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December, 2006

 

 

 

 

December 31 - New Year's Eve

Again.

While the oven heats, I will try to get this done. I doubt anything more of interest is likely to happen today.

 

I backslid last night, but Chip's Challenge called. I played it until it became obvious that I was losing my concentration. After I kept pushing blocks into untenable positions, I finally decided to just forget it. So I jumped into bed and slept until Jackie called me at noon. Nothing critical, except that the check I sent her on the 11th hasn't arrived yet. And she is going to send me the bag of dirty clothes I forgot to bring when I was there in October.

 

I did accomplish a little today, besides getting beyond the level of Chip's Challenge where I was last night. By the way, one of the reasons I like that game is that it isn't all the same thing. Some levels are mazes, others require a fast hand on the mouse, and some are logic puzzles. I still remember the place I got terminally stuck 10 years ago...but I always have trouble with that kind of logic puzzle.

 

Anyway, I got the dishes washed and some of the kitchen cleaned up a bit. It's still awful, but it is better than it was at noon. 

 

It was easier to do than it would have been before because I took off my bandage and my splint this morning. I just couldn't stand being wrapped up like a mummy anymore, and my hand was dirty (not to mention the gauze). I know they said not to take off the splint until tomorrow, but so long as I am a bit careful about what I do, it feels fine, and it looks like it is healing very fast. It feels good to be able to bend the joints in my finger, although I can't bend my knuckle without it getting sore...but that's partly the steri-strips. It sure is nice to be able to use 10 fingers to type! I do have to be careful not to pick up anything heavy or bend my knuckle, but I think I can do that.

 

The weather was nasty. It was just foggy for most of the morning, but around 4:00 it began to rain hard, and I was talking to Charlie, who was in Calumet and said it was snowing pretty heavily there. The temperature was right around 35 all day,with a south wind that was in the 15-25 mph range until about 2;00 this afternoon, when it died down. Yuck.

 

I was talking to Charlie, because PastyNet has been having a problem all weekend. They aren't sure where it is coming from, but something up in our direction is getting control of somebody's computer and starting sessions by the dozens until it maxes out the broadband channel. What that means to me, mostly, is that things begin to move very slowly...so slowly that the picture uploads time out. Since the computer froze between 9:30 and 9:45 this morning and I didn't get it restarted until around 1:00, there weren't a lot of pictures today...not that it made much difference. It was pretty yucky looking all day long.

 

I tried all the games today, and my mind was just not functioning, not to mention my fingers, so now I am reading, and the plan is not to stay up to see the new year in.

 

I usually take this time to look back over the last year, and I have to say it was a good one, all things considered.

 

We won't consider April and most of May, which was excruciating, and we won't even mention the amount of money I went through getting my stuff up here. Or that the house is still for sale and not many people have even looked at it. I put my decision into action, and just that has made me a much happier person.

 

I enjoyed the summer, even though it was a rather warm one (I think - I really don't remember), but fall was a weird season, and that should have warned me that the beginning of winter was weird, too. What I loved about the summer was having the entire house opened up almost from the time I got back here until the middle of August. Oh, my how lovely it is to live almost outside! 

 

My jewelry seems to have an audience, so if I can get myself out of the totally non-creative funk I've been in since I got back here in late October, I should be able to make a few dollars on that, which would be very nice.

 

So on balance, it was a good year, and I'm looking forward hopefully to the new year. The house will sell, I'll get my jewelry made and it will sell, and I will be all in one house again. And that's all I can ask.

 

December 30

I don't think I can say I was early to bed last night, but I did make it before 11:30, and I slept for 12 hours, so I feel much better today.

 

Before I forget, I have found one good thing about the warm weather and open harbor: yesterday I was walking through the great room when I saw some ducks in the water in front of my neighbor's house. I ran for the binoculars, and took a look, although it was hard because they were diving a lot. However, after looking for a while and hunting through the bird book (I always use Peterson first), I identified them as Common Goldeneyes. The male has a lot of white on him, and a strange white spot on his cheek just behind his bill. So I can add another species to my life list, and I saw it right out my windows. While I'm sure I'd see a lot more if I could get around better, it's nice to know one can be sort of a birder without being able to walk much.

 

I got up late enough - and spent some time reading - that about all I did today was write a few more year-end charity checks and run them off to the post office. There wasn't much new mail, and I left quickly because Clyde was fulminating about the execution. 

 

Otherwise, I had another very nice dinner, and met one of my neighbors...and a most useful one. Mike is not only a communications and computer guru, he's an EMT, and he and his family will be moving permanently sometime next year if all goes well. He is responsible for the tower on top of Brockway, amongst other things. He was up there today, in fact, because sometime last winter, somebody tried to get into the shed where the batteries are...would you believe? I'm sorry, but we don't need people like that, even as tourists. They probably rip off the motels where they stay, too. He says there is snow on the top of Brockway, so the only place that doesn't have at least a bit is the harbor.

 

Tonight I finally decided to go looking for a game I used to play on my old-old computer, and I now have a copy of "Chip's Challenge", which is still one of my favorites. Of course, I'm stuck already on level 9, but eventually I'll figure it out.

 

The weather was blah again. The temperature was 35 all day and the wind was calm. It is humid enough that the roads never dried up from whatever it was that came down last night. Yuck.

 

So that is all there is, an I will try this early thing again tonight, or I hope so.

 

December 29

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions, but I'm promising myself that I am going to stop this night shift stuff, starting tonight. It makes it just too hard to interact with the rest of the world, even here in the northwoods. So I promise. I may not get up much earlier tomorrow, because I didn't get my full quota of sleep today, but I am going to bed early...or at least a lot earlier.

 

I did have a few checks to write today, but I got up so late I just about got that done, and I didn't do much else.

 

The weather was blah. It was cloudy all day with almost no wind. The temperature rose all night, then, according to the NWS station it was exactly 34 for the entire afternoon. It makes me a bit suspicious, because usually it varies by a few tenths of a degree, but my thermometer isn't out, so I can't check it. When I went to dinner, something was coming down, and there was a little something on the road when I came home, but it is very, very light. I think it was sort of snow, but I don't think it's supposed to last.

 

This afternoon after I got back from the post office, I was startled to see some people I didn't recognize walking around outside, and two of them came up on the front porch, but they didn't knock or try to find out if there was anybody home. They stood around foe about 5 minutes, with a guy, who wasn't on the porch, doing a lot of talking, then they left. If you know who it was, please let me know. I absolutely hate it when people do that. If you want to see me, knock on my door, for heaven's sake. If you don't want to see me, don't trespass on my property. Sheez!

 

I have been forgetting to mention Buster and the Kitty Condo. When he was a baby kitten, I got him a Kitty Condo. It is a cylinder, well upholstered in carpeting, with a place on top to sit, and two holes in the side that open into places to sit inside. He has always loved to sit on top of it, particularly if it's in a window, which it is, but I don't think I've seen him inside more than once or twice, and he didn't stay. Well. For the past couple of weeks, he has taken up residence in the upper inside hole when I am here in the office at night. I can't see him, but when I walk by him, he meows at me. I mean, I've had this thing for 11 years, and this is the first time he has ever used it except to sit on top of. He is a really weird little kitty.

 

So that is about all I know, and this moving my hands around is causing the gauze to rub on my steri-strips and hurting my hand, so I will wrap it up.

 

Maybe there will be visible snow on the ground tomorrow?

 

December 28

I certainly seem to be on the night shift again, but I'm still reading. Oh, well.

 

It was a quiet day, and I didn't do much but get a couple more games.

 

The weather was cloudy and cold, but there was still no snow, and it cleared up after dark for a while at least, and there was  a quarter moon shining in the great room windows. The temperature was about 27 all day, with no wind to speak of. 

 

I will leave this bandage on my hand tonight, but it is making it really hard to type, even without the splint on my finger. Tomorrow I will try to re-bandage it to give me a little more mobility. There are a few things I really need to do around here. My finger is much less sore, so I guess I still heal almost as fast as I used to.

 

Sorry this is so short, but I don't have much to report, and typing isn't exactly easy.

 

December 27

This will be short, since I can't type with my index finger.

 

I got to bed at a ridiculous hour this morning, since I had to take a bath, and I managed to get my bandages wet and had to change them. I was awake briefly about sunrise (8:40) to see a gorgeous bright golden cloud behind the garage, which lasted only a couple of minutes, and I noticed there was a little blue sky to be seen. I didn't get up until after noon, and by that time, it was nearly clear.

 

Since my cut had started bleeding again every time I had to move the splint, I finally decided it would be better to have it looked at, so around 3:00 I started for Laurium (across the street from Calumet). I was kind of sorry I did, because the covered road was a mess, with a lot of it nearly solid ice, but in due time I made it, and my left hand is now wrapped up like a mummy, there are lots of steri-strips holding the cut ("laceration", on the forms) together, and I have a nice splint that is the right length and nicely padded, which I am supposed to leave in place for five to seven days. Considering how my finger felt when I bent the knuckle, I'll be happy to, even though it certainly interferes with production. Since it had been nearly 24 hours since I cut it, and it actually seems to be beginning to heal already, they didn't want to stitch it up, thinking that the sutures would cause more problems than they might cure. 

 

I knew that was what I needed, but since I don't do things like this very often, it had never occurred to me that having some steri-strips and some gauze around would be a good idea. I guess so, and the next time I'm in town I will investigate whether they're available. I did check the internet, and I can get them from drugstore.com (which is Rite-Aid) or Walgreens. They gave me some at the hospital, so if I need any for a while, I will have a small supply. I did find a couple of rolls of adhesive tape this morning, one of which must be 20 years old (it's yellow instead of white, but it still sticks). Roll gauze, and gauze pads would be good to have, as well as some larger bandaids. I discovered you can even buy Tegederm, but I'm so allergic to it that I don't think I'll get any. Anyway, if something like this happens again, I'll be prepared.

 

It was a nice sunny day, although it clouded over by the time I got home, but it was chilly. It did get up to about 32 in the harbor, but it was between 25 and 28 from the top of the hill all the way south. Oh, that big heat sink...

 

There was some more snow over the weekend down there, which is why the road was so bad, and the parking lot at the hospital was horrible. Evidently they have been extremely busy this week.

 

So that was my day. I've been reading again since I got home, and I hope I can leave off on that soon and get to bed.

 

December 26

Happy Boxing Day.

 

It's late, but I'll try to get a short entry out. I went to bed late lasty night and got up late this morning, and it's going to be worse this morning because I have to try to take a bath. And I didn't do anything much. The bird feeders are still underneath the deck.

 

It was a cold day, around 25 all day, but the wind died down by 10:00, and it was just another dull winter day. There was a dusting of snow overnight, but just about enough to see. It filled the valley between the breezeway and the garage, and there was a little on the deck, but it was hardly visible on the ground.  There were a few red clouds around sunset, but that was all the sun. Blah.

 

I read a lot, and that was about it.

 

However, I had a fight with a butcher knife, and the knife won. I was trying to slice a piece of my roast beef for dinner with a knife that feels sharp, when it slipped and I cut about a 1" gash in my left index finger, just above the knuckle, that must go nearly to the bone. Oh, rats. I bandaged it up as best I could (I don't have any very large bandages around here) and I've taped a pencil to the finger to try to keep from bending it as much as possible, because every time I bend it, the gash opens up. I suppose I could use a couple of stitches, but I was not about to get dressed again and drive 35 miles in the dark just because I cut my finger. I will see how it looks tomorrow.

 

That's one reason I've put off going to bed for so long - besides that I like this story - I'm going to have to try to wash my hair with a rubber glove on my left hand, to try not to get it  wet. I'm right handed, but I seem to use my left hand a lot. And typing is a real trip. Do you realize how many frequently used letters a touch typist has to hit with her left index finger?

 

This is the first real accident I've had since I've lived here, and fortunately, it's not a very serious one. It will slow me down for a while, but it's not life-threatening or anything. It was slightly alarming when the tip of my finger turned blue, but that went away pretty fast, and it didn't bleed for very long. It doesn't even hurt too badly so long as I don't use it much.

 

So that was my day after Christmas, and maybe I'll be off to bed now.

 

December 25 - Christmas Day

Again, a blessed Christmas to everyone. I hope your day was filled with all the good things of the holiday season.

 

Mine was.

 

I read for quite a while last night and got to bed about 12:30. I slept long and hard, but by 10:30 or so, I was all slept out, so I got up. For the first time in a long time, I didn't get dressed right away, and that felt good, although it turned out I should have put on my compression hose. Oh, well.

 

Peggy and Donnie Kauppi had invited me to the family dinner, and it was really nice. I know and like all those people, and everyone was in good spirits. Dinner was turkey, with all the trimmings, including rutabaga! I've finally found some other people who like rutabaga as well as I do! And dessert was scrumptious, or I should say, desserts. That was a lovely afternoon altogether, and it was so nice of them to invite me. I guess I really have been adopted into the Kauppi family.

 

It was a dark and dismal day, weather-wise, but there was no snow. The temperature started out at 35 at midnight and it has dropped slowly and steadily ever since, until now it is 26. There has been a 15-25 mph wind from the north. So at least the temperature is getting down in to the range where snow is possible. Whether or not there will be any depends upon which forecast you believe. Maybe, maybe not.

 

I was sitting in the office reading and listening to the nice music last night when I heard the lid of the small sunflower seed feeder banging rather strangely, so I turned  on the light just as a very fat raccoon lifted it off the hook and dropped it onto the ground! I thought I chased him (or her) away, but this morning, the three-tube feeder was also under the tree. They are still there - I didn't have time to retrieve them before I went to dinner, and it was dark by the time I got home. Darned critters! I had hoped they had gone away by this time.  I want to feed my little birds, and they like to eat before I'm up in the morning. Darn.

 

So it was a very nice day, and it sounds like it will be a good night to sleep.

 

December 24 - Christmas Eve

My first Christmas Eve in  my new place. It was nice, despite the lack of snow.

 

I read until midnight last night, and slept well and long. About 6:00 this morning, I looked outside and saw enough stars that I put on my glasses, and there was Orion balancing over the West Bluff, as big as life. I had forgotten how huge that constellation is. It was wonderful. I couldn't see far enough south to see Sirius, but sometime I will have to get up and go down to the great room to see it. It wasn't clear enough to see the Milky Way, but I could pick out Taurus and Auriga and the Pleiades.

 

It was interesting. Around 11:00, all of a sudden the wind started roaring around the house, and for about 15 minutes, I'm sure we had gale force winds. Then they died down again, and the NWS station never reported them. That happened several times during the night. It was "blustery", as they say. But it was clear all night.

 

It was partly cloudy all day, with not all that much wind. There was some sun, which was nice. The temperature was around 35 all day, again...for the third day in a row? My but that lake has a lot of heat in it! The wind was mostly from the southwest this afternoon, but quite moderate.

 

It cleared up around sunset, and I watched the crescent moon for quite a while. I took one picture shortly after 9:00, when it came into view from the camera, but unfortunately, it dropped into a bank of clouds and I didn't see it go behind the hills. I wanted to see if I could see Cygnus setting, but there was too much light, even in the bedroom. At this time of year, the swan is diving toward the horizon, which means that the Northern Cross is upright over the northwestern horizon around 9:00.

 

Otherwise, I didn't do a lot. I did finally get some order in the kitchen, although it isn't really clean. I was late starting my dinner, but it turned out very nicely, thank you. The standing rib was very tender, and cooked to just the right doneness. I seared it at high temperature, then turned it down and used the built-in probe, which worked perfectly to give me a medium rare roast. I haven't cooked a standing rib in so long that I'd forgotten how scrumptious it smells while it is cooking...yum! That and a twice-baked potato, plus a bit of my teensy box of "Chocolate Obsession" was a very nice dinner.

 

Someday, I would love to do a dry-aged prime rib, just because there isn't any better beef in the world, but I am continually surprised by how good the beef Econo gets is. I was also interested to compare the recipes for cooking a roast between the  1997 Joy of Cooking and the new one that was just published. How thoughts change! However, the new one agrees more with How to Cook Everything so I sort of used that method.  I'd like to ask the authors why they changed their minds, but their website isn't functional yet. One of these days, I will.

 

And now I have a wonderful piece of beef to chew on all week. Yum! I love beef hot, cold and every other way, and I love to chew on the bones. So that turned out very well indeed.

 

While dinner was cooking, I started reading the other book of mine, and that may keep me up for a while, because I like it just as well as the one I was reading last night.

 

So that was my quiet Christmas Eve. I do miss going to church, and particularly singing with the choir, but frankly, not enough to consider spending any amount of time in the other place. I will read Luke before I go to sleep tonight.

 

A very Merry Christmas to everyone.

 

December 23

Last night, I crashed. I was going to read in bed a while, but instead I read some magazines in the office, so it was later than I thought when I went up to the north end, and by the time I was bathed and all, I was too tired to do anything but sleep. It was a good night to do that, with light rain and heavy fog and strong north winds, although they didn't really pick up until 8:00 or so this morning.

 

We had gusts in to the middle 30s all morning, then the wind shifted toward the west and stayed in the 20s for the rest of the day. The temperature has been steady at 35 for the past couple of days.

 

There was some snow south of here, and there was a report that south of Houghton there was a lot of it, but in Copper Harbor, we didn't get a trace; in fact, some of the residue that was left along the roadsides got washed away by the rain. Now, why the NWS station didn't report any rain overnight, I do not know; it was pouring around here, and I don't believe there was a little black cloud right over the field. 

 

The NWS finally admitted they overreacted again and canceled the heavy snow warning sometime during the night. The sky is falling again.

 

So this afternoon, I decided to try the ledger again, but I did the same thing I did the first time - I got cocky and didn't save it, so I had almost finished November when the system froze and I was back at February again. I reentered March and April before dinner, and saved that, and I am just going to have to start saving early and often, like we used to have to do back in the good old DOS days. I did go through enough of it to know I spent an appalling amount of money this year...and I don't yet completely know on what, because I haven't gone through the credit card bills item by item yet. And every time I think about all that stuff in the basement, I wonder why I brought it all up here. Oh, well.

 

I did go to dinner tonight, and there were actually a few people in Mariner, surprisingly enough. There was a group of about eight men with seven or eight little boys that I interpret as dads getting the kids out of the way so the moms could complete the Christmas preparations in peace. Considering the ages of the kids, they were a good bunch. Several other groups came in, too, and it all kept Jack jumping (oops!). Donnie and Peggy were there with Lydia, and Peggy and I had a nice conversation after dinner about food and stuff. 

 

However, while I was eating, I saw Peggy answer the phone and erase something from her reservation book, so things are looking pretty grim around here. We need snow, lots of snow, fast, or this will be a disaster of a winter for my friends in the tourist business.

 

So that was another quiet day. I brought in the box with the mini-tree in it, and maybe I will get it set up and partly decorated tomorrow? We'll see. It's not that I don't like Christmas trees - I love them - but anything that gets decorated has to get undecorated, and that isn't so much fun.

 

So tonight maybe I will get to read in bed. I usually don't bath on Saturday, since I veg out on Sundays, so I will have more time than usual. It's another cloudy, windy night, and a good one to pull up a warm cat and a good book. Buster loves it when I sit in bed, because he gets to lie down beside me and get petted and scratched, even if I'm not paying full attention to him.

 

And it's almost Christmas already.

 

December 22

Well, I did it again. It was after 3:00 when I fell into bed, so today was a severely truncated day, and I'm tired enough that I want to get this done early and curl up in bed and read.

 

Unfortunately, the trash didn't get done, so that is still on the list. I remembered that I wanted to get the tax bills paid today so that they get there before the end of the year, and that was about all I did. 

 

The flood of catalogs has pretty much stopped, thankfully, except that I got the first seed catalog. If I knew I would plant them I pretty much have the means to start seeds now. I don't have any lights for the planters, but that's easy to fix, since Wal-Mart sells fluorescents in packages of 10 for not much more than I used to pay 20 years ago. However, I'll have to think about that one. As I remember from my mother's activities, it's quite a job to start seeds indoors. And yes, things like geraniums especially should be started right about now. They take a very long time to get going. I'd love to do them and some columbine, particularly, but I will try not to go crazy. Seed and plant catalogs in the winter are pernicious.

 

The weather was miserable, but not as dire as the predictions - the sky-is-falling syndrome again. I guess that further southwest in the UP and in northern Wisconsin, there was ice, but it never got here. In fact, while it was damp and foggy and yucky, it didn't start raining much at all until after 3:00. When I came back from dinner it was raining harder and it looked like there might be some hard stuff in it. The temperature was about 36 all day long, with not much wind until lately, from the east. The report is that it is snowing lightly in Houghton, finally, but it's only 32 there. It is going to have to cool off some before we get our snow. The forecast is beginning to back off some on the amount we may get, also. The sky is falling.

 

So I did not much and I'm tired, and it's a good night to sack in early.

 

There was one couple in Mariner when I got there, and another group came in about the time I was leaving, but it was really dead. Peggy has added a new appetizer to the menu - one worth mentioning. It is a lobster-artichoke-spinach dip that is served warm with nachos. Boy, is it good! I could stuff myself with that. I did. Yum.

 

She also invited me to join the family for Christmas dinner, which I thought was very nice of her. Of course, I will go. I will do my rib roast on Sunday.

 

So that is about all I know, and it's a good night to curl up in bed and read a while, so I think I will.

 

December 21 - Winter Solstice

Winter arrived astronomically at 7:21 this evening, so now it's official, no matter what the weather is.

 

I was a little earlier to bed and a little earlier to rise today, which was nice. What was even nicer were the stars that were shining all night long. About 7:00 (when it is still pitch dark here), there were so many stars out my bedroom windows that I got on my glasses to look at them. It takes me a while to get oriented when I have such a small view, but Auriga, Gemini, and Canis Minor were all there, with their bright stars. Orion had already set, and I was sorry I wasn't an hour earlier, to see him balancing on Rigel over the mountain. 

 

It wasn't all that clear, as clear skies go, but it surely was nice to see stars for a change. Tonight will be different, but more about that later.

 

My major task of the day was to unload the car, which I eventually accomplished. My legs are still a bit creaky from all the walking yesterday, and it was hard to unload those 50 lb bags of birdseed. My arms just didn't want to pull them out of the car. I have a hand truck to move them around, so it's only getting them onto it that's hard. So that is done.

 

I also finally got the last of the clean stuff out of the dishwasher and started loading in the dirty stuff. Tomorrow I simply must do trash. Things are piling up. However, if the weather is as advertised, it may not get any further than the garage.

 

The weather was nondescript. It was windy overnight and partly clear in the morning, but it clouded over pretty much by 1:30 or so, and while the winds were calm, it was a gray afternoon. The temperature was steady at 35, except between 9:00 and 10:00 this morning, when it dropped to 27 for some reason.

 

That storm that has been in the far Midwest is supposed to get to us sometime early in the morning, with freezing rain and sleet and all that stuff I hate, and then it might turn to snow later in the day. Not a way to start the holiday weekend, for sure. However, everybody else has gotten it, so I don't see why we shouldn't. How much of what we will get is still up for grabs, I think. A good snowfall would be great, but it may stay rainy, which would be a pity.

 

I am going to be late again, because I have been beguiled by all the nice Christmas music on my radio station. Since it is a classical music station, it's all the good stuff, and it's nice to hear, since all my Christmas CDs are still packed away.

 

So that is all there is, and it's time to trudge up to the north end and end the day.

 

December 20

It was after 2:00 when I got to bed this morning. That was partly because the journal didn't want to upload and partly Jewel Quest. Oh, well. I did get up around 10:30, although I didn't really want to.

 

However, today was the day to go to town for supplies, so I finally got away around 12:30. That's OK, because I really can't do much more walking than that.

 

It was a beautiful day, mostly sunny, with some high cirrus clouds, temperatures in the upper 30s and a strong, gusty wind. There was almost nobody on the road from Copper Harbor to Calumet, but south of Calumet, it's been several months since I've seen so much traffic. And of course, a bunch of us got behind a nice white-haired lady who was just a bit tentative about her driving, but oh, well.

 

Once I got up the hill out of Copper Harbor, I was interested to see that there is still several inches of snow on the ground, and in fact, there is ice over the side lines on some of the curves in the covered road. This is good and bad, I guess. From Calumet south, where there was snow, it was very dirty, and in fact, there was one pile I passed in Hancock that at first I thought was a pile of topsoil! Yuck. Anyway, with very little traffic, it didn't matter if I drove in the middle of the road, so I did.

 

I stopped at Erickson Feed for bird seed, then it was off to Wal-Mart, where I picked up a few things I needed...and a few I didn't. There a fair number of people there. Where it was positively crowded was Econo Foods, more people than I think I've ever seen in there. 

 

However, I succumbed, and I now have a nice little standing rib roast for my Christmas dinner. I know I eat prime rib out a lot, but at home I can gnaw on the bones. Yum. I don't think I will try the convection oven, but I will use my built-in temperature probe. I have a couple of twice-baked potatoes left, and I haven't decided what to have for a veggie...maybe I will just have salad, because I brought back several nice mixtures of greens as well as some hearts of romaine. All of a sudden I've gotten on this green salad kick. Good for me, for sure.

 

By the time I got out of Econo, I was pretty tired, but I stopped for gas - $2.33 a gallon. The temperature was around 40, but there was a sharp wind blowing across the Econo parking lot that made it a bit raw. 

 

Since it was around 4:00 when left Houghton, I decided that this was the day to stop at the Hut. I've been wanting to do that since it opened, but never have. The Ming Bistro isn't good enough anymore, and besides, I wasn't hungry when I left Wal-Mart. So not only did I have a nice fresh pasty for dinner, I brought home 12 frozen ones to stock the freezer. Yum! The fresh one was very good, and I hope the frozen ones are out of the same batch.

 

The freezer, I discover, is getting quite full of good things. I need to do an inventory and reorganize things so I know what I have to eat. If it weren't for the fresh veggies, which I do like, and lunch meat, I could exist for quite a while without going further than the Gaslite General Store in Copper Harbor. That's a nice situation, I think.

 

Stopping for dinner meant I had to come home in the dusk, but there were only about three cars coming toward me on the road north of Mohawk, and no wildlife, so it wasn't a bad trip at all. Except that I got a cramp in my right calf, something that frequently happens when I'm driving home after walking a lot. Well...a lot for me, anyway. 

 

So I sat at the computer for a while before I unloaded the cold stuff from the car. The rest of it is just going to have to wait until tomorrow, although I just realized I didn't see a few things that need to be refrigerated, like my veggie dip. I will have to go and dig through the many bags in the back of the car...rats. I do need to go out there anyway to get the stuff from Wal-Mart, including a prescription ointment for my shins.

 

I was happy to find that the computer was still running when I got home, since it had crapped out sometime overnight. I have finally gotten the power management working, so I can't tell anymore when it freezes unless it is less than half an hour after I leave it. Otherwise the monitor goes off. Anyway, it took a picture just as I walked into the office, so I knew everything was fine (it clicks when it takes a picture). So you got to see a lovely afternoon, as well as a nice late sunset.

 

They keep saying the snow is coming, maybe tomorrow night? That system that has been hammering the far Midwest is apparently headed in our direction, and it's one of those things that could turn into something, depending upon conditions and where it tracks. All the big storms Karl Bohnak talks about in his book started somewhere around the same place, in the Colorado Rockies, and tracked east and north. However, nobody seems to think this one is going to be much of anything, so we'll see. Please some snow. This has been a ridiculous December so far.

 

So now I need to root through the bags in the car before I drag my bod up to the north end, so I will get this uploaded.

 

December 19

It was only about 1:30 when I got to bed last night, but needless to say, I did not get up early this morning! However, I did do a few things.

 

I spent some time tracking down some of the programs that want to start when I reboot the system, and tweaked them. I did find out why my power management options weren't working - the program that handles them wasn't running. Oh. I also discovered a couple of things that weren't running and should be, although there are a couple of those programs on which there is no consensus in the geek community. The problem is, some viruses have used the names of those things to infiltrate systems, so I guess whether or not they should be running depends upon whether they are bona fide Microsoft programs or malware. Makes it hard to decided what to run and what not to.

 

Then I realized that it was high time I paid a few bills, so I sat down and wrote checks for 45 minutes. This is going to be an expensive month. And I will also say that it really, really annoys me when some company or other makes a bill due-date fall on December 25. That means, in effect, I lose three days off my usual lead time, and it vexes me.

 

Anyway, then it was off to the post office. The rest of my compression hose finally came, so I will be able to wash the ones I've been wearing for two weeks. There were also, of course, a bunch more bills, and some of the year-end pleas for money are beginning to find me.

 

It was an absolutely gorgeous day...for October. The sky was almost completely clear all day long, and the temperature got up to 43 at 3:00. There was a brisk wind, mostly from the southwest or west, but it was nice enough out that it wasn't uncomfortable. When I filled the bird feeders, the only problem I had was that it was blowing my hair all over the place.

 

The curious thing is, there's a gale warning out for the big lake, to the extent that there is a laker anchored in Bete Gris. I really wonder, because the wind is backing northwest at 9:00, and it isn't that strong. However, we shall see, and I don't blame that captain for not taking any chances at this time of year in this lake.

 

I also got my little silver tree set up. This is not one of those things with the fluffy branches that you put a spotlight on. It is an ornament tree, with hooks for twelve balls. The tree is sliver plated, with a nice star on top, and the balls are matte-finished white with silver decorations. I think it's pretty. It is sitting on the coffee table in the great room, and it will look very pretty in the sunshine tomorrow.

 

So I really did accomplish a few things today, and I will try to get into bed at a reasonable hour so I can get up at a reasonable hour tomorrow.

 

December 18

Just because I wanted to get up early tomorrow, I'm not going to get to bed in time. Of course. I seem to be sleeping 12 hours a night for some reason, and I really don't need that much sleep. Really, I don't. However, that's about what I got last night, and Buster was getting worried again before I got up.

 

It was so late that I ended up not doing much again. I did get the dishwasher mostly unloaded, and that's about it. I'm not sure what my problem is, but I seem to be in something of a funk. I must snap out of it.

 

However, I was here when someone delivered a very beautiful Christmas flower centerpiece from my friends Mike and Gary. They are really great people, and I really appreciate them thinking about me. I will try to take a picture or two when I get some good batteries in the camera. I was done with fooling around with electronics by the time it came. 

 

The computer hiccupped for most of the afternoon before settling down again. But then even Jewel Quest behaved itself, so I am left being totally puzzled again.

 

The weather was a little more wintry today. The temperature was around 25 for most of the day, although the wind did die down some. There was a little fine snow until about 1:00 which left hardly any accumulation. Not much to write about.

 

In fact, I don't have much to say at all, so I'll wrap this up and hope the upload works without my having to kick the computer.

 

December 17

That was so nice last night, I think I'll try it again tonight. I read until 11:00, and slept very well, although my dreams were clearly influenced by my recent game playing. I did wake up around 8:00, but it wasn't daylight yet, so I went back to sleep, then I woke up at 10:00 and turned over for another hour. So I got a very good night's sleep indeed.

 

When I started reading, the wind was blasting against the side of the house, but sometime during the night, it died down for a while before it shifted northwest. It wasn't strong enough to really batter the house - it's been in the 15-25 mph range since around 7:00. That's blowing hard enough that I didn't fill the bird feeders, but not hard enough to batter the house. The temperature started out in the high 30s around midnight and it's been dropping ever so slowly all day, until now its about 33. Around noon there were a few rays of sunshine, but they quickly got covered up by those puffy gray clouds and it's been cloudy ever since.

 

I was going to do something, but just never did, except that I did cook tonight - pork chops with Spanish rice, one of my favorites. It tasted good. It still amazes me how tender and nice the pork they sell around here is, not like the stuff they have in the Detroit area at all. Maybe it's because pork is so much more popular here. Chops and spare ribs are about all I care for, a result of too much too fat pork when I was a child. 

 

I keep blaming some of my stomach upsets on age, chemo and my gallstone, but actually, I've had a slightly sensitive stomach all my life, I guess. When I was young, roast pork and corn-on-the-cob were a particularly lethal combination, to the extent that I just don't eat roast pork anymore. Then it was too fat and greasy, and now it's so lean it's usually dry and nasty.

 

Anyway, I do like a nice mess of pork chops every so often, either with Spanish rice, like I had them tonight, or cooked with onions and mushroom soup. And I try to be careful not to eat too much.

 

So that was about all of my quiet day. Debbie called again to tell me about her evening, but that got cut short by a call on her cellphone. She is still beset by her almost-ex husband, who was acting particularly jerky last night.

 

It's a nice windy night in the field. They keep promising snow, but I have yet to see any.

 

December 16

I actually made to bed by 11:00 for a change, but I was awake for a while in the middle of the night. I got thinking about things one shouldn't think about at 3:00 in the morning, and it was a while before I could get back to sleep, so I didn't get up until 11:30. We'll see how I do tonight. It's early enough that I might even take something to read and sit in bed for a while. I enjoy doing that, but I haven't done it for a long time.

 

It was another nondescript day, cloudy and blah. The temperature got up to nearly 40 this afternoon, and while there was a little wind this morning, it was almost calm this afternoon. The weather forecast is interesting, though. We are under a high wind advisory from 1:00 AM until sometime tomorrow afternoon, and after that it is supposed to snow. It would really be nice to get back to winter again, but we'll see.

 

I moved a few things around in the office, and I now have more room to move around. There are still too many empty boxes and too much stuff piled on things, but at least I have a little wiggle room.

 

Debbie called late this afternoon and we had a nice conversation, long as usual, although it got cut shorter than it would have because she had to pick up her kid and I had to go to dinner.

 

There was one other table in Mariner tonight, again, and it's really a pity. We need snow, and lots of it. I didn't come up here to have a green Christmas.

 

Because of the weather forecast, I didn't fill the bird feeders today. If I can get out the door tomorrow, I will do it then.

 

Oh, yes, and the dishwasher is nearly ready to run. I didn't want to run it when it wasn't full, so now it is too full. There doesn't seem to be a happy medium.

 

So it's another quiet night in the field, and I can only hope there's some action overnight.

 

December 15

I made it to bed before 2:00 this morning, which is a lot better than the past few nights, and I got up around 10:30. That is about the latest I can get up and feel like there is at least part of a day.

 

The task of the day was Christmas cards, and I put them in the mailbox on the way to dinner tonight, so that is done. I'm hoping that getting that chore out of the way will sort of unblock me to do something around here, but we'll see. I pared down the list quite a bit this year, trying to eliminate those people who were clearly surprised to get a card from me. We'll see how that works.

 

The weather was so-so again. For a while around noon it looked like the sun was trying to come out, but it kept getting covered up by those fluffy gray clouds...I guess it rained or something for a while overnight, and then late this afternoon we had a very light dusting of snow, just enough to leave some patches on the gravel road. The paved road was clear. However, it's apparent that all that rain we had yesterday was indeed snow to the south of us. The paper had pictures of a couple of accidents that took place around Houghton where the road was covered with several inches of slushy stuff. John Dee isn't too hopeful, but at least it seems to be cooling off a bit. The temperature here was right around 35 all day. It was quite windy this morning, but now the wind has dropped to almost nothing.

 

I thought the sky looked rather bright last night, and a friend who lives in central Wisconsin wrote to tell me they saw northern lights last night. Well, with all that moisture coming out of the big lake, the chances of us having a clear sky for a while are slim. Darn.

 

It is totally dead in Copper Harbor, and my friends in the business are trying hard not to worry about the winter season. This is the real trouble with being in a business that is so dependent upon the weather. You just never, never know what it will do. A week ago we were thinking we were on our way, and now we are wondering if we'll have a green Christmas. One reason I'm here is that I don't like green Christmases. I've had too many of those. But there are still ten days or so to go, so anything might happen. We can hope and do our snow dances.

 

So that is all there is for tonight, and just maybe I can make it to bed before midnight.

 

December 14

So last night I stayed up all night. Now that's out of my system. As a result, it was around 1:00 when I got to the office, and I didn't do a lot. However, I've conquered both Talismania and Bookworm Adventures, both of which are well-behaved, cute games. So that is out of my system, too.

 

It was a good day to do nothing. It was dark and dank and yucky, and between 3:00 and 8:00 it rained. Now it is just yucky. The temperature got up to about 40 before it started sliding back, and the wind was calm to moderate. Another very blah day. There is snow in the forecast for the next several days, but it is going to have to cool off considerably before that happens. It may snow in the higher elevations, but I suspect it will just rain down here.

 

For not being awake too long, I actually did something, amazingly enough. I got the pots and pans put away while dirtying the broiler pan again. No, I didn't eat any of my new steaks. I had the last of the "charcoal steaks" and it was relatively tasty but tough. I won't get those again. Anyway, it is nice to not see the counter covered with large pots. The dishwasher is almost ready to run, and I have a couple of full trash bags. Maybe tomorrow I can get the rest of the trash collected together - there is a lot of stuff in the fridge that needs to go out - and get it to the compactor. That is open all the time now, but I don't like to get into the habit of visiting it at odd times, because from May through October its hours are restricted.

 

I spent some time this evening down in the basement searching for my address lists, and I finally gave up. I know they are there someplace, but where is anybody's guess. However, then I started looking around on the computer, and what should my wondering eyes discover but an Excel file dated 2003! It isn't up to date for last year, but it is considerably better than the 1996 one that was the only other one I found. Egad, I actually did something right. I just stopped this and threw away all the old database files, all of which are totally out of date. And I promise myself I will update the list when I get it put together. If I forget somebody, well, that happens. I'm sorry it didn't occur to me to look around earlier, or I could have had this exercise done. Oh, well. It's one of my least favorite tasks anyway. However, since it needs to be done, I'm glad to have found a reasonable list. Whew!

 

So that sort of makes my day. Small things sometimes really make me feel better. Now, maybe tomorrow I can get up at a reasonable hour, get the cards addressed and get rid of that chore. Then I won't feel so bad about getting out a couple of decorations and setting them up. I would like to put my little mini-tree here in the office, if I can figure out a place for it. Since I'm here all the time, I might as well have it where I can see it.

 

Besides, it's only midnight, so maybe I can get up at a reasonable hour tomorrow?

Buster has been so worried that he barfed all over the floors.

 

December 13

I was even later last night than the night before, so I have not much to report. I just seem to be on the night shift lately.

 

The weather was blah again. The temperature was steady at about 40, and there was not much wind at all for most of the day, except that occasionally there would be a few minutes of gusts. Around 10:00, it began to blow in the 10-25 mph range, from the west, and the screen on the sliding door is now rattling. It was mostly cloudy, except for a short time around 3:00 when there was a ray of sunshine or two, and then it clouded up again. 

 

I did go to the post office today, and except where it was piled up by the plows, the snow is all gone. So when it cools off again, we can start all over. As you can see from the camera, there is still ice along the shoreline. That is partly because it got pretty thick when it was cold, and with the sun only 19 above the horizon at noon, there isn't any sunshine on most of those beaches and rocks.

 

Speaking of the sun, it is rising at 8:30 and setting at 5:00 now. Yesterday was the end of the earliest sunset (5:00 exactly), but it will still be rising later in the morning for a couple of weeks. 8 hours isn't very much daylight. At least I don't have to try to do everything by candlelight!

 

One of my sweetest correspondents sent me a nice Christmas gift today - a bottle of ground savory. Thank you, Rose. I have met the nicest people through this website!

 

The only other thing I have to report is Buster's curious behavior this morning. When I was up briefly around 10:00, he was under the bed, and all the time I was up, he was on full alert and staring down the hallway toward the kitchen and the great room. After I went back to sleep, I think he disappeared into the basement and he didn't come up until noon, after I was out of the bathroom. Whatever spooked him I have no idea at all. I didn't hear anything or see anything. For a moment I thought maybe we had a critter at the bird feeders, but they are all intact. I just can't figure out what his problem was. Times like this when I wish he could say at least a few words of English.

 

There was a new game this afternoon, and I am really beginning to wonder if the problem with the computer is with the video card. I do seem to have more trouble with it freezing when I am playing games, which use more of the resources of the video card than normal surfing. However, when I test it, it's fine, because it's working then. Very frustrating. However, this is another well-behaved game. I suggest that if you want to download some of the cute little games that are available, you try Pop Cap games (popcap.com). I have several from them, including some they didn't write themselves, and they are all very stable, well-behaved programs. I have had a lot of trouble with both Shockwave and Game House, for what it's worth. It's nice to know there are still some careful programmers out there.

 

So that is all I know, and I will try to get this saved before the computer freezes again.

 

December 12

I was horribly late last night (or this morning), but it wasn't entirely my fault. I decided to play one more run-through of Jewel Quest, and when the computer hung, I found myself in safe mode with a very nasty message about not being able to find the video driver. Sometimes when I reboot after a hang, the computer doesn't realize it was stopped and doesn't do a scandisk. When that happens, I have to reboot into safe mode in order to get the scandisk to run (heaven knows what Norton is doing, but sometimes after a reboot, the disk goes crazy). Sooo... After numerous hangs, reboots, scandisks, and so forth, I finally got things back together, but of course it hung up again right after I left it (maybe it was mad at being kicked so hard?) and we didn't get any pictures this morning. not that we missed much.

 

It was after noon when I got back to the south end. I had to repack my pill dispensers, so I did that before I got dressed. By the time I got up, Buster decided there was something wrong with me and was lying beside me in bed, just in case.

 

It was a good night and morning to sleep. When I finally got to bed, I could hear the rain pouring down outside, and it continued off and on all morning. This afternoon was mostly cloudy, although the sun peeked through sometime in the middle, but only for a few moments. The temperature has been nearly steady, right around 40, although it got up to 43 for a while. The wind was in the 15-25 mile range early in the day, but since about 3:00 it's been steady at 5 mph or so. It was mostly from the southeast to southwest, but it's nearly calm now.

 

Most of the snow is gone around here, thanks to the rain. So now we can start all over again. I'm sorry the base has gone away. We need a good hard-packed base to run the blower safely, and the sooner we get it the better.

 

I did work on the kitchen a bit, and it is much better, if not perfect. I forgot (!) that I need to put away a bunch of pots and pans. Tomorrow I will do that. There weren't as many dirty dishes as it looked like, so I can wait a day or two before I wash them.

 

One little  note. A friend sent me the most incredible Christmas gift: four filet mignons and four lobster tails! This is the first time I have ever gotten a package full of dry ice, and it was very exciting. The box is now carefully stashed away in the freezer, and I will have to pick an opportune time to enjoy it. I haven't ever cooked a lobster tail, either, but there are instructions. I will have to think about the proper veggies to have with such an elegant meal, and I really should get out the candelabra and the silver and make a real production out of it. Many thanks - you know who you are. I will be calling.

 

I succumbed to another game today, but this one is definitely not buggy and is an interesting combination of an intellectual challenge and an adventure game. I've completed the first part, with only a couple of restarts, and it was quite fun. 

 

So now it's late again, and I need more sleep than I had last night. It's dark and dank and foggy in the field tonight.

 

December 11

The temperature was just right, so when I finally got to bed, I did good. However, I only got about 8 hours' sleep. I got up with the idea of doing something, but that didn't happen...or at least not much happened.

 

I paid some bills, and added up the year-end tally...rather large this year, because besides the taxes there is a dentist bill, and since I changed insurance in the middle  of the year, some doctor bills. On my way back from the post office, I stopped at the township office (now I know where it is) and got the tax bill they forgot to send me. Now I know where they hang out, so if I have a problem, I know where to go and when they are working.

 

I was going to start on the kitchen, but I just did that now, so there is still a lot to do, and I'm sure there is a dishwasher load to do. Tomorrow.

 

The weather was blah. The temperature was just below or at 40 all day, with a very light wind that started out from the east then swung south. The sun peaked through for about 10 minutes, and while it didn't rain, it was cloudy all day. It is amazing how much of the snow is gone, and the rest is slushy and messy. I certainly hope that it starts to snow as soon as the temperature drops, or we are going to have an interesting time on our road. John and the Weather Underground are in agreement that this is going to continue for a week or more. All we can hope is that it gets it all out of its system now, and then winter sets in and stays.

 

The computer was up this morning, and it acted pretty good until I started playing Jewel Quest again, and then it started hiccupping. Sometimes I wonder if the problem might be with my video card, but I don't know how to test that, since when it is working, it's working, and when it's not working, I can't test it. I have a recommendation for a place that does computer repairs, and I may have to resort to that. And one of my correspondents suggested some more things I might do to try to straighten things out.

 

At least the problem with the website is fixed, although I had to reboot before I could get a good load last night. Windows ME is such a mess that I think it writes all over itself, and some of the games I play do the same thing, which means some things won't work unless the system is pristine. This computer won't ever see Windows XP, however, partly because when I was researching things on the Gateway website, I discovered that they don't support XP on my motherboard (in spite of having guaranteed that and offered me an upgrade when I bought the system). So that will have to wait for a new computer, which I'm afraid is in the same list with the telescope and the weather station.

 

So that is about all I know, and it would be nice to get to bed sometime tonight.

 

December 10

I can't believe I finally got this thing to upload in its entirety! It took two tries, because when I recovered the web from the server a couple of weeks ago, I accidentally downloaded some usage statistics that I am not (fortunately) allowed to write over, but there were only three files left when that happened, so the second try went fast. I just can't believe it. I thought I was going to have to hassle with it forever.

 

So I jumped in bed around 11:00, and I woke up around 1:30 so warm that I took off my flannel nightie. I'm actually not surprised; the temperature outside was 42 and it had been sunny all day, so it was warm in the house. Anyway, that didn't help a lot, and I was up every hour for the rest of the night. When I finally did get back to a deep sleep, I didn't wake up until 11:30 this morning. I was wakeful enough that I really didn't get anywhere near 11 hours' sleep, and in fact, I'm tired again. What was a bit annoying is that around 6:00, I could have put the flannel nightie back on...this kind of weather is always difficult both for the heating system and for me. However, we'll cope somehow.

 

I am still looking for my Christmas card list. The only one I found was from 1996, and that's just too long ago! However, I guess I got my shopping done this afternoon. I don't have many gifts to buy, but everyone I buy for is difficult. But it's done, and so be it.

 

It was very frustrating, actually. It seemed everything I liked was either too expensive or too cheap, and when I found some things in the right price range, most of them were out of stock and not going to be restocked. I was particularly annoyed with the Smithsonian Catalog, where all the nice, reasonably priced things were gone...and this is December 10. Clearly, they miscalculated. I had spent some time last night looking futilely through the catalogs on hand, but I had another couple of thoughts today, and fortunately, one place panned out. I hope everyone likes what I got them.

 

I also went through the catalogs on hand and I have another pile to throw away. It still seems to me that places like Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Eddie Bauer could cut their prices (and save an enormous number of trees) if they would send out fewer catalogs.

 

The weather started out clear, although it was partly cloudy overnight. The waning moon was very bright on the snow again, and I could see puffy white clouds in the sky. The temperature was still 42 at midnight, but it dropped off a bit and bottomed out at 35 between 9:00 and 10:00 this morning, before it rose again to about 40. There was almost no wind at all. It was nearly clear until about 2:00, when it clouded over and got quite dark. I understand it may drizzle or rain. Yuck.

 

So I guess I actually did something today. Wow. And now it's time to try this bed thing again and see if I can sleep at night, like I'm supposed to.

 

December 9

I was more tired than I thought last night. I forgot to mention the two big items of the day. First off, Buster caught not one, but two critters around 7:00 yesterday morning. The first one must have been a mouse, because he ate it. The second one was a shrew, which was a lot more lively than the mouse. He chased it all over the place before it finally succumbed in the hallway outside the laundry room...which is where he left it. I guess, from the evidence, that he dispatches the mice pretty quick, because they're food, then he plays with the shrews, which are toys. Yuck. Nature isn't pretty sometimes, but at least my mighty mouser is keeping the rodent population in check, and I'd rather deal with dead shrews than the results of live ones getting into my kitchen cupboards and other unpleasant places.

 

The electrician was back yesterday afternoon, and after doing a lot of tests, he has determined that there is indeed not any oil pressure in the generator. That most likely means that the oil pump is bad. He is proposing that instead of taking it apart, he bypasses it and installs an electrical oil pump instead. He is going to talk to the factory and some other people about that idea, but it should be cheaper than having to pull the oil pump so that he can work on it inside, fix it, and reinstall it. He should have an answer sometime next week. At least it was a little warmer yesterday than it was when he was here earlier. And I don't like to even think about how much this is costing me...only it's less than a new generator.

 

I didn't get to bed exceptionally early (11:00), and I was awake in the middle of the night for a few hours for a combination of reasons: I was hot, and my right hip and left ear were both sore, which left me no side to sleep on. Eventually it did cool down a bit in the bedroom and the brain chemicals (I can never remember which one) kicked in and I got back to sleep...and got up at 11:30. So I guess I got caught up on my sleep.

 

I slept from 8:00 to 11:30, so I didn't realize until I got up how beautiful a day it was, and of course the computer hung up right after I left it last night, so we didn't get any pictures of the morning.

 

It was a gorgeous day, with sunshine and blue skies and not much wind. The temperature peaked out at 45. While that's not good for the snow, it sure was nice to be out in. I filled the bird feeders around 4:00, and it was really nice out. 

 

The computer mostly behaved itself today after I got it running this morning. I think there were one or two freezes. It certainly is a strange problem.

 

I got up so late that except for the bird feeders, I didn't do much today, so i don't have much to report. 

 

There were a few people in Mariner tonight, and another Tech frat is having their Christmas "do" tonight. It has been interesting to see the differences in the different frats. The last one (was that last week?) was really subdued and quiet. The first one and this one were noisy and drinkers. There seems to be a quota of one fat girl in each sorority. The dresses tonight were 90% black, and a lot of them were short, whereas the last two wore long dresses. Oh to be young again and be able to wear a backless dress... The ones tonight appeared to be the rich kids. There was one guy going around taking pictures with a Canon EOS DSLR, and somebody had a really fancy video recorder. Almost every girl had a compact digital camera. And there was one young man whose dress was a full-cut vest, a white shirt with a wing collar (!) and a bow tie (with pants, of course) but no jacket. This group wore almost no suit jackets, unlike the last two. This group had more girls that were not raving beauties, too. And only the first one had any black people. All that makes me glad to have gone to a school where sororities and fraternities were banned. But they're fun to watch. Tech is a hard school, but it also has a reputation for being sort of a party school, and now I know where they party.

 

So that is all there is, and maybe I can get to bed early tonight, too. The problem is, after I write this (which takes upward of 45 minutes), it has been taking another 45 minutes to try to upload the entire web, which hasn't worked since I trashed the other disk. Then I spend another half hour to 45 minutes brushing a cat and staring at the floor in the bathroom...so getting from here into bed can take two hours or more. One of these days, the upload will work, and I'll be able to cut some time out of this exercise.

 

December 8

Hey, it's warm outside! After bottoming out at 11 between 8:00 and 9:00 this morning, the temperature has been rising steadily, and at 9:00 it is 32 with no wind at all. It was rather gusty for a while this afternoon (while the electrician was here, of course), but the wind has died down, too. So we are in for a short respite. When I got out of my car at Mariner, I heard a snowmobile, and they said there had been four of them around town yesterday or today. So the winter tourism season has begun.

 

I stayed up until I couldn't see anymore, playing Jewel Quest. It is a rather addictive game, although some of the puzzles are entirely too hard to complete, and now I think I can leave it alone for a while. I only got about 7 hours' sleep, so I am tired, and I will be going to bed early tonight.

 

As a result of all that, I didn't do anything today except run a couple of bills to the post office. It was dark and cloudy enough that my headlights were on at about noon, but there wasn't any snow, either. It was just a cloudy, dark day.

 

And that is about all I know. Sorry.

 

December 7

Remember Pearl Harbor. That act took place about five months after I was born, and it shaped my entire youth.

 

I didn't go to bed last night, but I got up before 10:00 this morning, hoping that I would be so tired that I would go earlier today. Sorry. The disk for Jewel Quest came today (and it is a very buggy program), and the only thing that has torn me away from it is that it keeps hanging up or going away or something. 

 

So all I really have to talk about is the weather. About 3:00 this morning, the wind peaked with 45 mph gusts, and while it is beginning to die down now,  as late as 6:00 tonight it was still in the 25-35 mph range, from the north. The temperature got down to about 16 between 8:00 and 10:00 this morning, and it has been climbing slowly ever since, and it is now 21. It's just a tad cold outside.

 

Mac came and blew out the driveway about the time I was ambulatory, and there wasn't as much snow as I'd thought - maybe 3" at most. I'm sure they've gotten more up at Delaware, which is where the official Keweenaw records are kept. George Hite says the official amount was about 22" as of yesterday. I think it snowed overnight, but it didn't snow today, and in fact, there were a couple of rays of sunshine, not much, but enough to let us know it's still there.

 

Oh, yes, and the electrician came back, and I still don't have a generator. Now he thinks there is either sludge in the oil case or the filter is clogged, because the new oil sensor didn't make any appreciable difference. He was going to go back and talk to the Generac people, get some new heavier oil and a new filter, and come back tomorrow. That has been a contrary machine from the time it was installed.

 

I probably shouldn't even talk about it, but so far I have been warm. I had to crank up the heat in the office a bit this morning, but so far, so good. Maybe at last that problem is solved, too? Hope so.

 

I actually got three Christmas cards today. So much for my desire to get my cards out early. I'm still looking for the list. I'm hoping it actually was in that bag I stuffed in with the Christmas stuff and I can dig it out tomorrow.

 

So that's it for tonight, and we'll see if maybe things are working better than they were last night, when I couldn't even get it to start the upload.

 

December 6

I was just adding a few lines to my completed entry when the computer froze. it's been doing that all evening, especially when I tried to do a virus scan. Well, let's see if I can remember what I wrote.

 

I finally made it to bed in the wee hours of the morning, and Buster was most upset with me. I think it's because I was late for his evening brushing. Cats are creatures of habit, and some are more so than others. Buster is more so.

 

However, he has finally begun to realize that we're not going anywhere, and he has relaxed a lot. I don't know where he is sleeping these days, but I don't think it's in the basement. There is a folded blanket in the laundry and a shelf in the closet (where my shorts are stored) and I think I've heard him jump off both of them. He should spend time in his bed in the closet - it's usually warm in there. I will have to move it away from the outside wall and see if he likes it better.

 

It is not warm outside. The temperature was around 20 and it has now fallen to 16 (better than Houghton, where it's 9). The wind has been from the north, in the 25-40 mph range. The last reading was 31-39 mph. The last time I could see it, there was a solid line of white between Porter Island and the lighthouse, and the lake is roaring loudly. Every so often I can hear a thud when a blast of wind hits the north end of the house. Even though the NWS station hasn't reported any precip, I would say that between 4" and 6" of snow has probably fallen today. It's hard to be sure because of the wind, which, by the way, blew the feeder I had on the deck off of it. From the camera pictures, it looks like a lake effect squall was coming through about every 15 minutes all afternoon. It's winter in the northwoods, guys.

 

The real disappointment is that the Coast Guard pulled the buoys on November 6, so there is no measure of wave heights. The marine forecast is talking about 12-17 foot waves overnight (with freezing spray), before they "subside" to 9-12 feet tomorrow. As my mama always used to say, "Pity the poor sailor on a night like this!" I hope any lakers out there have taken shelter (even though there aren't gale warnings yet). Can you imagine 17 foot waves and freezing spray? Brr! Karl Bohnak's book has a picture taken from the pilot house of a laker with the waves towering over the deck and washing over it. Makes that huge thing look like a dingy.

 

I was late getting up and I didn't do much. I did sit in the ugly chair for the first time in ages, and watched night fall, and I finally got all the yarn ends woven into the crocheted afghan. I want to throw that over the little chair in my bedroom, which is rather the worse for wear.

 

I didn't go to the post office like I should have. It just seemed unnecessary to trek out in that snow and wind. It's fun to watch from inside, but it's not so much fun to be out driving in. Hopefully, the guys will clear out the driveway tomorrow and I'll go then. Besides, the post office closes at 3:00, and I hadn't finished eating then.

 

The computer has been acting up again, and I am still mulling over my options. I am going to try to get to bed before midnight tonight, and we'll see about tomorrow. 

 

So that's all I know, and it's a wild and hairy night in the field, perfect for curling up under the comforter and listening to the song of the greatest lake.

 

December 5

It ended up that I had to copy all the files I updated manually last night, and when I tried to check the links to make sure I hadn't screwed something up, the wireless was acting up and I kept getting red "x"s instead of picture files. And when I would go back to the page, the ones that weren't there before would be there and some other ones would be missing. I'm sure it was a wireless problem: they had been having problems all day Things seem to be working better today, but we'll see.

 

I was late getting to bed, and I didn't sleep all that well, probably because I slept so long the night before. The moon was shining brightly when I went down the hall, but by the time I got into bed it had clouded up and started to snow, and it snowed off and on all night long. Around 5:00 this morning, the cloud cover lightened enough that I could see a bright fuzzy spot in the sky that was enlarged amazingly by the clouds, but no real moon.

 

I rolled out around 10:30, as usual, and it was cloudy and a bit windy, but there wasn't any snow for the rest of the day. When I got to the office, wouldn't you know, the computer had frozen at about 2:30 this morning. So I plugged the CD-ROM back in and I am mulling my options. I guess maybe another call to Gateway is in order? Maybe they can help me make a decision, especially if I'm lucky enough to talk to somebody with enough experience to really know what they're talking about.

 

Anyway, it didn't hang all day, although I did reboot a couple of times because IE hung up on me (I was surfing to some new places). I'm beginning to wonder if whatever problem it is may be heat related. I have the case opened up and sitting on a stool sort of in the middle of things. Normally, with the case closed and the CPU sitting on its dolly, I have it stashed away in a corner under the desk, where it doesn't get as much air. Since it was 65 in the office at noon, I'm sure everything inside was much cooler than it usually is.

 

I did get a phone call from the people who wanted me to download a 133mb file. I told them last night to cancel the order, and I guess they didn't like that answer, so they are going to send me a CD. I guess maybe you could download 133mb on a DSL line, or over cable, but a T1 would be better. I wouldn't want to try it. The longer a file transfer takes, the more likely it is to error out, and once through a marathon like that is more than enough. Some things just need hard copy, even these days.

 

I really didn't do much, except that I cooked again tonight and sort of cleaned out the fridge. There was a recipe on the back of my package of noodles for turkey and noodles that sounded good, so I decided to try it, with amendments. It turned out pretty good, and it made a washboiler. The only thing is, there isn't enough thickening in condensed soup, so it really needed a little roux to thicken up the sauce. I added some mushrooms, and I think it was much better for them. So I will add comments and maybe try it again sometime. It would work just as well with cooked chicken. 

 

Now I have to inventory my freezer containers and see if I have enough larger ones to package it all up in individual servings. I do end up eating a lot of frozen packaged foods (really easy meals), but it would be so much nicer to have the freezer stocked with my own food. I brought back some soup from the other house during my first trip back in October, and I need to take inventory. I think I have more bean soup than pea, which means that the ham hocks in the freezer should go for pea soup. Sometimes that's quite enough for dinner. I also noticed a pound of frozen ground beef, which means I could make chili stew while I still have a green pepper and some of Hughes' lovely onions. That makes enough that I could (and ought to) freeze some of it, too. The only thing about that is that elbow macaroni doesn't freeze as well as noodles, so I would have to cook macaroni fresh in order to use it out of the freezer.

 

The sink is full of pans again, and the dishwasher is overflowing, so I am washing dishes while I do this exercise. The counters and the stove are still gross, but I'm slowly getting the stuff off them so I'll be able to clean.

 

By the way, the electrician didn't come today, and I didn't hear from him. Tomorrow, maybe? I want to get that little item taken care of.

 

The weather was typical. The temperature only got down to about 17 here last night (as versus 9 in Houghton), and there was about 2" of new snow. It eventually got up to 24 for a while before it started to drop back, and there wasn't much wind, from the southwest. It was cloudy but not especially dark, and there wasn't any more snow today until after it got dark (and I couldn't see it). I guess it's been snowing pretty steadily since 5:00.

 

Having the CPU in the middle of the desk chair area is a real inconvenience. I have a hard time getting to the keyboard and I can't really get to my desk kneehole at all (it's full of dolly anyway), so there are some things I might have been doing that I haven't been doing. 

 

I find it curious that I haven't done anything creative at all (except cook) since I got back from Detroit the second time, and I don't know exactly why that is. Nothing has appealed to me. I guess I'm just in a creative funk again. That has happened before, as I recall. Maybe if I can get this computer thing resolved, I'll feel more like doing something...anything.

 

I was looking at a chart of astronomical events last night and one entry got me looking at the times of sunrise and sunset. It turns out that next week - from the 9th through the 12th - the sun will be setting at its earliest time - 5:00 exactly. The latest sunrises don't come until the 27th and continue through January 6th. The shortest days, 8 hours 27 minutes, come between the 17th and the 25th. All that sounds sort of weird, but it has something to do with how far north we are and how far west we are, I think. Remember, Copper Harbor is west of Chicago, and we are only in the eastern time zone by convention. Anyway, we are in the darkest part of the year, when the sun only gets 20 above the horizon at noon (local noon taking place at 12:42 by the clock). That isn't far above the trees at my location. It will be the end of January before there is a perceptible lengthening of the days, and by then it will be snowing all the time and it won't matter.

 

So I guess that's about all I have to meander on about. By the time I have finished uploading this (one way or another), the dishwasher will have finished using water and I can toddle up to the north end, brush a cat, and go to bed.

 

December 4

I didn't get to bed early, and I didn't get up early, but curiously enough, I actually did something. It was a cold morning - around 15, but it warmed up over the afternoon, and it is now 25, although the wind is rising. When I got down to the office, about 11:30, there was a film of ice over the very end of the harbor, over where the creek comes in from Lake Lily.

 

Not long after I got to the office, the sun began to come out, and it was an absolutely beautiful afternoon, with the bluest blue sky and puffy white clouds. I decided today was the day to roll down the shutters, so I got out my waterproof gloves, put on my jacket and my hat, and took up my shovel. I had to shovel the snow away from the slider in the great room, and I had to shovel away from the screens. The snow on the deck was about 6" deep, and it was softening up in the sunshine. In fact, it was softening up so much that I was directly in the drip from the second story roof, so I got rather damp. I seem to finally have learned out how to put the locks in the doors. I did have trouble with one, because the slide didn't want to go far enough, but I fixed that, and I had no trouble getting the locks into place. Now if I can only remember when it comes time to take them out...

 

It was so nice that I decided to shovel off the front stoop while I was dressed, so that is done.

 

In the meantime, I got a lovely early Christmas gift from my cousins in Virginia - a hand hooked throw rug and matching needlepoint pillow with a CHristmas apple wreath on a white background. They are just beautiful, and I have put the rug in front of the hearth in the great room and the pillow on the hearth. They look lovely. When it is bright again, I will try to remember to take a picture. 

 

And yes, UPS can still get down the road. Ron was out at 4:30 this morning scraping off the night's accumulation, which wasn't more than an inch. They will have to be careful with the blower until we get a good base down, because it keeps picking up stones and breaking shear pins. Mac said yesterday that one pebble had gotten way up into the chute, and when he removed it, it was a thumb-sized copper nugget! However, he had already broken four shear pins by that time.

 

Anyway, I completed my tasks and sat down to rest. It was really nice outside, crisp and not very windy at that time, and the sunshine was wonderful.

 

A while later, I just happened to look out the east windows to see a low, fluffy gray cloud coming up from the north in a leisurely fashion. Here is what the camera saw. See that low gray cloud? Fifteen minutes later, this is what we had. So now you know what a lake effect cloud looks like. It was just chock-full of snow, and it continued to snow on us until about 5:30. Around 6:00, when I went to the bathroom, the moon was rising over the garage, and it was nearly clear again, although it seems to have disappeared now. At least we had a beautiful, sunny afternoon.

 

PastyNet was off the air for about an hour late this afternoon, and so was the radio station in Houghton, so I sort of gather there might have been a power problem south of us. We were fine, and I haven't heard from the electrician, so I assume he is coming tomorrow.

 

I finally got the kitchen somewhat straightened out, unloading and reloading the dishwasher and putting away the clean pots and pans and putting some more to soak. Every so often the condition of the kitchen just gets to me and I have to do something about it. Since I felt rather energized, I figured I'd work on it today. There is a lot more to do, but it's better.

 

Along about the time it was getting dark, I had my first system halt in almost 24 hours. Now, why it would start behaving itself, I don't know. Experiments should be reproducible...they should fail in the same way. Not that I'm complaining. After mulling over the situation last night, I decided the next step should be to test the CD-ROM drive, so when the system halted, I unplugged the CD-ROM. Of course this results in some nasty looking errors, but nothing fatal, and I am now running without a CD-ROM. We shall see what we shall see. I usually reboot the system after I upload - or try to upload; I haven't gotten a good upload with this disk since the borders got corrupted - so tonight and tomorrow should give me some hints. If it doesn't fail tomorrow, I will just leave it unplugged for another day or so before I begin to raise hell with Gateway. If it really is the CD-ROM, not only did they sell me a disk I don't need, they sold me a defective CD-ROM. We'll see what happens.

 

So that was my day, and while it's early, I don't want to be up till all hours tonight, because the electrician might get here at a reasonable hour. And my exertions, while they didn't wind me or anything, seem to have left me tired.

 

It's a cold winter's night in the field, but there may be some moonshine.

 

December 3

Let's see, where was I? 

 

I got to bed early last night - around 10:30, and while I was up numerous times, I did sleep pretty well. And it was about 10:30 this morning when I got up. I guess all my exertions of the past couple of days left me pretty tired. I really didn't do much today. I had thoughts of going out and pulling down the shutters, but the weather wasn't exactly the best for that. I cooked, but it was an easy dish - grandma's spare ribs, a good meal for a cold night in the field. Otherwise I sort of vegged out.

 

I have been forgetting to mention that even with the clouds, the nights have been very bright lately, because of the beautiful moon, which is full tomorrow. It is so bright that not the thickest clouds can shade it out altogether. And yesterday morning, between about 3:00 and 5:00, it was apparently partly cloudy, and the moon was shining on the bed and right into my eyes. Not that it kept me awake or anything, but it was nice to look at. Oh, lovely moon!

 

It was a wintry day today again. The temperature started out in the upper 20s last night and dropped down to about 21 for the entire afternoon. The wind, which is out of the north mostly, peaked at 25-35 mph around 10:00 this morning, and is now in the 15-25 mph range...wind chills in the single digits. Cold.  In addition, it snowed more or less all day long, but lightly enough that most of it didn't register at the NWS station. All I know is that I got my driveway plowed around 1:00 this afternoon, and the tracks are now covered by a light layer of new snow. 

 

When Mac came in the tractor, I went out to say hi, and it was cold out there! I fetched in the snow shovel, because I'm going to have to clear the tracks of the shutters, but I just decided it wasn't nice out there and it can wait until tomorrow. I watched the little birds for a while, and they were cold, too. No dawdling around the feeders, picking and choosing which seed to take today, for sure! They would fly in, grab a seed and fly off to someplace more sheltered. They were clearly hungry, though. It must take a lot of seeds to keep a teensy little bird like a chickadee or a nuthatch going in this weather. I'm sorry the feeders aren't in a more sheltered spot, but if they were, I couldn't see them and it would be too hard to get to them to fill them.

 

I decided not to fool around with the disk today, but I succumbed to playing Jewel Quest again, and I have come to the conclusion that it may actually be a piece of malware. At least I had a lot of problems while I was playing it, culminating in errors in the boot sector, and a lot of system hangs. Something (maybe me - old fast fingers was at it again - although I'm not sure) totally trashed Norton at one point, so I had to do a GoBack. Fortunately, I hadn't done anything I needed to save. And when I tried to uninstall the game, I discovered that the regular uninstall leaves both the folder on the disk and entries in the registry, so it is not completely uninstalled at all. Darn. I like that game. However, I think I am going to write Shockwave and try to get my money back. I have enough problems without something like that lurking around.

 

You may have noticed that I finally did solve the problem with the borders on this page, thankfully. However, I didn't get a complete load last night again. It didn't time out until after the journal was updated, so I just left it, but I really have no clue why it times out. Just one more screwy thing with the computer. And of course, it hung up after I went to bed last night, so we didn't get the morning pictures again.

 

So it was another quiet, cold day in the field, and it will be another good night to cuddle under the comforter and watch the lights of town come and go.

 

December 2

Well, I'm back where I was yesterday morning. I had just figured out a way that I think will put the borders back on this page when Norton started giving me errors saying that something was writing over the boot sector, and what did I want to do about it. I tried to tell it to fix the problem, but it kept giving errors, then it started up a virus scan, which takes forever on this system. So good ole' fast fingers here powered down the CPU. If you ever get errors like that, do not turn off the computer! 

 

When it tried to reboot, I got the most fearful error in all of PC-dom: non system disk detected - insert system disk, etc. Egad! That is an unabashed, unashamed aw, shit, for sure.

 

Finally, I ended up in MSDOS's scandisk, which is far more thorough than the one that runs through Windows and gives you much more control. It said, yes indeed the boot sector was corrupted, and it fixed that, and it went on to start a thorough scan. Since it was then about 11:00, and I was tired, I left it and took my bath. Just for jollies, I decided to check on it before I went to sleep...and the CPU was frozen. Well, under those circumstances, there is nothing to do but power down and restart, so I did that and got back into scandisk...and the disk now has 260 directories on it called things like "DIR0001" and some funny characters. How to totally trash a hard disk! So I shut the computer off and went to bed.

 

And curiously enough, I slept pretty well. I learned the hard way, many years ago, that the best thing to do with a problem that seems insurmountable is to let go of it and get a good night's sleep. Of course I was mulling it over when I woke up, but it didn't keep me awake.

 

First off, I was pretty sure I still had the old disk, although I had been a bit rough on it when I removed it yesterday. Secondly, very likely Norton is right, there was a virus out there, which I probably got in the course of some of the downloads I did yesterday. I had to change my security settings in IE a bit in order to get Shockwave to download, and my guess is that I said "enable" when I should have said "prompt".

However, when and if I do those downloads again, I will be taking the time (an hour or more) to do a virus scan afterwards. I will never know what it was. Thirdly, and most importantly, it is clear to me that the problem which is causing the computer to freeze up is not a hard disk problem, since it happened when I was running MSDOS off the CD-ROM and the old disk wasn't even in the cabinet. Unless, of course, it is a problem with the new CD-ROM drive (that just occurred to me). Before I call in the local hardware fixers, I may try unplugging the CD-ROM and see what happens. Since the case is now open again, I may just do that sometime.

 

Finally, I didn't need to buy that disk drive, of which I can only use about two-thirds. It would be nice to have a bigger disk, it's true, but it always annoys me when I can't use all of what I bought. I will have to mull that one over a bit.

 

I finally got up around 10:30 this morning, came back to the office and reinstalled the old disk...and thank heavens, it booted right up and seems to be fine. I did take the time to a virus scan on it, after I did my morning surfing, and it seems to be intact.

 

I decided against doing the Drive2Drive again today. Just let it rest a while. I did update my personal files and a few selected mail files on the TravelDisk, and of course, I had to copy at least part of the web back from the server. If there are any strange looking things or broken links in the web, please let me know. I think I got everything, but when Explorer told me it would take 16 hours to copy the whole web, I said forget that! I don't think it was right, but I wasn't going to take any chances.

 

So that is the saga of my computer problems. After I got things working the way they should, I didn't do much else.

 

It apparently snowed some overnight, and it snowed more or less continuously, but not hard, for most of the afternoon, and there is now about 6" down, I would say. Going to the post office this afternoon was interesting, because nothing, including US-41, was plowed. Our road was pretty good, but the highway was a 3-track all the way to town. Everybody drives in the middle of the road on unplowed roads, just to make sure they stay out of the ditches. It had all been plowed by tonight, although whoever plowed our road decided my driveway was OK, which is pretty much true. I'm in auto 4-WD again, just like I was most of last winter. And when I came out of Mariner tonight, the snow had frozen around my tailpipe, and the car sounded like it had no muffler when I started it up. The tailpipe evidently vibrates, and when there is snow around it, it transmits that vibration to the fender, and it's a very loud and somewhat alarming noise if you've never heard it before. I got over it last winter.

 

The temperature for most of the day was between 25 and 30, although it has now dropped down to about 23. The wind was fairly light, and it swung around through the compass, starting out from the north overnight, then swinging around to the south around 9:00, and it is now from the west-northwest. Like I said, it snowed for most of the afternoon more or less heavily.

 

Dinner was good tonight. There was one party of 12 or so, and one of the frats at Tech was having a do, so we had a dinner menu, or at least most of it. I had a nice beef pot roast with twice-baked potatoes and mixed vegetables nicely buttered. It was good, and I ate most of it.

 

So now it's time to get another good night's sleep. Maybe I will be more ready to attack the new disk tomorrow, or I just may wait until Monday and see if by any chance I can return it. It would be nice to have a bigger disk, but I really don't need it, since I think the old one is only about half full, and that includes a lot of space GoBack uses. At least I know Drive2Drive works, if the computer stays running, but it's not an easy, fast process.

 

It's winter in the field, and I think it is beginning to dawn on Buster that maybe, just maybe, we aren't going anywhere for a while. At least he slept for most of the day and didn't bug me excessively.

 

So that is all I know.

 

December 1

I regret to say, the problem doesn't seem to be fixed. However, more about that later.

 

It hardly seems possible that it's December already. A year ago today, I had just arrived in Detroit for the month. I'm glad I didn't have to do that today. The remnants of the storm that went through are still affecting everything from the bridge south, and we have lake effects on the north shore. It would have been an even uglier drive than last year's. Buster is still all clingy, and I expect it will take him a few days to realize we're not going anywhere this year.

 

I ended up fiddling around with the computer, but after it hung 10% into the disk copy, I gave up. It was still 1:30 before I got to bed, and I didn't sleep very well. Too much computer and generator on my mind, I guess.

 

So I was asleep when I got a call at 9:30 this morning from the electrician, who was in Hancock and just setting out. I really wanted to go back to sleep, but if I had I wouldn't have been ambulatory when he arrived, so I got up.

 

I did my morning thing, and then I set up to start the copy again...and discovered that whatever Drive2Drive was doing when the system froze, I now couldn't see the new disk at all, and neither could it. So fooled around for a while, unplugging and plugging things and rebooting (I must have rebooted this thing a hundred times in the past 24 hours), and finally at least Drive2Drive could see the disk, so I started the copy. And it worked.

 

In the meantime, the electrician had arrived, and when he took a good look at the generator, he discovered that the main problem all along has been that it had never been converted from natural gas to propane...duh!  After he took care of that, a couple of other problems surfaced: the battery was dead, of course, and later he found that the oil pressure sensor is bad. He did have it running, and he got it well-tuned and everything, but I won't be able to use it until the sensor is replaced. He is ordering that and will come back when it arrives. In the meantime, he had to go back to Hancock for a battery and some motor oil (I knew I should have told him to bring a battery!). Heaven knows what this is going to cost me, but it will be well worth it to hear it fire up to test every week and to know that when we have another 12 hour power failure, I will have heat, water and sewers.

 

While all that was going on, I interchanged the two disks and the new one booted up like a champ, with only a couple of glitches - Norton wanted to be reauthorized, and I had to restart GoBack manually. The first thing I tried to do was update the web, and that worked beautifully. I sort of thought the disk was the problem there.

 

I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to update the software, and I was partially successful. I finally had to roll back an attempt to install all the MS security patches, after the startup screen stared at me for 15 minutes or more. However, Internet Explorer is up-to-date, and I have up-to-date Directx, Flash, Shockwave, and Java.

 

Unfortunately, I have also had several system hangs, including one when I was almost done with this entry. So it appears that it wasn't all the disk after all. However, I'm glad I got the disk. The old one was clearly flaky, and this one is much bigger (128gb), even though I can't use all of it. My bios only addresses 32 bits, which means I can only access 128gb of data. Gateway does have a bios update, but it requires a floppy disk, and would you believe, I don't think I have a good one in this house. And they don't say what the update does. So we will see what happens over the weekend. I would like to try to get any updates to my Office files. However, it seems I'm not home free yet.

 

The weather was wintry (it sure does seem amazing that two days ago, the temperature was around 50). The temperature was between 26 and 28 all day, with a brisk (15-25 mph) wind from the east or northeast. There was a little snow overnight, but then none until about 3:00 this afternoon, and it's been snowing lightly ever since. The wind is now rising into the 20-30 mph range from the northeast, and the lake is singing loudly.

 

Driving to dinner tonight was, um, interesting. US-41is snow covered, and it wasn't easy to tell where the road is. I didn't go over the side, but I did end up driving right down the middle a lot. Not that it mattered. Mine were the only tracks in either direction. Mine was one of two tables in Mariner. 

 

Oh, yes, and I'm forgetting: I finished all the laundry. The last load, towels, should be done in the dryer now. I still have all the folding and putting away to do, but tomorrow I won't have to keep a constant eye on the computer. So I did accomplish a few things today.

 

And that is all there is. I'm tired, and it sounds like it will be a good night to sleep. Maybe I can do better, with Mother Superior to sing me to sleep. It's December, and it's winter in the field.

 

Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM