A View From the Field








October, 2005


October 31

Well, here it is, the end of October already! Hard to believe.


FrontPage did copy the entire website to the server last night, as I expected it would, and it was never nicer to have the broadband. It didn't take too long at all, although I think I remember having to start it twice. That is another bug in FrontPage - sometimes, for no apparent reason, it will lose track of itself during an FTP, and just hang there. If it weren't such a problem to recover, I'd get a better FTP program, but it insists that it has to keep track of every file locally and on the server...which is why it copies the entire thing twice a year, and why I have to say "NO" a couple of hundred times each night to prevent it from trying to delete the camera and the statistics and log files. Some of what it does might make sense if more than one person were working on the site, but it wasn't implemented very well.


So I went down the hall and sat and read for a while before I went to bed, and that was nice. I didn't have a very good night, however. It seemed I was sore all over and I thrashed around a lot. That happens, too.


When I turned out the light, around 11:00, I think, it was as incredibly dark as I've ever seen it around here...sort of like being in the basement. A fog bank had rolled in, and I couldn't even see the lighthouse. The fog rolled out after a while, but in the meantime, it was like being in the pit.


I rolled out of bed at 8:30 this morning, leading me to observe that, in fact, my body never went on daylight savings time at all this year. I rather figured that might be my problem.


Unfortunately, right after breakfast, I had a nasty accident which caused me to have to wash everything from the waist down, including me and everything I had on...what a mess! That's all I'll say about it. Certain things I record here are for my own use, and that's one of them.


That upset me enough that I didn't do much for the rest of the day, although I did go through the catalogs and got the pile down to 12 inches again...wait until I got to the post office again! this is the catalog time of year, and I seem to get most of them, including a bunch I have no idea how. I also made an appointment to take my car to be fixed a week from tomorrow.


My order from Land's End came this afternoon, and unfortunately, my nice snow boots are too small. They fit perfectly with no socks at all, and I just don't think I want to go wandering around in the snow with no socks on, no matter how well insulated the boots are. It's too bad, too, because the wide width only comes in the lace-up kind, which will be harder to get into and out of. So I have to send these, which have zippers, back. It was a bit of a disappointment, but I just couldn't get into them at all with my socks on. I do have to report, however, that they have resized their ladies' jeans, and they now fit just as well as my oldest pairs do...a real relief, since they had been getting smaller and smaller every year, but not so small that I could wear the next size up. Sometime I'll have to try their dress pants again. The last pairs of those I got certainly were a funny shape.


The weather wasn't worth talking much about. It was around 50º until about 3:00, and it has been going down very slowly since. It has been cloudy and a bit foggy, with a northwest wind sometimes. It rained a little bit right after midnight, and again around 3:30, we had a nice brisk shower that didn't last long. There was that thick fog around midnight, but nothing like that during the day. It was so dark that night fell by 6:00. I think we are catching up on the clouds and rain we didn't have over the summer.


So now it's time to go and wash the rest of me, and maybe read a bit, but I'm tired. I hope a nice hot bath will be good for my achy muscles.


By the way, just so you know. I don't celebrate Halloween. From the time I was two or three years old, I've hated it. This is the anniversary of the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, and that means a lot more to me.


It's another dark night in the field, but a good one for sleep.


October 30

What a dark, dreary day! I think we're paying for the past two or three days. It was warm - in the upper 50s until about 100, when it started sliding down, but it's still been around 50º for the rest of the afternoon. Sometime between 3:00 and 4:00, it started raining lightly, and it's been yucky ever since. It doesn't help that daylight only lasts 10 hours now, and now that we are back on Eastern Standard Time, sunset is just after 5:30.


Remember that Copper Harbor is actually west of Chicago, so we really should be on Central time, and that skews our daylight hours quite a bit. It doesn't help when there really isn't much daylight at all.


I didn't do anything. It was too dark. And even though I did sleep pretty well last night, this weather makes me very sleepy. So I think I will go and do something about that.


Sorry, but there just isn't anything to report from the field tonight.


October 29

It was almost as clear last night as it was the night before, but around sunrise it began to cloud up. There was a lot of sunshine, but there weren't the clear blue skies of yesterday. It was also windier, but just the same, the temperature is now (at 8:45) still 59º. It's amazing how warm that feels after the 40s we've been having lately.


I didn't sleep so well last night. I still can't sleep on my right side, although I can lie on it for a while, and my left arm got really sore for a while from all the lying on it I've been doing. So I thrashed around and walked around for quite a while before I was able to settle down again, and I slept rather late. I'm going to try to get a bit earlier start tonight.


The time change is overnight, but since I'm not going anywhere tomorrow, I can just wait until I get up and see what the atomic clock says, then set everything else from it. This is the time of year when I wish I didn't have so many clocks! I am also interested to see how the computer behaves when it's on when the time changes. I think it worked OK in the spring, so it should be OK now.


Oh, but tomorrow night I will probably end up having to copy nearly the entire website over again, since FrontPage can only tell that the time is different - not that it is before. Dumb program. I don't know why they think the times aren't important. This year, though, with the broadband, I can just let 'er rip. The past few years, I've had to say "no" several hundred times and wait until I got back to Detroit and the DSL to do the copies. Dumb program.


I processed the pictures from yesterday, and two of them did come out pretty well, despite my problems with the camera. The third one, of the end of lighthouse point, wasn't as good as the older one that's out there. There is so much contrast between the bright sky and bright water that the land is grossly underexposed, and brightening it up didn't do much good. Anyway, here are two shots. The first one is of the tree that I've been admiring from the bathroom window. Fortunately, I was able to find a place to stand where I didn't get the propane tanks in the picture - they are not beautiful. The second picture is from about the same spot, but looking north through a dead birch and the evergreens into my neighbor's yard. The leaves are falling, but it's still pretty in the harbor, and the oaks and a few oddball trees of other sorts aren't completely turned yet. Neither are the lilacs, but they usually just turn brown and fall off, as I recall.


So that was another quiet day, in which I did not much. Maybe a good night's sleep tonight will set me up to do something tomorrow?


It's warm and cloudy in the field tonight.


October 28

That was interesting. I had written three or four paragraphs when FrontPage abended, losing everything I'd done. Not nice.


Anyway, what was I saying?


I got to bed late last night, and it will probably be later tonight, but oh, well. 


The weather has been wonderful...clear and relatively warm for this time of year. It was clear enough that early this morning, when I woke up to see Mars peeking in the front windows, I put on my glasses to look at it. It wasn't one of those crystalline nights that we get all too seldom, but there were plenty of stars out there. And  there wasn't a cloud in the sky all day until just after sunset, and I think they are all gone now. When I came back from dinner, Venus was shining brightly in the southwest, and Mars was just as bright in the northeast, neatly bracketing the sky.


The temperature got up to 55º briefly today,  before falling back to 50º, but there wasn't any wind to speak of, so it was quite pleasant. I went out briefly to try to take a couple of pictures, and discovered that I was particularly rocky, so I didn't go far, and I didn't get the pictures processed Tomorrow, maybe. I was having problems with the shutter release on the camera, and in fact, I had to pull the batteries to make it shut off one time. I hope that was a one-time problem.


Which reminds me, I washed my bedside rug, and it is still in the washer. Oh, well. I guess I'll dry it tomorrow.


I did spend some time in the ugly chair embroidering the angel, but then I got out a kit I got, which is six Christmas ornaments, each with a kitten. I have been thinking about them since I got them, so I sorted the thread and put a few stitches in one. The pictures are really adorable, but I don't like the quality of the cloth, so I might just have to use something else. Of course, I do have some better quality aida lying around somewhere...hmm. Good thought. I will work on that tomorrow.


For the second day in a row, the sunshine warmed it up in here until I got really hot just sitting around. Not that I'm complaining, of course - I use less propane that way. But it is an odd thing.


This evening, I had dinner with Shirley, which was nice. A lot of locals came in to Mariner to eat, and there were several tourists, too, so for a while it was nicely busy. About the time we left, though, so did almost everybody else. That's the way it is around here these days...really quiet.


That's just the way I like it, and I hope it continues. There is starshine in the field tonight.


October 27

I got to bed a little earlier last night, but I slept just as late. I finally got up because I was beginning to hurt, and besides, it looked like the sun might come out! 


And eventually it did. Maybe I appreciate sunshine more the less there is? It certainly was nice to have to stop playing with the computer because I couldn't see the screen, and to see the harbor all blue. It was a beautiful day.


I did sit in the ugly chair for quite a while this afternoon, and I am now working on the angel's skirt. I am only doing it down to where the fold is in the pattern, but there will be a lot of stitching before it's done. In fact, the part I have done is probably about a fourth of the entire thing. Embroidering with the sun shining directly in front of me isn't easy, and I think I will have to make other arrangements. The trouble is, I want to be able to look out when I look up, and in the afternoon here, that means the sun is in my eyes when there is sunshine.


Hey, I'm not complaining. I'll take all the sunshine I can get!


I did notice that now the sun is shining south of the bird feeder, and so out of the picture, and when I moved the camera the last time, the lighthouse light is now right on the right-hand edge of the picture. That may not be the case for a while, because the new cable arrived today, and it is now powering the old camera. So either tomorrow or Saturday, I will uninstall the old camera and try again to install the new one. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the trouble I had with the install was that it assumes there isn't another camera there before it. Hope so.


The one disadvantage of the sunshine is that it got warm enough in here that I have been sweating inside my heavy sweat shirt. A long time ago, I had a hard time understanding these sweatshirts with the high double collars and ties, since I liked to wear a turtleneck under my sweatshirts. Now I understand. This one is a very heavy sweatshirt fleece with a sort of boucle surface (wonderful for catching Buster's toenails!), and a high double collar. With it getting a bit cooler in here, it has been a wonderful way to keep my sore neck warm. So now I know.


I really hate to get into the turtlenecks, because I wear them all winter and it gets really old after a while. It's supposed to be a bit warmer for the next few days, but when it cools down again, I guess that's what I'll have to wear. My sore shoulder is getting slowly better - I think I actually slept for a while on it last night, and it wasn't sore after I turned over - and no doubt that is because I have been trying to limit my computer use and keep it really warm during the day as well as at night. It does stiffen up when it gets cool, so I will have to be careful to keep it warm and try to stay away from the games. 


Now that I have my pen scanner, I'd really like to (finally) convert all my book catalogs to Access, but that would be a lot of computing, and both my shoulder and the sunshine make it hard. 


The sunshine, when there is any, shines right in the south windows from about 10:00 until about 2:00 (or so) every day, and reflects on the screen,  and then late in the day, it shines in the slider again for a while, although that won't be happening for long. It's so good to see that at all that I don't mind having to do something else.


The temperature was right around 45º all day, although now it has taken a dive, because the sky is nearly clear. The wind, which was light, started out from the north and has now switched around to the southwest, which I hope will warm it up a bit and provide a little more sunshine. There were clouds until early afternoon, although they weren't solid like they have been for the past week or so. Then they began to part, and it got really nice out.


I did go to the post office, and stopped at the general store, because I think my milk had gone sour. Otherwise, I did not much but finish unloading the dishwasher and beginning to reload it. I read a magazine and embroidered. Just like I like it.


Sunset tonight was rather pretty, and we haven't had many good sunsets this year, but it went so fast that by the time I thought it might be nice to catch a picture, it was gone. There were a couple of layers of clouds in the west, and the sun on the upper layer went from orange to bloody red, but really fast. I'll try to do better. I've been really lax about taking pictures this year, but I figure neither I nor my public really wants to see the same pictures over and over again. I will try to get out and catch a picture of my one really pretty maple tomorrow, if the sun shines.

So that was all there was, and now I will sit in the ugly chair and do a bit more embroidery for a while.


Venus was shining on the field this evening.


October 26

Last night turned out to be almost as late as the night before, and I was only there to endure it. It took me four or five tries, including several reboots and a power down, before I could get the journal to upload, and FrontPage never completed it properly. So after I checked to see that it was really there (yup, I learned that lesson), I just stopped it. I'm hoping that doesn't cause terminal problems tonight, but we'll see.


Tonight I'm doing this before I sit down to do a bit of embroidery, just in case. It would be nice to get to bed before midnight for a change.


It didn't shorten my sleep time by much, because I got up late, but when I'm so tired when I do go to bed, I'm usually tired the next day, too. Was.


However, this was the day I attacked the doctors and set up my appointments for December...it wouldn't do to be bored, or anything. 


It turns out that everything about that abortive appointment with Lehman was wrong, starting with the date. When he says "two months", he means 60 days, not 8 weeks, and 60 days from my last appointment was Monday (actually, Sunday, but close enough). So I was right to start with. Then, since it was so long from my last appointment, they should have called the Friday before to remind me...and the only call I got was 40 minutes after they had scheduled the appointment. So if it was that badly screwed up, I don't mind in the slightest that I just made it for December without consulting the doctor. He will hear about it. The fact is, when you've been used to getting really good service, you get used to it.


Then I made an appointment with the cardiologist, just to check in. She had said she wanted to see me in November, but, well... So that is done.


I spent some time on the phone with Lands End, because they had some snow boots that looked like just what I want, but I need men's, in order to get the length and particularly the width. When I think that when I retired, a women's 11B fit me perfectly...oh, well. The ravages of sneakers and chemo... They also have some really nice fleece clogs at a much cheaper price than Eddie Bauer (whose prices have just gone ballistic, while their selection and quality has gone down drastically - and I used to be the Eddie Bauer kid!). If I'm going to be spending a lot of time inside, I need a good-fitting pair of slippers that I can wear with socks, and I need the old Eddie Bauer's at the other house. There were a couple of other things, some of which I won't get for a while, and some of which I may well send back. I like Lands End pants because they are the only ones that come in lengths in women's sizes, and I need a 32" inseam, which is not the usual in women's plus sizes. So that took part of the afternoon.


Then I wanted to place an order at a sewing supply place. I do need to think about making at least one more flannel nightgown, and I decided to be really, really lazy this time. Instead of setting individual snaps down the front, I am going to use snap tape, which just needs to be sewn down. Zip, zip, zip, and the closure is done. So after spending a long time adding everything to my shopping cart and taking most of it out, I got that order together. By then it was dinnertime.


It wasn't a day to spend much time looking out. The temperature was about 42º all day long, with light breezes, still mostly from the northeast, and it was dull and cloudy. A good day to have things to do inside.


I checked and my cable has been shipped, so sometime (I hope by the end of the week) it should appear at my door, and I can begin to work on getting the new camera up and running. Now that's something I'd like to get done and over with.


I think, after a lot of fooling around, I do have the current camera adjusted so that it is straight. I don't know why that is so difficult, but I've always had problems with rangefinders. The new one will be interesting - it doesn't have any rangefinder or anything, so I will have to adjust it through the software. It may take a while. The head on the tripod I use is one of the strangest I have ever seen - why did my dad think he wanted that thing? I don't want to use my good tripod, because I intend (eventually) to use that with the Nikon. And I do not want to invest in another tripod! There may be a third one at Champine, but if so, it's well hidden and will only surface when I move. I am sorry that the Philips software evidently wants to be the one and only camera on a system, since it would be fun to be able to trade off, but that clearly was part of my problem when I initially tried to install it.


So that was another quiet day in the field, and I certainly hope this upload goes better than last night's!  It's the quiet, dull days of late autumn...but maybe that means we'll really have November gales this year?


October 25

So last night was a late one again, but I made up for it in the morning, as usual.  The only task for the day was to pack up the cable and send it on its way, and wash the dishes. For the time, I seem to have taken a new tack - trying to keep the kitchen clean as I go, rather than waiting until it gets gross. I wonder how long that will last? I still have to unload the dishwasher and put the pots and pans away, but I can do that in the morning.


I finally got out my embroidery and put needle to fabric, for the first time since March or April (I forget). I was nice to get back to the angel, and I discovered that my Daylight lamp does give adequate light. It sort of showed up in a couple of the last pictures from the camera, but it didn't interfere too much. I was sitting in the ugly chair, which is so comfortable. The only problem I have is that with the chart on my lap and my magnifier on my head, I have a hard time seeing the chart unless I bend over a lot. I can't just put it on the clip on the lamp, because I have to use a magnetic line finder, and the whole thing would be much too heavy to hang. But that's a minor problem. I finished the left sleeve and started the right sleeve, so soon I'll be working on her skirt...which will take a while, since it takes up more than half the picture.


So that was nice. It was another uninspiring day - mid 40s, light northeast winds, lots of clouds but no rain. The sun tried to come out once or twice, but didn't make it.


While I was sitting in the ugly chair, I noticed one of the little chipmunks, standing on its hind legs right by the corner of the great room just like a statue. It stood there for quite a while before it spooked and ran off. I forgot to mention that yesterday afternoon, I was watching as a squirrel kept lifting the lid off the smallest feeder, jumping in, then jumping out with a sunflower seed. It had a hard time figuring out how to lift the lid, but evidently those sunflower seeds were much more luscious than the ones that are easier to get to. No wonder they made an adjective out of "squirrel"...squirrelly it certainly was.


There was a small boat on the harbor today, but it didn't stay long. I can imagine it was just a bit chilly out there. 


The leaves in and around the harbor seem to be nearly completely turned, although there is still a lot of green on the mountain, so we are finally getting to the end of what has been a really long and beautiful color season. John Dee mentioned it in his journal, too - usually around the second weekend of October we have a gale with lots of rain and all the leaves fall off. While we've had some winds, and some rain, the leaves have hung on far longer than I can remember...although of course, this is only my fifth year here. This has been a very colorful year, too, with lots of reds and oranges. There seem to be a lot of oaks around here, and they always turn late, but they are becoming a very satisfactory bright red-brown. I have a couple of maples that haven't colored up much yet, but another one that I can see from the bathroom that is very bright orange and gold. If we ever get more than a peek of sunshine, I'd like to take a picture of that one.


So that is my nice quiet day, and I'm not going to get to bed quite as early as I'd hoped to.


October 24

I really crashed last night, and I felt much better for it today. I had intended to read a bit, and maybe write a bit, but I just couldn't keep my eyes open...so I didn't. I still don't seem to be able to sleep on my right side, but I am able to lie on it for a while, just to relieve the pressure on my left ear, and that helped.


It was a good night to sleep, with the lake singing in the background. It was mostly cloudy, although the waning moon did peek through a couple of times. The NWS reports that it rained a bit between 1:00 and 2:00, but you couldn't prove that by me. 


I didn't do as much as I'd hoped today, but that's all right. When I tried to call the doctor's office, I kept getting their weekend message, until I finally called the other office and determined that their phones were out.  What an awful thing to have happen on a Monday! I do want to get that settled, but it's not vital, since I'm not going back between now and December.


The cable I ordered came today, and unfortunately, it has the wrong connector on one end, so I will send it back tomorrow. With a little help from one of my e-friends, I have ordered another kind, which I believe will solve my problem. All I want is to be able to put the camera 16' from the USB port in the computer, after all. There has to be a way to do that, and I think I've found it. If you string these things together, you actually can go 80', which is a good portion of the length of my house! That should work, and since it is 16' long, it should give me a slightly better connection. Currently, some of the cable is just hanging free, and I'd rather run it along the edge of the bookcase. With the new one, maybe I can do that.


In the course of researching that, I discovered that the shipping charges some vendors charge are just outrageous...like $17 on a $22 purchase! Yie! Needless to say, I went looking for something a bit cheaper, and we'll see if I made a good choice. This one will come UPS, which is actually handier than US mail.


I actually cooked food tonight. I've had a package of pork chops in the freezer for a while, so I cooked them up tonight...and I still have to put them away. Oops. However, it tasted good, and Buster just loved the gravy. I don't look forward to washing the sauté pan, though, because when I fry the chops with onions, the pan gets really brown, and it needs soaking before I can get it clean. 


I don't suppose that pan was the best buy, but I use it all the time. It's stainless steel with an aluminum layer in the bottom, and it weighs a ton. It isn't always easy to get it clean, either. But it is exactly the right size for most of the stove-top recipes I make, so from that point of view, I'm glad I have it.


The other thing I was contemplating is why I do not seem to be able to cook rice without it boiling over, no matter how big a pot I use. It just foams up when it starts to cook and goes all over everything. I suppose a solution would be a rice cooker, but they are expensive and something else to store. So my stove is now not quite so clean as it was last night. But that always happens.


The thing I hate about housework is that you always  have to do it over again. I like tasks you can finish and be done with. Even staining the window won't be too bad, because when it's done, it's done.


Speaking of that, since I'll be doing it in the garage, with the door open, I'm waiting for it to warm up just a bit. The  temperature hung around 44º all day today, with a wind that was mostly in the 10 mph range, but there were a few sprinkles of rain a couple of times - like when I went to the post office, of course. The wind is still out of the northeast, which is really strange. It should start turning north by Wednesday, and they claim it's going to warm up into the low 50s by the weekend. If it does, I'll have to attack the window.


So that was my quiet day. It is late again, because surfing the net for the best prices on an item tends to get drawn out. However, I'm not going anywhere tomorrow...except back to the post office.


It's another dark and cloudy night in the field, but I'm happy. I'm here.


October 23

After I finished talking to Jackie and Debbie (until 11:45!) I had a nice JD and relaxed and didn't get to bed until 2:00! I did sleep well, and long, which rather truncated the day today, but I just decided to take the day off anyway, and that was all right.


I spent some time sitting in the ugly chair this afternoon, knitting and watching the sky go by. It is a rare thing around here to see the clouds going from east to west. One gets used to having some warning... It was apparently dinner time in the bird and beast world, too, so all the jays, chickadees, nuthatches, squirrels and chipmunks were around. I have two teensy chipmunks and a bigger one with a docked tail. Some critter - most likely an owl - isn't the world's best hunter, I think, if he keeps hitting only the tails of the wee beasties. The chickadees have been going to the big feeder, but the rest of the flock is a bit shy of it still. There is one jay who keeps trying to get into the feeder you can see in the webcam, and he is just too big, and it's really amusing. I don't know why he won't go to the feeders he can get into. I spilled some seed on the deck (on purpose, of course), and the squirrels like that. And Buster was sitting on my lap, absolutely mesmerized by the squirrel foraging around right under the window. So we wee all happy.


It had been partly clear, with some beautiful cloud formations over the mountain, when a big dark cloud appeared over the house, and it rained a bit. I think it rained overnight, too, but you couldn't prove it by me. It took a long time for that cloud to go...in fact, it is still over the mountain, making twilight early and dark, but behind it is an area of perfectly clear sky. I guess that isn't going to last all night, and they are predicting rain and snow for tonight and tomorrow, but there may be a star or two, too.


The temperature has been hovering around 45º all day long, sometimes below and sometimes above, and the wind, from the northeast, has been in the 15-25 mph range. The lake is singing nicely. It's really a strange thing that we've had so many northeast and easterly gales this fall. Most of our weather comes from the west and north.


It was just a good day to relax and recoup. I am really glad I didn't have to go south today. Tomorrow I will attack the doctor's office, but I am not planning to go south until December 2, or as soon thereafter as the weather permits and I have everything done here. I did enough last week that, unless I do nothing for the next five weeks, it shouldn't be such a bad job, and besides, I will be back in four weeks or so anyway. It's not like putting the house to bed for the winter, and besides I will not have to pack up everything to take with me.


So I relaxed and reco8ped and just enjoyed being here, and I expect to be in bed early tonight. It's a dark autumnal night in the field tonight.


October 22

This will be fast, so that I can get the files transferred to the laptop before midnight.


I was hot again last night, so to make up for the time I was awake, I didn't get up this morning until 10:00. Oh, well. My Schwan's breakfast was pretty good, and it gave me the energy to do what I had to do...but not much more.


It was a dark, moist, cool day, which left me pretty creaky, I must say. The temperature hung in around 45º and there was light rain at times - like when I went to the post office. There wasn't very much wind most of the time, so it wasn't too bad to be out in so long as it wasn't wet.


The bird feeders got filled, including the big one, the cat trays got changed, the stove got cleaned, and the kitchen got swept. Most of what I need to take with me - current papers, mostly - is in a file box, and I am beginning to pile up the bags and things. I haven't packed clothes yet, but I will do that while the files are moving, and I hope to get most of the stuff in to the car tonight. There is enough to do, with the cooler and the final preparations, without having to move everything else to the car, too.


I did have dinner with Shirley tonight, which was very nice, and I indulged in one of Mariner's famous hamburgers, which, as I said, is $10 worth of cholesterol. But it sure tasted good! I don't do that very often, mostly for the calories, but I figured, what the heck. Once or twice a year won't hurt.


Please remember there isn't likely to be a journal tomorrow night, especially if I get a late start from here. I am toying with the notion of not even trying to move things to the desktop on Champine, but just using the laptop, which I can connect up in my bedroom. We'll see. I usually like to at least have a backup on that desktop, but at this time of year it's beginning to get cold in the basement. We'll see.


So that is what I know, and I will pick up the narrative on Monday. Oh, how I hate to go!


Late breaking news: I'm not going! I called the answering machine at the other house, to discover that the doctor's office had scheduled my appointment for October 17, not October 23. This in spite of me telling her October 23.  Of course I should have checked the answering machine earlier, but still. 


So I'm not going. I'm staying here, and I'm really glad.


October 21

As I was finishing up getting ready for bed, I looked out the bathroom windows, and there was the moon, with Mars way up and to the right in what looked like a very clear sky. There was a lot of moisture in the atmosphere, though, and the moon blotted out all the stars all night long.


Sometime in the middle of the night, I heard Buster skittering around in the great room, and I guess he got a mouse, but fortunately he didn't bring it down to show me.


When I got up this morning, the moon was still high in the northwestern sky, and there was a neat area of mackerel clouds in the north. It was a very pretty morning. However, when I went into the bathroom and looked outside, there was a thick rime of frost over all the weeds that the sun hadn't hit yet, and also all over the roofs of the garage and breezeway. When the sun hit the weeds, the frost sublimed almost instantly, but it was the first frost of the season here in the harbor.


The temperature was around 30º all night long, and until about 10:00, when it rose abruptly to around 45º, where it stayed all day. It's dropped a bit now, but tonight and tomorrow are both supposed to be a bit warmer...and rain. 


The clouds soon rolled in, but it was a lot brighter than it looked in the camera, and occasionally the sun tried to peek through.


I'm not sure if I have the temperature set too high in the bedroom or it isn't cold enough outside, but I was hot all night long, which bugged both Buster and me. Of course, I was hugging the heating pad, but it was warmer in the bedroom. Buster finally got up and left in disgust, because I kept waking up and throwing off the covers then getting up and sitting in the bathroom. He likes it better when I sleep deeply. So do I.


I didn't get an early start, but I actually accomplished a few things today. The boxes are all in the basement! I never thought it would happen, but I just decided they had to go, so I taped shut all the ones with styrofoam peanuts and threw them all down the stairs, then went down and moved them out of the stairway. There. That's done.


I had hoped to do more, but oh, well. And my Schwan's order arrived, so now my new freezer is stocked with interesting things to eat, and I will try some of my new breakfast selections tomorrow. I hope this works out. It certainly is convenient.


After misreading the time and trying to go to dinner an hour early, I ended up eating alone anyway. Shirley had let everyone go off, so she had to stay in the office. The dining room at Mariner is closed for the season, but they still have their full menu, so I had sautéed shrimp, which I love and haven't had since last spring. Yum. I was planning to eat in tomorrow - it will be a busy day - but I think I will see how much I've gotten done by the time I go to the post office, and if Shirley can go, I will try to eat out.


A lot of the things I thought I might do won't get done, as usual, of course, but I think I can get the really important things done - the stove, the clothes, and the stuff I want to take along.  Or I hope I can.  I have to move the files to the laptop, of course, which will take a while, and I'd like to get the car mostly packed and still get to bed early. However, we'll see.


I do wish I didn't have to go. The more times I do that drive, the less I like it, and I don't like it there at all. However, with any kind of luck, I'll be back next Friday...only then there's only a month before I have to leave with the cat. Ugh. That is too long a drive to commute.


When I put the old camera back on the tripod, I got it askew again, of course, and it was dark before I finally got it straightened out (I think). That camera has a viewfinder (which the new one doesn't - that will be interesting!), but even so, I find it hard to line it up properly. I think I finally got it straight, but I had to move it to the right after it was too dark to check a picture. We'll see in the morning.


So now it is fairly early (although it won't be by the time this updates) and I need to go to bed again.


October 20

well, I definitely stayed up much too late last night, and even though I have an excuse, I shouldn't have done it. I did sleep like the dead, but I saw no evidence that there was another mouse. The lake was singing nicely, and it was cloudy, so I slept.


I do need to report that my shoulder seems to be getting marginally better. It doesn't hurt so much, and while I wasn't able to sleep on it, I was able to lie on it for a while. I think there are several reasons for that. I have been wearing a heavy fleece jacket all week. While I really don't need it, and I get horribly hot every time I do anything, keeping it very warm seems to have helped a lot. Also, I've been trying to do a bit less on the computer and keep the mouse closer to my body when I do. I hope that a week when I won't do nearly so much computing will help it a lot, so long as it doesn't get chilled. It's the same problem I had, with more pain, in my back last spring, only I kept doing what was making the shoulder hurt, so it is taking longer to heal.


Anyway, I got up late and ate later and didn't do much but unload the dishwasher and move a few more things around on the desk.


The reason I was so late last night is that after I wrote the journal, I went back to surfing the internet, and after discovering how to do my searches, I finally found what I was looking for. After some consideration, I decided to try a heavy-duty 16' cable (which I will try on the old camera first). If that doesn't work, there is a Belkin USB hub that will surely do the trick. I decided to go with the cheaper solution first.


It interests me that USB cables are cheap. I remember the days of serial and parallel cables when they could cost upward of $100, depending upon what they were and who made them. No wonder everyone is going to USB! This computer only has USB 1.1 ports, so I suppose eventually I will have to get a USB 2.0 card. Fortunately, the new camera is the old style.


I am really interested in getting the new camera going. It is a Philips ToUCam, and I originally heard about it in Sky & Telescope because it is the camera of choice for attaching to a telescope. I've seen the results, and they are impressive. It seems to give very sharp images, and it works well even under low-light conditions (like...winter in Copper Harbor? Also like sunset). It has a CCD chip instead of a CMOS chip, so it will be interesting to see how it performs. Stay tuned...All this won't happen until after I get back from Detroit.


The way I found it was interesting. I've known about it for quite a while, but when I went searching for it on the internet, there weren't any, and the word was that it has been discontinued (I don't think so). A couple of months ago, I finally set up an EBay userid, because I started getting a huge number of spoofing Emails saying that I needed to update my EBay (or PayPal) user profile. I knew they were spoofs, because I didn't have an account with either, but they were annoying, so I wanted to forward them to EBay to get them to stop it (it hasn't worked, of course). After I set up my userid, I decided, just on a whim, to see what was available in webcams, since I have had some worry that the current one is losing its sensitivity. Imagine my delight when one of the first things I found was a listing for the ToUCam! I didn't even bother to bid - I paid the "buy now" price! it came right before I went to Detroit the last time, but I've been sitting on it. I was procrastinating, but I also figured, let the old camera take the sun in its eyes this fall.


Anyway, when I got it, the first thing I found was that I was going to have to get an adapter to attach it to a tripod (it has a really curious design). I had a hard time getting back to the nice lady who sold it to me, so it wasn't very long ago that I got the tripod adapter, and when I got it, I just didn't feel like fooling around. In the meantime, of course, I had forgotten that the old camera has a 6' cord on it. Oh, well. After the trouble I had trying to install the ToUCam drivers yesterday, it will be a while before I'll want to try it again.


Anyway, on to the weather. The temperature has been dropping. It was around 45º until 5:00 this morning, when it dropped down, and it was between 40º and 45º all day. Now it has dropped again. The official temperature at 9:00 was 33º, but it's 29º in the bird feeder tree. So I guess this is our hard freeze. The more interior spots had theirs several weeks ago, but this is the first time we've been even close to freezing.


Part of the reason is that the afternoon was incredibly clear. There were clouds this morning, and it was around 1:00 before they all went away, but the atmosphere is clearer than it's been since I got here. It was amazing to look down the harbor this afternoon and see every tree and building just etched. And that wasn't with binoculars. So it hasn't been all my fault that  I couldn't see town very well.  There were a few high cirrus clouds at sunset, but it wouldn't surprise me if they went away, too. The Clear Sky Clock says it will be clear tonight and not start to cloud up until after 9:00 tomorrow morning. They do say that seeing will deteriorate after midnight, but we'll see about that. OK seeing here is better than excellent seeing almost anyplace else in the upper midwest. We haven't had any nights this summer that I can recall when I could reach out and touch the stars.


So autumn is progressing. Brockway is about 50% yellow. The temperature is going down, and they keep insisting that I will see snow when I leave on Sunday. Oh, well. It won't be snowing in Detroit yet. Rain, yes, but not snow. By the time I get back, it will be almost winter.


So that is what I know, and it's time to go to bed!


October 19

They say it rained after I went to bed last night, but you couldn't prove it by me. There was mouse doo on the clean bathroom floor this morning, too, which indicates Buster must have gotten another mouse, but you couldn't prove that by me either. I did sleep well last night.


When I was awake, it was partly cloudy, and I did see the moon, and it was still partly cloudy when I got up this morning. There were some clear times, and the wind was rather strong through the night, causing the lake to sing sweetly. It was mostly sunny for most of the day, although it was clouding up at sunset. The temperature has been steady at about 46º for the past day or so.


It turned out to be a rather frustrating day, actually. I did some more work on the office, and I washed dishes. I also folded clothes and re-washed the ones that didn't get the grease stains out of them, and the load of towels is in the dryer now.


However, I decided to try to install my two new toys, and I nearly screwed everything up. One of them is a new camera, and I neglected to check the length of the cable attached to it before I installed the software. Well...it seems like it has only a 4' cord, which isn't long enough to reach my USB extension cord. It also had the longest, oddest installation of any piece of software I have ever used. Really, really weird. Then I tried to connect the old camera again, and even though the system said it was installed, Kabcam couldn't see it. Oh, my! In the end, I uninstalled both cameras' software, then reinstalled the old one. So there were no picture updates for quite a while this afternoon.


Several things are clear. I will have to get a USB hub, preferably AC-powered, even though they seem to be quite expensive. I don't think there is a USB 1.1 cable longer than 10', and for the new camera, I need one at least 12' long. Or I could try getting a short cable and seeing if it would work...hmmm.... So it will be a while before the new camera is running. I also noticed, in the course of reinstalling the old camera, that it  can be used as a regular digital camera, although I'm not too clear how to upload the pictures to the computer. So I won't have a completely useless camera when it isn't the webcam anymore. It is small and light, and even though it doesn't have the resolution of the NIkon, it might do for some things. 


However, that was a long and fruitless exercise, and most frustrating.


After that, I was brave enough to install my other toy, and it does work, although it will take me a while to get used to it. It is a pen scanner. This is a hand-held device that scans one line at a time, and this one's software will scan directly into an application...like an Access database. I gave up some time ago on trying to get my library of books cataloged: there are just too many of them, and there is too much typing to get them all entered. Also, I have cataloged a lot of my music CDs just by album name, rather than listing all the selections in them, especially things like Christmas music and singers (remember, all my music is classical). This scanner wasn't very expensive, and it sounded like it would solve a lot of my problems with data entry. I think it will, but I will need time to play with it and get used to using it. At least it works, sort of. The main installation program kept crashing, so I had to pick the items I wanted to install and install them manually from the CD. But it does work.


By that time, I'd had it with the hard stuff, and I went back to playing games and listening to the radio.


So now it is cloudy and quiet in the field, and I'm sure the dryer has stopped by this time, so I can toddle off to the north end.


October 18

My problem last night was that I got to bed too late. I will do better tonight. It was also a problem today, because I didn't roll out of bed until 11:00, which put a crimp in the day, to say the least.


Sometime early this morning, I woke up and the sky had cleared and the moon was shining right into my eyes! It was incredibly bright - the skies just never get that clear where I come from. And up and to the left of it was a great, steadily shining orange star - Mars, getting close to its nearest approach. Such a pretty picture!


The camera didn't catch the moon itself - it set too late for that -  but there was one picture in the gloom of early dawn that shows how bright it was. Those clouds in the west were another reason we didn't see moonset.


I did wake up around 9:15, to discover there was no power! Bummer! So I called UPPCO and went back to sleep. I think it was down for a couple of hours, but I had just awakened again when there was a "thud" and some "bleeps" and it came back on. Since there wasn't anything much I could do when the power was off, I figured I might as well catch up on my sleep as much as possible. 


That is another reason we didn't see moonset - the computer was down. It didn't start uploading pictures until I reset the transceiver, so there isn't even as much on the website as I have here. That does seem to be one disadvantage of the wireless - it seems to get confused in a power failure. I may have to put an X10 module on the other side of the surge protector, just so I can power fail everything when I'm not here!


It turned out to be a rather quiet day, but I did begin to make some order in the office, mostly, it looks like, by moving the piles north. I will attack that tomorrow. I had a bunch of bills to pay, so a trip to the post office was in order. And that's about it.


The weather was pretty nondescript again. There was a little sunshine for a while, but it didn't last long, and when night fell, it was raining again. The temperature dropped to about 45º, where it stayed almost all day. The wind was pretty hairy all night long - around 25 mph, which made the lake sing most sweetly. Around the time I got up, it began to drop and it is now nearly calm again. There is a fairly large area of rain around us now, but that is supposed to go off toward the east by midnight, and tomorrow there might even be some sunshine! That would be nice.


So that was a quiet day, but I do seem to have accomplished a few things that needed doing. And maybe I will be able to get to bed a little earlier tonight!


It's cloudy and wet in the field tonight.


October 17

My problem last night was that I kept getting hot. The temperature outside  dropped into the middle 40s, then around midnight it started rising again. Evidently, the heat came on when the temperature was lowest, but it didn't cool down because it got warmer outside. So I was up any number of times, and finally I turned off the heating pad and slept until 10:00.


It was partly cloudy last night and rather windy, so while there was some moonshine, it was rather feeble and spotty. At one point, it was shining full on my bed, but not very strongly, and I could see the clouds in front of it.


So I got a rather late start today. Eventually I did do something, however. I swept the floor and the bathtub in the bathroom and got up all the cat hair, dust bunnies and dead flies that had assembled in there, then I ran the Swiffer around in the bedroom a bit, finding a few things in corners that must have been there for quite a while...ahem. And I washed. The last load of clothes is in the dryer now, and tomorrow I will do towels and folding. I would like to get the office straightened up, too, but we'll see.


When I got up this morning, it was pouring rain, and I do mean pouring, and that continued until noon or so. Sometime during the afternoon the wind picked up and blew all the clouds away for a while, then it blew another bunch of clouds in, and by sunset it was cloudy again. The temperature was nearly steady at 50º, except for a couple of hours when it went up to 55º while the sun was out, I think. Currently, it is quite windy, and there are breakers on my beach. Right now, they are reporting that the wind is a steady 26 mph, and from the north-northwest. It should be a good night to sleep.


I was noticing that sunset is now before 7:00, which means it's high time we went off daylight savings time. And since it was cloudy, it was fully dark by 7:30. Too bad.


I was also thinking that it's been a long time since I've done anything really creative at all, and it got me wondering why. I hope this isn't a permanent condition. I did finish reading the big book tonight, and that gave me the urge to try to continue writing it, since I really stopped right at the beginning of an episode. Maybe I'll try that first instead of embroidery. It's a really long time since I've written any fiction. We shall see. Early in the summer, I could blame it on being upset over the doings in May, but by this time I should surely be over that? Well. we'll see what happens.


This week, there are some things I want to do around here before I leave, so there won't be much time for crafting or writing.


I need to report that the birch bushes at the side and back of my lot, which have been turning color for two months, are finally all gold. Birches in the wild are neat trees. The big trunks don't usually live very long anymore, but most of them put out all kinds of shoots from the roots that look like a clump of bushes until, I guess, one or two branches decide to take over and turn into new trees. The only one where that doesn't seem to be happening, unfortunately, is the big one that overhangs the pond. I have had a lot of tree die-back, because evidently most of the trees that grow around here don't like having their roots disturbed, and all the building and digging disturbed a lot of roots. I hate to see it happen, but I'm not sure anything could be done about it.


Anyway, while the birches are completely turned, and there is quite a bit of color on the hills now, there is still a lot of green around here, close to the lake. By the time I get back from Detroit, everything should be either bare or turned color, and that will be nice.


So it is late now, and I'm clearly not going to be able to stay up until the last load finished drying, so I will call it a night.


The lake is singing her lullaby tonight.


October 16

It was a good night to sleep, with the lake singing in the background. It was too cloudy for the moon to show, but the clouds were light because of the light behind them. That's always a neat effect to see.


I ended up the morning sleeping partly on my back, and as a result my shoulder was really stiff today. So I did not much, again. I did finish up the necklace. I don't have enough of the same pearls to make a bracelet, but since the smaller pearls will do just as well, particularly since I have to change the dimensions slightly to get a bracelet the right size. I will work on that tomorrow, maybe.


After being cloudy all day, late in the afternoon the sun came out, and since it shining directly into the slider, that means I can't really do much until it sets. Not that I'm complaining, of course. However, I was just finishing up the necklace, and I could do that, as well as packing away all the parts. The sunset wasn't much, although there were a few bloody red clouds for a few minutes.


The temperature all day long was around 45º, with a moderate wind from the north, but around the time the sun came out, the temperature dropped to around 40º and the wind dropped to nothing.


I was fiddling around with the computer late this morning - there was a short outage on the broadband due to some wind damage - when a blue jay actually flew into the screen on the south side of the office and clung there for a few moments, staring in at us. Buster was fascinated. Then they started yelling at me, and one even tried to fly into the slider. The feeders were empty, and they were hungry! So I filled the feeders, which shut everybody up. Blue jays are real characters, but they're bullies enough that the rest of the birds, and even the squirrels, are afraid of them. I guess I shouldn't let them bully me, too.


It was clear at sunset, with Venus glowing low in the southwest, and I think the moon is up, but I haven't seen it yet. It's supposed to cloud up overnignt and maybe rain, though.


So that is all I know. It's a quiet night in the field tonight.


October 15

Wow, October is half over already! Amazing.


I find my shoulder problem is making me not wanting to go to bed, and it was late before I made it into bed last night. It was a clear but windy night, good for sleeping. I was awake at 5:30 to see the moon sink behind the mountain, and I was very surprised indeed to find it had clouded up when I finally rolled out of bed. They said so, but I always hope otherwise.


My email crapped out yesterday afternoon, and I just left it, but it was still down this morning, and after talking to Jonathan, I realized that whatever it is that causes it to lose its mind had happened again. So I had to do a rollback to yesterday midnight and then copy this file from the server. What a mess! Fortunately, I didn't get any absolutely vital mail yesterday (I think?). However, anybody who mailed me yesterday afternoon will understand that I didn't get your message until this afternoon. All the fiddling around took me until around 1:00 (and that was before breakfast!).


It was windy and cloudy today, but there wasn't any rain, and the temperature hung right around 50º all day long. So I hunkered down inside. 


One reason I was late getting to bed last night is that one of my computer magazines had a bunch of articles on the history of Windows, which was interesting enough that I skimmed most of it. Then I went off to bed, and right before I got up this morning, I found myself dreaming that I was being held hostage by Bill Gates! Sometimes my dreams do mean something! I was also dreaming about food, so I guess I was hungry, but I got sidetracked (by Windows!) and didn't eat until I had things back together.


I don't actively hate Windows, like some people do, but I'm not in love with it, either. And I do feel rather held hostage to it. All my files are built around Office (including this one), and it would be more of a pain than I care to endure to get it moved to any other platform. It seems clear to me, and it does make some sense, that Microsoft has focused most of its attention on business users, leaving the individuals like me to fend for ourselves. I'm not interested in gaming, and I'm not into multimedia, and nobody but me uses any of my computers, so there are boatloads of software that I just never use. However, I do some things that mostly business users do, because I was one for a long time. All of that leaves me fighting against a lot of the things Windows tries to do, and it's why I won't go to XP, and will probably go to the next release only under protest.


On the other hand, I was using PCs when there was only DOS, and I appreciate the ease-of-use Windows gives me...which is why I object when it tries to get in my way, and I get upset when its bugs surface.


Anyway, I thought the plot of my dream was amusing. Funny that I would process the Windows articles that way!


After the computer was back in one piece, I decided it was time to start stringing my lapis necklace, the replacement for the one I sold. I should have sat in the ugly chair and knitted. After I had about a third of it done, I realized that I had two different kinds of small pearls and I picked the wrong ones, which was going to make the necklace shorter than it should be, if I had enough pearls at all. So I had to unstring most of it and do it over again...I didn't get it quite done before dinnertime. I am working with three threads on three needles, and the pearls all have extremely small holes, which makes the entire experience difficult, to say the least. I think I have it now, but I have almost three-quarters of it left to do. I had hoped to make a matching bracelet, but I don't think I have enough pearls for that. We'll see.


Apparently I'm tired, because I was having trouble seeing, and evidently I was sitting all hunched up, so now I  have a backache between my shoulders, as well as my other usual aches and pains. Oh, well, tomorrow is another day.


Sunset tonight had a cold look about it, and it's supposed to be cloudy for the next few days, although it will be a bit warmer. I did reset the startup time for the camera, just in case we might catch the moon setting, but I'm afraid not this time.


Shirley joined me for dinner at Harbor Haus tonight, and I had the last fish, although they had another special, which she had, which I was sorry not to have...I should have ordered two dinners and taken the other one home with me, I guess! Anyway, it was nicely busy but not overcrowded, and everyone seemed to be in a really good mood. The food was up their usual standard, and besides, they had a chocolate amaretto soufflé for desert. and that was worth the price of admission! I'm sorry to see them close, but of course, they couldn't possibly stay open in the off-season, with as few people as there are here then.


Anybody who was looking east was treated to a really gorgeous sight before sunset. The sun peeked through the clouds and shone right on the East Bluff, and the trees up there are turning very nicely, so it was all golden yellow against the dark foreground and the gray clouds. Right before the sun set, there were beams of red light on the bluff, and some very pretty red clouds. Of course, all that was looking east, so the camera didn't catch any of it.


So it's a dark and windy night in the field, the lake is singing her lullaby, and it would be nice to go to bed early for a change...ha! Fat chance!


October 14

I finally found a comfortable way to lie on my back, at least for last night, so I slept pretty well. My only problem is that when I lie on my back, my jaw drops open and when I woke up from that position, my mouth and my tongue were completely dried out, which is at least uncomfortable, and may not be very good for my teeth. However, I slept.


It was cloudy when I went to bed, but the sky became partly cloudy in the 3 - 5 am range, because I saw moonshine, and a bit later, I glimpsed the gibbous moon setting over the mountain lodge. It clouded up again, and stayed that way for most of the day, with periodic rain showers, until around 5:00, when the wind switched to the west and started blowing. By sunset, it was almost completely clear, and as we left dinner, the moon was rising. The temperature was in the low 50s until late in the afternoon, when It finally hit almost 60º.


I had the slow breakfast and diddled around for a while, but the task of the day was to get that trash to the dump. What a pain. I hauled off seven bags, and while I remembered almost everything, including the mess in the fridge, I forgot to empty the wastebasket in the powder room, which is full of toilet paper cores, so I now have a start on the next load. It does feel good to have all that stuff out of the house, and I really must try to discipline myself to collect it and cart it off every week.


As if to tell me that, about the time I got to the dumpster, it began to sprinkle, and then who should show up behind me but Chip Sestok. I knew they were in town, but I figured they were busy, and as it turned out, they haven't been here long and they had guests for almost the whole time, and they are leaving tomorrow. However, we should all be coming back at about the same time, so maybe I'll see them then. Anyway, we stood in the rain for five minutes talking, and when I got back, I called and talked to Nancy for an hour and a half. So that was nice.


Shirley almost didn't make it to dinner, but her granddaughter Kirsten called and reminded her, and she came, which was nice.


Mariner is hosting a women's health conference this weekend, and the dining room was full of very cheerful (and noisy) ladies. It was, however, nice to see so many smiling faces and hear so much laughter. I don't have any interest in the conference itself, which is about menopause, and I'm way beyond that, but a couple of times in the past they had topics that might have been interesting to hear. They have this conference every year about this time, and it's a nice way for the town to end up the season. I think it is sponsored by Portage Health System, and I saw a lot of badges (turned over, so you couldn't read them), all held by white straps with pink ribbons printed on them.


I believe this month is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is something else I don't need to be reminded about, although I support it, and when I get a chance, I always urge every woman I know to get regular mammograms and have regular check-ups. While I was only 43 at the time, my breast cancer was detected by mammogram, and because I had a wonderful gynecologist at the time, it was caught very early and cured by surgery. The radiologists said to just watch it, but the gynecologist was determined that it should be biopsied, and he was certainly right. But then, he was also my mother's doctor, and he knew that she had had hers at about the same age (41). 


Anyway, that was a long time ago, and everyone's opinion is that that cancer had nothing to do with the second kind.


So I actually accomplished something today, and I wasn't nearly so stiff as I was yesterday, thankfully. Now if I can only keep it up...


Now the moon is floating high in the south windows and it's time to try this sleep thing again.


October 13

I slept long and hard last night, but it doesn't seem to have done much good. It was a good night to sleep, cloudy and calm and very foggy in the morning. I woke up in the fog and just decided it was not time to get up, and didn't get out of bed until around 10:00.


I debated getting up earlier, but I was clearly too tired, and if it had stayed as foggy as it was then, i would have called off today's activities. When I did finally get up, the fog had pretty much lifted except for a cloud here and there, so I said, oh, well. Besides, if I put it off until tomorrow, that would have postponed the trash thing, which I must do, until Monday.


However, I got up late and did my usual morning thing. The task for today was to go south and take care of a bunch of errands. In order to do that, I had to get the screen door out of the slider (by the way, they call it a "patio door", even though it doesn't lead to the patio). I had to call Keweenaw Glass to find out how to do that, because it wouldn't just lift out. The amount the wheels are extended depends upon some neat screws over each wheel, and besides, that is the heftiest screen door frame I have ever seen. Most slider screens are light weight and flimsy (which is how I ended up having to replace the slider on Champine in 2002), and their wheels don't adjust. I'm impressed. Weather Shield Windows do some things better than most other makers.


Anyway, it was nearly 1:45 when I packed the screen into the car and headed off for Calumet. I traded the screen for my windowpane and continued on to the Sherwin-Williams store in Houghton for the supplies to finish the window. Unfortunately, the conditioner, stain and polyvinyl only come in quarts, which will no doubt be useless if I need them a second time. Besides, that wasn't cheap. I'm sure I could have gotten away with about 4 ounces of the conditioner and stain and 8 ounces of varnish. Oh, well.


My next stop was the body shop, and after getting over the sticker shock from that (over $1300), I decided to do it anyway. The wheel is awfully close to the front of the wheel well, and in the snow, it could get packed very easily and cause problems. However, I won't do it until I get back from Detroit. They provide loaners, for $10, so that will work, even though they're 50 miles away. They are very nice people, but I've noticed that almost everyone in this area is remarkably friendly. You look at them and they say "Hi!".


By that time it was 3:30 or so - too late to eat anything - so I trundled off to the mall to see if I could get my watch batteries replaced. And there I got a real shock: JoAnn's is gone! They just closed up and left. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the area who feels bereft. So now, if I can't get it at Wal-Mart, I'll have to get it online, I guess, or when I'm in Detroit. What a pain.


For today, however, it no doubt saved me some money, since I hardly ever go into a JoAnn's without finding something I have to have. While I was waiting for the watch repair, I went to the bathroom and walked around the bookstore. It was then that I really realized that this cool, damp weather had just about paralyzed me. I was so stiff that I could hardly walk at all, and so tired that I got really sweaty really fast. I almost bought a book, but I think I can get it at Grandpa's Barn here in the Harbor and help support Clyde and Lloyd.


So I now have two working watches, which is nice. I had toyed with the notion of just waiting until I get back to Detroit, but the watch repair place is out of the way, and, as it turned out, more expensive than the local jewelers.


The mall is a really sad place these days. Most of the space is empty, especially now, with JoAnn's gone, and there are hardly any customers at all. What a pity! However, I think I've heard that their rental rates are high, and now that there is no KMart, there really isn't much traffic there. It's a shame.


When I came out of the mall, it had been sprinkling. I stopped at Econo's gas station to top off my tank, and I am happy to report that gas prices have eased a tad. They are ranging from $2.84 to $3.00, with no rhyme or reason. There was a Mobil station near the body shop with $2.84, Wal-Mart and Econo had $2.84, and I saw one BP station at the same price, but another BP had $3.00, and the Holiday stations, which are usually pretty low, were at $2.90. Anyway, at least the prices haven't gone up from where they were the last time!


By that time it was after 4:30, so I got caught in the "rush hour"...10 cars lined up at the bridge interchange. It rained lightly all the way to about Central, then stopped for a bit and started again by the time I hit the covered road. 


I have to confess I didn't take any pictures, although US-41 is beautiful all the way from the Mountain Lodge to Hancock. The covered road is particularly nice, but on the way down, first I was behind a tourist doing 30 mph (he did pull over, though), then I came up behind a full double-bottomed logging truck, so I couldn't get any good pictures, and on the way back it was raining. It must be spectacular in the sunshine. I really must try to get out over the weekend, when the weather is supposed to be a bit better.


The temperature was in the middle 50s all over all day, although it got close to 60º in Houghton, but there was no wind at all, so it was quite comfortable in just a sweater.


It was sprinkling when I got home, and just a few minutes ago we had a heavy shower, I guess this is supposed to continue tomorrow, then the wind shifts to the northwest and things should clear up by Sunday...but the wind may be strong enough to blow down most of the leaves. However, there is hardly anything turning in the harbor and on the north face of Brockway, so we have several weeks of color left to go. I expect that by the time I get back from Detroit, there should be color here.


So that was my day, and I'm tired, and I expect to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. It's dark and damp in the field tonight.


October 12

It was a quiet and cloudy night, and I actually slept fairly well. By morning, i was able to sort of half-lie on my shoulder, so I guess if I can be careful about what I do with it, it will eventually get better. My only problem this morning was what to eat for breakfast, so I finally settled for a sandwich. Eggs just didn't sound good to me today.


I spent some time looking through all the CDs with the last four years' pictures on them, and I have come to the conclusion that either I have lost a bunch of pictures, or there is actually another CD at the other house that has them on it. I certainly hope so, just for completeness' sake. I distinctly remember taking a bunch of pictures of the front of the house from the garden, and also taking some from the beach across from Lake Lilly, and I can't find any of them. That would be too bad, I think. There have been a lot of pictures I didn't publish on the website. Some weren't any good, and some weren't of general interest. I think I didn't publish all the pictures of the house just because I didn't want to brag too much. However, I didn't want to lose them all! 


The CDs work really well, even though I wrote them all on the CD-ROM drive that is now dead (that's why I think it's most likely the controller), and I was very glad to find that I can make Explorer do a thumbnail view, even though it can't write on the CD. That made it a lot easier to page through them.


I know there is a lot of software out there that purports to organize pictures, but I just don't see much use in it, frankly. Maybe some people have more pictures than I do, but the last picture from the camera was numbered 1141, and there are 500 in the "My Pictures" folder, plus everything in the website, so I have a few. I haven't found an easier way to organize them than to just keep them more or less in date order, although some are named things that make sense to me. I suppose that since I don't take pictures of people or events and I don't take trips anymore, my needs are somewhat simpler than some people's. Anyway, all the organization software in the world wouldn't help my current problem. I must just wait until I'm back in Detroit and see if I can find another CD. I will be able to read it on the laptop, so I'll be able to see what's on it, even if I can't read or write CDs on the desktop for a while. What a pain.


I also paid a couple of bills, including a big one I'd forgotten was coming, and went off to the post office. One of the packages I was looking for came, so now I can play with one of my new toys.


Tonight I went to Harbor Haus. They are closing Saturday, and I haven't eaten everything. I guess I will just have to forgo duck breast for this year, since I wanted marinated trout one more time, and the last fish is always plank-style whitefish. I will go back Saturday and have that.


IT was a sort of nondescript day. The temperature has been wavering around between 55º and 60º for the past day, and the winds have been pretty nearly calm. We had a very small amount of rain this morning, but the rest of the day was just cloudy but not unpleasant to be out in.


So now I must go and attempt to get to bed a tad earlier than I have been lately. It's a quiet, cloudy night in the field tonight.


October 11

Thanks in part to Buster, I think, my shoulder was sore again last night, and besides I went to bed very late for no apparent reason, and after the initial three hours or so, I didn't sleep very well for the rest of the night. So I got up around 9:30, because I couldn't find a comfortable position. I'm getting tired of this. I'm tired.


It was a clear night all night, actually better than the night before, the Clear Sky Clock notwithstanding, and it was a lovely morning. A few puffy clouds came over for most of the day, and late in the afternoon, it clouded up.  The temperature got almost to 60º, and the wind was rather light, mostly from the south. So it was a nice day.


I did dishes, but that's about all. I was really tired, so I spent most of the day reading the catalogs that had piled up. One thing I've learned in this catalog business is that if there is an item that is generally available, check all the catalogs for the lowest price. Today I was looking at a little folding stool, and the lowest price on it actually was in the Sporty's Tool Shop catalog, which has a lot of high priced stuff in it. And I know there are several catalogs I need to check for sewing supplies and books. Amazon is generally lowest on books, but for specialty titles, they have forced the prices down in the specialty catalogs. Interesting. It can take a lot of time to get the best prices.


Then I decided that now that I have my freezer, it is time to try Schwan's, and I ended up spending several hours looking over their online catalog. I hope they include a printed one with my order. Their prices aren't too much more than supermarket frozen stuff, and if it tastes better, it will be worth it. We'll see. They also have a high-priced site called "The Impromptu Gourmet" which didn't sound worth it to me.


I did find the two CDs with the rest of the pictures on them, which I thought I'd left in Detroit, so that lost is found. I think the one I want was the original anyway, since I seem to recall I took the pictures of the house in 2001. I will have to check that out tomorrow.


I forgot to mention that the days are getting short, down to just about 11 hours now, and still getting shorter at about 10 minutes every three days. Besides the warm weather and clear skies, I got awfully used to long days over the summer. However, it doesn't seem to be making me go to bed any earlier!


So that's about all there is, and it's supposed to be cloudy tonight in the field.


October 10

Well, it was a little better - not much - last night. I am happy to report that I was able to lie on my right side for a while, although I didn't sleep. So slowly it seems to be getting better. The problem I had this time was that my left hip was very sore for a while, so not only could I not lie on my left side, I wasn't very comfortable any way. Eventually, that went away, but as a result, I didn't get up until around 9:30.


I hadn't left the bathroom when Adam from Arend Builders called me back, finally, and we had a long conversation, because I had quite a lot of things to talk to him about. So that is out of the way for the time being. I now know pretty much how to finish the window frame (a pain), and where to get firewood, since I don't seem to be able to hook up with Sonny. There were a few other things, including possibly someone to clean out the basement for  me. So that was a fruitful conversation.


In the middle of the afternoon I rearranged the bird feeders, in the hope that the squirrels would start eating squirrel food instead of woodpecker food and bird food, but no such luck. The blue jays like the squirrel food just fine, and the squirrels were still eating bird food, although I did rig up the woodpecker feeder so they can't get into it (that was my fault).


I had a magical moment. I had brought out some more seeds for the platform feeder and I was standing next to the feeder you can see in the camera. I couldn't have been a foot away from it, when a teensy nuthatch flew down and perched on the feeder. He sat there and threw seeds on the deck (they are very picky about their seeds) until he found one he liked and flew away. I could have touched him, he was so close, and it didn't seem to bother him at all that I was there.  What a cute little bird! And how tame! 


All the birds seem to know that this big hulking thing is the source of all good things, and that the food comes out of the slider. I know when the feeders are empty these days because the jays start shrieking at me. Both the nuthatches and the chickadees will perch in the tree within arm distance while I put up the feeders when I have filled them, and both will come to the feeders before I go inside. I'm so glad I will be here for most of the winter and I'll be able to feed them when the weather is bad. 


I may see about getting a birdbath, too, because I imagine it's hard for them to get water even around here when everything is frozen. Of course, it will have to be heated, and I'm not sure where I'd put it, although I think I once saw one that hangs on the deck railing, and there is an outlet not too far away. If I do that, I think it will probably be in the camera picture.


It was another beautiful day, although it didn't get as warm as was predicted. The temperature got up to about 50º for a while, but there was hardly any wind all day, and it was nice outside. Actually, it was rather exciting. There was fog before and after daybreak, which burned off around 9:30 or so, and it got clear and sunny and beautiful. I was doing something at the computer when suddenly I realized the sun had gone away, around 3:30, and when I looked around, the harbor had disappeared in a fog bank. I could see where it ended, about over Lake Fanny Hooe. Then a few minutes later, the house was surrounded by fog, and I couldn't see anything out in front. That lasted for about an hour, and then it started to burn off again, which, with the sun in the west, provided some really spectacular pictures. Here are three pictures I saved - one from early morning, and two from this afternoon. Here.


I particularly like the one from the morning. That was about six minutes before sunrise, and the colors are really pretty. I did see some of the fog in person, although I didn't see that particular scene. 


When the fog moved in, the temperature went down to the mid 40s. It's been getting into the upper 30s, but we haven't had any frost yet.


In my conversation with Adam, he asked about pictures of the house, which it turns out I had never processed, and eventually I wrote them all on CDs. The next problem was to find the CDs, and it seems I left most of them at the other house, although I do have one, which may have something on it. However, I ended up having to go through all the blue boxes to find it. There was also a file box of magazines in the middle of the floor, as well as two garbage bags full of paper. So I moved the bags out, put the file box back in a corner, and rearranged the boxes so that another one is empty and the rest are neatly piled at the back of the desk. I also attacked the pile on the desk a bit. I'm not going to say the office is neat, but it's better than it was this morning, and I found a few things I was looking for.


I got quite warm while I was doing that, because the sun had heated the office up to around 77º, but that's nice when I'm just sitting around. It cools off over night, of course, but during the daytime, if the sun is shining, it's quite cozy in here. 


For dinner, Buster and I shared the rest of the back ribs, and they were just as good the second time around. Buster thought so, too. 


I'm afraid he is partly to blame for my shoulder, though. He likes to sit on my lap with his chin on my right arm while I am at the computer, and with my hand on the mouse, that pulls my shoulder. Tonight I had to chase him away, because it was getting sore. The other problem is that sometimes I sit quite a ways away from the keyboard tray, and that stretches my arm in a most uncomfortable way, which also messes up my shoulder. So I am trying to keep my upper arm straight and hoping that will help my problem.


Well, now it is late and the quarter moon has gone away...it may be behind the tree...and it is time to try the sleep thing again. I keep hoping that when I can sleep on my right side and I don't need the heating pad anymore, I will be able to do better. 


It's another clear and lovely night in the field.


October 9

I spent a lousy night last night. It started out all right, but after I woke up the first time, I couldn't find a comfortable way to lie, and I was up and rustling around for most of the rest of the night. When I finally did get back to sleep, I kept at it until around 10:00. I do think my shoulder is slowly getting better, but I still can't sleep on it. Soon, I hope.


Anyway, at one point I saw something really funny looking over by the fort headquarters, and I put my glasses on. I think now that the fog had begun to roll in, and it was reflecting the lights they evidently had on in their yard. And right before sunrise, there was a thin band of fog right across the harbor. It was nearly calm all night long, so the fog wasn't a surprise.


It was nearly calm all day, too, and although I didn't go out much, I did stick my nose out on the porch while my brunch was heating up, and it was totally, perfectly quiet. There wasn't a sound of any sort whatever. I don't know another place where it can be that quiet.


It was a beautifully clear night last night, about the clearest since i got here, and there were stars galore in the sky, but no light show. Apparently close to sunrise there were some clouds as well as the fog, and when I got up there were still some puffy clouds in the south, but eventually they went away, and it was another gorgeous sunset, which, of course, I missed.


When I came home from Harbor Haus, the moon was hanging brightly in the southern sky, but Venus hadn't come out yet. It was really pretty. but I won't bore you with another webcam shot. Maybe tomorrow night, I can get a real picture.


Dinner was a delight. Finally, I got baby back ribs. Ron's sauce is as good as any I've ever had, and the ribs were done to perfection and very tender. However, a whole rack of ribs is far too much to eat in one sitting, so I will be able to enjoy them again tomorrow. Yum! As I was finishing up, one of the Hassig daughters and her husband came in. We met them Friday at Mariner, but tonight we had a chance to talk. They are nice folks, and they'd like to retire up here, too. Of course, all the Hassigs spent summers here when they were kids, and evidently almost all of them still love it just as much as ever.


I must also thank the person who bought me a drink. They did the same thing last year, but they won't come and introduce themselves to me. Whatever. I appreciate their thought.


I have a little personal prayer book I have put together with a collection of prayers from the daily devotional booklet, and it had been quite some time since I updated it, so I got at that today instead of doing what I should have been doing. There were a lot of things to scan in, and I discovered that the OCR software that came with the scanner actually is pretty good, in fact better than the stuff I used with the old computer. It can even do a pretty fair job on pages that aren't straight. That all made the job much easier, since I didn't have to spend forever correcting the scanned paragraphs. I also had to do some rearranging, but the whole thing is now ready to print and bind. It's the same size as the devotional booklet, which I keep in the center. Tomorrow maybe I can get it printed.


Since tomorrow is a bank holiday, there are some things I won't be able to do, but I could probably go to the dumpster, if I can get my act together and collect all the trash, which is getting out of hand.


Anyway, I'm hoping for a better night tonight, with the stars shining on the field and the winds almost calm.


October 8

Around 3:45 this morning, I had to walk, and when I looked out the bathroom window, I looked twice, then went to get my glasses. There was an arc just over the trees that looked much brighter than the background sky, as well as some other bright spots, including one that was mostly behind the trees. I couldn't see any stars, but there was a glow over the trees, and as I watched, the left side of the arc faded out and the left side turned into a wavy spike that went halfway up to zenith. For about ten minutes, it was really interesting, then it all went away. I think it was really gone, rather than covered by clouds, because it disappeared faster than clouds could have come over. There was clearly some cloud cover, and I wonder what I might have seen if it had been really clear? So you never know.


When I went back to bed, I could see that one bright light in town reflected in a harbor that was just like a mirror.


It was cloudy when I got up this morning, but by noon the clouds were breaking up some, and around 2:00 the sun came out. Now, what is that bright light in the sky? It seemed brighter than usual, because most of the week had been so dark!


The temperature never got much under 40º all night long, although I guess it frosted in Calumet, and in the course of the day it got up to about 45º, but there was almost no wind at all, so it wasn't all that unpleasant. It has now dived under 40º, which is understandable, because by sunset it had cleared up almost completely. 


I did my usual not much, although I did go to the post office again. Since there is no mail Monday, Tuesday will be a big day, and I wanted my box to be empty. 


I finally got the bird feeders filled and rearranged, and I put out some of the squirrel food I got, but I don't think the squirrels know it yet. Sometime, I'm going to have to get up on a stool and hang another hanger for the big feeder, but I think things are arranged fairly well for now. The squirrel food seems to be a combination of corn kernels and sunflower seeds. If my squirrels like it, I will get some more.


Dinner started out with Shirley, and about the time we got our salads, Cindy and Mary showed up, so we had a nice meal, and since it wasn't a buffet, I brought home half of my prime rib for another meal.


It was amazingly busy in the restaurant, and there are a lot of people in town this weekend, color watching, I suppose.


When we left, it was twilight, and the sky was beautifully clear, with the crescent moon low in the south, and when I got back here, Venus was shining brightly over the Mountain Lodge. It was another night when I'm sorry I wasn't here, but the last picture of the night was a keeper. There are over 500 pictures I've saved from the camera - gee, about 100 a year! - and a fair number of them are of that same time at night. It never ceases to delight me. It looked like the night might be one to see some more light shows, so I'll hope.


It's a clear, calm night in the field tonight.


October 7

Well, that certainly wasn't what I intended to do, but oh, well. I wanted to read for a while last night, but I got into an interesting part of the story and when I turned around to look at the clock, it was 3:30! Oops! So I jumped into bed, but I got up around 9:30 anyway. So I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. I must try to do better tonight. 


It was a nice night to huddle under the covers, and I wish I'd been there longer. The wind got right brisk before it dropped off, but it is from the northeast again, so it isn't bothering the house much. The temperature here at the shore has hovered just under 40º for the past 24 hours. It may drop a bit tonight, and there will probably be frost in low lying areas further south. The frost is on the pumpkin, as my father used to say.


One reason I got up when I did was that I got a call from the delivery man saying he would be delivering my freezer between 2::00 and 3:00 this afternoon, and by golly, he did. So I now have a freezer in the basement, cooling down nicely. Tomorrow I will have to try to rearrange the freezer up here and move some things downstairs...like the big can of caffeinated coffee and the bags of hummingbird nectar. Then I can begin to plan a little cooking to begin to get it stocked, and maybe I can get some Schwan stuff to try it.


It was mostly cloudy all day long, and when I went to dinner, I was sure there wouldn't be a sunset. However, I was wrong, and I'm really sorry I missed it, but oh. well. I did save a couple of shots from the webcam, just to illustrate that the sun is now in the notch between Brockway and the West Bluff. The second picture happened a bit later, but before I got home, and I thought it was rather dramatic.


The only trouble with the cold is that we had such a warm and pleasant summer, and it lasted so long, that nobody is used to the cold this year. We'll adapt, I'm sure, but right now, it feels pretty chilly.


Other than move the boxes for the freezer, I didn't do much today, but I guess I can be excused  because of my late night. Tonight should be another good one to sleep. I still can't lie on my right shoulder, but I do seem to be finding a few fairly comfortable grooves, and if I'm tired enough, it doesn't matter much anyway.


So the cold has come to the field.


October 6

Around midnight, the wind dropped to nothing for a couple of hours, then it switched around and started blowing from the west but not very strongly. While it was calm, apparently a fog bank moved in, because I couldn't see any lights in town at all. Maybe it was because the lake wasn't sounding off, and maybe it was because my ear was really sore, but I had some wakeful hours last night...or maybe it was just because I had gotten so much sleep the night before that I wasn't all that tired.


Anyway, just as I got up this morning, I got a call from the insurance adjuster with instructions about what I have to do, so I was glad I decided to get up when I did.


Between 8:00 and 9:00 (before I was really up) there were a couple of little rain squalls, but that was about it for the rain today. The temperature was in the upper 40s for most of the day, and as the wind began to shift to the north, it picked up. Now it is blowing in the 20-30 mph range and the temperature, at least at my house, has dropped to 39º. I'm listening to the radio, but I can hear the lake starting to sing loudly again, so maybe tonight will be a better night.


Sleeping with the heating pad does seem to be helping a bit, but I'm afraid it will just take a while to get over this. The muscle that is sore goes from my collar bone to the tip of my shoulder, and reaching forward at a certain angle is just like getting hit with a rock on the collar bone. I fear part of it, at least, is caused by my playing games too long. The place I normally have the mouse, I have to reach forward to get it, and with the changes in temperature there have been around here lately, I just caught cold in it. My, will I be happy when I can sleep on my right side again!


The forecasters are still insisting there may be some snow tonight or tomorrow morning, but there shouldn't be much, especially here by the lake, and I can hope there isn't any. I know the snow is coming, but I'd just as well wait till a bit later for it to start. At least after we get over that, it is supposed to warm up a tad - upper 50s - and get clear for the weekend, so I may yet be able to take a short ride and sample the color for you.


As yet, the lake side of the hills have hardly turned at all. Brockway is still mostly green, but there was a neat sight this morning, when Brockway was in the shadows and the hill behind it was in sunlight, and that hill is all orange. It's hard to take pictures from Brockway looking south, because that's where the sun is, but I might try it. I haven't been up Brockway for a couple of years now, and I guess it's about time. We'll see.


Except to unload the dishwasher and put away the cat food, I didn't do anything much today. The decision was to stay home and have a hamburger for dinner or have the hamburger for breakfast, so I had it for breakfast and ate at Harbor Haus. There are a few things I want to eat there before they close. Tonight it was lamb chops, and they were excellent, as was the mushroom gravy. When I made my hamburger for breakfast (on an onion roll, by the way, with a fresh tomato - yum! It's been a long time since I had a hamburger), I packed away three more for the future. I have more onion rolls, and when I am in Detroit, I will try to get some more for the freezer - maybe two packages. Having that freezer is going to be really nice.


Otherwise, I didn't do much. I need to move the boxes around in the basement, and someday, maybe, I will get the boxes from upstairs down, but I keep saying that. It's getting really old to have the great room full of junk, and one of these days it will just get to me, hopefully before I am packing for my fast trip south.


So it's another dark and cloudy night, but the lake is singing...another good night to sleep, I think.


October 5

Oh, it was a wonderful night to sleep! The lake was roaring and it was raining and windy, and I slept. I was awake at times, because I can't lie on my left side, and I couldn't lie on my back even when I propped up my leg. But lying that way gave my ear some relief, so after a while I was able to turn over and go back to sleep. I had the heating pad on all night long, and that helped a lot, and it didn't make me overly warm until about the time I got up, when the heat had come up in the bedroom. So I felt much better today.


It was a wild and hairy night and it was a wild and hairy day. The wind has been the 15-25 mph range, but it's been mostly from the east, so it hasn't bothered the house. I did finally have to shut the windows in the breezeway, but otherwise it's been cozy and warm in here. We've had 1.62" of rain since midnight, and between 5 and 6 pm, we had .67" in a perfectly wonderful thunderstorm. In between, it's been foggy and chilly. The temperature has been almost steady at around 51º. It was  a good day to stay inside.


Not that I did much but watch it. There were lots of birds at the feeders, even though something really decimated the sunflower seeds last night. I can report that the white-crowned sparrows are here, on their way south. I got a laugh out of one of them who must have gotten a drop of rain right on its head, and his black and white feathers were all in disarray. Their markings look sort of like a University of Michigan football helmet, except in black and white, and they are neat little birds.


It has surprised me since I've been here that the juncos and the sparrows will perch on the feeder. Down in Detroit they never do that. I suppose it's because there is less to eat up here. 


I was going to bring in the thistle feeders today, but it was just too wet and cold. Likewise putting out the new squirrel and woodpecker feeders. I forgot to mention that I was prompted to get the woodpecker feeder by a poor little downy the other day who lit on all the feeders and pecked and couldn't find a thing it wanted to eat. So I'll try to give it something.


I did get the car unloaded, but not until after I went to the post office. I actually don't feel too bad today, considering my exercise of yesterday and the cool and damp weather. I always get stiff when I sit too long, and my back was sore after I made breakfast, but otherwise, I was perambulating pretty well. I don't have everything (make that anything) put away, but the car is emptied out. And I did cut up my cantaloupe for desert, mostly because when I got into the car, the entire car smelled like cantaloupe, so I figured it was ripe enough that I'd better eat it. It's just right. Yum.


I'm doing this early, with the idea in mind that I will read for a while before I call it a night, and it would be nice not to have this to do. It seems to take me about an hour to write, re-read (sometimes) and upload the journal every night, so it will be nice to have it out of the way.


For Buster, this storm has been hibernation weather. He slept in bed with me almost all night, and on my lap this morning. When I finally kicked him off, he went back to the bed, and only woke up long enough to get his Plank-style Whitefish, which he loves. Then he would like to have gone back to sleep on my lap, but that cuts down on production too much, so he is now on his favorite box, dead to the world. When the weather does get better, I imagine he will be wired.


This is my father's birthday anniversary. He would have been 93 today.


So the lake is still roaring, although the wind is backing off a bit. The marine forecast says the waves were 13½ feet in the middle of the lake, and about 8 feet close to shore. I'm sorry I just don't have the dedication to my photography to go out on the beaches to take pictures. With the low light and rain, I probably wouldn't get anything anyway.


This is supposed to go on, somewhat abated, for another day at least, then maybe it will clear up some and we can enjoy the color. for the time, I will enjoy drifting off to sleep with the song of Mother Superior in my ears.


October 4

I certainly didn't sleep well last night!  I got to bed around 2:00 - I'm getting to a very interesting part of my book, and I just wanted to keep reading. When I went up to the north end to take my bath, it was thundering rather regularly, and when I turned out the light, I could see the lightening, too. That's fun to watch, but I was awfully tired. Around 2:30, I think, the wind suddenly picked up and it began pouring rain. The temperature dropped about 12º, too. It had been around 70º all evening and, as I mentioned last night, very humid, so now it was 57º and very humid. In the middle of the thunder, I think Buster caught a mouse on the porch, but I can't be sure, because there was no body this morning.


It still is humid. The temperature was flat at around 56º all day long, and the dew point was flat at about 54º all day. Most unpleasant. There was more rain between 5:00 and 8:00 am, and at some point it got cool enough inside that I closed the porch door.


The problem is mostly my shoulder, which is so sore I can't sleep on my right side at all, and it was too warm in the bedroom to use the heating pad. By this morning, my left ear felt like somebody had boxed it, and I spent a lot of time thrashing around, trying to find a comfortable place. In the old days, I would have been able to sleep almost flat on my back, with my old bad (right) knee bent and my left leg straight to keep me in position. Unfortunately, my left knee is now going the way of the right, and I can't completely unbend it anymore without considerable pain. What I need is a pillow or wedge under it, and I keep forgetting I want to bring a couple of the old pillows I have at Champine. Sooo...


Tonight it's cool enough that I can use the heating pad, which will help. Also, I have a reading wedge, which is a large wedge-shaped pillow. If I put it in bed with the long side up, it's a great thing to use to lie in bed and read. However, I think that if I put the long side flat, it will elevate me nicely and i should be able to find a fairly comfortable position to sleep. I think I will also bring a big towel in, to support my knee.


Today was not a day for those of us with arthritis anyway, but I compounded the problem by going to town. I think I was only in bed for about 7 hours last night, and I know I didn't get 7 hours' sleep, but I decided I might as well go and get that over with.


My freezer will be delivered Friday, which is good, because I have a lot of stuff to move out of the way of the place I want to put it, right at the circuit I had them run for it when I built the house. It is 17 cubic feet, which might be a tad large, but the next smallest was 13, and not only was it small, it didn't have the nice features this one does, like sliding shelves and baskets. It is made by a company called Wood, of whom I have never heard, but Kirkish doesn't sell GE freezers anymore, because, the girl said, they are overpriced. A freezer is a pretty simple device, so I expect it will work just fine. I did get the automatic defrosting one, because defrosting a freezer can be a real pain. And it was apparently on sale or something, so I got a relatively good price on it.


That took all of fifteen minutes, at most.


Then it was off to Wal-Mart, to stock up on cat food and bird seed. I invested in a cage-type feeder for wood pecker food, and a block of something that is supposed to go in another cage they didn't have which is squirrel food. It won't last long, but maybe they'll like it better than hanging onto the big feeder? If so, I'll get more. It seems to be a combination of sunflower seed and corn kernels. We'll see.


When I left here, it was cool enough that I put on a cotton sweater over my polo shirt, and I took my slicker. When I stopped at Hughes Farm, I was glad to have it, because their sale area is just a lean-to. I tried to control myself, considering what I didn't eat of the last stuff I bought there, but they had my Delicata squash, so I bought a lot of them. They aren't very big, but I'm sure they will be good. And they will keep forever, if I keep them cool. Yum!


By the time i got out of Wal-Mart, I was sweating like a horse, and my sweater was damp, not to mention everything else. So when I got to Ming Bistro, I took it off. It was cool to be wandering around outside, and I'm sure that cool wind on my aches and pains didn't do them any good, but there was no help for it.


In the meantime, I went on a frustrating search for a place to get new batteries for my two causal watches, both of which stopped abruptly a few days ago. I guess on the next trip, I'll have to go to the mall. Bah! It would be a nice thing if I could learn to change the batteries myself, but I'm not sure how to open either watch.


Anyway, a nice lunch and some tea (not very good) renewed me a bit, so I tackled Econo. I think I got everything I wanted, but I'm not sure yet, since all but the cold stuff is still in the car. I was exhausted by the time I got out of there and all sweaty again. I did take my slicker in with me, and it was a good thing, because it was raining nicely when I came out.


Econo has one service which will keep me going back there. You can request a package pickup, and if you do, the packer takes your cart to a covered area and will help you pack your car. I had to park quite a ways away from the doors, so I was awfully grateful for that. It occurred to me later what the problem was - for those people who have been on Social Security forever, the 3rd is Social Security day. They were all inside when I got there, and by the time I got out, they were all gone, of course. Usually it's not nearly so packed on Tuesday at 2:30.


Then it was gas. I checked signs going in, and Econo's Shell station is now the low price again - $2.98 a gallon. The other prices ranged between $3.10 and $3.20. Wow! It's enough to make you want to stay home!


Then at last, I could come home, and I was so exhausted, that I sat around for a long time before I unloaded the cold stuff, but I figured in the coolers with ice packs, it would be all right. I think it is.


The weather all day long was miserable. On the way down, it started raining around Allouez and stopped about the time I got to Kirkish. It was so cloudy I couldn't see the top of the cliff, and it was foggy too. It didn't rain much in Houghton, until I was ready to leave. Then it rained most of the way to Delaware, and it was extremely foggy, especially between Hancock and Calumet. The cliff was completely hidden in the clouds. The temperature was around 58º in Houghton. A thoroughly unpleasant day, weather-wise.


However, now that darkness has fallen, the lake is singing again, and there is a small craft warning for the local waters and a gale warning for open waters, and there are bands of heavy showers passing through. It wasn't foggy when I got here, but I can imagine it may get that way. I do love the sound of the lake!


Oh, yes, one last thing: the color. I would say that the color is between 50% and 80% to max, depending where you are. Portions of the covered road and Cliff Drive were just gorgeous, even in the gloom. There were lots of reds and dark oranges. Not much has change here in Copper Harbor or up on Brockway, but the hills across Lake Medora were beautiful when I could see them. It will certainly peak this weekend. and the winds over land don't seem to be going to be so strong as to blow everything down. The only worry is the snow predicted for Thursday, but the temperature won't get below freezing, so it should be all right. By Friday, it is supposed to be clearing up some, although it will be cool, and if that is the case, I think I will have to spend a bit of gas and go out and take some pictures. It's a pretty year.


So that was my day. I ache all over, even my hands. But I think I got enough that I won't have to go again for a few weeks, maybe not until after I get back from Detroit. I really wanted to read for a while, but I'm so tired, I think I will probably just give up and go to bed. The lake is calling me to the north end, and it's hard to turn down an invitation like that.


October 3

I didn't sleep well last night, but I did sleep. I had the heating pad on my shoulder for most of the night, and that helped. Too bad I won't be able to do that tonight.


I got up late, and it was a misty, moisty morning, and it was the same all day long. There was almost a little sunshine in the middle of the afternoon, and around dinner time there were a couple of rumbles of thunder from a squall out over the lake to the north. It seemed to be getting more and more foggy as night came on, and right now, the temperature is 71º and the dew point is 66º, with light southwest winds - a most uncomfortable combination. There is a huge storm front coming at us which should drop the temperature, but it probably won't do much for the humidity.


And this is the first of October! It's most unusually warm. With the storms coming through, though, that may be at an end, and by Thursday there could be some snowflakes. Well, that usually happens, too, then it warms up some again before we plunge into the gales of November.


I did not much again. I sat for some time in the ugly chair and knitted, but for most of the day, I read again. Late in the day I brought out some of the beads I want to string and made a necklace from a kit. Like other kits from that company, there were items missing, including a way to attach the clasp to the necklace, but there are some pretty lampwork beads in it, and it will probably be useful. I was going to try another one, but when I took out the beads, I discovered that instead of them being six colors, there were only three, so I gave up on that. I'll use the other beads for something else. That's why I don't buy from that company any more. You pay what amounts to the retail price of the finished piece for the kit, then it is always missing something.


So I went back to my reading. I do have my lapis beads and my pearls out, though, so one of these days I'll get to that.


Oh, yes, I did talk to the insurance company, so now I will have to wait for the adjuster, and I got the name of a good body shop from my friend Lesley, so I may be able to get the car spiffed up before winter.


And that is all there is. it's dark and moist in the field tonight.


October 2

It's nice not to have two days like yesterday in a row.


I didn't sleep very well last night, but not because I was upset. I seem to have caught cold in my gimpy shoulder, and folding it forward like I do when I sleep, or sleeping on that side, made it very painful and hard to find a good position. So I was up several times and I got up around 8:30. 


Around 1:30 Shirley called, to say that her son Bobby had come by and looked at the car and had a solution for the rubbing problem. She drove me back, and now I have a drivable car. It seems that below the bumper, there is a plastic shield, and when I pushed the bumper back, it pushed the plastic into the tire. So Bobby sawed off an inch or so of the plastic, and everything is fine. I will want to get it fixed, but it's not a vital necessity. That is certainly a relief!


Otherwise, I did not much but read all day. I discovered that if I open the desk drawer about 6", I can prop the big binder up in it and read in relative comfort without having that heavy book on my lap.


It was also a good excuse to watch the world go by. It was clear for most of the night, but it clouded up before dawn, and it was partly cloudy when I got up. There were some really neat mackerel clouds overhead, and I could watch the cirrus streaks breaking up into ripples. It turned out to be a pretty day, with sunshine in a hazy sky, and the temperature got up to probably 73º or so here, with a gusty south wind that was so gentle and soothing it was lovely. I can't tell you exactly what the wind speed was, because the NWS station here has been down since midnight for some reason.


I was able to open the sliders for the afternoon, and the breeze was just lovely to sit in. It also enabled both of us to watch the birds. There have been quite a few juncos pecking around the deck, and they just fascinated Buster, as did the squirrels and probably the chipmunks. I did not see one goldfinch all day, however, so I think the last of them may finally have gone. I'll have to check that for a couple of days before I'm sure, but if it's true, I can put the thistle seed away for the winter and begin to get things rearranged.  It certainly is time: I think in past years, they were gone by the middle of September. The rest of the visitors were blue jays, chickadees and nuthatches, and the chickadees were calling from the tree every time a jay came around. I guess jays eat anything - I saw one pecking at a dead chipmunk in the road yesterday - and they do take nestlings when they can get them, so the other birds hate them.


And that is about all there was. There was an interesting sunset, which was totally washed out in the camera, but it wasn't too red, and the forecast is for possible showers all week. John Dee has gone into hibernation until November, and if he isn't preparing the Keweenaw forecast either, I guess I'll have to rely on the NWS, which isn't nearly as accurate. I hope our weather station gets back online.


Now the wind is sighing in the trees, and I'm tired.


October 1

This turned out to be a day when nothing went quite right.


I slept in and ignored the beautiful morning until both hips and both shoulders were sore, and when I got to the office and turned on the monitor, there was a blue screen of death, saying "your system has become unstable..." So there were no pictures before 10:45 this morning, since the instability, whatever it was, happened during the night. I have no clue what caused it. I was in and out of IE and Word several times during the day, and Norton did its weekly scan at 11:00, but everything looked fine when I turned off the monitor, and there wasn't anything running that doesn't usually run. Very strange. Anyway, sorry for the black screen early this morning. Sunrise was probably very pretty.


I fiddled around some and had a braunschweiger sandwich (I wonder if that's spelled right?) for breakfast and caught up on my reading. In the middle of the afternoon, I filled the bird feeders and had t screech at Buster because he almost walked out the door. It doesn't seem to have made him mad.


And that was pretty much it.


However, when I went to dinner, disaster struck. There were a lot of cars at Harbor Haus, so I had to park up the street, and in the course of trying to parallel park, I somehow managed to hit the accelerator pedal instead of the brake (I was sure I knew where my foot was...), and hit the minivan in front of me, putting a dent in its back and, as it turned out, shoving my right bumper back so that it scrapes against the tire very severely. I didn't have anything to leave a note with, so in the middle of dinner I had to go outside and have an interview with the sheriff. I didn't find out about the bumper until l drove Shirley home. So the car is now in Shirley's driveway, and I am car-less. Tomorrow, we will go see if one of the guys in town can do anything to move the bumper away from the tire, If not, I'll have to have it towed to Calumet. Oh, dear...There go my insurance rates.


Anyway, Shirley brought me home, and I thought I would do a little work on the "prior months" page, since had to set up September in the archives...well...after an hour of fooling around, I just gave up. I do not know how I ever got that into the mess it is, but it looks to me like I will just have to recreate the page from scratch and do it right, and I don't feel like doing that tonight. Sometime I need to work on it, because it's getting to the end of the year and I will need another year or two. I guess I shouldn't get into these things when I'm upset.


It was a beautiful day, even though it wasn't as clear and it wasn't as warm as predicted. It was sunny, with high clouds turning the sky white, and it did warm up nicely. What temperature it got to depended upon where you were. It got to 68º here. It was quite breezy in the morning, but the wind died around 3:30 and the rest of the afternoon was nearly calm. When it died at Harbor Haus, the harbor turned that beautiful pale silver blue that we don't see very often. Sunset was very pretty, but by 8:30 it was dark. Sigh.


Dinner was good, but the town is as crowded as it's been all summer. There were three weddings in the area today, including one whose reception was at the Community Center, out-of-doors. I think it might get a tad cool for that. The rest of the people, I guess, are here for the color, although it hasn't hit town yet. The price of gasoline certainly doesn't seem to be keeping people home!


So that was my not so pleasant day, and after I drink my JD, I will go and try to sleep my troubles away. It's clear in the field tonight, and Venus was shining brightly in the southwest when we got here, so it was a pretty evening.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM