A View From the Field









February, 2003


February 28

So the shortest month has come to an end and we start on the longest month tomorrow... I know March isn't any longer than, say, July or August or December, it just seems like it.  I've always said that if I was the traveling kind, February and March - March particularly - are the months I would go someplace else, preferably warmer and sunnier.


Not that it hasn't been sunny around Michigan. It's been beautifully clear for the past few days both here and in Copper Harbor, but it's been darn cold both places.  Yesterday and today it's been in the upper 20s for a while, which was nice. I could begin to smell the spring smell, and the cardinal was singing like it was over 60║. It was not so warm in Copper Harbor - in the teens - but it was pretty.


I have a few pictures to share. At this time of year, the sun is climbing almost vertically up the analemma, and just from the 25th to the 28th you can see that the sun is setting about five minutes later. In the last two pictures especially, which were taken at the same time yesterday and today, it's obvious that the sun was higher today.  By the way, actual sunset was at 6:35 today, but it went behind the hill ten or twelve minutes before that.


It's been cold enough that our snow is still all on the ground, although the sun heating the concrete and asphalt has dried up the roads pretty well. And still, when I sniff, I can smell spring. It's beginning to get pretty light here at 6:30 in the morning (no - I don't get up then, but I do frequently wake up and take a short walk). The days here are still a tad longer than they are in Copper Harbor - about 11 minutes - but as we head toward the equinox they'll even out then Copper Harbor will have the longer days.


I'm pretty sure that the cardinal is singing his mating song not because of the temperature but because of the length of the day. He is surely a cheerful bird, the only one I really miss in Copper Harbor. The squirrels, by the way, were horny 'way back in January, and that was followed by the females gathering dead grasses for their nests, and it's been a while since I've seen very many squirrels at all. Pretty soon mom squirrel - the black ones, at least - will start foraging again, and they will have plucked themselves bare from the shoulder to the waist, making them look like they are wearing tutus. They also look pretty ugly with all that bare skin hanging out. The black squirrels line their nests with their own fur, which is nice for the babies but not so nice for mom when it's cold out.


I have not much to report personally. Yesterday I finally got my hair cut. The bangs were so long they were hanging halfway over my glasses and bugging me. Now it's too short, but it seems to be growing at something like its old vigor, so pretty soon it will look good again. I also stopped and got a can of silicone for the treadmill, so now my last excuse is gone, and all I have to do is move the boxes, which is no excuse at all.


I'm pretty cheerful both because of the sunshine and because in 70 days I will, God willing, be at home in Rainbow's End once more. Exactly 10 weeks...


February 25

First off, the doctor seems to think I am fine. All the tests looked good, except that they did not get the results of the breathing test, and when they called Cottage Hospital for them, Cottage said they had no record of my having been there.


Oh, woe! One can't keep the billing straight and the other can't keep the test results straight.


Anyway, I doubt there was anything wrong with that one either.


Saturday night after I went to bed, I was aware that it was snowing and blowing, and Sunday I awoke to about 6" of new snow, well drifted in the spots that always do. As I was contemplating having to dig out the boots I haven't worn since I retired, Bruce called to say that he was snowed in (he lives in Inkster) and there would be no choir, so I played hookey. Marty didn't come to clear the snow until almost noon, and it would have been kind of deep trying to get out.


Because of the 4WD, I don't have much trouble getting around in the snow, but right at the back corner of the house, there is one spot in the driveway where my rear-view mirrors clear the house and the fence by about 6" on each side, and it's always a hairy spot when it is snowy or icy. I remember one night when I was working when I finally made it home to discover that the driveway was a sheet of ice from about the grade door to the garage. I have to stop in that tight spot to open the garage door, and I sort of slithered sideways into the garage. It was a wonder I didn't catch the fence with my rear bumper.


Besides, since the driveway runs NE-SW, the winds always whistle through there and make a deep ridge of snow about a foot from the house.


Sunday was a pretty day, but cold, and yesterday was dark and dreary, but it didn't start snowing until after dark. There was about another inch on the ground this morning.


Marty came by and cleared before I had to leave for the doctor's office, and I was just as glad. Somebody was parked in front of my neighbor's house when the plow came on Sunday (after Marty cleared, of course) and it plowed a nice pile into my driveway which I was glad to have him clear away. So, of course, while I was gone, they plowed again, which  cleared the road but filled up the driveway again. Arrgghh!  I wish they could synchronize a little better.


I didn't feel sorry for the guy parked by the curb, who should have known better, but the plow on Sunday pushed about 4' up behind him and close to 18" all along the side. It looked like he had an interesting time getting out. Since Champine isn't a fire route or even a through street, cars can park during the snow except if there is a snow emergency called, which I doubt there was. There was enough to gum up the works a bit, but not enough to paralyze things. And since it was Sunday, it was hardly bothersome at all.


However, anybody who thought that our two nice, warmish days last week signaled the end of winter was totally wrong. We've had years like that - I remember one spring when the daffodils were blooming in mid-March. The following summer broke all the records for heat that were set the year I was born. However, that isn't usual. I can also remember several years when we had 6" - 8" of snow at the end of the first week of April, here in Detroit. Frankly, I would love another late spring like we had last year, so I can enjoy spring in the Copper Country again...so long as I can get to my house!


Today was a beautifully clear, sunny day, but cold, in the middle teens.  It was another great day to sit in the sunshine in the sewing room and mount needlework, which I did. I started with the biggest project last week, and that took me over six hours to get laced onto the backing board. The next one probably took four hours, and the one today maybe three. As they get smaller, they'll be easier. It's a project which is really hard on the hands, because the lacing thread (I'm using dental floss) has to be held tight and pulled hard and evenly to have the right side look good. Carey swears I don't lace tight enough, although she'll be happier with these pieces. The big one, particularly, has so many beads on it that if it isn't very tight, it will sag. I laced it tight enough that I broke the crochet cotton I was using probably a dozen times (which is why I switched to dental floss), and the board was so badly bowed when I got done that I have had it lying under a load of books since I finished it. She will be able to get it into the frame flat, but I thought I would flatten it as much as I could.


I embroider mostly because I like the work, but it always amazes me how nice things look when they are mounted and framed. I'm really excited to see the big project, which is an angel with a beaded skirt, and I shot my wad and am having it mounted in a gold frame with a blue suede mat with an oval opening. It should be spectacular. I will take pictures, either when I get it home, or when I get to Copper Harbor.  I won't have room for all these things in the car, so I guess I will have to have the Package Store ship them for me, along with my clothes. They know how to wrap things so they are safe.


Oh, yes, it's 73 days until I get to Copper Harbor...and counting.


February 22

Sorry for the protracted silence, but it's been mighty quiet around here this week. However, the camera went out to lunch today, and I thought I should mention that. I got it back up around 6:30, but it was down all day. It was another one of those phone line problems, most likely.


Tuesday I had my breathing test, and I need to make a note to myself that next year, I will have that test at Bon Secours. Cottage has some kind of weird machine that they close you up in for several minutes, then close off the air pipe momentarily. I don't have claustrophobia or anything like that, but I didn't like it. The interesting thing was that the technician who did the test has MS and is considering a stem cell transplant. MS is another one of those autoimmune diseases, and I'd heard they were trying stem cell transplants for those. I'd say that's pretty drastic, but then I've never been in her position. For me, it was that or nothing, and death at an early age. I'm not so sure I'd want to do it with a more chronic disease. but like I say, I've never been in her position.


Debbie called just after I got home, and she was at her mother's house, which is not too far from here, so we went to lunch and had a nice conversation - not long enough, but they never are.


Tuesday I will see Dr. Lehman and find out the results of the tests officially.


Thursday and Friday were our Promise of Spring days. We usually have a couple of those in late February or early March, when the temperature gets into the 40s, the sun is out, and it's too nice to be inside. I had to go to the mail box and the drugstore (for boos - no other medications), and Wednesday night, I dropped my little black hat when I was getting into my car after choir practice, and they found it, so I got to go out a bit. The car thermometer read 47║ when I was driving back from church - a big change from the first of the week!


Now it's cooled off and it was snowing lightly most of today, but at least we had our teaser.


It's been snowing in Copper Harbor, too, all week. After the two beautiful days over the weekend, the temperature plummeted and the snows returned. I'm not sure about today, John's camera in Lake Linden looked like it might have been sunny, but it snowed lightly all week and temperatures were mostly in the teens. Now, remember, that was Copper Harbor. It didn't snow so much and it was a tad warmer, I think, further down the peninsula.


So spring will come eventually.


I finally got the biggest embroidery piece mounted today. It's about 20" by 24", and it was a real pain to lace the fabric to the board, but  it's done. The other stuff should be a lot easier to do. Otherwise, I've been rattling around picking away at things and trying to decide what to embroider next and which sweater to make next. I am not inspired.


These are my late-winter blahs, and they appear around this time every year. I have never reacted well to the changes of the seasons, and that appears to be one thing that hasn't changed. Eventually, I'll get my head together again and take off for spring and summer...


In Copper Harbor!




February 17

Well, it's been really quiet around here. The weather has been cold, although it warmed up some today - into the 30s - and it's going to be warmer tomorrow. Curiously, right now, it's six degrees or so warmer in Copper Harbor than it is here, and the sky there is pristinely clear, while it has been snowing lightly all day here, and it looked like a tad over an inch on the ground when it got dark. While it was snowy Friday and Saturday in Copper Harbor - here are a few pictures of Friday showing the lake effect clouds and a rather nice sunset - yesterday and today were absolutely clear. 


Yesterday the temperature was in the teens, but the sky was clear from sunrise to sunset, as you can see. You can also see that between 12:00 and 12:15 somebody (who is standing just inside the 12:15 picture) cleared off the deck. I called to get a report on things, and Tom said that there was 8"-10" on the deck but that in front of the garage there was about 4'. I wish he had thought to look out the powder room window to see what it was like behind the breezway! He also said that there were 6' drifts in the swamp between Lake Lilly and the harbor, so he took his snowmobile out onto the ice (close to shore, of course) to get around it. If there was a straight shot, he probably could have gotten through, but of course the road plunges down a rather steep embankment before it gets to the drifts. I know he has gotten stuck there before.


The other things I want to point out about yesterday's pictures are astronomical. The sun is rising before 8:00, it's light by 7:30, and it's setting around 6:15, although because of the hills, it goes away around 6pm...and it's setting inside the picture now. It isn't getting dark until 7pm or so.


And today I caught something I've been hoping to get all winter. I shot the moon! In the first picture, the moon is actually still pretty high in the sky, but you can see its reflection on the water and the snow-covered ice of the harbor and the bare beginnings of morning twilight. I thought that was a neat shot. By 7:30, there she be! The double image is because of the thermopane, and unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about it. The moon slid down to the northwest behind the tree, and while the 7:45 shot shows it, by 8:00 it was behind the big branch, so I didn't keep that shot. There is one picture at noon, to show how amazingly clear it was today, then two pictures of the sunset.


I would dearly love to get some more pictures of moonset, but according to the weather forecast it's supposed to cloud up and snow after midnight tonight, and the very last viewable picture tonight (which I didn't save) there were some little clouds in the west. Well, next month we have another chance, although by April, I'm not too sure how much I'll be getting before sunrise.  I set the cut-off times for winter, and by the time I get back there, it will be time to start earlier and stop later in order to get sunrise and sunset. I've said for some time that the very most interesting pictures are then.


As for me, I haven't done much at all. I finished another little sampler (this one was a bit bigger and took almost a week to do), I tore out the sleeve of my wormy sweater and re-knitted it, and it was worming before I was done. Worming is what they call the tendency of certain chenille yarns to work out of the fabric and leave big loops on the surface, which is exactly what the chenille in that sweater is doing. Every time the fabric moves, some more loops pop out. It's discouraging. At least I got rid of about 18" of excess yarn and made the cuffs smaller. Otherwise, I have  been staying up too late reading.


Today I cleaned the kitchen (!) at least somewhat. I did the counters and the floor, all of which really needed it. And I made a dinner that I haven't done in so long that I actually have forgotten how I used to do it: pot roast with onions, carrots and potatoes. It turned out pretty good, actually, even though I don't think I did it the same way I used to.  I have no idea why I stopped making that dish - I used to eat it a lot when my mother was alive, and somehow I just stopped making it. It was very nice for a change.


Tomorrow is my breathing test, which will leave me exhausted, no doubt, but I doubt it will show any problem. It's been three weeks or so since I got over the bronchitis, and I should be pretty much back to normal by now.


So that is all there is, and my views of the field are making me anxious.


February 13

While I finish my wine (Beringer White Merlot, about the color of rosÚ, but a much smoother taste) I might as well say something to the journal. The camera never woke up this morning. I don't know if it was a power problem or a telephone problem - I'm hoping for telephone; it's too cold in Copper Harbor to be without power even for a few hours - but some nice person, who must have been Jonathan Hopper, restarted it at around 5:30 tonight. I don't think we missed anything. It seems to have snowed all day, just like it did yesterday.


It was a little warmer today, if you call 10║ warmer, although yesterday afternoon when I checked in, it was 3║ with a windchill of around -20║. It's been a few years since the weather in Keweenaw has been so cold for so long. With all the wind, the deck hasn't gotten much deeper, which is good. I can imagine what the low spot in the road beside Lake Lilly looks like.


Not that it was so all-fired tropical here. Yesterday, there was a lot of sunshine, but the temperature was about 19║ when I started for the Diagnostic Center, and by the time I left for choir practice it was 16║ and dropping. Today was better, in the mid 20s, but not quite so much sunshine and a little more wind. I only wish we had a good snow cover and I hope the hay the gardeners tied around the roses will keep them safe.


Today when I went out, I put on my longjohns, since I haven't washed my cords yet, and I felt nice and cozy. This pair fits well enough that they are really comfortable (and so beautiful!).


Anyway, my trip to the Diagnostic Center was for my MUGA scan, which is a heart scan which they do with something radioactive injected. It is a no-brainer, except that I had to lie with my left arm over my head for 15 minutes or so, and my shoulders don't stretch very well. On the way back, there is a restaurant called the Elbow Room. I had eaten at another of their restaurants, and it was pretty good, so I decided to stop. It was OK, but surprisingly more expensive than Lucy's for not nearly such interesting food. I succumbed to a Caesar salad with shrimp, and the dressing appeared to have milk in it, the shrimp were canned, and the romaine wasn't very crisp. I should have followed my first thought and had a french dip. Besides, although it wasn't very busy when I was there, I felt like a child compared to the other diners.  Trouble is, I know why they do that...the same reason I do. If you eat a late breakfast and have lunch (or dinner) in the mid-afternoon, you get away with two meals a day. It also sounded like I wasn't the only one on my way back from the Diagnostic Center. After a fairly large meal and two glasses of white zin (!!), i was so sleepy when I got home that I laid down for a while and took a nap. I think it was lack of sleep the night before.


My trip out today was to do errands. Yesterday, knowing that I would be right by the watch repair shop, I tried to check all my watches in a hurry and couldn't find my lapis watch. When I got home, I found it, and of course it had stopped. Then, as I was going to bed last night, the handle snapped off my water pik. There is a great place in this town that repairs all sorts of small appliances. It seems I have taken all my water piks and all my toaster ovens to them when they quit, but they repair all kinds of small and large appliances. They aren't cheap, but it's taken two or three trips on each appliance before it was cheaper to buy a new one. Besides, they sell water piks (although they were out of stock today), so when this one goes, I will know where to go to get a new one.


It occurred to me that since I was out on Harper between 10 Mile and 11 Mile roads, that if I took Harper back instead of the freeway, I would pass right by Canton Express, where I've gotten some of the better Chinese take-out I've eaten around here. I haven't eaten Chinese since I came south, and that's too long ago. So I dined on special wonton soup, which is full of, not only wontons, but mushrooms, snow peas, chunks of onion and slices of roast pork. I know when I was just out of U of M, that was about all I could eat for a while, and it was just as good this afternoon. I also enjoyed Sichuan chicken. I've mentioned before that I love the taste of Sichuan peppers, so long as they don't take the roof of my mouth off, and to my delight, this dish had, besides chicken, carrots, and broccoli, mushrooms, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots, which made it really yummy. I ate some when I got home and finished off the rest a little while ago. Yum. I still have about a pint of soup left. I will have to do that again. I have their menu, and if I call ahead, it should be ready when I get there. I can see all sorts of things I want to try. The crab rangoons weren't so good, but their egg rolls aren't bad, and if you get a meal, you get a bag of fried noodles and a fortune cookie, too.


So that has been my week. Tomorrow I will have to go food shopping, because I don't have any ham for weekend breakfasts, and I am ready to cook something new.


When I went out to ready the trash for tomorrow, it was clear and around 20║. The moon was high in the sky - a little more than half full - Jupiter was rising in the east and Sirius was twinkling in the south. I think the twinkling was because of the heat rising from the houses around here, because it was crystal clear...and crystal cold!


I think I will stand in the hot shower for a while then burrow under my quilts. Brr.


February 11

It's sometimes strange to me to see how much the basic rhythms of my life were skewed by that 24x7 job I had for so long. Not once while I was working did the telephone ever ring during the night and find me asleep. Well, that seems over with now. And it wasn't the middle of the night, it was 8:45 in the morning when they called me from the Diagnostic Center to be sure I knew I have an appointment there tomorrow. Fortunately, I sounded suitably sleepy, and the woman who called apologized. It happened that I started reading when I went upstairs last night and it was after 2am that I finally went to bed.


It was a sort of mixed up day anyway, and everything seemed to be about 15 minutes late. I managed to get my barium down, but my tummy didn't like it at all, and I couldn't drink very much more when I got to the hospital. Then, since for this test I go into the machine feet-first, the tubing for the IV to give me the radioactive iodine stretched so much that it pulled the needle out of my arm and sprayed my whole head with sticky glop. We managed to clean off my face and glasses, and my hand where I tried to move the tube, but I discovered later that it was all in my hair. Yuck.


I had a nice lunch at Lucy's again, but with all the barium in me, I couldn't eat all of  it and had to bring about half home. And I made it home just in time and spent most of the rest of the afternoon in the bathroom. I still say they don't have to put quite so much laxative in that stuff, or they should have a different mixture for those of us who don't have bowel trouble.


Since it started so late, today has been sort of a weird one, too, but I've been in the basement since about 5pm washing underwear, and just about the time I decided I'd better do this journal, my robe and nightgown got dry, so now I can go upstairs and try to get to bed at some reasonable hour.


The weather was medium-cold and medium snowy both yesterday and today. The temps were mostly in the mid-20s, which didn't feel bad at all. When  I left Lucy's there was a serious snow squall going on, but it didn't last long. There was maybe an inch of new snow on the ground this morning, but it's snowing again and it's supposed to get pretty cold tonight - low teens, with 2"-4" of snow.


Now Copper Harbor is different. Yesterday was one of those days of alternating sunshine and snow squalls, and it was extremely cold. mostly in the single digits, if I recall correctly. I did save some pictures, because there were some interesting views. Today, it appeared to snow fairly hard all day, and it was cold and windy again. I just checked, and the windchill was -20║ at 10pm. I didn't save any pictures, because there was hardly anything to see except white, and the snow on the deck is getting deeper all the time.


Tomorrow I will have to get up at a semi-reasonable time, but my MUGA isn't until 1:30. The Diagnostic Center is a ways from here, but by that time they should have the roads cleaned up, if it does snow.


So now my wash is done and I'm tired again.


February 9

More quiet days. Yesterday I didn't do much - or at least I can't remember doing much - except I finished another little sampler and started a new one. Those things are addictive, I find. They go so fast and use such interesting stitches that I want to do one after another. Fortunately, I've collected a couple of dozen. I do have other things to do, but I'm planning ahead for my summer's stitching. Eventually I'll get tired of the sameness of these samplers - you can tell the same designer did them all - and I'll go on to other things.


I also spent some time feeding the shredder, and created a wastebasket full of little strips of paper, mostly of those annoying checks they keep putting in my credit card bills. Since they're blank checks and good for several months, I don't want to just throw them out, so I usually stuff them in an old envelope - a "shredalope" and periodically I feed them to the shredder. It had been a while since I'd done any shredding, so I moved stuff around until I could get to it. 


Today was church, and that was nice. We sang "Let Us Break Bread Together" in four parts and it sounded pretty good. We still have only four men plus Bruce, but they all have good, loud voices, and he has been coaching a tenor. The other tenor won't sing loud by himself, but if he has somebody to follow, he does just fine. And we have two strong basses. Men's voices tend to be louder than women's anyway, I think, but since we had only five sopranos and six altos, the balance was pretty good. This is the time of year when a lot of people go someplace else, usually someplace warm. They'll all be back before Easter, but in the meantime, our forces are somewhat depleted. There was communion, and I was exhausted from the stairs by the time I got home.


I moved a few more things around in the sewing room, to put some things in a box, but right  now it's a disaster, since I am still just organizing. I hope to be able to get it under control tomorrow, because I need to get at mounting my things that are being framed. If I don't get them to Carey soon, they won't be done by the time I leave for the north. 


Tomorrow is the rest of my CT scan (shoulder to crotch). They can't do that plus the neck on the same day because it takes too much radioactive iodine (the contrast), so they have to split it. Cottage has finally gotten on the new program, and I will drink my barium a couple of hours before. I think I mentioned one other time when I had scans that they used to make me drink one pint the night before, but I could tell it had mostly passed through by morning, so that didn't do any good at all. This way, they'll get a nice, dark contrast of my intestines. And more iodine for the veins and things. I've seen some of those pictures, and it certainly takes a lot of training to read them. I do think, though, that it would be neat if a computer could be programmed to put them together in a three dimensional picture - maybe a hologram.


Anyway, I may stop for lunch again, just as a treat, so I don't know how much I'll get done here. Tuesday, I have to do some wash: I'm running out of underwear again. Wednesday is the MUGA scan of my heart. That's another injection of dye, and pictures of the heart pumping. They prefer it to an echocardiogram because it gives a number - I think the amount of blood being pumped - that is easy to compare to previous results. When I see Lehman again, I shall have to try to remember to ask him how long after the transplant the aftereffects of the chemo can show up.


I'm not kidding when I say it's fine line between killing the cancer and killing the whole organism. At least the organism is doing just fine, thank you, and the cancer seems to be gone.


The weather here has been not bad. Temps have been in the mid-20s during the day, mostly, with some sunshine both yesterday and today. Today was a beautiful, clear day, although there was a dusting of snow on the ground this morning when I got up. I guess it's supposed to cloud up overnight and snow some again.


Keweenaw, however, has been hammered by lake effect snow. I saved a few pictures from yesterday which shows the effect about as well as I've seen it. The top and bottom pictures are the first and last pictures of the day, and it was snowing lightly both times. That middle shot shows the billowy dark clouds all full of snow coming in behind the ray of sunshine - and 15 minutes later it was snowing like mad!


There was some sunshine this morning, too, but the wind was strong. I kept a bunch of pictures because there were some interesting effects. It was snowing in the first picture (note that it is light about 7:45 now!), but then the sun came up. In that 8:30 picture, you can see the wind blowing the snow over the ice in the harbor. At 10:-00, it was just gorgeous , but by noon it was snowing hard again. That continued for most of the afternoon, although between 3:30 and 4:00, a ray of sun peeked through - and the camera caught the first crepuscular rays it's ever seen. They were stronger in the picture before the one I saved, but you can see the blowing snow and the LES clouds better in the 4:00 shot. And, of course, in the last picture before dark, it was snowing again.


I noticed that the snow is a bit deeper today than it was yesterday on the deck, I guess close to 8" in that corner. I'd dearly love to see it behind the house, especially between the house and the garage. With the northerly winds they've had up there, it should be really piled up on the back of the breezeway. Maybe some will still be there when I get there in May.


So that's all that's been happening, and my desire to go to bed early won't happen tonight, either.


February 7

Well, I did it again. However, Wednesday was choir night, so I didn't have time for a journal, and yesterday I fooled around too long.  Both days, it was mostly cloudy but not too cold - mid to upper 20s - and it didn't snow here. In Copper Harbor, however, it was very cold again, and it snowed off and on all day both days. To make up for not writing, I did capture some interesting pictures. These are the ones from Wednesday, and these are Thursday's.


Wednesday, there was actually a little sunshine in the morning, and in the middle picture, it is snowing and sunny at the same time. However, by the time of the last picture, it was snowing hard. From the look of the deck in the first picture for Thursday morning, it seems it was like that most of the night. It's getting pretty deep. However, near noon, there was another sun shower, and it stopped late in the day, although from the look of those clouds, it probably snowed overnight. Today there wasn't much new snow, but it was cold - in the teens. 


According to all the forecasters, there is going to be a lot more snow over the weekend. If so, Tom will have to snowmobile out and shovel off the deck.


By the way, I'm not sure what the vertical lines are on those pictures where the sun is shining. I don't know if it's a reflection on the double panes from outside or something reflecting from the south windows on the inside. From Thursday's picture, where the sun wasn't shining on the house, it looks like it might be something inside, but I'm not sure what.


I had some vague hopes that there might be a sunset tonight, but their wasn't, so I didn't save any more pictures. It looks about the same as it did last night.


Yesterday I finished a little heart with "Michigan" in it, a cute little thing that didn't take any time at all. I also had the CT scan of my neck. It was at Cottage Hospital, which they are tearing up and redoing again. If all these hospitals are hurting for money so much, I wonder where the money for the building comes from.  Anyway, since I parked in the outdoors parking, I don't think it was any less of a walk than it is at Bon Secours, but it seems like an easier walk.  Besides, since I was there, I decided to stop for lunch at Lucy's on the Hill afterwards. I haven't eaten out enough since I've been back here, and there are a few good places around. It was very nice, and I think I may do it again when I go for the rest of the CTs on Monday.


Tonight when I went upstairs to get dinner, there was a little dusting of snow on the ground, which they said would happen. It's enough to make the roads slick, but otherwise hardly worth mentioning.  I guess there was a twelve car (or more) accident over on the west side of the state earlier today when a heavy lake-effect squall moved through. A couple of people were killed. One of the other things I have never understood is why people in cars don't slow down when the roads get snow-covered and when they can't see where they're going. They assume nothing is in front of them, and they end up running into it.


So we are in the quiet part of winter, and I will now go upstairs for a long winter's nap. I'm starting to dream about Copper Harbor again.


February 4

Oops, I didn't realize that it had been two days since I did a journal...not for your benefit, but just to keep myself in the habit. I know I've looked back to 2000 and 2001 - 2000 particularly - and been annoyed with myself that I didn't at least report on the weather.


First, the camera - or rather its phone line - went out to lunch at 12:12 yesterday afternoon and I didn't get it restarted until after dark. Sorry about that. It apparently worked today.


Ah, the weather.  Sunday it was warm and cloudy, upper 30s here, and just below freezing in Copper Harbor (I think). Yesterday, it got into the 40s here, although it was under freezing again in Copper Harbor. Then it began to rain here, and I'm a little disappointed that it was rain and not snow, because if it had been snow, we would be snowed in. It did snow in Keweenaw, enough that they declared a snow day today - the first one all winter. They had 8" overnight at John Dee's house, and it looked to me like even Copper Harbor may have gotten that much...at least the gap between the deck and the railing was full this afternoon, and it looked like it was still snowing there.


It had cooled down into the 20s by this morning, with a very strong wind, and what came down today was snow. A couple of times, there was a dusting over everything, but it warmed up over freezing for a while around noon, and the snow melted, then it cooled off again, and there was another dusting.


I saw the doctor, he says I'm fine (or at least his file note says so) and for the next couple of weeks I will be having my winter tests. I think the CT scan of the neck is Thursday (I will have to consult my planner for sure), then the others. I wanted to postpone the breathing test as long as possible, to be sure I'm over the effects of the bronchitis, so that won't be until the 18th. I hate all those things, but at least I was able to schedule them someplace other than Bon Secours, which may mean that the bills are correct and at least I won't have to walk miles from the parking lot. Besides, after last summer, I have a distinct aversion to that hospital.


After the doctor, I laid in some cat food and a little me-food, mostly for breakfast, although I indulged in a pre-packaged chef's salad which tasted really good to me, seeing as how I haven't had a real salad since Harbor Haus closed. It is nice not to have to look after my diet. If I want to eat a sandwich for breakfast (which I did yesterday), or a salad for lunch (which I did today), it won't hurt anything.


So now I have to climb up on my little soap box. Over the weekend, John Dee went to the Lake Linden school forest for a ski, and discovered that the trails had been bulldozed, destroying a number of trees and the entire ambiance of the place. It seems there is to be some kind of an open house Saturday, and they wanted to be able to haul people in on a sledge that was too wide for the trails. He was outraged, and so am I, although I noticed that today he had deleted the conversation about the topic from the "Ask John" discussion pages. That's the high road, because it had gotten somewhat personal by the time I read it last night. But at the same time, the situation he reported is still there and I read some local people's reaction to his report before he deleted them.


That is the third story I have heard this winter. The first was George Hite's report back in December, I think, that some people on snowmobiles had taken down the "no trespassing" signs on Mt. Baldy and rode their machines up to the top, where there wasn't any snow, and left huge, ugly ruts in the soft ground on the top of the mountain.


The second was from my caretakers. Their house is next to the general store in Copper Harbor, and twice in January they accosted snowmobilers driving into their side yard, over the grass, because, as they said, they had to turn their machines around. Now, you understand that the snowmobilers can't turn around in the Boosts' driveway because they keep it roped off, but as a matter of fact, about 100 feet east of their house, there is an enormous widening of the shoulders of US-41 so that people in vehicles of any kind can turn around easily. Or most snowmobiles ought to be able to do a u-turn right in front of the store, for all the traffic there is at this time of year.


Then there was the bulldozer in the school forest. John has before and after pictures in his journal, and the pictures he took the other day show an absolute disaster. And this they did for a one day affair, and the response to his complaints was, well, it will be cleaned up in the spring. Cleaned up, sure, but how long will it take to re-grow those 30 trees and have the treetops meet over the tops of the trails? The pictures he took of his earlier skis, as well as his hikes in the summer, were just gorgeous.


There is in the UP a certain subculture of mostly natives whose esthetic sensibilities and respect for other people's property and the land they live in are about like Attila the Hun. They are the people whose idea of landscaping employs bulldozers and chain saws. I have learned the hard way that you can never trust a person in a bulldozer. These are the same people who don't see why they should not be able to drive at 35mph on my road, and, as a matter of fact, peer in my windows and/or winter camp in my backyard (all these things have happened, although I don't think the camping was in my backyard). And when I (or John) complain, well, I'm just a big-city outsider and my esthetics, or my privacy, don't really matter. Since their fathers did those things 40 years ago, there is no reason why they can't.


Much as I love the place and really like most of the people I know, I find the other kind and their attitudes just disgusting, and I'm sorry I have to live with them. If you happen to like to walk or ski in the woods, and you object when that woods is destroyed, well, you're just a tree-hugger (whatever that is) and of no account. Likewise, if you object to people camping in your backyard or peering in your windows (whether or not you're there), well, your opinions don't count anyway, you're just a big-city outsider. The idea that the beauty of the place is what draws tourists (not tourons) and summer people who actually pay most of the taxes in the county are just beyond these philistines and I don't suppose ranting at them will ever do any good at all.


If there are tourons, I suppose there are locons, too?


Anyway, since I woke up early thinking about this and it kept me from going back to sleep, I felt I had to say something about it.


And that is A View From the Field (in exile).


February 1

Just a short one to get last month cleared out. 


I awoke late this morning to hear a noise I thought at first was a street sweeper, but it eventually dawned on me that Marty was using his snow blower. We only had a couple of  inches of snow, but it has warmed up so much that it was probably heavy, Now that I think about it, he probably hasn't been able to use the blower before because the snow was so light and fluffy it wouldn't have blown off the cement. The temperature got into the mid thirties...and it must be a couple of months since it's been that warm. Our "January thaw" is a tad late this year.


It was warmer and dark in Copper Harbor, too, but it didn't get over freezing. I guess it will be warm for a couple more days, then it will cool down again. I hope, not quite so cold as it was!


I finished the next little sampler, this one about roses and started another one using the same colors. I love these little things. They are mostly about 3"x8"  or smaller, and they have all kinds of interesting stitches.


I was so late in getting downstairs that I got in on the tail end of the coverage of the shuttle explosion and it took me a while to find out what had happened.. While I understand that everybody is interested in what happened, I find this wall-to-wall coverage gets extremely boring extremely fast. After all, it just happened this morning, and it will be some time before they have any idea of exactly what happened.  


I was also very happy to hear the President say this would not end the space program. No exploration of any part of the world or the universe has ever been without casualties, and frankly, the US has been very lucky that we haven't had more disasters. Some people would cancel the whole thing, and not just because of the disasters, but I still think it would be terrible to know we could go into space and not do it. Besides, I don't think anybody has ever added up all the things we now consider necessities that would never have been invented if it hadn't been for the space program. Our lives would certainly be different...I wonder if I would be sitting here typing this into the computer and uploading it to my personal website, or if I would be able to call up that website and see the view out my window six hundred miles away. 


By the way, if they'd take an old, sick, overweight and arthritic female into the astronaut program, I'd go in a minute. Think what weightlessness would do for my arthritis! My body is in pretty bad shape, but there's nothing wrong with my mind.


So it's early, but I think I will go upstairs and read a while.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM