A View From the Field








November, 2002


November 30

I wasn't going to do a journal tonight, because it's been a quiet couple of days, but it is the end of the month, after all. I've been back here for two weeks. Only twenty four, more or less, to go.


The weather has been blah again. Yesterday, both here and in Copper Harbor, it warmed up - to almost 40 in Copper Harbor, and near 50 here. Most of the snow in Copper Harbor melted. Over night, though, the temperature dropped, and the clipper system John was talking about has begun to arrive. There were some snow squalls over Copper Harbor this morning, and around 1 pm, I looked out the window here and the snow was being blown horizontal. There wasn't much accumulation either place, but the camera could possibly wake up tomorrow morning to ten inches or more. Here, it won't be quite so much. It was cold both places - under 20 there, with a strong wind, and in the mid 20s here with wind. Here it was damp and not nice at all, and I suspect it was just as bad there.


I've actually spent a lot of time sleeping for the past two days. I was apparently more tired than I knew on Thursday, and I slept until after 10am yesterday morning. I had intended to go to bed early last night, but I got to reading one of my writings, which I think is pretty good, and it was so interesting it was after midnight before I got to sleep. Then, around 4am, I was in a car that a guy drove off the top floor of a parking structure...


There are probably several reasons why my dreams have been so troublesome lately. There is the money situation, which isn't good, and I can't get it straightened out until I have time to go through a couple of boxes of stuff and get all my documents together. I'm still not used to being here, and (no surprise) in the transition, the post office seems to have lost three or four bills. There was a clause on the back of my mortgage statement that upset me, because it is the direct opposite of what I remember signing, and I have the awful feeling I may have left the closing documents in Copper Harbor, so I may not be able to check it. And finally, I was (apparently) called to jury duty on Wednesday, and I will have to be downtown, parked and in the Murphy Hall of Justice at 7:45 in the morning. I was supposed to have gotten a new jury summons, according to the person I spoke with last week, but that has gone missing, too. So I got driven off the top of a parking structure last night...


I did accomplish one small thing: I got the trash and recyclables out last night, and I never heard either truck when they picked them up this morning. Hauling everything to the trash compactor in Copper Harbor is a real chore, but I find that even here it's a task I hate.  I wish I could get organized enough to take out the empty plastic and glass as I use them, but somehow it never works that way. There was also a pile of newspaper and the catalogs I slipped on. There is a little more room on the counters now.


Tomorrow I really need to force myself to get at the kitchen after I get home from church. The clean dishes are still in the dishwasher and the dirty ones are piled in the sink, along with the pans from my last cooking adventure, and there are a lot of pans on the counter. The stove is a total disaster...and on and on it goes.


l am still extremely stiff and sore from the waist down, and I strongly suspect that my left knee is going the way my right knee went. The cold dampness and all my exertions in moving back have left me with an inflammatory flare-up of my arthritis. I was assured it was osteoarthritis, but when it gets like this I really wonder. Even my index finger has been hot and achy lately, which hasn't happened in quite some time. My left leg is so sore I can sometimes hardly put any weight on it, especially after I've been sitting or lying down for several hours. Going upstairs is frequently really interesting, and I have to take myself in hand to keep from sitting down on the steps and working up them like I did a million years ago when I tore up my ankle.


So altogether I am not in a good mood - sorry! - and the weather and my distance from Copper Harbor aren't helping.  It's now when I need to go to church and sing and remember how blessed I am to be here at all and have all the friends and things I do. 


I also need to try to get to bed earlier tonight and get a good night's sleep. The transition from cool to cold and damp always leaves me exhausted, and since this seems like it will be a more normal Michigan winter, it's happening now.


I'm sorry to be so down on this page, but this is the forum I have chosen to vent my feelings.  November has ended, and maybe December will be better.


November 28 - Thanksgiving Day

I hope everyone who reads this has had a happy Thanksgiving Day and is stuffed full of good things.


First off, the camera was off all day. I have no idea what happened, but apparently it couldn't dial out this morning so it sat all day. When I wish I could access its hard disk!  However, I did get two shots right before nightfall so you can see that not much happened today except that the snow blew off the deck railings and settled on the deck. I don't expect it looked much different all day. 


The temperature was in the middle 20s, but it's been rising and the wind has been rising. John Dee says there is a gob of warmer air in front of the next clipper system, which should hit tomorrow night, and probably the mix will make for lots of snow.


Here, it was cloudy and around 30 with a raw wind all day, and if it warms up as much as they're claiming, the snow may mix with rain around here. Yuck.


I had a pleasant day, with church this morning and a nice dinner with Carol this afternoon - my first turkey since last Christmas. It tasted really good. When I got home, I gave the furballs their Thanksgiving dinner - salmon and shrimp, which DC practically inhaled. He went back to sleep, but Buster sat on my lap for a long time while I was reading my emails and my comics. I will end the day with a little bit of reading in bed, I think.


While I thank God every day for what He has done for me, Thanksgiving Day seems to be a good time to try to wrap it all up and articulate it a bit.


First of all, I thank God that He has made me His child and given me salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Without the strength He has given me through my faith, truly, I wouldn't be here.


Second, I thank God every day that I'm here, alive, and over all, pretty healthy.  My legs I can work on.


I thank God that He has allowed me to realize my dream and build my wonderful summer home in Copper Harbor - and live in it. I can not tell you what joy I feel every time I drive into my driveway there, and even when I am here, how wonderful it is to know that place is there, waiting.


I am thankful that I have all the necessities of life and a lot of the non-necessities, too.


I am thankful for my friends, my church family, and my four-footed family. Had I actually become the Hermit of Copper Harbor, I don't think I would have been very happy.


While it's been a somewhat rocky year, over all, everything has come out pretty well...although I'll save that for New Year's Eve.


November 27

Now remember, I warned you this might happen. I was tired of writing that nothing was happening, so I skipped the journal for last night.


Actually, something did happen yesterday: I got my  blood tested, and the PTR/INR was low by a bit, so I have to go back next Tuesday for another one. Why am I not surprised?  Otherwise, I got cat food and bird seed (which I don't have anyplace to put) and Christmas cards...and I seem to have gotten the only Christmas card in Jan & Jim's Hallmark that said "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year". Most of the cards they had, even the religious ones, didn't even mention Christmas by name at all. Weird.


I thought I went to bed early last night, but I certainly could have kept right on sleeping this morning, and as a result, I slid into bible class late...fortunately, pastor was later. That is a nice group and we have some good discussions, as well as learning more about the bible and the way Lutherans look at things.


Since I've been invited to dinner tomorrow, I had to dig out the pants from my boxes. That was the excuse, but I think I've been wearing the same pair of jeans for a week and a half, so it was time for some clean ones anyway. And I washed the parka.


It seems that lately, my legs are pretty good when I get up and until I do anything, then they get all achy again. It probably has something to do with the weather as well as my condition, since it's been cold and damp. I didn't help myself much, though. Just a few minutes ago, I went upstairs for something and when I turned to go back downstairs, I slipped on a catalog and ended up lying on the floor. No damage to my head, but I think I'll probably have a sore hip and knee tomorrow.


I had those catalogs piled up at least twice to take out to the recycling bin, and for some reason not known to me, every time I come back into the kitchen, they are spread out over the floor. I have a strong suspicion that somebody is using them for a slide. Buster came and looked at me and went away puzzled, but DC came down and sniffed around to make sure I was OK. He is now dozing on my lap - and I can't tell you how hard it is to type with a cat using your left arm for a pillow.


The only other problem I had with my fall is that I had to scootch myself over to the stairway on my backside, since I'm not sure I could get to my feet even using a chair. That was of some interest to the furballs, since mommy doesn't usually go crawling around on the floor.


I was extremely glad I only went to church and back today, since Mack Avenue was a real zoo. I was nearly crashed into twice coming home by people pulling out of parking places without looking (and the Yukon is  a pretty big hunk of steel to miss). Then there were the ones driving down the middle of the street at ten  miles under the speed limit...it was easy to tell it's the day before a holiday just by the way people were driving this morning.


I should also mention that I got a reply from the spice company (Tones makes Spice Islands, Durkee's and some others) with not one but three recipes for Bouquet Garni, one of which is probably the one they used to sell. It's no wonder I like the taste: it has a fair amount of summer savory, of which I love the flavor, and which I use to flavor my turkey stuffing (as well as thyme, sage and rosemary). I learned about that from my grandmother, who used mostly savory in her stuffing. although I think mine is more highly flavored. 


The weather, as I said, has been cold and damp. the temperature here has hovered around 30. When I got up this morning, and until early in the afternoon, it was sunny here, and it was really nice to see. Maybe that's why people were driving so crazy. There was a very thin blanket of snow on the ground - half an inch at most - but it must have been cold snow since there wasn't much on the trees.


It's been snowing in Copper Harbor, and the temperature was in the middle 20s all day. In fact, the camera woke up to a snow squall, and according to the pictures, it was snowy until around 11am, after which it was just cloudy. You can't see under the deck railing any more, but that's only about 4". I wonder if that's all the snow there's been in Copper Harbor, or if there's something about the deck that less sticks there.


The weather forecasts for both places say more of the same, although it looks to warm up a few degrees Friday. Of course, I think any five year old could forecast for Copper Harbor right now...cold with a chance of snow...


And so to bed. Church is at 10am tomorrow morning, so I will have to try to get up a little earlier than 8:40!


November 25

Well, I did it again. I went to bed well after midnight and got up late enough to eat brunch today. And, since my beef Provencal is still cooking - and I have potatoes to cook and mash (at 8:15) it looks like I'll be doing it again. I hate to get into this cycle, because getting out of it isn't easy.


I went to bed freezing last night, since I decided it was too late to take a bath. I will have to remember more clearly that when I've gotten thoroughly chilled in the basement is when I most urgently need to shower to warm myself up. It doesn't take that long! So I had a rather restless night with some more strange dreams. Apparently I'm searching for something again.


When I finally got into gear today, I discovered that my legs feel some better. They have been really painful since I got back to Champine, and I have been having a perfectly awful time going up and down stairs. I had to shop today, because I can't make the beef Provencal without red wine, and since I don't normally drink that, I didn't have any. There were a couple of other things to keep me fed until next week, so I went to the store next to church. It was an absolute zoo, but not so bad as it will be after bible class on Wednesday. They had a nice selection of wine (they always do, but it changes over time, unfortunately, so I get a bottle of something I like and can't ever find it again...) so I got some of that, and some cocktail shrimp to snack on (yum! - only I have to wait till they defrost!). 


I was planning on starting my cooking early, but somehow I got down here at the computer and waited until the Deezer trundled down and howled at me. He also howled all the time I was browning the meat. For all his 15 years, he has never understood that when you eat people food you eat when (or after) the people eat. So dinner is currently in the oven, I am drinking white zin and listening to Schubert's Unfinished and waiting for the timer to go off to go up and start potatoes. My beef Provencal recipe makes fabulous gravy, and I just can't have it without mashed potatoes. I found some with rose skins that are supposed to be yellow inside (like Yukon Golds), so I will try those...or maybe I'll mix them.


I woke up at around 7:30 (briefly) this morning to see sunshine (!), and it was still sunny when I got up, but by 1pm it had clouded up and it was dreary for the rest of the afternoon. My, but it was good to see the sun!  This has been just an awfully dull, dreary fall over all of Michigan.


I just looked at the day from the camera (I can download all the pictures when I want to see what happened during the day), and there was a little sun around noon in Copper Harbor, too. The first picture is interesting, because you can see one of those fluffy, low clouds that frequently bring snow with them. The second shot, about an hour later, shows that it was indeed partly cloudy then...now that is my Copper Harbor!


It was around 30 all day there again, while it stayed at or above freezing most of the day here, so there was a little difference. It was also a lot windier up north, but then, I think it usually is. The snow that didn't come over the weekend appeared last night in Keweenaw, apparently, and there may be more over the next few days. Since I don't have to try to get out of my house there, I am hoping for lots of snow so all the snowmobilers and the people who serve them can enjoy their sport.


By the way, the day is under 9 hours in Copper Harbor now, whereas here it's still about 9 hours long. Right around the solstices is when it's easiest to notice the difference of being 5 of latitude further north.


Short hiatus while I got the potatoes going and replaced the light in the range hood.


For some reason, when I was packing to move, I split the bottle of Spice Islands Bouquet Garni that I had here and took most of it up north. I guess I thought I was going to cook, or something (and I really must start doing that), Anyway, I have not been able to find more in the stores, so I launched into a web search - a very interesting one - to see if Spice Islands was on the web and if so, did they still sell their Bouquet Garni? The answer to the first question is yes, although their website (they make Durkee's and several other brands of spices, too - interesting) is sort of weird and doesn't navigate very well. The answer to the second question appears to be no, they don't make it any more. In the course of my search, I recovered Penzey's Spices. They sent me an absolutely fascinating (to a cook or eater) catalog a couple of  years ago, before I needed anything, and I forgot about them when I was moving. I requested a catalog. Just reading it is enough to get my creative cooking juices going.


By the way, I ended up using the Bouquet Garni for this dish in an amusing way. I adapted the recipe from one for lamb shanks (which is also terrific) which is flavored with rosemary, but I didn't think that would go with beef very well (and the package agreed).  So I looked at all the spice bottles and smelled them all until I found one that smelled like it would be good with beef and onions and garlic. I like it, even though I think I could dispense with the tarragon, which is a very pervasive taste I don't really like too well. I don't cook much, but a lot of my cooking has been an adventure into the unknown. Maybe next summer I'll get to Hughes farm early enough to get the ingredients for my summer vegetables with noodles, which makes a huge amount and is just as good cold as it is hot...


So that was another quiet day away from the field. It obviously won't be early when I go to bed tonight, but maybe not 1:30am.


November 24

Wow, how to get lost in cyberspace! I came downstairs just after 5pm and fed the kitties before I came into the basement to check the camera (which is OK) and my email. It's now after 10pm and I just finished eating and haven't finished my drink yet. I had my usual comics and puzzles to check, and the weather, and the Pasty Cam, and John Dee. There was a website I had to visit because I needed to send them an email, and...well...


It was another nondescript day both here and in Copper Harbor, cloudy and blah, but no rain or snow or anything...well, there may have been a few flurries in Copper Harbor. One of the pictures looks like there are drops of something on the window. The temperature hovered around 30 all day there, and the wind is dying down. Here, it got into the low 40s, and it got dark very early - around 4pm.


I was up and attem as much as I ever am this morning, and I did make it up to the choir room around 10:15, like I was supposed to. By the time we finished practicing, my feet hurt, and after we sang our anthem for real, not only did I have a very sore toe, but I was very hot and sweaty. It was a very up-tempo piece, with a chance for all of us to sing loud. Fun, but exhausting.


By the time I had gone down the stairs, walked the length of the church, kneeled for communion, got up and walked back and up the stairs, I had had it for the day. I was going to stop someplace, because I realized that I need a bottle of red wine for my next cooking, and I don't have any. So I decided to wait until tomorrow to go out. I need to write some bills and mail them anyway, so that's my excuse.


I spent part of the afternoon embroidering, and the rest in the sewing room looking at all my bead projects. The one I really wanted to work on - a watch with a beaded band - is the one I had to send the email about, because the wrong color beads was included in the kit, and I don't like the color at all. So that project is on hold. 


I shouldn't even be looking at that stuff. I should be attacking the boxes in the living room, but the beads are a lot more fun, and besides, I can do it sitting down.


I never claimed to have any self-discipline.


Actually, if I do anything besides clean up, it should be some sewing projects. I really would like to finish the two Christmas stockings I embroidered the fronts of two years ago. They are parts of the nativity - one is the stable and the other is the wise men - and the perspective is fascinating. There is a person's head at the toe of each stocking, and it looks like you are looking over his shoulder. I couldn't finish them when I had the embroidery done because it took me some time to assemble the fabrics, cording and tassels, but last year it was just sloth, as usual.


I need to make a fleece robe for here, using all I learned by making the one for Copper Harbor, and I have only two working flannel nightgowns. I need to either patch the other two or make some more.


It did occur to me, as I was recovering from my exertions of the morning, that the problem I have is that when I don't feel very well, it's easy to just sit, and by the time I am actually feeling better, I am just in the habit of sitting, and the more I sit the less I feel like moving. When one is younger, it takes a lot longer to deteriorate, but of course, this has been going on for five years now, and I don't like the results. Just getting the treadmill uncovered will be good exercise, as will getting the stuff in the boxes out and upstairs.


Up and attem!


I think I will go crash after I publish this.


November 23

Another quiet day away from the field. Curiously enough, the weather here in Detroit was almost exactly the same as it was in Copper Harbor - cloudy, dreary and spitting snow, with temperatures in the mid 30s. The only difference that I can see is that now in Copper Harbor, the wind is from the northwest and around 30 mph, while it is from the southwest and around 15mph here. It does sound like something is building in Copper Harbor, and I'll be interested to see what it's like tomorrow.


As I promised, I caught up on my embroidery today and began to make a little sense (not much) out of the boxes. I must really give some thought to sorting out my clothes so that I don't have to ship so much. Packing and unpacking is a real chore. One problem, of course, is that all the fleece and berber pullovers I love to wear when it's cold are extremely bulky and hard to pack, and I like to have them available both places. However, I have six months, more or less, to get that straight. I do usually dress far more casually in Copper Harbor, and I ought to be able to use that to my advantage.


The kitchen looks like a tornado hit it, and I must start to work on that. I  need to wash all the fleece throws and get them positioned around the house: Buster loves to lie in the sewing room window, but only if there's something soft to lie on. DC has taken up his position on the cutting table again, because I left the remnant of the one pullover I made last spring, and it is a nice, soft pad. I also need to wash my down parka, which unfortunately got caught in the back door of the car on the way home and has salt and grime around the edges. I should have been more careful where I put it.


What I've discovered is that this house is so small and so overstuffed with stuff that it's a lot harder to get everything sorted out and put away. I just cannot change my habit of reading the mail in the kitchen, and already I have a six inch pile of pleas for money. They're getting desperate, it seems, and sending a lot of stuff - I even got a camera and film (very cheap and I don't think it works) from somebody - in the hopes that guilt will make me send some money.  Well, unfortunately, I'm in the same state as everybody else is, and I don't have very much money to send.


There is also a growing pile of catalogs and magazines that I must try to stay ahead of. This mail thing can get out of hand pretty fast, and the result is stuff piled on every flat surface including the floor. At the same time, one catalog I got in Copper Harbor that I really wanted has gone missing. There was a pile on the hearth that I thought I had gone through and I pitched it, and I'm afraid it was the wrong thing to do. Oh, well. They'll send me another, I'm sure.


So tonight I must try to get to bed at a reasonable hour, so that I can get to church (and up the stairs) by 10:15 tomorrow. I think that means no reading, but we'll see.


November 22

Last night's winter storms were a complete dud, so far as I can determine. It rained a little here, but there was no snow or freezing rain and the temperatures were in the middle 30s today, although it wasn't very nice out because of a high wind which has now died down. There wasn't any more snow on the deck at Copper Harbor than there was yesterday. Now they are saying that there is a winter storm watch for Saturday and Sunday up there, but there will be, at most, some sprinkles and maybe a flurry or two here. I know these things are hard to predict, but really, this is the time of year when most weather forecasters go into Chicken Little mode. That is one reason I like John Dee so well. I've seen him be wrong (not very often), but I've never seen him overreact to a pending weather system. I wish he did as detailed a prediction for the Detroit area as he does for Keweenaw...but they'd have to pay him, of course.


My outing for the day was to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned and be told that my mouth looks great. I have a thing about my teeth and gums, because my mother had periodontal disease and surgery for it three times (something I never want to go through!) and my dad had good gums but horrible teeth. I keep hoping that by taking very good care of my mouth, I can avoid all that. I have a mouth full of silver, all of which I got before the age of 40, and one gold crown, which was a real blow to me when I had to have it. Unlike most people my age, I have yet to have a root canal, so I guess I'm doing something right.


I had intended to go upstairs and fiddle around when I got home, but somebody wanted to fax me something, so I had to come down to the basement to turn the fax machine auto-answer back on, and I just never went further than the kitchen to get our dinners. The number I use for the computers, which is my old telephone number from the old house, is apparently one of the easiest ones to misdial in this area, and I have gotten all kinds of wrong numbers on it, including somebody who faxed me a sixteen page manual - with the notation "Let's try this again" on the first page! I took that page and wrote a note on it and faxed it back, which turned that off, but the other night, with the fax disconnected and auto-answer off, somebody tried to fax something again. Since I was connected to the internet via DSL, the regular telephone line was open. So I am still getting wrong numbers.


Finally somebody (my lawn cutter, as it turned out) came to clean up the locust leaves on the front lawn and the pear leaves on the back lawn, so I can see my grass again. I suspect the gardeners thought the lawn cutter was going to do it and the lawn cutter thought the gardeners were going to do it, and as a result nobody did it. This was a good time, because the pear is bare (ahem!) and most of the leaves are off the locust. I think I mentioned before that the locust shed it leaves in a most uncharacteristic way this year. Usually, the little leaflets drop off like rain, leaving the stems to drop later - a double whammy which makes a real mess, since the little leaflets are nearly impossible to take up. This  year, I suppose because it was so cold, the entire compound leaf fell as one thingie, which make a terrible mess but was a lot easier to pick up. That is one humungous tree and it's very healthy and has a remarkable number of leaves on it. Made me tired just to look at the lawn.


The Farms is picking up leaves at the curb this year, but Marty took them away with him, which is nice, because otherwise I would have to look at that pile along the curb all week and more than likely a lot of the leaves would blow away and mess up somebody else's lawn. When I went down some of the streets in GP City this noon, it was really hard to dodge the big piles.


It was a quiet day, and now I will trundle upstairs and knit and read for a while. Tomorrow I will catch up on the embroidery I missed today.


November 21

It's been warm in Detroit for the past couple of days - in the low 50s yesterday and in the upper 40s today. I was able to go out wearing only one of my new sweaters for a jacket. Even an Copper Harbor, it was over the freezing mark for a while each day. The balmy weather is about to end, however. There is a lake effect snow warning for Keweenaw and a winter weather advisory, whatever that means, for here. What it probably means is that the northern suburbs - Oakland and Macomb - will get snow, and we'll get rain down here in the city. 


It was raining when I came out of the beauty salon - but in order.


It was good to go to bible class and choir practice yesterday, but I dropped into the middle of things in both places, and I felt sort of out of it. Particularly in choir, I am still sight reading the thing we're singing on Sunday - a real rouser - so probably I will end up singing notes and lots of vowels with very few real words, which won't make Bruce happy. Oh, well. At least I think  I'm getting most of the notes.


I think there was some sunshine here yesterday (so long ago), and the moon was shining when I went in to choir practice. It was a long one, since we're starting our Christmas (!) music, and when we came out, there were clouds over the moon. Today was cloudy.


I got to bed rather late last night because I am starting a new sock and I wanted to get the ribbing done before I quit. It was another night of strange dreams. I don't know why my mind is so unsettled.


My appointment with Dr. Lehman was this morning, and I was still so sleepy that I forgot to ask him the two (non-critical) questions I wanted to. However, as I strongly suspected, my PT/INR is out of range on the high side. The way I have been bruising and  my scrapes have been bleeding, I was sure it was. So we will go through the adjustment period again, with a test next week. Fortunately, that is just a finger poke, because my elbow is a real mess where they drew the blood today.  And he will see me in two months, at which time I should be able to stop the coumadin and have some more cat scans (he didn't say that, but it will be six months from the last set). I expect to have those scans every six months for the rest of my life, because it's the only way to be sure there is no recurrence of the cancer. U of M may want me to have another breathing test and Muga scan (heart), too, but we'll see about that.


This afternoon, I got my hair cut. When I left in the spring, it was still growing out - it grows a lot slower than it used to, and I don't think it's so thick,either - and while Mary Ann tried to shape it up as best she could, it was still too much all the same length to do a good job. It was all right for most of the summer because it didn't start to get too long until September. I did have to trim my bangs once, but otherwise it's only been for the past month or so that it has gotten out of hand. It still hasn't grown out enough, and there is still a lot of short hair in back, but it is shaped up a lot better. I haven't decided what I will do with it in the long run. After wearing it quite short for a couple of years, I decided I like it better longer, so it is now beginning to get back to the length and shape it was before I lost it the first time. Whether I will just let it grow, like most of the women up north seem to, or keep it short, I just don't know. It depends upon whether I can keep it looking decent...and also whether it will dry in the damp weather. Anyway, it now looks considerably better and much more appropriate for a city girl. It also feels better. It kept getting into my face and bothering me.


Tomorrow, I get my teeth cleaned, and I've done all the things I had to come home for. I have a few more things to do, but I haven't scheduled them yet.


Well, it seems I am settling down to the routine of the city. Slowly the boxes are getting unpacked as I think of things in them that I want. The camera went south at 6:30 tonight, but that was after dark, so it was all right. Now it is time to crawl up two flights of stairs...


November 19

According to Charlie Hopper, the clouds cleared just in time for him to see the meteors, so maybe I could have seen something if I had been there. Oh, well. I'm pretty sure that if I had stayed it would have been cloudy. That's the way things have been going this summer.


It rained here last night, rather hard, although the way the roofs are, it's easier to hear those things than it is at Rainbow's End. It was very cloudy and dull this morning and I took my time about getting up and eating, and I spent quite a lot of time embroidering. 


The sky was beginning to clear when I finally got myself together to go shopping, and the sun came out while I was gone. The temperature actually got close to 50 and it was pleasant enough out that I opened the back door while I was unloading. DC came and sniffed, but I guess it wasn't warm enough for him, because he didn't try to get close to the door.


It got up to 40 in Copper Harbor today, but in the pictures it looked like it was pretty cloudy.


Now I have enough onions and garlic and potatoes and meat to feast royally for some time, which is nice. I also got some fruit: pears, grapes and bananas. None of those are my favorites, but in the absence of nectarines and plums, I'll take what I can get. No, I don't like apples very well.


I managed to get around the store without getting hot and sweaty, but my legs were just about done in by the time I got home and got unloaded. So I had a little late lunch, then I finally got the cat food unpacked and sorted out in its cupboard. As I feared, I used more of some than others, but we'll get straightened out eventually.  I try to keep to a strict rotation, both because the guys like variety and so that they don't get hung up on one kind of food. 


Anyway, there are a couple of things put away and fewer things on the floor, which is good.


Since I ate lunch so late, I didn't cook tonight, just had some more turkey soup. I doubt it is as good for you as chicken soup, but it's tasty. 


The highlight of my trip today was seeing the lake. I haven't seen water since I crossed the bridge Friday afternoon, and I need my water fix. Lake St. Clair is never as pretty as Lake Superior, but it was a nice light blue today and there were some seagulls, ducks and geese floating around. The old sand beach north of the Pier Park, where once I swam, has a thick coat of brown weeds, since the water is so low. When the water was high, a few years ago, it wasn't there at all.


Since there is choir practice tomorrow night, I may not do a journal, unless I do it very early, so don't be surprised if I skip a day. 


November 18

I'm just hearing about the Leonid meteors that I won't see. Oh, well, staying at Copper Harbor wouldn't have helped, because it's going to be cloudy there, too.


The camera got screwed up this morning, and hasn't updated all day. it's not connected to the internet, but I just realized how to control it and reset it, and it will be a while before I know if it's updating properly. Oh, dear. I realized, in the middle of the night last night, that when I followed the Gateway instructions I found, I didn't actually uninstall dialup networking at all, at least not the same way I did it last spring. And now I'm 600 miles away and can't do it properly. Let's hope it lasts through the winter!


It looked like it started out to be a beautiful morning, although it was a mite chilly in Copper Harbor. There was some sunshine, just like there was here.


I was up fairly early this morning, and the window washers came and I now have clean windows for the next few days. The temperatures here were in the middle 30s, and  got up almost to 40, with quite a bit of sunshine. For some reason, it didn't feel all that warm. Maybe it was the humidity.


Anyway, after the window people left, I agonized a while before I went out, first to the car wash. They didn't do the best job, but I figured it would take more than one wash to get rid of all that salt and mud and road dirt. The car still looks much better, even though there are little white streaks from around the windows all over it. And, most important, I can see through the windows again. There was so much salt that I was having a hard time seeing through the rear view mirrors, and that's not quite safe.


While I was out, I decided to stop and get my boxes, even though I didn't really feel much like moving them into the house. And I only discovered the easy way for the last two boxes. I must get another 2x6, because I put the one I have between the bumper and the steps to the kitchen slider (along with a 1x4 which really isn't strong enough), slid out the boxes almost to the  doorsill, then tipped them onto the hand truck and trundled them into the living room. I can't tell you how much easier things would have been if I'd used that setup last Friday night, especially to get the cage out!  I can push or pull almost anything (mostly using my weight), but I do have a problem lifting more than 25 or 30 pounds. My arms are strong enough, but my back muscles aren't.


So now I have to hunt up another 2x6 about four feet long before next spring (I think I can do a lot of the loading the same way), and I have six well-used boxes in the living room. I will unpack and sort there, then move the stuff to its final resting place.


After I finished with that, I was tired, so I ate a nice bowl of turkey soup which was mostly noodles and turkey, and came down here to the computer...only to find that the camera was stuck.


The cats are really happy to be home. They have settled into their old routines just like they'd never left home. Well, that's too bad, because I can't leave them here when I leave for six months.


I thought I had printed the instruction book for the X10 controller, but when I looked for it, I couldn't find it, so I have now printed another one, and I have it safely stashed away on this computer, which means it will follow me everywhere. I have to say I really appreciate companies who put their manuals online for download, even if they include them with the item. I'm not the only person who loses manuals.


I'm glad the kitties are happy, because I still wish I was at Copper Harbor. Not only is it dirty and smelly around here, it's noisy. There are the police cars and the ambulances going to St. John Hospital (only a couple of blocks west of me), at 9am this morning, my neighbor's reliable lawn service was out there running their mowers and leaf blowers for 45 minutes (I guess I shouldn't complain: in1998, when I was in chemo for the first time, they were coming at 8am on Monday morning all summer long! I just about went crazy, since I needed 12 hours' sleep or more). All weekend long, some neighbor or other was blowing leaves, and one of my neighbors is a car buff and has an old Triumph (I think) that has no perceptible muffler. I think fondly about lying in bed with the windows open and hearing only the gentle gurgle of the water lapping on the shore...


The camera just updated...to a nice black screen with little dots in the middle of it...so now I can publish this and go happily up to sit in bed and knit and read for a while. 


Tomorrow I will go food shopping (I knew I couldn't do that and move the boxes), and maybe there will be something interesting for dinner tomorrow night. I've been thinking about pork chops with Spanish rice, which is not only pretty yummy, it's about as easy a recipe as I've ever made - brown the chops, pour everything else in the pan and let it stew for half an hour. If I didn't have a food processor to do the chopping, I might never make it, but since i do, I think it's about time...


November 17

It was good to go to church this morning, although I was almost late. I still cannot remember that it takes me much longer to do anything than it used to. Finding something to wear was a problem, since I'm not reconciled to skirts yet, and most of my dressier pants are in boxes at the Packaging Store (I don't know why I did that!).


However, I made it, and it felt good. I saw a lot of people I know and like, and the choir sang a really rousing anthem (for Loyalty Sunday) that made them sound like there were twice as many singers as there were. I found I can still sing, sort of, even though I've hardly hummed a tune since I left in May, and I will go to choir practice Wednesday. 


Going to church and singing in the choir are two of the things I miss most about being in Copper Harbor, but I just haven't been able to get myself up to drive down to Laurium on Sunday mornings...and I doubt that church has a choir in the summer. One of these days...


Actually, I haven't yet had a summer when I wasn't sick part of the time. Maybe next year.


It was cloudy and cold - mid 30s - here and raw. From the looks of the camera pictures, it was a beautiful, if chilly, day in Copper Harbor, and it made me all the sorrier I'm not there. However, the snow hadn't melted off the deck, either. I find myself very conflicted about the whole situation. I wish there and here were closer.


Curiously enough, the cats weren't upset at all when I went off this morning, and they weren't even waiting for me when I came back. They have slipped back into the Champine routine like they never left. I spent some time knitting when I got home, and Buster was asleep beside my legs and DC was asleep in front of the register. 


The kitchen is still an awful mess, but I have been trying to take one thing upstairs every time I go. I will have to sort out the blue boxes downstairs, because some of the stuff is computer stuff that goes into the basement, and some of it is papers and craft stuff that goes upstairs. And that is what I hate about this place - there isn't one place to put all that stuff and get it out of the way, like there is at Copper Harbor. It seems, also, that where ever I am, what I want is either two floors down or two floors up.


I still can barely walk, although the pain has dropped from my low back into my knees and calves. The next step is ankles, then out the bottom, right? Going up and down the stairs is a real trial, especially if I have things to carry, and I have to keep reminding myself not to use my right arm to push myself up - if I do that for any length of time, it messes up my rotator cuff and I have a sore arm. The raw cold and the temperature in the basement aren't helping my aches and pains very much, but I will eventually get over this, too.


So we are already settling into our routine. Tomorrow, I need to shop for food, but the window washers are coming in the morning, so I'll see how long they are here. I have things to eat, but everything is frozen, and I need things like onions and garlic and fruit and some fresh meat so I can actually cook something for a change.


I need to go to bed now, so I can get up at some reasonable hour tomorrow morning - the last two nights, I've slept for almost 12 hours, and had some of the weirdest dreams I've had in a long time. That tells me I am not totally happy about being here, but that's just too bad.


November 16

Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night... We made it. We're here, and the cats, anyway, are happy.


When I woke up Friday morning - or rather, when it got light, it was apparent that we had had some more snow overnight, and it was snowing at a nice rate. However, I decided we would go Friday, so we would go. It took me three and a half hours to get ready, partly because every time I did some more, I had to rest a bit. Besides, while I was able to get DC confined to the bathroom pretty easily, Buster went away, and when I found him under the sofa, he moved too fast for me, and in the process of finding him, I was down into the basement twice and halfway up to the loft. By the time everything was in the car - and it's a wonder it didn't bulge - I was exhausted and it was 9:30.


It was snowing so hard I was wondering what I had done, but I found the driving wasn't as bad as I'd feared. The Yukon is a good vehicle to have in that kind of weather. Just up the hill from Copper Harbor, I found the snowplow on my side of the road, and I followed him all the way to the Lac LaBelle road - eleven miles. He wasn't going very fast, and I had to keep a good distance behind him, because the snow was so powdery that he was throwing up great clouds behind himself. The temperature, according to the car, was 23.


From where I left the plow to Mohawk, there had been no plowing, and it looked to me like there was about 3" of new snow. Fortunately, there wasn't any traffic, because the road had become a three-track, and if I had met anybody, one of us would have to have plowed new snow.  I decided not to take Cliff Drive, even though it looked like some cars had been over it, and I think that was a good decision, because the roads had been plowed, salted and sanded all the way from Mohawk to Houghton. I did encounter a few nervous drivers, but there wasn't much traffic at all. It took me an hour and a half to get to the lift bridge, however.


And wonder of wonders, when I got south of Chassell, the sun came out, bright enough that I put on my sunglasses! From Michigamme all the way to Munising, there were snow showers, some of them heavy, and I discovered that at least during the daytime, I could actually see better through the snow with my sunglasses on than with my regular glasses. I don't know if it's because the sunglasses are polarized, or if they just decrease the glare of the white, but it's an interesting phenomenon.


East of Munising, it began to clear up. I stopped at the Seney Stretch rest stop - about 20 miles further than I should have stopped - because it is one of three in the UP that has flush toilets and doesn't close for the winter.  While I was there, I ate one of my sandwiches and had a coke. I had intended to have another snack later, but I wasn't hungry and there wasn't a good place to stop.


By the time I got to Newberry, the sky was totally clear and beautiful, although the temperature was only in the middle 20s. It was chilly outside. That gas station is on top of a hill, and it is always windy there. Sometimes that's a good thing, when it's hot, but it wasn't so good yesterday.


There was almost no traffic all the way to the bridge, which I enjoyed, and it was equally quiet for the first part of the trek down I-75. It was a beautiful afternoon, but as the sun began to set, I began to wish it had been cloudy, because the sun was shining in the passenger's side windows at an angle that got behind my glasses and made it hard to see. At the same time, it was shining on the tops of the oak trees in the medians and turning them almost to old gold. That was pretty.


By the time we got to West Branch, the sun was gone, there was a lovely moon in the southeast, and it was beginning cloud up and the traffic was picking up. There were an awesome number of cars heading north, I suppose for a weekend of hunting, but there was also a lot of traffic going south.


I missed all of the rush hours, but traffic was heavy from Zilwaukee through to Detroit. North of Flint the freeway was still down to two lanes, and it was either closed completely or completely open today, depending upon which portable electric sign you wanted to believe.


As I was turning onto Moross Road, the yellow "low fuel" light came on, but I decided to head straight home because of the cats, and get gas today. That turned out all right, and it looks like the light comes on when I still have something between three and four gallons left. I think I discovered that before, but I'd forgotten exactly how much there was.


Anyway, we pulled into the driveway at Champine at 7:55pm. I guess my lead foot is showing, because that was 10 hours and 20 minutes, in spite of the time it took me to get to Houghton.


In order to get the cats out, I had to completely unload the car of all the stuff it had taken me two days to load. In spite of taking frequent rests, I was exhausted by the time the cage was finally in the house. I opened the cage door and both cats bolted for the basement. DC came right back, but Buster didn't appear for about an hour, and he had cobwebs on his whiskers. I don't know where he was,  or why he went, seeing that we were home.


DC was hungry, and he got one of his favorite flavors of food, but Buster was still too upset. I had a TV dinner and lots of JD and went upstairs and crashed.


Before I loaded the cats in the carrier, I covered it with a couple of fleece throws and attached them with clothespins. There was very little howling after the first fifteen minutes, and the changes in light didn't bother anybody, so I guess that problem is solved. Somebody used the tray, but as far as I can see, nobody did anything in the throws on the floor. Neither cat likes the drive, but I think perhaps they're getting used to it.


Between the mud in Lighthouse Road, the salt and the road dirt on the highways, my car is absolutely filthy and will have to be washed soon. The house is a disaster, but I am just too tired, stiff and sore to do much about it. I am writing this early, and I expect to be in bed very early again tonight.


It has apparently been just as nasty here this fall as it was in Keweenaw, except a little warmer. Oddly enough, the locust in front of the house is shedding its leaves and stems in one piece this year. Usually, the leaves drop off first, then the bare stems. The pear tree and the lilacs have lost their leaves completely. I hope somebody will be here to clean up the leaves, since that is clearly beyond my ability under the circumstances.


Well, we're here. I'm thinking we got out of Keweenaw just about in time, although it doesn't look like there was any more snow today. I talked to my friend Carol last night, and I am looking forward to going to church tomorrow, but otherwise, I wish I was still there. This is a dirty, smelly (really smelly after all the pure air I've been breathing) city and the longer I am away from it the less I like it.


November 14

I'll do this while my pizza bakes. I've done just about all I can do. I was up fairly early this morning, and when I looked out the window, there was over an inch of snow on the railings!  When I woke up over night, especially after about 3am, I noticed a sort of yellowish cloud in the west with a black, black cloud behind it, and now I think those were lake effect snow clouds with the moon behind them. It was interesting. The temperature was in the 20s all day and it was cloudy and dull, but there wasn't a lot of wind, so it really wasn't bad out. I don't mind the cold, if I'm dressed for it, anyway.


I sort of fiddled around this morning, I must admit, and did a certain amount of cross stitch before I packed up all that stuff to go. My next act was to try to gather all the trash to take to the dump. I was done by 1pm, but it turns out I forgot a few things that fortunately I can get Tom to remove for me. I had five full 32 gallon bags - well, one wasn't really full, but it had catalogs and magazines in it, and I can't handle too many of those. Next year I will have to get some 20 gallon bags for that stuff. Getting it all into the compactor was a trip, since the opening is over five feet from the ground, but I did manage.


I must point out that while I was gathering, moving and loading the trash, I had to sit down  frequently, both because I got weak and because my back was killing me. I'm confident that I can get my legs back into shape, but I'm beginning to wonder about my back. Well, I won't anticipate and I won't give up.


After I got back from the compactor, I moved the cage. I should have done that a couple of weeks ago and just never got around to it. If I take the tray out of the bottom and fold it up, it's actually almost manageable. I got it into the car and got the throws pinned to the top. it is a large dog cage, which means it's a lot higher than it needs to be for the cats, and it cuts off a lot of my rear view, but they don't make the kind of cage I really need.


Then there were two CraftStors, one of needlework and one of sewing, four Sterlite boxes and a Rubbermaid tote full of needlework projects. I have a little dolly for the Sterlite boxes, and I made full use of my wonderful folding hand truck...in fact, I don't think I would have gotten so much done without that hand truck!


I found a new place to stash the sewing machine which should give me more space behind the cage. I know I'm not taking back any more containers than I brought up here, but I can't seem to figure out how to get everything in. Nothing new there!


Pause for a last late trip to the post office (and there was a bill!) and I began packing my suitcases. By this time, the rest stops were a lot more frequent and my back was telling me it was time to quit. I got the suitcases, the baby CraftStor, and the floss boxes into the car, and closed the doors. The rest will just have to wait until morning. I am beat.


We will clearly not get an early start, because I have too much to do, including packing the food and cleaning up the kitchen - gaak! - maybe I can do some of that tonight before I crash.


It's when I get into these things that I realize just how debilitated I've gotten. Everything takes longer than it used to, and I just simply do not have the strength or stamina or something to do as much as I once could. Some of it will come back if I can make myself get on the treadmill, but I really wonder if I'll ever get so I can actually do even half as much as I once could.


It doesn't help that when my mother was my age, she could work like a stevedore for eight or ten hours and come back for more tomorrow. I never had her energy, but if I don't regain some of mine, this two house thing is going to become impossible quickly. 


There are definitely some things I could do earlier than I did them, but there are too many things, like packing needlework and the car and the wash, that are simply last minute things. Oh, well, I usually feel pretty down the night before I leave either place.


We won't get an early start tomorrow, because I have too much left to do, and I am not planning to stay up until midnight to get it all done, but it doesn't really matter. At this time of year, several hours of our trip will be at night anyway, but at least some of that will be on the parts of the freeway that have lots of lights. If I come into Detroit late, I'll miss the rush hour and that will help, too.


There won't be a journal tomorrow, because I have to move the files to the other computer before I can do one, but I will try to catch up on Saturday.


We're going. None of us are happy, for various reasons, but we're going.


November 13

Well, I'm on five orange bags (of trash) and counting, four blue boxes (of stuff) and counting, and I seem to be down to the stuff that won't fit in other boxes. It seems to me that if somebody would make a series of containers (I use the Sterlite ones, because the lids are attached) that fit inside one another they would make a mint. Hmm...I could use a little cash about now...


My bags aren't packed and I haven't finished washing, but all the clean clothes are piled on the window seat. Maybe I'll make it yet, although at this point it looks like I will be a whirling dervish tomorrow. A double Jack and a little food has helped my outlook some, but this is my usual trick.  For part of the day I had an excuse - a cat on my lap - but that isn't a complete excuse. I just don't want to go.


It was a good day to be inside. The temperatures hovered in the low 30s all day, at was cloudy, and when I stopped to try to see a duck this afternoon (it was under water when I looked), I noticed it was raining, for heaven's sake! Truly weird. There was snow on Lighthouse road, and the puddles were partly frozen, but that made it easier to follow the other tracks around the potholes. Nobody is here further out than I am, by the way.


I am just going to give up the packing and sit in bed and read while I do the rest of the wash. I was up around 8am this morning, after not sleeping at all well all night, and I am tired. I suppose I could take a sleeping pill, but I don't like to start that, because it's too easy to get dependent on them and going back to sleeping normally is too hard. I will take one tomorrow (as well as good quantity of JD) because otherwise I won't sleep at all.


I'm not sure why I am so uptight about this move back. Money is part of it - I will be having a most unpleasant conversation with my financial advisors, but that won't happen for several weeks - but the fact is I really don't want to go. Oh, well.


Tomorrow's entry will, I hope, be done early, so I can get the files moved over to the laptop and get to bed at a reasonable hour. I remember last year, when I was sweating the file transfer at 11pm or later! I'm hoping that won't happen this year!


Oh, one more thing. I had a conversation with Charlie Hopper this afternoon. He will be watching the camera this winter, and at his request, I have set it to stop updating at 8:30 until next spring. After about 8pm, all you see is the lights of Copper Harbor anyway, so there is no use tying up the phone line at PastyNet's busiest times.


November 12

Well, the Astro Alert turned out to be a false alarm. The skies were clear until at least 2:30 this morning and there were no fireworks. Shows the space weather forecasters aren't any more accurate than the earth weather forecasters.


When I got up this morning, there was a little blue sky showing, and there was about five minutes of sunshine before 10am. I must admit, I dawdled. I checked the camera, but my work of last evening seems to have calmed things down and the camera was talking to Pastynet just fine. But of course, I can't sit down at the computer without checking my email, and there were a couple of messages I wanted to answer, and I wanted to check the weather, and...well, you see how it goes.


So I got off on my trip to town a little late. The road looked wet in some  places, and I wasn't sure whether it might be slippery, so I took it easy. When I pulled up to Ming Gardens, it was clearly closed - there was one car in the parking lot - so I went around the corner to the new Ming Buffet. I pulled up in front of the restaurant just as Shirley was pulling out of a very nice parking place, and the woman in front of me didn't use it, so I pulled in. Shirley and her friend went off someplace else, and since it was only 12:30, I don't think they ate. The other lady doesn't like buffets, and I suppose that is the reason they left. I decided not to try to figure out where they went, so I went in. 


There were a lot of people there, including a group of eight young men all in black suits, ties, and name tags who were checking out. I wonder who they were, but my eyesight isn't good enough to read their nametags at the distance I was.


Hey, I can see just fine, but I don't have telescopic vision and never did!


Anyway, I got a table and ate. I have mixed feelings about the place. The food was pretty good, except for the soup, and they had a wonderful selection of appetizers. They had at least 24 different dishes, although unfortunately the sesame chicken dish was empty, and those I tried were mostly good, except that everything was at most lukewarm. I prefer my Chinese food hot. A couple of things were overcooked. I did get to try a couple of items I've wondered about, and won't eat again.


Oh, yes, the fortune cookie was stale.


On the other hand, you could get an enormous amount of food for $6. There were a lot of Tech students there, especially young men, and I suppose that for them it's a real bargain. I reminded me of the Mongolian Grille in Grosse Pointe, which is also all-you-can-eat, and which was also full of young and hungry men when I was there.


I suppose I will try it again next summer, but I also think most of the time I will go to the Gardens and be served. I have to say that so far it doesn't come up to the standard of that little hole-in-the wall place in Belleville.


So that's my restaurant review for the day. I'm sorry I missed connections with Shirley.


By the time I got out of Econo Foods, it was snowing, and it snowed pretty hard all the way back to the harbor. Cliff Drive was partly snow-covered, but the rest of the roads were just wet, and I had no indication that it was at all slippery, although I used caution on the curves. So it's coming, and I am getting the feeling I'll be getting out of here just in time. Quite a bit of snow had fallen along Cliff Drive, but there was very  little in the harbor, and according to at least one weather site (Accuweather, which isn't) it was raining here for a while. I know that the snow was pretty wet.


I can tell you that it was a real luxury to unload the car in the garage. I can't even do that at Champine! Not that I had a lot to unload, but filling the car for my trip home will be a real delight, especially since it's supposed to snow off and on for the rest of the week.


After my trip home, though, I feel better about the trek to Detroit. I do know how to drive in snow, the car is very stable, and after all, on September 22, 1996, I drove from here to Grayling in snow and rain.  If it's bad, it will definitely be a tiring trip, because I have to be far more alert when the weather is bad, but then, once I get the car unloaded, I can crash and sleep forever if I want to.


The temperature was in the middle 30s all day. When I left here this morning, the puddles in Lighthouse Road were frozen, but by the time I came back, they were water. Lake Medora, Seneca Lake and Lake Lilly all are partially ice-covered, although when I came back, Medora was all water. So winter is definitely coming.


I was reflecting on the summer during my trip south, but I think I'll save my thoughts on that for tomorrow.


November 11

When I went to bed last night, the lake was roaring at a great rate, and it was such a wonderful sound to fall asleep to! Music to my ears.


What a beautiful, beautiful day! About 8:15 am, I realized I wasn't going to sleep any more, and when I got up, the sky was full of puffy apricot clouds, and the sun was sending shafts of gold onto the hills across the harbor. it got steadily clearer all day, and by sunset, the sky overhead was pristine. Just after the sun went behind the hills, a jet left a vertical trail behind a spread out blue cloud. The cloud moved away faster than the trail, and the last time I saw it, it had turned pink and spread out so that it looked like a goose flying south. At the same time, there was a large, thick cloud to the northwest over the lake, which I really don't want to see.


There was a short pause there while I reinstalled dial-up networking, since it was clear that my internet connection was totally jacked up. In doing that, I discovered that I can disable MS Messenger, which I don't use and which usually starts up every time Outlook Express opens. Whew! Two jackasses with one click of the mouse!


Anyway, back to the weather.  The temperature never got over 30, but the wind dropped steadily all day and is now nearly calm. 


Maybe I appreciate the sunshine more because there's been so little of it this fall. I know last year at this time, when the afternoon sun started shining in the south windows into my eyes and I couldn't see the computer screen, it annoyed me. I will try not to let that happen again. Today we all enjoyed it, and DC climbed up onto the desk and slept in it until the UPS truck came. Late in the afternoon, I sat down in the ugly chair for the first time in a long time and knitted and watched the sun set.


The reason I am nervous about those dark clouds in the northwest is that there is an Astro Alert for northern lights tonight, and I would dearly love to see them once more this autumn. The moon is now shining clearly in the windows - just under first quarter - and the sky overhead is still pristine. Well, we'll see.


I humped myself this morning and all the boxes were packed and in front of the front door by noon. Good thing, since UPS arrived just after 1pm! And I was exhausted. I find packing is a terrible job altogether. I filled four large boxes and two a little smaller, but I wanted to take back a bunch of clothes I sent up here but will never wear and I can give away. There were a lot of jeans and a couple of warm winter jackets that were either too old or two small. I will take them to church for New Mt. Olive, and some large, poor kid will at least have bottoms and a coat to wear this winter. There were also some shoes - including a pair of Birkenstocks - that simply don't fit, so I may as well be rid of them.


Seeing what I brought - and sent - up here and what I'm taking and sending home, I have to believe there is a better way to sort stuff out. Trouble is, I like to wear the same stuff both places, and I like to have a big selection of stuff to wear. Of course, if I never buy another knit top in my life I will still have too many, but that tends to happen to me. And there is still the shoe problem.  I am wearing a pair of Reeboks most of the time that are so worn out it's amazing they don't just fall apart. At least the bottoms are worn almost smooth. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that.


Anyway, I rested for most of the afternoon and enjoyed the sunshine. Tomorrow I have to go to town. I promised Shirley I would meet her and her friend for lunch, and I need to lay in a few foodstuffs, including something to make sandwiches from. Wednesday I will be running around like a whirling dervish packing up the stuff that's left, or as much of it as I can, and Thursday I have to pack the car. It will all come together, but I hate to do this job so much that I put it off until the last minute, then I wear myself out doing it.


Apparently this is going to be the only nice day for a while, so I figured I needed to enjoy it. Now I will go and knit and read for a while and relax and hope to see a light and color show in the sky...


November 10

About the time I went to bed last night, the rain started coming down so hard I could hear it pounding on the deck and the roof, something that doesn't usually happen. It is a good sound to go to sleep to. Around 2:30, I woke up and when I looked out, I couldn't see the lights of Copper Harbor. Since my power was still on, I guess it was very foggy. That lasted for a couple of hours.


Around 5am I woke up and started thinking about everything I have to do this week and I didn't get back to sleep for almost two hours. I wish I didn't do that, but I guess everybody does. Anyway, by the time I went back to sleep, the rain was pounding away on the deck again.


When I got up, the rain had stopped, but it was very dark and dreary, and it stayed that way all day. The temperature has been dropping steadily since last night, and is now right about 32, with a strong northerly wind. 


Tom, the caretaker, came around 11am, and when I went out to talk to him about draining the pond, I noticed that it was not very pleasant out, raw and cold, even though at that time, the temps were still in the upper 30s. He put on the storm doors, drained the pond, and put the pump from the lake to bed for the winter. I guess after I'm gone, he will drain the toilets just in case the temperature drops. He knows about the generator, so he can let the electricians in when they get the parts.


The wind has been building all day, and now the lake's freight train sounds really close. It will be a hairy night, and a good one for sleeping.


I actually did get the boxes of craft stuff pretty much packed today, although I certainly didn't have my heart in it. After I publish this, I must try to get one box of clothes packed, or I will never be ready tomorrow afternoon when UPS arrives. All day I've alternated between thinking "Why did I ever say six boxes?", and "Will six boxes be enough?" I still don't know.


Shirley did make it to Mariner tonight, although she only ate dessert, but it was nice to see her. They won't be open again until after I leave, so I had my last dinner out.


So now I will try to pack my clothes and read a while before I go to sleep.


November 9

Let's start this again. I was about three paragraphs into my entry when I accidentally kicked the timer, which pushed the off button into the cabinet...and we went down! Oops. That thing should be somewhere else anyway, but things are getting kind of stirred up around here.


When I woke up this morning, for a moment I thought it was snowing, until I looked more carefully down the harbor and realized we were surrounded by thick fog, which stayed for most of the day. It was warm, though - mid 40s. We had about five minutes of sunshine, when the fog lifted and it was evident that without the clouds on the ground, we would have had a partly sunny day. That only lasted for five minutes or so.


I guess this is the end of the warm weather, however. The prediction is for snow every day this week and temps in the 30s. I keep hoping they are wrong and we will have a dry day to drive back to Detroit, but if not, we will just slow down and get there when we get there. For the sake of the cats, I like to go as fast as possible, but at the same time, I'd like for us to get there in one piece.


I began the packing - slowly. Getting together the things that go is not easy, and I have the horrible fear that after the boxes are gone, I will discover that I have much more stuff than will fit in the truck. However, I will do my best.


I had a nice dinner with Shirley tonight, and it may be the last one, since she has something to do in Laurium tomorrow and she may not get back in time. We may meet for lunch Tuesday, but only if the boxes are picked up Monday. I do need to go to town and get a few last minute things, including something to make sandwiches out of, but I need to be here when UPS comes to get the boxes. So we'll see.


The minute I started packing I got a headache. I do not like doing this! The cats do not like me doing this! However, most of it has to be done tomorrow, or else!


So now I will go and sit in bed and read and knit again and pretend I'm not getting ready to leave...


November 8

Another gray Superior day, not too cold, no precipitation, just sort of blah. We've had a lot of that this fall. The sun is better. The temperature hung in the upper 30s most of the day, and while there was enough of a wind to cause the lake to kick up, it was from the north or northeast, which means I am sheltered from it. There was no sun at all and at times it got really dark, but no rain or snow.


Not much to report except that I am now bound to get the boxes packed by Monday, and I began making piles in the bedroom of clothes that have to go back. I wish I could figure out a way to separate the clothes so that I don't have to move quite so much back and forth, but so far I haven't been able to do that. Maybe next year.


The cats now know that we are leaving, and they are not really happy about it. It's that long ride to the other place...


Otherwise, it appears I did not much today. Tomorrow had better be different!


November 7

I woke up several times in the night, and it was quite clear, the first time I've seen stars in weeks. It wasn't that pristine clarity that I haven't seen since I've been living here, where there are so many stars in the sky and they are so bright that I get confused trying to pick out the constellations, but there were stars. I was awake for a while around 5am, thinking about the move, and I could see a cloud coming up in the west, before I finally went back to sleep.


The morning started out dark, again, and we had possibly half an inch of find, sandy snow - the driveway was partly covered by noon. Then the temperature started to rise, and by 4pm or so, it was close to 50 and the sun came out!  I decided I had to get outside, so I closed and locked the shutters on the porch. DC  sat in front of the open slider and sniffed all the time I was outside. The sun started to go away after a while, and by sundown it was nearly all cloudy, except that we had another sunset to die for. Even another sun pillar! If you have trouble seeing it, try turning your head so that the left side is up - that seems to make it more obvious. The temperature is still at or over 50, a really welcome warm-up after yesterday afternoon. I don't know how long it will last, but I'll take anything I can get!


I ended up not doing my sorting and throwing out, but I was not idle. I have now called all the utilities and all the publications to change my address - and incidentally discovered that two of them have been discontinued. I subscribe to many too many publications, but every time I look at the list, I find reasons why I can't cut down the number.  Right now, I have a pile I haven't read, but some of those I'll get to before I leave and some, after I get to Champine.  I developed the habit of reading during and after breakfast some time ago at Champine. That's mostly because all the mail ends up in the kitchen (on the kitchen table, actually), so I can always grab a magazine. That house is just not set up for the way I live.


While I was calling people and sitting on hold, I got to looking at the computer keyboard, and so I spent the rest of the afternoon taking off all the keys and removing two summers' worth of cat hair and cracker crumbs, as well as a quantity of sticky stuff. I shall have to do that to the other one when I get to Champine, since I'm sure it has at least as much cat hair in it! Now I know how the keys work, so I won't have the same trouble I did with the spacebar. I just can't stop the cats from sitting on my lap while I am at the computer, and I can't get over the habit of eating while I'm computing, either, so after a while, a whole lot of stuff has dropped down between the keys.  The mice get messed up, too, even this laser trackball I have now - if a few cat hairs get in between the ball and its cradle, it won't roll. However, it's easier to keep clean than the regular mouse was. That one, I used to have to open up and try to get the fur out of the wheels every so often. I actually broke one mouse because it got too full of fur.


I also called the package store that ships my stuff and I'm committed to have between four and six boxes packed by Monday. That will get me moving!


Oh, yes, in the middle of the afternoon, when the sun was pouring into the great room, I looked out, and there was DC sitting in the cage! He is a very wise cat indeed, and he knows we're going back to the other place, I'm quite sure. Buster may know, too, but I think all he can remember is that horrid car ride. DC doesn't like the car ride, either, but he knows what's at the end of it so he tolerates it better. I won't move the cage until after tomorrow, so they have a better idea of when we're leaving. 


Maybe some people think I'm nuts, but I've lived with cats for close to 50 years, and I am convinced they are a lot smarter than some people think. You have to look at things from their point of view, and almost any cat wants to maximize his own comfort, which means staying put and having a human he loves, plenty to eat, comfortable places to sleep, and a clean pan (which I'm terrible about). DC has had more experience than Buster has, and I think he tolerates the horrible car ride because he knows it means he'll be with me. Buster is a lot more self-centered and less introspective, and all he knows is he doesn't like it! If, God willing, we're still doing this when Buster is DC's age, I have a vague hope that he'll get used to it. It won't surprise me if he doesn't.


So I am eating my lowly TV dinner, and when that is done and this is published, I will go and sit in bed and read and try to finish one of the sock project socks.


November 6

Today was one of those days that illustrate why I love it so much here. Over night, the wind picked up out of the  northwest to near 30 mph, and between the wind buffeting the house and the roar of the surf, it was a pretty noisy night. When I got up this morning it was really dark, even though it was 9:30 (!), and while I was embroidering, fine little lake effect flakes started coming down, lightly at first, then much heavier and pretty soon there was a little collection on the ground and the decks.


I finished the little bird, so that is done. Now I have to decide what to do next. I was going to do another Just Nan, but somehow, it doesn't appeal to me. Hmm...


Anyway, back to the weather. Shortly after I got into the office, the sky began to lighten and by the time I went to the post office, it was partly sunny. At the same time the temperature fell from almost 40 to under 30. The wind kept up from 20 to 30 mph and switched around to just east of north.


It was a beautiful, if chilly afternoon when I went to the post office, so I bundled up in my down parka and took the camera and went a few miles down M26. Here are a few of the sights. You have to understand that the waves were much higher before I got out of the car and after I got back in, but that's one of Superior's rules. If you are standing out there freezing your butt off, it will not throw any really big waves at you. It will also cover up the sun, even if half the sky is blue!


I drove down beyond Dan's Point before I turned around to come back. It was a really pretty day. I toyed with the idea of driving over to Pebble Beach, but I've taken pictures there before, so I didn't. Instead, I took a couple of the channel between Porter Island and Lighthouse Point, then I cropped one to just show the channel. That's the last picture. However, late afternoon is not the best time to take pictures of Lighthouse Point. The sun shines on it far more nicely in the morning.


I also noticed, when I got home, that in its absence, the sun has slipped out of the camera to the south. So now it's gone until sometime next February.


Believe me, it felt like winter this afternoon, with the temperature between 26 and 28, depending on where I was, and the wind around 20mph!. If I'd known I was going to be going out for any length of time, I would have put on a pair of longjohns this morning!  The top of me won't get cold, of course, with the down parka, but my legs and particularly my hands were nearly frozen. I never have had good circulation in my hands, and they get cold almost any time. That's why I usually wear mittens in weather like today's, but it's really hard to work a camera while wearing mittens!


On the other hand, as I feared, my new robe is so warm and toasty that if I button it up, I get so hot I sweat!


As for my preparations for moving, instead of getting at my sorting, I paid all the bills I had on hand and called the utilities to change my address. Tomorrow I will start the sorting in earnest and start calling magazines. I get so tired of saying "C as in Charles, h, a, m as in mother, p as in Peter, i, n, e"  that I could scream. It was really nice to be able to say to the gas and electric company and the water department, "send it to the site of service"! However, I have to be that specific about spelling Champine or it gets massacred, and even so, at least one person, after I had spelled it for her, called it "ChampAne"!  Coming this way is so much easier - just a PO Box number!


I guess it's supposed to be clear tonight, and then it depends on whose forecast you believe whether the sun will shine or not for the next few days, but the temperatures should get into the middle to upper 40s, which will be much nicer. It's too early for it to be so cold, even here.


So in the course of the day, we had just about every kind of weather we have here, and it was fun to just watch what was coming next. Tonight I will cuddle under my comforter and pull up a couple of warm cats and listen for the wind and the waves.


November 5

Well, I read and knitted for a long time last night, which settled me down nicely, and before I went to sleep, I promised I would do something today.


It turned out to be a good day to do something, actually. The temperature was in the middle 30s all day, and while it was cloudy, not too long after the electrician showed up, it began to drizzle, and it was, frankly, pretty yucky outside. I guess there was some snow in Houghton - I was glad I decided not to go to town today - but here by the side of the big heat sink, it only rained.


To get that out of the way, the electrician cam with a piece of wire and an ammeter, and it seems that I managed to blow both a solenoid and the circuit board. The generator only had a one year warranty (from date of purchase), so I will be out a couple hundred dollars to get it running again. Philippe is now trying to find out where it was purchased, but the guy the electrician has been talking to has been so helpful, I would prefer to get the parts from him.  I know it doesn't always work, but I like to support businesses that are helpful.


Anyway, I washed all the pans from my cooking spree before breakfast this morning. If that sounds weird, it's a habit I got into many years ago, of cleaning up yesterday's dishes while the coffee is brewing and the breakfast is cooking. So that was a good start on the day.


I finished all the cross stitch on my second little bird and started the backstitching. The leaves (needles?) of the branches both birds are sitting on are done in an overdyed thread, and between the two of them I came close to using an entire five yard skein. I originally thought the bush was a cedar, but cedars don't have berries, so it must be some kind of juniper. I think I mentioned when I was working the two hangings that the birds went fast, it was the backgrounds that took forever. These are the same way. Tomorrow I should finish the backstitching.


When I got to the office, I finally sewed the buttons on the Ironstone jacket - the one I left here last fall, half done. So now I have a nice, very heavy, very warm and fuzzy cardigan sweater to wear. Anyway, that is something I should have done when I finished it last spring and I knew where the buttonholes are. I had a hard time finding them, and while I will probably never wear the sweater buttoned, it looks better if the buttons and buttonholes match.


After than, and another fruitless search of the basement for the old camera, I settled down to finish the robe. There wasn't that much to do, but I had a lot of trouble with the material not feeding and the thread kept fraying until I put a bigger needle in the machine. I hope the one for Champine turns out better, but this one will do for here. The worst problem I have is that after I had put everything away and emptied the bobbin, I discovered that I missed part of one pocket. I may try to sew it down by hand...or I may just ignore the whole thing. The Champine robe will not have patch pockets!


It began to get dark as I was finishing up, and as a result, the camera caught some pictures of me. The last one is particularly flattering, but it's nice to know I can still bend double when I have to. I don't expect to post anything clearer. However, you can also see the pretty color of my robe.


I did take a brief break...this sewing machine setup isn't any easier on my back than the one at Champine...and began to call about address changes. Sigh. It's not going to be quite as bad as last spring was, because a good number of publications are keeping two addresses. As I suspected, lots of people switch between two locations in a timeframe long enough that they have to change all their addresses. It would be nice if we had a postal service that actually was a service.


Tomorrow I will have to get at that more diligently. Today I did the publications that I noted need the longest lead times. Tomorrow I will do the bills. This is a pain, but it is a worse pain to try to track down all the mail I don't get, or don't get on time.


For a good part of the late afternoon, I had a very meowy cat bugging me. I have no idea what DC's problem was, unless he was just hungry, but he certainly made a lot of noise.


Now that the robe is done, I can begin to sort and pack. I have tons of trash, including a two-foot stack of catalogs, to get rid of. I regret to report that all of the catalog people have finally found me, and I have a feeling Clyde will be throwing away just as many catalogs here as I get - and throw away - at Champine.


I have to say that while I still regret not being able to stay here, I am getting up for Champine. There is a lot of my stuff there that it's time to see again. I'm looking forward to church and choir and seeing all the people I like so well. Now, if only this place and that place were close enough together that I could live here and go out there...


Now I have finished my helping of my good chicken and rice, and DC has polished the dish, so I will publish this and take my nice new robe (which is so thick and warm it will probably give me the sweats) up to the north end, where I will knit and read for a while.


November 4

Not exactly what the weatherman predicted, but not too bad, either, compared to some days this fall. It didn't get sunny, and the temperature stayed just above freezing all day. There was a little wind, enough to make a few waves, but nothing spectacular.


I woke up late and as usual, didn't do much. However, with Mariner closed except on weekends, I decided this would be a good time to cook something for dinner. I had some chicken breasts in the freezer, as well as some frozen broccoli and cauliflower in cheese sauce, a can of broccoli cheese soup and some rice. I ended up mixing the whole thing together, and it was surprisingly tasty.  The frozen veggies have a pretty bland cheese sauce, but the soup is quite highly seasoned, which gave the rice a nice flavor.


I've made this dish with just the soup - no veggies - but it's nicer with. So I scarfed down a third of it and when the boys finished with the plate, it looked like it didn't need washing. I knew DC likes cheese sauce, but I didn't know Buster did. They were sort of doing a little dance around the plate.


I have been feeling rather tired lately, so I will try to get to bed earlier tonight and maybe I'll have more energy tomorrow. Time's a-wasting!


November 3

We actually had several hours of sunshine today, and the temperature got into the low 40s!  What a nice difference. We hardly knew how to act. At one point, I went into the great room to find Buster sitting like a statue cat, with his tail wrapped around him, looking like he was a million miles away. I have no idea what was going through his little mind.


Late in the day, it clouded up and it was spitting raindrops when I went to dinner, but it was still around 40. There wasn't much of a wind, either, and the harbor was nearly calm. I could use more of that, and I guess we may have it over the next couple of days, before it starts snowing again.


I did want to work on the robe this afternoon, and it turned into a comedy of errors, so I didn't get much done. I just wanted to reinforce the places where the buttons and buttonholes will be, so I cut 12 strips of interfacing...or I thought I did. The first thing that happened was that I lost two strips. Then I proceeded to fuse two strips to the pressing cloth instead of the robe... That's how it went. When I finished fusing, I just quit. More tomorrow.


However tomorrow, I have to start spending some time on the telephone, beginning to get the changes of address started. Then I really have to begin to sort and throw away and pile up for the move, and at least get the boxes to be shipped ready to go. 


I do not like moving under any circumstances, and it's always a horrible job, but it's time, and I have to be a good girl and do a few things every day.


November 2

I didn't think I went to bed so late last night, but I slept forever this morning. The wind shifted shortly after my head hit the pillow, more to the north, where I am shielded by the trees, so the house wasn't noisy. However, every time I woke up all night, I could see a glow behind the clouds to the north...another aurora display we missed because of the weather. Rats.  The sun is belching forth like mad, according to the Astro Alerts, so now I wish more than ever for some  clear skies!


The wind was quite strong all night (20-30mph, I think), so the freight train was closer than usual.  The lake, when it kicks up a fuss, sounds like a freight train, and I can tell something about the force and direction of the wind by how close the train sounds. It was middlin' last night. By this afternoon, the winds had backed off and it had moved further away.


This morning, however, there were  actual breakers on my beach, and the waves were throwing spray high in the air on the rocks on the south shore of Copper Harbor as well as on the gull rocks between Porter Island and the lighthouse.


It was another gray, cold day, with the temperature topping out in the mid 30s. The sun put in its mandatory five minutes, just to let us know it's still there, but it didn't last long. There was also a bit of blue sky for a few minutes, but we also had several lake-effect snow squalls.


There was maybe another half inch of snow on the ground this morning, but the squalls didn't accumulate. 


I actually accomplished a little today: I got most of the desk cleared off, so tomorrow I can dig out my ironing blanket and fuse some interfacing to the robe fronts for the buttons and buttonholes. Then I should be able to get the robe together in a hurry. There are piles all over the sewing room, however, and I will have to go through all of them carefully, because trash is mixed in with important things I have to save.


So slowly the countdown begins...


November 1

Ooh, I don't like writing that date!


It turned out that my first attempt to recover the borders last night didn't work right, for whatever reason, so I had to fiddle then load the site twice - and that meant copying just about every file! It was sort of late when I went to bed, and it was sort of late when I got up this morning.


I was minding my own business and looking at my email when I got a blue screen this morning. I don't think anybody was aware of it but me, because I rebooted and restarted the camera at right around 9:45, in time for the next picture.


The wind was strong over night, but there was only an inch or so of snow on the ground when I got up, and by afternoon most of it had melted, since the temperature was in the middle 30s more or less. Apparently the same sort of thing is supposed to happen for the next couple of days. It may be a little noisier down at the north end tonight, because the wind is out of the west, and that hits the bedroom directly. I don't think it will keep me awake.


It was a dark and dreary day, although the sun did manage to peek out for five or ten minutes in the early afternoon. This weather report is getting really monotonous, and I'm sorry. Only I discovered that my spottier reports last year left out enough to annoy me. I want to be able to look back to last year's journal to recall what the weather was, and possibly what I was doing.


Today the answer was, not much. Tomorrow...



Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM