A View From the Field








December, 2005




December 31 - New Year's Eve

Well, 2005 is nearly history and it's time to wrap up another year.


I didn't make it to bed early last night, and I didn't make it out early this morning, because I was wakeful during the night. And when I woke up and looked down the harbor, I couldn't see the lights of town, and even without my glasses I could see a sort of halo around the lighthouse light. However, I was a little surprised this morning to see a good 6" of new snow on the deck railings. We got a good dumping, most of it between midnight and 8:00. The deck is so deep I can see the snow from the bedroom windows while I'm sitting down. It must be close to 3' deep at the north end! 


The snow had about stopped when I got up, but it had been the  wet, sticky kind, and it has turned everything into a fairyland again. It is so beautiful! Every twig and branch was frosted, with big gobs on the pine branches. With the calm winds today, it is still stuck. Driving back after dark with the high-beams on is gorgeous. If I could get out any of my doors, I would take a few pictures. Maybe it will hold up until tomorrow.


I diddled around, as usual. I was finishing my brunch when I heard an odd noise outside and lo and behold, Mac was blowing out my driveway! How nice of him! So I opened the garage door, to give him a bit more room to work, and I grabbed the snow shovel and went out, to say hi and to see if I could clean up around the edges a bit. Well, I did manage to do some scraping under the garage door, so that it now closes, but I gave up on the front steps. Under the 8" of new is a crust and some very crunchy stuff that I am simply not strong enough to handle. So I yelled for help, and I think Ron is coming over tomorrow or Monday to give me a hand.


However, I didn't want to go inside. The temperature was between 30 and 32 all day, and there was no wind at all, and it was perfectly beautiful outside. Made me yearn to have skis or something so I could be out in it. I will have to investigate that over the next few weeks. It was far too nice to be inside!


Eventually, I did go back in, and at the last minute of the last hour, I got my year-end charity checks written, and took them to the post office on the way to dinner. I know they won't go out until Tuesday, but I wrote them this year, right? That took most of the afternoon, and then it was off to dinner.


One of our other neighbors actually blew out Woodland Road, and he did a wonderful job of it. The ruts are now nicely filled in, and it's much smoother and not nearly so slippery. It's also quite a lot wider, which is great for going around tight curves. Ron gave me a clue about the curve into the culverts, and I had no problem tonight.


Fortunately I called Shirley, because we had sort of left dinner tonight hanging, but I met her on the way to the post office, and we had a nice time altogether. Cindy is hostessing tonight, and in the course of the couple hours we were there, a whole bunch of other Harborites came in to eat. It was great - they had the prime rib buffet, with lots of goodies, so I was able to pig out on salad bar and prime rib...and chicken...and cabbage rolls...and vegetable lasagna...and...and...I am stuffed, but oh, it was good! Everybody is in a cheerful, festive mood, and it was lots of fun.


When I went out to my car, there was snow on it, and there were a few big flakes drifting down all the way home and a light film on the parts of the pavement that had been clear. The piles at the corners are about twice as high as they were yesterday, and in spots they are almost as high as the Yukon. And this is only December...


I got home and I took off all my clothes (ahem!) and I am now cuddled up in my robe and slippers. When I finish this, I will have a chocolate truffle...or two...and a double JD...and then I will crawl into my nice bed, probably before midnight.


I guess I was energized today, at least for a while. I brought in all the crates and partially unpacked them, and I put away all the cat food. One reason for that was that when I got here, I couldn't find the half-dozen bottles of shampoo and conditioner I brought back with me. I packed in such a rush that I couldn't remember what I'd done with them, and for a while it looked like I might have left them behind. Fortunately, I did not, and I found them today, so now I have enough shampoo to last me for the next year, and I won't have to rip my hair out by the roots combing it out. Everything I wanted to bring seems to be there. So I am not totally losing my mind, just partially.


Now for the last year. On the whole, it was positive. The first five months dragged pretty slowly, but that only convinced me that my decision to move here was the right one. I was not happy in Detroit, and I doubt I ever will be again. We'll pass on May. That was excruciating, but I guess I might as well get used to it, because I'm sure it will happen again. I hope the next time it doesn't put me in such a funk. I really did hardly anything creative for the rest of the year.


However, the summer, when I finally got here, was about all anyone could ask. It was a bit warm at times, but I keep thinking of all those weeks when I never closed the back windows of the house. It was like living outdoors, and it was just what I dreamed about when I built this place. And now that I'm not sick, the heat doesn't bother me nearly so much. I guess I should have gone swimming?


Fall was fantastic, too, although it was a bit rainy. Everybody agrees that it was one of the longest color seasons ever - a good three weeks of really good color. There was no snow at all in October, which is most unusual, and the temperature held up until mid-November, when all hell broke loose...


And then there was December. I do wish I'd been here to watch the snow come down. The last figure I have is from the 18th and there had been 96" then, so it looks like we are going to exceed the 100" there was in December 2000. 


Once I had made my decision that I am moving here, I have been much happier altogether. While I am well, I want to be in my favorite place, and it has been horrible to have to leave for five months. I did find the fiasco in May left me depressed and feeling like not doing anything, but I think now I'm pretty much over that, although we'll see as winter wears on.


So overall, it was a good year. I'm not looking forward to the actual moving, because I hate to move, but being here is going to be great, and I won't anticipate.


So that was my year, and I'm looking forward to the new year with some excitement.


To everyone who reads this, I wish the Happiest New Year yet...may you realize your dreams as I have mine.


December 30

I'm catching up on my rest. Once I get the temperatures set right in here, it will be even better. I did a lot of walking last night, for some reason, and I got a phone call at 8:00 this morning, but otherwise it was a wonderful night to sleep.


And it's snowing again! It got here around noon, and it's been snowing more or less heavily ever since. It's rather fine, small crystals that pack down good, but while i was at dinner, there was about an inch on my car. The temperature was in the upper 20s all day, and there was a rather gusty wind out of the southeast, but it was actually pretty nice out, I thought.


The road is actually easier to drive on now than it was yesterday. There is only one spot, right before the culverts, where there is a rather sharp right turn, that is slipperier than the rest. It is a little hairy, because the rear of the car wants to slew off toward Lake Lilly, even when I'm going 5 mph or less, but I'll conquer it. All it requires is some practice. And it was neat to come back from dinner and be the only tracks on US-41 all the way from town.


The phone call this morning was from UPS, to be sure I was here, and I told them to leave my candy at King Copper, so I stopped by to see Shirley and we shared some truffles - yum! I don't think the UPS truck, even though it's a small one, could have gotten up the hill, although the driver is crazy enough that he might have tried it.


And the dining room at Mariner was open tonight, including the salad bar, which was a very pleasant surprise. And all the Kauppis had grins on their faces. This has been a very good week in the tourist business, even though they have had a few cancellations, by people who assumed that we had the same conditions that the eastern half of the UP had...or that the lack of snow made it useless to try to ski at Mt. Bohemia. Wrong! This is supposed to continue until tomorrow  night, which should give a nice layer of new for everyone who wants to play in the snow.


Otherwise, I finally got the car unloaded. I hadt o do a partial job, because I had a couple of bills to pay, and after I got back  from the post office, I just decided to get the rest done. It's mostly out in the breezeway, of course, but now I can bring things in at a reasonable pace and unpack at my leisure.


Tonight after dinner is the first time in several years that I have actually had to clean snow off my car, and I discovered it makes a big difference when I don't have to get to or from work, and when the air is so pure and clean. It was actually rather pleasant to be out. I will have to start wearing my boots, though, and my gloves got rather damp, so I'll have to figure out what to do about that.


I guess I will have to do a little shoveling right around my garage door tomorrow, though. When I left for dinner and when I came back, it would go down, and looked like it was all the way down, then it would start back up again...weird. I got it to stay almost all the way down, and I will work ont hat when it's light outside. And there is now some snow inside the garage that needs to be outside.


So that was another quiet day in the field, and maybe I can get to bed a bit earlier tonight?


December 29

I cannot tell you how comfortable my rose bed felt! It took me a while to get to sleep, but I didn't have my usual reaction to the sleeping pill - I slept hard and long. I also had a bed partner all night long. He wanted to be under the covers, even though it wasn't that cold in the house, and he wanted to be leaning up against me. Sometimes that bothers me, but not last night.


I finally rolled out around 10:00, and I didn't even get dressed until 2:00, when I had to go to the post office. I am still as stiff as a board, and as a result, the car isn't unpacked yet. I'll have to do that tomorrow morning, because I have some bills that need to be paid. Walking, and getting out of chairs, has been a problem today, but I have my longjohns on, to keep my legs really warm, and I think another good night's sleep and I'll be fine.


I had no problem getting up the notorious hill, but on the other side of it, I almost spun out, because I was going too fast. That road is really slippery! And coming down on my way back was even more interesting than last night.


I had asked Clyde to save all the catalogs, so I came back with a 12" pile of stuff - over half one of those white baskets they sort mail into. Some of it will go out, and there were two cycles of some catalogs, but there were also several magazines, and some other interesting stuff, so I now have plenty of reading material.


While I was there, I stopped to see Shirley, and she is fine, although she is so animated, I wonder if her blood pressure is up. However, she may just be happy - the motel is full, and she has lots of reservations. So we have a date for dinner tomorrow night.


When I went by Mariner, around 2:30, there must have been 60 snowmobiles parked outside! It looked like a snowmobile sales lot. I've never seen so many in one place before. And the gas stations were jumping with guys filling up their machines. We do have plenty of snow, and there are no muddy places on the trails up here, so the few people who canceled their reservations on account of the weather made a bad decision.


The weather today wasn't the best, but the temperature was in the middle 20s all day. It was cloudy and dull and blah, but there wasn't any more attrition of the snow cover. There is a winter weather advisory out for tomorrow, starting at 8 am, so we are going to get snow over the weekend. For myself, I don't really care, but I worry about my friends in business.


So I am off to the north end and my comfy bed again, and tomorrow I will have to spring into action and get the car unloaded. Maybe tomorrow I'll be up to it. I was really whipped today, and I felt a lot worse than I did last night.


I'm at home in the field, and very glad of it.


December 28

First off, I'm at home in the field. I made it. The car isn't all unpacked, but oh, well.


My fun didn't stop after I posted last night's entry. I decided I'd better eat something, so I stuck something not very good in the microwave and while it was cooking, I re-armed the smoke detector in the kitchen. That entailed getting up on the second step of a ladder that isn't rated for my weight, which means I have to step very carefully. And when I climbed down, I totally forgot that I cannot do steps like a normal person anymore - I have to go down left leg first. So I put my right foot on the floor, or almost on the floor, my left knee collapsed, and I ended up on my back on the floor. Considering where I was, it was just luck that I didn't hit the corner of the counter or something, and that I had removed all the stuff in the kitchen. I don't think I suffered any consequences, although it did knock the wind out of me for a moment, and I had to scootch over to the stairs on my seat in order to get up. Wow!


After that, I finished my not-very-good meal while the files backed up, hauled the laptop bag upstairs - it gets heavier every time I move it - and trundled upstairs to bed. Two double JDs and a sleeping pill meant I slept very well, thank you, with minimum times awake to walk.


I didn't wake up until 7:30, so my desire to get out of there by 8:00 was aborted. Buster came for his morning pet, and I lassoed him and stuffed him in his carrier, with which he was not pleased! He howled continuously and he skinned his nose, trying to rock the carrier. Poor Buster.


It was 9:40 before we pulled out of the driveway. I just don't move very fast anymore, and there were some things I had to do, and some I probably forgot. That meant, though, that we missed the morning rush completely, and since a lot of people are off this week, traffic was light and we made good time altogether.


There was a lot of fog, and some drizzle or mist off and on all the way to Marquette, but except that I used a lot of windshield washer fluid, it didn't slow me down.


The sad thing was, between St. Ignace and Newberry, I must have passed a dozen snowmobile trailers heading south. The report in Newberry was that the trails around there were down to mud from the warm weather. Really too bad, but not surprising, since they got less snow than further west.


However, those people should have been going west or north instead of heading home. From Munising to Copper Harbor, things are jumping, the trails, what I could see of them, at least looked snow-covered, and some of the larger motels had dozens of trailers parked in them. I even saw a few machines, outside Marquette, where the trails parallel the road. I passed through there around 4:00 and people apparently were heading back from their day's play.


I'm not saying conditions are great, because it's been warm over the whole UP, but from Munising west, we had gotten so much snow in early December that it's till tolerable.


BY the time I got out of Marquette, it was beginning to get dark, and it was beginning to snow. There were some snow squalls around Michigamme, but the snow turned to drizzle when I turned north on US-41 toward L'Anse. Not that it made much difference. I encountered a number of people who thought they were driving on glare ice. And then I got behind a guy in a hurry who was riding his brakes, and he nearly drove me crazy.


I solved that problem by stopping in Baraga for gas. I haven't done that before, because I usually end up here with half a tank, but under the circumstances that I don't plan to go to Houghton for at least a couple of weeks, I figured it behooved me to top off my tank. And the gas on the reservation is 20 a gallon cheaper than anywhere else. 


Anyway, that got me rid of the idiots, and there weren't too many problems getting to Houghton, where I got behind an excessively law-abiding driver, who would not go faster than 25 mph through the Tech campus, even though there wasn't a person in sight.


It was drizzling in Houghton and Hancock, but as I got to the top of the hill, the rain turned to snow, and I drove the entire way to Copper Harbor in fairly heavy snow. Not the way I would have chosen to navigate the covered road in the dark! It didn't seem slippery, though, and I took it really easy. One problem I had was that while the snow wasn't obvious with my regular headlights, it obscured the road with the brights on, but without the brights on, I couldn't see where I was going!


I ran into a guy towing a snowmobile trailer north of Mohawk, and even though I was trying to keep a goodly distance behind him, he was driving really shakily, and wonder of wonders, after a few miles of trailing him, he pulled over enough for me to pass him! Gosh, you certainly don't find that kind of gentlemen in the summer RV drivers! I felt for him, but he was being entirely too cautious. It wasn't that slippery, but clearly he had never driven that road before.


Not that it mattered. With certain exceptions, i find the darkness changes the look of things so much that I have a hard time figuring out where I am, too. It didn't help that the snow had covered all the markings on the road. I think more than half the time I was driving right down the middle of US-41! Like I said, I took it easy, topping out around 50 up to Delaware, and keeping it at or under 40 on the covered road, except for coming down the hill to Copper Harbor from the Mountain Lodge, where I did about 30. Yes, I have a lead foot, but I think I still have a little caution. Besides, if I rolled the car, I would probably survive, because I'm strapped in, but Buster probably wouldn't make it.


He was agitated for most of the day, and he howled more than I've ever heard him before. I looked in when I stopped for gas at Newberry, and I couldn't see any thing wrong, but I'll have to haul the throws out to be sure he didn't really have a problem. Maybe it was just having to take that horrid car ride so soon after the other one...and that's never happened before. However, he checked the house out thoroughly, and although I gave him his favorite dry food, he fussed at me until I gave him canned food, and he has now gone potty, so I guess in a few hours  he'll be settled down again, especially if there are some mice.


He isn't mad at me. He has been wanting to sit on my lap every time i sat down, and he wanted petting. so that's a good sign. He just hates that horrid car ride. And we'll be doing it again in April...


Anyway, I was pleased to see that Mariner was very busy with cars and snowmobiles when I went by, and when I called Shirley, she said she was full...and this is a Wednesday!  So that is good news.


Woodland road is...um...interesting. There are enough ruts in it that the car kept slipping sideways a few inches, which is not a nice feeling. And I took the final hill down to the culverts at less than 5 mph, because it's steep and there is a curve at the bottom which, if you miss it, you end up in the creek. My driveway was delightfully clean.


We arrived about 8:00, so the entire trip took 10 hours, 20 minutes, more or less, which is pretty good, considering.


So I am exhausted. I unloaded Buster's food, my food, the computer and the suitcases, and that was it. The rest will have to wait for tomorrow. The house is fine, and it's warm enough outside that it has warmed up nice and fast. There wasn't much wind all day long - there were only little ripples in the lake over by Marquette, but when it started to snow, and the wind shifted to the northeast, it picked up, and I can hear the lake singing...my favorite song! 


So we are back home in the field, and our winter adventure is about to start, and I'm very glad to be here.


December 27

Well, it's 8:30 and the car is as packed as it can get, so now all there is to do is move files and crash. I am exhausted. I ended up doing most of the packing after 2:00 this afternoon, and my shoulder is sore from moving so much heavy stuff around, even though I have a hand cart, which I use for all the boxes, and all my suitcases are on wheels. I still have to haul them around and into the car.


I got a late start anyway. My other friend Carol called at 10:00 and woke me up...heaven knows how long I might have slept if she hadn't called! However, we talked for quite a while, catching up and talking about the church situation. 


Then there was a cat to pet...he gets really loving when moving time comes. I don't know if he's hoping to talk me out of it, or he thinks I'm going without him, or what, but he needed love this morning.


So after I had my orange juice, I went right off to the food emporium. Unfortunately, they didn't make the lavash wrap tray I usually take for lunch, but I did get a veggie tray and lots and lots of cheese. Good, interesting cheese is one thing I can't get in the Copper Country. I also got a chicken salad sub, which I ate when I got home. It had clearly been made yesterday, but it tasted good. I also got a cheese steak sub (which bears not the slightest resemblance to the cheese steaks I used to pig out on when I was in Philadelphia in the 60s) for tomorrow night, or maybe Thursday. Even though it's mislabeled, it's a good sandwich, warmed in the microwave for a minute or so.


I did pause to do my usual morning internet thing, and set the laptop battery to discharging again, and then I moved everything that was going, with a few minor exceptions, from the second floor to the first. The longer I live on one floor the less I like two floor houses!


I am taking back a whole lot more than I brought here, and packing wasn't easy. I got a new barrel bag, and it was a good thing! I found another pair of sweat pants, so there are two pairs of those, I never took navy dress pants north, and I figured I just might want my cords. I could swear I bought three pair several years back, but I can only find two. Where the black ones went, I don't know. Probably into my imagination. Or I may find them when I move. Anyway, brought far too many tops, as usual, and I wanted to take a couple more back with me, as well as my really heavy wool socks, so there was no room in the bags for my fleece. That had to go in the barrel bag, along with some other odds and ends. Whew!


Then it was time to move to the car. I had gotten all the boxes and the crates in, but when I put the first suitcase in, it didn't fit! Huh? What had happened is that the cage had slid back about 6" when there was nothing behind it, so I had to wrestle the cage into position then push everything back against it. The Craftstors and the crates move fairly easily, but those file boxes I use don't move on the carpeting at all. What a pain! Then I discovered I had put the crates in the wrong way, so I had to turn them 90 in order to get the cooler in. No wonder my shoulder hurts!


Once the cage is in the car, there really isn't all that much room left, and there is one and only one way to get as much in as possible. The cooler is a problem, because I'm taking back two gallons of orange juice, just so I don't have to go to Houghton for a while, and two gallons of liquid is heavy...very heavy. The cooler is packed, too, mostly with cheese. If I have to eat cheese for my elimination, I want good cheese! There is a lot of brie, but there are a couple of English cheddar-type things, and some Jarlsberg, which I like much better than swiss.


Then it was time to make my lunch, which probably won't be very good, but oh, well. I made two sandwiches, which is probably more than I will eat, and there is cheese to nibble, and grapes, which I discovered, coming south, are very good to snack on, and a couple of real cokes, to give me my sugar an caffeine jolt when I begin to flag. After everything was in the car, I saw my bananas, but I wouldn't put them in the car tonight anyway...too cold.


You should have seen me sitting in front of the cooler making my sandwiches. At that point, there was no way I could stand at the counter! That's one reason I prefer to buy my sandwiches to go.


I had selected two afghan kits and a couple of knitted stuffed animals to take back with me, as well as a couple of large pieces of polar fleece. The knitting stuff sort of fit in the car, but the fleece didn't, so unless I can stuff it in the cat carrier after I get the cat out of it, I will have to leave that behind. I mean, that car is stuffed! It's a wonder the metal isn't expanding.


I am tired. And I am not hungry. I am working on my first JD as I type, and while I guess I should eat something, nothing appeals to me. Blah!


I should also mention that when I got everything out of the fridge, I discovered that Suzanne's lovely Christmas Jam from last year had tipped over on a shelf and leaked, so in the middle of everything else I was doing, I had to stop and unload the shelf and wash it. Then I discovered the way I originally packed the cooler wasn't going to work - the eggs didn't fit - so I had to repack that, too. Nothing is ever easy, is it? And as my regular readers know, I really hate to travel. If I'm going to put this much effort into something, I'd rather it was my favorite house.


I'm looking forward to taming the garden this year. And hanging some of my needlework. I'm taking my seasonal bellpulls with me. I will try to take pictures of them as I hang them.


Anyway, I finally got the last stuff into the front seat and locked up the car in the garage, and came down here.


The weather today was typical Detroit winter blah - right around 35 all day, and raw and nasty. When I closed the back of the car, there was something like mist on the window. At least I don't sweat as much when it's cold out.


It was about the same in Copper Harbor, but a bit cooler. It wavered between freezing and 35 all day, but it was over freezing for most of the time, and it was cloudy there, too.


The weather tomorrow isn't probably the best. There is a chance of fog and some rain all the way to the bridge and rain or snow or freezing drizzle (shudder!) for part of the afternoon, but later in the day, it looks to be OK. It shouldn't be precipitating between Houghton and Copper Harbor, which was my worst fear, since I'll be doing that part all in the dark. Thursday might be better, but again, it might not, and it certainly won't be as bad as the trip here. At least the temperature is supposed to be above freezing for the whole way. That, by the way, depends upon who you believe. John Dee and Accuweather are more optimistic than the Weather Underground. So we'll see. At least there doesn't seem to be a blizzard or a lake effect event. I've had enough of traveling in those for this year!


So that was my exhausting day, and it's high time I posted this and started the file transfer. At least I got to hear Mozart and maybe the rest of the Detroit Symphony concert. I don't know how to spell Tchaikovsky and neither does Microsoft. It's his First Symphony.


I don't guarantee there will be a journal tomorrow night. It depends upon when we get there and how well the file transfer works.


Oh, but we're on our way back to the field!!


December 26

I didn't sleep very well last night, thinking about everything I had to do today. I made some progress, but not as much as I'd hoped, because, you see, it's been so long since I worked that I forgot that today was Christmas Day (observed). So I put in my change of address online, which will be interesting. It seemed easy to do, but I'm reserving judgment until I see what happens. I did get a start on cleaning up the kitchen, although some of that will have to wait until after the car is packed.


I had a nice chat with a real estate agent this afternoon (rather long, too), so that is underway. 


I decided that instead of taking the wash to the second floor to pack, then bringing the bags back downstairs, I will just bring the bags down and pack them in the living room. That should save a little wear and tear on my legs, so after I finish this, I will go and fold wash. and maybe bring the bags downstairs and pack them tonight, depending on how late that is.


The weather here was nasty. The temperature was right around 35 all day, but it was cloudy and raw. There was about " of snow on the ground this morning, but it was wet and slushy.


In Copper Harbor, it was mostly cloudy, although there seemed to be a few breaks in the clouds this afternoon, and there was one of those sunsets where it looks like there is a band of clear skies right on the horizon. The temperature wavered between 30 and 34 all day, and I don't imagine it was very nice there either.


Better than here. When I finally got to bed last night (you'd think I was leaving the laptop with Zuma on it here!) there was a nasty odor in the air, from the St. John Hospital incinerator, I think. It got into my nose and made it feel burned, and it helped keep me awake, although most of that was that my mind was going around in circles. Strange how we do that sort of thing to ourselves. What will happen, will happen, and I'll either leave Wednesday or I won't. I know what has to be done, and somehow, it will get done. Anything that doesn't fit in the car won't go. So why I keep worrying it, I don't know, but I do.


When I went out this morning, the driveway was covered with little tracks. I guess most of them were squirrel tracks, but they looked weird because the front ones were a lot bigger than the hind ones, and the toes were longer than I thought squirrel toes were. I guess they hop along with their forepaws flat on the ground and just the toes of their hind feet on the ground. There were also some really teensy little tracks, bigger than a mouse, I think, but a lot smaller than a squirrel. I hope we don't have rats. There were also some rather large cat tracks. It looks like there is a regular game trail up my yard by the garage and across the driveway. One squirrel spent some time beside the back stoop going around in circles, it seems. What he thought he was finding there, I don't know.


So that was my not very productive day, and I'm going upstairs to try to remedy that now.


Two days and, I hope, we'll be back in the field.


December 25 - Christmas Day

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas, and thank you to everyone who sent me e-greetings! 


My day was quiet, and it started late. I didn't get to church because I didn't even wake up until about 9:40, that was not enough time to get to church at 10:00! Too bad, but I wasn't surprised.


I had a nice breakfast for a change...an omelet and stolen. I was going to save my stolen for when I got home, but I decided to have a little today. It comes from American Spoon Foods ( http://www.americanspoon.com/ ), and instead of all the candied fruit that some stolens have, it has dried cherries, blueberries and cranberries. It's really good lightly toasted, with coffee. Yum.


Well fortified, I attacked the CD-ROM. It turned out to be a non-issue, actually. There was one screw to remove, then the old one slid out, the new one slid in, and everything plugged in just the same. The BIOS can see it, Windows can see it, and everything seems OK. I haven't tried it, though. It's amazing how much faster the computer boots up and Windows starts now. So I guess that was a successful install.


While I had the case open, I blew the dust out of the parts...the intake screen in back was nearly blocked...but everything inside was fairly clean. I squished down some connectors, but it seems solid.


Now I can't get rid of this computer, of course, because the drive also reads DVDs (of which I have none yet), and it reads and writes a lot faster than the old one. So when I get fully moved to Copper Harbor, I guess I am going to have a home network. It will probably be ethernet, if I can find somebody to wire it up for me. There may yet be a camera looking out the bedroom windows, although I've also thought about putting it in my closet, which has a window facing back toward the drain field and the trees. Something new to think about.


It was a good day to hibernate, actually. It was foggy all night...and I could tell, because the neighbor kitty-corner behind me left his floodlights on all night, and I could see the fog around them. It started raining around &:00 and it rained lightly all day, until about 6:15, when the rain turned to snow. It was a good day to be buried in the basement.


In Copper Harbor, it was dull and cloudy all day, and the temperature dropped steadily from 35 at midnight to around 30 now, but there wasn't any precip.  It's been warm enough that quite a lot of the snow has melted off my deck, which is nice...then I won't have to shovel.


How I'm going to get out of here on Wednesday is beyond me. I should have been doing something today, but I was too tired and it was nice to listen to all the pretty music, which is still going on, actually. The public radio stations I listen to know that Christmas doesn't end at 5:00...it goes on until midnight.


I know that my last two days might seem dull and lonely to some people, but I don't feel that way. I had many good Christmases with my family when I had one, and it was quite a long time ago that I started thinking of Christmas as a religious celebration that doesn't need lots of parties and fake merriment to make it special. I'm not a party-type person anyway and the older I get the less I am.


So here is this year's verse, as best I can remember it:


Beside thy cradle here I stand,

Oh, Thou who ever livest,

And bring Thee with a willing hand

The very gifts Thou givest.

Accept me, 'tis my mind and heart,

My soul, my strength, my every part,

That Thou from me requirest.


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


December 24 - Christmas Eve

What a lost day! Instead of going to bed, I got to playing Zuma and didn't get to bed until after 2:00. So as a result, it was late when I got up, and I didn't get dressed at all. Before I got downstairs my CD-ROM drive finally came, along with my mouse, so I ended up playing Zuma on the laptop for most of the afternoon. I didn't get quite as far as I did last night on the desktop, but I did pretty well. Tomorrow maybe I will do the CD-ROM, because Monday is shaping up to be a busy day.


The weather was yucky both here and in Copper Harbor. It was over freezing both places, and it got to almost 40 here, and there was intermittent drizzle or rain or something. It was dark and cloudy and dull. The camera has been updating, but it wouldn't have made any difference if it didn't.


I did wash the jeans I was wearing yesterday, because...Somehow the cold makes it harder for me to make it to the bathroom.


So I'm eating my dinner as I type, and then I will go upstairs and put on some clothes and try to make it to church by 9:15. I wanted to wear my beautiful new sweater, but it will be hot in the choir loft, between the regular heat of the church and the people (I hope) down below singing their hearts out. So I'm not quite sure what I will wear on top. It really doesn't matter much, since nobody will see it. Many of the ladies in the choir have lots of Christmas outfits, and they are really cute, but I don't really need anything like that, since I don't party very much.


So that was my quiet day, and I'm already teary because Garrison Kieler's show is singing "Silent Night" and I can't even listen to that without weeping.


Speaking of listening, an e-friend gave me the link to the BBC Radio 3 streaming audio site, and I spent most of the afternoon listening to Bach's B Minor Mass. They have apparently been playing Bach non-stop since a week ago, and it was really lovely. The Mass was a live broadcast, but all the other programs are out there, too, and they have their own player, which seems to be a lot better than either of the other ones I have. If you're interested, the link is http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/ . Evidently they do other things besides classical music, but I will have to investigate that further some other time.


Just about the time I get fed up with the spam, something like that comes along to convince me that the internet is altogether wonderful.


I hope you and your families have a wonderful Christmas.


December 23

I got to bed late and slept hard, and I had one of the most incredible dreams I have ever had. Wow, I don't know where that came from! I woke up around 9:00, and I really didn't want to get up, but I had to take a walk anyway, and Buster now thinks 8:30 or 9:00 is the time to get up, so I did.


I also woke up with something in my eye, probably a cat hair, that took a while to get rid of, then there was a cat to pet, and I finished the ribbing on the second glove. I had my orange juice, but I wasn't hungry, so I came downstairs to the computer, and pretty much stayed here for the day. The nice thing about it is that my favorite streaming radio station is playing a lot of Christmas music - the good arrangements - and I did enjoy that. I love Christmas music even though I get teary when I try to sing it.


I didn't eat anything much until around 3:00, so I'm not hungry again. I was going to have a nice steak for dinner, but I don't know whether I will now or not.


Eventually, I got the dishwasher loaded and run through, and since then, I've been washing...one very large load of white stuff and several small loads. I'm doing jeans now, then there are fleece tops, and Buster's fleece throws. I don't think I'll get the throws done tonight, but they won't take long, and they are downstairs, so anytime I'm at the computer, I can run them through.


The battery for the laptop came this afternoon, so I was occupied with that, since there are some very interesting instructions about keeping it at top charge. I discharged it and I'm now charging it up again...they said for at least 10 hours, so tomorrow I can discharge it again.


The weather here wasn't the best. The temperature was between 34 and 38 all day long, and there was some rain, so it was dark and dreary and damp.


In Copper Harbor, it was, surprisingly enough, about the same, with temperatures around 34 and a little rain. Very yucky. It was a tad cooler in Houghton - right about freezing - and it may have been interesting driving.


Now they have upped the chances of snow to 40% for Wednesday in Keweenaw, but otherwise it looks pretty good, so I'm still on for that day. I suspect that the further along in the week it gets, the more likely snow will be, and since there is just no way I can get out of here on Tuesday, it still looks like Wednesday is the day. Whatever the weather, the trip from Houghton to home will be a slow one, so it doesn't matter much what it's doing.


So it's early, but I thought I'd do this. It was a nice, quiet day, one of the few I've had since I've been here, and I hope to get to bed early tonight anyway. There may or may not be a journal tomorrow, depending upon my schedule.


Only five more days and I'll be home, and in between there's Christmas...


December 22

Well, I'm going. The CT scans were unchanged, except that I am apparently manufacturing gallstones at a great rate. I suppose one of these days, that will act up and need to be removed, but I won't anticipate, and I'll try to eat a more low-fat diet so as to reduce the possibility of attacks. Now I wonder if a couple of times I thought I had food poisoning might have been a gall bladder attack? Interesting.


I was up at a reasonable hour, after a really weird dream. All the spam I've been getting apparently has penetrated my unconscious, and that's all I'll say about it. It really fascinates me how things I hear and see and read can get mixed up in my unconscious and come out in dreams.


I wasn't hungry, but I thought I should eat, so I had tuna casserole for breakfast. It had been in the freezer for so long that it really didn't taste like much at all, but that might have been partly because I had a sneeze attack right before I ate. Please God, I don't get sick!


Then it was off to the doctor in a nasty little snowfall, very fine crystals coming down that made it rather slippery, I think. That was over by the time I got out, and I came home to spend a quiet afternoon on the computer. Hah.


Since I'm going, it was time to change my bank mailing addresses back. Bank One (or Chase) wasn't a problem, but when I tried to log on to NetBank, first it rejected my password, then it froze my account. So I called customer service, and discovered that both the person I talked to and her supervisor thought the only way to change a mailing address was by postal mail....and I did it online only about a month ago! Beware those NetBank people, especially for mortgages. Their customer service is incredibly bad. Believe me, there is also an email of complaint in their system.


In the meantime, I had two calls from Debbie. Her troubles with her not-quite-ex-husband would make a good soap opera, and apparently I am a good one to unload on. I certainly hope the worst of it is over soon! She's been over two years at this.


I also needed to take out the trash, and there was a ton of it. When I went out to do that, I discovered that no matter what the temperature says, there was a partial layer of ice on the driveway that made walking really interesting. Taking the recyclables to the curb wasn't too bad, because I have the bin on a dolly, and I could hold myself up with that, but moving the trash barrel to where the collectors can see it was a real trip. I had toyed with the idea of taking the barrel to the curb, too, but after walking around a bit, I just decided I will hope the recyclable barrel at the curb will clue them in that there is trash up by the house. I hope.


The garbage collection people in this town are really strange ones. They have decided that they want next Monday off, which means that every collection day is moved up one...and the Friday collection will be on New Year's Eve. How weird can you get? So that was another reason I had to get everything out tonight, because I won't be here then.


I hope.


Wednesday still looks good for travel, so now all I have to do is be ready to go. I expect to do a lot of scrambling around over the next few days.


It has warmed up. It got to about 34 in Copper Harbor, with not much wind and cloudy skies. It was about the same here, although the wind is rising. There is a nasty forecast for tomorrow in Keweenaw for freezing rain, which is the only kind of weather that really terrifies me. Not the best car in the world can be controlled on wet ice!


Fortunately, I don't have much to do tomorrow but sleep and I think maybe I should do up the wash. If I do, maybe I can take most of the rest of it back with me.


Well, I guess I am satisfied. I'm OK, and I can go back to my field for the winter in peace. Christmas is coming, and we are singing Bach. Not much more I could wish for, I guess.


December 21

Now it is astronomically winter. This is the shortest day, and slowly, slowly we will start on the upward leg. It will be late in January before we really see any useful lengthening of the day, but at least we're on the upward leg. I don't mind the cold and snow and all that (except when I'm driving 600 miles) but the very short days do get to me after a while. Here in Detroit, the days are just over 9 hours in length, and in Copper Harbor, they are 8 hours. That's a lot of nighttime. Maybe it wouldn't bother  me so much if there were stars in it, but clear nights are few and far between. Oh, well, I'll cope.


I was up early this morning and off to bible class, and of course I stopped at the food emporium and got lots of good things to eat. While I'm here, I'm going to take advantage. I also splurged on another cat bottle, this one white. Curiously, the blue and black ones were all gone, and the white and red ones were left. I will check on Tuesday when I go to get my travel sandwiches, and I might just get the black one, too, in honor of Buster.


I know I said I was going to do something about the kitchen today, but I just didn't. Maybe I didn't get enough sleep or something, but I didn't feel like it.


I ate a big lunch late, so I didn't eat before choir practice. I am a bit suspicious about Christmas Eve, because the practice went really well. Bruce had scheduled two hours, but we were done in maybe an hour and a half. It's really a shame, but the choir is dwindling, and I'm glad I'm there. We are down to 5 sopranos, 5 altos, and 6 men...gosh, if we got the right men, we could actually do 4 part songs again. We do have one trained tenor (well...two if our congregation's president can come) and another who has sung in the choir for many years, so it would be possible. I know Bruce is noticing and wondering who will turn up after the first of the year. A few of the missing people are sick, but some are away or just not coming, I guess. Fortunately, Carol will be back the day I leave, because the choir may sing the first two Sundays in January without practice, and it would be a shame to only have four sopranos. I still wish I could commute to choir practice and on Sundays. Well, dream on...


The weather here was raw and nasty, with temperatures in the middle 20s and a pretty strong west wind.


In Copper Harbor, it was about the same, but the wind was stronger from the north until just after noon, when it dropped off. I still think it isn't so uncomfortable there. For some reason it seems damper here than there.


So that was my day, and tomorrow I get to see if I'm really going next Wednesday or not. Fingers crossed...praying a lot.


December 20

I got to bed really early (for me), and my head was so full of all the things I did yesterday and everything I wanted to do today that I didn't sleep very well at all.


The first thing I wanted to do today was get the car to the garage to get the oil changed. It wasn't quite time, but since I won't be back until April, I wanted to go into the depths of the winter with the grease and oil fresh. So I got up at 8:30 anyway, and right after I had my orange juice, I took the car over to the garage.


That was interesting. Chet is a hard boss to work for, and he is always getting new people, and the young man he had today clearly had not been in the country very long. I had a hard time understanding him, and he had a hard time understanding me. But eventually he took me home, and he did manage to get the car out of the driveway without hitting the car across the street. However, when it was ready and I asked him to pick me up...well... After he drove around for half an hour he called me, and I explained in detail (I thought) how to get here, and after 45 more minutes it appeared he just didn't get it. Then the car appeared with someone else driving. Oh, dear. Poor Chet.


However, I did get off to do my other errands - a stop at the drug store to drop off an prescription, a trip to the pet supply store to lay in enough canned cat foods to feed Buster for a long time, since I don't want to have to go to Houghton in a blizzard because he is out of food, then to Kroger's to get a lot of orange juice and some TV dinners to keep me fed, as well as a jug of Liquid Plumbr to ream out the sink in the bathroom, which is draining very slowly. I forgot to check the tea aisle, but by the time I got back here I was tired.


When I drove in the driveway, there was all my chocolate, as well as my Vermont cheese, sitting on the front porch, so I can now pig out. I need chocolate in the winter, and it seems I need cheese, too.


The weather here wasn't very nice. It started out very cold, but it eventually went up into the upper 20s, and it was cloudy, raw and unpleasant.


In Copper Harbor, it was cloudy all day, and the temperature dropped off from around 25 at midnight to 16 at 7:00, when the wind shifted from north to southwest, and now the temperature is slowly rising again. It didn't snow!


Around here the snow is getting black and ugly, as it always does, but I came back from Kroger's along Lake Shore, and there isn't any obvious ice on the lake yet. There was a laker out in the middle, surprisingly enough, but of course the seaway is still open.


So that was my day, and I guess I did most of what I intended to do. Tomorrow, between bible class and choir, I really have to get the boxes out of the kitchen. I almost can't walk across the floor, and that is difficult. There are a few boxes that I want to keep, because they are a good size to pack things in, but most of them are small and useless, so I guess I will break them down and put them in the recycling bin. Not being able to do that is one reason the basement at Copper Harbor is full of empty boxes...I don't know what to do with them without using up an awful lot of trash bags, at $1.50 a pop.


Just a short explanation - in Copper Harbor, we have to buy orange trash bags to put our trash in, then take them to the big compactor. Medium bags (33 gallon) are $1.50 each, which helps pay for the compactor and the waste disposal truck that comes occasionally and empties it. That's been the way since they closed the dump, and it does work, although some trash is hard to dispose of and tends to fill up people's basements (if they have one) and garages (if they have one). My biggest problem is cardboard boxes.


So now to bed...


December 19

This was a day when the only thing that didn't go right is that I didn't get any packages. Tomorrow, maybe. I'm out of chocolate, and that is a bad situation in the middle of winter.


I did sleep well last night, and for a long time, although there were some interesting dreams. It continually amazes me how dreams have their own internal logic which is frequently totally illogical in the waking world. There was nothing awful, really, except that at one point I found myself climbing a very tall, thin pillar, on rungs about the width of my foot. The curious thing was that I wasn't tired at all. I think I was looking for a bathroom (oh, that again!) but that wasn't really clear. 


Anyway, I woke up at 8:30 and decided for what I had to do today, that was too early, so I went back to sleep until after 10:00, and when I began to come to, Buster jumped on the bed and began to holler at me. I don't believe he thought I wouldn't get up, so I guess he just was ready to be petted. At least he sat on my lap and purred loudly, even though I was knitting on the cuff of the second glove. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in his little furry mind.


When I finally got downstairs, the camera was still down, so I bounced it twice while I was doing my usual things. Then I got on the phone with Gateway (and discovered that I have lifetime free tech support on the desktop computers. How I ever managed that, I do not know, but not to complain!), and after a considerable length of time, I got my replacement CD-ROM drive ordered, as well as a USB mouse for the laptop. I do want to play Zuma until I get tired of it, and I can't do that on the desktops, because there is something odd about their configuration that causes parts of Norton to abend after a while. I can't play it really well on the laptop, because the touchpad is just not a good pointer to use with any of my games. So I bought myself a $15 present. I had to call another company to get the battery for the laptop, since it is 2000 vintage, and Gateway doesn't keep many batteries for old laptops around. That was not cheap, but the laptop does lose a lot of its functionality if the battery doesn't work.


After I got done with that, turned on ATC, and played games for a while, I checked the camera...and it was up! It didn't come up until 3:00, and it did miss one picture, the one right before the last one, but it's working! It's working!


And oh, my was it a beautiful day in Copper Harbor! There was actually sunshine, apparently for most of the day! I think that's the first clear skies we've had in six or eight weeks! I've always thought I appreciate the sun more when I don't see it too often. Oh, how I wish I had been sitting in the office, soaking up those rays streaming in the south windows! It was pretty warm, too - it got into the middle 20s and the wind, which was pretty stiff early in the day, has died down. Oh, how I wish I was there!


Here, it was partly cloudy, too, and I should have been sitting in the sewing room soaking up the rays, but the computer is in the basement... It was colder here than in Copper Harbor, though.  It only got to about 20, and there was a 10-15 mph wind.


So it ended up being a pretty good day, I'd say. My equipment should arrive during the week, although the only really critical part is the CD drive. Just so long as I get the other stuff before I leave, that's OK. I wonder how one disposes of dead lithium ion batteries?


That is all there is, and even though it's early, I think I will forsake the computer and go up where it's warmer. Maybe take a sweater and read in bed for a while? It probably won't happen, but I just might...


But I wish I was in the field...


December 18

Well first off, the camera never woke up this morning. I tried to bounce it a couple of times, but it didn't come up, so I have no idea what its problem is. I certainly hope it isn't down until I get back!


In the middle of the night I got to thinking about all the stuff I want to bring back with me, so I was wakeful for quite a while, and when I did get back to sleep I slept for a very long time...I couldn't have made it to late church if I'd wanted to go, and early church was out of the question. Oh, well. Today was the children's service at 10:45, and I think you know my feeling about things like that.


So eventually I got up, and instead of church, I read a little devotional booklet somebody sent me last summer. After breakfast (lunch?) I finished up the Christmas cards and paid a bunch of bills, then I took a quick trip to the mail box, where I managed to drop a bunch of cards on the ground and had to get out and pick them up, making the person behind me so mad they left. Sorry about that. I certainly didn't do it on purpose!


It's good to have that out of the way.


Debbie called to say she had found my Christmas present, and when did we  want to meet? I guess I will end up going to her house, and it looks like it will have to be Christmas Eve day, the way both of our schedules are. She lives so far away, but I've only seen her house once, before it was finished, and I've never met her cat, so I guess I will have to go there. Not that I don't want to see her, I just don't feel like driving much.


I guess the weather in Copper Harbor was about as usual - mid 20s and cloudy, but the wind is rising now, and they're supposed to have a near gale tomorrow.


Here, the temperature was in the mid 20s all day, and it was cloudy and raw and unpleasant. I was glad not to be out more than I was.


So that is all I know, and maybe I'll do better tonight. I hope the camera is all right.


December 17

It was a rather dull day today, but I did get most of the Christmas cards addressed, and the Christmas letter written, and my checkbook balanced, so I guess you couldn't say I did nothing. I confused Buster completely, because I did most of those things while sitting in the easy chair in the living room, where I haven't sat for years. I did have a hard time getting out of it, but it's a comfortable chair, and I could write on my lap, which is where I write best, although those of you getting my cards might not think that!


The weather here and in Copper Harbor was nearly the same, so far as the temperature and wind was concerned - temperature in the mid 20s, which dropped off to around 20 late in the day, and not much wind - but it snowed hard for most of the day in Copper Harbor. It's getting really deep on the deck. However, I hear there is going to be a slight warming trend and not much snow after Monday, so maybe some of it will go away on its own. Hope so.


For dinner, I actually cooked, and it was something of a production. Before I started, I decided I just had to replace the burned out light bulb in the front hallway, which I manage do accomplish after dropping both nuts and bolts on the floor a couple of times. Working over my head is not my favorite attitude. Then, in order to use the broiler, I had to disarm the smoke detector in the kitchen. It was worth it, though. I had a mess of very small, very tender lamb chops, and they were excellent, quite worth the effort. 


I was supposed to talk to a realtor today, but he called this morning to say he had come down with a really ugly cold type thing and he didn't think it would be a good idea for him to come. I appreciate that, since I'm still not sure of the quality of my immune system, and I'd like not to be sick for Christmas or for the trip back to Copper Harbor. It turned out fine, since I was able to pay attention to my other business without any interruptions.


Ron wrote to say they blew out the road again today, and the Holmes had to walk in because their car got stuck. It's a real winter in Copper Harbor, and it isn't even officially winter yet!


So that is all there is, and I wish I was there now.


December 16

When I got up this morning, at a more or less reasonable hour, the sky outside was clear and there was sunshine! Imagine that! However, I finished the index finger of the glove and started the thumb, and I was sitting at the table in the kitchen drinking my orange juice when I looked outside and not only had it clouded over, big, fluffy snowflakes were coming down. Ah, winter in Michigan!


I did take my time, and had the first omelet I've had since I've been here, with some of Suzanne's wonderful jam on my muffin. There was a knock at the door, and the UPS man left two packages...my cheese straws from the Vermont Country Store, and a lovely Christmas gift from my cousins in Virginia - a pretty light rose cashmere sweater! It is so soft and cuddly and such a lovely color! It will certainly keep me warm, but it's much too nice to wear "common". I may wear it Christmas Eve. unless it looks like it will be too warm in the choir loft.


I rather like this getting packages every day. It makes it really fun. I'm getting quite a pile of things to take back with me, too, probably too much to fit in the car. However, if I can manage it, the more I can take up there now, the better it will be. I was thinking about some of my lightweight merino wool sweater yarn and some quilt kits that I should have left there in the first place.


It took me a number of years to realize that even if I spent five months here, there is enough to do that I wasn't ever going to do any of the things I didn't do there, so I might as well leave everything there. I really didn't need to bring the sewing tote home, either, and I knew that when I did it, but I had some hope I might get to something. I guess I didn't really realize I was only going to be here a little over three weeks, and I would have a lot of other things to do. Besides, I do have sewing stuff here...ha, do I! Well, live and learn.


In going through the closet last Sunday to find some boots to wear, I discovered the pair I ordered last year that were backordered and didn't arrive until after the snow was over (end of January), and I never took them out of the box! They are the mid-height nylon ones with the zipper up the front, which I suspect I will wear more than any of the others. So I thought I'd try them on today. When I did, I discovered that while the feet fit beautifully, one of the best fitting shoes I have, the legs were rather narrow, and I couldn't zip the left one all the way up, because of the swelling caused by the cellulitis. Rats. I did call, and I could send them back, but they are so comfortable to walk in, I just decided to cope as best I can. I still have them on, and they are still wonderfully comfortable. If I got a wider pair, for the wider calf, they would be too wide for my feet. So anyway, now I have something else to wear around.


Eventually I got outside and shoveled a path from the door to the driveway. The snow is dense and rather heavy, but I didn't break a sweat, so it wasn't overly taxing. Then it was off to the bank and to the store to pick up my bras. I am now fully outfitted with underwear which, hopefully, will fit better than the old stuff.


The main streets were just wet, but around here it is still a mess, even though they plowed twice overnight. The snow is the consistency of wet sand, and it makes driving rather interesting. You don't want to go too fast, especially around corners. I really didn't need high boots, because the parking lots had been well plowed, of course, but these are so comfortable I just didn't want to take them off.


And that was about all I did. The temperature here got up to the upper 20s, and it wasn't bad out.


Ah, but Copper Harbor was another story! Wow! It apparently snowed most of the night and most of the day, and it must have been heavy, wet snow, because the branches of the pine were bent over the window again. It looked like as much as 6" (or maybe more) might have fallen before it stopped, around sunset. The window was covered with water droplets all day long, and it did look pretty hairy. The temperature overnight was around 30, but about noon it began to drop off when the wind shifted to the north. For most of the afternoon it was around 25 with a 20 mph wind out of the north. Winter in the north country, for sure.


Debbie called tonight, but we only talked for a couple of hours, which is good for us. Schools in her area were closed after 1:00 yesterday and all today, so they got socked worse than we did, as usual.


While we were talking, the computer started acting up again, but it has now settled down again. Maybe Monday? If I'm going to get anything sent here before I go, it had better be.


So that is all there is. I'm in the strange position of having the days go too slowly. Usually time flies, but now that I really want to get going back north, time is dragging. However, this is Friday, finally, and another week is gone. One more and I can enjoy Christmas Eve, and then go! That will be good.


December 15

It was a lost day, but oh, well.  sat staring at the floor in the bathroom until almost midnight...a very bad habit I just can't seem to break. I was wakeful in the middle of the night, and when I woke up at about 8:30, I looked outside and it was snowing pretty good, so I went back to sleep and didn't get up until 11:-00. Then I finished the middle finger of the glove and started the index finger before I went downstairs. Buster was nearly beside himself before I went, even though he got to sit on my lap and be petted for a long time. I did collect up the trash, but I think I'm going to pass on putting it out again tonight. Next week for sure.


One reason for that is that when Marty came a while ago to move snow, he completely forgot about doing the patio and the back door, so I will have to do that myself, and I just don't feel like doing it tonight. Tomorrow.


It has finally stopped snowing, and I would say we had around 6" total, which isn't bad. However, now the temperature has gone up over freezing, so there will be a mess when it freezes overnight. That's the trouble with the climate around here.


It snowed for most of the night and day in Copper Harbor, too, and the temperature there was over freezing for a while. That will make the road a real mess.


So I have not much to else to report, except that I'm bored, and I don't want to be here, I want to be there which is my usual state when I'm here. 


I did have a nice call from a realtor this afternoon. He is the son of one of our choir members and he will be coming over on Saturday for a preliminary chat. I don't intend to do anything much until April, but I wanted to at least make some contacts while I am here.


I find myself conflicted about selling this house, just like I was about selling my first house. I certainly don't need it, and I certainly can't afford to keep it, and besides, the stairs are really more than I can handle full-time. And yet, I grew up in this house, and both my parents died here (literally), and it is full of memories, happy and sad. I keep telling myself it is time to move on, which is true, but still... And the thought of packing up and moving is almost more than I can handle. The only thing I hate worse than moving  myself is moving my stuff, but I certainly wouldn't want to be without my stuff. So I will do it, but I won't be real happy about it. The only thing is, with the economy as terrible it is in Michigan (and it is terrible here, no matter what they say about other places), it will probably take a while to sell, and I can use it when I'm here in the meantime.


So that is what I know, and it's time to hike up to the second story again and take another long winter's nap.


December 14

Well, I did do well last night, from 10:00 until 8:30 this morning, and I could have kept right on, except that my shoulders and hips were getting sore, and besides, I wanted to go to bible class. That was nice, and I stopped at the food emporium afterwards (of course). By eating cheese I had managed to get my elimination problem sort of under control, before the barium messed it up, but I hadn't gotten very much cheese, and I need more. The good cheeses are expensive, unfortunately.


I was just unlocking the door as someone left a message on my answering machine, and my bras are here, so, weather permitting, I will go and get them tomorrow, and then I'll be able to retire these miserable things I've been wearing for over three years. My prosthesis is falling apart, too, so it is good to get a new one of those. I will take this one back with me, just to have a spare. I once punctured a prosthesis with a garden stake, and the only thing good about it was that it didn't hit on my real side, which would have hurt. Whatever kind of plastic they use for the skins of these things, it's pretty tough (tougher now than it used to be) but it can be punctured or torn, by stakes or cat claws or other sharp things. Fortunately, when Buster kneads me, he kneads my legs.


Anyway, that trip ( just a couple of miles) will be dependent on the weather. There is a winter storm watch out for tomorrow, and the weather maps say a goodly amount of snow is on its way. Let's see...yesterday was December 13...and five years ago today, I was in the clinic in Ann Arbor getting a super-massive dose of cytoxan, as a first step toward harvesting my stem cells. I slept, and Debbie shopped, and she discovered she could indeed drive my truck (that was the lemon, which, fortunately, was behaving then). If you want to read the rest of the story of those two days, it's out on the website under December 2000. I think southeastern Michigan got 10 or 12 inches that night. I think it was when we got back here on the 15th that I slipped in the snow getting out of the car, and just barely made it back up. Wow, what a winter that was for many reasons!


It looks like the worst part of this storm may hit the southern lower again, which isn't our usual weather pattern, but maybe it will let me get back home on or about the 28th. Do hope so.


This afternoon, I had a nice chat with my financial adviser, who is a nice man (Buster just loves him, for some reason), and is doing pretty well for me. I just wish he had more to work with. We got straight where I'm going to get the money to pay my winter taxes, so that was good, and we had a nice talk about selling houses and moving.


Choir practice was pretty good. There is one piece that is pretty hard, and we are having a hard time with it, but I'm sure next week, Bruce will make us practice it until we get it right. Our practice was cut short tonight by church, of course, but this is the last Advent service, so next week we can just continue to sing until we get everything all spiffed up for Saturday. Church was nice, too, and we got to sing "O come, O come Emmanuel", which is one of my all-time favorite hymns, and one of the few favorites I can actually sing without getting all teary.


I didn't have time to eat before I left, so I just finished that.


The weather...oh yeah. Here, the temperature did get up into the upper 20s, and it didn't start snowing until around 8:00, very lightly.


In Copper Harbor, it was around 30 all day long, and it didn't start snowing until around 3:45, I think. It didn't look heavy, but it did blot out the lights of town.


The thing I find interesting is that somehow it feels colder here than it does there, even when the temperature is the same. I think it is dryer there (oddly enough). I know I've been having a lot more trouble with my knees since I've been here, and the stairs aren't all the problem. I'm now wearing my longjohns, and that is helping, even though it isn't really cold enough to need them. It will be good to get home.


In my mind, I've targeted the 28th as the day to go, but of course that will depend upon both the weather and if I can get everything together. And what the doctor says...but I don't think about that.


December 13

Tonight, for sure. I didn't sleep very well again, again probably because I knew I had to get up again, so maybe I won't tonight, either. However, I'd like to get an earlier start tonight.


Anyway, I was up at a relatively early hour, and snuck in my orange juice before I had to start fasting. Mark did show up, and I now have nice clean windows, which was no mean feat, since the temperature was around 25 while they were washing outside. The storm doors are also on, which should make it warmer in the bedroom. 


While they were finishing up, I was sitting in the kitchen and happened to look up, and the skylight was so gross, I asked them to wash that too. That skylight is so old that it isn't insulated, so sometime after my mother put it in, she had a pane put over the bottom of it, held in by a piano hinge and a couple of clips. It does keep a lot of cold air out of the kitchen, but it isn't air tight, and a lot of bugs and things get up into the space between it and the skylight, and after a few years it gets pretty bad. It turns out that all the cooking in the kitchen had deposited a film on the bottom side, too, so it was time to wash it.


So that task is over.


I started drinking my glop at 11:00 and went off to my scan at 1:00. It didn't take very long. The machine they have at the cancer center is a very new one, and it works really fast, as well as being able to handle the neck as well as the rest of it in one session. So by 1:40 I was on my way out. I stopped at the post office, where the line inside didn't seem to have much to do with the number of parking spaces outside, and I got my Christmas stamps, as well as a supply of 2 for the change in postage.


When I got home, I had a nice pastrami sandwich and a big cup of herb tea, and I was sitting minding my own business when the glop started acting, and I missed the bathroom, although not too badly. That was a downer. So I hauled myself upstairs, but before I got dressed again, I remembered that I have a goodly supply of Depends, so I came back downstairs with a bare butt and dressed down here. Of course, while there have been serious gurglings and growlings and trips to the bathroom since, I've made it every time, and what went in this morning is already coming out. When I think that when I started having these things, they were having me take the first bottle the night before...it's really a wonder they ever got a good image, frankly. The gurglings and growlings will go on for some time, I'm sure, and that will interfere somewhat with my sleep tonight, but not much, I think.


So that task is over. Now all I have to do is wait until a week from Thursday to find out what the results are. They better be OK. And my serious reasons for being here are almost over with. Whew! What a week! Now I can enjoy going to church and singing Christmas music.


When the window washers got here this morning, it was about 22 and dribbling snow, so they worked inside first. All the double hung windows can be washed from the inside, but the front bay and the sliders on the porch and in the kitchen have to be done from the outside, and by the time they got to that part, the temperature was up to 25 or so and the sun was trying to come out. The mixture they use has a lot of alcohol in it, so it wouldn't freeze, but it's hard to get the dirty bird doo off the windows when it's that cold. They did a good job. There was some more sunshine this afternoon, and when I went up the stairs a bit ago to visit the bathroom and get my dinner, the moon was shining in the grade door, so it is clear out.


In Copper Harbor, it was around 20 all day long, and while there may have been a few light flurries, there wasn't any serious snow, and the ice had broken up a bit, so it can't be more than an inch thick, if that.


The camera stopped updating after 3:17 this afternoon. I've been wondering how long it would stay up, and it's been really good...so the answer is around 10 days. Windows ME is such a terrible operating system that it keeps grabbing memory until there isn't any left, then it dies. I had to bounce it twice to get it working again - I think I didn't wait long enough the first time - but it seems to be back up now, at least enough to post the 6:05 picture (dark). We'll see tomorrow if it's still running. That means I'll have to bounce it one more time before I get back...but we'll see. I won't do anything unless it stops posting new pictures.


So that is all I know. It's good to have most of the must-dos out of the way, particularly the waiting in doctors' offices. I'm sure I will be bored before I can start back, but I promised to stay through Christmas, so I will...not that I'd want to drive back on the 23rd or 24th anyway. 


Buster will be happy to have me around a bit more. He really does not like it when I go out for hours every day, even though when he came to live with us, I was gone for 10 or 11 hours every week day. He likes to have me around, even when he's sound asleep under the sofa. And I'm sure he's bored. There is much more to do and see in the field, and he was even looking at the view while he was sitting on my lap this afternoon, wondering, I don't doubt, why in heck we had to leave there. Me, too.


So now it's off to bed, I hope...


December 12

The only excuse I have for last night is that I knew I had to get up in the morning, but I didn't sleep good, and I didn't want to get up when I did. However, I did it. I was getting ready to go when the cardiologist's office called and asked if I could come at 1:20 instead of 2:00...well, sure, that won't make a difference.


So my teeth are now nice and clean, and maybe I have a teensy hole in one filling, but maybe not. We'll see in April. And since I haven't had my palpitations in a while (how long? I don't know...it's easier to remember when something started than when it stopped), the cardiologist said to come back in a year. I guess I can stand that.


It seems almost all the ladies, including the doctor, in that office are knitting, and there was some exclamation over my sock, which happens to be one on #1 needles. I don't like the way it's coming out very well - the way the yarn was dyed, it should be knitted back and forth rather than around, so it isn't very pretty - but I feel the need for another pair of thin wool socks, for when my feet are just too, too swollen. It used to be just "wow!", but now it's "wow - maybe I could do that!", and I think that's good.


I forgot I wanted to stop at the post office, unfortunately, but Buster was so glad to see me that I just came downstairs to do the computer thing...to find that it had gone into hibernation and wouldn't come out. Power failing did work, fortunately. This thing is really getting flaky, and I have the horrible fear of what I may find when I open up the case...mold, maybe? Or something dead?


Before I left for the dentist's office, Mark the window washer called to apologize for not coming Friday, which Was OK, because I had forgotten all about it. So he wanted to come today, but of course I couldn't do that, and he is coming tomorrow morning.


I was in the middle of ordering Debbie's Christmas present when there was a call from the CT lab, and could I come in earlier than 3:30 tomorrow? Sure, no problem, but not early in the morning! So the scan is now at 1:00, and I had to jump up and run out to pick up my barium (yuck!), and I will have to be up pretty early to eat something (at least my juice) before I start drinking it.  Yuck. 


While I was out, I decided to try the post office, but by then it was 4:00, and after circling around the parking lot twice, I gave up. Tomorrow, maybe. I've mentioned before that that post office isn't set up very well, and among its problems is that there isn't enough parking by half. I guess it was just as well there wasn't a parking place, because with that many people around I'm sure there was a long line inside.


I wasn't hungry this morning, but I sure was this afternoon, but what I wanted was something crunchy, and there wasn't anything like that in the house. I did roast a sirloin tip and a potato for dinner, and that was good. The roast is juicy and tasty, but it certainly isn't tender. I guess I'd have to pot roast it to get it tender, but I like my beef roasts rare. So I chew, with my newly cleaned teeth. The juice on the potato was good, too.


The weather here was chilly but there was some sunshine for most of the day, which was nice. The temperature eventually got up to the upper 20s and it clouded over. The NWS station reported snow practically all day, but if there was any, it was like the silvery flakes out of the clear blue sky I saw when I was going in to get my barium. No accumulation at all.


It was another story in Copper Harbor, though. It snowed most of the day, more or less heavily, but there wasn't much accumulation there, either. The temperature topped out at around 19, and the thin layer of ice extends almost out to the end of Lighthouse Point. It's visible now that it has a bit of snow on top of it. A good wind would break it up, I'm sure, but I doubt we'll see much open water for the rest of the winter.


So that was another busy day in exile, and tomorrow will be one more. I'm getting tired of this, and so is Buster. We want to go home!


December 11

It was one of those nights when everything hurt - both shoulders, both knees, both ears...as a result, I didn't sleep very well and I had some weird dreams, and I certainly didn't want to get up at 8:30! However, I made it to church only five minutes late (not for the service, just for practice). It was good to be there, and there was communion, which was very good, although I had a hard time going down the stairs, and a really hard time kneeling, even on the soft kneelers.


And I guess I'll be able to sing for Easter, too, so that is good. I had a nice conversation with Bruce afterwards, and we got that settled.


A lady died last week and her funeral was  at the church, and there were two of the most beautiful red poinsettias left from the service. I didn't make it back in time to place poinsettias this year, and I'm sorry about that. 


Bruce has decorated the organ, both the console and the front of the case, with a beautiful lighted garland that has red and white birds in it and crystal ornaments hanging from it, and golden angels with trumpets hanging from the corners of the case. It is really lovely, and such a nice thing to do, since only the choir will see it. Now that I don't decorate for Christmas anymore, I appreciate what everyone else does all the more. 


Maybe once I get all my stuff to the field, I will do some decorating again, but it's an awful job for the few people who would see it. I have enough ornaments to decorate a 15' tree, but I don't know how I'd get to the top to do it. If it was real, it could only be up for three weeks, max, and if it was artificial it would cost a fortune.


That reminds me that I need to dig out the box I put the finishing materials for my two stockings in and take it back with me. Those are the ones with the scenes of the nativity and the wise men, and I really think it's time I finished them. I even have a couple of beautiful stocking hangers (with something on them I don't remember) that would be beautiful on the mantel in the great room, and the stockings are big enough that I don't think the fireplace would dwarf them badly.


The only thing I never got, and I'm sorry, is the silver reindeer the Pottery Barn had several years ago, whose antlers were votive holders. How I would love to have one, or preferably two, of those, but they were just too expensive. Nothing in the catalogs since has inspired me like those did. Among my mother's decorations is a black wrought-iron look sleigh which holds greens or a bouquet, and two black reindeer. I think I could make something of that on my coffee table or, when I get it there, the dining room table. The cool thing is, if I want greens, all I have to do is step outside my door...


Anyway, this year there won't be anything, because I'll be leaving not long after Christmas. I've more or less decided to take the seasonal banners with me now, since I never see them here, and they are some of my favorite things. And I really hope that when I get back, my year-long funk will be over and I'll be able to get some decorating done and some of my things hung. Fingers crossed...


Anyway, when I got back from church, I was too tired to do much.  I started the pinkie finger of the glove, and working 16 stitches on three 6" needles isn't exactly easy. If I thought I was going to make a lot of gloves, I'd have to try to find (or make) some really short needles for fingers. However, I think I'll only be making one or two pairs, so I'll cope. Buster was sitting on my lap all the time I was knitting, and he didn't like all those needles sticking out.


I don't think he is at all happy here. He spends most of his time under the couch, and he really doesn't like it that I go away so much. I hope he'll be happier when we get home. By that time there should be some mice, which will certainly keep him occupied.


I did discover, this morning, that I have a couple of pairs of pretty good boots, including one pair I never took out of the box. Those are the every-day dress boots that I ordered in November and didn't get until January, after all the snow was gone last year. So besides my snow hikers, I have low boots and tall boots that should help keep me warm. Both pairs will, of course, go with me. I think I'll leave the knee-high leather ones here for the time being.


I was too tired to do anything, if I could have thought of anything to do, so I didn't.


Part of the problem with my aches, I'm sure, was the weather. It was over freezing and humid for most of the day, and I don't react to that weather. There was a dusting of snow overnight, and Bruce said that the freeways were really slippery. I know the street in front of my house was. The NWS station, which is at City Airport, says it snowed most of the afternoon, but there wasn't any accumulation to speak of. Not my favorite kind of weather.


In Copper Harbor, it was in the upper teens all day long, and there were numerous snow squalls captured by the camera, but I don't think there was much accumulation. It looked to me, though, that there is a very thin layer of clear ice all over our end of the harbor, not that I'm surprised. It's been cold enough long enough that it's time.


So now I'm really tired, and I have to take a bath before I  visit the dentist and the cardiologist tomorrow. This is getting old, fast, and Buster isn't the only one who thinks so.


So that was my second Sunday in exile, and there are only two more to go.


December 10

What a quiet day in exile! I am almost ready to start the little finger of the glove, and I rounded up a few things from the sewing room that I want to take back with me, as well as some more yarn, and that was the total of my activities for the day. I did discover that I'd left an afghan kit here, but left all the needles at home. Dumb. I also discovered that I took another afghan kit back in August that I thought I'd left here. I'm sure all this will continue until everything is  in one place...and then the problem will be finding it!


It was a nondescript day both here and in Copper Harbor, with temperatures in the mid 20s here and up slightly over freezing there, mostly cloudy, and sort of blah. By this afternoon, all the slush ice was gone from in front of the house, but otherwise, there was no melting. There is supposed to be a lake effect event there overnight, and maybe a flake or two here, but nothing exciting. I wish I was there.


So that is all I know, and I am going to try to get to bed early tonight, so that I can get up early tomorrow. I will need to dress more or less presentably for church, and it will take a while to round up what I need to wear. If I'm here for any length of time, I get to the point where I can throw something on and bolt out the door, but I need time to get organized to do that. And my pill dispensers need to be refilled tonight. Gee, the next time I do that, I'll be home! What a pleasant thought!


December 9

It snowed here for most of the night, it seems, and I'd say there was about 5" of new on the ground when I got up this morning, but it was nearly clear. Marty was pretty much on the ball and dug me out long before I thought about going out. For once, Detroit got the snow and Copper Harbor didn't.


The mail came before I was thinking about even eating, and I was glad of it, because a bill that had been forwarded to Copper Harbor then forwarded back here (!) arrived, and it was due yesterday, so I quick wrote a check and ran out to the post office.


That was a trip in itself. The drive-up mailbox is in an alley, and there is a convenience store nearby, and today was beer delivery day. Those of us trying to get to the mailbox had to dodge two huge beer trucks that were both trying to get in behind the store at the same time. Our post office was built in a kinder, gentler age when drive-up mailboxes were a thing of the future (you gave your outgoing mail to the mailman in those days), and ever since, they have been struggling with where to put the boxes where they would be convenient and not cause traffic problems. They still don't have the answer.


Since I was out, I decided to do my other errands, so I made my way to the mastectomy supply store. Actually, they are just one of the few places in the entire area where you can get a personal fitting for a bra, and you don't have to have had a mastectomy to have problems with fit. After trying on a bunch of bras, I found one that looks pretty good and feels pretty good and I don't think will have a drooping strap, and I have a new prosthesis that is very realistic looking and even lighter than the last one. I certainly hope my insurance pays for at least part of it, because the bill came to $500. Wow!


The price of mastectomy bras has always griped me. They put a piece of free lining material in the cups, so that it will hold a prosthesis, and charge $50 for it! However, I've tried at various times to get a regular bra and put in my own pocket, and they don't fit either. Oh, well, it's a necessary piece of underwear.


Then it was off to the card store, and I found a nice card that is not a picture of a black cat twining around Santa's boots (for the last two years, I've picked that one). I could only get 32 cards, though, so somebody is going to get some old one, I'm afraid.  I picked up a couple of little ornaments, but most of the ones I've collected in the past aren't being made anymore, so that was good. Then I found a nice tin basket full of fatwood, so I bought myself a present. The basket will look nice on my hearth, and I was thinking about getting some fatwood for starting fires. Now, all I need is some fire wood... The basket closely resembles a wastebasket that was a present for my mother and has been in the living room here. Someday, I'll get to take it to the field and have a matching set.


So I accomplished what I intended for the day, and that was good.


The weather was fairly clear, and the temperature hung around 25 all day. There was a bit of a wind, but I wasn't out in it long enough for it to bother me. By the time I got out, the streets were mostly just wet. There is still snow on the side streets around my house, and the parking lots were only so-so, but there wasn't any problem getting around, and it didn't seem to keep many people home.


In Copper Harbor, it was cloudy for most of the day, but there wasn't any snow that I saw, and the temperature there was around 25, too. Right before sunset (at 5:00!) it cleared up a bit, and the camera caught two really nice shots of the sky. Too bad I wasn't there - I might have gotten a better picture. You can see that the slush ice is further out in the harbor today than yesterday, and I have no doubt that by the time I get back it will be frozen over.


My latest pair of snow boots came yesterday, and I think I'll keep them. They do bother my bunion a bit, but I think I can handle that, and otherwise they are quite comfortable. Maybe that is over for a while, although I do want to get a pair of hiking boots in the spring, so I suppose I will go through the same thing all over again.


Buster is still mostly hiding under the couch keeping warm, although he did come out and chew me out when I got back today.


Last night, after I uploaded the journal, the computer when crazy again, and I finally just left it turned off and went to bed. Bad idea, as it turned out. I had a terrible time getting it to boot up at all today. Even though I thought I took the CD drive out of the configuration and list of boot devices, somehow the system still thinks it is still there, and sometimes it seems to be partly there. At least the light came on (in several flavors - orange, green and red) today, but finally I got a message that it wasn't there and did I want to continue. Unfortunately, I need a block of uninterrupted time to look inside the case before I call Gateway, and now it looks like it will be next Thursday before I have that time on a weekday. I learned several years ago not to call them on weekends. The latest PC Magazine says all Gateway's tech support people are now in the US, but they don't have the really knowledgeable ones on duty on weekends, and I want somebody who knows at least as much as I do. I hate to wait so long, because getting a shipment will be hard to get right around Christmas, but I just don't see that I'll have time before then, what with my doctors and tests and meetings and things.


I finally did get a clean boot, just about the time I was ready to go onto the laptop, and it's been OK since (crossed fingers). 


So now it's up to the second story again and at least one quiet day. Maybe tomorrow I can oil up the Featherweight and patch the sleeves of some nightgowns?


I miss the field.


December 8

Well, it was another busy day in exile, and another reason why I prefer to be at home.


The doctor's office was really backed up, both when I had my blood drawn and when I went upstairs, and it took forever to see him. I got to voice my concerns about the office, and about other things. The consensus is that if I want to pursue my elimination problems, I will have to go to a gastroenterologist, and I'd really rather not, thank you. I have been punched and poked and prodded enough.


Of course, when I got through talking to the doctor and getting my flu shot and all, the people who schedule CT scans were at lunch, so I had to wait to find out about that.


Then it was off to get my hair cut, and I feel much better. Look better, too. It's nice not to have to keep pushing my hair out of my eyes. I think she cut the bangs a bit short, but that's all right. They'll grow and they won't be a nuisance for a bit longer.


So I missed the call back about the CT scan schedule, and I'll have to call tomorrow to get the exact details down. I also missed the call from the dentist's office, so I'll have to call about that, too. I'd like to take the day off, but I need to get Christmas cards, and I promised myself that this trip back, I would visit the mastectomy supplier and see about some new bras and maybe a new prosthesis. When the girl at Lehman's office said my appointment with him is on December 22, I realized that I don't have as much time here as it seemed to be when I started back. That's both good and bad.


Buster does not like all this coming and going, and he is cold. He is hanging out under the sofa most of the time, where the register blows hot air on him. When I come home, he comes out and complains at me. He won't like the trip back, either, but I think he'll be happier with the warm floors.


The weather here wasn't bad. It got up to almost 30, and it was sunny for most of the day. However, they are predicting heavy snow (heavy around here being anything more than 3" - hah!) overnight. So maybe I won't go out tomorrow anyway. We'll see.


In Copper Harbor, it was snowing at sunrise, but it stopped relatively early, and there was one ray of sunshine late in the afternoon. The temperature was steady around 20, and there wasn't much wind. The big thing of the day is that there is now some slush ice along the shore in front of the house. So winter is progressing apace, and I'm guessing the harbor will freeze over this year. Can't wait to get back.


My busy schedule continues next week, with the dentist and the cardiologist Monday, the CT scans Tuesday, and the financial guy Wednesday. Wow! Then I can relax a bit (except for the Christmas cards and church) until the 22nd. And I hope that will be the end of it and I can go home again.


I didn't bring back much to do, guessing that I would be too busy to get into anything, and that's sure the case. I did want to make a pair of navy wool pants, but it looks like I won't have time to wear them anyway. We'll see.


I like my schedule in the field a lot better.


December 7

"I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord."


It certainly was good to be back in church today. I wasn't sure I would make it to bible class, but as it turned out, there was no problem. I wasn't hungry, so I ate half a braunschweiger sandwich, and I got to church early, since I didn't know exactly where the bible class is meeting, but it turned out to be the same place.


There was a good group, including a couple of newcomers, and all the nice people who have always been there. When I left at the end of May, they were on chapter 24 of Isaiah, and now they are on chapter 30, so from one point of view, I didn't miss much.  I do wish I could go longer, because it is mostly the second half of the book that has the prophecies of the Messiah, and that is the most interesting part. However, I can't be two places at once.


Afterwards, I stopped at the supermarket again, because I had forgotten a few important things yesterday, so I have some more nice sandwiches to eat. They also had a small and very expensive bottle of not-very-good wine that is shaped like a sitting cat, so of course I had to have one. Cute bottle, but the wine is just an afterthought.


When I got back, I decided it was time to attack the kitchen. I didn't do everything, but the dirty dishes are mostly in the washer, the cat food is in the cupboard, and the stuff that was blocking the slider door has been moved, so it is a lot easier to get in and out than it was.


I also inadvertently discovered an unfortunate way to open those little packets of salad dressing they often stick in a sub box: I stepped on it. It squirted onto the floor, but most of it sprayed the entire lower half of the fridge door! What a mess! This happened to be horseradish sauce, so it didn't smell very good, either. Yuck! Well, the fridge door is now nice and clean. Memo to self - when those things drop on the floor, pick them up!


I had come down to the basement to do my computer stuff when I began to see feet walking by the basement window toward the back, but not toward the front, and I wondered what that was about, so I hauled myself back upstairs, and discovered that my gardeners were here, including the supervisor himself, to bundle up the roses. So we had a nice talk and I nearly froze to death, outside without a coat, and I was frozen for the rest of the afternoon.


I did have a sandwich before I left for church again. I was beginning to get hungry, and I knew it would be almost 8:30 before I got back here.


Then it was off to choir practice, and I do like that elevator! No more having to haul myself up that long, long flight of stairs to the choir loft. There is a good group at choir this year, mostly the same old people, but it seems the best of them.


I won't have too much trouble getting ready for Christmas, since it appears we are mostly going to sing chorales from Bach's Christmas Oratorio, and I learned those way back when I was in college and sang with the Bach Festival chorus. There's one hard one that doesn't have a composer on it, but it feels somehow familiar, so I think I'll get the hang of it. And of course, we sing Sunday, but two things I more or less know. The only thing is, with choir before church, we only have about 45 minutes to practice, and that's if everybody gets there on time, which, of course, they don't.


It was good to go to Advent service, too. It was just good to be in church again.


The weather here was cold - around 20 all day long, with some sunshine, but as the sun set it cleared up, and it was lovely to see the quarter moon hanging over church when I came out.


In Copper Harbor, it was actually warmer than it was here, around 25, although it was mostly cloudy and there was a little snow early this morning. One picture from the camera had the sun out, but it wasn't out long, then those billowy gray clouds came back over. Apparently the big LES events are  pretty much over with for a while. I was wondering if it was going to snow every day I was gone!


People around here don't decorate outside as much as they used to, but there are some lights, and the church is decorated and looks very pretty. They put two huge trees on either side of the altar with white lights and red balls (our carpeting is red), and that is always pretty. 


On Christmas Eve, we will sing "Silent Night" with just those lights and the candles everyone is holding. Well...most people will sing it. I can make it through the German verse, but I can't sing the rest of it. I just try not to get the front of my robe wet.


So it was a nice day, and I'm tired, and tomorrow is Dr. Lehman and the hairdresser (thank goodness!).  After that, it's two more doctors and I presume some CT scans, and then I can go back to doing what I want to do.


I made changes to the Livecam page last night, and in so doing I somehow lost the code that is supposed to make it refresh every five minutes. Sorry. I'll try to put that back one of these days. In the meantime, it will be manual update only.


So another day in exile, and another day closer to going home.


December 6

Well, it was another good night's sleep and another quiet day. I'm trying to do this earlier tonight, because it's frigid in the basement and I'd like to go to bible class tomorrow.


I did make it to the supermarket, and I got a few good things and some things I needed...and I forgot some things I wanted to get. Oh, well.


Otherwise, I don't have much to report.


It has obviously been snowing a lot in Copper Harbor. There was a lot more snow on the deck - 3" or 4" on the railing this morning - and it snowed almost all day long. The temperature started out at around 10 overnight, but it rose to around 20 by noon, where it stayed. Here, it was in the middle 20s all day long, and there was a little sunshine, and no snow. I don't know why I'm so cold, but that happens here.


Maybe it was that I ate deli, which is  mostly cold. Good stuff, though.


There were a lot of other things I should have done that I didn't, but that's normal, too. I need to move some stuff so I can put Buster's food away, and I need to get the dishwasher unloaded (from August) so that I can load it with the dishes I've used in the past few days. Tomorrow, maybe?


Since choir is at 6:30 now and church is afterward, I will probably do a Wednesday journal. 


So now it's time to get out of this ice box.


Wow, I just decided Chip was right and made some changes to the Livecam page when all hell broke loose and it has taken me 40 minutes to get the computer working again. Even though I removed that CD-R drive from the configuration, I think it isn't completely gone, and every so often it goes berserk and hangs the entire computer. What a mess.


Well, I hope nobody dislikes the new camera page. So let's try this again.


December 5

Well, I finally got everything onto the desktop, and it apparently was 146 files from the end when it crapped out - the files from the website, of course! The desktop has only hung up once this afternoon, but of course it was in the middle of two segments of ATC that I really wanted to hear. Of course. I have the horrible feeling that FrontPage is going to try to copy the entire website up tonight, and I wanted to be sure I was on DSL before I did that. Last night, I ended up copying the journal file manually, because it was taking much too long and abending occasionally and I was tired.


Why don't I do that all the time, you ask? Because FrontPage does do some housekeeping that is frequently nice to have...like making sure everything gets moved when I put a picture out there or reset the journal at monthend. So I cope with the other garbage.


I got to bed at around my usual time last night - 11:30 - but I was nice and clean and warm and I slept like the dead. In fact, i slept for 4 hours before woke up the first time, and that is about as long as I can hold it and as long as I can stand to sleep on one side. I was restless after that, because my left side was sore from sleeping on, and my right shoulder is messed up again from sitting in the cold on Saturday night, but eventually I got back to sleep. 


When I overexert like I did Saturday, I'm usually fine the next day and crash the day after, and I did again today, but I got up around 9:30 because my bones hurt. The bed here isn't as comfy as the one in the field.


I was moving slowly, though, and I didn't get everything done that I had hoped. The doctor's office was the first stop, and that turned out well, except that I forgot two things, darn it. It seems that my doctor is actually there, but he is supposed to be working with the residents this week, but since we met going into the waiting room, he decided to take me himself, and that was good. I got most of my concerns addressed, including my prescriptions. He agrees that what is on my leg looks like the beginning of cellulitis, but he is hopeful that using a prescription antibiotic ointment on the blisters will stop it, so I now have a tube of Bactraban, which is the greatest stuff I have ever used for skin problems, and I will be applying it frequently. I do have a prescription for the antibiotics, but I won't fill it unless the cellulitis really begins to bloom. I hope it doesn't.


So instead of getting food, I went to the pharmacy, via the car wash. The car isn't completely clean - white stuff drained out of the edges of the windows and things like that - but I can see out the windows again, and my car is blue again, which is nice. There was a lady in front of me in some kind of little red car that I swear was perfectly clean, but she had to have it washed anyway. I guess some people have more money than they know what to do with. I usually don't go to the car wash when it's so busy, but I was desperate. The guy who filled my gas tank cleaned the windows somewhat, but I still didn't want that salt crust all over my car and on the undercarriage.


Then it was off to the drug store, and besides my ointment, I have a nice big bottle of JD, some big Kleenex and something called "hot ice" to put on my shoulder. A good Nancy massage would probably do as well, but I don't want to bother her when she's here. I will also be putting the heating pad on it tonight.


In order to get dressed this morning, I had to carry both suitcases upstairs, so that's done. However, I forgot to stop in the powder room on my way downstairs when I got home, and half a glass of lemonade did me in, so I stripped, hunted around upstairs until I found a pair of sweat pants (1990 vintage - I wore them for three or four weeks after my last abdominal surgery) and washed the jeans I had on and the pair I wore home. I guess we're all clean again. I'm glad to have located the sweat pants. They are all pilly and not fit to be worn in public, but they are warm and comfy for in the house. I think I will take them back with me. I'd get another pair, if I can find some 2XL-Talls, which aren't easy to come by.


So dinner consisted of a small can of salmon and a bowl of pea soup, which has warmed me up very nicely, thank you.


The weather here wasn't too bad. It got up into the upper 20s, and there were only a few little snowflakes. In Copper Harbor, it was around 12, and it looks like it snowed pretty much all day long, although there doesn't seem to have been much accumulation. The wind has shifted around to the southwest, which would make it cold in the office and hot in the bedroom. Wish I was there.


So that was a busy day in exile. Tomorrow I think I will go to the supermarket, and not wait until Wednesday. I would like to go to bible class, if I can find it in the new building, but I'm not sure I can get up that early. We'll see. I am going to try to get an earlier start tonight, although that is more dependent on the computer than anything else.


It is still amazing to me how winter came with a thud this year. Most years, we sort of ease into it, but this was abrupt and obvious, and although it isn't possible to predict, it looks like it could be a cold and snowy one. Well, I wanted to see what it's like.


If only I was there!

December 4

Well, I'm writing this on the laptop, because the desktop is getting steadily sicker, and besides, while I thought I successfully moved the files, when I brought up FrontPage, the last date was August 25...arrgh! And I promised you a journal tonight.


We did arrive safe and sound, in about 10 hours, 15 minutes, which wasn't bad at all, I thought.


I only got about 6 hours sleep Friday night, but I took a sleeping pill so I slept deeply, and I got up around 6:30, because I didn't feel bad and I knew I'd have trouble getting back to sleep then. Buster came into the bathroom for his morning pet, and after I did that, I grabbed him and stuffed him in the carrier, much to his displeasure.  And my, oh my, did he let me know. There is nothing wrong with his lungs at all, although it wouldn't surprise me if he has a sore throat today. He was so upset he kept trying to rock the carrier.


I was able to do most of my morning stuff, including letting my orange juice set while I did my morning internet thing, then I had my breakfast in the office as usual. Having packed the cooler and the lunch bag Friday night made it so much easier. There were a few last minute things to do: get the electronics into the car, drain the humidifier and the cat water, set the thermostats down to 60, and start the dishwasher. Then I put the fleece throws and a water dish in the cage and dumped Buster in. The only trouble there was that it was so dark in the garage that I couldn't see him when he got into the cage and I wasn't sure he was there. 


I probably ought to talk to somebody about getting some more light fixtures in the garage. They just put the minimum when they wired it - two light bulbs - and it isn't really enough when the door is shut.


And I really wanted the door shut. The official temperature was around 20, although it was, as usual, colder at my house. Right brisk, I would say.


Anyway, then all I had to do was stop in the bathroom one last time and lock the back door, and we were off. It was about 9:00. I don't move fast anymore.


The roads were snow covered down to Mohawk, but from there to Baraga they had salted and plowed. There was a lot more snow from the Mountain Lodge to Quincy Hill.


I'm afraid I'm having a hard time remembering everything that went on...it was a long trip. I think it snowed off and on to Marquette, but the roads weren't bad, and I was doing over 60 mph most of the way, except to be a bit cautious on the curves from Michigamme to Champion. There was snow on the roads - they had not salted - but it was too cold to be really slippery. The real story was that as I got away from the lake the temperature dropped off, and around Michigamme it was a whopping 8!  got to feeling a bit chilled in the car...no wonder!


From Marquette to Munising was a real trip. There were numerous heavy snow squalls, and the roads were at least partially snow covered: most of the way, by which I mean that there were two (or nearly two) tracks down to the road surface in both directions and the rest was snow. They had a lot more snow down than we had in Copper Harbor, and someplace along there I saw a couple of guys on snowmobiles, even though the trail clearly had not been groomed.


Almost all the way from Marquette to Munising, I was the last guy in a caravan of about five vehicles. That was good and bad. When the white-outs came, I could follow the tail lights of the guy in front of me, which helped a lot. However, one of the guys was a real nut case - speeding up to 70 mph then unaccountably and quickly dropping down to 55 mph...yie! Four of the cars left us after a while, but the guy I had been following started driving really weirdly when he was the lead car. Frankly, I was not at all surprised when he turned in at the Christmas Casino. He was driving like that was his second stop of the day, but I suppose it was just because he was nervous. Now why anybody would drive all the way from Marquette to Christmas in that kind of weather just to go to the casino is beyond my comprehension...but then, I've never understood people who gamble with money anyway.


I can't remember clearly what all the conditions were from Munising to Newberry, but I was following a bunch of guys for part of the way there, too. The Seney Stretch was a lot like the lakeside road, but it was mostly snow packed in places, and there were a few spots where I could feel the back wheels slip a couple of inches sideways as I went over clumps of ice.


There was really hardly any traffic at all, which was good, because there were only two clear lanes - one in each direction - and if I'd gotten behind an idiot, there would have been no place to pass.


Once I got out of Alger county, though, they had been salting, and from Newberry to the bridge, the roads were just wet. Sloppy in places, but just wet, and there was essentially no traffic at all going in my direction.


I guess they had been salting in Marquette County, too, because by the time I got to Newberry to get gas, my driver's side window was so covered with it that I couldn't see out. So was the rear window. The rear window was a real trial, because it was cold enough that I couldn't keep the ice off it, and once the side window got gooped up, I had a hard time seeing behind me. Fortunately, there was little enough traffic that I didn't have to.


They said there were high winds on the bridge, but I didn't feel them, and I-75 was dry all the way to Detroit, so I made good time there. Traffic was minimal until Grayling, but it was astonishing to see four lanes in either direction on a Saturday night in Genesee and northern Oakland County. Where in the world were all those people going??


So we pulled in about 7:15. I swung around by my favorite gas station, but they were closed, and as I turned off the engine, the "low fuel" light came on. I have a couple of gallons left, but I will have to get gas tomorrow. I always try to fill the tank as full as possible, but I guess mileage will vary with the weather.


The weather was cold and cloudy all the way from Newberry, but there wasn't much more snow. The temperature got into the middle 20s, and that's what it was when we got here, too.


This house is old enough that it has a "grade door" on the side, but the step up must be 12" or more, and I find it nearly impossible to get up that step. I certainly couldn't last night, so I sat down on it, swung my legs inside onto the basement stairs, and stood up that way. I didn't realize until later that the front screen door was unlocked this time; when I came in August, it was locked, and I didn't know whether I or Jackie had locked it.


The first thing I did - after I went to the bathroom, of course - was to dig Buster out of the cage. He was ensconced on top of all the throws, and he looked quite comfortable, and he really didn't want to come out. So I sort of threw him into the house, and he went off. I figured he would go hide someplace, but oh, no, not Buster! As soon as I started hauling stuff out of the car, he reappeared, and he looked like he might just want to walk right outside! Snot cat.


The nice thing about not having brought very much back is that it wasn't too bad a job to get it out of the car. I only had to sit and rest once, I think. Of course, almost everything is still right where I put it last night, but oh, well. I'll be here a while.


I might mention that my car isn't navy blue anymore - it's sort of mottled gray. I don't think it's been that dirty more than one or two times before, and I don't doubt it will take a couple of trips through the car wash to get it at all clean. I also had to wash my heavy fleece jacket today, because I kept rubbing on the sides of the car when I was getting gas at Newberry. Yuck!


I pored myself a JD and called Jackie to tell her I had arrived, and I just hung up from that call when Debbie called to see if I was here. So we started taking...and I think we talked for nearly four hours! Thank goodness for my headset! However, the phone acted up and I had to put it back in its charging cradle, which meant I was sitting with my back to the porch. I was sweaty when I sat down, and by the time we finally hung up - you'd have thought we hadn't talked to each other in years! - I was an icicle.


I was also surprised to see that while we had been talking, about an inch of snow had fallen. Maybe I brought it with me?


However, since it was 1:00 in the morning, I decided not to take a bath...real big mistake! I realized after being in bed for a while that I was so cold my teeth were chattering, the first time in my life that I can remember having that happen. It wasn't real warm in the house, because the thermostat isn't set right yet, but it wasn't that cold! Finally, I got up and put on my fleece robe and my socks, and then I got to sleep.


Surprisingly enough, I got up around 9:30. I was still tired, but I hurt.


I came downstairs without getting dressed, and being a brave soul, I came right downstairs and booted up the desktop. It came up fine, so I did my morning thing before I got out the laptop to move the files. I left it moving when I went upstairs to get breakfast, and I was gone longer than I thought, because Jackie called just as I was making my breakfast - the slow breakfast - and we talked long enough that I burned my French toast (good that I wasn't very hungry). I also left the burner on under the built-in griddle, I discovered later this afternoon. My mind...


Anyway, when I came back to the basement, there was a message that communications between the laptop and the desktop had been severed, but it appeared that behind that message was a successful completion message, so instead of starting the transfer over again, I assumed it had worked. Bad decision. It clearly didn't complete.


Now the desktop is hanging again, for what reason I don't know, so I have been having to reboot and re-reboot to try to get it running. Sometime this week, I will have a conversation with tech support at Gateway, and try to get the entire thing resolved, but I do want to look inside the case first and make sure all the cards are seated properly and there is no mold or dust or other crud on anything.


Right now it seems to be working again? We shall see. Since I have to do the file transfer again, I figured I might as well take the easy route and just do this journal on the laptop.


Tomorrow I have an appointment with some doctor at the internist's office to look at the two blisters on my left leg, which look suspiciously like cellulitis to me. Maybe we can nip it in the bud and it won't get all over both legs, but I can't quite remember if I've ever seen this particular doctor before (I think so - I think she was the one who stood with her back to me during the entire interview). 


Sometime, either before or after the doctor, I also have to drop by my favorite super market and lay in a few supplies. I didn't bring a lot home to eat except for a few eggs and a lot of juice, so there are some things I need. I haven't been very hungry lately - probably depression - so I need some nice, nourishing things...and I also want a veggie dip tray and maybe a shrimp ring.


Now it's getting late again, and I do need to bathe tonight. I am gross, and only Buster doesn't think so. He seems to like it when I smell loudly like me.


Oh, the weather...in Copper Harbor, it was just like it's been for the last week, cloudy with periodic snow squalls and temperature in the 20s. The wind has shifted around to the west-northwest, and that seems to be why the deck is partially cleared. I fear, however, that a lot of what came off the deck is now in that drift in front of the slider...and I'm sorry I'm not there to see it. Oh well, not too long... Here it was cloudy and mid-20s, but no snow.


While I was on the phone this morning, Marty came and cleared the snow, so now that I have all my boots at my disposal, I don't have any snow to walk through. Figures. I will be taking at least one, and maybe two, pairs of those boots back to the field with me.


Oh, yes, and no mail was delivered. We'll see what happens tomorrow, or I may have to give the local post office a call...


So that is the tale of my past two days, and it is now past time to go to bed. Here I am in the field in exile, and I don't like it one little bit.


December 2

I guess I'm about ready. There are a few more things to do, but I can do them while the files copy.


I am really in panic mode about this trip. It will be the first time I will have to drive pretty much all the way in snow, and it's making me nervous, even though I know how to drive in snow, and I have a good car under me. 600 miles in snow is quite a trek. So we shall see.


As a result of that, I didn't sleep very well last night, so I didn't get up very early this morning, and I did my usual thing, but eventually I got at it. I do something, get all sweaty, and sit at the computer for a while, then do something more.


As I speak, the car is packed except for things like the computer, the calculators and the camera, which I don't want to leave out in the cold. I even packed the cooler and stowed it away. I figure, it's cold enough outside that it will be just fine. I will also make my lunch and put that out there before I go to the north end. I figure that will save me quite a bit of time in the morning, just to have all that stuff out there.


I'm really not taking very much...two CraftStors (one big and one little), two file boxes, three crates of food, mostly cat food, and just enough clothes that fit fine in two suitcases. There are various tote bags of knitting and embroidery, but that's pretty much all of it. After all, I'll be back in four weeks, and there is plenty to do and plenty to wear (except jeans and underwear) at the other house.


It was  a good day to be inside. The temperature stayed right around 20, with a cold wind from the north in the 20-30 mph range.  I have some pretty drifts in front of the office door, and I thought about clearing them, but I had enough to do without that. It means I will only be taking one thermometer with me, but that's really all I need. Just so I know what the temperature is outside.


When I went downstairs to find something for dinner, I also changed the cat pans, so that is all done, too.


I just went out to the kitchen to get my dinner and realized that I have again forgotten the two butter dishes from Champine that have been here all summer. I hope I can remember to wrap them up and put them in a crate. Five butter dishes here and one there isn't exactly what I had in mind, but I have a hard time throwing away a partial stick of butter, so I usually just bring it along, in its dish. Now I need to take those dishes back. Well, there's always something.


Buster is most unhappy, because he saw the suitcases packed up and taken out, as well as all the other stuff. I'm not looking forward to corralling him in the morning. He is faster than I am, and he is slippery, and he does not want to take that car ride!


If the trip tomorrow takes as long as I fear it will, there won't be a journal tomorrow night, so don't begin to panic unless you don't hear from me on Sunday.


So it's the last night in the field for a while, and the lake is singing her farewell song, and oh, how I don't want to go!


December 1

I've decided to abort tomorrow. After looking out the window around noon, and after checking the forecasts for everyplace between here and Detroit, I just decided that tomorrow was not a good day to travel. So we will do it Saturday. That isn't likely to make very much difference here, but from Marquette east and south, things are likely to be much better then than tomorrow, when it is supposed to snow all over Michigan.


It certainly has been snowing here! Up here in the face of the north winds, it's rather hard to tell just how much snow has fallen, but I would guess it's 4-6", and when it got dark, it was still snowing. The NWS station couldn't get enough moisture to report very much liquid precip, but that doesn't mean it wasn't coming down, sometimes heavily.


I am in terror mode, and I didn't sleep as well as I might have liked to last night, but I did sleep. I took my time about everything, but I couldn't finish my breakfast, which is a signal. I did manage to get some things done, not a lot, but some. It's just as well I'm not going tomorrow, because getting everything together would have been tough today. It will be tomorrow, too, but I'll do some more before bed tonight. I think maybe I can leave the house in some kind of order, which is good.


There was wash to do, and stuff to put away, and I did get one more bag to the dumpster today. Of course, I also picked up another pile of catalogs...oh, well.


Driving wasn't bad, because the temperature has been in the middle 20s all day, and the snow is light and fluffy. I have been interested to see the drift patterns between here and town. It does drift down in the culverts, and also up the hills on each side. There are places on our road where there is only an inch or so of snow, and on US-41 in front of the entrance to the fort, the road is swept clean by the north winds.


It was actually rather nice out today, if you kept out of the direct sweep of the wind. It just seems so fresh and clean, and the snow on the trees and bushes was absolutely gorgeous. I never thought to take my camera on the post office run, but maybe I will tomorrow.


So I must get back at it, and try to get to bed tonight. I find this task absolutely exhausting, and there just isn't enough sleep time. It also appears that I may be getting the cellulitis back on my left shin, but we'll see how it develops. Well, I'll be back with the civilized doctors by Monday.


So it's a dark and snowy night in the field, and I've postponed my leaving by a day, at least.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM