A View From the Field








February, 2005

February 28

I must say this is the first February in a long time that hasn't been interminably long. Probably it was because it seems like I spent most of it in doctor's offices. Time files, whether or not I'm having fun.


Today was the first time since I've been here that was what I would call a "normal" day, although it was somewhat truncated. I sat in the bathroom with a cat on my lap until I finished the pale blue sock and started a new one—the pale blue one with orange and purple in it. I figured I'd do a different one, just to keep from being too bored. I had tried something nasty with the second ball of yarn, and I had to rewind parts of it two or three times and start the sock over again three times before I got it going, but I think it will be all right now. I did lose about two inches of yarn in one color stripe, but I doubt it will be noticed. The moral of that story is, don't fiddle around with the yarn until you are ready to start using it.


After breakfast, instead of coming downstairs and being frustrated because of the camera, I went upstairs and looked at a couple of knitting magazines for a while. I have to say the popularity of knitting right now is giving forth with fewer, rather than more, good designs. I don't often use a printed pattern as-is, but I do look at three knitting magazines for ideas and tips. Nothing there, for sure!


When I'd finished that, wonder of wonders, I went into the sewing room. Wow! I had four skeins of sock yarn to wind into balls, and then I spent about an hour on Nancy's bracelet (which she says she want, I think). I had to move after a while because the chair was doing my back in. That chair is just a horror, and I can't figure out why, since it's just a fairly old task chair. However, after sitting in it for an hour or so, my back just starts to kill me and I have to move. It's really tempting to go to Staple's and just get another, more comfortable one, because I do have a lot of stuff I want to do in the sewing room.


When I came down to breakfast, the temperature here was 38º and a bunch of guys were out in my backyard cutting the you-know-what out of the lilac. I know it's easier to trim when it's dormant, but it won't have nearly so many flowers after what they did to it. On the other hand, it was reaching mighty close to the electrical wires, so I guess it's best they cut it down. I think (but I'm not sure, since I didn't watch them) that they also trimmed the bushes in the back part of the yard, which I'm sure they needed.


When I came back downstairs around 400 to get the mail, it was down to about 34º and snowing ever so lightly. By the time I got my dinner, there was maybe ½ inch on the ground, and they're predicting four or five inches overnight, I think.


In Copper Harbor, the temperature hung in around 25º and it snowed rather hard all day. As of this morning, there had been almost 47" of snow in Keweenaw County (semi-officially), and almost 220" for the season. They won't break any records, but with the couple of feet they've had over the past week, the snowmobile people should be happy.


Those who think spring should start in February—or even March, for that matter—don't live in Michigan, that's for sure.


Just for the record, my leg is still continuing to improve. The front part is less red every day, and there are fewer blisters on the back of my calf. It still looks nasty, because most of my shin is still peeling, and there are some funny red marks on one side of it, but clearly it's getting better...and I forgot to take my pills again. I'll do that when I go upstairs after I publish this.


So February is history, and in 68 days I will be home. Aaahhh!


February 27

I'll get this done, so everybody knows I'm still here.


I didn't get enough sleep last night, but I made it to church. The men totally screwed up the first phrase of the communion anthem, but oh, well.  I didn't get home until 2:30, because I stayed for the voter's meeting. It wasn't actually worth it, although Pastor Boelter gave a long speech that was the real high spot of the meeting. The only other thing that impressed me was the size of the budget (and there isn't a cent that isn't necessary) and the salaries for the permanent staff. Believe me, if anyone becomes a pastor or a music director it's for love, not money.


When I got home, I was so tired I could barely haul myself upstairs to change clothes, so I took a nice, two hour nap...and that pretty much covers the day.


The weather was cold, mid 20s here, but there was a little sunshine. In Keweenaw, it was also in the mid 20s, but it snowed all day, and that is supposed to continue for the next couple of days. I doubt anybody will be trying to get to the house to see about the computer.


So now I'm going back to bed and try to catch up on my sleep.


February 26

There was another story last night, one I had transcribed 45 pages of into the computer, and as a result, I was up most of the night and slept most of the day. I didn't finish "breakfast" until almost 4:00. Then it was upstairs to write a few checks, and Debbie called. If anything happened in the world today, I don't  know about it, because it was 6:30 before I got back to the computer.


Oh, yes, and around 3:00 I was about to go upstairs to eat when Tom called from the house, and I think I may have a hardware problem with the computer there. We could in no way get it to come out of standby. When he powered it down and powered it back up, it would show a yellow light for about 10 seconds then go off. I certainly hope it isn't that. I miss the camera. On the other hand, it's had pretty hard usage since 2001, and hardware does fail. I emailed Charlie and he offered to check it out while he is in the Harbor installing some upgraded wireless equipment, but I'm not sure he can get out to the house, what with the snow on the road. I hope he can. He is a technical guru, and Tom isn't.


And that pretty much was my day. I did a little editing on the stories and began working on last April...when I find out some new things about a program I sort of get hooked on using it, and right now Word is interesting me.


The weather in Copper Harbor was mostly clear but cold, in the upper teenss. I wish I could have seen it!


Here, it was clear and in the mid 20s. It was a pretty afternoon, and it was certainly nice to see the sun so high in the sky at 5:00.


So that is all I know. I'm really disappointed by the computer. Maybe no pictures until after I get there...


Oh, dear. And that is 9 weeks away...


February 25

I got up before I wanted to this morning, but I got to the doctor's office on time...only he wasn't. He had to agree that my leg looks better, but frankly, it looked better to me yesterday. It's not cured yet, and being a suspicious sort, he gave me another prescription for the antibiotic that I stopped taking Wednesday, just in case it's the combination that is doing the trick. This is a nasty infection, and it's hard to cure.


When I got home, I spent a bit of time in the sewing room, shortening a bracelet for Debbie. I thought I had lost some of my beading elastic, and in looking for it, I got into the box of larger beads, which has been at the top of the stairs since I got back here. When I opened it, I discovered that at least two of the ziplock bags that were full of beads weren't zipped closed, and I ended up with beads all over everywhere, including the stairs. I hadn't expected to get into that!


I had thought I might be able to string the bracelet on thicker elastic, but when I did, I discovered that I couldn't hide the knot, so I restrung it on the thin stuff. This is a cute, cheap thing, with silver beads and hockey-related charms. Since her son is an excellent goalie, and she is the manager of his team, it's very appropriate, but I could have worn the bracelet, and her wrist is even smaller than Nancy's. I hope I didn't make it too small, but fixing it won't be a problem if I did.


I had hoped to work on Nancy's bracelet, but by the time I finished the other one, the chair had gotten to my back, so I came back downstairs and had lunch. 


I actually transcribed a bit of the story I was reading the other day, but that is hard work. I type fast, but I make a lot of mistakes, and it's hard for me to transcribe, type, and think about changes I may want to make at the same time. Don't know quite why I've gotten the writing bug again, but it seems I may have it. That's not all bad—I haven't written any fiction since around 2001, and I do miss that. At one point in my life, I was writing 10 pages a day, every day. That's why there are thousands of pages of handwritten stories...


The weather in Copper Harbor was typical. The temperature was around 20º all day long with lake effect snow showers. I didn't look at the other camera much, but when I did, you couldn't see the other end of the harbor.


Here, it got close to 30º, and it sort of dribbled snow all day long. When I went out, there was about ½ inch on the ground, but by the time I got home, it had melted off the concrete. When I came down from upstairs there was another ½ inch on the ground...and so it went.


I'm looking forward to next week. I should do some food shopping, and there's Wednesday church, but otherwise, I don't think there's a thing on my calendar. It will be nice not to have to go running out somewhere every day.


So now I really should go up to bed and try to catch up on the sleep I didn't get this morning...


February 24

Let's see, where were we?


Yesterday was a nondescript day here, with high in the upper 20s. When I left for church in the morning, there was a half inch or so of new snow on the ground. I think there were a few snowflakes, but nothing stuck


Most everybody was at bible class, and Pastor Boelter is his old self again. He was on vacation for a week, and just before he left, he had to have tubes inserted in his ears, because, among other things, he had broken an eardrum. He is an energetic person, but he has a rather frail constitution, and we all worry about him, because he really throws himself into his work, and the congregation's current financial and legal situation has probably hit him harder than anybody else.


After that, I stopped at the food emporium and got enough stuff that I won't have to shop till next week. I got two 24 roll packages of my favorite toilet paper, so I won't have to worry about that for a while. Every so often, they put out packages like that, I think because they are going to make a change in the product and they want to get rid of what's on hand. Doesn't bother me, since I use it by the mile.


I don't recall doing anything of substance for the afternoon. The ranks of our choir have been seriously depleted, it seems. We had six men (plus Bruce, of course), but only three altos and four sopranos, one of whom isn't going to be here on Sunday. Our lead soprano is in Florida, I think, and Carol and another lady both have colds or the flu. Well, this seems to happen about this time most every year. It's just that Easter is so early this year that I'm sure Bruce is worrying.


When I got home, I started reading again, and I just stayed up until I finished. It's a story I've tried to write at least four times now, and I've never been quite satisfied with it, but I wanted to see how my thinking had changed between 1981 and 1983. A lot, as it turned out. I remembered that I'd started to type it into the computer in 1999, so I just finished reading what I'd done (and making a few minor corrections). 


I've said before, I can't write nonfiction longhand and I can't type fiction. However, the process of editing and polishing things is so much easier on the computer, that I've tried a couple of times to start transcribing some of my things. I am not a secretary, and I actively hate transcribing. I wish there was some kind of scanning software that includes real, honest-to-goodness handwriting recognition. Now, maybe there is, by this time. I haven't looked lately. The last time I did so was back in the late '90s, and there wasn't anything that would work for me. I have thousands of pages of handwritten stories that I've written over the years, and I would dearly love to get them into the computer somehow, so I could edit and polish them. I doubt I would try to publish them, but it would be nice to have them in something like publishable form. Anybody out there know if there's some handwriting recognition software that can process stuff written on narrow-ruled 3-ring binder paper? Vain hope, I suspect.


Anyway, I had decided I just didn't want to go out today, so I didn't. I petted a cat for a long time, worked on the pale blue sock, and generally did nothing much else.


Tomorrow I have to go to the doctor in the morning. I must report that my leg is continuing to heal up. The blisters on the back of my leg finally healed over yesterday, and to day they were beginning to dry up. Now, of course, the area where the infection started is peeling and looks gross, but not so gross as it did when it was full of purple blisters. While my left leg and foot are still swelling more than my right, it's a lot less puffy than it was, and a lot more comfortable. At intervals the part that has healed gets incredibly itchy, but I guess that's part of the healing process. So we progress.


It was cold here today, in the upper 20s, but there was a little intermittent sunshine.


In Copper Harbor, it was in the mid 20s yesterday, and I didn't see much snow. Today the temperature was the same—it almost looks like the thermometer was stuck at 24º—but there were snow showers, some heavy.


I know some people begin to get tired of winter by this time of year, but as for me, I'm glad to see it. The one year we had spring in Detroit in February, and the daffodils blooming in March, was the year we broke all the summer heat records that were set the year I was born, and so far as I'm concerned, it was totally miserable. I think maybe that was also the year it was 105º in Copper Harbor on the Fourth of July, and I can do very nicely without that, thank you. So the longer it stays cold, the happier I will be.


So now I have to do get the trash out. Since I didn't do anything last week, there's a ton of it, and I have to do cat pans.




February 22

I made it out of bed just in time to eat before I trundled off to the eye doctor. I'm pleased to report that my eyes are very healthy, in spite of what I do to them, and my cataracts have not gotten much worse this year. It's nice to get unequivocally good news for a change.


However, when I came home my eyes were so dilated that I haven't been able to do much for the rest of the afternoon. It's beginning to go away now, but my eyes feel tired and teary, so I have a good excuse to go to bed early...I can't read tonight!


That's good, because there is church tomorrow, so I need to be up at 8:30 at the latest.


The only annoyance I had is that I've misplaced my sunglasses. A couple of weeks ago, we had some bright sunshine after a snowfall, and I took them out of the car and carried them around in my purse for several days until it got cloudy. I remember taking them out of my purse, thinking I wouldn't need them that day, but where I put them and where they have gotten to is a real mystery. I'm sure they are in the house, and it will just be a matter of waiting until the black hole belches them back out before I recover them. Oh well. It makes me consider getting that thing from The Sharper Image that causes a beeper to go off when you push a button on a console. Of course, then I'd probably lose the console.


So that was my quiet day.


The temperature here was in the mid 30s all day, with light snow showers for most of the day, but no accumulation. In Keweenaw, it was in the low 20s all day, and there was snow in Houghton, but the few times I checked the pictures, I didn't see any on the north shore.


Oh, my leg is beginning to look almost human again. The blisters on the back of my calf are beginning to disappear, although one is still weeping, and everything looks a whole lot less red...and I've forgotten to take my pills again! Geez...


I did find out why they say to take them with food: one stuck in my throat last night and it took a banana and a lot of water to get it down. I suppose it also might do a job on my stomach. So I have an excuse to have another banana.


Now my eyes feel like they are out on stalks, so I will trundle upstairs and close them...


February 21

Well, I did it again. I started reading when I went upstairs, and it was 4:30 this morning before I finally got to bed. For various reasons, I didn't sleep very well, but I rolled out at 10:30 this morning, long after Buster was sure I was never going to get up today.


I got up then because I had an appointment with the cardiologist this afternoon, and I wanted to get my funnies and my breakfast out of the way before I went.  I had just finished eating and was thinking about packing up to go when Marty came around to clear the 4" or more of snow we had yesterday, and as a result of that, I was almost late.


I question that snow figure, by the way. That is what the NWS reported for their correspondent in Grosse Pointe Farms, but from past experience, I believe whoever it is measures in a sheltered location. It looked more like 6" around here, although the temperature was in the upper 30s when I got up, so by the time Marty got here, there was less.


The cardiologist, whom I like as well as I did when I saw her in 1998, had only good news. There is definitely nothing wrong with my heart, and as she said, I'm "allowed" to have PACs and they won't do any damage. She did say it would be good to see her once again before I head north, so the last two weeks I'm here are shaping up to be very busy  indeed. Maybe, just maybe (but probably not) that will induce me to get my cleaning and packing done early. Hah! I should be so organized!


One of the reasons I was so late getting to bed was that Nancy called last night. I've been thinking about her and wondering how she was, and it turns out that they are going to try to get up to Copper Harbor by the end of the week. Lucky! Their road isn't plowed, but it doesn't have the dips and hollows that drift over like ours does. I will be excited to hear what they find. Anyway, it was good to hear from her, and we had a long conversation, as always.


When I got up this morning, I was really encouraged by the look of my leg. Oops—short hiatus while I go upstairs to take my pills, which need to be taken with food. I really wonder about drugs that do a number on your stomach. Anyway, the front of my shin has faded until it's close to the color of the other one, and the patches on my foot are almost gone. The back of my calf is still blistered, and one blister was still weeping, although the other ones have scabbed over, and the area is much less red. So I'm still making progress. I can see my black fly scars again.


In Copper Harbor, the temperature was in the upper 20s, and while there was some snow in Houghton, I'm not sure there was any along the shore today.


So now I am going back upstairs to read some more, and hopefully get to bed a bit earlier tonight. Tomorrow is the eye doctor, and if I'm tired, I won't be able to see a thing.


February 20

When I got up this morning, at a reasonable hour, I was most surprised to see snow coming down, and about ½ inch on the ground. By the time I left for church, it was about an inch, and it's kept on snowing lightly, very fine grainy snow all day. I would guess there's three or more inches on the ground now. Surprise!


I take a rather twisty route out of the subdivision, and while rounding the last corner, my back wheels slipped a bit. It's interesting to me that correcting for that kind of slide is second nature for me now...I don't even remember turning into the slide, but I must have, because I ended up right in the place I wanted to be. So all my interesting driving experiences have evidently made their mark on my mind. Anyway, it was wet and sloppy but not particularly slippery on the main streets. There were a few fewer people in church than there might otherwise have been, but there were actually a surprising number.


It was Matins, which is a short service, but there was another baptism...it's amazing and gratifying how many young families and new babies there are in our church now, after so many years when everybody seemed to be over the age of 50. 


I was also very sorry to hear that the father of one of our choir members finally died yesterday. I say that because sometime around the holidays, he was admitted to hospital with a perforated intestine, and he has been in ICU all this time, sort of hanging on. What a terrible thing that has been for his family! While I know they are mourning deeply now, I can see where eventually they will have a feeling of relief that the issue is finally decided. His wife, Jan's mother, is the matron of the Altar Guild, and she is a strong woman for sure. From his obit, I learned that they lost three of their four children over the years. He was 89, so it was time to go, but children should outlive their parents.


I am now struggling with myself about the funeral.  I absolutely abhor funerals, but on the other hand, I feel I should honor the family, whom I respect greatly. My other thought was that I'm getting to an age where this is going to happen more often, so I best get used to it.


 I do believe that my leg is beginning to recover. The front part is getting to look fairly good—I can see my black fly scars again—and while the back is still ugly and a few blisters have broken and are weeping, there has been no further spread and the whole thing doesn't look purple anymore.


So as a result, I aborted my plans to be ready to go into the hospital tomorrow. Instead, I embroidered for quite a while before I came down here, and didn't run the vacuum in the kitchen. Maybe I can get to that this week.


I did stop at the drug store for the eight pills they didn't have last Thursday, and I got eggs, so I won't have to worry about shopping until Thursday. Normally, I would go Tuesday, but my eye doctor appointment is at 1:15, and the funeral is a 11, so I won't be able to go then. I confess, I like it much better in Copper Harbor where there aren't any appointments.


The temperature here hung in around 30º all day long.


In Copper Harbor, the temperature was in the upper 20s all day, and it was snowing like mad.


So that is all there is, and it's time to haul myself upstairs and elevate my foot.


February 19

While I didn't get to bed very early last night, I did sleep very well indeed—no night sweats—and when I woke up this morning, I really think my leg looks better. It's not so purple, and it hadn't spread overnight, and it isn't sore. It itches some, but that may be healing. So maybe, just maybe, I'll be all right. I'm giving it until Monday to begin to heal, but it may be all right. Hope so.


So I jumped out of bed (figuratively, of course—I don't ever, ever jump), petted a cat, turned the heel on the pale blue sock, and actually ate breakfast right around noon. And I unloaded the dishwasher before breakfast, which is what I used to do eons ago. After I did my computer thing and ate, I washed the pan from last night and started in on the stove.


Ugh!  I had noticed some noxious stuff dripping from the range hood, so I tried to get it cleaned up. I wasn't very successful, I must admit, and that got me thinking that in Copper Harbor, I really must train myself to wipe down the inside of the hood every time I clean the stove (which isn't that often, as you all know). This one is really gross, even after several attempts to clean it, and I'm going to have to hunt through my stash of sprays and things, and look at the store, to see if I can find some really heavy-duty grease cutter. Otherwise, I guess I will have to get at it with Dawn and scrubbers, because not only is it gross, I think all that grease buildup may be dangerous. Yuck!


Eventually, I got at the stove, too, and that was gross, too, but it did clean up fairly well. That cooktop is 1978 (or so) vintage, and it is absolutely the worst thing to clean I have ever seen. That was before someone designed a sealed gas cooktop, and not only that, but there are any number of little hidey holes and grooves and places where you have to clean under something that won't move. Clearly the guy who designed that never had to clean it. If I was planning to be here long, I would definitely consider replacing it. Anyway, I managed to clean it up fairly well without taking it all to pieces. So that is done.


Besides a lot of stuff that should be put away to clear the counters, the remaining task is the floor. The vacuum is actually sitting in the kitchen, because I had to clean up some shredded cheese I spilled in front of the stove a while back (I told you I'm the world's messiest cook). At that time, I also took it apart and cleaned out the lint in in at the ends of the rollers so they actually turn (this is an old Oreck, and it, too, was designed by a guy who never had to maintain it in a house with a sewer and cats), so it should be ready to go, after I get the large stuff off the floor. Tomorrow for that.


If I'm OK, I plan to continue and get the counters cleaned off, especially the one at the end of the kitchen, which has been covered with stuff for several years now. My exploration of herbal teas has left me with more boxes than I have room for, which is a problem, and something in those end cupboards, which serve as my pantry, is breeding meal moths like you wouldn't believe. So I still have some work ahead of me.


The weather, oh yeah. Here, it got into the middle 30s, and there was some sunshine, quite contrary to what the weather forecast said. In Copper Harbor, it was around 12º all day, and has now dropped off to 7º...but it's -2º in Houghton.


The forecast is for snow tomorrow in Copper Harbor, and we are under a winter storm watch for tomorrow afternoon and evening.


I might mention that there is about 10½ hours of daylight in Copper Harbor now, and we are having about 10¾ hours here—they're catching up! I have no doubt that if we could see the camera, the sun would be setting in camera range now. Rats. Well, maybe next week.


So that is all there is, and I am about to trundle up to the second story and "elevate my leg", and get to bed early so I will be bright for church tomorrow.


Things are looking up.


February 18

Well, I can't say I slept very well, for reasons I don't know, but I slept pretty long, and woke up feeling pretty well, in spite of the fact that my cellulitis has now girdled my leg and spread to my foot.


After the slow breakfast (which I ate around 1:00), I started in on the kitchen. Part of the reason was that I knew I had bought a new supply of vitamins, and I couldn't find it, but also, nearly all the plates and forks were dirty and not in the dishwasher. So I loaded it up and washed dishes (now I need to unload it) and cleaned and bleached the counter beside the sink, where I do most of my prep work. There are still some things on that side to put away, and the rest of the kitchen is a disaster, but at least something  is done.


Then I decided it was time to cook, so I did pork chops with Spanish rice, one of my favorites, and one of the easiest dishes I make. It needs to be put away, but it was yummy, as usual.


While I was eating my breakfast, the gardeners came and cut the you-know-what out of the pear tree. They have been trying to shape it up for several years now, and I guess they are still trying. There won't be as many blossoms, but there won't be as many pears, either, and that is a good thing. That tree is a Clapp's Favorite. Its pears are some of the sweetest I have ever eaten, but they aren't good for canning (too soft), and their real disadvantage is that they all ripen at once, they need to be picked sort of green and ripened off the tree, and they don't keep. I really don't know why my dad planted that one instead of another variety. There used to be a Bartlett behind the garage (long since gone), and since it takes two pear trees to set fruit, he planted the Clapp's right behind the porch...so the tree must be close to 50 years old. It give more shade than a Bartlett, and the blossoms are really beautiful, and when the petals begin to fall it looks like snow falling. However, for the rest of the summer it is a real trial. When the fruit starts to ripen, the squirrels begin to chew on the stem ends, and down they come, and when they get ripe enough to fall, they begin to ferment which smells bad and draws bees, yellowjackets and wasps, besides doing a number on the grass. Live and learn, I guess. The yard wouldn't be nearly so nice without the shade, but it's a trial.


The weather here was in the low 20s with a bit of sun and a few snowflakes...not the weather I would have chosen to prune a tree.


In Keweenaw, it was in the middle teens with lake effect snow.


So winter is back in Michigan.


Now I must put my dinner away and try to get another good night's sleep. Good hibernation weather in the field in exile.


February 17

It's beginning to get cold down  here, due in part to the temperature outside falling rapidly, and my leg is getting pretty swollen again, so I will get this done and climb upstairs where it's warmer.


There was a bit of wet snow overnight Tuesday. which held down attendance at bible class yesterday, but by the time I got out, the temperature was over freezing and it was melting and sloppy. By church time, most of the snow was gone, but the temperature was dropping.


Choir practice was so-so, but at least Bruce can laugh at us when we really screw up, which we did a couple of times. One piece will probably be postponed until after Easter, because we just didn't get it. And it was 9:30 by the time I got home.


I went to bed fairly early and slept long and hard, and I didn't want to get up when I did, but I had to see the doctor today. I had to see him, because the antibiotic I was taking doesn't seem to be working. He (not my regular doctor) wanted to throw me right in the hospital, but I managed to talk him out of that. Cellulitis is a problem for me, because it is usually treated with one of the penicillin drugs and I am allergic to penicillin. So I am on another antibiotic, too, in a dose the pharmacist said she had never seen prescribed before. It has a very small (5%) chance of causing a reaction, but it's better than the hospital. Almost anything is.


If this doesn't work I will be in the hospital. I pray not.


Last night at choir, one of the other sopranos, someone new whom I don't know well, said, "Why not go in the hospital and get it over with?" She just doesn't understand that I have seen enough of hospitals to last more than a lifetime, and I'm  not about to explain my entire medical history to her.


However, yesterday afternoon I surfed the web and found out all about cellulitis, and I understand the gravity of the situation. By the way, the best information I got was from the Mayo website, in case you ever have to look up some ailment or other, and that is likely to be pretty accurate. A couple of the other sites I visited had some different information that I'm not sure was correct...and remember to avoid at all costs any site that has a dot-something that isn't US, Canada, England or Australia. That's how I got into a mess when I was researching some medication.


Yesterday was pretty quiet, weather-wise, in Keweenaw, but the temperature has been dropping, and there has been lake effect snow. It's down in the low teens now, and there is a 24 mph wind out of the north. WInter's back.


Here, too. While it got into the upper 30s yesterday, it dropped off and there was another inch or so of snow this morning, with temps in the 20s, and it is now under 20º and dropping. There was a little sunshine this afternoon, which was nice, but it was cold outside.


So that is all I know. I don't seem to have enough trash to put out, and my leg feels better when it is elevated, so I will go and attend to that.


Winter's back in Michigan.


February 15

I read until an unconscionable hour this morning before I finally turned out the light, so I was very late getting up. I finally finished the valentine sock by using a woven bind off. That is only supposed to work with 1x1 rib, and my sock tops are 2x1 ribs, but it turned out looking all right, and I can get it over the thick part of my calf . If it's not perfect, the tops are usually under my pants anyway and won't show. I started another sock—from the top—this one is white, pale blue, pale lavender, tan and royal blue, and it is going to be the prettiest of all the Crazy Socks. How that one got in there, I don't know, but I like it, and I bet I wear it a lot.


Buster was perfectly disgusted with me last night (and this morning). Every so often he would come where I was an holler at me, and it wasn't until this morning that I finally figured out why. Not only did he want me to go to sleep, he never got his nighttime sit on my lap. Poor Buster! Then this morning, when I was rather wakeful because it was warm in the bedroom, he kept  coming up beside me every time I would sort of come to, to holler at me some more. Poor Buster! when I did get up, I tried to make it up to him, but by that time he wasn't having any. Poor, poor Buster! Now he is sitting on my lap, making typing interesting, shall we say, and trying to get a pet in anytime he can.


The weather was really unpleasant today. I think, so much as I looked at it, that it rained here all day long, and is now raining heavily. Sometime overnight, it will snow, but not more than 3", probably. The temperature today got to around 40º and it was dull and gray. In Copper Harbor, it got into the upper 20s, and while I think it was mostly cloudy all day, at sunset the sky was clearing—how I wish I could have seen it out my windows!—but this is the calm before the storm. It's supposed to start snowing tonight or tomorrow and keep right on.


As a result of my late start, I didn't do a blessed thing all day, never even ate breakfast. I snacked on some Vermont Cheese Straws, and I had a nice steak dinner, but otherwise—nothing. So now I will trundle upstairs, take a bath, and read some more, although not, I hope, too late, because I want to go to church tomorrow.


And that's all there is.


February 14

Well, it's down again. I don't know if it's the same problem or not, and it may be two weeks before we have a camera again. I know how to fix the standby problem, but somebody has to be there to do it for me. I would really like to know why it's begun to have this problem all of a sudden, but that will probably have to wait until may. Oh well. I was afraid it was too good to last.


I didn't get to bed too early, because I started in on the sock again, but I slept long and hard, with some interesting and vivid dreams. When I finally hauled myself out of bed, Buster was so happy he could hardly contain himself, and he wasn't too pleased when I started knitting again. I got the sock up to the last row of ribbing, and now I'm a bit stuck. I've discovered the disadvantage of starting a sock at the toe: I have to figure out some way to bind off the stitches that will make the bind-off row as stretchy as the knitting. I even tried a #10 needle, and that didn't do it. I have a book on knitting socks from the toe up, but I don't know where it is. So I'm stuck with the sock almost finished, but still on the needles.


I would probably have gone upstairs eventually except that Debbie called with more news about her continuing saga, and I didn't get upstairs to eat until nearly 3 pm, then she called again. So about 3:30, I had a pastrami sandwich for "breakfast", and I had cheese and crackers with American Spoon relishes for "dinner". By that time, it was time to listen to the news and the early evening music, which included Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, one of my most favorite pieces, and a little Vivaldi, and now we have Schubert for violin and guitar. I may never get upstairs!


The weather here wasn't worth even mentioning, rainy and dark with temperatures in the mid 30s. It Snowed a bit overnight in Keweenaw, but it was just cloudy and dark and mid-30s there today, too. The snow is coming, however. We are going to have rain turning to snow, but not much. Very blah.


So now I will try to elevate my legs and read for a while and get to bed at some kind of reasonable hour.


No view of the field tonight. Sigh.


February 13



Or, at least it was this afternoon. We'll see about tomorrow. Around 3 this afternoon, Tom called me, and after some difficulty, we solved the problem: the cpu had gotten stuck in standby mode, and while that has happened to me once before, it was a long time ago, and I'd forgotten how to fix it. We finally got it running again by holding the power button in for several seconds, which turned it off, and then it came up properly. What causes that, I do not know, but I don't think it's likely to happen again. Or, I hope not. I have to assume, however, that the other problem is still with us.


And oh, was it good to see my view again!


That was pretty much the extent of my exertions today. The choir sang in the front of the church, which  meant that I was duty-bound to stand up, and my legs, as well as the rest of me, were really tired by the time I got home. Doing the stairs has been a real chore tonight. However, it went off well.


I started the ribbing on the sock before I left for church, and I actually embroidered for a while when I got home. I think one reason I sort of stopped the embroidery was that I was working on a part that had stitches spotted all over the area, which I hate. However, I persevered and finished that, so now I can start on the angel's sleeves, which have the same colors as the wings. I probably would have kept on, except that I was hungry (when I have to get up and get out on time, I usually eat only a small, fast breakfast), and while I was on the first floor, I decided to eat my lunch at the computer, and I just never left.


The weather here was nondescript—upper 20s and cloudy—but it has now started raining and freezing, which is the pits. I guess, though, that it's supposed to warm up a few degrees overnight, and just rain.


In Copper Harbor, it was a bit warmer (again!), in the mid 30s, but there is snow on the way overnight and tomorrow. It was apparently fairly sunny earlier in the day, but by the time the camera took its firsts picture, there were dark, streaky clouds in the west and the sun was just barely out. By the second picture it was pretty much gone. The clouds were being blown into streaks from the west, and the sky was really interesting.


There are about 10:15 hours of daylight in Copper Harbor (10:30 here), which is the most there has been since October 26, and they are gaining time at over 3 minutes a day now, so we are on the upward leg, and soon the days will be longer there than here. Even though there is quite a bit of winter weather left, at least the days are getting reasonably long.


Well, now, while my right foot is cold, my left foot is warm and very swelled up, so I guess I'd better crawl upstairs and elevate them. I got a nice note from someone who had landed in the hospital with cellulitis, and I don't want that to happen to me!


There is a camera in the field tonight!


February 12

Well, I have a call in to Tom, but all I got was his answering machine. So I guess there is no camera for a while. Too bad, too, because it was a beautiful day in Keweenaw today, mostly clear and sunny, with temperatures in the mid 20s. Darn. Besides, if prior years are any indication, the sun should have crept into the camera view again.


It will make me really antsy, if it stays down, and there is no possibility that I can get there any sooner than I'd planned (May 6), since I will be having CT scans the week before I go. How to drive a person crazy.


I woke up at a relatively reasonable hour, petted a cat and knitted for some time, and did the normal computer things this morning. The tack of the day was clothes, so after brunch, I went back upstairs and sat in the sunshine for most of the afternoon sorting and folding clothes. I have some mending to do, which I will attempt to get done tomorrow, and after that I got to reading a book that was in the front bedroom, until Buster told me it was time to shift again.


It was a beautiful day here, too, with lots of sun and temperatures in the mid 40s, officially, although I caught one reading of 53º in my tree. I fetched in the recycling barrel (it was in the middle of the driveway this time, so I had to get it out of the way before tomorrow morning) and the trash barrel. There are a lot of bare spots in the snow cover here, as one would expect, although the piles around the sides of driveways are still pretty deep.


So another day in exile, and without even a view out my virtual window. Sob.


February 11

I find myself in the curious position of not being able to remember exactly what I did today. However...


Last night, I elevated my leg in bed and started another crazy sock. This one is cherry red, rose, pale pink, dark lavender and black...perfect for Valentine's Day. I've enjoyed the gray one so much, I wanted to try the striped socks from the toe up. It is working fine, and I'm now ready to start the heel. The first few rows of the toe are awkward, with too many needles poking out, but that doesn't last long. And the colors are really very pretty. 


I stopped last night when my legs began to get twitchy. I can only sit that way for a certain length of time before I get most uncomfortable. So I got to bed fairly early, I think. I didn't sleep exceptionally well, however. For some reason, in the middle of the night every joint in my body, except for my knees, was achy, and a couple of times I had to get up and sit upright to get the kinks out of my shoulders. Don't know why.


This morning, I was up around 9:30, but I worked the second half of the foot of the sock, so it was late when I got downstairs, and then I had the slow breakfast. I did wash dishes, which has cleaned up the kitchen a bit, although getting the trash and recyclables out has also helped that. I wiped down the cooktop just to get the grease off, and tomorrow I will try to clean it up, although my back is still bothersome when I stand.


The weather here was dull and boring, mid 20s with no sun. In Copper Harbor, it was about the same, but mid 30s. There has really been a curious temperature inversion in Michigan this winter. I don't think it can all be because Mother Superior hasn't frozen over.


The camera is beginning to worry me. I hope something hasn't happened to the computer.  I guess I'll have to give Tom a call and find out if he's planning to go out to the house sometime soon.


In fact, it is bothering me so much that I spent most of the afternoon going back to the week I came back here and listing all the times it was down, then I went out to the Weather Underground and got the temperatures and wind speed and direction for every day. There isn't any hard and fast correlation, but it tends to be down more when the temperature is below about 25º and/or the wind is out of the southwest. However, that hasn't been true for most of the past four days, so what is wrong now, I do not know.


Well, I wanted to stay down here until the Russian Easter Overture plays, but evidently it will be at the end of the hour, and my eyes tell me it's time to haul myself to the upper story.


In 12 weeks, I'll be back in the field.  Sigh.


February 10

I'm back, even if the camera isn't. I tried to bounce it a couple of times today, and it just won't connect. Sorry.


I didn't sleep very well Tuesday night—more on that later, but I was up and to bible class yesterday morning. Most of the class was a discussion of some church news. It seems that the woman who was the church treasurer for about eight years managed to embezzle at least $800,000 from the church accounts. She was arraigned yesterday, and the church is going to start a civil suit to try to recover the money. I know the woman, and it was really surprising to find that she would do such a thing, but I guess if the opportunity presents itself, almost anybody has a breaking point. She wasn't bonded, and the bylaw that said that all checks had to be signed by two people was never enforced. There were no books, and there were no audits for most of her term, but for most of her term, her husband was president of the congregation. We don't know how much the husband knew about what she was doing. It is a really ugly incident, and besides leaving the congregation with almost no operating funds, it wiped out all the money that had been contributed toward the building addition that is now in progress. Fortunately, both the banks and the contractor are understanding and helpful, and it will work out. It just makes all the rest of us very sad.


Anyway, on the way home, I stopped and got my glasses straightened out(I bent them a bit last June when I feel, and lot more the other day), and then I spent most of the afternoon trying to get my telephone bill straightened out (maybe it is now? Who knows!). Then  back at church for Ash Wednesday services and choir. There were a lot of people in church, which was really good to see.


Today, I had an appointment with another surrogate internist. I mentioned, about two weeks ago, that I had fallen on the kitchen floor, and my knee was swelled up. The swelling didn't go away, and in fact, the whole lower part of my left leg and my foot started swelling alarmingly. I was concerned, but frankly, I put off calling the doctor because I was afraid it was a blood clot. However, besides the swelling, the front of my shin got exceptionally red—almost purple—and lumpy and warm and sore, so after it kept me awake Tuesday night, I got an appointment with a doctor this afternoon. He was a nice young man, and he said that while it could be a blood clot, from the really ugly look of my shin, he was more inclined to think that it is cellulitis—infection of the skin. He got me an almost immediate appointment with the ultrasound lab at Cottage, and although I haven't heard from the doctor, the technician said definitely there was no blood clot. Whew! My regular doctor is on hospital rounds this week, but he was in the office while i was there, and he looked at it and said "oh, yeah!", so I guess it's pretty sure.


I trundled off to the drug store—discovering that Thursday afternoon around 4:00 seems to be a good time to go—and I am now taking antibiotics, and I have promised to try to keep my leg elevated. That's one reason I'm writing early tonight, so I can get the trash out and go upstairs and sit in bed. I also got a new bottle of JD, and had a nice double, even though it's only Thursday. I think I deserved it.


However, I was wondering, what next? I seem to be being bedeviled by a bunch of minor ailments lately, and I could do without.


The weather in Copper Harbor has been in the low to middle 20s for the past couple of days, thus the down camera, and today it was somewhat sunny, darn it. Yesterday it was mostly cloudy, but there hasn't been any snow to speak of for the last couple of days.


Yesterday morning, when I stepped out of the house, we had had about 3" of new snow overnight, and it was still snowing, although it pretty much stopped while I was in bible class. It was just cold and sloppy and cloudy. Today the sun shone mostly all day—I should have had my sunglasses. It has been in the mid 20s both days.


So that is all I can remember about the last two days. In twelve weeks and one day, I'll be back home.


February 8

I finished my reading early last night, and I actually turned out the light at a reasonable hour,  but it was still late when I got up this morning. It seemed like I slept for four hours, was wakeful for four hours, then slept for another four. Not exactly what I had in mind, but oh, well. So long as it's not repeated tonight. Tomorrow is church day, and Ash Wednesday, so I need to be up at a reasonable hour.


I knitted on several projects for a while before I came downstairs, then I got interested in the computer, and my first meal of the day was a sandwich at 2:30. Also not what I had intended, but those things happen. I decided to try some caffeinated chai, just to see what it would do. It was yummy, but my heart pounded for an hour afterwards, so I guess I will have to stick to the decaffeinated kinds. No PACs, though, so that was good.


The camera is still down, but it is still cold (20s) and snowy in Copper Harbor, so I wasn't completely surprised. Annoyed, but not surprised.


Here, it got into the mid 30s, but it is now falling off, and we are supposed to have snow tonight, too. It was cloudy and sort of blah.


I did dig the recycling barrel out of the snow bank this afternoon and haul it back to the garage, so I will be able to fill it for Friday. I cleared out the kitchen sink (again)—it had gotten full of pots again. Later in the afternoon, I remembered that I had planned to wash today, so I did that. The last load is waiting in the washer for the previous ones to dry. And while that was going on, I also remembered that I had promised myself that I would keep up with the journals, so I processed January. While I was getting ready to do that, I cleaned out my Inbox, which had somehow gotten over 1100 messages in it (now down to 806, still too many, but most are from you, my readers, and I don't like to throw them away). I was looking for the nice message someone sent me with directions about how to sort the journal entries by date in word. I'd printed that out once, but evidently I threw it out in one of my cleaning fits, so I had to go find it and print it again. I guess I can say I did a few things today, considering how late a start I got.


So another quiet day in exile. It would be nicer if the camera was up.


February 7

The temperature hung around 20º all day in Copper Harbor, and it was snowing part of  the time, so of course the camera was down all day. One time when I tried to bounce it, there was so much static on the line it's no wonder it couldn't connect.


Here, it was around 40º all day and raining...most unpleasant. 


I should finish reading tonight, so then I'll be able to keep better hours. I wasn't too late getting up this morning, but I turned the heel on another sock, so it was some time before I got downstairs. Eventually, I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and put away some of the pots and pans on the sink, and I packaged up some of the newspapers and catalogs that were lying around on the floor. I think by the time it stops raining, i should be able to retrieve the recycling barrel, and I will need to fill it this week.


Otherwise, I caught up on my reading—I discovered a Science News and a paper I hadn't read. I don't know that I've mentioned Science News here, but I've read it for many, many years, and it has been really useful to keep  me aware of what's going on in the scientific world. Couldn't do without it...and occasionally it's been very useful. It's only about 16 pages long, but the writing is pretty good. 


So that was the day. The boring days of the longest month are in progress. Now I will trundle upstairs and finish my reading.


By the way, Buster loves it when I'm sitting in bed doing something. He sits down beside me, and if I'm not using both hands, he gets a lot of petting, and he gets to use my leg as a pillow. It seems he likes to be scratched on his underside, not his belly so much as up under his front legs, so he is a happy cat. I'd gotten out of the habit of doing that, because DC didn't like it at all. It  somewhat surprises me that Buster does, because he is the first cat I've ever known who always  sleeps curled up in the smallest ball he can make, and that might mean he doesn't like to expose his underside. DC, on the other hand, used to sleep on his back a lot, but he didn't want me to rub his tummy. Well, each one is different, and Buster likes to be tickled in his armpits.


So I will go do that and see if maybe tomorrow I can do a bit more.


February 6

Just a short entry to check in. I didn't go to church today, because the little kids were singing, and I ended up not doing much except to finish the heel of the sock.


The camera came up around 10:30, but it's cloudy in Copper Harbor again, and around 5:00 it started to rain rather heavily, or at least it was all over the window. Now it's raining or foggy or something and you can't even see the lights of town. The temperature got into the low 40s, but now it's dropped off to freezing, and I guess it's on its way down, with accompanying snowfall. Winter's not over in the Keweenaw.


Here, it was cloudy (despite what the NWS says), and the temperature got into the mid 40s. There may be some rain tonight, and it's supposed to be unseasonably warm for another couple of days before it cools off and snows here, too.


So that's about all I have to report, and I will haul myself upstairs and read a while again.


February 5

So I went to bed very late again last night, didn't sleep very well (I think I was hot), and got up at a relatively early hour this morning. Maybe I'm getting caught up on my sleep?


I began to turn the heel on the gray sock and started the slow breakfast before I got down to the computer...and found the camera connected again and looking out on a very foggy harbor. It had connected at 10:15, at which time you couldn't see anything but fog, but it had burned off by 1:00 or so. Looking at the Bridge Cam page was interesting...you couldn't see anything in Houghton either, and very little at the airport. It was supposed to be foggy here, too, but I didn't particularly notice that. And later in the day, it was sunny and pretty both places with temperatures in the low 40s, although now it's warmer in Copper Harbor than it is here again. Very strange.


After enjoying the slow breakfast, I went upstairs instead of downstairs, and I spent the afternoon sorting papers, one of my least favorite tasks. However, there were some bills to pay and some others to file, and it was high time I sorted out all the tax stuff and threw away all the outdated pleas for money. I still have piles of piles, but I also have a trash bag full of stuff.


In the course of that exercise, I got to looking at my telephone bill, which is still screwed up (thanks, SBC—you're just as bad as Ma Bell used to be). What struck me is that there were only 21 completed calls last month. That confuses me even more, because it says some days the computer never managed to make a connection to Pastynet at all, let alone sync up. So what is actually going on with the phone line or the computer or both, I have no clue, and it frustrates me even more that I'm not there.


So now it's time to haul myself back upstairs, but the good news is that it's only 90 days until I will be back in the field. Time does pass even in exile.


February 4

I can't say it was a wasted day, even though it started pretty late. I guess I was catching up on my sleep, and since I started rather late, it was almost 11:00 when I got up, and even later when I got downstairs. My "breakfast" consisted of a sandwich at around 2:30.


However, I did get the dishes washed and the sink cleaned out, temporarily at least, and I made my baby back ribs, according to the old family recipe. They are yummy, accompanied by a nice baked potato, of course. They are actually braised rather than barbecued, and the sauce uses ketchup as a base, but with a little Tabasco and chili powder and lots of onions, they are a nice comfort food dish for me. Of course, now the shedraugh (sorry, I know how to pronounce it—I haven't a clue how to spell it) is dirty again and will probably sit in the sink for days.


I also had a nice conversation with Shirley, at last. She is doing fine. She was surprised at the number of people who came to Sully's memorial service, but after all, he was a fixture in Keweenaw for over 80 years, and he was actually a very sociable person. She says when he was hiring somebody, he never asked their qualifications. He wanted to know who their great uncles were and who the family was. Just another indication of how things used to be in the Keweenaw. He will be missed. 


Anyway, Shirley seems to be doing fine, although she is bedeviled by all the things that have to be done when somebody dies It was good to talk to her, and I'll have to do so more often.


When I finally got downstairs to the computer, around noon, imagine my surprise and delight when there was a picture on the livecam page, of a lovely, sunny day! Amazing. What the devil was the problem yesterday, I just don't know, but it got a connection about 11:30 this morning and stayed up all afternoon. 


It was so beautiful, I saved a couple of pictures. I wish I'd been there to see the sunset. As you can see from the first picture, the sun is setting just outside the camera view. Since the temperature was around 40º at that point, it was rather foggy, and that golden light is so beautiful. But as frequently happens in the Keweenaw, the sky cleared before it got completely dark, for one of those patented sunset pictures. I have a lot of those in my "savecams" folder, and I never get tired of looking at them.


You can see that most of the harbor is ice-free, except for  a little bit down at our end, which is very likely slush ice. The wind was from the west today, so it pushed what ice there was down to the east end.


It's somewhat surprising that the harbor didn't freeze, with all the really cold weather there was in December and January, but it didn't. Shirley said that somebody who was staying with her was walking around on the ice one morning without even a pole to test, and later that same day, all the ice was gone!  She was remarking how stupid they were, but they probably didn't realize the danger. John Dee has been saying, ever since I've been reading his journals, that he doesn't go out on the ice, ever, and I think he's wise, except maybe in years like the one when the entire lake nearly froze over. One slip and that's all for you—that water is mighty cold and mighty deep.


So that is my truncated day, and now I have to decide whether to go to bed like a good girl or sit and read half the night again.


More starshine in the field tonight!


February 3

Well, as has been the norm lately, the camera was up yesterday, when it was cloudy and dull, but today, when it was flat-out gorgeous in Keweenaw, it was down all day. I tried to bounce it several times, and it never could make a connection. Drat.


When I woke up yesterday morning, there was thick fog all around, and every twig and branch and spruce needle was covered with thin frost...now that's what they mean by freezing fog! It was so beautiful, I was happy that I got to get out to bible class. They've planted a nice variety of ornamental trees in the boulevard on Mack Avenue, and the frost made everything even prettier. There was a haze of white over everything. By the time I came home, it was beginning to disappear...it must have been subliming, because the temperature was in the mid 20s all day. And of course, by 1:00 or so, it was just another cold day in the city.


It was about 10º colder here than it was in Copper Harbor, amazingly enough, and it was the second day in a row when the NWS predicted temps in the upper 30s and we never got over about 27º. I don't know where their heads have been.


In Copper Harbor, it got into the upper 30s, but it was dull and cloudy and sort of foggy all day.


Now, today was different. It was sunny both places, and the temperature got into the upper 30s both places. Of course the camera wouldn't connect!


Here, it was warm enough that I was able to wear a heavy fleece jacket when I went to the doctor's and not be too cold. When I came home, I noticed a corner of my recycling barrel poking up out of the snow. By the weekend, I ought to be able to fetch it in, which is good—I need to recycle next week.


Oh, the doctor. Everything is all right. They found one spot in my chest—between 2 and 3 millimeters in size. Both Dr. Lehman and I think it's just scar tissue, and I wonder if they reported it just  so we would know they could see something so small. Anyway, they said to check it again in 4 to 6 months, so the week I leave for Copper Harbor, I will be having CT scans. I think it's probably like the ones in my neck, which have been stable for three years or so, but of course, we have to check.


I really didn't need to spend several hours at the hospital the week I'm leaving town, but oh, well. I'll manage somehow.


Now I have to put out the trash, and then I will trundle upstairs and read again for a while. It's a pretty good book I wrote, and I enjoy reading it. Buster enjoys sitting beside me in bed, at least until my legs get twitchy. So we are a comfortable pair.


There are stars in the field tonight.


February 1

Well, I read so long that it was well after midnight before I finally dropped into bed, and when Buster started hassling me this morning, I wasn't ready to get up. However, this was the day I had to do some food shopping, so I pulled myself out of bed after all.


It didn't make much difference, and it was 2:30 or later before I started for the store, and it was 4:00 before I got back. I do have lots of nice things to eat, however, and the kitchen is a worse mess than it was when I left. Oh, well.


After two good days, the camera never came up today, and I have no clue why. It was pretty nice in Copper Harbor, over freezing, and there may have been a little sunshine late in the afternoon. There is no reason why it shouldn't have been able to make a connection. This is driving me nutty.


Here, it was sunny and pretty, but the temperature was in the mid 20s, several degrees colder than Copper Harbor. When I went out Lakeshore Drive, it seemed like there was ice pretty much out into the middle of the lake, but I couldn't tell for sure, because it was foggy over the ice. Probably the sun had something to do with it.


So I have nothing more to report, and it's February already.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM