A Bone to Pick

The Adventures of a Second Career Archaeologist

Month: October 2020

Back in the Field!

Last Saturday I finally got out into the field after a year or so hiatus. It was so great to be out there. I did take photos but I can’t post them since the dig site is on private land and I said I wouldn’t. You’ll have to content yourself with this selfie of me that I took on the way out there. Behold! That most elusive of creatures, an uncaffeinated archaeologist.

Sweet, sweet holy bean water!

Basically the only thing that will get me out of bed before the buttcrack of dawn and to a dig site on time is the promise of Happy Hot Bean Juice. Buc-ee’s in Bastrop is pretty decent and I can get in and out really fast. The drive out to the site was gorgeous. There were some low clouds over the highway, but not fog. The sun was just rising over Bastrop State Park as I passed it and it was such a stunning view. I really wish I’d pulled over and taken a photo.

It was also a rare moment of peace that I’ve had in ages. There is a lot of stupid going on in my life right now. A LOT. I’m on FMLA for having a nervous breakdown last month and I am only maybe marginally better. I’m still waiting to talk to a counselor, but I really should have been talking to one like…four months ago. Our society doesn’t make it easy to get professional help when you desperately need it. I’ve also been diagnosed with not one but three genetic corneal diseases. At least those issues are relatively under control and the incidents I’ve had have lessened in intensity and frequency.

So when I saw that beautiful sunrise over the park, it was like my whole soul sighed with happiness. I was going on a dig. It was quiet and peaceful and, for just one moment, everything seemed ok with the world.

I can’t express how wonderful it was to be in the field again and to be with people and my friends at Houston Archaeological Society. I was able to learn some new skills, but mostly I screened. I did find a partial animal skeleton for the first time and that was pretty cool. All of those classes in forensics and physical anthropology actually paid off! I think maybe it was a rabbit, but I found the femur, tibia, and I think part of the pelvis.

I think I’ll try to go every other weekend while the weather holds. I was super happy right after the dig and I think it’s good therapy for me to get out there doing something I love, honing my field skills, and seeing people.

Archaeology is the only thing in my life lately that hasn’t gone off the rails. I really need to get out of teaching. I just…don’t want to be there anymore. It’s not even a don’t. It’s a can’t. It’s like waking up one day and realizing you can’t do something anymore. I feel like a brick wall has been plonked down in between me and the classroom. I can’t really explain it any other way. I don’t know how to tear down that wall or climb over it. I’m not even sure I want to. This is why I need to see a therapist. I have all these great analogies for the way I feel, but I don’t know how to process them. All I know is that being in the field makes me happy and I need more happy right now if I’m going to recover and be able to manage anything besides my studies and homeschooling Nora.

Random Thoughts of a Desperately Bored Archaeology Student…

  1. Mom’s Happy Tuna and rosé do not a good combination make.
  2. Staring at the overgrown backyard and tempted to just…randomly start digging. More likely to break a utility wire or throw out my back rather than find anything. I really need to get back out into the field. Stupid COVID.
  3. Should stop putting off my test. It’s due tomorrow and there’s an essay on Make Prayers to the Raven that I haven’t started.
  4. Damn, this rosé is good.
  5. But not with tuna.
  6. These crackers are great.
  7. Oh damn, this cucumber salad is awesome.
Too bored and broke to go get food. Leftovers, yay!

8. I feel like living dangerously. Not stupid enough to go into a store without a mask on. My desire to be reckless should never potentially harm others.

10. I think I will have another glass of rosé and take my test and see what happens. LIVING DANGEROUSLY!

11. I am pathetic.

12. I wonder if the Koyukon eat tuna?No, you dummy, they live in Alaska’s interior.

13. They eat salmon. I hate salmon.

14. Does salmon go good with rosé?

15. Would I like salmon mousse? Does that go well with rosé?

16. Wasn’t that dish on an episode of Chef!?

17. Lenny Henry is hilarious.

18. What if I dug a hole in the backyard and called it gardening? What grows in Texas in October?

19. Shit, I screwed up the numbered list format in WordPress. This is the last time I blog on my phone.

20. My glass is empty. Time to imbibe the last of the rosé and consider my essay question. The Koyukon are freaking amazing.

21. I’m out of crackers. Damn.

22. And cucumber salad.

23. Happy Tuna is gross by itself.

24. I have had too much fish this week.

25. I hate this stupid pandemic.

(UPDATE: I got a 98 on the test while slightly tipsy, if you’re curious. I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed about that. Just to clarify, I don’t usually drink wine before exams in case any future employers or potential universities are looking at this).

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