Friday, December 31, 2010

We stopped by the Sweetwater Wetlands on the way to get parsnips.

There were lots of ducks.

Mostly Northern Shovelers.

Mummy was cold.

I gave her my scarf to keep her neck warm.

On the way out we saw a Vermillion Flycatcher.


Here is a closer view:

Vermillion red!

We drove up to the fancy mall to the fancy food store so I could get parsnips. The nearby Catalina Mountains had snow on them.

It is snowing.

Luckily, I have someone to keep me warm.


Happy New Year's Eve everyone.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So I'm driving to work, the day after an almost tragic beard trimming incident...

I survived.

When I saw the following license plate:

Click to see larger version.

How they got away with that I dunno.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Two old pictures. I check Ebay a couple of times a week for items from my home town, Traverse City, Michigan. I edit the local genealogy society newsletter there, so I am on the look out for letters, photographs, and other items of genealogical interest. Two of my recent purchases were photographs.

The first picture is of Cecil and Willetta on their wedding day in 1888. Notice that Willetta is wearing a dark dress. Practical 19th century women wore dresses that could be worn over and over again for special occasions- other weddings, funerals, parties.

Cecil and Willetta.

As it turns out, I am distantly related to Willetta on my father's side of the family. We don't have a single picture of any of my father's ancestors, since these were destroyed by the Evil Bitch from Hell (AKA, my grandmother). I am glad to see that Willetta was a hearty gal. And Cecil was kinda hot.

The second picture turned up in the last week. I had just completed an article on early photographers of Traverse City, when this picture appeared on Ebay. The backstamp was for a photographer who wasn't in my article! I looked at the photographer's 1872 marriage record and there is occupation was listed, "artist." Nineteenth century photographers were often called artists, since it was considered a difficult skill to master. Back in the early days of photography, before the personal camera was invented, you went to a studio, dressed in your best clothes, and carefully posed for a picture. It was an expensive and time consuming process.

Unidentified boy.

The exposure time was very long so you had to sit very still. In the above picture you can see the metal legs for a head clamp stand (click on the picture and look behind the chair). This clamp was used to keep the head from moving, and thereby ruining the picture.

One of the things that I really hate is to see unidentified photos at antique stores. If a photo has a name on it, and the name is unusual, I will purchase it. I have been able to re-unite photos with relatives several times.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Evan and I made Holiday Cards this morning. We cut potatoes and made stamps and then added some highlights.

Homer's card.

Evan's card.

Arts and crafts are fun!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Last night at Richard and Roger's Christmas Eve Party I won the dice game for the second year in a row! I am going to do something good with the $36.

This morning I got up early and took Mark and Sandy to the airport. After coming back and resting some more, Evan and I had dark chocolate pudding for breakfast. Then it was time to open presents!

Santa brought Evan a glockenspiel. And some button fly jeans, archaeology tools, and an archaeology book.

Mummy unwrapping.

Mummy got yarn, slippers, a pink bathrobe, knitting book, a purse, and some 1940s doilies. Santa brought me dish towels, a wooden spoon, a nice ceramic pie pan, and a shower curtain with cute monkeys on it.

Wrapping paper!

A sock monkey toy proved popular.

Puff chewing on Sock Monkey's bottom.

Joey also played with Sock Monkey.

Snowball was scared of Sock Monkey, but agreed to a photo op.

I got the best present.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The presents are wrapped, the decorations are up.


I hope however you celebrate (or don't celebrate) the Holidays, it is meaningful and fun.

Joey didn't want to pose.

Stockings are stuffed.

Evan is on his way south, Mummy is watching her nature show, and I made dark chocolate pudding for supper.

No presents for Snowball!

Happy Holidays to all of my friends.

It has become one of my favorite, albeit smelly, places to visit- the Sweetwater Wetlands. I took Mummy out there this morning to get some exercise. One around the large pond is .6 miles (if I have read the sign correctly).


I am having to explain birdwatching etiquette to Mummy, she doesn't keep quiet when we come upon a group staring at some bird with their binoculars.

Mystery duck.

This was the second time I saw the mystery duck. Jimbo will have to identify it for me.

I heard a rustling noise and turned and there was a large Cotton rat sitting in the reeds. I think its tail is injured, the poor thing. "Is it dead?" asked my mother.

Cotton rat.

"No, it is moving." I replied. We also saw many footprints, which I think are from a skunk.

And after lunch I am sleepy and considering a nap. Have to rest up for the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The optometrist removed a piece of rock from my left eye today. It had been in there for 16 days. So painful. My regular doctor had looked at it and thought I had a broken blood vessel (there are several blood vessels visible at the moment). But it wouldn't go away and my friend Ahmed from Oman insisted I go to the eye doctor, which I finally did this morning. He numbed the eye and coaxed me into keeping it open while he removed the particle using a long cotton swab. The relief was almost instantaneous.

The rock was lodged right between my iris and cornea. I could see something there, but didn't realize what it was. I have spent a lot of time staring at my iris the last two weeks. This got me thinking about eye colors. From my genealogical research, I have been able to identify the eye colors of the following direct ancestors:

Homer: hazel


Lee: blue
Carolyn: hazel

Maternal Grandparents:

Harold: blue
Anna: hazel

Great grandparents:

Sheldon: blue
Ernest: brown
Colonel: blue

Great great grandparents:

Isaiah: gray
Philip: blue
Elijah: blue

Great great great grandparents:

Ebenezer: blue
Hiram: black

Homer and Carolyn.

Why hello there. It is Wednesday morning and I am watching Obama sign the DADT repeal. I am kinda astounded that it is happening. Like Barney Frank says, two down and two to go.

I have been listening to this group, the Fleet Foxes, a lot. They have the most beautiful harmonies. WATCH THIS VIDEO.

The new carpeting in my office at work stinks so bad. I left work feeling grody yesterday. I hope the smell disappears over the Holiday weekend.

Evan is coming down on Holiday Eve. That is the best present ever.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Hohokam began to paint naturalistic elements on their pottery around A.D. 700. For some reasons, the pottery makers began to apply images of birds, mammals, reptiles, and even insects to their pottery, along with some flowers. Occasionally you find pictures of people, some carrying baskets. I remember one sherd I saw up in Phoenix of people holding hands and dancing. My mother made me a sweater from that design.

The sherds below were found on the project in Phoenix that Evan and I volunteered on a couple of weeks ago (we didn't find them, someone else did).

Snakes on the sherd.

The man or woman who painted this bowl, sometime around 1100-1300 years ago was really talented.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Finished Holiday shopping and wrapping today. Don't tell Mummy, I bought her some stuff.

Let's catch up. But first, why is ketchup also spelled catsup? I am confounded by this.

Although less confounded than the mental problems of my white, Protestant, straight male Senators, John McCain and John Kyl. John McCain thinks soldiers will die because the homos can serve openly in the military. John Kyl agrees, and also thinks it is disrespectful to Christians for the US Senate to work the week after Christmas.

Now I called John Kyl's Tucson office and chatted with Krista, his office person, last Wednesday while Patti and Debbie listened in at work. "We have to work the week after Christmas, does Senator Kyl think we are also disrespecting Christians?" I wondered. As Krista tried very hard not to laugh, I brought up the fact that John Kyl makes a boatload of money ($174,000) each year, and that Patti, Debbie, and I altogether don't make that much money. So as taxpayers, we thought he should actually do some work. Krista agreed to take down my comments. She was helpful, although somewhat misguided for working for that breathing bunghole.

Yesterday, Sandy and Mark accompanied me to the mall to purchase Holiday Presents. It was very, very crowded. One observation, the vast majority of young 'ens in Tucson are African-American, Hispanic, or Asian-American. This is what the future looks like, and this is what the Republican Party does not and will not look like.

Today I made orange marmalade for the first time. I looked at YouTube videos and read a few recipes. They were somewhat confusing and the woman who won the 2008 International Marmalade award was annoying, since she had some very elaborate methods. So I just invented a recipe and it came out alright, according to Mummy, who back in 1948 won an award for knitting in 4-H.

Orange marmalade.

I have also been entering tombstone pictures into the Find-A-Grave website, while watching seasons 3 and now 4 of the new Doctor Who. There is a lot of running and shouting in almost every episode.

Chris, Tara, and Milo came over so Mummy could give Milo the little bear she knitted. He is the smartest 22-month-old child I have ever met.

Tara, Milo, and Mummy.

Unfortunately, my lovely day is busy being ruined by a dreadful headache.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The butterscotch pudding was delicious. I used the Joy of Cooking recipe, so easy and it tastes difficult and expensive, but it isn't.

I used the 101-year-old dishes that Lisa's friend gave me last year. The first time, and they are so pretty. They looked beautiful against the red tablecloth.

Set table.

Salad with heirloom tomatoes, blackberries, and pecans; watermelon rind pickles; cranberry-mango-walnut dressing; and vegetarian shepherd's pie. Unforts, the tofu (as usual) has made me contribute to global warming.


Sandy and Mark arrived dressed as fishermen, since it was raining and they were on a scooter. Jeffrey was a last minute replacement for Patrick, who was working late. We had a lovely supper and it was just nice talking with friends. Of course I forgot to take more pictures.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mark and Sandy are coming to supper on Thursday. What kind of pudding should I make for dessert?

A). Bittersweet chocolate
B). Butterscotch
C). Vanilla
D). Maple rice pudding

Please cast your ballot in the comment section.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thursday I drove north to Phoenix while Evan was driving south from Flagstaff. We converged at Roger's beautiful house.

Roger's kitchen.

Roger made us a lovely mean- a tomato salad, bread, a vegetable pot pie, and a fancy English dessert.

Leek and potato pot pie.

It was like being at a fancy bed and breakfast. The next morning we got up early and drove to downtown Phoenix, where my company is doing an excavation beneath a street at an early Hohokam site. We were assigned a large, oval pit to excavate.

Evan digging.

Not sure what the function of the pit was- it was over 2 m long by 1.6 m, and about 50 cm deep. Similar pits nearby are thought to be little structures. I really don't know.

We found lots of pottery, flaked stone, a shell bead, and some figurine fragments.

Dirt to be screened.

Then we drove down to Tucson and took Mummy to Rosa's. We were very tired that night.

In the morning Evan and I went on a walk around Sweetwater Wetlands. It was very pretty and only slightly smelly.


The number and variety of waterfowl is increasing, there were lots of mallards, Northern Shovelers, some Cinnamon Teals, and one small diving duck that I could not identify.

Northern Shoveler.

After a lunch of fruit salad and tostadas, we went to the Presidio Park and watched them fire the cannon. My friend Allen, whose wife recently had a baby with large feet, was demonstrating flint knapping.


Evan, ox, and Mummy.

Afterward we went to the Mini-Time Machine museum, which houses dozens of dollhouses. It was crazy and I felt dizzy after a while, because of my damned Progressive lenses. I liked the antique doll houses best, but of course those were the last ones we looked at. It was rather overwhelming.

Then I made pecan-butterscotch Chex mix and we went to a Christmas party at Rick and Pat's house. It was very nice, and the best thing was introducing Evan to some of my friends.

This morning I made a batch of pink watermelon pickles and later today I will make a batch of watermelon rind pickles. Tomorrow is the company cookie exchange and I am taking canned goods instead of cookies.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Things accomplished:

1). Took Mummy and myself to Swade Barbershop and we got our hairs cut. See Exhibit A.

Exhibit A.

2). Canned seven pint jars of carmelized onions and seven pint jars of lemon curd. This year for the company cookie exchange, I am taking these and watermelon rind pickles instead of cookies. Outlandish, I know.

3). Purchased a couple of Holiday gifts. Mummy handed me a list of books she wanted, so that was easy.

4). Went to Michael's craft store and bought a bunch of art kits and puzzles. For the last six or seven years I have taken a large bag of these over to my neighborhood elementary school, which serves mostly poor children. Maybe I am sentimental, but I want all of those little kids to get a Holiday present. The office people were so excited when I came in and the principal came out, since she had always wanted to see who the mysterious man was who did this.

5). Spent time during the weekend helping out on an excavation. Tomorrow I'll be uncovering the secret staircase. On Friday, Evan and I will be volunteering on a dig my company is doing up in Phoenix. Pictures will ensue.

6). Have been dragging Mummy around, making her walk more. She needs more exercise. I have been entertaining her the best I can, going to the library, stores, and making her meals.

7). Last night got to see Sandy, who has arrived back in Tucson for two months. YEAH!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I find it a waste of time to hate people. But the Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer is pretty hateful. To save $4.5 million, she and her Republican DEATH PANEL cronies have decided that if you are a poor person and need certain organ transplants, that you have to pay for them yourself. Basically that fucking bitch is sentencing people, including young men and women, to death.

She's also Pro-Life, by the way. And she was very pleased to recently sign a law legalizing sparklers.

Practically the first thing that dried up, bleached, slipping-denture-wearing hag did when she inherited her office was to take away healthcare for the partners and children of lesbian and gay state employees, to save a few million dollars.

She has a criminally insane son (locked up because he is so violent), so of course she makes sure state funding for his care is maintained. And because her friends work for the private prison industry, the state is planning on privatizing more prisons, despite the lax security on the existing private prisons that allowed three prisoners to get out (two of whom subsequently killed an elderly couple in New Mexico).

This is what the rest of the United States has to look forward too if Fox News and the Republican Party have their way. I can hardly wait to see what happens when President Palin gets elected.

Fuck, I am so drama tonight.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What have I been up to? The last three days I have been running a project at a Spanish mission site. We are mapping the site using modern GPS-based equipment. The fenced area of the mission has been divided into 4 meter by 4 meter squares and we are basically crawling over each one, picking up every artifact, and sorting them into different material types. We fill out a form for each square, listing and counting all of the different artifacts

Artifacts from one square.

For most squares I take a photograph to document what was there. I also take close up photos of the most interesting items.

A rifle cartridge, a shell-edged dish fragment, two pieces of an orange-glazed pipe bowl, a piece of blacksmithing waste, a bodkin, and three Native American pottery sherds.

We are collecting a small sample for a type collection for the site.

It is going well, except I somehow scratched my cornea on my left eye. Very painful at times.

Also keeping busy entertaining Mummy. I have been dragging her to stores so she has to walk around and get exercise. She is definitely getting older, it is startling to see her act like my grandmother acted.

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