesting religious pictures. We listened to a guy play accordion, I don't know how they are able to remember which things to push.

Jesus and St. Francis.

Last night we tried to make strawberry jam but it didn't set right so now I have jars of strawberry sauce.

This morning we headed way over east to Reddington Pass and hiked.


There was water trickling down among the weathered rocks and in one large pond a bunch of minnows were swimming around.


Evan had never been to a place like this, complete with the occasional naked hiker.


I managed to get slightly sunburnt on my shoulders. After a nap, I made Evan a strawberry cake with fluffy strawberry frosting.

The cake.

And now we are going to the Fleet Foxes concert. This has been a very good weekend. I talked to Mummy today and she is feeling much better, although her healing bones give her a burning sensation in her foot at night. In a week or so she will be allowed to go to my sister's house to finish recuperating.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

This is what you see if you are sitting on the couch in the northeast corner of my living room and point the camera to the southwest.

The red room is the dining room, which becomes Mummy's bedroom in the winter. The yellow room on the right is the kitchen.

Puff is sitting next to me because Evan helped me put in the window-mounted AC unit and he loves the cool air that comes out of the magical human box.


On the wall across from me is my favorite painting, which I paid $5.00 for at a junk store. It is calming.

It is signed "Amy Lynley."

As I type this Evan is playing his new tenor banjo.

We are having an excellent Saturday.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Mummy is turning 79 on Sunday, which is also Mother's Day. She has been recuperating from breaking her ankle a few weeks ago, she had the screws taken out of her fibula and tibia yesterday.

Circa 1934.

I remember her when she was 34 and just learning to drive a car. So strange that my memories go back so far.


Mummy spent two years at Michigan State, and purposely flunked her fencing class because she was so embarrassed by it.

Circa 1970.

She wore this olive green dress to weddings and funerals in the 1960s and early 1970s.

2009, photo by Richard Whitmer.

I bought a digital picture frame and loaded it with 160 family photos- I think she will enjoy that for a birthday present.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Can't say I feel bad for Osama bin Douchebag being offed. I am against capital punishment, especially since so many people in the United States have been proven innocent and because we should be better than countries like China, Iran, etc. But bin Laden? He was a coward living in a mansion with his wives, while other young men and women killed themselves at his orders. COWARD. If he believed so strongly in his cause, he would have blown himself up as well. Instead, apparently, he hid behind one of his wives when the Americans raided his mansion.

I made delicious chocolate brownies while listening to the news. I had some with lunch and I am completely, utterly buzzing from the sugar.

So glad I don't seat seafood. I hope whatever fish or clams or squid chew on Osama bin Douchebag don't get a tummy ache.

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