Journal Index

March 1999
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March 1999

Monday the 1st

I have been thinking about what I most enjoy doing, and while there are many things, it always comes back to traveling. I love to just travel. It is tiring and it is expensive, and it is never as good as you planned or quite what you expected, but I still enjoy traveling. I like traveling by car and by bus. Airplanes I look on as a necessary evil. Sometimes they are necessary to get to a place where you can start the real traveling, but I don't consider traveling by air to be all that pleasurable. I've never traveled by rail but I think I'd like it.

I enjoy driving or riding for hours across the country and watching the country roll by. When I stop I like to do a volkswalk and check out a museum and stay at a hostel. I don't shop except for necessities or an occasional souvenir (usually a tshirt). I don't play golf. I don't go to amusement partks. I like to keep track of the roads and highways I've been on. I like making lists of where I've been and what I've seen.

In grade school I dreamed about traveling around the world and in retirement I plan to make that happen. In the meantime, I'll just travel where I can and see what I can with the time and money I have right now.


Tuesday the 2nd

I listened to a story on NPR this morning about a lawsuit where children are being sued because they knew that another student was planning to shoot someone, and they didn't say anything. This is something that I find very disturbing.

I can remember in grade school being furious because you couldn't bring injustices to the teachers because the other children, and some of the teachers, would call you a tattletale. We have it pounded into us that it is just not nice to tattletale, so the bullies run the schoolyard and the weaker and smaller and gentler get beat up. The bullies run everything because few will speak up about bullying and those that do are called names.

Law enforcement people get away with criminal acts because their collegues have been told that they have to "stick together" and not tell on one another. Because of this even the "good" cops (and there are more "good" cops than bad ones) protect their criminal collegues and some of the people they are suppose to protect get brutalized, by the police, and there is less trust of the police. How "good" is some one who covers up a crime? Sometimes the crime is petty, though not to the person who is hurt or humiliated or terrified, but often there are terrible crimes commited, and covered up.

The police talk about how they have to trust each other and be able to depend on each other. Do they really think that someone who would commit a crime, who would brutalize people, who is arrogant enough to think they have the right to be judge, jury and executioner, really has any ethics when push comes to shove? Would really stick by their partner? Would really do anything but save their own butt? Do they really think that a criminal, even one in a uniform, really would cover their back?

The police are the most obvious example as it seems every day we see law enforcement officers doing things that are wrong and trying to justify them but many people get away with crimes because their "friends" don't want to be the one to "tell" on them so more people get hurt and brutalized because the "don't tattletale" whine becomes more important than stopping someone from committing a crime. Because people think that "standing by their friends" is more important than protecting another human being.

This same "don't tattletale" or "stand by each other" also is used by other groups. By minorities and coworkers and political groups. For instance, just because a politician votes right, does not make it right for his supporters to cover up crimes he has committed. The end does not justify the means. Standing by your friends means helping them and being there for them; it does not mean becoming an accomplice to their crimes. Unspeakable crimes have gone unpunished because "decent" people didn't want to "tell", and that is pathetic and sad. It is especially sad and horrid when children are taught this.


"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up." - Martin Niemoeller -


Wednesday the 3rd

I was born in Mexico City and grew up down there. Well, when I say "grew up in Mexico", I mean I spent my first six years there and then only my summers as I came up to the US for school each year.

I can remember wandering around Mexico City with my brothers. Yes, you could do that back then, even in junior high. The first headquarters of SIL in Mexico were in the central part of town in an old hotel. It had so many nooks and crannies to play hide and seek in or to set up housekeeping with your dolls. It wasn't till I was much older that I found out that it was in the red light district. It's original name was Quetzalcoatl after the Aztec god, but that was a bit much for everyday, so everyone called it The Kettle.

The traffic police station was next door and we used to go on our roof and shout at them while they were drilling. One kid threw something down and they came over and he was in deep trouble with his parents. A block away was a doll hospital. Mine needed to be admitted on a regular basis as back then (50s) the doll's hair was glued on and my doll's hair was always coming off as I dragged them around by it.

There was a place that would repair nylon stockings (really!) and another where we could buy all the fireworks that we wanted. One Fourth of July one of the children had a firecracker in his back pocket and someone lit it. It was a triple and each time he reached back to grab it, it would go off again. Luckily it wasn't too powerful and he only got a few slight burns.

I can remember the stone lions at Alameda Park. What fun to climb on them and pretend they were Aslan. It was a wonderful park when you were a child. We went to a Chinese restaurant nearby. You got to it through a narrow, dirty alley and down some steps into the restaurant. They had such good food. I can remember the sweet dumplings made with black bean paste. Marvellous!


Thursday the 4th

A very ordinary day today. Nothing out of the ordinary, but when I look back there were lots of things that don't happen everyday. Why do we consider a day "ordinary" because there isn't some special or extraordinary happening?

I walked to work today and my hip started hurting, actually the back of my hip so it felt like I'd sprained my butt. I don't know what I did. I've been walking a little more this week but nothing that I haven't done before.

Nothing special happened at work, but there were lot of things that don't ordinarily happen. I had to figure out how to forward one fax to another as the wrong ink cartridges had been sent and the main fax wouldn't work. I found some unusual circumstances in one of the invoices I was auditing. My supervisor didn't come in so I was asked questions that I'm not ordinarily asked and had to make decisions that I don't ordinarily make, but nothing out of the ordinary.

I'm watching television while playing on the computer and there isn't anything special on, but there was a very interesting documentary on the Hope diamond and before that a biography of Faberge. Sort of a jewelry night. Neither of which I have seen before and I enjoyed them, but nothing out of the ordinary.

I got up in the morning and went to work and came home and ate supper and watched tv while playing on the computer, all of which I ordinarily do, but the things I did in all of this were not the same as what I do on other days. Some things were, but in a different mix and some things were things I rarely or never have done.

So why would I call this day ordinary?


Friday the 5th

I feel so cozy in my little studio. It's warm and comfy and has pictures of people I love and plants and flowers. My futon is bright and cheery with a colorful cover and my desk looks past my bike, through the plants to a nice view outside.

I like being alone. I enjoy living by myself. But sometimes I do miss not having anyone around. My kids were around up to a few years ago and now they are not only out of the house, but out of town. I'm glad they are grown but I do miss them.

I worry that I'm weird for enjoying living alone. Shouldn't I want other people around? This is what we're told. I'm rather between friends now also as people that I did hang out with have moved on or found new interests or we've just lost touch. I seem to be closer to some long distance friends than anyone around here.

I like traveling by myself. I prefer traveling by myself except with my children. I enjoy being able to go where I want without a lot of "well if you would prefer" or "now are you sure you want to go here?". I feel more free to just relax since I figure no one knows me and it's not likely I will run into many of them again.

Sometimes I wonder if I am just too strange. We get all the stuff about how we should always do things with other people. Television certainly shows people always in groups. I am around people and I do spend time with people, it's just not on a full time basis. I enjoy coming home from work and not having to make conversation.

I know people who live with someone, significant other, spouse, children and roommates, and yet talk about how lonely they are and how no one understands them and how they wish they had time to themselves. I'm ok with where I'm at right now. Maybe sometime I might want someone around, but not right now. Even with occasional loneliness I'm not ready to live with someone right now.


Saturday the 6th

My father and I went to Tubac today as a late birthday celebration. Tubac is about 50 miles south of Tucson on I-19. It was in the 80s so the weather was great. Each year in Arizona they have an Archeology Expo at a different museum or archeological site. This year it was at Tubac, Arizona at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. This was one of the missions established along the Santa Cruz river in Arizona. Father Eusebio Francisco Kino established Tumacacori, which is five miles south, in 1691 and Tubac became a mission farm and ranch.

The Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac was established in 1752 to protect the colonists and missions in the area from the native americans who weren't as grateful as the Spainards thought they should be. The soldiers were required to bring their families and a town was established around the presidio, which was the first european town in Arizona. Don't you just love the long names that the Spanish gave to everything. I understand that Los Angeles started as Nuestra Senora de los Angeles.

Tubac never did become a major town and eventually was all but abandoned as the garrison was moved to Tucson in 1776. It's now a booming little art town as an art colony was established here after WWII and, more recently, has attracted quite a few retired people. It's still a peaceful place, though rather commercial, as the streets in the old town are lined with arts and crafts stores, but it's all very nicely done and the view is great as you look across the desert to the spring green of the cottonwoods lining the Santa Cruz River.

Tubac is also on the route of the Anza Trail which is the route taken by Juan Bautista de Anza II who led two expeditions overland to the Pacific, resulting in the founding of San Francisco in 1776. This was the first overland journey by europeans to the Pacific. The route follows the Santa Cruz and then the Gila Rivers to the Colorado River. At that point it gets a bit more rugged as they ran out of river for a while. It crosses the Anza Borrego State Park in California which is a great place to camp in the winter.

I enjoy learning how people traveled across the globe from the Silk Road in Asia to the Cumberland Gap in Kentucky and all the western trails that soldiers and settlers followed. The american trails were, of course, followed many of the trails already used by native americans and they often followed animal trails. Along much of the route of the Anza Trail came the Mormon Battalion and the railroad and the dust bowl refugees fleeing to California. After WWII more headed west to the land of milk and honey. There is a 4.5 mile foot trail along the Santa Cruz from Tubac to Tumacacori, so you can walk along part of the Anza Trail.

My father and I wandered through the booths set up by all the archeological and historical groups in Arizona including private, state and federal, and I picked up so much literature. Arizona has some great archeological and historical sites as we are so dry that you can sometimes even find sandals and fabrics from prehistoric times.

We toured what was left of the presidio (mainly a few foundations) and the old schoolhouse that was build for the settler's children. We both noticed how much of their tools and ways of living were the same as we had in Mexico where we used to live. We, also, both agreed that we didn't want to live like that again.

Even though there were quite few people there it was a very peaceful day. We had a leisurely picnic lunch behind the presidio. I'm a little tired from the walking and the glare but it's the pleasant tiredness that you get from a good outing.


Sunday the 7th

I went for a long walk today. I just started walking and wound my way toward Oracle as I wanted to get more pictures of old gas stations that are either vacant or being used for something else. This is the route of the old US-89 that has been renamed in southern Arizona. What remains of it is now AZ-77 or AZ-79 and south of Tucson it's I-19 business.

There are also quite a few old motels that remind me of the motels we stayed at in the 50s. Some are abandoned or are used for other things. Many are now long term cheap housing for a very poor and transient population. This is also the area where you get the rooms-for-an-hour. Miracle Mile, which is one of the names of Oracle (it is also called Main in another stretch), is where they have the prostitute roundups when the pols get moral.

During the day it's a little seedy, but not scary, as it gets quite a bit of traffic and there are still plenty of open businesses (legal businesses) as it is a main route through town. Where the route curves east on Drachman, toward Stone, as the old US-89 turned, it runs north of Pima Community College and then goes south on Stone on the east side of Pima Community College. Near Speedway there are a few newer motels that are in good shape as they get people coming into the University of Arizona to visit and for the games.

The weather has been nice, in the high 60s, but very windy, and now it starts getting cooler and the wind is really blowing the dust around. Since we've had no rain to speak of for months, there is plenty of dust to blow around. Soon I'm blinking my eyes and I head toward 4th and University to get some coffee at Epic Cafe and get out of the wind for a while.

Epic is an independent, college oriented coffee shop that is very relaxed with the majority of the customers having a non-traditional body part pierced. Various neon hair colors also. 4th Avenue is the alternative lifestyle street and often seems quite 60ish.

While watching CNN this morning I saw a story about a guy who had someone else's hand attached to his arm. He now has 80% of function so it worked pretty good.

My first thought was "but he now has someone else's fingerprints". I sure hope the donor didn't have a criminal record. Wouldn't that throw the police if one hand has a criminal record and the other hand doesn't. Could they just send half of him to prison? Would a criminal, desperate to get away be willing to go through this to get someone else's hands?


©Rachel Aschmann 1999.
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