A View From the Field








March, 2005


March 31

Well, March is finally over. I can say that, because I am actually writing this after midnight. It seems Outlook Express became corrupted sometime during the day yesterday, and it only got worse today, until I couldn't connect to any of my email accounts. The only way to fix it was to roll back to start of day yesterday, but before I could do that, I had to move all the current files to the laptop. Since Laplink isn't the world's most bug-free program, that took quite a while, and included several blue screens of death and reboots of both systems several times. However, I finally did it, then I had to do the roll back, which causes scandisk to run for a while, and finally I had to move the files back from the laptop. Whew! At least most of the time, I was talking to Debbie, and that helped.


However, I had one lapse - I fired up Outlook Express before I restored the current files, then I purged the files that were there. Anybody who emailed me after about 7:00 tonight will probably be ignored, because all my pasty mail is gone. Sorry about that.


I think everything is all right now. At least I can connect to all my email accounts, and I do get graphics in those emails that have them. And the website seems to be up to date.


This morning, I had time to do some beading before I took off across town to see Nancy and give her my taxes. She is a nice lady and we had a good visit. But that is a long way from here.


Debbie is having surgery on some veins in her leg tomorrow, so she wanted to talk, which was fine. It kept me occupied while I fiddled with files.


Oh, the weather. The temperature here got up to about 60º briefly, before falling back. It was below 50º before I got here, and now I hear it may snow on Saturday. Spring comes in fits and starts in Michigan.


In Copper Harbor, it was in the 50s and it rained for a good part of the day, so it was cloudy and dull and rather foggy. There was a pretty good sunset, and it looked like it might be clearing to the northwest when it got dark.


There was one picture from early this morning that intrigued me. It looks to me like the eagle is catching a fish right behind the deck post. Those certainly look like eagle wings to me. Well, you never know what the camera will see.


Speaking of the camera, the line dropped late this afternoon, and I bounced the computer around 5:30. So so far it looks like it is holding the line for between four and five days before the driver gets corrupted enough to need a reboot. Not too bad. I think I can handle that.


And 35 days from about right now, I will be sleeping my last sleep in this place - 36 days from March 31. And in the morning, I will be on my way home. Aahhh....


March 30

There is no doubt in my mind that March is twice as long as every other month in the year, even when I'm busy. However, tomorrow will be the end of it, thank goodness!


For some reason I didn't sleep very well last night, but I got up when Buster asked me to, at 8:30. I decided to pick up the junk in the bedroom before I went downstairs, and I now know what amount of exercise will give me a sugar low on an empty stomach. There was some stuff to get out of the way in the kitchen, too, but I was ready when the window washers got here, and I now have nice clean windows.


It was a good day for it, mostly sunny and around 60º. That was warm enough that I didn't even put on a jacket when I went to the store. 


I had in mind getting a beef roast, which they had on sale, and some lamb chops for a fast dinner, but when I looked at the meat, they had lamb shanks! Kroger's has almost stopped carrying lamb altogether, but the food emporium had a lot of it. So I guess I will have to freeze my beef, because I won't be able to make the lamb until Friday, probably, and I have at least four meals out of them. They do their lamb shanks differently, cutting them in half in the middle, which will make browning them more of a pain, but in the long run they should be easier to handle. So I have some yummy meals to look forward to. It's been over a year, I think, since I had lamb shanks, and that is one of my favorite dishes.


I didn't do much but some reading when I got back from the store, but I'd had a busy morning, so I guess that's all right. I did do a bit of  web  surfing and discovered that I seem to have already found the cheapest sites on the web for seed beads. What interests me about the pricing, at least for Japanese beads, is that one site has the best prices for small quantities and another has the best prices for large quantities. Weird.


In Copper Harbor, there was a bit of sunshine this morning, but it soon clouded up and got very dull, and along about 5:00 it rained a bit. The temperature got into the mid 50s, so the meltdown continues, although there's a way to go, especially since it's supposed to cool down a bit and possibly snow tomorrow. But it's coming along. The harbor seems to be completely clear of ice, although of course there are huge piles along the shoreline, especially where the waves hit.


It's spring around here, for sure, even though it's all still dull and brown and the grass hasn't begun to green up yet. The chickadees were at the bird feeder at once, as well as a couple of well-plucked female black squirrels. Later in the day, there was a very skinny grackle perched on one perch and craning his neck around to the next one up, which is 90º around the tube. He sort of had to stand on tiptoe to do it, but he seemed to make do. And after that, Mr. Cardinal was there. He's been flying around for a few days looking for the seed, so now he has it.


I must angle my chair around so that I can watch the patio while I eat, because the migratory birds should be coming through soon, and they are interesting. I do have to report that the snowbirds are still here, however, so spring has not fully come. I will follow them north.


Now I must go and get ready for my trip to the accountant tomorrow. Thirty seven days and counting...


March 29

Again Buster wanted me to get up before I was ready, only this time I chased him away and got up late. Then when I went in the bathroom, he was no where to be seen, so I started knitting, so when he finally appeared, I was busy, and that disgusted him. So I was able to get up to the ribbing on the sock. About this time even the most interesting sock gets boring, and this is not an interesting sock. Useful, but not interesting.


As a result of all that, I wasted a good part of a lovely day. I got to looking for a catalog that I have misplaced, from which I want to order before the end of the month, and now there are piles of catalogs and magazines all over the kitchen floor. What a terrible mess!


When I looked outside and looked at the temperature, it was clear to me that it was a really nice day outside, so I went out to the tree to retrieve what I thought was the working thermometer (it isn't), and then I decided to hang out the bird feeder, which entailed dumping the birdseed into containers on the porch. In the course of doing that, one bag split right down the back, and then I had to sweep birdseed off the floor. Ugh! However, the feeder is out, and I rested my back at the computer. For a few minutes, while I was walking around in a very soggy backyard, I had the slider open, which delighted Buster. Me too. It was nice out.


It was sunny, and the temperature briefly got over 60º. It turns out that the working thermometer is the one on the patio, and that explains some anomalous readings I've gotten over the winter. The sun shines right on it sometimes, since It's hanging from a shepherd's crook, and it occasionally reads high.


In Copper Harbor, it started out sunny this morning, with almost all the ice gone from in front of the house. The temperature got up to 55º briefly, late in the afternoon, but by that time it was clouding over, and there was a brisk south wind that was pushing up waves on the harbor. It was undoubtedly warmer in Houghton, and I can imagine the young guys running around with no jackets, and maybe in their shorts. Of course the snow piles are still mammoth, and even if it stays this warm and rains, it is going to be weeks before they disappear.


It is supposed to rain here toward the end of the week, and they are predicting that the rain may be mixed with snow in Keweenaw, so spring is coming in fits and starts, as usual. We'll know the snow is melting when the juniper appears behind the deck railing. It is totally buried now.


Of course it is going to rain, because Mark the window washer is coming tomorrow to do my spring washing and put the screens on the doors. It's a tad early, but I don't mind. I have time, and he will get really busy later. Of course, the house is a disaster, but he's used to that.


So that is all that's going on here, and I need to go to bed. Thirty eight days.


March 28

At 8:30 this morning, Buster wouldn't leave me alone, and I had to take a walk anyway, so I got up. It was a little before I really wanted to, but oh, well. I actually didn't feel too bad for all my exertions yesterday, except that my legs are still sore.


Not that I did very much. I sorted a few of the magazines and catalogs, and threw out a few, but I have a long way to go on that. Between yesterday and this morning, my second gray sock is getting done, and I beaded a bit. And that was about all.


Before I went downstairs this morning, I called the computer line, and all I can say is, happiness is a busy signal. We got a whole day's worth of pictures today, no missed, although it didn't start until 5:25. The other thing that is bugging me is the timing of the first picture. I thought I had it set to start at 5:30 am, but last week, the first picture was going off at 5:15. However, that's not a biggie, so long as it keeps clicking and the line holds.


It was a fairly warm and sunny day in Copper Harbor, around 40º except for a short time when it got to 45º, and as a result there was a neat fog cloud over the open part of the harbor for part of the afternoon. That finally burned off around 5:00, and sunset was cloudy and not very colorful, except for one interesting shot. I kind of think that light spot right above the hill is the sun shining through the fog, but I can't be certain.


Here, it was sunny all day, and the temperature topped out at 55º, although there was a wind that was rattling the screen on the kitchen door for a while.


It seems spring has sprung - pow! - like it sometimes does in Michigan. It is supposed to be warm all week, with some rain around Wednesday. And I think that means the cold and the snow are just about over with. Well, it was a fairly cold and snowy winter. They will probably end up with about 260" of snow for the season in Keweenaw. Here, I heard we had over 60", which means it was in the top 20 or so for snowfall. And it was plenty cold both places,  particularly in December and January. So I have hung up the spring banner, and try to take myself in hand.


I did spend some time looking through the two boxes of craft stuff I sent back here and never unpacked, and I'm still sort of wondering why I did that, and whether I should just pack it back up and return it, with a note not to bring it back again. I don't know what I was thinking I would have time to do here. I should know by this time that there is always enough going on that my crafting time is severely limited. I did fish out all the books. Some of them will have to go back, because they are my reference books, but some of them will stay here until, when or if, I move permanently.


So after scratching my head over that, I came downstairs to enjoy my view. It is still a delight to have the camera working. There was one picture from the middle of the morning with a bird, I think a crow, sitting on the deck railing, but I couldn't tell if he was looking in the window or out toward the harbor. I imagine pickings are getting a tad thin at this time of year, and no doubt he remembered last year, fairly early in the spring, there was birdseed on the deck. He's a bit premature, but he can hope.


So now it is time to haul myself back upstairs again. And there are only 39 days left...


March 27 - Happy Easter

Well, I made it to church at 7:30, and I got home at around 12:15. Whew! All of us were exhausted, but that didn't keep us from having a very nice afternoon at Carol's house, with a very good dinner as usual.


The choir did really well at both services, which I think made Bruce feel good. And Pastor Boelter's sermon was titled "What are you doing here?" which I though was a rather good one for Easter, when a lot of people were there who don't usually go to church. Not that he was nasty about it, he only asked the important questions.


I think I jinxed the camera. It was fine this morning, but it went down about 12:15, and since I wasn't home, it didn't get back up until 6:15. We'll see how long it lasts this time. I can't really complain - it went five days without missing a beat.


The weather started out almost clear both here and in Copper Harbor, with temperatures beginning in the high 20s and getting into the 40s. By noon it had clouded up, and the afternoon was rather dull. The thaw is starting in the northwoods, and it's supposed to be in the 40s and raining for most of the week there - yuck! But someday, I'd like to see the creeks starting to run and document them with my camera. The week is supposed to be in the 40s here, too, but there should be some sunshine. So I guess I can say spring is about to spring.


And that is about all I have to say. Forty days...


March 26

Well, I won't get to bed early enough tonight, but I did want to get out a short journal tonight. The weather has been lovely both in Copper Harbor and in here, with temperatures getting into the 40s and clear skies. The camera line has been solid as a rock (I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop), and as a result, I have two days' worth of pictures of the Paschal Moon setting over Brockway. Here is Friday's (was that a moon pillar?) and here are this morning's. I think that is pretty awesome. I wish I had been there to see it in person, although at that hour of the morning, I wasn't likely to be running around with a camera!


I spent Thursday night and yesterday afternoon and evening at church, which was very satisfying. The choir did pretty well, especially last night, when we really nailed Palestrina's "Adoramus Te". That happens to be one of my very most favorite pieces of all time, and at least from my vantage point and Bruce's face, we did a really good job with it. I have a soft spot for a lot of music from that period - Palestrina and de Victoria and some others. It has a sense of total serenity about it that very few other eras have managed to achieve. And yes, good Lutheran that I am, I can sit and listen to Palestrina masses for hours.


In between, I actually managed to get a goodly portion of the trash and recyclables outside Thursday night, and I  finished the potholder today. So all of that is under control, although the kitchen is still a mess


Now I must hurry off to bed, because I have to be at church and ready to sing at 7:30 tomorrow morning, which is a tad earlier than I usually even consider getting up, not to mention fed and dressed. However, it's only once a year. Then after two services at church, there will be dinner with Carol and her friends and family, which I always enjoy.


Then I can dive into preparations to move home. Only 41 days...


March 23

just a short entry, and an early one, too. I forgot to mention last night that there may not be any more journals until Saturday, although I'll try to get something in before church.


I got up late and rushed around, but as I left the house, it started to snow, and before I finished getting gas, there was a mini-blizzard going on. So I called Nancy, and it was dry in West Bloomfield, but I just decided it would be better if I didn't try to get out there today. I think I was right. There is an inch or so of sloppy snow on the ground here, and while It may not have gotten out west, it's supposed to continue until 7:00 or so around here. Coming back would have been a problem.


So I wrote some checks and embroidered.


The phone line has been up over 32 hours now. I'm going to be interested to see how long it stays up, and what happens when the weather deteriorates.  I just don't trust it. 


The weather was much nicer in Copper Harbor than it was here. It was cloudy this morning, but the sun came out around 2:00 and the temperature is in the middle 30s.


So there is choir practice tonight and church tomorrow and Friday (at 7:00 for the choir), so this will be a busy end of week.


Forty four days.


March 22

Well, it just goes to show you, you should never give up. I sort of had, and I didn't bounce the computer until shortly after 9 am, although I was awake briefly a lot earlier. And much to my amazement, it came right up, and it stayed up, and it uploaded pictures all day long, except between 12:00 and 1:00. Will wonders never cease!


It couldn't have picked a better day to behave itself. It was just over freezing and clear for most of the day, although there were a few high cirrus clouds late in the afternoon, which pretty much went away by sunset. There was a wind from the north, but not too strong. I just had to save two pictures, to show, again, how beautiful Copper Harbor can be


Notice, in the second picture, where the sun is. That's pretty much due west from the house. In fairly short order, sunset will have moved out of the picture on the right. The last time we got any pictures to speak of, in early February, the sun was still setting out of the picture on the left. Of course, at this time of year, we are picking up around 25 minutes of daylight a week, which is pretty obvious even over a few days.


Here, it was sunny pretty much all day, too, and the temperature got up to about 45º, although now it's dropping off, and of course, since I have to take my taxes to Nancy tomorrow (about 45 miles away), it is supposed to snow and/or rain. Ugh.


I ended up not doing very much, I have to admit. I worked on the potholder for a while before breakfast. I did do a little on the kitchen, and began filling the dishwasher again, and I got all the newspapers bagged up and ready to go out. As for the catalogs....aiee! I like to get a catalog now and then from stores I do business with, but there are some real tree-killers out there. I will have to begin to work on those piles tomorrow. Thursday I really must get out as much of the trash and the recyclables as I can. That should help things in the kitchen a lot.


I did some reading - about the Scopes trial in Smithsonian and the rest of the May Sky & Telescope. It appears that right after I get  home, if the skies are clear, there should be some really pretty sights of Venus and the very young moon low in the west right after sunset. I can't wait...


Forty five days!


March 21

I didn't sleep very well last night, and I seem to have had several of my weirder recurring dreams, so even though I woke up around 8:30, I went back to sleep for a long time.


However, I did accomplish a few things today. I did some work on the pot holder, and it's coming along. Then I attacked the piles of papers to get my taxes together for Wednesday, and while I was at it, I tried to sort things out a bit and begin to pack my blue box. That involves taking out last year's stuff and starting some new file folders. So that is done. I hope I have everything together. At least I have a certain amount of confidence that I have all there is, except for a couple of sheets I need to print out from last year's ledger. I even managed to throw away a few things, wonder of wonders.


And I finally cooked tonight, so I have something nice to eat for a couple of days. Not that the kitchen isn't a worse mess than ever. Maybe tomorrow.


The camera drove me nuts this afternoon. It was holding the phone connection, but it simply could not upload the pictures to the website. As a result, it did all the renames, then crapped out on the write. I think we got six or seven pictures, but they're hard to find, because the first one was the "09" shot or something. I kept going out to the file folder and renaming the last good picture, so at least there wouldn't be a little red X on the screen. Sometime after dark, it did drop the line at last, but wow! Times I'd like to beat it over the monitor.


I bounced it at around 6:30 this morning, so the first (and only) picture of the morning was a green screen. Good grief, can anything else happen??


The weather in Copper Harbor was uniformly cloudy and gray with a steady temperature around 30º and a north wind, although they're saying it's cleared up since sunset.


Here it was also uniformly gray and cloudy and the temperature got up to around 40º.


So another quiet day, but at least I can say i did a few things.


March 20 - Palm Sunday - Spring Equinox

Spring may be here, but you wouldn't know it in these parts.


It was also Palm Sunday, but I didn't go, because the kids were singing, and I just can't stand that. So I slept until 10:30 and Buster was frantic. 


I didn't bounce the camera until 11, so we don't have any pictures of the morning, but it didn't matter much. It was 30º and snowing lightly all day, so the pictures we got all looked the same - cloudy, with snow down the harbor. It was nice to see down the harbor. I had to bounce it several times, but we got a fair number of pictures. I will try to do it earlier tomorrow. Even though the temperature was in range, the wind is still from the northeast, which does affect the line.


Here, it was cloudy and about 37º all day...very dull.


I finished "Eats, Shoots and Leaves", which is a book about punctuation, but it's quite entertaining. I do read grammar books; I've always thought it behooved me to know a much about my native tongue as possible. The book is about British English, and there are some differences, and I must confess there are some minor rules I tend to ignore. However, it made more sense than the grammar checker packed with Microsoft Office, which is frequently asinine.


Then I spent a couple of hours working on the potholder, after doing the same last night, and I've made some progress. It helped that today one of my thimbles fit, because the cloth I am embroidering on feels more like needlepoint canvas than cloth. It is hard to work at the bottom of the area, since the Aida cloth is stitched to the potholder on three sides, but I've figured out a way to do that, and I'm working from the bottom up.


Well, spring is here at last, and there are 47 days until I go home, so that is  a good thing. At the same time, it's been colder than normal all over Michigan, which is also a good thing, and bodes well for the summer...so long as the road is open by May 6!


And so it goes.


March 19

Buster was disgusted with me this morning. He thought I was about to get up and I went back to sleep, so we didn't get up until quite late, then I got to playing with my peyote graph paper, and it was after noon before I got downstairs. And then I read for a while, and as a result I ended up not doing much.


I now have a version of the Bible on the pc here that doesn't totally trash the system when I try to run the program. Along about 2:30, I decided nobody was going to fool with the camera, so I did, and it came up, although very intermittently. However, there was one good shot a bit before sunset.


It was cloudy there, but the temperature was about 30º most of the afternoon...and I persist in thinking that whatever the problem with the computer is, it's temperature related. The temperature in the room should be pretty stable, so it must be something outside. When it's below about 28º, it's almost impossible to get a connection. The warmer it is the more stable it is. The east winds there have been up there haven't helped much, either. All of that means we may never completely solve the problem until it becomes solid, and by that time, I should be on broadband. Or I hope so.


Here, it was cloudy with a bit of rain late in the afternoon, and the temperature got to almost 40º. Yuck. The kind of weather I hate most here.


So I have not much to report, except that I have several new bracelet designs to try, once I get the potholder done and the kitchen shoveled out, and ...


Forty eight days.


March 18

Between Charlie and me bouncing the computer, we got a whole two pictures today. So whatever problem it is, it's worse than it was when the power supply failed. I'm thinking about having SBC check the line again on Monday, but it's possible there's a modem problem, and in that case, it will have to wait until I get there, I guess. What a pain!


I got up at a relatively reasonable hour this morning, then diddled around and did absolutely nothing until after noon. I did do some reading, and I worked on Phoebe's bracelet a bit, then I started a search through the sstuff I sent back here (why ever did I do that? Just need my stuff around me, I guess!) for something to take to Carol on Easter. I guess it's going to be a potholder, and it will have either daisies or cherries on it, probably daisies. I wonder why it is, when I want borders, all I see is pictures, and when I want pictures, all I see is borders? I could put a bunny and an egg on one (that was supposed to be a breadcloth, but I'm kind of off breadcloths), but I'm afraid I couldn't get it done in time, and besides, I'd rather give her something she could hang up (or use, I don't care) all year long. So we'll see.


Buster was in a very lovey mood today, as well as being unusually vocal, even for him. I have not the slightest idea what his problem was. He did get some loving, but he was also a pest.


The two pictures we got, around noon, showed that it was cloudy and yucky in Copper Harbor. The temperature got up around 25º, I think. It's supposed to snow over the weekend.


When I woke up around 5 am this morning, there was snow on the roof of the garage, and it was snowy this morning, but there was less than an inch, and it melted pretty quick because the temperature got up to around 35º. I guess it's supposed to snow or rain or sleet or something all weekend. Yuck.


I forgot to mention yesterday that I dropped my house keys in the car, and in the course of hunting for them, I found my sunglasses. Sometime in January, I think, I thought I had taken them out of my purse in the kitchen (I think I mentioned that), but try as I might I couldn't find them. Well...I happened to look down between the passenger seat and the console in the truck (where I thought my keys had gone) and lo and behold, there were the sunglasses. So the lost is found. The only thing that upsets me about that is that I distinctly remember (I thought) seeing them in my purse and thinking I didn't need them, and taking them out in the house. That worries me, because I have banked my career on being able to reconstruct things I heard and saw and thought and did, and if I'm losing that ability, I'm really lost.


I know I need to download and learn some remote terminal software, and I find myself vastly reluctant to try to get into that. I guess, though, if I remember my working career, that I always had to force myself to learn things that weren't critical at the moment. However, VNC is critical - I need to know how to use it so I can install it on the Copper Harbor computer in anticipation of the broadband access. I hope my reluctance to get into that is just my old laziness and disinclination to do hard work, and not something else.


I certainly know I've goofed off this winter. and the state of my kitchen shows that for sure.


My excuse today was that I was achy and creaky. My back was stiff and my knees ached. However, I only have seven weeks left here, and the last two weeks before I migrate are going to be incredibly busy, so there are some things I really do need to do. The kitchen isn't going to clean itself.


Oh. well. It's late now, and time to go to bed again. At least we saw one picture from the field today...


Forty-nine days...


March 17

I had some things to say about yesterday, and now I can't remember what they were. I did make it to bible class and choir, and despite the beautifully sunny day, I spent the afternoon in the basement, doing a couple of loads of clothes. Now all I have to do is get them upstairs!


The weather here was pretty - very sunny, with temps in the upper 30s. In Copper Harbor, it got into the upper 20s, but there was at least one snow squall in the afternoon, and it was cloudy until sunset.


This morning, when I got out of bed, I immediately called the hair salon, and after eating a sub for breakfast, I got my hair cut. My bangs were hanging almost down to the bottom of my glasses.


After that, I took off to the pet supply store and the supermarket.  The pet supply store is almost too big, and unfortunately, I got a cart with a bad wheel at Kroger's. By the time I got through the checkout line, I was exhausted, and I had to sit for a minute before I could unload into my car. By the time I got home, my legs were like jelly and I had a sore toe. However, I did get everything, including some stuff that had been there a long time, unloaded out of the car. It's all still in the kitchen, and I am just too tired to do trash tonight in spite of having a ton of it. Oh, well. Next week.


I was sitting and resting and reading a magazine when the phone rang and the caller ID said I was calling myself...it was Charlie, and the power supply was installed and the computer was working, and it had uploaded a picture!! Oh, joy! To see a picture of the View again!


Although we tweaked the setup, the underlying problem I've been fighting since I got here still exists. The phone line is just as bad as, if not worse than, it was before the hardware problem. So we got a couple of pictures today, but not the whole afternoon, and we missed sunset altogether. The line keeps dropping, and sometimes it will reconnect and sometimes it won't. It's going to drive me nuts.


It was a beautiful, sunny day both places, although there were some clouds in the sky in Copper Harbor. Here, it got close to our average temperature of 45º. I was wandering around the backyard in my fleece top but no jacket. In Copper Harbor, it was around 25º all afternoon.


So the computer is back up, but the camera is still rocky. At least we had a view of the field this afternoon .


Oh, yes, and my order of pasties came this morning, so I had a very nice dinner tonight.


So now I will haul myself up to the upper story and put my sore legs and feet to bed. Maybe the camera will come up tomorrow, too.


March 15

Well, I didn't go out today. When I got up this morning, my back was very stiff, and I decided against a lot of walking. So instead I cycled the dishwasher, worked on Phoebe's bracelet, paid a bunch of bills, and made a few phone calls.


I didn't get as much done on Phoebe's bracelet as I should have. I started out by having to pull out and redo one row three times, and then I had more problems than usual with the thread tangling. However, there is some done on it. She wanted one without the copper lined crystal beads, and it will look OK, but it will lack something, in my opinion.


As to the bills, I guess I goofed by getting into the heart problem in December. My old health insurance had a very limited network, and all of my doctors except the oncologist were "out of network". What I didn't realize was that I had never exceeded my out-of-network deductible, so I ended up with and extremely large bill for that. Rats. If I'd only waited until after January 1, the new insurance has a much wider network. But what's a girl to do when her heart is acting funny and she doesn't know what it is?


The other problem is that part of the garden maintenance (lawn and trees) has to be paid in advance, and that's in March. The lawn fertilizing isn't much, but with a dozen huge spruce trees, a locust, a maple, and assorted bushes, like lilacs, the total is pretty high. Especially the fertilizing, but all my spruces have budworms, and the locust gets leaf hoppers (really gross, especially if you happen to shake the tree when they're on it), and the only reliable way to thwart those critters is to fertilize. Living in the nice big-city suburb that I do, I have to keep at least the outside of the house looking decent. There are some advantages to living in the woods, I find. At least there, outside maintenance isn't any more than I feel like doing.


So I wrote and wrote and wrote until my hand hurt, and the next batch of bills isn't due till after Easter, so I have a week or so off. Mail tomorrow.


That took up most of the afternoon, but at least it's done, and I know what the damage was.


I'm not sure exactly what the weather was in Copper Harbor, but while the temperature was in the upper 20s, I think it may have snowed some.


Here, it was sunny this morning. I should mention that the sun is beginning to peek over the roof of my neighbor's house, which isn't more than 10' or 12' from mine, much to Buster's delight. That means that spring is coming. In the morning, it shines on the top of the stairs or the landing, and I frequently find my little furry friend lying in it, soaking up the rays. Yesterday, when it was sunny all day, he spent most of the day in the front window of the sewing room, which faces southwest and gets the full force of the afternoon sun. Sometimes when I touch him, his fur feels like a heating pad. But I think most cats like being really warm.


The temperature here got up close to 40º, but the sky wasn't completely clear this morning, and it was cloudy by this afternoon.


Under the landscape roses in front of my front porch there are a lot of grape hyacinths and star of Bethlehems (if I'm going to move, I simply must dig some of those out and cart them up to Copper Harbor. I do love those things!) and I noticed about a week ago, on a very cold morning, that the little green shoots were poking up out of the ground. Spring is on its way here in the Southeast. There is still a lot of snow around, and this week of last year, we had a snowstorm, so spring hasn't come quite yet, but the signs are coming.


Last night was a night of hot flashes and really weird dreams, so maybe I can get into bed a tad earlier tonight, so I can make it to bible class tomorrow. I seem to need 10 hours of sleep, so no matter when I start, I get up 10 hours later. It does cut into production.


So that is all there is. Fifty-two days.


March 14

Reading over last year's journals got me thinking about the really outrageous hours I've been keeping lately, and I decided to try to reform a bit. I didn't get up really early this morning, but I ate as soon as I got downstairs, then went back upstairs. As a result, I finished Nancy's bracelet and started Phoebe's bracelet, as well as making several phone calls. I also refilled my pill dispensers, something I have to do every four weeks. So tomorrow I will try to do likewise.


Tomorrow, however, I do have to go out and get Buster something to eat and pee in, and me something to eat, too. I've been eating more or less out of the freezer for the past week or two, and it's time to cook. It's also time to do something about the kitchen again, but I'll get to that after I bring in more stuff.


The weather was clear this morning and while they said it clouded up this afternoon, that must have been a little black cloud over the airport, because it was mostly clear here (not more than a couple of miles away) until I came downstairs at 4:00. The temperature got into the middle 30s, so there was some melting.


In Copper Harbor, I think it was mostly cloudy all day (however, without a camera archive, I can't prove that), and the temperature got up to about 25º.


While I was eating breakfast, I heard the mating call of the female blue jay, and one sat down on the almost-frozen birdbath and took a drink. I really need to put out the feeder, which I thought I was going to do when I got home, but, well...maybe tomorrow. The birdseed is all still in the back of my car.


So I actually did something today, and trying to get back on schedule felt pretty good. The thing is, if I don't do it the way I did it today, I end up not eating until the middle of the afternoon and fiddling around and not doing anything at all. Not good, considering that I have less than two months left here. I have things to do.


Fifty three days and counting...


March 13

Regardless of the fact that I didn't get to bed until after midnight (I think) last night, I was up in time to eat a leisurely breakfast and get to church o time. I think I've mentioned that since the construction has been going on, parking is a mess, and it's really better to get there around 10:15, so I had quite a walk. 


Unfortunately, the second pair of my new shoes that I've worn aren't quite as comfortable as the first were. Actually, they're a bit large, but it is nice not to have to stuff my  feet into something too small. I'll have to fiddle around with insoles and things and see if I can't make them better. Part of the problem is that they have 1¼" heels, and I've been wearing flats for so long that they bothered me. However, I wore a dress for the first time since I've been back here (!), and a little heel looks better with a dress.


Choir didn't sing, but the bell choir played some nice things, and there was communion, so that was all right.


I finished reading the stories I wrote between 1971 and 1975, so I've read through almost all the old, finished stuff. Maybe I can start to get to bed a tad earlier now.


Otherwise, I didn't do much, but I've now processed all of the 2004 journals into Word, and I spent some time reading May and June. Whence came this reading jag, I just don't know. I also checked back to March of 2004, and I see I have a couple of tasks ahead of me. My appointment with my accountant was on the 15th last year, so I'm going to have to call Nancy tomorrow, even though I haven't gotten all the papers together.


The weather here was clear and pretty until just the past hour or so, and the temperature hung right around 30º all day long. There was kind of a raw wind this morning, but I have an ankle length down lined coat that keeps me nice and cozy most of the time.


In Copper Harbor, I think it was sort of open and shut so far as the clouds were concerned, mostly cloudy, and the temperature was around 22º for most of the day.


I was curious to look back at the weather last year, but it was about like this year, and there was snow all over Michigan the week of the 15th, so we're about normal. The calendar notwithstanding, March is not normally spring in Michigan.


So that is about all I know for now.


March 12

This was a completely lost day, so I won't say much about it.


There were more snow showers in Copper Harbor, and the temperature was under 15º all day long. Brr. Can't blame anybody for not wanting to walk out to the house in this weather.


Here, there was a tad over an inch of snow overnight, and it was cloudy and around freezing all day.


Buster has been trying to get back on my good side all day. He drove me crazy last night. I was reading in the bathroom, and I wanted the door to stay closed, because it was cold in the rest of the house. But Buster wanted the door to be open, so he kept coming in and going out until I shouted at him. Then he sat down, and he was going to be cute, so he put out a claw. Unfortunately, he caught the cuticle beside the nail on my big toe, and punched a hole - a rather sore hole - in it. Then I really shouted, and it did dawn on him that he had done something bad, as I was blotting up the blood.  Sometimes he drives me nuts.


So that is all there is.


March 11

I read too long again, but I didn't try to sleep on the heating pad, and I slept much better, and my back is recovering. It's still a bit stiff, and there is one sore muscle that makes it hard to lift my left leg, but it's much better.


I mentioned that it was snowing last night, and evidently it snowed enough that I got my driveway plowed, but the temperature got to almost 40º, with sunshine, so most of the snow has gone away.


The best news is that Charlie emailed me early this morning to say that the power supply arrived. He was going to try to get to the house today, but there was snow, and curiously enough, there was more down around Calumet and the Houghton airport than there was up in Copper Harbor. It's too bad he didn't know that, because the sky was almost clear around 5 pm, and the view would have been spectacular, but I'm sure he didn't want to take the chance of getting marooned. The temperature was steady around 25º all day long.


The weather forecast doesn't look good for him to be able to get to the house over the weekend, but we'll see. I still have my fingers crossed that the power supply will solve the problem, but it seems pretty likely. Oh, it will be good to see the view again!


I did not much but more reading, although I got out the Mountain Colors vest and worked on the edging for quite a while. I had given up on that a while ago, because after a few minutes my thumb got sore, but today I didn't have that problem. I mostly stopped because I was getting cold and hungry, although then I started to read again, and I was frozen and starved before I finally got downstairs.


The only other thing I did was to go to the drugstore for some JD. One of these days, I'm going to have to do something, because it's only 56 days until I will be home again...


March 10

Well, I did read too long, but I got to bible class anyway. However, after lunch, I took a nice nap, which set me up for the evening. I was sorry I missed last week when I got to choir practice, because they had clearly been practicing some of the new Easter music, but I really don't think I could have made it up to the choir loft last week.


I read too long last night, too, and this morning as well, and now I know what tightens up my back. I'm going to have to stop that.


So there isn't anything to report, except one piece of sad news. Nancy, who has been in Copper Harbor since Saturday, called this morning to say that she had just heard that Jim Rooks died just after midnight this morning. Apparently he had had the flu, which turned to pneumonia, and with all his other health problems, he just couldn't make it. How sad that now we've lost two stalwarts of the Harbor in a single winter! Jim will be missed. He was our resident naturalist, and I don't know that there's anybody to take his place. He was instrumental in protecting the Estivant Pines and he provided a lot of input to the Hunter's Point Project, and I'm sure he did a lot that I don't know about. If you wanted to know anything about the ecology of the end of Keweenaw, he was the man to ask.


Nancy also said that she and Chip walked into town yesterday, I think it was, and when they walked back, they found very large dog prints in the road...so there is probably a wolf around. I'm not sure how she feels about it, but I think that's exciting. Maybe one day I'll see a living, breathing wolf.


The weather in Copper Harbor for the past two days has been gorgeous, sunny and clear. It was a bit warmer today than yesterday, in the 20s, but the sky was clear and blue and so was the water. Oh, for the camera...


Both yesterday and today, here, the day started out clear and sunny and ended up cloudy, and besides, sometime around 5 pm today it started snowing lightly. The temperature was in the 20s yesterday and got into the low 30s today.


So winter persists, and I will go back to hibernating. And I think that eight weeks from tomorrow, I'll be there!


March 8

I didn't read quite so long last night, and I slept well until I started to have trouble with the heating pad. I think somehow it got set too high, and although I checked it a couple of times, I don't think I was seeing very well. However, I was doing pretty well at 8:10 when the privacy manager called to say I had a solicitation call. I let the answering machine take it, but that disrupted my rest.


Buster was most loving this morning and he wasn't too pleased when I started doing the first half of the heel of the sock. However, we coped.


Debbie came before I had eaten, which was all right, because she didn't stay long. She is using my house as a repository for things she wants to make sure are safe from her soon-to-be ex, and she had something to drop off, so I was able to get her bracelet back to her. It fit fine.


Buster's second favorite person is Debbie, so he was happy, and even happier when I had ham for breakfast and gave him all he wanted. I know ham and bacon aren't good for him, but he likes them and they don't bother his tummy and he never eats very much. He went off to sleep and I went back upstairs and finished the heel on the sock.


The weather here has turned cold, and it was around 20º all day long, but there was quite a bit of sunshine. That is the only trouble with sitting in bed during the day: the sun reflects off the garage, which is white, and right into the door and into my eyes, which makes it rather hard to see.


It was even colder in Copper harbor - low teens - although late in the day the temperature started rising a tad, and it is now 18º. I think there were some snow showers early on, although it began to clear up late in the afternoon, and the other Copper Harbor camera got some rather good pictures of puffy white clouds tinged with gold against a pale turquoise sky. How I wish my camera was running! How I wish I was there!


The colder weather didn't do anything good for my back, although I'm dressed pretty warmly. There is one muscle left of center that is particularly bothering me, to the extent that it hurts to raise my leg, and the rest was just stiffness. At least I can pretty much stand up from a sitting position, although when I've been sitting for a while, it's harder. I guess I can make it to church tomorrow, although I will see how it is in the morning.


So that is all the news there is, and I will now haul myself upstairs, where at least it's a little warmer, and see if I can get to bed at some kind of reasonable hour.


It's winter again.


March 7

Well, I did it again - read almost all night again. It didn't seem to do me any harm, at least this time. The only problem was, Buster wanted me to get up at the usual time, and I just wasn't ready. 


I finished the foot on the second gray sock and started the heel, and I changed the address on the power supply and took it off to the post office, and that was about the total of my activities for the day.


Sometime before I got up, I heard a couple of handfuls of rain outside, and it sprinkled on and off for most of the day. The temperature hit a high of 52º, but it's been plummeting since, and it's supposed to go down to the low 20s tonight. Of course, the warm temps and rain for the past couple of days has caused most of the snow to disappear. I feel more comfortable when there's snow to insulate the garden and it gets really cold.


In Keweenaw, the temperature started out at around 25º overnight, then it dropped to around 17º, where it's been all day, and there were numerous lake effect show showers. The latest figures say there was 55" of snow in February, and 235" for the season so far.


Well, the power supply should get to Charlie by the end of the week, so the ball is in his court.


Now Debbie is on the phone, and that is all I know.


March 6

This is getting monotonous. I actually got up rather early this morning, but I spent too much time sitting in the bathroom, either petting a cat or knitting. Not only did that waste time, but I messed up my back, which was not too bad when I got up. but by the time I got dressed, it was getting hard to get up again.


I didn't go to church, partly because of my back, but also because it was Pre-School Sunday, and all those cute little monsters interfere with my worship so much it's better that I just not go.


So that was pretty much the day.


The weather in Copper Harbor was cloudy and mid 20s. Not very pretty, but I think it's getting ready to snow again. Here, it was clear and sunny for most of the day, and the temperature got into the 50s. I should have stuck my nose out the door. March is the time of year when there are the most differences between southeastern lower Michigan and Keweenaw. We will be taking our first steps toward spring, although we can expect some more cold weather and snow, whereas it's still winter in the UP.


So now I'm debating dinner, and when that is over, I'll go sit on the heating pad again. I've had this thing since I was rear-ended in about 1969, and it just takes a certain amount of time to clear up, no matter what I do. However, it certainly is boring.


March 5

Another nearly lost day. I think my back is marginally better. At least I seemed to have a slightly easier time getting out of a chair, and I was able to stand up long enough to finish unloading the dishwasher, clear the counters of all the dishes, and refill Buster's dry food dishes, although I cheated. I have one of those reaching tools, which worked pretty well, except that I did spill part of one dish. Buster thinks he's getting a treat when he eats off the floor, though, so I think most of the food will eventually go away. If not, when I can actually bend down, I'll clean it up.


However, I am still in pain, and I won't say getting out of a chair is exactly easy. This is my lower back, where the worst of the arthritis and the compressed disk are, and those muscles are the ones that have to pull me erect...and that hurts.


Last night I read and knitted for a while, and I am making good progress on the second gray sock. I wanted to finish that pair, because they are a wool and cotton mix, and just the right weight for spring and fall.


The weather here today was sunny and pretty, and the temperature got up to around 40º. It was more cloudy in Copper Harbor today, with a temperature around 34º most of the day.


I had the slow breakfast, but very late, and I haven't eaten yet, so I think I will go upstairs and eat something else, then do a repeat of last night, sitting on the heating pad and knitting and reading. It seemed to help.


March 4

Not much to report. My back was, if anything, worse today, to the extent I was having a problem getting out of chairs, especially the chair at the computer. So as a result, I did nothing whatever.


However, around noon, there was a ring at the door and my power supply arrived from Gateway. In some things, they are awesomely efficient. I should have put a new address on it and taken it to the post office, but that would have meant a lot of rustling around. Monday is soon enough for that. And then, when I finally  got in the mail, there was a lovely check from the insurance company...so I'm not poor anymore! That was too good to just sit on, but I was in the middle of my first meal of the day—soup—when I found it. As soon as I finished, I hauled myself upstairs for my purse and checkbook and drove around to the bank to deposit it. What a relief!


I still can't go out and start spending, but I have a bit of breathing room.


The weather here was partly to mostly sunny and in the mid 30s. In Copper Harbor, it was mostly sunny all day, I think, with a temperature that hung in around 25º. A nice respite, but the snow is supposed to return, according to John, in the next few days. I said this was a real, old-fashioned Michigan winter!


That is all I have to say, and I will haul myself upstairs for another hot bath and night on the heating pad. My back is really only comfortable lying down, but after a while, things like ears and shoulders and hips get so sore I can't do that, either. I know keeping it warm by sitting on the heating pad will eventually make it better, but for the time being, it's really wearing.


Maybe the odd ailments of this winter are trying to tell me I really, really don't want to be here.


I must report that so far, my leg looks like it has pretty much healed up. The blisters are all gone, although there is something like a rash in one place, and a couple of the blisters that broke haven't completely healed yet. I am watching it, because it could always come back, but so far, so good. My leg and foot aren't swelling nearly so badly, either, and that is nice.


And that is all there is. I misspoke myself last Friday; nine weeks from today (63 days) I will be home in the field once again.


Can't wait...


March 3

What a couple of days!


When I woke up yesterday morning, my lower back had seized up to the extent that I could just barely get up from a sitting position. That isn't easy for me anyway, but yesterday it was nearly impossible. I was in real pain.


I made it to bible class, and to the food emporium afterwards to get enough breakfast food to see me through. I ate a nice sandwich for lunch, and went upstairs afterwards with the idea of maybe sitting on the heating pad in bed and doing some beading, but I was so tired that instead, I wrapped the heating pad around me and took a two-hour nap. That helped a little, but I was still so stiff and sore that I made an executive decision that I was not going to try to go to church. Instead, I took a good hot bath, wrapped the heating pad around my back again, and went to bed.


Sometime during the night, I moved the heating pad from my back to my right shoulder, which has also been sore, and a while later, I turned it off. Well, twelve or so hours later, the phone rang. It was my lawyer, asking for something I don't have. When I got up, my back was considerably better, but as the day wore on, it stiffened up again. 


While I was downstairs, about to start my breakfast—another sandwich—there was a call from my other phone. That always sort of gives me vertigo, when the caller ID says I'm calling myself, but this was Charlie Hopper, from my house! He says somebody has been snowshoeing out beyond me, and the only place he had to use his snowshoes was from the road to the door, and besides it was an absolutely gorgeous day to be wandering around Norland. He had already taken the cpu to pieces, but he couldn't see anything particular wrong with it. 


My attempts to email Gateway had ended up with two messages written by people who could not even write coherent English, whose suggestion was that I pack up the cpu and ship it off to Gateway...uh-uh. No way, Jose. So I called their tech support line, got a person who not only spoke English but understood what I was talking about, and he felt the problem is most certainly the power supply. One is on its way here, and I will send it on to Charlie, and sometime in the next few weeks somebody from the PastyNet support team will be out to install it. I was afraid of that all the time, but installing power supplies in Gateway cpus is nearly a no-brainer, and Charlie and his folks are quite competent to do it.


Charlie really seemed to enjoy his little stay at my house, and we had a nice conversation. He is getting all prepared to get my broadband installed as soon as I get there, and boy, will I enjoy that! I wish I'd been there. I wish I was there!


At my suggestion, he left the cpu opened up, so I will have to tell Tom not to panic when he sees it. I figured there was no reason to put it back together when we know we'll just have to get into it again in a week or two.


So that took care of the morning, and after I finally ate my sandwich, my back had seized up again, although it seemed more stiff than sore, so I went back upstairs, got my beading and my telephone, and sat in bed with the heating pad on my back until it was time to come down here for the news.


It was a gorgeous, gorgeous day in Michigan today, with bright sunshine and clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid 20s all over. I wish I could have seen it in Copper Harbor, because it was beautiful here. Here, the snow is all gone from the deciduous trees, but it is still frosting the spruces, and they look like a Christmas card. So beautiful. I wish I could have sat in the sewing room in the sun, but that chair would definitely have done my back in.


I'm at the stage now where it stiffens up when I sit down, but if I stand for a little while, it seems to be a bit better. So I was able to get some trash out, at least, and make a nice dinner, with the steaks I got yesterday, which was pretty good.


It has been a long time since I've had a bout with my back, but this is progressing about as usual. I will take another nice hot bath and sleep on the heating pad again, and in a few days it will clear itself up. I did allow myself to have an Aleve last night and this morning, and that has helped with the pain, too. 


I think what happened is that I "caught cold" in it by sitting for hours in the bathroom with nothing on while I was reading till all hours of the morning, so the whole thing is my own fault. Anyway, I am sort of coddling myself until it gets better, but there are few things that wear me down faster than a bad back.


So I will haul myself upstairs and put it to bed.


Sunshine and starshine in the field today...and hope for the camera.


March 1

I certainly didn't sleep very well last night. For some reason, every muscle in my body seems to be sore, and my back is killing me, and that was not conducive to good sleep. So I knew that it was snowing for most of the night.


When I finally woke up this morning, it was to the sound of snowblowers, so my driveway got cleared early, and as a result I'm not really sure how much snow we had. It looked like 4" or more, maybe more like 6". It must have been wet, heavy snow, because every branch and twig on every tree had over an inch on it, and there was heavy frosting on the spruces. It was really beautiful. We had several wind gusts in the early afternoon that kicked up some real clouds, but the trees are still all frosted. That's one of the things I like about snow.


One of the yarns I wound into balls yesterday is a different weight than I've worked with before, so I wanted to see if my guesses about the number of stitches to cast on for a sock was right, so I started it. Since I don't know how it will work up, I started it from the toe, so if I am at all short of yarn, I will at least have a foot and as much leg as possible. That was the reason I wanted to learn how to start socks from the toe in the first place, and it's the reason I always do my sweaters from the top down, and make the sleeves before I do the body. In that case, I knit the yoke and sleeves, then just knit body until I run out of yarn. Since it's been years since I picked a pattern before I bought the yarn, it works better than running out of yarn halfway down the second sleeve and having to rip out the entire rest of the sweater!


Anyway, then I finally called Randi and had a nice conversation with her. She had to move her store right at the first of the year, and she is still trying to catch up. As I suspected she might, she is having a bit of a problem with people finding the new store (it's on the second floor), but apparently there is more space, all on one floor, and the layout is much better.


By that time, it was the middle of the afternoon and, curiously enough, I was cold and hungry. I finally finished my first meal of the day at around 4:00, so I guess it will be my only real meal today. I've had some cheese and crackers, and that will have to be all.


The weather here was in the upper 20s and cloudy, and late this afternoon there were a few more snowflakes coming down. In Copper Harbor, i guess there was snow before I got to the computer, and the temperature hung in at or just below 20º. It's not over yet.


So now I will haul myself up the stairs and stand in the hot shower for a while before I get out the heat wrap and strap it around my lower back. Maybe that will help?


It's March, already. 67 days to home.



Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM