Tuesday, March 31, 2020

My PC is probably 10 or 11 years old and it is getting full. I guess 66,000 photos and many files will do that. I attempted to compress the computer and deleted a bunch of files. I will have to delete a bunch more in my efforts to make it go a little faster and to allow me to view PDFs (won't let me now).

I just put up the small holiday lights on my front porch. At night they will be a pretty thing to see and maybe cheer someone up a little. I certainly need the cheer.

Governor Ducey has "locked" the state down. His idea of doing so is pretty pathetic. Nail salons and hair dressers are ESSENTIAL services. As of today 1,289 people in the state have tested positive for Covid-19 and 24 have died. We are at the stage that the entire US was 20 days ago.

Yesterday 807 people died from it. And the government finally admitted the current estimates are that between 100,000 and 240,000 people will probably die in the next two weeks. Meanwhile conservative people like Rush Limbaugh are saying it is a hoax, that people aren't really dying and that the hospitals are empty. I hope he gets it.

Monday, March 30, 2020

I made a list and went to Safeway. I did not bring re-usable bags because they are not allowing them. I have a contained of wipes in the car and I took two in with me, wiping the cart handle. I kept re-wiping as I went through the store.

I genuinely felt scared in the store. People coming close to me. In the cheese section a woman was rifling through various Mexican cheeses, taking them down and putting them back. Luckily, I was not getting that sort of cheese.

At the check-out Crystal was working. A plexiglass shield separates the cashiers from the customers, not much protection. She has a small boy with asthma. She is a saint for working around people who are doing irresponsible things.

When I came home I carefully washed my hands. I did not wipe down the boxes and cans, it was too much, too many items (I was buying enough food to last for a couple of weeks including things for Doug and Birdy).

Last night Robert, who works at a Circle K along the interstate, sent me a picture of hand sanitizers, telling me he was using it over and over again. I asked if he had gloves and he said no. Matt gave me a bunch of latex gloves on Saturday. So I got in my car and drove north. He was busy wiping down the door handle, as various people went into the store (including a very elderly man) and was surprised to see me. I handed him the gloves. By the time I got home he sent me a message saying that he and his co-workers thanked me.

Later I sent Circle K a message asking why their staff didn't have gloves. The response I got was that staff got to wear gloves restocking food, but not allowed to wear them while handling cash. WTF. I asked the person who answered whether they would handle cash themselves without gloves. Not surprised that I got no answer back.

Ray and Robert are back from Spain, they got one of the last flights out last week. The situation there is terrible. We went on a socially distant walk at Sweetwater Wetlands and talked about things. It was so nice to see them. And see lots of birds, turtles, and even a frog.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

I sit on my front porch and the smell of orange blossoms is strong. I had lost my sense of smell while having the cold, which incidentally is one of the symptoms of Covid-19 so who knows whether it was actually a cold.

Orange blossom.

I have started making a shopping list but it doesn't have enough things on it to warrant going to Safeway. I'm going to see how long I can last. The last time was on the 23rd.

Flowers are popping up all over the backyard, some are blooming, others are growing. 


In Arizona 919 people have tested positive for Covid-19 and 17 have died. Nationally, 461 people died in the last 24 hours. I check the Coronavirus website every day. Perhaps a little too obsessively.

And yet our Republican governor is doing next to nothing. And the people who support him are praising him for not shutting down non-essential businesses. I had a short debate with a hair and nail salon owner from Cave Creek about this. She is open for business, and she claims that doctors and nurses are coming in. I think she is a liar, but who knows. It is also amazing to see the people who think the virus is a hoax or that it will be okay if one or two percent of the population dies. We live in a bizarre time.

The internet is slowing down. Everybody must be on it, just like me. After doing chores and putting up a laundry drying line, I have been transcribing articles while a cold case crime show plays on the other screen. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

And another day. 400 people died in the last 24 hours. It just seems unreal. I remember what it was like immediately after 9/11. It feels similar.

I had a socially distant picnic with Matt, Doc, and Hoffman.

Me and Matt.

Doc, Hoffman, and Matt.

Doc and I went over to see the pool at the park and a homeless lady came over and rifled through my stuff before Hoffman and Matt could stop her. I had to tear off a piece of garbage bag and through everything away, including one of my vintage Mallo Ware bowls. You have to be careful. 

Afterward I went to Michaels and bought a bunch of craft supplies. Things to do and learn in the coming weeks and months. Watercolors, a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn, embroidery thread and a hoop and fabric. Things to keep me busy besides the hours spent transcribing newspaper articles.

I told Matt the next time a pandemic occurs we will be isolated together, just us, Ruby, Snowball, and Buddy Cat. But I would prefer that we didn't have another pandemic.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Just talked to Travis, who is a respiratory therapist in Atlanta. He says the situation is far worse than the media is telling us. The common trope is that people are dying because they are old or have health conditions. He says that he is caring for numerous people under the age of 50. If you get put on a ventilator, you have a 50 percent chance of surviving. It really doesn't matter if they manufacture a bunch more ventilators- there won't be the trained people to operate them. He says that there aren't tests available for healthcare workers to see if they are infected. He doesn't have the proper safety clothing. As this progresses more and more people like him will be infected. There will be fewer people trained to operate the existing ventilators. He has friends sleeping in their cars and garages in an attempt to not infect family members or roommates. That fucking piece of shit "running" the country has no clue what is going to happen. Currently the death rate is about 1.5 percent.

Today has been a shit-show. Discovered the fridge had died. So had to go buy a new one at Home Depot. Had to go back twice more to get the upper hinge working right. The fridge is smaller than my old one. Inconvenient. Eventually it will end up in the guest house and I will get a regular-sized fridge.

And the death toll from Covid-19 is 1,593. Two weeks ago it was 36.

The thing that claims to be president is threatening to not provide help to Michigan. Almost all of my family lives there. On his Facebook page his cult members are saying how great this is. I cannot believe how evil people are.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Amazingly enough, we are doing a small testing project next to the Interstate. I got to go out today to help record features found in the backhoe trenches. It was a nice escape from reality.


You really wouldn't know we are in a pandemic here in Tucson because the Governor refuses to shut everything down. So people are getting their hair done, getting tattoos, going to some of the Big Box stores, and all the while the coronavirus is slowly spreading. As of today there have been 577 confirmed cases and 8 deaths in Arizona. On March 9th the United States as a whole had about that number. Extrapolating, in 17 days we might expect 80,000+ infected people and over 1,000 deaths here, possibly, except Arizona has one of the lowest testing rates in the country, so it could possibly be much worse.

So I have had a friend staying at my house for a very long time. He does not believe any traditional media. New York Times is all lies. Anything on Facebook is fake.  Obsesses over conspiracy theories.  Watches hours and hours of conspiracy videos. Thinks Tulsi Gabbard and Russia are awesome. Obama was as bad as Trump. I don't think he really believes in the coronavirus, thinks it is a government lie or something.

I related a story today and he went off on me about how it wasn't true. I had had enough and yelled, "I'm tired of being mocked in my own house." And slammed the door as I walked away. Really, I cannot talk about many topics because of his comments and looks. I am so over it.

So I drove over to the Sweetwater Wetlands and walked around. Lovely ducks and loons and red-winged blackbirds singing. Matt called and we talked for a long time. That was a comfort.

Sweetwater loons.

Nothing like being trapped in your house with a "temporary" roommate during this horrible time.  So over it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

I had to go to the office twice, once to send some files to the editor and the second time to pick up a replacement credit card, my old one having disappeared somewhere. The first time there were three people there, the second in the afternoon five. I used one of those wipe thingys to open and close doors. I was lucky to have a container bought months ago, which now lives in my car.

Working at home is difficult, too many distractions plus the big distraction. I check the Covid Tracking Project website in the morning and afternoon. 204 people died in the last 24 hours. And the Lieutenant Governor of Texas is blabbering the new Republican mantra- that we will have to sacrifice the lives of countless people because money is more important than lives. Of course if he gets sick, a ventilator will be found for him.

I finished a puzzle tonight. I transcribed some articles. I talked with Matt and Jeffrey on the phone. I read a couple of articles in Historical Archaeology. Soon it will be time to go to bed.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Things I did today, as the coronavirus killed about 73 people in the United States:

- bought two rolls of painter's tape. The window frames and screens will be repainted soon.
- went to Safeway and bought a few things- milk, lasagna noodles, some pastries for Doug. Still no toilet paper- I bought a 20-pack over two weeks ago, before everything got bad. I am glad I filled my pantry up before the hoarding started, I have enough food to feed myself and if need be Doug and Birdy for two or three weeks.
- took a nap
- did some work. Went to where Erina is doing a testing project and looked at some bottles.
- made lasagna
- transcribed more articles.
- watched some Netflix and some Youtube.
- talked to Matt. I miss seeing him.
- trimmed my beard. I look much younger.

And that's the way it is. I also sent Gov. Ducey's office an email asking for him to lock down the state before it is too late.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Back in early February, before all of the craziness started, I got up early and went to an estate sale. I had seen a picture of a transferprinted platter on the website, and I knew I wanted that particular vessel.

I ended up purchasing a bag full of beautiful dishes.

This bowl is marked T. MAYER STOKES. I don't know what the pattern is.

This huge platter is marked CANOVA STONEWARE. Canova was a pattern made by numerous companies.

Canova pattern.

Another platter is the INDUS pattern. The registry mark on the back suggests it was made in 1915. IT does have a small chip on the front, but not very visible, and anyways I wanted this one because I already have an Indus pattern plate hanging on my kitchen wall.


Indus pattern platter and plate.

Ruby loves playing fetch. So she is getting a lot of that now that Daddy is at home all of the time.

Throw the ball, Daddy.

I've been doing chores, cleaning house. Also did a bunch of yardwork yesterday, mowing the two areas where grass grows (most of my lot is just bare dirt) and pulling nasty goat's head up. That plant has a very pokey seed cover that sticks to everything and is painful.

I also sat in front of my computer and transcribed newspaper articles from 1907. Occasionally I come across articles mentioning my relatives.

I pulled out my two Better Homes and Garden cookbooks. Mother gave me one in 1982 for a Christmas present. Years ago I threw out the meat chapters. I found this recipe and decided to make it. As is typical, it is bland. The Better Homes and Garden staff did not believe in adding spices and herbs to most recipes. I added red bell pepper, ground black pepper, and grated parm cheese to make the recipe more interesting. I not a particularly annoying thing for this cookbook. Instead of listing salt with all of the ingredients, it is always down in the actual recipe. Who thought of this moronic ingredient placement, I hope they got fired.

Better Homes.

It took longer to bake than the recipe called for. It was also slightly wet, I guess the moisture came out of the corn. It was okay, but not the best recipe ever.

Corn custard pudding.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Matt got me a complete set of Gilligan's Island episodes. I'm watching them one after another. They still make me laugh.

I have been waiting for a prescription for several days. Safeway had to special order it, so I kept having to go back. Finally today I got it, along with just a few more groceries. I do not plan on going back there for a while. The shelves are half bare. I talked with Crystal, my favorite cashier. She told me that cashier Freddie had died. He was always so nice to my mother when we would go there. He was younger than me.

Yesterday I tried to make a loaf of bread. It did not work. Now I have a batch of biscuits in the oven, hopefully I will be more successful. And I was, although they needed a bit more salt.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

It is raining, the sky is gloomy. I went to the office this morning and finished a report. Then I went to the credit union to get my card replaced, it had broken in half.

The teller was chatty. At one moment she paused and asked, "Is it hot in here? I am really warm!"

I felt like I was an actor in an epidemic movie, you know the kind of movie where the people watching it know what is going to happen, but Customer No. 1 doesn't and then goes on to spread weaponized syphilitic herpes to other people.

When I came home I washed my hands immediately.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Everything is blooming, but because I have the remnants of a cold I cannot smell anything. The pear tree that Matt got me had lots of blossoms.

Pear tree.

Before I had the cold I went over to Matt's and played with cutey Gandalf, who lives to have his tummy rubbed.


So on Sunday I was feeling stir-crazy so I went on a walk. The nearby rich people house has a nice mural. I liked this hummingbird detail.


I stopped by the corral at the end of my street and said hello to the friendliest horse, who wanted his head scratched. I found a handful of barley to give to it, which the horse appreciated.


Birdy has done a remarkable job in my yard. Lots of flowers. This was a surprise, a beautiful poppy.


Towards the back there is a big penstemon.

Penstemon and cactus.

And of course while all of these things are going on there is the pandemic. Every day it gets worse and worse. My non-profit museum is now closed. Today the City of Tucson is closing restaurants (take-out allowed) and bars. 

My local Safeway is still fairly well stocked. No toilet paper or paper towels, potatoes, and as of today virtually no rice or beans.

Paper aisle.

Pasta, sauce, and Mexican foods are mostly gone.

There are signs up telling people they could only have two of certain things like milk.

I had to go twice today to get a month's worth of medicine. The second time you could feel the panic developing. The couple in front of me had probably twenty cans of canned pasta. I ended up buying a bag of flour and yeast. Even though I am not supposed to eat much carbs, let's see if I can make bread or pizza dough or maybe cookies. I dread what life will be like in a week or two.

After watching a trench being dug in the morning, I worked at home the rest of today, finishing most of a report. This may become the new normal for a while, although honestly I find it difficult. Mainly because Ruby, Snowball, and Buddy Cat are needy. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

I'm almost back to normal, after spending the last six days feeling cruddy. Mostly lying in bed, too tired to do anything. Today I've been able to do some record transcriptions and watched a couple of Men in Black movies. Currently watching the first episode of a documentary series called Pandemic. Yikes.

I went to the Safeway store.  My friends elsewhere are reporting shelves stripped of everything. At my Safeway I saw the bottled water and toilet paper aisles seemed empty, but everything else was well stocked. Perhaps the full-on panic has not hit my neighborhood yet. I have enough food to feed myself, Doug, and Birdy for a while if necessary (I guess I should get more dog food).

Irritating to think this started coronavirus started because some people in China had to eat some wild animals that they should not have been eating. Perhaps this pandemic will stop the wild animal trade, but I am skeptical because people are stupid and prone to think stupid things.

Monday, March 09, 2020

I'm home with what I hope is a cold. Coughing up junk, body aches, headache. Slept on and off all day. And of course reading about the spreading Covid-19 virus and the utterly inept response by our Dear Leader and his syncophants.

I've seen a few pandemic movies and read quite a few apocalyptic novels. We seem to be at the start of The Stand, when the US government was pretending nothing was wrong. Jesus, it is happening right now. And Dear Leader is busy blaming the Democrats. Strange to think that this will probably bring him down.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Whenever I see old photos on Ebay from my home town I purchase them. They frequently end up in the genealogy newsletter I edit from there. This is a rarity- a photo taken of a man with his dog. I have had only one other in the 15 or 20 years that I have been buying photos. In both cases the dogs must have been very special to be taken to the studio and included in the photograph.

Unidentified man and dog, circa 1890-1895.

Dog and two unidentified girls, circa 1893-1905.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

I'm not panicking (yet) about the Coronavirus/Covid-19 plague. But at the staff meeting last week we were told not to come to work if we got sick and told some of the things one could do to protect oneself.

Meanwhile, the dump-fuck we have as President is down-playing the lethal nature of the disease. I have seen no public announcements about what one should do to protect oneself. I am seen incidental lists of preventative measures. We are busy heading toward a pandemic and the Trump administration is pretending that it isn't serious.

I do a lot of research on dead people. There have been pandemics and epidemics and people seeking a cure for tuberculosis in the dry Sonoran desert. The thing that kills many (most?) people is a lack of education about how to prevent yourself from acquiring the disease. In 1898, the City of Tucson passed an ordinance requiring spittoons in public places in an attempt to stop the spread of tuberculosis.

I called Senator McSally's office and spoke to the person answering the phone, in a nice manner, that some sort of public announcement about simple preventative steps would be useful. I know it won't happen from the current administration, but perhaps Bloomberg could pony up some money for a commercial that plays in prime time with some doctors and scientists explaining what to do.

End of ramble.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Being named Homer means that you don't get those name things (key chains, mugs, etc) at gas stations. When I was in second grade I had a Mexican kid named Homero in my class. One day he took the class and showed up the shack his family lived in. Shortly afterward, he and his family were sent back to Mexico. We had played together, even though we couldn't speak each other's language.

Well last year I met another Homer and then on Saturday I met another.

Two Homers.

It is spring time in Tucson. The flowers are blooming, At the Courthouse I admired the pretty yellow blossoms.


My peach (or nectarine?) tree is starting to blossom. 

Peach or nectarine.

I filled out my primary ballot tonight. I like Joe Biden. He seems like a genuinely nice guy. He has always been my top choice, perhaps because he came out for marriage equality before it was popular. 

I'm with Joe.

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