Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The stray bunny comes into my backyard and I feed it carrots.


It seems rather tame, but I doubt I could catch it.

I made Mummy a gluten-free apple-rhubarb pie. She ate two pieces and will have high blood sugar.

Secret ingredient, pecans!

It is supposed to rain tomorrow, which is about right. The desert is so green right now. Kyle took Mummy on a drive to see the wildflowers. She was real happy about that. Meanwhile I sat at work and felt out of sorts, the allergy meds bothering me a lot.

And now I am stuffed full of pie!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Back before there were refridgerators or ice boxes in Tucson, people would pour water into large ollas (jars) made by the O'odham, the local Native Americans.

Traditionally, women made the jars in the down time between agricultural work (planting and harvesting). The would mine clay, collect sands from washes or grind up old pottery sherds on metates to use as temper (helps keep the pots from breaking as there were fired). There was a source for red pigment in the Tucson Mountains and they sometimes used a black organic pigment for designs.

The women sat outside their homes and made storage jars and, later, tourist pottery. They heaped the pots up and built fires and fired them outside. Sometimes fire clouds are present on the exterior of the pot (you can see one in the picture below).

Decorated olla, circa 1887-1901, it held about 3.5 gallons.

The women would load the pots into large carriers and peddle them on the streets of Tucson for 50 cents to a couple of dollars. People would pour water into them and the pots were slightly porous and the water would seep through, evaporating on the surface. This helped keep the water cool. Some people liked the taste of water in the jars.

After city water was installed, the number of water jars declined. They gradually stopped being used for water storage by most people in the 1920s.

Today's blog entry brought to you by the wonders of archaeology and historical research.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

At the Non-denominational Egg Decorating and Backyard Egg Hunt, I served rice pasta salad, potato salad, deviled eggs, and two gluten-free desserts:

Vanilla cake with whipped cream and strawberries.

This cake wasn't so good, the rice flour was grainy.

Lemony cheesecake.

I used Trader Joe's gluten-free gingersnaps for the crust.

Mummy and I have been getting things for the prize baskets and I used the silvered fig tree to hang egg and acorn ornaments on

Baskets and egg tree.

I had bought Mummy a knitting book with animal patterns and she made a duck.


She surprised me by giving the duck to baby Milo!!! I was somewhat disappointed.

The guests arrived and the five dozen or so boiled eggs were decorated.

Phil and Ralph decorate.

I like the two-tone eggs the best.

Decorated eggs.

The guests assembled out front and I explained the rules (large egg=1 pt, medium=2, small=3). Then One! Two! Three! GOOOOO.

Unlike the last two years, the sun shined. Open your eyes Sandy!

And people ran around like crazy grabbing for eggs.

Jeffrey S. and Stacy in front of the guesthouse.

People were very thorough and I wonder whether I will find any they missed. Brian even found one from last year.

Jim and Tara.

Afterward, we retired to the drawing room.

And counted eggs.

I double checked the numbers so I would not make a mistake I had made once before, in which the 4th place person was actually the third place person. Luckily, my numbers added up. Brady missed getting third place by one point.

The winners: Patrick (1st), Zane (2nd), and Stacy (3rd).

This is really my favorite party because it has 1). food, 2). crafts, 3). treasure hunt, and 4). prizes! And really easy to do and everyone has a good time.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So back in 1992 my father had a stroke. I came home and there was a message on the answering machine (remember those?) from my sister telling me to call home. I did so. My father was in the hospital.

My parents were dairy farmers, struggling to get by on their small farm with the help of my brother. In 1979, Reagan had cut the milk subsidies and the price of milk dropped dramatically, but even before then my parents could not afford health insurance for themselves or us kids. Luckily, the kids never got sick. Unfortunately, both of my parents had become diabetic by the late 1980s.

So neither my father or mother could afford to go to the doctor, get physicals, any of that sort of thing. And one day my father was driving the truck and when he got out his leg didn't seem to want to work and he went to bed and slept for almost 24 hours straight. He was a terrible insomniac and so that was weird. But neither he or my mother thought of going to the doctor to see what was up. Too expensive. Many people will have a warning stroke, and that was what this was, the brain trying to reset itself. A week later it happened again and the next-door neighbor, a nurse practioner, came over and told them to go to the hospital, that he was having a stroke.

Knowing my father, he probably insisted on driving. Once in the emergency room, nothing seemed to happen until my father dropped to the floor paralyzed. The next five years were a nightmare of limited mobility, my mother wiping his butt, blindness, depression. It was a relief when he died because he didn't have to suffer anymore and my mother was no longer burdened with taking care of him and Grandma at the same time.

I would guess most people I know are thankful for Obama for pushing through this health care legislation. Millions of people like my parents will now have access to affordable healthcare.

Except for this one person I know who has left a string of angry comments on Facebook that were all "me, me, and me." Good lord, sometimes you have to make small sacrifices for the betterment of your fellow human beings. I have often been disappointed in Obama, but today I am very pleased that he the president.

Spring is here and the wet winter means the wildflowers are blooming like crazy. Mummy wanted to go see some so we drove over Gates Pass and past the Desert Museum to Saguaro Park West. After a stop at the Visitor Center, which has an excellent book and gift shop, we drove west to the nearby paved nature trail, which is something Mummy can easily walk around on.

Yellow flowers.

Unfortunately, none of my flower pictures turned out and most of the pretty ones we saw were on the sides of the road.


We slowly wandered along the trail, pausing to look at the tiny flowers and the many saguaro cacti.

Tiny lizard.

Mummy especially lizards and I was glad to spot two different varieties, which were nice enough to hold still for pictures.


The saguaros are filled with water, their trunks and arms swollen. They look very happy.

Zebra striped lizard.

The weather was gorgeous, but I had problems taking photos. The light always seemed to suck.

I had to lean down to get this picture.

After I came home I made Kyle chocolate pudding for his birthday. Mummy is amazed that I made pudding from scratch- but it is so easy to do and so much better tasting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What a day. In Washington, D.C., Dan Choi got arrested while protesting Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He is awesome. Joe Solomonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, was too busy hanging out with Kathy Griffin to get himself arrested. When you make over $300,000, there are important parties and functions to attend to. And the handcuffs probably didn't match his tie.

A coyote caught one of the squirrels that played outside my office window.

While that was going on, retired General John Sheehan was testifying that the reason 8,000 Muslims were murdered by Serbs back in 1997 was because the Dutch Army had allowed gays to join.

I tapped the window and it looked up.

I left a comment on Joe.My.God's blog: "We also killed Jesus, dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and the iceberg the Titanic hit was totally gay."

After lunch, the coyote had to have a scratch.

Someone then pointed out that the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb was named Enola Gay.

That iceberg was totally gay.

It took me less than five minutes to complete my United States census form for 2010. It was a complete disappointment. Ten questions. Seventy two years from now, in 2082, people will know my name, birthdate, self-identified race, telephone number (will they even have those then?), and the fact that I have a mortgage on my house.
I was expecting that they would want to know my occupation, birth place, and whether I liked Lady Gaga or not.

I use census records a lot while doing genealogy research. here is an example from 1870, with my great-great grandparents Elijah and Edna listed. Elijah worked at grist mill, grinding grain up to make flour (also sawing lumber). You can see that he and his brother Benjamin were a lot wealthier than their neighbors. The old census records provide a lot of information about people back then, data that you can't find anywhere else. So yeah, I was disappointed that they didn't ask more about me.

1870 census record (click to enlarge).

I'm old enough that this is the fifth census I have been counted.

- 1970, living on North Long Lake Road outside of Traverse City, Michigan with my parents and four siblings

- 1980, living near Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan with my parents and two siblings

- 1990, living in Tempe, Arizona with two other archaeology grad students

- 2000, living at my current house with the ex, who didn't want to be counted with me (should have paid attention to that one, right?)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So I'm taking Mummy to the library and on Church Avenue there is a woman waiting to cross in the crosswalk so I stop, like you are supposed to, and the guy in the car behind me starts swearing at me. I can see him in the mirror and he is calling me a fucking asshole, his lips mouthing the words as he flips me off. The woman walks across the street, I wait for her to go all the way across, like you are supposed to, and then I go forward, casually raising my hand in the air and giving him the middle finger.

"Oh, Mr. Burton used to do that and one time some guy drove him off the road and was going to beat him up but when he saw how frail he was, he drove away." Mummy doesn't really approve of flipping people off. Meanwhile, the guy, who is driving a car with Virginia license plates, is following me and still cursing and flipping me off. I respond by raising my hand and saluting him again with my middle finger. This makes Mr. Virginia Short Temper 2010 even angrier, and he really starts following me. Eventually he pulls up beside me with his window down and starts cursing at me. He stops when my mother looks at him and he is startled and drives away. I guess mothers have a magical power.

"Why are people in such a hurry?" she asks. I wonder that myself. Maybe I shouldn't have responded to that rectal opening's gestures and coarse phrases, but really, all that ranting and gesturing because I stopped at a crosswalk, which you are supposed to do?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sometimes a picture can tell lots of thousands of words. In the following picture Kevin Garns, the 55-year-old Republican Majority Leader for the Utah House of Representatives, has just confessed to climbing naked into a hot tub with a 15-year-old girl in the mid-1980s. She was his employee. He was married. He claims nothing happened. He paid her $150,000 in eight years to shut her up. Uh huh. That's $51.37 a day to keep her little mouth tight.

Mike Terry, Deseret News.
Surrounding Garn are his wife (ugly green dress) and nine other individuals, all busy clapping their hands and giving him a standing ovation.

Now if you or I were to climb naked into a hot tub with a teenager (not something I would ever be interested in doing, I like grown-up men), and announced this in front of a group of co-workers, do you think your co-workers would clap and carry on with hugs and condolences over that fucking nasty behavior? I am pretty sure that most of mine would shun me for being so pervy. But if you are a Mormon Republican White Male, a different set of rules apply.

Somewhat ironically, Garn was a member of the Utah House Ethics Committee.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

After lunch at Rosa's, where a pair of hot daddies distracted me, I took Mummy to Sweetwater Wetlands for a walk. I have been encouraging her to walk more, and that has worked. Today's walk was slightly over .6 miles.

I can never get her to look at the camera.

We saw American Coot, American widgeons, mallards, northern shovelers, killdeer, swallows, a tiny yellow finch, and turtles.

Mistake picture.

At one spot the turtles were so close, I wanted to grab them and put them in my bathtub.

Turtles. (click to see mega version!)

This was more exciting than what I did in the morning- mop floors. But it had been months since I had done so. The kitchen floor looks totally different. I need a maid. And a butler. And a valet. And a turtle-keeper.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh it is Friday already? It feels like I am a zombie lately. Taking care of my mother- cooking, cleaning, taking her to the store and library, encouraging her to walk more- has consumed many hours of my life. I observe things she does and vow I will never do that (of course I remember her complaining about her mother the same exact way!).

I've been working on someone's family tree. Southern US families are so much harder. Finding people because of the weird ways names, especially first names, are spelled. But I am making progress, so far I am not related to them.

Jimbo is coming to visit after a two year hiatus. I am super excited. We are going to watch hummingbirds get banded. He gets to meet my mother, who I hope will be on her best behavior. I will explain to her that she isn't allowed to tell embarrassing stories, like the time....

Monday, March 08, 2010

What is your favorite cheese?


Sunday, March 07, 2010

And the Oscar for Best Rage-Inducing Meringue of 2010 goes to....

Tart and sweet.

I watched the Amazing Race and made a pie instead of watching the Oscars. Today seems like it has dragged on forever, a combination of a back ache and rain and more back ache. Perhaps a piece of pie will make things better.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Always wear your seat belt.

Before haircut.

After haircut.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Now that gay marriage is legal in DC, I wonder who Jimbo will propose to? I hope he doesn't propose to Brian "Brainless" Brown of the National Organization for Marriage. Because you know, he is really, truly straight. Today's question, are any of the so-called straight men who protest against faggot-American marriages, actually straight? The Magic 8-Ball, says NOOOOO!

I would be very excited to participate in Jimbo's nuptuals, perhaps as a flowerman or maybe the person conducting the ceremony. Plus, I am sure the bachelor's party would be fricking awesome. Bearded strippers?

I made the mistake of reading some of the nasty comments about DC homo marriage. My favorite was by some dipshit on the National Organization for Marriage fanpage on Facebook named John Larson, who called someone a "vulgar abomination."

That reminds me, I once dated someone named John Larson. He was mortified that he was going bald and wore a baseball cap all of the time. All of the time. Very peculiar. And he had a zebra skin that he got when he was an exchange student in apartheid era South Africa. John was not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, he asked me why black folks didn't like apartheid. I had to explain to him, in those pre-internet days, what was really going on in that country. The zebra skin creeped me out, especially when he wanted to partake in vulgar abominations on it.

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