Monday, January 31, 2011

Bunny was in the backyard so I went and got her some apple slices and spinach.


She was very excited to smell apple and she ran up and I grabbed her. Then she came in to visit with Mummy. Snowball was very jealous- he ran up and tried to get in my lap. Afterward, we went outside for a little photo shoot. She is soooo soft. She ran away to hide (I think she lives in the compost heap in the backyard). It was nice to see her.

I thought we were done with winter but it is supposed to be in the 20s at the end of the week. Mummy will be very displeased with this. She would like my house to have central heat, but there is no money for that right now.

I have been walking the Catholic cemetery, looking for all of the gravestones older than 1909.


The current cemetery opened in 1907, replacing an earlier cemetery that finally closed in 1909. Sometime this year I will be running an archaeology project beneath a street in the old cemetery. I am collecting as much information on the people buried there as I can find.

Sleeping lamb.

Some of the bodies and tombstones from the old cemetery were moved to the new one.

Praying angel.

But most were not, and the graves now lie beneath vacant lots, streets, and homes.


I found about 50 or so early stones, some carved by an artist with a distinctive style. I wonder who that person was.


I have been uploading photographs and brief biographical information to the Find-A-Grave website.

Many of the more recent graves have bronze markers, many of which once had small urns for flowers, most of which have been stolen by people who sell them to scrap dealers. Now if I was a scrap dealer and a meth addict showed up with a bunch of small urns, wouldn't I be suspicious?

I still have one more section to walk, wonder what I will see there.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ready for his close up.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My great great grandfather was named Isaac. He was born in 1855 in Williamsburg, Ohio and died in 1936 at Pearl Lake, Michigan.

Sometime between 1875 and 1880, Isaac went to a photography studio, probably with a friend and had the following tintype photograph taken. Barely visible are the metal stands that held their heads still for the long exposure.

Isaac, seated.

The backdrop fascinates me. If you click on the picture it enlarges and you can see how detailed it is. It depicts a three-dimensional scene- looking into a room, up a short flight of stairs, toward a bench placed in front of a window. It would have been painted onto a cotton fabric by an artist and photography studios often had several different backdrops.

The backdrop resembles 2nd Style frescoes found in the Naples area, buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Fresco from a villa at Boscoreale, circa 40-30 B.C., courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

I suspect the artists had access to books depicting some of the frescoes being uncovered in Pompeii during this time period.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

You're the Bestest. I had a great weekend with Evan. On Friday night we played dominoes with Mark, Sandy, and Zane. I even won a game.


On Saturday morning we had breakfast with Sylvia and Dan. There are a fun couple and I had a great time getting to know them. Sylvia gave me a cookbook with really interesting recipes.

That afternoon, Evan and I drove out to the Tohono O'odham Cultural Center and looked at the exhibits. Then we came back and took Mummy to her favorite knitting store. She was very happy.

This morning Evan and I went to Sweetwater Wetlands and admired the huge number of ducks.

Northern Shovelers.

American coots.

Once again, an awesome weekend.

Friday, January 21, 2011

By chance I was in traffic at the corner of Campbell Avenue and Speedway Blvd as Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's ambulance pulled out from the hospital and headed to the airport. She is being taken to Houston to a rehabilitation facility.

People stood along the side of the road and waved at the police officers, the ambulance, and the motorcycle escort. Some held up signs wishing her well. I had to pull out a tissue and wipe tears that suddenly appeared. Why am I so sentimental at times?

I guess I am a soft-hearted man.

Nothing good has come of this horrible tragedy in Tucson. There is no real discussion on ways to stop this sort of thing happening again. State Senator Jake Harper is still pushing his new legislation allowing guns to be carried on college campuses. The local tea party leader blamed Ms. Giffords for being shot. The governor of Arizona has announced that 280,000 people will be thrown off Medicaid, I am sure some of those people will have mental problems that could be ameliorated through counseling and medication. The sale of semi-automatic handguns grew after the shooting. And so on.

Even suggesting that gun control laws should be re-examined is criticized. A man who once worked for my company had a letter published in the Arizona Daily Star, stating that "can't the gun-control advocates please take a step back and not use this event as a platform to voice their uninformed comments regarding gun control?" I responded by asking when would be a good time to comment: Is it during months that start with Q? When Venus and Uranus are in direct alignment? The 26th century? It is never a good time to speak up about gun-control if you are one of the uninformed anti-gun-control people. His response was basically what I suggested- never.

I hope Gabrielle Giffords can recover. I don't know if she will be able to get back her old life. It makes me sad that she was so horribly injured and six people died, all because Walmart sells ammunition at 7:30 in the morning to a mentally ill young man.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

After William's house burned down, the family had to build a log cabin.

David, William, Winfield, Margaret, Caroline, and William Sr., circa 1870-1875.

What I would give to excavate this place.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Although I was suffering from a cold, I drove north to Flagstaff Friday afternoon to see Evan. I hope he doesn't catch it. That night we had Thai food and I tossed and turned, blowing my nose over and over again.

The next morning Evan made me pancakes. Then we drove to Montezuma's Well. It is a deep hole in the limestone, filled with water. Ducks were enjoying themselves.

Cactus on the edge.

We saw historic graffiti.


And prehistoric dwellings.

From the 1300s or so.

Saturday night we watched Cannibal: The Musical. I was entertained.

This morning Evan took me to a mystery spot. The Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River.


A nearby volcano erupted 20,000 years ago and the lava flow filled part of the Little Colorado River, causing the river to shift and form these falls. They were very dramatic and you cannot tell, but it is about 200 feet down.

I made Evan stay away from the edges of the cliff, I am scared of heights.

San Francisco peaks in the distance.

We had a remarkably nice morning.

I got him the t-shirt in Austin.

On the way out we saw sheep guarded by dogs.

Navajo sheep.

And a lonely tree.


I suggested we have Indian food for lunch. We went to the Himalayan Grill. The food was excellent.


They brought us champagne.


It was an awesome weekend with Evan.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

At home, better living through chemistry, trying to defeat a stupid cold.

Joey, look at the camera.

I think it is nap time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My great-grandfather Philip was born in 1874 in Pennsylvania, somewhere in or near Pittsburgh. Someday I will go to Pittsburgh and find his baptismal record, his parents were members of a German Lutheran church there.

Philip, seated at right.

His father was a Civil War veteran and his mother came to the United States from Germany as a child. They moved to Traverse City and had a farm, both died in the 1890s and Philip had to help raise his younger brother Frederick and sister Elizabeth.

Philip and his brother Walter, circa 1895.

In August 1899, Philip was married to Grace.

Philip, circa 1900.


A daughter Amy was born in January 1900, four months after the marriage. Many people would like to pretend that 19th century folks were not engaging in premarital sex. You would be surprised to find out how many were. As my mother says, "The first baby can be born at any time after you marry"

Philip and Grace's daughter Amy died from convulsions and diarrhea in May 1900.

Amy's tombstone in Oakwood Cemetery.

A few weeks later the census taker listed Philip and Grace living at 723 Webster Street in Traverse City. Philip was working as a laborer in a basket factory.

Grace's father was elected Sheriff of Grand Traverse County in November 1900.

He was later a State Representative.

He hired Philip to be his Deputy Sheriff. Philip and Grace moved into the County Jail and lived upstairs. Newspaper articles describe Philip as being sent to various towns to transport criminals to and from the jail or to the prison in Jackson.

Sheriff David and Deputy Sheriff Philip in front of the jail, circa 1901.

Their son Byron was born upstairs in the jail in 1901. There were three more children- Harold (1904) (my grandfather), Frederick (1905), and Bessie (1907).

Byron, Frederick, and Harold in 1906.

Bessie was born in January 1907 and the day after her birth little Frederick died.

Later that year Philip felt a pain in his abdomen. His appendix had burst and after three days of suffering he died from septic peritonitis. He was 37-years-old.

Philip's death certificate.

The family was too poor to buy him a tombstone. One of the things I plan on doing eventually is to purchase one for him and his son Frederick.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

On November 17th I attended a museum exhibit opening. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was there, her parents had lent many items for the exhibit. I stood nearby as she chatted with my friend Barney and cooed over Barney's elfish baby. I wanted to congratulate her on her re-election. She has been an advocate for LGBT people and is a no-nonsense sort of legislator. But I decided not to interrupt and went on my way.

It is really disheartening to live in Arizona right now. Racism, guns allowed everywhere, transplant patients denied organs, healthcare cancelled for children, state parks closed, Mexican ethnic studies banned, teachers with accents to be fired. Honestly, nothing surprises me anymore.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

This is our new, sexy Attorney General for the State of Arizona. Tom Horne. Lol, his name is almost spelled like Horny!

Nice comb-over dude, you fooled everyone!

Tom used to be our Superintendent of Public Education (insert lauh-track chuckle here). In the last four years or so, Arizona has dropped to about 48th or 49th place in terms of public funding of education. Even during the booming development years, Horny and his Republican allies made sure education was under-funded.

And Tom hates Mexicans. I mean, he REALLY HATES THEM. He sent people out to videotape children walking across the border to attend schools in the U.S. of Arizona. He announced that Mexicans were illegally attending Arizona skools. Of course, no one bothered to check the citizenship papers of those tykes, many of whom were probably legal residents.

Now he will be taking his vendetta against the Tucson Unified School District to new levels. He is threatening to sue the district to stop it from having Mexican Studies classes, since Tom wrote a law banning ethnic studies classes. No Native American studies or languages, no African-American studies either. But Western Civilization is alright, because white people stuff is alright.

I'm pretty sure he hates the homosexuals too, but right now the best way to get your ass into a highly paid public office is to hate Mexicans the most.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

We drove south to Bisbee and went to an antique store, where I bought an old print for my dining room. It was Evan's first time in that part of the state.

Evan and Homer.

It was a lovely way to start 2011.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010 was the worst year and the best year.

bad things:

- Forrest had to move to North Carolina and lost his father.
- Sam died
- Mama Cat died
- shingles and that rock in my eye
- the Saturn was totaled

good things:

- still gainfully employed
- had a wonderful visit in Portland with Mark and Rodger
- had a nice visit to Las Vegas to see Erich, James, and George

best things:

- canned watermelon rind pickles, carmelized onions, jams, and chutneys. I told my mother I could do anything I wanted to
- my boyfriend Evan

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