Tuesday, November 23, 2021

I made six fruit cakes. I soaked dried fruits in apricot and peach brandy. I used the Better Homes and Garden recipe, adding some extra spices and candied fruit. I gave one to Pete and Rose and Rose's parents and they really liked it.

Giant red Texasware bowl.

Three of the fruit cakes.

My Meyer lemon tree is loaded with fruit. I will have to make lemon  curd soon.

Meyer lemon.

I was bored so I started decorating. People made fun of my and feelings got hurt. I have never liked being criticized.

The vintage Erzgebirge angel orchestra and bottle brush trees that I got in the Holiday box for $6.00. On Ebay each of the angels goes for between $20 and $35. That was a score.


I gave two talks during opening week at the 1929 Pima County Courthouse. I wandered through the UA mineral museum. I like the glow-in-the-dark minerals.


I'm giving a public art tour in a couple of weeks. So Matt came over to walk the route with me. Of course when he comes over, Ruby goes crazy since he is her boyfriend.

Ruby and Matt.

The only time she is like that with me is in the morning, when she wants some cuddle time. Mostly she wants me to feed her and play fetch.



Friday, November 12, 2021

We carved pumpkins at Richard and Roger's, Matt's was yellow and mine was warty with ears.

Jack O Lantern.

When I was probably four my mother gave me a little wooden Noah's Ark for Christmas. I still had five of the figures including a rabbit and Mrs. Noah. I managed to find a duplicate ark on Ebay for not much and of course I had to get it.

Noah's ark.

I made an altar for the Presidio and one for my house. It included photos of my ancestors and pets. Buddy Dog is now in a $10, over-100-year-old urn (Matt had to put him in there). 



I made sugar and gingerbread cookies, decorating them. Burned most of the sugar cookies.


I also made chocolate mayonnaise cupcakes with buttercream frosting and chocolate tombstones.


I hosted a small, vaccinated cocktail party (mostly outside) before the procession. It was very nice to have an almost normal gathering. Matt and I were cowboys.


At home Ruby and Snowball jockey for attention. Ruby gets so jealous. Sometimes she and Clyde Kitty play, that is fun to watch.

Homer, Ruby, and Snowball.


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

An advertisement on Facebook for farm aerial photos allowed me, within a few minutes, to find two photos of the farm where I lived from 1974 to 1979. They are asking $179 for a digital photo- crazy. 

But anyways, the photos brought back a lot of memories, most of them not so great.  

In 1973 my father's half-brother decided to divorce his wife. There was some sort of court hearing or custody trial and my parents were called as witnesses. They told the judge that my aunt was a perfectly fine mother. My uncle and grandmother were claiming she wasn't. They got custody. I always wondered if they bribed the friend of the court.

My father was a long-haul truck driver. He came back one day in 1973 to discover the large field below our house, promised to him, had a big For Sale sign. He went down to see his mother and ask her what was happening. Her response was "Promises don't mean anything." She cut off contact with my family. This was problematic because she lived literally across the road, a short distance away. I never saw her again in person. At the end of her life her dear son kicked her out of her own house. She was a terrible person.

My father decided that we had to move. They had once looked at this farm, back in the day it was for sale for $26,000. In 1973 it was for sale for $49,000. The parents sold the woods next to our house for a down payment. They decided to become dairy farmers. Mother apparently wanted a regular paycheck. Why my father didn't go to work in Traverse City is something I will never understand. He would have made a good used car salesman, he had that kind of personality. So they bought the farm. 

They built an addition on the back of the house for a laundry room and a porch on the front of the house. They installed a bulk milk tank in the barn and a pipeline system. My father had been a Surge sales and repairman in the mid-1950s.

Then there was the incident. Sometime in the fall of 1973 we were moving the Ransom dining room table in the dining room, and my father became angry. He chased me into the laundry room, knocked me to the floor, and beat me with a 2 by 4. I lay on the ground trying to block the blows with my hands screaming 'What did I do?" I never found out. I was covered with bruises on my back, butt, and legs. Nobody did anything to stop him.

If I could build a time machine I would go back to that moment and kill him. Whenever someone talks about spanking a child I instantly am transported back to the floor, lying on my stomach, while that piece of shit hit me over and over again.

He's been dead for 25 years and I felt nothing when he died. He was an awful father. I remember at my mother's memorial gathering Dean E. came up to me and told me what a great guy my father was. I didn't say anything.

He kept truck driving until January 1975. Mother, Bub, and I had to milk and feed the cows. Over the next four years I did a lot of chores. In the summer there was baling hay, I rode the wagon and stacked the hay bales. Afterward I stacked the bales in the hay mow. Nothing I did was ever good enough. He would think up arbitrary rules. I wasn't allowed to go to the house after I finished my chores. I had to sit there while they finished milking cows. One day he decided my dogs had to sleep in the barn instead of the house. He called me names. One time I broke out in horrible red hives. He accused me of making them up. All of the skin peeled off the inside of my mouth, the palms of my hands and feet. And he refused to believe it was real until my brother had the same thing happen. He made fun of the fact that I liked to read. 

We went to Buckley school. What a shithole. 300 kids kindergarten through 12th grade. I was smarter than most of my teachers. The lesbian gym teacher knew I was a little gay boy and hated me for that, always giving me bad grades no matter how hard I tried. The English teacher and the Math teacher were the only good teachers. I think I read every book in the library. I was picked on a lot by the other kids. Being smart was looked down on. I was small, undeveloped. I remember Steven J. telling me he was going to beat me up and sure enough he cornered me and did so. For no reason other than he was upset his parents were divorcing.

Some good things about the farm- picking raspberries, black caps, and blackberries in the woods. We froze them in our two chest freezers. We eventually found a blueberry patch and would go with nice Grandma, Uncle Joe, and Aunt Lillian and pick a huge amount. Aunt LouAnne and Mitzi and Katy coming to stay during the summer. 

In our garden you could find bits of dishes and doll parts. The garden was pretty amazing, the soil there was excellent. We grew all of our vegetables and mother also grew lots of zinnias. 

One day my father plowed an area in the field that hadn't been plowed and found an old dump from the early 1900s. I went and played archaeologist and dug up stuff, glued together broken dishes. I still have some of those artifacts.

They didn't buy the mineral rights with the property. In the mid-1970s Shell Oil started drilling oil wells in the area. All of my father's friends got oil wells. They bought a lot of stuff on credit (and later they all went bankrupt when Shell shut the oil wells down). My father was so jealous. He decided in 1978 that we had to move to a new farm in the Upper Peninsula. That's another story, the only good thing was that I got to go to a better school for 10th through 12th grade.

My bedroom is next to the chimney poking up through the addition on the back of the house.

The orchard in the G area was apples with one pear tree. We would make apple cider out of them.

Oh there is the silo. One November my father and brother went deer hunting at the cabin in the Upper Peninsula. The silo unloader, all of the way at the top, got stuck, frozen in place. Mother and I were milking the cows and feeding them. I had to climb all of the way to the top, in the dark, holding a flashlight, the ladders slippery with ice. Sobbing because I was so scared. If I slipped I would have fallen 60 feet straight down. And of course once I got up there I couldn't get the unloader unstuck. Dick D. had to come and get the damn thing unstuck. After we sold the farm the barns and silo were taken down. The house has been fixed up nice. I drove by in 2019 and felt nothing about the place.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Well September 16th rolled around again and I am now 58. How did that happen? Matt got pizza and fried zuchini and then I opened presents. Shirts, underpants, candle-making stuff. And a latch hook rug kit.

I have never made a latch hook rug. It is a challenge.

Latch hook.

He also got me a macrame book. My sisters did macrame in the 70s (everyone did). Reading the book, oh it looks so hard!

Macrame book.

He was worried I wouldn't like the ice cream cake but it was delicious.

Sparkle 58!

I feel like the luckiest man.

Matt and cake.

The following Saturday we went with Vaughn to the Tucson Botanical Gardens. There are a lot of plants there. Also three sad chickens locked up in a small cage.

Some of the plants.

A week passes. Lots of monitoring. I actually found a small canal. Last night it rained hard, lasting into the morning. Poor Ruby did not want to go outside. I tricked her. Clyde Kitty scratched at the door until I let him in. He also does not like the rain. I was going to do more yardwork, but can't while it is wet. Darn!


Sunday, September 12, 2021

A month later. The monsoon has continued. I have been sitting on a bucket watching a backhoe dig down over an existing water line, pull up the old pipe, and place new pipe in. Nothing to find in this area. In the morning the gnats are awful.


Matt and I went to a fancy greenhouse southwest of my house. So many cacti and aloes and other things. Large numbers of butterflies fluttered about, trapped inside. I have not seen this many butterflies since I was a child back in Michigan.

Butterflies on flowering cactus.

One area was particularly difficult to walk through and I knocked over some plants. Embarassing!


On the road back to my house there were immense numbers of bright poppies, so pretty.


We played pool volleyball at Richard and Roger. It was fun as always. I made lemon cupcakes, quite elaborate ones with candied lemon slices on top.

Roger and Richard.

At the Vincent de Paul thrift store I got a 1940s or 1950s blow mold Santa that still lights up.


My backyard is overgrown with nasty amaranth. I went out and pulled a garbage can full and afterward had the worst night, my face exploded with snot, my eyes so itchy. I was miserable, especially since I had to be up early and couldn't sleep. I bought some spray nasal decongestant, miracle!

I had an incident with Clyde Kitty in which I picked him up in the middle of the night, he wanted to go out. I ran into something in the dark and he freaked out and bit my face, cutting my lip, and scratched me terribly. Blood everywhere. It was pretty bad. Two weeks later I have a scar on my lip and probably will have another one on my chest. Bad kitty! Two hours later he was trying to get me to pet him.

Snowball is bored with the drama.

At Tractor Supply there is a sign next to the horse de-wormer because the Trump idiots would rather take it then get vaccinated. Someone I knew, a guy who often posted conspiracy crap on Facebook, died from Covid. He was in his 30s and had a small child. If he and his wife had been vaccinated that kid would still have its father.

 Worm medicine.

I have realized that the pandemic won't end until the idiots get sick and a lot of them die. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

We are having a very rainy monsoon season. July was the rainiest month recorded in Tucson. And here in August it has rained four or five times with lots of rain. When it thunders poor Ruby gets so scared. My backyard is a jungle.


I picked figs at the Presidio to make fig jam for Living History.


I cut them into pieces, making sure there were no bugs inside.


Then into the pot with some sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla.


I think I made about 10 jars in two batches. A couple of the jars did not seal so Jim V. and Rose/Pete each got a jar. They all said it was delicious.


I've been going to thrift stores and buying things. I got this embroidered floral piece with an old frame for $2.00.

Notice the crack, the ground is settling in my neighborhood again.

There was a note on the back of this photo which allowed me to identify the family, the Taubmans.

Also $2.00.

At the St. Vincent De Paul store I got this granny quilt for $4.00.

I like the bright colors.

The pandemic continues. I reported two people to their employers for posting false anti-vax stuff on Facebook.

And this morning I got banned for a week on Facebook for calling a anti-vaxxer a loser. Ridiculous. I have reported people for posting anti-vax and racist stuff and they do nothing. So over it.


Sunday, July 18, 2021

Twice toads have shown up on my front porch at night. I wonder whether these are the toads I rescued years ago during an archaeological project. I am worried that Ruby would bother them, so I put them in a box and take them over to the Santa Cruz River, stumbling down the path. Down at the river, there are lots of toads and frogs calling out, I hope the two I took down there are enjoying a much better habitat.

Sonoran Desert Toad.

The monsoon season has started and a couple of pink lilies appeared. They always surprise me.

Pink lily.

Towards the end of June it was Doug's birthday so I handed him my American Cake cookbook and he picked out Sister Sadie's Honey Cake. I made cupcakes. There were absolutely delicious and Doug really enjoyed them.

Honey cupcakes.

In early July I drove to New Mexico and taught a lecture on historical archaeology.

Allen waves hello.

After the lecture I sat on the front porch and sipped tequila. I got a little tipsy. I bought this horrible air mattress with a non-functioning air pump. So I ended up sleeping on the ground inside my new enormous tent. Uncomfortable!

I made Martha Stewart's rhubarb crisp. It was delicious.

Rhubarb crisp.

So last year was the year without pools since Matt and I were isolating. Well this year we are vaccinated and all of our friends are vaccinated, so we have been in three different pools. So nice.

Pool time.

At home, Clyde is spending more time inside than outside, but still hasn't figured out how to use the little box. He goes to the door and paws at it to let me know when he needs to go out. He and Snowball are mostly friends.

Clyde and Snowball.

On Friday I decided to stay at home and do projects. The front windows and door need to be repainted, so I went to Ace and got materials. Already had the paint, although when I opened it I discovered that it had separated and even after mixing didn't work as well as I would like. Anyways, I taped the windows (tedious), and then painted twice. 



I still have to do the door. I was going to it this morning, but it has been raining. The thunder scared poor Ruby, she is hiding under my chair right now.

The pandemic continues and the idiots refusing to be vaccinated because they read something on the internet or saw a YouTube video or Fox "News" are busy getting sick and some are dying. Ridiculous. I no longer feel sorry for them. It would be better if the anti-vaxxers would just catch Covid and get it over with. Fewer Republicans? Darn. Hard for me to comprehend why Fox News is killing and causing permanent disabilities to so many of their viewers, but I guess all of the voter restriction laws are an attempt to solve the reduced Republican voter numbers. 


Monday, June 21, 2021

Ray and Robert magically appeared from Spain and we had supper on the patio of a restaurant. They returned but Matt and I are planning to go visit them once pandemic things are through

Ray and Robert.

At home it is cockroach season and the enormous cockroaches are appearing inside my house. Gross.

Also gross, discovering that Clyde has worms. I bought expensive worm medicine to treat all three of the kids, but Clyde and Snowball won't eat the food that I mashed the pills into.


I buy old painting at thrift stores and sometimes internet auctions. They are slowly covering my living room walls.

Shore scene, $20 at Habitat for Humanity.

Small still life, $5.

1948 landscape, I think this one was $7.

Flowers in a vase, also $7.

Big landscape, $20-something. This one is on my bedroom wall.

My favorite furniture style is Eastlake, popular in the 1870s-1890s. I purchased this mirror-shelf for $30 at an estate sale.

Accidental self portrait.

And I was given an enormous rug for free, it looks nice in my living room.

Enormous rug.

The last week was record-breaking heat. We spent the last three weekends playing in pools, that has been a relief. My living room window AC unit has decided to have problems- it shoots water inside my house, apparently the condenser drain is plugged. Supposedly it is easy to fix, but at 2:30 AM that is not possible. So I went into the bedroom and was warm, very warm.

Also, the creeping fear that the Democrats are fucking things up because Manchin and Sinema are refusing to get rid of the filibuster. I hate both of them, and especially Sinema because she is a Democrat from Arizona and is totally, utterly useless.



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