A View From the Field








December, 2002



December 31 - New  Year's Eve

Well, I stayed up too late last night and I was tired all day, so I didn't do very much except write a few checks for miscellaneous charities and run them to the post office. 


I debated whether to eat before or after church, because I have some great appetizers in the house right now - shrimp and a whole pound of pickled herring in sour cream - but I decided to do it before, and then I got so sleepy I was sorry.


Church was very upbeat, which I liked...based upon a text from Joshua where he says the Lord has fulfilled all his promises. That is a far cry from the old days, when each New Year's Eve a list of everyone who had died was read out with a bell tolling for each one. That was a real downer, and I don't think it was necessary. If they're going to do that, it should  be done on the Sunday after Reformation, which is when we celebrate All Saints' Day.


New Year's Eve is a time for looking back and looking forward. Since I don't hold with the theory that you have to bring in the new year with as much noise and merriment as possible, I like to use it as a time to contemplate the year just past and look forward to the year to come.


God has been very good to me, and overall the year now gone was a good one. I don't think one can expect no troubles during the course of a year, and even though there was that little glitch in July, at least I had a treatable problem, and otherwise, I've made it almost through my second year since the stem cell transplant with no recurrence of the cancer and no really serious aftereffects. Praise God for that!


I got to spend most of six months in my most favorite place on earth, and I was able to do exactly what I wanted to. If I should have been more active, and I should have spent more time looking at the harbor rather than the computer, well, we don't always make the best choices, and I will try very hard not to do that again. Already, just by running the stairs, I am in better condition than I was when I got back here.


I can look forward with confidence to another year in my little paradise, and I am going to try very hard to get to the point where I can do some serious walking and exploring next summer.


I can't say that my financial situation is the greatest, but it's better than it was (although I didn't realize it) at this time last year,  and we have to be pulling out of this terrible financial situation soon. Some of the things I want to do that require money will just have to wait. The house is habitable, in fact, comfortably habitable, and if there are a few pieces of furniture I don't have for a while, it won't hurt much.  This house needs some work, too, but unfortunately, everything that needs doing here is expensive, so it will just have to wait.


So overall, I am a content and grateful little beastie, and I will put this year to rest and go sit and read for a while.


Happy New Year to everyone!


December 30

I don't have much to report, but I thought I'd probably better check in. It's really quiet away from the field.


Yesterday, we got to sing some of our good Christmas stuff again, which was nice. When I got home, I finished the framing for Debbie, and tried to finish the second ornament. However, the best laid plans...I think I may have mentioned that I ran out of gold beads and the new package was smaller and a different color. As A result, I pulled out the bottom half of the netting about four times before I was satisfied with the results. When I finally was ready to do the fringe, I took a look at the ball and discovered that there was a scratch in the green paint that wasn't covered by the netting, so I tried to move the netting around a bit...and broke the ball. So I cut off the netting, took out all the threads, put the beads in a box and gave Debbie the old one. Sometimes it's just not worth fighting, and besides, I didn't have any time to do a whole new one anyway.  Now I will have to make a green ball for myself, but that's all right.


Today, I met Debbie for lunch, which was nice except both the boys were rather rambunctious. From there, I went to Farmer Jack and laid in the supplies for my tetrazzini - which I think I will have to make up the recipe for - and a few other things I needed.


I didn't sleep very well last night, so I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and I finished another pair of crazy socks...only four socks to go.


I'm finding it as hard to believe that tomorrow night is New Year's Eve as I did that last Tuesday was Christmas Eve. Somehow, I just don't think Christmas should be on Wednesday. It doesn't feel right. It's also amazing to think that another year is gone. Mama was right: the older you get, the faster time seems to go.


The weather in Michigan has been pretty blah again, dark and dreary and misty, with a lot of fog both here and in Copper Harbor. I have to believe the mist at the other end of the harbor was fog and not snow, because the deck wasn't even wet, although it was too dark to really tell. Here, it was foggy and misty and icky.


So I will get this published, but Brahms' First is playing, so I will wait until that's over to toddle up to bed.


December 28

When I said I was going to do a little reading last night, I really didn't intend to turn out the light at 2am, however... So today was a rather truncated day, and I didn't do exactly what I intended to do.


The underwear situation was beginning to get critical, so I came down to the basement to wash. My intention was to try to write a CD with all my raw digital photos on it, but I got a letter I wanted to try to reply to online (no luck), so I got trapped by a wily internet and the CD exercise will have to wait for another time. I have over 200mb of pictures just as they came out of the camera, and I want to save them for future reference. Some of them have never gotten onto the website - some of them never will - and some of them had to be tweaked before I displayed them, but I want to save the raw pictures just in case, probably before I go back north. I tried to do this in Copper Harbor before I came here, and there is a problem with the CD-RW on that system. I want to try it here to attempt to determine if it's a hardware or software problem or an operator problem. If it works here and didn't work there, I will be placing a call to Gateway when I get back north.

Anyway, all my good intentions went down the drain. I'm now waiting for a load of sweaters to dry before I load up the dryer with jeans and go upstairs. I blush to admit I hadn't washed clothes since I've been here. How I got so many pairs of underpants, I'm not quite sure, but I think it happened in January and February of 2001, when it was easier to open a new package than come down here and wash. There is one more load to do - the polar fleece - but I think I will save that for another day, too.


The temperatures were about the same all over Michigan today - low to mid 30s - but it snowed a bit here and it was sunny for most of the day in Copper Harbor. It was warm enough that it was sloppy and a little slippery when I went out to retrieve the recycling barrel and stash everything in the garage. It was also pretty raw and nasty. 


Anyway, here are the day's pictures from the camera. The day length is a couple of minutes longer than last week in Copper Harbor, but it's still nearly dark at 8am. I am interested to see that the ice is further out on the harbor every day, I guess because the night temperatures have been in the 20s and the water has finally cooled down. I thought that 4:05 picture had an interesting cloud in it. I wonder if that's a lake effect cloud or something else. Anyway, it was clouding up at sunset, so maybe they'll have a little snow there tomorrow.


There is one thing I forgot to mention about my safari through the Tetrazzini recipes on the internet. When I did my daily cleanup after I logged off, Ad-Aware found two cookies and I found a couple more that potentially were tracking my surfing habits and reporting them back. I also had at least two pop-under windows appear on my system. This ticks me off extremely, and I am warning anybody else who may use those recipe sites that you really ought to download Ad-Aware from Lavasoft-USA.com and run it frequently, besides having a good security and ad-blocking program (I use Norton) running on your system...unless the idea of some ad agency knowing everyplace you visit on the web doesn't bother you.  Now, my surfing is entirely innocent, believe me, but I have a deep-seated abhorrence of anybody tracking what I do. How I use the internet is nobody's business but mine. I can't tell you which sites created the cookies, since I have IE set to accept cookies (to set it to prompt me for every cookie would be pretty intrusive and slow things down a lot), but I have an idea of the sites I visited, and if I do so again, I may just change the cookie handling just to find out, and to make sure I never visit those sites again, and if possible let the webmasters know what I think about it. So that is the rant of the day.


It's still pretty early, and the jeans are in the dryer, so I think I will try to get to bed early tonight. Ha.


December 27

Another quiet day away from the field...the camera had a glitch from before sunrise until about 8:45, but it did recover (or someone recovered it - not me), and when it did...oh, my what a gorgeous day!  Only why couldn't we have days like this between May and November, and snow now? In this weather, with not very much snow on the ground, I want to be there, sitting in the ugly chair and watching the harbor in person!


Right now it's 15 degrees colder here than it is in Copper Harbor, and we are likely to get snow before they do. That just isn't fair for all the people who depend upon the winter traffic for their livelihoods.


Here, it was mostly cloudy all day, but not thick dark clouds, so it wasn't dreary. I did get several boxes out of the living room, and replaced them with some plastic bags and some big piles of stuff. Next week, maybe I can get rid of the rest, except for one box that has now survived two shipments in good shape, which I think I'll keep. 


Trash day is tomorrow, and since I didn't do anything last Friday, I figured I needed to get the stuff out. Besides the boxes, the upstairs wastebaskets were overflowing, and there were two bags of used kitty litter in the basement. There is so much stuff in the recycling  barrel I was surprised I made it to the curb without dropping something, but evidently packing it carefully and using lots of bags does help.  While I don't seem to have much non-recyclable trash, I always seem to have a huge pile of plastic bottles, cans, newspapers and magazines.  I guess that's what makes my trash bags so full in Copper Harbor: there is no way to recycle that stuff there, and it is much bulkier than the rest, which packs down pretty good.


Let's see - I did a lot of embroidery, and I made a couple of telephone calls that resulted in bills I don't need to pay, so I guess I did accomplish something after all. 


I have been wanting to sit in bed and read for some time now, and somehow I never get upstairs early enough to do it, so I will go now and see if I can stay awake. I seem to be awfully sleepy lately. Maybe I really am in hibernation and I just don't know it...


December 26

Not much to share today except for two spectacular pictures from the camera. It was a beautifully clear, if chilly day all over Michigan, although the skies in Copper Harbor were covered by those pesky lake effect clouds for most of the time - no snow, just clouds. It cleared up nicely here, and I was able to sit in the sewing room and absorb some rays. The sun is still low enough that it shines in my eyes, but I wasn't complaining.


My comment about the Tetrazzini resulted in a link from one of my efriends (thanks, Ann!). That wasn't exactly how I remember the recipe, so I launched a Google search - and gave up after about half of the 17 pages of entries!  I did get a few different recipes...everything from heavy cream to low-fat cream cheese and all sorts of additions, including one with broccoli! Wow! Unfortunately, the one (or possibly two) I'm really looking for are in my mother's recipe box, which I seem to have left in Copper Harbor. Why I took it there, and how it got left there are a real mystery. Actually, it could be in this house and I'd never know it...


Some time ago, I think when I was sick the first time, I extracted from my recipe box and my mother's what I call the "working set" - the recipes I make frequently - and put them on the computer in Microsoft Publisher. This has been useful, since I always port my files between the two sites and I don't always want to haul the recipe box(es) around. The document needs some polishing, since I used a font that I don't have on the new computers, and at the time I did the typing, I had just started using the Character Map function and got the wrong font for several characters I used. Also, I got tired of the whole exercise and never completed it.


That may be how mama's box got to Copper Harbor: I thought it was mine (both are well-worn brown wooden boxes) and took it because I thought I might get back at the computer. I seem to remember seeing it on the counter there, but I thought I had thrown it in on one of my trips home.


Anyway, the thousands of ideas of what constitutes Tetrazzini have made me a little shy of looking for any more recipes on the net. There was one for people who can't eat wheat products, using rice flour and rice noodles, and there were several versions of a  southern variety which includes hot sauce. Quite amazing. Also extremely time-consuming.


So I'm tired again and the nice music (Schubert's ninth) is over, so I'll toddle off upstairs and sleep some more...and dream about sunset at Rainbow's End.


December 25 - Merry Christmas Everyone!

The service came off pretty well last night, but I don't think we did as well as we did on Sunday during practice.  I think probably all the women were as pooped as I was and it showed, although I don't think the congregation noticed. I was disappointed by the turnout. As usual a lot of people came in at the last minute - missing our nice pre-service music - but there were a lot of empty spaces. Oh, well.


When I got home, around 11:30, I think, it was cold out but there was no precipitation, but by the time I took my bath and climbed into bed, there was about half an inch of snow all over everything, and for a while before I dozed off, I could barely see the houses whose yards back up to my side fence. There was probably two or three inches on the ground by this morning, so we had a white Christmas after all.


Today was cloudy here and temps around 30º, but I didn't stick my head outside. In fact, I slept for a very long time, had a leisurely brunch, did a lot of stitching, and started the turkey rather late, so as a result, I ate dinner rather late.  DC and I had our liver as an appetizer, and he was a very happy cat. It's been a while since there was any liver in the house, and as I recall, last Christmas, he never appeared, so I ate it all. There was plenty for both of us this year, and we enjoyed it. He also wanted turkey, which he got, and Buster was feeling so left out that when I put a little dish of turkey (moistened with a little gravy) on the chair, he ate it with relish, although he wouldn't eat it on the floor.


I have to say the stuffing was sort of a bust, even though I used a lot of herbs in it. Somehow, it doesn't taste like much but toasted bread. Probably I shouldn't have followed the suggestion in "The Joy of Cooking" and browned the cubes, but I'm not sure what the problem is. I find "The Joy of Cooking" a treasure trove of information about food, but the recipes are just not the way we cook in my family. Oh, well. The turkey is good, the mashed potatoes are good, and so is the squash. The gravy is very tasty, but I could have used a little more thickening in it. Since all the drippings were browned on the bottom of the pan, it was hard to tell how much I would get before I started. The good thing about thin gravy is that when I warm it up it won't be gluey.


Everything is packed away in the fridge now, and I can look forward to lots of yummy leftovers. Since I still have turkey a la King from last year, I'm toying with the idea of mixing up a batch of Turkey Tetrazzini and freezing it. That is, if I can find a recipe. "The Joy of Cooking" doesn't use any onion, and I think it needs some, if I recall correctly.


It was a really pretty day in Copper Harbor, partly sunny, with a nice sunrise and sunset. There is a little ice forming at our end of the harbor again. The temperature was in the middle 20s, and there wasn't much wind for a change. The winter storm that grazed us and cut a swath from Texas to New England didn't get up there at all.


So that was my quiet Christmas Day. I've said this before, but it bears repeating:

Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child,

Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,

Within my heart that it may be

A quiet chamber kept for Thee.


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


December 24 - Christmas Eve

I hope everyone who reads this has a joyous, peaceful Christmas spent in the way that delights you most.  


Why I didn't sleep good last night - except that I ate chocolate just before I went upstairs - I don't know. It isn't like I'm singing solos or anything tonight, and I think I probably know the selections as well as anybody. So it doesn't make any sense. Anyway, I didn't, and I've been tired all day.


I finished the top half of the piece I'm working on, and the kitchen looks more like a kitchen than a junk heap, so I did accomplish something today. Cleaning is still a trial, since I can't stand in one place for very long, and the kitchen is always the hardest thing to clean anyway. It didn't help that I left a coffee can on the Formica counter and it rusted a nice circle. I must remember not to do anything like that next year.


I've been eating some of the Volwerth's pork sausages I brought back from up north, and as a result, the cooktop and everything near it was gross. Those are the best sausages I've eaten in years, but they're the old-fashioned high-fat kind, and when I cook them they splatter all over everything.


In addition, I had piled all the magazines and catalogs on the floor under the table - as well as all the cat food and non-perishable me-food I've brought into the house lately. It was a real mess, and it's nice to have it sort of back in order...so long as you don't look at the end behind the living room, which still has my Sterlite  boxes piled up in it.  I think I'll be able to cook tomorrow.


It was cold all day, both here and in Copper Harbor, but we had sunshine almost all day, which was nice. Ironically, we are under the winter storm watch, while Keweenaw can expect only the usual lake-effect snow showers. Apparently this storm is coming up from Texas and the gulf coast, and it may never even get to the UP. There aren't any pictures. because it looked about the same all day, cloudy and dull.


I'm going to take a nap before I get ready for church.


December 23

Happy day before the day before Christmas or Christmas Eve eve.


It was cold and cloudy for most of the day both here and in Copper Harbor, with a brisk wind - not nice at all. However, on my way home from the grocery store, as I was waiting for the light to  turn away from the lake, a ray of sunshine peeked out and there were some very nice crepuscular rays in the south. Later on, it got partly cloudy, and there was a little blue sky in the north. There was a brief ray of sunshine in Copper Harbor, too, which gave us the picture of the day. It looks a lot colder there, although it wasn't. You can see that, even though the deck isn't more covered, there is a lot more snow in the garden than there was yesterday, and most of the pictures from sunrise through early afternoon show light snow over the harbor.


I apparently need about 10½ hours of sleep these days, so even though I got to bed at a semi-reasonable hour last night, it was still late when I got up and after noon before I got to the grocery store. It was a zoo, of course, and besides they were out of a few things, like Pepperidge Farms stuffing and Thomas English Muffins. Their excuse was that it's been busy, but that's no excuse.


There is now a nice 12 pound turkey residing in my fridge, and I will have to make my stuffing from scratch. I've done it before, and the principal pain is cutting up the bread into little cubes and getting it dried out. I will try to do that tomorrow. As for the rest of it, I usually put enough of my own herbs in that not having any to start with will be no problem. Lots of summer savory, (as well as sage, thyme, rosemary and marjoram, probably), the way grandma used to make hers. Grandma didn't use rosemary, that was my own addition, but I came up in the highly-spiced stuffing school. Yum. It will be warm and fragrant in the kitchen all day Christmas day, and DC and I will have sautéed liver and other giblets for a snack. That's my present to DC.


Tomorrow I will have to try to clear the decks a bit in the kitchen so I can actually cook, but otherwise the plan is to take it easy, have a late dinner (a pasty - a Keweenaw Christmas tradition I don't mind at all adopting) and not go rushing around before I get off to church at 9:15.


I rewashed Debbie's gift - the Fray Check came out, but the alcohol left a ring - and since it takes a while for the stitching to dry out, I didn't get it framed. I'm not sure she will get the ornament I'm working on, because I ran out of beads in the middle of it and the bottom half has slightly smaller, slightly different shade gold beads. I'll see how it looks when it's done, and I may give her her choice. Or I may do another one.


So it was a quiet day, and I think I will go upstairs early. I am listening to a concert from St. Olaf's College, but it sounds to be pretty modern, so I think I will just opt out and go knit and read for a while.




December 22

The Weather Underground calls it "brisk", but I would call it downright nasty.


Since I knew I wanted to get up early this morning, I didn't sleep much last night. This is a syndrome I've mentioned before, that has afflicted me since I caught up on my sleep after I retired. It's downright annoying...and I just remembered, a long time ago one of my doctors suggested I try valerian when it happened, and I'd forgotten. Next time maybe I'll remember. The alternative is prescription sleeping pills (ambien) which work, but then either I have to take them every night or endure a sleepless night when I'm weaning myself off them. I only take those in drastic circumstances, like when I'm driving 615 miles the next day.


So I got up with plenty of time to get to church at 8:15, and I was glad I did, because I saw my friend Carol and another lady I like very much, as well as all the usual early-service people.


When I got up this morning, there was a star outside the bathroom window - Vega rising, I think - and a gibbous moon shining on my garage, and it was beautifully clear when I went to church. All during the service, the rising sun was shining through the stained glass windows right on me. We have beautiful windows, with lots of red in them, and it was a lovely sight.


When I got home, I got at my embroidery and didn't pay much attention to the outdoors, but by the time I went back for our last rehearsal before Christmas Eve, it had clouded up and there was a nasty northwest wind blowing, which has continued for the rest of the day. The temperature here was above freezing, but it sure didn't feel like it.


In Copper Harbor, it has been under 30º with a 25mph wind out of the northwest all day and light lake effect snows. I didn't save any pictures, because they look just like yesterday's except that it was possible to see the mountain all day and there wasn't any more snow on the deck or ice on the harbor.


Brr! Tomorrow I will wear the down parka, with pleasure!


After rehearsal - it all went suspiciously well - I decided it was time to lay in some cat food, so I did that before I came home.  I washed and pressed the picture for Debbie, but when I looked at it afterwards, a drop of Fray-Check that had gotten on the fabric didn't come out when I used rubbing alcohol on it (as the directions say), so I had to treat it again and didn't get it framed. Tomorrow, I hope! I worked for a while on another ornament, but I got hungry, so I came down here with food about 4pm. It's only 8:00 now, so maybe, just maybe, I can get to bed early tonight and get an early start tomorrow.


I hate to food shop two days before Christmas, but my traditional Christmas dinner is turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and squash - a real feast - and I need to get the ingredients. I prefer fresh, untreated turkeys, and I don't like to keep them in the fridge too long. I will probably be sorry: there were surprisingly few people at Farmer Jack when I left church this afternoon, and today might have been a better time to go.


However, I had to call Aunt Lee to thank her for the poinsettia, so I did that instead. She is a remarkable woman - I think she is 94 now, and she is having some trouble getting around, but there is nothing whatever wrong with her mind. Besides, she has about the best terminal facilities of anyone I talk to, so it was a short, sweet conversation. I would like to see her before I go back north again, but she lives in Farmington Hills, so I'd prefer to go after it warms up.


The way the furnace is running, I think it's cooling off. Brr!  A good night to huddle under the covers! At least the Solstice is past and we will soon be on the upward leg.


December 21 - Winter Solstice

It was a wintry day today, both here and in Copper Harbor, dark and dreary with a few flakes or a lot of lake effect snow depending upon where you were. Here, it was mostly just cold and damp and dreary. There was a dusting of snow on the roof and grass this morning, and I could see a few flakes coming down. In Copper Harbor, it was windy and squally. The last picture of the day was actually pretty clear, but I saved it because you can see clearly that the wind was from the northwest and the harbor was kicking up pretty good. For most of the rest of the day, you couldn't see town or the harbor at all for the snow coming down. I've decided that looking at the accumulation on the deck is a bit deceptive - since it's wood, I think a lot of what falls melts and sinks in until there's a real blizzard. Through the railing, you can see that the ground is nicely covered again.  


You can also see the lake effect clouds (thanks again for identifying them, John!), and above them was probably almost blue sky. What a wonderful weather maker that lake is!


There is a winter storm warning out for Keweenaw north of Calumet tonight, so I'll be interested to see what the deck looks like tomorrow. I think, though, that until the lake gets colder and the harbor freezes, the larger amount of snow will be in the higher elevations - from Mohawk to Delaware and up by the Mountain Lodge. 


Anyway, now it is officially winter.


I slept late and hunkered down inside all day. I finished the embroidery on Debbie's gift and one of the beaded ornaments, so I felt I accomplished something. Now I have to frame the embroidery and do the other ornament and find something to put the whole thing in.  Packing glass ornaments, particularly, isn't easy.


I may be able to get both of those things done tomorrow, because if I go to church, it will have to be at 8:15. I know there are people who really enjoy the children's Christmas program, but I don't. I didn't like it when I was a kid and I opted out any time I could, and I don't enjoy seeing all those little kids making fools of themselves.


I'm not sure I can get up and get myself out of the house that early, but I'll see when I wake up. I know I did it for jury duty, but that was more of a command performance. Besides, I've been going to bed late and getting up late again, and sometimes when I'm in that mode, I have trouble going to sleep if I start earlier.  


So it was another quiet day, and that was fine with me.


December 20

Sorry for the hiatus, but there wasn't much to report. It's been quiet, cloudy and fairly warm until today, and now I guess it's going to snow. A lot of the snow in my front yard at Copper Harbor is gone, but it's cooling down and it will be snowing. 


As a matter of fact, it was snowing in all three pictures from today, although I thought the middle one was particularly interesting: it was snowing on the town of Copper Harbor, but there was a ray of sunshine on the deck. from the last picture of the day, you can tell it was wet snow, because there was a lot of water on the window, and there wasn't much accumulation on the deck. However, after dark, it was pretty snowy for a couple of hours, because I couldn't see the one light in Copper Harbor. I didn't keep the first picture after darkness fell, but for the first time, I actually caught the lighthouse light. It is almost out of the  picture on the lower right hand side, but it's there.


I have spent most of my time either embroidering or working on a beaded ornament for Debbie, although I took time out today to pay some bills and get gas. For some reason, since I've been here, I sort of forgot that the truck doesn't have a bottomless gas tank, and I was getting pretty low.


Otherwise, it's been really quiet around here, which is fine with me.


December 17

Egad, two days in a row! I did go to bed pretty early last night, but I also got up very late this morning and dawdled over breakfast, and dawdled over my embroidery...and missed my blood test, and didn't get out of the house until nearly 3pm. I did manage to get everything else on my list done, although it was a struggle.


There was no one in the bank, and only a couple of people at the packaging store - by taking the gift to them, I saved myself the hassle of trying to find a box, wrap everything, etc., etc.  It was probably a little more expensive, but it was worth it. The post office was a zoo, of course, and it seemed everybody had a long and involved transaction, or didn't know what they wanted to do or something, but I stocked up on stamps.


I hauled the bead stuff into the sewing room and began on the ornament, but it's been a while since I've done that and I was sort of thumb-fingered, so I didn't get very far. Maybe tomorrow, between bible class and the blood test, I can get some of that done, as well as some more embroidery.


I wasn't as foggy as yesterday, but I did feel like I could have slept all day today.  Oh, yes, and sometime in there I have go get my Christmas cards addressed. I've thought again about skipping that, but there are people I don't see much that I like to remember at least once a year, even though it is a pain.  I will try to get my Christmas letter done and  printed before I go upstairs.


It's certainly a good thing I don't have a huge family and lots of parties and things, or I would never get anything done!


It was cloudy when I got up this morning, but a ray of sunshine peeked out later, and the temps were in the middle 30s, although they've fallen off, and it is now a little colder here than it is in Copper Harbor. It was a tolerable day in Copper Harbor - here are the pictures - with a little sunshine at times and a nice sunset.  From the afternoon picture, it seems clear that all the ice is gone from the harbor. That middle picture has some glare on the window in it - the sun was shining full in the south windows, probably on the white wall, and reflecting in the slider. That's something that will only happen at this time of year, too.


All of Michigan is under a winter weather advisory for freezing rain tonight - yuck! - but it isn't supposed to be bad enough to be disastrous. I think I prefer the really cold weather we had right after I got home, if you don't mind.


The sun is now rising after 8:30 in Copper Harbor and setting around 5:00, which is not a lot of daylight. It's a tad better here - we have about 9 hours of daylight, but Saturday is the equinox, so the days are really short, and they will be for the next month or so before the sun starts on its upward leg. I hope to capture lots of pictures, but on the other hand, for the sake of my friends in the north, I hope they are mostly of snowstorms.


So I will get this published and get on with the Christmas letter.


December 16

Happy Beethoven's Birthday. As I write this, WKAR is beginning to play the 9th Symphony and already I've heard some things I had never noticed before.


The day didn't start very auspiciously at all. I was beginning to come to and roll over to look at the clock when I got a ferocious cramp in my calf, and I ended up sitting on the edge of the bed in sort of a dizzy fog for about fifteen  minutes, wondering what day it was. By the time I decided it must be Monday, I was sort of back together, but every place I sat down, I sort of sat for a while. I prefer to awaken more gently, thank you.


I did get a respectable amount of embroidery done...I'm not too worried about at so long as I keep at it, since heaven knows when I'll see Debbie again.


After that, it was off to the sewing room and some framing, so that project is now done and ready to pack up and send off tomorrow. None too soon - I got a lovely package from Arthur and Mary Ann today. So Christmas is coming.


This is when I begin to wish I really had the energy to erect my tree and decorate it with all the lovely ornaments I've collected over 35 years, but I keep reminding myself that what goes up must come down, and besides, before I could do the tree, I would have to get all the boxes out of the living room...and I get very tired.


I have never been a very high energy person, but my illnesses and associated debilitation have certainly left me with less than I used to have, particularly when I get to bed late and get awakened so abruptly.  It's almost 8:30 and I haven't eaten yet, but as soon as this is done and the food is down, I will crawl off to bed, hoping I can sleep a little longer and wake up a little more gently tomorrow.


Tomorrow, the schedule is to send the package, get stamps, move some money, and begin an ornament for the other part of Debbie's present. I will try to take pictures, but I won't be able to post them until after Christmas.


The camera was down until about 4pm today (I'm not sure who kicked it, it wasn't me) so I don't really know much about what kind of day it was, but it was cold and it looked cloudy and blah. No nice sunsets or anything. 


It was cold here, too - mid 20s - and there was a frosting of snow on the driveway when I got downstairs this morning, although the sun burned it off pretty quick. And it was sunny most of the day, until right before sunset. It was a very nice day to be working in the sewing room.


The sewing room is on the southeast corner of this house, and it has two pretty big windows for such a little room, so when the sun is out, it is bright and cozy (really cozy - it's only about 8'x10' and very full of stuff). Until the sky clouded up, Buster came and sat on the high  chair, crouched down in his watching position. He watched me for part of the time, but for quite a while he was in that not-quiet-asleep trance cats get into, just soaking up the rays. He loves the sun and he will lie in it until his coat feels about cooked, even on really warm days. Being black, he soaks it up, and he loves it. On a kind of chilly day like today, he will find any sunbeam. I must get one of his throws upstairs and put it behind the Necchi in front of the window. That is one of his favorite spots - he can catch the rays, sleep in comfort, and if anything happens outside, he is right there to see it. I think DC spend the day behind the bathroom door, where the hot air from the furnace blows right on him. These cats know how to be comfy and warm. Besides, they had one of their favorite foods for breakfast, so their tummies were stuffed.


So that is the latest from the field-in-exile.


December 15

Not much to report. It was middle-30-ish here, with a little sun this morning and dark clouds this afternoon. 


I didn't accomplish much; I thought I was getting ahead on my embroidery, then I discovered I  had missed a row and had to rip. When I do that, I fix the mistake and stop right there, hoping I will be paying more attention tomorrow. I cut backing boards for the other project then got hung up looking for the fabric to line the pieces. I know there is fabric around here that I have cut into, but I even moved a few of the boxes on the treadmill, and I can't find it. There is definitely too much stuff around here, but every time I decide to get rid of some of it, it turns out that it's stuff I need.


It was cloudy and cold - under 20º - in Copper Harbor, and the temperature had been falling steadily for almost 24 hours when I checked it. The view wasn't very inspiring, but I did save the last picture of the day. A lot of the snow seems to be gone in the garden, but with the light the way it was all day, I can't tell if the ice has mostly gone, or if the entire harbor has frozen over. Maybe tomorrow will show it better. There wasn't any snow, either, but some forecasters are predicting flurries tomorrow. It's coming up on Christmas, and my friends in business need snow so the snowmobilers will come. John seems to think there is a possibility of modest (for Keweenaw) amounts over the next couple of weeks. I hope so.


Church this morning was Matins, so we got out early, and the bells played - very nicely, I must say. They have some chimes that sound just like a celesta, until you remember that a different person is playing each of those notes. As I write this, I'm reminded of them, because I'm listening to a glass harmonica, a sound that, I have to confess, sets my teeth on edge. The bells didn't, and if they missed any notes, it wasn't obvious to a hearer. Like I say, a lot of it sounded like one person playing a keyboard, which means they did very well.


The church is decorated inside now, and the two trees at the front are maybe a little shorter than sometimes, but they are very nicely shaped, covered with white lights, red balls, and tinsel.


I've been forgetting to mention that Friday I solved most of my email problem, and I seem to have gotten back the files that I lost. I still wonder how that could have happened. I must have backed them up to the laptop on November 30, but when I moved them back, not everything moved. Times like this when I wish I could retrace my keystrokes. I certainly don't remember what might have happened to make it necessary for me to do a GoBack, which is the reason I usually have to move the files.


When I was living in the east, back in the dark ages, I knew a systems support person who kept a written record of everything he did to the system. I've always thought that was a really good idea, but I just don't have the self-discipline to do it. I always think about it after I've done something that has caused a glitch.  Anyway, the only remaining file that isn't complete is my sent items file, and I will have to attack that, too, because it's very handy to have that record, although it isn't so critical.


So it's now 10:30 again, and I will trundle off to bed...


December 14

It was a cloudy, dark day again in Detroit, I think, but frankly I didn't really notice. I realized I do in fact have to come up with a couple of Christmas gifts, so I got started on that. I did do quite a bit of embroidery, and I have to admit that toward the end of the afternoon, I ended up deep in the piles of projects to be done and a bead catalog (not related, except by my curiosity). One of my projects calls for some red seed beads which I supposedly have, but they weren't in the bead box, so I had to search the project boxes, which led me to find something I had intended for Debbie's birthday some time ago, which led me off in another direction...And the beads the pattern calls for are ugly (how can a seed bead be ugly? Well, I know a few...and this is one of them), so I had to find something to substitute.


I also tried out the picture frame plier that I got from Carey, and while I'm not as adept at setting the brads as she is - mine are sometimes crooked - it certainly makes the job easier! In some cases, tools don't matter, but in other cases the right tool can make a job a pleasure. Two things I couldn't take north last spring because I couldn't set the brads to hold them in their frames are now ready for the backing paper, then they can be put carefully away till spring, the first items in the "go and stay" box.


The temperatures were about the same - mid 30s - here and in Copper Harbor, but it was actually a much nicer day there than here, with less wind, but if the temps and relative humidities are any indication, it was sort of raw in both places. There was almost some sun in Copper Harbor, which provided the picture of the day. I will never see that golden glow unless I get to spend a winter there, when the sun is less than 30º above the horizon at noon, and by the time of that picture must be just grazing the hills to the south. Of course, it's always beautiful, but sometimes it's more beautiful than other times.


So it's now late again, and i have to go to church tomorrow, so I'll wrap this up.


December 13

Another yucky day in all of Michigan. The temperature hung in the mid 30s both here and in Copper Harbor, and it was dark and dull all day long. There was more fog in Copper Harbor than there was here, but other than the view from the field, it might as well have been the same place.


I embroidered all morning, but then I decided it would be a good day to spend in the basement. I have wash to do and some file updates to do that I had been waiting for a nice, yucky day to do. Not too much of the wash got done - I'm waiting for the second load of fleece throws to dry - but I got most of the file stuff done. I have to tweak my ledger a bit, but I didn't have one of my bills, so that will have to wait for another day.


This is the kind of winter weather I really don't like. If it can't be sunny, I wish it would do something - rain or snow or blow or something. As it is, it was just blah. Do something!


And that's all I have to report.


December 12

Both yesterday and today were nice, sunny days in southeastern Michigan. Today it got to about 45º here, and with the sun, it was lovely. Yesterday was sunny in Copper Harbor, too, but today it was dull and gray again. The temperature has been above freezing (in the Harbor, that is - there  has been more variation further south, as John reported). for a couple of days, but it was almost steady at 35º most of today.  The snow might have melted a tad, but the ice in the harbor is still there, although it hasn't grown any. I didn't save any pictures from either day. Yesterday's looked pretty much like the ones from Tuesday, and there wasn't anything worth looking at today...in fact, it looked almost like the camera was in black and white.


Yesterday, I did bible class in the morning and choir at night. In between, I worked on the beaded watch, and what a disaster that has turned out to be!  I mentioned that I had been sent the wrong color beads, then when I got the second half of the strap made, I discovered I had 13 headpins left and 32 dangles to attach. So I called the company, and while I was on hold, I was fiddling with the watch, and the chain on one side broke!  I discovered that one of the links had come unsoldered, but it is such fine chain, and the link is so tiny, that even if I get it threaded back together again, it won't hold. So now, when I get the replacement parts, I have to do the second side all over again...yech!  I am thinking about just packing it away for another time.


Today, I met Debbie for lunch at Benihana - the Japanese place. We have been trying to get there for at least six months, and it was good not only to see her, but to eat their good food. This is the kind of place where you sit around the grill table and they stir-fry your meal. We like it. 


Since it was early when we parted - she had to be at David's school with the makings for root beer floats at 3pm - I swung by Carey's shop, and we had a nice visit, and I was fairly modest about my purchases. She had all the mounting boards for all the stuff I had for her to frame, so now the ball is back in my court and I have something else to do. I had also asked her to get me a picture frame plier, which is a tool that will drive brads into a frame to hold the picture, and she had that. I have three or four things I framed that I couldn't finish because all my glazier's points were in Copper Harbor and it is impossible to drive brads into a frame with a hammer. I frame things myself that fit in a standard size frame and don't have mats, and I let her do anything non-standard size or with glass or mats. Unfortunately for my pocketbook, there are a lot more of the latter than the former.


So I got home about 5:30, and everybody here was quite put out with me. It was still clear when I got home, but I guess it's supposed to be cloudy and foggy tomorrow, with precipitation after 4pm. It was nice to see the sun while it lasted.


So that has been my last two days - nothing exciting to report at all. Now I am getting hungry again, so I will have a snack and then trundle off to bed.


December 10

It was a gorgeous day in Michigan today, from the far northwest to the far southeast. Curiously enough, the temperature and conditions were just about the same over the entire state - not a usual event. It was mostly clear and sunny, with temperatures that got into the upper 30s. It was actually rather nice out, at least here.


I didn't spend much time out, but I did have to go to get my blood tested...and the results are back pretty much the way they should be. I'm hoping they will be next week, too, so I can take a couple of weeks off.  Dr. Lehman had received a letter from U of M saying what tests they want me to have before I see them, and he wondered why they had sent them now. I found out when I finally got my mail: they are trying to get me back  on January 9. I am going to try to change that. To try to get all those tests in the next three weeks, with the holidays and all, will be unnecessarily difficult, and besides, I don't think I'm due to see them again until April. I've had enough of driving to Ann Arbor in the dead of winter. I will call tomorrow.


I finally spent some time working on the watchband I wanted to make, and I think it will turn out all right. It involves making a lot of little rings out of wire, and not all my rings are as nice as I'd like them, but I have to practice on something.  It was nice to sit in the bright sewing room, even though the sun doesn't shine too brightly at this time of year and it goes down early - around 5pm! Our days here are still around 9 hours, though, while they're just over 8 ½ hours in Copper Harbor. That isn't very long, and it will be late February before there's any big change. I keep telling myself that's one thing in favor of wintering here. I do get a touch of seasonal affective disorder when the days get short and cloudy.


The lovely weather in Copper Harbor resulted in some really nice pictures. It was cloudy in the morning, but by noon it had cleared up, as you can see from the first picture. Someone emailed me about the second picture (thanks, Judy!). See? There really is a pot of gold in Copper Harbor... The third picture is of the end of twilight, and not only is it beautiful, we won't see many like it. When It's cloudy, it's totally dark by 6pm. How I do wish I and the NIkon had been there at 4:30 to capture that awesome golden light over the hills!  How I wish I could just have looked at it with my own eyes!


Oh, well, remember the short days and the snow...


I was interested to see that, even though it hardly got below freezing in Copper Harbor over the past 24 hours, there is as much ice on the harbor as there was yesterday afternoon. I am really enjoying watching it grow, especially after last year, when there wasn't any ice at all until the middle of January.


On that topic, I was just comparing one of the shots from yesterday with the one from December 9 of last year, and I see that the camera isn't aimed quite the same way. It's pointing a little more southerly and down a little more than last year, so there is less sky and I won't capture the lighthouse light. I really must realign it when I get back. Even plain blue sky is more interesting than deck...although when the snow begins to pile up, it will be fun to see it more clearly than last year. When I put out the birdfeeders, I turned it to get them in the picture, but it hasn't been quite the same since I changed cameras.  Although maybe it's more interesting to move it a bit now and then, just for a slightly different perspective. I'm sorry I can't put it in the living room or down in my bedroom, but that would mean I'd have to go wireless and get another camera, and I don't see doing that until this one dies. This is a nice camera and it takes good pictures, so we'll just have to put up with it being within 16 feet of the computer (or so - I think it's actually a little further across the room).


So now I've shared the pictures, and I can get an early start on bed so I can go to bible class tomorrow.


December 9

I wasn't going to do a journal today because it was a quiet day, but there were a couple of things I forgot to mention from last week and I captured a few more shots from the live cam. The weather was cold here today - never got over 25º - and the wind kicked up to around 15mph in the late afternoon. It wasn't pleasant out, and I can attest to that, since I finally  got to the bank and food shopped. It was sunny, however, and after the weather we had in September and October, I'll take any ray of sunlight I can get!


Curiously enough, it got about ten degrees warmer in Copper Harbor - and it still is - although I guess it will be warmer here tomorrow, and it got below 10º overnight, so the ice has moved out. I will be interested to see what the next few days' warmer temperatures does for it. It was cloudy for most of the day there, but there wasn't any snow.


Now for cleanup.


When I wrote last Thursday's journal, I had intended to talk about my trip home from downtown Wednesday night, and it slipped my mind (if any) completely.  When I went around the curve of Lakeshore Drive that begins to parallel the lake, there was some little ice on the water, but the open water was the most incredible shade of pale sky blue I have ever seen - DMC 747, I think - and absolutely calm. It was so beautiful, I wish I had had the camera with me, but for starters, I don't like to leave anything in my car when I park in downtown Detroit, and I'm not sure what the cold would have done to the electronics anyway. I'm also not sure what our local police would think about somebody stopped in the middle of the road taking pictures during the beginning of the rush hour. So you'll have to take my word for it. 


Sometimes in the spring Lake St. Clair can be a beautiful, very pale silvery gray-blue that no other lake gets, but I have never seen it the color it was the other day, and I blush to say I took that route (albeit a little later) every weekday for 18 years. It was so beautiful! There actually wasn't much ice then, either, and it was patchy. I'm a water baby, for sure. I need my Great Lakes fix.


Today, there was a lot more ice, and while I didn't travel exactly the same route, the lake was dark gray-blue and full of birds. I saw two flocks of swans, one of 6 and the other of 15 or 20, probably (at 35mph I didn't exactly count them). It was hard to be sure just how many there were, because most of the ones in the big flock were bottoms up when I saw them - a very undignified position for a very dignified bird. These are probably Tundra Swans that winter in Lake St. Clair since it doesn't freeze solid any more, thanks to the power plant in or around Marine City.


In addition, I saw at least 100 geese eating or roosting on the grass between the road and the lake. I must say that the resurgence of the Canada goose is one of the most remarkable wildlife conservation stories. I had never seen a Canada goose until the '70s when a small flock appeared in Copper Harbor. I have some pictures somewhere of my mother surrounded by hungry geese. Now they flock by the hundreds and are a real nuisance.


Oh, yes, last Wednesday or Thursday (can't remember which) there were some buffleheads near shore, before the ice came. I think there may have been a few canvasbacks, too, but at 40mph without my binoculars, it was hard to be sure.


I did bring the binoculars back with me, and I intend to keep them in the car for these sightings. I'm not sure what everyone will think if I either stop along the road or pull into a turnaround, but when the lake doesn't freeze, there are always a lot of waterfowl around, particularly since the lake is so shallow right now. However, it looks like the lake will freeze this year, at least if John Dee is any kind of forecaster.


Saturday the one and only Copper Harbor afternoon picture was the last one before sunset, and the sky had an ominous look about it, which I guess was justified, since it snowed for about the next 18 hours. I think those dark clouds were the lake effect clouds, only this time they were north over the lake.


There are three pictures from today. I hope you don't mind me gathering these things up, but I know most people, even if they check the camera every day, don't spend all day watching it. That's why I archive all the pictures that get uploaded (I actually have every one on the Copper Harbor computer, up to 100 pictures, but I can't get to them from here). The first picture is actually a couple of minutes before sunrise, and I thought the colors were beautiful - wish I could have seen them in person or with the Nikon. The second picture, from around noon, shows that there was even a little ray of sunshine - notice how low in the sky the sun is! - and shows how far the ice got overnight. The third picture, from mid-afternoon, has an interesting sky, with that dark cloud in it, and shows that the ice that formed wasn't very thick, because the warm temperatures and wind had pushed it a ways back toward shore.


I guess that brings me up to date. I didn't do anything about my email yet - maybe tomorrow. So long as I don't touch anything, It should be all right. Tomorrow I have a blood test (again). So I will crawl up to bed.


December 8

Not much to report, and it's bedtime again...and besides, I just discovered that a couple of my mail files (especially one called "savethis") have inexplicably disappeared. Aarrggghhh.........!!!!!!!!!!! It's too late to do anything about it tonight, so I will just not touch any files on the computer and go to bed.


It's been really cold in Copper Harbor - under 15º - for the past 24 hours. There was some snow this morning, according to the camera, but then there was a ray of sunshine before it clouded up again. Here, it was under 30º all day with a brisk wind - not very nice - but there was some sunshine. It looked warmer than it was, and when I went out to take some trash, it was chilly.


I did manage to make a little sense - not much - of the counters in the kitchen, and I put away some clean pots and took out some of the recyclables and a bag of trash. Otherwise, I didn't do much after I got back from church. Today was a communion day, which meant two anthems and down and back up the back stairs. I did some embroidery and worked on the coat of many colors for a while before I came down here to read my email. 


It was just now, when I wanted to see how many messages were in the "unanswered" file that I discovered that all the messages I had put in three folders I made before December 1 have disappeared. I don't remember doing anything - even fast-fingering - last Sunday, but I must have.  It's easy to badmoutn Microsoft when something like this happens, but I can say from experience that this is the  kind of bug that is practically impossible to find, since it's probably not exactly reproducible. Tomorrow I will have to try to decide what to do about it. I do have copies of some files dated November 30 - but not the whole set, which is weird, too - so I will have to try to recover what I can. Outlook Express doesn't  let you merge messages from two sets of files, so I will have to get creative. Aarrrgghhh..........


And so to bed.


December 6

This will be short. I've just finished my pizza, and it's about two hours later than I thought it was (!). 


I didn't get to bed early last night, because just about the time I was thinking about going upstairs to eat, Arthur called, and we had a nice conversation. We haven't talked since before I came back to Champine. 


That's the trouble with the website. People can find out whether I'm around just by logging on and seeing if I've written a journal - but you all don't have websites, so I can't check up on you!


Anyway, I slept late and didn't do much of anything today - a lot of embroidery, put together a little aqua heart pendant I bought last spring, and tried to make a beaded Christmas ornament. I was going to work on the watch with the beaded band that I just got all the right beads for, but I decided that took too much concentration. Maybe tomorrow. After I discovered that I couldn't count past three with any accuracy, I decided I'd best do nothing much.


The weather was partly cloudy both here and in Copper Harbor, with temperatures in the mid 20s. Interesting, I just looked at the past 24 hour temperatures, and it's rising both places, but it's above freezing in Copper Harbor, whereas it's in the upper 20s here. Obviously something is moving in from the west, as usual. The wind has been higher up in the UP, too. We'll see what tomorrow brings.


When the sun set, there was ice in our end of the harbor again, but it's supposed to warm up for a while tomorrow, and it will be interesting to see if it stays. However, it's supposed to cool down pretty quickly again, and if it does, I think that ice is going to become solid (which it isn't right now) and permanent. Unless something really weird happens, this looks to be a real old-fashioned winter in all of Michigan.


So now I've checked in, and I can crawl up to bed...


December 5

Well, I'm back, and I have discharged my civic duty. I didn't write Tuesday, because not much happened and I went to bed early. 


Yesterday, I was up at 5am and at the Murphy Hall of Justice at 7:45, just like I  was supposed to be, and by 10am I was a jury member. They had called over 300 people (some of whom didn't show up), but there were 32 trials scheduled for yesterday. 'Way, 'way too many people in Wayne County!


Temperatures were in the low teens when I went out, and they didn't get much higher all day - it was very cold in Detroit, especially for so early in the season. I might expect this in January or February, but not in December. However, it's been mostly to completely clear for the past couple of days.


I don't want to dwell on the trial, because it's over with, but it was a messy thing. The defendant's door had been broken down by the narcotics squad, who then found a very small quantity of cocaine. What was really weird, and the reason it took us a couple of days to decide the case, was that the cops' stories were rather vague and not entirely consistent, and it differed to a great extent from the defendant's story. Even the judge, when she talked to us afterward, admitted that it was a difficult case. Besides, it was being tried by an intern in the prosecutor's office, and quite frankly, she didn't do very well. The defendant's lawyer was the typical slimy snake that's all a lot of people can get, but he did find the weakest link in the case and he had prepared his client very well. The judge mentioned to us (later) that one of the oddities she saw in the case was that the guy insisted on a jury trial, even though the usual penalty is probation (in Detroit, anyway). We didn't know all that beforehand, but it all made us feel better that we decided that the state just had not proved its case. Anyway, we were there until 4pm yesterday and back at 8:45 this morning for another hour and a half of "deliberation" - not very deliberate, actually, just twelve people talking out the case.


With any luck, I'll never have to do that again!.


Anyway, by the time I got home, I was exhausted, but of course Wednesday is choir night, and because it's Advent, there was church beforehand. That served to calm me down some, but it was almost 10pm by the time I got home, and I was beat, and my feet had swelled out of my shoes.


When I got home from  court, my pasty order was there - I had forgotten, when I ordered it, that I had jury duty yesterday - but it was cold enough that the pasties were still frozen...except for the one I ate. Yum! That put the day in a better light altogether. I also opened a new wine - white merlot - which I like  a lot. It looks more like rosé, but it tastes more like white zin. Nice stuff. I topped that off with a fudgie pastie, which is something new from Pastynet, and it was yummy, too.


I had just time, while my pasty was baking, to read my email (haven't answered it yet) and look at the cam  pictures. One of my correspondents pointed out that the morning pictures were gorgeous, and I saved what I think was the prettiest to share. It was mighty cold in Copper Harbor yesterday, but the morning was great. By the time I logged on, however (around 5pm), it was snowing again and the mountain was hidden.


It took me some time to get to sleep last night, because the trial was on my mind (apparently all my fellow jurors had the same problem), and I had to be up early (6am) again this morning, because we were supposed to start at 8:45. "Judicial time" is just as off as some others I know about, however, and everybody seems to take their time.


I was home today shortly after eleven, and after I had a sandwich, I took a couple of hour nap. I feel much better now, but I'll be glad to sleep tonight. Today was beautiful here all day, although the temperature was in the 20s. It was sunny and clear all day long...lovely.  It wasn't so nice in Copper Harbor today, I discovered when I got to the computer. Here are a couple of shots from today's collection. You can see that for the first time, there was some ice at our end of the harbor this morning. While it was still there in the early afternoon - the second shot is what a snow squall really looks like - by sunset, it was all gone. I don't  know whether it all piled up on the shore or got washed out by a wind change. However, it's a hint of things to come. I suspect that this year I'll get to see the harbor freeze over, which it never did last year.


The weather is supposed to warm up a bit here over the next couple of days, but then cool down some again. John says it may warm up a little in Keweenaw - into the 20s probably, but not enough to melt the snow, which it will here.


I'm writing this early, and I haven't eaten yet, so I will do that and try to get back to normal tomorrow.


December 2

Ooh, brr!  at 9pm, it's 16 in Detroit and 16 in Copper Harbor - the only difference being the 17mph winds from the north in Copper Harbor. Brr! They had a little more snow than we did, too. It finally stopped dribbling snow here around 7pm tonight, and it looks like a couple of inches. It was more like 4 or 6 inches in Copper Harbor, at least on my deck. From the camera pictures (remember, I can download the whole day's worth) it appears a lake-effect squall came through about every hour all day long (which isn't very long any more).


According to the Weather Underground, it's supposed to be clear and cold here tonight, but Copper Harbor should keep on getting lake effect squalls all night - and get really cold, around zero! Much as I think I would like to have been able to stay there, I certainly would have had to make some preparations...like getting a pair of snowpants ("bibs", John calls them) and some snow boots. I also would have had to break down and lay in some wood for the fireplace, because there's no other way I could keep the great room really habitable otherwise. At the same time, I think about curling up in the ugly chair with a roaring blaze in the fireplace, in the cozy office...Did I ever mention that I seem to be allergic to wood smoke?


The last picture of the day was kinda cool, so I saved it. That was about half an hour after sunset. All those dark, dark clouds...all full of snow...


I woke up late, embroidered a lot, and knitted on the coat of many colors for a while, and totally ignored everything I am supposed to be doing. Even though I got 10 hours of sleep today, I felt tired, so I didn't do much. As I said yesterday, this weather does that to me.


Besides, it has been cold in here, so I fiddled with the thermostat. I don't want it to get too warm in my bedroom, but since my down comforter isn't very thick any more, I suspect one reason for my soreness is that I've been cold at night, not cold enough to keep me awake, but enough to mess up the old bod.  Since the thermostat is in the dining room, right over an air duct, I have to fiddle with it every year. When it isn't too cold outside, I can set it lower, but when it gets really cold outside, I have to shove it up several notches. We'll see if I did enough.


It was one of those days when it was very nice not to have to go anywhere, and as a result I forgot completely that I was supposed to go out to the bank at Farmer Jack and close on my line of credit. Oh, well, they said Monday or Tuesday...but after 6pm, which isn't exactly convenient for me. I will have to try to remember that tomorrow. Maybe Marty will be along tonight or tomorrow morning to shovel snow. I have a blood test tomorrow, too.


Late in the afternoon, before I came downstairs, I was sitting and knitting, when all of a sudden Buster, who was downstairs someplace, started wailing like  a lost soul. I don't know what gets into those cats - DC does it occasionally, too, but he was with me at the time - but it obviously has nothing to do with being in Copper Harbor. They suddenly act like they are totally disoriented and think they're alone in the universe. I usually call out to answer them, and they come running and everything is all right. Funny little cats.


So it was another quiet day away from the field, and I think I will go back to bed.


December 1

It was a cold day in Detroit - mid 20s with a stiff breeze - and even colder in  Copper Harbor. around 20º with a 20 mph wind and snow squalls all day. Over the lake effect clouds it was probably partly cloudy, but there was still an inch or so of new snow on the deck...and it looked cold.  Brrr! No matter what the calendar says, it's winter in Michigan.


I ducked out to church and ducked back in as fast as possible!  I did get some embroidery done this afternoon, and I did some work in the kitchen, although it doesn't look too much like it. At least the stove is cleaner and the dutch oven isn't sitting in the sink anymore. There is still a pile of pans because I didn't get the sauté pan clean when I washed it, so I scrubbed it out. My back and legs were bothering me enough that I could only stand up for five or ten minutes at a time, and holding my arms out in front of me, like I have to do when I'm washing pans, is horrible on my back. 


So now I've eaten and written this and I will crawl up the stairs to the bedroom and maybe knit and read a bit tonight...not too long, I hope. I am used to cool weather from living in Copper Harbor, but I haven't gotten accustomed to real cold yet, and being out in it makes me really tired. Also really hungry, which is too bad.


DC and I finished up the liver sausage for lunch today. I don't usually indulge in braunschweiger, because it's rather high salt, but I haven't had any in a very long time, so I got a package the last time I shopped. Of course, it's liver, which is the one food DC will go crazy for. He couldn't smell it when I made my sandwich today, because it was cold, but I made the mistake of reaching onto the floor in front of him to move something, and when he smelled my fingers, he went nuts, practically jumping up and down. So I shared my sandwich with him. He would have eaten more, but I don't think it's very good for him, either. Buster came by, took one sniff, and went off. Liver is not high on his list - in fact, not much people food is. I've tried to see to it that he didn't get a taste for anything, but food is not actually high on his list of interests anyway. So long as there's something sort of edible on the floor, he's happy. In fact, I could probably feed him almost entirely on dry food if I wanted to. He is a strange little cat.


So we had a quiet day, and with any luck, we'll have a quiet night.



Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM