A View From the Field








December, 2004


December 31 New Year's Eve, 2004

It hardly seems possible that we are on the eve of being halfway through the first decade of the 21st century. Time flies, and the older I get, the faster it flies, and having fun has nothing to do with it...although I did.


I didn't have much fun today. I spent the morning in the basement with the sewer guy. He had to run a super-snake out 112 feet to clear the sewer line, but while he was doing that, he discovered that the storm sewer trap has caved in, and that is part of the reason for all the water. It has been seeping under the wall, because it couldn't get out the storm line. They are coming back on Thursday to replace it. Oh, woe. The guy seems to think I can claim it on my Home Owners Insurance policy, but he said to do it first then call the company, and I don't want to do that. So I will consult with my agent on Monday. I certainly have a lot of water damage in the laundry room, including a lot of tile which has broken up and an awful, smelly mess of dirt and sewer stuff...yuck. Double yuck. Besides, I seem to be allergic to it.


Poor Buster! He certainly remembers the last time he heard that terrible noise, when he got his head stuck in the "U" of a heating duct and I had to extricate him from above the drop ceiling in the front part of the basement. I don't know where he went, but about an hour after the guy left, he came around and said, "meow" very quietly and sat on my lap for a long time. For the rest of the day, except when I was rustling around, he slept on my bed. Poor Buster! He is a most delicate little guy, regardless of how he tries to act, and loud noises and men in boots just scare the living daylights out of him.


And it certainly was noisy and smelly and awful. It still smells, but since they're coming back so quick, I don't want to try to clean up the mess and just have to do it again. Actually, I'd rather get somebody else to clean it up.


After that, I just had to write my year-end charity checks, which I didn't finish and get mailed until 4:30. I should do that earlier in the month, but it wasn't until just a few days ago that I could determine how much money I had for it.


So the kitchen is still somewhat of a mess. I got some stuff put away, and - wonder of wonders - I got the stove side cleaned up! It was awful! However, in the course of doing that, I took apart one of the burners and fixed it. It is the one I use here most often, and when I got here, I discovered that I had to light it with a match (actually, one of those butane grill lighters). Even though I could hear a spark, it wasn't lighting the gas. So today, after I cleaned everything else, I took the burner apart and cleaned it up and blew into the spark hole, and when I tried it, it lit. I hope it continues to. That is an extremely old cooktop (1978, maybe?), and it lacks most of the nice features of almost all the new ones, and besides, there is a real trouble with the switches. I have one burner that doesn't light at all, and the burner under the griddle has to be lit by hand, and I've just not ever gotten around to getting it fixed. Maybe next year, if the sewer doesn't break the bank.


Anyway, that part is done, and with a few moves, there will be enough clean surfaces to cook on tomorrow. Sometime before Debbie gets here, I will vacuum, and that's going to be it.


Church was at 7:00 tonight, so I decided to just have a snack and eat when I got home. I started to eat my cheese on garlic pita chips, but I decided maybe that wasn't the best idea, so I had most of it on water crackers.


Church was really nice, for the few people there - maybe 40 max. They did the service that should be for tomorrow - the Name Day service, and it was really lovely. The only thing was, the hymn during communion was "Abide With Me", which I can't sing and can barely manage to hear without getting all teary, and since there were so few people and they were mostly walking around, Bruce (who was here for the first New Year's Eve in a long time) more or less sang a solo, and of course I got all teary. He doesn't sing solos very much anymore, and I really miss hearing him. He has a gorgeous, deep bass voice (operatic quality and size - he sang professionally for some years), although it is placed so that sometimes it's hard to understand the words, not that that matters. He could sing me to sleep any old time. Anyway, it was nice.


I had thought about having a nice dinner, but that seemed like too much work, so I just ate the rest of my chicken and noodles.


The camera never came up today, as i suspected. Some nice person emailed me to agree that my problem is phone lines, so next week I will have to get on SBC's case again, particularly if I can hook up with Tom and verify that the computer is OK. Gee,,,it sounds like I'm going to spend Monday on the phone...thank goodness for my headset!


The weather in Copper Harbor was pretty nasty, actually. The temperature was dropping and the wind was rising all day long, with some kind of precip, and there is a winter storm warning out for tomorrow night and Sunday, so the little thaw didn't last long.


Here, it was weird. There wasn't much sunshine, but the temperature was in the upper 50s for most of the afternoon...my thermometer said 60º when I went to church! And it's supposed to be warmer than normal for the next few days. Really crazy. This is the time of year when the jetstream causes a real wall between the northwoods and southern Michigan, although this is a bit much...the temperature difference between Copper Harbor and here is something like 40º right now.


So after I finish this, I will trundle up to bed and probably read a bit...no use trying to sleep when the war starts.


Looking back, this has been a pretty good year, I would say. I discovered I can make a little money from something I like to do (at least enough to cover my expenses, I think), I had a wonderful summer in the Field, and I finally have come to the point where I can decide to give up this house. I certainly have determined that I want to be in Copper Harbor permanently, if it can be managed.


The weather was interesting, to say the least. It was the coolest summer in a long, long time in the northwoods. May, June and the first 11 days of July were incredibly damp and cold...it was nice to be living on a pebble pile, so I didn't have to worry about a wet basement. The rest of July and August were cold but sunny...mostly in the 50s...then in September, it was just perfect, with two or three weeks when the highs were mostly in the low 70s and there was a lot of sun. Of course, the downside to the cool was that the bugs never died out...I was still getting black fly bites in September...and with all the rain early on, there were a ton of bugs. Then, while it got cool in October and November, we didn't have any snow at all in the Harbor by the time I left, and then in mid-December all hell broke loose and they started having about 5" a day...for two weeks straight! No wonder I love to watch the weather. You just never, never know.


Then there were the critters, from Buster's mice to the baby bear and the heron, plus lots of goldfinches, hummingbirds and chickadees, as well as a nice family of nuthatches. Also blue jays and crows and/or ravens. And the eagle who caused me to mess up my thumb. Living in the woods is certainly fun!


And I am coming up to the forth anniversary of my stem cell transplant, and so far, everything in that area seems to be just fine. If I really do have a heart problem, it doesn't seem to be serious (it hasn't been bothering me much lately), and things like that are to be expected, since I'm coming up on 63½ years...which seems just short of impossible in itself. How could I possibly be that old? What happened while I wasn't looking?


I haven't mentioned it, but my haircut has been a success. After three weeks, it has settled down to its right length, and the warm damp weather we've been having, while it messes up my back, has been wonderful for my hair...all the waves are in just the right places. After losing it all twice, I hated to give up any of it, but it just wasn't working, so now it's not causing me nearly such a pain.


So that is another day, and another year, and I'm looking forward to 2005


Peace and good will in the field tonight.


December 30

Well, I'll be...fit to be tied. Somebody emailed me (thanks, Cheryl) that the camera was back up, and low and behold, she was right...it came up at just before 5 pm, so it got three whole pictures before  dark. Now, how am I to explain that? Frankly, I had given up on it. So now I again have no clue what the problem is, unless it is in fact phone line.


It was not a nice day in Copper Harbor. From what I can divine, it started out cold and cloudy, then around 1 pm it started to rain and blow, with wind gusts in the 30 mph range and temperatures in the upper 30s...really icky. IT's supposed to be foggy and drizzly all night, then tomorrow, the rain will slowly turn to snow as the temperature drops and the wind veers northwest. Woo...winter in the northwoods!


Here, it was just cloudy and warmish all day long, with temperatures around 40º and fog, mist, and lately, rain. Tomorrow it is supposed to get to around 50º, although I'll believe that when I see it, and be windy. Crazy weather, indeed.


Well, I guess I did a few things, but I'm having a hard time with it. I washed the dishes and before I got to bed tonight, I will have most of the trash out, including, I guess, most of the boxes in the middle of the kitchen. After looking at them, I decided they are too small to be useful. Then tomorrow, I really must clean things up some, especially and most critically, the stove side of the kitchen.


Those of you who follow this page know I've said that before about the other kitchen, but both are laid out a lot alike, although the more I work in them, the more I like the other one better. Anyway, the stove-stuff is on one side and the fridge, sink and dishwasher are on the other. The cooktop is sunk in a stainless steel countertop, which makes for easy cleanup, but it certainly can get messed up in a hurry, especially the way I cook. There is more counter space in Copper Harbor, and the ovens are on the right side rather than the left, but there isn't a whole lot of difference. This kitchen is shorter and wider, and the other one is narrower and a lot longer. My ideal would be about halfway in between...but both are easy to work in and the work paths are fairly short...or at least they are when the center of the room isn't full of boxes. Copper Harbor is two narrow for that, but here, a row of stuff tends to get left right down the middle of the kitchen, which makes it really hard to get around. 


For the past couple of days, when I have been sitting here at the computer, I have heard a strange "glug-glug" coming from the other room occasionally, but I thought it had something to do with the water that comes out of the furnace. Well...today, I just happened to look over there, and I realized that there was light being reflected from a pool of water in the middle of the floor, around the drain. I moved some things and looked around, but I couldn't see where the water was coming from, unless it was coming from the drain, and it didn't seem to be going away. It wasn't getting any deeper, though, even though I was washing dishes at the time, so I called for help. When Robert got here, the water had in fact drained away, but he poured some down the drain and it overflowed again...oh woe. So tomorrow I must get up early to be ready to talk to the sewer cleaners after 9 am, and tell them what the situation is then. I hope it's just the line from the drain to the sewer, and not the sewer line in the backyard!  Oh, the joys of an older house...


So that is all I know about today, and I need to start moving trash.


It's rainy in the field tonight.


December 29

The days pass and I don't get much done, so the kitchen is still a mess. However, since I sautéed chicken breasts tonight, I was just as glad I hadn't done the stove. And boy, does it need it now!!


However, I will have to get at it tomorrow, because trash day is Friday, and there is a lot of stuff I need to get rid of. That should help.


It doesn't help that my back just about kills me every time I work at the counters. The temperature is cool and damp...very good for my hair, but not very good for my back!


The task of the day was to lay in the stuff for New Year's Day dinner. I went back to my old Kroger's, and I guess I'll just keep shopping there and at the Food Emporium. Neither of them is so big a store that I can't get through it, and I'm fairly well acquainted with where things are. Unfortunately, because I had a list, I forgot several things that weren't on it, but nothing vital.


They still had some fresh turkeys, and I was interested that of the few they had left, only two were not injected with something...a 19 pounder and a 13 pounder. I have never cooked a 19 pound turkey, and I hope never to do so. When it got the stuffing in it, and it got into the huge roasting pan, it would be almost too heavy to lift. I did once do a 16 pounder, in the days when I was having Christmas dinner at my house, but most have been between 12 and 14 pounds...a good size, with lots of yummy leftovers.


So with a few veggies and things, I have the makings of a nice feast. Now to prepare the kitchen to cook it!


I drove along the lake, and the cold weather for the past weeks has caused the shallows to freeze, but not very deeply. IT was foggy out on the lake, and I was most surprised to see a laker looming out there, on its way up. I think the waterway closes sometime in January, so I suppose he was trying to get somewhere close to home before it does. 


The weather was just blah - cloudy and damp with temperature that got up to around 40º. I think it was about the same in Copper Harbor, although the temperature didn't get over 30º.


However, tomorrow...wow! Here, it's supposed to be foggy and maybe rain, and in Keweenaw there is supposed to be rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, and fog...the whole bit, really ugly.


This isn't the only year when we've had a mini-thaw around New Year's Day...I remember my mother talking about one New Year's Eve...well, New Year's morning, actually, when my dad drove almost all the way home from a house party through the alleys because the streets were sheets of glare ice. Now that would have been in the '60s, when I was away, and I think the salt trucks are a bit more on the ball these days, but still. I will take floods and blizzards any day rather than freezing rain and icy streets.


My coughing has been getting me up early lately, but it doesn't look like I'm going to get to bed any earlier tonight, because they are playing Mendelssohn's Fifth Symphony - the "Reformation" - and I like that.


It's dreary and dank in the field  tonight.


December 28

The camera is still down. I don't have a clue.


I didn't have a very good night last night. I went to bed late, and woke up around 3 am having had a very weird dream, and for about the next two hours I was mostly awake and coughing, and cough drops didn't do very much good. So I was up early this morning, but I really didn't get a lot accomplished.


I worked on the alpaca a bit...20 rows of 141 stitches of seed stitch are going to take a while...I hate seed stitch... I caught up on some of my reading, although my "mail" for the day consisted of the week's sale flyers. There were some new magazines and a newspaper I hadn't looked at. I did get the pots and pans, and the wine and juice, put away, so the kitchen looks a tad better. Not much, but a tad.


I tried hard to get the camera up, and it just won't. Now I must try to rely on Tom and hope I don't miss him when he is at the house. I haven't heard from SBC, but I may try tomorrow to find out what happened.


The weather here and in Copper Harbor was sort of yucky today, cloudy and maybe a bit misty. The temperature there rose all day long and hit 30º...boy, it must feel balmy there!...and here it got into the middle 30s, although it's a several degrees colder in my yard than it is at the airport. I guess it's supposed to be warmer and rain for the next few days...yuck.


And that is all I know. It's quiet and boring in the field in exile.


December 27

The camera didn't come up today, again, and I have a trouble report in to SBC, although when they "tested" it, it tested OK, they said. Yeah, right. They are supposed to do something about it by tomorrow evening, so we shall see. 


I had to call Tom to tell him SBC might call him to get into the house, and we had an interesting conversation. He says they've had about two feet of snow over the past two weeks, and while the Holmeses are all there, they are walking from the top of the hill, so I'm not sure SBC can get to my house if they want to. I did ask him to go in and call me the next time he is at the house, and if we can hook up, maybe he can tell me what he sees on the screen, and we can check a few things. I still think it's telephone, but it never hurts to check.


Other than that, and beginning my alpaca shawl again, all I did was to (finally!!!) get all the pots and pans out of the sink and the recyclables collected up. The pots are still on the draining board, but I will put them away tomorrow, and that will be a big step forward.


The weather was apparently partly sunny and in the high teens in Copper Harbor (boy, I'm sorry we couldn't see it!), and the temperature has been slowly rising all day, until now it's over 20º for the first time in weeks, I think. They are saying there may even be rain later in the week, although I'll have to see that to believe it.


Here, I guess I believe it, although it's still under 20º, and it was partly sunny today, although it didn't feel very warm when I went out for the mail. THey are saying we will have temperatures in the middle 40s and rain later in the week. Frankly, I'd rather have under-20º and snow.


It was interesting that it was warmer in Copper Harbor ("warm" being relative, of course) than it was here all day long. That happens occasionally, but it's always interesting to see.


So I have not much more to report, and I'm having an awful time typing tonight, so I'll quit this.


December 26

Well, merry day-after-Christmas.


I got my present about 3:30 this afternoon. After being down all day yesterday and today until then, suddenly the computer connected to Pastysnet and began sending pictures! Imagine that! I was sure there was something awful wrong with the hardware and we were going to be down for the rest of the winter. Damifiknow why it began working again, but I'm beginning to believe it's phone lines, to the extent that if it doesn't connect tomorrow morning, I am going to call SBC and have them check the line.


Oh, yes, and there was a power failure, because I tried  to call to reset it one more time, and it wasn't answering.  The reports from the NWS station seem to show it lasted between two and three hours sometime between 11 am and 2 pm. So we shall see.


I'm really sorry we didn't get to see the whole day today, because I think it may have been partly clear. At least, in the pictures I did get, the billowing snow clouds are mostly over the lake, although as the sun went down they began to creep over the land again, and it's supposed to snow tonight. Again I wish I was there with the camera, because one of the last pictures was rather spectacular. The sun had set at 5:06, so this was the last rays of the sun lighting the clear sky and the dark, ominous clouds over the lake.


You can also see that there is about 4" of snow on the deck now.


It looks like the east end of the harbor may be open, but the west end, around the public dock and King Copper Motel, is full of pancake ice. Actually, looking at one of the earlier pictures, I think there is a film of very clear ice on the east end, and the only open area is where the current comes into the gap between Lighthouse Point and Porter Island. I would expect that, because it's been really cold...although it did get up to 19º, and while there was quite a wind overnight, it was quite light today. I imagine everybody thought it was a lovely day.


It wasn't bad here, either, considering.  The temperature was about 19º all day, and there wasn't much wind, and there was some sunshine. However, we had a couple inches more snow overnight and where there hadn't been any plowing or salting it was slippery...as I discovered as I almost took a header while walking back to my car after church. Fortunately, my weight was solidly on my left foot when my right foot slipped, so there was no damage.


Yes, I did make it to church this morning, although it wasn't easy, and I got up much earlier than I really wanted to. As I suspected, it was the carol service, although pastor preached from the Gospel for the day after Christmas, which is about Herod slaughtering the babies in Bethlehem. I am happy to report that I was able to sing all the carols, except for "Silent Night", which I don't even try. So time does heal things. I also got to see my other friend named Carol, and sit with her, which was nice. She usually goes to early church, so we don't cross paths very often.


When I got home, I tried to restart the shawl with the alpaca yarn, but I pulled it out, because it seemed clear I didn't have the tension right, and it turned out I didn't cast on right either. So maybe tomorrow I'll try it again.


So all is quiet in the field in exile again and I'm going to take a long winter's nap...starting soon.


December 25 - Merry Christmas

Well, it turned out to be a busy two days, so I will try to recap.


First off, the camera wouldn't come up this morning, and I was due at dinner at 1 pm, so it was down all day. Too bad, but I doubt there was much to see except more snow. I hope it will be better tomorrow.


The weather in all of Michigan has been frigid. I think it got up to about 6º in Copper Harbor and about 12º here yesterday. When I left church at 11:30 last night, it was a whopping 7º, and in Copper Harbor it got down to about -5º overnight. It was a tad warmer here, but only a tad  It's been a real old-fashioned Michigan Christmas...colder than heck and snowy. I do believe it's been snowing off and on all the time in Copper Harbor, although we haven't had any snow here since Thursday, when there was six or seven inches.


I had a nice steak dinner last night - well, pretty nice; when you pay as little for rib-eye steaks as I did for those, you can't expect them to be totally tender, and it wasn't - dressed at a leisurely pace and got to church early, which was nice, since I didn't have to rush around. It was a nice service, relatively well attended, although there were some empty pews in the front.  We sang fairly well. I screwed up one piece, and the men messed up a bit on one other, but I doubt it was noticed. Bruce seemed rather pleased, which was good.


Since I got home at 11:30 and had to bathe, it was late when I got to bed, and so it was late when I got up this morning, and so I didn't even really have to eat breakfast before I packed up and went off to dinner with my friend Carol. There were only six of us, but it was a lovely turkey dinner, enjoyed by all, and a very nice day altogether.


Buster's nose was rather out of joint, because I left him alone for quite a while last night and quite a while today, but he'll get over it.


After I had a snack of shrimp and brie on crackers, I talked to Debbie, and I actually (!) invited her for dinner on New Year's Day. I don't know what overcame me, but I did intend to have turkey next weekend anyway, and with her pending divorce and all that stuff, she needs support, so I figured I'd try it. She is likely to be pretty forgiving.


Of course, that means I will finally have to get the kitchen shoveled out, but that's actually a good thing. I've been trying to do that for a couple of weeks and not making any headway, so now I have a good excuse and a hard and fast deadline...and besides, I would not want to try to cook a major meal, even for myself, in that kitchen the way it is now.


It would also be nice if I could do something about the dining room, so we could eat there, but I don't know about that.


Tomorrow, church is at 10:00, and while I will try to make it, I'm not making any promises, especially since it's nearing 11:00 pm now and I need my bath. I'd like to go, because there is communion, but it will also probably be the carol service, and since Christmas carols make me weep, I'm conflicted. We'll see. I will play it by ear and see when I wake up tomorrow.


Oh, yes. I had one unhappy experience this morning. I mentioned before the strange holes in a couple of my knitted pieces, and at the time I didn't think they were moths. Well...I had started a shawl on lace-weight alpaca yarn (at $50 a skein!!) some time ago, and I decided to get it out and look at it, and when I did, I discovered that something had chewed right through the few rows I had completed, and besides that, had chopped off threads on the outsides of all three balls...and I found nasty little dirt and several even nastier little worms on all three balls, including one that was still alive! Yech! So somehow, I managed to acquire moths in Copper Harbor. I don't think they are in this house, or I certainly hope not! 


Of course, they only went after the 100% wool yarn. My sock yarn has nylon in it, so they didn't chew that. By the way, the alpaca was in a plastic bag, but it wasn't sealed, so just plain, open plastic bags won't do any good. I guess next year, I will have to sort of rearrange my closets and keep my wool yarn and back projects in my central hall closet, which is lined in cedar. I've been using it for general storage, but there is a lot of stuff in there I think I can move out, and it seems clear I need the cedar for the wool stuff. Now I wonder about the sweater I felted, which I left there, and I'm certainly glad I kept my down jacket in that closet! Oh, my, if it's not one thing, it's another.


I'm hoping I still have enough yarn for the shawl, or it's going to have a lot of loose ends to work in if I ever complete it. And of course, I have to start it over again...and I'm not totally sure just how I did that. Sigh.


So that is Christmas Day, and I was happy to celebrate the Savior's birth once again. I hope everyone had a wonderful day with their friends and family.


Peace on earth, good will to men.


December 23

My goodness, it certainly is winter around here! It started, sort of, yesterday morning, and when I left bible class, I had to brush off the car, but there wasn't any more snow - here - for the rest of the day. The northern edge of the blizzard that hit Indiana and Ohio got us overnight, and there was about 4" of snow on the upstairs deck when I got up this morning, more in the driveway, and the wind had blown it so smooth that exactly where the driveway was couldn't be seen. It's been cold, too, in the teens.


In Copper Harbor, there wasn't another blizzard, but the lake effect snows have been nearly continuous for the past two days, and it's been in the low teens there and headed downward...they are saying the "high" temperature for tomorrow will be about 2º. Not very warm, frankly.


So for the first time in four years, it looks like we're in for a real winter. I really hope it continues in the northwoods...they need the business. In December of 2000, it started a bit earlier (on December 13, to be exact, a date that is seared into my and Debbie's memory forever - you can refer to my December 2000 journal if you're curious), but the end result looked about the way it is now, and it continued for the rest of the winter.


I don't have a lot to report, except that after taking two of my new pills, I called the doctor and told him I was discontinuing them. All day Tuesday, all of Tuesday night, and for most of the day yesterday, my heart felt like it did about six weeks ago, and that's not good. Monday it had been just fine, with only a couple of little ripples, but the past two days were awful. I didn't get too much sleep Tuesday night because of the pounding.


I did get up and get to bible class yesterday morning, then I braved the Food Emporium and picked up some things I wanted...juice, finally, and a couple of shrimp rings and some cheese. I was disappointed because apparently they have discontinued the deli sandwiches until after the holidays and I had my mouth all set for a nice chicken salad sub. Boo. They are going in big for deli trays and vegetables trays, which is all right, but I do think they rather overdid. Anyway, I did get some nice things to eat, so tonight I had some shrimp and a bowl of soup. 


Unfortunately, when I start to have a real problem with my PACs, it makes me really tired, and I was, both yesterday and today.


I don't remember doing much yesterday, but I did get to choir on time, and we did suspiciously well. I'm always happier when we mess up a little, because then the performance usually goes really well. We'll see.


Today was likewise, although I finished the sock I was working on and started a new one (with different yarn) from the toe up, and the toe is now done. It's a technique I've been wanting to try, and I'm using yarn from one I tore apart last spring, which is gray and white. I don't think I can use this toe technique on one of the striping yarns, because the pattern wouldn't come out right.


I was glad I didn't have to go out today, because it was almost 5 pm before Marty got here to clean the driveway, even though the snow stopped around noon. I have the feeling he has some commercial customers and his residential customers are at the bottom of the priority list. I shall have to dig out my old boots and make sure they fit. I think I'm going to need them.


Also my down coats and longjohns...brr!


But when I went upstairs to get my soup, the nearly full moon was high in the sky with only a few clouds around it. There was some sun this afternoon, too.


So it's the day before the day before Christmas, and all is quiet.


I don't have to be at church until 9:15 tomorrow night, so I may have time for a journal, and on Christmas Day, Carol is having dinner at 1pm, so I should be able to do one then, too, but if you don't hear from me, don't panic.


Now I have just finished hearing a nice rendition of the first three cantatas from Bach's Christmas Oratorio, and now they are playing one of his piano concertos, and when that is over, I will trundle up for a long winter's nap...


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


The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow...


December 21

Well, it's the solstice, and we've now reached bottom, although it will take a while before it becomes obvious. The days are about 8½ hours long in Copper Harbor, and about 9 hours here. The sun sets at about the same time (just after 5 pm), but it doesn't rise until after 8:30 in Copper Harbor. 


This morning, I happened to be awake about 6, so I bounced the camera then, but there wasn't anything to see but black, so I guess if I get it up before 8:30, it should be all right. I do wish I knew what's going on there! I'm  going to have the most interesting long distance phone bills for the next several months if it doesn't fix itself, since it takes two calls to bounce the computer once, and some days I've had to do it more than once. What completely blows my mind is that at least three days since I've been here, it has come up just fine. So what in the world is going on is beyond me.


With the amount of snow that's predicted, the road will be closing soon, and I'm not sure I could convince anybody to go out and look at the computer anyway. Really, really weird.


I didn't stay up at 6, needless to say...in fact, I slept for three more hours, but that got me up at a reasonable time, although I took my time about breakfast.


Afterwards, I began on the kitchen, by washing a load of dishes and the pots that were in the sink before I put the next pots in. They needed to soak, so I'll have to attack them tomorrow. That did clear the counters a bit, but it didn't do a thing about the floor, which has nearly disappeared beneath boxes, magazines, newspapers and grocery bags. It will probably take the rest of the week to do anything about all of that, because my back bothers me extremely every time I stand for any length of time.


I did some embroidery, and I collected all the supplies to start on the beading, but then it was time to come back downstairs. I knew I needed to wash jeans, because I was down to the black pair again, but I didn't realize, until I started pulling things out of the chute, that it was high time to wash everything. It wasn't quite up to the first floor chute door, but it was pretty close. 


The jeans (all 9 pair) are drying slowly (denim always does), and the next load is in the washer ready to dry. I will do the last loads tomorrow. I don't think I wear more different clothes in the winter, but they are bulkier than summer clothes, and besides, I had worn two of my favorite fleece tops, and I've worn the Berber-lined jacket I got last spring almost to death already, so it's time to do that, too. I don't think I will sit down here until the next load dries. I need to get up at a decent hour tomorrow.


After our frigid weather of the past few days, the temperature here got up to almost 40º and there was some sunshine, so that was nice. In Copper Harbor, it was a bit warmer - up to 30º for a while - but it is now dropping off. I don't think there was much, if any, snow today, and the wind is blowing the ice film into pancakes and moving it around. The other end of the harbor doesn't have any ice on it at all, strangely enough. 


The next snow is due to come in tomorrow, both here and there, and it is likely to snow for the rest of the week in both places, so chances are good for a white Christmas even here in Detroit.


So it's a typical quiet day, and it's beginning to snow in the field again.


December 20

Let's see, where were we? I just finished manipulating September into a printable file, and I don't remember what was going on yesterday...


A nice hot bath warmed me up nicely for bed last night, and I slept well, except that I am still sleeping on two pillows. I tried one for a while, but it seemed like I would be coughing continuously, so back to two. Buster tried to join me sometime early in the morning, but the double bed just isn't big enough for both of us, especially since I end up turning over once I am awakened. He finally went off in a huff. The rose bed is a queen, and there is plenty of room for both of us. Oh, that we were there...


I actually bounced the camera around 8 am this morning, then went back to bed and got up late. That put a crimp in most of what I had planned, especially after I spent quite a while in the basement at the computer.


Another Christmas card had come from someone I didn't write one to, and I had a couple whose addresses were on their cards, including my new mail carrier, so I had that to do, and another check to write, after which I hauled everything off to the mail box and went around to the drug store to (finally) get my new pills. I can't start taking the pills till tomorrow, because they are time-release capsules. 


I had planned to attack the kitchen when I got back, but my back was bothering me so much when I went out that I more or less gave up on that. I did get the dishwasher emptied, and I finally cooked tonight (and had a good dinner for a change), but the rest will have to wait for tomorrow.


It was a bit warmer here today, but that's not saying much. It was around 15º when I went out, and the temperature is slowly rising toward 20º, but it's not there yet. It was cloudy and windy and raw and nasty.


In Copper Harbor, it was a tad colder and it snowed lightly all day long. For most of the day, you couldn't see the other end of the harbor or the mountain in the picture, and I guess it's going to be like that for the rest of the week, although the temperature will be rising a bit.


When the weather is this cold, I add another layer of clothing - longjohns and an undershirt - and when I get my down parka on and zipped up around my ears, I feel like the Michelin woman. At least the jeans I've been wearing are one of the better pairs (I need to mark them) and there was room for the longjohns under them. I need to wash jeans, I guess. Anyway, on top I have one of my Berber fleece tops, and the whole outfit is really bulky. I need to switch to mittens, too. My hands were nearly frozen solid by the time I got home.


However, best I get used to it, since it's beginning to look like this may well be one of those Michigan winters. At least I listened to my note from last year and brought back more warm fleece tops this year. And the longjohns kept my legs nice and cozy.


I guess it will be warming up a bit, but then there is another arctic howler on its way, with possibly more snow, even here. How I wish I was in Copper Harbor, where you don't have to fight both the traffic and the weather!


So that is another day in the field in exile, and I'm off to the second story to cuddle under the covers.


December 19

Wow, is it cold around here! When I got up this morning (rather late), it was only about 3º in my backyard, and it never got over 10º all day. It was sort of sunny all day long, but still, that's a bit cold for mid-December. Maybe we're going to have one of those winters. While I don't really have any boots (or I don't think so), I do have plenty of nice warm coats, so I should be OK.


Curiously enough, it was a couple of degrees warmer in Copper Harbor, although it never got over 10º there, either, and for most of the day there was a vicious north wind (20 - 30 mph) and light snow showers. Many of the pictures from the camera show the harbor hazed over by low-hanging lake effect snow clouds.




I got up late, ate even later and did a bit of embroidery, before I buckled down and addressed the Christmas cards. I actually found the last good list I had,  which helped a lot, but there were still some gaps. I had found a couple of addresses on the internet, but one place I found them didn't have the zip code (if you can believe that). so I had to go hunting. It's amazing what you can find on the internet. If you think you are anonymous, think again.


I wrote a short letter to the several people I send more than greetings to, and printed a sheet of Christmas return address labels, so now I must go upstairs and finish off the cards and probably write a few checks as well.


And that was the day. I guess I am in my usual holiday funk, which nothing but the passage of time will cure.


Baby, it's cold in the field tonight!


December 18

This was a lost day to be sure, so this will be short.


It was snowing all day long in Copper Harbor, and I'm sure there was some accumulation, and it must still be going on, because I can't see the lights of town. It's another blizzard. When I first checked the weather, this morning, the wind was blowing at 39mph with gusts to 43 mph. and it's been that way all day. The temperature was almost freezing early this morning, and it has dropped all day long, and now is a whopping 7º - on its way down to almost zero. Needless to say, the wind chill is way below zero!


To top it off, I got a Christmas card from my neighbors two doors north, and they are there, and not only are they going to be there through Christmas, their entire family is going to be there for Christmas. How to break my heart.


Here. it was cloudy and dark and spitting snow or rain or sleet or something all afternoon - no accumulation. The temperature is actually up in the upper 30s right now, but it's supposed to drop off into the teens overnight and snow. Oh, that we were there and not here!


I had some thoughts of doing Christmas cards, but I got sidetracked, so I have nothing to report. Unless I can make it to early church (an unlikely event), I'll be able to do something tomorrow, maybe, It's a good night to cuddle under the covers and sleep.


And it's blizzarding in the field tonight.


December 17

When I said there wouldn't be a journal Wednesday, I totally forgot about the choir Christmas party last night, and as things turned out, I didn't have time to do a journal before I left. Sorry about that.


I'm also sorry about the camera yesterday, but I tried several times to reset it and it never made a connection, so we missed a day. I'm beginning to wonder if there's a phone line problem out there. I may have to call SBC Monday and have them check the lines. This is getting really old.


Wednesday there was bible class in the morning and church and choir in the evening, and I had to run from bible class to the dentist to get my chipped tooth patched up. It may last two weeks, and it may last as long as I do. No guarantees. I just wasn't in a position to lay out almost $700 right now for a porcelain crown.


Yesterday, the first thing I did in the morning was call the hairdresser, and yes, she could work me in at 3 pm. Whew! So I trundled off to the newest Kroger around here, and I must say I certainly don't like that store. It is huge, on the order of EconoFoods, but it is laid out in the weirdest way I've ever seen. Almost all the coolers and freezers are along the outside walls, which means you nave to walk around the entire perimeter of the store to find things like orange juice, milk, butter, and frozen foods. However, since you can enter on either side, you have to walk around checkout lanes on one side. Then the fruit, deli, and meat areas are spread all around and confusing, and the few regular aisles there are aren't laid out well at all. Besides, that there were a number of things I couldn't find at all. I may end up going to Kroger's website and telling them what I think about their store. There is a lot more area devoted to fruit, deli, meat, and of all things, organic foods, and I think less than the other store's of staples. Really, really weird. And I thought Econo was bad...


At least the shelves were stocked (must remember not to go to the other store on Monday). Anyway, I don't  know if that is a new experiment, or dictated by the location, but it's truly awful. So I guess I will have to cope with the older store, complain, and use the Food Emporium when I can. I prefer Kroger meat, and their prices are better on some staple items than Farmer Jack's, but I really hate having to do two (or more) stores to get my grocery store items.


On that topic, I noticed when I got home, that the toilet paper I have here is a lot softer than the stuff I got from Walmart, and I think now that Walmart will buy up a whole warehouse of things like that, and while their prices are good, you may end up getting an old, less-improved version of a product. When I get back to Keweenaw next spring, I will have to get a package of toilet paper at Econo and see how it stacks up.


At 3, or actually, a while later, I got about 4" cut off my hair, and while now it looks like a Dutch bob, after I've washed it and styled it myself, it is going to be much, much better. i got a number of compliments on it last night, but then, I knew it looked awful when I got back here, because I had been letting the top grow out so Mary Ann could shape the bangs right. My mother used to call the look "Prince Michael", but I'm unclear on the reference, except that it might be to a member of the British royal family who, in her young years, sported long hair. I always got the idea, even though I have no idea who Prince MIchael was.


There weren't a lot of the choir at the party, but it was a good group, the food was good, and we had a good time. The lady who used her house is a very talented craftswoman, and she had, amongst other things, two gorgeous Christmas trees, and lots of other lovely decorations. It's a small house, but it has a very open floor plan - probably '70s vintage - and it is most attractive. Makes me regret - again - that I didn't stay in my little bungalow. But you make the best decisions you can under the circumstances, and I was in no emotional state to break up this house when my mother died. Now I think I can do it, if the alternative is living in Copper Harbor.


Today I took it easy, had the slow breakfast sometime after noon, did some embroidery, a lot of which I had to rip out because I grabbed the wrong color of floss, and puttered a bit in the sewing room.


Just before I was ready to come back to the computer, the doctor finally called, and as I suspected, the heart monitor finally showed the kind of problems I've been having. They call it premature atrial contractions (PAV), there were a lot of them, it's a fairly common problem, and it's treated with calcium blockers, and if that doesn't work, they try to find the area that's causing the problem and zap it. Not a truly serious problem, but one that needs to be treated.


And Monday, I will make an appointment with a cardiologist. It confused me, because I didn't recognize her name, but it's the same one I saw in 1998 when I was having problems with MUGA scans, and I like her a lot. It seems she got married in the meantime.


The weather isn't worth saying much about, Wednesday and Thursday both were, I think, mostly cloudy in Copper Harbor, with a bit of sunshine in the middle of the day, and a bit of snow, and very cold - in the low 20s. It got a little warmer - upper 20s - today, but it was mostly cloudy. There is another winter storm watch for the weekend.


Here, it was warmer - 30s mostly, I think - but cloudy and raw. Last evening, it started snowing about the time I got to the party, but except to wet the streets and freeze up my rear view mirror, it didn't amount to much. Today was in the low 30s and sunny, which was nicer, but it's not the kind of weather that makes me yearn to be outside.


So that is the week. I'm sorry if anybody got worried, but hey, this is the holiday season. I do get to go out once in a while.


I'm happy to say that my cold is finally on the mend, I think. I didn't cough much last night and I got a good night's sleep for the first time in more than a week. I am still coughing some, particularly when I'm down in the basement, and I'm still blowing and coughing up globs of yucky stuff, but my head isn't quite so full and I feel better.


Tonight, the first picture after dark from the camera showed a light on the Copper Harbor Overlook...a snowmobiler was up on the mountain watching the sunset. You know, I wouldn't want to ride down the east face of Brockway on a snowmobile in the dark...that is a very hairy road in the middle of the day in the middle of the summer, and in the dark, with snow hiding the road, it would be really easy to miss a curve and end up...whoa!


So all is quiet in the field tonight.


December 14

The night didn't turn out at all what I wanted. It seemed like I was awake coughing all night long, although I must have slept some, because the time passed. So when I finally got to sleep I slept late, ate even later and didn't go out at all. So there.


I did do a few things...washed a large load of dishes (I keep wondering - if using the dishwasher is so easy, why do I wait until I can't cram anything more in before I do them? Just contrary, I guess), did some embroidery, but not much, and began to get the sewing room in shape. The sewing machine is now in place and I have found the seed beads, my beading tools, and the thread. I also located a new book of checks, which I will need soon. So I guess I can't say I did nothing, just nothing much.


The coughing has left the back of my head aching and my sinuses are so full of really thick glop that the front of my head ached, too, and besides, I didn't get nearly enough sleep last night. Maybe if I take a hot shower that will begin to bring some of the stuff out of my sinuses, and I may actually try elevating my head, although I don't like to do that, either, because it messes up my back. However, we'll see.


It was a pretty day both here and in Copper Harbor today, and the temperature was about the same in both places - mid 20s. In Copper Harbor, it wasn't completely clear, and there were a lot of those puffy gray clouds that whisper "snow!", but the sun managed to shine in for most of the day. Toward sunset, the clouds seemed to get  packed together, although the forecast is for clearing and partly sunny tomorrow, too. That's what's neat about the blizzards - the couple of days afterwards are usually sunny, cold, and beautiful.


Here, it was completely clear until late in the afternoon, when it started to cloud up a bit, which meant I didn't get to bask in the sun in the sewing room. However, it's supposed to clear up tomorrow and be warmer, so that will be nice.


We are in the shortest days of the year now - 8½ hours in Copper Harbor and just over 9 hours here - and that just isn't enough daylight. I should have made a point to sit in the sun. However, after next week, we'll be on the upward side, and that will be nice. I don't mind snow (in fact, I rather like it), and I don't mind cold, so long as I'm dressed for it, but I find I really do mind the short days many hours of darkness at this time of year. It seems I just get up when the sun is setting (which may be true, the way I've been sleeping lately!). Well, that will be over soon.


I hope to go to church tomorrow, and I really have to go to choir practice, whether I can sing or not, so there probably won't be a journal tomorrow...and I'm sorry, because I didn't hear from the doctor today, so I probably will hear tomorrow. I'll post as soon as I can.


And it's cold and clear in the field tonight.


December 13

This will be short, because it's late and my cold is still with me. It's late because I just got off the phone with two different people, and both of them talk...not that I don't, too.


First, we still don't know what my heart problem is. The echocardiogram was normal, which is good news, but the results from the monitor didn't come in by this afternoon. The doctor thinks it's probably one of the conduction problems that lots of people have, that are controlled by beta-blockers. So he will call me when he gets the results, and we'll go from there. 


It wasn't a completely wasted trip, because I did get my flu shot.


I also told him about my hand problem, and he says that I probably injured one of the tendons in my thumb, and it would have to be fixed by surgery. I may just live with it. The idea of even minor surgery just doesn't appeal to me.


So that's where we are.


The camera came up with a green screen today, and I never did hear from Jonathan to try to reset it. I'm sorry, because it snowed all day long, and blew and it would have been fun to watch.


My first phone call was from my friend Nancy, who called from Copper Harbor...boy, am I jealous! She said it was an awful two-day trip, but they made it in one piece. Boy, am I jealous!


Anyway, it's been in the low 20s all day long, with sustained  north winds over 30 mph and gusts over 40 mph...pretty nasty, frankly, but it would have been fun to drive down to where M-26 meets the lake and watch the waves.


Here, it was just nasty. There was a little snow overnight, and the winds got up over 15 mph, but the temperature hung in around 30º for most of the day until it started falling off late in the afternoon. Not very nice.


So not nice that I was prompted to park in the parking structure at the doctor's office, which I usually don't do, and as luck would have it, I got a parking place two spots away from the skywalk, and when you have an appointment at the clinic, parking is free. I don't park there usually, because traffic patterns are pretty hairy in there, and chances aren't good of getting such a nice place to park every time. So that worked out.


Otherwise, I did a little knitting, and I have a mystery. When I took out my vest in Copper Harbor to begin finishing it, there were two places where the stitches had been clipped, like with scissors. When I took out the sweater I started, there was a hole in it, too, where the stitches in two rows had been clipped through, and there were two places in the ball where one or two strands (of three) had been clipped. Now, I don't go around leaving scissors where they may cut my knitting, and while the sweater was on the desk for part of the summer, the vest was in a cotton tote bag. Soooo....mice? I have no clue, but it's annoying. I'm almost afraid to look at the other projects I had with me. If there are holes in the coat of many colors, I don't know what I'll do. Very strange.


So that is all I know, and I must go to bed, or I'll never get up tomorrow.


It's winter in the field tonight.


December 12

My cold is still with me, and I was exploding often enough that I didn't get to church, as I half expected I wouldn't. I doubt I could have sung without coughing, and I just didn't feel like climbing up and down the stairs two or three times (there was communion this morning). In fact, I didn't feel like doing much at all, so I didn't. This is getting really old.


Tomorrow I see the doctor, but I doubt there is much he can do for me. I just have to see this one through.


When I woke up (finally) this morning, it was snowing lightly, and it continued until around noon, but there was only an inch or so on the ground. It was warm enough that it might have been slippery early, but a lot of the snow has melted tonight, especially on the paved surfaces. It was over freezing all day long, and the temperature has now risen to 39º, in advance of the storm, I guess.


So it was dark and dreary and I was just as glad to ignore it.


I guess the winter storm has begun to develop over Keweenaw, but for today it snowed a bit and the winds were nearly calm. The winds have now picked up (32 mph with gusts to 39 at 7:51), but they are still from the northeast, so the guts of the storm haven't hit yet. They are predicting 8-12 inches overnight, at least at the higher elevations, which I would say must be the LES machine, and all the strongest winds will be overnight, too. It will still be windy and snowy tomorrow, but it will be winding down by then. Oh that we were there...


So not much to report, and I think it feels like time to lay my little head on my little pillow again. I still believe only sleep, and lots of sleep, will cure this thing.


It's a hairy night in the field tonight. Oh, that we were there...


December 11

I was in bed for 12 hours, but I didn't get 12 hours of sleep. I'm at the stage in the cold where every so often, for no apparent reason (except maybe the moving of the air around me) I will start coughing and blowing until my eyes run. It's getting old already. I'm not sure I will make it to church tomorrow, because I may erupt at any moment, which means I would have to exit immediately. I don't know that I could add that much to the choir, either, as we have a nice number of sopranos right now. I shall see how the  night and early morning go and then make my decision. 


Maybe I'm getting my cold out of the way early, and I won't get one in February or March, when the choir dwindles before Easter. I certainly hope so. Colds have to be the most miserable minor ailment of all...they can drive you crazy, and it will take two weeks to be over them whatever you do. Yuck


Anyway, if anybody looked at the camera early this morning, that's why it wasn't showing anything. It was 10:00 before it began logging pictures. Boy, I wish I was there (anyway) to find out what's going on! I know it was OK the morning I left, because I checked it. So what in the world is going on? It drives me nuts and only makes it worse not being there.


Besides that, it was an absolutely gorgeous morning and early afternoon, with puffy clouds in a beautiful blue sky and quite a bit of sunshine. And that is the calm before the storm. An old-fashioned Alberta Clipper is on its way to Keweenaw, and it will be blowing with gale force by tomorrow, and snowing and all that wonderful stuff...and 15-25 foot waves...and a flood warning for M-26 (well, I'll be surprised if that happens - the lake is still too low). Oh, how I wish I were there to see it and hear it! Now, that is when the lake really begins to howl full force!


Oh, well.


When I woke up this morning, the rooftops were white, but there was only a dusting on the grass, but it apparently continued to snow very lightly for most of the morning, although the temperature hovered just above freezing. This afternoon it was just overcast and dark and dull and I ignored it. I love to watch the weather, but it's certainly not very interesting around here!


I actually begin the process of making the kitchen habitable again. I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and put the first stuff to soak in the sink, so that is a tad better. Not much, but a tad.


I embroidered for a while, but I had a nose explosion while I was upstairs, and it's really hard to see that dark fabric when my eyes are full of tears.


My November bank statement finally arrived, so since my balance disagreed with the bank's by a penny, I got at that, and discovered that I had entered an Epay incorrectly, and they had paid me interest, so that is taken care of. When I came downstairs, I corrected the ledger and entered the rest of November. From the look of it, I done good this year...I managed to hold down the expenses to sort of a reasonable amount, which is a relief. OF course, there are still the tax bills and the end-of-year charities (of which I already have a box full), but I think it will come out all right. 


 So it was a quiet day, punctuated by coughing and blowing, and I think I will trundle upstairs as soon as this loads, and see if another reasonable night's sleep won't make me feel better tomorrow.


Oooh, the surf's rising in the field tonight....


December 10

Well. I was in bed from 10:00 last night till 9:30 this morning, and I did sleep most of the time, but I still don't feel very good. I start out all right in the morning (after I clear out my head) and it gets worse as the day goes on. I do hope the monitor was working, because just about all the symptoms I have had should be on it. However, I forgot to ask how (if at all) I could tell if it was working, and the LED was off, so I don't know if that means it didn't work? I'll find out Monday, probably.


I haven't looked at my skin, but I will say some of the places where the leads were pasted on, I was pretty itchy. The fact is, I have very sensitive skin, and anything that gets stuck to it is liable to cause me a problem. even the paper tape the person stuck over the site of my blood draw Tuesday caused me some nasty red marks, because I forgot to take it off quickly.


I was able to do some embroidery this morning while I was waiting for 12:00 to remove the stickers, and that was nice. It's an interesting experience to work on a project where I can only tell where I am by the stitches...in all but bright sunlight, there are half a dozen or more shades of off-white I can't tell apart. I have a magnet on the chart where I am, and heaven help me if it gets moved! However, I do think she is going to be a very pretty angel.


After I got back from leaving the monitor off at the ER, I came downstairs and that was the rest of the afternoon. I hope I do feel better soon, because I don't think my kitchen has ever been quite such a mess, and it's beginning to get to me.


The weather in both Copper Harbor and here was just about the same and just as yucky, the only real difference being that it was 34º all day in Copper Harbor and it was 42º all day here. We had more rain...steady, through the day and continuing, whereas they just had some around noon. Otherwise, it was cloudy and dark and dank and not nice at all both places.


So now I will go upstairs and inspect my tegument and bathe, and try to get another 12 hours of sleep tonight, and hope I feel better tomorrow. I really must do something, if only dig out the beads and begin Nancy's bracelet. It would be better if I attacked the kitchen, though. I need to cook again, and there is just no way I can do that the way things are now. We shall see.


December 9

Let's see. where were we?


I made it to Bible class actually a bit early yesterday, and it was a good class, even though we never got to Isaiah. People in the class had some issues and there was a good discussion.


Then it was to the clinic for my ultrasound (echocardiogram), and that went pretty good, although when the tech tried to inject some contrast, she couldn't find a vein she liked and there is now a bruise on my left hand. Oh, well. She apparently videotapes the entire session, as well as saving parts of it digitally. The last one I had, I don't remember there being any attempt to get under my arm, but that view was cool - I could watch my mitral valve flopping around. It closes in the most graceful movement. Not all the rest of the heart was so clear, but that valve just stood right out on the screen...because it's very dense tissue, I guess. So of course, there were no palpitations during the test. Figures.


Then there was church and choir practice, and I saw two of my Carol friends...the one who always goes to early church, and my other "mother". 


Choir was intense, to say the least. We have lots of stuff to get right before Christmas Eve. I had problems, because I realized during the night that I had come down with a cold, and it is draining so heavily that I was coughing a lot, and every time I took a deep breath through my mouth (and how can you sing without breathing through your mouth?), I would start coughing. However, I felt it necessary to be there, because there's a lot of music I don't know. 


Then it was home, and while I got to bed at a reasonable hour, I didn't sleep very good, mostly because I was either coughing or blowing all night. 


This morning, I had a bit more time, and I am most annoyed by the appointment service. I knew where they told me to go was wrong, so I went to outpatient registration, and they called the technician, who escorted me to the third floor. It interests me that the rooms toward the back of that hospital, which isn't used for inpatients anymore, except the psych ward, are quite modern and comfortable, whereas the rooms on the front, where outpatients come in, change, and go out, are really antique. Weird. Anyway, I am now hooked up to a Holter monitor which I am not sure is working. If it is supposed to be blinking all the time it is on me, it's not working, but I'm not sure of that. I can't take a bath, but otherwise, there is nothing I shouldn't do. I think they will probably get some good data, if it's working. And the neatest part of it is that after noon tomorrow, I can remove it myself, put it in a plastic bag they gave me, and take it to the ER entrance at Cottage, and that's it. I hope it's working.


I did some embroidery this afternoon, but otherwise not much. My cold has made me feel pretty blah, and only sleep and time will cure it. I do plan to get some trash out tonight, however, even though I just don't feel up to attacking the recyclables. I need to get into recycling mode...I think I put the bottles in a paper bag, or something, and took them out once a week. 


I also pretty much finished up my little Christmas shopping. I don't know what I'd do without the internet...but I do have catalogs for everything. So that is good.


Oh, yes, and yesterday we had a green screen from the webcam all day long. I'm sorry...I tried to get Jon to kick me offline, and either he failed to do it, or the computer redialed before I could get in to reset it. Oh, well, those things happen. Today, while I had to reset it twice before it got a connection (I wish I knew what's going on up there!) it was fine from then on.


Not that the weather has been anything to write about. It was in the upper 30s both days in Copper Harbor, with no wind, and maybe a bit of drizzle, but cloudy and dark all day. Same here, except it was in the low 40s. Blah. Better we have a snowstorm.


So see, not much has happened. I've only had my cold for two days, and already it's getting old. However, as soon as I upload this and get the trash out, I will be in bed, and I can actually sleep in a bit tomorrow. I don't have to be anyplace...what a luxurious feeling!


December 7

I woke up around 7 this morning and decided to take a chance, and mercifully, I woke up again about 8, so I was able to do things in a more or less leisurely manner and still get to the doctor's on time. It was pouring rain and dark enough to be twilight, and I really would rather have stayed home, but oh, well.


Dr. Lehman did hear something wrong with my heart, but he said that with his stethoscope it sounded more like extra beats rather than missing beats. He also said it can be controlled with medication. And because I am hung up with that, he decided to postpone the CT scans and mammogram until after the first of the year, when, hopefully, the heart thing will be under control. Fine with me. Since Chase Morgan Stanley absorbed Bank One, they are changing the administrator of our health plan, and they have renegotiated the PPO terms, so that there is no deductible for in-network claims ($600 for out of network - which really makes more sense than $400 for each, frankly). Or I think that's how it works. So Anyway, I can go off and try to get the heart thing under control and not have to fit three other tests into my schedule.


He also told me that my two doctors at U of M, Voravit and Uberti, are now at Karmanos Cancer Center, which was interesting. I bet Dr. V had something to do with that, since at least Voravit started out as a fellow with Dr. V and eventually practiced with him. It interests me how these guys move around. I suppose money is part of it, even with doctors, but I also think the conditions are part of it, too. Voravit rather likes things his own way, and I can imagine the U of M hospital getting tired of him after a while. I wish both of them well - they were great to me - and I dearly hope I never see them again, unless Voravit finally takes Dr. V's offer of the use of his cottage in Norland. He seemed impressed by my pictures, so it's possible.


I had hoped to get to Evergreen Garden Supply to try to get some green satin glass ornaments (got everything but green last year - and one of my favorite combinations is a green ball with gold and dark red netting), but it was pouring rain still when I got out, and I just couldn't see doing that long walk from their parking lot in the rain. So I came home, had a bit of fortification, and decided to make pea soup. This warmish, wet weather is hell on my back, and I had to sit down several times while chopping onions and carrots, but eventually I got the soup together. I guess I boiled it a bit longer than I should have, because it's quite thick and there is a little brown on the bottom of the pot, but I got about 4 quarts out of it. I ate some, and froze three quarts for cold nights in mid-winter. Yum. It tasted pretty good, but I'm not tasting very well right now, for some reason. And now the kitchen is in far worse condition than it was before...oh, well.


It probably won't get cleaned up tomorrow, either, because there's bible class in the morning, and my ultrasound is at 1:45 (that's at Pierson Clinic, so maybe they got the appointment right). Then there's church and choir practice, and I need to get to bed relatively early, because I get my monitor at 11 on Thursday. I wonder if the want me to follow my usual routine? I really, really do have to get the trash and recyclables out Thursday night, and that in itself will clean up the kitchen a bit. 


The weather in Copper Harbor looked like it was misty-moisty, but there wasn't any more snow, and the temperature got just over freezing, so the haze was mostly fog, I think. The picture didn't change one bit all day long, with uniformly gray, dark clouds and no wind to speak of. It was getting foggy at sunset, but that was the only change.


The weather here was a bit more interesting, I must admit, although I spent the afternoon in the basement and didn't watch it. If I had, I might have gone out.  It started off this morning in the low 40s with pouring rain, and it hung in there until around 2 pm, although the Detroit City Airport weather station stopped recording temperatures for a while. By 2, it was up to 52º, and still pouring. We got 1.14" of rain today, which is quite a bit for a city. The rain eventually stopped, and they claim the temperature got up to 59º...but I'd have to see that on my own thermometers to believe it. Then the rain blew away and behind it were (are) 35-45 mph winds, but out of the south, so it's staying pretty warm. Really weird, but like some of the stuff we had in Copper Harbor earlier in the fall.


So that was my day, and there is not likely to be a journal tomorrow, unless I can work it in before I got to church. 


Last night, I tried my hair clips, and this morning instead of a frizzy, straight bush, I had a curly bush. It looks better, and it was easier to sleep on, but I guess the only answer is to get it cut. I won't get it cut short, like I wore it between chemos, but it certainly needs several inches off the bottom...then I will let it grow next summer, when it doesn't matter as much and I can wear it up.  I also discovered that it has been so long since I had to fiddle with my head, particularly the back, that I can just barely reach it, my shoulders are so stiff. So I should put it up every night, just as a therapeutic exercise to loosen up my shoulders. When I say I'm am totally debilitated, I mean it.


So that is all there was for today, and even though it's early, I will trundle upstairs and hope to get to bed earlier than I did last night.


December 6

I was somewhat wakeful last night - my heart blipped a lot - and as usual, after 7 am, I went deeply to sleep...to awaken just after 9 am. Eeek! However, by not dawdling, I managed to get to the dentist on time. I should know better than to worry - Penny is always late - but I now have nice clean teeth and an appointment for next week to fill up a bit of tooth that had cracked off. That tooth is pretty ugly - mostly silver - and the outer surface may also have a crack in it - but a porcelain crown would cost almost $700, so I'd rather wait until my finances are a bit more secure. And I may never need it at all, if the patch works OK.


I had to stop home afterward, to to go the bathroom, then I took a quick trip to the Hallmark store (owned by some lovely people from church), and I now have Christmas cards and some bags and other stuff. Debbie's gift came in the mail today (I mean the thing I'm giving her), so that is pretty much taken care of.  I frequently think about not sending Christmas cards, but there are a few people I don't talk to much whom I like to keep in touch with.


I had to kick the computer in Copper Harbor twice this morning before it made a connection. I wish I knew what its problem is! But now the phone number is programmed into both my cordless phones, so it's a bit easier.


On the way home from the card store, I stopped at the drug store for JD, and wonder of wonders, I found some hair clips! Good old Merit-Woods! The last time my hair was long, I put it up after I washed it in four or five very large, flat pin curls, and it was a lot easier to handle the next day. I've been wanting to try that before I get it cut off, but I couldn't find any hair clips in Keweenaw, and the ones I had from long ago not only are all rusty, they are buried in the back of a closet somewhere. So now I can try my pin curls again and see how they work. I'm really seriously considering getting five or six inches cut off my hair, because it has been bugging me extremely. I don't enjoy eating  my hair and getting it caught in my toothbrush. The last time it was long, my posture was better and I could keep it out of my face.


After that, I came down to check out the computer, and instead of playing games, I spent the time processing the first three months of this year's journal into printable form. I haven't printed it yet, but that will come. I originally thought I might use an interesting binding system with little disks, but after trying one and thinking about it, I've decided to three-hole punch it for a 5½ x 8½ binder instead. I've frequently wanted to refer back to prior years, and it's a lot easier to thumb through a book than hunt through something online, even if it is in chronological order, rather than backwards. However, I have about 4 years' worth of writing now, and it's going to take a while.


While I was doing that, Debbie called, and we had a nice conversation. She apparently stopped by around noon today, either before I got home from the dentist or after I went out again. Rats. However, then she would have seen her Christmas present on the floor in the kitchen, so I guess it's just as well I missed her.


So tomorrow it's Dr. Lehman, and the mad whirl of doctors and tests continues.


Oh, I'm forgetting the weather. It snowed in Copper Harbor all day, and it looks like there was about 3" on the deck at sunset. It kept snowing for a while, because for some time I couldn't see the lights of the harbor, although they're visible now. The temperature was just about freezing all day long, with a gusty wind.


Here, it was icky, sort of misty or drizzly all day, with temperature steady in the upper 30s. Tonight it's supposed to be foggy. Yuck.


Now I think I will try to get to bed a tad earlier than last night, so maybe I can get up a bit earlier. If I get up at 9 again, it will be a hard thing to get to the doctor's by 10:30, or whenever that appointment is.


It's winter in the field tonight.


December 5

It was the first time in a long time that I've had the house dream...this one was a castle of some sort...but all that it indicated was that I didn't have a very restful night. I don't know why, except  that my heart was pinging again, and I wasn't very comfortable.


I got up on time, however, and reset the camera without ever going into the basement...both my cordless phones now have the phone line programmed in, and if it isn't busy, I know the camera didn't update. I wish I knew what the problem is! It's not particularly important now, because sunrise is so late, but next spring, if it hasn't corrected itself, we will be missing some beautiful sights.


I got to church at the right time, for a change, and got a parking place right in front. We practiced for almost 20 minutes...evidently, the choir hadn't had that piece very long, then we had to practice with the trumpeter. However, it turned out good in the end, or I think it did. This was morning service, no communion, and there was another baptism. I am so glad to see so many young people coming to church and bringing their kids.


I was tired when I got home, but I spent quite a while embroidering and finished the angel's hair and began her face. I really didn't want to come down to the basement, because the day was mostly sunny, and it was so nice to see the sunshine. The temperature got only into the upper 30s, but it was a pretty day.


Not as pretty as it was in Copper Harbor! Most of the afternoon was sunny even though the temperature there hung in around 19º for most of the day. But it certainly was nice to see the beautiful blue sky and blue water. The harbor hasn't begun to freeze over, but if it stays so cold and so calm, it will pretty soon.


So that was another quiet day, and now I will trudge upstairs, so that I can get to the dentist at 10:45 tomorrow. After an entire seven months with nothing at all on my calendar, there is now an appointment for every day this week, plus next Monday, and after I see Dr. Lehman on Tuesday, I'm sure next week will be booked up, too. No wonder I'd rather bee there!


It's cold in the field tonight.


December 4

I'm getting tired of having to kick the computer to get the camera up, but from this far away, I can't tell what the problem might be. It's frustrating.


Anyway, I had just awakened when there was a knock at the door, but after looking around, I found it was just the guys cleaning the gutters, so I got dressed and sort of ignored them. I learned years ago that gutters and trees, especially spruces, don't mix, but the way houses are designed around here, you really have to have gutters. The nice thing is, my house in Copper Harbor was designed without gutters...of course, I do get dripped on when I go out in the rain, but that's a small price to pay for not having to hassle them. I know John Dee has them on his house in Lake Linden, which has a very low pitch to its roof, and he as to put covers over them in the wintertime...another pain. Gutterless is better.


It was raining and 37º in Copper Harbor this morning, quite a change from yesterday, and a lot of the snow seemed to have disappeared. I'm sure everyone, especially Don Kauppi, was really disappointed, because before that there had been enough snow to begin to groom the snowmobile trails. However, it's beginning to cool off, and snow is predicted for every day next week, which should get things going pretty well. I really wish them a great holiday season - the past few years have been pretty bad, and they need the business.


Here, it was in the low 40s and it didn't rain, but there should be rain by tomorrow night. This isn't healthy weather: I would much rather it dropped below freezing and stayed there. 


Anyway, I rather ignored the weather. After getting the camera back up and reading my funnies, I had the slow breakfast, which tasted particularly good, and read a couple of catalogs, including one from FAO Schwarz...frankly, most of the toys looked more like collectibles for big folks to me. At least the prices weren't what most people would give a kid.


Then I embroidered for quite a while, and I'm more than half done with the angel's hair, and I wrote some checks. I finally got my turkey breast cooked, and it turned out very well. As I half suspected, the best way to have a nice, juicy turkey breast is to braise it...cook it covered and with liquid. This one also has garlic and herbs in the liquid (along with a lot of butter, I must confess), and celery, carrots, onions and I added potatoes. Yum. So I will get part of my turkey fix, at least.


I guess I'm committed to Christmas dinner with Carol, so I will plan to cook my very own, fully stuffed turkey either on the Sunday after Christmas or on New Year's. I just have to do that once a year, because no turkey parts taste quite like a whole turkey stuffed with bread stuffing full of onions, savory and other herbs. I flavor my stuffing rather strongly, and it gives the whole bird, including the gravy, a great flavor. Yum-yum!


I guess there are people in the world who don't like turkey very well - if at all - but I do.


So now I have to put it all away, but I'll have several nice meals out of this dish. I've had the recipe for a long time - it was on the wrapper of a Turkey Store boneless breast - and I remember having it when I was doing my chemo in 1998 and it was one of the most satisfying things I ate for six months. This breast was half a breast of a very large turkey with the bones in, and I'm not sure it doesn't have a better flavor.


Anyway, it was another quiet day, and it feels like things are beginning to return to normal around here. Of course, for the next two weeks or so, I will be seeing doctors and having tests for various things, but I may be able to get something done. Tomorrow I would like to rustle around the sewing room and see if I can find the beads, at least for Nancy's bracelet. I did promise her that by Christmas.


So it was another dark, dreary day in Michigan, and winter has set in.


December 3

The camera didn't get a connection this morning (AGAIN!) until I reset the computer, but I don't think we missed much.


It was pretty much a lost day again, but just for me. I now have clean windows, and storm doors on, and I think there isn't any ivy on the bedroom window anymore, which Buster will like. Besides, most of the stuff that was downstairs that needed to be upstairs is there, so Mark earned his fee. He keeps telling me anything I need...so I just decided to ask him to haul all the boxes upstairs, and they did.


Well! Now maybe I can begin to get settled and down to some business. I have a couple of bracelets on order, one of which is for Christmas. I know where the beads are, but I have to search out my tools, then I can get started on that. It won't take too long. And I really do want to get as much stuff done over the winter as I can, so I don't necessarily have to spend the entire summer beading again.


After a good day yesterday, my heart has been bipping in my chest off and on all day today, for what reason, I can't imagine. It's not severe, just there, and I don't like it.


Actually, I did do a few things. The mail is sorted: the catalogs and newspapers to go out are in bags, the pleas for money are in a box, and all the cat food is in the cupboard. I finally unloaded the dishwasher so I could reload it. And with most of the boxes and other stuff out of the kitchen, it looks some better. The counters are a mess, but that will come, too. It's been so long since I had to recycle that I've forgotten what I usually do with the empty bottles and things, but I'll get that under control, too. Well, I guess I'm settling in here. It is so much easier to keep things straight in Copper Harbor!


The weather has turned cold. There wasn't any snow in Copper Harbor today, but it was cloudy, and after a low early this morning of 12º, it began to warm up, until now it's 30º, but there are high wind warnings for overnight. Ah, winter in the Copper Country!


Here, it was around 30º all day long, with partly cloudy to clear skies.


Just about the time I was thinking Mark would come and I was wondering what the temperature was (he does the big windows from the outside), the temperature sensor that I had put outside died, so I ended up changing all the batteries, even though I don't think they all needed it. Now there is one sensor hanging on a pole on the patio and the other one is in a spruce behind the garage. They don't usually read much different, but the one in the tree is in the shade most of the time. I like to know what the temperature is outside so I know how to prepare.


It must have been humid, as well as cold, today, because it felt particularly raw to both Mark and me...ah, winter in the big city!


I indulged myself in a few beads today, and there are a couple of other things I want to get, as well as some Christmas gifts, so my fingers got a real workout today. I like printed catalogs, but I like ordering online. It's much easier.


So tomorrow maybe I can have the slow breakfast, then maybe, just maybe, begin to get the sewing room in order and start a little beading. It's been a while, and I miss it. 


So that is all the activity in the field in exile.


December 2

First, let me apologize to anyone who was concerned that there was no journal last night. I didn't say anything about it because I wasn't sure whether I might have time to do one, but you can expect that from now until the time I migrate north again, there won't be many  journals on Wednesdays. 


I thought I might get to do one before I left for church, but Terry and I talked as long as we usually do, and I actually had to hurry a bit to get there on time. During Advent, there is church before choir practice, so it was 9:30 before I got home, and I was tired.


It was nice to get back to choir, even though I will essentially be sight-reading the piece for Sunday. Fortunately, it's not hard. Also fortunately, the choir only sings two Sundays in December (the third is the children's play), so we will have enough rehearsal time for Christmas Eve. And I'm doing something new: for the first time in my singing career, I'm singing second soprano. I know Bruce has been trying to do it for a while, so last night he just said that was what I would sing. Fortunately, it's only the "Carol of the Bells", for most of which the second part is a lot easier than the first. I think it's a new adventure: I do read music, and lately I seem to be able to hear myself sing most of the time, so it's worth a try. And we have one accomplished second who will sing in my ear, and that will help. Most of the things we do don't have two soprano parts, so I'll still get to practice my high Gs - which seemed to be in place last night - and maybe I can contribute to the ensemble. 


Today turned out to be a frustrating and nearly lost day. I did get to talk to Arthur and Mary Ann, my cousins in Virginia, whom I have not talked to in ages, which was really nice. But then I went off to get my blood drawn, and I thought to get my heart monitor. Well...it turns out that both hospitals now have a single appointment and registration area, and when I called the number on my order (which it turns out, I shouldn't have called), I made an appointment which I thought was for Cottage Hospital, which is the number I originally called. Well...at 1:45 I learned that my appointment was at Bon Secours, and no way was I going to get there from Cottage in 15 minutes. So I got up on my huffy high horse, told them to bag it, and came home, and proceeded to chew out the appointment person I talked to because the previous person had not told me where the appointment was. I didn't want to go to Bon Secours anyway, because it's too hard to get around there. So as a result of all the things I have going next week, I won't get my monitor until next Thursday, which means I will have to postpone the CT scans until the week after. Grr.


However, on the bright side, it won't matter when Mark gets here to do the windows tomorrow. They really need it. I can get away with having the windows washed every two or three years in Copper Harbor, but here in this filthy city, they need it twice a year. You should see the kitchen sliders. Yuck!


So I spent the rest of the afternoon doing not much...read a magazine and that's about it. I was considering doing trash, but I really don't have that much yet, and I just didn't feel like hassling the recyclables, even though the kitchen floor is covered with magazines and newspapers, amongst other things. Next week. See? I don't like to do it here, either, even when they come right to the curb, or into my backyard, to pick up.


The camera didn't come up again this morning, I think because it was windy overnight in Copper Harbor. It was around 20ºand snowing all day yesterday, and today was most of the same. There is now about an inch of snow on the railings and a couple of inches on the deck, and for most of the day you couldn't see down the harbor at all. Wish I was there.


Here, it was 40-ish and cloudy both days, with maybe a little drizzle yesterday and nothing today. Just raw and nasty.


Actually, my heart has been behaving a bit better for the past couple of days. It skips and bumps in my chest occasionally, but not for long, and there hasn't been any of the pounding and tightness in my chest that I had, particularly before I got here. So there's a finite chance that before I get the monitor, it won't be doing it anymore? That would be annoying, after all I went through to get it. Actually, I have more hope for the blood work and the ultrasound anyway. I am still really tired, and I do seem to get tired and sweaty more easily, but I think the trouble I have with walking has more to do with the weather...cold, damp weather just doesn't do my knees and other parts any good at all.


So that is all I know, and I think I will go upstairs and read for a while. It seems I could sleep 12 hours or more a day, but I do have to get up more or less early tomorrow for Mark.


It's snowing in the field, and it's dark and dreary in the field in exile.


And it's December!!

Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM