Monday, July 15, 2024

 Yesterday afternoon Matt called me to warn me that a storm was heading my way. Around 5 PM it started to rain hard and then the wind came. I don't think it has ever been that windy at my house. 

The electricity went out soon afterward. Then the hail started. Branches came off the willow acacia in my front yard. Poor Ruby was so scared.

After the rain had mostly stopped I went outside. The backyard was a mess- everything torn apart. 

Doug's shade structure for his truck was torn apart.

Another huge branch on the willow acacia broke off and is stuck in the top of the tree.

This will be fun to deal with.

And no electricity. From my house north to Congress, only about six houses. No clue why and with 5,000 houses out of electricity, not sure when it will be fixed. I had to bring the contents of my freezer to work.

Oh and some 20-year-old with poor aim shot at Orange Monster. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

I started working for my company back on 10 July 1992. Today makes the start of the 33rd year.

One of my first projects was at Naco, working in the area of the soon-to-be-expanded border station. The ruins of the Copper Queen store lie between us and the border, which at that time was a three-strand fallen down barbed wire fence. Sometimes Mexican kids would come visit us. Today a hideous 20-ft-tall iron wall is present there.

In the photo we are recording tent stakes left behind when soldiers camped out next to the store during the Mexican Revolution on the 1910s. I was young, very skinny, and had hair. 

Elizabeth, Homer, and Catherine. Jay took the photo.

I cancelled my subscription to the New York Times yesterday. Got tired of the anti-Biden bullshit. The newspaper really, really wants Trump to win so that they will have exciting stories to publish.

I was up in northwestern Arizona for a couple of days. Surveyed a section of road when it was 115 degrees outside. It was miserable. Later as I drove to a town called Baghdad to get something to drink it was 119.

My house is pretty warm. The kittens have a fan blowing air on them if they want. They are growing up fast. 

Matt is off walking into the Grand Canyon. 12 miles in and a couple of days later 12 miles out. NO THANKS. My feet would kill me.


Sunday, June 30, 2024

I've been doing surveys all over the state. Couple weeks ago I was up at Young, taking SR 288 which had gorgeous scenery.

On SR 288.

The last of the lilies were blooming in the woods. I could hear the bull elk bugling. It was a nice time.


Matt and I went to Apple Annies to pick cherries. Matt had never picked cherries before. I told him how I was a child we had to pick cherries for money to buy school clothes back in Traverse City. Until they invented mechanical shakers.

We picked 14 pounds.

It was a good time.

The kitties are getting friendlier, especially Smokey. I have been taking Ruby in to meet them and Smokey comes up and pats her. Puff Junior is still a little scared of her.

Puff J'Markus Junior.

Smokey the Bear.

Matt, Carver, Hussain, and I went up to the top of Mount Lemmon yesterday for a picnic. It was 69 degrees at the top, so nice. Hussain is from Bangladesh and I learned some interesting things. People don't have indoor pets there but Western movies are starting to influence people and rich folks are getting dogs and cats.

Homer and Hussain.

I have a feeling of impending doom about the November elections. If Trump wins, well that is basically the end of the United States. And about half of the country thinks that would be great. So depressing.


Thursday, June 20, 2024

Meet Puff Junior and Smokey the Bear, two kittens who have arrived to live in my house. Puff Jr. is very skittish while Smokey starts purring when I pet her. She is the prettiest kitten EVER!

Puff Junior and Matt. Who is handsomer?

Pretty Smokey the Bear.

They are locked up in the dining room until they get bigger. Ruby really wants to go see them, but that is not allowed. Clyde could care less.

Friday, May 31, 2024

Well May has flown by quickly. I did a few surveys, spent a night in Winkleman. Then I wrote reports. And then I made endless changes requested by ASM. I did get to dig a unit inside Teatro Carmen, but did not find anything exciting.

Whenever Matt comes over Ruby is so happy. He is good cop, I am bad cop telling her to not pick on Clyde.

Matt and Ruby.

Although Clyde is pretty much able to take care of himself.

Handsome Clyde.

The couple of weeks with pretty cactus flowers is coming to an end. The first 100 degree days have arrived.

Cactus flower at work.

My anxiety about the fall election are high. It doesn't help that Biden can't shut up about fucking Israel and their fucking genocidal war against the Palestinians. Whatever good will I had towards Israel is gone.

I was very happy that Trump received 34 guilty counts yesterday. But will it do anything? 

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

 We went to the Pima County Fair twice. I enjoyed looking at the baked goods and crafts. I also liked the chickens- so many varieties. Also rabbits and baby goats.

I wanted to kid-nap this one.


The second time we went back was auction day. First we sat through the rodeo, during which the "clown" made anti-Biden and anti-women jokes. I eventually got up and left. Went inside the animal barn. Kids were primping their steers, pigs, and sheep and they were being auctioned off for huge amounts of money. And all I could think was those poor animals were being made pretty so that someone could kill them and other people could eat them.

So gross.

A couple of days ago I headed north to Wickenburg to do a survey. It is spring time up there (elevation 2800 feet above sea level) and lots of things were flowering. Pretty! 

In front of a giant Joshua Tree, which is actually a type of yucca.

A white flower.

Lupines and some purple flower.

I walked along the sides of US 93 looking for cultural resources. I saw lots of hubcaps, beverage bottles, and my least favorite- bottles filled with urine. Truck drivers have this funnel contraption that they use to pee into bottles, then out the window. SO MANY.


After surveying I stopped downtown Wickenburg and went to the antique store. Thought about buying a cute vintage Holiday Tree baking dish. But then I saw the prominent display of Orange Monster hats and I put the pan down and walked out.

Hate hats

Friday, April 19, 2024

Before the eclipse I had lunch with Barney, who is spending a semester with Mitchel, Evelyn, and Sagan in Tucson. It was nice to catch up.

Barney and Homer.

So back in 2017 I saw the total eclipse in Wyoming. I convinced Matt to go with me to Texas to see it. He wanted to visit Marfa, an artsy town in western Texas, so on Friday the 5th we drove 8 hours there. West Texas is pretty empty, not a lot to see- ranch land, cattle, desert vegetation. We stayed at the Thunderbird Hotel ($667). That night we had a fancy dinner (the roasted yams were the best).

Matt and Homer at dinner.

The next day (Saturday the 6th)  we wandered around Marfa, visiting a variety of stores. I bought some antique photos, one of which was a man named Homer. We had Dairy Queen for dessert.

Sunday the 7th we drove to Fort Davis National Historic Site. It was occupied twice between the 1850s and 1891. Lots of standing buildings. In one building they had done archaeology and strangely enough my co-worker Jenny just finished analyzing the bone from that dig. I thought the signs and furnished rooms were great.

Matt at Fort Davis.

We then drove to Alpine for lunch. Had a misunderstanding. Afterward we went downtown Alpine and parked next to a really nice book store. I bought a cookie cookbook. When we came out, the battery was dead.

Luckily, there was an O'Reilly's 700 feet away. So we walked there got a new battery and then I walked back and forth to collect the right tools. Finally got the new battery installed ($235). We then went to a saddle and western horse gear store. I counted 23 stuffed heads. I also saw this mounted set of artifacts.

Arrows in the shape of an arrow.

We drove back to Marfa and then went along the highway to see Prada Marfa, a strange tourist attraction.

Prada Marfa.

The next morning, Monday the 8th, we drove east to get to the totality zone. It was four hours away and we planned to go to a little town whose name I cannot remember (Brackettville). We drove past the Comstock Border Patrol Station and the car started acting up, slowing down, black smoke coming out of the tailpipe. Moments of indecision, should we drive back? We started too but it got worse. We turned around and stopped at the station and called a tow truck ($275). Luckily there was a Hyundai dealership in Del Rio, about thirty miles to the east.


The dealership said they could fix it. We walked to a horrible restaurant for lunch. As we finished the eclipse started, but it was very cloudy. We walked back to the dealership and sat in the parking lot.


Occasionally we could see something through the clouds. Then it became darker. During the totality you could see light at the horizon. The night light came on at the dealership. It was a mediocre experience.

Total eclipse?

Then Rose came out to tell me that the part they needed (fuel pressure sensor) would not be available for three days. I said, "What are we supposed to do?" She suggested getting a hotel room. 

Goddamit. Del Rio, Texas is not a place I particularly want to spend any time in. Strip malls, Trump shit.

We got a rental car. Drove back to Marfa. Had a nice meal drove back to Tucson the next day.

On Friday I drove the rental car back to Del Rio ($258). It was supposed to be 750 miles. The Map GPS thing sent me over 100 miles out of the way. I stayed at the shitty Motel 6 ($100). I listened to a woman yelling at her boyfriend "Stop looking at other girls." At 2 AM a little orange kitten meowed outside of my door. If I could have caught it I would have a new cat, but it ran away. I went to the Hyundai dealer and got my car ($804).

I drove back. I stopped at a Dairy Queen in New Mexico. When I came out the battery was dead. A nice trucker jumped it and told me it was alternator. I got back to Tucson and turned the car off. The battery was dead. The next morning it started. It was a miracle, but I knew it had to be fixed.

I called the two Hyundai dealerships in Tucson. One couldn't fix it until August. The other not until June. I ended up at Parker Automotive Service Center. Doug drove me to Enterprise for another rental ($157). They replaced the alternator and fixed the front brakes ($1520).

I am so tired of this cursed car. Once I pay it off I am getting rid of it.

And then there was a big fire on the next block- two RVs and two sheds burned, but the house did not and the woman who ran down the street screaming about her babies- her seven dogs and two turtles escaped. My mother used to visit with her and talk about the turtles, she really enjoyed her visits with that woman.

Fire and almost an eclipse.

I told Matt I am done going to eclipses.


Monday, April 01, 2024

Back in 2009 a little furry white and red kitten showed up in my backyard.

Homer and Snowball, 2009

My mother named the kitten. It was a male but always acted like a female, so I called Snowball a "her." 

The first few years she ran around the house like crazy. Mama Cat, Puff, and Joey hated her. Later on, when only Puff was left, he made peace with Snowball and they became friends. After mother died, I brought Buddy Cat back and they became friends too.

The last couple of weeks Snowball's body gave out. Stopped eating. Just huddled in place. Still wanted to sleep with her head on my shoulder. I called a vet this morning to come help things and when I moved Snowball to a blanket in the living room, she just suddenly died.

I wrapped her in a blanket inside a pillow case and buried her near Joey, Buddy Cat, and Mama Cat. I will miss my little friend.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

March. I spent a day survey with Brent northeast of Tucson. A 12.5 hour day. Looked at one previously identified site and that the most interesting thing. Lots of wildflowers, so that was nice to see.

Walking along US 70, north of Mount Graham.

In mid-March I took Matt to India Twist for his birthday supper. Afterward he got a store-bought cake (I know, bad). 

Matt, 47.

I put out some decorations for an Egg Day Party.

Mother made me the knitted ducks and chicken.

I made a cake and cookies.

Chocolate and raspberry cake.

Lemon sugar cookies.

A small group showed up to dye eggs, eat sandwiches and potato salad, and hang out.


Mark, Matt, and J.P.

Ruby had a nice time. John played Ball with her for a long time.


Sunday, March 10, 2024

I asked Matt to go to Catalina State Park. Unusual, I am not the best hiker. We did three miles and I almost fell down once.

Catalina State Park.

Snowball is getting elderly. Losing weight, breathing harder, wanting to eat mostly milk and cheese. I also realized that Snowball is actually 14 or 15 instead of 13 like I thought.

Matt and Snowball.

Meanwhile, Clyde continues to be a handsome puss.


On Wednesday at work I was eating a piece of bread with cheese on it and the corner of the left mandibular second molar decided to break off. The next day I got it repaired.

The broken tooth.

My fifth article in American Ancestors magazine. I am already working on the next one.

American Ancestors article.


Sunday, March 03, 2024

I went to the Santa Cruz River with a group to pick up trash. First we had a meeting where we talked about the history of the river and the De Anza trail. There were about a dozen folks, young and older (I am one of the older).

Tucson Wastewater is putting treated water into the river at this location. The vegetation is lush in the riparian area.

Tree tobacco.

Unfortunately, when it rains water carries trash from the washes that empty into the river. Unhoused people live in those washes and under bridges. The trash they discard is carried downstream and the vegetation in the riparian area catches it. 

So much trash. I found:

- 4 syringes (luckily no needles)
- styrofoam, a lot of it from broken up Polar Cups
- cigarette butts
- food wrappers
- plastic bags
- three toys
- a coat
- lighters
- plastic silverware
- plastic bottles and aluminum cans

I filled up a big bag. I had brought a bucket and just sat on the ground and collected trash, then moved a few feet and collected more. It is important to do so because endangered fish and Sonoran mud turtles are in the riparian area and you don't want them ingesting plastic.

My collected trash.

In all, we recovered 17 huge bags worth of refuse.

17 bags.

I felt like a did some good today.

Garbage man Homer.



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