Monday, May 31, 2004

Back in Michigan we would go out to the cemeteries in the spring time to pick up trash, cut back last year's flowers, and put some new geraniums or petunias on the graves. We went to the cemetery where my grandfather Harold was buried in 1972, great grandparents Colonel (1974) and Maybelle (1951), and Maybelle's parents Anna and Isaac were hidden beneath the ground. The tombstones were mostly red granite and a small amount of moss and lichen has grown into lines of the carved letters and numbers. Around many of the graves are hens and chickens, a small succulent that I have tried to grow here in Arizona with no success.

Another cemetery nearby holds my great-great-great grandparents Ebenezer and Harriet. He was a Civil War soldier so a small flag holder has a flag today. Their son Frank lies nearby, he was killed in a logging mill accident in August 1883. A letter in Ebenezer's pension file at the National Archives says "I had my youngest son killed he was my support when he went all hopes went with him." Two separate branches of the family preserved a story of how Harriet, who was 68 when her son died, slept on his grave for two weeks- the story said she carried a shotgun to scare away grave robbers. I suspect she was grieving for her youngest child. His tombstone stands today and you have to dig the sandy soil away to read the short poem inscribed below his name.

"We loved him

We missed him

We wanted him to stay

But God sent his Angels

And took him away"

Sunday, May 30, 2004

A list of things accomplished so far:

Made mango ice cream.
Visited all three Bookman's stores, four books purchased.
The movie Connie and Carla, it was alright.
Seeing John who was in from DC.
One headache, one stomach ache.
Eating ratatoille.
Patting Joey on the head.
One more day off.

Friday, May 28, 2004

It's hot, I'm cranky. At the Historical Society a patron kept making these grunting noises- "Ungh, ungh." They increased in frequency when she was told to put her coin purse in her locker. "Unghh, unghhh, unghh!" She's a lousy historian who once misquoted me. The sounds she was making were so disgusting I had to leave.

At the credit union the two women in front of me had difficulties balancing their checkbooks. One, with an Italian accent, was running through her checkbook for the last month with the teller, trying to figure out why a check had bounced. Hmm, maybe because you forgot to write a check down???

At the ice cream shop the hot fudge was stone cold so I had to make do with runny chocolate syrup. Not the same, not as good.

At least the swamp cooler is working well at home and Puff meowed "Hello!" as I stomped in the door. I think I will go play Age of Mythology and whip some ass.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Getting back to work can be difficult. Like some other people, I find it irritating to go from a lazy vacation to the daily grind. In my case, I'm feeling whiney about tracking down references to old newspaper articles. On the other hand, a three day weekend is almost here and the cats are being extra attentive and the weather is really lovely. So I really shouldn't complain. Ahh, why not.

I think I may have talked my boss into a trip to DC- maybe Jimbo will have to play host sometime this summer.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

In the Sonoran Desert we looked at palo verdes, ocotillos, barrel cactus, saguaro, cholla, jojoba, creosote, and some lizards. "And some poo! Coyote droppings!" says Jason. He is sipping water out of a blue cup and holding Puff who wants attention baaaaaad.

Hey Fantasia won American Idol. She deserved it more than the Farrah Fawcett-haired girl, who would have been better dressed as a German beermaid and yodeling. Jason and I watched with interest. Our stomachs were full of Rosa's Mexican food, she's been in business for 33 years, according to the painted sign on the door.

Mark and Jason inspect native vegetation.

A quick note- scroll down for pictures from New York.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Back in Tucson. Flight from hell from Minneapolis, trapped between a plump woman who kept invading my space and a dippy mom-to-be reading a book on teaching her child math while in the womb- by tapping on her stomach and saying numbers out loud. I hope she doesn't tap to hard and injure it.

Yesterday went to Second Hand Rose in downtown NYC. I got lost and ended up at the World Trade Center site by accident. It was surprisingly depressing, all cleaned up with neighboring buildings still being restored. Last time I was in NYC I walked through the lobby of one of the towers to get to the subway. At the store I looked at expensive wallpaper- $100 a roll. I guess I will be looking at ebay to find me something comparable.

Expensive linoleum.

My old college roommate Mark is in town tomorrow night- he, Jason, and I will be having Mexican food. I can't wait to see them.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

I checked my cell phone when I reached the front door. 6:13. a.m. I can't remember the last time I stayed up all night. Numerous drinks do that to you. Late nights are very interesting. Bob, Patch, and I watched rats foraging through the garbage at around 4:30 am. They were not cute (the rats, that is). Why are their tails so long? The Brazilian waiter at Dish, where I sat between Crash and Zenchick, was way hot. They don't grow muscles like that in Tucson. Afterwards we retired to a bar called XL and I consumed beverages that have left a slightly toxic aftertaste in my mouth. Patch and I found mark's lost phone, which I had to dial to prove that it was Mark's. Our fouffy waiter was more entertaining as the night progressed. We helped the bored French girl forget that there were no straight men at the bar. And Patch and I sat on the curb as the sun was rising and talked about how blogging has allowed us to meet people we would never have met.

I'll be posting pictures once back in Tucson, as well as linking names to blogs. Right now I'm going to go take a little disco nap.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

On the subway heading up to the 42nd Street station on the way to Barrage, I watched my fellow riders. I was feeling a little nervous going to meet people. NYC is a big hodge podge. Everyone is surprisingly courteous, except for the annoying woman handing out religious pamphlets.

I was there first and sipped a gin and tonic while waiting. I'm such a lightweight- I wasn't even half finished and I was buzzed. A cute guy in a red shirt walked in- hey it's Steven (Apt3E). Geez, he's even cuter in real life. We start chatting and soon other bloggers trickle in. I meet Addaboy and Crash. Suddenly there is Mark (Zeitzuige) and Jennifer (Zenchick) and a little while later Patrick (Patch).

People bought me more drinks and by the fourth I was a little sloshed. Well a lot sloshed. I was having a lot of fun talking and flirting and feeling all glamourous. I went and had bad Thai food with Crash and Atticus and came back to the bar. Everybody was really sloshy by then. Finally at 12:45 a said adieu and walked to the subway, a bouquet of orangish-yellow roses in hand. The trip back was less crowded, quieter. The stations are really clean and I didn't spot a single rat on the tracks, which was a little disappointing. Back at Les's place the guys next door were loud, screaming into their cell phones as Hazel-dog and I tried to sleep. It was a nice time.

Eddie, Apt3E, and I.

Cowsinthebarn, me, Apt3E, and Patch.

Mr. Zeitzuege in his sexy cowboy shirt.

Zenchick and Mzouiser.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

It has been six years since I was last in New York City. The moment I get off the plane at La Guardia (christ, what a scummy airport) I remember why I love NYC. The people- a big mix with every variety that I can imagine. Including lots of hotties. I guess guys out here are a little more body conscious than in Tucson 'cause half the guys have bulging biceps.

Today is lazy day and I'm hanging out with Les's dogs Hazel and Norman. They are really cute- Hazel is a bug-eyed Boston terrier and is sitting on my lap as I type, her chin resting on my elbow. Boy, does she have bulgy eyes! Time for a nap, I have to rest up for tomorrow's big meeting.


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The hardest thing about going on a trip is telling Puff, Joey, and Mama Cat to behave while I am gone. Puff looks at me like I am an idiot. Joey wants to smell the suitcase. Mama Cat goes and hides because the suitcase reminds her of the cat carrying case. I used to make fun of my gay friends who babied their pets. Now I'm one of those people, isn't that funny.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Puff is on crack! Well, he is excitedly rolling around on my desk meowing at me. I can't figure out what is going on except that something smells strange to him. And now Joey is doing the same thing. How bizarre.

I went to the cake store and ordered a wedding cake for my co-worker/friend Rob. Spice cake, apricot cream cheese filling, cream cheese frosting. Red roses and purple violets on top, frilly white swags and flowers on the side. Two tier. When friends get married I like to get them something special for their wedding- a cake or makeup/hair for the bride. I cry at weddings, don't ask me why.

Last night Jason and I had Magpie's Pizza- Mediterranean. So tasty. We sat on the couch and watched Colonial House- some of the boys were really cute. I had Mayflower ancestors, and it was interesting to see how small the houses were. I bet they all smelled awful.

Jason. He smells good, not like Colonial guys.

I'm ready to go to NYC. The stupid airline told me it was a nonstop flight, but I guess nonstop now includes a stop in Minneapolis for a couple of hours. Me dunno English very well, or somehow the phrase "nonstop" has changed since the last time I took a flight.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Sometimes I worry too much. An inherited trait, straight out of my father. I worked myself into a worry this afternoon, all over a big fat nothing. So why do I do it? I guess I'm a tad stressed cause I'm leaving town, rushing to get things finished, trying to track down my flight information, etc. And an added distraction has suddenly popped up and it makes me both excited and worried. Just calm down, Homer, everything will be alright. If I say that a zillion times maybe it will come true.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Ask and you shall receive.

The Other Brian asked: 1). Since adolescence, in what three-year period for you feel you experienced the most personal growth and change? 1985-1988. Coming out of the closet, meeting my best friend Les, going on my first dig, getting accepted in graduate school.

2). What is your favorite memory associated with chocolate? We were so poor when I was a kid we rarely got chocolate. One year trick-or-treating someone gave each of us a huge bar. To this day I always give chocolate out, because that was such an exciting moment.

3). Can you think of someone who, over a short period of time, significantly influenced your life? A woman named Beth my freshman year in college opened my eyes from the conservative background of my family to the broader scope of things. I became an ardent liberal that year. Later she went to business school and renounced her hippy days and became Ms. Uber-Republican, money this and money that. On graduation day I got drunk and told her she was the most disappointing person I had ever met.

Archerr asked: 1) What’s your favorite color? Light, bright blue, I guess. Used to be purple.

2). What’s your favorite food? Chocolate.

3). What’s your favorite movie? Polyester. Whenever I am sad I think of that movie and it makes me laugh.

Buck asked: 1). Do you like you, and what’s next in your future? Generally I like myself. I wish I had a tad bit more self confidence about certain aspects of my life. In the future- I would like to find a nice boyfriend to share things with.

2). When was the last time you and a bud went to a park to fly a kite, on a delicious Thursday afternoon? Like, never. I think I last flew a kite 25 to 30 years ago and honestly I can’t remember what day of the week it was. In the spring time back in Michigan we would see how high we could make them fly.

3). Define “delicious afternoon.” Doing whatever I want. It is all about me, me, and me.

Crash asked 1). If you could meet anyone who ever lived, who would it be? My fourth great-grandfather, James Ransom, who died in 1844 in Cayuga County, New York. I’d asked him where he came from, who his parents were. These questions have puzzled people in my family for over 100 years.

2). What do you love most about yourself? I can be pretty funny when I want to be, also a terrible flirt.

3). If the world were to end tomorrow, what would you most regret not having done? Telling George Bush exactly what I think of his fucked-up-edness.

Sushil asks 1). What is the most unforgettable moment in your life? Having your boyfriend of 5.5 years tell you he is leaving, with no advance warning. And having a nervous breakdown afterward.

2). What do you dislike about yourself the most, and dislike in others? In others, dishonesty. In myself, feelings of inadequacy.

3). What would be your perfect world? One in which the people truly had a say in how things are run, as opposed to the crappy politicians.

Dave asked: 1). What is the passion of your life? I spend a lot of time working on some family history books. It's like a mystery story- trying to find information and fitting it together to form a coherent account of someone's life.

2). What was your greatest compassion in life? Raising six kittens with a bottle- I learned a lot about responsibility and caring.

3). Do you believe in an afterlife? No, I think you get one shot at life. That is why I am so against war, violence, and hate.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Three questions. Something is going on, but I don't want to jinx it, so you'll have to wait for the details. In the meantime, three questions. Ask me, and I'll answer them. Something you want to know? Idea courtesy of Crash and Byrne.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Little things. Getting ready for the trip to NYC. Yesterday a quick visit to Buffalo Exchange netted me two short sleeve shirts. Another thrift store find was a pair of wingtips- my old ones have a huge hole in their sole. An online buy is a new pair of sandals. I confess, I usually wear socks with my sandals. AND I DON'T CARE what other people think. Besides, I'm uber hot wandering around looking like a dork.

Except right now I have an uber red nose from being outside in the sun all day. Too much sun today and not quite enough water means I have a displeasing headache as I type this. It hurts to pound on my keyboard. Succotash!

Red nose and all.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Other Brian asked why my great grandfather was named Colonel. His father Elijah was one of seven direct ancestors who served in the Civil War. Elijah ran away twice to go to war (he was in his early teens) and was finally allowed to go instead of his brother James, whose wife was pregnant. Elijah served as a Colonel's orderly, and was probably spoiled rotten. His commanding officer made such an impression that he later named one of his children "Colonel."

Looking for Sam has written an important piece on the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq. It is hurtful to look at the pictures released. Of course the first to be court-martialed is the photographer, gotta warn others that pictures are not allowed.

This mess doesn't surprise me at all. Our "President" has arbitrarily decided that whole sets of people can be detained with no legal rights, no access to lawyers, even their names hidden away. What kind of America is this? The utter bullshit coming out of the mouth-asses of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfield is shameful. The little photo-op with the bunch of war-mongering men surrounded and supporting Rumsfield remind me of the men who crouched around General Custer at Bighorn, misguided individuals who thought they understood their enemy, only to find the folly of their achievement. I'm certain that Elijah, Ebenezer, Philip, Hiram, and my three other Civil War soldier-ancestors would be embarassed at where we are today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Names. At the dig Gaylen and I compared stories about our names- both of us endured a lot of teasing because our names were so "queer." Corky had a link to a name popularity site- Homer ranks as number 321. I thought about this as I drove home tonight- about how names change and once common names are now considered quaint or bizarre. In my own family there are some pretty unusual examples- below are the first four generations of my direct ancestors.

Parents: Lee, Carolyn.

Grandparents: Morrell, Alice, Harold, Anna.

Great grandparents: Sheldon, Faith, Ernest, Blanche, Philip, Grace, Colonel, Maybelle.

Great great grandparents: Elias, Marguerite, William, Belle, John, Alice, Isaiah, Clara, Philip, Juliana, David, DeEtte, Elijah, Edna, Isaac, Anna.

Monday, May 10, 2004

And on the eighth day I worked. Oh I am pretty tired since I didn't sleep well last night. And being outside in the upper 90s for three days in a row makes Homer a red-nosed, red-necked person. The site I am working on dates back about 1000 years and is really rather cruddy- the result of being under Interstate 19 for 40 or so years. Still, we are finding some pithouses and there is a lot of pottery coming out, but it definitely isn't Indiana Jones-ish. But then, I think I've only had a few of those moments. One was when I visited a site friends were working on in northern Arizona. They had been digging and felt air coming out of the ground, from a crack in the bedrock. They were able to lower a camera in and discovered an underground room, its opening in an adjacent unexcavated room. They dug that room out, lifted a large slab that covered the opening and went it. There turned out to be a whole series of underground rooms, last visited around 1300 A.D. When I climbed down in it was amazing to see the wooden poles and woven matting still in place. But mostly I get to dig out old outhouses, which really wouldn't make a good movie.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Happy Mummy Day. It's Mother's Day and every few years it is also my mom's birthday. She's 72 today. I called her and she was in a good mood, says the daffodils are pretty and that maybe it will be sunny today. She lives back in Michigan with the rest of my family and I was caught up on all of the gossip, the new animals on my brother's farm, and so on. It is very comforting to have my mother around, I still need her at times, and I think that is a nice thing.

Mama Cat was also enjoying the sun, sitting in the back door this afternoon.

Mama and Mama Cat.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

After a day in the sun (I had to work on getting a dig ready today and tomorrow), I came home and cleaned like a devil, since Gregg and Shane were coming down from Phoenix. I've known them since '91 and it is nice to see them. They laugh at my silly stories. I admire their muscular bodies- here in Tucson guys aren't as gym-inclined. Although when we stopped at IBT's I did see the cute, pyschotic guy who has been working out (steroids maybe?) and now has a truly amazing body. Too bad he foams at the mouth.



Arghh, I have to work tomorrow. So hot. And dusty. And the creepy old guy standing about 100 feet away staring at me and Dan the backhoe man. I wish he would go away, but then maybe he is the president of my fan club and nobody told me.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Extreme Butt Makeover. So in March I had a colonoscopy and had to pay a $1,000 deductible, which I will eventually get reimbursed through our stupid FSA thing-a-ma-jig. So I submitted the first receipt, showing I had paid $770 to the surgery center and yesterday got a lovely rejection letter, saying that they were unable to pay the money. Why? Because I hadn't proved that the colonscopy wasn't for "cosmetic purposes."

Umm, what does one say to that sort of thing? "Well, my large intestine was so ugly that a colonscopy was absolutely necessary!" or "Have you ever heard of people having cosmetic surgery done to their rectum- EVER?" So today I re-submitted paperwork and I guess they will find something else wrong, just because they can.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

It's hot as an oven! And although it is a dry heat, it has arrived. So first thing that happens is my car AC has decided to act up. Maybe it just needs a little fluid, but driving around today with the window open, it was kinda like being in an Easy Bake oven.

My sister Susan had one of those, and I was secretly enamored with it. Oh, I wanted to make cakes and cookies too, but that was not to be. Not that my mother believed in sex-appropriate toys. She bought my brother and I GI Joes (I still have mine, I was so PC that I asked for the black one with fuzz hair) and then made elaborate outfits for them- surgeon's gowns, tuxedos, jammies, and so on. I still have those too, although I don't spend as much time dressing Joe as I once did.

I liked to play with Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and my Erector Set (how appropriate!) and especially liked small plastic animals. In the summer I would make little villages and farms, and then build a dam and fill it will water. And the dam would break and wash everything away. I was a destructive little child.

I don't think toys are as much fun nowadays- there isn't much imagination left with the stuff I see in stores. I sometimes wonder whether we will have the same sort of engineers and scientists because kids don't make things the way we used to. On the other hand, maybe those computer games will come in useful once anarchy happens after George steals the next election.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Second attempt. Okay so I am pretty dull and my breath smells like onion and parsnips. The mega eruption on my forehead is healing but still is terribly disfiguring. The cats are restless and still no new home for Princess and Bear, who sat on my lap and purred tonight, they are so bored of being locked up in the dining room. I got the $100 charity cottonwood and I can see why it was donated, it is so lame and crooked. I have friends coming into town Saturday night but because of a sudden archaeology dig I can't stay up late and will actually have to work 12 days in a row. So life is pretty dull but in 15 days I will be in New York City.

Last there in 1998 for a one night visit on the way home from Amsterdam. A lot has changed since then, I can't wait to ride the subway- looking at the tracks to spot the rats. But a lot has changed. The World Trade Center, which I walked through to the station on the way to and from Les's house, won't be there. My heart is occupied. I'll worry about my cats when before I was worry-less. I'll be meeting new friends and they'll be finding out if I'm intriguing or interesting or just a plain goof (I can be all three). So New York City, are you ready?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

On the way home from work I saw a girl walking her dog, whose fur was dyed a dull green. Nearby was a tall, skinny older man using a long stick to help him walk. After arriving safely at my destination, I climbed atop my roof to work on the evaporative cooler, also known as the swamp cooler.

Adam said: "Ahhhh! No swamp cooler! When I first moved to Arizona, my grandparents used the swamp cooler. And my grandpa was ridiculously stubborn about waiting until monsoon season was practically over before switching to mechanically cooled air. It was *miserable*."

I replied: "Homer, unfortunately, doesn't have one of those new fangled "air conditioners." When someone told me about them I went to the store and bought hair conditioners and sprayed them around but it was still damn hot. Really, the swamp cooler works really well except in July and August and then I just wander around my house naked or in my boxers. With the curtains just slightly open. For instance, 9:00 PM on July 14. Joey cat came to tell me to behave. She should meow."

A miracle happened, and I managed to get the main cooler working! And not leaking water all over the place. The only negative things that happened were a couple of small scrapes and an annoying electrical shock when I splashed water onto the outlet. My left hand developed a strange tingling and I stupidly looked at it for a moment before realizing that that magic stuff called electricity was traveling into my body. My bad.

In other news, I was a little Nancy Drew today, investigating the Mystery of the Arched Opening. A reporter for a local newspaper, my friend Bob, and I visited a house built in the late 1870s that actually has a basement (very, very rare in Arizona). Along one wall of the basement was a strange arch made of four rows of bricks. We puzzled over it and decided it wasn't a fireplace, bread oven, or a cistern. The actual function remains unknown. The same house has a room with a dropped ceiling. Above the ceiling is a mural from the late 1910s-early 1920s, very Maxwell Parrish looking. Someday someone will remove the ceiling and that will be grand.

Mistake picture, "Blurring wrestling."

Monday, May 03, 2004

In today's episode I didn't particularly care for the sandwich I had for lunch. Bland and too many sprouts. My compatriots, Larry and Eric, were fun and we liberally used our boyscopes to study the studly guys at Beyond Bread. I worked diligently compiling images for my report. I was crushed when our internet and phone service went out abruptly, forcing me to actually pay attention and work for the last hour.

The woman who called me to come look at the cats never showed and I cleaned house for naught. Princess and Bear did enjoy the careful grooming they received, since I wanted them to look their tidiest. But because of the somewhat rude woman, I didn't get my swamp cooler turned on and it is somewhat hot in my house. I got to Ace Hardware too late to buy what I needed. I am cursed, but only in a small way.

Bucket of joy.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

So I learned a lesson. Don't point out your hot friend Patrick while a charity auction is ongoing. Because you end up being the proud owner of a $100 cottonwood tree that you really don't need/want, but you are not going to be humilated by the bossy drag queen. And luckily I was able to sell it to someone else for $50 to I ended up donating $50 to a very worthy cause.

Patrick in the red plaid shirt.

I went with Jeffrey S. and we saw lots of people we knew. Jeffrey T. and his beau were wrestling, dressed in leather garb. They were bulging in all the right places.

Jeffrey T. and TC, pre jello wrestling.

Ran into a lot of friends. Hung out with Matt and Joe and I was a tad sloshed so I think I said some inappropriate things, but you know, stuff like that just kinda happens. Anyway, a good time was had and they raised $27,000 for a super great group, it was a fun time.

Matt and Joe

Saturday, May 01, 2004

My new computer arrived yesterday. Flat screen and the hard drive is contained in this tiny box- when did they get so small? I've been playing Age of Mythology 'cause it occupies my mind. I'm feeling less stressed out today over cat issues, but nobody answered the ad in the paper so maybe the stress will build up and I'll explode again.

Kinda like Matt did during his performance at the "Dildos in the Desert" show at Vaudeville. The Boys R'Us group featured dildos in their show- Matt certainly had the biggest balls.

Matt and the dildo.

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