Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I drove home later than normal, held up by a meeting. The sunset was gorgeous.

Tucson sunset, through the windshield.

I think I had my mid-life crisis today, thinking about something. I talked with Forrest about life and things, it was nice to catch up with him.

A few minutes later.

I feel like my life is on hold every winter. It is hard taking care of my mother- extra cleaning, all the cooking, watching out for her when we are public. She totters around slowly and gets lost in stores, cannot figure out where to find the front. She isn't getting senile, she just doesn't care to remember.

I've been going through my box of photographs and scanning the older family photos to post on Ancestry. I used to take pictures of family photos- and I have come across a bunch that probably ended up with my one uncle, the one who wanted everything. Glad I was smart and took those photos myself. Strange to handle actual prints in today's digital world.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and thoughts race through my head. Things I cannot change and things I have no control over. I've been doing a lot of reading- you can only sit in front of the computer for so many hours a day. It calms the mind down and after an hour I go back to sleep. If I doze too long in the morning, nightmares show up. Usually Puff and Joey wake me anyway, tentatively prodding me with their paws to get me to pay attention.

So anyways, not sure whether my day-long mid-life crisis will come to anything. It certainly has me thinking about what is important and what isn't.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Isaac Clawson and Anna Rollenhagen, one pair of my great-great parents were married on New Year's Eve in 1885.

The marriage was recorded in the Muskegon County, Michigan marriage records.

Marriage records (click on picture to see larger version).

A fancy document was probably supplied by the Minister of the Gospel as a wedding souvenir.

Certificate of marriage.

Isaac was 31-years-old. He was born in 1855 in Ohio. His father, Hiram Clawson, went off to fight in the Civil War in 1862 and two years later died from measles in Knoxville, Tennessee. He left behind a 32-year-old widow with four children. She moved her family to Michigan to be close to her parents and sisters. Six months after her husband's death, she married again to Fuller Porter. Widows didn't have many options. Paulina (Bates) Clawson's second husband was a drunk and a bully. They would divorce in August 1885, Paulina testified  that: "disregarding the solemnity of his marriage vow... at various times neglected to support (Perlina) and to furnish her a home although he is an able bodied man and has enjoyed good health almost all the time since her marriage..her said husband moved all his furniture, including the only cooking stove in the house and left (her) entirely destitute (the house was a rented one).."

Isaac Clawson (sitting) and an unidentified man, circa 1875-1880. The standing man has a device behind him to hold his head still for the photograph.

Anna Maria Dortea Rollenhagen was born in New York, four years after her parents and older siblings sailed from a tiny town in Prussia, the youngest child dying and being buried at sea. The family moved on to Michigan, the surroundings very similar to the little village of Brusewitz that they had left behind forever.

Fractur document.

The couple would go on to have 12 children between 1886 and 1913: Maybelle, Myrtle, Mildred, Claude, Lillian, Robert, Arzey, Richard, Frederick, Margaret, Ina, Edwin, and Edith. Maude and Richard died in infancy. My great grandmother Maybelle was born eight months after the marriage, so Isaac and Anna were obviously having sex before marriage. Or as my mother says, "The first child can come out at any time."

The Clawsons, circa 1925-1928.

Isaac worked as a farmer and sometimes as a carpenter. My grandmother recalled him building a child's coffin for a neighbor, lining it with a lacy blouse. He was also apparently a problem drinker, and would beat Anna when drunk.

Anna and Isaac Clawson.

My mother remembers the couple- Isaac died in 1936 and Anna in 1938. She was asked as the oldest great grandchild to carry a rose in to her while Anna was confined to bed.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

So Arizona state Representative Steve Yarbrough wants to pass a law that would allow religious people to discriminate against gay people.

I sent him the following email:

Dear Mr. Yarbrough,

In regards to your bill that would allow people to refuse service to gay folks due to their religious views. I would ask that as part of your bill you would require these businesses to prominently display a large sign stating which groups of people they would refuse service to.

As a gay man, I really would hate to bother a fundamentalist Christian or Mormon or even a Muslim business owner by walking into their place of business. I'm certain that even looking or talking to me, a 50-year-old homosexual, would violate their religious beliefs. What if I accidentally shook their hands and they touched a gay person without realizing it?

You or your staff member reading this are probably grossed out by the fact that a Homosexual sent you an email. I suggest that your next bill will be one preventing LGBT people from contacting their elected officials.

And as a side note, I wonder how much time and money the State of Arizona will spend defending this unconstitutional law. Because the Federal Constitution clearly states that everyone is supposed to be treated equally.



Monday, January 13, 2014

Last Thursday I went to the dentist to get a crown. Two hours work, mostly not painful. Temporary crown is in place and slightly elevated so I cannot close the right side of my mouth correctly. $490 total, I think.

A good impression.

On Saturday morning I loaded mother into the car and drove north to Steam Pump Ranch, where I gave a talk to a standing room only crowd. We had to walk a ways to get to the restored ranch house. My mother's walking skills have declined- she staggers around, seemingly off balance. Awfully slow. I've noticed that in the house, outdoors it is worse. Several times I have had to grab her to keep her from falling over. If something else catches her attention, she seems to lose control of her feet. This whole aging business- pretty depressing to see up close.

After the talk and a stagger through the farmer's market we went to the Presidio Park and visited with the living history folks. My mother chatted with the women she has met before and had a good time. I tried on a pair of reproduction glasses and have decided my next new pair will have round frames.

Homer Roosevelt in blue.

On Sunday I went and visited David and picked some oranges off his tree. Later I made marmalade, which is really very easy- just thinly sliced oranges, sugar, boil until it reaches 220 degrees, can.

Orange Marmalade.

When we were at the library last week I saw a painting I really liked. I hardly ever buy things for myself, but I really, really liked this painting. So I bought it.

Toast by Mary Teresa Dietz.

I probably shouldn't be buying luxury items when work has slowed down so much. But what is the point of living unless you enjoy life. I am going to hang it above my desk at home so I can look at it every day.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Let's make Homer's Spanish rice. First clean the stove top because Mummy has spilled coffee and other stuff everywhere and never, ever thinks to wipe up the mess. Then slice a leek, half an onion, some miniature red and yellow peppers, and a Mexican squash up and saute in some olive oil.

Squash has not been put in yet.

When those pretty vegetables have softened, add these canned products. I drain the black beans first. Sneak some of "that stuff" (spices) in when Mummy isn't looking. She hates spices and herbs, like many Midwesterners of her generation raised in households with bland boiled foods.


While this is going on, cook one cup of Jasmine rice in 1.5 cups water.


When the rice is cooked, place in with other ingredients. Finish off with some shredded cheese.

Homer's blurry Spanish Rice.

Quick, easy, nutritious, and tasty.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

I went to the barber for a trim. Patrick called me asking if I was interested in continuing to work on his doors.


Last time I used chemical stripper to remove the paint. It was messy and not terribly effective. This time I used my trusty heat gun to peel up the layers of paint.

Door with top layers of paint removed.

I sanded as well, so Patrick made me a make-shift dust mask. I look like a robber.

Stick 'em up.

I peeled and sanded, then worked paint out of the little nooks and crannies and sanded some more. Patrick is going to paint them again, so I did not need to remove every little bit of paint (the wood quality isn't good enough to stain).

First side done.

I'll go back next weekend and finish the other side, I removed about 1/4 of the paint on that side before coming home to make Mummy supper.

Patrick testing the fire alarm.

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