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Journal November 2001

 

November 30

I woke up a little after 7am to hear the rain coming down in buckets, and I knew I wasn't going to get my windows washed today (actually, they could have, because the rain ended around 9am, but it looked threatening all day). So I turned over and went back to sleep for a couple of hours.  When I finally came downstairs, I looked out the front door at Lake Champine.  Apparently all the catch basins on Champine were plugged, and we had a real inundation.  The water came halfway up the front lawn, all muddy and full of stuff. Yech.  I like my clean Lake Superior a lot better, along with my terrific drainage!  Along about 10am, there was a guy in a city truck sitting over the catch basin in front of my house, trying to push a steel rod down into it.  By noon, the water was gone, except for the low spots in the sidewalks, and the flotsam at the high water mark.  

 

Apropos John Dee, wouldn't it have been interesting if all that had been snow?  Accuweather says we had 1.34" of rain in the past 24 hours, most of it this morning.  The Weather Underground says the most snowfall recorded here for one day was on a December 1, and it was about 18".  I think if it had been snow, we'd have broken the record.

 

While snow in the big city isn't like snow in the Keweenaw, I am very tired of rain and  middle-40s.  I get so stiff I can barely move!  

 

I remembered my Handeze glove today, and I have it on my right hand, and it seems to help. This is a fingerless glove with a wide cuff made of mostly spandex, which is sold for people who do crafts and computer stuff and have trouble with their hands.  It's not like a splint or anything, but it supports and warms my wrist and palm and it seems to help.  My wrist is getting better, slowly, now that I am using the computer less and I have the trackball.

 

The camera is still dead, and I haven't heard from Jonathan.  Maybe if everybody who misses it were to email him, at jrhopper@pasty.com, it would help. He kind of left the setup  for remote access half done.  I really want to see what's going on up there!

 

I had my CT scans, and I have the usual diarrhea from the barium.  Barium is so - ah - binding that they put a laxative in it, which is about the last thing I need, and of course I had to drink about a liter of it. Besides, it tastes and feels gross going down.  I chill it, then I take a deep breath and drink it down  as fast as I can. When my stomach was shaky from the chemo it was particularly hard.  This time the mishap was less serious than than the last one - they didn't tighten the connection to the IV enough and I got radioactive iodine and other stuff all over me, including in my hair.  After the number of x-rays and scans I've had, it's a wonder I don't glow in the dark.

 

I don't, but the sky does around here.  It never gets what I would call really dark around here, particularly when it's cloudy.  It always looks like dawn is about to break.  Besides that, and the street lights, a lot of  my neighbors leave either their front porch lights or their back floodlights on all night, and one of them has a motion detectors that I think the little critters like to play with.  I don't see how people can stand those things!  Give me dark at night - and sunshine during the day, of course.  The old astronomer, again.

 

Anyway, I did get to choir practice on Wednesday, and it was wonderful to be back.  I do like to sing!  Christmas Eve this year (which is going to be a lot earlier, at the behest of our wonderful board of elders) is going to be kind of smaltzy, but there are a lot of pretty things which everybody will like.  

 

As I expected, Carol won't be there.  She is going to spend Christmas with her daughter, which is only proper.  Carol lost her husband when she was in her 40s, too, so she is definitely the right person to support her daughter, since she knows all about it.  Their next year or two will be really hard, before their natural toughness sets in and they get used to it.  You never get over a loss like that, but, mercifully, the memory gets blunted after a while and you can live with it.  For Carol's daughter, Susie, it will be even worse, because she is a nurse, and she did CPR until the EMS people arrived.  But she is a Christian woman, and she is tough, so she will carry on, as will Carol.

 

As for everything else, the house is still an awful mess, but I am so stiff I just can't bring myself to try to do much about it. After I get the results from the CT scans, I will go to my internist for my follow-up kidney test, and I will have to discuss this with him.  I just may blow off U of M and start the glucosamine again, since I do now think that helped.  But I need something a little stronger than Tylenol for the pain.

 

I am finishing up the (over-one) juniper berries on the  eighth (or seventeenth, depending on how you look at it) bird.  Maybe by Sunday I'll be ready to start the very last bird. (Short pause while I fetch the pizza.  I sure do miss eating out on weekends!)  I have a couple of other projects in mind to start - a couple of nice samplers, and a fabulous angel - but no more birds!! I am all birded out.  I have been working on those two hangings for almost a year now, and it's time for something different.

 

I don't think I mentioned that one of the few things I left behind that I intended to bring was the Ironstone sweater I'd been working on all summer.  I still have most of the body to do, and I really wanted to get it done, but it's sitting in its bag in in the corner of the hearth at Rainbow's End, so I will have to go on to something else and pick that one up next year.  The only problem is, I think the needles I was using are the ones I need for one of the "something else"s, at $18 a pop.  Poo.

 

This afternoon, I altered one of the dresses I got From Eddie Bauer - shortened it, put cuffs on the sleeves and changed the buttons, because if it cools off, I will want to wear it to church.  

 

After I was through, I went into the front bedroom to get a hanger, and I started paging through the clothes on hangers laying on one of the beds (blouses that probably need to be ironed).   I felt something warm, and when I looked under the second blouse, there was the Buster, all curled up and sound asleep between the blouses!  He was perfectly happy.  I will probably have to de-hair everything, particularly the one he was lying on, which seems to collect fur.  I think DC was behind the bathroom door all afternoon.  

 

Maybe the key to getting them to like Rainbow's End (besides me not taking off for a week every month) is to think more carefully about making cat beds all over the house.  I hope next year they will be happier.  This was all pretty new to them, after all.  They sure are happy now.

 

So that has been the week, and the month.  It hardly seems possible that this is the end of November, and a year ago at this time, I had just had my second chemo and I was looking forward to going up to U of M for what I thought was another evaluation and ended up being the beginning of the transplant!

 

November 27

First off, yes, the camera is temporarily down.  I've emailed Jonathan, and I hope that he can, either remotely or on site, fix it.  There was a brief power failure between 3:30 and 4:00 am this morning, and when the computer reboots, although SpyCam starts up and seems to be working, the capture doesn't work unless the preview screen is open. That is a manual operation, unfortunately.  It was one reason I wanted to get Laplink working, but it never happened.  So until there is some human intervention, we won't be seeing any pictures of the snow.  Drat.

 

This morning I was up early and out to Troy to meet with my financial advisors.  I think I understand what they're trying to do to preserve what's left of my investments, and it sounds reasonable.  They also hinted, gently, that maybe I was spending too much money.  Drat.  After the first of the year, I will try to get that a little under control.  So much for my fun (Heh).

 

When I got home, the results of some of the spending was sitting on the front porch, and I now have lots more books to read and I am desperately trying to learn to mouse all over again.  The trackball mouse came, and I think I am going to like it, but it works just backward from both the normal mouse and the last trackball I had: you move the cursor around with your fingers and click and use the wheel with your thumb.  I feel totally out of my element, so I spent some time doing a jigsaw (four times, since I kept clicking something or other and restarting it), and playing Taipei and Spider Solitaire.  Taipei teaches moving and clicking, and Spider teaches drag and drop.  A couple more days and I'll feel better about it.  I know it will help my wrist and hand, since that pain was caused by flexing side to side, and now my wrist doesn't move at all.  If the angle is wrong when the mouse is beside the keyboard, I can put it on my lap.  The other problem I had was learning the tiny movements I need to put the cursor where I want it, with fingers not used to such small motions, but I seem to have that down already.  Phew!

 

PhotoDeluxe also came, but I haven't loaded it yet.  As soon as I get that installed, I will have the last pictures from Copper Harbor, and one of my correspondents suggested taking some more kitty pictures.  I may, but you all will get tired of seeing pictures of sleeping cats.  

 

The weather was nothing to speak about.  It was around 50 and misty and foggy for most of the day.  When I got home, both cats were sound asleep in my bed, and they didn't even get up to greet me.  Poo.

 

This is the part of the year - from now through the end of January, usually - when the weather really gets to all three of us, and all we want to do is sleep and eat.

 

So tomorrow it's off to the hospital to get my neck x-rayed, and choir practice tomorrow night.  

 

It just makes sense that the camera would poop out just when something interesting is going on in Copper Harbor - a nice gale blowing, and blizzard conditions in spots - but on the other hand, it isn't surprising.  It seems the power goes out every time it's windy.  Something about too many trees... Next year I shall have to invest in a UPS system.  I only didn't this fall because the two that Office Max had - one lasted 15 minutes and the other 45 minutes, with corresponding prices - didn't seem to offer much with the long outages we had over the summer.  However, if there are going to be short ones, like this morning, then it's worth it.  Something to ponder.

 

November 26

Well, after the second person hinted that there hadn't been a journal lately, I guess I'd better buckle down and do one.  Arthur even called to make sure I was all right.

 

There hasn't been anything much to talk about. I've been spending my time in the sewing room, trying to get things sort of in order (ha - fat chance!) and get rid of some of the boxes in the upstairs hallway.  That is partially accomplished.  The suitcases are almost unpacked, and there is a pile of clothes to be hung on one of the beds...and a pile of shirts that got really wrinkled from being folded for too long. 

 

The weather has been cloudy and mostly in the 50s and dull.

 

The highlight of Friday was getting rid of the trash without having to go to the dumpster...there are some advantages to living in the big, smelly city.

 

I went to late church Sunday, to go to communion again, and saw the new robes (they are very nice) and several friends who weren't there for Thanksgiving.  As I surmised, Carol had spent the week with her daughter who lost her husband.  I couldn't believe she wouldn't.

 

For anybody who wondered, I did have turkey on Thanksgiving.  There were three TV dinners left over from the one I cooked last Christmas, and they were larger servings than I'd thought.  I could never have eaten the one I had, if I'd thawed it last spring.  It was a good turkey, and the stuffing was some of the best I've made lately, probably because I couldn't taste much and I put a lot of herbs in it...mostly savory, but also sage and thyme and rosemary.  A lot of stuffing is too bland for my taste.  I like it strongly flavored, and it adds something to the meat and the gravy, too.  

 

There wasn't much gravy in this container, because it is the one I dropped going down the stairs.  The lid didn't come off, but it landed upside down, of course, and the gravy sort of leaked out.  What a mess, when I really felt lousy!  Enough stayed in to keep the meat and stuffing and potatoes moist, which was all I wanted anyway.

 

The only thing I know that doesn't seem to freeze too well is mashed potatoes.  They seem to get watery.  There was squash, though, and that was good, and plenty of meat and stuffing.  I had brought two containers upstairs, because I thought the portions might be small, but I only needed one.

 

So I got to have a traditional dinner and give thanks, especially when I thought back to how I felt when I packed them away!

 

So slowly but surely I'm getting the house in order.  It is a chore, and it isn't being helped by the six inch pile of catalogs and magazines I've been receiving every day.  It's nice not to have to make the mail run, and the mail is being delivered.  Off-season, the post office in Copper Harbor is only open until 3:30, and that always seems to be right when I'm in the middle of something.  I never have been an early morning person, and I seem to do my best between about 10 am and 4 pm.  So today I have a nice pile of magazines and good catalogs to add to the piles I already had.  The recyclers are going to know for sure that I'm home, come Friday!

 

This week is going to be a busy one, too, so I don't know how much time I'll have for journal writing.  Tomorrow, I visit my financial advisers, so they can tell me what they are planning to do to rescue my tanked investments.  That will be interesting.  Wednesday and Thursday are the CT scans, and Wednesday evening is choir practice.  You can believe I am going to sing on Christmas Eve this year, if I have to sleep all day to do it!  It was crushing not to be able to go last year.  Unfortunately, the Wednesday appointment is at 11am, so I won't get to go to bible class this week.

 

Friday, the window washers are coming, unless the weather is bad.  Dirty as my windows in Copper Harbor were, the ones here are incredibly dirtier.  All the windows look like they've been through a mud bath, and the  non-sliding part of the kitchen window has a huge white splash on it from some really large, really dirty bird.  I like the birds, but I wish they'd keep their - ahem - to themselves.

 

Speaking of the birds, there is a pile of sacks of birdseed in the kitchen (along with the piles of magazines), and I need to get that decanted into the canisters so I can start feeding them. All three of us enjoy watching the birds and the squirrels on the patio.

 

Also speaking of the birds, I am on the final third of the eighth bird on the second hanging.  The holdup here is that the bird is perched on a juniper branch, and it's really picky stitching those juniper fronds.  I never did like juniper much.  Anyway, if I'm diligent, I may get this hanging done in slightly less than the six months it took to do the first one.  I am tired of  birds, and one of the things I've been doing in the sewing room is lining up the next projects to stitch...something not all cross stitch, I hope!

 

I have two beautiful stocking fronts stitched, and I would really like to get them finished to hang on the fireplace for Christmas.  I've pretty much decided not to do the tree again this year.  It is just too much work, especially since I can't stand up for very long without my back killing me.  So I will get out some of my other decor (including some I never put away) and make do. The stockings show the nativity - one is the stable with the shepherds, and the other is the three wise men.  It would be nice to have them. Stay tuned. There will be pictures, if I finish them.

 

Speaking of pictures, there are some pictures in the camera that I took of the fabulous sunset the last night I was in Copper Harbor.  I will try to get those published sometime soon.

 

So that is what hasn't been going on here.  Much as I chafe because Im not in Copper Harbor, the cats are perfectly content.  DC does most of his sleeping behind the bathroom door, as usual, and I put one of the fleece throws between the window and the Necchi in the sewing room, and that's Buster's favorite spot.  I can only hope that someday they like Rainbow's End as much as I do...

 

November 22 - Thanksgiving Day

A quiet, mostly cloudy day.  Temperatures here and in Copper Harbor were about the same - upper 40s - and except that it was very foggy, sky conditions looked about the same, too.

 

As I suspected, the lady who usually invites me to dinner isn't here.  At least, she wasn't in church, which leads me to believe she is with her daughters.  One of her sons-in-law died suddenly last spring, right before I went north, so it makes sense that she would want to be with that part of her family.

 

So I am sitting with a cat on my lap, trying to decide whether to have warmed up pork chops or last Christmas's turkey for dinner, and thinking about Thanksgiving - and giving thanks.

 

It was good to go to church this morning, and to take communion.  The rest of the day felt more like Sunday, but it was good to be there.  I saw some of the people I know and like, so it felt like really going home.

 

I don't feel that I can adequately express how thankful I am for all the blessings I have, especially this year.  I came through the stem cell transplant in fine fashion, I'm recovering nicely, and I got to spend the summer in Copper Harbor. Those are the big things.  I certainly don't lack for anything, including friends and cats.  I live in the freest country in the world. I can look forward to at least one more year. There's not much more I could want.  God has blessed me exceedingly.

 

I don't only think about these things on Thanksgiving Day, of course.  I thank God every day that He has brought me to this time and place.  So I will end with the words of one of my favorite hymns:

 

The Lord hath helped me hitherto

By His surpassing favor;

His Mercies ev'ry morn were new,

His kindness did not waver.

God hitherto hath been my Guide,

Hath pleasures hitherto supplied,

And hitherto hath helped me.

 

I praise and thank Thee, Lord, my God,

For Thine abundant blessing

Which heretofore Thou hast bestowed

And I am still possessing.

Inscribe this on my memory:

The Lord hath done great things for me

And graciously hath helped me.

 

Help me henceforth, O God of grace,

Help me on each occasion.

Help me in each and ev'ry place,

Help me thro' Jesus' Passion;

Help me in life and death, O God,

Help me thro' Jesus' dying blood;

Help me as Thou hast helped me!

Amen.

 

November 19

Yesterday was a nothing day, so I didn't write anything.  I think I did something, but I don't much remember what.  The weather was fairly warm (50s) but very cloudy and dark.  

 

This morning, I was up fairly early, for me, and I called the postal service first thing, then I trundled off to the doctor, the gas station, the pet food store and the supermarket.  I was tired when I got back, and I didn't get the car entirely unloaded.  The kitty litter and the birdseed are still in back.

 

I will need to clean the car out before I get it washed (which it really needs), but it doesn't seem that I will be able to do that for the next few days.  

 

It started out around 55 and drizzly, but by the time I got out of the doctor's office, the temperature was dropping, and between about 1pm and 2:30pm it went from 55 to 43.  Nasty. It's supposed to get even colder tonight and maybe snow.  I brought the wireless thermometer home, and I will have to get the sensors set up so I can tell what it's like in the back yard.

 

The doctor says I appear to be fine, and I have CT scans scheduled Wednesday and Thursday of next week.  I think they will all be negative.  He seems to think going back to Copper Harbor around May 15 is quite reasonable, so that will be all right.  Not soon enough, but all right.

 

My fridge is now full of good things to eat for dinner, and I have potatoes and onions and garlic, and there are some other good things in the freezer, so that is all right.  Except that I kept looking at the fresh turkeys and drooling.  I do love turkey.  However, I have the breast and the bones from last Christmas's turkey in the freezer, so when the spirit moves me, I can make turkey stock and turkey ala king.  I haven't looked in the basement freezer to see exactly what's there, but I know there are beef country ribs and chicken and probably some pork chops, so shortly I should be able to start cooking.  I forgot about carrots and celery today, so I can't do turkey stock yet.

 

I also have to try to locate the recipe box.  I may have left it at Rainbow's End, which means I am stuck with the subset I started to type into Publisher over a year ago.  I think I have all the important things, but we'll see.

 

The trouble is, I ate out so much this summer that I want to keep eating well, and frankly, TV dinners just don't do it.  There is one frozen pasty left, and I have six more on order (yum), and some pretty good frozen pizzas, but otherwise, I will just have to cook for myself.

 

Oh, yes.  Sometime between  3:30 and 5:30, while I was upstairs trying to make sense of the sewing room and all the boxes, the mailman snuck up on my porch and left today's mail plus one of those white boxes they use full of the last three weeks' mail.  For once, I didn't hear him come.  Anyway, now I have a pile of bills, a pile of pleas for money, a pile of magazines, and a pile of catalogs.  Also some other junk.  I hope that's the end of it.

 

On the box, by the way, was a slip of paper with my address here, my address in Copper Harbor, and in the corner a notation "Deliver on 11/17".  All I can do is shake my head.

 

Among the things that came was the newsletter from the church, so I got a little caught up on things. At least I know when church is on Thursday, and I was right about communion yesterday.  So I will make my first appearance on Thursday. 

 

It will feel really funny to wear pantyhose and a dress. I haven't had them on since the middle of May!  Didn't miss them a bit.  I wonder what I have in the closet to wear?

 

So that is how things are - settling down to the Champine routine real fast. I miss my lake.

 

November 17

Well, here we are, all back at Champine.  It was quite a two days.

 

After I wrote the November 15 entry, I did some packing, then I sat down to transfer the files to the laptop...what a nightmare!  I simply could not get Laplink on the desktop to work properly.  It took me three hours to get it set up so the two computers would connect over the USB cable.  

 

Eventually, I got the files over, but it meant I didn't get to bed until nearly midnight.  I did get to enjoy one last bath in my beautiful shower.

 

I was up at 5:30, and I don't do well with so little sleep, but oh, well.  Between the odds and ends I had to pack in the morning, the things I had to clean up, and all that, it was 9:00 before I got on the road.  Not what I'd hoped.

 

Because they were there, I just confined the cats to the master suite.  It worked pretty well. DC went into the carrier without too much trouble, but I had to move the bed out and back before I could get at Buster.  Then I had to dump them both into the cage, fill the carrier with cat food, and do the last, last minute stuff.

 

I thought everything was OK because Buster only howled for 15 minutes.  Ha! It was a good trip: very little traffic and good weather.  It was cloudy until Marquette, then partly sunny all the way to the Straits.

 

The Straits were interesting, because there was a weather phenomenon I've seen before there.  It was partly cloudy and sunny on the north side of the bridge, and on the south side it was very cloudy and dismal - almost like there was a wall where the water started.  It has to have something to do with the water, but it's weird.

 

It was very cloudy and dark all the way to West Branch, when the  cloud cover lifted in the west enough to provide a very beautiful sunset.

 

And about the time it started to get dark, Buster went bonkers again for about five minutes.  I'm not sure why, because it was dark, and that part of I75 doesn't have very many rest stops - not that I could have solved his problem if I'd wanted to!

 

I ran into a traffic jam between Big Beaver Road and I-696, but still we were home by 7:25.  I guess I moved pretty fast, at that.  I was totally exhausted by the time we got here, but of course I had to completely unload the car in order to get the cage out.  That took a while, believe me, even though I backed the car up to within about three feet of the kitchen slider.

 

At last, I slid the cage into the house (next time I'll get a little closer), and after I opened the door and let them out, I discovered that at least part of Buster's problem was that he had managed to soil the entire cage at least twice.  Poor DC. It was a real mess.  DC, I think, went in the pan, but Buster didn't - twice.

 

Both cats hid for a few minutes, but DC soon came out and ate dinner.  I left the porch screen open, as a test.  Huh!  This morning, the smaller ponytail palm was tipped over and there were some leaves chewed off.  So the screen is shut again.

 

Both cats slept with me last night (and it's not a queen-sized bed!), but Buster went away and hid again today until after I hauled the cage out to the garage, and he still wouldn't go in the kitchen when I was there!  Later on, he came downstairs, used the tray, and sat on my lap for a while, so I guess I'm sort of forgiven.

 

I think I shall have to talk to the vets about some tranquilizers for him.  I think DC will be fine, so long as Buster doesn't go berserk.

 

I woke up this morning one big, stiff ache, and I have been dragging around all day.  As I mentioned, I did get the cage folded up and put away, and the cooler is in the shed, too, but I haven't begun to take much upstairs except what I needed for last night.  All I did today was wash the stuff from the cage and fiddle with the computer.

 

I think the Laplink problem may well be a problem with Norton Internet Security, because I had the same problem here that I had up north. I finally threw in the towel and used the parallel cable, which is pretty slow, and I haven't had time to check things out since I changed the security settings. I have a couple of messages into Laplink from Thursday night, and eventually I will get it all resolved.

 

Then there were a lot of Windows updates I wanted to install on this computer...which caused another problem, in that I can't get the proper access to my website files through IE on either the laptop or this computer - heaven knows what that is.

 

It makes me wonder if I should keep at this - it's awfully frustrating.  But the live cam was apparently still working today, so that made me feel good. At least one thing seems to be OK.

 

I was planning to go to church tomorrow, but I think I am going to chicken out.  I am so stiff and sore I need another good night's sleep, and communion is at 8:15, I think.  I will go Thursday.  

 

I have to mention that today was a beautiful day here, fairly warm and sunny, although I didn't see a lot of sun, since I spent most of the afternoon in the basement.  I wish there was a place for the computer upstairs.

 

Oh, yes, and a last thing that didn't work, not that I was surprised.  I didn't get any mail today - none at all - even though the garage door was open and everyone could plainly see there was a car in it.  I will call Consumer Affairs on Monday morning before I go to the doctor, and we shall see what happens next.  I've said before, and I say again, there is a serious attitude problem with everybody at that particular post office, and it will take more of a convulsion than I can generate to get them back into line.

 

So that's where it is.  I miss my lake, and I miss my lovely shower and my nice office.  

 

November 15

Well, it's 6:45 and the car isn't packed yet; in fact, not everything in the office is packed yet.  I have the most incredible collection of odds and ends!

 

I did get the plants and the seeds planted, after a fashion.  It was partly sunny and around 60 this morning and while it was windy, it was a wonderful morning to be outside.  That made it hard to sow the seeds, and I don't think I did a very good job of it, but they're all out there one way or another.  We'll see what comes up next spring.  It could be beautiful, or it could be a dud.  

 

Same with the plants.  I don't have any short (12") stakes, so I have no idea where I planted the first stuff, so I just dug holes and stuffed things into them.  It's supposed to rain or snow or something  by Monday, so they will all get watered in.

 

Then I decided I should try to sweep up the dead flies before I went to the dumpster, and nearly killed myself.  My back is bad enough now that I simply cannot work standing up like that.  Besides, I had already exhausted myself with the other stuff.  I still don't have very much stamina.

 

I also washed the nightclothes I've been wearing, and I wanted the bedding to be relatively clean, and there were the cat pans. 

 

Whew! No wonder I'm tired.  After I get this published, I will start transferring the files, and then I'll start packing up the car.  I'm gathering everything near the front door and the car is backed up outside.

 

After the car is packed, I will have a big Jack Daniels and a pizza, and after one last bath in my lovely shower, I will take a sleeping pill and hope it works.

 

I really wish I didn't have to go. The community Thanksgiving dinner is Sunday, and that would be loads of fun (I'd even try to contribute something!), but all good things must come to an end.

 

So that's all.  Don't expect a journal tomorrow night.  I doubt I'll get down the basement when I get home.

 

November 14

This will be another short one, I think.  It was foggy and warm (for Copper Harbor) all day.  I think the temperature got pretty close to 60, and late in the afternoon there was even a little sunshine. 

 

I wish I had been able to get out in it, but I actually spent most of  the day packing (!).  One suitcase and various boxes seem to be pretty much full.  Of course, I still have all the usual leftovers... 

 

Right before the UPS man came to get the boxes, I realized that all my FrontPage and Access books were still on the shelves, so I had to open two boxes and stuff them in.

 

In the middle of the afternoon, Jonathan Hopper arrived, and the camera will be in good hands this winter.  He not only gave me some new software that will make it unnecessary for me to try to get Laplink running over the internet, he pointed me to a wonderful website (download.cnet.com), where I was able to get a successor to NetMedic, which is a program I have missed since it stopped working. So that is all taken care of.

 

Then Shirley called, and I met her for a nice dinner at Mariner and lots of conversation.  I will miss her a lot.

 

Now I am very sleepy, and I need to try to sleep better tonight than I did last night. Tomorrow's entry will be posted early, because I need to get the files all backed up to the laptop before the last minute.

 

November 13

I saw stars around 4am, but when I got up this morning, it was cloudy and dismal, but fairly warm.  There wasn't much wind, and the temperature topped out at about 50, and it would have been pleasant to work out but I didn't.

 

I did get two boxes packed up for UPS, and I haven't decided whether to fill the third one or not.  It's coming down to crunch time and I still don't feel like doing much of anything.  I believe I've expressed the same feelings in the journal before.  Somehow, it will get done, but not tonight.

 

Actually, when I got up this morning, I felt almost like I was coming down with a cold, and I have felt tired and sort of blah all day, so that is my excuse.  Tomorrow will have to be busier whether I want it to be or not.

 

So, since I have nothing much to report, I'll just end right here.

 

November 12

Not much to report today, either, except that most of the day was sunny and the temperature got close to 50.  There was a brisk breeze blowing, however, so it wasn't all that pleasant.

 

I spent most of the day sorting and making piles, although after the UPS man came to pick up my unpacked boxes, I did pack one of them.  It's half polar fleece and half books.  The other one will be the same, but a few more books.  The third box will be clothes and probably some odds and ends. It seems like I have more odds and ends than anything else.

 

Early in the afternoon, I went out to check the condition of my gas tanks before I called Ferrell, and when I came back across the yard, standing in my driveway was a lovely buck.  He wasn't as fat as the other one, but he had three prongs on each antler (a six point? I don't know how they count those things).  He watched me for a while, then went around behind the trees and across toward the drain field.  I tried to get into the house to get the camera, but I don't move very fast and he was gone by the time I got back outside.

 

Deer are so pretty.  I just don't see how anybody could actually fire a gun at one.  But then, I've always said that if I had to have anything to with the preparation of my meat up until the time I get it out of the supermarket, I would immediately become a vegetarian.

 

I also wonder what instinct it is that causes them to start wandering around in the daytime and acting perfectly tame, right at the time when people start shooting at them.  This fellow was a little wary, but he seemed to know I meant him no harm, in that he didn't bolt when he saw me.  He'd better hang around Norland for the next few weeks if he wants to get four prongs (or are they always an uneven number? My knowledge of the biology of deer is severely limited).

 

My back and side yards, where the dirt was spread, look like there have been herds of deer trooping through every night.  Some of the prints are huge, and others must be this year's fawns they are so small. Since I have cats and not dogs, they could come up and tap on the window and I'd never know.  My guys like little things, like birds and mice and bugs.

 

The chickadees are still gleaning bugs in the corners and trim around the house, and one hit the screen today.  I think the screens are so resilient that he didn't do himself much damage.  At least he flew off all right.

 

I was on my way back from my abortive mail run (I forgot the post office is observing Veterans' Day today) when I stuck my hand in my bag of Hersheys dark chocolate chunks - and pulled out the second lens cap for the camera, which had gone south the day I drove up M26.  I wish I could find the first one, which had a string on it.  I think I'm going to try to find a piece of dayglow string for this one, and when I get to GP, I'll order a couple of backups.  I wondered why Amazon sold them, and now I know.  They are about the size of a quarter, slippery, and black, and they are ridiculously easy to lose.  If I could find a decent place to put it, I'd stick the end of the string to the camera, so they were always together.  Anyway, now I can protect the lens while I'm traveling.

 

The kitties are still very upset about the evident fact that somebody is going away.  When they find out it's all of us, I'm sure they won't be any happier.

 

It certainly was nice to see the sun today, but it's supposed to be a little warmer for the next two days.  If so, I may get some planting done.  Stay tuned...

 

Oh, by the way, I almost forgot.  I was having a horrible time keeping the computer connected today - I'm beginning to believe it has something to do with the wind - so updates were sporadic at best.  I didn't give SpyCam a chance to see if it would pick up where it left off when it had an unsuccessful update, so I will have to try that and see what happens.

 

November 11

Not a nice day at all, although it was dry.  It was cloudy and dark and windy all day, and the lake was the color of steel.  A good time to be inside.

 

Which I was, except when Tom and Tish came to drain the pond and try to get the storm doors on.  The three of us couldn't figure out how to get the screen inserts out, so that is another thing on Philippe's list.  They also helped me get the cage into the car.

 

My hands were so sore today that there was a lot I couldn't do, so I hemmed five pillowcases.  Those are the ones that will stay here. Originally, I had planned to put a line of fancy embroidery on them, but I decided that wasn't necessary.  Who sees it in the dark anyway?  So I now have enough satin pillowcases to last a long time.  I have also been sorting some of the stuff I need to take home, and Tish helped me get boxes downstairs and boxes upstairs.  I can start packing up the stuff to be shipped tomorrow.

 

And I guess I'd better do that.  I also really need to go to the dumpster.  The wastebaskets are all full, and I need to get the last over-old stuff out of the fridge so I can clean that up a bit.

 

It's now crunch time.  No more procrastinating all day.

 

We'll see how long that lasts!  So now to bed.

 

November 10

My excuse today is that every time I sat down there was a cat on my lap.  Heh-heh.

 

It was a gray, windy day, and the lake was noisy, although the harbor wasn't too riled up. Early in the afternoon the sun came out and there was a little blue sky for a while, but then the gray billowy clouds came back, and by sunset it looked really wintry.  It never got over 40 all day long and it was generally the kind of day to find something to do inside. 

 

I did begin to sort through the stuff in the office, but not much. Tomorrow is another day.

 

And the cat still wants to sit on my lap.  That's DC and he is apparently getting really worried.  He keeps hearing the word "go" and he just doesn't understand that this time we all go.

 

I did get a good night's sleep last night, which made everything look much better. I was so tired I had a headache last night.

 

I also discovered that, contrary to what I thought, the camera preview doesn't have to be selected, it just has to be on the screen, for it to update properly.  That's because one of the security programs I have fired up last night and it was selected, and the pictures still updated as soon as it was light enough to see - around 7:30 am.  Strange, but I guess I never tried that combination before.  I should have known, because it's been working even when I wasn't able to get it selected before it captured the picture.

 

The phone line has been giving me fits all day, though.  It has been almost impossible to keep it open.  I'm beginning to think it has something to do with the high wind. I really think somebody has to test the entire line, pole to pole, all the way from the substation.  Fat chance that will happen, at least any time soon.  Next year I may have to look into satellite more seriously.

 

So that's all that went on today.  I had dinner with Shirley and Cindy and one of their guests, so that was nice.

 

Maybe tomorrow I will get started on the packing.

 

November 9

Much as I thought I was over the post office thing, I didn't sleep well last night.  It cleared up after dark, and I could see stars, but there weren't any northern lights. The wind died down and so did the surf and it was nice and quiet all night.

 

When I woke up this morning, the sky was nearly clear and blue.  It was a little cooler, but very pretty.  Later in the day, the wind kicked up for a while, and there were whitecaps on the harbor, and late in the afternoon it clouded up a bit.

 

I found myself so irked by the post  office that I decided to find out how to escalate my complaint, and it turned out that I was glad I did.  I actually got to talk to the person from the Detroit Consumer Affairs office who had been working with the woman from Milwaukee, and unlike the one yesterday, she was very nice, and rather upset that the arrangements she had made - to send my mail once a week priority - had not worked. She had talked to the manager, and from what I heard yesterday, he never told anybody else in the office what he had agreed to do. 

 

 I also had a long conversation with her boss, the manager of the Detroit Consumer Affairs office.  I will be sending her a letter, detailing the entire fiasco.  

 

I found out where my magazines went - just where I thought.  While usually when there is a change of address, the information is sent back to the publisher, since mine was a temporary change, even though it was for six months, they didn't need to do that, and they didn't.  I don't like that, but I can understand it.

 

There apparently isn't one place where all the post office people can go to check change of address requests, so while my second request was in the system, the local office in GP neglected to make a note of it.  I'm not clear on how that works, but under any circumstances, the GP office comes out looking pretty bad, which I guess is one of the things I wanted to accomplish.

 

Now perhaps I have it put to rest in my mind, except to compose my letter, and I can sleep.

 

It wasn't very nice outside today, so I goofed off as usual.

 

Sunset was particularly nice tonight, and of course the webcam didn't do it justice, so I took a few pictures.  I've thought for a long time that the really interesting sunsets are the ones with clouds, and I think all my pictures have proved that this summer.  The colors in sunsets like this one are some of my favorites, and I expect this website will continue to have lots of them.  Tonight the color reflected in the water was particularly nice, I thought.  And the sun is so far south that I can see the full effect from the windows.

 

Shirley came into Mariner while I was eating, and we had a nice conversation.  I will miss her.

 

So that was another day.  This time next week, I should be back at Champine - darn!

 

November 8

Since I knew I wanted to get up early this morning, I didn't sleep at all well last night.  This is something I've discovered since I don't have to get up most mornings - when I do have to get up, I never get to sleep.  So I will be in bed early tonight to try to make up for it.

 

I don't like to get up in the dark.  I don't know if I've mentioned it before in the journal, but I really detest getting up in the dark.  I can go to bed perfectly happily when the sun is still shining, but i want it light when I get up in the morning.  Of course, the only way I could ever manage that would be to winter someplace like Australia, which is rather out of the question.

 

So I got up in the dark, and it wasn't all because the sun isn't rising until 7:45.  The clouds were thick and leaden and it didn't really begin to lighten up until after 10:00.  It was spitting rain, the big lake was roaring, and there was a nice wind blowing from the northwest.  What a change from only yesterday!

 

I do think that the abrupt changes in the weather, which afflict all of Michigan, are one reason I've always liked living here.  You just never know, from one day to the next - or one hour to the next - what will happen.

 

There was some snow mixed with the rain when the phone guy got here, and again when I went out for the mail run.  The temperature actually dropped slightly during the day, and it was only 36 when I went into town.  Tomorrow is supposed to be better.

 

There was no mail, and there isn't going to be any.  Since it was never sent, they've decided to hold it all and deliver it on the 17th.  I called all the utilities and got my balances and will pay them without bills.  I am pissed.  That's all I want to say about it.  The postal service used to be a service agency.  It certainly isn't any more.

 

I began the sorting and throwing out, and it turns out that I'm glad I arranged for UPS to pick up some stuff, because it turns out I have a ton of books to take home, and they would never fit in the car with all the craft stuff and the cats.

 

The phone technician admitted that there is an ongoing problem with noisy lines up here, but he can't find it, so he turned it over to his boss and went away.  It's been OK all day, so far as I know, and I spent most of the afternoon on the phone.

 

The cats know something is up and they are very worried, and I don't know how to assure them that I'm not going off without them - not that that would make them much happier.  Sometimes I envy their simple, straight-forward minds, but sometimes it gets them all upset over nothing.  So I have cats on my lap and in my bed a lot, and I try to be gentle.  They'll see.

 

I am really tired now, not to mention upset, so I will get this published and put my riled up head on my pillow...

 

Only one more week.

 

November 7

This was a slow day.  I woke up right around sunrise (not surprising, since it's at 7:45am) to see lovely pink clouds on the western horizon, mixing with the pale sky-blue sky.  I'm saying "sky blue" because really clear Keweenaw skies are not the color usually called sky blue.  Sky blue has a lot of green in it; in fact, it's not far from pale turquoise.  Clear Keweenaw skies are the purest blue imaginable, just like the lake that reflects them.  My favorite color.  Anyway, this morning it was pale pink and pale sky blue.

 

I went back to sleep for a while, but 8:30am (EST) seems to be about the longest I can stay in bed these days.  It has something to do with the sciatica I get after I've walked too much.  I really did get more debilitated than I thought at the time, and walking, even around the mall, like I did yesterday, really did me in.  Anyway, after I've walked too much, when I lie in bed, after 8 hours or so, I get a pain in my back that extends all the way down my left leg.  Sometimes turning over or rotating my hips makes it go away, and sometimes it doesn't.

 

So I got up and had French toast my way, and attacked the computer while finishing my coffee.  Something I did yesterday or overnight hosed iE, and it was claiming I could only get read access via FTP to my own website (this one) because the proxy server was only set up for read access.  For starters, PastyNet doesn't use proxy servers.  So I called Charlie, and rebooted, and we got that straightened out, but it was clear from the phone call that nobody had fixed the problem on my phone lines.

 

So I got on the phone with Ameritech, and somebody is supposed to be out tomorrow morning.  Huh.

 

All this meant it was eleven or so before I got back to the north end of the house, and I didn't get dressed until after noon.

 

It was sunny until late this afternoon, but it was breezy and didn't get over 50 here in the field, so of course I didn't plant.  I will probably end up planting in the snow.

 

I was zapping flies with hairspray, which led me to clean the window in front of the camera, when a little chickadee started flying up to the top of the window, catching a fly, and landing on the deck to scarf it down.  You go, Dee!  I always have liked chickadees. Now I have an even greater reason to like them.  Too bad I can't invite a few into the house!  They are the cutest little things.  Now that I know they eat flies! Well!  My good friends, the chickadees!

 

All of which reminded me of a couple of incidents that I forgot to mention about my drive up M26 yesterday.  Somewhere, I think east of Eagle Harbor, I ran across two does in the road.  They moved off - faster than that spike-horn buck - but stopped in the woods where I could see them.  I tried to get a picture from the car, but the camera used the flash (heaven knows why), and it was a dud.  That's one thing about the camera that I don't like - I would rather have it keep the flash off until I want it, rather than make me turn it off manually, which usually forget how to do.  

 

And I think it was when I was stopped beside the road to take the two pictures, an eagle soared over. I still love to watch them.

 

I will end this with the last picture the camera took tonight.  In order to get the wide angle view I want, I have to set it at 352 x 288 pixels (what a weird size!) which is very coarse, and is what gives the mountain its sawtooth edges, but the last vestiges of sunset tonight gave a really neat effect - like a painting.  It reminds me of some of those late - 19th century landscape painters who always had wildly stormy skies.

 

Now I will get this uploaded, and quiesce the phone line during PastyNet's busiest time.

 

November 6

Well, I really missed it.  I went to bed a bit late last night, and slept soundly until about 3am - right through a really spectacular display of northern lights.  I got this from two sources: Shirley, at lunch today, and an email from Pittsburgh.  Grr.  Frankly, I just didn't look before I went to sleep, because the AstroAlert had said they would be visible after 1am this morning.  Never believe what you read, especially on the internet.  Actually, that was a "correction" to the original alert, which had the time right.  Oh, well, so I missed it.  Maybe there will be another clear night before I leave.

 

Today I was torn.  It looked to be a beautiful, warm day, and I should have worked in the garden, but I decided to go to town instead.  It was also a beautiful day to be out.  It clouded up as I drove south, around 11am, but when I came out of the mall, it was getting sunny, and it was lovely by the time I started north.

 

I don't have a heat wrap, and I don't have a new camera.  The person I talked to at Office Max seemed to think none of the cameras they carry would be sharper or have better color than what I have, which was nice of him.  I would have tried another one.  He did send me on a wild goose chase, though, after a company that wasn't where he thought it was and  may not exist at all.  I guess we will have to make do with this thing for the winter, and I will research it while I'm in Detroit and try to find something better for next year.  Provided the phases of the moon don't get out of whack and we don't have too many power failures, and a host of other stuff, I may be able to see what's going on outside my windows.  

 

The heat wrap was to wrap around my wrist, which got totally screwed up from too much mousing.  Finally, I found that if I turn the mouse tray all the way around in front of the keyboard, the angle is better, but in the meantime, the joint at the base of my right thumb and the wrist joint under it are incredibly painful and stiff - not to mention swollen.  I'll just have to hang in there until I get home.  The angle is better there.  I'm also going to see if I can find the trackball mouse Microsoft makes and get two.  Everybody sells the Logitech, and after my previous experience with Logitech, I don't want any.

 

I did get the other stuff I went after, including a can of hair spray to try to zap the flies.  I'm afraid to use any bug killer, because they all say "hazardous to humans and animals" and the furrballs are even more sensitive to those things than I am.  I will never forget the time my mother nearly asphyxiated me out on the car road...we laughed about that one ever after, but it turned me off flying insect spray forever.  Someday I'll put it in the journal.

 

My mother is also the one who discovered that hairspray works just as well as bug killer on flying insects, and at least I think it's less harmful.  I get the unscented kind.  It's actually not nice, if you're squeamish: the spray sticks their wings together so they can't move.  But I've been overwhelmed by flies this fall (I haven't said too much about it, but anybody who's watched the camera much has seen them crawling around on the windows).  While it's apparently better than it was last year because I keep the doors closed, evidently flies in the autumn will be a constant in my life at Rainbow's End. Every time I think they've finally died off, another crop turns up.  I'm getting really tired of bzzzzz, seeing flies in their death throes, and having flies in my water glasses and the cats' water dishes.  Not to mention the hundreds of dead ones on the floors.  Yech.  I never said it was paradise, and that's one reason why.

 

I apparently misplaced one color of embroidery floss I need for the birds, so I wanted to get some, but when I saw it, I'm not sure I will use it.  The color looks really strange.  Of course all my color cards and floss are in Grosse Pointe, so I have no idea what the color should be.  I will experiment, but it may well mean I will have to go on to the eighth bird without finishing the seventh until after I move.  I don't like to do that.

 

I found Shirley and her friend Margaret at Ming Gardens, and ate lunch with them.  Margaret is a very pleasant person, and it was a very pleasant lunch. I'm going to try to print a couple of copies of the picture of the Pilot House that was on the Pasty cam Sunday.  That's been gone for a very long time, and they both remember it better than I do.  Maybe I can do it, since the picture is black and white.  

 

I've discovered that all the color printing I"ve been doing has used up most of my color cartridge.  Of course, the Laplink manual I printed that had a pale yellow background didn't help one bit.  I should complain to them about that...I think I will.  I got another color cartridge, and I discoverered that apparently the one I have doesn't have much ink in it, because HP has come out with a new one that has twice the ink supply.  Of course, it's nearly twice the price, too.

 

Anyway, after lunch and my fruitless trip up Sharon Avenue (I was afraid if I kept going, I'd end up in Chassell), I got my cat food and a few things for me to eat - including a couple of packages of Volwerth's pork sausage to take home - and headed to Calumet and the hardware store.  The sun was really shining by then.

 

I had been looking at a gardening stool with wheels that is higher than the one I had, and I need a five-gallon bucket to put over the pool pump.   I also wanted to get some kind of a siphon to siphon out the pond, which is gross.  Got all of those things.  The siphon just attaches to my drill, but I think it will do to get the drainage started.  After that, it will drain downhill to the lake.  Tom will be pleased.  He was thinking he would have to do it himself.

 

I'm hoping tomorrow won't be too bad a day, so I can get my planting done, finally.

 

It was just beautiful when I left Calumet, so for the first time this year, or at least since I came the first time, I drove out to Five Mile Point and up the coast all the way to Copper Harbor.  I was really looking for pictures to take, but I didn't find too many.  I remember when we first started hanging around up here, you could see the lake almost all the way.  The trees have grown up so much that there isn't nearly so many views.  I was also surprised and appalled by the amount of building there has been this summer.  Back even in the early '90s, most of the land was undeveloped.  Not any more. It seems every year there are more houses on both sides of the road.  And not camps, either.  Any number are bigger than my house.  In a way, I think it's a shame.  It was so nice when there wasn't anything there.  But on the other hand, I wanted to live here, too.

 

The temperature got up over 60 in Houghton.  I was warm, but when I get tired and I'm walking, I get very hot and sweaty anyway. Weakness, I guess.  Eventually, God willing, I'll get over that.  Anyway, it was only middle-50s along the lake, but the breeze was light and it was lovely. I am continually amused that I never did get used to hot weather this summer, and temperatures that would have seemed cold to me if I'd been in Detroit all summer seem just comfortable.  I didn't even take a jacket with me today.  If I'd been walking on the beaches I would have wanted one, but since by the time I got to the beaches I was too tired to walk on them, I was quite comfortable.

 

Anyway, eventually I got back home and unloaded the car.  Sunset comes so quickly these days that it arrived not long after I did.  

 

I was fooling around with the camera this morning, and it is now quite clear to me that what I see in the preview screen doesn't have a lot to do with what gets sent to the website.  I apologize for the lovely view of the side of my house all day.  I put it back.  We will just have to deal with sawtooth edges on the mountain until I find a better camera.  

 

It was clear, though, that the live cam wasn't going to do justice to the smoky, hazy sunset we had tonight - I used to think that meant tomorrow would be beautiful, but now I'm not so sure - so I went out and shot it with the Nikon. That isn't exactly what I saw, either, but it's better.  It was beautiful, but it looked more like a hot, humid night in August, except for where the sun went behind the hills.  

 

John (John Dee, that is) says it's going to stay this way until at least next week.  I don't know - I need to get my planting done, but this is strange weather for November in Keweenaw.  If it's going to hold up, I hope it holds until the 16th.  I'd really rather not drive home through snow, with the cats howling in the back...

 

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

 

So it was another beautiful day in Keweenaw, and I will get this published and lay my little head on my little pillow...

 

November 5

The fantastic weather just continues. Today it was clear all night and sunny all day, and the temperatures got into the middle 50s again...and I didn't do anything again.

 

Well...except for a few telephone calls.  Much to my surprise, Ameritech tested both my lines and agreed with me that they are horrible, and they will try to do something about them.  When the representative of the utility says the lines are horrible, you know they aren't even voice grade, as I suspected all along.  And I had a terrible time staying connected all day.

 

About the time I got through with that, and it was still early enough to go to town, all of a sudden, my website disappeared.  Apparently I'm not the only one  with fast fingers.  They got it back in half an hour or so, but by then it was edging toward noon.

 

I called the package store in Grosse Pointe and arranged for a pickup of three boxes of stuff next week.   I know I'll have one or more with the polar fleece and the books, and so I might as well fill three with stuff I won't need immediately, so I can make sure I have enough room in the truck for everything else.  I will be leaving some stuff in the freezer (what I don't eat up), except for the breakfast food and a lot more bread than I should have bought. 

 

Short pause while I eat one of those inexplicably tender steaks EconoFoods sells.  Yum.  I should take one home to show the Kroger folks.

 

Anyway, the stuff I have to pack behind the cat cage includes all the sewing stuff I have left, including the machine, the rest of the embroidery stuff, all my personal papers from the summer (yiie!), and clothes I need both places.  The truck holds more than I would have believed, but it does have a maximum capacity.  Maybe I will ship some clothes.  Anyway, I will have to have it all packed by next Wednesday, just in case they come.

 

So I whiled away the rest of the day basking in the sun coming in the office windows.  One nice thing about the sun getting so low in the sky is that I can bask in in most of the afternoon. Of course, it does make it hard to see the computer, but, oh well.

 

Late in the day there was a new AstroAlert for  northern lights after midnight tomorrow morning.  It's supposed to be clear all night, but the moon is still pretty bright and up all night.  I will take a peek and report back.  I think it is really nice of the sun to start erupting so violently before I go home.  I do love the northern lights, and I haven't had many to see for a while.

 

One side effect of my nasty phone lines was that late this afternoon, the computer got so screwed up IE hung everything and I had to reboot.  I certainly hope they manage to clean things up.  And I hope the problem isn't in the wire Adam buried between the pole and the house.  That wouldn't be nice.  I really suspect, though, that it's someplace else, and I've had horrible quality from the time the phones were installed.

 

Tomorrow is supposed to be just as beautiful a day, so instead of doing my outside work, I will probably go to town.  Beats working.

 

So ends another beautiful Keweenaw day.

 

November 4

What a beautiful day!  When I woke up this morning, the sky was clear and sunny, and there was a brisk northwest wind kicking up a nice fuss on the harbor - lots of whitecaps.  It was sunny all day, and the temperature got into the middle 40s.  Not tropical, by any means, but lovely for this time of year.  There were a few high clouds during the day, but the sunset was lovely.  I'm going to have to read the camera instructions again, because I'm having a terrible time with my low-light pictures being out of focus.  This one is OK, but I threw away half a dozen others that had better color because they were fuzzy.  If it's not one thing...

 

One thing that looks hopeful is the live cam.  It worked - by turning off screen saver and power save mode, then manually turning off the monitor, I managed to fake it out and make it think the monitor was still working.  I remember from back in the dark ages that there were device drivers that assumed no status is good status, so if the device was turned off and didn't return anything when queried, the driver wrote to it.  I don't remember what hardware I had to deal with that did that, but then it was a royal pain, because data kept disappearing into the bit bucket.  In this case, it may save my sanity.   I know when the printer goes out to lunch, it seems like the entire system hangs, because its driver just sits and waits for a status return.  The monitor driver, if it checks status at all, times out quickly and assumes something is there.

 

I'm not out of the woods yet, though. When the computer reboots, SpyCam comes up, but it doesn't open the preview screen and it doesn't turn on the scheduler.  Internet Security, when it gets an intrusion alert, hangs up the whole PC.  I may have to call Symantic to see how to set the program up so it will block intrusion attempts and not require a manual response.  However I tried to set up Laplink for internet access, it now hoses the dial up link every time I try to run it.  I have a query in to them, but with all these problems, it looks like any maintenance will have to be done locally.  

 

Tomorrow I will be calling the phone company about the evident crosstalk on my phone lines.  After some of the trouble I had getting logged back on late this afternoon when the line dropped, I am beginning to wonder if either of my phone lines is actually even voice grade.  Last week the post office, this week the telephone company...

 

Anyway, under the guise of testing the camera, I spent a lot of time today sitting in the ugly chair looking out at the harbor.  I was toying with the idea of going up to the top of the mountain, but I decided, why bother, it was so beautiful right here.

 

I will have to go to town, probably tomorrow or Tuesday, depending upon when I get off the phone, to get, among other things, enough cat food to tide me over until after I get to Detroit.  I'm still toying with the idea of trying another camera.  This one actually doesn't have real good color.  I'm tired of pink skies already, especially since I can look out and see that the real sky doesn't look like that at all.

 

On that subject, somebody may have seen two pictures today with a small ring taped to the window.  I did that to prove unequivocally that the driver will not sample when the preview screen is not open.  I was tired of trying to compare the position of the clouds and the trees to see if anything had changed.  It doesn't.  I put the ring on the window right before noon and took it off right after the picture was transmitted, then I closed the preview screen.  The 12:30 picture still had the ring on it.  So there. 

 

So finally, after about six weeks, I seem to have learned to use the camera relatively well.  Unless I can get another less touchy one, I am going to have to line up a couple of people to come and tweak things when it stops updating.

 

Otherwise, I just enjoyed another glorious Copper Harbor day.

 

November 3

What a beautiful end to the day!  This morning, when I woke up, it was so cloudy that it almost looked like the sun hadn't risen yet (well - at 8am it wasn't very high up), and it stayed that way until close to noon, when the clouds began to roll away and the sun began to shine.  The afternoon was nearly clear, as was the sunset.  When I came back from dinner, though, the moon was rising in some high clouds, so I don't know how many stars we'll have tonight.  The moon is only a few days after full, though, so I don't think there will be many stars to see.  The temperature got into the 50s and the wind wasn't too strong, so it was lovely.

 

I think we're all enjoying this weather because we all know it won't last too much longer.  I'm particularly enjoying it because in two weeks I won't be here any more, and I'm taking anything I can get.

 

The saga of the camera continues.  Just turning off power save mode didn't help, so I also turned off the screen saver, then manually turned off the monitor.  Unfortunately, I shot myself in the foot by trying to access the website with the other computer on the other phone line, which hung this one up royally - there were no updates after 2pm, and in order to clear the serial port, I had to reboot when I got home!  Talking doesn't seem to do that (I don't think?), but boy, just try to dial a computer on both lines at once and one or the other gets zapped.  

 

I guess I will be calling the phone company on Monday (shudder!).  But something isn't right, and they will have to be the ones to fix it.  With the amount I'm paying them every month, they'd better.

 

So today's experiments were a failure for a reason not related to the camera.  I will set it up again when I get through with this, and see what happens tomorrow morning. I'm still thinking that on Monday or Tuesday, I'll be in town shopping for a new camera with better software.  I've about had it with this one.

 

I do have to buckle down and do some planting, too, but the next three or four days are supposed to be nice, so I still have some time.  And I really have to start gathering together the things I will be taking home.  I think my little mind hopes that if I don't think about it maybe it won't happen - but it will, and if I'm not careful, I'll be running around like a maniac at the last moment, and that means I'll probably leave something vital behind.  Remember, no more trips until May.

 

So it was another beautiful late autumn day in Keweenaw, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

 

November 2

Oops.  I almost forgot to do my daily update.

 

The weather was nothing to write home about.  It was clear most of the night, but it clouded up before dawn and it was a really gray day all day long.  The live cam pictures looked like they were in black and white.  The wind has been thumping and moaning around the house since last night, at 20 mph and  over.  I find I get tired of the noise after a while.  The lovely quiet of summer spoiled me, I guess.

 

I had a real "duh" moment late this afternoon after fiddling with the camera and Laplink all day.  I'm  not going to be able to use Laplink to the computer here, because I only have one serial port - one phone line.  It appears that Laplink wants exclusive access to the phone line, and it causes all sorts of glitches and hangups (both of the phone line and the computer itself) if I try to use it and SpyCam at the same time.  This is not what I had hoped, and I may have to call the Laplink people and discuss it.  If SpyCam and IE and Outlook Express can all use the same internet connection, I don't see why Laplink can't, too, but it doesn't seem to want to.

 

I have about given up on the camera.  I have one more thing to try - powering down the monitor with the switch before it goes into screen saver mode.  If that doesn't do it (and I can check it pretty easily overnight), I will go back to town Monday and get another camera.  Anybody need a surveillance camera?  I think it would work OK for that, or for NetMeeting.  It never ceases to amaze me what junk software there is being sold for PCs.  I'm not saying SpyCam is bug free (it's not), but it's a whole lot better than the stuff that came with the camera.

 

I did manage to get Internet Security installed and working on the laptop, which is good and I'm installing the updated OCR software I got right now. So it will go home up to date except for the Microsoft updates I did on this one.  Those I'll do on the higher speed lines in Detroit.

 

It also seems that I have a problem with the two phone lines working together.  I know that a lot of people have complained about static on the line, and now it appears to me that the noise is probably crossover from the computer line.  This afternoon, I was trying to dial out on the laptop on what is usually my voice line, and it seemed I could use either the one attached to the desktop or the one attached to the laptop, but not both.  Interesting.  So I have somebody else to bug.  

 

This bugging of people is getting tiresome.  I often wonder why nobody can seem to do things right these days.

 

Oh, well.  Two weeks from tonight we will be in Detroit.  Sigh.

 

November 1

Well, it seems I missed several days in a row.  Not that there was anything to talk about. Monday was sunny but not very warm, Tuesday and Wednesday were cloudy and/or rainy at intervals, and today was partly sunny and warm - temp into the 60s!  The nights were cloudy and besides the moon is full tonight, so there were no more fireworks.  We did have a power failure the other night, but it was over before I got up, and all I had to do was set all the clocks...again.

 

Except to scream at the postal service, I sat around and did none of the many things I should be doing.  I think maybe I feel that if I don't do anything, I won't have to go home.  See?  I always knew I never grew up.  I certainly have very little self-discipline.

 

Except for right during the big blow, it hasn't been what I would call cold.  There was frost on the weeds in the side yard the other morning, but mostly the temps have been in the 40s or above.  Not bad at all.

 

Except to say that the Postal Service Consumer Affairs office in Milwaukee thinks they have solved my problem, I won't go into that.  I'm also not going to say much about the flies.  I thought perhaps they were under control yesterday, but today we have a new crop.  People who have looked at the live cam have seen a lot of them.  I've said it before: I know God had a purpose for every creature He created, but I really have to stretch to see what good cluster flies are.  Maybe I should import some frogs and toads, but I'm afraid Buster would be too interested in them.  If it moves he wants to play with it (he's bored with flies), and I'm afraid he would maul a frog.  Toads don't taste good, but he'd probably try to play with them, too.

 

Slight pause while I found what was trying to access the internet (Weather Underground updating itself). Since I installed Internet Security, I've been slightly paranoid.

 

Except to print out the user manual, I  haven't worked on remote access to the computer, but I'm going to have to start.  The camera will simply not update itself properly unless I keep tabs on it.  Specifically, when it wakes up in the morning, apparently it will not capture a new picture when the monitor is in power save mode.  This shouldn't matter, and I have no idea what its problem is, but every morning, I have to wake up the monitor to get it started.  Or I think so.  It certainly didn't work this morning, but SpyCam has a glitch in its scheduler, and I had to reboot yesterday.  Should have today, too, but I'm going to try just shutting everything else down and leaving the preview screen up and see what I get in the morning.  I don't think it updates properly when the monitor is in screen saver, either, but the only way I'll be able to prove that is to get the other computer fired up so I can check the page without waking up the monitor...and it's probable that the Intel people never did that.

 

So I have just been enjoying being here, and not doing a thing, and enjoying every minute of it.

 

Last updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM