A View From the Field








September, 2006

September 30

My goodness, it's the end of September already! Where did that go?


I think it was going on 11:00 when I got to bed last night, but I was up at 8:30 this morning. Clearly, I'm getting a case of nerves about my trip south. It didn't help much, though. I diddled around for most of the day anyway.


I did get into the CPU and checked all the connections, which seem to be solid. So almost the minute I rebooted, it hung. What is causing that is beyond me. I would say the new CD-ROM drive, but it didn't start hanging until sometime after I installed it. Very weird.


I hope it will behave itself next week, but if it doesn't, I hope you will understand that I'm 600 miles away and busy, and I won't be able to check in every few minutes to see if it's working. I will do my best, but there may be some lapses in the pictures.


Which reminds me, It hung right after the weekly virus scan started. I suppose I should run that tonight, but letting it go for a week probably won't hurt.


I got the wash all put away neatly, and I got almost all the stuff out of the breezeway and put away, and I made piles of stuff I want to take with me to do, so now the only real thing on the "to-do" list is to fix the cat pans and pack the suitcases, the cooler and the car. I might make it yet.


Oh, yes, I spent a good portion of the day backing up my files onto the laptop. I had a terrible time; either Laplink or the desktop kept hanging up and I must have rebooted everything a dozen times or more. However, I certainly am glad I did that all today, because then tomorrow, I will only have to back up the web, which actually isn't so vital, since I can download it from the ISP if necessary.


I also spent some time fooling around and trying to move some of my new games to the laptop, so that I can move them to the desktop on Champine, but none of that worked. For one, I seem to have deleted the confirmation email with the registration keys, and for two others, there are no download files, and moving the installed files doesn't work. I am hassling with the one site about my purchase, and I haven't heard from the other site. Which reminds me, I will have to move the "savethis" email folder and combine it with the one on the laptop and the one on Champine. 


The weather was OK. It got into the upper 40s overnight, but it has been right around 54 all day. The wind picked up this afternoon, and is now  between 15 and 20 mph out of the north. It was partly to mostly cloudy all day long, although there were a few periods of sunshine. Sunset was pretty nice, but the damn camera was doing its usual thing, so when I went out to take some pictures, by the time I got it working and set properly (no flash), the pretty red clouds were gone. Hopefully, there will be more after I get back home.


I went to Harbor Haus tonight for dinner, and it was a real zoo, I must say. I got my very favorite table, behind the fireplace, and had a lovely meal, half of which I brought home for tomorrow night. A fan of the website who happened to be there (I don't know who it is) treated me to a raspberry cobbler, so I brought half of that home, too. My last meal here for a week will be a good one. And many thanks to whoever you are. You could have introduced yourself so I could have thanked you in person.


While I was eating, we were treated to a weather show. The sun peeked through the clouds and lit up the east bluff, which is turning yellow. Then there was a squall out on the lake, and when it passed by, there was a very beautiful rainbow behind Porter Island, while we could still see the rain to the east of it, and some of what looked like slanting crepuscular rays through the clouds and rain. It was lovely. Then there was an empty freighter, going west, and after that, there were some really interesting clouds so far out over the lake they were almost on the horizon. Mother Superior never disappoints.


So that was my second to the last day. The journal will be early tomorrow, to make sure I can get the last of the files moved and the last of everything packed up to go. I still hope to get away early on Monday, but we'll see. It isn't like the winter, when I have to get online and check the weather all the way south, so after I determine that the camera is working, I can ignore the computer (as if).


And now I will try hard to get to bed early again...I think I will skip the bath tonight, since I'm not going anywhere tomorrow, and that will help. I am in enough of a nervous state that I am not sleeping well. I had a number of remarkable dreams last night, all of which I have mostly forgotten, except that in one, I was fighting the aliens again. I really wonder what that means, but eventually I suppose I'll figure it out. It never ceases to amaze me what comes out of my unconscious mind.


September is over.


September 29

Since I got up at the wholly uncharacteristic time of 9:00 (and could have gotten up at 8:00), I will do this early and maybe get to bed early. I had every intention of going back to sleep at 8:00, but there was a fly in the room and my bones were aching, so after dozing for an hour, with interruptions, I had a coughing fit and decided to forget about sleep. So I'm tired.


I did accomplish some things today. The wash is nearly done - the load I had to re-wash (Eddie Bauer strikes again) is in the dryer and the rags are in the washer. The trash is gone, except that after I went to the post office (had to mail some bills), there is another small bag about half full. I have made sort of a start on getting the office organized and set aside the stuff I want to take with me to do.


That took most of the day, and then Nancy came to visit and get her lap board, and she bought two bracelets. We had a nice visit, and I showed her some of the Fire Mountain catalogs. She is mostly making really interesting and very lovely earrings (for pierced ears, darn it), and she has been paying full retail for her findings. She is planning to sell some of her things, so she needs to get her supplies as cheaply as possible, just like I do. I'm sure they will sell. Everybody who has pierced ears loves earrings, and hers are really nice. That is why I said some time ago that even if we were both doing the same sort of thing, like bead embroidery, I know our stuff would never look anywhere near the same. That's what's fun about crafts.


So I went to dinner late, but there weren't many people in the dining room at Mariner. From the cars it looked like there were a lot in the bar, and the motel seemed to be doing a good business. Peggy was upstairs, but I didn't go up. 


The weather...oh yes. The NWS station finally began reporting everything around noon today. This morning, it was reporting wind but not temperature, but since it was steady all day long, that doesn't matter much. It was around 51 all day long, with southwest winds that started calm, peaked around 1:00 and then died back again. The peak wasn't strong - around 15 mph. Now, of course, south is the direction from which that station is most sheltered, so possibly they were stronger than that. It was mostly cloudy all day, with high, smooth clouds and puffy cumulous clouds underneath. What time I had to look at the sky, it was rather interesting. There were a few rays of sunshine, and it was never really dark, but there was no blue sky.


I got the bird feeders out fairly early, and not only were the birds there, the squirrels were back. It just takes them a few days to get used to the new regime. I'm still sorry I can't leave them out when I go. Anyway, the chickadees, nuthatches and blue jays were happy.


The computer woke up just fine, but it hung after 8:30, and again sometime in the afternoon, when I actually forgot it was down while I was doing something else, so there are a few pictures missing, but except for the interesting cloud formations, we didn't miss anything important. Tomorrow I simply must get inside the CPU and check the connections.


So that is all there is. I still have quite a list of things to do, but I'm making some headway. Since I have to be at the dentist so early Tuesday morning, I hope I can get out of here at a reasonable hour on Monday and get there at a reasonable hour in the evening. I know, the best laid plans...but I can hope. I do not want to go.


September 28

The NWS station is still not reporting numbers. I am tempted to call the Waste Management number and as them if they know it isn't working. They may think that because it is sending something, it is sending data. Wrong. So I don't have any real data to report about the temperature and wind.


I suspect it got up to slightly over 50 today, although I wasn't out much, and everybody I saw was wearing a jacket. The wind was mostly from the north, and not very strong. Great weather report.


I got to bed after 2:00 again. The computer glitched a bit, and I don't remember what I did after that, except that I did spend quite a while staring at the floor in the bathroom. I guess that is my way of unwinding and preparing for the night's dreams, but it does waste a lot of time that I could be sleeping. The one good thing is that by the time I do get to bed, I am really tired, so I have been sleeping well lately...and late.


It was a pretty day, even if I don't know what the temperature was. There were lots of puffy white clouds and quite a bit of sunshine, which made it nice. 


When I did get to the office, I immediately called the dentist, and I have an appointment for 8:30 Tuesday morning...eek! I'm not quite sure how I will handle that, but maybe it will impel me to get an early start Monday, so i can get a few hours' sleep? However, that was all there was, unless somebody cancels out when they get called tomorrow. I can hope, but I probably won't get that lucky.


Most of my day was full of people. A reader of the site and some friends decided to come and see me, even though I didn't reply to his second email. They seemed like nice people, but you know, I think curiosity can get out of hand. Then my two packages of beads came -via two different carriers - and then there was Ron. In the meantime, I don't remember doing much, except that I am washing, and I did rustle around the kitchen a bit. I unloaded and began reloading the dishwasher, and I got rid of the trash and the pop bottles. It's not pristine, but it's better. I also tried to make some sense in the office, but that's hard, what with all the bead stuff lying around.


The second load of wash is in the dryer and the third load is in the washer, and I have one or two more loads to do, or maybe three, depending upon whether I do the towels and the rags. Tomorrow.


I put away the beads I had poured out yesterday, because it's clear I won't have any time to do much with that. I do have the fabric all ready to work on, whenever I get back to it.


I got the bird feeders out around noon, and I'm glad to say that some of my little birds and the blue jays found them. I can do without the squirrels and chipmunks, I guess, but I do like my little birds. it's a shame they will have to stay inside when I leave, but I don't want to risk encouraging the coons, and maybe destroying another couple of feeders.


The computer was weird today. It was hung when I checked it at about 7:00, but it seemed OK. Maybe something happened after 1:30, and if I rebooted it, the camera didn't come up right so for about 3 hours we had black screens. I rebooted again and it seems OK now. I really must get into the CPU and check all the connectors. Maybe tomorrow.


I must also note that sometime over the summer I seem to have lost a couple of forks from my "good" stainless set, and now I seem to have lost a cobalt double old fashioned glass. It's weird. Clearly, there is a black hole in this house, too. All I can hope is that eventually it spits everything back out. In the meantime, I am totally puzzled. Where do those things go?


So that was my day, and I am tired. I hope I can get the next load of wash into the dryer before I crash, maybe just a bit earlier tonight?


September 27

I can't tell you much about the weather, because the NWS station went down at 8:00 this morning, and while it is now communicating with the world again, it isn't saying anything...saying, "I'm here", but not transmitting any readings.


I do know it was around 50 all day, and it wasn't too windy, although the lake is kicking up nicely. I think the wind is probably out of the north-ish. But all that is a guess. 


I think it's a plague. Not only have I been having computer troubles, at least four or five of the webcams I visit every day have been down intermittently for a week or so. I have a correspondent who has a camera on the northeast shore of Lake Superior, in Canada, and in the last big thunderstorms we had, he apparently sustained a direct hit, which fried one of his cameras and the com cards in his computer. I think he has an arrangement to have the camera replaced, but the computer components are his responsibility, and a costly one. It's been a strange September.


I got to bed only marginally earlier last night, because my computer balked and I had to reboot - only once this time - in order to get the journal uploaded. I slept good, but I was awake around 6:30, so I padded down to the office, and the computer was just fine, thank you. What do you bet that if I hadn't checked it, it would have hung up? It did hang twice this morning and once in the afternoon, but I was using it at the time and I think you would have to have looked carefully at the times on the webcam pictures to tell it was down.


Oh, yes, and after I did the computer thing last night, I went back to work on the brooch anyway, and started fooling around with template plastic and things like that. I had to do that over again this morning, because I made the template (to use as stiffening) too big, but I persevered and finished it after dinner, including the pin back. It came out pretty well, I think, for a second effort.


I have poured out a couple of kinds of amethyst-colored beads and I am beginning to think about what to do with them. I wanted to use copper with them, but I think now that gold will look better. I actually bought a little of two shades of purple cloth when I was at Wal-Mart, but neither of them goes with the beads, and besides, the dark background makes the beads look too dark. Probably a light orchid would work best (which I don't have and didn't see), but I guess I will work on the same off-white I used for the last  brooch. I still hate the thought of cutting a big enough piece of fabric to use in the 4" hoop, but my 3" hoops are buried in the basement. Maybe I will try cutting a big enough piece so that I can use part of the leftovers for the backing. I backed the last one with felt again, but I don't really like that too well. Ultra-suede would be best, but that is buried in the basement, too. I guess I'll just use what I have and see what comes out of it.


It was a bright-cloudy day, which was good for using a needle, but it was a bit chilly when I went to the post office. 


Oh, yes, and there is a glitch in my schedule. I was eating my dinner tonight when I discovered that I have chipped another tooth. This is the last molar on the left side (opposite of the crown I had done last spring). So now I will have to try to get to the dentist on Tuesday and probably make another fast trip back to Detroit before the end of October...not to mention the cost of another crown. Drat. When you get old, things, including your teeth, just start falling apart.


So tomorrow, besides starting on my to-do list, I will have to call the dentist and hope I can get to see him right away, since Wednesday and Thursday are pretty well packed already.


And that is all I know. It's bedtime.


September 26

The wind went away, and so did the clouds for a while last night. There was even a little sunshine right after sunrise this morning, and of course the camera was down again. It seems to hang up when nothing is going on. It did the same thing this afternoon while I was away. Really weird.


Unfortunately, it was 2:00 before I got to bed last night. I had another one of those nights where I had to reboot twice before I could get the journal to upload. This seems to go in cycles. For a while everything will be OK, then it goes south again. Isn't computing fun?


Anyway, I did sleep well, and I got up around 10:30, which I don't think was enough sleep, but I'll try to do better tonight. There were stars every time I got up, and rather bright ones, too, but no light shows. The lake was quiet enough that I could hear the bell buoy, and there was no wind to speak of.


When I got to the office, of course the computer had hung, and I got some weird stuff - like half of the GoBack screen - before I finally got it to boot right.


I had expected to hear from Nancy about lunch today, but she didn't call until 11:30, and lunch was at 12:30, but that was all right. I had time to remove the screens from the breezeway windows, and the only reason I was very late was that Julie didn't realize what party I was talking about. That's all right, too. I know a lot of people's first names and not their last names.


I met another very nice lady, although she had communicated to me by email, apparently. I'm sorry if I forget these things. I tend to remember only those people who talk to me a lot. Barb, your name is in my address book, so I guess you did email me. Anyway, I'm learning that a lot more people than I thought read this thing, and considering who some of them are, I guess I'm going to have to be careful what I say about who. That's all right. I've started a private journal, not online, for when I really have to vent about someone who may be reading this thing. However, I will continue to voice my opinions occasionally for all the world to read. That's what blogging is all about, and those of you who think my stuff is bad should read some of the others out there.


Anyway, with five ladies of a certain age, we had a very long lunch, but then Harbor Haus should be used to things like that when I'm with other people (not that I did a lot of talking). And two of the ladies are leaving for the winter over the next few days, so this will be the last time we'll all be together until next year.


It was a good thing I brought my screens along, because it was after 3:30 before I started for Calumet, and the glass company is only open until 5:00. I don't know what it is about me going to the glass company, but it seems every time I do it rains. It wasn't raining in Copper Harbor, but it drizzled or rained all the way down, and there were a few cars of people who seemed sure they were driving on glare ice.


Actually, I think they were mostly tourists who were enjoying the covered road. The maples are almost completely turned, and the birches are beginning to turn, between Copper Harbor and Lac Labelle Road, and it is really beautiful. The maples are very red and orange this year, and some of them looked even rosy red, although the true colors weren't easy to see because it was so dark. South of Delaware, the color is more spotty. I'm not sure whether that is because of the variety of trees, or because of the local microclimate, but several people have mentioned that the turning isn't so uniform this year. Even in the clouds and drizzle, it was beautiful, and the woods seemed almost lit from within.


So I got my window sash and left off the two screens. The thing I don't understand about the screens is, if the coons could tear a bunch of 1" round holes in them, how come they couldn't just rip big holes? I mean, coons are smart, and there was food in the breezeway. However, they didn't, which was a relief, because I don't need to clean up something like that.


The temperature was around 50 overnight, and it got - briefly - up to about 60 this afternoon. The wind was light from the southwest. It didn't start to rain in earnest until after I got home, but it hasn't amounted to much, just enough to dampen things and mess up the windows. I guess it's supposed to continue like that overnight. It was dark and dreary all day long. While we were eating, some clouds went by out over the lake that had little ripples parallel to the wind direction. It almost looked like a corrugated road (I was thinking about that, because the road to Hughes Farm looks - and feels - like that). I love to look at the clouds.


So that was my day. I started on the brooch before lunch, and when I got home, I attacked it with vigor and finished the beading. It came out all right. Tomorrow I will do the finishing, and I really will try to take some pictures. I don't know if these things are very good, but they're fun to do. After all the years I've worked mostly on a grid, doing something entirely freehand is sort of liberating, and so far I haven't been either too repetitive or representational. I'm constrained by the beads, of course, but the next one will probably be purple, and I think those beads are different mixtures. It's sort of fun to pour out a bunch of mixed beads on my board and think, well, what can I make with these? Some cool stuff, as it turns out. They are not good beads, but I regard these pieces as practice pieces, before I get to the really good, and expensive, beads. And both of the things I've made are small, which means they go fast. One of these days I'm going to try a 3" x 3" square...and that's a box top. The box project may get off the ground yet.


Now Buster is complaining that I won't go to bed and I won't let him sit on me, so I guess it's time to call it another day. I have started making a list of things I need to do before next Monday, but I haven't done anything yet. As my long-time readers know, that's how I am about going south. The only nice thing is, this time there isn't very much cleaning that needs to be done.


Oh, that reminds me. I had an infestation of gnats last night...not that I noticed it then. Only this morning, the bathroom counter under the nightlight was covered with teensy bugs, mostly dead. And some had even managed to crawl inside the lens of the nightlight, which is permanently attached (it's an LED). Evidently, there is a gnat-sized opening around the edges of the lens, but I'm afraid to try to take it off for fear I will break it. Sometimes those things just snap in, and sometimes they are glued in. There were also a few gnats in my drinking glass. Gack. Fortunately, I think I saw it before I drank any water. I don't think I imbibed any gnats overnight. 


In the first place, I don't know where they came from. I do have the bedroom window open, and the bugs are small enough to get through the screen, but then why haven't they come in before? And why now? Very strange. And yucky.


So that's about it, and Buster is right. It's time to go.


September 25

Well! It was a wild and hairy night, and a wild and hairy day, too. The wind rose all night long, and between 4:00 and 7:00 we had " of rain, and then...whoa! The wind shifted to the north and rose to almost gale force. For most of the day, until about 5:00 this afternoon, we had  north-northwest winds in the mid-20 mph range, with gusts as high as 42 mph. The harbor was a mass of whitecaps, and the sky was full of fast-moving cumulous clouds. It was so windy that I didn't put out the bird feeders at all.


It is calming down a bit now, but the wind is still around 16 mph, but it was a fun day.


I do think I sleep better when the wind and the waves are howling, and I did good. I had a couple of weird dreams, but that didn't keep me from going back to sleep. Fighting the aliens again, I think, or something similar. 


I made it out of bed at a reasonable hour this morning, but I ended up not doing much except getting a bead order together (which took all day, between the catalogs and the internet). I have started working on the next bead embroidered brooch, but I haven't gotten very far.


I have a bad habit, which started a long time ago, of being very stingy with my cloth when I embroider something that will be cut out. I hate to waste all those pieces I have to cut off, so I make the working piece as small as possible. That means, in this case, that I have a 3" x 3" piece of cloth, and since I am trying techniques, I am working this piece in a hoop - a 2" hoop. It works fine, except when I have to end off a thread, so I guess I will be taking it out of the hoop a lot when I knot off the ends. And maybe the next time I will remember what I thought I knew - that a 2" hoop isn't easy to work in. Oh, well. It isn't like it's $70 a yard linen or anything - it's just a piece of plain cotton with a piece of felt behind it. But I am stingy about certain things, like fabric and thread. Strange.


The computer hung up again last night, even though it was just fine when I left it. I wish I knew what was going on with it. Anyway, this time, we all missed a very nice early morning. Maybe tomorrow?


So that was another quiet day, and it is time to trundle up to the north end and see if I can do as well as last night when it's all quiet and calm.


September 24

There was a light show going on outside last night, but unfortunately it was too cloudy to really see it. I woke up around 2:30 and noticed that the northern half of the sky looked very bright, like dawn was breaking or something. So I got on my glasses and took a look when I went into the bathroom. There was definitely something going on out there, up almost 40 into the sky, but what I could see of it looked like just a bright white glow with no structure to it. The clouds were coming in fast enough that I really couldn't see much. It was about the same at 4:30, but even more frustrating, because there were just a few clouds in front of the glow. By 6:30 it was beginning to get light enough that anything up there was washed out. So the good old sun surprised us again.


Otherwise, I did sleep well last night. The wind was in the 20-30 mph range from the northeast, and I could hear both it and the lake. The lake was singing loudly, and it put me right to sleep.


When I got up, the sky was beginning to clear and the wind and waves were beginning to die down. The wind shifted around to the north, and then to the northwest, and by this evening the lake was almost calm again. It was a partly cloudy day, with pretty clouds in the sky. The temperature stayed right around 50 all day long.


The computer hung up again last night, so there were no pictures until I got to the office this morning. This is beginning to annoy me.


I ended up just playing around for most of the day, although not with games. Every so often I fiddle around with a list of something I'm keeping, and this was the day. 


Eventually, I put out the bird feeders, but it didn't look like very many critters came to eat, and when it got dark, I brought them in again. Darn coons. The little birds like to eat first think in the morning, and I'm not available then.


I ate at Harbor Haus again, and it was surprisingly busy for a Sunday in late September. I guess there are a lot of people up here for the color or something.


So that was another quiet day in the field, and it's quiet outside tonight, too. So I will trundle off to the north end and see if I can get caught up on my sleep tonight?


September 23

Happy first day of autumn. I forgot to change the banner today. Tomorrow.


I have an excuse. I had an awful night last night. Around 3:00, I woke up with abdominal cramps and a very queasy stomach, and it was 4:30 before things settled down enough for me to go back to bed. I even had to use the barf bucket a bit, but there wasn't anything in my stomach at that point. What brought that on, I do not know, unless I have developed my mother's inability to eat corn and melon at the same meal.


Anyway, I didn't get up until 11:00, and I only did then because I was getting twitchy. I didn't feel very robust today, although I had no more stomach problems and a dose of Imodium fixed the other end. I'm just sort of blah. So I fiddled around, looking at bead catalogs and sample cards, and did nothing in particular.


I did eat at Mariner tonight, and it was respectably busy for late September. There seems to be some sort of gathering of motorcyclers in town, and there was a group of nine at the next table who were a bit noisier than I could have wished, but they were happy.


The weather...oh, yes. It rained intermittently all night and all day, and it was foggy and dank and dismal. The temperature wasn't bad - it's been right around 55 for the past 24 hours. The wind was in the 10-20 mph range for most of the day, but around 5:00 it began rising and is now 20-30 mph and is slowly moving from the east around toward the north. The lake has been setting up a howl which has now risen to quite a volume, and the waves seem to be in the 6-foot range. Since the wind is supposed to stay rather strong through the night, they may go higher. 


This is our equinoctial storm, right on schedule. I don't know what exactly it is, but more years than not there has been a nice blow right at the equinox. This one won't be quite so strong as the one last weekend, but I can hear the wind and the lake, and it will be a good night to sleep.


The camera never started up this morning, for some reason. Evidently the reboot I did last night, while it enabled me to upload the journal, didn't work for the camera. Besides, while I had a cursor and I could move it, neither the buttons nor the keyboard were working (they were when I left last night...) so I had to fool around with that for a while. I guess that sometime next week I am going to have to open up the cpu and check all the connectors to make sure they are well plugged-in. I would hate to have this keep happening while I am in Detroit. I'm not sure Ron would feel comfortable babysitting the computer as well as the cat.


So that is all I know, and the lake is calling me up to the north end for a nice, deep sleep. Let's hope so.


September 22

Well, I didn't get to bed very early last night after all. The journal just would not upload until I cycled the wireless receiver, so I finally jumped into bed around 11:30. When I woke up, around 3:00, I was so stiff and sore that I was up and down for over an hour, until whatever brain chemical it is kicked in again. Weather, I think.


I finally got up around 11:00, but I didn't do much. I kept looking at beads, and I finally set up the fabric for an oval brooch, but I decided not to try to start it until I am a little brighter.


The weather wasn't very nice. We had a little rain between 10:00 and noon, then it started again about 4:00 and so far we have had over ", and it is still raining. In fact it was so yucky that I ate in tonight... The temperature isn't bad, though. It got into the upper 50s, and there was only a moderate wind from the southeast.


However, this damp, coolish weather is not good for the creaky joints. I am having particular trouble with my hands and wrists. I finally dug out my Hand-Eze fingerless gloves, and that did help some, although not with my fingers. They have a lycra band around the wrist and nylon palms, and besides compressing your hands and wrists, they keep them warm. I have to wear them with the seams out, or they leave deep groves in my hands, but they do seem to help.


I decided to eat in tonight, partly because of the weather, but partly because I have been out so much this week. I needed to lay in some steaks for the freezer, but they didn't have much in the way of strip or rib-eye steaks, so I got a package of what they call "Charcoal steaks". They are from some part of the chuck. Well, I think they call them Charcoal steaks because they expect them to be so over-cooked and black and full of lighter fluid that you couldn't tell what they taste like. They aren't particularly tough for that cut of meat, but they don't have very much flavor, either.


However, I also had three ears of white corn (well, pale yellow) that I got at Hughes Farm, and that was wonderful. I suppose it would have been better if I'd eaten it Tuesday, but it sure tasted good to me.


Just a note, I got an email from one of my neighbors, who had checked with the Coast Guard about the lighthouse. Apparently the light they are using now is going to be permanent. They claim it is just as bright from far away as the old one was, but mostly, they can't get parts for the old one and this one is lower voltage. They think that it switches automatically to battery (or generator) backup when we have a power outage, but it certainly didn't the last time the power went out. If that happens during the next power outage, I may have to call the Coast Guard station myself...


Oh, yes, the critter saga continues. This morning, the thistle socks were on the ground under the tree, empty. And when I went through the breezeway to the garage, there are now several rather large holes in both screens on the windows, which I have had open...speaking of which, I must go and close them. That is where I keep the birdseed, and there are some bread products out there right now, too. So I have some very persistent, hungry critters around here. When I go down to Calumet to get my window sash (next week?), I will have to take those screens and get them fixed.


On the topic of critters, Ron tells me the Copper Harbor school bus had an encounter with a deer down around Central yesterday on the way to school. Totaled the deer, and sort of messed up the bus, but nobody in the bus was hurt. Apparently the only question on the bus was whether it was a buck. Ron went down later and said that there were still deer parts scattered all over the place. Yuck. And I wonder what they're using for a bus?


Except for a grouse that flew into the trees yesterday and a lone goose on the road this afternoon, I haven't seen any critters at all lately.


So that was a quiet day, and I think another good night's sleep is in order. This drippy, dreary weather is good for that.


Two last notes. I just discovered that the camera hung up at 2:13 this afternoon, and never captured a new picture before it went off at 9:30. Sorry about that. You didn't miss much.


I just went out to close the breezeway windows, and when I pulled down the left-hand one, there were little tooth marks all along the outside upper edge of the lower sash, and little chips of wood scattered around. Now, why in the world a mouse would do that, I just do not know! I may have to let Buster out into the breezeway yet. It has to have been done in the past week, because Mark closed it when he washed the window, and it wasn't there when I opened it again. Very strange.


So the critter wars continue.



September 21

Wow, my quiet social life has exploded!


What with the journal and having to wind down and take a bath, it was 3:00 before I got to bed this morning. I didn't get up till 11:00, but that wasn't nearly long enough. It will be an early night tonight, for sure.


When I got up this morning and finished my morning surfing, I immediately got at the brooch, or whatever it is, but with various interruptions, it was 4:00 before I finished the edging. I decided then that I didn't have time to make a chain for it, so I sewed a pin back on it. I have a sort of dark turquoise blue sweater, so I pinned it in the middle of the front, and that was what I wore to the CHIA dinner tonight. I had a terrible time with the edging, because my hands kept cramping up, and they are both really sore tonight. If it isn't too dark tomorrow, I will try to take a picture. Several people said they thought it was nice, so I guess it turned out pretty well for a first effort.


There is a resurgence of interest in the CHIA dinner, and there were quite a few people there. It has been a good year for the Harbor, all things considered, even though there were 8 or so deaths of prominent people since last year. I knew about 6 of them. All the community special events were successful. The Hunter's Point Preserve has been a great success already, and there are more improvements planned (which won't make me happy, but it will give more access).  So it was a nice evening altogether, even though I don't like the Mountain Lodge's food as well as either Harbor Haus's or Mariner's.


The Sestoks were there, and we will no doubt be hooking up soon so that Nancy can get her lap desk. 


It turned out to be a lovely day. Those who predicted it would rain were completely wrong, but those who predicted it would be completely clear were wrong, too. There was a mixture of sun and clouds, and it got into the upper 50s this afternoon. There was a little wind around noon, but it died away, and it was quite comfortable without a jacket this evening. There did seem to be some stars when we left the Lodge, and the Sestoks and their guest were going up on Brockway to see what they could see. I came home.


I finally got to talk to Rich Jamsen (he owns the lighthouse boat) about the lighthouse, but he doesn't know what the problem is either. He suspects that when the Coast Guard found that it wasn't rotating properly, they just gave up on it because they can't get parts. I'm of two minds about it. The present light is a measly little thing, but then I doubt many boats out in the big lake really need to navigate by the lighthouses anymore. On the one hand, I miss the big light, but on the other hand, the smaller one is sort of behind the trees and doesn't shine in my eyes so much, and in a few years the trees will hide it completely. But the big like was comforting.


So that was my rather truncated day, and maybe I can sort of catch up on my sleep tonight.


September 20

Well, this turned out to be a long day.


The wind blew and the lake howled all night long, but when I looked up, there were some stars out. It was a bit cool in the bedroom with the window open, since the wind was out of the north, but I could cuddle under the covers and make my own temperature. I got up around 9:00 for a change, and it was just as well, since I got a phone call shortly thereafter, but I didn't get to the office very early, because this was the day to refill the pill dispensers.


When I got up, the sun was peeking over the garage, a lot lower and a lot further south than the last time I was up at that hour. There was blue sky and there were also a lot of puffy clouds, some of which looked like lake effect clouds to me, but there was no rain, and as it turned out, there was a lot of sunshine all day long. The wind was still in the 20-30 mph range, and for quite a while today there were whitecaps on the harbor. It was a pretty day. The temperature was nearly steady in the low 50s, but it didn't really feel too cold out.


The tasks of the day were to get the car unloaded and take the trash to the dumpster, and I did accomplish both.  The stuff from the car is all still in the breezeway, but the trash is all gone for a change. Of course, when I went to the post office, I had to start a new bag, but I expected that.


I got the furniture moved back where it belongs, and Mike, Gary and Karen came to see the house, and we had dinner again at Harbor Haus, and shut the place down again, then we went back to their cabin, which is quite nice. Mike brought me home a while later, but we got to talking and so now it's late. We don't see enough of each other, and he is doing the same sort of job I did for the last 15 years I worked. It was a very nice evening.


I did work on my beading for a while, and I have decided to put a beaded chain on it and wear it as a necklace. However, first I have to get it put together, and that is taking more time than I expected. I am also going to have to dip into another tube of beads to get enough of one color to go all the way around. I would like to finish it to wear tomorrow night to the CHIA dinner, but I'm not sure I will, especially now that it's so late.


So that was a lovely fall day, and it's tomorrow already.


September 19

I didn't get to bed very early last night, but when I did, I did sleep. Along about 4:00 the wind started to rise, and the lake started singing loudly, which always helps. There was a shower between 5:00 and 6:00, and after that the lake was really loud. I couldn't hear the wind much, because it was out of the north, but it was rising into the 25-35 mph range. The window was open just enough that it kept the bedroom nice and cool, and oh, I didn't want to get up!


I didn't get up until 9:30, which meant I was going to get a late start at any rate, and when I got to the office, that was obvious. The computer was hung, and when I got that fixed, the broadband was down. Something apparently broke loose between 7:15 and 7:30, and it took several hours to fix it. In the meantime, I almost didn't have a computer. Between the hangs, the blue screens, the black screens, and other odd happenings, I was beginning to wonder just what was going on. I especially wondered when I fired up the laptop just to see the weather, and that hung, too! I was beginning to feel snakebit.


Eventually, sometime after noon, everything settled down, the broadband came up, and I left. It wasn't a very nice day. The temperature hung right around 50 here, but it was in the middle 40s inland and further south, and while the wind wasn't much of a factor, it kept spitting rain, and there was quite a shower between the Eagle Harbor cutoff and Cliff drive.


However, it is really beautiful, especially along the covered road. The maples are mostly turned, and they are very red and orange this year, and on a dull gray day like today, they looked like they were on fire. The oaks and birches are mostly still green, or yellow-green, but oh, those maples! 


I think I made it to Wal-Mart by 1:30 or so, after a stop at Hughes farm. I have tomatoes, mixed salad greens, lots of beets, corn, Yukon Gold potatoes and onions. It's cool enough in the breezeway now that the potatoes and onions should be safe, and I've been wanting to freeze some more beets. They didn't have any Delicata squash yet. The lady, I think the owner, said she opened one a week or so ago and they weren't ripe yet. So I will probably miss out this year, darn it. By the time I get back from Detroit, I wouldn't be surprised if they are all gone. I will have to make a trip down there as soon as I get back, just in case.


I did the rounds at Wal-Mart, and after I left the craft area, I was nearly sure they didn't have any more of the nice shelves I had gotten, but then I found them on the way to the checkout. So I have two more, which should help keep the breezeway as neat as possible. It just occurred to me that I got pin backs, and I don't have them in the house. I hope they are still in the car.


For some reason, they had only the checkouts at the far end of the building open when I checked out, so it was a long walk, and when I went to put on my coat, I discovered that I had buried my prescription and not paid for it, so I had to go around and through another checkout again. My mind...


It was nasty in Houghton, about 45, drizzling, and windy. Yuck. However, I went on to Econo and stocked up on stuff. Some, like veggie trays, is for the next two weeks, and some, like meat and frozen dinners, is for when I get back. I really needed to lay in some steaks, but I'm not too sure about the ones I got. However, I was casting around the meat counter, and what did I discover but beef short ribs, the real thing! I don't often see them anywhere, and in my opinion, they are one of the most flavorful cuts of beef of all. They are usually pretty fatty, of course, but these are about as lean as they get. Oh, I will feast, after Harbor Haus closes. Otherwise, I seemed mostly to get things to drink. I had run out of most pop except for coke, so I decided it was time to lay in some other things, plus my usual premium pop and fruit-flavored water. And paper goods, and...well, you get the idea. However, by shopping once a month or less, I actually spend less at the grocery than if I went every week or two, so I guess it evens out.


I was totally wiped out by the time I left Econo, and besides, I came up with a very sore left wrist. Left hand is carry - right hand is fetch - and I was having an awful time even lifting a gallon of orange juice. The kitty litter was nearly impossible. I'm sure it was the weather. My wrist is still sore. Then when I went to get gas, I discovered that their pumps were all closed, darn it. They still have the lowest price around here - $2.50 a gallon. I ended up at the BP in Allouez, where it was $2.54. I hear it's a lot less downstate, but any little bit helps. It does make me bitter that it dropped precipitously right after Labor Day, even though there wasn't any change in the demand.


Then it was home, and I got behind a jerk who was in no hurry to get down the covered road and wouldn't turn off. My right leg was cramping, as it often does after I've been walking a lot, and I wanted to get home! Somehow, I have the feeling that my seat isn't going back as far as it should. Maybe it's hung up on the folded down back seat. I will have to raise it and see if I can get my seat to go back further. I thought I used to have more leg room.


The lake was still roaring away when I got back, and the wind was still in the 25-35 mph range, but it has now switched a bit to the north-northeast. The temperature stayed right below 50 all day long, here at least, and after I got here, there was another rain shower, although it spitted rain all the way home. I'm really glad we are having a little blow like this. The other night Gary was mentioning that he had never seen the lake kick up at all. I hope he's enjoying it. It is cool to see a solid line of breakers between Hunter's Point and Porter Island. Between the island and Lighthouse Point, where the channel is, there is usually a break in the white, but the way it comes in, we have breakers down at our end of the harbor. And oh, that wonderful roar! It's not like a real gale, but it's beautiful music to sleep by.


The computer had behaved itself all day, and I sat and listened to the news and features before I unloaded the car, so it was 9:00 before I ate, and it is going to be late when I get to bed, but oh, well.


Buster was very glad to see me, and he sat on my lap, and in fact, went to sleep on it, while I was listening to the radio. He was pretty sleepy today. He got a mouse early this morning, of which he ate only the head, darn him. If he is going to eat them, I wish he'd eat the whole thing. My mother's mom cat taught all her kids to only eat the heads, of both mice and birds, but Buster seems to have learned it on his own. Too bad.


After the closet got cleaned out, I put the cat bed I had brought from Detroit in the far corner under the clothes tree, and it didn't take him more than a day or two to find it. I knew he would like it, because he likes to curl up in small places, and the floor in the closet is usually warm. I'll bet that turns out to be his favorite winter hideout.


The bird feeders didn't ever get put out today, unfortunately. It was too yucky and too windy this morning, and besides, I didn't have time, what with the fooling around with the computers. I'm sorry for the little birds. The goldfinches have begun to return, so this winter I will leave the thistle feeders out. But with the raccoons, I will have to bring them in every night, and that is a pain.


So that is all I know, and it's time for bed.


September 18

It was a good night to sleep, and I did very well, thank you, in spite of being up at 3,4,5,6, and 8. I was awakened just before 10:00 by a bank wanting to know if I had really written that big check to Mark on Saturday. But it was time to get up anyway.


When I was up, I was rather surprised to see that it was clear all night long. There were stars and a little, weak moon that rose very late. Around 5:00 there might have been a glow on the horizon to the north, but I couldn't be sure. The temperature overnight started out around 60 and dropped to 50 early in the morning.


The morning was beautifully clear, too, but along about noon the clouds started to pile up, and there were some rather dramatic pictures from the camera in the afternoon, with black clouds hanging over the harbor, but it didn't rain. In fact, every time they update the weather forecast, there is less rain in it. That will be good for Mike and Gary and Karen, but we need rain! 


The temperature got up to 60, but there wasn't much wind and it wasn't uncomfortable outside.


I had a terrible time with the computer all day long. I am beginning to fear I have a hardware problem, but I can't imagine what it might be. It kept hanging up, and at least twice, I couldn't get a good reload the first time. I got blue screens and black screens and all sorts of nasty things. It's been OK for a while, although the disk just went crazy for about five minutes. Well, we'll see what happens.


I did pay a couple of bills and I went to the post office. It is now on winter hours, and it closes at 3:00. The problem is, the mail comes at the same time it did when the office was open till 4:00, so all the mail doesn't get out before the window closes. That leaves me with a choice: I can either check for packages and not get all the first-class mail, or I can go late and get the first-class mail and not the packages. It isn't Clyde's fault - he just does what they tell him, and they are trying to save money by not having him officially there so long in the off-season. However, it is annoying for those of us who live here.


Then I came back and finished the beading on the brooch - with a cat on my lap. Buster was very clingy all day long, I guess to make up for my absence last evening. I think the brooch came out pretty good for a first effort. I have begun to finish it, but I didn't get very far. I have to stitch all around it with beads, and it will take a while, and the spacing of the stitches is still a problem. I would like to get it done.


Adam called to say he would rather wait until after I get back from Detroit to come and finish up, and that's fine. They are building a house on the big lake, and he will be clearing the site this fall, so he will be around and maybe he can spare me a few minutes.


And Cindy called to ask if I want to go to the Copper Harbor Improvement Association dinner on Thursday. My goodness, all my social events are happening all at once!


I was finishing my dinner after dark when I heard some strange noises on the deck, so I went over to the door and turned on the light, and there in the corner of the deck was a little, fat raccoon. I chased him away, but when I moved around, two more appeared - a big one hanging on the branch with the tube feeder and another little one around the small feeder. They scuttled up the tree when I went out, and I brought in all the feeders. Drat. All three coons are very, very fat and healthy looking, and I suspect they may have been eating my birdseed for a while now.  It is a real pain to bring in all the feeders every night and put them out in the morning, but on the other hand, I don't want to feed raccoons any more than I want to feed bears, so I guess I will.


The trouble is, coons are so darn cute! These guys are really fat, like I said, and they have very nice thick coats. The one on the deck had a big ruff around his neck, and he almost looked like a furry bowling ball on legs when he ran off. I think I have mom coon and two youngsters. The one in the tube feeder was really big, and it was funny to see her hanging by her front paws from the branch like it was a trapeze. The camera did take a picture of the light on the deck, but it didn't catch any coons, I'm sorry to say. And at the time, I was far more interested in getting them to go away than in documenting them.


After I turned out the light, I heard thumping around for a while, and I think that was mom and the other kid jumping down from the tree and going after the other little guy (little being relative).


So that was the excitement of the day, and it's time for bed. I have targeted tomorrow to go to town, and with my schedule and the state of the orange juice, I'd better be sure I do. So I will try to get this uploaded and hope the computer behaves itself tonight and tomorrow.


September 17

I made it into bed before I collapsed, and I got a couple of hours' sleep before the thunder started and the rains came and stayed for two hours. I was wakeful after the rain stopped, and then there was another thundershower, much smaller, between 4:00 and 6:00. After that, I finally settled down and got a few more hours in. So it was a dark and stormy night in the field last night.


It was foggy this morning and hazy and cloudy for most of the day. There was only a ray or two of sunshine all day long, and it was very humid. The temperature, which was around 65 for most of the night, climbed to 75 for a while this afternoon before it plunged to 60 and then recovered a bit. I don't know why it cooled off, although it did look pretty dark out over the lake for a while.


Since I was late, I didn't do much, and I was wrestling with a balky computer for most of the day. It started out with very slow internet access, then it hung up three or four times. So if there was a picture missing or a long time between pictures, that was the reason. I hope it's OK now, but I will reboot it before I go to bed, and hope it's OK in the morning.


However, this evening, I had a delightful dinner with some friends from Detroit, whom I haven't seen in a couple of years. I worked with Mike for a long time, and I really enjoy seeing him, his friend Gary and Gary's sister Karen. We closed down Harbor Haus again, like we always do. I was so glad to see them. I had decided they'd never make it up here this year either, and it was so nice that they did. They won't be here long, just the week, but they love the place, and they can hike, so they'll have a great time. I hope to see them again.


So that was a pleasant evening, and Buster was very happy to see me.


When I went to shut the sliding door, I noticed that the platform feeder was on the deck, all dumped out, and something scrambled down the tree, leaving the little feeder swinging. The big wooden feeder was completely empty, not even a shuck. Hmmm...This morning when I got to the office, the bottom of the hummingbird feeder was on the deck, and all but one of the bee guards had been chewed out. The feeder on the deck had been moved a couple of feet, and it was almost empty, too. So I guess I have a critter. I don't think it's a bear. A bear would have crunched everything, and would probably have torn the thistle socks to pieces. I suspect this is a raccoon. So I guess I will have to begin to bring the feeders in at night again, darn it. Half of the hanger for the platform feeder is missing. I hope I will find it on the ground tomorrow, so that I can hang it back up. There was a pine branch on the deck, too, but I don't know where that came from. I know the critters are hungry, but I wish they'd go someplace else. 


So that was my nice day, and I hope it's a bit quieter tonight, so that I can get some more sleep.


September 16

Wow, I'm tired! It was late when I got to bed last night, and because I didn't know when - or if - anybody would be coming today, I got up around 9:30, which wasn't my usual quota of sleep even if I hadn't been up 6 times. Then nobody arrived until 12:30. Figures. If I'd just slept on, they would have shown up at 10:00.


Mark and Paula arrived at 12:30. They stayed south of the bridge overnight, and it seems there was a parade this morning before the Tech football game, and they just closed US-41.  Oops. However, they got right at it, and left about 5 hours later. I have pristinely clean windows - all of them - and the woodwork around the windows is clean, too. So are the windowsills between the windows and the screens. I also have a new battery in the basement smoke detector. So we'll see if that cures the cheeping, and if Buster will begin to go down to use the trays there. I'm letting the tray  at the top of the stairs get really dirty, in the hope of convincing him to go back to the kitty bathroom.


Then Kim arrived, alone. Baby-sitting problems again, so Adam ended up having to sit the kids. That's all right, because the caulk hadn't arrived. Maybe next week. He is having to  get it at the place that did my tile, and they are acting up, because he doesn't use them as a sub anymore, and also because when they heard I was still having trouble with my tile, they didn't offer to fix it.


We attacked my closet, and I now have an impeccably clean, neat closet, for the first time in a long time. I have a crate of shoes and a big bag of clothes to take with me for the house sale, and I have a much better idea of what clothes I have - too many by far. That was pretty strenuous work, though, and my legs were sore and rubbery by the time we finished. She did some other things, and I kept remembering things I wanted to do, so by the time Mark and Paula left, I was hungry and thirsty and very, very tired. So this entry is getting done early and then I am going to take a nice, refreshing shower and crash.


The weather was great for what we were doing, although we almost had a rain shower in the middle of things. When I got up this morning, it was very hazy down the harbor and partly sunny, and the temperature was 64 already. It eventually topped out at 73. There was a good wind from the south, with gusts up to 30 mph for a while, and since it was very humid - still is - it was a good thing we had the wind, although it made working on a ladder on the lake side of the house somewhat interesting. It is now cooling off again, and there may be some rain tonight. It is very sticky.


The camera didn't come up this morning, because the computer hung again. I was playing TextTwist last night. I don't know what it does, but it isn't anything good. What a good reason not to play it. It's addictive anyway, so better I don't unless I know for sure I will be rebooting after I finish. I don't think it was much different earlier, although it is fun to see the sun rise on the mountain.


Mark said that the covered road is very colorful. That's early, but then the color is early around here, too. I think it's the dryness. I will see this week, because I really have to go to town and lay in supplies.


There was hardly anybody in Mariner tonight, which is a shame. I am pigging out on salad bar, because this is the end of it. It's for sure that the dining room is going away next year, and that means no salad bar. I hope it doesn't mean they won't have a full menu in the bar, but I haven't asked Peggy about it.


I saved another sunset picture from the camera. This one was earlier than the one on Thursday, but in the next one, the sun was gone behind the clouds. It gives you an idea how much the sun has moved south in only two days. Besides, it was kind of pretty. It is really moving now, and by next Friday, it will be setting behind the hill right in that notch underneath it tonight. And in less than a  month from then, it will be out of the picture on the left (or I think that's the timing). I'm glad I have my new task lamp.


While I was down in the basement, I went through the box marked "open first" and did find a few things to bring upstairs. It wasn't all that vital, but it did have some things in it that I find useful. So I have officially partially unpacked the first box.


So that was my strenuous day, and now I am going to hobble up to the north end, take a nice hot shower, and crash. What a nice thought!


September 15

It's the middle of the month already, and I have no idea where the time went.


I did get to bed rather earlier last night (I won't tonight), but after the first four hours or so, I didn't sleep very well. Part of it was that I had a hard time getting my temperature right, and part of it was who knows? It turned out that I could have left the door open, since the temperature overnight only got down to 60 here, but I didn't know that. The "who knows?" part of it is harder to remedy. My little mind seemed to be going in tight circles.


So I got up middlin' late and diddled around for most of the day. I did remember that my estimated taxes are due today, but I forgot that the post office goes on its winter hours today, so while I mailed my checks and picked up the mail in my box, I couldn't check for packages. Probably there weren't any, because Clyde usually leaves a signature slip in the box when there is a package that isn't picked up.


It was a beautiful day, and I enjoyed it by having the doors open all day long. The temperature got up to 75, with a moderate breeze from the southwest, and it was really lovely. The only thing that marred it for me is that there are still a lot of people in the campground, and when the wind is from the southwest and it is a bit cool, I get the full thrust of the smell of wood smoke, to which I am somewhat allergic. It gives me a headache and makes me sneeze. It gets into the house whether it's opened up or not, and having it open actually clears out the smell better than trying to keep it closed up.


I fiddled around so much that I didn't make it to the trash compactor, so I still have orange bags lying around. I must try to get them out to the garage tomorrow. I had hoped to prepare a bit for people to come tomorrow, but I didn't really do that, either. Sometimes I just opt out.


I guess I read a couple of magazines, at which I am very much behind, and I made a couple of telephone calls about my address change. I got the forms to officially change my homestead for property tax reasons, so I will have to fill those out over the weekend and send them off in all directions.  There are two long forms and two pages of very fine print instructions, to which I need to give my full attention.


I did get the bird feeders refilled this evening, and the camera caught a beautiful picture of my double chin. I was trying to hang the platform feeder, and one of the chains came off, and the camera caught me as I was putting the thing back together. That meant I spilled a lot of seed on the deck, but I have no fear that it will be cleaned up perfectly before the day is done tomorrow. The chickadees were waiting, apparently, and they got very excited and told everybody about it when I came out onto the deck, but they waited until the tube feeder was full and I stood still for a moment before they came to get their dinner. It was almost dark when an altercation broke out between the squirrels. For heaven's sake - there is plenty of seeds for everyone, and more where that came from. But they are greedy little things anyway, and there are a couple who really don't like each other.


There wasn't much of a sunset tonight. There were high, thin clouds all day long, and they gathered up in the west around sunset. so we didn't see the sun go down (behind the Sestok's house, actually). And they are saying that tomorrow will be the end of the warm weather. Weil, it was nice while it lasted, anyway.


So now I must try to get to bed, because I will have to be up and more or less logical fairly early tomorrow. September is half gone. Sigh.


September 14

It took me about 5 tries and two reboots before I got the journal uploaded last night, and as a result I was much too late getting to bed. I did get my 8 hours, but that meant it was 11:00 or more before I got up, and I felt groggy all day long. Sometimes I feel like staying up till that hour, and sometimes I don't. Last night was a don't, but oh, well.


It was a nearly completely lost day. I did cycle out the last of the clean dishes, started refilling the dishwasher, and I began gathering the trash into an orange bag. The task of the day for tomorrow is trash. I don't have a huge amount, but there's enough that it's time to go to the compactor.


It was a nice day. I never did see any stars, because it was beginning to get light when I got up for the first time. When I got up for good, it was sort of clear, with very high, thin, even clouds over the entire sky, which dimmed the sun somewhat. That lasted pretty much all day long, although it got brighter as the day went on. There was a thick haze on the horizon at sunset, which meant it wasn't pretty, but it was definitely interesting. Notice where the sun is now! It is fleeing south at about 3 minutes a day, which I think is about as fast as it ever goes. I do hate to see it go.


I stuck my head out the door when I got up, and it smelled like autumn, and it was a bit chilly to leave the door open at that point, but I had the doors open for most of the afternoon, and it was lovely. The temperature got up to about 70, with not too much wind, and it was so nice to have the fresh air. I did close the one in the office just now, because the temperature has plunged to 62, and there is a little breeze. The next couple of days are supposed to be warm before we head into our usual equinoctial yucky weather, and I plan to enjoy it. This is the time of year when we here at the shore get the most variation in temperature between day and night. It was 52 last night, and it is supposed to be about the same tonight. I get spoiled during the times when the temperature is nearly constant, but I won't leave the door open tonight.


Buster seemed glad to have the porch open, except that when I opened the kitchen door, the next thing I knew he was sitting in front of the bedroom door, which was still closed. I sometimes wish I knew what goes on in his fuzzy little head. He was pretty happy today, because he got to sit on my lap as much as he wanted, since I wasn't doing anything much.


So that was a short, quiet day, and I am going to try hard to get to bed at a more or less reasonable hour tonight and catch up on my sleep. With the change of seasons, I need more sleep, as usual, and I didn't get it last night.


September 13

I actually didn't get to bed too late last night, and I wasn't too late getting up this morning. So that was a good thing.


However, Buster was meowing around, and he kept at it, and clearly I wasn't understanding him. A couple of times he got onto the new throw I had put on the counter and made like he was going to do something, then he kept meowing, and finally he peed on the floor by one of the orange bags...well! So I got the small pan from his cage and put it in the back hall. Then I had to try to grab him, which I finally did, after some trouble, and I put him in the tray. He ran away then, but as soon as I went back into the office, he used it, and he used it again tonight.


Apparently his problem has been that he will not go into the basement so long as that smoke detector is cheeping at us. For some reason, the battery in that one only seems to have failed, and even though it is tied into the electrical system, it cheeps intermittently anyway. 


What with all the cleanup...I found a couple of more places, including my basket full of the plastic bags I use for my jewelry...I never did make it into the basement today. I have discovered that I have a good supply of 9-volt batteries, so I guess tomorrow is the basement day. I was going to wait for Adam, but my caulking compound hasn't come, and that would be Saturday anyway.


I ended up straightening the office, which had gotten a lot of stuff in the middle of the floor again, and I threw away a lot of catalogs. I have a lot more to go, but I got tired. I got to the sewing machine and mended a pair of underpants whose side seam had come undone, and I found two other pairs that seem to be perfectly all right. I do need to shorten the one pair of jeans, so that I can wear them, but I decided to wait on that until tomorrow.


I looked at a lot of beads, and packed them away in some kind of order, but I didn't work on the brooch at all. That's all right.


I was toying with the idea of going to town tomorrow. The orange juice is getting low, and the cash is getting low, so it's getting to be time to take that trek. We'll see. It's late already, so I may not make it tomorrow.


It is nice to be able to walk across the office without falling over something again. I decided to have a pizza for dinner, but I hit some wrong button and drastically overcooked the first one, so I had to do it again. That's part of the reason I'm so late tonight. While I was waiting for it, I began to get extremely twitchy, and I nearly drove both Buster and me crazy, because I can't find a comfortable place to sit. This happens occasionally, usually after I have been doing a lot of walking and I sit down. What caused it tonight, I don't know.


It was a rather nice day today. It was quite sunny all day, although it looked like there was a high, thin layer of clouds that turned the sky white this afternoon. The temperature only got up to 58 this afternoon, with a northwest wind that was up to 15 mph for a while. It was so warm in the office from the solar heat that I opened the window, and it is still open. I think I will leave it tonight. It is much more comfortable in here when the temperature is lower.


So now it is after midnight again, and I will trundle off to the north end and try to sleep better than I did last night. I still don't trust the black furball.


September 12

I made the mistake of taking a couple of books with me when I went up to the north end, and as a result it was 2:00 or so before I got to bed. I slept hard for about 4 hours, but after that I didn't do so well, and it was 11:00 before I got up again. Oh, well. There wasn't much to see.


I had toyed with the idea of going to town for supplies, but I was far too late for that, so I embroidered. The first effort is coming along. One half is completely done, and I've started the second half. I started by putting a line of bugle beads diagonally across the area (round), and after I did that and put in an outline of the darkest shade of turquoise, I realized that what I had done looked suspiciously like a yin-yang symbol, which was not what I intended at all. So I have been trying hard to do things which wouldn't look like that. Since there are curved lines in the top half, I am using straight lines in the bottom half. It really doesn't look bad for a first effort, and besides, I am using a very limited palette of beads, both in color and shape. They aren't the best of beads, either, and the smallest ones are pretty big. But that was the assignment I gave myself: to use only one tube of beads, with very few accents from another assortment. When I feel proficient enough to start using my expensive bead soup, I will have done several practice pieces, and already I am not quite so thumb-fingered.


Actually, that's the problem: it's taking me a while to figure out just the best way to use my left thumb to nail down the beads or the thread before I stick the needle down to the back. I am still doing a lot of pulling out and re-doing, and fortunately, the thread doesn't fray so much on fabric. But it's coming along, and I'm getting the hang of it. I hope eventually it doesn't take me three or four days to do a 2" brooch.


It wasn't the kind of day to tempt me to do much else. The temperature did barely get over 60 for a while, with not much wind, and it was cloudy for most of the day, although it did almost clear up around sunset. Sunset was OK, but nothing to make me go running outside with the camera. There were some nice orange tints on the horizon right before it got dark.


Speaking of orange, just in the two days since I was last out, the smaller maples and oaks have begun to turn dramatically. There is some red and orange around here, and of course, lots of yellow. I mean, things are changing fast. However, if I recall, this has happened before, then it just stops until the end of September or the first of October. With as dry as this summer has been, who knows what will happen? It was dry last year, too, but then we had rain in September, if I recall correctly without checking the journal. There has been rain south of us, but we haven't gotten very much at all.


I did wash dishes, and I washed one of the throws on the counter in the office, because Buster committed a severe indiscretion twice on it, and he piddled on the floor. I do not know what possessed him to do that, and it concerns me. He is usually such a clean little kitty. I must check the trays tomorrow. It may just be that I have been paying more attention to other things when he wants to sit on me. He did get a good sit tonight, because he was already taking his midday siesta when I got up this morning. We'll see what happens now.


I really do need to go downstairs anyway, because I think that somewhere in my effects I have some pin backs, and in a day or so, I'm going to need one. I'm not sure I will sell this first effort, but I do expect to wear it. And when it's finished, there will be a picture. Now if I can find anything...


So it's time to try to get to bed a little earlier tonight, although it won't be much, since it's 11:30 already. Oh, well.


September 11

Golly. Five years ago this morning, Tammy Kirkish Keller arrived in my driveway with my vertical blinds and said that something horrible was going on in New York...but it wasn't until after she finished installing them and left that I turned the radio on and heard what had happened. I did a lot of weeping that day. 


I got to bed remarkably early last night, but it took me a long time to get to sleep and I was up a number of times. I started sleeping really well around 6:00, and while I was awake briefly just before 9:00, I went back to sleep and didn't get up until 11:30. Got to get my beauty rest sometime.


The moon was clearly mixed up with some clouds during the night, and a couple of times it faded out completely, but it is still so bright that when it is shining in the clear sky, I can almost see the colors in the side yard. That's what unpolluted skies will do for you, and there hasn't been much water vapor in the atmosphere lately so everything is clear and sharp.


When I finally made it out of bed this morning, it was sunny, but there were a lot of clouds in the sky...on three levels, all going in different directions. The lowest ones were going southeast to northwest, the middle ones were going northwest to southeast, and the high ones, including a contrail, were too high to see any movement. This was all in the most beautiful blue sky...it was really interesting.


When I checked the pictures from the camera, I had to save one, because it was about the best display of what (I've discovered) is called the "Girdle of Venus" we've had in a long time (not to mention the reflection in the calm waters of the harbor). The bluish part is the shadow cast by the earth into the atmosphere, and the pink band is the sun being refracted through the layers of atmosphere. If you have a clear eastern horizon, you can sometimes see it after sunset, too. If you sit and watch, you can see it move, which shows the rotation of the earth. It's one of those cool atmospheric effects that I've never seen in the big city.


My day was rather compressed, even more so than usual. Last night, after I uploaded this, I called Debbie, but her cell phone wasn't where she was, so about noon she called me back, and we had our usual three hour conversation. It was good to hear from her, and she is doing fine, although her divorce hasn't been recorded yet, so it is not officially final, and money is tight for her. However, she sounds good, and happy, and upbeat, and that's what is important. She is wrestling with all the traumas of having 16 and 14 year old sons, but they're good kids.


After I had something to eat, I sorted a few beads, but that looked like a dead end, so I took a deep breath and started working on my first bead embroidery piece. Embroidering with beads is not as easy as with thread, and this is the last one I will do on felt, although I will probably use felt for padding. Getting the stitches accurate so that the beads lie against each other, and in straight lines, is even harder on felt than it would be on fabric. I had to stop and try to find some more different sizes and shapes of beads, and I temporarily lost a hank of silver beads, then after I found them, I stabbed my thumb with the needle. I have to use a sharp needle, which is called a "sharp", and they are definitely sharper than any other needles I've used. I decided that was a signal to give up for the night.


I did take a break earlier to eat my leftover chicken from Friday, and Buster came and sat on the throw in the window and stared at the plate until I gave him some...quite a helping for him. It was good chicken. I guess my experience with the underdone chicken last winter was a wakeup call to Mariner, and ever since, the chicken has been done well enough to fall off the bones. This one had a honey-parmesan glaze baked on. Yum.


Oh, the weather. It was partly cloudy all day, and the temperature got up to about 60. The wind was from the southeast, when it was blowing, but it wasn't very strong. I guess we may see some rain - it's raining down along the Lake Michigan coast - and warmer temperatures for the rest of the week. That will be nice. I was beginning to wonder if this was going to be the third year I saw snow on the 22nd of September. I hope not. Winter is long enough.


On that topic, I just heard from a reader that King Copper Motel won't be open this winter. I'm not surprised, Shirley notwithstanding. She really didn't have enough business last winter to justify staying open. Unfortunately, with all the hotels and motels going up in Houghton, not so many winter visitors are coming to stay here. I think Mariner did all right, but there were a lot of weekends, even, when there were only two or three rooms at King Copper in use. That isn't good business.


So I guess that wraps it up, and it's time to try this bed thing again.


September 10

I didn't have a very good night last night, and I don't know why, except that I couldn't get comfortable, so I was wakeful.  There was a moon for part of the night, but then it clouded over, although the sky was still light from the moon shining on the clouds. It was still cloudy this morning, and in fact, it was late in the afternoon before the clouds began to break up. The temperature got down to 40 last night and up almost to 60 this afternoon. There were very light winds from everywhere, so it really was a nice day. 


I got up around 9:30, and found the computer hung again when I got to the office. Warned you, didn't I? I don't know what the problem is. So far, it's been fine today, though.


I celebrated by having a real breakfast for a change (after noon, of course) and otherwise doing nothing at all. Buster was happy, because he could sit on my lap, which he did for a good part of the day.


It was quiet at Harbor Haus tonight, although the same group of four couples that were at Mariner Friday was at Harbor Haus tonight. One of the ladies reminds me distinctly of my grandmother (not a good thing), although she does laugh and grin, which I don't remember my grandmother ever doing. I got to thinking, good heavens, these are my contemporaries! Then I dropped gravy down my front, and thought, oh, yeah. Me too.


When I got home, I decided to finish the pink bracelet, which I did. There will be a picture tomorrow. So I was facing the window when the sun went down, and I think maybe we are at the beginning of the spectacular sunsets. This one was possibly prettier earlier, when the clouds that are gray in this picture were orange, but I was making the clasp on the bracelet then. I though this one was rather nice. The sun is setting behind Porter Island, just to the left of the tree. The webcam hasn't caught it in the act yet, but it will one of these days. The days are getting short: 12h 51m today. The sun doesn't rise until after 7:20, and it's going down before 8:15. Sigh.


While I was beading, I got a call from Mark the window washer, and he is going to be here a week from tomorrow to do the windows. I was glad to hear from him. I'd decided he wasn't going to come, and he and Paula do a much better job on the windows than I think I could get Adam to do. Besides, he is a nice guy, so I'd just as soon give him some of my money.


So that is all I know, and I will call it a night.


September 9

This is getting habitual, although it's been a little later every night. I was just on the deck, enjoying a very nice sunset. Not spectacular, but nice. The sun set behind Porter Island into a nearly clear sky (a few clouds on the northwestern horizon), and the horizon has now turned luminous orange. I thought it might be a night to catch the zodiacal light, but I think I was too early, if I could see it at all. Jupiter was shining in the southwest already, however.


I had a long night's sleep last night. When I was awake, most of the time the moon was large and bright and lighting the landscape, although there were a few scattered clouds, as there were for part of the day today. And at one point, the moon was shining right on my bed, although it was too high to see. The reason they call the September full moon the Harvest Moon is that for a week or more around full, it spends a very long time in the sky, and our farmer forefathers could actually continue the harvest by moonlight. It's been bright, but I think they could see better at night than we can.


I didn't wake up until 10:30 this morning, which was beginning to concern Buster. When I did, the part of the sky I could see was perfectly clear, although there must have been one cloud that covered the sun for a few minutes while I was in the bathroom.


When I got to the office, the computer was hung, and my mouse and keyboard were inaccessible. It doesn't seem to have bothered the camera this time, which is nice. The same thing happened several times today, along with a few really strange system messages. It did hang as soon as I left for dinner tonight, so there were no pictures between 6:00 and 7:15. Usually that means something is wrong, but I really have no clue what is going on. We'll see what happens overnight tonight, but don't be surprised if there aren't any pictures for a while tomorrow morning.


It was a really beautiful day, and although it was cool - 50 overnight and 55 all day - it didn't feel too bad, because there wasn't any wind to speak of, and what there was was from the northeast. I had the office door open all day long and I was perfectly comfortable inside. 


When I went out to look at the sky, the surface of the harbor was nearly flat, but the water was swishing softly, so it wasn't perfectly calm. That is a nice, calming sound, too.


The squirrels had done a number on the bird feeders, so I filled them all up this morning. I also put out a full hummingbird feeder, but I suspect that they have gone while I wasn't looking again. They leave early. This evening, before sunset, I noticed a little bird clinging to one of the deck newels and when I looked at it with the glasses, it was a yellow warbler. I know they are common, and I know they are around here, but since they are bug eaters, they don't come to the feeders. This guy was apparently looking for bugs, so I guess the warblers are getting ready to leave, too.


I decided to try to clear the table around the sewing machine, because I have two new pairs of jeans that need to be shortened. They are from Layne Bryant, and they were cheap, and the fabric is pretty thin. You gets what you pays for. I have to get talls, and the legs are just a bit too long. I don't like the look of dragging my jean hems on the ground as I walk, so I will have to shorten them a little. Anyway, I ended up moving a lot of things around and making piles.


I had also been looking through my stash of felt for something to embroider on, and I decided that I have other uses for the cupboard where I had it, so that is all piled up, too. Maybe tomorrow I can get it into one of the storage boxes that are in the hallway. I found a lot of stuff that should be stashed downstairs, if I ever get that mess cleaned up. I did find something to bead on.


I worked on the pink bracelet a bit, and I now have about an inch, plus the clasp, to go. I want to finish that before I take off into embroidery. It should be done tomorrow. I've also been looking at my selection of beads, and thinking about the designs to bead. I am going to start out very modestly with 2" circles and maybe an oval or two and see how it goes. I have been thinking about creating a cloth journal to hold all these things that I start and don't work out, and I'm sure some of my bead embroidery will end up there, too. It should be fun.


When I went to dinner, there was a large gathering in the park, and I figured out that Art Davis and Miranda Kilpela's wedding was today. It looks like they may have been married at the fort, and the reception was (or is, I should say) in the park. I miss Shirley. She always knew everything that was going on, and I'm sure she would have been invited to the wedding. They had a nice day for it. I suppose some of the women may be a bit cool, but with no wind, it should be tolerable with a shawl or jacket.


So that was today, and I think I will call it a night. I'm getting caught up on my sleep, but again last night, there was half an hour or more where I had to sit in the bathroom, and that does disrupt my sleep. It should be a starry night in the field tonight.


September 8

It's early again tonight, but since it was midnight before I went to bed last night, I thought I would try this early thing again and see if I can do better. I didn't sleep very well for a while, but I made up for it this morning...my excuse is that the clocks were off. Ha.


When I went toward the north end, in the dark, I saw a large flash of lightning over the mountain, but it was right on the horizon, so I knew it was a long way away. The wind and the sea were rising when I went to bed, and the lake was roaring with a high-pitched roar that means high, but not mammoth. The mid Superior buoy reported 7' waves around that time, although they subsided to 6' by morning. It was cloudy and windy, and around 3:00, the rain began. I was up at the time and there were a couple of flashes of lightning, out over the lake, but that was all. I was trying to go back to sleep - for some reason the lake bothered me - when the phones went "bleep!" a couple of times and the clocks started flashing. I got up after a while and set them, but then around 8:00, I think, it happened again, and I just turned over, and I didn't get up until 11:00 or so. By that time the rain had stopped, but it was still blowing. The temperature, which was around 55 at midnight, dropped down to 50 or so and stayed right there all day long. Funny, when I was outside (with a jacket on for the first time since May), it really didn't feel all that cool.


It was a cloudy day but not too dark until about 6:15, when almost all the clouds blew away and it is now almost perfectly clear. The sun set south of the tree...at 8:17. Oh, the days are getting short!


I knew that the power glitches would screw up the camera: the wireless receiver usually has to be cycled after a power failure big enough to cause the clocks to go off. However, when I did that, I still couldn't get a connection. After trying several times, I called PastyNet, and it seems that when my power hiccupped, the power at the Mountain Lodge went off and didn't come back. So I did my morning surfing on the laptop, by dial-up. The picture on the website and on the PastyNet Bridgecam was the last one from last night, but so was the picture of the bridge. I think the first picture of the day that actually uploaded was at about 3:15. Sorry about that, but hey, power failures happen in this part of the country. I was curious that the Mountain Lodge lost power, but here along the shore we didn't, but it could have been that they blew a transformer or something.


I finally left the computer down, because we kept having glitches all morning, but there was a long period of calm after the last one, so I brought it back up to make it ready to upload when it could.


I don't think I did much. I think I may have looked at a few catalogs, which have really gotten backlogged lately, but that's about all. When I went to the post office, my package from JoAnn's had come (Chip, if you read this, tell Nancy her lap desk is safely here!), so I hustled home and set up my new desk lamp, which I am about to try. It has an 18 watt daylight florescent bulb, and from what I could tell in the daylight, it is going to be a really wonderful light to work by. I will try it shortly. It also has a base that must be weighted with lead, and it is almost too heavy to move, which I guess is a good thing. The only thing I don't really like is that it is white. Ott had a black one, but the light wasn't as bright, and some of the comments on the JoAnn site seemed to indicate that it has production problems. This is the same brand (Daylight) as my floor lamp, which has worked just fine. It also has an attached adjustable magnifier, which I will have to try to see if it works for me.


I ate at Mariner tonight, but I had been snacking, so I brought most of my half chicken and all of my potato home with me. I want to enjoy the salad bar so long as it's available, since it probably won't be next year. There were more people in town than I had expected, and they are all either my age or very young with very young kids. This is the day I always arrived, too. The crowds and the kids are gone, and usually the weather is pretty good, at least until right before the equinox.


It seems, though, that autumn blew in overnight, and our warm weather is gone. I'm conflicted about that. I don't like hot weather at all, and we did have a few days of 80s here at the shore this year, but I found most of the summer quite comfortable, so long as I stayed right here. I do enjoy mid-70s so long as it isn't too humid, and I really love having the house opened up. On the other hand, autumn is still my favorite season, and while my trip to Detroit will probably mean I'll miss the height of the color here, October is frequently a lovely month, and I don't have to look forward to packing up and going back to Detroit for the winter.  I do believe we are well-prepared for winter this year. And yet, I will miss Christmas and singing with the choir. So I'm conflicted, but I knew that when I made this decision.  This is the real world, and we can't have absolutely everything. So I think about coming down the road after dark in the snow and how incredibly beautiful that is. I will enjoy being here, and I will definitely not miss driving 600 miles in the wintertime! That was an ugly trip south we took on December 2 or 3 of last year!


So there it is. I sometimes still have a hard time believing that I'm really, truly living here now, so I try to enjoy every day to the fullest. On a gorgeous night like tonight, that's easy to do. The moon should just have risen, and we may see it tonight. 


And I think we will toddle off to bed as soon as this uploads.


September 7

You know what? It's only 8:00 and the sun hasn't even set yet and I'm writing. Hard to believe. However, I was so late getting to bed last night, that even though I didn't get up until 11:00, I didn't get enough sleep, and I'm tired. Maybe I can get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight and get up at a reasonable hour tomorrow?


The day was so truncated that I don't have much to report. I didn't do much except read a couple of magazines, which took most of my time.


I got up at 11:00 because I was hot, and when I opened the porch door to sniff, it seemed rather warm out. I was right: it was already 72, with a light wind. It was mostly clear, too, which wasn't what was predicted. While I was sitting in the bathroom, I saw a shadow pass in front of the sun, and after craning my neck for a few seconds, I saw the eagle soaring off to the north toward the lake.


Anyway, the weather. It continued to get warmer, and the wind, from the west, was rising. The temperature topped out at 82, and the wind was gusting from 10 to 23 mph...or it was at the holding ponds. Over here, I  would say the gusts were a bit stronger than that. Anyway, with the wind, it really didn't seem so warm, although it did get a bit stuffy in the house, so I opened a few doors. Now the temperature is dropping with the sun, but slowly, and the wind is dropping some too. 


According to the forecast, it is supposed to plummet into the low 50s overnight and probably rain, and tomorrow it won't hit 60. Weather in Michigan is always so much fun! At least I got to open up the house one last time, although I didn't completely open it up, because I would have to shut everything before I crash. I was glad we did the cleaning yesterday.


Speaking of that, I forgot to mention that yesterday I found my keys, which I lost back in May, not long after I got back here. I found them in the kitchen drawer where I keep the appliance instruction books and the keys to the hurricane shutters, which is a place I never would have looked, except that I had to put away some more stuff that had been in the breezeway. I surmise that after I went to the post office that day, I decided it was high time to open up the porch. When I pull up the shutters, I put the locks in my pocket, then I came in and scooped the locks into the drawer, along with my keys. When I realized that the keys were missing, I frankly completely forgot what I had been doing (my mind...), so it never occurred to me to look there.


Things like that are one reason I don't keep all my keys together in one big lump. I keep this house key and the post office box key on one chain, my car key alone, and the keys to the other house on their own chain. That way, I am less likely to lose everything when I lose my mind. Anyway, it is nice to have all my keys accounted for once more. They are all in the closet right now, so the next step will be to put them in my brief case where they belong.


I had broken the fob on the ring I'd been using since I've lived here (it was pewter and the ring wasn't very big for the size of the fob), and sort of temporarily attached them to a nice copper ring, so now I guess I can fiddle with the split ring and attach them right. I do worry about losing my mind, but I was sure all along that they would surface, it just wasn't where I expected. So that was a satisfaction.


And now I will get this uploaded. There were a few glitches in the pictures today, because I had to reboot a couple of times. The first was because things were running slowly, and the second time IE hung the computer and when I tried to determine what it was, I got a blue screen. However, there wasn't change to the picture, except the movement of the sun. There were some nice whitecaps this afternoon, and the bird feeders were swinging around so wildly that nobody came. The hummingbird feeder is empty, I think, but all the nectar would run out if I filled it in the wind. Tomorrow.


And that is all there is for today. Autumn comes tomorrow.


September 6

Well, I've done it again. It's tomorrow already, and I'm still up. Oh, well.


I didn't sleep very well again, even though I got to bed late. This time it was my left hip, and I had to go and sit up for a while before it settled down. I was having temperature problems, too, as well as cat problems. He wanted to be right beside me, which isn't comfortable for me. I got up before I wanted to, because Kim was coming, although she got here late again.


We did have a productive day, I must say. I have a clean, well-organized broom closet, and I found a bunch of things I didn't know were there, or I knew were there and couldn't find. I had taken a shelf out a long time ago because it was so low I couldn't get the mops and brooms into the closet, and we managed (with difficulty) to get it put back up so I have three shelves for things. Then we attacked the breezeway, and it, too, is now clean and neat. The only place that needs some work is under the stairs and landing, where there is still construction dust as well as bird seed. It will take a shop vac to get that clean, and I don't have my shop vac yet.


We did a little work on the kitchen, which is better than it was, and filled two orange bags with trash. So that was the sum total of my day.


The reason I am so late is that I got to reading a bead catalog...one of those 600 page things...and time just passed. Didn't find much that I can't live without, and noticed that prices have gone way, way up. I am certainly glad I got my 14 caret gold and sterling silver chains when I did (only a couple of each, but I've worn them a lot). And I may never be able to execute my idea for hanging mother-of-pearl flower pendants on semi-precious stone necklaces. I could probably sell them for a good price, but I have to get the materials first, and the prices keep going up. On the other hand, small semi-precious cabochons (up to about ") are within the realm of possibility to add to any bead embroidered stuff I may do. But I guess I'll be using plated findings, mostly, for a while, unless the price of gold particularly take a dramatic downturn. Even gold-filled stuff is out of sight. Sigh.


So that was fun, and now I'm tired.


The weather was great for doing what we did. The temperature was between 60 and 65 all day, and there was some sun, but it was partly cloudy. There was a nice breeze, mostly from the east, so while we were both sweating, particularly while we were hassling the closet shelf, it wasn't all that uncomfortable. There was a dark cloud in the west at sunset, so there wasn't anything much to see. 


Oh, yes, and the health department was here to take their yearly samples from my drain field, but they said everything looked fine and the water was clear, so that's good.


And now I will hope this thing behaves itself and I can get a quick upload and go to bed!


September 5

I had just jumped into bed, and Buster had finally settled down around my legs when he sprang into action and raced off: the first mouse of autumn. I guess he ate it with no ill effects, because it wasn't around this morning, and he is fine, although he is acting very clingy. I think his problem is that usually I go away for a week in the middle of August, and this year I didn't. So he is wondering when the other shoe will drop, or maybe he thinks if he is really, really nice, I'll stay here and I won't have any people tromping around stirring things up. Poor Buster. I think it will probably take him a while to get used to the new order of things. Right now he is asleep on the counter to my left. I had the porch open for a while tonight, and he liked the fresh air.


I didn't sleep very well last night, again. I didn't have any particular aches, but I just couldn't get comfortable, and it was warm in the bedroom, so I couldn't get the temperature right. Buster wanted to cling, which didn't help things at all. I did my best sleeping after about 4:00, although I was awake when Ron went bombing down the road at 6:45...today is the first day of school, and Trevor is always hard to get up in the morning.


The night may have been clear, but the moon was so bright I couldn't see any stars. I did see the moon set, around 3:30 this morning, but before that it was incredibly bright, even though it isn't full yet. The day started off beautifully clear and sunny, but as the day wore on, it clouded up a bit and the sun set in a cloudbank. More about that later. The temperature varied between 60 and 66 depending upon how strong the wind was. Since it was blowing from the northwest, when it was strong, the temperature went down, and when the wind died down, the temperature went up. Right now it's a dead calm again.


Even though there were some clouds at sunset, it was a spectacular one, but one which, unfortunately, just can't be caught in the camera, even though I tried hard. For about half an hour, it hung over the east end of Porter Island like a huge, brilliant red balloon. Every so often, a line of clouds would show up across its face, then go away. I tried hard, really, to get a picture, but even though it didn't look like it to me, the sun was just too bright to show any color at all except right around its edges. So that was a disappointment. The clouds didn't color at all after it went down. Too thick, I guess. Well, poo. 


I had my usual wacky problems with the camera which, between yesterday and today, has lost track of how well charged the batteries are again. I do not believe that they could be fully charged yesterday and almost discharged today. No way. It was also failing to turn off occasionally. I haven't figured out exactly why, every couple of pictures, a "wait" icon appears on the screen for 10 or more seconds, and I can't do anything at all while it is there. I must re-read the directions.


I was disappointed that the pictures didn't show what I wanted them to, because at least two or three were focused about as good as they can get. I must always remember to hold the shutter release half down for a second or two before I take the picture, because the camera will simply not focus correctly if I don't, even in automatic mode. And when I first tried to turn off the flash, that didn't work either...and at one point the screen went blank and wouldn't turn back on until several seconds after I had turned the camera off and back on...I mean, it's really flaky. However, I can't afford a digital SLR at this point, and besides, I'm waiting until the reasonably priced ones have full 35mm format. So I will cope with this thing, or maybe I will send what I just wrote to Nikon and see what they say.


Anyway, that occupied me for a while tonight. I did a bit of beading today, finally made two more doctor's appointments (boy, am I going to be busy that week!), unloaded the dishwasher at last, and cooked my beets at last. So I did accomplish a few things. The rest of my bead soup came, so I have more interesting and beautiful beads to look at. I am simply going to have to attack the basement and try to find some suitable fabric so I can try using some of these beautiful beads. Of course, I will start out with some not-so-expensive ones, but I am itching to try some bead embroidery. Soon. I want to finish the pink bracelet, which is shaping up nicely.


I am happy to report that my finger feels a lot better today. It's still warm and a bit sore to the touch, but it doesn't ache and the swelling has gone down somewhat. However, it isn't straight anymore. The last joint is now tilted toward my thumb, just like my index finger is. Good old arthritis. But at least I can sew and type in comfort again. It may be partly because the humidity was a bit lower today - 70% instead of 80%.


Oh - I almost forgot! I was standing on the deck down by the bedroom, with the camera, when I heard some splashing and rustling and a deer ran off toward the north along the bank. Deer are so graceful! A short time later, one of the black dogs came along the same path, sniffing where the deer had run. It wasn't running, though. I told it to go home, which of course it didn't, and it followed the path the deer had taken into my neighbor's yard. However, by that time, the deer was probably a quarter mile away. I don't know - is it really so hard to keep dogs from running free? I would far rather have the deer in my yard. I don't believe this was the one that was bedding down behind my drain field earlier in the year. That one is a lot bigger than the one tonight. So our mild winter last winter resulted in a goodly number of deer, I guess.


So that was the day, and now the wind is picking up, and I can hear the lake singing softly, and it's time to go.


September 4

Last night was an interesting one. When I got into bed, Buster wanted to be right beside me, preferably with his head on my arm, and when that didn't work, he sat down beside the pillow with his back to me and started whipping his tail around. I don't think I've mentioned that he uses his tail more like a dog than a cat, and when he isn't quite pleased, it whips around and bops anything in its way...including me. So that wasn't going to work, and I finally chased him away, but it still took me some time to get to sleep, for some reason.


Then around 3:00, I woke up with the middle finger of my right hand throbbing, and a spot on the heel of the same hand throbbing, too. The heel problem eventually went away, but my middle fingertip has been red and swollen and extremely hot and sore all day. I'm not sure what brought that on, unless it is the cool, relatively damp weather we've been having lately. I don't think I've been using it any more than usual. It didn't keep me from doing what I wanted to do.


Eventually, I got back to sleep, and I got up at a semi-reasonable hour this morning. When I got to the office, the computer was completely hung, and of course there were no pictures, since it had evidently hung up overnight. Don't ask me why. I wasn't here. Weird.


It was an interesting day, weather-wise. It was in the middle 60s and cloudy all night, but between 7:00 and 8:00 this morning, the temperature dropped into the upper 50s and it cleared up. It stayed in the upper 50s all day, with the wind from the northwest, and it was nearly clear overhead, but the fog kept coming in and going out. It was pretty neat to watch, especially with the sun on it.


I did some beading, and I have about 3" of a pink and gold helix bracelet done...that was after I decided to remove all the bigger beads from the gold mixture. There weren't many, and it didn't take long. I was glad I started it over, because it turned out that I had two gold-lined crystal beads in the first row...the only two beads like that in the whole mixture, of course. I did end up using a couple of gold ones that aren't completely plated, but that's too bad. I'm not going to start it over.


I also finally got all the clean clothes folded and actually put away! It is so nice to be able to walk into the closet without tripping over a wash basket!  After looking at those clothes, I realized that I haven't washed too many times this summer. I did do another small load, just to get all the underwear cleaned, and that is still in the dryer. Tomorrow.


Also tomorrow, the kitchen, which is its usual cluttered self, with clean dishes still in the dishwasher.


I did remember that I intended to take a picture of the turquoise and copper bracelet, so here it is. I hope that is brighter on your monitor than it is on mine. I thought it was rather pretty. 


I'm sorry that the back of the picture is out of focus, but I forgot that I have to hold the camera directly over the object to get it all focused. I am still having weird problems with the camera. This time, the battery indicator was (finally!) reading correctly, but it forgot my manual settings for close-up pictures until I jogged its memory...what that was about, I don't know, but there were three or four pictures that were totally out of focus. And it didn't want to turn off. I am sure there is something wrong with either the on-off switch or the computer, but the symptoms I keep getting are so varied and so different every time that I really can't go to Nikon with them. However, I did finally get it to work all right, only I forgot where to place the camera. Next time.


I had dinner with Chip and Nancy tonight, and that was nice. I had leant Nancy a couple of my more interesting books, and she returned them, and I showed her some of the stuff I've been working on, and my bead soup. She is planning to get the books. They are both good ones, with lots of inspirational pictures. So we will both probably be doing bead embroidery. Stay tuned...


When I got home, I didn't feel like doing any more beading, so I did a little web surfing.


Sunset was pretty, and orange, but not spectacular enough to run outside in my robe and slippers. Now the gibbous moon is hanging over the trees, bright and pale yellow, and it looks to be a clear night, although the moon will be too bright to see much. So I will toddle off to sleep, and hope I can do better tonight.


September 3

Well, the upload went just fine, so I went off to bed. I don't know what the problem was, but in the middle of the night, I simply could not lay still. I thrashed around for a long time before I finally got up and sat in the bathroom for at least half an hour. That seemed to solve the problem, but sometime later I woke up coughing. Evidently my sinuses overflowed and tried to choke me. So altogether it wasn't a very good night, and I slept in to make up for it.


The sky was clear for most of the night, but it wasn't very transparent, and evidently there were clouds or fog banks coming and going before it finally clouded up around 4:00. It was cloudy today, too, but the clouds were thin for most of the day and the sun did shine through a bit. The temperature was 55 overnight and between 60 and 65 all day, with calm winds for most of the time. 


Around noon or so, the fog started coming in, and going out, and coming in...There was one neat moment when there was a mound of fog right in that little bay across from Fort Wilkins, and a thin streak out to the big lake, and everything else was clear. Cool.


I vegged again. I did finish sorting the gold beads from the rest of the metallics, but it was a hard job, and I don't know how good a job I did. I wish there was some way to sort the true cuts (the ones with the flat side) from the regular round beads, but the only way to do that is to take each bead and roll it around on a needle to check for the flat place. I tried to start bracelet using the pink and gold, both of which have some true cuts in the mix, and I quickly found that if I were to inspect all sides of each bead, I'd never get the thing done. 


I also not so quickly discovered that tonight was not a good night to start something new. First it got tangled up and I had to start over for that. Almost all bead stitches are hard to start, but the helix is right up there with peyote as the hardest. Then, after I got over that hurdle, I discovered that I had managed to use a gold lined bead in the starting circle...where that came from I don't know...and it didn't look good, even by the light of my teensy Mighty Bright light. So I took the whole thing apart and I will try again tomorrow, maybe.


I ate at Harbor Haus, of course, and it was a real zoo. It's been busy all summer, but tonight was as bad as the Fourth of July, and Chris said it had been that way all day. Of course, not only is it the holiday weekend, there was a mountain bike race in town today, and there were lots of large parties having the end-of-summer bash.


It didn't bother me a lot, although it was noisy. There was a thin layer of fog over the north and east sides of the harbor, so there wasn't much to see, either, except for the lighthouse boat and a couple of cabin cruisers. However, even on a night like that, the food was just as good as ever. Part of being a good chef is organizing the kitchen so that a rush of people doesn't disrupt it.


Buster apparently is serving as my barometer again. He spent almost the whole day curled up in the pink chair. That is my grandmother's little barrel chair that I brought up here. I know he likes it, and it is the only piece of furniture in the living area of the great room that I can actually get out of. I had to put a blue throw in it (not a good combination!) because he was shedding all over it. I got a kit for a pink throw last year, and I shall have to put that together. One side is pink breast cancer ribbons, and the other is plain pink. It's one of those things you are supposed to just fringe and tie the fringes together, but I think it would look better if I outlined the ribbons (they are large), and sewed the edges together then fringed it.


So that was a quiet day, and if the computer behaves itself, I will be in bed early tonight.


September 2

Wow, today went by and I never noticed!


I did not tame the recalcitrant computer last night. I had to reboot half a dozen times (or maybe more - I lost count), because FrontPage just would not upload the files. I finally shut everything down, and that seemed to cure the problem, whatever it was. Talk about frustration...


By the time the upload worked, I was deep in sorting pearl beads, and I just kept right on, getting all the dusty pink pearls separated out. I have a lot of them, but I'm not sure offhand what to do with them. Today I finished the rest of the sorting...I have a lot of white pearls in various sizes, and a few light cream, dark cream and pale peach. I then moved on to the metallics, because I want to use the little gold ones, but I may give up on sorting, because there are so many beads. There's a lot of stuff that got into that batch that doesn't belong there, too. In some light, I can't tell the difference between dark blue with a heave Aurora Borealis finish and metallic blue (or it seems like I can't).


Speaking of that, I discovered that for about 4 hours around the middle of the day, the sun is now shining in on the middle of the desk. It isn't visible in the windows yet, but it will be soon. Oh, dear. The days are getting shorter...really shorter. The sun set pretty much behind Porter Island tonight, and in the morning, it is shining in right on the toilet in the bathroom.


Having the sun shine on the desk is really convenient, although actually, I was doing better with the bead colors later in the afternoon when it was behind the tree and the light coming in was bright but not so contrasty. It has to be really dark outside to get dark enough in here that I can't see what I'm doing. However, I broke down and bought a daylight desk lamp today. The floor lamp is OK, although the bulb isn't very bright, but after hassling with it for several years, I just decided it doesn't work at the desk. I kept getting all tangled up in the lamp and the cord, so it will stay beside the ugly chair, where it works pretty well. If I am going to be here when there are only 8 hours of daylight - and the last hour or so is pretty dim - I am going to need good light inside.


The weather was about like yesterday. It was mostly clear, with a few little clouds. The temperature briefly got up to 70 or so around 1:00, then it dropped back to 65 and just stayed there until about 7:00. One sign that autumn is here is that it is cooling down at night, although it only got down to 55 here at the shore. That's OK - it makes for good sleeping. It was beginning to cloud up a bit at sunset, and apparently it is supposed to be cloudy tomorrow, but the rain won't come in until tomorrow night. I hope it does. It is really, really dry around here. All the leaves that aren't turning brown are drooping.


I was talking to Nancy - about beads, of course - but I rushed off to the post office in time to pick up three packages, including one of my packages of bead soup, which is very pretty, although I'm not quite sure why I bought exactly the colors I did. That usually happens...why did I buy A and not B? And why did I get two of C? Well the answer to that one is that my definition of "aqua" and theirs is different. According to them, the new bracelet (which I forgot to take a picture of - sorry) is aqua, and I would never call it that. Oh, well, until we all subscribe to Pantone and talk in their color numbers and names, there will be confusion. It's a pretty mixture anyway, and it will give me some latitude to try some things. 


Now that I know what "bead soup" really means, I realize that some of the twisted necklaces I made a couple of years ago were made with bead soup, and I still have a lot of it. These new (and more expensive) mixtures have more different and interesting beads in them, though. I am itching to start experimenting, but I need fabric, and all my fabric, including what I had here before last Monday, is in the basement behind something in a box somewhere. So I will bead weave.


Nothing that I thought I might do today got done, but that seems pretty normal around here. Maybe tomorrow? Now it's time to beat up the computer again and see if I can get this thing uploaded. Is it seasonal, or something? It had been working so well lately.


September 1

It hardly seems possible that I am writing that date. Where has the time gone?? 


I had a struggle getting the journal published last night, so it was rather late when I got to be (I think - I don't remember now). I did sleep well, however. I have always known that I sleep better when I can cover up and it's cool enough for me to create my own most comfortable temperature under the covers.


It was another clear night, but not so clear as the night before, the Clear Sky Clock to the contrary notwithstanding. That has been less accurate lately than ever before, I think. I hope it's not a trend. Anyway, All the little sparkly things I saw between the Little Dipper and Vega the night before weren't there last night. 


It was a lovely day, however. The temperature got down to around 60 overnight, and it was around 70 for most of the day. There was very little wind, from the south mostly, and it was nice enough that I could open up a couple of doors.


Ignoring what I should have been doing, I finished the turquoise bracelet. Unfortunately, I put the clasp on after dinner, and by that time it was too late to take a picture. I will do that tomorrow. I think it came out rather pretty.


Then I decided that, if I'm going to try to use those light turquoise beads, I should really remove all the darker ones and all the silver lined ones and sort them out. While I was doing that, I confirmed my suspicion that I actually have two styles of pale turquoise transparent beads. One is a tad bigger and much shinier than the other. It looks to me like I probably have about enough of each style for one bracelet. Add those colors to the list, which is getting rather long. Anyway, I ended up the sorting by the light of my Mighty Bright daylight light, which isn't very bright at all. In order to determine which were the shiny beads, I had to hold the box nearly parallel to my eyes, so that the light would reflect from them. I am nearly cross-eyed.


However, I really do like the pale turquoise with the copper, so long as the pattern makes the turquoise ones stand out. I like that helix pattern because the background bead does stand out, and since they are altogether on the inside of the tube, the color is enhanced. That was why the pale pink one came out so well, too.


Speaking of pink, I have decided to try the pink beads I sorted out of the mixtures. They are a bit darker than the ones in the bracelet, have an auroro borealis finish, and I think at least some of them may be Charlottes - the ones with the flat side filed into them. I also found some very nice gold beads, the same size, also Charlottes. They are smaller than the ones I usually use, so it will be interesting to try them. They are really pretty beads, though, and the flat side makes them very sparkly without being garish, like some of the silver lined beads are. So the next project is shaping up.


That is, after I finish with the turquoise ones and get them bagged up and stored away. I would like to sort out the dark shades, because there may be enough of one or two shades to use either for bracelets or for embroidery. My bead soup is on its way...one package from Maine, and another from California. The ones from Maine will be here Tuesday, I hope, but the ones from California are coming by mail, so heaven knows when they will arrive.


So that was my day, and maybe I can tame a cranky computer tonight and get to bed at some reasonable hour?


September, already!

Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM