A View From the Field








Journal December 2001


December 31

Well, I didn't really mean to be away so long, but there wasn't much to talk about, so I thought I would wrap up the year tonight then sack in. 


After working for a week or so, the camera went down last night, again.  I don't know what in the world is going on on Sunday nights, but I'm beginning to wonder.  I have an email in to Charlie, and I think I might call him Wednesday.  Even I hoped it would be a little more stable than it's turned out to be.


I just got back from church.  It's been traditional for a very long time in our family to go to church one last time on New Year's Eve.  There were maybe 50 people there, but they were all the old stalwarts.  Carol was sitting a couple of rows behind me, and she wept from the time they started singing "Abide With Me" (I can't sing that - I don't even try. It's one of the things they will have to sing at my funeral) until communion started.  I felt bad for her; I know exactly how she feels.  It was a long time after my mother died before I could get through that service without tears.  I got a little damp, but nothing like I used to. Fortunately, the healthy human mind can heal itself after a while and time can take the edge off the pain.  You never get over losing a loved one, but in time you do get used to it.


Short pause while I reboot.  The DSL is still not working very well, and I fooled around with technical support for an hour or so on the 26th - and on Friday, I used Go Back to revert to the 25th - thereby losing all my email and anything else I might have done for the previous three days.  Good thing I didn't do a journal!  Supposedly, my complaint has been escalated, but I haven't heard a peep out of anybody at SBC.  I will probably call them on Wednesday, too.

When it works, it's blazingly fast, but it's a real struggle to get it to work.


When that happened, I was about to ruminate a bit on the year now almost ended, so I will return to whatever I can remember of my train of thought.


It was another interestingly rocky year, I must say.  January and most of February were awful physically, but it was satisfying to know I am still strong enough to come through a trauma like that and get back on my feet in reasonably quick order.  Not that I'm 100% yet, but I never expected to be.  It took me close to two years to recover from the first chemo, and it hasn't been quite a year yet.  I feel I'm doing very well, and my doctors seem quite pleased.  God willing, I will continue to recover and get stronger.


I had forgotten what a trauma moving is, and how physically exhausting it is, but somehow, I made it through, and I am now the proud owner of two working houses - and all that that implies.  I was working on my ledger for 2001 today, and the cost was appalling.  I've misplaced the second biggest MasterCard bill of the year, too, and I will have to track that down to try to find out what in the world I spent all that money on in August and September.


After we got settled down in Copper Harbor, the rest of the summer was one of the happiest I have ever had - I think I've said that before.  I love it there, and I wish there was a reasonable way I could be there all the time.  What I don't wish, though, is even the thought of moving out of this house.  I remember all too painfully what it was like to move out of Hillcrest, and I don't ever want to do that again!


So overall, it was a good year, and everything was onward and upward from January 10.  I am hoping 2002 will be just as good, and (although I don't want to be greedy) that there will be lots more wonderful summers in Copper Harbor.  It's a new thing, to fulfill a major dream, and it will take some getting used to.  I have been enormously blessed, and I thank God every day for all He has done for me.


December 25 - Christmas Day

It was a quiet and not very long day.  When I got home from church last night, I was so tired I didn't shower, but I think that was a mistake.  I was so jazzed up and achy all over that I didn't get to sleep until after 3am, so I got up late enough to have brunch today.


We sang very well, and I have to say that Bruce's philosophy of picking easy pieces and making sure we are well-drilled works out much better than trying to reach for things we just can't do with 5 men (including him and one monotone).  I heard some nice complements, so despite the fact that I couldn't hear a thing from the back of the choir loft, evidently we sounded fine.


Our resident photographer wanted to take pictures of the choir in front of the trees and poinsettias, with our new gowns, so it was 11:30 by the time I got home.  Most everyone was there except Carol, who was with her daughter, and I must say the gowns are a success.  I hope I get a picture: I financed the last piece of those gowns.  It's nice to have pretty collars and gowns that all match - and zippers that zip!


My favorite radio station played mostly Christmas music today, and for once the reception wasn't too bad.  I finally got to hear Bach's Magnificat, and the first part of the Christmas Oratorio, both of which I sang in college, and would dearly love to sing again.


Besides, it's cold outside, and  little snowflakes have been dribbling down all day.  It's continuing to snow copiously in Copper Harbor and the rest of Keweenaw - at last! - and the deck is covered.  I could tell there was more snow today than there was yesterday.  I suppose all the sled-heads are disappointed that Keweenaw didn't get the 25" Buffalo got, but on the other hand, it looks like they will be getting a foot a day or so for the rest of the week, so the snowfolk and my friends in the tourist business should have enough to keep them happy.


From the pictures, while the Harbor is far from frozen, I can see ice along the shore from our bay over to Harbor Haus, so eventually it will happen. I can't wait to see it, and I hope the camera holds up!


I am just as glad that Christmas isn't as hectic for me as it is for most people, and I am content to spend these quiet days with the kitties (except that Buster bopped my ear with his tail again, and he just hasn't figured out what it is about that that I don't like). I find I'm beyond the hectic stage, and particularly last year and this, it was good to be able to just stay home.  I am very grateful that I'm not contemplating trips to Ann Arbor, like I was at this time last year.


The things I miss about Christmas are the things that I can never recover, so I hold the memories close and I have no regrets.  I remember when, finally, my parents were awake on Christmas morning long before I was, and we all knew, regretfully, that I wasn't a little girl any more. My mother had a little tradition, in those years, of giving me one small gift on Christmas Eve, and sometimes just that little thing - like a pin or earrings I could wear that night - meant more to me than all the other things. I also remember that every Christmas from the time I can remember until I was about 16, I was so sick every Christmas that I barely made it to the festivities.  Funny that I have no recollection whatever of the Christmas my mother spent in the TB san...


Perhaps, because of my lack of family, my time of living Christmas in memories has started earlier than it does for most people, but it satisfies me.


So now I have rambled on, and it's time for some more turkey.


Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers.


December 23

The camera is working, and I just had my Christmas feast, and as soon as I finish this, I will go upstairs and maybe knit and read a while before I go to bed.


Except that right before I served up the dinner, all of a sudden, DC said "MAH!", jumped off the chair and ran upstairs, the cooking and the eating of the feast was pretty easy.  It doesn't take much to cook a turkey, I found out a long time ago. 


This turkey was a bit over 13 pounds, but it had such a big cavity that a whole bag of stuffing fit inside.  There were mashed potatoes and mixed squash - butternut and buttercup - and lots of good gravy. Turkey makes the best gravy of all.


Not that I ate much of the meat.  Traditionally, the first night of a turkey, I eat the tail and part of one wing.  Buster was around, and so he got white meat and gravy - he particularly liked the gravy, but he ate some of the meat, too.


DC thought he wanted turkey, too, until whatever took him, but actually I don't think he was too hungry.  After I put the bird in the oven, I fried up the giblets, and he went berserk when he smelled the livers frying.  His absolute, number one favorite food is liver - especially chicken, turkey or calf's liver, the kind I eat.  Fortunately, the liver was a big one, because I like liver, too.  We shared, and he was a very happy camper.


While I washed up and put away all the pots from last week, and washed the dishes (but didn't unload the dishwasher), and I cleaned up the sink and work surface beside it, I didn't touch the cooktop.  I figured that would get so awful today, why do it twice?  Now I have a real job ahead of me.  Tomorrow, maybe.


I don't know what the problem with the camera was, but Jonathan went up to the house Friday night and got it running.  It's good to see the picture again.  There was snow on the deck today.  What a relief!  According to the forecasts I trust (John Dee most, and the Weather Underground next), Copper Harbor is about to get dumped on at last.  I hope they do.  The tourist businesses must be in agony about  now, with people canceling their holiday reservations left and right!  Besides, whoever heard of a green Christmas in Keweenaw?


I have to confess that I skipped church this morning.  The children's service was at 10:45, and I just can't stand that, so the alternative was 8:15, and I was sound asleep... I still need too much sleep to get up that early.


Besides, I stayed up and finished a sock last night.  I was using a new heel and toe technique and I wanted to see how it came out.  Pretty good, it turns out.  Now my crew socks look as nearly like my old Adlers sweat socks as they can.  This pair is red, with a rainbow thread running through it.  I've started the other one, so soon I'll have red socks to wear with my jeans.


Yesterday I got out the two little metal trees and hung the ornaments on them, so at least I have a decoration.  I would like to put a wreath in the window, but I haven't located the wreaths yet, so I may just forget it.  I know it looks kind of scroogy, but for so many years I put up all kinds of decorations and took them down three weeks later and nobody saw them.  I don't ever sit in the living room - no comfortable chairs - so decorating doesn't make much sense.  I do miss the tree with its lights and all my pretty ornaments, but then I think of what a job it is to put it up and take it down.  Maybe eventually I'll do it again, but not this year.


To me, Christmas is a religious holiday, and tomorrow night is all the Christmas I need.


Decenmber 20

It's been another quiet week, but I had to do a journal today. I finally finished the birds! I was so close this morning that I spent a couple of hours this afternoon on the final backstitching - and they're done!  I still have to finish them into hangings, and I'll wait until I do to post the pictures.  They came out very nice, but the two hangings took me one day under a whole year to do - I started Wood Warblers I on 12/21/00 and finished Wood Warblers II on 12/20/01.  That turns out that it took a little over 19 days to stitch each bird, and even if I only stitched one hour a day, that's a long time.  My sense is that I spent more like an hour and a half to two hours most days, so I have put a lot of hours into this project.  


The finished size of each hanging is 7" wide and 49" long, and they will look lovely hung between the front windows in the great room.


Now, no more birds!  I'm not sure what major project I will tackle next, but I have several in mind.  For the time being, I have a little heart-shaped pendant which looks like a flag, done in floss and beads, that I started a while ago.  I have most of the red beads left to do, so that will keep me happy for a couple of days.  The finished heart is about 3" wide, and it hangs from a blue heart button.  I thought it would be fun to wear.


The house is still a zoo, although I hope to get some things out in the trash tonight.  Since October 15th, I have received a pile of catalogs about 4 feet high, most of which will go out.  I like to look at catalogs, but at this time of year, the whole thing gets completely out of hand.  It's no wonder the mail carrier doesn't like me.  For the time, there have been no new catalogs for the past two days, but just wait until after the New Year, and the avalanche will start again.


Yesterday, I got a hint that my battle with the post office isn't over.  I had been looking for my property tax bill since the first of December, and finally I called the city offices.  It seems they were sent out on December 1.  Well...I trotted right down with my checkbook and paid them on the spot, since I want to get them on this year's tax returns.  Heaven knows where the bill is.  I also paid my water bill just to make sure that doesn't get lost, too.  I have been procrastinating on writing my letter to the Consumer affairs department, and now I'm glad I did, because I will add that one last item. I really don't know about those people.


Maybe I can get at least a wreath in the window this weekend, and maybe I can get the magazines off the floor.  


I had to take my new toaster oven back and exchange it for one that works this morning, then I went to the supermarket and acquired the makings of a feast...turkey, stuffing, potatoes, squash, cocktail shrimp...yum!  I'm not quite sure which day I will cook all these goodies (except not Monday), because I really have to clean up the kitchen and particularly the stove before I cook any more. Right now it is completely unsanitary.


When I brought all the food in the house, I had to sit myself down in front of the horrible fridge to try to fit everything in, and I found that something (who knows what?) had leaked all over the second shelf and left it sticky, so in the course of putting away my Christmas feast, I ended up having to partially clean my refrigerator.  I seem to have had a number of this type of episode lately, and I don't appreciate it.


Unfortunately, I find I still need 11 hours' sleep a night, and when I do anything even remotely strenuous, like food shopping, I am wiped out for the rest of the day, so beating the house into shape is going to be hard.  Tomorrow is trash day, and that will help, but things are progressing really slowly.


I decided not to try to put up the big tree again this year - it is just too much of a job - but I now have two metal trees about three feet high that have very pretty ornaments, and i would like to put them out, but I can't until I get rid of the magazines, because right now I have no place to put them.  Maybe I can get that resolved this weekend.


One thing at a time...


December 15

Well, my public is calling again.  Actually, there were no journals because there was no particular news.  It was a quiet week.


I guess the DSL was installed on Monday (couldn't prove it by me), but I didn't get it running until today, because I didn't want to crawl into the corner to find the telephone jack.  When I finally realized I could get at it a little more easily by pulling the desktop away from the wall (my desk here is a Formica covered board on top of two file cabinets), there was no reason not to try it.  Well...


I'm now up on the DSL, but that's after a total of five telephone calls to the tech support hotline, numerous dread blue screens and a couple of reinstalls. Needless to say, the "easy" self-install instructions left out a number of important things.  In fact, they had to register my userid for me, because I couldn't get logged on to the registration userid (looked like they changed the password and didn't tell anybody, or something like that). 


Now that I'm running it, it's wonderful.  Most web pages come up as fast as the screen can paint, I can listen to the radio and surf at the same time, and shortly I will see how publishing the website works.  There is a serious glitch in the date checking in FrontPage, and ever since the time change in October, every time I upload the journal, it wants to upload almost the entire web.  I didn't want to do that at 52kb (even less at 28kb in Copper Harbor!), so I have ended up having to click "no" over a hundred times every time I published a journal.  Now I can forget about that for a while, or at least I think I can.  It will be interesting to try.


I've also been downloading the day's live cam pictures every day, just to see what happened and make sure it's working properly.  That should go really fast.  It will spoil me really quickly, I'm afraid.  I will have to something about fast internet access in Copper Harbor next summer. Probably satellite.


I want to install this stuff on the laptop, too, but not today.  The only trouble is that when I want to use the laptop, I will have to unplug the modem and plug it into the laptop, and that's awkward.  I do want to update my software on the laptop, and it would be nice to have the DSL for that.


It's nice to feel I've accomplished something.


I saw my internist yesterday - and I have to go and get the cooler, because I am going to be doing another 24 hour urine test tomorrow.  Hate that, but it is important.  If my kidney function were to go back to normal, I could take something stronger for my aches.


On my way home, I stopped at Damman's and came home with a new toaster oven.  I think it works better than the old one, but we'll see.  Every time I get one, I realize I didn't get quite the one I wanted, but I'm afraid the one with all the bells and whistles (and timers, etc.) is pretty expensive for an appliance I mostly use to toast English muffins.  It turns out that while I can broil in it, it takes at least twice as long as in the big oven, so I doubt I would even save any energy.  For the rest of it, it's nice, and I finally got the offer for a set of pans that fit it, which didn't come with the cheap one I got for Copper Harbor.  There are a couple of pans in the set that I find useful.


I was going to do something about the pictures in the camera, but there are a lot of them and they will have to wait for another day.


So that's the latest and greatest.  I haven't done any Christmas decorating at all, because the floors in the kitchen and the living room are covered with magazines.  Next week...


December 10

Last night I got to reading my old journals and stayed up too late, then had a serious stomach upset over night, so even though Ameritech thinks my DSL is there, I didn't try getting it up and running. That's for another day.  


I don't know about other people, but I'm already enjoying being able to look back at what was going on in, say, June. That's as far as I got before my eyes got seriously crossed and I gave it up.  I also corrected some formatting problems in April (the last four or five entries turned up with white letters, which is nearly unreadable).  Today there was a report of a link missing, so I had to open the file and check that out, so I thought I'd put in an entry.  


I discovered in my readings that especially when I wasn't doing a journal every day, things would happen and I would refer to them without ever having written the original entry.  What a good reason to do an entry every day (conditions permitting). Of course, even in the daily entries, I forget things I should have said.  And I always thought I have a good memory!


Not that today is a case in point.  I essentially did  nothing of note. The weather was lovely and sunny, but chilly - low 40s and breezy - although I suspect it felt chillier to me because I was placating my rocky tummy and not eating much. I did enjoy the sun. 


I think I've mentioned before that from November through the end of March, when the days are short and our weather is mostly dark and dank and dull, I especially enjoy any sunshine I can get.  This is also the time of year when the sewing room turns into almost a sunroom when the sky is clear, and it's pleasant, in spite of the mess and the uncomfortable chair.  The office in Copper Harbor is the same way, and I miss my comfortable chairs, especially the ugly chair.


Curiously enough, if the Weather Underground is up to date in both places,, it's three degrees warmer in Copper Harbor than it is here right now.  Interesting weather we've been having.  Snowless in southeastern Michigan isn't at all unusual at this time of year, but snowless in Keweenaw is highly unusual.  At this rate, we're going to have to go some to get our 300 inches in, and the land and the lake need the precipitation. In the one bright picture today (it was cloudy most of the day), I could still see snow on Brockway, but it all seemed gone from the front yard.  I also read in one of last week's Mining Gazettes that this November was the warmest on record by several degrees - I guess I could have predicted that, what with the temps we had before I left.  Very curious indeed.


As a matter of record, I set up SpyCam to save as many pictures as it can (99) and when I do my periodic cleanup, I've been downloading them before I delete them.  That way, I can open them in PhotoDeluxe locally and enlarge them to see all the detail there is - not much at that resolution, but I could see the snow on the mountain.  I can also look at the thumbnails and get an idea of what the weather did all day.  Neat, huh?  It will be even better when I get the DSL going.


So I will close this and repair to my bed, with the hope that I feel better tomorrow, because I have to go and get us all some food.


December 9

Golly, it is the ninth, isn't it? I hadn't realized I hadn't updated the journal since Tuesday. It's been a quiet week on Champine Place...


I have to update the website, because as a last gasp to a week of very interesting webcam problems, apparently we lost the phone line between renaming all the files and downloading the new one, so there is no SpyCam.jpg out there right now.  I'm not sure what will happen when/if the line comes back and there is no SpyCam file, but I'm not going to take any chances.  It was breezy in Copper Harbor today (and beautiful), so it could well be that we had another power outage.  I think when the Hoppers said they would tend the camera they had no idea what they were getting themselves into.


We were down for an extended period earlier in the week, because of the gales.  Evidently the winds got upward to 70 mph or more, and Copper Harbor had at least a 12 hour power outage because of all the trees down. Apparently, according to Phoebe, there were things down along the road that the DNR took care of, but everything seemed safe and sound at my house.  Nice to have such thoughtful friends.


I certainly wish I'd been there to see it, although if trees were crashing down all over, I don't guess I'd have wanted to drive down the coast - or even over to Pebble Beach.  Even the Harbor would be fun in that kind of a blow, though.


Yesterday the temperatures dropped to more seasonal levels and there was some snow, and today was an absolutely gorgeous, clear day until right at sunset.  That's the kind of day I really miss being there.


It was nice and sunny here, too, and cooler - 40-ish - but we didn't have the really exciting weather, and no precipitation.


That I can recall, I didn't do much of note this week.  Must get going next week.  On my way back from the dentist Tuesday, I checked Damman's parking lot in the Village, and kept right on going, but my toaster oven is on its last legs, so I will have to brave the crowds, and today I broke an egg, so I need to go out tomorrow and get food for all of us...that is, if Ameritech comes.  My DSL is supposed to be installed tomorrow, and I guess I have to be here when they do it.


So, nothing to report except that I'm here, and I'll get this published. Well, when I finally got reconnected, the site is OK, except that I lost the last picture of the day...again.  So I guess if that's its only problem, I won't complain.


December 4

Another interesting day.  


The doctor says I am fine, the CT scans are clear, and hang in there.  He is going to have to try to scare up my vaccines, since they are usually given to children, so it's probably good that he has a few weeks to find them.


I was just home from that, and sitting and wondering what I would do for the rest of the afternoon, when there was a call from my dentist, and I now have nice clean teeth.  The interesting thing was that they had made an appointment for sometime in February, which I never even wrote down.  Obviously, I expected that somebody would cancel out.  My teeth weren't in particularly bad shape for having not been cleaned for a year, but it feels nice to have all the moss polished off.


I also made an appointment with my internist.  I need to have my kidney function retested, and I need to have a talk with him about my aches and pains.  A lot isn't getting done because I'm too creaky to do it.


I did finally cook tonight, and had a very nice dinner, thank you, even though it was late.  And that's another story...


When I got back from the dentist, I came down to log on to check the camera, and I they kept saying that my password was invalid.  After spending about 40 minutes on hold (I wasn't the only one...) I discovered that MSN decided to do a major upgrade to their userid server in the middle of the day (!), and the only possible way I could get on was to reset my password. So I did.  When I finally began to get my email (21 spam messages), I went to their support site to put my password back to what it used to be, and I found out I can't use that password any more: they changed the rules and I can't use an underscore in the password. Drat.  That all took a lot longer than I thought, so I didn't get my dinner until after 8pm. 


 It was worth waiting for.


Anyway, when I checked the camera at 5:30, the lights were on in the office! I called, but nobody answered the phone, so I started checking around, and finally found that Tom Boost had been there today, checking up on things.  That camera is more useful than I thought it might be.


He also confirmed that it's warm up there - almost as warm as it is here.  I guess everybody is remembering last December, when it wasn't warm at all.  I can remember lots of Decembers like this.  I've thought for some time that the actual temperatures were rotating forward with respect to the seasons. So it gets cold later and warms up later in the spring.  Apparently sometime soon, we should begin to get winter weather.


It always amazes me how many people who live here actually would prefer the weather three or four hundred miles further south. there was a lady in the elevator today who said "wouldn't it be nice if the whole winter was like this". No.  I'm with those who think it should be cold in the winter - and not too warm in the summer.  No wonder I like Copper Harbor so much!


And I just tried to log back on to MSN and it is screwed up again.  Oh, woe.

So now I will hassle that until I get it fixed and then I'll publish this.  I need to get to bed tonight - tomorrow is bible class and choir.


December 3

The camera is working, the windows are clean, and U of M faxed me a copy of the piece of paper I couldn't find.  What more can I ask?  A lot of nice things happened on a Monday when I wasn't contemplating much happening.


I should have called U of M when I got home and couldn't find the paper. It has a list of all the immunizations they think I should get, and it's time to start that. Ugh.  Includes pretty much everything I had as a child, like DPT and polio, plus a lot of stuff, like measles, that they didn't have (I've had various sorts of measles at least three times, including the serious kind and 3-day measles twice).  Curiously, it didn't include tetanus.  And of course, they don't give smallpox anymore - yet.  I think I was vaccinated for smallpox three times.  And I only got my pneumonia shots the year before I got sick.  Poo.


However, they don't advise starting it until 12 months after the transplant, so I have a couple of months' reprieve.


This piece of paper isn't exactly like the one they gave me last spring, but it has more detailed information.  I hope Dr. Lehman can make sense of it, but if he can't he can call them.


The windows were a nice surprise.  I was idly working on the last bird around 10:30 when there was a doorbell, and who should be standing there but my window washers!  I certainly wasn't going to turn them away.


I even called Charlie before I checked the camera this afternoon, and then I discovered that Jonathan had been out there last night (as I suspected, the firewall kept him from doing it remotely), fixed things so he can get in remotely, started up the camera, and even reset the timer so it takes pictures on the half hour!  From now on, unless something awful happens, they shouldn't have to do much to restart it when the power goes out.  


It was a beautiful day in Copper Harbor today, too, and only a little cooler.  Here, it was clear until late in the afternoon, and the temperature must have gotten into the middle 50s.  I know a lot of people who read this are wishing for snow, but frankly, I'll take any and all sunshine I can get! It's been too dark lately, and of course the daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter all the time.


Unfortunately my fruitless search for the piece of paper didn't result in much of a cleanup.  I still have an awful amount of filing to do, and one of my very least favorite chores is filing!


The kitchen is still full of piles of magazines, but I took out the bag of recyclable bottles and cans.  The less humid weather has left me a little less stiff, but not much, so I haven't done much.  Besides, I ended up in the basement to make my telephone calls, and with the computer at hand...well...


So tomorrow I get to see the doctor and find out how my CT scans are, and I really want to cook the dinner I've been postponing for two days.  I have the meat defrosted now, so I have to cook.  I was planning to do it today, but time passes when you're playing games...


The camera is black now, but unless there is another power failure tonight, it should be showing pictures after 8am tomorrow.  Let's hope.


December 1

I looked back at last year's journal and deleted my first line.  When December rolls around, I can't help marveling at how fast the time goes. And yet I was wishing the time from October of last year through March of this year would go faster.  That is another lost six months, like the summer of '98. My time up north certainly did go by too fast.  It seemed like I'd just get settled in from a trip back here and it would be time to go back again.  I think the cats felt the same way.  I am hoping not to have to come back more than twice next summer.


Ah, next summer!  How I love it there!


I guess part of the reason it's so nice is that the house is essentially empty, at least compared to this one. One of these days I'll get brave and post a picture of the basement behind me as I type.  The trouble is, I feel the need for all that stuff, so I guess this house will continue to be the warehouse, so my nice neat house in Copper Harbor won't get too messed up.  Of course, the office is a shambles when I'm there, because I just don't seem to function well unless there are piles of stuff within hand reach.


While the area I live in there is about the same as here, the rooms are bigger there, and I think I laid it out with the idea that if I had a room like the office, where I could put everything and close the door, the rest of the house would stay neater.  That has been true so far.  I particularly appreciate the bedroom.  Here, not only is my bedroom too full of furniture, my desk is there, so all my current papers are there, and the closets are the old-fashioned 24" deep kind with little doors, so there are clothes and shoes all over.  While my closet at Rainbow's End isn't that big by today's standards, it is big enough to use as a dressing room, so all the clothes are in one place.  I could close that door, too, except that there is usually a cat or two sleeping on the shelves, and after I locked Buster in for one whole day, I've left it open.  It does mean that the bedroom itself usually looks pretty good.


The kitchen up there gets messed up, but that's more my fault than anything else.  It isn't as bad as here, where not only are there empty bottles for the recycling, full bottles of stuff, a messed up stove, and dishes in the sink, one end is piled up high with the polar fleece I brought back, and there are piles of magazines and catalogs two feet high all around the table at the other end.  The table is covered with mail and books.  The trouble is, in this house, all rooms seem to be multi-purpose rooms, whereas I can sort of segregate purposes up north.  That makes a big difference in general clutter.


One of the reasons everything is so horribly messed up here is that since I've been home, I have been so stiff and sore that I haven't wanted - or been able - to really attack the things that need to be moved around and put away.  The upstairs is better, because I could do a lot of the work sitting down.  


Anyway, I am so tired of aching that I started taking the glucosamine today, without referring to anybody.  I have to do something, and I'm afraid to take any more potent pain killers until I get my kidney test and probably until I stop taking the acyclovir.  


That, by the way, turned out to be a good thing after all.  I must tell Dr. Lehman.  Any number of times over the summer, the two places over my eyebrows where I had the shingles got tingly and itchy and sore again, so I have to conclude that if I hadn't been taking something, I would have had the shingles again.  I'd rather not - ever.  Even with all the modern medication, that is a genuinely nasty infection.


So under the assumption that glucosamine is pretty harmless, I just decided to start it again.  Unfortunately, it takes several weeks to give any relief and it doesn't cure everything.  All I know is that when I started taking it the last time, I felt about the way I do now, and after a few weeks, moving around was a lot easier and less painful.  If it isn't this time, I never will get myself back into any kind of shape, and that would be horrible.  I want to be able to go walking in Keweenaw again without worrying that I might get someplace and not be able to get back!


Oh - the weather.  Cloudy, dark, 40s and dampish but I don't think it rained. Not nice to be out in, especially if you're crippled up with arthritis!  So I finished the seventeenth bird, and selected the floss for the last one.  Wow!  I will be very glad to be done with birds!


I was also thinking about past weather, back to when I was a kid.  I don't remember much about Thanksgivings, although there are pictures of the family in the 40s to 70s when it looks like it was very warm on that day, but I do remember some Decembers, especially the year I tore up my ankle, when it started snowing the day I did it and never stopped until after New Years, and there was so much new snow on Christmas Day that my dad was digging out all the guests for we had for dinner, even though he had shoveled the whole place before they came.  I don't remember the exact year, but it was sometime between 1951 and 1954, and it was impressive.  


After that, the snow started coming later, and we've had a lot of open winters, punctuated by infrequent years when we got dumped on.  Some people call it global warming, but I think it's some kind of natural cycle we don't understand because we haven't been keeping records long enough. It was a lot colder here in the years between '46 and about '60, too, and I think the meteorologists have agreed that there was some kind of minor cooling in those years.  Also, it was after then that the city started to really sprawl, and I firmly believe that the presence of so much concrete, asphalt and bricks keeps it warmer here than it used to be.


So that's what's going on around here.  These dark, cloudy days of December tend to make my thoughts go the same way.



Last updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM