Monday, March 20, 2023

I baked a cake for Matt's birthday. It was a hummingbird cake- with banana, pineapple, and pecans; as well as vanilla cream cheese frosting. A couple of years ago there was a cake failure (dry!) and so I was concerned that might have happened again. So I made a practice cake and took it to work. It was quickly eaten up.

So on Saturday I got up early and made another one. And then I went over to the old fort where the 150th anniversary celebration took place. John, Doug, Paul, and David came by for the two tours that I did. People enjoyed hearing me tell about the archaeology and history of the place.

Paul, David, and Homer.

I ran home and did some last minute cleaning and prepping. Then Matt showed up. He opened his presents (two books on A-frames). A few people stopped by and we had pizza, salad, potato chips and onion dip. And then Matt blew out his candles. The cake was delicious. It was a good day.

Happy Birthday Matt!

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

 We went to the rodeo. I wore my Stetson cowboy hat.

Homer and Matt at the rodeo.

We mostly people-watched. There were some handsome cowboys. And pretty horses.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

A month passed. I had a Holiday Party in mid-December. I decorated, cleaned house, and cooked. I made lots of gingerbread and sugar cookies (remember, don't use Better Homes sugar cookie recipe).

Martha Stewart's sugar cookies. 

Right before the party a bunch of people cancelled and I wondered if anyone was going to show up. And then they did. It was a nice party.

Shannon and Jeffrey.


My favorite new vintage decoration- a plastic canvas village.

Plastic canvas church.

I made a lot of tin can luminarias. They are fun, both to make, and to light up.
Tin can luminaria.

Matt and I went to Summerhaven and walked through the neighborhood to see the lights. It was fun.


On Holiday morning Matt got lots of fun presents- Temporama dishes, Martha Stewart cookbooks, and a Martha Stewart Nativity set.

Matt and the so-called Virgin Mary.

Matt flew to New Orleans to see his sister. The night before he made Jiffy Pop popcorn, somewhat not successfully.

Jiffy Pop.

While he was gone there was a really nice sunset.


I was asked to make my co-worker Jenny's birthday cake. We sat next to each other in grad school in 1988. I made a yellow cake, adding Meyer lemon juice and zest, and then dripping bittersweet ganache over it. It was delicious.

Jenny's Birthday cake.

Brent and I went to northwest Arizona to do an archaeological survey. This is a part of the state I had not been to. 

Boundary Cone along Route 66.

We ended up close to the western part of the Grand Canyon where there is a beautiful Joshua Tree forest,

Joshua tree and Homer.

Joshua Tree forest.

This weekend Matt and I went to an antique store.

Matt and Homer.

I wanted to get a plate to add to my kitchen wall. I found one dating to the 1820s that was inexpensive due to wear and tear.

Some of the plates.


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Holiday 2022. Decorating ensued. Click on the photos to see larger versions.

I am a strong advocate of the more the better!

The big real tree ($85!) is decorated with a pom-pom ball garland and glass figurative ornaments.

Big tree.

The flocked tree is covered with vintage Shiny Brite style ornaments.

Flocked tree.

The tv stand (now with 100 percent less tv) has scenes of artiodactyls (deer and moose) and bears with Santa.

Deer, moose, bears, and Santa.

On top is a plastic canvas village I got at the Fireman's Estate Sale. Several have music boxes inside.

Village scene.

Below are some ceramic trees. The LED light in the pink tree doesn't work, so I will be putting some battery-powered tea lights inside.

Ceramic trees.

The dining room is also elaborately decorated. On the closet door is a cute needlepoint scene I found last weekend at the antique mall.

Panorama of the dining room.

The red tree has home-made ornaments.

Red tree.

The silver tree has acorns and bird ornaments.

Silver tree.

I also have an Erzgebirge orchestra, from Germany, with the largest an organ music box that sometimes plays Silent Night. 

Erzgebirge orchestra.

Presents are wrapped, I look forward to Matt's reactions for some of them.



Wednesday, November 30, 2022

 When I went off to the University of Michigan in September 1982, I hoped to get an education and become an archaeologist. One of the first things I did at Couzens Hall was wander down the hall, past the double elevators, to the tv room. And the tv was on MTV, something I had never heard of, and a video of Fleetwood Mac's song Hold Me was playing. In the video two of the band members, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, were archaeologists, uncovering musical instruments. An omen?

Lately I have been listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks. And today I learned that Christine McVie has died at age 79. So sad, she had a beautiful voice. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

 The 2022 midterm elections are almost counted for Arizona. Thankfully the Democrat Katie Hobbs has won over her crazed opponent Kari Lake. Also we will have a Democratic Attorney General and Secretary of State. Mark Kelley was also re-elected. 

Arizona is slowly turning Blue, partly because younger voters are overwhelmingly choosing Democrats and partly thanks to the recent arrivals from California.

After weeks of worry, I can rest easier for a while.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

October was the busiest month. I gave a Zoom talk, three cemetery tours, and taught a paper flower and crown making workshop at the Presidio Museum. The workshop had 14 women, including five from San Francisco. They had such a good time, I really enjoyed them.

Crown ladies.

I also constructed an Offrenda (altar) at the Museum, the theme was Thrift Store Ancestors, consisting of photographs I have purchased at thrift stores, antique stores, or estate sales.

Thrift Store Ancestors.

I hosted an All Souls Procession cocktail party yesterday. I made an Offrenda and decorated it with photos of my ancestors and pets. Each year I have to make hundreds of paper flowers. The arch is a bit crooked, I probably need to get a new piece of plastic pipe for it. 


I made Better Homes and Garden sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies. I messed up one batch of each and had to start over. But they got baked, finally. Peter and Corey came over and helped decorate them with lemon icing. They were delicious. 


For the party I made vegan chili, jalapeno cornbread, squash casserole, hummous, fruit salad, pico de gallo salsa, and a chocolate mayonnaise cake. People ate most of the food, although I have a lot of hummous because I made a big batch.

I did a lot of people's makeup.

Armando and Robert.

I had made five paper flower crowns. Ginger was one of the persons who wore them, she looked great.

Ginger and husband.

Caleb, Ben, and Homer.

Homer and Matt

We walked down to the Procession. As always, I enjoyed seeing the creativity of so many people. 

Afterward when I got home and washed my face I discovered the red dots were very stubborn.

Monday, October 17, 2022

It is October and finally things have cooled off. It is still raining after the end of the Monsoon. There was even hail on Saturday.

Robert and I hung out one Saturday and among other things we went to Eegees for lunch.

Open your eyes Robert!

In September, Sandy made a special guest star appearance from Australia. He hasn't been back in the US for 10 years. He stayed at my house for the first week and one night we got on the street car and went down to IBTs, where there happened to be a trivia contest. We placed third! Sandy is planning to return permanently to the US next year. Yeah!

Sandy, Diva, and Homer.

Ruby was super-excited to have a new human boyfriend. Sandy was nice to play ball with.


Someday I need to adopt a friend for Ruby, another dog for her to play with. I will probably wait for Snowball to go, since I don't think little Snowball would like another dog.

Matt bought a condo in a co-op and has been slowly fixing things up- removing the many shelves and painting primer and paint. 

Homer and Matt.

I bought a set of photographs at an estate sale. Not expecting that they were from the same family. When I removed some from their frames, I found that they were labeled and could be identified. I researched the family and posted the data on my Identifying Thrift Store Photographs website. It is very satisfying to solve genealogical mysteries.

Austin Todd.


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Version 59. I stayed home from work for my birthday and cleaned house. Addison and Elizabeth got a pizza and cake for me. 

Matt took me out to dinner at Denny's and I had a side salad with 1000 island dressing, grilled cheese, onion rings, and chocolate shake. He got me a Smokey the Bear hat, a Smokey the Bear mini building blocks, and a nice painting. It was a good day.



Friday, September 09, 2022

 Queen Elizabeth II and I were 10th cousins, twice removed, something I learned earlier this year. Our common ancestor was Thomasine (Belgrave) Frost (1562-after1616). We have over 200 common ancestors. This is according to data on WikiTree.

My mother was fascinated by the British Royal Family late in her life. After she died I found a bag of expensive Royalty magazines. Susan says she got up early to watch Harry and Meg get married. She would have been excited to know that she was a 10th cousin, once removed.

I was very sad yesterday. It seems strange to be sad about someone I never met. But she was a constant, steady person who I remember from my childhood, and really there aren't many people left from that older generation.


Monday, August 22, 2022

For the first time in three years I boarded an airplane. I wore a mask in the airports and on the planes. I do not want to catch Covid.

First airplane.

Plane tickets are ridiculous. I had to fly into Detroit, rented the cheapest car (a Mitsubishi that blew around in the wind and got terrible gas mileage). And drove to my sister Susan's house.

She was attending a concert. I discovered the black raspberry bushes behind her house at delicious blackberries on them. I also discovered her septic tank was backed up.

Black raspberries.

She still has Mother's 16 or 17-year-old toy poodle Darby. The poor thing is blind and pees everywhere.

Homer, Susan, and Darby.

I ended up renting a hotel in the middle of the woods near my brother's house. It was like a serial killer hotel, but I got to see deer and turkeys and enjoyed the AC.

We went often to Tractor Supply, where I bought horse medicine, dog and cat food, and some clothes. I was naughty and snuck this picture of my Amish brother getting into the tiny red car. I chose a red car since it was easy to find in parking lots.

Amish brother.

We went to Oakwood Cemetery and looked at tombstones. This is my great great grandparents'. He was a Civil War soldier.

Philip David Feiger and Julia Ana (Krauth) Feiger tombstone.

He has a mulberry tree next to his house and I enjoyed eating mulberries right off the tree.


My brother joined the Amish church in 1996. Below is a panorama of his house, not wired for electricity but with a bathroom with water pumped by his windmill.

Brother's house, click on photo to enlarge.

It was the tail end of cherry season. I bought one batch that was really good, and one batch that had good ones on top and mediocre ones hiding below.

Mediocre cherries.

I had gone back to Michigan to attend Uncle Phillip's funeral/memorial. I had to buy a last-minute tie.

First tie in three years.

The event was held in the backyard of the Perry Hannah house in Traverse City, now a funeral home. My great great grandfather was friends with Perry, who basically founded the city.
Perry Hannah house.

Lots of relatives showed up. Aunt Judy said, "You don't look like Homer." I said, "I'm bald and fat now." Sisters Elizabeth and Susan, brother-in-law Jeff. My Amish brother could not come because of the military aspect of the event. Cousins Deb, Andy, Fred, Janeen, James, Richard, Tim, Marcia, and Edna (I had not met her). As well as various spouses and children. I always enjoy talking to my Ransom relatives and when I got back to Michigan I sent them the family history I had put together. Deb, Fred, Richard, and Peter told stories. Members of the American Legion fired a salute (Phillip had been in the Marines). 

Afterward Susan and I drove to the cemetery. There Phillip's urn was placed in a plastic casket, lowered into the earth, and we sprinkled soil on him. 

At the cemetery. Sister Elizabeth is in the red shirt, with brother-in-law Jeff next to her.

At the Amish store where my brother works I bought a bunch of jams and some granola for Matt at the general store. Lee works in the Produce store down the driveway.

Produce store.

At the back of the produce store is the ice room. They cut the ice on nearby ponds in the winter and it keeps things frozen and cold all year long.

Ice house room.

On the way back to the airport I stopped at Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth. I noticed the nativity out front did not have a Black king (all three were very white).

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.

The interior is enormous with areas with specialized ornaments. Penguins! Food! Unicorns! I bought a rhino and a Santa baker in the clearance section. Still a little pricy.

Bronner's interior, click to enlarge.

I made in back to Tucson safely. I did not catch Covid despite not wearing a mask in most places (hardly anyone does up there). It was a nice trip.



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