A View From the Field








August, 2006




August 31

The end of another month has snuck up on me again. Amazing. And in another month, I will be getting ready for a (hopefully quick) trip to Detroit. Ugh! Oh well, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.


I slept long and late, and Kim called about the time Buster was getting frantic because I was still in bed...it was only 10:00! Geez!


I ended up not doing much at all today. I didn't even bead. I did get the dishwasher loaded, but now it is too late to run it if I want to get a bath and go to bed at a reasonable hour. I did go to the post office, finally, but there wasn't much of interest in the way of mail.


It was another beautiful day, clear and blue, with not much wind. The temperature got up to about 68, so I was able to open some of the windows, which was nice. Along toward sunset, there were a few high clouds in the west, but they don't look to amount to anything.  And there was a quarter moon shining in the office windows. Nice. And the night is supposed to be clear and a little warmer than last (it got to about 55 around here).


So that was another lost day, and I think I will try to go to bed early and get caught up on my sleep.


August 30

It was a good night to sleep last night, and although I didn't get to bed early, I did sleep, and I didn't want to get up this morning. However, I did, and I was ready when Kim came.


We worked on the office, and I don't think my office has ever been so clean. It is still cluttered, because there is still too much stuff in here, but it isn't quite so bad. The desk isn't piled so high, and all of the dust and cobwebs are gone. The floor between the desk and the computer is as clean as it's going to be. I'm afraid the finish on the floor is pretty much gone, but that had more to do with the mats I had on it for the first three years, before I realized that the grit was getting under them and essentially sanding the floor. It looks pretty good, for an office of mine.


But we both worked pretty hard.


It was a cool night and a cool day, but it was clear for most of the time, and it was a good night to sleep and a good day to work. The temperature got down below 50 briefly, for the first time in several months. It got up to 64, and the wind was from the northeast, but when we were working, it felt good. When we stopped, it felt cold, but that was all right. It was clear all day, and it seems to be clear tonight. At least I saw a nice crescent moon in the southwest.


Otherwise, I worked a little on the turquoise bracelet, mostly ending off thread and starting a new one.


In case anybody wondered, the camera was down from 11:30 to about 4:30. I took it down so I could move it, because it was in the way of the cleaning. You didn't miss much. It looked pretty much the same all day long...blue.


So while I don't have much to report, it was a satisfying day, and things really are beginning to look nice around here. There is still stuff lying around that needs to be moved, but it's not nearly so bad as it was.


And I'm tired, so I am going north soon.


August 29

It was an excellent night to sleep, and I did really well until around 9:00 this morning, so then I got up. The clouds cleared away by about 2:00, I think. Around 3:30, I was up, and I noticed that the lake was speaking rather loudly, although I couldn't hear any wind, which I thought was odd. It was still singing this morning, and while there seemed to be a little wind, it wasn't enough to cause the sounds I was hearing. Evidently, out in the middle of the lake there were 20-35 mph winds, and this afternoon there were still 6 foot waves at the mid-Superior buoy. The winds were from the northeast, but by the time they hit us, they had calmed down to the 10 mph range.


It was cloudy this morning, but it cleared up late in the day. The temperature was right around 58 to 60 all day long, but it has now taken a dive toward 50, so the house is shut up and the boiler is running. I think I will shut the window in the bedroom a bit, down to its fall size. It should be another good night to sleep, if I ever get there.


I thought Kim was coming today, but when she didn't show up at 11:00, I decided I was going to my luncheon date. OF course, she showed up at noon, and I was afraid to be late, because I had to give her some things to do while I was gone. Then I went off to Harbor Haus and met the ladies there. They are all nice people, and it was a very pleasant and very good lunch, a bit longer than I had thought, because at least two of them are real talkers. Nancy and I didn't say a whole lot.


I lent Nancy my two best books on bead embroidery, and she was really excited about them. I thought she would be interested, because she has been doing wonderful things without having any lessons or books, and there are some techniques and stitches in the books that I know will inspire her. We agreed that she would show me how she does her embroidery and I would show her my needleweaving stitches. I know that even if she starts using the stitches I use, her work will never look exactly like mine, so I don't think I need to worry about my future as an "artist". 


I also showed her the two latest bracelets, and she liked them. So when I got home, I hauled out the camera, which is still flaky, and took a picture of the last three bracelets I have completed. Here it is. I hope it's not too dark. I did lighten it up a bit, but this monitor is so dark, I didn't want to lighten it too much, like I did the last time.  I don't like the copper and blue one very well. That stitch just doesn't live up to its reputation, in my opinion. However, I like the crystal and white one a lot, and I think the blue one turned out pretty well, even though I couldn't get the kind of tension I really wanted. I don't know why. I will have to try that again.


I decided instead to do the turquoise one. It is the same pattern as the white one, and I am using copper beads for the spine. It is actually coming out quite nicely. The copper beads aren't as big as the frosted white ones, so more of the turquoise background shows, and I think it will be pretty. I am trying hard to not use as tight a tension as I used to, because my early helix bracelets came out very stiff, including the pink one. They will be more comfortable if they are a bit softer. I do have a problem keeping the tension even, but both the white one and now the turquoise one seem to be coming out OK.


All the instructions I have for that stitch stress that it is supposed to be tight, and I am left wondering exactly what the authors mean by that. When I made them with what I consider tight tension - really yanking on the thread after every loop - the results were very stiff and not very comfortable. I am using moderate tension now, just enough to make sure the beads don't separate, and I like the way the pieces come out much better. So I wonder. I guess I won't let it bother me, and I'll just do it the way I like it. Now, if I could just get the netting to come out tighter...


So I worked on a bracelet until it began to get dark, then I started playing Text Twist again, and that is addictive, so it's late.


By the way, Kim worked on the shower door again today, trying both vinegar and "The Works", and neither worked. We are beginning to wonder if maybe the calcium carbonate is etched into the glass now. We still have dishwasher detergent to try, but if that doesn't work, I will just have a messed up shower door and window. If it doesn't clean up, it's my own fault for letting it go so long, but I really wasn't up to hassling that until this year. So we'll see.


And that is about all there is. I have a scratchy eye, and it's time to go to bed.


August 28

Wow, what a day! I didn't sleep good, no surprise, and I was up at around 8:00, much before I wanted to be. Then about 8:30, the moving company called to say that the truck would be here between 10:30 and 11:00. Grrr! By that time it was too late to go back to bed, so I stayed up.


They arrived shortly after 10:30, I think, and backed the truck down the hill and around the tree, which made unloading a whole lot easier for them. Of course, it meant that the few things that were supposed to go upstairs had to be taken up the basement stairs, but that didn't seem to bother them. 


I think it took four or five loads of the small truck to get everything in here, and the basement is now very full of boxes. And I'm supposed to unpack this stuff and put it somewhere so they can take back their boxes! Yie!


The only near disaster was that right at the end, I remembered that I hadn't located the stereo equipment. That got all of us scurrying around looking at things. It turned out that it was one of the first things they unloaded but the box wasn't marked correctly. I was happier when I found it and they brought it upstairs.


By the time they left, I was totally exhausted, even though I came upstairs and beaded while they were reloading the truck. My feet were sore, too. They left about 3:30, and I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting quietly at the desk, and I finished the tubular netting bracelet I was talking about yesterday. It turned out nicely, I think, even though I simply can't seem to get the proper tightness when I work on those little tubular things. I had the same trouble with the copper and silver one. I also graphed a slightly different pattern that should look woven, I think, that I want to try.


However, the one I did is in pale blue with silver, and since I only seem to have one hank of each of those colors, I want to keep those beads for snowflake bracelets, so I will have to find some other colors.


I looked around at what I have - not much variety, I'm afraid - and decided that whatever I make next, I want to use those pale turquoise transparent beads I have been thinking about. I first thought, copper, but when I put them together, the copper beads looked much too heavy and dark for the pale turquoise. So then I thought, white pearl, and that might work, but it is sort of blah. I will try the other silver beads tomorrow. They are the ones I have been using with copper, and I have lots of them. I may have to beak down and send an order to Shipwreck Beads, which is where I get most of my seed beads. They have the best selection and the best prices on Czech beads. We'll see.


I'm sorry there are no pictures yet. I will try tomorrow.


I was fooling around with a game when I looked over my shoulder and the sky had turned all pink. Then a few minutes later, it was all orange. That's nice, I thought. The third time I turned around, the horizon was blood red, so I jumped for the camera, slammed recharged (I thought) batteries in it, and ran outside. Well, I did get sort of a picture, but clearly I haven't been using the camera enough this summer. The batteries didn't seem to be charged (or the camera thought they weren't), and all the pictures I took were horribly out of focus. The one I kept may actually have been me moving as I tried to get the camera to fire, and I know I didn't hold the shutter release down halfway like it is supposed to be before I took it. It was spectacular enough that I kept it, though. I even caught the lighthouse, and I may even have caught a lightening bug, although I'm not sure of that. Anyway, here it is, with all its flaws. I'm sorry it isn't better.


When I unloaded the camera, I discovered some pictures I took on July 10 and completely forgot about. They were better than the one tonight, so it must be me. I think I recall mentioning some comma-shaped clouds. Well, they were, and they were very pretty. Now, at that time, the sun was setting way north, behind my neighbor's house. The one tonight was taken right into the sunset.


The weather was good for working, at least here. If the crew thinks about it, they will be happy they spent the day on the lake, because it was quite a bit hotter (and still is) in Calumet and Houghton. Here, it was around 65 all day long, except for briefly around 10:00 when it got up to 73. There was almost no wind, and what there was came from the north. Now it has cooled off to 62 (it is still 75 in Houghton), and the wind is from the northeast, which isn't where it is supposed to come from. However, everybody was wrong about today anyway, so it doesn't matter. It started out partly cloudy, but it soon clouded up almost completely. but they were high (stratus, maybe?) clouds and it was bright outside. Even the Clear Sky Clock got that one wrong - they had it almost sunny all day. Actually, that made it more comfortable, and it was cool enough that it wasn't buggy with all the doors open.


This is the beginning of fly season, and I was concerned that when they had the door open, the house would get full of flies, but it didn't. What it almost got full of was chipmunks. One of my chipmunks, the mid-sized one, actually did come a foot or so inside the basement, but whatever ideas he had, he changed them when three big guys in work boots with hand trucks surrounded him, and he beat it. The littlest chippie was around outside, too, but he isn't so bold, and he didn't try to get in, at least when I was watching. I think the mid-sized guy saw me, and he knows I am the source of all good things. I bet I could train him to eat out of my hand if I wanted to. They are so cute!


So now my stuff is here, and all I have to do is find what I want in it and try to figure out how to stash it away. That will be a problem, for sure, but I'll have to work on it. Not tomorrow, Kim is supposed to come to clean, and I have an invitation to lunch. Later, maybe. Or maybe not. All the boxes are in neat piles, although some of them need to be turned around so I can see the labels. It's very tempting to just leave it all there, except that there really is some stuff, sewing room and bedroom and living room stuff, that I want to get at. So we shall see.


Buster thought he heard something long before the truck got here, and so he was nowhere to be seen. I discovered that he had pushed a bunch of sweatshirts on the floor of the closet so he could hide in the very back of the lower shelf, and he is still shaky. When he appeared, he had managed to catch one of his thumb claws in his collar, so he was all tangled up. Then he went around and sniffed at, and stood on, all the furniture that is upstairs. He seemed rather pleased about his cat furniture, which I have put in the windows, so he can sit and look out, but he sniffed all over the pink chair then stood there looking at me, very puzzled. I don't know what he thinks. And he knows there's stuff in the basement, and he acts almost like he's afraid to go down there. Once he does, it will keep him busy for a while, for sure, sniffing and climbing all over things. I'm sure he will recognize the smells, but I'm sure he is wondering what all that stuff is doing here. He'll see.


Right now, I am very tired and I need a bath, so that's all there is for tonight. It's too late to change my mind now.


August 27

It's a bit early, but I have to go to bed early, so that I can be upen attem when the movers get here tomorrow.


I wasn't so early last night, for the usual reason - I sat staring at the floor for a long time. Once I got to bed, I did good, but I woke up around 3:00 and I was hot, so I opened the porch door, which helped, but it was rather cool outside, so a couple of hours later, I closed it. It did cool off the bedroom so I slept well. I was up at 7:45, but I was still sleepy, so I went back to bed and got up at 10:00.


It cleared up nicely last night, so nicely that I was able to 4th magnitude stars, in the Little Dipper, and between it and Lyra, without my glassses. I guess that's the head of Draco (the dragon, although it looks more like a snake to me). I watched Vega and Altair set and Cygnus start diving for the horizon. It occurs to me that when I first moved up here, I could see the Big Dipper when it was parallel to the horizon, but the red pines in my neighbor's yard have grown so much that I can't anymore. Well, I'd never advocate cutting down all the trees just so I could see the Big Dipper. I like trees, too.


It was a gorgeous morning and a gorgeous day altogether. There was an occasional small cloud, but it was mostly clear and sunny. The temperature stayed between 60 and 65 until about 3:00, when it began to rise, and it got up to 73 for a couple of hours late in the day. It is now dropping a bit. There was almost no wind all day, and what there was was from the north. When I got home from dinner, I opened the windows on the east side of the great room again. I hope it doesn't get as cool as they are predicting tonight, but they have been way off on night temperatures lately anyway.


I finally finished the snowflake bracelet when I got home from dinner. I don't know why that has been such a problem. I really do like that bracelet, but somehow, I had a hard time paying attention.


The laundry didn't get put away again, but I did get down into the basement to clean the hard stuff out of the cat pans and move some stuff from the back room to the front room in preparation for tomorrow. There is still more stuff back there that shouldn't be, but we'll just have to deal with that somehow. While I was down there, I admired all my storage boxes, which are neatly piled up against the lake side wall. The bottoms aren't clear, but they are translucent, and it is really nice to be able to see what is in a box. I know everything in those boxes is jumbled up, and someday I am going to have to go through them and sort things out, but at least all that stuff is boxed up and out of the way.


I was also wondering if it is going to be possible to get all the stuff in there. I mean, there are a lot of boxes. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that I have an occasional leak from the shower, so the place I was going to start my bookshelves is off limits to everything. That will make it more difficult, for sure, but somehow, we will just have to cope.


It was a very pleasant dinner tonight, because Nancy and Chip invited me to join them. It was nice to see them again, and we had a very pleasant meal.


When I got home, I finished off the snowflake bracelet, and I started a new one. This one is in tubular netting, and I finally figured out a new pattern. Netting isn't easy to put patterns in, and tubular netting is particularly hard. This one will be nice, I think. It is just a spot pattern, but it is a bit bigger than the copper and silver one I did, and the spots form little four-petal flowers. I am just using the pale blue beads for the background and silver for the spots, because that is what I had out. I didn't do much, because the little light I have at the desk (even though it is called "Mighty Bright") isn't very bright, and I was having a hard time seeing. I did enough to get the pattern and know it will work out nicely. More tomorrow, I hope.


I was thinking, again, how disappointed I am that I seem to be one of only a very few people who like the copper beads, especially with dark blue and dark green. I think it is a very pretty combination, and I don't know what the problem is. Even people who don't wear brown (like me) can wear the copper because of the blue and/or green beads, and I like the way it looks. Oh, well. I will just have to figure out some patterns that are so spectacular people will buy them anyway (large, sarcastic laugh).


I was facing the lake for a good while this afternoon, when some fog clouds came in and went out. I do love to see that. And just a little while ago, I turned around from the computer to see a gorgeous thin crescent moon hanging in the southwest. The sky was so light, I didn't think the camera would capture it (it didn't), and then some clouds came up, but it did get one picture. So we are now in the second part of the year when the moon will be setting within camera range. Goodie!


I am always interested in the difference between what the camera sees and what I see. The moon looked much bigger to me than the camera saw, and much larger in diameter than it does when it is high in the sky. This is a very well-known optical illusion that nobody has been able to explain completely satisfactorily. I am only consoled that everybody sees the same illusion, so it must have something to do with the way our brains process what we see. I'm sorry the camera can't capture what I see, because it was very pretty. I was even tempted to break out the Nikon, but I would have to change the batteries and put it on the tripod, and by that time, the moon would probably have set (it's gone behind the mountain now). And as I know very well, unless I put the telephoto converter on it, the picture wouldn't have been much better than what the webcam saw. If those clouds hadn't been there, I might have tried it. I will probably be too tired tomorrow.


So that was my day. I did accomplish a few things, and I need to jump into bed and sleep hard and fast, so I will be ready for the day tomorrow.


August 26

It was a good night to sleep, and I did, long and heavily. I did have to fight the aliens again, though. That was the second time in a week that I have had very vivid dreams about fighting an alien invasion. I wonder what brought that up? They were different aliens this morning, and the scenario was different, but I was fighting them. Strange.


Anyway, it was a mostly cloudy night, and when I woke up, the harbor was full of fog. That went on for most of the day, with the fog coming and going with the wind. It was cloudy until around 5:30, when the sky cleared, even though the fog was still over the water. I do enjoy days like today, just watching the fog come and go. However, there was a dark cloud in the west that blotted out my chances of seeing the crescent moon in the southwest near Jupiter. Maybe tomorrow?


The temperature was nearly steady in the low 60s, but it was nicer than yesterday because there wasn't much wind at all. I did want a sweater (since I have managed to throw my favorite sweat jacket down the black hole), but it wasn't bad at all. This humid weather is very good for my hair. I have the kind of hair that curls in damp weather, just enough that it doesn't look bad, as long as it is.


The task of the day didn't get done, because I was late getting up and late eating. Oh, well, nothing is going anywhere. The other thing I wanted to do was to attend a book signing. The weatherman for the TV station in Marquette has written a book on UP weather (So Cold a Sky by Karl Bohnak), and he was signing copies at Mariner this afternoon. It's a book I would buy anyway, because I am interested in both the weather and UP history, so I now have a signed copy to add to my library. I think it's going to be an interesting book, just looking at the table of contents. I wonder when I'll stop everything and read it? I think he has seen the camera views.


So that was about all that happened, except that Clyde at the post office unearthed another Indian artifact. This one is a hat, shaped sort of like the ones regular soldiers wore in WW II...I don't know what the shape is called. It has an oval shaped flat top and wide bands on the sides. This one tapers down in back to a point with a tie. Anyway, it is black, and the whole thing is embroidered in line designs in size 14 or smaller seed beads, in white, pale blue, pale green, and yellow. It is an incredible thing, and I was very happy he thought to show it to me. I don't know where he finds these things, but he is an incredible pack rat, and every time I see one of his antique treasures I wonder what else he has floating around. He also had a very old copy of a Louisa May Alcott book (probably Little Women) in Finnish, for heaven's sake. I guess it's not a surprise to find Finnish books in this area, but who knew Little Women had been translated? Amazing.


So I went back to Mariner for dinner, and it wasn't very busy at all, unfortunately. I guess everybody is getting ready for the start of school or something. I'm hoping next weekend will be better...and that is the end of the summer. I wonder where the time went?


And on that note, it is time for bed again.


August 25

It's early, but I'm going to do this anyway. It's so dark and dreary that I will probably have to go to bed early. Besides, I didn't sleep all that well, had an unpleasant dream, and I need to try it again. I guess I'm not going to have any workers tomorrow.


The weather has been blah. It was clear for most of the night, but it clouded up before dawn, and it has been cloudy and gray all day long. The temperature has been between 60 and 65 all day, with a south wind in the 10-15 mph range, and it frankly felt more like autumn than the end of summer. Blah.


It was chilly enough that I had to close up the house, and now it smells funny in here. I'm so used to the fresh air that the intrinsic odor of this house bothers me. Every house I have ever known has had its own peculiar odor, different from any other house. I first noticed it in my grandmother's house, where we think it was caused by the insulation in the walls having gotten wet, but since then, I've noticed it everywhere. All I can say is, it's nice to have my sense of smell back enough to smell it, and to be in a place where my allergies aren't so bad that I'm congested all the time. But I don't like the smell of this place very well. I'll get used to it, I guess.


I've heard it's supposed to warm up next week and maybe for the long weekend, which means I can open things up again for one last time. I will miss being able to smell and hear the outdoors.


Last night, after I turned out the light, I saw a bright light that looked like it was coming from the mountain, but it was in a place where it isn't possible to put a light. It moved around a bit all night long. This morning, I discovered that there was a relatively small sailboat anchored in our end of the harbor, and somebody emailed me that it was there at sunset last night. So the light was from the top of its mast. I don't know why they left it on but turned their port and starboard lights off. So few boats ever anchor at this end of the harbor that it confused me. Somebody intruding on our splendid isolation.


I had two tasks for today, but I only accomplished one of them: sort and fold the laundry, and take the trash to the dump. I did manage to get the trash to the dump, but I did not get to the laundry. Tomorrow.


Instead, I spent a long time looking through all several books I have accumulated on bead embroidery. Now that is what I want to do, but I stopped upstairs to say hello to Peggy tonight (in the gift shop), and she has big plans to give me a large space in the new, expanded gift shop to show my stuff, so I guess I'd better get at it so there is something to show. I have been trying to work on the snowflake bracelet, by the light of my teensy task light, and it isn't working very well, especially with a cat on my lap. I need to try to devise some more bracelet patterns (I really don't feel comfortable selling things that use somebody else's pattern), and I need to whip up some more necklaces. Fortunately, not even the brown one takes very long to make. I am also thinking about doing a matching bracelet. I am reluctant to start doing earrings, partly because my ears aren't pierced and partly because I would have to invest in so many findings. We'll see.


Then I spent a bunch of money in the gift shop. When I was there to leave off my stuff, I saw a box with a bead embroidered lid and a little mini-purse that is completely beaded, and I decided that if they were still there, I would buy them. They were, and I did. Unfortunately, I looked around the shop, and discovered a set of six hand-woven raffia placemats in a beautiful covered basket...and the placemats are round and blue. I have had a hard time finding round or oval blue placemats at all, so even though they were expensive, I ended up with them. I am pretty sure that whatever dining room set I end up getting, the table will be round and expand into an oval, and square placemats just don't work on round table. And there was only one blue set left. So...


So that is all there is, and I will try to bead a little more before I head north.


August 24

I didn't get to bed early, but I was up at a reasonable hour this morning (I think). It was a nice, clear night, and at one point I peered out the bathroom window to see Cygnus flying down toward the horizon with Vega north of it. I think I could see most of Cygnus without my glasses, so it was relatively clear. I didn't think to put on my glasses (it was a fast trip) to see if I could see the Milky Way.


It was a mostly sunny morning, with some high clouds, and the clouds increased throughout the day, but not enough to blot out the sun entirely. The temperature got down to under 55 overnight, and up to 68 this afternoon. The wind was mostly in the 10-15 mph range, with some gusts, and mostly out of the east, although now it has started to switch to the southeast. It was a good day to work, but a bit chilly to sit around, at least if you were in the wind. On the west side of the house, in the sun, it was warm.


I did pretty much finish the wash, although I have a lot of folding and putting away to do. I was sitting around not doing much when I got a phone call from a friend from church in Grosse Pointe, who has been in town with her camper (and her husband and sister-in-law) for the past couple of days. That was a pleasant surprise, so I hustled around and unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and hauled out all the visible trash before she came to visit. We had a nice chat, and it was good to see her. I do miss those people, but it's rather a long commute.


So that was my day. I re-read the book I got the other day about beading on fabric, which gave me ideas, and there were some good current sources for beads and sequins in the back, so I have been looking around at that. 


I also learned that the bags of beads I have been sorting are known as "bead soup", and several places sell color-coordinated mixes. I still think I have already found the cheapest sources for the kinds of beads that interest me, but it might be fun to get a few of these mixtures and play with them. The box project comes back to mind.


I would like Nancy to see this book. She has been doing some really nice soft jewelry, mostly hearts, with just the kind of free embroidery as in the book, and it might inspire her to do even more. Even if I start trying free embroidery, I'm sure it wouldn't look anything hers. 


Free embroidery of any kind has always intimidated me. My mind tends to work mostly in grids, and when I look at a blank piece of cloth or paper, my mind goes blank, too...or maybe I have so many ideas, I don't know where to start. I know that's one reason I haven't done more crewel embroidery, which I love. I look at a piece of cloth with outlined flowers on it, and I have to force myself to start sewing. Once I get into it, I love it, but first I have to overcome the startup hurdle. A blank piece of cloth is even worse.


However, as I get older and my mind gets creakier, I think it might be a good idea to try some new things and see what might happen. It's also a good excuse for stash enhancement - both beads and fabric. Hmm. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day, and I do have some jewelry to make to sell. If I spend all my time experimenting, I may never get that done.


My eyes are telling me it's time to fold for the night now. It's cloudy outside, and there is a huge area of rain sliding south of us, so there may be some rain overnight. That would be nice.


It feels like my creative juices are beginning to flow again.


August 23

I did it again. It was way past midnight when I finally fell into bed, and it was late when I got up, having slept very well and had some more interesting dreams. Oh, well. It doesn't matter much.


I had promised to wash today, and I did two loads, so I have jeans and I will have tops when they dry. The next load will be tomorrow. Good thing, too. I got engrossed again today and wet my pants. Oops. The trials of  middle aged ladies...


I cataloged the latest additions to my cross stitch chart collection, and I got thinking about Just Nan, particularly all the little (under 4" x 4") designs she has made over the years and I've collected. I've done a lot of them, but I think I have more left to do. So I got out the project boxes with all the Just Nans in them and took inventory. I think I need some more colors of linen. Of course. It's like the beads - no matter how much ) have in my stash, when I get a new design it uses something I don't have. All the little things will work up into 4" squares, and my plan is to piece them into a quilt with blue sashing, and quilt it. I will have to make the bottom extendable, because more designs keep coming out, but that will be part of the exercise. I think it would look neat, and they are really to pretty to hide away in a box. A while ago, I did take a picture of the last one I worked, but I can't find it in the web right now. Sorry.


In the middle of the afternoon, I got a call from Rowe Moving, and my stuff will be delivered on Monday. So I guess I'd better begin to plan the strategy to cage the cat. I'm thinking of trying to confine him to the north end of the house, but I may also just open the door to the upstairs and assume he will go up there. Most of the stuff will be going on in the basement anyway, and I really don't think he would try to get out. Anyway, by Monday afternoon, I should have all my stuff here. Of course, finding anything in all those boxes will take months, but at least it will all be here.


Oh, you say, didn't we mark the boxes? Sure, but with things like "sewing room", "front bedroom", " basement" or "books". There was no way we could list everything that went into those medium and large packing boxes. Fortunately, I don't think anything in them is critical,  because it will take months to unpack (if I do). It will sort of be like Christmas. I know everything that went into those boxes (really, I do), but I don't know which box anything is in. Still, it will be good to have everything here.


I was just thinking that it's a good thing there are little bumps on the "F" and "J" keys on the keyboard. I am a touch typist - I learned that in summer school when I was a freshman in high school - but I am typing in the dark, and if my fingers get one row off, the most interesting things happen.


Anyway, that was the activity of the day. I won't be up so late tonight, believe me.


The weather was lovely again today. It got down around 60 overnight, and it rose swiftly to about 69 before falling back a bit. There wasn't much wind, but what there was was mostly from the northeast or east. It was mostly clear, beautifully so in the morning, and less so in the afternoon. There were some clouds forming around sunset. There was one big flat cumulous cloud that hung over the harbor for several hours this afternoon. It's supposed to be another good sleeping night tonight.


One thing I noticed this afternoon - the sun was shining right on the desk for a while. It's been a long time since it last did that. And the sun tonight was setting right over the lighthouse. Pretty soon it will be in camera range again, and autumn will be upon us. This is a bittersweet time of year for me. I can do without the hot weather, although here in the harbor we didn't really have much that was uncomfortably hot, but I do love the long days of summer, and I miss them when they're gone.


I have been forgetting to mention that we have a few crickets this summer, singing in the grass. I think probably their habitat was disrupted when the house was built, and it's taking them a long time to come back (the fireflies never have). There aren't many, and they don't sing with the intensity that they do in southeastern Michigan, but it is nice to hear them. I still miss the cicadas, but then after the big elms next door (on Champine) were cut down, they moved far enough away that it was hard to hear them anyway. I like to hear the crickets, and the water lapping on the beach, and the bell buoy dinging softly in the distance. Or the song of Mother Superior. Or the absolutely nothing when it's calm.


This is the first summer I remember being able to smell when a ship passes by. Almost every day, I've smelled the nasty smell of burnt fuel oil. I'm sure it's because we had a lot of humid weather this summer. Sometimes, I can also hear the distant sound of the engines, too. So even if I can't see them, I know they're there. 


I guess I've caught up on everything for the time being, and I do want to go to bed tonight.


August 22

This has been good sleeping weather. The temperature got down to under 60 last night, which made for good sleeping. I didn't do badly, but I was restless from about 5:00 until 8:00, and then I went back to sleep for a couple of more hours. However, along about 4:00, I was sitting in the bathroom peering out the window with my glasses on. There were some northern lights, but by the time I saw them, there were also some clouds covering them. They never got much above the tree level, which means they were less than 30 up in the sky. They were very definitely there...like dawn breaking in the north. So the sun is still hiccupping, even though we should be at or near solar minimum. They were gone by 5:00, or maybe there were clouds, I'm not sure.


I had intended to do something today...really I did. Well, I didn't do nothing. There were bills to pay and a run to the post office, but before I went and after I got back, I sort of diddled around. It didn't help that I got another shipment of books, as well as a bunch of new magazines and catalogs, all of which need to be read.


However, I now have only one more pair of clean jeans, so some washing is definitely indicated. It seems that for the past couple of weeks, I have either been wetting my pants or dropping food down the front of my tops, so I am now very low on both. Tomorrow. Really. I have to. Maybe I can read my new stuff and keep track of the washer, so I can get everything done.


It turned out to be a beautiful day, with mostly very clear, very blue skies, not much wind (from the north, although now it has shifted around to the southwest), and a temperature that topped out at 66. Wow, that's low for the last couple of weeks of August (ack!), not that I am complaining much. Better cool than horribly hot, like it has been at this time occasionally in the past. The only thing is, if it stays this cool, I will have to shut up the house, and I really, really hate to do that.


On my way back from the post office, I was startled to flush a young heron, who was apparently standing in the roadway when I came down the hill. I only saw him in flight, from the back, but he didn't look very big. I gather that great blue herons must nest around here someplace, because almost every year I see a young one. Now that the pond has been drained, I don't think they will come around the house, unfortunately. I think they come for the frogs, and all the frogs are gone now. They are neat birds, and I love to watch them.


So that was my day. I broke down and bought Text Twist, which I have been playing online. It is a somewhat frustrating game, where you are given six or seven letters and have to make as many words as possible, including one using all the letters. This is a twist on the old game that used to be in the crossword puzzle books, and I've never been very good at it, so I thought it would give me some mental exercise to play it. What is frustrating about this game is, there are good, English words, some not uncommon, that are not in their word lists, and they will only let you make words that are in their lists. I did email them about it, but I haven't heard anything back. On the other hand, there are a few common three-letter words that I simply cannot see, which is strange, so I am practicing. Occasionally I will find all the words except the one using all the letters, and that is annoying, but I'm working on it. It's good exercise for the brain.


So now it is time to try this sleep thing again. I need to mention, for the record, that I thought I had finally gotten rid of the cellulitis a week or so ago, and it has now come back again, mostly on my left leg this time. I must talk to the doctor (the internist) when I'm in Detroit. I'm getting tired of it.


And that is all there is.


August 21

I wasn't in bed so early last night, but I made up for it. I woke up at 8:30 and decided not to get up, so it was a couple of hours - and a very interesting dream - later that I finally rolled out. 


That shortened the day, and I ended up spending most of it looking at some of the catalogs that have piled up. A number of them have post-it notes on the fronts now, and I observed again that frequently the cheapest prices aren't in the catalogs one gets most frequently. I use post-its to list the page number where I find things that interest me, and some of the lists are rather long. A couple of the catalogs have cleaning supplies that I can't find in stores, or kitchen gadgets that aren't generally available. This time, it was a garlic mincer (which I have wanted for some time), and some tile and grout cleaners. I haven't decided which cleaners to get yet, but I really need something to get the calcium residue off the tile and the shower door and whiten up the grout.


It was a lovely, if windy, day. The temperature was between 70 and 75, and the northwest wind got up into the 20-30 mph range. There were a few clouds in the morning, but the afternoon was sunny and nice. 


The only casualty of the wind was the hanging platform feeder. When I finally got to the office, one chain had come off and dumped the whole thing (which I had filled full yesterday) on the deck. Fortunately, the chain was also there, and I have put it back together, but it was swinging around so wildly in the wind that I didn't put it back out. Tomorrow the wind should be less, and I'll do it then. 


I am still trying to make sense of the kitchen, and I did a load of dishes today, as well as cleaning up some of the counter. Somebody had taken my iron frying pan out of the sink and set down on the counter, where it left a huge rusty stain. I think I got most of it off, but I will have to work on it some more when I get things rearranged for real. That pan is not really seasoned properly, and it does rust. I think I need to spray it with Pam and put it in the oven for an hour or so, but I have mislaid any instructions I may have had, and I don't know what temperature and for how long.


So that was a very quiet day. I found some things I want to send for, but I am happy to report that I didn't find either a double dresser or a dining room set that I like, so I can wait and look until the other house is sold.


And now it's time to go back to bed and see if I can conjure up some more pleasant dreams.


August 20

Last night, I made up for it all. I got to bed around 10:00 and I got up around 9:30 this morning, and I did sleep for most of the time. I guess I missed some northern lights around 11:00, because I was sound asleep then, and by the time I got up around 2:30, they were gone. Well, maybe tonight.


I do notice that when I sleep that long, I am usually groggy the next day, and I was, so I took Sunday off, except to try to put some of the stuff in the kitchen back where it belongs. The one thing about having people doing things like caulking and grouting is that they inevitably move everything around...and leave it there. Oh, well. I guess that's the price I pay. I also finally got the bird feeders refilled. With all the other stuff going on, I hadn't gotten to that for a while, and they were really empty. I hope the birds come back. I know the squirrels and chipmunks will.


It was a cool, clear night last night, temperatures between 55 and 60, and a good one to sleep in. It clouded up a bit around sunrise, but by the time I got up it was clear again, and it was a lovely day, mostly clear except for a puffy cloud or two every so often. The temperature got into the low 70s, with wind from the northwest until after sunset, when it has now shifted to southwest. It will be another good night to sleep, and I hope I can put two together.


So since I didn't do anything much today, I don't have much to report. It was medium quiet in Harbor Haus tonight, which was fine.  So now I will toddle up to the north end and see what I can do.


August 19

Sigh. I didn't get to bed early last night - in fact it was late - and I didn't sleep very well for some reason, so I didn't get much sleep. Today was a busy one, so I am wiped out and tonight I will sleep, I'm sure.


While I was sitting here last night, I kept hearing little sounds outside on the deck, and when I turned on the light, my little flying squirrel was in the hanging platform feeder. He is the cutest thing, with the biggest eyes.


I was up early, but Adam came late...I wish I'd known that. However, when he got here, we worked. He had a guy with him who finished up the weed whacking, mostly in the parking lot, but also right behind the deck stairs. Adam began doing some caulking around the edges of the shower and in the kitchen, where grout had  been used and it had fallen out.


Then we got talking about the pond. I turned on the pump, but even though it went on, it wasn't pumping. So Adam attacked that, and after some fussing, he discovered that the outlet had gotten plugged by the junk in the pond. Once he cleared that, it worked fine. Unfortunately, when it got turned on, he was holding the joint between the drain hose to the garden and the hose to the pump, and the clamp let go and he got a facefull of very foul green water. Yuck. However, the pond is now drained and pretty much mucked out. Too bad for all the frogs, but oh, well.


He also discovered that Mr. Boost never set up the lake pump for the summer, so he will be back to finish his grouting and do that, so we can wash out the pond thoroughly before winter. I will have to have a talk with Mr. Boost.


Adam wants to trade me my pump for a more appropriate one for my application, and when it didn't work, for a while I was afraid that I wouldn't have a pump to trade him. Whew!


All the stuff that is supposed to be in the basement is, I think, down there now, so it was a good day's work. I did a lot of standing, which I find exhausting as well as hard on the legs, so I was happy to sit down quietly and play a game after they left.


I did go to Mariner again, and it wasn't nearly so busy tonight, at least in the dining room, as it was last week. I guess the bar was a zoo, but it was quite calm in the dining room.


The weather was cool. It rained a bit between 6:00 and 9:00 this morning, and it was cloudy and low 60s, with very high humidity for most of the morning. It eventually got up to 65, but it was so humid that it felt a lot warmer, and we got hot when we were doing things. The sun was beginning to show by that time, too, and around 5:30 it cleared up and it is now a gorgeous, clear, calm, cool evening. How long that will last is debatable, but it's lovely now.


I was wearing a sweatshirt jacket, and when I got hot, I took it off and put it someplace...and now I can't find it. I think it sank into the black hole. I'm sure it will turn up eventually, but right now, it's gone. My mind...


I have been forgetting to mention that we have lost another hour of daylight. We are now down to 14 hours, and we are losing a bit over 3 minutes a day...sliding swiftly into the dark part of the year. It makes a big difference, too. The sun is still setting at nearly 9:00 (EDT, of course), but it isn't rising until nearly 7:00 in the morning, not that it bothers me a lot. 


I miss this time of year on Champine, when the morning sun filters through the bushes in the backyard at an angle and in a way that is unique and just amazingly beautiful. I wonder that I never thought to take a picture of it. And now, I hope, it's too late. Oh, well. I can still see it perfectly in my mind's eye. That house does have a "park-like" backyard, as the real estate blurb says, and this is the time of year when that is most clear...early in the morning and late in the afternoon.


Right now, my "garden" here is anything but park-like, but one of these years it will be better. Even if it wasn't all noxious weeds, it has been so dry that everything is brown and ugly, and now it is all stubble. Yuck. It has been so dry that I've noticed a number of small trees and bushes around here that have apparently given up and dried up. It's not surprising, the way the soil (such as it is) drains around here. 


However, this morning, when it was cool and very damp at the end of the rain, the smell of the sweet grass and the pines was just heavenly. Times like this when I know again that I've made the right decision. I can just sit and breathe. Aaahhhh....


So now I really am off to the north end to jump in bed early tonight. It is supposed to cool down, so I guess I will shut some windows, and maybe that will make me more comfortable? We'll see.


August 18

It was cloudy for most of the night, I think, and it was mostly a cloudy, dull day today. The temperature got down to 63 last night and up to 71 today, and the wind switched around to the north, which was nice. However, it was very humid, with dew points in the middle 60s, and it wasn't very comfortable.


Considering when I went to bed this morning, I got up at a reasonable hour, and I had some nice fresh blueberry pancakes, the first time in a very long time that I have had any. They tasted good for a change.


I did get the last of the stuff out of the truck, and I started putting away the cat food and canned goods that have been cluttering up the breezeway, but since my pantry is behind the door to the porch, I had to keep it closed, and it just got too hot in there. I will continue tomorrow. 


I went to the post office, and Cindy had been kind enough to get me a bottle of JD from the Indians, but that turned out strangely. I don't understand why they have such good deals on gas ($2.85) and cigarettes (about half what she'd pay in town), and yet the JD was about the same price as it was at Econo. It's a 1 liter bottle, by the way, which is what I thought. It's puzzling, unless they decided it was too much of a hassle to ignore the excise taxes. Someday I may ask them. But it was really nice of her to do it for me.


She seems to be doing OK, but then she is in charge of King Copper now, and as I learned when my mother died, keeping busy at one's job is a very good way to work through such a traumatic loss.


I did eat at Mariner tonight, and it was good, whitefish with a nice sauce. There weren't many people tonight, oddly enough. Art in the Park starts tomorrow, and a lot of the artists were setting up their booths in the park tonight. Maybe I can do a tour of it this year, since I don't have to take off for Detroit on Monday, and I wasn't there this week, like I was last year. I haven't ever bought anything, but I like to see what other people are doing. Wear the bandolier pattern bracelet, just to show them I, too, can do crafts.


Well, that probably won't happen. Adam just called to say he will be here tomorrow morning, and that means I will be in demand and I will be exhausted and sore by the time he leaves. He won't be here long, but there are a few things he missed or I forgot, and there is a lot more weed whacking to do in the parking lot.


So my idea of going to bed early tonight was a good one. There was a thought there, but it just exited. It is a quiet, dull, cloudy evening, very damp, and it's time to go up to the north end.


August 17

It was clear for at least part of the night, and sometime when I was wakeful, I could see Vega and Deneb dropping into the west. It did cloud up some later, I think. I was wakeful for part of the night, but when I finally got back to sleep, I did well into the morning. I think this is a middle-aged-lady syndrome. I go to sleep quickly and sleep for 2 - 3 hours, when I have to take a walk. Then I may not actually do  more than doze for 3 or 4 hours, and then I sleep for another 2-3 hours. Very strange, but my mother had the same problem, and I've talked to other ladies who also have it.


So eventually I got up this morning, and took my time about things, but I wanted to work on the breezeway and try to get the stuff out of the car. So I now have a nice little beverage station in the breezeway, with the wine rack on top, and places for all the pop and bottled water. The bags are out of the car, although the toilet paper and sunflower seeds are still there.


The problem was, I started working out there about the time the wind dropped and the temperature got up to about 80, and I got hot and tired pretty fast. I am still recovering from the past two days, I guess. The early morning clouds had mostly gone away, and it was quite clear at sunset. So I didn't finish up, and I still have to move the bags into the kitchen and stash away what is in them, and get the sunflower seed out of the car. Tomorrow.


I cooled off by turning on the ceiling fan in the office and sitting quietly and beading for a while. I am still having a problem with that snowflake pattern. I made another mistake and had to rip out three or four rows again, before I got going on it again. So I got about 4" done. Tomorrow.


Then I got looking for the beaded beads I made last winter, and they have disappeared somewhere. I'm sure they will show up, but for now, I can't find them. That seems to happen a lot around here.


I had eaten brunch so late that I wasn't very hungry for dinner, so I didn't have my corn. Now that will have to wait until next week. It won't be so good then, but it will still be better than I could get in the supermarket.


The temperature overnight didn't get below 70, and it hit 80 around 3:00, but now it has dropped back nicely, and I think I will have to shut a few windows and things. With no shoes and shorts, it's a bit chilly...mid 60s, maybe, with a breeze that feels to me like it's out of the northwest. Feels like a good night to sleep, once I finally get to it.


So I actually accomplished something today, and I am quite pleased with my new shelf.


August 16

It was a clear night, so far as I could see, but I didn't see much. I did sleep well for a change, and I could have kept right on sleeping when I got up at 10:00. It was sunny and lovely, but there wasn't much wind and it looked like it was going to warm up. It did - it got to 80, with very light winds - and it began to cloud up a bit later in the afternoon.


Kim came, and she did get a lot done, although it will take her another day to finish up. After that, I think just a light cleaning every couple of weeks should keep things in order, so long as I'm a good girl and I don't mess up the place. Actually, except for the office and the kitchen, I'm pretty neat. The bathrooms do need doing regularly, but the rest of the house is usually in fairly neat shape - or it will be once everything gets done that needs to be done.


I helped where I could, and I did a lot of standing, and I am totally wiped out. My toes were so sore I finally took off my shoes...and my jeans, which were hot...and sat down.


However, it was clear I'm not at my best. I had finished off a thread of the latest bracelet, and when I was all ready to start with a new thread, I discovered that I had made a mistake on the last row, so I had to cut the old thread, rip back a couple of rows, work it in, and try again.. There somehow got to be a silver lined bead in one of the earlier rows, but that is just going to have to stay there. I'm not ripping out again!


The Czech seed beads I'm using occasionally have a strange bead or two in the hank, but this is the first time I've seen the same color but a different style. Now I'll have to look out for that, too!


I got my new shelf put together, and I got my lovely wine rack put together. The wine rack is really too nice for the breezeway, but I don't have room for it in the kitchen, even if I wanted to keep my wine there. That was all I did on that front, and the groceries are still in the car. I want to get the shelf in place and put the wine away before I worry about the rest of the stuff. It's getting thick in the breezeway again, and it's time to sort things out. My shelf has enough space so I think I can get some or all of the pop on it, and that will help a lot.


I hope I don't have the problems with the upload tonight that I had last night. I finally had to reboot, and I forgot to check the camera after I did, so there were no pictures until about 10:45 this morning - one of those weird things where the date is updated but the picture isn't. For some reason I had to reboot a couple of times today (don't remember why now), and I hope everything is OK.


My other glitch last night, and the reason I got to bed at 1:00 this morning, was that Amazon.com is having system problems. I decided to place another order, and I just about had it together when I went to check my shopping basket, and it was empty! So then I tried to find one of the books I had ordered, and it was gone...so were two others. Finally, after some fiddling around, I found the first book, but it took four tries before I could get it to add to my basket. Then I went to try to find the other books, and when I checked the basket again, it was empty. And I still couldn't find either the other books or another one I had noticed. Finally, I complained and gave up.


Today I tried the same exercise again, and while I did eventually find all the books, it took hours, since for some reason they weren't showing up in the searches they should have been. I finally placed my order, and discovered that if I got free shipping nothing was going to ship until some time in November, because one of the books won't be published until then. So I had to change that. Now they say that they are going to ship me some books next week, including some that won't be released until late September at the earliest...I'm afraid that all their attempts to make things slicker (they aren't) and easier (they aren't) have resulted in some serious bugs in their system. It used to be really solid, and I am disappointed in them. Probably they assigned the enhancements (they aren't) to somebody right out of school who has no idea what the internals of the system look like and expected him (or her) to write bug-free code.  I saw it happen too many times when I was working, in situations actually more serious. They never learn. It's all about the bottom line, but they never look ahead further than the ends of their noses.


So that is my rant for the evening. Now I am completely wiped out, and I will be running off to the north end as soon as this is published.


August 15

It was a fairly clear night, but windy. For some reason I don't understand, I didn't sleep very well again...after about 3:30 I was wakeful and thrashing around, even though I used my usual tricks to go back to sleep. Oh, well.


I was up around 9:30, and it was a really beautiful morning, clear and sunny and windy. There were whitecaps on the harbor. I took my time, I have to admit, doing my morning thing and writing a check, and it was noon before I started off to town. I stopped at the post office on my way, to mail my bill and pick up my mail, because I don't think I'll be able to get back there until Thursday at the latest.


It was a nice day for a ride, and there wasn't much traffic going in my direction. At one point, I did get behind a log hauler, but he pulled off (!) and let me and the two other cars behind me pass him. How nice, and how unusual.


My first stop was Hughes Farm, and either I will eat remarkably well or I will get sick, I bought so much produce. The tomatoes were beautiful, and they had some small cantaloupes that smelled perfectly ripe. I'll check that out tomorrow. There were beets and zucchini and corn and...well you see what I mean. Now all I have to decide is whether to make summer veggies with rice or noodles. I love both combinations and I haven't had either in a long time. Yum!


Then it was on to Erickson Feed for bird seed. I think Wal-Mart is cheaper, but they will put the bags in my car for me, so I can get 50 lb bags. I saw a bit of Houghton I've never seen before - up Dodg Street to where it changes to Enterprise Street and dead ends at the Waste Management site. The reason for that is that Google maps are totally wrong about where Erickson Feed is. I found it by trying to remember where I went the last time, but in the meantime, I saw some homes that would go nicely in Grosse Pointe, except that Houghton is hilly, so the area is much more appealing. I also saw something called Green Acres, which is some kind of apartment complex. Most interesting. Sometimes it's at least educational to get lost.


Anyway, then it was on to Wal-Mart. I might have skipped that, except that I had to pick up the prescription I called in last week and never got to get. On my way there, I suddenly realized I had forgotten to put the coolers in the car, so I had to hunt up coolers. I finally got a really big one (60 quarts) with wheels, so I will have less problem in the future when I have lots of frozen stuff, and I will have enough cooler space when I go back to Champine in October to bring back some of the stuff in the freezer there (or I hope so). I also found a small, cheap plastic shelving unit (only 48" high and 22" wide), that will be just fine to house my wine and at least some of my pop. I was actually very modest, compared to normal. For the first time in a while, I didn't bring home any more storage boxes. I will need more, but I have a dozen now, which will get me started.


So then it was on to Econo Foods, and I was getting tired. I think I have mentioned before that I have peripheral neuropathy in my toes from the chemo. I have been taking vitamin B6 for quite some time, which helps a little. The ends aren't horribly sore when something like a sheet or a sock rests on them. However, when I stand or walk a lot, all my toes get extremely sore. Add to that, after all the standing yesterday, my knees were acting up, and by the time I got out of there, I was exhausted. I didn't buy any meat except deli. I have some in the freezer, and the only thing that appealed to me was a whole beef tenderloin (for under $20 - amazing), which is really a bit more than I need to eat. I should have bought one, though. I have been reading how to cook that cut of meat in one of my cookbooks, and I've wanted to try it. Oh, well. I'm eating out too much these days anyway.


I stopped for gas, and as usual, about the lowest price was at the Shell Station that Econo runs - $3.09. I didn't see anything lower (unless you count Wal-Mart's discount with their credit card), and I saw prices up to $3.24. If last Saturday was any indicator, it isn't keeping people home very much, but it does take a gouge out of the wallet.


The trip home was good, after I passed a dump truck and one slow driver. There was nothing much in front of me for the rest of the way to the harbor. The only problem I had was that my right leg cramped up, and it is simply not possible to use the cruise control on the covered road. So I was pretty uncomfortable by the time I got home.


Buster was extremely happy to see me: I've been gone all afternoon two days in a row, and that's terrible. I unloaded the stuff that needs to be refrigerated, but the rest is still in the car. That's for tomorrow. Kim is supposed to come to clean tomorrow, so that will occupy me partially, but maybe I can get the car unloaded and begin to make some sense in the breezeway. I have to do that every so often, since it seems to get cluttered up rather easily. Having the pop in one place and the wine in one place will help a lot, though. Now, where I'm going to put that 100 lbs of bird seed is another question...


The temperature all day long was in the low 70s, and it was breezy enough that I looked pretty windblown by the time I got home, but it was a really nice day. The wind here was in the 15-20 mph range from the northwest until 7:00, when it dropped to nothing, as so frequently happens. It may have been stronger than that, because the NWS station is somewhat sheltered. So I imagine the pictures were pretty all day long.


So now I am quite ready for bed, thank you, and tomorrow will be another busy day. Oh, well, these things happen. By the time tomorrow afternoon rolls around I will be quite ready to sit quietly and bead.


And see? August is half over, and pretty soon it will be October, and I'll have to go south. Drat.


August 14

Well, there. It's over. It was a nice service, and nobody got hysterical. Our Lady of the Pines was full, with people standing in back and maybe outside. Lydia (Don and Peggy's daughter) read the Old Testament Lesson and Barbara (one of the girls)  read the Psalm and the New Testament Lesson, and Barb and Donny said a few words of recollection. I had  a hard time hearing, because I was in the very back row, but oh, well. I got to meet Peggy's sister, who is a very nice lady.


Then practically everybody went to Mariner, for a nice lunch-type thing. I loved it, because it was appetizer-type foods, and I just love those. They even had my favorite spinach  dip, the one with the water chestnuts in it. And rollups with ham salad, and chicken wings in teriyaki sauce, chicken livers wrapped in bacon, meat balls, chicken strips, and... well you get the idea. Also a dessert table to die for. I didn't have any dinner.


Peggy asked if I wanted to sit with the family, but I really didn't. I felt honored that everybody felt I was almost part of the family, but that was the way Shirley was.


It was a really beautiful day, sunny and very windy, with temperatures between 70 and 75. It was really good that it was so windy, because if it hadn't been, the church would have been very hot and full of flies, but as it was, it was fairly comfortable and not buggy at all.


So eventually I got home, and routed Buster out of the shelf in the closet where I keep my jeans. I went in to take off all my clothes, and especially my shoes. There was quite a bit of standing, although, since I was in the last row, I didn't stand up for everything in the church, and I waited until most everybody had been through the food line.


Just before I left, Peggy mentioned that someone had been up to the gift shop and bought the necklace, as well as the snowflake bracelet. Whoever you are, thank you very much. Evidently, she is planning on making part of the dining room into an expanded gift shop on the first floor next year, and she as big plans to have a display of my work. I guess I'd better get busy.


So when I came home, I finished sorting out the pearl beads, but then I stopped, and after I bagged up all the beads I'd sorted, I started another snowflake bracelet. I think this one is going to be for me, so I can wear it around, while I make another to sell. I do eventually want to do one in all crystal beads, but I will have to get more beads before I do it. I'm starting an order. I should have a credit for the catalog I bought, so maybe I can get what I need without breaking the bank. This one won't have any half-kilo amounts in it.


I called Rowe this morning, and they will schedule delivery of my stuff, so shortly I will have the rest of my amber beads, if I can find them, and then I can make more necklaces, and maybe bracelets to match. I wore the latest one (on a black polo - I don't have any dressy clothes, or even a skirt, here yet) today, and I thought it looked nice. It actually would look better on tan or khaki, since it's a little dark for black, but I didn't want it to be spectacular anyway.


I do have some other ideas for necklaces, although I haven't come up with much for bracelets lately. So while the Kauppis are deciding what to do with their holdings, I can toil away over the winter. I would still like to try some boxes.


So that was my day, and it's late, and I'm tired. I didn't sleep at all well last night - no surprise there. I did love Shirley, but I'm glad today is over. it's a rather cloudy, windy night in the field.


August 13

Today would have been my mother's 89th birthday.


It was a fairly warm and calm night last night, and slept well for most of the night, with a little tossing and turning around 3:00. The sky started out clear, but it got cloudy eventually, enough to dim the bright moon. It cooled down a degree or two around 5:00, but it was close to 65 all night.


I might mention that because of the bright moon and the clouds last night, there has been no possibility of seeing the Perseid meteors. This year, I'm here for the peak, so of course the weather and the moon don't cooperate. Some year, I'll get to see them again. The last time was when I was maybe 12 years old, sitting on the back deck of the house on Champine, well before pollution wiped out all such sights.


I was up around 8:00 again - time to hear the boat leave - but it was a cloudy, dreary morning, and I went back to sleep for almost 3 hours longer. It felt good.


It was cloudy and dreary all day, but except for a little light drizzle early in the afternoon, it didn't rain. We need the rain. Over the past few days, a lot of the younger and more stressed birches have turned color, and the bracken is drying up, too. It's a little early for that, but I've seen it happen before.


I finished the bracelet, but it was too cloudy to attempt a picture. I'll get one, though. It turned out very nice, I think, even though the fishing line drove me crazy. I decided to try another idea, the snowflake bracelet with the background in white and matte white. That would be a good combination, but I will have to get more beads before I can make it. It seems the matte crystal beads are size 10s, while the clear and the silver are size 11, and that .2 mm difference is enough to make peyote stitch look bad. It didn't make any difference in the helix, or maybe it came out better? That combination would also look good in that twisted herringbone stitch, and I might try it, maybe using either silver metallic or silver-lined beads for some of the smaller ones. Hmm...


So instead of beginning anything new, I sorted out all the mate crystal beads (which were in with other colors and sizes), and I sorted the clear beads...clear, sliver-lined, gold-lined and a few copper-lined. There are certainly enough clear beads and enough matte crystal to make at least one more bracelet, although I will have to be careful, because there are few size 10s in with the clear crystal size 11s.


Then I dug out a couple of bags of the beads I sorted several years ago - clear and opaque white. The clear ones will be difficult, because most of them are large, and I don't know whether I will be able to separate out the size 11s. That is the trouble with the mixtures. It was getting dark by that time anyway, so I took a look at the opaque white. There seems to be a large number of pearl beads, mostly white, with a few pink and cream, in that mixture, so maybe I will get a useful amount of size 11 pearls after all. They are pretty, and they would look good with several of the light shades I have sorted before. However, it was dark by then, and I've been stressing my eyeballs a lot lately, so I decided to do this and go to bed early again.


Dinner was at Harbor Haus, and it was nice. Apparently everybody who was in town last night left, because it was not all that busy tonight.  I finally had fettuccini Alfredo, which I have been postponing all summer. It's good comfort food, except that I couldn't eat very much of it, because it's so rich, and I brought home a large helping for later.


Chris, who is a nurse, confirmed my observation that fevers are a natural result when all one's blood counts go to zero, but otherwise, she just frowned and shook her head when I told her what had happened to Shirley.


So tomorrow is the funeral. I hate funerals. I would rather do almost anything else, but I thought to much of Shirley to give in to my natural tendency to avoid things I don't like. So I will go and do my duty, and probably weep through the entire thing. She is at peace, and its those of us who are still here who aren't.


It is still cloudy and quiet, and they say it won't get very cool tonight, so I should be able to leave the windows open and be comfortable. I'm still depressed.


August 12

Well, I made it into bed by 10:00, for the first time in a long time, but it wasn't anything I didn't need. I slept well, with only two walks, until about 8:00. I got up then, although I wasn't ready to, because I wanted to be ready when the cleaners came. As it was, they didn't arrive until 9:30, but that was all right.


I haven't mentioned before, I think, a weird talent I have had for a very long time. If I am waiting for somebody to come, and I want them to come, all I have to do is go to the bathroom, and they arrive. My mother and I used to joke about it, because she would come to pick me up every Saturday morning to go grocery shopping, and try as I might to be ready for her, I was always in the bathroom when she arrived.


So that was where I was when Adam and friends arrived this morning. It cost me a fortune, but I have a very clean basement, two clean bathrooms, and a clean kitchen. The weeds have all been cut down in the garden and at the top of the rise south of the house, where there was a field of spotted knapweed and burdock, apparently. Considering that they were only here until about 12:30, they accomplished a lot. They went off with a dump-truck load of empty boxes, kitty litter, and miscellaneous junk. I must try hard to keep things in better order from now on.


Adam did a few repairs to the deck, including the railing where the pine tree fell on it last fall, and he screwed down the deck board I tripped over a couple of years ago, at least in part. So the railing is safe again, and the couple of boards that had warped are smoothed out a bit.


Between the cleaning lady, whose name is Kim, and who will be back, and the guys in the basement, I spent a lot of time on my feet, and my feet and legs were (and still are) very sore and stiff by the time they left. So I beaded for the rest of the afternoon, and finished the bracelet except for the loop closure. I will try to get a picture of it tomorrow when it's done. I like it.


I also like my clean(er) house. Now, if only I could keep that for a while, it would be nice. Kim will be back on Wednesday to continue from where she left off, and I think she will be coming every two weeks or so to help me keep things in better shape. That will be nice. I just can't do many of the things that need to be done around here (or around any house). So if I can get help, it's worth the price (which was considerable).


I wanted to eat at Mariner tonight, but when I got there they had a 20 minute wait for tables, so I came back home and had a steak out of the freezer, and I indulged in a little ice cream, to Buster's delight.


Poor Buster was a basket case this morning. He disappeared when Adam arrived, and sometime later, I was looking at boxes in the back  of the basement, and I moved one that seemed a bit heavy to be empty, and when I opened it, there was Buster, trying to flatten himself down to the bare minimum size. I picked him up, and I was going to take him upstairs, but when he saw the men in the front room, he bolted out of my arms, leaving me with a couple of bleeding scratches, ran up the stairs and disappeared. I think probably he was under the couch, which is usually a safe spot...however, reference September 2001, when the cleaners that time lifted the couch, and there he was under it! We will try to give him safe haven this time.


I just had to stop and do a cleanup, because his ice cream bounced. That is most unusual, but I suppose he was so traumatized today that nothing much would sit right now. Poor Buster. He is the first cat I have ever had with such a sensitive stomach, and I don't think I like it.


It was a beautiful day, and it was a good one to be up early. It was just gorgeous when I got up, around 60 and perfectly calm. It stayed almost calm until nearly noon, and by 3:00 the temperature had risen to 75, after which it dropped back into the 60s with light winds. Just delightful, and a good day to work. There were a few high cirrus clouds during the day, and there are a few in the west now, but nothing much to interfere with the sunshine.


So that was my day, and as soon as I publish this, I will be off to go to bed early again to try to catch up on my sleep.


August 11

Not much to report. Instead of going to bed early, like I said, I ended up staying up most of the night - found some new games.


It didn't get as cool as they forecast last night. It was between 55 and 60 all night long, with almost no wind. It was cool again today, too - between 60 and 65. Between 1:00 and 4:00 it was fairly windy, with breezes from the east, so that I had to shut the east window nearest to me, but it has calmed down now, and even though they are predicting as low as 45 overnight, I am not going to shut up the house overnight again. It seemed stuffy and warm in here this morning.


There were some more condolence messages again today, and I thank all of you. I hope you understand that I won't have time to answer each of them personally. I appreciate it very much, and I will be certain to tell Shirley's family when I see them. I know you all meant to include them along with me.


I didn't do much, but I wasn't up for very long. I did move a few things around for tomorrow, but not a lot. Oh, well. They will just have to do what they can.


So I am definitely off to bed soon, because I have to be up early tomorrow. And I hope to have more to report tomorrow night.


August 10

First, thanks to all of you who emailed me this morning about Shirley. I will certainly tell the family that I got 16 emails of condolence, and both they and I appreciate it.


I have to admit this thing has put me in a funk. Shirley was a very good friend to me, and I will miss her very much.


The funeral is Monday at 1:00, which is rather longer than usual, but at least her daughter in California (who just left after a week here) needs to get here. She has a son in Texas, but he is a Hare Krishna, and I don't know if he will come. He didn't for his father's funeral. Anyway, it will be here, in Copper Harbor, at Our Lady of the Pines church, with visitation before and something afterwards at Mariner. I expect there will be a mob. Most people who knew Shirley liked her, and most people knew her.


As a result of all that, I had a restless night last night. I slept, but I dreamed a lot. I was in the bathroom (with the window open) around 2:00 when all of a sudden, the lake started speaking. It wasn't very loud at first, but it was definitely moving. I was curious, because the wind was nearly calm at the time, but evidently something was happening out in the center that was causing waves on shore. Soon the wind picked up, from the east, and by this morning, there was quite a roar in the window.


It was cloudy, too, until sometime during the morning, when the sun came out, and it was mostly sunny, with high clouds, for the rest of the day. It was also cool. The temperature dropped down to 60 about 8:00 and stayed there until noon, after which it slowly rose to 65, and now it is dropping off again, and they are predicting mid-50s tonight. 


I am actually not very surprised. All the time I was growing up, it seemed like it was either blazing hot or dripping humid, or both, on my birthday (7/31) and cool and pleasant on my mother's (8/13). So this is pretty much typical Michigan summer weather. It will get hot one more time, I predict.


I didn't do much all day, frankly, but I did get some work done on my bracelet. I keep wondering why I am working with beads I can't see and thread I can't see...but the result is going to be nice. It is very hard to see the clear crystal beads on the white background of the box top I have them in, and the thread, which is fishing line, is called "Vanish" for good reason. Until I have it firmly attached to the bracelet, I have to keep a firm grip on it or it gets lost. It is also very, very slippery. However, I am learning how to make it not tangle. That's good, because I have several other ideas I want to try where I will want to use it. I like not being able to see thread inside those crystal beads...after I attach them, of course.


Sometime after noon, I took the computer down and replaced the CD-ROM drive, and it seems to be working just fine now. There were a few moments of panic, however, because the daisy-chain cable to the floppy drive came out and in trying to put it back, I think I bent a prong. I'm not sure, because I really couldn't see where I was trying to put it. I did finally get it firmly attached, which it wasn't before, but I could just see myself having to buy a new floppy drive because I broke a prong on a connector.


I was very surprised not to find very much dust inside the case, which has not been true at other times. However, I blew off what I could see before I closed it up again. All the fans seemed to be working, although the power supply was quite warm, I can hear the fan when it is on, but I guess that is fairly normal. I also swept up the floor under and around the spot where I have the case, so that is taken care of. It is a real pain to try to clean around all those cables, even though I have them arranged fairly neatly now. 


So that is taken care of, and all seems well in the computer world again. I hope.


And that is about all I have to report. It is early, but I am tired and a little headachy, so I think I will make it an early night. I am at the depression point where I feel like sleeping all the time and I'm not very hungry.


August 9

I just learned that an era has passed. Shirley died last night. She was at Marquette, but that's all I know about it. It is a sad time, and I will miss her greatly, but at least she didn't suffer any more than she already had. I will write more when I know more.


Otherwise, it was a rather pleasant day. It was clear and lovely when I got up this morning, although it clouded up as the day went along. The temperature was around 75 for most of the afternoon, and there was a brisk 15-20 mph northwest wind, so it was nice. Now it is calm, as it so often is at this time of night.


I finished all the sorting I felt like doing, although I did realize that there are a lot of clear crystal beads in that last mixture. I just didn't feel like sorting anymore. Instead, I got out the crystal and matte crystal beads and started a helix bracelet. It is going to be very pretty. The crystal beads actually have an AB finish, so they sparkle nicely in contrast to the matte beads, which are the spines. I had always wondered why beaders don't use monofiliment fishing line, and now I know. I am using 6 lb test, which is the largest I could get through the eye of a needle, and it is very fine. It also curls and knots and generally makes a mess of itself. I do think the bracelet will be prettier because of it, though, because you can't see anything inside the clear crystal beads. So somehow I will cope. It didn't help that I had done about an inch when I discovered that I had managed to get a silver lined bead right at the beginning, so I had to rip that out, then a while later, I accidentally got a matte bead that wasn't pure crystal, so I had to rip some again. I have about 2" done, enough to tell that it will be worth the effort.


I was working around when there was a knock at the door and FedEx delivered my CD-ROM drive...a day early! I was really surprised, but it does seem that I have always gotten pretty good service from Gateway. So I guess tomorrow I will take down the computer and replace it. I just got a dread black screen, but I hope I can muddle through without having to reboot tonight. I just don't feel like taking the computer tonight...and I didn't before Nancy called to tell me about Shirley.


Dinner was at Harbor Haus with Chip and Nancy, Suzanne, Paul and Tyler, and it was lovely, even though we had the table right in front of the kitchen doors. They are such nice people! Chip and Nancy are leaving tomorrow, for a couple of weeks, I guess, and Suzanne and Paul are leaving Saturday, so this was sort of a farewell dinner. They got to see the Isle Royal Queen dance, there was a freighter, and there was also a very large cabin cruiser coming in. I do have to say that I've always thought that kind of boat was a real extravagance on Lake Superior, and in these days of high gas prices, it's even more so. It's hard to get more than four months' use out of any boat up here, and one that big is awfully expensive to keep any time. Oh, well, everyone to his own extravagance. I have a big house full of (hopefully soon) craft stuff.


Speaking of that, Adam called to say that they would be here Saturday, early. I may have a scheduling problem, but I really, really need to get that done. So we shall see.


Now I have managed to totally screw up the computer, and I shall have to reboot in order to do anything, I think, so I will at least save this before I start playing around. I don't feel like writing it over again.


August 8

Gad! Things are falling to pieces around me!


Last night, around the time I was writing the journal, the furnace boiler came on, and stayed on. I thought that was weird, but it was cooling off, and the north end of the house was open. So I closed the door and the windows and set the thermostat down in the bathroom, and the boiler went off. A while later, however, it came back on, and it stayed on, non-stop, until I killed it with the power switch this afternoon. Not only wasn't there any heat, by this morning, the hot water wasn't very. So I am waiting for the plumber, who has a stop in front of me, and he has just called to say he is on his way, and is not quite to Delaware.


At the same time, for a couple of days, every so often, the computer has hung up totally. It interfered with the camera both yesterday and today, and today it was getting really bad. So I called Gateway Support, and while I was doing it, I got the dread "unable to find CD/ROM drive". Oh, no, not another one! But it sure is. There is a new drive on its way, and it should be here by Friday at the latest. In the meantime, I have disabled this one, but I think I will have to do it over every time I reboot. Although, with it not screwing up the works, I may not have to reboot so often. Apparently the last gasp was when it couldn't read my CD the other day, and it is now acting like the one on Champine was at this time last year. What a pain. Fortunately, I don't live by the CD/ROM!


So with all that going on, I was late to bed last night and I didn't sleep very well.


It was a beautifully clear night, but the nearly-full moon drowned out any other light shows there might have been. I was awake to see it around 4:00 this morning, just before it set, hanging low over the Mountain Lodge and casting a pale golden ribbon on the harbor. I wish it hadn't been at such an hour, because it really was a sight to see, but I was sleepy.


It was a beautifully clear morning, too, and except for a few clouds that went over around 1:00, it was a beautiful day. The NWS to the contrary, it only got down to about 60 overnight, and it quickly climbed into the low 70s, with low humidity. The wind was rather brisk - around 22 mph between 1 and 3 - but it was from the north, so it didn't bother me much. Sunset and early evening are shaping up to be gorgeous, with calm winds. The moon should be peeking over the trees any moment. 


Suzanne, Paul and Tyler came by this afternoon on their bikes and walked out to the lighthouse. It was nice to see them, and apparently we are meeting for dinner with the Sestoks tomorrow at Harbor Haus. I can take that.


I had formed some plan to go to town today, but with the furnace and my late rising, I decided against. Maybe Thursday? 


I sorted beads, and I am now down to getting the medium beads out of the last batch, so that is done. This mixture isn't as interesting as the others were, so I don't mind so much not sorting much. Then I can get at using some of the beads I've found.


So Bill  should be here soon, and we'll see what's the matter with the heating system now. I don't imagine I will be in bed any time soon, so tomorrow will be a late morning again. Oh, well.


August 7

Somehow, I made it into bed by almost 11:00 last night, but it was a wakeful night. I think part of the problem was temperature again. I couldn't get it quite right.


The second time I woke up was around 3:15, and when I opened my eyes, I realized that the northern horizon was very bright. So I put on  my glasses before I went into the bathroom and I'm glad I did. This time, the northern lights were 45 up from the horizon, with a long ribbon at the top, and over in the north-northwest there were spikes sticking up from the horizon. Things were really getting interesting  and even brighter when clouds covered the whole thing and I went back to bed. At 4:15, the clouds had gone, but the light had receded to 30, which means I couldn't see much because of the trees. And by 5:15, it was getting light.


Anyhow, that was the second light show in a few days, and every time I start to complain about the number of times I have to get up in the night, I think about all the wonderful light and color shows I've seen because I do, both northern lights and lightening. And sometimes lots of stars. People who sleep right through the night miss a lot.


Anyway, after three more walks, I slept until 10:30, so I got my quota of sleep after all.


Sometime during the night, I closed the porch door, because the wind was getting pretty cool, but I forgot to close the bathroom window, so I had to huddle under the covers and Buster wanted to cuddle, except that I was thrashing so much that I wasn't a very good bed partner.


It was a beautiful morning, sunny and clear. The wind was still fairly strong, but it had switched around right to the north, where it stayed for most of the day. 


I celebrated by not doing much. I am making progress on the beads, which I think are a full kilo, which means there are a lot of them. The mixture is slightly different from the others, with a lot more red. I decided that while I was going through them, I should take out the uglies (all the orange, and the yellow opaque, as well as a few others), then I realized that there are a lot of nice metallics in this one and a large number of pearls, mostly white, so I am sorting those out, too. It is taking a while. There are a large number of big and medium beads in this mix, and it seems that at least half of the big ones have tiny ones lodged in their holes, which means I have to poke an awl into them and push out the tiny beads, one at a time. There aren't very many little beads, the ones I like to work with, but there are also fewer of the teensy-tiny ones than the other mixes had. I decided not to separate the red beads now, because that would be another pass through the whole mix, and enough already. There are some really big (3/8" or so) dark red transparent beads that I like a lot, but the question is, what to do with them. Hmm. Something else to think about.


The weather was, as I said, sunny with a moderate north wind. The temperature hung around 70 for most of the day, and it is now plunging. I think it will be a good night to sleep, with the windows at the north end all closed, except for the one in the window seat.


I think it was a bit cool for Buster, so he slept in the sun as much as he could all day. He still doesn't seem to have gotten over the wind, or else something else is on his mind.


Now the moon is peeking through the trees and this time I will definitely not make it into bed by 11:00. But it's time to go.


August 6

I didn't make it into bed quite so early last night, but I did turn out the light around 11:00. Unfortunately, I didn't sleep very well. It was quite windy, and I'm not used to that, and with the windows open, it was rather noisy as well. I did manage to get out of bed around 9:30 this morning, which was good.


I took a pair of socks to the bathroom to knit on while I was sitting there, and when I got to looking at them, I realized that they were not big enough. They are cotton, and I had finished one of them, and when I tried it on, with my fat feet, it was too small. So I unraveled the one I had just started and the one that was finished. I need to take a tape measure up there, so that I can measure the length and width my feet are now (I think they keep spreading, too) and recalculate the size of the socks. They might have been all right in wool, but these are cotton, and cotton doesn't stretch enough. Darn.


I was sitting in the bathroom again, this morning, when I caught a motion in the sky and when I peered out, there was an eagle soaring over, going toward the lighthouse. As he passed almost out of the window range, for a moment I thought I was seeing double, since it was right in the corner of my vision, but when I blinked a couple of times, the one below the first one flapped its wings...so there were two eagles. 


It was a beautiful, clear day, but the wind was something else. It was around 10 mph (officially - I'd say more out here) this morning, and it kept rising all day long, and for most of the afternoon it was in the 20-35 mph range. I ended up having to close quite a few windows and doors, because things were blowing shut and blowing away. That was too bad, because the temperature topped out at 82. With the wind, and the very low dew point (under 50) it wasn't unpleasant here, although it was a bit warm in town. The wind has begun to drop now that the sun has set, and I think I can open things up again. I hope so, because it's still in the middle 70s.


I have been meaning to mention that the days are noticeably shorter. We have lost over an hour of daylight in the past month, and the sun is setting around 9:15 and rising after 6:30. It always makes me a little sad, because that and being able to leave the house opened up are the two things I really enjoy about summer.


I noticed the sunset particularly tonight. I finished the bracelet this morning and made another brown necklace, this one with a clasp. Both things were with difficulty. I had to make the loop closure on the bracelet without elastic, and after fiddling around adding and subtracting beads several times, I decided it was right, sewed through it three times and started tying off the thread...and discovered it wouldn't go over the bead. Grr. So I had to undo a bunch of knots and pull out the thread, add two beads, and do it over. Grr.


Then I started on the necklace, and I couldn't decide how many black beads to use between the brown ones. After several false starts, I did about half the necklace and decided there weren't enough black beads. Sooo...I had to pull the whole thing out and start over. Grr. However, it did turn out all right the second time. I still think that is a rather nice looking design. I'm sorry the beads are brown, but I haven't seen any in that shape in any other color. Certainly there aren't any others that shape in my stash of mixed India beads.


I was going to get out the beads I just sorted and start a clear crystal bracelet, but I had gone through the storage box with the beads in it today looking for something I didn't find, and I discovered another ziploc bag full of the same bead mixture I had been sorting. When I looked at it, there was almost half a hank of beautiful black cut beads, as well as partial strands of some other really nice ones. So I'm sorting beads again. Or I will be. I didn't start until around 9:00, and I had to stop shortly thereafter because after I took out the biggest beads, I couldn't see what I was trying to do. When I started that sorting exercise, I could work until 9:30 or later.


I still think all the sorting has some good uses. I have found a lot of pretty beads in quantities large enough to make at least one item, and that means I don't have to go out and buy full hanks of anything until I'm sure I like what I've made. 


I recovered a lot of really amusing beads from the India mixture. They are large and chalk white with black dots on them. I would like to do one or two kind of funky necklaces, using them, good-sized black beads, and some of the huge primary-colored opaque beads I've gotten out of the seed bead mixture. Another mixture has some red, yellow and orange diamond shapes that would go, too. The only question is the black beads. There are some medium-large black roller beads in the seed bead mixture, but they may have too big a hole...although I could shove a small bead into the centers. I've spent a lot of time removing small beads from the holes of the huge ones, so I know they will fit. In the meantime, I can look through this last bag of beads and see what I can find. I've already seen some more little pearl beads, but there are so many big and medium-sized ones that I don't know what else there is in the little beads I like to work with. So I must do some sorting and see what I can find.


So that was my day, and now it is time to toddle off to the north end. I won't make it into bed by 11:00 tonight, unfortunately, but maybe I won't be too late.


August 5

Last night, I was in bed before 10:30, I think, but I was up a lot during the night. It was a cloudy night mostly, but there wasn't any rain around here, and the temperature hung in at nearly 70 all night long, with a little breeze, so it was nice to sleep with most of the windows open. I was awake briefly at about 8:45, but I had sort of a headache, so I turned over...and the next time I woke up it was 10:55! So even if you count the few minutes I was up every time (6, I think), I still got over 11 hours' sleep. 


I was still groggy when I got up, and I was groggy all day long, too. It was that kind of day. It was clear and pretty at 8:45, but by the time I got up, it was clouding over, and it was cloudy and humid all day. We didn't get any rain, and there was a nice southwest breeze, but the temperature was 75 or so all day. Summer in Copper Harbor.


There was light rain all around us, mostly out in the lake, but it didn't hit here at all.


So I didn't do much, except play with the computer, but I did nearly finish the bracelet I've been working on. I had to stop before I made the loop end of the closure because it was getting dark enough that I couldn't see what I was doing.


I saw Shirley for dinner, and she is doing much better today, so that was nice.


I must say that the town is jumping. Besides the triathlon and the encampment, there was a wedding at the community center this afternoon, so there are people all over the place...including the ones that forget that those paths north of the main drag are actually streets, not sidewalks.


So now I am going to try to make it into bed early again, and I hope I won't sleep quite so long tomorrow. There are a couple of things I need to do. It's a dampish, cloudy night in the field tonight.


August 4

I didn't make it into bed before midnight, but it was just a few minutes later when I turned out the light. It was a good night to sleep, and mostly I did, although I was awake a little with some minor indigestion. Once I fixed that, it was better, and I slept for a long time.


It was a lovely clear night, so far as I could tell. I could see the two stars at the end of the Little Dipper. The Big Dipper is horizontal now, and mostly behind the trees, except for its handle, which was very bright. One of the advantages of having the lake north of us is that it is usually possible to see stars right down to the horizon. I know I used to see Capella regularly when I was living in room 34, and it is right on the horizon in the summer.


It was a beautiful morning, even though I didn't get to enjoy much of it. Buster was wondering if I was ever getting up when I finally did. It was clear and sunny with a nice little breeze. The temperature did get down to about 63 overnight, but there wasn't much wind. It finally did get up to about 74 late this afternoon, but then it started to cloud up.


The task of the day was the trash, and I actually accomplished it. There were three small bags of magazines, catalogs, newspapers and office-type trash, and three large bags (well...2) of household trash. The only thing that is better about going to the compactor in the summer over the years I lived in apartments and had to pitch my trash into a dumpster is that we don't seem to have yellowjackets up here, thank goodness! Zillions of flies, of course, but no stinging insects. The only thing that does annoy me is that somehow at least one of the restaurants manages to break their bags when they pitch them, so the compactor stinks and has garbage lying in it. Yuck. I have never been able to tolerate garbage.


I did get to dinner with Shirley tonight. She looks pretty good, but she acts like she is a bit preoccupied, not that it's surprising.  She had platelets today, and she has to go back to Hancock on Monday for a blood test to see how well they took. I guess she is bound and determined to stick this out here. I think that's a mistake, but she knows what I think and I won't belabor it. I do know a bit about the side effects that I can help her with, though.


After I got back home - with a huge amount of tortellini that will make two big or three moderate meals - they started shooting off the muskets at the fort. This is the start of the Civil War encampment which goes on all weekend. The Copper Man Triathlon is also in town this weekend, so it's going to be a busy one. I don't know which one they were associated with, but I kept seeing women in skirts coming into Mariner. Gracious, what a novel idea.


We went to dinner late, so think I will get this published and try the early-to-bed routine.


I forgot to mention that yesterday morning, before I got up, I heard something drumming loudly on one of the dead trees in front of the house. Buster was fascinated, so I put on my glasses to try to see it, but I wasn't quiet enough and I saw two rather large black birds fly off along the shoreline. I am practically certain they were pileated woodpeckers, and several times over the past two days I have heard a call I also thought was a pileated woodpecker. So at long last, I broke out my CDs of bird songs, and managed to confirm, from both the drumming and the call, that yup, that's what it is. Later, after I did that, I heard the call again, a perfect imitation of the one on the CDs.


However, in the course of doing it, I also confirmed a suspicion I've had for some time that the CD player in this computer is at least flaky and at most broken. One CD - the one with the woodpeckers on it, of course - from one set was never recognized on this computer, and later I put it into the laptop and it reads fine. So I guess I will have to get on the phone Monday and order up a new CD player, hopefully just like the one in the Champine computer. I like to keep these things in sync if I can. If I remember correctly, it wasn't very expensive.


So that is all there is in the field tonight.


August 3

I was a little earlier last night, but not a lot, but I did get up at a relatively reasonable hour this morning, considering when I went to bed. It looked to be a lovely day, I had to take a walk anyway, and Buster was plastered up against me and bugging me.


Buster doesn't like wind, and it was beginning to get windy, and it got more so later in the day, It was mostly clear, and while the temperature hung at around 70 all night long, it eventually got up to 82 at 6:00 tonight. By that time the wind had gotten into the 15-20 mph range, from the northwest, so it was pretty comfortable around here.


Tonight was the annual fish fry with Chip and Nancy and their friends, and I do have to say it was warmer at their house than it was here, but then they have trees all around them, and this house stands right out there in the wind. However, it was a lovely evening, weather-wise, company-wise, and food-wise. The fish wasn't fried, because there don't seem to be any perch around this year. Instead it was baked lake trout and whitefish, which was excellent. I will have to ask Suzanne for the exact recipe, but it looked easy enough that I could do it - drizzle a little olive oil on the fish, cover the filet with sliced onions, salt and pepper, wrap it in foil and bake it in a 350 oven - how long is the question. I would like to have had a little paprika on it, for color, but Suzanne is allergic to peppers. Anyway, it was excellent, and excellent fish, fresh from the market in Copper Harbor. Yum.


Some of them went down to the shore to watch the sunset, but I didn't, and I could see it through the trees. It looked like a nice one. And it was a nice evening altogether.


Buster was sitting in my desk chair looking very sour when I left, and he has not greeted me yet, so I guess he is still put out. Poor Buster. If he had his way, I would never leave.


When I got home, the quarter moon was shining brightly in the south windows, and it looks to be a lovely, if breezy, night. I guess I will have to shut a few windows, or I will get blown out of bed.


Otherwise, I did play my new game again until I got stuck, and I did some beading. I also washed the dishes. I think, from the odor in the breezeway, that tomorrow is the day to go to the dumpster.


I had plenty of time to do things, because sometime between 7:30 and 7:45 this morning, there was a major digital circuit failure between Calumet and parts south,  and it was after 4:00 before the internet came back up again. In case anybody was wondering why the camera didn't update (if you could get to it at all), that was the reason. Pastynet has its circuits and routers in Calumet (or Kearsarge, now, I guess), but its servers are someplace else, so when the circuit out of the Copper Country fails, they are down. I think I heard that for a while the phones, or at least long distance, was down, too. The sad fact of the matter is, there are so few people in this part of the country that AT&T (the old SBC) just isn't vitally interested in us. Everything seems fine now, though.


So even though it is early (for me), I think I will trundle off to the north end and try to start sleeping earlier tonight. It was a lovely day in the field.


August 2

The excuse last night was a game, and today I bought a new one which will keep me preoccupied for quite a while, I predict. Anyway, it was stupidly late when I went to bed, so I got up around 11:00 and didn't do a thing all day, except play with my new game.


The weather has been unremarkable. The temperature has been around 70 for the past 24 hours. For some reason I don't know, the temperature was about 66 and the dew point was 63 between 11 and 1, which is why my jeans felt wet when I put them on. There was a tiny bit of rain between 6 and 7 am, which surprised me when I heard it. There wasn't any thunder or anything. It was cloudy until late in the afternoon, when it finally cleared up, and at sunset, there was a nice quarter moon in the southwestern sky and just a couple of clouds to make sunset pretty.


I did talk to Shirley, and she is all right, but she didn't get home until today, and she has to get platelets tomorrow. And the doctor at Marquette has decided to do something completely different from what the doctor here was planning, but I don't think he told her what it was. I told her again I think she needs to go someplace where they know what they are doing and will tell her what they are planning, but I don't know what she will decide.


So that is all there is in the quiet field, and tonight I will go to bed, I promise.


August 1

I was doing something else and ignoring the time, when I remembered that this is the night I am supposed to roll over the journal. Oops.


First, let me thank everyone who emailed me birthday wishes. I appreciate it.


I didn't sleep very well last night. It was partly a temperature thing and partly that I just had to get up a lot. Is fish a diuretic? 


The temperature hung in around 70 most of the night and all day, and until about 10:00 this morning, the dew point was 65...read excessively humid. In fact, it did rain a bit between 3:00 and 4:00. There was a little wind, quite a little when it was raining. For some time before that, I had been watching the lightening off and on. It started over in the west, as usual, and most of it was out over the lake, I think. There wasn't any thunder associated with our rain, that I can remember.


Anyway, everything felt clammy and uncomfortable. Maybe that's why I don't want to go to bed nights?


I did get up at a fairly reasonable hour today, and I started to continue the task of shoveling out the office, but I got sidetracked, and there are boxes strewn all over right now. There have been two file boxes of magazines and one of my 2005 papers that have been in here for quite a while, and I want to move those into the great room so that they can be taken downstairs after the basement is cleaned. That will free up some space behind the back of the desk. There are also some things in one blue box that I want to go through and probably transfer to a big clear storage box. Tomorrow, maybe? If I get up at all...


I got to show off the tractor to the guy who collects antique tractors, and he was suitably impressed, although John Deere tractors are not his favorite. He agrees that we will not have a problem keeping the road open with it.


And I went to the post office for a bale of mail (I keep forgetting that all the magazines and catalogs come in at the first of the month). 


I stopped at the store to replenish my eggs. I may have mentioned that when I went to town, I bought 18 eggs, and then found them in the bottom of a bag in the breezeway three or four days later. Since the fridge was full of other stuff, I put them on the top shelf, and when I took them out to hard boil a few, I discovered that 8 of them had frozen and cracked their shells. While I know that theoretically frozen eggs can be used for scrambled eggs, I don't eat eggs with cracked shells. Just a little precaution. I've had salmonella a time or two, and I don't like it. I had used two, and there were 8 that were intact, so I boiled them, but that left me without any raw eggs, in case the spirit should move me to have eggs for breakfast.


And that was about all I did, besides play with the computer.


And it is August. My mother hated this month, even though she was born in it, because a lot of people in her life - her father, her uncle, and my father - all died in August, and she had her mastectomy in August and started her incarceration in the TB san in August, too. I don't actively hate it, but it has always been a sort of sad month to me. Not only is it frequently excessively hot, it is really the last month of summer. In just a few weeks, I will have to close up the house. I really enjoy living with all the windows wide open, and I'll miss being able to hear the great out of doors.


On the brighter side, this is the first year that I have not had to go to Detroit for the doctors in August, and that is a good thing. I like to keep off the highways when the tourist season is at its height.


So that is all there is, and it's about 2 am now, so I guess I will get this published. In rolling over the journal, I discovered that I had the wrong year on several months last summer, and I fixed that, so this will be a long upload, if it goes. We shall see.




Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM