A View From the Field








June, 2005


June 30

I got to bed late last night, and Buster was having one of those nights, so I didn't sleep especially well, except between 7:00 and 10:00 this morning. I don't know what gets into him sometimes, but he just would not leave me alone, and I had a period where my left ear and right hip were both sore, leaving me without a side to sleep on.


It was a pretty morning this morning, with puffy white clouds in a very blue sky, and I guess one of my problems may have been that the temperature rose somewhat overnight and it got warm in the bedroom. It was rather windy, too, and shortly the clouds came together, and it's been cloudy for the rest of the day. The temperature was fairly variable, going up to almost 70 and down to the low 60s as the wind picked up. The NWS station is not reporting the true state of affairs, as usual. They had the wind almost calm when it was whistling around the house and pushing the bird feeders horizontal. And they report no gusts, when it is gusting into the upper 20s here. Tonight is supposed to be even windier, with gusts up to 40 mph or more. And there have been a few light rain showers all afternoon, which should continue.


I ended up not dong much of anything except putting dishes in the dishwasher. The phone line seemed solid and I was getting good responses this morning, so I decided to try to do my order again. Well...after screwing around for five hours, I finally called them and complained and got my order in with the discount, which was supposed to be online-only. They admitted they had done an "upgrade" on Monday and they had been having problems all week. Looks like a downgrade to me, but as I know very well, the hard and fast law in the software world is "never go back!" so everybody has to put up with the results. I also got a really apologetic email  in reply to my email complaint of last night, and if I'd known they were going to forward it to the supervisors, I think I'd have been a bit more diplomatic and made some more suggestions. However, after seven or eight hours at at, I was rather frustrated, and maybe that will carry some weight, too. I perceive that software developers still don't test their changes, just like they didn't when I was working. There are some really stupid things about this website, though, that anyone over the age of ten would know are just not user friendly. I'm hoping they will clean up their act.


I did find where I had modified the security settings to prompt for all ActiveX controls and reset that. Much as it's nice not to get some of those ridiculous ads and things, I was getting tired of having to click to continue. Some of the sites I visit to read my comics use them, too, and I get really tired of their ads. Loading the ActiveX also slows down the loading of the rest of the page, too. 


There was one site I was going to pay to join, hoping to get rid of the ads, but when I read their terms and conditions, it seems that not only were they going to not get rid of the ads, they were going to download cookies and some other stuff that sounded a lot like spyware to me, so I opted out...and sent them an angry email, too. There is no excuse for that - I joined two other sources and neither of them do any of that stuff, and besides they leave out the ads.


So that was the extent of my day, and if they weren't playing Mozart, I'd go to bed right now. It will probably be over by the time I get this uploaded.


It's going to be a wild and hairy night in the field tonight.

June 29

It was a cool, humid, misty sort of day, not very pretty to look at. The temperature stayed in the middle 50s all day long, and there was some drizzle this morning. Icky.


I finally got all the trash together, and wrote some checks, so I made several stops in town. Of course, as soon as I got back, I started making more trash, but that's the way it goes.


I cooked tonight - my steak and potatoes recipe that I am still fiddling with. Last time, there wasn't enough liquid, and I overcooked it, and this time there was too much liquid and I undercooked it. So I'm still fiddling. It tastes good, anyway, and reheating should get the consistency a bit better. And now the kitchen is such an incredible mess that I will absolutely have to attack it tomorrow. I am a messy cook, but I don't see quite how anybody could be otherwise. Maybe other cooks just spend more time cleaning up as they go than I do. However, after chopping green peppers and onions and peeling potatoes, my back was a mess, so I didn't do much.


I actually spent six or seven hours trying to place an online order, and I finally gave up. Between the incredibly stupid website and the phone problems, and the system problems I have when I've been on the internet too long, it was clear I'd never get the order together. It was unbelievable. So I will try again tomorrow, and hope everything works better. That site used to be a good one, easy to navigate and quick to load, but it was redesigned by someone who believes everybody in the world has broadband, it uses ActiveX controls (which I have turned off for security reasons, although it's causing me so many problems, I may have to turn them on again) and Java, and the entire session is in secure mode. Some people just don't understand. Oh, yes, and I just discovered that it puts everything in cache and leaves it there. Sheesh!


Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced the printed catalog, so I unless I can find it tomorrow, I'll have to make do. Thing is, there is a rather nice special offer on until tomorrow night, and there are a couple of things I want. 


So it was a quiet day in the field, and now to bed...


June 28

I guess a long time in bed was what I needed, although I was wakeful. It was warm in the bedroom, and I had a hard time getting the temperature right, but I spent so much time there that I felt much better this morning.


It was cloudy in the morning, there was a bit of sunshine around 10:00, then it clouded up again, and the sun came out for a while between 4:00 and 6;00, when it clouded up again. There was no rain, The temperature started out around 65 this morning, but it dropped off slowly but steadily all afternoon, and it is now 52 and on its way down. I think it was pretty humid, but the cool temperatures made that not so noticeable.


In the afternoon, I got a call from a friend inviting me to dinner at Harbor Haus, and of course I couldn't turn that down. We spent the late afternoon together, had a wonderful dinner (of course) and a wonderful chat. So that was very nice.


Her coming impelled me to remove some of the clutter from the office, so I now have two more bags for the trash compactor, and I keep seeing things I missed that need to go, so I guess I will put together another bag and do that tomorrow. I do need to go to the post office tomorrow with the end-of-month bills, and I need eggs, so I will make it a real trip. It is nice to be able to walk around in the office again, and I think I can begin to bring in some of the other boxes.


I don't think Buster was very happy, but he hid out as usual and has only now come out of his hidey hole and started complaining. Too bad for him. Lesley is a nice lady and she likes cats.


So that was a nice day in the field, and it's cool enough that I expect to sleep well tonight.


June 27

I got up rather groggy this morning when Buster informed me it was time. If I hadn't had to walk, I probably would have gone back to sleep. I did sleep last night, but it was a night of weird dreams...really weird dreams. For one thing, I guess the news that MasterCard having credit card information stolen got me thinking about the people I used to work with, although none of them appeared in the dream. There was another one earlier that I don't remember. When I dream things like that, I often wonder what caused those connections to form in my brain. Weird.


Anyway, it was a beautiful morning, sunny and clear, but very warm and humid and hazy. There was a blue haze almost like light fog down the harbor. Eventually, it warmed up into the upper 80s - with a dew point in the mid 60s - and I put on my shorts and flip-flops and sat in the ugly chair and did not much but drink iced herbal tea and knit a few rows on the bedspread. I had all the doors and some windows open and the fans on in the office and the great room. That helped somewhat, but it was still awfully hot when suddenly, at around 4:30, the wind shifted a bit and the temperature dropped to 74. That's about 12 degrees in ten minutes. Aaaahh...


When I checked the Weather Underground, I found there was a strong thunderstorm warning until midnight. and around 7:00 it reached us. Times when I really wish I had my weather station, because the winds were incredibly strong. I spent some time watching the bird feeders and the thermometer, but since it was coming in from the west, they were all right. One of the things I love to watch in a heavy thunderstorm like that is the wind pushing curtains of rain across the water, but for a good 20 minutes, it was raining too hard to see the water at all. The trouble with thunderstorms in the daytime is that it isn't possible to see much of the lightening, although there was one bolt, near the end of the storm, that I suspect probably hit the tower on top of Brockway, and I caught a bit of that. Thunderstorms are so much fun!


Buster didn't think so, of course, and he complained, but since I was eating duck (left over from last evening), and i gave him a few bits, he settled down pretty fast. Now, however, he has gone off to the north end again, which is all closed up, and much more congenial for him.


And when the thunder and rain had moved off to the east and the wind died down, I just stood in the window and smelled for a while. There is just nothing that smells like the mixed hardwood and pine woods when the rain is over and the temperature had dropped. I wish I could bottle it and spray it around me all the time...I can get high on the smell of woods. Aaaahhhh...


Immediately after it stopped raining, the goldfinches were back at the feeders in numbers. I guess they aren't taking any chances with the rest of the evening. And they are probably right. The storms seem to be coming in waves, and there was one over Duluth a while ago that I bet anything is headed in our direction. The radar maps are in color, from green for light rain to purple for extraordinarily heavy. The one that hit us was just red, which makes me wonder what a purple one would be like...


Needless to say, the phone line was down during the storm. When I tried to reconnect, you wouldn't believe the static I heard, and every time there was a bolt of lightening, there was a burst of static. I don't think that should happen, if the lines are wired right, but who am I to say? You didn't miss much, although I'm afraid there will be a lot of missing pictures on the website. The window was so wet and the rain so heavy there wasn't a lot to see. You had to be here.


So now it's quiet and nearly calm again, but there is another wave on its way. With the southwest winds we've had, the storms come right up the Keweenaw, like they were following US-41 or something. It's neat to watch, if I can keep the phone connection up long enough to see it.


I began loading the dishwasher again, but otherwise, I didn't do much. It was too hot. I do not like this weather.  I did keep the north end closed up all day, because it was actually cooler there than outside. I doubt that's the case now, and I will probably open at least the porch door.


I suspect that breeds confusion when I say it. My screened porch is between the kitchen and the bedroom, and there is a door from the kitchen and one almost across from my closet, right around the corner from my bed. That door is frequently a lifesaver, since it funnels the air into the bedroom and bathroom. If I can keep some windows open in the window seat and in the bathroom, there is a nice cross-draft. One of my aims when I was helping design this house was to be sure there were no places that didn't have some kind of cross-drafts. The bedroom is somewhat of a problem since the head of the bed backs up to the porch and there is sort of a dead spot there unless the wind is out of the northwest, when I really don't want the windows open at all. However, if everything can be open, I get pretty good air circulation, and with the ceiling fans drawing the hot air upward, it is about as comfortable here as it is anywhere when it's hot and humid.


So now I think I will open things up for a while, to try to get as much hot air out of the house as I can before I go to bed...which I don't think will be too late tonight. This weather makes me very sleepy, and in fact, I toyed with the notion of taking a nap this afternoon. However, I haven't yet learned to nap in the ugly chair, so mostly I just sat.


It's a dark and stormy night in the field...


June 26

It was a little warmer last night, and I didn't sleep quite so well, but it was another beautiful morning, so I got up anyway. It was  lovely and sunny until about 3:00 when the clouds began to roll in. That was not forecast, so I'm not sure what it means for the weather tonight and tomorrow. The temperature peaked out in the mid-70s at about the same time, and it was a lovely afternoon. I can take mid 70s with a nice breeze.


The wind is from the south now, and the forecast for tomorrow is not good - hot and humid - but we'll see. One never knows up at the tip of Keweenaw.


I did some reading - I have a lot of magazines to catch up on - and some beading, and I put away all the clean dishes in the kitchen, so that is done and we can start over again.


I have been meaning to report on the bird situation. I have heard the loons several times, once in the middle of the day, which usually means they are in distress. The chickadees and the nuthatches have finally discovered the feeders. I have mentioned this before, but I always get a kick out of the nuthatches. They stick their beaks into the feeder and slash around and pick out seeds and throw them away - onto the deck - until they find just the one that suits them before they fly away to open  it someplace else. 


The result is seeds on the deck, and there is now a little chipmunk, as well as two squirrels, foraging around. One of the squirrels has a docked tail, and I noticed this evening that it seems to have had some kind of injury on one side. It does all right on the ground or in the trees, but it doesn't seem to want to go flying through the air like the others do. I wonder what happened to it. Out here in the wild, it could have been any kind of predator. It was hungry tonight, but it just couldn't bring itself to jump into any of the feeders.


After dinner, I spent some time in the ugly chair, with my feet up, reading, and that was nice.


Harbor Haus was busy tonight, so the season is beginning, and I made my reservations for next week, just to be on the safe side. Sunday and Monday. Yum.


I also saw the Isle Royal Queen (III?) come in, and it appears that they are not going so near the shore anymore and it appears that Harbor Haus is not getting everybody outside to dance for them anymore. That has been going on for over 20 years, and I wondered how long it would last. I must ask Chris. I have been going a bit earlier this year, and I haven't been there when the boat comes in. Anyway, there was no blowing of horns or anything tonight.


So now it's time to call it a night once more.


June 25

I slept incredibly well last night - only two wakeups - but I decided to get up around 9:00, and I should have stayed in bed. So I was rather blah all day long.


It was such a beautiful morning, that I wanted to enjoy it, and I did. It was sunny without much wind and just under 60, and that's about the way it was all day long. We did get to the mid-60s, but not for long. The wind (such as it is) has now shifted around to the north, and it's supposed to get down to 50 or so tonight, with a lovely day tomorrow again. Next week...well, we'll see. The trouble with the weather forecasts is that they are mostly for the middle of the peninsula, like from Houghton to Calumet, and frequently they don't apply to us. The marine forecasts are better, but they don't have air temperatures.


So I didn't do much. I had started the third bracelet yesterday, but I realized I was using black thread when I should have been using brown. I try to blend the thread color with the beads on the edge of the bracelet, and this one has copper on the edges. So that set off a search, which ended when I realized that the brown thread was with the rest of my beading tools all along and I just didn't see it. I just wasn't all here today, I guess. So I've restarted it, but I kept having to rip out rows - one row three or four times - so I finally gave up on that.


I just moved over to the ugly chair, fetched the pale blue sweater from the bedroom and knitted several rows while I watched the sky and the harbor. There are some clouds and hardly any wind, so this end of the harbor is like glass. Pretty.


I can report that I think my legs looked some better this morning, so the combination of antibiotics is finally beginning to work. Good thing, too - the last thing I want is to have to go back to Detroit and a hospital. No, thanks!


Buster spent most of the day asleep under the east window of the office, near to me, where he could smell the fresh air and not be cold and hear all the birdies. There is at least one song sparrow that has been singing almost constantly all day long. Or I think it is a song sparrow. Serenading Mrs. bird on the nest, maybe.


And that is all I have to report. There was a wedding at Mariner tonight, so the restaurant was closed. I think that will be the last of it, though, since next weekend is the start of the real summer season here, and they need the public.


It's a lovely, cool, calm night in the field tonight, and I'm going to bed.


June 24

One of the simple pleasures of life has to be stepping into a tepid shower on a hot, humid night, when I am all sticky and icky and uncomfortable. It doesn't hurt to step out into a strong, warm wind, either.


However, that's about all I can say that's good about last night. It was windy and over 80 all night long, and while I did get to sleep for a while, after  I woke up the first time, I only dozed. I had to get rid of that 24 ounce bottle of water, and besides, every time I woke up, Buster came up and complained. I'm not sure what his problem was, but it's been a couple of years since I've had to sleep with the windows open, and it apparently discombobulated him completely.


Then around 6:00 this morning, the wind took one of those sudden shifts I love to watch, from southwest to almost due west, and the temperature dropped at least 12 in about 15 minutes. Aaahhh... So I closed the windows and promptly went to sleep for over three hours. It did warm up a tad for a while, but then the wind settled down from the northwest, and it has been like that all day long.


The high temperature got maybe to the mid 70s, but the wind really kicked up - 18 to 24 mph - and that kept it so comfortable that I had one window in the office and the porch door open, and that's about all I needed. It was rather humid, but with the moderate temperature and strong wind, it was very comfortable, thank you. The sun was out almost all day long, and it was a pretty day. 


I guess it's supposed to be even cooler tomorrow, but I won't complain. And it's going to be cool enough tonight that I'll be able to sleep comfortably under the quilt.


Now, that's my kind of weather!


Not that I did much, but that's all right. I washed the dishes and the pots and pans, which will clear up the kitchen again for a while. I finished the bracelet I've been working on for so long, and I redid the ends of the original one I made by that pattern. I had messed up one end, and I hadn't made it long enough, so I took care of those things. I've started another one of the same pattern, with a copper background and a blue and green rope-effect in the center. I think it will be pretty, too. I will try to take a picture of all three when it's done.


I was looking a a bead web page about sunset, and I turned around and went running outside with the camera. This is what I saw. Sorry for the TV antenna in the second shot. The sun is actually setting between the two trees to the right of the first picture, so it isn't possible to see right down to the horizon, but it was a very pretty sunset - the first of the season.


So that was my quiet day, and I am looking forward to a good night's sleep tonight and another nice day tomorrow.


June 23

Now, this is the kind of weather I hate.


About 6:30 this morning, we had a wonderful thunderstorm, with lots of noise and buckets of rain. And it had almost stopped thundering when there was one crash right over the harbor that woke me out of a doze. Oh, well. However, when I got up about three hours later, the water still hadn't dried off the windows, and I knew we were in for it, even if it didn't get very warm.... At that point, the temperature was 60 and the dew point was 59...about as humid as you can get.


It warmed up nicely, thank you, and topped out at an official 84, but the dew point was about 68. The only thing that kept it tolerable was a strong southwest wind. It has, mercifully cooled off some since, mostly because the wind has died down and the cold, cold waters of mother Superior are lowering the temperature.


I actually kept the house closed up until mid-afternoon, when the sun began to heat it up inside to the outside temperature. Solar heat is only good sometimes.


Then I made the mistake of cooking. I had been having a yen for chicken, so I decided tonight was the night to make one of my favorite chicken recipes. It was hot in the kitchen anyway, and when I turned on the stove, even with the exhaust fan, I began melting down. So after a very nice dinner, thank you, I broke down and put on my shorts and flip-flops, ugly legs or no. Nobody will see them but Buster and me anyway, and we know what they look like.


I also eschewed alcohol, for the first time in a long time, and am now sipping from a nice big glass of ice water. Sitting quietly has cooled me down considerably, but my underwear and the back of my hair are still dripping wet.


I would be rather uncomfortable anyway, because it became obvious last evening that almost all the bites I thought were mosquito bites are in fact black fly bites, and they have all formed blisters and itch like crazy. However, as I proved last summer, it is a very bad idea to break those blisters, and if they do accidentally break (like the one right on the point of my elbow) the thing to do is get them to heal over. The blisters make it hard to scratch.


The thing is, you can see the mosquitoes and you can wave them off or swat them before they bite, but black flies are little and sneaky and you don't feel them until they're gone. It seems like the Adolf's works better if you can get it on as soon as possible, which I didn't do, except for two I got on the side of my neck yesterday afternoon. They don't itch so much and while I have nice welts, I don't seem to have blisters there. Nasty, nasty bugs!


I didn't do a lot today but fold clothes and rewash the things I didn't get the spots out of. I think I will try a bit of beading after I finish this. I am nearly finished with the bracelet, and it would be good to get done with that.


Buster seemed pretty happy, but then he likes to be warm. He spent the afternoon socked out on his chair on the porch, seemingly quite comfortable in the heat and the sun.


It may be a tad cooler tomorrow - I hope so! - but it will probably still be humid since we may have some more early morning thunderstorms.


By the way, I just looked at the weather history, and if the current temperature in Houghton is correct (90) it breaks the record set in 1966. Oh, dear, I'm afraid it's going to be one of those summers...


However, being right beside the lake does help, even if only a little bit. And as I know very well, June doesn't tell anything about the rest of the summer. I can remember incredibly hot Junes and incredibly cold Augusts...and vice versa.


Anyway, the southwest wind has died away, and the breezes swirling around are leaving the harbor nearly calm and the temperature tolerable, at least for now.


And I would still rather be here and hot than in Detroit and stuck in stale air conditioning, with my bedroom too hot to sleep in.


June 22

I can now report, from personal experience, that the bugs are horrible this year. I was outside for a few minutes last evening and again for a few minutes this afternoon, and I got chewed to pieces. They seem to be mostly mosquito bites, which itch like crazy for about three days then go away, although I did get several black fly bites which will no doubt aggravate me for a week or more. When I wanted to go back into the house last evening, I could hardly get in for the mosquitoes swarming around the door, and I brought several inside. Fortunately it was cool enough that they were moving slowly, and I was able to get them all.


So I itch all over, and that's not comfortable. Time to treat myself to some Adolf's, I guess. What I have never understood is, I have a number of areas where I have no feeling, from various surgeries, but the bites still itch. Very weird.


I spent a quiet day today, mostly on the telephone, finally getting my subscription addresses changed...and discovering as usual that one never got changed at all, even though my notes say I called it in before I left here last fall. Customer service ain't, I guess.


I was outside this afternoon because when the phone line crapped out, I decided it was time to attack the "Network Interface Box". I discovered that there is in fact a customer entrance to it, which is where the connectors are, and it opens with any kind of screwdriver you happen to have. Oh. However, the tech had opened his side and run the wire up from the bottom inside the whole cover. Fortunately, it is just plastic and it bends, so I was able to get the wire out without ruining my connector. 


And I have to report that it was just as bad while it was jury-wired as it is when it is wired correctly...just as I suspected. There is definitely a problem with the software - it leaks data so badly that every so often it can't make a connection and the computer needs to be rebooted - but that's not the whole story. In the month between April 26 and May 25, when I wasn't here and only the camera was running, the computer redialed 152 times. That just isn't right. I guess I will have to attack SBC again.


The weather was heavenly again. It was clear until early afternoon, when the clouds started to build up, and there was a good southwest wind, and the temperature got into the middle 70s, which was very nice. Then around 7:00, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped off drastically and is now on its way down to sleeping temperature again. Nice. I can stand the warm temperatures if the humidity is low and the nighttime temperature is reasonable. I think it will be tonight.


About tomorrow I'm not so sure. They are predicting upper 80s and thunderstorms for most of the day (you'll understand if the camera isn't updating regularly - it's worse in the rain), but I really doubt it will get that warm here. I hope not. The harbor is too cold to swim in yet.


So now I will go and nurse my bites.


June 21

Happy summer solstice. It was a simply gorgeous day for the first day of summer, almost completely clear all day, with just enough wind and lots of sun. It got into the upper 70s in Houghton, although it stayed in the 60s here.


I arose fairly early, but I didn't get a very early start to town, but that was all right. I hit Wal-Mart at a good time and got a good parking place (parking is difficult with all the construction going on), and I was able to find everything even though it was all moved around from last week. What an incredible mess it is there!


Of course, I got the wrong printer cartridge - I wanted a color one, and got a black and white one instead - and after inspecting the tool department, I realized that what I need to get into the telephone box is not an Allen wrench at all...and they didn't have what I need. 


I did find the restrooms, but the ladies was being cleaned when I got there (what a dumb time to clean a restroom - right around noon!), so I had to wait until the "family" restroom got free, but that was all right, too. I got some photo paper; I realized when I got here that evidently I left my package of photo paper at the other house, and I do occasionally print up a picture or two to show people.


I didn't go wandering around as much as I did last week, so I wasn't quite so tired when I got out, or I didn't think I was. Then it was off to the Ming Bistro, which was better the second time. I was much later (around 1:30) and there was more, better stuff than last time. However, after I sat down, I began sweating profusely, a reaction, I guess, to all the walking followed by getting into a very hot car. Anyway, it was a pretty good lunch.


There is a place that sells natural supplements right near the restaurant, and I stopped there and got some vitamins, although I'm not sure I'll continue with them. They are pretty expensive, and I think I can only get them there. I'd rather have some that I can get all over. However, in inspecting packages in Wal-Mart, I discovered that the only ones they carry that have anywhere near the same formula as the one I can't get also have stuff like ginko bilboa and gingseng and some other things I don't want. There are warnings in my oncologist's office about those things, and they asked me about them before my surgery. Don' wan no stuff like that. I'm not sure what my final solution will be.


At Econo Foods, I mostly bought wine and cat food - forgot about meat - and I stopped to top off my gas tank. I guess my car is finally getting broken in after 4 years. It now has over 30,000 miles on it, and my mileage is up over 19 mpg - pretty awful in the total scheme of things, but pretty good for a full-sized SUV.


It was 78 in Houghton when I left, but it was only 75 in Calumet, and it was lovely to just open all the windows and let my hair blow around. Every so often I would get a whiff of some nasty burned gas or diesel, but mostly it smelled like sweet grass, which is a smell I love.


I stopped at the legendary Ace Hardware store in Calumet, and lo and behold, they had just what I need - a set of hex keys. I got English measurements, and I hope SBC doesn't use metric on their screws. Anyway, this is a set that folds up into a small package like a jackknife, which I thought would let me put more leverage on the screw. I also found a nice push broom, which I've wanted since I've lived here to sweep the garage floor, which has a lot of mud ion  it, and the basement, which has a lot of everything on it. Wal-Mart doesn't know what a push broom is. 


Then I started for home, and I was tired, and my feet were very sore. My feet swell when I walk, and my shoes, which just fit, get too small and make my toes hurt. I haven't figured out the answer to that one. Going barefoot isn't much of an option, I can't wear Birkenstocks (my feet are the wrong shape) and flip-flops aren't much of an answer. So I hobble around with very sore feet sometimes.


As is usual, the temperature dropped steadily on the way home, and it was only about 65 here. It was a pretty good ride, with not much traffic, although I did follow one local in a real rattletrap of a truck, who wouldn't go faster than 40 mph on the covered road - maybe his truck wouldn't go any faster than that. He turned off at the Mountain Lodge, so I didn't have to follow him all the way to Copper Harbor.


It still delights me to come down that last hill in to Copper Harbor and look out and see all that beautiful blue water. It was really beautiful today.


So that is about all I did. I didn't want to walk around much after I got here, so I opened a couple of doors and just sat and enjoyed. The temperature is now dropping into good sleeping range, and the full moon should be showing up soon.


That is an interesting moon, the most southerly of the year, according to Sky & Telescope. So it will be shining in the south windows of the office, and I won't see a lot of its light in the bedroom. I still have not seen Venus, which is weird. I guess I will have to brave the bugs and go outside sometime in the next few days, because over the next week or so, Venus, Mercury and Saturn will get steadily closer together, until sometime next week, I think, they will be practically on top of each other, and I want to see it. I've only seen Mercury once, and  I want to do it again. I will have to dig my magazines out of the box they're in and check out where and when to look.


It's dark and calm and beautiful in the field tonight.


June 20

I didn't sleep as well last night as I'd hoped. I had some trouble getting the temperature right, since it was the first night with the porch door open. So I was up several times. Besides, my legs were itchy (still are).


So in due course, I got up and eventually put in a call to the doctor. Unfortunately, he didn't call back until after 5:00, and I wasn't going to start for Houghton at that hour, so I will start the other antibiotic tomorrow. We never did know if it was the second one (the one I'm taking now) that did the trick or if it was the combination, but it looks like it must be the combination. So I will be taking off for Houghton tomorrow morning.


That's OK, I guess. I'm running low on wine and steaks, and there are a few other things i want to get at Wal-Mart, if I can find them.


One thing is a set of Allen wrenches. I have put in several pages to the SBC tech and he hasn't called me back, and my computer phone connection is a wire running out the window. It isn't doing a thing for the connection, and it would be really nice to be able to close the window. But the box on the outside of the house has an Allen screw holding it shut, so I can't get into it to rewire it myself. I'll give him one more chance, then I'm calling SBC and raising some hell. This is ridiculous. The line is still lousy, and despite what the tech thinks, it isn't in the house. And I want my wiring put back the way it's supposed to be.


I also called for Charlie again, but he was out, and he didn't call back. I really need that wireless broadband.


Sometime late in the day I finally remembered that I need to wash, so I started with the jeans, and when they were washed, I put them in the dryer and forgot to turn it on. So it will be a while before I get to bed. The one disadvantage of having the laundry room so close to my bedroom is that it makes too much noise for me to sleep...but that's a small price to pay for having it right there. I think maybe I'll sit in bed and read while the last loads dry. 


The weather was nice, if a little cloudy. It was cloudy this morning, then cleared up during the middle of the day, and now it has clouded over again. The temperature here got up to the low 70s, and there was a nice northwest breeze for most of the afternoon. I don't know what was going on over at the holding ponds, but the reports from the official weather station were as screwy as I've seen them. They were reporting 79 and variable wind this morning when it was 64 and breezy here. Then it warmed up here and they were reporting around 60. I sure do wish I could see a weather station in my near future, but it doesn't look likely.


Now it is under 60 here, and it looks to be a good sleeping night.


I didn't go down into the garden, but I did see the white Siberian iris that I thought I'd lost. Unfortunately, it is behind the purple ones, instead of in front of them, so it isn't too obvious. The peony flowers are swelling, and they should be out in a few days. That will be a bouquet, for sure. Too bad it's white. I also noticed that there is a very lovely lupine growing right beside the steps off the deck outside my bedroom. For some reason, I always thought lupines needed to be in damp locations, because they seem to grow mostly in the drainage ditches around here, but it seems they are more hardy than that, and they're growing quite well in my field. OF course, everything is, here, because there was so much rain earlier in the spring.


And tomorrow is the solstice, so summer will be official and we'll begin the slow slide down to short days and long nights. Just another reason I was so disappointed that I didn't get here in May like I'd planned. I love these long evenings. Well, maybe next year I'll be moving in about that time...


So that is another quiet day in the field.


June 19

Well, I even sat down in the ugly chair (gosh, that's a comfortable chair!) and tried to do some knitting, but I'm not going to fight it any longer. I'm going to bed, even if the sun is still an hour from setting.


I guess it all began because I woke up having to take a walk at about 4:30 am and discovered Buster in the bathroom with a mouse. So I got on my glasses and turned on the bathroom light, and discovered that he had managed to damage it already and it was moving pretty slow, I think on three feet. It ran into the corner under a little shelf I have there, and between us, we cornered it long enough for me to pick it up in a tissue, and then I had to walk down to the great room and put it outside. I don't know if it made it or not, but at least it didn't die inside the house. I noticed when I got up for real that there were some bloodstains on the floor, so Buster wasn't very careful with it. It was a very little mouse.


Anyway, that got me thoroughly awake, and I didn't get back to sleep for some time. So even though I got up late (nearly 10:00), I didn't feel restless, and in the middle of the afternoon I gave in and took a nap. Buster doesn't like it when I do that - he thinks maybe I'm sick or something - but he eventually settled down beside me and we slept for over an hour. One nice thing about getting older is that I can actually nap during the day if I'm tired. One of these days, I'll be able to nap in the ugly chair, and then I will have arrived.


Or maybe it actually began earlier in the night. I woke up around 2:00 having had a dream about a weed that wouldn't stop growing and couldn't be killed by any means, even weed killer. What an interesting nightmare. I guess that was because I was thinking about the weeds in the garden before I fell asleep. And those hounds tongue things are about that hard to kill, although they don't grow all that fast. I mean, what would one do with a plant that couldn't be killed and any little part of it would grow into another plant? Shades of my old science fiction readings...


I felt better after my nap, but I'm tired again now, so I'm not going to fight it any longer.


It was a really beautiful day. It was sunny, although there was a haze in the sky, with a nice wind out of the southwest, and the temperature got into the middle 70s with low humidity. Really lovely. So of course I have had the house opened up all day, and both of us enjoyed that.


When I got back from dinner (whitefish again - I didn't feel like anything heavy) I filled the bird feeders, which had gotten depleted. I think it was all the goldfinches, but we'll see tomorrow. I may have had a nocturnal visitor, in which case, I'll have to start bringing things in at night. That's a pain, and I don't do it unless I have to.


So it was a sleepy day in the field and it's time to try it again.


June 18

It was another beautiful day in the field, mostly sunny, with very little wind, and a temperature that got up into the low 70s...warm enough for me to open up the house and air it out, although it's cooling down now.


My principal task of the day was to finally write my condolence notes and a couple of bills and take them to the post office. I am pleased to report that it is possible to get mail from Houghton to Copper Harbor in one day. The rest of my antibiotics were mailed Friday morning, and they arrived today. Amongst the mail were a couple of forwarded bills, one of which was due the day it was forwarded. So I will have to stop at the post office tomorrow (since I forgot to go on the way to dinner tonight). Since my pills arrived, today's mail had already come, so the next pickup will be Monday, sometime after 1:00. One gets so one knows these things when one lives in a remote area.


When I got up this morning, the harbor was glassy calm, and it was so pretty. During the day there was a little wind ruffling the surface, but this evening it has calmed down again. The sky is sort of hazy - not the best seeing - but clear and there is a nice, fat gibbous moon shining in the office windows. It was just a perfect day to sit and watch and listen to the birds.


I did finally make it down into the garden this afternoon, and I took a few pictures of the flowers.  The peonies aren't out yet, and only two poppy flowers on one plant are out, so there will be more later. The Siberian Iris are making a very nice show and filling in very well, although there is only one plant of the medium blue ones, which is disappointing. Last year there was also a white one, but I didn't see that - maybe it's a bit later.


There is still one iris that has never bloomed, even though it is growing and spreading. I think I will have to scrape away some of the dirt on top of it. The root may be buried too deep. And one little peony seems to have disappeared. It's really hard to tell exactly what's there, because the grass and other weeds are a couple of feet high around and in the bed. I have some work to do. A few little rose bushes survived, too, but they are almost buried in weeds. I have some work to do.


It turns out that my garden seems to be going to be in a very good spot. I've noticed that it always seems to be warmer and less windy down there, which is great for the flowers, if not so good for the gardener. I really do hope to slowly get it back into some shape. The pond is about half full of green, yucky water, and it needs to be pumped out and cleaned up.  I have my work cut out for me. I have always liked to garden, when I was up to it, and maybe that will help get me back into shape. However, it's not safe to go out there without a bug shirt on right now, especially when one is stirring up the weeds.


There is an interesting bird (?) calling outside right now. I wish I was more knowledgeable about birdsongs. I do have two CDs, and maybe I can play them sometime and figure out what I'm hearing. There aren't a lot of birds that fly at night and call.


Speaking of that, I have forgotten to mention that I have heard the loon call three or four nights since I've been here. It's never more than one call, but it is definitely loony. And I think I may have seen an eagle, but he was sailing almost right over the house, and he moved so fast I only caught glimpses of him. Whatever it was was pretty big, and  I don't think it was a vulture.


I had intended to wash clothes today, and I just plain forgot. Tomorrow. I am getting low on jeans that fit, and the laundry bags are full, so  I guess it's time.


And that was another quiet day in the field. I could stand a lot of weather like this.


June 17

We made up for our active night the night before last by having a very quiet night last night, and a very quiet day today. It stayed cloudy all night last night and into the morning, before finally clearing up late in the morning.


I had the slow breakfast, read my magazines, and generally didn't do much else. 


The weather was pretty, mostly sunny with a few high clouds, and temperatures in the middle 50s with not much wind. Just before sunset, there were some cirrus clouds and contrails in the sky, but they seem to have gone away, and the slightly gibbous moon is shining brightly in all the windows. Maybe I will get to see Venus tonight.


So that is a really quiet day in the field.


June 16

It was a very active night around here last night. I had just gone to bed when a lot of thumping and skittering told me that Buster had a mouse, but it didn't last too long. Then around 3:30, there was more thumping and skittering, and again around 6:30. Three mice in one night! After the third one, I heard crunching, and it seems he scarfed down a whole bowl of dry cat food. Needless to say, he slept all day today. As usual, I didn't find any bodies, which I guess means he chased them back where they came from. Or I hope he did. I guess my nose will tell me if they didn't make it.


On top of that, when I got up this morning, I discovered that there was a mosquito in my room overnight, and I now have a small bite on my foot in a spot that was only accessible when I didn't have any shoes on, and an enormous welt on my neck, about two inches above the biopsy scar. That one has been driving me crazy all day. I guess it's not possible to keep all the bugs outside, especially when one moves as slowly as I do, and better mosquitoes than black flies. 


So it was a quiet day. I did manage to get to the post office at last, and I now have some reading material and some bills to pay. I had thought about doing some filing today, but I just never got around to it. It isn't going away, but the amount is getting out of hand.


It was a pretty day, although it wasn't as sunny as had been predicted. There was a nice northwest wind that kicked up some little whitecaps on the harbor, and the temperature might have made it to 60.


I did meet Ron at the post office - he's the guy who spent the winter up here - and he tells me that he and one of the other people who want to stay here are working on the planning for keeping the road open. Evidently there are some other people on the road along the lake who might well want to live here permanently, so we may have a real colony, and we may be able to split the costs amongst quite a group. That would be good, because it's not going to be cheap. They are planning to discuss it at the annual meeting, so I guess I really will have to go this year.


This evening, I finally called Debbie, and we talked until the battery in her cell phone gave out. I was going to try to call Nancy, but there was nobody home there. I hope she is all right.


Tomorrow I really must get down into the garden and see what's there. I can see the pretty plum-colored iris, and the coral poppy, and the Siberian iris are coming out. The beautiful blue iris has buds, but there are a lot of weeds in the bed, so I need to see what there is to do there. I don't know how much gardening I'm good for, but I do mean to try. The weather is too good to be inside all the time.


It was a rather pretty sunset tonight, although I didn't get to see much of it because I was on the phone. As frequently happens, there is a cloudbank over the land, but it seems pretty clear over the lake, and the sun came out right before sunset and turned the trees across the little bay at this end of the harbor all golden. There were some pretty low clouds and some of them turned nice and red. Nothing I could take a picture of, but nice to look at.


So another nice, quiet day in the field, but I don't think there will be any stars tonight.


June 15

Over the past 36 hours, from midnight on the 14th until this morning, we have had 1.24" of rain, according to the NWS. It's enough to make one feel a bit moldy, or at least soggy. Last night turned out to be a sort of wild one, with several very heavy showers, and winds strong enough to cause the lake to be speaking most of the night. Not a roar, you understand, but a definite shout.


I seem to sleep very well under those conditions, and I only had one night sweat, a minor one, although I was up any number of times. I was so thirsty when I left Econo yesterday afternoon that i drank two different kinds of pop on the way home, plus some more liquids of varying kinds after I got here. Of course, I was so exhausted that I would probably have slept under any circumstances, but I did so pretty well.


It is a good thing I got started on my antibiotics yesterday, because it seems like I have a small patch of cellulitis on my right leg, as well as the large patch on my left. The only explanation I can give is that one blister did break (it leaked all over my bedding), and the way I twine my legs around when I sleep, I suppose it got on my right leg. Well, now all I have to do is endure until the pills take hold. Cellulitis reminds me in many ways of the shingles. Where it is just beginning, it itches like crazy, but if you scratch it, not only does it hurt, it may break the blisters and spread the infection. Not nice stuff at all, and in a way cellulitis is worse, because if the bacteria get into your bloodstream, you're in bad shape. What I didn't realize is that apparently, once I had it, I'm at greater risk for having it again. So my legs itch, and I can't scratch. Sometimes, I just rub them with the palm of my hand, and that helps some, but not much.


I was up at a reasonable hour this morning, but I guess I ended up not doing anything - just recovered from yesterday, I guess.


The weather was gorgeous. It was still cloudy this morning, but along about 11:00, the clouds started going away and the afternoon was perfectly clear and beautiful. IT wasn't very warm - low 50s - and there has been a strong wind out of the north-northwest, but it was a pretty day to watch. Just about 8:30 another cloud came over, but that is supposed to go away and the night and the next few days are supposed to be perfect Keweenaw weather - sunny and not too hot and not humid at all, with enough breeze to keep the bugs under control.


You'd never know it from Buster. He slept the entire afternoon on the couch, which was either in or near the sun, and when he got up from there, he came into the office and went to sleep here. His natural period seems to be something like 48 hours - he'll be wakeful for nearly an entire day, then sleep for nearly an entire day. Not like normal cats at all...but then, he has a lot of Siamese in him, so I guess that's the reason.


I spent a good part of the day searching the internet. For probably 40 years, the vitamins I have taken are Theragran-M. For the last few years, I have been able to get them at Wal-Mart, but when I looked for them yesterday, they didn't have any. Neither did any online source I could get to, although there are plenty of generics out there. I wonder if they have been discontinued? I am not hung up on that particular brand, but the combination of vitamins and minerals in it seems to be good for me, so I'd like to continue it. I guess the thing to do is to take the breakdown with me when I got to town again and see if any of the Centrum flavors is about the same (Centrum is about all there is anymore).  I could send for one of the generics, but there are a ton of them and I don't know a thing about any of the manufacturers. That sort of thing isn't regulated much, so I'm a bit suspicious.


Anyway, that, and restarting the phone line when it went down, is about all I did all day. I did a few rows of beading and one row on the bedspread, but that's it. I'm not quite sure what my problem is, but I'm having a hard time getting interested in any particular crafts. I presume that eventually this will pass, but right now, I feel bored, and all I've been doing is play games, and that's boring, too, after a while. I can't think of anything in particular that I'd like to do. Very strange. I guess I'm still recovering from my frustrating May.


Anyway, I seem to have gotten my hours straightened around pretty well, so I guess I'll try to keep it that way. It's hard when the sun doesn't set until nearly 10:00, because I'm used to going to bed in the dark. Not that I'm  complaining, you understand. We are blessed with nearly 16 hours of daylight these days, and it hardly seems right to waste any of it.


The bird feeder was overwhelmed with goldfinches today. There was one point where every perch on the finch feeder, every perch on the big feeder, and the thistle socks were all occupied!  I think there were hummingbirds, too, but they come and go so fast I didn't see them very much. There were a couple of evening grosbeaks around, and one of my little red squirrels made several trips into the platform feeder. Most of the feeders are still full, but I'll have to check the platform feeder tomorrow. It may be full of shucks by now. They are fun to watch.


So another quiet day in the field, just enjoying being here.


June 14 - Flag Day

I didn't sleep so well last night. I guess I got started on my antibiotics just in time, because I was having night sweats all night long. It was one of those cool humid nights where I had trouble getting the covers right anyway, and makes me think about long-sleeved summer-weight nighties. I think I've mentioned that in prior years. What I needed was something to cover my feet (always) and something to cover my arms and my neck and leave the middle part uncovered. Two sets of sheets, or something?


Anyway, I could have slept for several hours more this morning, but I got up reasonably early, which was good. Not only did I have a long conversation with the Wal-Mart pharmacy, I remembered that tomorrow is the 15th and I had checks to write. 


There was a nice thunder shower at about 6;30, and another around 10:00, when I was about to leave, but it had pretty much stopped when I pulled out of the garage at 10:30, with the camera and the coolers in the car.


I was pretty much the only one on the road for most of the way to Houghton. The worst thing I ran into was a work crew on the covered road who were evidently replacing culverts and digging up the road in spots. They didn't do a very good job of patching, either. I did have to pass one lady in a pickup who was going at a very sedate pace. Well, maybe she knew her vehicle, but I can go faster than she was. It drizzled for a while, but most of the water was being splashed up from the road.


That Wal-Mart is an incredible mess. They are enlarging the original building on two sides, and they've moved the entrance down several hundred feet, but the worst part is that they are in the process of moving everything around, and already I think the store is twice the size it used to be. I never did find the electronics department. I had to replace the color cartridge in the printer, and I wanted to get a backup. I also never found the bathroom. So by the time I got out of there, I was exhausted, had sore feet, and needed to pee. 


I don't know if this is the final configuration or not, but if so, they have less drugstore type items and cleaning supplies, but more sewing and crafts stuff. Right now, it is a terrible mess, the layout makes no sense at all, and it's so huge I may have to go to other places that are smaller. Or work really hard to get into shape.


So then I went to the Ming Bistro. Ming Gardens closed for good last fall, and the buffet is the only place open now. i was rather disappointed. They had a rather strange mixture of dishes, including some really American stuff, and it wasn't all that good, I thought. Some of the dishes had suffered from being in the steam tables too long. And I did laugh - there was one that said it was chicken with broccoli that had only broccoli in it - somebody had come by and taken all the meat and left all the veggies. And while I was eating, some people came in with two kids - one little boy, not talking yet, who was a screamer, and a little girl who enjoyed running around the table in circles. It's nice that people take their kids out to restaurants, I just wish they'd do it when I'm not there. I will probably go back, because it will take me a few trips to get the routine down. I took only one plate, but I noticed that most people took a few things on a plate - like appetizers and soup - and went back for the other things. Probably that's a better way. I did enjoy the vegetable Lo Mein, and the sesame chicken, and there was one spicy dish with beef, chicken and green peppers that was good. I don't know if they have the same thing every day or something different every day.


Then it was off to Econo Foods, and I laid down $200 stocking the pantry. I needed things like potatoes and onions, as well as JD, and the early summer fruit is in. I also wanted to put some real meat in the freezer for the future - chicken and round steak and things like that. I don't think I'll be spending quite so much the next time. Or I hope not. Thankfully, Econo has not changed their entire layout: they did that last year. I know pretty well where everything I want is located, it's just that it's a huge store and there's a lot of walking. Evidently I looked so exhausted when I was checking out that the packer, who I think is something other than a packer, asked me if I wanted package pickup! That is a nice feature of that market, and I've used it before when I had a huge order. They roll the cart outside at one end of the store, and you can pull your car right up to it, and they will help you load. I don't use it much because I have to sort through the stuff and put the cold stuff in the coolers, but it has been a lifesaver.


Anyway, by the time I got out of there and packed up, I was truly exhausted, then I had to stop for gas. As was the case last summer, their gas station has the lowest prices I saw, and I tried to check every station I passed on the way down.  $2.16 is relatively comparable to what I saw in Detroit for self-serve, considering the transportation charges. Actually, the place to get gas, if possible, is in Baraga, where the Keweenaw Bay Chippewa have a nice station with very low prices. However, I wasn't going to drive another 40 miles just go get cheaper gas - that's self-defeating.


When I got out of Econo, it was drizzling or something, and it was very foggy, so foggy that the top of the Quincy mine hoist was lost in the clouds when I got there. It was less foggy in Calumet, but from about Phoenix north, there was fog, but not too thick.


South of about Phoenix, the lilacs are just about gone, and the daisies are coming out. The mountain ashes are in bloom, however, and the lupines are at their peak. If it clears up any time soon, I'd like to drive down Lac LaBelle road, where the ditches on the north side are just full of lupines, and they are gorgeous. I only have the dark blue ones in my field, but where they were planted by the oldtimers, they come in blue, purple, pink and white. I wouldn't mind a field full of them. I noticed, when I stopped to get my newspaper at the end of the road, that a few of the early wild roses are out, so I guess I will have to get down into my garden, just to smell a while.


It was a bit warmer in Houghton, of course, but temperature here was in the middle 50s all day long and is now dropping off. We just had another heavy rain shower, and I guess that is supposed to go on all night and maybe tomorrow morning before it finally clears up and warms up a bit.


So that was my exhausting day. Now I need to take my pill bottle and crawl up to the north end and into my bed. Wow! Am I tired!


And it's a foggy night in the field.


June 13

That worked so well last night that I think I'll try it again tonight. I got into bed with a washcloth under the heating pad, and I read for a while. The hot compress made my leg extremely painful while it was on, but it felt much better overnight, which was nice.


I had hoped to stay awake until Venus came out, but along about 10;30 I got too sleepy, so I called it a night. I did go down to the great room to see where the moon was - it was high up behind the trees. Zzzzzzzz..........


Around 3:00, when I took a walk, it seemed to me that the northern horizon was unusually bright, but if there were northern lights, they were behind the trees. It didn't keep me awake.


I got up at 8:30, which was nice for a change. It was a truly gorgeous morning, with not a cloud in the sky and plenty of sun, but it was quite cool - the temperature started out around 55, dipped to 50 around noon, and has now risen back into the upper 50s. By about 10:30 there were some puffy little clouds in the sky, then they went away. Along about 4:30 some clouds loomed up in the west and it has now clouded up, and there is a line of showers southwest of us and heading this way. So it will be a cloudy night, and I guess it's supposed to be showery tomorrow, too.


That's too bad, because I called the doctor, and he called in a prescription which I have to pick up tomorrow, so I have to go to town, rain or shine. Another reason to get to bed early.


I spent some time watching the birds, although there weren't many. There were some goldfinches, and there were a few hummingbirds, all male. The highlight of the day is that I've had several evening grosbeaks at the platform feeder. They are very pretty birds, and it's fun to watch how easily they can shuck a sunflower seed. They evidently turn it around with their tongues (I wasn't sure birds had tongues, but evidently they do).


The other news of the day is that one of the poppies is out, as well as one iris that has never bloomed before. It is a dark, velvety plum color. I will get down to take pictures, but I did some things in the kitchen today, including the broiler pan.


So now it is cloudy and dull again. It always interests me that the storms are coming in from the west, but the breeze is from the east. I think that will probably change.


So a quiet Monday in the field, and now to bed.


June 12

Tonight, I'm going to do this early and go sit in bed with my leg elevated and a hot compress on it. It seems I have my cellulitis back. Tomorrow I will be calling my doctor, and if he won't fax me a prescription for the two antibiotics I had the last time, at least he can tell me what they were so I can pass it on. Poo.  I'd hoped I was over these minor medical misadventures for the summer.


I got up late this morning...in fact Buster was sitting beside me staring at me, I was so late. When we got up, it was a gorgeous summer morning, perfectly clear, with a temperature about 73. It was extremely humid, but there was a nice soft breeze out of the southwest. So I went out one door of the porch and in the other one, leaving both open, and I opened up the house. It was lovely.


I decided this was the morning to put out the bird feeders, so I went and filled them all, which bothered my back. I was sitting recovering from that when the wind shifted to the west and picked up into the 15 to 20 mph zone and the temperature dropped from 73 to 60 in about 15 minutes. It also clouded over.


Buster went rushing around like something was after him, for some reason I don't know, but then it appears he settled down for a long summer's nap on the ugly chair (which I have not yet sat in) while I went rushing around and closed all the west facing doors. It's always fun to see how fast the weather can change around here!


By 1:00 the clouds had blown away, and the rest of the afternoon has been glorious - clear and sunny and breezy. The temperature rose as the afternoon wore on, and it got almost back to where it was this morning, although the humidity has all gone and it has been wonderful.


About two hours after I got the feeders up, a pair of goldfinches were eating thistle seed, so I don't think it will be long before the birds will be back, even though we missed all the spring migration (rats!). There were so many hummingbirds at Harbor Haus tonight that I came home and put out a feeder. I didn't do it earlier because of the wind, which has died back a bit now. I'm hoping to be able to sit and watch birds in a day or two.


Otherwise, I got the suitcases cleaned out and stashed away, and I did some beading, although it seemed like I had to rip out nearly as much as I put in.


Unfortunately, this weather isn't supposed to last long, although it's supposed to be clear tonight, for the first time since I've been here. Actually, it cleared up briefly about the time I went to bed (around midnight), and there was a nice crescent moon hanging over the lighthouse when I turned out the light. During the few clear times there have been, I noticed that Arcturus isn't in view from my windows yet and the Big Dipper is still relatively high overhead, so that I can't see it from the bathroom window. Venus and Mercury are both supposed to be in view now, although low in the sky, so I will have to see if maybe I can see them tonight.


So that was an almost perfect day in the field.


June 11

I'm going to try to get to bed a bit earlier tonight, but we shall see.


The day was foggy and hazy and humid, but the temperature was in the low 50s for most of the day, although it climbed up above 60 late in the afternoon. Sometime after noon a line of thunderstorms came through, rather quickly, and after that it almost cleared up again. Just now there was another, but it didn't amount to much - quite a bit of noise, but not much rain, and it almost looks like the sky is clearing again over to the west.


I spent most of the day monitoring the phone line, because when it got damp and began to rain, it was almost impossible to keep it up, and now, with the latest storm, it's happening again. What a pain!


However, instead of doing clothes, I put away all the food I brought - or I think I did. I may run across a bag here and there, but most of it is safely stowed away in the pantry. I also moved some things around in there, consolidated the cat food onto one shelf, and moved the extra paper goods down to where I can see them. In doing that, I resolved some confusion that resulted from having two houses. I knew that somewhere I had bought a ton of reseal able plastic bags, but when I began looking for them on Champine, it seemed like I had hardly any except for the very largest. Now I know why. They are all here. Oh. So maybe I can remember that I shouldn't buy any more bags here, but I need all sizes on Champine. Maybe.


At least that is done, and tomorrow I can put the crates and the extra pop out in the breezeway. Apparently Tom was afraid things would freeze in the breezeway, since it isn't heated - and he may have been right - so he brought all the boxes of pop into the house. Since I'm not drinking much caffeinated Coke any more, I have a lot of excess. I took out of the fridge what had been in there and replaced it with caffeine-free pop and lemonade, and while I was doing that, I wiped up some very sticky stuff on the shelves, I think where either pop cans or wine bottles leaked. And I rearranged some things in the Fridge.


Well, I guess I did do something.


I also did some beading, but I had done several rows when I realized I had made a mistake i the pattern before I tied off the last thread, so I had to pull out about an inch, weave in the old and new threads, and start over. I am not quite back to where I was when I started ripping, but at least the pattern is right. Then it got sort of dark, and I got hungry, so I stopped.


I ate in, a little steak and some veggies from the freezer, and it was nice. The only downside is that now I have to clean the broiler pan again.


It was fun to look down the harbor today. It seemed that every so often a very dense streamer of fog would come in the channel and lay across the water and up into the hills, then it would sort of spread out or go away, and then there would be another one. I did save one picture, from early this morning, that shows the effect. That was before I was ambulatory, so I didn't see it myself, Nobody else saw it, either, because the phone line went down, apparently when the first picture tried to upload, and I had to restart it when I finally got down to the office.


From the regional radar, it looks like we will be having storms off and on all night, and I'm not going to get to bed very early, either. So we shall see. I like to watch lightening at night.


So it was another quiet day, but the weather was interesting, and another task is done.


June 10

It was another late night last night, and it wasn't all my fault. I tried five or six times before I could get the journal uploaded. I kept getting errors that closed FrontPage or Explorer and I ended up rebooting before it would load properly. Heaven knows why. That's what makes computing so much fun.


I awoke rather late this morning, and I didn't really want to get up, but the sun was shining and I thought I might as well enjoy it. It clouded over for a bit, then I got to doing something else and when I looked around it was all sunny again and the temperature got into the upper 60s, and it was so nice that I opened up all the doors to air out the house, which rather smelled like fried pork sausage.


Around 5:00 I thought I heard a rumble of thunder way, way off in the distance, but there was only one. It's truly amazing how far sound carries over water. From the radar maps, I could see that there was a line of severe thunderstorms on its way toward us, and shortly the sky began clouding up and by 6:00 it was really dark and threatening. About 15 minutes later, the rain came marching down the harbor. I still find one of the neatest sights is to watch a rain squall start at the mountain and come across the harbor until it finally hits here. It's a sight one just never sees in the big city, and I still think it's cool to watch.


I had to jump up and close the doors, because not only was the wind rising, but the temperature dropped precipitously to around 56 - in a matter of five minutes or so. That's neat to observe, too.


I need to note that from the time the rain began, it was almost impossible to keep the phone line open. Although it didn't come up right this morning, from the time I restarted it until the rain, it had been pretty solid. I don't think the problem is with the wiring in the house.


It was still raining at 7:00, so I had pretty much decided not to go out to dinner when Cindy called to say that Shirley was at Mariner, and where was I? So I went, and discovered that the dining room was open, and I got to indulge in salad bar and fish, along with some good company.


I had stopped at the motel after I went to the post office, and I got to see the nice new things they have done, including some new furniture, and beds now anchored to the wall, a very large mirror in the bathroom, and new flooring in the bathroom. I didn't say it to Shirley, but I was glad to see that they have now anchored the beds to the wall. It seemed like, when my mother and I were living in room 33, every time we came, somebody had moved the beds around and either they were shoved almost together or one was nearly at the back windows. Now they are fixed in position and there will be no more rearranging of the furniture. She has also gotten some new bedspreads and some bed skirts, which look very nice.


I know Sully never thought it necessary to do any updating, but even in Copper Harbor, it is necessary to keep up with the times. I suppose she has raised prices somewhat, too, but room rates up here are all modest compared to most other places.


I didn't do much here today, but I did get some of the food that was on the counter put away (crackers and tea mostly), and I brought in my file box of papers and the box of the last stuff I packed, mostly catalogs. I needed the form to send off with my prescriptions, and the office is about as clean as it's going to get. Later, 


I brought in the box of seed beads and the project I was working on. I discovered that I had cannily stopped beading just when I needed to tie off an old thread and tie in a new one, and I had just finished doing that when it started to rain and got too dark to work. However, everything is laid out on my bead tray to start tomorrow.


So little by little all the tasks are getting done. Tomorrow I may try to get the suitcases emptied and stowed away, just to get that stuff out of the closet.


And I washed dishes, so tomorrow I will have to take care of that.


I guess we are settling in in the field.


June 9

It turned out to be a rather nice day in the field today. It was partly sunny, with a lot of high cirrus clouds, and the temperature was in the middle 50s for most of the day, although it hit 60 briefly, late in the day. It started out calm, for about three hours in the middle of the afternoon we had 20 mph winds - out of the northwest - and now it is calm again. I do enjoy seeing the little whitecaps on the blue water.


I seem to be going back to my old habits of going to bed very late and getting up very late, although I was up at a relatively reasonable hour this morning. I was awakened around 3:30 this morning when Buster jumped hard onto the bed right beside my face, and as it turned out, he was carrying a mouse! And hollering! Fortunately for me, the mouse jumped off the bed, rather than running toward me, and Buster chased it down the hall. I didn't find a body, so I guess it escaped, but that was all right with Buster. After it left, he came and cuddled under the covers with me and was sound asleep when I wanted to get up.


I was also awake, briefly, right before sunrise, and I wished, not for the first time, that I had a clear view of the eastern horizon, because for a brief five minutes or so the sky was all orange before the sun came up.


Eventually, the SBC guy showed up again, and after testing all the way from Copper Harbor to here, he is determined that there isn't a problem with his lines. So now there is a phone wire running out the window right to the box on the side of the house.


I have to admit I haven't had many problems since he did that, but I don't trust it. We'll see what tomorrow brings. We're supposed to run like this for several days, but if it works all day tomorrow, I'm going to try a couple of other configurations, just to try to nail down the problem, even though it will mean crawling under the desk. This arrangement is very comfortable, but it was created with the idea that not much would ever need to be disconnected.'


I finished washing the floor in the office today, although from the color of the water after the little that I did, I suspect I could probably do the whole thing over again and still not get it clean. Every time I do this here, I think of how gross the carpets on Champine must be.


Anyway, tomorrow maybe I can bring some of the stuff in from the breezeway. I need to get my papers in here, anyway, both to pay some bills and to send in some prescriptions. And it would be really nice to get the bird feeders out. I didn't do that today, because by the time I thought about it, it was late and the wind was rather brisk. However, the longer I wait, the fewer birds I'm likely to have.


I spent some time printing up some note cards for my condolence letters, and in the course of setting up the printer, I discovered that the color cartridge dried up over the winter. The blue never printed at all, and the yellow stopped while I was still testing. I can understand the blue going dry - when I print pictures, most of them certainly have a lot of blue in them, and I was fooling around with business cards last fall, and both designs I printed had lots of blue, too. However, I was surprised to see that apparently I used more of the colored cartridge than of the black. I wish HP would put the same sort of gauge on the color cartridge that they do on the black one, so that just by inspecting one can determine if it is empty or not. I guess, though, that when the test pages don't print certain colors, that's a good indication. In prior years, I've left the printer on all the time, but I read recently that that may cause the print heads to get clogged and it is better to shut the printer down except when I want to use it, so I'm going to try that. We'll see. Anyway, I got two pretty good cards and two so-so ones - the so-so ones don't have the picture centered. And the new cartridge was printing good enough that it's tempting to make some more prints of my pictures, even though I strongly suspect I left most of my photo paper on Champine.


Otherwise, I just enjoyed being here and looking out my windows at all my views.


It's good to be in the field again!


June 8

Buster and I slept comfortably together all night long. it was a tad chilly in the north end, with no heat, and Buster discovered long ago that I generate lots of heat, so he dove under the covers beside me and was quite comfy, thank you. When I got up this morning, rather late, he had crawled partway out, so that his head was sticking out from under the quilt, and he looked so cute.


I ended up not doing much, although I did get the dust vacuumed up in the bathroom, so now i can move some stuff in there. 


Late this afternoon, the plumber showed up, and the trouble was that the pump that moves the fluid (antifreeze, actually) through the pipes had died. I now know where that is, and it is a tiny thing with plastic or nylon rotors. If the whole thing is as cheap as that part of it, no wonder it broke. Anyway, clearly the fluid moves slowly through the pipes. The system I have is awfully complicated, and I doubt that anybody but the guy who installed it could figure it out. Too bad, because he is expensive, but at least I think I have heat again.


He also informed me that there is now a better vent than the one I have...the vent for the burner, I mean...so I told him I'd like one if he can get it and install it when he is in the neighborhood. The one I have is shaped like a T on its side, with the crossbar vertical. The result of that is, when the temperature is below about 60, and the boiler comes on, the south window of the office, which is right above the vent, fogs up.


Which reminds me, I have to call the glass company and tell them I'm here - they have a window to replace.


So I am now much poorer, but I have heat, I think. I'll be checking that out shortly.


The weather was not much to write about, cloudy and dull with temperature in the low 50s for most of the day, and not much wind from the east. It didn't rain, like they said it was supposed to. It's supposed to warm up tomorrow.


The real convulsion of the day was that after spending about 3 hours trying to submit an order to American Spoon Foods (whom I heartily recommend for preserves and condiments), and having the phone line drop about every 10 minutes, I realized that the line was still not fixed, so I called it in to SBC again, and they agreed - it still has problems. I was close to calling American Spoon, but my catalog is in some box in the breezeway, so I persisted, but I wasted most of the afternoon at it. 



That is the place I get the lime and lemon curds I put on my French toast, some yummy preserves, and the relishes that put 10 pounds on my last summer. After having discontinued them for several years, they finally bowed to their customers, including me, and now have peach Fruit Perfect again. It reminds me of the peaches my mother used to can back in the old days. I also scarf down blueberry and sour cherry Fruit Perfect, on muffins, although they would make great pies, with just a little flour or corn starch to set the juice. They are now publishing recipes, including a cheesecake that they put their relishes on, which must be an appetizer sort of thing, not sweet. As soon as the phone line works again, or I get my broadband, I will check that out. It might be a cool thing to take to a potluck. Besides, cheesecake is one of my favorite items to eat. Yum.


Anyway, that was about all there was to the day, so soon I will trundle up to the north end and my warm (I hope) bathroom.


All quiet in the field.


June 7

The morning started out clear and sunny and I was up at a reasonable hour, but I was just thinking about breakfast when one of my few relatives called to say that my Jewish aunt-by-marriage, who was 96, had died yesterday. That was a downer. She was a real inspiration, and it just seemed like she would go on forever. But it seems she fell and broke her hip a while ago and had to go to a nursing home, supposedly for rehab, and her system just shut down.


She was the wife of one of my great uncles, and the sons of the other great uncle, my second cousins, who live around Alpena, are going down for the funeral. It is Thursday, and I couldn't get there anyway,


The upside of the episode is that the former wife of one of the cousins, whom I like a lot better than him, had left a message on the answering machine on Champine, so I called her back, and we had a nice conversation. She lives in Traverse City, as do her kids and grandkids.


The whole family started out in Grosse Pointe, and it's interesting to me that almost all of us have ended up at points north.


So that shot the morning.


I had just decided to begin cleaning the office when the SBC tech came by, and he found that the connection of my phone wires to the pole left something to be desired, so he reconnected everything, and I thought it was better until the rain began, but more on that later.


The office floor is now nearly clean. I guess it was getting rather cloudy and dark before I finished mopping it, and I've found a few places I missed, but I'll work on those tomorrow. At least all the cobwebs, birdseed and dead flies are gone and the sticky stuff in front of the slider is gone, too. The area between the desk and the computer station still has some bad spots, but I was using the string mop, and I guess this area needed more than that. I do know the water was incredibly filthy when I poured it out.


It seemed cool in the bathroom when I got up this morning, and I began wondering about that when I didn't hear the boiler come on very much during the day, so I cranked up the thermostat to the mid 80s and determined that nothing was happening. The boiler seems to still be running, because as I used hot water, it would come on briefly, but there is no heat. So I put in a call to the plumber (shudder!).


While I was waiting for him to call back, I washed out the drawer and the insert, which were really, really gross. I used Clorox Clean-Up, which I think disinfects. Yuck! However, now it's drying, and tomorrow I can put it back and fill it up again.


I think the plumber will be out sometime tomorrow, probably late, which was all right by me, because it really isn't that cold. The bathroom floor is a bit chilly on bare feet, but I can handle that.


When the SBC tech came, Buster saw him and growled and ran off. Strange that he has begun growling. I swear, before last year, I'd never heard him growl at all, and I didn't know if he could. He doesn't have the deep bass growl DC did, but then, he's a little cat. Anyway, he apparently went to sleep where ever he went, and he had just come back and settled down on the counter when there was a loud crack of thunder outside, and shortly the heavens opened, this time accompanied by lots of nice thunder and lightening.


I'd guess that was around 7:00, and it has been thundering and raining ever since, and visibility has been about zero. There was one minute or so, just at sunset, I think, where the entire sky turned sort of dusky red, then was gone almost at once. Neat.


However, ever since it started to rain, I have been having a really terrible time keeping the phone line going, so now I'm not sure whether it's fixed or not. I will reboot before I go to bed, and we'll see if it hangs on until morning, which it has not done for the past two days.


It was much cooler today, around 55 for most of the day, but after about 4:00 the temperature dropped into the middle 40s and it is still dropping. I still find it interesting that the wind was from the east, but the storms came from the west.


Oh, and the camera caught a nice picture of the inside of the office reflected in the window. Sorry about that, but it was dark, and I wanted to see to eat my dinner.


So I guess I can say I accomplished something today. I did do most of my vacuuming while sitting down - a chair on wheels is really very useful - but for some reason my back was better today. My neck and shoulder are still very stiff, especially when I've been sleeping on that side, but after all, it's not two weeks since my surgery. It only interfered a bit with my cleaning. My worst problem is brushing my hair.


And it looks like with my repair problems, I may not get to do some of the things I really wanted to do this summer. Oh, well. Heat is a necessity.


So another quiet day in the field.


June 6

It's amazing what twelve hours of sleep will do for me.


First off, if anybody sees anything funny about the site for he next few days (until I get my broadband), please let me know. FrontPage, in its usual idiotic fashion, wants to copy all 30 mb of the pictures to the website, because, as you may recall, it insisted upon doing that after the time change, so the dates here and the dates on the server are different...not later, just different. Times when I'd like to commit mayhem at Microsoft, and bash against the nearest steel pillar the heads of the idiots who make the development decisions there. There have been others...


Anyway, not all the pictures may be accessible for a while, because I'm not going to do that at 28.8kb in less than an emergency, so I've been stopping the upload sometime after the journal loads, and that could be in the middle of a file.


Dumb, dumb, dumb!!


Anyway, as soon as that was done, I went off to the north end and had just about enough energy to take my bath and drop into bed. And I slept very well, thank you.


Just about the time I was leaving the south end, an intense rain squall came across the harbor. There wasn't very much thunder, but there were extremely high winds and just torrents of rain. I had to shut everything that was open, although I missed the window in the window seat and of course it rained in. After it passed by, there was thunder, but it was so high in the sky that I couldn't see the lightening, and it was far away, so I took my bath. The rest of the rain didn't bother me one bit.


It was cloudy when we got up this morning. but around 11:00 the wind began to pick up and the sky began to clear and the afternoon was lovely, so long as you could stay out of the wind, which was gusting into the 30-35 mph range. The temperature was in the low to mid 60s all day, and it was nice, very refreshing after all the humidity.


Speaking of temperature, it seems like I got out of Detroit just in time. Apparently they had sever thunderstorms yesterday which caused power outages, and when I checked the conditions today, the temperature was 84...not my kind of climate at all.


Anyway, sometime during the day the thermometer I had put outside apparently lost its mind and began reporting temperatures in the low teens, and finally the wind blew it off its branch. I think it is dead, because it is still showing temperatures below 10 in the house. Fortunately, I have the other one, and I think I have secured it a bit better. It was far too windy to put out the bird feeders, so I was spared a guilt trip for not doing it.


My first task was to unload the car, which didn't take long, but I was tired at the end of it. I then went off to the post office, to find that Clyde had not kept all the junk I got over the winter...which I was rather counting on, darn it. Oh, well. One garbage bag I won't have to pay for. Anyhow, he knows I'm here now.


I made some phone calls to change addresses, which is how I found out about the power problems in Detroit, since I couldn't get through to DTE. I also called Charlie to tell him I'm here and I'm ready for my broadband. Wow, am I ready.


In fact, I'm so ready that I called in a trouble report to SBC, and discovered, to my delight, that yes indeed there is a problem on the computer line (like, I didn't know that?), and they will try to fix it tomorrow. We'll see. The picture didn't get updated very early this morning because the line took a permanent error (where the software puts a little gray box on the screen and a person has to click on it), and I didn't get up really early.


Buster has finally settled down a bit, I think. He slept beside me on the counter for most of the afternoon, and when I had the rest of my fish tonight, he got some of his. He has rediscovered his sleeping perch on top of the dresser in the bedroom. 


I discovered that he had pooped on one of the blankets in the cage, although he also went in the litter pan, so I am in the process of washing all the fleece blankets he likes to lie on. That will have the added effect of clearing out the water system a bit. It's been pretty brown since I've been here.


So I guess I accomplished something today, and my plan is to try to get to bed at a decent hour tonight, too, although it takes long enough to write this thing and get it uploaded that it may be late before I make it to the north end.


Because I forgot a few things last night. I wanted to talk about the flowers. In the eastern UP, most of the juneberries were gone, and the trilliums were beginning to turn brown in some places, but the lilacs were out. Here, there are still some juneberries, and the pin cherries are in bloom...they have an interesting flower head that is shaped sort of like a finger glove. Some lilacs are out, but the ones on my northern lot line are mostly just coming into bloom. I hope it doesn't get too warm. The lilacs in my garden in Detroit didn't last very long, but here, they usually last several weeks. I hope that happens.


Today I noticed that the forget-me-nots along the road are in bloom. While I haven't been down into the garden, it looks like I have some iris buds coming. Unfortunately, the weeds around the beds got a really good start, so I will have to try to do some weed whacking, wearing my bug shirt, of course!


And that's the other thing I forgot to mention. All of my going out and coming in Saturday night filled the house with mosquitoes, it seems. At least I spent most of the evening chasing the ones in the office, and the state of my hands and feet tell me I didn't get them all. It's buggy. I have been using my Deep Woods Off for the past two days, and it seems to help, but it doesn't help the ones that get into the house and chew me up while I'm asleep.


One last, sad note. A year or so ago I began having e-conversations with a very nice man, a friend of another e-friend. He was a history buff and very interested in the history of the Copper Country, because his mother came from here, and he was delightful to talk to. Unfortunately, he had been diagnosed with metastasized prostate cancer, so he had to undergo radiation, which left him very weak and tired and he lost his sense of taste, which distressed him. In January, he took a fall and broke an ankle and had to go to a nursing home. Apparently his cancer reappeared, and he passed away today. I was so saddened to hear about it. I didn't know him well, and of course I had never met him in person, but he was just a delight to correspond with, and I wish I had been able to meet him in person. It really saddens me to lose such a wonderful person. However, as his daughter-in-law said, he is at peace and his sufferings are over.


It also seems that some people misinterpreted my encounter with the mice, thinking I was rather heartless and uncaring when I pitched the pups over the deck railing and Buster chased mom mouse. Believe me, that was not the case. It was the reason I didn't act immediately when I opened the drawer and saw the three of them there. I had hoped perhaps they would all still be there when I decided I had to act, but there was no way the pups could live without mom, and she was gone, and I really did not want a mouse nest in my desk drawer. So I'm sorry if I offended anyone, but I had to balance my desire not to kill any living thing with my desire not to have mice in my house, and I guess sanitary conditions prevailed.


So now the sun has just set and the sky is full of pale pink clouds against a light blue background, except in the west, where it's clear, and I need to go to bed.


Peace reigns in the field.


June 5

I'm Home!  I'm Home!! I'm HOME!!!


From the beginning, now.


I didn't get to bed very early Friday night, for the usual reasons, but I took a sleeping pill, and I slept really well. I woke up at about 6:30 am, and while I could have used three or four more hours of sleep, I did want to get here before midnight, so I got up.


I pulled a fast one on poor Buster again. He came into the bathroom to be petted before I went downstairs, so I closed the door on him, and then I hauled  him down and stuffed him in the cage before I even got dressed. He was not happy.


However, that solved that problem, so I was free to do the final stuff without worrying that I would lose him. As a result, I got everything packed up - and it seems like there is more every time I go - and left around 8:30. That was late enough that I was able to bring in both the trash barrel and the recycling barrel, which was good.


It wasn't a very nice morning. The temperature was about 67, and the humidity must have been nearly 100%, so it was damp and hazy, and it stayed that way all the way here. The temperature hung in about 73 all the way north, except for Marquette, where it was 79 and at the bottom of Keweenaw Bay, where it was under 60. There was heavy fog at the Mackinaw Bridge, and periodically there were a few raindrops on the windshield, but not enough to wet the ground or clean off the glass. It was pretty buggy.


North of Bay City, there was not much traffic. That was a good thing, because it seems like there is construction all along I-75 and all along M28. The worst was in northern Oakland County, where I-75 was down to one lane for several miles...and you wouldn't believe the backup of traffic. Otherwise, leaving on the weekend was a good thing, because I only saw one or two road crews, and lanes were open that would undoubtedly have been closed during the week.


We arrived at about 7:00 - 10 hours - which was very good, considering the number of places where the speed limit was lower than normal.


It began raining shortly after we arrived, and it turned out that the entire computer had hung around 10:15 in the morning...and I mean, it was really hung.


I started the update of Norton Security even before I started unloading, and that was a trip, too...something like 27 mb at 28.8kb! It crapped out before the biggest download and I had to start it twice and reboot several times.


In the meantime, I unloaded the food and my suitcases and selected other important things before I brought Buster in. I was sitting at the desk watching the downloads and resting when I idly opened the drawer above the wastebasket in my desk...and I disturbed a mama mouse with two pups attached!  I closed the drawer at once, while I considered the situation. She had evidently used some tissues and torn pieces of some envelopes to make a nest, and she was nursing her pups. They were over an inch long, and furry, but their eyes were still closed. I didn't realize, I guess, that mouse pups' noses are flattened out while they are nursing, so they can latch on. They were funny looking things, very tiny, but with remarkably big feet.


Clearly, my electronic rodent repellers had no effect whatsoever. Oh, well. Maybe this is the last year I'll be leaving the house unattended for so long.


Anyway, what to do. After bringing in the next load, I opened the drawer again. Mama mouse had deserted her brood, leaving them in two holes in the drawer insert. There was one other hole they had obviously been using as a latrine, and various droppings all over the insert and underneath it. I decided my wisest course was to commit infanticide. First, I just dumped them on the deck, but they were clearly not going to move from there, so I pitched them over the side.


In the meantime, I found a dead mouse next to the wastebasket, so I pitched it over the side, too. The drawer is now in the laundry room, and it will need a thorough cleaning once I'm up to it. One thing at a time.


I hauled in the necessaries and brought Buster in. He looked around, and proceeded to case the joint thoroughly. Eventually, when I was sitting down having my JD and something (not much) to eat, he came and sat on my lap and purred, so I guess I'm forgiven. The fact is, he is too attached to me to be mad for long. I am a bit concerned because he hasn't eaten much yet, but that will come.


I noticed, when I was playing with the computer, that there was no sound, so I pulled out the CPU to look at it, and discovered that the speakers hadn't been plugged in, and also, the wires had gotten twisted into a real rats' nest, despite Charlie's best efforts, so I spent some time untangling everything and making it as neat as could be. That, plus the updates, meant I was late going to bed.


While I was sitting here, mama mouse evidently tried to come back - there must be an entrance in the front corner of the office, probably under the cabinets - and Buster flushed her and chased her down the hallway, where she either went down into the basement or under the fridge. I will investigate that cabinet later.


I was almost too tired to take my bath, but I was so hot and wet and sticky that I had to, and I fell into bed around 11:00. Whew! Unfortunately, I was so sore that I didn't sleep at all well, and I was so stiff I could hardly get out of bed this morning. It didn't help that every time I woke up, Buster came around and rubbed against me and purred and wanted to be petted., or that I couldn't get the temperature right.


As a result, I didn't do anything today except move the files...and that was a trip, too. I wish there was another way to do that! I ended up purging one of the journal files I made over the winter (a Publisher file) because Laplink simply could not move it. I had to reboot both computers several times, and it took much longer to do than it did in Detroit. However, everything but that one file seems to be fine (it was last July's, which had lots of pictures in it, and I think was something like 12 mb in size), and I was able to fire up Outlook Express and get my email.


About the email - thanks so much to everyone who wrote me. I really appreciate all your kind thoughts. I certainly hope that this journal gets back to the things I like to write about - the weather and the harbor and the birds and things like that - and there isn't much more about my health problems!


I do feel better when I move around some, because every time I sit down for a length of time, I sort of freeze up, but I was just too tired to get at any of the tasks at hand...


The car needs to be unpacked.


The office needs to be cleaned and vacuumed before I can move anything into it from the car.


The bathroom needs to be dusted and vacuumed.


The counters in the kitchen are covered with dust and dead flies.


The non-perishable food needs to be put away.


There are dead flies all over the great room and bedroom, and I seem to have trailed hummingbird nectar from the kitchen all the way out the office slider.


The bird feeders need to be put out.


The boxes I shipped and my suitcases need to be unpacked and their contents put somewhere.


There are probably any number of other things I will think of later.


I did do a couple of tasks today, after I finally got dressed. I put out one of the thermometers, and I raised the shutters on the porch. I couldn't do anything more because every time I stood up for a while, my back just about killed me.


The day started out cloudy and foggy again, but the skies cleared up and the humidity dropped, and the temperature got into the middle 70s at least, and it was a gorgeous afternoon. Buster was so happy when I opened up the porch and put his towel on one of the chairs that he immediately curled up and went to sleep there.


In fact, it was almost hot here when I went to dinner, because the breeze, such as it was, was from the southeast (in spite of anything anybody else may report). It was a beautiful afternoon to be at Harbor Haus, and the skies were nearly clear and the harbor all blue while I ate. Since I got back, the line of heavy thunderstorms have been approaching from the west, but most of that is 50 miles or more south of here, and we may or may not just catch the northern edge of it. It is beginning to cloud up and the wind is rising a bit, just enough to make it really comfortable.


By the way, dinner was quite up to Harbor Haus's standards. My capacity seems to have decreased remarkably over the winter, and I brought half of my fish home with me for tomorrow. Yum! 


Oh, how good it is to be here! My rose bed is so comfortable, and I do love my shower...it's so nice not to have to haul my legs over the edge of the tub to get into it. I'm not sure I could have done that last night.


So that is the story of our migration. 


I want to share one other thing about my last month. The morning after I learned I wouldn't be leaving Detroit on May 6, L had an extremely vivid dream. It seemed I was climbing some kind of pinnacle, and people were shooting at me with machine guns...and I was dodging the bullets. Now, I don't particularly believe that dreams can foretell the future or anything like that, but I've never had a dream like that before (and I've had many recurring dreams over my lifetime), and I've never had it since. So it really makes me wonder if someone wasn't trying to tell me something. I certainly believe I dodged a bullet. I certainly believe it was sort of a miracle, because there was something there on the CT and PET scans that looked suspiciously like cancer to the radiologists. And yet, when Dr. Toole went in to find it, there was nothing there.


God is very good to me.


And I am home, and eventually I will get everything unpacked and cleaned and then I can attack the summer.


I am a very happy girl.


June 3

Well, it's official - I'm OK. Everything the doctor removed was perfectly normal for lymph nodes involved in fighting infection. So I'm off tomorrow. Yea! Halleluiah!


Actually, that was quite a trip this morning. As you might expect, I didn't sleep last night, so I was pretty groggy when I got up this morning, but I got out of the house on schedule and followed the instructions from MapQuest. Well...I guess if every street was in perfect condition, it would have worked. However, the way they told me to go turns out to have been dumb to begin with, and 16 Mile Road is down to two lanes for several miles, and when they began the paving, they removed all the road signs! As a result, I ended up several miles too far west, and then had to find my way back to Garfield around the Clinton River.


I ended up going around in circles so much that I was half an hour late for my appointment, but when Dr. Toole showed me the pathology report, it was all worth it. Needless to say, my blood pressure was sky high by the time I got there...I was glad they don't check such things. And it took me all the way home, via the Post Office and the gas station, to settle down. Whew! What a morning!


So with no sleep and a morning like that, I was exhausted by the time I got back here. I had hassled the cage into the car and backed it up to the kitchen slider, and I was wondering how I was going to get all that stuff in there when my neighbor, Phil, came to talk, and he offered to help me move the stuff. What a godsend! He is a couple of years older than me, but he keeps in shape and he is strong. In about 10 minutes he had all the boxes in the back in the right places.


Then we exchanged war stories. He has been fighting with kidney stones for years, and he is in the middle of a bout now, and strangely enough, he has had a devil of a time getting first, an appointment with his doctor, then the x-rays, and finally the...whatever they call the lithotripter treatment. It would seem to me that when someone calls and says they are in the middle of a kidney stone attack, the doctor should be able to accommodate him in less than two weeks...by that time he could be in the hospital with the pain. From all I've heard, a kidney stone attack is about an 11 on my scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the pain from my burst appendix). The people who say our medical system is broke usually are talking mostly about the financial end of it, but the more horror stories I hear (and I won't share Laura's with you), the more I think the entire system is broken from the bottom up. Friends, it wasn't meant to be this way.


Phil certainly helped a lot, but I still had a lot to do, and the way my body reacts, it took the rest of the afternoon. There were all the little things...various bags of knitting and food and 3-ring binders of stories and stuff like that...and besides, since I had to pretty much unpack my suitcases, I had to repack them and  haul them and miscellaneous bags downstairs. What I would have done if I'd done everything myself all in one day, I just do not know. I kept finding things that need to go. Let me tell you, that Yukon is packed to the gills, and the cooler isn't in it yet! I would move a load, then sit, and move another, then sit...


I did come down to the computer, hook up the laptop again, and update its security, as well as read my email and post a message on Pasty Net. So many people have wished me well there, rather than emailing me, that I felt I should let them know the resolution of my problem.


And I truly believe all the prayers and good wishes from all of you, plus all my friends here and in Keweenaw, are what brought me through this. There was something there when they did the scans. It was gone when I had the biopsy. Evidently my God thought a few weeks of facing an uncertain future wouldn't hurt me.


I will tell you that it has galvanized my aim to move permanently into my field, even though in this case it would have meant spending a month in a motel. When my world may come to an end any moment, I most definitely want to spend all the time I have in the place I love best.


So now I am sitting at the computer (listening to Bach and Mozart, by the way), sipping my JD and scarfing down the last of my Vermont Country Store Cheese Straws, which will be followed by some of the best herring in cream sauce and a nice chicken salad sub. Now, if that isn't a combination... And I have no doubt I'll sleep like a baby. I intend to see to it, with another JD after this one and a sleeping pill.


And by this time tomorrow, I will be home! Aaaahhhhh........


The weather here today left something to be desired, but it figures. The temperature only got into the low-mid 70s, but the humidity was very high, and it was very uncomfortable, especially to be doing anything. I had a sweat band on all day and I am still drenched all over,'


It actually got warmer in Copper Harbor than it was here today, but the sun was hazy or clouded over all day long. The temperature got to about 70.


I may miss the rain tomorrow; it's predicted to hit after I'm out of all the areas. I may have to use the air conditioning, however, because the temperature for most of the day is supposed to be in the 70s or above.


Poor little Buster is not a happy camper. He kept running around watching what was going on all day long, and frequently when I sat down, he would come and sit on me. I guess he hopes that by being really, really nice, he can talk me out of this horrible trip. Sorry, Buster. Especially after the last month, I'm more determined than ever.


So now I will get this published and move files. It takes quite a while to do the move, mostly because the program has to compare the modification date of every pair of files, and there are about 4000 of them. At least the music sounds like it will be good, and it seems to work all right even when I'm using LapLInk.


What a month this has been! How glad I am that it's over!


June 2

A small amount of progress, I guess. I got my sandwiches, I got my hair cut (goodie - I can now see without peering through my bangs), the trash is out, and the porch is at least swept, if not vacuumed. Things in the kitchen are still in piles all over, but maybe I can handle that. Oh, yes, and I found a new pot for a hanging geranium whose pot had disintegrated last summer and hung that out.


Dr. Lehman had not gotten a report on the biopsy, but when I told him what Dr. Toole said, he said he had no objection to my going if she doesn't. So I will have to come back in August to see him and have more scans. Figures. I should be so lucky as to not have to make that trip at the height of the vacation season. But that's all right, so long as I can leave now.


It was another beautiful day here. The temperature got to 77, but there was a nice breeze and the humidity is still low. It was sunny for most of the day, but it's clouded over now, and I guess there is the threat of rain through the weekend.




I don't know exactly how it was in Copper Harbor, because the camera went offline overnight, and I didn't notice until late today, then it uploaded one or two pictures and got hung up. One reason I want to get there (although not the very most important) is to raise hell with SBC and get the wheels moving to get my wireless installed. That phone line is just awful, and I think now I have the documentation to prove it.


Anyway, it got up to 77 there, too, although only briefly, and it was beginning to cloud up there. It was another one of those days where conditions here and there were just about the same. Prettier there.


Tomorrow I have to be about early, because my appointment is at 9:45 and it will take me at least half an hour to get there (probably longer), then with any luck, I can hit the post office, the gas station, and begin to load up the car.


Buster seems to know that things are in motion again, and he was rushing around and getting in my way all afternoon. It's really amazing how sensitive he is to what's going on in my mind.


I'm not planning to do the computer thing until tomorrow, so there should be a short entry before I shut everything down here.


Maybe, just maybe...


June 1

Well, a new month, and I'm still in Detroit, and I didn't hear from anybody today. The frustration level is getting higher by the moment.


As a result, I didn't do much but dishes and sort out the catalogs and new magazines to take along...if there is an along.


The weather here was beautiful, with sunny skies, temperature in the mid 70s and low humidity.


It was beautiful in Copper Harbor, too. The temperature got up to 70 or so. It started out clear this morning, but by afternoon there were some little high clouds which got heavier toward evening.


There was some trouble with the camera. The phone line went down around 6:30, and although I bounced it right away, it hung up at around 7:30 and didn't clear until 9:45. So we missed some pictures, but looking back over the day, it was getting worse all day long.


Just as an aside, I discovered one good reason not to drink red wine. I sloshed it coming down the stairs, so that there was some on the foot of the glass, and when I picked it up to drink it, of course I dripped two nice drips right on the front of one of my new tees. So I took it off, tried all the stain removers in my stash, and finally washed and dried it. It did come out, but only because Lands End fabrics are pretty good quality. What a nice mess!


So I wait...


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM