Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I haven't been back to Michigan in the fall since 1987. I went back to see the family. Mother wants to live in her own house, but can't because she is too frail and other problems. She has a nice woman come 10 hours a week to do things with her. She is living with my older sister and brother-in-law. Eventually she will have to go into an assisted living place. The trees were gorgeous.

My other sister's front yard.

I went over and hung out with mother and her helper, Desiree. We went on walks and I collected leaves.

Winter is coming.

We went to visit my namesake's grave. He has been dead for 62 years.


One night a beautiful rainbow lit up the sky. I had been cooking supper for Susan and called her to look at it.


Traverse City has changed. They tore down my great great grandfather's house to put up an ugly building. The downtown is losing its historic character, replaced by tall modern brick things.


New apartment buildings across from Grandma's old house. The McGill house torn down. The trees taller than I remember. Grandma's house painted bright red (it was always a pale green or white). I guess I am getting older.

I left on Saturday morning to head south to go see Brodie.

It was snowy at times.

At the Canadian border, the hot border agent grilled me on why I was going, whether I owned a gun, how I knew Brodie. It was ridiculous. I got there and we hung out.

Breakfast at Cora's.

We made the unfortunate mistake of going to Toronto, not realizing that there was a marathon being run by enthusiastic runners. We were trapped in traffic for hours, with the gas running out of the rental jeep. Somehow we survived.

Homer and Brodie.

It was nice having a few days of actual vacation while on vacation. I drove and flew back Monday and now I am sooooo tired. I need a post-vacation, vacation!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Last three weekends have seen busy times. My buddy Dave arrived for a visit from Austin, Texas. He was here to visit galleries to sell them his beautiful ceramics.

I took him out into the desert so he could see cacti.

Homer and Dave.

Of course he had to do the saguaro pose.


We went up to the top of Mount Lemmon and I forgot to take pictures except for this one of a pretty flower.


The lunar eclipse happened, my cell phone camera takes pretty ugly photos at night.

Lunar eclipse.

I woke up one morning with a perfect handlebar mustache.

The Scientist in his native habitat.

Last weekend was Rob's turn to visit from San Francisco. We ate Mexican food. On Saturday we went up to Mount Lemmon.

Rob really liked the views.

I saw a pretty poppy. At the top of the mountain the wind blew really hard as we had a picnic lunch.


That night I invited Patrick and Kamron over to play Risk.


I don't think Rob and Kamron had ever played Risk before.


Patrick and I battled each other over Australia and Asia.


I was defeated after about three hours.


We eventually gave up, after probably three hours and many drinks. It was a fun night.

Rob had a nice visit, taking lots of naps. I even made him watch Lawrence Welk.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

I've been an archaeologist since 1986. For most of this time I have specialized in historical archaeology- excavating sites dating from about 1700 to the 1930s. I've worked for my company since 1992, and have excavated many historic period sites in southern Arizona. Occasionally we recover artifacts that can be linked to a specific person. Our recent work on Block 92, at the northwest corner of E. Broadway Blvd and S. 5th Avenue, is one such case.

The first individual to live on Lot 8 of the block was David John Boleyn, known in Tucson as Jack Boleyn. He was born in New York state in the 1840s and arrived in Tucson with the railroad in 1880. He set up a transfer business, hauling freight around Tucson and surrounding areas. In 1881, he was one of the founding members of the Tucson volunteer fire department. By 1883, he was the Chief of the department, a position to held for most of the years until 1898. Ironically, in that year his buildings on Lot 8 burned and the charred debris was thrown down a well shaft, which Desert Archaeology excavated in June 2015.

Among the artifacts found in the well were metal buttons marked FD for Fire Department. A photograph of Jack Boleyn shows him wearing his uniform with its shiny buttons. He is also wearing an identification badge. An identical badge was found in a planting hole during the excavations.

Jack continued to help out on fires after he retired as Fire Chief in 1898. In 1910 he was helping out on a fire at the Goldring Store when the roof collapsed. A beam fell on his stomach, perhaps causing internal injuries. Water had accumulated on the tin roof, boiling from the intense heat, and this also fell on Boleyn, scalding him from the waist down. He was able to walk home, but died the next day. His funeral was attended by the mayor, city council, and the volunteer fireman. His grave in Evergreen Cemetery was unmarked until 2008, when a modern tombstone was installed.

One of the reasons I like doing historical archaeology is being able to learn details about the people whose homes I dig up. In Jack's case he was known for being a strong man, a hard drinker. He was also a bigamist, at one time married to three different women at the same time. I think I would probably have liked this man in person.

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