A View From the Field








December, 2003


December 31 New Year's Eve

Sorry for no journal yesterday, but I was hot and heavy into the embroidery, and nothing much had happened except for a long conversation with Debbie and a bunch of clean jeans and underwear.


The bread cloth did get finished and it was a hit. Dinner was really delightful, with a good bunch of people, mostly from church, good food, a little wine, and lots of laughter. We all trooped off to church, which was also nice. Church on New Year's Eve is always interesting, with between 50 and 75 people. It's one time of year when you know who the really dedicated Christians are...with the exception of a few I know who are ill or caring for others who are ill.


The weather in Copper Harbor has been cloudy with some snow, and temperatures in the upper 20s both days. There is snow on the deck and on the railings again, but not a huge amount. This morning, there was a snow squall early, then it was just mostly cloudy for the rest of the day.


Yesterday was a good day to be in the basement around here...cloudy an dreary. Today was sunny and pretty. The temperatures got into the middle 40s both days, which is a bit strange for this time of year, but that's Michigan weather for you - you never can tell. The quarter moon was shining over church when I left tonight, and the stars were out, and it was a lovely evening.


So I came home, fed the cat, mixed myself a double Jack, and as soon as I finish this, and the drink, I will be heading off to bed. This is the time I usually look back on the year that was (if I can type - my right and left hands are a bit out of sync tonight) and sort of sum it up.


For me personally, it was a good year until I came back from the northwoods. I have felt good almost all year, there were no medical mishaps, and I  really do think that slowly, ever so slowly, I am regaining some of my strength and stamina. Just the way I like it - when I sit in the doctor's office, wondering why I'm there. Three years and counting, which is pretty fair.


The months in Copper Harbor were fantastic. While it was pouring rain when I arrived, and there was still ice in the lake, spring in Keweenaw is almost overpowering, there were all the daisies in June and July, and the weather, at least until late August, was just what I really like - cool and clear and low humidity, and gorgeous. I guess just a couple of hot humid weeks in an entire summer is about as good as it gets. There were two lunar eclipses, some northern lights when there weren't supposed to be any, and the night the Big Dipper jumped out of the sky and bashed me over the head...and I sat on the front stoop staring at the sky until DC said "what in the world are you doing?" and Buster climbed the screen. Oh, to walk the Milky Way all the way from the trees in the east to the western horizon! Oh, how I love that place!


There isn't any time that is totally positive, this side of heaven. Debbie was diagnosed with breast cancer, and spent the late spring and summer getting radiation. She is OK now, taking tamoxifen and doctoring and on the five year count-down. 


DC was clearly declining in the spring, and he lasted only until just after we got back here. I still miss him. There are bad cats, and good cats, and great cats. DC was a great cat, a most remarkable, intelligent, wise and gentle friend. I doubt there are ever many like him.


Carol, one of my surrogate mothers, spent most of the year fighting back from a serious liver disease which has forced her to retire (not that she's much less active! Can't keep a good woman down!).


Shirley, one of my other mothers, has had several bouts of some kind of gastrointestinal problem that she is dragging her feet about investigating. That worries me, because some of those things can be treated when they start, but not when they're advanced.


Despite that, I have to give mostly thumbs up to 2003. D didn't really decline markedly until we got back here (although he was losing weight and sleeping a lot), and he had times when he felt pretty good. Buster is learning to like Rainbow's End, although I despair of ever getting him used to the trip back and forth. When I am there, I can hardly believe how happy I am, even when I'm doing nothing but looking out the windows.


When one has faced the kind of health problems I have had, one learns to take one day at a time and not plan too far in advance. In fact, it really irks me that I have to tell the Post Office when to stop forwarding my mail. When I leave Copper Harbor, I feel (now) that I can plan for returning in the spring - the Friday before Mother's Day, if I can manage it - but I don't like to commit to returning here until the middle of the summer. Even setting those dates sometimes bothers me.


God willing, I will have another year in the place I love best, and a year without anything terribly convulsive happening to me or anyone I love. God has blessed me extremely this year and He will continue to look after me in 2004.


Happy New Year to everyone, and God Bless.


December 29

Ooh, I'm about to fall asleep, so even though I didn't get nearly enough embroidery done today, I will write this and go to bed. It's my own fault - I stayed up much too late last night playing games, and got up around 10 am just because I thought I should. It was a dull and nondescript day, so it was easy to ignore, and I did.


I brought the embroidery down to the basement when I came, and it turns out that the chair at the computer is the only even remotely comfortable chair in the house. The fluorescent fixture over the desk is a wonderful light to see by, or at least to see everything except the computer screen. Since I wear progressive bifocals, I have to raise my head a bit to see the screen, which means the light glares right into my eyes. But the chair is reasonably comfortable, the light is great, and I can listen to the internet radio while I work. Pretty nice. It would be much nicer if it was warmer and it wasn't so far away from everything else, but it will have to do.


Like I said, it was a dull and nondescript day. It rained at intervals, and the temperature hung in around the mid 40s, although the trend is gently down. I guess there may be some snow overnight, although it has to go some before it gets cold enough to snow.


It was dull and nondescript in Copper Harbor, too, and the temperature has been nearly steady at 34º for the past 24 hours, although it is tending genly downward there, too. The wind has been nearly calm, and it was probably not a bad day to be outside, except that the snow everybody was looking for has been slowly going away. That is supposed to end tonight, and I certainly hope it does! It would be awful if the New Year's snowmobile week was washed out. However, it looks like there might be enough new stuff to sled on. I hope so.


I should have mentioned that Buster's problem two nights ago does seem to be that he wanted canned food and didn't get it, and he was mad about it. He was much quieter last night, although he did set up a ruckus when I took a walk around 7 am...I retired over seven years ago, and it has been a rare day when I was awake as early as I used to have to be when I was working. But that's how things were when he was a kitten, and unlike other cats I have known, he has not been able to change his habits. So when I finally got up, he looked at his breakfast and walked off, waving his gracious tail (which can be a lethal weapon, by the way)...it was the other half of yesterday's can, warmed up in the microwave, and it didn't turn him on. Dinner was Fancy Feast, and he seems to like that better. It smells good enough to be people food, but it's awfully expensive. I got some on sale for 29¢, but that's for a three ounce can, and it's not often I can get it that cheap. He doesn't like people food very well either, fortunately. He wanted a taste of my turkey last night, but he only ate a couple of scraps, and that was all he wanted. Picky, picky, picky!


Well, now he wants to sit on me again, and I have nothing else to report anyway.


December 28

Well, it's now after 10 pm and I haven't eaten dinner yet.  I thought I would be in bed early tonight, because I didn't sleep very well last night, and every  time I woke up to turn over or something, Buster came around and hollered. It might have been because I didn't give him any canned food for dinner, but I really don't think so. I think he was just in a mood. I really wonder if he's getting more and more lonely, but with him, it's hard to tell.


Today was almost a carbon copy of yesterday both here and in Copper Harbor. Here, it was clear until around 1pm then it clouded up, but the temperature was in the upper 40s. In Copper Harbor, it was clear until late in the afternoon, when some clouds began to roll in. The temperature got up to around 45º. All the ice is gone from the harbor and all the snow is gone from my deck. However, just as the sun set, there was a light on the road coming down from the top of Brockway, so I have to believe there was enough snow to snowmobile on up there anyway. Here, it's supposed to cool off and rain next week, and in the northwoods, it's supposed to cool off quite a bit and snow. I could do without the rain, but I do hope for snow in Keweenaw.


I did make it to church this morning, and we sang three things, but there weren't a lot of people there. Two older ladies came in just before 10:45, our usual starting time, so not everybody got the word. They did get to go to communion, but frankly, I think if I'd missed the first part of the service, with the confession and absolution, and the sermon, I would just have said "forget it".  It was nice to sing the halleluiahs and the "Gloria in excelsis" for the first time in over a month (we omit them during Advent). Pastor's sermon was about not letting our worship get routine, but he was preaching to the choir with that audience. And I still think they should have had it at the usual time.


I worked on the second bread cloth and the second scarf upstairs, so I didn't get any wash done. Tomorrow, maybe, or Tuesday. I have a coupon for a free something at the Food Emporium, and I may go tomorrow to redeem it. They were having a promotion before Christmas, but I have to redeem it this year. One of the items is a shrimp ring, and if they have them frozen, that is what I will get, since I have a big one in fridge right now - my lunch today was shrimp cocktail.


Peace in the field in exile.


December 27 

Oops. I went upstairs at a reasonable hour last night and started reading...and didn't get to bed until a most unreasonable hour this morning. Tonight has to be different, because I have to be at church at 9:30. There is only one service, at 10:00, which is entirely out of the ordinary. I'm sure hardly anybody would be there at 8:15, but why they didn't just have the late service at the usual time, I don't know. Sometimes the reasoning of the Board of Elders escapes me. Anyway, I will have to be there at an unaccustomed early hour!


I didn't sleep all that late this morning, because as I was about to turn over and do some more at 10 am, I got a cramp in my calf and had to hustle out of bed to try to work it out. It did take me a while to come to, however.


The bread cloth project is now proceeding. After mulling over the situation, I decided to just give up and do the holly leaves over again, so this morning I started that. This time, I'm working all of one color in all four corners before going on to the next color, and I think it will work out better, or at least faster. The shading of the leaves is beautiful, but it's picky to work. This time, I hope to have it done in time to take a picture.


About 5 pm this evening, I finished the first scarf. I really like it, although I'm sorry I don't have enough yarn for some really fat tassels on the ends. Yesterday afternoon, I called Randi to see if  she had any more yarn in the same color, because I'd like to make a scarf for Debbie, and they had two balls. That means I can do the scarf, but I won't have any left over for tassels. The girl I spoke to said she would root around some more and see if she could come up with another ball, but I don't have much hope. A scarf takes two balls, and I'm pretty sure the yarn comes in packages of an even number of balls. Anyway, I can wear it to church tomorrow and show off.


I started to do the other one she sent me - it is varigated shades of blue - and decided it needs smaller needles. So, after spending nearly an hour undoing a real rat's nest at the beginning of the ball, I ended up pulling out everything I had knitted anyway. This yarn is chained with long, very soft whiskers hanging out of it. It is going to make neat fabric, but the yarn is slippery and the whiskers keep getting tangled up in each other. The only good thing is, it's not like mohair, where the fuzz pulls out when you untangle the knots. When I was done straightening out the tangles in this one, you'd never know there was a problem. Knitting it isn't going to be fun, but the result will be. After considering various options, I decided this one will have plain square ends. Much easier to do!


I made a little progress in the kitchen today, gathering up the papers and starting a box for Copper Harbor. I've decided I don't need six cobalt blue double old fashioned glasses here and there, so I will keep three here and take three there. I still have to throw away a lot of small boxes I got and get all the packing out of the ones I want to keep. That will take a while, although I did make a start on it. I haven't even started on the pots and pans from Christmas or the stove, which is truly gross. Everything I cooked boiled over, I think, and that cooktop does not have sealed burners! I might have done more today except that standing at the counters just killed my back, so I quit.


I'm hoping tomorrow will be cloudy like they're predicting, because I messed up the very last pair of jeans today (black), and I will be wearing cords until I get some wash done. I think the clothes chute is full almost up to the second floor anyway, so it's certainly time. I might have done that today, except that it was a lovely clear day here today and I wanted to enjoy the sunshine while we have it.


It was mostly cloudy most of the day in Copper Harbor, but it didn't look like it rained. The temperature both places topped out in the low 40s...but I noticed, when I went out to get the mail, that there was a raw feeling to the weather that there rarely is up north. For some time this afternoon, there was a clear spot right overhead in Copper Harbor, but there were clouds all around the horizon and the sun was behind them. There is ice on the harbor, in spite of the warm temperatures, so I gather the water is cooling down.


Today and tomorrow are supposed to be about equally warm up there, but then it is supposed to cool off and snow, and I really hope it does. A lot of people want to snowmobile over New Year's, and it would be really nice if they can.


So that is another quiet day, but at least I accomplished a few things.


December 26

What a beautiful day it was in the wonderful state of Michigan, all the way from the far southeast to the far northwest!  It was sunny and fairly warm, and wow!  It got cold overnight in Copper Harbor, and as a result, there was ice on the harbor this morning, and the high temperature, in the upper 30s, didn't seem to melt much. This is another day for which I would have liked to save the entire day's pictures, but I limited myself to three. I do see that I lost some snow on the deck, but the harbor is still full of slush at sunset.


It was pretty here, too, and the temperature got into the low 40s, but I must confess I didn't pay too much attention. Buster got me up before I really wanted to (at 10 am!), and I started fooling around with the graph for the next bread cloth. I think I at least sketched the bow in every combination of rotation and reflection, and I finally ended up starting it the way the original was graphed. Oh, well. The trouble was that if I changed the bow, I couldn't make it look like it was holding the holly branches, and I really didn't want to redo the entire graph. It will be OK.


I started to collect up some trash, but then I came downstairs to turn on the computer (and get my radio station), and I sort of got waylaid. I still have to do the trash. The pictures from the webcam were so lovely that I just didn't want to leave. I will say that the turkey tasted just as good as it did yesterday. Good thing, since I have a boatload!


I think I've mentioned several times that I would like to put up a wireless weather station at Copper Harbor, because I don't believe half of what the NWS station reports (when it does). Well, John Dee's family gave him one for Christmas, so if it works well, most of my preliminary work will have been done for me. I hope John doesn't mind. I've ridden his coattails on several of the things on this site, including the webcam (although for technical reasons, I don't intend to upgrade to the camera he is using now, at least for some time). Not having to research every weather station in the marketplace would be a great help to me.


So it has turned out to be a rather lost day. My tinnitus is pulsing, which means I need sleep, and I still have to get some trash out.


Sunshine in the field!


December 25 Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas.


I should have warned you that there wouldn't be a journal last night, although I guess I hinted at it when I said it would be a late night for me. 


I started off by embroidering until after 1 am, and left off with fourteen berries to do, so I got up quite late yesterday morning. The fourteen berries didn't take very long, except that the second of the three bulbs in the bathroom light burned out, so I was working in pretty shaky light. I will say that the bread cloth turned out very nicely and Charlotte was very appreciative, although she will probably use it for a doily. So it was worth the effort. I'm sorry that I didn't get a picture of it, but frankly, I forgot that. I was just so glad to get done with it!


While I was eating my late breakfast, the UPS man came to the door and left me a care package from Randi, including four balls of the most beautiful yarn. While I was relaxing before I got dressed, the yarn started calling to me, and I started one of the scarves. It is a very dark ruby red with a slubby gold thread wound around it, and it knits up just beautifully, although it's pretty hard to work with. I finished the first ball today, even though I had to rip out several inches when I discovered that my 26 stitches had mysteriously turned into 24. Since then, I've been counting almost every row.


Anyway, I did get next door mostly on time, and dinner was very nice. One of Phil's nephews was there, and he is the kind of loudmouthed guy I usually avoid, but most of the time he was elsewhere, so I didn't have to hold my tongue. Charlotte is a good cook, and so is her sister-in-law, so we had ham and scalloped potatoes and a very nice mixed vegetable dish, and amoretto cheesecake for dessert. 


I had to leave fairly early, of course, in order to change my shoes - I decided to wear a pair of omfortable sneakers with broad soles - and get to church more or less on time. I didn't, because I had to stop in the bathroom, but several people were a lot later than I was.


The service was very nice, and we were able to take part in most of it, because our songs were spaced out quite well. The one thing I've often regretted about singing in the choir is that it's easy to get so caught up in the performing that there isn't time to worship.


I got home around 11:30, and I knitted a while before I went to bed. The one thing that wasn't so nice about the evening was that my nose started running about the time I got next door, and I sniffled and blew and coughed and wiped my eyes all through church. I thought I might be allergic to something - the trees, the candles or the poinsettias - except that I continued to drip after I went to bed, until close to 3 am, whien finally it quit. I guess, from the way I felt then and when I got up, that I have come down with a slight cold. Yuck. It's  nothing major, but it's annoying. I haven't been dripping quite so much today, except when I started cooking, but I still feel coldish.


Today started late, and turned out even later, because Debbie called around noon, and we had a nice conversation - before I had eaten. I have been carrying the knitting around all day, and not very long ago, I finished the first ball and started on the second one. I will try to take a picture of the scarf. It's pretty, and so soft!


Because of all that, I didn't start the turkey until 4 pm!  I actually got all the stuff in the sink out of it, and for a minute or two the kitchen looked almost habitable...until I started making stuffing and squash and things like that. I had the giblets for a snack, with fond thoughts of DC. How he loved liver! I think the last time I had chicken liver, I ate it all, and I'm so sorry I did. He didn't appear until it was gone, and he licked the dish...poor D! Liver won't ever be the same for me.


Buster isn't very interested in people food, except for things that don't agree with him, like beef gravy. He appeared around 6 pm, hollered, bugged me for a while, then went off without eating. Actually, it's probably just as well he doesn't like my food, except that if he ever gets sick and won't eat at all, I'm not sure what I'll do.


I put the squash all in the oven (both ovens) right after I started the turkey, and I think it was done in about half an hour. I now have two containers in the freezer and one that I'm eating out of. 


I think the turkey is probably slightly overcooked, because there wasn't a pop-up thermometer in it, and I believed the timings on the package. When I checked it, at the minimum time they said, the thermometer read well over 160º everywhere, and one wing fell off. As I was taking the stuffing out, it seemed clear that if I'd wanted to, I could have cleaned all the meat off the carcass.  I made lots of potatoes, and lots of gravy, using some of the stock I made last year, so I will b able to put together some TV dinners. I like to do that: turkey and dressing tastes really good to me in April...or August...or November. I haven't decided what to do with the rest of it. Oh...it is a tasty turkey, or I think it is, based on the middle wing joints and the tail. 


The stuffing turned out well, even though I sort of wondered while I was dropping a teaspoon of this and that and half a teaspoon of the other thing in the mixture. I think I've mentioned other years that because my sense of taste is messed up, I like my stuffing quite highly spiced...mostly of summer savory, although I put sage, marjoram, thyme and rosemary in it, too. Anyway, it tasted pretty good.


So after I ate all that, I had to put everything in the fridge, and the kitchen is now a real disaster. Not only are there pots and pans stacked high, but the stove is a real mess. I seem to have dropped stuff all over it while I was decanting squash, mashing potatoes and digging stuffing out of the turkey. Well, tomorrow is another day.


The weather here was Christmassy...a little snow last night, and maybe an inch over night and today, and no sun at all. However, in Copper Harbor, it was a beautifully clear, sunny day. In fact, there may have been a star or two showing in the camera after dark, although I can't swear to that. I had hoped that maybe we could see the moon and Venus, but they are in the southwest, out of the camera on the left. Venus is back in the evening sky, however, and we'll certainly see it later in the year. The temperatures were about the same here and there - around 30º all day. I think maybe we will be getting the clear weather here tomorrow or so. Keweenaw is going to have to endure a couple of days of relatively warm - upper 30s - weather and maybe some rain before it cools off and starts snowing again. Here, it is supposed to be sunny and up into the 40s, so the snow won't last. It was nice to see it today, though.


So that was my quiet Christmas. When I came downstairs to start cooking, I got my radio station on the internet and turned up the volume, and I've been listening to a nice rendition of Bach's Christmas Oratorio. As soon as I finish this, I will go upstairs and dive into bed for a long winter's nap.


Merry Christmas, all.


December 23

It started pouring rain in the middle of the night, and it rained all day long. Yuck. Fortunately, I didn't have to stick my nose out except to get the mail. After two deliveries yesterday, today's was extremely late and contained almost nothing. Figures.


The temperature started out in the 40s last night and has been falling ever so slowly all day, and it is now around 36º. A couple more degrees, and it could get ugly. They still say the rain will turn to snow sometime, but we aren't likely to get much. John Dee rules again!


It was a really dull, dreary day today, and around 3:30 it looked as if the sun had set already. A day to have all the lights on, for sure!


It was dull and dreary all day in Copper, too, with falling temperatures. They bottomed out at around 3 pm and have risen a degree or two - to 21º, with 13 mph wind out of the north-northeast. Brr! It has been snowing gently all day, and right before sunset there was maybe half an inch on the deck railing, and a little more on the deck.


It is supposed to snow off and on both places until Saturday, when it may warm up briefly, before the next snow event hits. According to George Hite, there has been 54" in Keweenaw this season already. That is reported at Phoenix, of course, and there hasn't been that much in the harbor. There isn't any ice on the Harbor again, either.


The depths of winter don't really start until after New Year's anyway, and if what there has been already holds for the rest of the winter, it should be a good one. I certainly hope so! The past two years have been real duds for the tourist business in the winter, and they need all the help they can get.


I think I'm going to get the bread cloth done (that is, if I go right upstairs after I publish this and don't start fiddling with games again), and it is going to be very nice, thank heavens! The last thing was to fiddle around with different sized needles. I have the habit of using the very thinnest needle that will hold the threads I'm using, which in this case was a #28 (really fine), and I found myself stitching exceptionally slowly to avoid splitting the fabric threads, which I did anyway. So I tried a #24, which was like stitching with a stick, and it worked, except that the eye was so big the thread kept slipping out...so now I am using a #26, which is thick enough not to split the fabric and thin enough to hold the threads, so my stitching is a bit faster. I am also working the third and fourth sprigs of holly at one time, thread color by thread color. I have the two darkest colors done. The medium color has almost as many stitches, but then the lightest colors are just accents and go fast. The berries are fiddly, but they're not very big. So I will stay up until it's done tonight.


I may as well sleep in tomorrow, because it will be a fairly late night, and I really don't have that much to do other than find something to wrap the bread cloth in. Maybe I can get some of the boxes out of the kitchen and some of the pots and pans off the stove - getting backed up there again.


While I was stitching, I was thinking about the other bread cloth. The pattern I want to use for it is actually for a placemat, so I have decided to try to turn the bow in the corner upside down so it sits right for a bread cloth. That may be interesting, but it isn't the first time I have taken a pattern and drastically reworked it...While I was looking for these patterns I came across the ones I started with (eight or nine years ago now -eek!) when I made the stockings for Debbie's and Char's kids. Now that was a transformation, but it it worked out really well. It does take time, but I have until New Year's Eve, and there really isn't that much stitching, once I get the pattern right.


Buster really has his nose out of joint. Instead of having my lap available every time he wants to sit on me, I have had it full of stitching, and I keep telling him I'm busy, and it makes him mad. He has been going around yelling at me and grumbling when he isn't asleep. I will have to try to make it up to him tomorrow and Christmas Day. Poor Buster. He won't be happy tomorrow night, either.


And that is all I know tonight.


December 22

Happy Winter Solstice to everyone. At around 2 pm EST this afternoon, the sun hit its most southerly location and started north again. So it's all uphill from here!


I think I may have gotten two mail deliveries today...either that, or there was one yesterday. Either is rather hard to believe.


Anyway, last night, I embroidered until I started making mistakes, and while I didn't get go bed all that late, I didn't sleep well for some reason. I think that, because it wasn't very cold outside, it was too warm in my bedroom. Whatever, once I finally did get to sleep, I didn't want to get up, so there went my hope of getting a reasonably early start this morning.


Since there was mail at breakfast time, that took a while, then I finished one corner of the bread cloth. It turned out that the designer, after doing some remarkable shading of the holly leaves, had just colored the berries all one shade, and a shade of orangey coral that I don't like at all (DMC 350, for anyone who knows thread). So I took it upon myself to pick prettier colors, true reds in three shades, and regraph the berries so that they look a bit more realistic. It turned out nicely, I think, but it did take some time.


Krogers was a zoo, as I had expected, but at least they had most things (except Kleenex and toilet paper!) and they had a lot of checkout lines open. I have a nice 12 lb turkey in the back of the bottom of the fridge. Curiously, it is a Butterball, which all used to be injected with salt solution, but I read everything I could find on the label and apparently this one is "minimally processed"...nothing added. On the other hand, the brand I used to get, Honeysuckle, is now injected with stuff. Very strange, and very confusing.


I do have to watch my salt (sometimes go in), and I've never understood why anybody would do that to a turkey, when, if it's cooked right, it's good enough plain. I've always tried to get fresh turkeys, because I think the frozen ones are always basted, and besides, then there is the problem of making sure it's thawed before it's cooked. 


And yes, I can figure out how to get away with a whole turkey...a stuffed whole turkey. Yum. I eat a lot of it, make some of it into TV dinners, make soup or at least stock out of the bones and usually a la king out of the rest. Last year, since I still had some a la king in the freezer (which is still there), I made a boatload of turkey Tetrazini, which not only warmed up well, it froze just wonderfully. I may do that again, provided I didn't leave my recipe in Copper Harbor. Getting the recipe together was such a convulsion, I don't want to do that again, especially since the only thing I'd change would be the amount of pasta. Well, I have two blue boxes to search...


I steadfastly refused to look at the standing rib roasts they had piled up in the meat counter. I usually do one of those a year, sometimes on New Year's Day, but that's mostly because it's available then. Standing rib is one of my favorite cuts of meat - I love the bones - and I haven't cooked one since I discovered that my mama was right when she cooked it at a very low temperature for a long time: it came out rare and juicy and perfect. Standing rib was one of my mother's signature dishes, along with twice-baked potatoes she never had a recipe for and lots of other goodies, depending upon the season and the guests. Yum.


On the cooking front, I can report that I did get rid of all the nasty cheese on my jambalaya, and it tasted great tonight, except that either all the shrimp are on one side of the casserole or I didn't put enough in. That's another dish that warms up really well, although I could eat the rice cold.


When I got home, I had to put the chair in front of the *&@$*@# fridge (oh, how I hate that thing!) and rearrange everything to get the turkey and my big shrimp ring in. It was harder than usual, because the person who packed my order paid no attention to whether things needed to be refrigerated or not, and I had to go through every bag (and sometimes there were one or two items per bag!) to find everything. The fridge is bulging right now.


It wasn't a bad day to be outside, and in fact, since I am wearing my Berber top, I didn't even have to wear a jacket. The temperature was in the middle 40s, and while it was cloudy, it didn't show a chance of rain. The forecast is an interesting one. Since John put out his forecast this morning, the NWS has decided we may get hammered by the system that's coming in from the south, with as much as 8"(!) of snow tomorrow. Neither John nor Accuweather think that, however, so how it plays out will be interesting...stay tuned.


In Copper Harbor, it was a dreary day with temperatures holding steady in the mid 30s. However, the latest picture from the cam shows that the lights of the town have disappeared, and I guess it's raining (at least it is at the Houghton Airport). The rain is supposed to turn to snow...and snow...and snow. Lightly, but snow over the next few days. I hope so, because a lot of people will be going north over the next week or so, and it would be nice if they had something to play in.


When I got home and got the food packed away, I grabbed the embroidery again and have almost two colors done on the second corner. This one is, I think, going faster than the first one, since I am familiar with the pattern. When I get this entry published, I will go back upstairs and see if I can get the third color (there are five greens) done before I start ripping out more than I stitch. Tomorrow, I have not much to do except get the darn thing done and maybe bake some squash. Oh, yes, and maybe attack the dirty clothes situation...


The second bread cloth, by the way, will be a different pattern using the same colors, so I am glad I got the replacement reds nailed down. A lot of designers use those shades of coral (although not usually for Christmas designs!), and I don't like them, they are too orangey. Besides the second design has a pretty ribbon bow in the corner, and a red ribbon bow at Christmas should be red, not orange!


It would be nice if I could take a picture of both cloths when I finish them, but I won't promise anything. I could be washing and ironing the  first one at 4 pm on Christmas Eve...with dinner either at 5 or 6! We'll see.


Buster is feeling neglected, because I haven't had time to let him sit on my lap as much as he'd like. He has been sneezing over the past couple of days, and I'm wondering if he's caught a little cold, although how he could, I don't know. I've been sneezing some, too, but so far it hasn't amounted to anything. Besides, if he had his way, he'd sit - and sleep - on my lap most of the time, and that just cuts down on production too much.


And that is all that's going on in the field in exile.


December 21

I had the idea that maybe I would get up at a reasonable hour this morning and have the day to get something done, but no such luck. I was wakeful in the night, and I did wake up around 7, but that was too early, and the next thing I knew it was 10:30. Good that I had planned not to go to church today.


When I got back upstairs, I started on the first bread cloth, and I have two shades of green done on one corner. Not a lot, but when I'm making something to give away, I want my stitching to be my best, and that means slow. The two dark colors have the most stitches, so I am actually further along than it sounds. When I finish this, I will go back upstairs and do some more before I go to bed. Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, I shifted to the sewing room, which was nice, because the sun was shining in the window, and I could prop my magnet board on the high chair, but the task chair in that room is just not comfortable...I think the back is too low, and it is raised to its highest point. That is a weird chair. There is no way to lock either the slant of the back or the height from the floor, so as I sit back in the chair, it slants further and further back, and as I move around and inadvertently turn the seat around, it swivels lower and lower until my chin is practically resting on the sewing machine table (which is high) and I can hardly get out of it at all. Then I swivel it back up and crank the very uncomfortable screw to straighten up the back, and it's all right for a while.


Anyway, I embroidered until around 5 pm, when the sun was gone and the sky was a bit cloudy, before I dropped it for a while.


I finally made my shrimp jambalaya, which turned out OK except that the cheese for the top was moldier than I thought, so I will have to scrape that off and throw it away. The rest was yummy, but it involves a lot of chopping and stirring and standing up, so I was all sweaty and tired when I finally hauled a plate down to the computer. I also chopped part of a hunk out of my index fingernail, which bugs me, and will bug me until I smooth it down.


In a way, I'm sorry I didn't get out today, because the temperature got into the middle 40s, so it was pretty nice out. A lot of our (very little) snow is now gone. Tomorrow, when I go out to get my turkey, it is supposed to rain, of course.


In Copper Harbor, it was cloudy until around 4 pm, when the southwest wind began to blow the clouds out over the lake. Here is the next to last picture from the camera tonight. Pretty. The official temperature in Keweenaw apparently only got up to freezing today, so everybody who was worried about the snow going away can relax for now. It may be warm again tomorrow, but not too bad, then it will cool down and snow some more.


Somehow, I'm going to have to do some wash. The situation with bottoms is getting critical. I have plenty of tops, but all the bottoms are dirty...not a very good situation. If I turn on enough light to embroider by, I have trouble seeing the computer screen, and I really don't want to keep going up and down the stairs. 


I also desperately need to get some of the stuff out of the kitchen, which is full of partly unpacked boxes. They are good boxes and I wanted to keep some of them, but it is getting really hard to get around. The big one is from the Vermont Country Store, where I sampled their crackers (the cheese straws are to die for) and finally got some double old fashioned glasses I can get my hands around...they're cobalt glass, too. I washed one, but the others need to get unpacked, and I think I want to take some of them north, so I haven't moved them. Then there was the American Spoon Foods order, and a couple of other things. Well, I always seem to get myself into a bind at this time of year.


I will roast a stuffed turkey on Christmas Day, so by that time, the boxes and other stuff has got to be out of the way. We shall see...


So it was a quiet day in the field in exile, and I'll be going back up to my embroidery  just as soon as I have this published.


December 20

It sometimes amazes me how much I can do when I put my mind to it. I guess living in Copper Harbor where it doesn't matter what I do has gotten me out of the habit...


The cards are in the mail. I hope everybody can read what I had to write on them. The card is really cute (a cat this year), but it didn't say "Happy New Year", so I had to write that on every card. And the number of cards per box has decreased from 18 to 16, so I needed three boxes and I have a lot left over. I would like to collect up all my old cards (and I think there are some of my mother's, too) and send those for a couple of years. Somebody got a Christmas letter on plain paper, because I miscounted. But they're done, and I took a fast trip to the mailbox around 4 pm this afternoon. Whew!


Then I attacked the sewing room. In the past, when I had to move the cutting table, which is in front of you as you go in the door, I swung it to the left. But that meant I would have had to move a bunch of boxes, so I pulled it straight out and swung it to the right this time. That back corner of the top needs some glue on the Formica, and I had some problems with the cord to the magnifier light, which is attached to the table, but I did get it out of the way.


I spent the next two or two and a half hours mining the archives of cross stitch charts (just over 3,000 at last count), and I must say, I hit gold. I found three books, all of which have corner designs, and one of them actually has a pattern for putting a sprig of holly in each corner of a bread cloth! All three books are old and not available anymore, so I guess being a packrat has its advantages. The designs are all nice, although some would take more time to work than others, so I have a selection to choose from.


I didn't get down to the computer until after dark, but I downloaded the pictures from today, and I didn't miss much except right at sunset. It was cloudy and not very pretty all day long in Copper Harbor, with a temperature mostly in the low 20s. No snow, but there is some ice near the shore on the Harbor. Here, it was clear until late in the afternoon, but the temperature was in the mid 20s. I guess we're getting what the northwoods got yesterday. It's supposed to be warmer both places tomorrow, and get over 40º here. It should get over freezing in Copper Harbor, too, but I hope not much of the snow will go. People are getting excited about snowmobiling up there, and I'm hoping they will have a better year than the last two have been.


Tomorrow I can start on bread cloths, knowing that's all the outstanding tasks...well, except to get the boxes out of the kitchen and clean off the counters and wash dishes and wash clothes and all that. I guess the only Christmas related task left is the bread cloths.


I actually think I may be able to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. Wouldn't that be nice?


Peace in the field in exile...


December 19

I'm not sure whether I'm trying to come down with a cold or it's just that I've been going to bed late and not sleeping very well, but I have been having an awful time getting up in the morning lately. Today was no exception, and I crawled out at around 9:30, and it was 11:30 before I went back upstairs. My nose has been runny during the night, which makes me cough, and when I finally do get to sleep, I just don't want to wake up.


It didn't help that it was another dreary day here, with intermittent light snows - no accumulation - and a temperature that hung in right around 30º all day long.


I embroidered some, then sat down and wrote a bunch of checks - not all of them, but everything that needs to get out before next weekend - and took a fast trip to the mailbox. 


I got downstairs right around 4 pm, and imagine my surprise when I logged on to the internet and saw nearly clear skies out my front windows! When I checked the day's activity, however, it was dreary and snowy there, too, until about 2:30, when it cleared up. Amazing. The temperature was around 20º for most of the day, then it slowly rose a couple of degrees, and the wind was from the north at over 20 mph with gusts over 30 mph all day long, so it only looked pretty this afternoon.


I updated (I hope!) and printed out my Christmas card list, and the final printing of the letter, and then I started on the thread. Anything is better than addressing cards, right? Most of the thread list is done, but I have some questions about some of it, and some data to check, before I print a new version, but now that's done.


I guess I accomplished quite a bit, at that, and now I can go to bed without feeling guilty. Tomorrow I have to get the cards out, then I can move everything in the sewing room to get at the bookshelves and see if I can find any nice designs to put on the bread cloths before I jump into that. Only one has to be done by Christmas Eve, but I'd like to get both of them out of the way. 


I had a nice chat with Randi this afternoon, about embroidery and knitting and cats and things, and I want to start the Drawn Thread piece called "Toccata No. 1", because No. 2 will be coming out in February. I spent some time looking over the directions last night (and discovered I was missing one kind of thread), and it is going to be a really fun project. It's all little squares, almost like a checkerboard, but separated by blank cloth, and each square is in different colors with different stitches. All the squares are small enough that there's no chance of getting bored.


Buster has his nose out of joint, I think, because I have been doing things rather than sitting and making a lap. Either that, or the barometer is going down, or he is sick, which I don't think. He has been off sleeping all evening...which no doubt means he will be bouncing around at 3 am again, should I happen to wake up.


So I actually did accomplish something today!


December 18

It's been a dreary couple of days both here and in Copper Harbor, but there has been some fine snow drifting down occasionally here, while it's been warm enough in the harbor that the ice has gone and the snow has settled appreciably. However, there are gale warnings out there and it will be snowing more than it will here over the next couple of days.


It's nice to see John back on the job again and apparently feeling quite well. It's also nice to have his weather forecasts to rely on again. He is surely a lucky man.


Last night was a late one for me, because after we practiced all our Christmas music six times over, a lot of people had brought in food, and we had a quiet little party that went on for some time. So I got to bed late.


I also got an invitation for Christmas Eve from next door, and it must have been bothering me (I need to take a hostess gift...) because I didn't sleep very well. Buster didn't help at all by getting really rambunctious about 3am, running around the house and singing and generally acting like it was three in the afternoon. Every time I think well, finally he is settling down, he does something like that just to remind me he's not. Of course, he slept most of the day today.


So did I, I think. Nothing got done, for sure. I now need to make a couple of bread cloths, and I am having my usual problem finding designs. I would make my own, but that would take even more time...Bread cloths have been available for ten years or so, I think, but they have never taken off and very few designs for them have been published, and a lot of the ones that have are cutesy or too small or not appropriate. I would like to put something in each corner so the thing could be used as a doily as well. The problem is, because of the way one puts the cloth in the bread dish, the design has to be on the diagonal, and not many corner designs are. Oh, well. I'll give myself one more day then just have at it.


I also spent some time looking for my last year's Christmas card list - nope, they're not out yet - and I can't find it (I found one from 1996). It doesn't help that I don't remember what card I sent last year, either, so I don't even know where to look. I will just have to make do, I guess. Fortunately, some cards have already arrived. Then I came down to the computer and put together this year's Christmas letter, and spent over an hour trying to edit it down so it will fit on the fancy paper with its funny margins. I guess I finally have it squeezed in, but I had to edit out some things I wanted to say. I can't make the type smaller, because it's already 10-point, and anything less wouldn't be readable to some of the people I'm sending to. I didn't print it out, because I don't quite remember how many I need, but it is done, and it does seem to sort of fit on the paper.


No trash got taken out, and the house is full of full and empty boxes again, because a few things arrived over the past few days, including some food I ordered. So it will just have to wait. I might have gotten some stuff out except that I had to go to the bank this afternoon and I made the mistake of standing in the drive-up line. I should know better by now.


So now it is time to go to bed again, and tonight I do want to try to start early, and maybe get a bit earlier start tomorrow. I am down to my last pair of jeans, so I will have to do some wash this weekend. I don't think I will be going to church on Sunday, so that will help. I would have to go at 8:15, because the children's service is at 10:45, and I just won't go to that. I hated those things when I was a kid and I still do. Somehow, I always get backed up around Christmas, even though I don't really have that much to do.


So it goes in the field in exile.


December 16

A couple of people who lurk around here went off to John Dee's site to see what they could find out last night. It never ceases to amaze me when I find out how many people actually do read my ramblings, mundane as they may be. Nora set off in a snowstorm this morning to fetch him, but I imagine it took them a while to get back, in view of the weather. Besides, I have no doubt whatever that Marquette General is just as hard to get out of as is any other hospital. I'm sure that as soon as John as caught up on his paying business he will fill everybody in. This is the second scare he's had this year, and that's more than anybody needs. I know he tries to take good care of himself, but I've thought for some time that he probably doesn't eat very healthfully (he admits he doesn't like veggies very well). With Nora and her garden and the fear of God in him, I'll bet he changes his ways pretty quick.


It may have been pretty messy up there today. There were raindrops on the windows at Rainbow's End all day, which means to me that it was more freezing rain than snow, at least in the harbor, where the temperature hovered a degree or so above freezing the whole time. Yuck. The lake effect machine is supposed to kick in tonight, and the gale is still blowing, at least until midnight, so it should be a hairy night, too.


Here, it was about as dull and dreary as it can get, with some rain in the morning, and it was so humid that the streets never dried out. Very bad for people with arthritis, since the temperature was in the low 40s all day. It also made my circulatory problem act up - sorry, I can't spell it - but it makes my fingers and toes numb and blue then red and sore. The name begins with R. It is supposed to rain and snow tonight and tomorrow, but not accumulate much, so I suppose tomorrow will be dreary, too.


I compensated by getting up late and doing a little embroidery before I set oft to see Carey. There is too much traffic in this place, and too many idiots driving cars. It all comes out at this time of year, too, because so many people are distracted by everything they're doing. Carey was fine and looks wonderful, and we had a nice chat. I got home rather late, however, because another lady came in while we were taiking, and as Carey said, she was really wired today, and refused to leave, and we couldn't complete our business until she left...or stopped talking...or something. 


Buster was very glad to see me, but otherwise he was not a happy camper when I got home, and he has now gone off to pout. That is the disadvantage of being an only cat, so I guess he'll just have to learn.


I knew my bill would be big, and it certainly was, because there was a huge amount of thread, the new colors of some of the overdyes I collect. Really pretty, though. And there were a couple of graphs I have been waiting since last July to get, so now I know what I will be doing next, if I have the fabric. It is a sampler of about 60 little squares and rectangles, all of various patterns in special stitches, and just the kind of thing I was looking for. Carey had also gotten some of my framing done, which came out very nice, although she hadn't done the two big angels I am so anxious to see. 


Anyway, it was mostly a nice afternoon, and now I have lots of work to do on our little thread book, to get all the new  colors into it. I shirked my responsibility all summer, and now I'm going to pay, I fear, because there is a lot of work to do on it. It will get done, because first I have to inventory all my own threads. It seems there's some kind of race amongst the dyers of specialty threads, to see how many colors they can produce, even though it seems a lot of them are never used. Of course, I can sit and stroke the silk, but it's fun to use those things, too.


So it is getting on to 9 pm, and I haven't had anything but Bar Mix to eat, so I'll get this published and go upstairs and leave the thread for another day. One of these days I'm going to have to wash clothes, since I seem to finally be running out of jeans, so that will put me in the basement for an extended period, and I'll go to work on the inventory lists. And I keep telling myself that if I'd been here, I'd have been visiting Carey every month, and the total expenditure would be a lot more than I laid out today, but it's still a shock to see it all in one bill.


December 15

About the time I should have gone to bed last night, I started reading some of the old journals - ostensibly to find out what the weather was like - and sometime around 2 am I finally turned in. One of these days (ha!) I would really like to put all the old journals into MS Word, in date order, and print hard copy that I could keep bound so I could check back more easily. The reason I am ending up writing something most every day is because of the weather. I find I am most frustrated when I want to know what the weather was during some period, in 2001 particularly, and I find I didn't write anything at all for 10 days or more and didn't mention temperatures or wind or anything like that. So even though there isn't much to write, I write.


I'm late tonight, too, because I've spent the evening watching John Dee's site. He is at Marquette General, having just had a stent inserted in a coronary artery. What a shock! I don't think he's 40 yet, and he is certainly in good physical condition otherwise. Even though I've never met him in person, I feel I know him fairly well, because I've been following his site for at least three years. He was the one who convinced me by example that I really could set up the webcam, and his journal certainly gave me good ideas when I was setting up my site. Besides, he is the only weather forecaster I know who is interested enough in the midwest in general and the Keweenaw in particular to actually give accurate predictions. I hope to meet him someday.


Not that there's much to report about the weather today. It was dull and gray and raw both here and in Copper Harbor, with the temperature stuck right around 30º. This evening, it has been slowly falling here and slowly rising there, and there is a winter storm watch there for Tuesday. There are gale warnings up for the big lake, but it's still calm in the harbor. Here, it's just supposed to rain.


The last pictures from the camera this afternoon seemed to show that the ice film on the harbor is gone or nearly gone again. There hasn't been much more settling of the snow on the deck. Here, there is still a little snow on the grass, but there never was much to begin with, so slowly it's going away. The rain tomorrow will get rid of it altogether. Cold rain - yuck. I'd rather have snow.


I got up late this morning, of course, and mostly embroidered today. I spent some time looking for a cross stitch leaflet I can't find, and didn't get to work on the ornament at all. Probably just as well.


I had been planning to go visit Carey tomorrow, now that the closing date on my credit card has passed (heh-heh), but I think now I will wait and see what the weather is like. She has been saving up stuff for me since May, and I would like to get it before the end of the year. We'll see.


It was a quiet, nondescript day in the field.


December 14

When I woke up sometime before dawn, the roof of the garage was white. When I eventually got up, I discovered that maybe an inch of snow had fallen overnight. There were a few light snow showers in the morning, and the last one, just after church ended, had big flakes coming down but not much more accumulation. However, I did get my first snow clearance of the winter. It isn't much, and it should all go away in a day or two when it warms up and rains. The day was cloudy and dark, although the snow on the ground does seem to lighten things up some. The temperature got into the low 30s, and there was no wind to speak of, so it wasn't bad outside.


In Copper Harbor, there was a period of partial sunshine around noon, which was very pretty, then the clouds rolled back in. The temperature was about the same as it was here.


I wasn't going to publish the picture I saved from today, but it was too pretty to ignore, so here it is.


The snow is settling, and all the little mounds on the deck railings and between the posts are gone, although the rest of the snow on the deck doesn't seem to have settled much, and it still looks like over 6". I figure that because there is about 4" under the bottom railing, which is a 2x4, and the snow is covering that. If I were diligent, I would hang a thermometer and a yard stick on that deck post where the railing angles.


The ice that was covering the harbor out to the Fort Wilkins harbor overlook has all been pushed in toward my beach and it is all broken up. It doesn't look more than an inch or so thick. According to the weather forecast for the next few days, it won't be melting, but it won't be getting much thicker, either.


As for here, I did some more embroidery and worked over the same four or five rows of the ornament three or four more times. I think part of my problem is that the beads I am using now aren't quite the same size as those on the red ornament, so I will have to make a few changes. Tomorrow, maybe. The ball squirted out of my hand again, but this time it went further, and it bounced. Strange.


Buster sat on the ironing board and glared at my hands for about 15 minutes, but he won't sit on the piece of fleece on the cutting board, I think because it smells of DC. I will have to turn it over and see if that helps. Since it is a remnant of the fleece top I made, and I might use it for something, I don't really want to wash it. I may have to.


That sort of killed the day. I had left the computer on last night, because I thought Norton was going to do a virus scan, which it didn't because it seems I deleted the schedule a while back, so I had to fix that, and I am still fiddling around with various programs hanging up at various times. And now it's time to go to bed.


It was a pretty Sunday in the field.


December 13

Another quiet day. I originally woke up around 8 am, and thought I should take a walk, but I changed position, and the next thing I knew it was 9:30. Good thing it was Saturday and not Sunday!  When I looked out the windows, it was sunny and pretty...well, as pretty as it gets around here. So I took my time over a rather large breakfast and some embroidery.


Eventually, I made it to the sewing room, where the sun was shining, but it was so low in the west it wasn't very bright. I would have to get in there rather early in the morning to really enjoy the sun at this time of year. I had some pieces of cloth to zigzag - the next small projects - and then I started on my ornament again. 


I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I'm not supposed to have a green ornament with a gold and red cover. I was about two-thirds done, and at the part where I have to work over the glass ball, when it squirted out of my hand, landed on the floor and of course broke into a million pieces. Yipe! Since both Buster and I walk around in there in our bare feet, I had to sweep rather carefully to try to get up all the shards.  When I finally got beads all around the ball and looked at it, it didn't look at all good, so...I had to pull out all of what I did today and part of what I did yesterday so I can start over. It makes me want to put it away and go on to something else, but I really want that ornament. So maybe tomorrow, instead of experimenting around, I can make it exactly like the first one I did, and finally finish it. Maybe. If I have to put it aside again, I will put it away for this year!


By the way, I know there is a green ornament in the picture I took of the beaded ornaments (see the gallery), but after I broke the one I was making for Debbie last year, I gave her mine. It's still about the most effective combination I've done, and I want one for myself. Tomorrow...


When I got on the internet, and looked at the pictures from the webcam, I wanted to save the whole day. It did start to cloud up in the afternoon, but even the clouds were interesting, and it was a day to just sit and look out the window. There is a film of ice on my end of the harbor, as I suspected there would be, and the colors of the sky reflect just beautifully in it. The last part of the harbor to freeze is where the channel comes in between the light house and Porter Island, because there is quite a current there, but down at my end, it was apparently rather calm, so we have ice.


Sometime during the afternoon, part of the frosting on the deck railing fell off. There was one picture that showed the bottom had melted enough that the sun was shining through the holes, and in the next picture, it was gone. The sun does warm the wood more than the snow, and the part that fell off was in the sun for most of the morning. 


Curiously enough, the temperatures were just about the same here and there - mid-20s - although I think it was a bit windier there. We are supposed to have snow flurries tonight, and Keweenaw may get a bit of snow tomorrow. 


So winter has set in in a big way, and I have to say I'm glad they are getting all the snow up north. I was thinking about boots last night, and whether I can get into any of the ones I still have. One old pair were big enough that I had to wear socks with them, so they ought to fit, but they had sprung a leak where the balls of my foot bent the soles. So I'll have to hope for lots of snow up north and not much here.


I'm getting an early start on this tonight, so maybe I can get an early start on bed, too, and not have to rush around tomorrow morning.


The field is resting under a lovely white blanket tonight.


December 12

Not much to report for today. Since it was sunny most of the day, of course I slept until after 10 am. Then I embroidered some and did a little more Christmas shopping (via telephone) and tried to work on my beaded ornament, although as usual, I ended up pulling out as much as I did.


Sunset was pretty tonight, with apricot and pink clouds against a light turquoise sky, but all that took place around 4:30. It was cold today, in the mid 20s, and the latest Weather Underground report says it's snowing at Detroit City Airport, while it is clear everywhere else. Yeah, right. It may save money, but these automated NWS stations are for the birds. I will look carefully when I go upstairs, and I can bet I see the moon shining brightly in the east.


It certainly was shining brightly last night, and Sirius was rising in the east, and I could make out the brighter stars of Orion through a neighbor's tree. Of course, with all the pollution around here, the first magnitude stars in Orion look dimmer than the stars of the Big Dipper do in Copper Harbor, but it was nice to see them nonetheless. I had to take the recyclables out to the curb, so I took the opportunity to look up, as I always do. It was a bit cool to stand around looking at the sky, however. Which reminds me of a night several years ago, probably in January, when I sat out on the driveway in a deck chair watching an eclipse of the moon, all wrapped up in my down parka...and I was mighty glad when the clouds came in. Even though I prefer cold to hot, I'm just not hardy enough to sit around outdoors in 20-degree temperatures.


It was cold and snowy in Copper Harbor today, but the sky had brightened some, and the snow was clearly all lake effect. I guess the total for the storm in Keweenaw County (which they measure up by Phoenix) was 21", and George Hite said they had 12" in Eagle Harbor, so I suppose Copper Harbor had about the same. There is still only 6" or 7" on my deck, and the little mounds between the railings are packing down. Tonight will be frigid there, but it's supposed to be warmer tomorrow. One reason for all the lake effect, I think, is that the temperature of the big lake is still over 40º. Lake effect events are neat, and I caught one remarkable picture from the camera. Sunshine and snow at the same time...that was about the last gasp, though, and it cleared up afterwards. 


You can see that the film of ice that was on the harbor is gone now, although I think it is probably that line of white along the south shore. All the wind over the past week - gale force for most of the time - pushed the ice up on the shore. As cold as it is, I would expect to see a new film forming soon, although if the big lake is 40º, I expect the temperature of the water in the harbor is over freezing, too. The last time it froze over early and deep was in the winter of 2000-2001, when the house was just being built and there was no camera. My friends took a a few accidental pictures of the ice when they were taking shots of the house for me, but I sure do wish I'd had the webcam, and I hope maybe this is the year when my end of the harbor will freeze solid and get covered with several feet  of blowing snow...


Buster and I are beginning to settle down, I think. He isn't quite so insistent about food times, and mostly he is content to sleep or something until I get to the kitchen. He doesn't stamp his feet and hollar like DC did, but when I do get out the dish and the can, he gets all excited...and eats a couple of mouthfuls just to make sure he likes it, then goes away until later. Funny little cat. I think he only eats about 4 ounces of food a day, although he does graze on his dried food some. He looked like he was getting fat, but actually, I think he has just developed a nice, thick, shiny coat for the winter.


He needs that around here. It's warm enough upstairs, especially when he sleeps in front of the registers, or in his favorite downstairs spot, which is under the couch in front of the register there, but the kitchen and the basement are really cold, in the low 60s, so he needs his fur coat.


So that is all the news there is from the field in exile.


December 11

Yesterday was an exhausting day. The furnace man came in in the early afternoon, so I made several trips up and down the stairs to talk to him, and the final straw was a trip upstairs to get the pictures from this summer that I printed out, because we were talking about photography. Then, I decided that my new memory had been sitting around long enough, so I hauled out the cpu and opened it up. It wasn't as dirty as I'd thought it would be, and it wasn't as dirty as the one in Copper Harbor was, but that may be partly because that one runs all the time and this one is shut down most of the time. Although I still don't know how they do it, people do try to hack my system even when, theoretically, the DSL driver shouldn't be running. I guess to be safe, I'd have to unplug the modem, although Norton does a pretty good job. So I usually shut the system down, except on Saturday night, when I run my virus check.


Anyway, I now have 768mb of memory, and I'm not paging anymore. In fact, I haven't been able to start enough stuff to cause the disk to start running. The new Norton is nice, but it has so many bells and whistles that I don't use (like parental control and spam control) that it is a truly humungous program. I wish it was possible to unload those parts of the program I'm not using, but oh, well. The new memory didn't keep one of the Norton programs from hanging up when I shut the system down, so if it does it again tonight, I guess I will have to beat Symantec up a bit more. It was nice to open up the cpu, plug in the memory modules, power the system up (and YES, I did power it up with the case open - I learned that lesson a long, long time ago), and have system properties say I now had lots more memory. I could put 1gb in it, but then I'd have to replace the first 256kb, and I don't like to do that unless I have to. so this will have to do.


When I checked the camera yesterday, it had been snowing all day, and when I checked it tonight, it had been snowing all day, and there is now a good 6" on the deck. I saved one picture from yesterday and one from today, so you can see the progress. I think the pattern of the snow on the deck railing is neat. It was cold (low 20s) and blowing (over 20 mph) for both days, and the lake effect machine is doing pretty good, I'd say, and it's supposed to continue through tomorrow. Much more snow on the deck and Tom is going to have to come out and shovel. The wind is out of the north (brr!), and it's strong enough that I was very surprised to see the little mounds on the railings and between the uprights. Apparently it's sticky snow.


I guess I'd rather have been there than here. It poured rain all day long, the temperature was around 40º, and it was raw and miserable, and a very bad day for those of us with arthritis. Yuck. Today, it was colder (30ish) and raw and miserable, but there was no precipitation.


Choir practice was long, as I expected, and we had to go downstairs to the chancel, because we are singing "The First Song of Isaiah" on Sunday with Pastor Holzerland as soloist. He has a nice baritone voice and we all like that song, so it will be nice.


Anyway, I was getting ready to take my bath - actually, I was in the sewing room retrieving a bag of floss - when the phone rang and it was Shirley. I'd been wondering about her, and meaning to call, but I wasn't sure where she was. She is mostly in Hancock now, and still involved with getting her house cleaned up and updated. It was good to hear from her, even though I had to tell her about DC. Things have slowed down a lot, although Mariner is open on the weekends, and if this snow keeps up, they may open during the week, too. Somebody on John Dee's site mentioned Mariner's fish chowder today, I was glad to see. I have to agree, it's really yummy. Shirley also said that the groomers went out for the first time yesterday, which was confirmed on John's site. I'll bet he was out riding, too. Almost makes me wish I had a snowmobile...


Anyway, I almost didn't take a bath last night, except that I had a sore backside, because I got a haircut today. It doesn't look like much, although there were a couple of inches on the floor, but it's shaped up a little better and my bangs are back under control again. I will try to keep it a reasonable length for the rest of the winter, then let it grow, except for the top, next summer and see where we go from there. After being hairless twice, I just have a vast reluctance to part with any little strand...


When I finish this and the Mozart concerto that's playing, I have to take out the trash and move the recyclables to the curb...I should have recycled last week, so now I have a full load of magazines and papers for next week all stacked up. I can only put out what fits in the barrel. and although a few times I've piled things up, it makes the barrel hard to move and keep everything in it.


Then it will be off to bed for another good night's sleep. I did sleep good last night, but my eyes are telling me I need more. It has been so dark around here that no doubt I'm straining to see.


I did talk to the furnace man about the humidity problem in Copper Harbor, and he told me about a built-in humidifier that his company uses with radiant heat, so I will have to investigate that. The humidity in the office got down to 19% before I left, and that is just too dry for comfort or health.


So that's all the news for two quiet days.


It's snowy and cold in the field tonight...


December 9

I didn't get to bed early last night and I didn't sleep at all well, probably because I got up so late. This morning, I got up quite early, but it seemed to take me a long time to do anything. Even though I go into a little room to take off my clothes at the mammography place, I wanted to be wearing clean things - Buster had been licking my fleece top, so it was clearly time to change that - and I misplaced my aqua sweatshirt sweater and turtle, which I saw yesterday, so I was sort of running around before I decided to wear dusty pink instead.


Mammograms aren't fun, even though they're necessary. They have to squish things down and frankly, that is a very tender part of my anatomy, so it hurts when squished. However, it didn't take very long. I had, at one time, been going to go elsewhere for my mammograms, but they have all my records going  back a very long time, and it is never overcrowded, and they do do some nice things. Like have you address a form which they will send saying whether everything was normal or not. That's helpful, because all of my doctors have always neglected to call and tell me when everything was OK.


After that, I paid a visit to the pet food store and came home with a wide selection of chickeny and fishy cans, as well as a few boxes of stuff I know Buster likes. Those little cans of Fancy Feast are pretty expensive, but I've been throwing away a lot of food, too, so in the long run, it makes sense. He had trout tonight and seemed to think it was wonderful. Poor Buster! For eight years he's had to eat stuff he didn't like very well. I really hate to do this, just in case we get another friend, but at the same time, I want to make sure he's eating, which he didn't do very much of between the time we got home and Thanksgiving. He looks at me with those jade-green eyes and it's hard to tell what he's thinking, but he was clearly extremely upset about DC and the trip home and all that. I think he's settling down a bit now.


I also looked at cages, and there are some smaller ones that will do quite nicely. I need to measure the traveling cat pan, but I don't need to do anything about it for a while. I will try to sell the big cage to somebody with a big dog.


From the pet food store, I went to the grocery store. I had found the bill from my last trip, and I had the tag off the bag of English muffins, and they gave me a refund. I should think so (at least half of them were moldy). I looked at all the meat and nothing particularly interested me, so I guess after I have pork chops, I will eat out of the freezer for a while.


Then it was home, and I embroidered a while and worked on my beaded ornament for a while. That is frustrating, because the new one doesn't fit exactly the way the model did and I have had to rip out three or four rows a couple of times. However, if I get this one right, I can write instructions so the next ones I make will go faster.


It was a dark, foggy day here, with a temperature around 40º. I came home on Lakeshore Drive, and I couldn't see out into the lake at all. The road was damp, but nothing seemed to be coming down, and altogether it was yucky. It was yucky in Copper Harbor, too, but a lot colder, around freezing. I think the harbor was hidden by fog, because I couldn't see anything like snow on the deck. The way the other end of the harbor looked, if it had been snow, there would have been some on the deck. I guess they are supposed to get some from tonight through about Friday. It did look to me like the ice may be gone again, but it was so dark it was hard to tell for sure. There is a gale predicted for tonight on the big lake, too. Here it will just rain until tomorrow night when there may be a bit of snow, but probably not around here.


So that is all the news from the field in exile. Tomorrow the furnace man should come, so we'll get that out of the way, and of course there is church and choir tomorrow night, so there won't be a journal.


It was a foggy day in the field.


December 8

Ack! What a wasted day! I didn't get up until 10:30, because I felt like I was coming down with a cold - frankly, I think it's the furnace filters, because I feel fine now - and while I was sitting around trying to embroider cream-on-cream without any lights on, Charlotte, my neighbor, called in dire need of some cheering up. Strange as it may seem, she has apparently reached the age of fifty-something without ever having been fired from a job before. I find it a bit hard to believe, because she can be difficult, but since she is a top-notch legal secretary, her skills are so much in demand that she has had the luxury of being able to quit jobs she didn't like. This experience has really thrown her. I think everybody should have the experience of being fired for no apparent reason, since it builds character, but the first time that happens, it's certainly a shock.


So it was after 1pm before I even got downstairs, and my "breakfast" consisted of an egg salad sandwich with my orange juice and coffee. Then it was back upstairs, where I finished the monochrome embroidery and started another little thing, made a couple of telephone calls, and before I knew it, it was 6:30 and I wasn't even dressed. I'm still not. I threw on a robe and came downstairs to have another TV dinner. 


Tomorrow, I need to get up a bit earlier, because I have an 11:00 appointment. So I guess I will go up tonight and pay a few bills then get to bed at a reasonable hour (do I keep saying that?).


As to the weather, it was dull and gray but not very cold or windy both here and in Copper Harbor, and for a second day, it was a few degrees warmer in Copper Harbor than here, mid 30s both places. It was so cloudy that it got dark here around 4:30, and in Copper Harbor, the camera acted like the lights went out about 15 minutes after the sun set. The camera pictures seem


I have not a lot to report, except that Buster was in his glory for all the time I spent on the telephone, but he quickly begins to believe I'm going to let him sit on my lap all the time, and that really cuts down on production. I can knit with him on my lap, except that with socks on five needles, I'm always afraid that I'll twitch and he'll twitch and get poked in a bad place - like an eye or an ear! Besides, when he sits, he wants to be petted or something (something I haven't quite figured out yet), which means I can't do anything else. He is a funny little cat. He felt good today, and he played with his catnip toy and actually jumped up on the top of the étagère for the first time in a while. I think he's settling down a bit, although for some reason he thinks that every time I get close to the stove, I'm going to drop something on his food dish, so he won't eat when I'm cooking. So I guess we are beginning to adapt to the changed situation.


It's quiet and dull in the field in exile.


December 7

Apparently not very many news outlets have acknowledged that today is the 62nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day. I was a tad more than 4 months old, and the repercussions of that day colored the first five years of my life. My dad enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and spent the next three years on an LST in the Pacific. He never talked much about that time, but he was a very internalized person anyway. I know that typhoons in a flat-bottomed boat are no fun, and I don't doubt that he was under fire. So for three of the most formative years of my life, I was left with my mother and my grandparents, and an uncommunicative father when he returned. Not that I'm complaining in any way, but there's no doubt in my mind that that experience has colored my entire life.


I don't remember when daddy actually returned, but I do remember V-E day, because we were all at my grandparents' house (they lived a couple of blocks away from our flat), and when they announced the surrender on the radio, everybody started crying. I remember asking "does it mean daddy's coming home?" and my mother having to tell me, well, no, not exactly, he still had things to do. It's amazing what one remembers and what forms one's life.


I find it interesting that this Pearl Harbor Day is a Sunday, too, and in fact, the day of my birth was Thursday, which is the day it was on this year. Somewhere in the piles in the basement I have a perpetual calendar, at least up through 1999, and I would be curious to count sometime how many times since my birth that my birthday has fallen on Thursday. So I guess this really is one of my years.


It concerns me that so little attention is paid these days to the history of the world and our country. Of course, Japan is a staunch ally now, but as my father's generation dies off   - and most of them are gone now - somehow the younger people just ignore things like both World Wars. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it...


There was some sunshine in Detroit today, which was nice, but it wasn't very warm. When I went upstairs to get my dinner out of the microwave, the moon was shining bright and clear in the side door, but I don't think the haze around it was due to my eyesight.


It was cloudy in Copper Harbor, but there was a curiosity - it was four or five degrees warmer there than it was here all day long. Weird. The clouds gave us a nice sunset. I hope you will forgive all the webcam pictures lately. If I was there in person, of course, there would be some really good pictures from the NIkon, but as it is, this is all I have. And a few of those pictures have been really interesting.


According to the weather forecasts, the week is supposed to be a wet one, with mostly rain here, and rain for at least part of the time along the shore, but by Wednesday night or Thursday, it may all turn to snow. Somebody was mentioning that there was a lot of snow around here last year, but frankly, I don't remember it. Probably just as well. I'll have to look back at last year's journals. That is one of the reasons I've been keeping them...because much as I'm interested in the weather, I have a hard time remembering what it was like a year or two ago. Now, the winter of 2000-2001...that's a different story. That year is seared into my memory forever.


My intention last night was to get to bed early, but I got to working on a new sock (now I have three in progress - on #1, #2 and #4 needles), and it was late before I turned out the light. I was up at a reasonable time, however, and ripped out everything I did last night. Oh, well. I have it straight now.


Church was nice. It sometimes amazes me how the things we sing come together at the actual performance. We sang something sort of by Henry Purcell, with trumpet, and Bruce seemed pleased. He played a couple of Bach pieces, including the concluding Gloria from the Magnificat. One of my true regrets in life is that I'll probably never get to sing that again. I do love it so. Today was just Morning Service (page 5) and it's been quite a while since I've worshiped using that liturgy. Sometimes I think I've forgotten the Apostle's Creed I recite the Nicene so often, but I seemed to make it through today all right. I do sometimes think when I'm singing in the choir there are enough distractions that I don't worship as intently as I should, and while I thought the sermon was a good one, I couldn't tell you now what he said.


Morning Service meant we got out early, which was nice. I did some more knitting, but no embroidery, and I cleared off the cutting table so that I could bring out the beads for the Christmas balls. However, after I let go of the end of the thread and let a bunch of beads drop all over the floor, then kept knotting up my thread, I decided this was probably not the day I should have chosen to start beading. I am working on a netted cover for a green ball. I was making one for Debbie last year, when I tried to twist the ball inside the cover and broke it into a million pieces. So she got mine, and all I had was a box full of gold and red beads. That's one of the most successful of my ornament covers, and I want one for myself. Right now there is a small piece of the cover and big pile of beads on the cutting table. Maybe tomorrow...


The furnace man was supposed to come tomorrow, but he canceled until Wednesday, so I should have tomorrow free. Tuesday morning I have my mammogram, and I thought that since I am halfway to Kroger's, I'd do some shopping then. Of course, by Tuesday and Wednesday it will be raining, but oh, well. 


It was nice to sit in the sewing room in the sunshine today, and in fact, when I went in, Buster was sleeping on the high chair (the one I use to sit at the cutting table) soaking up the rays. They didn't last long, since even here the sun is setting about 5:00. Already Copper Harbor only has  about 8½ hours of daylight, and here it's just under 9¼ hours. There isn't much light left at 4:30, but I have three shop lights in the sewing room, and while the fluorescents do make it hard to see some colors, they shed a lot of llight.


Oh, yes, and I started winding into balls the yarn for my alpaca shawl (a very long term project!), but after the second ball flew off the ball winder, I gave up on that, too. Sometimes it's just better to sit and knit quietly.


So that was a quiet Sunday in the field in exile.


December 6

What a totally wasted day! Well...almost. I found some knitting books I'd been looking for last night right before I went upstairs, and I started looking at them...and before I knew it, it was 2 am! As a result, it was 11 am before I decided I'd better get up if I was going to get today. Then I embroidered for quite a while, and that just about did it. I did get a washbasket full of sock yarn upstairs and listed (I have enough yarn to keep me in socks for quite a while, thank you, and to keep me knitting for quite a while, since most of them are on #1 or #2 needles - read fine). However, since I thought I wanted to hear the news, I didn't have time to begin to wind the yarn for the lace shawl or the interesting vest.


Not that it was much of a day to do anything. There was some snow on the ground (not much) when I got up, and it was cold and dark all day, with temperatures topping out about 30º here. In Copper Harbor, according to the camera, it was cold and dark with snow squalls all day. There was a bit of snow on the deck, and the temperature was in the middle teens, but there wasn't much of a wind. However, all that did come together to give another fantastic picture right after sunset. See the virga? It was snowing again, but wow!  The temperature was in the teens all day there, so it would have been a good day to build a roaring fire in the fireplace and veg out in front of it. How I wish I'd been sitting in the ugly chair watching that in person!


Of course, you know that the one year I decide to stay as long as possible is the year we'll have six feet of snow before Christmas! If it wasn't for the appointments and all that, I'd do it. And I just might...tell everybody to bag it and just stay until I can tell the road is becoming impassible...


Well, I can dream.


I did wash a dishwasher full of dishes, so I guess I accomplished something. Without two cats to put a limit on the number of days I can go without washing dishes (dependant n the number of cat dishes), I just tend to forget about that until I run out of forks and the dishwasher is so full I can't get anything else in it.


Even though I haven't been up very long, I am planning to go to bed rather early tonight so I can make it to church tomorrow. We'll see how that works out.


It's cold and snowy in the field tonight.


December 5

Well, between some weird dreams and a sore colon, I didn't sleep very well last night, so it was fairly late when I woke up. The colon seems to have been gas, and I don't know what the dreams were about.


After some embroidery, I took off for an afternoon of errands: the bank, the drug store for JD, the card shop for cards and whatever else I could find, and the place to get the glass balls. At the bank, everybody was lined up at the drive-up windows, so I walked inside and had to wait about two minutes. That frequently happens, and it makes me laugh at all the people sitting in their cars fuming. It was a little longer at the drug store, because of course there are a lot of people needing prescriptions.


At the card shop, I saw a lot of people from church, because Jan and Jim are members. I was waylaid by the matron of the Altar Guild, and I may have to work my magic on a piece of altar linen that somebody put shoe polish on to cover the soot marks. That happened before, quite a long time ago, and after an incredible struggle, I finally got it all out. I have a larger selection of solvents and cleaners than I had then, but Margaret says if it is going to be a really hard job, she'd just as soon get a new one. Ah, well. We shall see. The only reason I can see to try to save the one we have is that I don't really believe they do such beautiful embroidery as is on the two old pieces. I know who used the shoe polish, and I love her dearly, but I could wring her neck.


I did get some Christmas cards, although I almost didn't, because I do have enough leftovers from past years to send to the people who matter. I got a couple of Hallmark ornaments, as I always do, even though I don't have a tree any more. And I bought myself a little present. They had a lovely selection of suncatchers, including one that is clear glass with a beveled   snowflake design in the middle. It is about 6" in diameter, and the bevels catch the light just beautifully. I've wanted a nice suncatcher for Copper Harbor since I moved in, but real stained glass is expensive, I don't like the painted ones, and I hadn't seen anything until this one. Now my only problem will be deciding where to hang it. Well. I have a few months for that. I will try to remember to take a picture when I have it hung.


That took about an hour, since there were a large number of people who needed special attention there and lines were slow. Then it was off to Evergreen Garden Supply, where they usually have a lovely selection of ornaments and things. Not this year, and I don't know whether they were sold out or they are cutting back. I managed to get red, gold and white satin-finish balls, but they didn't have any green. As I recall, I still have several green ones, and it was only the red ones (of which I broke a couple) that I was really short. I might just take a ride down to Damman's next week and see if, by chance, have any. The new gold ones are darker than the ones I had, and I don't like them as well, but they'll be all right. So now I can clear off the cutting table, haul out the beads and have at it. 


I picked up a few cute things there - little snow-angels with Debbie's and my names, and those of her two kids, on them, about an inch high, and a mini-Beanie baby kitty which is really cute. But there wasn't the incredible selection of decorations I remember from years past. 


I had frankly toyed with the idea of getting a 4' tree, but I sort of decided I would only if I could get one with the lights already on it, and they didn't have any of those. It's been several years since I've had a Christmas tree, because it's such an awful job to put up and take down, and nobody sees it but me anyway. Even the mini-tree I had on the kitchen table is too much work. Someday I may have to have a tree again, because I have so many beautiful ornaments I've collected and made over the years, but for now I'll just be Scrooge. That's not what Christmas is all about to me anyway.


Besides, the living room is a disaster, and I never sit in there anyway. If I get any new beaded ornaments done, I will hang them on one of the wire things I bought. I had thought about finishing my two Nativity stockings, but maybe instead, I'll take them north with me next year and try to do it over the summer. They are really beautiful, almost solid cross stitch, and I even got the stocking hangers for them, but I've never taken time to finish them. Oh, well.


That is the only disadvantage I can see about coming south so late - Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is upon me before I realize it, and except for the beads, I'm really not too interested in working on Christmas things after it's over. I have done Christmas embroidery in January, but it was something I started in December and didn't finish.


I started home just as the middle school I went to let out, and I think it took about 15 minutes for me to get around the corner from Eight Mile Road to Mack. As I was proceeding down Eight Mile, a young woman in a little car came swooping in front of me (doesn't she know the speed limit is 35 there and the Woods police lie in wait for people who don't slow down?) all antsy to get around the corner...in fact, at one point she almost tried to go around the line of traffic to the right, which was impossible. Another car did go down the middle lane and cut into the right lane right at the corner, and I was surprised that she didn't do the same. When we got around the corner, she took off down Mack at over 45 mph (a bit over the limit there, too) and disappeared. I know I sometimes get impatient, too: if I'd known what at tie-up there was at the corner, I would have turned down a side street and avoided the corner altogether. But I don't know what good it does to go flying around and cutting in front of other people who are in the same traffic jam you are. It reminds me of the people who, when the freeway is in gridlock, believe they and their errands are so important that they drive down the sides, or the people who, when there is a lane closure, drive right up to the barricades then expect you to let them in front of you. I would really like to ask one of those people one day, why they think they are so much more important than I am...but I suppose that would be asking for a fight. Oh, well. This is the time of year where I see a lot of that kind of thing.


It was a gray, chilly day both in Copper Harbor and here, and the temperature was about the same - mid 30s - for most of the day. It's cooling off in Copper Harbor now, though, and they're predicting a low of around 15º, a bit cooler than here. There were a couple of snow squalls the camera caught today, but nothing much in the way of accumulation. The harbor looks to have a film of ice on it right out to the line between the lighthouse and Porter Island. That's a bit more than I can recall at this time of year, but then I've only had the camera in operation since 2001. It could be frozen for the rest of the winter, or, if there's a thaw like there was last year, it could open up again. It will be fun to watch. I've wanted to see the harbor all drifted over like it was in the winter of 2000-2001.


We had a brief snow squall this morning, but it didn't even wet the ground and nothing stuck. I guess the latest storm went south of us. However, it was windy and unpleasant outside.


My hair is now long enough to hang over my shoulders for the first time in six years, and I had forgotten what it's like to have my hair blowing all over the place including in my mouth and over my glasses. I do plan to get it cut a bit, to try to even out the last short pieces and get rid of the straggly ends. While I'm here, I'll probably keep it around chin length, which is how I wore it before I got sick, but next summer, I plan to just let it grow. According to my little book of events, I cut 12" off in 1978, and it's been no longer than shoulder length ever since. I tried the short bit between the two chemos, and I still don't really like my hair short (unless it's as curly as it was in the summer of 2001!). Besides, I haven't seen a really good haircut in Keweenaw, and I know what a pain it can be to grow it out after a bad haircut. So we'll try this for a few  years. At some point, I suppose I'll get wrinkly enough that long hair will look out of place, but until then, it will be easier. I can cut my own bangs, and I already have a couple of hair clips in Copper Harbor to get it off my neck if it bugs me. So we'll see.


The other thing I've realized is that poor Buster just doesn't know how to ask for food when he's hungry. He never had to before, because DC was always ready to eat and always did the asking. So Buster just wanders around and says not much, but then when I give him some canned food, he is just delighted. So he will have to learn to ask, and I'll have to learn to offer it without him demanding it. He also likes and eats a somewhat different diet than DC did. Things with beef in them don't agree with him, and he doesn't like them very well, either. He's the kind of cat who would rather not eat than eat something he doesn't like very well. He likes chicken, and he loves fish, so I guess I'll have to accommodate. He doesn't eat much more than half a can a day, and unlike DC, he only will eat when the food is fresh, so I end up throwing a lot away. I don't know how else to handle it and make sure he gets as much as he wants. He is getting used to portions warmed up in the microwave, so long as they aren't too hot, and he's getting used to eating the same thing two meals in a row, so we're making progress. In some ways it's like having a totally new cat. We did things according to DC's rules, so now we're having to figure out our own. It makes life interesting.


So that is how it is in the field in exile.


December 4

As I suspected, choir was late last night, although things seem to be coming along well. There aren't very many in the choir this year, which is a pity. Bruce works so hard, and he is such a nice person, and so talented, that it's a shame that somehow the congregation can't come up with some more people to sing for him.


Anyway, while I looked at the camera pictures, I didn't have time to do a journal. Yesterday was a gorgeous day in Copper Harbor, sunny all day long with a perfectly clear sky. It wasn't very warm, low 30s maybe, but pretty. Today wasn't so clear, but there was some sunshine, and I do have a couple of pictures to share with you. Here are the last two shots from the camera for today. While the temperature didn't get below the mid 20s last night, and the harbor was open yesterday, as you can see, there is ice on the harbor today. I also thought the sky was interesting in those two shots. I've often said I could spend all my time in Copper Harbor just looking at the sky (day and night) and skies like that one are why.


Here, it was mostly clear yesterday and partly cloudy today, with temperatures in the upper 30s. I had intended to go out today, but I never woke up until 10:30, then I got to embroidering another little thing, and by the time I had treked downstairs three times after packages, my neighbor called and we had a long conversation, so that shot the rest of the afternoon. She was summarily fired this afternoon, so I thought I'd do what I could to cheer her up. No particular reason, but she worked for a law firm that is being run like a small business even though it's a large one. In the long run, I think she'll be glad it happened, but it's quite a blow to the ego at the moment.


So I shall have to go tomorrow, even though it's supposed to rain and/or snow. I guess I need to get some Christmas Cards, and I have to make at least one trip to the card shop every Christmas season anyway. I would also like to go to the place where I can get plain glass balls to use for my bead-covered ornaments. We'll see. I'm hoping not to sleep quite so long tomorrow.


So even though two days have passed, I have nothing more to report.


It's icy in the field tonight.


December 2

Well, the doctor says I'm fine, come back in March, and the dentist says I'm fine, come back in April. So I guess that was a good day's work.


What I don't like is the syndrome I seem to have developed, that when I have to get up to be someplace at a certain time in the morning, even if it's late enough that I'd be ready for it under most circumstances, I stop sleeping sometime in the middle of the night and only doze until I have to get up.  I wish it would stop, but I'm not sure how to stop it. Setting the alarm clock is no solution, because I've always awakened before it went off so I would be awake when it did. I don't mind waking up half an hour or so before I have to get up, but three or four hours is ridiculous.


In between appointments, I went to the Food Emporium to get a few things I needed, including some nice sandwiches. My breakfasts have seemed to degenerate into either a muffin with peanut butter or a muffin with peanut butter and a bowl of some kind of hot cereal, plus a very large glass of orange juice and coffee. However, the package of English muffins I got at Kroger all got moldy within a few days (yes, I am going to tell them about it, but I didn't keep my sales slip), and while I got cereal, I forgot that the last time I was in this mood, I liked to cut up a banana, and I didn't get bananas. This morning's cereal had a glop of American Spoon Foods' maple cream in it, and that was nice. That was along with milk warmed in the microwave, of course. That is not my idea of a real breakfast, but it's been quite a while since I've been really hungry when I wake up. So long as I get my orange juice in me to counteract the sugar low, I'm usually good for quite a while. That was fine up north, where I could wander down to the office and do whatever until I was starving, this house makes it hard to do that. When I first got back, between being tired and being worried about DC, I wasn't hungry at all, and it hasn't gotten much better. If I eat a little something in the morning, then I can have a nice lunch. Chicken salad doesn't sound good first thing in the morning, but it does around 1 pm.


My mother had this same thing happen to her as she got older, so I guess it doesn't surprise me a lot. I don't know what she ate, and I'm not sure what I'll eat when I get tired of peanut butter. Maybe by that time I'll be over this.


It was a beautiful day both here and in Copper Harbor. Here, it was clear all day long, with temperatures just around freezing with light winds. In Copper Harbor, it cleared up as the wind dropped, and this evening was lovely, but in the mid 20s. It was nice to see blue water (and blue skies) in the camera for a change, although the reflections on the window were distracting.


Otherwise, I sort of fiddled around. I did locate the needlework frame that goes on the floor stand I took north and lost, so that mystery is solved, and I looked through all the projects I have put together, and nothing just hits me, so I will just work on little things or ongoing projects (some very large reproduction samplers that I keep in progress for times like this). I would like to start some sewing, but I keep thinking of all the stuff in the middle of the living room floor that needs to be hauled upstairs.


I am feeling sorry for Buster. I think he has finally realized that he is the only cat, and it is leaving him depressed and sad. He slept almost all day today, and when he did come downstairs, he wailed most piteously. I put down food and he did eat, however. Now he is standing on my lap and burying his nose in my arm. Poor Bubba! He thought nothing would ever change, just like we all do. However, I am not about to go out and get him a companion cat. If we are supposed to have a friend, a friend will come to us. That's the way it's always worked, and I'm not about to change things now.


Now I have to climb up on a stool and shut off the hose bib, because it's supposed to get really cold tonight, and then I will go upstairs and try to make up for my lack of sleep last night.


The sun was shining on the field today.


December 1

Well, all afternoon, the wind in Copper Harbor was between 35 and 50 mph - at 8:51, at the NWS station, it was sustained at 38 mph, with 48 mph gusts from the north. It was pretty much like that all afternoon, with clouds and sun, and 9 to 12 foot waves on the big lake. Rats! And I wasn't there to see it! One picture from the camera, around 4:30, showed sun, blue water and really big waves on the harbor, but the sun was shining in the south windows so strongly that there was a large reflection of the east wall right in the middle of the picture. 


No, I will not install window shades in my office! In fact, if I ever do install shades of any sort, it will be in two closets. if I had been there, the warm sun shining in on me would have felt wonderful. Of course, the temperature hung around 30º all day, which gave wind chills around 10º, so besides blowing you over, it would have frozen you stiff. I can just imagine what it would have been like to be standing almost anywhere on the north shore today, trying to take pictures. A motorcycle helmet with a face guard would have helped a lot. But how I wish I could have seen it!


It was windy here, too, between 15 and 25 mph, and partly sunny. In fact it was a pretty day, and sunset was lovely, with the sky a sort of pale turquoise (true "sky blue" I guess) with little orange and mauve  puffy clouds...of course, this was at 5:00, and it got dork really fast afterwards. That's my only real complaint about November through February: it's so dark so much of the time. With 9 hours or less of daylight, even on sunny days it's dark most of the time. I didn't get to sit in the sewing room nearly long enough to really soak up the rays. It was chilly, with temperatures in the upper 30s most of the day, with wind chills in the low 20s.


Either my sleeping problems are over or I was so tired it didn't matter last night, and a telephone call woke me at 9:30 this morning. Yes, I know I have an appointment with the dentist tomorrow. Yes, I plan to be there.


I got on the phone myself after breakfast and got all the address changes to the magazines. There were two I couldn't get through to, but neither of them were exceptionally important. So finally, about a month late, I have that chore taken care of. I am letting a few more subscriptions lapse this year, because I just never read the magazines anymore, but the real reason is the chore of changing the addresses twice a year. If all those publications kept two addresses, I probably would continue to subscribe, just for old times' sake. So I am saving myself both money and aggravation by letting them lapse.


Buster was hungry for breakfast, and he hollered at me to make sure I knew it. He ate last night, too, but he didn't seem to want anything tonight. I'm afraid he is just going to have to get used to asking for his canned food. He's never had to do it before, because DC always did, but now, it's up to him. I don't feed people I don't see, and I don't feed people who show no interest in food (he has just come downstairs and is staring at me from the stairway, but it looks like he ate dry food).


I spent some time trying to line up the next embroidery projects, and some time embroidering on the little thing I started a day or so ago, but otherwise, it was a quiet day.


Tomorrow, I have to get up and attem, because my appointment with Dr. Lehman is at 9:45...why I do that, I don't know. So when I open one eye and the clock says 7:30 or 8:00 (hopefully, not 8:30), I will have to jump out of bed instead of turning over.


Therefore, I'll get this published and try to get started on the sleep thing a bit earlier tonight.


The wind would blow you away in the field today, and 2003 is almost over.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM