A View From the Field







February, 2007


February 28

It's hard to believe, but it's been running for another day. I have been careful what I do, and I was away for the afternoon, but still...I'm left waiting for the other shoe to drop. However, I'll take all the uptime I can get.


It's also hard to believe that February is over. In the past, when I was in Detroit, February was always the longest month of the winter, and it seemed like it would never end.


I am still not sleeping very well, with lots of wakeups. And at 7:00 this morning Buster thought it was time to get up - wrong!


This afternoon was the ladies' handcraft meeting, and there were only seven of us this time. Everybody else must have been busy doing other things. However, it is a good group, and we had a very nice time. I took the latest jewelry, and Phoebe has been bringing items from her collection of small pottery animal figurines, many of which were made for strange purposes. That's fun. And the other Sharon has a remarkable collection of old kitchen utensils...today it was a green bean frencher, a pear core scoop, and a peach pitter. I know about the green bean frencher, since there is one of those on the end of my favorite peeler, but the other two were truly weird. She also reports that she has been looking around, and apparently my "fish forks" are a unique item. I must take a picture of one, just in case someone who reads this has seen something like it. Tomorrow, maybe.


There were other things. Carolyn has been at her quilting again, and she is a very fine hand quilter. She had made piece which could be used as a table center that has a lovely sort of Jacobean floral spray appliquéd in the center, using  blanket stitch appliqué. She did a lovely job on it, and since it was mostly blue, I loved it. The other two quilters there have been making small quilts for charity, and they are very nice, too. Anybody who received one should be most grateful.


The weather was certainly the calm before the storm. It was cloudy this morning, but it began to clear up around 2:00, and by dusk, Venus was sailing high in the west and the gibbous moon was shining brightly in the high southeast. The temperature got up to 32º, and the winds were light from the southeast, mostly. I don't particularly trust those directions, because the NWS station is to sheltered on the south side, but I think that was probably right.


I am amused by the NWS. Originally, the blizzard warning was for tomorrow afternoon through Saturday morning. Now it is tomorrow afternoon through Friday evening. It wouldn't surprise me if by tomorrow it isn't a blizzard at all...oh, the sky is falling! It does make it difficult to determine what will actually happen. I have no doubt that we are in for some snow over the next three days, but how much and what the winds will be is still a question. That's all right - we need some fresh snow. The sunshine has melted almost all the snow on US-41 and mushed up a lot on the side streets in town. I imagine the snowmobile trails could use some freshening up, too.


When I got back home, after I read my mail - my mortgage statements, which are due tomorrow, finally came today - I started stringing 17" strands of seed beads. Of course, I had to pick styles of beads that don't come in hanks and where I have to pick up every single bead! And I will be stringing 18 of them. I fiddled around with some hanks, and anything less than 18 strands just looked skimpy. So if I'm going to do this thing, I'm going to do it right. I will just have to up the price a bit.


Last night, the web uploaded beautifully, so what was wrong the night before is beyond me. Let's hope it does the same tonight and tomorrow night (when I do the month end thing).


It's a clear night in the field, but the snow is coming...the sky is falling.


February 27

Well, so far, so good. I hold my breath every time I try anything different, but so far, we're up and running. Fingers crossed.


The lake roared all night long, but there wasn't much, if any, new snow. The temperature for the past 24 hours or so has been between 25º and 30º, with moderate east winds. I wasn't out much, but it sure did feel warm.


I understand we are in for it from tomorrow night through the weekend, but it's about time we had some new snow. This one seems to be going to hit us, rather than sliding south of us. It's still winter in the Northwoods.


Today I went to a little bible study that Bonnie organized, and we listened to a preacher that the other lady likes. I don't, and some of the things he said provoked a disagreement amongst us. I think I will have to call Pastor Boelter tomorrow to try to get my thoughts straightened out. However, they are both nice ladies, and it was a nice afternoon.


As a result of that, I didn't do much. I did get the dishwasher unloaded and began reloading it, and got some more stuff off the counters, and I finally made my chili stew. That is actually an easy dish, but the standing while I was chopping and browning and stirring didn't do my back any good at all. However, the next stop is bed, so I will get it straightened out. Anyway, my chili stew tasted very good for a change, and I have enough for several more meals. I may have to freeze some of it. Yum.


I could never get FrontPage to upload last night, so I will try it again tonight, and hope it goes. I don't know what the problem is, but it kept timing out, even though I rebooted and (gulp!) shut down the computer and the receiver. What a pain. However, I think it is a combination of the FTP on this system not being very good at error recovery and problems in the wireless network that will eventually go away. We shall see. So long as this computer is up, I want to get the website updated correctly.


So that is all there is.


February 26

Maybe - just maybe - I might have found the combination. It won't keep the computer from going down, but it might keep the downtime to a minimum. I unplugged it and left it that way for 6 hours or so, then I plugged it back in and left it that way for 12 hours or so...and it booted this morning. It didn't want to run - I must have had a dozen lockups, and between that and having to get a good ScanDisk, it took me nearly half an hour to get it running, but it's been just fine since. It doesn't solve the problem, and it isn't going to keep the computer from going down, but it may keep it sort of running until I can get the other one.


I didn't get to bed very early last night. I started looking at my beads...priming the pump, sort of...and then when I got to the north end, I sat in the bathroom listening to the lake.


I was most interested to hear the lake at all, but the strong east winds we had yesterday seem to have blown away most of the shelf ice that had formed. I felt better about it when I looked at the Eagle Harbor cam this morning and there was no ice shelf there, either. Anyway, it was singing loudly, and it still is. The wind is still blowing rather strongly from the east, but the temperature is rising now.


It was snowing when I went to bed, so hard that I couldn't see the lights of town at all, and it continued more or less until about 4:00 this morning. It looked to me like we might have gotten 5" to 6" of snow, and there are some drifts in strange places because of the wind...like right in front of the door to the office. It hasn't snowed, except for a flake or two, today, but it is supposed to start again. The temperature was right around 26º until recently, when it rose to 30º or so, but that may be an anomaly of the NWS station. It is supposed to cool off and snow lightly later tonight.


I was so delighted with the computer that I didn't do much today. Let's see...I moved files, I made a couple of telephone calls, and I did get the pots and pans put away. 


There was almost a little sunshine this afternoon, so I grabbed the camera and took a few pictures I've been promising you. Here is the funky necklace. Those aren't good beads, but they're kind of fun. Here is the rose quartz stuff. There is the necklace and two stretch bracelets. And here, at long last, are the two brooches in bead embroidery that I did last fall. The round one is 2" in diameter, and the oval one is 1½" x 2".


I guess you can tell, from these pages, that I spend a lot of bathroom time looking out the window. The window in the powder room sort of faces the breezeway and garage walls, but I've seen some interesting things there anyway. I missed the snow that piled up between the window and the screen during the blizzard, but today when I went in there, there was a piece of ice attached to part of the frame that was so interesting that I grabbed the camera and took a picture of it. I have no idea how it got there, and I really have no clue how that little spike got on the top of it. Nature is wonderful.


So that was my day, and I do intend to get to bed earlier tonight. I'm still not sure whether I have something or if I'm coming down with something, but whatever, it's affected my sinuses and left me feeling stuffy and sort of foggy. At least my ear seems to have opened up. For a while last week my right Eustachian tube was so clogged up that every time I yawned or burped, my ear popped. I had this trouble last year, too...my winter cold thing seems to have settled in my upper head. I don't think it popped at all today, but I am fuzzy and creaky.


However, I located my Lenten devotional booklet (online this time) and I want to print at least one copy of it so I can start reading it tonight. In a way, it's more convenient to get it through the web, since otherwise, unless somebody sent it to me, I wouldn't get it at all.


So that is all there is, and I need to reboot before I publish this and hope it uploads and I don't have to hassle that, too. It sure is nice to have my computer back, if only briefly.


February 25

I was in bed early, and I stayed about 12 hours, but I didn't sleep well. I was walking to the bathroom frequently, and then trying to find a comfortable place to lie. I finally got up when Buster started shouting at me and wouldn't shut up. This afternoon, I've been having trouble keeping my temperature comfortable - I keep getting all hot and sweaty, even though the temperature has been about the same all day long. And my nose is dripping more than usual.


The only thing about being awake so often is that I got a chance to look outside. First off, the lighthouse is in operation again. Ron had mentioned that the DNR (or somebody) was parked in front of his driveway earlier in the week, so I guess that was when they went out and fixed it. The Coast Guard tends the light, but I guess maybe they got the DNR to take them out on their snowmobiles, since the road isn't plowed beyond Ron's house. It's comforting to have the light flashing in my windows again.


For the second night in a row, I got to watch the moon set. It was just a bright, hazy patch behind the clouds, but it seemed pretty bright for a quarter moon. It is setting over east of the lighthouse, where the sun sets at the June equinox, so I can lie in bed and watch it go down. Neat.


The weather was cloudy and blah for most of of the day, with a strong southeast wind. About 3:30, I began to see fuzziness over the mountain, and about 4:00 it started snowing. It did pretty good there for a while, but it was wet, heavy snow, and it only deposited less than an inch on the deck. I think it is still snowing lightly. So that is all we got of the wondrous blizzard, which I think sort of petered out for everybody. Weather forecasting is not an exact science. The temperature was in the upper 20s to just over 30º, with southeast winds in the 15-25 mph range...although I would swear some of those gusts were higher than that. It is strange to have the wind from that direction...all the noises are in the wrong direction.


It didn't keep the little birds or the squirrels at home. My nuthatches have decided they really like the suet cakes, which must be frozen, since the  little birds have to pound away at them to get anything. They keep at it. Not long after it started snowing, I looked out, and there was a squirrel in the deck feeder, sitting with its tail right tight to its back right up to its head. It had been sitting there so long that there was snow on its tail! Not to let a little precip distract it from eating...The goldfinches were here in force, and I think some of them are beginning to get lighter in color, especially on their breasts, but I really haven't been paying enough attention to be sure. They are very happy to have the thistle feeder out, although they do eat a lot of sunflower seeds. The only problem with my pretty new feeder is that it doesn't hold as much seed as the old one did, so I will have to fill it more often. The goldfinches will eat at the mesh feeder, but they don't seem to like the wooden one, which is sort of strange. The other birds don't care. Wherever there is a likely looking seed, the chickadees and nuthatches will light.


I spent the afternoon finishing (finally!!) the clear and white snowflake bracelet, which didn't come out as pretty as I'd expected. Anyway, it's done. That gave me a good excuse to watch the birds a bit.


Then I sorted through some of the mixed beads I got the other day. I got a wonderful selection of pressed glass stuff, which will be very useful when I get back to the bead embroidery. I also am thinking of doing a little 3-D stitching on some peyote bracelets, but that hasn't firmed up yet, because I wanted to use leaves, and the new mixture didn't have very many. I'm still thinking about it.


I started out to sort some of the seed beads, too, but decided that was too boring, and I'd best work on some jewelry. Then I had a disaster. I had spilled a few beads that I wanted to put back in the bag, and when I picked it out of the box, I discovered that I hadn't sealed the bag...so beads went all over the floor and all over the box! I have swept three times, and I think maybe I finally have most of the beads off the floor, but there are a lot in the box, too, which I will have to get at tomorrow. I do need to sort that stuff out and stash it away, too. Anyway, it was an awful mess. That is why I keep the broom at hand in the office all the time.


I was going to work on beaded beads, but I decided to eat instead, and when I have finished this, I think I will just toddle up to the north end. I need to wash my hair tonight, so I can't just jump into bed. 


i really hope that whatever I have, this is it, and I'm not coming down with something worse. My sinuses are well-clogged, which has made my eyes little and squinty and watery, my nose is much more runny than usual, and I just don't feel very robust. Hopefully, a lot of sleep - or rest, at least - and fluids will take care of it. Trouble is, everything I drink is going right through, which means I'm up frequently during the night and I make a lot of trips down the hall during the day...when I make it.


So that was my day, and it's time for bed again.


February 24

It's still down. I actually had the case open today, and I tried a few more things, but nothing happened. 


This will be short and early. I woke up in the middle of the night last night with my sinuses so packed I could hardly breathe and coughing my head off, and this morning I felt pretty yucky - still do, actually - so I plan to head up to the north end and crash tonight.


However, in spite of feeling blah, I did actually do some work today. I filled and ran the dishwasher, and I washed all the pots and pans. Everything still needs to be put away, and the counters are gross, but at least all that stuff isn't lying around anymore - it's all piled on the draining board. It's nice to be able to see and use my kitchen counters for a change. I also took two big bags of trash out to the garage. One of these days, I will have to go to the dump.


Then I made a necklace I've been thinking about for three or four years. It is a string of rose quartz beads with a mother-of-pearl carved flower hanging from the front. I think it is pretty, and so did Peggy. She thought the funky necklace was fun, and Lydia liked it, too, so I guess that's a winner. I have enough beads for two more rose quartz necklaces. One will have to be shorter, because one of the five strands of beads I got doesn't go with the other four at all. I will try to return it, but if I can't get another nice one, I will just make a short necklace out of it. The one I made today is 18" long, and I think a 16" one, where the flower hangs right in the hollow of the throat, would be nice, too. There will be pictures, but none yet.


The weather was disgusting. For all the snow south of us, we had nearly clear skies all day long. The temperature got up to 25º, with a moderate wind from the southeast, of all places. It got nice and warm in here, with the sun, and Buster was most happy.


February 23

Well, it's down again. It worked fine, with a few lock-ups, until just after 5:00 this afternoon, when it locked up again. So I turned it off. When I turned it back on, it first started to boot, but after about 3 seconds of green light, it went orange again, and it's down. I will let it sit for a while and try it tomorrow. Talk about  frustrating...


It was so nice to have my big keyboard, my big monitor, and my trackball mouse! It also runs faster, so things load faster. Darn.


Anyway, I enjoyed it so much that I didn't do a whole lot today. I had been thinking about the kitchen, but I had to go to the post office, so I diddled before then, and after I looked at my ton of mail, I got out the funky beads and made four necklaces. They turned out pretty good, I think. I will take a picture.


After I did that, I started working on the beaded beads again, but I got the seed beads and Swarovski crystals for a bit more elegant necklace, and I think I will work on that tomorrow. Tonight I think I will just go up to the north end and read.


Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, I went outside to refill the new bird feeder, which the birds really seem to like. There was a little nuthatch sitting on the wooden feeder looking mostly down. Even when I opened the door and went out, it just sat there. Then I noticed that on the deck there was a dead nuthatch. About the time I got to the kitchen this morning, I heard something hit the window, and that must have been it. The live nuthatch sat there until I picked up the dead one and dropped it off the deck, then it flew away. It made me feel so sad. The bird book says nuthatches are monogamous, but it doesn't say if it's permanent or serial. It does say they may stay together during the winter. I think the little one on the feeder was looking at its dead mate (both sexes are about the same, so I can't tell which one died). I hate it when they hit the windows, but most of them survive. I guess the angle of the sun on the window made it look like there was nothing there. So sad.


The weather was interesting. When I got up this morning, the sun was shining, and isolated little snowflakes were coming down and dancing around in the wind. It was about like that all day long, bright to sunny, with an occasional very, very light fall of snowflakes. It was clouding up pretty good when the camera went down, and there wasn't any sunset. The temperature got up to 19º for a while, then it dropped off. The NWS station started reporting the wind again at noon, but it was very light to calm and sort of boxed the compass. It is now from the southeast, but almost calm.


Whether we will get any snow this weekend depends upon who you believe. Accuweather says yes, John Dee says maybe, and the NWS says essentially no. So we will see.


This morning, about 5:30, I got up to take a walk and noticed light coming from down the hall, so after I did my thing, I went down to see what was going on. I was so excited about finally getting my beads yesterday that I forgot to close the garage door, and evidently Ron was clearing the driveway (I guess it must have snowed some overnight) and tripped the motion sensor in the garage, but by the time I got there, he had left. So I closed the door - and consternated him, because he picked up my newspaper and wondered how the door had gotten closed when he came back. I must be more careful to keep it closed. I have trash bags out there that some critter might really like.


I also left my keys at the post office...probably in my box. I guess my mind has been elsewhere...but that was before the computer halted. I guess I have beads on my mind, which is a good thing.


So there we are. It was a nice two days. I hope it happens again soon.


February 22

It's working! It's working! I'm rushing this into print, just in case, before dinner, but it's been up solidly since about noon...Yippeee!


I left it plugged in yesterday, and I pushed the button this morning, and it started to boot...and locked up halfway through. I think it took me half an hour to get it to come up reliably and stay up reliably. The first thing I did was to download the hardware monitor, and I discovered that the inside of the case was running a bit warm, especially the motherboard...not in the yellow region, but close. So at the suggestion of the "help" file, I moved the case a bit. Even though it's harder to get to the front and the USB ports, that did cool things down about 10º. It's cooling down in the office now, and so is the computer.


So I moved files and did my morning thing, and watched the monitor, and it seemed to be OK. So I fired up Publisher and worked on the prayer book I promised Nancy last night...and ended up wasting a ton of paper before I got two good copies. But that's a problem with the HP multifunction device that I've always had when doing two-sided printing. So that is done, then I created a greeting card and that worked...and I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop.


So I am doing this before dinner, because the upload will probably be a long one, and I want to make sure it gets done...and maybe the the files backed up, too.


One thing I did discover in using the laptop is that the difference between 512mb and 768mb is a big one, and things that bring the laptop to its knees work fine on the desktop. I still like this keyboard and my trackball mouse better, too. So there.


The snow overnight turned out to be a dud, frankly. There was a little rain about the time I went to bed, and there was maybe an inch of snow on the roof and the deck when I got up, but that went away pretty quick, and except for a few flakes, there wasn't any more precip. The temperature fell precipitously overnight, and it has been nearly steady at about 19º all day. I think it was breezy, but the NWS station stopped reporting wind speed at 9:00 this morning. It was very windy (20-40 mph) in Houghton overnight, but it has now calmed down there, and I think here, too.


I'm pretty sure it has, because right about sunset, I made a mad dash for the door with the camera in my hand, and this is why. Now, that was a pretty good sun pillar, and I think it was pretty well focused, too. It was gorgeous for about 10 minutes. Anyway, when I was outside, I didn't feel any wind, and even with my sweats and slippers on, I wasn't cold for the few minutes I was out there. Oh, it's nice to have a working camera!


While I was downloading that picture, I also got the two others that have been in the camera for a week or two. Here is a picture of Phoebe's bracelet. I prefer to have some of the copper lined beads, but she likes it, so that's all that's important.


Here is the picture of the almost sun pillar I took a week ago. It was a lovely clear night, and those little clouds were really neat. I guess that brings us up to date.


Like I say, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, but in the meantime, I'm going to treat the computer like it is not sick and just do my thing. If it does turn out to be a heat-related problem, I will kick myself (I don't think the failure to boot is heat-related, though), but oh, well. Live and learn. And I will still get the other computer up here and use it, because I can't guarantee how warm it might get in here in the summer. I'm not going to clog up my nice windows with an air conditioner just to keep the computer happy, and it really should be under the desk anyway. I will not put an air conditioner through my wall, especially where it would blow right on my feet!


So that is where we are tonight, and I will take a deep breath and try to upload this without rebooting.


February 21 - Ash Wednesday

The computer is still dead. I tried it today, and it still won't boot.


Other than that, I didn't do a lot. I was going to do something in the kitchen, but I ended up making a lot of phone calls instead. And since today was Ash Wednesday, I did go to church.


The service at our little chapel was postponed because the pastor of the parent church in Mohawk passed away suddenly (heart attack while shoveling snow) last week, and his funeral was this morning. So we had church at 4:00, and there were three of us. I was most touched that Bonnie would hold a service just for me, but it was very nice. It's the first time I've been in church since last May, and it was good to be there.


The weather was the kind I really don't like. The temperature got up to 37º with calm winds, so it was drippy and yucky for most of the day. About the time I got out of church, it started to snow, and the temperature has finally gotten back down to freezing. I think it is snowing or raining or something, since I can't see the lights of town. There is a blowing snow advisory for most of the night and tomorrow. That will be better, as the temperature drops off to reasonable levels.


I now have three doctors and a dentist scheduled for my trip to Detroit in April, so I won't be sitting around while I'm there. I'm trying to decide if I need to see the internist or the dermatologist...one or the other, not both. Hmm.


This evening, after I tried again to track down my 12 lb of beads (nobody knows exactly where they are), I called Nancy, and we had a nice conversation...I guess.


She has had another recurrence of her cancer, and she is still trying to decide what to do about it. On top of that, she has had a lot of stressful family issues to deal with, so it was good to talk to her. I am praying for her.  Anyway, I was able to fill her in on all the little things that have been going on around here, so that was good. I know all too vividly what she is going through...only I had them one at a time, and she has them all together.


I thought the great room seemed rather warm today - Buster thought it was wonderful - and I put it down to the warm weather outside, until I checked the thermostat and discovered that I had set it up to 80º, and it was 77º over by the door. Oh. So I guess the heat is working in this end of the house. The other end...well...


So that is about all I know, and it's time to head up to the north end.


February 20

This will be another short one. I had ideas of actually doing something today, but I was wakeful during the night - hot, for a change - so I slept in this morning, and that shot the day. Tomorrow?


I did finally get to the post office, and there were lots of packages as well as lots of bills. The 12 lb box is still in limbo, though. It was given to an "authorized local agent" yesterday in Eagle River, WI. Who knows who that is, or when it will get here. It was supposed to be delivered today. Ha.


I did get the other bead order, and I thought again that almost every time I order beads, when they arrive, I end up thinking, why in the world did I order that? There were some interesting shades of peach, and some very pretty matte iris in several colors, but I seem to have ODed on greens. Hmm. There was that idea I had for a bead embroidered leaf...Hmm.


The weather was about the same as yesterday. In the middle of the night, I looked up and saw stars. The planet in Leo is Saturn, not Jupiter, just to be accurate. I think I saw that, too. The temperature has been about steady, about 26º. The wind was really strong during the night...in the 20-30 mph range. Around 3:30, I think a jet flew over, but it was hard to tell, because the wind gusts sounded just about the same. It died down around 6:00 and it has been light to calm ever since, from the northwest for a while, then calm, and now from the southeast. That's a strange direction, and I don't suppose it will last long.


Oh, yes, I filled the bird feeders and hung out the thistle feeder, since I have had a lot of goldfinches lately, including one that looked like she was getting her summer feathers early. I moved the new feeder slightly so that if the camera ever comes up, it won't be right in the middle of the picture. The problem is, the hanger I was hanging it on was a casualty of the raccoons, and I can't find it, and it was the only medium-length hook I had left. The new feeder has a long hanger on it, so it hangs down too low. I have some good branches to hang feeders from, but in order for the hooks to hold, I need a knob or side branch to hold them, and there aren't many of those.


None of that seemed to bother the little birds. In fact, I had to wait a bit, because there was a nuthatch pounding on one of the suet cakes...the one I can't see from the house. He was pounding away, but I couldn't see that he had actually gotten much, because they are frozen, of course. And when I was outside, there was one brave little nuthatch who lit on the mesh feeder and got his seed in spite of me standing about two feet away. I never get tired of looking at those teensy, delicate little things...I doubt they weigh more than a couple of grams. I could string seed beads with their beaks.


Anyway, that was about all that happened. I didn't try to start the other computer today. I will try that tomorrow, as well as try to get something done...anything.


February 19

Well, it's still down. The repair guy did call this morning, and he sort of apologized (just sort of), and he suggested disconnecting the power cord, so I did that, and it didn't make any difference. I tried it this afternoon, and it is just as dead as it was. Sigh.


The weather was a little different. The temperature has risen continuously since my last entry, and it is now 29º...the warmest it's been in a month. The wind picked up to the 25-35 mph range from southwest this morning, but it died down during the afternoon, and it has now picked up again from the northwest. By the way, Houghton is reporting 38º, which I find rather hard to believe, but they've been reporting high all day. Sometimes I wonder about these automatic weather packages the NWS uses.


So I did nothing at all today, and I don't have anything to report. 


February 18

I tried the computer once this morning and it didn't work, so I left it alone. Maybe tomorrow?


It was a bright and sometimes sunny day today, but the temperature outdoors was about 10º or less all day, with a 20 mph wind out of the northwest this morning. It has now died down completely, but the temperature is now 3º.


The sun was nice, and the house got really warm. Buster was happy, but I was hot. My heavy sweatshirt was too much clothes, but I knew it would cool off eventually. 


I fiddled, I guess. There is a new game, and I did some beading. I started making little beaded beads for a necklace like one Shirley owned, but my fingers weren't working very well, so it was rather frustrating, and I eventually went back to the peyote bracelet. It's a good thing I'm not charging by the hour for those things, or nobody would buy them!


I began trying to get the dishwasher unloaded, but I didn't make a lot of progress, and after eating dinner, I think every pot, pan and broiler pan I own is dirty. I really must try to do something.


My back wasn't too bad today, so maybe I'll be able to do something in the kitchen tomorrow.


So it was a quiet day in the field, and it's bedtime again.


February 17

I am still using the laptop. The desktop lasted about four hours, and I spent most of those recovering from whatever they did to my software, so we got a few new pictures and that was about it.


It booted up just fine when I finally got all the cables reattached, and there was a new program in the system tray that monitors the temperatures and voltages on the motherboard. Neat. However, the broadband wouldn't connect at all. So I fiddled around for a while and discovered, among other things, that ScanDisk wouldn't run, either. What the devil...And they clearly hadn't ever run a ScanDisk all the time they had it, because there were some lost clusters and some problems with the boot sector.


First I left a call on the repair guys' answering machine - they don't work on weekends. Finally I called Charlie Hopper and we checked all the definitions for the Ethernet, and discovered that part of the software thought it was connected and part of it didn't (or something like that).


He had to go on to another call, but at that point, I decided that the thing to do was to try to revert the disk to the last time I used it, on February 2. In the course of finding a revert time, I discovered that while they had booted it up on Feb. 5, they hadn't touched it again until last Tuesday, so they only actually worked on it for about three days.


Anyway, the first revert time I picked got halfway through and hung, so I tried again (and this time GoBack behaved itself and let me stop it), and I finally got a good, running system with an Ethernet that would connect to my broadband receiver. Whew!


Then it was get the files moved, and it locked up three or four times, even though I was only using Explorer. I went on with the file maintenance, to make sure there was no junk lurking on the disk, and it locked up again...and when I pushed the button to turn it on, it came up orange again. So it is in the same state it was on Feb. 2 when I took it down to Houghton in a blizzard. I've tried it several times since, and it won't boot, but past experience has told me that it might come up tomorrow, and it might not come up until Monday. So the pictures from the camera will be sporadic at best.


I am a very frustrated camper tonight, but a good dinner and an Irish Coffee for dessert has made things look a little better. Not much, but a little.


Fiddling around with the computer took so long that I didn't get to the post office, so I won't know until Tuesday if any of my mail packages came. The 12 lb box of beads was in St. Paul the last time I checked. FedEx may be cheap, but it isn't fast. 


The weather was typical. There were several fairly heavy snow squalls, including at least one that the camera caught (I know - it's not quite straight, but I never got to fiddle with that to correct it), but there wasn't any accumulation. The temperature hovered around or under 20º all day, dropping slightly as the day wore on, and the winds were from the north or northwest in the 20 mph range.


Mariner was jumping tonight, so that I had to eat at the bar, which was OK by me. I like to watch them mix drinks. It was fun to watch Gilly make my Irish Coffee - he ignited the sugar soaked with whiskey to caramelize it, and it really did make a difference in the flavor. 


And apparently all the motel rooms in town are full, including King Copper (only the Annex is winterized), which wasn't planning to open this winter. It's too bad that this won't make up for the horrible December and January they had, but it's nice to know that the entire winter won't be a disaster.


So that was my frustrating day, and I am going up to the north end and sit quietly and read for a while so that I can sleep tonight. Arrrggghhhhhh!!!!!


February 16

The computer is home, but it is sitting in the hallway, so I am still using the laptop. Tomorrow is another day. 


I didn't get to bed early last night, and I didn't get up early this morning, and I sort of dawdled around, besides having to change my clean pair of jeans, so it was 1:00 by the time I left. The roads are in good condition, considering. The covered road is packed snow, but it has been well-sanded and it was not at all slippery, and south of Lac LaBelle Road, it was either wet or had a thin coating of mush on it, mostly on the curves, of course. By the time I came home, most of that was gone and it was clear and dry.


So I got the computer and had a nice talk with the people. They were out of Ethernet routers, and they hadn't gotten my spare power supply, so I will be seeing them again. However, I will have to surf the internet for my Windows XP software.  If I'm going to get it from a discount seller, I'd rather it was a reputable one.


Then it was off to Econo, for mostly fruits and veggies. I would have thought their shelves would be better stocked on Friday afternoon, but maybe buying habits are different here in the Northwoods. They were out of onion rolls, and they were out of 96 oz. bottles of orange juice...so I came home with 8 half gallons. My fridge is now packed with paper cartons, but I won't run out of OJ very soon. I also got some good lunch meat, including some pastrami for a change (it was on special).


Even though I tried to be as economical as I could be in my wanderings around , I was exhausted and dripping by the time I checked out. I still think they keep stores too warm around here. Then I stopped for gas. I thought my usual place had let me down, because I misread the price, but I just looked at the receipt, and in fact, they did me proud. I got my gas for $2.25 a gallon, and the cheapest I saw it elsewhere was $2.33. They are usually cheaper, but I don't remember such a dramatic difference before. When you drive full-size SUV, 8¢ a gallon makes a difference.


Anyway, then it was off for home. As usual, I was late enough to hit the traffic jam at the bridge, but except that I was behind a school bus for a while, the trip home was easy. The road had dried up and there wasn't any traffic in front of me. However, I had the car to unload and all the stuff to put away.


I was tending to that when Ron called. Apparently something nasty happened to his car this afternoon, and he was waiting for a tow truck and asked me for a ride home. Well, sure...since I was meeting them at Mariner, I said, how about dinner first? The tow truck driver thinks it may be something like a ball joint, but it will probably be Monday before Ron knows for sure.


So I hustled the rest of the stuff out of the car, so I could take passengers, and I left the computer sitting in the hall. I am too tired to start working on it tonight, so it will have to be tomorrow.


We had a nice dinner, and the road is in such good shape that it was no big deal taking them home. 


Mariner is a zoo, and it has been all day, apparently. When I went by around 1:00, it looked like there might be nearly 200 sleds in the parking lot, and it was nearly as full tonight, and besides the skiers were there, too. In fact, there are so many people in town that they have had to open King Copper Annex...so the people who contacted me last fall about wanting to stay there might just give Cindy a call tomorrow. There just were no empty rooms in town. How nice it is, and what a pity it didn't start two months ago! However, when you're at the mercy of the weather, you have to expect things like this. I didn't get to talk to Peggy, because she was in the kitchen, but I imagine she is breathing a little easier now.


The weather...ah, yes. It was clear all last night, as it turned out. I saw stars when I woke up (nearly 5 hours continuous again...that is really nice when it happens), and it appears they might have been Regulus in Leo and Jupiter. I could see Polaris from the bathroom, although it wasn't all that clear, and I couldn't see the rest of the Little Dipper. When I got up, it had clouded over, and it was cloudy all day. I ran into a little snow squall between Delaware and Mohawk, but nothing serious. The temperature got down to about 8º this morning, but by the time I left for town, it had gotten up to 21º before it settled down to 19º, where it has stuck. I think it was a bit warmer in Houghton...it usually is. The wind was mostly light and variable, although it was blowing pretty good when I was at the gas pump.


I overheard a couple of old guys who met outside Econo, and one was saying he felt a lot colder today than he did yesterday...I think it's probably because the humidity was higher today and there was no sun. However, at that point, I was dripping sweat, so I couldn't relate too well.  To me it felt quite mild, and it was nice not to have my face feel like it was being cut by little knives. See? All temperature is relative. And it is warm, compared to what we had a couple of weeks ago!


So that was my day, and the computer is home. I promise, I will get at it tomorrow and get it hooked back up. I don't guarantee the camera will be up early, because I have a lot of file maintenance to do before I can really use it, but I do promise to try to get it running tomorrow. If all goes well, I may even download the pictures in the camera - of Phoebe's bracelet and the sun pillar. We'll see. 


My 12 lb. of beads is someplace between Portland, Oregon and here, so maybe it will come Monday. In the meantime, I remembered something I already have the beads for, so maybe I can get at that. After I tend to the computer, of course. And I need to go to the post office.


So that will certainly take care of tomorrow, and I think I will try to get to bed early tonight and get an early start tomorrow. And hold my breath that the computer will work.


February 15

Well, yesterday was the middle of the month, so I guess I can't complain that this is the longest month. I don't know where the time went, even though I haven't been doing much.


And I didn't do much today except make phone calls. I certainly enjoy my telephone headset when I'm on hold for half an hour.


In yesterday's mail there was a strange letter saying that a benefits consulting firm for the bank had had a bunch of laptop computers stolen, and my personal information was on them. They offered a free year of a credit watch, and they suggested I put a fraud alert on my credit reports, so I attempted to do that. I guess about a year ago I sent for an Equifax report and created an account...of which I have no record or memory. So I had to call them, get that set up and while I was doing it, I got my free year set up.  They then transferred me to the fraud department, and while I was waiting on hold for the person to access my records, I got disconnected. When I called back, I had to wait on hold for at least half an hour, but then the person initiated the fraud alert in about 30 seconds. So what the first person was doing is beyond me. That consumed the morning.


I did take a good look at my credit report (I always monitor my credit cards), and nothing seems out of order, but I was somewhat annoyed, because the theft was discovered on December 1, and only now are they informing the possible victims. The laptops and the files were all password-protected, and they don't think any information was compromised, but still...


I actually did get up at a reasonable hour this morning, but with all the waiting on hold, it was after noon before I ate. So I relaxed by sorting beads. I'm almost done with what I wanted to do.


Later on, I called the computer repair people, and I am probably going to pick up the computer tomorrow, with my problems not resolved. They don't know why it wouldn't boot - it only did that once - and they can't find out why it locks up. So the alternatives are to just replace the motherboard, CPU and memory (because they don't have any of my motherboards anymore), or live with it.


I've decided to live with it, and hope it lasts until April. When I go down to Detroit in April, I will bundle up the CPU there and bring it back with me, move my new hard drive to it, use all my high-density memory chips to give me a gig of memory, and use that one. The odds and ends left over I will use as parts. I also discovered that they don't make the kind of memory in my computer anymore either. Apparently it was expensive and not as fast as newer kinds. Those are the troubles with being in the high-tech world.


I think they may have convinced me to upgrade to Windows XP, however.  There isn't any reason it won't work even on the laptop, and ME is a continual exasperation. I will probably have to make do with Office 2000, as well as Publisher and FrontPage, because I looked at the going prices for those things, and I can't afford even one copy, even at the discount places. I guess without any fanfare (my computer magazines don't seem to even have noticed it) Microsoft has replaced FrontPage with something else, but the few reviews I read of it weren't enough to interest me.


The nice person I was talking to said he didn't see any reason to go to Vista now, since I wouldn't be using all the cool bells and whistles, and XP is a mature and stable product, which is true. However, he didn't know prices. So we'll see.


I was interested, in the little poking around that I did, to see that there are "Academic" versions of most Windows products, which can be licensed to run on up to three computers. I wonder what the catch is?


The weather was nice. It cleared up in the late morning, and we had sunshine all afternoon, much to Buster's delight. It got warm enough that he was able to sleep on the couch again this afternoon, and he was a happy camper. The temperature is now 17º, which is about as warm as it's been in a while. The wind was in the 20-30 mph range earlier, but it had calmed down at 7:00...and it sounds like it's picking up again. 


It was nearly clear at sunset, and when the camera gets up again, it will be setting in the picture. Right after sunset, there was a dim sort of sun pillar, which I rushed to the door to take a picture of (Oh, lovely working camera!), but it's still in the camera. Getting the files synchronized tomorrow is going to be a horrible pain anyway, and I don't want to make it worse by adding more pictures.


In the course of taking the picture, I discovered that the latch for the screen door is coming out of the doorframe again, so the screen won't lock. I think possibly some plastic wood is in order, but I can't do that until spring. I hope it stays closed.


Anyway, I sort of  hoped the sun pillar was the start of a nice sunset, of which we haven't had any at all this winter, but it wasn't. There were clouds over there, and they covered up the whole sunset before it got dark. There were apparently some high clouds up in the sky, too. I saw Venus when it began to get dark, and I wanted to see if I could see Mercury. I may have glimpsed it, but it wasn't a sure thing, then I lost Venus for a while. By the time I found her, the clouds were beginning to come up from the west.


I have done some work in getting the files I've changed moved to the TravelDisk, and I will do some more after I publish this. I downloaded a little utility called DiskPie, which shows how the files on your hard disk are used, and in the course of playing with it, I discovered a whole copy of my personal files hiding on the back of a system folder, for heaven's sake! I only have a 10gb disk on this laptop, and it had gotten about 2/3 full...of total junk, or copies of copies of files. I think I have it under control now, and the disk is suddenly less than half full! Doing things like this is a leftover from my systems management days, when we had small system disks and they needed to be kept scrupulously clean or the computers wouldn't work. Besides, I just hate to have useless junk that I don't know what it is cluttering up my computer. Now my house, that's different...


So with any kind of luck, by this time tomorrow, I will be writing this from the desktop, and with any kind of luck, it will only lock up every day or two and it will always reboot. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


And if I'm lucky, maybe I can get away early tomorrow and get home in time to hook things up again? Hope so.


February 14

I guess I should say Happy Valentine's Day, except that Valentine's Day has always been one of those things that never turned me on. It has always seemed to me that it was more an effort by the greeting card, flower and chocolate sellers to drum up business.


I got to bed at a reasonable hour last night (more reasonable than I will be tonight) but my rest was disturbed by a sore hip. When I was lying on my left side, after a while my right hip got sore, and when I turned over, after a while my right hip got sore from lying on it...so I apparently spent most of the night sort of twisted around and screwed up my back. Geez. As a result, I was stiff as a board and creaky all day today. Maybe it was the humidity, but I don't think so.


Anyway, I got up before 9:00 this morning, and had a leisurely time to do my morning things. I started sorting some seed beads i got in my last bead order. Not by color, but they have bugles, triangles, cubes, and a lot of big seed beads, so I sorted by shape and size. I got 200 grams sorted today. There are some beautiful beads in the assortment...I was particularly taken by some pale lavender transparent matte beads that I found a few of, but it will take more attention than I felt like giving them to see if there are enough to do anything with. At least I might find enough to use in my bead embroidery brooches? I hope so. I did remove the uglies - the opaque orange and yellow ones that I hate so much and every assortment seems to have a lot of.


The Ladies' Handcraft meeting was this afternoon, and one of the ladies had prepared a scrumptious dessert for us - a chocolate pudding cake, served with raspberries, whipped cream and chocolate sauce...talk about chocolate overload! Our group was smaller than last time because it was snowing (more about that later) but it was a good group. Last time the other Sharon was talking to us about forks (she is a history buff, and she comes up with some really interesting things), and she mentioned a "fish fork". I have, in my collection of handed-down silver flatware, something that I was told is a fish fork, so I took one to show. She had found some pictures on EBay of something a bit different, so we had an interesting discussion about that, but we didn't come to any conclusions. 


She has also been going through all the old papers that were found in the attic of the community building, that seem to go back 150 years or so, and she had brought some food supply orders from the Delaware Mine...lots of salt fish, flour and other staples that would keep well. The handwriting was bad enough that it's no wonder some of those orders got confused. So that was fun.


As usual, we had a lot of interesting talk and a lot of laughter. They are a good group, and it's fun to see them.


The weather was good for that sort of thing. It snowed all last night and most of the day, more or less hard, and we picked up a few more inches of light, cold snow. The wind was from the north, in the 15 mph range for most of the day, although it has picked up more into the 20-30 mph range now. The temperature was around 10º. It never ceases to amaze me how often the lake, even though it is frozen near the shore, moderates our temperatures. I'm sure the weather was why the group was so much smaller, but people who live up here should be used to a little snow by this time. It wasn't a blizzard or anything.


This morning, Buster was wandering around complaining, so I got out the Cat Dancer and we played for a while. I'm not sure what his problem is, but I think he is bored. No mice. No shrews. The birds come and go in a hurry. Very boring. However, he wasn't sleepy. Strange little cat. Sometimes he will sleep 20 hours a day, and other times, he seems to be awake as much as he was when he was a kitten.


I guess I am so used to indoor temperatures in the lower 60s that when it's warm, I get much too warm. Acclimation. I opened the vertical blinds in the bedroom last night, and it was cooler. It was also nice to be able to see out and occasionally even see the lights of town and the lighthouse (which is not revolving) for a change. I don't like closed shades. Never have. Never will.


So that was about all for today, and it's bedtime. It's another cold, snowy night in the field.


February 13

I guess I just can't win. Last night, I was actually hot. The temperature was only around 10º outside, but there was almost no wind...so the house warmed up. I did reset the thermostat to its programmed temperature, and by morning it was tolerable, but I could have put on a light cotton nightie for most of the night. However, the floors in the bathroom and bedroom are still cool, so I'm sure there is something wrong with the heat.


And this afternoon, with the sun shining on the house, it got up to 77º in the office and I almost melted away in my heavy fleece overblouse. Buster was a happy camper...he actually got to sleep on the couch in the sun for the later part of the afternoon, and it was warm enough for him.


The outdoor temperature got up to around 14º for most of the afternoon, but there was almost no wind and the sun was shining for a good part of the time.


Actually, that was interesting. For over an hour there was a lake effect squall over the mountain and town, and the sun was shining here. The wind had dropped to nothing by then, and it took the longest time for the snow to get to this end of the harbor, and it didn't last long. It was fun to see, and I'm sorry the camera was down.


I didn't do a lot today. I put in another bead order, which took a long time to do, and I moved baskets around on the floor in the office. However, I actually did put in a few rows on the bracelet I've been working on forever. I took pictures of Phoebe's bracelet, which she will get tomorrow, but they are still in the camera. 


Boy, is it nice to have a working camera once more! I have to dig out my battery tester and see what it says about the rechargeable batteries, but clearly they have been going bad for some time. Now maybe I will remember the next time the camera starts acting flaky to put in a new set of alkaline batteries and see if the problem goes away! My new rechargeables are coming, but I don' t know when...just because I got them at an extremely good price, they will probably be slow.


So that is about all I have to report. We are missing the storm that is hammering the southern lower and south, of course. It would be nice if we could have gotten some of that snow. We are supposed to have some snow every day, but not a lot. Strange winter, for sure!


And it's bedtime in the field.


February 12

Today is the day we used to celebrate as Lincoln's birthday, before the Monday-holiday people got into the act. I wonder if kids in school ever hear about that anymore?


Everything seemed a little late last night, so it was after midnight before I got to bed, but I slept long and hard...with dreams. I was singing in the choir (or getting ready to sing in the choir) and this time I had all my music, and later there was something with my father and I, and I don't remember what it was. However, it was very vivid. Mama was out somewhere and it was just daddy and me. That is strange, because I don't dream about my dad and I very much.


However, eventually I got up, about the time Buster looked like he was going to attack me if I didn't. 


Today was a rather non-descript day. We did have some sunshine around noon, and we had a few very light snow drizzles earlier - and there was about ½ inch of new snow on the garage and deck when I got up. The temperature hung around 10º all day long, but the wind was under 15 mph all day, slower later, from the north or north-northeast. It clouded up in the afternoon, and they are predicting more dribbles of snow.


I did get out onto the deck a bit, to get the bird feeders, but I filled them in the house. It wasn't bad outside if you were dressed for it, which I wasn't. However, the only time my hands got really cold was while I was filling the bucket with sunflower seed out in the breezeway. I have one of those huge aluminum scoops, and it was cold. I don't think the birds came back after I finished, but they knew what I was doing. I needed to fill the feeders, because the little birds were fighting over what was left of the seed, and I don't like to see that.


For the rest of the day, I created two large mail orders. I finally got around to doing my bead order, and it is a huge one, but I think (I hope!) I got all the things I need to do the necklaces I've been thinking about. Maybe, at last, I will be able to do the rose quartz necklaces with the mother-of-pearl carved flower drops. That, I confess, is something I saw in a shop several years ago, but I will do it my own way, and I don't think I can be accused of copying, or I hope not. There will also be stretch bracelets to sort of match...without the pendants. There will be pictures. Apparently I have a working camera!


They said 2 to 6 days after the order goes out, so I should get that stuff soon, then maybe I can get my creative juices really going and get something done.


So that was my day. Not exciting, but not many are.


And now I can go rest my weary eyes in a warm house.


February 11

I read until about 11:00 last night, and slept until about 9:00 this morning, I think. It seemed early when I got up, but I didn't feel like sleeping anymore. I came down to the office -via the kitchen to feed the cat - in my robe, because I had left the pants I wanted to try on, so I did my morning surfing before I got dressed.


The pants all fit, although the fit is different from the other ones I got from the same people. Shows you gets what you pays for. However, Lands' End, where I usually get my jeans, doesn't have any with straight legs, and I like the straight-legged style. These were cheap. One pair is corduroy, and the fabric isn't as thick as Lands' End denim. The denim is very light weight, but it is good for warmer temps, and it's OK with longjohns.


Eventually, I decided I'd better do something, so I transferred to the task chair (which is very uncomfortable - the seat seems to tilt forward, and in order to use it, I have to lean forward), and attacked the sewing machine. I now have two patched nightgowns, and all the new pants have been shortened. I have to press the hems of the denim ones, because of the way I shortened them, but that won't take long. The ironing pad and iron are in the laundry room, or I would have done that, maybe. It was nearly 6:00 when I finished. 


So that job is done. I still have some other stuff to do. I have a turtleneck that has part of its hem coming out, and a long-sleeved polo shirt that I need to fiddle with. Lands' End has been making the cuffs on their polo shirts very small and tight, and for various reasons, I can't stand anything tight particularly on my right wrist (aftereffects of the mastectomy). However, it appears that the sleeves are long enough that I can just remove the cuffs and hem the sleeves. I have one shirt that is so tight I can't wear it, so I figured I'd experiment on it. If the sleeves come out a bit short, oh, well. I've been dealing with that problem all my life (I have very long arms).


The turtleneck will be a worse problem, because it is a strange dusty-red color and I don't think I have any thread to match it, even down in the basement. I may have to use this as my excuse to get into some of the boxes down there and see if I can find my thread stash. I have so much thread that I really hate to buy any more, ever, except that I keep coming up with colors I don't have (and some of them I can't match, either).


So that consumed my afternoon.


The weather moderated considerably. The lake-effect snow watch had been canceled when I got on the computer, and while there was a brisk (20-30 mph) wind for much of the day, it was partly sunny. The temperature, which had risen to18º at midnight, fell slowly and has been around 12º all aftrenoon, but I didn't see much blowing snow. The wind started out from the northwest, and it has now switched around to the north for the night.


About the time it got dark, I looked up to see Venus shining brightly over the mountain. She was high enough that I should have been able to see Mercury, which is less than 10º below her, but there were some clouds in the sky and I couldn't see it. I believe I have seen Mercury once, from my bed in Room 34, but I would dearly love to get a better look and be certain what I was seeing. This is the best apparition all year, but with the clouds, I doubt I'll get to see it.


Tomorrow, besides ironing my hems, I really must change lightbulbs. Another one has gone out in the office, so instead of 7 canister lights, I have a grand total of 3...really not enough to see by, particularly since one of them is over by the patio doors and isn't much use unless I want to get into the bookcase. I believe at least two of those lights burned out before, so maybe my cheap Wal-Mart floodlights aren't such a good bargain after all.


So that is about all I know, and it seems to have gotten late while I was reading "The Joy of Cooking"...all about ingredients, including how to make cheese.


February 10

I was in bed by about 10:30 last night, and while I woke up around 7:15, it wasn't  completely light yet, so I went back to sleep...for more than 3 hours! I didn't think I was that tired, but I certainly slept well.


One of the goals I set for myself when I retired was never to get up while it is dark, or even just beginning to get light. I don't mind going to bed when it's still light out, but I absolutely abhor getting up in the dark. So I didn't.


It turned out to be another beautiful day. The snow clouds went away on the wings of a 20-30 mph northwest wind, and the sun poured down on us for most of the day. And along about 5:00, the wind dropped to nothing. The temperature reached 16°, briefly, and it is now down to 13°, but without the wind, it is pretty nice outside.


When I came home from dinner tonight, Venus was shining brightly in the west, and I could see Sirius even under the streetlights in town. Gorgeous!


Both last night and tonight, Mariner is jumping, tonight especially. There are large groups of both snowmobilers and skiiers around town. Donny actually had a smile on his face for a change...and Peggy was in the kitchen, cooking. This is how it should have been from the middle of December! It's nice to see it now, though. I do have to admit that while I am most happy for my friends, I don't like to be around so many people, so I ate my good dinner and left.


Otherwise, the only activity of the day was to begin to clear out the area around the sewing machine. I have two winter nightgowns that badly need patching, and I have three pairs of pants to shorten. However, after measuring the pants against an older pair, I decided I'd better try them on before I fiddle with them. Tomorrow, before I get dressed, I will try them on and make sure they fit. I assumed that if I bought the same style in a different color, I'd get the same size...wrong. These seem smaller. So we will see.


And that was the extent of my activities. If I had actually realized that the wind had dropped, I would have filled the bird feeders, but I don't want to do it in the dark, so I'll have to hope I can get out the door tomorrow. There is a drift between the door and the screen that I will have to try to push outside without getting it into the house...and that may be impossible.


I had to take a picture of my driver's license. I am trying to buy some decongestant medication that has pseudoephredine in it...that is one of the ingredients of meth, and the DEA is requiring photo-ids from everyone who buys it. What a pain! Maybe they should get together with the FDA and make it a prescription medication? The ways of the government just baffle me sometimes. Anyway, it is one of the ingredients in the prescription allergy meds I was taking, which are not covered by my prescription plan, and which cost me almost $100 for a 3-month supply, the last time I got it. I am trying to find a combination that will keep the Michigan drip at bay, and will also handle my allergies in the summer, but just in case, I'm saving the last of the prescription for allergy season.


Anyway, the camera was acting extremely strangely, so I changed the batteries. I have two sets of rechargeable batteries, and I had one set in the charger. No difference. So I got out some regular alkaline batteries, threw them in the camera...and most of the odd behavior of the camera went away! I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. I got those batteries in the spring of 2001, and even rechargeable batteries only last so long. However, I do want to get some new ones, since otherwise I will be going through scads of regular ones. How amazing.


Anyway, when I downloaded the pictures in the camera, I discovered that because of the batteries, the ones I took of my Christmas bouquet didn't come out at all, but a couple of others did.


A week ago Wednesday, I was on hold with Gateway and I looked out the doors to see one of the best sun pillars I've ever seen. I raced outside and got one shot - with the flash attachment on - before they answered the phone. The camera was acting up - of course - and I didn't want to make the guy wait for me, so I gave up and came in. Fortunately, the result was pretty spectacular. That one is actually in focus, amazingly enough. But then, I've often said that when I take several pictures of a thing, the first one is often the best. However, the view got even better later, and I was a frustrated camper, because I was trying to get the guy to send me a CPU fan and I couldn't go back outside.


That was different last Saturday. After I build my first fire, I decided I should document it, so I did. This is the third shot. It isn't totally straight, but I liked it best because you can see the winter bellpull on the left, as well as my Christmas pillow. What you can't see in that shot at that size is that in the bellpull the word "WINTER" is actually spelled out in white-on-white, with a blue carnation in the "E". Anyway, it is a respectable fire, and it certainly kept me nice and cozy during a very cold day. You can also see a hat on the hearth, and a bag which has birch bark for starting fires. Oh, well. It was a working fireplace, not just for show, at least that day.


And no, I am not going to publish my driver's license. The picture is better than the last one, but that's about all I can say about it, and the license also has my signature on it.


Well, the wind has now picked up again, from the west, and we are supposed to have more lake effect snow tonight. So I will try to get this published and toddle up to the north end. I have been uploading things manually, so if you find a broken link, please let me know. It's a pain, but it's just as much of a pain to try to publish the entire web through FrontPage.


So that is another winter night in the field.

February 9

I was a little earlier getting to bed last night, and I think I actually got up around 8:30, although it was 10:00 before I got to the computer. I petted a cat and folded underwear and generally fooled around, I guess...although folding underwear is productive, from one point of view.


I finished up the wash today, but that's about all I did. Otherwise, the same old same old.


The wind moderated a bit overnight, and it was rather comfortable in the bedroom and bathroom this morning. The temperature outside was between 10º and 12º all day, and the wind actually got down to around 10 mph for a while...but between 6:00 and 7:00, it picked up and is now 26-32 mph from the north-northwest again. It snowed on and off all day long, too, but there wasn't much accumulation.


The drift down by Lake Lily is getting higher and wider all the time, and there was a mini-whiteout there when I went through it. I really should go down and take a picture or two. The weight of the snow has bent down all the bushes and small trees that are growing there, so I see why it has looked so strange in past years. Our winds last year were from different directions, and we didn't get much drifting at all there.


The bird feeders are just about empty, so I guess I will have to bundle up tomorrow and go out and fill them. The little birds need energy to keep warm.


So that is all there is, and I was up so early this morning that I think I will go to bed early tonight.


February 8

It was after midnight when I got to bed, but I made up for it by sleeping (I think) 5 hours straight. That means the diuretics aren't working very well, and even with the compression hose, my feet are swelling enough to make my bunions hurt when I have my shoes on. Next week I will have to break out some beets. That should solve my problem.


Anyway, when I got back in bed, the wind was so noisy, I had a hard time getting back to sleep. It really wasn't so strong, according to the NWS, but it was from the northwest, which hits the corner of the bedroom, and I do think the NWS station is somewhat sheltered from that direction. It was really banging around. However, eventually I got back to sleep and I got up late.


For one thing, it was cold in the bedroom again, and it was soooo cozy and warm in my bed. Buster was someplace cozy too, apparently, because he didn't even come to be petted when I got up. 


It wasn't exactly tropical last night when I went to bed, but I I guess I'm getting used to it. It was only 60º in the bedroom when I got up this morning, and that is a little chilly. 


The temperature outside actually topped out at 8:00 this morning (15º), and it's been dropping slowly all day, until now it's 10º. The wind has been in the 25-40 mph range all day, and it's been veering back and forth between northwest and north.


That northwest wind has built a humungous drift right in the lowest part of the road, between Lake Lily and the harbor. The guys dug it out either twice or three times today, and on the harbor side, it was about 7' high when I went to the post office between 2:00 and 2:30. And the wind was pushing the top of it out over the road. Very impressive. Our blower does a good job, but it takes a long time to clear it.


Yes, I did venture outside today, at least a bit. I hadn't been to the post office since early Friday, and I had some checks to go out, and some bills that were coming in. I went down the road right after Mac had cleared it, so it was in very good shape then, but US-41 in front of the fort entrance was badly drifted, and the wind was blowing full-force right across it. The only part of me that was really cold at the post office (which is also right in the path of the wind) was my face, though. I've been wearing my longjohns.


These longjohns are from Lands' End, and they are called Thermaskins. I admit I was doubtful of them when I got them, because they are polyester and quite thin, but they do a remarkably good job of keeping the wind out. I think my old ones with the wool on the outside and cotton inside might be even warmer, but they are very thick and bulky under jeans, and none of them are really long enough. Anyway, the amount of time I was outside, I didn't get cold, except maybe my hands...but they're almost always cold.


When I got home, I backed the car into the garage. I haven't had to do that before, and I guess I should have been practicing when there wasn't any snow. I didn't get into any trouble, but it was an interesting ride, and I ended up going in at sort of an angle into one corner. I'll get the hang of it. I just decided that, since I never know exactly how much snow there might be in front of the garage, it would be better to come out forward, at least so long as it's winter. I much prefer to drive in head-first, because then the breezeway door is nearest the driver's side, but oh, well.


I got a ton of mail, including some reading material and some other stuff I've been looking for, so that is nice.


I have been slowly over-filling the dishwasher, and tomorrow I will just have to wash dishes. Today, I began to wash clothes. Not early, and I'll only get two loads done today, but my laundry bags were getting really full and I was running out of jeans that fit. I even put away some of the clothes from the last time I washed!


Actually, earlier in the day, I might have started the washing, except that when I looked into the laundry room, Buster was ensconced in a laundry basket full of sweatshirts, and he had crawled half under one that I had just thrown in there. He looked so cozy and comfy that I didn't want to bother him, so I waited until he got up. Good excuse, huh? I will have to prepare him a laundry basket tonight. He really does not like it being cold around here.


Neither do I, really, but I need to do my temperature measurements again, so I have all my facts in hand. I did determine to my satisfaction that it was only two or three years ago that this started happening, and before that, I know I had warm floors. What the problem is, is a real puzzle, but of course, we did lose water pressure in the system several times, and it could be as simple as bubbles in the pipes. I do know for sure that when I step over the threshold from the bedroom to the hallway, the floor gets warmer. Not a lot, but perceptible to my bare feet.


Hopefully, we'll get this straightened out before spring?


So anyway, I actually did do something today, amazingly enough. Maybe I will even do more tomorrow? We shall see. 


Now I need to unload the dryer and refill it.


It's a blustery, wintry night in the field tonight.


February 7

Well, ditto yesterday, except that I didn't play so many games. Today I added the noodle recipe to my recipe book, fixed an error that has been bugging me in my prayer book, and read past journals.


The day started rather unpleasantly, with the electrician, who wants to sell me a new generator...at $3100. I don't think so. He also said some things about the company that made the one I have now that aren't true, or at least they say they aren't.


I had a conversation with Adam about the heating system and the generator, and I wanted to go back and check my feeling that the heating system used to work. When I looked back to 2001, I realized I had converted the files to one big file, but not to individual months, and when I looked at the big file, I had never sorted  July through December, so I spent most of the afternoon chopping the files into little pieces and sorting the ones that needed it. This computer has so little memory (512kb) that all the glaring problems with Microsoft Office are considerably more obvious, and I ended up having to redo several things after getting mysterious blank "close" messages. However, eventually, I got it all done, and I read through October and November from 2001 to 2004, and I only found two references to cold rooms, both of which I fixed by adjusting the thermostats.


So there. Something has happened to the heating system in the past two or three years.


I also discovered a lot of typos, misspellings, and questionable grammar that I had missed the last time I looked through those things. I hope I haven't written much that is so confusing that nobody can understand it. I did find one interesting place where I had written "dose" instead of "does", and since it was a verb in the right place, it wasn't flagged, in spite of it not making any sense at all.


It interests me, when I read back through those things, how much of it seems like it happened to someone else, like I'm reading somebody else's journal.  Some of those things seem like they were a million years ago. 2003 was when DC died, and 2004 was when I made the decision to move here permanently. After reading through my last six weeks here in 2001 through 2004, I'm even happier that I did. What a pain, all that packing and shipping was! And I kept moving things back and forth and never really using them in either place...but I might have, you know. And I feel just as happy about being here now as I did in 2001 when I moved in.


It was a beautiful day, for a change. The temperature got up to 16º, and at least for a while, the wind died down some. Then it picked up again - we had 46 mph gusts a while back, and the temperature has dropped back to 10º. For most of the day, it was clear, or nearly clear, and sunny, and it was wonderful to bask in the warm rays. The sun is now almost 28º up in the sky, and it's clearing the red pine outside the south windows, so I a good dose of sunshine. I think it is probably setting in camera range, too, but I won't know that until the computer comes back. It was getting cloudy by sunset, and I think it's snowing now.


So that was my day, and it's another night of howling north winds and snow in the field.


February 6

It was another lost day, but oh, well. I just slept for a long time, and I was creaky all day. So I did not much at all.


The weather moderated some during the day. The temperature is now up to 9º, but the wind, which was in the 15-20 mph range all day, has now increased to 30-40 mph, and I can hear it roaring and banging around the house again, still from the north-northwest, which means it is slamming full into the bedroom end. I haven't been there to see what the temperature inside is, but I don't imagine it's very warm.


I don't think we had much new snow today, but the wind was whipping up the snow on the harbor and apparently blowing it into the low area between the harbor and Lake Lily. It's been several years since we've had such an extended period of extreme weather. Unfortunately, this is just as bad for the tourist industry as the warm, dry weather was. I guess we're never satisfied.


I decided to hibernate some more. I had a bill coming due, but when I realized that even if I mailed it today, it wouldn't get there in time, I just paid it over the phone and said to heck with going out. Tomorrow, if it's better, or Clyde will just have to give me a barrel again.


So it's another wild winter night in the field, and I think I will go back to bed.


February 5

I'm glad to report that the temperature has moderated quite a bit from the time I wrote yesterday. It's a good thing - my bedroom was a balmy 59º when I went to bed last night. The temperature was 0º at midnight, and it is now 6º, but more importantly, the wind is now a more moderate 20-30 mph. 


It had warmed up a little in the house this morning, and it is now even warmer. It is a respectable 67º in the office, and not much cooler in the north end. I still maintain there is something wrong with the heating system, but I will have to wait until the next blizzard to prove it to the plumber. He suggested putting thermometers on the floor, so I did, and I still say there's something wrong.


The other news is, the computer wouldn't boot on Friday, so it sat all weekend, and this morning it booted just fine. So they started running diagnostics, and it locked up on them...just like it does on me. Unfortunately, they can't determine what caused it, so they are running some different, more detailed diagnostics. I guess I am most happy because they are seeing exactly the same symptoms I was seeing...and I'll lay you odds that one of these days, it will lock up and not reboot. I say that because too often with electronics especially things that are supposed to happen don't happen when people are looking. In this case, they did, and they can certainly see that I have a problem, and what my problem is. That gives them a good leg up on fixing it, if my past experience is any indication. It may take a while, but they'll do it.


The guys who were working on it are all out sick today (hmm...I wonder why?), but maybe they'll get back sometime this week. I hope so. The owner of the establishment can't do everything himself.


I went to bed early last night and got about 12 hours' sleep, but it was soooo comfy in my nice warm bed. Apparently Buster's problem is not that I am in bed late but that I am in bed too long, because he was nattering at me by the time I got up at 9:30. I may do the same tonight, but it's warmed up enough in the bedroom that I think I can switch comforters again. As long-time readers of this thing know, I am as uncomfortable when I'm too hot as I am when I'm cold. Picky, picky, picky...no wonder I don't travel well.


I didn't do much of anything today, I'm afraid. I did finally empty the trash in the north end of the house, and got nearly half a 30 gallon bag full, so that is taken care of, and I cleaned toilets. This evening I made my chicken-noodle casserole, and if anything, it turned out better than the first time. I have the freezer containers all ready to put it in, but it's nice to have some good comfort food. For me, almost anything with noodles is comfort food.


I didn't build a fire today. I was going to, but the temperature in the office started going up, and by the time it hit 65º, I was comfortable enough that I didn't need to have a fire.


My back is still acting up, and I had to sit down a couple of times while I was cooking, but I did get some exercise today.


The weather...the temperature rose slowly all day, as I said, and the wind decreased a bit. Otherwise, it was mostly cloudy and it snowed lightly on and off. It is still hard to tell, when looking out at the harbor, whether it is snowing or just blowing. I think it was mostly just blowing today.


So we made it through the frigid weekend, and even though it is supposed to be mostly very cold - single digits - for the rest of the week, it will be mostly above zero, especially here by the shore. Even though the shoreline of the lake is frozen, that big heat sink keeps moderating our temperatures. Thank goodness. And even though most schools in central lower Michigan were closed today for wind chills, the CLK (Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw) schools were all open. They expect them to be tough up here. I would have let the little kids stay home.


And now I'm off to the north end again, and depending upon when I get into bed, I might even read a while tonight.


February 4

My goodness, it was cold today! It was -6º at midnight, and the temperature only went down to -8º, between 9:00 and 11:00 this morning, but the wind chills have been between -30º and -40º all day. The wind has been over 20 mph all day, and we had 40 mph or higher gusts early in the afternoon. It has now "warmed up" to -1º but the wind is between 30 and 40 mph now, too, so it's still bitter out there.


I didn't stick my head out further than the garage, but it was cold enough in here, thank you. When I got up this morning, the entire house was between 60º and 63º. After feeling floors and looking at the boiler and all, I have come to the conclusion that the basement is heating the entire house. Needless to say, I will be having a chat with the plumber tomorrow. That is entirely too cold!


Buster thought so, too, and he camped on my lap until I fetched in some wood and built a fire. He is very wary of that fire, though, so he won't stay in here, where it's nice and warm. Funny little cat...I'm not sorry he is wary of the fire, but at least he could come where it's warm.


I fetched wood twice today, but I do have enough for the first fire tomorrow. Today I had more trouble with it, but I had two huge logs that wanted to burn from inside, so I was kept busy trying to add other stuff to it so I would get enough heat. The logs are nearly gone, though, so I guess they did their job. It is amazing how little ash there is left over when those big things are through burning.


I will have to be a little more careful when I bring in my wood, though. Pulling the hand truck up the back stairs with a load of wood really did a number on my back, so it will be good to huddle under my heavy comforter tonight.

I put on the heavy comforter last night...and immediately got too warm! Of course. However, I think I will leave it on until the heat problem is resolved or it warms up some. Buster joined me for a while, but either he got too warm or he needed air. And when I got up in the night, 60º didn't really seem all that cold, for the length of time I was up.


It was a little cool to just sit in the office this morning, but it was all right when I was moving around. The fireplace doesn't do a lot for the great room, unfortunately, but it does a wonderful job of warming up the office, and that is really more important, since that is where I spend most of my time.


My neighbor came and plowed out my driveway today, as well as a good portion of the rest of the roads around here. I still think he was nuts to be out in that, but it didn't seem to be bothering him much. He is going out of town for a couple of days, so I guess he wanted to do his part before he went. There was only 6" or so near my garage, but the end near the road was a real mess. It's interesting how the drift patterns change with the wind, which has been from due north.


It is still snowing, although it is still hard to tell what is new snow and what is being blown across the harbor by the wind. I don't like having the blinds in my bedroom closed, even though I do think they help keep it warmer. I like to look out.


I didn't do a lot today. There is a new game. I did actually work a couple of rows of beading, though. I was getting bored, and I couldn't think of anything I really wanted to do. Tending the fire does occupy some time. I added a few things to the dishwasher.


I find this cold weather, even though I really like it, saps my energy, and I am getting tired again.  So even though I got nearly 11 hours' sleep last night, I think I will go and do it again. Fortunately, with the glass doors on the fireplace, I don't have to wait until the fire is completely dead. The last little nub of the biggest log is burning now (I just moved it), and I think I will chicken out and just copy this manually.


Last night, I decided to try to let FrontPage do the updating, and it wanted to copy the entire web, since a different FrontPage had done it the last time. It got about halfway through when it timed out. Sometime I will have to have a chat with PastyNet about that problem, but I think it is actually that FrontPage has a terrible FTP program that assumes no errors.


So that was another quiet, cold day in the field. The wind isn't quiet,though. I can hear it banging against the house now. Time for another long winter's nap.


February 3

 I crashed at about 9:30 last night, and I slept until about 9:00 this morning, so I guess my exertions of yesterday really took their toll. All night long, when I was up, I kept hearing something that sounded almost like the tractor, but which was apparently the wind hitting the house. It is eerie, however, because there is no lake sound. Ron says the lake is frozen as far out as he can see (which wasn't far today, of course), so there are no waves crashing on the shore. 


When I went to bed last night, the temperature was about 4º, with north winds in the 20-30 mph range. When I got up this morning, it was 0º, and the wind had temporarily dropped off. The wind soon picked up again and is now mostly in the 25-35 mph range. The temperature went down all day, and it is now -6º and dropping. Baby, it's frigid outside: wind chills around -30º.


I decided to hibernate. It was so cold that while Mac cleared the road, he didn't do driveways, and the end of my driveway near the road drifts pretty badly. Besides, why go out in that when I have two freezers chock-full of good things and it's warm in here.


Well...warmer, maybe. The heating system still has a hard time when the wind is so strong. I have doors almost shut, the blinds in the bedroom closed, and the heat turned up.


My adventure of the day was to build a fire. It really isn't hard, or it wouldn't be, except that my chimney draws so well in the wind that it kept blowing out the matches. I finally had to resort to the butane lighter I use for the stove. Once I got it started, though, it worked like a champ, although it really eats wood. I used all the wood that was in the house, and I will have to replenish my indoor woodpile tomorrow. The temperature in the office went from 63º (a tad cool for sitting around) to 74º before I opened the door and let the cooler air from the great room come in. The great room warmed up some, too, but not so much, even though I turned both ceiling fans to blow down. 


I decided to let the fire die out around dinner time. There are some partially burned pieces in the grate, but one thing I discovered is that when you have a fire, you have to tend your fire, which in my case involves putting on gloves because the screen handles get too hot to handle, and I have to tend it from both the great room and office sides to make sure it's burning OK. It wasn't a very symmetrical fire, but it burned nicely and it really helped the heat situation. Now I have to turn off the blowers, because they are circulating rather cool air.


There are very tight fitting glass doors on both sides of the fire box, so having the damper open doesn't cause drafts so far as I can determine. Anyway, that was a success...


Except for one thing. Buster did not like it one little bit! He has never seen a fire before, and I think he thinks it's pretty dangerous. He kept coming around and hollering at me, or standing at a good distance and eyeing the flames with some suspicion. If this weather continues, he'll just have to get used to it. Now that it has mostly gone out, he is off sleeping somewhere, but he was not a happy camper for most of the afternoon.


I also unloaded and started reloading the dishwasher. the kitchen is unsanitary, but my back was bothering me...the usual excuse.


The weather outside was frightful. When it wasn't actually snowing (which wasn't often), the wind was whipping up the snow on the harbor so that it was a white-out. I had a short e-conversation with George Hite this afternoon, and he said that the plow drivers were reporting a lot of stuck cars and white-out conditions around Cat Harbor. Now, this is real Keweenaw winter weather!


I also wanted to add a few observations on my trip yesterday. The drive, particularly down the covered road, was just beautiful, and I sort of regretted that I didn't take the camera along, except that it would not be wise to stop in the middle of the road in white-out conditions to take a picture. I was too busy driving. All the trees had deep piles of snow on their branches, and every so often the wind gusts would cause some branches to bow down and deposit a load on the road. It is such dry snow that the result was an impenetrable cloud that lasted 30 second or so. Just another thing to add spice to the trip.


At this time of year, you can see much farther into the woods than in the summer. I noticed one area between Hancock and Calumet where there was a whole grove of about 10' evergreens that had grown up under some 60' or so deciduous trees that looked like fence posts amongst the evergreens. And there was one place on the covered road where I noticed a very large, tall tree that was leaning precariously toward the road. A gust in the wrong direction or enough snow on its tilted trunk and the road commission will be doing a bit of emergency logging (when I went down two weeks ago I passed a crew that had just done that, although as usual, when I passed they were all just standing around chewing the fat). 


Well, the wind is howling around the house, and it isn't getting any warmer. I had a nice bowl of pea soup and a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner, which tasted pretty good to me and filled my tummy with good warm stuff, so I am off to the north end. I think I will make it a short evening again.


It's a frigid, blizzardy night in the field tonight.


February 2

Well, the computer lasted until about 10:30 this morning, then it died and  stayed dead. So I called the guys in Houghton and ended up taking it down to them this afternoon.


What a trip that was! No semis...in fact, no traffic going south at all, but near white-out conditions all the way down. I was following a plow truck for a while, but he went a lot faster than I did and all I saw were his wakes, and he turned off at the Eagle Harbor Cutoff. So I had to go the rest of the way on my own.


I've discovered that the modus operandi around here is, you drive in the middle of the road until a car comes toward you, then you pull over until it passes you...and then you go back into the middle of the road.


Coming home, it got better north of Calumet, and it even stopped snowing for a while around Mohawk, but by Phoenix it was coming down, not so hard as earlier, but nicely. I was trying to follow the clear tracks on the road, until I realized they were sort of straddling the yellow line...


Like I said before, I have driven in enough snow that I'm not scared by it, but I really do like to be able to see where I'm going, and for most of the trip down, I could only see 30 to 50 feet in front of me. I just had to assume there wasn't somebody stopped or going very slowly up ahead of me. Fortunately, there wasn't. The backs of everybody's vehicles were so covered with snow that you couldn't see their stop lights. So was mine. I have quite some piles in the garage from all the stuff I cleaned off it, and some really big chunks that had built up behind the wheels.


I also learned, too late, how to turn on my headlights manually. Mine turn on automatically when it begins to get dark, and it's been so long since I needed them that I'd never learned how to do it manually. Several nice people blinked their lights at me, but it wasn't until I got back home that I experimented around and found the right switch setting. Sorry, guys. It won't happen again. 


As soon as I got home, I installed the Ethernet card, and at least that worked as advertised. It seems a little fragile, but that is probably because this is an old, slow machine with not a lot of memory. At least it works. I plugged in the connector, brought up IE, and I was online! Will wonders never cease. Unfortunately, I can't use it to run the camera. Laptops, at least this one, aren't built to remain on all the time. So the camera will be down until the situation with the desktop is resolved.


I'm hoping that is something simple like the audio card or the video card, and not a motherboard problem. But we'll see.


The weather is true Keweenaw winter, like we haven't had for a couple lf years. The "high" temperature was around midnight last night, 12º, and it has been sliding down ever since, until it got to 4º at 7:00. It will be continuing down. The wind is kicking up nicely, from the north-northwest, and it's in the 20-30 mph range now. Baby, it's cold outside! The wind chill is -16º now, also on its way down.


On the brighter side, there were people in Mariner tonight, almost all of them wearing bibs. Four guys came in while I was eating, and they had snow all over them. I had a short chat with them, and they had come up from Lake Linden cross-country - no trails. No wonder they had snow all over. They said it was a really great ride, though, and nobody else had been where they were. It wasn't as crowded as it has been, but a group of 10 or so came in, after I had finished, and Peggy had to go back to the kitchen. I was sorry she had to go, but glad to see all the people. Like most establishments of its kind, even though they serve food, and good food, they make most of their money from boos, so the more people the better.


So that is all I know, and I'm tired from my drive, so I think I will retire early. It isn't exactly tropical in the house, but the temperature seems to be holding up, except for the great room, so I guess my heating problems are solved. There is a good chance I may have to try to start a fire in the fireplace tomorrow. That should be interesting.


It's a cold, snowy, wintry night in the field tonight.


February 1

January is gone already! Time just seems to go faster and faster to me.


I was in bed at a rather reasonable hour last night, and I was up at a reasonable hour this morning, for once.


I called the computer store in Houghton, to find that the woman I've been dealing with has been out sick all week, and her boss didn't know much about my power supply, but he did seem to think they might have a fan that would fit in my computer, so I decided to go. At that time the weather forecast looked like the afternoon would be OK.


I had to remove the fan from the computer, though, and when I unscrewed it, I discovered a large and nasty mat of dust, cat hair, etc., between the fan and the heat sink. The moral of that story is, if you have a computer that is more than a couple of years old, you probably should take the fan off the heat sink and dust thoroughly, including the fan blades.


Ron finished plowing the driveway just as I was about to leave, which was most convenient, and I set off not long after noon. 


However, when I got to Copper Harbor, there was an absolutely enormous Family Dollar semi parked in front of the Tamarack Inn, on the wrong side of the street, facing me.  Egad! Not only a 100% idiot, but a clod to boot! This is one for the touron files, for sure. When I find out more, I'll pas it on. 


I thought I could get around him by going around the block, but as I came up to the blinker (red in that direction), he backed across the road and turned south on US-41in front of me. He barely made it up the hill to the Mountain Lodge, and he wouldn't go faster than about 35 mph on the covered road, and 45 when we got south of Delaware, and I had to follow him all the way to Calumet. Of course he wouldn't pull over so I could pass.


About the time we got to the Mountain Lodge it started snowing briskly...that wasn't forecast to happen! It was light, fluffy snow, and I had to stay a good distance behind him to avoid his white-out wake. Since it was snowing, he was throwing a wake, and the truck was white, for a good part of the trip, I actually couldn't tell exactly where he was...and since I never knew when he might slow down (he had two teensy stop lights on the back, and they were covered with snow), I had to strain to try to find him. What a trip! It took nearly an hour to get to Mohawk, and more than 1½ hours to get to Houghton. Not a good beginning to my trip.


However...I got to the computer repair store and I had a nice long conversation with a person I think is the owner. He was very nice, as are most of the people I've met up here, and he was very helpful. I suppose, from the looks of his shop, he think that if I can solve my problems myself, I won't bring them to him.


Anyway, he plugged the fan into a couple of computers and determined that it does in fact work...so the fan itself is not my problem. He suggested a number of things to try. He had had to send the power supply back, because the wrong supply had been put in the box. However, I did get an Ethernet card for the laptop, so from now on, I won't be stuck at 26.4kb when the desktop goes down. An Ethernet router might have been a better buy, but eventually I expect to set up a wireless network, so the card is a good stop-gap measure.


From there, I went a few steps to a framing shop that had been recommended to me, and determined that they would be happy to cut backing boards for me and let me do the mounting. More nice people.


However, by that time I had been standing for an hour, and I was exhausted and hot (did I mention that every store up here seems to keep its temperature very high? And I was dressed for the great out of doors). I had toyed with the idea of stopping at a nearby restaurant, but it was getting late, and I was off to Econo Foods.


That, at least, turned out all right, if expensive, and I laid in a lot of frozen veggies and TV dinners (for breakfast) and a few other things I needed. I ended up with two liter bottles of JD, because they didn't have any 1.75 liter bottles...and this is Thursday! I guess everybody did their Super Bowl shopping early or something.


All this time, by the way, it was snowing.


I stopped for gas and it was about 4:30 when I started for home...bad timing, for sure. Evidently a lot of things let out right about then, and there was quite a lineup waiting to cross the bridge, and a lot of traffic all the way to Mohawk. The snow was light weight enough that the road lanes were nearly clear, but it was snowing hard enough that seeing wasn't very good. I had a lot of ice on the front window, and the back window, with my wake, got so snow-covered I just gave up trying to get it clean...not that I could see anything behind me anyway. Fortunately, from Mohawk north I was the guy in front, and I was by myself on the covered road. The temperatures all day long were between 12º and 18º, with a brisk northerly wind. I'm going to have to start wearing my long johns, just to protect my tush and my knees.


I was exhausted by the time I got home. I've driven in enough snow and other bad weather that it doesn't make me nervous, but it is a strain to be able to see where I'm going. I was able to wear my sunglasses on the trip south, and that helped, but it was getting dark enough (not really dark, just not so light) on the way back that I couldn't. I've found wearing polarized sunglasses increases the contrast on snowy roads and is very helpful.


So I unloaded the car and got my sub and my veggie tray (and a nice, big JD) for dinner, and while I was sitting here, I decided I might as well fool around with the computer. I got the heat sink off the CPU and reseated the CPU (I think), reseated the memory, and checked all the power plugs, then I replaced the fan, and plugged it in where it was before...and it didn't work. However, one suggestion Curt had given me was to find another power socket and use it, and I found one even closer to the fan than the one it had been using. So I plugged it in...and after a false start, lo and behold, it came up! Wow!


I moved the mail files onto the TravelDisk and then here, and I downloaded the journal file from yesterday, and I started this. Since this is the first of the month, I had to move last month's entries to the history file and update the "previous months" page, and I was typing away...when the computer froze. Aaarrggghh! I certainly hope that was just another glitch, but I'm still suspicious.


Anyway, with any kind of luck, the camera should wake up tomorrow morning. (Fingers and toes crossed!)


There is definitely a lot more snow from the Mountain Lodge south, and a lot more came down this afternoon than we got here. I did see several snowmobiles and a couple of trucks towing trailers, but when I passed Mariner about 5:30, there was not one snowmobile in the parking lot! Of course, it was still light, but when I left around noon there were only a few. Gosh, people, we have snow! More snow than most places in the Midwest! Where are you all?


So anyway, that was my day, and I sweated so much when I was indoors that I really need a bath, and I really need to go to bed, but before I do, I plan to back up my files to the TravelDisk.


I may take the camera down tomorrow to install the Ethernet card on the laptop, but I don't think that will take too long, so you will be able to see...nothing, probably. If it continues to snow like it has been, there won't be anything to see beyond the deck railing. I hope so. I'm here for the duration, and it can snow as much as it wants to.


So that's it in the snowy field.


Last  updated 08/25/10 09:02 PM