Thursday, May 31, 2012

31 May 2012

Nothing, apparently, of any consequence occurred on this day in 1948.

Sleep, blessed sleep. Almost to the alarm this morning, how good does that feel? Amazing what sufficient rest does for one's state of mind. Excellent workout as a result also. The gym is getting a little thin this week because it's the last week of classes, but not really too bad. Next week will be dead as will the week after.

Sadly, I didn't do very much all morning since the reports are done and nothing else this week. Wenke sent me a copy of his Chapter 1 of the monograph and I read that over. Seemed like a lot of stuff jammed in there, but it should work. That was about it work-wise. I did get a couple calls from Cascadia and next week I'll have two projects, one over by Leavenworth and one up at Camano island. Consequently, after lunch I had to go over to the shop to get some materials, although I'll go over on Monday to get the equipment. After that I went to the UVil to get some dinner stuff -- planned on making a stew -- but the QFC power was out so I had to go over to the neighboring Safeway. Stopped at SBux for a hot chocolate and called Fiona to let her know she would have had some eye candy, but she was, unbeknownst to me, taking a job test at the time (I thought it was tomorrow). So, that was that and I went home and cooked it up. I got the stew recipe from a delightful site called Things Wot I made Then Ate, which uses prose like this:
Dark brown sugar is melted in the bottom of a pot and caramelized, burned actually. It smokes and it looks like a loss but the brave persist until all the sugar is pretty much turned black and also a serious mess. . .
Neat? Ya! That was the recipe I tried today, first time I caramelized brown sugar. It was indeed brave to persist as it smoked away like that.

At the moment I am listening to Crosby Stills & Nash's Daylight Again album, one of my favorites from the early '80s; it brings back very powerful memories from that time -- I was an undergrad at UW Madison -- not all of them fuzzy and happy. I hadn't played it in years, but after I set up my old stereo in my upstairs office and worked here a lot, I've started listening again. I finally downloaded it from iTunes so I can give the vinyl a rest, as it's one of my oldest LPs. Plus now I can listen to it in the car. I'll be very interested to see how the remastered version sounds.

Listening to these old records has helped me a lot in getting through my "troubles" of the last couple of years. They remind me what I once was, at least a semi-confident man and not the simpering lump of fear that I've kind of been. I was thinking this morning while working out that perhaps the biggest change I went through in this mid-life crisis or whatever it is, is that in my youth I screwed up and did dumb things, but it didn't bother me much. Oh sure, I wasn't proud of such things and felt bad about doing them, but I didn't dwell on them: I just moved on. If anything, I used them as incentive to do better. At some point, I started dwelling on them, intensely, such that even the most minor of offenses set me awake at night thinking I was the Worst Person In The World. I don't know what the cause of this was, perhaps it's just a natural process of getting older, or maybe at some point I started putting way too much pressure on myself -- as a 40+ year old adult and a Ph.D.! -- to be ideal or something. I've been trying to move away from that and recall in very basic emotional terms what I was like then and what I can be like again. Not exactly reliving the past or trying to recreate it, but perhaps recentering myself as part of my own past. I don't know a better way to put that, sitting as I am in the midst of trying a major life course correction, but maybe that will make some sense some day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

30 May 2012 (Wednesday)

On this day in 1948 (Sunday):
Hot day.
Elton Shell & wife Patrica[sic] & Sam & Ray Cheryl & Lyle went to Crown Hill Cemetery to put flowers on Grandpa & Grandma John Reasoner's grave.

And a eureka! Also a very small newspaper clipping:
Mr. Walter W. Smith had a bad fall recently and will be in Providence Hospital for about a month in a cast. He will welcome. . .
So we have a name at last, at least for Dad. Well, and partly for the diarist. I looked around on FindAGrave.com for Walter W. Smith, but couldn't pin it down to any one of the four in particular (might not even be in there of course). No other luck searching elsewhere either. Actually, in a way I kind of hope I never find out anything more about them, peeking into an anonymous person's life seems a bit less intrusive in a way.

Excitement here in Seattle today as some jerk shot and killed four people, three of them about a mile from here right across the street from our dentist's office. Thankfully he had the decency to off himself, though to be fair he sounds mentally ill which takes the edge off the evil a bit. We were going to Mickey D's a half hour after it happened and wondered what the hovering helicopters were all about.

Otherwise, slept badly again, woke up around 3:30. I drank a whole bottle of Diet Coke and consequently had a very good workout, except for the part where I tweaked my back. Not too badly though, was able to do everything I needed to. Felt kind of lost when I got back though, as the report was done -- awaiting comments from Teresa -- and I had nothing else really to do. I did make flight reservations for July to Wisconsin though: $475. Not too long ago that would have been outrageous. Hope & change! July 17-28. Then I did some errands (Sam's Club and Lowe's), came back and went to lunch, etc. This afternoon I finally purchased Filemaker for the Mac so I'm now committed, I guess. My Calvary database using FM is progressing well and I hope to do more field testing tomorrow, if it doesn't rain. All day, that is. Otherwise, the rest of the afternoon I worked on getting that more functional and modifying the report some. Found out no field work Friday after all, but there's a funeral at Assumption that I will probably work.

We walked before the rain started (hasn't yet at the time of this writing, but it's-a-coming) and I am just blogging a bit. Yippee.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

29 May 2012

On this day in 1948:

Couple of newspaper clippings about massive flooding around Kennewick and Vanport, OR. I had heard about this flood before, specifically while doing fieldwork over by Twisp and Winthrop. See the story behind that here and here: essentially, there was a flood in 1948 that wiped out several bridges and apparently prompted the citizenry to place these loaded-down cars on a certain riverbank where I saw them many years later. The Methow River, where these cars are, feeds into the Columbia which is the river that flooded in the newspaper clippings, so I am guessing that May 29, 1048 was the day of The Great Flood. Interesting how these things kind of come together eventually. Nice little mystery solved, I should think.

At any rate, my May 29, 2012 started way too early, probably around 3:15 and I couldn't get back to sleep. So at 4:30 I got up and drank a Diet Coke since that usually gives me a good workout (and it did). After that I came home and worked on the report for last Thursday's work, and mostly finished it by noon. Well, in good draft form at least. Teresa will have to look it over and make editorial comments/corrections/etc. I did a little more work on it after lunch, and then went out and mowed the yard since it's getting a bit shaggy and is supposed to rain tomorrow anyhow. That was preceded by a trip to the gas station for gas for it: almost $10 for 2 gallons!

Myra the neighbor cat came over for a snack and a few pets and I had to clean her tail off. She's been having some trouble with her, ummmm, well, bowel movements lately and I don't like seeing her all dirty like that so I do my neighborly duty and clean her up.

After that, I made a quick trip to the QFC to get some shredded lettuce in a bag for dinner (faux burritos) and that was about it. Went for a good long walk before settling in here to blog and hopefully go to sleep for the entire night.


Monday, May 28, 2012

28 May 2012 (Monday, Memorial Day)

On this day in 1948 (Friday):
Morning pouring rain, hard. Afternoon cloudy. Frank & I stopped at Fred Liken's home saw old graduate pictures of Whatcom High School of 1989. Went to First Presbyterian to see if Rev. Shell & Thorndike had registered. Had lunch at Persion (good). Went to Congregational found Donna, had tea & on to dinner at 6:30 1st Methodist, ham, scalloped potatoes & green string beans, celery & radishes rolls & butter & coffee apple pie. Frank left for Bellingham on 7:45 p.m. bus. Hank & Melborne were going up, too. DOnna & I came hom, Donna staying at Ray's.

I find the descriptions of the dinner menus fascinating. They're actually quite similar to the meals I had growing up in Wisconsin, fairly simple but robust. My family was not big on coffee however, and these people -- like most of America, I daresay -- seemed to drink it with meals all the time. My dad drank more coffee as he got older, though he had much trouble sleeping in his old age, so I wonder. I've tried on several occasions to develop a taste for the stuff, but never managed to acquire such; I'm a tea man, probably until the day I die. I do like the occasional cup though, mostly when traveling.

Today is Memorial Day and we did our little bit by visiting Calvary Cemetery. I go there often myself recording headstones, but it's nice to just visit sometimes (we did yesterday as well). Quite a few people there today, obviously, including one somewhat sad portrait of a young family having a little picnic with their young children in the infant area. Oddly, the monuments that tend to make me. . . . .somber? especially reflective?. . . are the one where they died in the 1940s and '50s. Any earlier and it seems too long ago to be very personal to me, any later and it's in my memory period; as if they just missed me, or vice versa, and the time they grew old and died was just beyond my immediate memories but close enough to be familiar. I don't find cemeteries spooky or creepy or anything anymore, to me they're simply timeless, peaceful places for reflection on the basic mortality of life. And neat historical places, too.

Speaking of meal menus, we went out for breakfast at Burgermaster again, and ordered the same thing, again: cinnamon swirl french toast combo -- two eggs over medium (but really over easy, dang them, every.single.time), sausage -- and a side of hash browns. We occasionally go maverick and get something different, but it ends up being about the right amount of food for us, which is to say, a tiny amount for most people. There are people there more regular than us so I don't feel all that bad about getting the same thing nearly every time. I tend to thrive on regularity anyway.

We did a bit of yard work in the front after that and -- this is by 9:30, btw -- watched the movie Iron Man after that. Eh, it was clever, dialog-wise, but too predictable -- AND RAMPANT IGNORING OF THE MOST BASIC LAWS OF PHYSICS. I kind of miss the old days of no CGI because at least then they had to make at least a passing nod to basic physical principles. Not anymore. *sigh*

Went to lunch at Northgate and then attempted to spend my $25 Barnes and Noble gift card, but they just had two Rush albums, and then I learned they had much more online. We came home after that and parked the car at Calvary, walked down to Baskin Robbins for an ice cream, walked the cemetery for a bit and then came home. I washed my car, dinner, walk, writing in this diary. Oh, and I slept quite well last night. . . .except. . . .I woke up several times and then woke with an anxiety attack at 2:30ish, but made it back to sleep whence I began dreaming I was in Homer's Odyssey. Even continuing it after I woke up once! Sadly, I woke up for good just at the kickass part where he/we wipe out all the suitors. I was Telemachus at that point and was just making a brilliant speech to Penelope and the other women about keeping the doors locked and not coming out no matter what, etc. I imagine that rather cements my place as an anachronistic geek of the first order, but so be it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

27 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
Cloudy & some sprinkle this morning & rained hard about 4 or 4:30 p.m. thunder & lightning terrific & into evening. Went to see Dad & he is enjoying life talking to other men in ward.
Had dinner at Ray & Sam's Donna & Frank were there too. They are attending Presbyterian synod, National Rev. Shell (a cousin) from California is here, so Frank & I shall look him up to-morrow. Mrs. Blackwell had me in for lunch to-day. Had sandwiches & strawberries & cream & strawberries at Ray's too, they were good.
[appended to top] 5:15 p.m. terrific Thunder & Lightning storm in Ballard & Wallingford districts.

Interesting weather; this area rarely gets thunder and lightning, at least nothing like as often in the midwest, and then usually in the spring and fall. I've mentioned this before, but I like the way they have dinner at other people's houses quite often, although I think others don't find this in any way unusual -- I think living like a couple of college kids our whole lives has warped us somewhat. OTOH, I don't think my brother or sister do that stuff either.

Today I was able to attend Mass again since I slept decently well last night. The Spouse only was able to sleep until a little after 6 (I was up around 5:10) due to a furry little alarm clock, so we made steel-cut oatmeal. Not sure I really like that stuff although it is far more substantial than the rolled sort. Not too many people there this morning.

I did nothing the rest of the morning save for watching a bit of the Indy 500 and the Land of the Lost movie. The latter was fairly well panned, and I agree that, taken as a whole, it's pretty stupid, but I still like many bits of it, some of which left me laughing out loud. We decided to go to the zoo this afternoon which was pleasant enough. Lots of the critters were moving about so it wasn't all sleep, sleep, sleep. We did our weekly grocery shopping after that so we don't have to do anything tomorrow. Then we walked to Calvary and I tested out my new Filemaker database on a couple of markers: worked decently well, although I still need to make everything BIGGER. Pleasant say weather-wise, too, kinda cloudy most of the day but pleasantly sunny in the later afternoon and evening.

At the moment I'm listening to the Men at Work record I brought home yesterday. In very good condition and I quite like the songs I never heard before (i.e., non-radio/MTV tracks). Much of it actually has kind of a ska sound to it. I'm starting to believe there was far more to '80s music than I had thought. . . .

Saturday, May 26, 2012

26 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
Mornings misty but by 10 a.m. warm & sunny.
Ironed & had lunch at Gavey's at Commodores Apt. on 6th floor. She has beautiful chinese & jananese[sic] lunch clothes, figurines tables & carved camphor boxes rather cheats. She was born at La Connor where Susie Peck Cole was born. Leaving her apts. walking up 11th(?) Way met Peggy & Mike Ossewood(?) going to meet Dean at University. Had dinner & up to visit Dad at Providence Hospital. A long shoreman in the 5th bed came in for his injuries on waterfront.

I would have thought she'd be visiting Dad more often than once in the evening.

Today was a beautiful sunny day in 2012, again not too hot, not too cool. Spent most of the day at the in-laws' in Gig Harbor; mostly I did crossword puzzles on the iPad while they chatted, although I did pop out for a bit to get some soda. Slept very well last night, so it was a nice day in that way as well. This morning I read out on the front steps in the sun, starting a new/old James P. Hogan sci-fi novel (Bug Park), probably my second favorite author after Frank Herbert, although Inherit The Stars is probably my favorite book ever. This book is set in and around Seattle. Hogan was up here more than once and I had the chance to meet him, but put it off thinking there'd be another day; there wasn't, he died a couple of years ago. Hopefully lesson learned.

We took the two sets of speakers down for the MIL to sell at her antique mall spot, says they tend to go quickly. These were the Infinity Qa's and the KLH 22/24s, neither of which I was all that fond of. The former's vaunted EMIT tweeter seemed much too harsh to my ears, and the latter just seemed old and boxy even though they look gorgeous with walnut veneer (the Infinitys are vinyl). It was only the adults most of the day, which was nice and quiet for a change. We had Round Table pizza for dinner, which brought back old times: many weekends we would visit and end up getting two huge Round Table pizzas. The drive back went very quickly, there being little traffic on the roads -- it's the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

Oh, got a couple of LPs: a picture disk of Wham!'s Make It Big, Men at Work's first big album, and an unopened copy of Styx's The Grand Illusion! That was probably my first superstar album; I loved it. Got the original vinyl and the expensive(r) Original Master Recording LP; this one seems to be some sort of audiophile version. I shall, of course, leave it unopened for posterity. Will have to post on ArchaeoBlog about these tomorrow.

Friday, May 25, 2012

25 May 2012 (Friday)

On this day in 1948 (Tuesday):
Another nice day.
Finished cleaning the blinds & washed windows. At ten a.m. Don & one of his associates came in for coffee. And liked the house so fresh looking yet it still smells. Went to Providence Hospital & Dad said Dr. Rice had called & Don came in & Dad was sure glad to see him. Met Maude Ringer who was in training at St. Joseph's when Don was born & also Cheryl.
Don & Cheryl seem to be her kids, which I'd been gathering for a while now. Surprised Dad is still in the hospital and not at home recuperating -- even with a cast -- but maybe they kept people in longer back then.

The day started out very well: Jack came in probably around 3:30 or 4, meowed once, I moved my leg and he curled up next to me to sleep, which he rarely does. Badger used to sleep with me out on the couch* very often but neither of the other two have. When the alarm went off he was still there and happy as a clam so I just started giving him some pets and he loved it so much I just stayed in bed for a couple of minutes with him. After some bit of trouble going to sleep last night, I slept like a log.

Excellent workout, too, and started talking to a new person, Emma, who's been there for the last year or two. She sometimes wears those rubber feet thingies so I had to ask her about them. Upon coming home I started working on the report for the work I did yesterday, and that lasted until about 11:30, with short breaks all along to give Daisy attention. For some reason, she very 'bizzy' all morning and kept wandering in looking for attention. I think she missed me yesterday.

After lunch I popped over to Cascadia to return the equipment and we -- me, Teresa, and Randall -- ended up walking down the road to a Mexican place for their lunch and some hibiscus tea for me. They call it "karkadea" in Egypt, and I grew quite fond of it over there. I smuggled a couple boxes of tea bags back and still have some, but I've been hard pressed to find any here, in bags or served. Oddly, the last couple of months I've found it at two places, both Mexican restaurants, one here and one over in Twisp. It's delicious iced, I always believed it was a better thirst quencher in hot weather than even fruit juice, kind of a sweet but also bitter taste.

Fiona couldn't meet at 1:30 so we postponed until maybe later this afternoon, and while I was home doing some weeding she called up and said "How about meeting in 10 minutes?" This was at about 3:30. That was okay, so off I went and had a very nice time. She even had some hot men to look at this time!

After dinner, we drove up to Northgate to walk because there were several showers lingering around on the radar, and went into Target and the shoe place -- I got some leather stuff for my work boots. I finally found a hugely comfortable pair, so I want to keep them for a long time. Never did rain on us though, they just kept skirting away. Otherwise, it was a brilliant, nearly perfect day of sun and 72.

* Nearly every night for the last 2 years I've spent at least part of the night in the TV room on the couch. Once I get to sleep, I bolt awake a couple hours later, and I found that if I get up and go into the other room I usually fall right back to sleep. Kind of a pain but, eh, it works.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

24 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
Our hottest day 81-degrees this spring. Washed quilts & washing machine went bad, sputtered & spit fire & stopped so guess have to wash by hand. Cleaned venetian blinds. All day job. Had dinner at Ray's. Two painters are painting, the house going to look swell.

A fine spring day here in 2012, showery and rainy overnight, but turned sunny and low 60s. Kind of a bummer because I went and woke up at like 2:45, well before my 3:30 alarm this morning -- and I stayed awake mostly wondering if I'd set the alarm properly (I had). Grrr. Wasn't too bad though. The cats were pleased as punch that I was awake then, and followed me all over. I left the house to go to Lopez Island at 4:30 and made the ferry in Anacortes with a few minutes to spare. Pleasant ride over, although I thought it was going to take over and hour and it only took 40 minutes.I even ate one of the two donuts I brought on the ride.

On the island I had some difficulty locating the property. The address was 941, but there were no mailboxes or anything with a "941" on it, all I saw were some in the 300s, then a ways without any, and then a 1400+ one. Fortunately, there was just a single driveway between the two and I guessed that it was probably that one, correctly as it turned out. Really nice property, right on the water. I met the septic contractor -- had his 2-ish kind with him in a backpack -- and we went over the place and I got started by 8:30. I just had to dig a few shovel probes and check out some other exposures, so I was done by 11:30. Shallow holes, mostly some topsoil and then glacial junk. A couple had some good sized rocks, one that I even had to relocate because of a huge boulder. Found nothing, as expected.

A nice treat on getting done early was that the ferry didn't leave until 1:30 so I had some time to kill. I ate lunch on the water's edge on a big rock, and five sea otters were horsing around on a raft off shore! Cute little things. Desert Fox
Then I drove to the west side of the island on the strait between Lopez and San Juan and perused the beach for a while. Found a fairly large and recently deceased crab and watched while a seagull ate another one. Ferry ride back was uneventful, though I tried to take a nap but couldn't, although I may have had not the Spousal Unit phoned as I was dozing. Double Grrrr. Didn't get sleepy on the drive home though, and I even saw one of the vaunted (not) Chrysler Maseratis.

So, good day all in all. Tired though. Fiona is back in town so I hopefully have our Friday SBux to look forward to, in addition to sleep and a workout tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

23 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
Not a rainy day but hopes for better.
Stayed in bed til 11:30 a.m. Ate breakfast & dress & went to Providence Hospital, where Dad isn't very happy about being in his cast. Interne[sic] cut a hole in front so gives more expansion. Didn't feel a bit well. Came home & went to bed & slept.

It was a Sunday so she could sleep until 11:30 I guess. I had to snicker a bit at the hole-cutting. . . . .

Pretty good day today: Slept through the night until the alarm, had a good workout, and then went off to Sam's Club (Kleenex, eggs, Splenda, Swiffer juice) and then to Brad's to have the hatch striker fixed. The hatch hadn't been shutting properly, so he welded some new material onto the striker and now it works like a charm. They're good that way. On the way to Brad's I stopped by Goodwill, more from force of habit than any real interest in buying any more old stereo equipment. They didn't have anything remotely good, but I noticed their music section on the way to the restrooms, where they had an old organ and a piano. For whatever reason, I've been having a hankering to learn to play <I>something</I> and the piano was a nice small one, little beat up, but not too high or deep. Must refrain, I think.

Anyway, we did our usual McD's lunch and then I mostly hung out waiting for the stream guys to show up. They did around 2:45 (early) and made some measurements and gave me some advice on how to proceed. I'm much more confident now, as they said it would be easy and there were few ways I could screw it up (but I'm sure I'll try!). They thought I might not even need anything to seal the channel, although I need to test the sediment by digging a hole and then filling it with water and seeing how long it takes the water to disappear. Will probably just need to dig it and then line the bottom with some gravel. Hardest part will still be the ends, but they didn't seem to think that was much of a big deal either. I feel better about the whole thing now.

We went for a walk up to the Top Pot donuts, hoping I could snag a cream/custard filled donut for tomorrow (for some reason, I crave a donut about mid-morning), didn't have any, so I bought two normal ones, then went to Safeway for milk and cream cheese -- the Spousal Unit is, as I type this, making cupcakes for a workplace party tomorrow. Saw their new booze section which overjoys me almost beyond reason; not because I will be buying booze there regularly (if at all), but it's a small victory for my psyche as I've been arguing the State has no business selling liquor to the general public ever since I moved out here. I may go buy some on June 1 anyway, just as sort of a victory lap.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

22 May 2012 (Tuesday)

On this day in 1948 (Saturday):
Nice day but not like Thursday hot.
Mopped kitchen bathroom & utility rooms. Ray asked me over to lunch & I went to see Dad at Hospital. They put him in a cast at 10 a.m. He was sleeping when I came. Is in a five ward room. Just four men in the room now.
Still arranging nick-nacks[sic]. Ray & Sam were in a few minutes this evening. They had come from a funeral. Dad terrific unhappy about his position that he could have cried but no shoulder handy.

Poor Dad, all cooped up in a hospital bed with his hip in a cast. Probably can't even move much either.

Kind of a busy day here in 2012. After a decent night's sleep and a pretty good workout, I came home and made something of a breakthrough on my PH in Egypt paper. I'd been stuck on the Discussion section -- what should I say about what I'd just described? I'd been going over it in my head for a while: should I focus on natural selection, cooperation theory, some modern public health theory, or perhaps some comparative stuff (which strikes me as working even better, hmmmmm). I finally just moved a few paragraphs from my (overlong) introductory portions and am just going to summarize the foregoing in terms of assessing public health generally. That should work for a survey paper such as this, and I'll probably put some comparative stuff in as well.

Actually, before that I fiddled with the Calvary database some more. Free trial is running out on the 27th though. I made some more flat bread for lunch -- messy -- and then had to go over to Cascadia to get stuff for a job on Thursday up on Lopez island in the San Juans which, unfortunately, will necessitate leaving at around 4:30 in the morning, ugh. Easy driving that early though. Stopped at UVil on the way back and swapped some rolls of coins for cash and bought the bears (i.e., Jack and Daisy) more bonito flakes -- they adore those things. And was irritated with myself for losing the photo log for the Port Susan Bay project that I'd already done but deleted somehow. Thankfully, I'd already figured out the mistakes the first time through so it didn't take too long this time.

Kinda rainy today, but not as bad as yesterday. Walked by myself because the Spousal Unit didn't feel like walking in the rain, of which there wasn't any anyway, but whatever.

Jack and Daisy are goofing off in the other room as I type. They slept most of the day, but woke right up when I brought in the bonitos.

Monday, May 21, 2012

21 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
Again nice.
Had lunch at Ray's & Dad went to Dr. Buckner & they took ex Ray [ed.: heh] of his fall & found his pelvis bone cracked so they sent him right up to Providence Hospital at 17th & E. Jefferson. I cleaned the floor & waxed & brot up a lot of things back up to make the place livable.

Egads, I guess he was pretty hurt, though I imagine one could expect that given the difficulty and pain he apparently had in moving around.

At the moment I am listening to the 4th CD in the Red and Blue Beatles set which I started this afternoon. Hence, I have listened to the entire Beatles career in one afternoon. Kind of depressing, but interesting.

After a relatively stunning workout this morning, I went back downtown to finish a couple things up at HRA -- the mapping mostly -- and it worked out okay, despite my middle-of-the-night worrying the last few days (typical, sadly). Jenn said she really liked my writeup but ended up cutting lots of it out to fit the rest of the report; bothers me not at all, it's to be expected, but at least she knows what all we did and my interpretations of it. I went to the HS Rotunda for my post-workout bagels and then caught a bus downtown, which now are GPS enabled and show the next stop on a little sign and a recorded voice announcing it. Probably a good thing since it lets you know what street stop is coming up when you don't really know where you're going. I got home before noon so had lunch with the Spousal Unit (leftover pizza).

After lunch I finished a couple of things on the Port Susan Bay report and sent that off to Jana and then got back into the Calvary database. I tried actually entering a couple of "real" records and immediately found several problems, but was able to fix them all. Probably by the end of the week I could actually take it to the field. I think I may have radically overdesigned the last one in the form of too many key fields and such.

The front rain chain also wasn't working properly so I donned my rain gear and bravely went out in the raging storm (not really) to unclog it. Why I neglected to clear everything out when it was dry is beyond me, although insert leaky roof joke here. Didn't do a whole lot of good because about 4:45 it really <I>did</I> turn into a raging storm and completely clogged it up again. Even the back one was overwhelmed and was pouring over the edge. Our roof and downspouts are perhaps the stupidest designs ever conceived by the mind of man and I am continually paying the price for it.

I have decided that George Harrison wrote the most pleasant and listenable songs.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

20 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
Beautiful day, hot like summer. Dad & I went to Dr. Mittun and then down to Don's place. Has lunch and also stayed to dinner. To-morrow Dad is to check with Dr. Buckner.
Mr. Stusser & his helper are decorating the walls and when we came home about 9:30 p.m. The house was strong of turpentine.

Still don't know what this whole "decorating the walls" is all about, unless there was some form of wall decoration back then other than painting.

The day started out fairly pleasantly weather-wise, but has since been cloudy and lightly raining. Much needed as we've been quite dry for most of May. Speaking of which, I have something of a miracle plant: We have a hanging basket in the back that I kept around all winter, but when I put it outside this spring and pruned it a bit, it appeared to die off. So I quit watering it and it's been bone dry ever since. Well, this evening I went out back and. . . it's growing! Not sure if it just went all dormant with the dryness and then came roaring back with the rain today or what, but it makes me happy to see that. Perhaps I've been watering too much over the winter as they keep sort of growing out in the garage.

Otherwise, I woke up before 4 again, but went back to sleep for a bit about an hour later. Consequently, I made it to Mass and one of the altar servers fainted. Must be something in the Assumption air because that's like the fourth person to faint in the last couple of years. Maybe it's just Fr. Oliver causing the ladies to swoon. After that I worked on importing the Calvary data into the Filemaker db, which I had actually kind of neglected to do properly earlier. The Y/N vars needed to be converted to "Yes" and "No" (from "Y" and "N") and the multiple ones (e.g., Material, where it could be more than one) had to be split up into individual variables. So I did that, and now I just need to tweak the interface some more, test that, and then compare both databases to make sure the same data is in each, and then I can start using it. Think I'll probably buy it even though Access is a much better data management product.

We went to UVil as usual, not much exciting happening there. I more or less just messed around all afternoon. Daisy was ill this morning (throwing up once) and was more skittish than usual, but finally in the afternoon she desired attention and even popped up to sit next to me on the couch, which I'm not sure she's ever done before.

Went back to UVil for a couple bagels after dinner -- leftover chicken kebob with cucumber, humous, and my flat bread, all home made -- and got one free because I got both trivia questions correct: The last country in Asia alphabetically is. . . .Yemen (don't think many people got that), and dog bites was the other one. Did a little walking around there and now home. Wondering what TV to watch at 8 pm since Once Upon a Time is over for the season. Reruns or stuff On Demand, I suppose. I could read something but I'd fall asleep.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

19 May 2012 (Saturday)

On this day in 1948 (Wednesday):
Not so nice.
Busy carrying the extra things to basement feels like I have walked ten miles carrying down dishes, rugs, lamps & etc. chairs. Wonder if they (men) appreciate all that extra things. I do to make their work go faster. Could have left chairs & extra tables & etc. for them to move.

I guess they were having some serious "decorating" done after all. More than painting? What else could you do besides paint? I would guess draperies and such would be expensive.

Busy day today, starting off with working on ye olde Calvary database. It's coming together nicely albeit with some frustration. For some reason it's very difficult to read the text and such on the screen even though it's far larger than that on my old Palm. Must be something with the resolution, but I had to make everything very large for the iPad and it's still not altogether legible. But I have it reasonably functional and I may run a few test entries on it tomorrow. Still need a strapped handle for it.

Hit one of Marianne's estate sales over in Montlake, lots of art and physics/chemistry books and a couple of sex books (dirty old man), otherwise nothing exciting. Then, ha, we went to the U District for lunch and found parking attendants all over the place and asked one what was going on with all the parking stuff. The Street Fair. Duh, we must've looked like total rubes. Decided to go to it anyway, and I ended up getting a (ridiculously expensive) small bowl of red beans and rice. . .BUT a fried Twinkie later! Been wanting to try one for a while now and it was actually quite tasty. Not something I'd go for very often, but one must try some things at least once.

Went to Half-Price Books to maybe snag an older copy of Office for Mac, but they don't sell much app software anymore, due to registration issues. Darn it. Read some reviews of the previous version and it got quite a few bad reviews as being in beta shape, so I may end up having to buy the (icky) new version after all. Open Office is just causing too many problems. Came home and the Spousal Unit was in a minor snit because we didn't do something she had wanted to do, but didn't bother telling me what that was, so it bothers me not much. Ended up going out to the Thai place (with a ridiculously attractive waitress -- and a very good one to boot) and ate mostly vegetables due to our dietary depredations of the afternoon. Then stopped at Safeway and got a donut because otherwise I would be starving by 8.

And so, a little TV, and off to beddy bye. However you spell that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

18 May 2012

On this day in 1948:

Hmmmm. I seem to have blown it and gotten a day ahead of myself, having skipped the 17th entirely. Well. Here's what happened on May 17, 1948:
Ray & Sam were over & we had clam chowder which was swell. Dad still bad.

Nothing major missed, I guess.

I think last night I was asleep within a minute after putting my head down on the pillow. Sadly, I also was awake before 4 so not the greatest day (although I never felt tired much except around 4:30 this afternoon when I found myself nodding off in front of the TV).

Too many damn people at the gym this morning. Well, too many of them were men, I wouldn't mind if it were more women because A) They're nicer to look at, B) They smell nicer, and C) They don't usually use the heavy equipment I use. I managed to survive somehow. I planned on mapping out the survey points from T-W, but my old version of ArcView couldn't read the files Jenn sent, so I have to go in on Monday and do them there, which irritates me. So instead I worked on the project before that, the Stanwood one. Had much difficulty getting the photo log set; I initially tried to do it with just the Mac which entailed using the Unix command line to list out the filenames and dates. And I was successful at it, but ended up having to go back to the old Winblows machine anyway. Still took much longer than planned.

Around 11:30 I decided that I needed vegetal matter for lunch and went off to Mickey D's for a salad, but when I got there there was not a single parking space to be had, so with tears in my eyes I soldiered on to the Northgate Arby's instead. Field research a couple of years earlier had demonstrated that Arby's had better salads anyway. Besides, I was going to Cascadia and it was almost on the way. I got the files I needed there -- basically the proposal/plan so I could just plug background stuff into my report -- collected my paycheck, and I was off to UVil. Unfortunately, I darn near rear-ended some stupid Volvo that had stopped to let a bus turn out. Criminy, thank GOD I have decent brakes, I think I came within a foot of hitting it. Much tire smoke. So instead of hanging out there for a while, I just came home and finished the report, at least most of the text. Still needs some photos added, but no biggie.

We went for a walk but when we were almost home we noticed a couple of <s>ruffians</s> door-to-door whatevers a couple houses down and moving our way so we bravely continued walking around the block to avoid them seeing we were home. Some may call it cowardly, but I call it clever.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

18 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
Beautiful day.
Put cot out in back yard enjoying the sun shine washed clothes. Dad still bad. Mr. Slusser[?] came told us he would decorate the house, if I would make it ready. Just about fainted to hear such news.
Mr. Slusser & his helper are decorating the walls

That last bit is struck through in the diary. Not sure what that means, "decorate the house". Painting? Cleaning?

Busy day today, helped along quite nicely by a wonderful full night's sleep. Oddly, my workout was not the greatest, possibly because I neglected to drink enough yesterday while working in the sun. Not a <I>bad</I> one, just not great. Finally introduced myself to Stewart, a South African who's been at the IMA for years and we've traded pleasantries quite often, but never formally "met".

I still had the rental truck, but drove my Mustang to the IMA anyway -- did NOT want to have an accident in the dumb thing on something non-work related. So when I came home I ate my bagels and then tried -- vainly, it turned out -- to polish out a small scratch-type thing I noticed last night. Then I drove it to the Enterprise lot downtown and returned it (no problems, with the 'scratch' or anything else) and then went to the HRA offices to work on the report. Went pretty well, I thought. I popped off to have lunch with Lisa W. and I enjoyed that as well. It was a late birthday lunch, and hers is Saturday so I may venture downtown again next week for lunch and bring her a small gift as well. One of my oldest friends, Lisa is, we started at the County at about the same time in 1990. Odd friendship as we have very little in common, I don't think, although at the time she was hot, hot, hot and I referred to her as "the brunette with the legs".

Errr, anyway. Went back and finished up what I could there, and then took off on the 71 bus (filled with people) and then the people got off in the U District, but then a bunch of Roosevelt high schoolers got on again, so darn. Made meatballs when I got home using my sainted mother's recipe and at two of them because. . . .it was Cascadia happy hour night! I wasn't going to go but decided to anyway. Blasted tavern didn't have any non-alkyholic beer either so I had to drink water and munch on nachos (=yum). Raised a glass to the late great Bob Greengo and talked about the other old, departed archaeologists. And now, home, and my darling cats and Spousal Unit.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

16 May 2012 (Wednesday)

On this day in 1948 (Sunday):
Rain & some times not.
Went to church & home found Dad walking & thinks he doesn't need the wall to cling to. Mr. Blackwell gave me sheep shears for he had nicked the blade on mine. I had said our(sic) was old & no good anyhow but here he gave the brand new pair. Mrs. Blackwell gave me a quart of clams so think shall have fritters to night.

Poor Dad.

Good day altogether, although I woke up too early. Got a mocha at SBux before heading downtown and we left the breaker bars and auger at the shop as I decided we didn't need them and would have had to lock them in the cab of the truck anyway. Went to the first area and as we headed up to the quarry some guy across the street got our attention and wanted to know what we were doing -- looks after the property for the landowner -- but he seemed okay with it. Ended up being quite a hike up and only did a couple of shallow probes. Then we went to the next area and I was cornered by "the crazy lady" we'd been warned about. I dunno about crazy exactly. . . .<I>very</I> opinionated, hates communists, hates Nazis, hates Islamists, hates Obama, hates neighbors who thinks she's a Nazi (said she was Greek), etc. I was kind of hoping one of my compatriots would come to my rescue, but no dice. I finally got rid of her and went into the lot to work and while in there we heard her screaming at someone (maybe us!) about being "evil doers" and such. I arranged for one of them to have my cell # in case she got me again so they could call and get me away. Thankfully, we made our escape in peace.

Last areas were under some transmission lines and it was getting very warm. We did 7 probes in all around there and left around 2:30 so we got back in reasonable time. We have the truck until tomorrow so I drove it home and will drop it off tomorrow morning on my way in. We might have scratched it a bit, hope not enough to have a charge for it.

So, a successful bit of field work, I think: didn't lose anything and I shall find out tomorrow whether we got enough information for a decent report. I just want to sleep through the night tonight and have a good workout tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

15 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
Rather nice.
Sam & Ray are going to Garfield to see Marge & Cliff on their way took Dad & I to Dr. Mettun[?] office on Roosevelt Way. Dr. thinks he was lucky not to have had broken bones in his fall.

I'll say; seemed like a really nasty fall Dad took.

A word about last night: Took the King County test and despite some stress, it went all right. Basically just taking some Access data on juvenile arrests and coming up with some summary tables and graphs. I had until 9 to finish and I sent it back at 8:15. At this point, I'm really not interested in pursuing it further, since today went well. Apparently, HRA has been trying to get me on something for a while now and, according to Jenny (who I quite like) they'd heard "outstanding things about me" from Cascadia, and one of the crew thought it somewhat impressive that my first job with them was to do my own project. And they seem to think they can keep me busy. So, I'm inclined to just pursue this whole archaeology thing for a while.

We drove down to Maple Valley and got quite a bit done. We did some probes in a couple of areas, but others were too steep. We have only 3 areas to do tomorrow and one will probably not require any probes, only photos and <I>maybe</I> a probe or two. It's in an old gravel quarry but there's a portion that could be undisturbed. The other two areas will only need a few probes and those go pretty quickly. So I think we'll finish tomorrow. Probably quite a hike into the quarry though. Driving the rig went okay, although I tried to change lanes into a Caddy on the way bock, oops. Mind the blind spot!

I slept okay last night, although woke up early, probably around 3 or 3:30. Thankfully, I managed to go back to sleep for a while so I wasn't at all tired today, although that could have been from stress. Beautiful day as well, sunny all day and mid '70s. Tomorrow promises to cool off, which will be okay, I got enough sun today.

Monday, May 14, 2012

14 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
Rain, rain rather it showers on & off. Dad still laying about.

Starting this in the middle of the afternoon since this evening I will be taking some stupid test for a King County job. For having probably the laziest workforce in the world, governments sure do pretend to screen their potential employees carefully. Supposed to be 3 hours long, they send it via email, and I do it on my computer. Probably a bunch of Access queries and junk. Not that I care too much about it now that I'm doing more archaeology. . . . .

Speaking of which, I spent a good amount of time at HRA downtown. Pretty neat setup. They're across from the Bon building. Did the paperwork to work for them and then went over the project. Kind of a confusing mess of small areas to survey down in Maple Valley. Should be three of us. They even had me go pick up the pickup at Enterprise, a giganto Dodge truck. Yeeks. On the one hand, it drives way better than my little Mustang II, and also gets about the same gas mileage. A big-ass truck getting the same mileage as my tiny little 30-year old Mustang; who says automobiles haven't improved?!

So I need to take that down and put some gas in it this afternoon and then do the dumb test after dinner, so no walking. I could, theoretically, work out tomorrow morning before going downtown -- I don't have to be there until after 7:30 -- but I did both upper and lower body this morning so I don't really need to. Besides, I'll have enough to think about without getting out of here at exactly 6 am.

Slept like crap last night: couldn't get to sleep and then woke up at probably 3:30, although I did manage to get back to sleep for a bit. Undoubtedly the stress (such as it is) from this test and starting at HRA. Twenty years ago this would not have disturbed me at all, but now it seems like even the smallest "new" thing totally stresses me out, if only subconsciously. Thankfully, I've made at least some progress on "curing" this: 5 years ago I never would have even thought about doing archaeology again and, in fact, most projects so far haven't caused much angst. I often wonder if this is a natural part of growing older or if it's something in my lifestyle over the last few years which is entirely possible. I spent much too much time after getting my degree (2001) in public health and not really developing any enthusiasm for it, so it's quite possible that I just got into a major rut all on my own. Still, my dad I think went through much the same thing with an inability to sleep through the night in his later years and worrying at night while doing so. I like to think it's something I can change through training and toughening up my psyche.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

13 May 2012 (Sunday)

On this day in 1948 (Thursday):
Not quiet[sic] so much rain. Dad still down & hard to get about. Don & co-worker stopped in to see Dad.
P.O. inspector came to ask Dad about his open letter that was in the P.I. in Voice of People.

OOoooo, Dad was being a rabble rouser. Wonder what this "P.O. Inspector" was? I was thinking Post Office but that doesn't make sense.

Slept badly last night, couldn't get to sleep and then awoke at 4:15 and was unable to get back to sleep. Grrrrr. Kind of a waste of a beautiful sunny day, too, although I did manage a 15-minute nap later in the morning. Consequently, I got little done save for cleaning up my library/den/office. When will I leanr to just keep the damn thing clean all.the.time? Still have a lot of shredding to do, too. I just need to develop a little bit of OCD on keeping A Place for Everything and Everything In Its Place. Oh, I did write up a short intro post for our Carroll Shelby week for Car Lust. It was an okay one, nothing to write home about, but it only took me about a half hour.

The usual Sunday routine was in effect, that being lunch at UVil and then the weekly grocery shopping, but lunch was outside again, a definite treat for around here. Bought salmon for dinner and made it teriyaki, one of the only ways I can deal with salmon. Well, I like it okay, but usually only when someone else cooks it. Me, I have to make it into almost shoe leather before I'll eat it, but if I do say so myself, it was quite tasty and we polished off 0.60 pound.

I took some time out this afternoon to continue reading Riders of the Purple Sage, kind of taking a depressing turn, although more exciting than The Rainbow Trail. Not sure I'll read any more Zane Grey, although I do kind of like this whole western motif. I more or less got turned off of westerns because all I could associate them with was 1940s/50s movies and TV shows which for some reason I really dislike; just way too hokey.

Listening to CS&N's Daylight Again, one of my favorite albums still.
There are windows on the water
Lighting up the silver strand
Shining on the sea

And the ocean's just a player
On an old piano
Who repeats one melody
Repeats one melody


'Cause it ain't long
Before it's gone
You might as well
have a good time

Saturday, May 12, 2012

12 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
<blockquote>Rain & rain.
Putting hot applications on his hip to-day, so Dad is laying about. Don has an idea how it feels to get bumped for he was in an auto wreck. Went to Mountaineers Clubrooms to take in money from the week-end.</blockquote>

Poor Dad.

We are the exact opposite weather-wise: Sun & Sun. 76 today and warmer tomorrow. I wore shorts and a short-sleeved shirt today, probably the first time since last summer. We went to Burgermaster for breakfast, and then I went to the gym about 10 and had a truly epic workout, the first since Tuesday. More people there later in the day, especially women. One short and extremely tan asian chick spent like a half hour just doing ab stuff. Then I walked up to Hair.Comb where the Spousal Unit was having her hair cut and we went to Pagliacci's for lunch, and then got a couple more jock straps on the Ave. Whoa, and tonight I bought some new shoes -- clothes horse! Haven't bought much clothing since I have been unemployed, except some field gear. The shoes are some retro Pumas; I felt like getting away from the running/cross-training athletic shoe and went for some with a more flat bottom '70s look. Comfortable though.

After coming home after lunch, I did a bit of yard work and then read the rest of <I>Inherit the Stars</I> on my iPad, which is fitting in a way, since that book got me all into high-tech stuff and computers and what-not way back in the 1970s when I first read it. Now, umpteen readings since and I'm using a touchpad computer that wasn't even part of that book's future world. I have a feeling I will be reading more and more books on it, though mostly free ones.

While I was reading Myra the neighbor cat got in a scrap with another cat right in the corner of the back yard. I broke it up and the neighbor (of the other cat) was trying to get their cat back, I was trying to get Myra back and calmed down and Lola was barking. After dinner we went to Northgate and got the shoes and a new waffle iron (Calphalon) for Mother's Day. Waffles for breakfast.

Friday, May 11, 2012

11 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
<blockquote>Rain & rain some more. In bed most the day by evening had dinner ready for Dad but he came home I had to help him in. At his quiting[?] work on ship at A. Canning Co. when in hatch to count extra cartons fell in hatch 5 or 6 feet. So fell on his bottom and his muscles are tense. Just plain lucky didn't break his arm or leg or sprain back. </blockquote>

Poor Dad, risking his life in the ship yards so Mom can lay in bed all day, tsk tsk. 

A beautiful sunny day here in contrast to 1948. Wonderful day at the site as well, after yet another good night's sleep. They finished up today so I shan't be going back next week, leaving me free to work for HRA all week. Today was slightly more interesting as they dug four deep "pot holes" or test trenches, a couple down to 9 feet down. Supposedly these may have gone into native sediments -- rather than the dyke itself -- and in two of them it did: a blue-gray anoxic sand, similar to what I've seen elsewhere. That was only about 6" or so, and was distinctly non-cultural so nothing to worry about. They did that about 9:30 and then after a bit of a wait started the fence trenching again and were done with that by about 1:00 so I was out of there by 1:30. Despite the abundant sun, I still had on a t-shirt, long sleeved shirt and sweatshirt; wasn't that warm and the breeze kept it cool. Still, when I got home I donned a pair of shorts(!) and after catching up on email and giving Daisy and Jack some attention I sat outside in the sun and read John Lloyd Stephens' <I>Incidents of Travel in Yucatan</I>, although I skipped the chapter on bull fighting (horrid "sport" that).

We're starting to talk seriously about getting a new vehicle. If this stuff with HRA pans out and I keep up the steady fieldwork, I can't keep doing it in my Mustang. What to do with it then? I'd try to park it at the in-laws' big garage and see if I ever drive it or work on it or anything and if not, dump it. I mean, I do so adore driving it, but I don't like putting so many miles on it and having to drop hundreds of dollars just to keep it from smelling or something. Don't know if I could part with it, I've had it over 20 years now. But, we shall see.

The weekend looks to be sunny and abundantly warm; a quite welcome respite from this week of work and the spring we've had generally; however, this makes the 4th or 5th weekend in the row of sun so I fear we're getting set up for a nasty fall. Err, spring. Well, whatever.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

10 May 2012 (Thursday)

On this day in 1948 (Monday):
<blockquote>Rain, rain.
Sick in bed all day.
One day Mother was trying to clean her 3 yrs old son & he was protiating[protesting?] & she said "Don't you want to be a clean little boy?" But said the little boy, can't you just dust me?</blockquote>

I guess that was a joke.

Another long day in the field, but a reasonably pleasant one. Slept very well last night and got to the site a little after 7. Mostly a boring day, actually, but it was sunny and a bit warmer than yesterday (at least there was much less wind), although we got a true shower this morning complete with tiny bits of hail. Found a few bottles, one still with a little vodka still in it. Got a brown bottle with the cap still in place (and rusty) which I think is a PBR bottle; I suspect it's a twist-off cap and whoever drank it screwed the cap back on. Many more mice today, including a baby that I helped get into hiding. Poor little thing; I gave him a little elevator ride on my trowel. Will finish tomorrow, with the deep holes, which means I'll actually have something to look at.

The better news is that I can go work for HRA next week! Good to get in there, and Jen seems very excited to have me work for them.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

9 May 2012

On this day in 1948 (Sunday):
<blockquote>Sun really shone & the workers had a swell day. There were 17 for Sunday.
Had good meals & a successful week-end. Frances & Don gave me a 2 lb. box of Whitman chocolates and Cheryl sent a beautiful lunch cloth, hand painted. I am so thankful for having wonderful good children. We got the 6:45 p.m. ferry for Seattle. Mr. Fuller brot us home. Had a very nice week-end at Kitsap Cabin.</blockquote>

Aha, so Cheryl and either Frances or Don are her children! Didn't know that before. There's a nice little foil and plastic strip (maybe off the chocolates) with a bit of a flower and a "for Mother" on it. Probably Mother's Day that year.

I had a good day. First day on a new field project and I actually slept well. It was up in/near Stanwood at some Nature Conservancy land. I got up there fine (about an hour) and had enough time to stop for a donut at a QFC. Good construction crew, wanted to make sure they didn't hit anything, and friendly. Deadly dull work though. They're digging a very shallow (like 6") at the base of a dyke and it was almost all redeposited silt and clay: i.e., blah to the nth degree. So bland I didn't mind walking back and forth to the car for food and beverage a couple of times (we knew this going in). I even took out my iPod and read Ghost Rider for a bit. Of course, that was when some undisturbed sediment showed up, just some blackened and burned sediment, not cultural. I'm going to bring my other iPod tomorrow and may crank tunes to keep from going insane. Even the immediate area isn't interesting to look at, it's all just flat. Lot of birds though. It's an area between two dykes that had created farmland (i.e., flat) and was a freshwater marsh; now it's being restored to a saltwater marsh. They were going to try to finish tomorrow, but probably won't.

One bit of GREAT news is that another archaeological firm -- Historical Research Associates -- called and asked if I could work next week (probably not) and that if not then they'd have other stuff for me later, no doubt. Said they'd heard good things from Cascadia about me, so that is a positive. . . .finally. They're much bigger so should have more work. I sent them a CV last week, plus Sarah's partner works there. Kind of wanting to forget about working in PH and just throw my lot in with archaeology now. Admittedly, when I now think of going back to a cubicle to just mess with data on a computer I get slightly depressed.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

8 May 2012

On this day in 1948:
<blockquote>Nice days.
Dad & I & Mildred Jardine went on 9 a.m. ferry for Kitsap Cabin. There were 12 Mountaineers to work & clean Outdoor Theatre. They did a lot. We had fun playing games at night about the fire-place. Took the ram over but it doesn't work yet. Several men worked hard on it but it refuses to pump the water.</blockquote>

"Ram"? The Mountaineers, if you recall, are a mountaineering group around here and are <a href="http://www.mountaineers.org/ScriptContent/default.cfm">still around</a>.

Right now, Daisy is playing with a small stick that fell out of my field gear onto the floor.

Slept well, excellent workout. . . .all set to not work out for a week. Sad.

Today I went up to Bothell to visit David Morgan, both the man and the store. You can read more about it <a href="http://www.acagle.net/ArchaeoBlog/?p=15595">here</a>:
<a style="display: inline;" href="http://acagle.net/images/FieldPhotos/Whip1.JPG"><img style="margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px; width: 350px;" src="http://acagle.net/images/FieldPhotos/Whip1.JPG" alt="Desert Fox" /></a><br>
He made the Indiana Jones movie whips and still goes into the retail store daily. I was looking for a new field hat, and wanted to look at some of theirs and get some opinions. Oddly, the one that really caught my eye was a dumpy canvas one: it looked suitably rugged and could probably be mostly waterproofed. I suspect I'll end up with a brimmed hard hat in the end though. I went in the back and learned how to make a whip, and we chatted some about whips and archaeology and such.

Upon my return -- that took most of the morning -- I at a little lunch and watched a little shouting match on ESPN about football concussions, then spent the rest of the afternoon getting things ready for tomorrow (field) and doing some odd jobs around the house and computer. Oh, this morning I successfully transferred the Calvary DB over to the iPad and. . . .it worked! Still needs some tweaking, but I was actually able to enter some test data. Should work out fine.

Dinner was lackluster, jarred spaghetti sauce over Jimmy Johns bread, which the spouse let me know was not entirely successful.

Oh, and I got my official AARP card in the mail today. I don't know whether to burn it in ceremonious fashion and simply run it through the shredder.

Monday, May 7, 2012

7 May 2012 (Monday)

On this day in 1948:
Newspaper clipping of an obituary for one "Dr. Lewis C. Tidball, Ex-Principal Here; Dies at Vashon Island":
<blockquote>Dr. Lewis Cass Tidball, 65, formerly of Bellingham, died Thursday at his home on Vashon Island following a brief illness. etc.</blockquote>

Entry in the diary is as follows:
<blockquote>The best or nicest man that I had ever worked for. Worked with him at Franklin School.</blockquote>

Ah, well, at least we know our diarist worked at Franklin High School in Bellingham for a time.

Busy day today and the sunny, warm weather made most of it an absolute pleasure. I slept okay and had an epic workout -- due in large part to the fact that I have only two this week so I had to do a lot -- and then went to Cascadia to get briefed on the project starting Wednesday. Probably pretty dull as the place they're working in is nearly all historic and shallow, although there is one bit that could go deep and, seeing as it's on an old shoreline, there could be something worth finding down there. Weather is supposed to be nice all week (except Wednesday) so at least the environment will be pleasant.

I went to Sam's Club and Ace Hardware after that, the latter to get a new file so I can weaponize (i.e., sharpen) my new trowels. Imagine that, a non-rusty new file works so much better! Both are now reasonably sharp, though I didn't get them knife-sharp like I did my others. I think I did that more out of a sense of macho than because they were more functional. OTOH, a very sharp trowel can do wonders with a fine-grained baulk. . . . .

Anyway, we did our usual McDonald's, and then I worked on ye olde cemetery database in Filemaker for a while. Way different from Access, but I'm getting the hang of it and will probably buy the dumb thing once the trial version runs out on the 27th. Should work well. I can't imagine using it for this without my overall DB expertise. Oye.

After a trip to the UVil to cash a couple of checks and deposit the old per diem moolah, I. . . .came back and worked on the DB more before starting dinner, although in usual Monday fashion I'd put a chicken in the slow cooker this morning. I was forced to use both pinto beans and black-eyed peas for the "faux fool" beans which kinda makes it. . . faux faux fool?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

6 May 2012

No entry for 1948.

A bit bummed right now, as I failed to obtain a certain photograph from an estate/antique market that I saw last week: it was taken in Morocco in 1939 and showed a bunch of people reading the news written on an outside board about the start of WWII. I thought it captured the era perfectly, with the people in suits and hats, the natives in galabayas, and obtaining their information from newspapers and printed boards and radio. Alas, someone purchased it yesterday. Always go with your gut. At a different estate sale in Madrona I did, however, buy an old Harry Belafonte LP (Calypso) with Day-O on it (50 cents) which is in remarkably good condition for being almost 50 years old. Poor old Harry's turned into kind of a nut these days, but it's a very cool record. Also got a painting/print which is now hanging in the bedroom -- both blue -- and it looks nice but perhaps too big for the wall it's on.

The weather was fine today, sunny all day and in the mid-60s. I went to Mass (not very full for some reason) and then we went to the estate sale in Madrona, kind of a new area for us to explore. After that, we had hot dogs from the hot dog cart at UVil, also new for us. Not a bad dog, little too small, but tasted good, nice soft bun, and. . . SAUERKRAUT. YUM. Hot dog with yellow mustard, onion, and kraut: perfection on a bun. All I needed was a beer and I'd have been in business.

After coming home, I sharpened one of my new trowels somewhat, since our one file is fairly dull, but I got it halfway sharp on one edge. Tomorrow I'll get a new file and finish it. It made me feel quite good to do that as the last time I did was probably the late 1980s. I quite enjoy doing archaeology and actually calling myself an archaeologist, far more than doing public health and calling myself a data programmer or whatever. It feels right.

Between the old photograph and my '80s music and the trowel, I'm feeling very nostalgic today. The lilacs are also blooming and those remind me very strongly of home in Wisconsin and spring -- spring after a long, cold, snowy winter. I think lilacs are my favorite smell in all the world. The future is still very uncertain, but lately I am almost feeling that I am finally heading in the right direction, towards archaeology as a career, but also with public health as my more or less "theoretical" research direction. It almost feels like I've been asleep since, say, 1989 or so when I diverged into public health and office work and now I am back to pursuing archaeology with a passion. The sunny weather helps, but I hope this attitude stays with me a while.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

5 May 2012 (Saturday)

Well, first day of my next 50 years. . . .

(No entry for 1948, btw)

First night in my 50s went okay, although I had to have a date with Miss Ambien before falling asleep, but then did well for the rest of the night (she really tires me out!). We went out for breakfast at Burgermaster and I used my birthday gift card (thanks, Fiona!) and splurged on a western omelette. Could only eat half of it, so the rest is for tomorrow, and also had to go to the IMA to work it off so I didn't feel like I had consumed a softball the rest of the day. Good workout, too, and I went and leg-pressed 500 again just to be spiteful. . . .suck it, AARP! Today was the crew races at the Montlake cut so my lot was full of shells and far too tall and muscular people (even the women), but I swung a parking space close by and my pass got me through without a ticket.

We went to Northgate <I>again</I>, the third time in three days after not going in a couple of weeks, had lunch and then got some suspension bridges at The Bon/Macy's. I looked for new shoes but came up empty. I've kind of been jonesing for some retro Adidas or something, but the ones I tried on just didn't feel very good. Partly I want those because they look cool but I'm also sick of the backs of my jeans getting stuck on the top of the shoe and looking like a douche. After that we went to UVil to get carrot birthday cake fixin's and have some frozen yogurt.

I did an hour's work on getting my photos ready from last week -- still have to resort to using the PC for resizing the photo files in batch, and then listing out the timestamps and filenames. Must figure that out on the Mac. . .well, I just need Adobe for the first part and learn the Unix commands for the second. Oh, this morning I also made some progress on migrating my Calvary DB to Filemaker -- I imported the tables in and at least set the relationships. Still need to figure out how to set key fields and switching between tables.

Otherwise, we just went for a walk and will retire to the downstairs to watch TV for the remainder of the evening. Myra came over for pets and treats, as usual. She's a sweet little cat, Myra is.

Friday, May 4, 2012

4 May 2012

On this day in 1948:

Newspaper clipping for "Ask Dorothy Dix". First one has to do with a soon-to-be mother of 26 whose mother is saying she will stay at their house all day every day to care for the child because young people are too immature to do a proper job. Second one is a 15-year old <s>tart</s> girl who goes on dates every night but really <I>really</I> likes one boy but isn't allowed to see him because of differences in ages.

Today I am half a century old. Very uneventful day all around: I woke up before 4 (yuk), had a decent workout, blah blah blah. Well, I ate my post-workout bagels at the HS Rotunda and took a 65 home, then walked -- walked! -- up to Brad's to get my car. Hopefully the gas smell is fixed, but between that and a few rattles it was $590. I drove away seriously thinking about getting a new vehicle. I really like my car, but. . . .$600 just to make it not smell like gas? Hate to get rid of it though.

But back to me. I'm 50. 50! When I was a kid I could only with difficulty imagine being 40! "Wow," we'd say to each other, "in the year 2000 I'll be 38!" Back then it was "the year 2000" which seemed so very far off. This one seems a bit different from the earlier milestone ages, 30 and 40. At those I really wasn't much different from what I was at 20, for the most part. I hadn't really deteriorated at all physically (truth be told, I'm no doubt in far better shape now than when I was 20), and was either gainfully employed or working on my degree. Now. . . .been off the degree treadmill for 11 years now and have barely any direction, no permanent job, and I need reading glasses and have rosacea. Those are things I literally <I>can't do anything about</I> -- no working out more to fend off poor eyesight or do anything at all about the redness. Perhaps if I were on a better career track I'd feel differently and just treat it as a non-event or even as a way to snub my nose at these silly "milestone ages" (although, hey, I leg-pressed 568 lbs last week!).

Not that I've been moping about or anything; really, far from it. After fetching my car, I went to McDonald's, then parked at UVil and went to the Apple store looking for a handled iPad case (ixnay), Office Depot looking for a handled iPad case (ixnay, but I did get a screen cover for it), and then the ATT store looking for a handled iPad case (ixnay, but I got a $5 plastic case for the back -- even sweet-talked the sales chick into putting the screen cover on for me, although whether she did it because I was charming and attractive or she thought I was an old dolt who probably would just screw it up I leave for the reader to decide). After that I met Fiona/Shaniqua at the SBux and had a delightful time (she even had some scenery to check out today!). So, a fairly average Friday; nothing really celebratory or depressing, but I admit to being a bit more reflective.

No birthday celebrations either. I made dinner, and we just hit Northgate for a Cinnabon and a walk.

I did make arrangements to see David Morgan next Tuesday -- <I>the</I> David Morgan who made Indiana Jones' whips -- who I'd actually met once before several years ago when my sister was out here. I'm looking into a new field hat, so I'm going to do some research there and meet the guy, hopefully take a photo, and do an ArchaeoBlog post on it. And Jana from Cascadia called and I'll be in the field 3 days next week and some more after that, so at least I have that to look forward to.

Still. . . . .

<I>50!</I>

Thursday, May 3, 2012

3 May 2012

No entries on this day in 1948. The last couple of days has just been newspaper clippings so no big loss.

Awoke this morning (in Twisp) to a steady rain, the first I experienced over there. I'd set the thermostat too cold the night before so I was rather chilly overnight, though I'm not entirely certain the actual reading on the thermo has a whole lot to do with the temperature of the room -- more like Hot or Cold only. Another decent night's sleep due either to the peace and quiet and darkness (and lack of scurrying cats), the amount of physical labor I'd done that day, or maybe just the overall environment. I guess we'll see tonight if it carries over to home.

We left at about 7:45 and decided to go over on Highway 2 instead of 90 and I'm glad we did: the scenery was spectacular. I was worried it would take much longer as it was a 2-lane highway nearly the whole way, but it was actually faster: we arrived at my doorstep at 12:15, a good half hour to 45 minutes faster than the other way. We went through Leavenworth, which some time ago was a struggling former mining/logging town and had fallen on hard times. Some group or other decided to go the tourist route and thought that making a Bavarian-themed town was the way to go, even though there was no direct connection between Leavenworth and Bavaria. The setting, however, nestled among the peaks of the Cascades, is rather reminiscent of (I suppose, never having been there myself) the Bavarian Alps. Similar geologic structure at any rate. We only passed through so I wasn't able to really soak in the atmosphere, but it seemed like a nice place to visit. We made an aborted attempt to get there a few years ago, thwarted at the time by the traffic and a late start. Some day, some day. . . . .

Otherwise, it was a pleasant drive back. Passed through mountains and roaring mountain rivers, saw a bit of wildlife in the form of unidentified raptors -- as I told Sarah and Mike, my only knowledge of raptors is big-eagle, medium=hawk, small=falcon -- and thus I further my credentials as a non-birder. At times I desperately wished we could just pull off to the side of the road and take in the scenery but, alas, we all wanted to get back. We talked more this time around, and for the mountain drive I popped in my iPod and played Indiana Jones music. Heh.

After the mountains, the drive was a bit of a disappointment as we were going through flat country full of cars and strip malls and all the busy accouterments of a modern populated area. I missed driving for ten minutes and seeing more deer than cars and being able to look around and see hills and mountains and sagebrush instead of Jack in the Boxes. Much greener on this side though. Not sure I'd like to relocate over there as much as, say, Sequim, but I'm definitely keen on doing more fieldwork over there.

Daisy and Jack were in the front window when I arrived, and despite a couple minutes of wariness at this strange person with all the junk being deposited on the living room floor, both seemed happy to see me. Jack wouldn't stop pestering me for attention and I wasn't home an hour before Daisy was demanding brushing and combing and plopping down in the bathroom sink for a good scratch. I unpacked and did my laundry after a quick lunch of canned soup (delightful as three days of cold lunch sandwiches). Watched a bunch of stuff while eating on Junior Seau who killed himself yesterday; very sad. He was one of the few USC players I really liked and respected. I predict this will change the NFL radically, maybe not right away but soon. I really wonder if the NFL has peaked and will be replaced by soccer within my lifetime as the major sport in this country.

I know, boooooooring.

I didn't do a great deal, except catch up on mail, email, and check out my new Marshaltowns. Nice little implements, will have to sharpen them though, I haven't done that in years. Dinner I made pork chops (teriyaki) and then we went walking at Northgate since it's been raining here all day as well.

It's good to be back, and I've decided that I like going away for fieldwork. It's a bit tough, and I'd not like to do it all that often or for long stretches, but it's refreshing. Very simple. You have what you can carry and time is spent either working or preparing for work or relaxing in a simply-furnished motel room, with maybe a computer with slow Internet and a TV. I noticed that even when working in Egypt, how travel clears your head of many of the distractions that you tend to clutter up your home life with. Note to self: Do more traveling.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2 May 2012

Finished work here today. Slept okay last night and work went well today. We started out up at the one end of the long transect where Sarah and I did a couple of probes and then went down to a second area to do some more. We had three deer up at the first area wandering through. The second area wasn't all that interesting, just a field/pasture next to the road and up to the ditch. We had to do a couple of probes on the other side of the ditch which was really rocky and difficult to dig in, and then another one down below that was even worse: 80% rocks and I only made it to 40 cm, it was so hard to dig through. We finished up at the other location, but had a little difficulty with a landowner who hadn't been informed that we were coming, but she let us keep going. That one was thankfully very easy digging. Wasted a bit of time in the morning trying to locate our APE, and then a the end of the day trying to find something else. So, not too bad although I am tired this evening.

We went to dinner in Winthrop at a Mexican place, and it was okay (same place Meg and I went to last time). Technically my birthday dinner but I didn't drink anything except water and no dessert so they weren't able to buy me anything. I came back and finished up some notes and that was it. We're heading out at 7:30 tomorrow. Beautiful day today and I was in only a t-shirt for a while there. Supposed to rain all day tomorrow so I'm thankful we finished today.

Wildlife: Several deer in all locations, even in front of our motel! Few odd birds, including one black and white with a long tail, similar to something I saw in China. Some blue birds we saw yesterday (and today) turned out to be, not coincidentally, mountain bluebirds. Various raptors and vultures. Coupla dead deer, sad. I have successfully convinced Teresa that "birdwatchers" are boring geeks (aka, Canadians), which unfortunately creates situations where I must mention a particular bird species that we see but immediately disavow that I am a "birder". Hey, if it were mammals I'd be saying the same thing!

This has been a pretty good project, although the probes were getting boring. I was getting ready to break out the iPod and may do so in the future if I ever end up doing a lot of them again.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

1 May 2012

Slept quite well last night and didn't wake up until almost 5:30. Had my muslix for breakfast and it held me over pretty well for most of the morning. We just continued shovel probes in one area and I continued the mapping which I quite enjoyed, although I got a bit off at one point but corrected it easily. We finished along the first transect by noon, and then finished the rest in the afternoon. Sara and I went off to one area and were able to figure out the transect by dead reckoning and when I found the marker stake that had been knocked over we were right on line. Finished up there, talked to a neighbor for a few minutes, etc. Little else to say, it was a decently productive, if uneventful, day of archaeology. My soon-to-be 50-year old back was not enjoying the afternoon, however.

Found out what sage looks like, it's all over the place here. That's one of those plants that you hear about all your life but don't think too much about, but then, there it is. I smashed some up in my hand and it had a fairly distinctive odor about it, sort of a mediciny smell, but clean, not what you would call fragrant. I hear tell you can rub it all over your skin and it will act like something of a deodorant, and even burn it and allow the smoke to de-smellify your clothing. I think I saw that on Survivorman once, maybe. If I happen to get stuck out here, I'll keep it in mind.

Lots of wildlife this time, many, many deer, all alive save one by the side of the road. =( Well, and parts of one or two in our survey area. Couple quail crossed the road, avoiding being roadkill themselves, some eagles, hawks, I even think I saw some bluebirds today -- they were blue, that's all I know about them. I refuse to be a "birder", FWIW, but I rather like knowing what critter is what. Few mammals except deer, although I got to enjoy the odorous remains of a skunk encounter for a bit this afternoon.

For dinner I walked down to Paco's Taco's, a strictly take-out place that just has an Order and Pick Up window. I was expecting actual Mexicans operating it, but it was middle aged white people making organic-ish stuff. Prices were reasonable, however, and the food was excellent. I had a chipotle cole slaw salad with chicken and a hibiscus cooler, the latter of which is just hibiscus tea on ice which I beca,e fond of in Egypt (they call it “karkaday” there). Now just dealing with emails and nothing much else.

Here's where I had lunch this afternoon:
Desert Fox

30 April 2012

No 1948 entries for a day or three. Writing this Tuesday morning the 1st of May because I didn't have much time last night. Writing this sitting in the Idle-A-While motel cabin from the last time. Slept okay the night before, unlike the last time, so the day wasn't quite as much of a blur. I drove over with Teresa this time and was able to see where we were going the entire time because I wasn't sleeping or half awake. Beautiful drive most of the way, although it was raining heavily through the pass, but it turned sunny and pleasant on this side of the mountains. We got to the office around 11:45 and met with Lee, the project manager in charge of this whole shebang. Pleasant little lunch meeting in a small park in the middle of Twisp.

Out at the site, we had some difficulty finding it – Teresa didn't trust my navigational skills! – but once we did it was a little two-track “road” along Lake Creek. We managed to stop right next to a pair of deer legs. We're doing probes along the creek and started down it in the afternoon, after putting a few near the lake. I am largely in charge of mapping out the probe locations and such, as Teresa came late to the project and is busy figuring out what we'll do; I don't mind, a little more to do than just dig holes.

Dinner was at some place in Winthrop, a Mexican/Other place that someone had told us about. Sadly, it was a long wait for everything, due to, I think, it being a Monday and only one waiter on hand. Worth the wait though, I had stir-fried veggies in peanut sauce and it was quite good. Definitely worth returning to. Unfortunately, once I got back to the room, I had to deal with a crisis: we apparently neglected to sign and drop off one part of a loan document, and it's all due today (Tuesday), and I am in no position to sign it and fax it back. On top of that, the Internet connection here sucks so I couldn't send emails! Darn the tribulations! I sent emails to the Bank people, including a jog of my signature with one in case he can stick it in there. So, eh, we'll see. Emails finally went out after 9 or so.

I brought the book I bought at the library book sale, a collection of writing from New World archaeologists called “Conquistadors Without Swords”. Last night I was reading John Lloyd Stephans and his discovery of Copan. Kind of a contrast, of course, he discovering lost temples, we digging useless holes in Washington. Then again, he had mules and had to deal with mosquitoes, pack mules, and local “little tyrants” while my biggest headache is lack of Internet connections. Oh well.