A View From the Field








April, 2008


April 30

Well, here I am in beautiful Grayling, and it's the end of April and the end of my trips south, at least until October. Whew!


I had set the alarm for 7:15, but I woke up at about 6:40, and I couldn't get back to sleep because I had to pee, so I got up about 7:00. So I got to my morning surfing before I packed up the laptop and stuffed everything in the car.


I met Cynthia at the dentist's parking lot, and now I have my mother's mink stole and my Persian lamb jacket with the sable collar. Neither of them sold anywhere she tried, so I am taking them back. It's a pity - they are both beautiful furs. Stoles, of course, are horribly out of style, and frankly, I never could see that they were very useful. However, my jacket is a wonderful evening wrap. Someplace in my jumble I have a picture taken at a Bunny Club (so you can see how old it is), with my parents and the friends who took us there, a bunny, and me in the jacket. Everybody else was looking at the bunny, who was cute, but I liked the way I looked with that fur around my face...oh, how long ago that was! It must have been in the late 60s when I was young and beautiful...sigh.


Anyway, the ordeal with the dentist turned out not to be much at all. The worst part was getting the crowns to fit perfectly, and that took a while, but they are both fine. I've already told Deb to make sure the undertakers remove all my crowns after I die. I think I have six now, and they are all 18 karat gold. If gold prices hold up, I have a fortune in my mouth...


The fillings turned out to be nothing much at all. There was a little one in one front tooth, but now the stuff they use is zapped with a heat gun and takes no time at all, and it wasn't big enough to cause me any pain. The other one was just a chip out of a back tooth, and he only had to drill once to get it prepared. I still hate the sound, the feel, and the smell of a drill in my mouth, but after all these years and all those fillings and re-fillings, I'm used to it.


So we got done in an hour and a half, which was little too early for lunch, so I got the car washed on the outside. They didn't do a very good job, but it's cleaner than it was. Maybe the puddles will have gone down on our road and it won't get all messed up for a while.


I had decided that even though I couldn't find anybody to have lunch with, I was going to have a nice one before I headed north, so I went to Fishbone's, and had Pasta Orleans, of which half is in my cooler. I hope it's OK, so I can have it tomorrow when I get home. I do love that stuff, but they serve huge portions, and it is very rich. Also very yummy.


That took a while, although since they cater to the working lunch crowd, service is very fast there. I started up 9 Mile Road at about 12:15. Aaahhhh...


Traffic was bad all the way to Flint, but the detour around I-675 wasn't too bad, and north of Saginaw, if I could see one car in front of me and one car behind, it was a lot. That was nice, and it made the trip very easy. Of course, there were a few drivers that made me wonder what they were doing, but that always happens.


I got to the Ramada Inn about 3:30, after a stop for gas.


Then the fun began. I had gotten an error the last time I tried to install the wireless software, but it didn't interfere with using at a Parkcrest. However, when I tried to uninstall it, it wouldn't because it said one program was missing. I don't remember all the weirdness that followed, but it took me nearly two hours and a lot of strange situations before I finally got to a spot where I could reinstall. And that reinstall went fine.


Strangely enough, during the time the reinstall worked, I moved the car, got my boos bag in, went for ice, and poured a nice, stiff JD. Usually I have to watch things, but in this case, they worked better when I wasn't looking. Weird.


So when I fired it up, I got a page that had a userid and password box, which wasn't there two weeks ago. I finally got that straightened around, after learning that they had just installed a new bunch of computers today. Oh. It's stupid anyway, and I told them so. Anyway, everything worked fine until about 8:20, when suddenly the whole thing went away, and I can't get connected at all. I hope it comes back so I can upload this. I even reloaded the software...and that time Explorer kept abending. Wow, what a disaster! It almost makes me wish I had the money for a new laptop that runs XP, not that it would make much difference in the long run.


However with $1700 in dental work just over, I'm not in a position to do much of anything.


In the meantime, I had some dinner. After the last trip, it was a couple of days before I got my appetite back, and then I could eat everything I saw. This time I guess it's started before I actually get home. Maybe it's knowing it's over for the next six months. I was the only person in the dining room. They claim they have a lot of people here tonight, but whatever they are, they aren't here. I do have somebody overhead, though.


It was another beautiful day in Copper Harbor. I think it was nearly clear all day long. The temperature got up to 45º, and there was a little wind from the southeast.


It was nice where I was, too. It started out cold - about 33º at 8:00 - but it warmed up fast, into the lower 50s, with a little wind. It was sunny. While I was driving up i-75, there were some nice fair-weather cumulous clouds as well as some haze in the sky, but it was sunny all the way. Tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy, but I prefer that for driving. I think I may be able to dodge the rain again.


So that was my day, and it's about all I know. I guess I will try reinstalling the software  again and see if I can get this uploaded. Oh, it will be nice to get home!


April 29

It was around 11:30 when I got to bed last night. After staring at the floor for quite a while, I discovered that they had fixed the shower head in this room and it is now quite acceptable for a motel. The last time I stayed in this room, there was water all over the bathroom floor when I was done showering. So that was OK. It is a tad annoying that the lamp on the bedside table is missing, but I brought my neat little flashlight, so that worked out OK.


I actually slept fairly well, all things considered, although after 4:00 or so, I was up several times. And much to my annoyance, my calculator-alarm clock went off at about 7:15 as well as 8:00, which was what I set it for. I must check to see there isn't some other alarm set. Of course, the thing must be 30 years old. Cassio made good stuff in those days. It also is a clock, and if I want to, I can play tunes on it. Cool little device. I hope it's not dying, because I doubt they make anything like it anymore.


So I got up and did my morning surfing, with some difficulty. There were a couple of my regular sites where I can't download the pictures, so I got myself into a real mess for a while trying to do something about Internet Explorer. Finally, by rebooting a dozen times or so, I got back where I was, and I will see what happens tomorrow.


It was a beautiful day in Copper Harbor, darn it. It was sunny for most of the day, and the temperature got up to 45º, with a north wind in the 15-25 mph range. It is clouding up now, though.


Here, it got into the low 50s and there was a little wind, too. It was sunny for most of the day.


I misspoke when I said spring wasn't too far advanced over what it was south of West Branch. It is beautiful! This is the one time of year I love it in Grosse Pointe. There are so many trees, and at this time, with the leaves just coming out, they are nearly as colorful as they are in the fall. The magnolias, weeping cherries, and Bradford pears are in full bloom, as well as the redbuds and a lot of other trees. While the dark red crabapples aren't out yet, they are coming. So many people who live here, even in the modest areas, love to garden, and it is wonderful to drive around and see all the spring flowers. I really do miss that, even though I love the wild woods. I keep hoping that some year I can plant some daffodils.


The cardiologist was fine, although she had to give me the standard lecture about losing weight and getting more exercise, even though she knows I know all that. And I had to give her the standard answer. My handicap tag came in very handy, because the parking structure was nearly full, and I would have had a horrible walk without it.


When I got undressed last evening, I finally looked at my new prosthesis in the mirror, and I realized that it was much too small. So In between, I called the place I got it, and they said come in and they would try to do something about it.


Then it was the bank, and we got all that straightened out. It seems, oddly enough, that with a few changes to my accounts, I can actually get a better interest rate in a savings account than in a CD...not that it's all that wonderful, about 1.75%. Wow, have things changed! I remember the days of 16% interest rates...and the high inflation that went along with them. I hope we aren't headed in the same direction now. Now, if they would only put that kind of interest rates on my loans...


Next was the mammography center, and that didn't take very long at all, since I only have one side to image. They are nice people, too.


The lady at the store admitted, when I pulled up my shirt right in the middle of the store, that the prosthesis was too small, even under a shirt. They didn't have one like it in the next size, so we quickly tried some more, and I now have one of the same brand I had been wearing, but a neat new shape with a tab going under my arm, and I think it looks pretty good. I am a little leery of that tab, but if I treat it gently, it ought to be OK.


By that time, I was tired and hungry, so I came back to the motel and had some juice, since it was too late to eat without spoiling my dinner. I played with the computer for a while, and listened to ATC on my old favorite radio station, which streams on the internet.


I went to the Blue Pointe for dinner again, and this time I got my sautéed lake perch, and creamed spinach as well. They had to send out for a bottle of JD, which was late enough coming that I only had one drink, but that was OK. As usual, there were enough old and decrepit people there to make me feel quite at home.


When I got back, I put some stuff in the car, including the food, but there really isn't much I can take out until tomorrow morning. That will be a rush, for sure, since my appointment is at 9:30. Ugh! Early to rise, I guess. 


So that was my day, and I can start home tomorrow, thank goodness. I would like to stop someplace for a nice lunch before I go, but I'm not sure if I will be able to eat right away.


So it's two more nights away, and then I will be home until October. Aaahhh!


April 28

It was later than I expected when I went to bed. I sat and knitted and thought about my financial problems and drank my JD, so it was nearly 11:30 when I finally got into bed, I think. I didn't wake up for the first time until nearly 6:00...wow! Anyway, I got up at 7:00, did my morning thing, and it was 9:45 before I got away.


Buster did not come in for his morning pet - just to let me know how mad he was at me, I'm sure, although he did sit on me in the office for a while. Jasmine didn't appear at all. They sure do have ways to let you know they are not pleased!


All the talk of rain and/or snow was so much hot air. I got about 10 drops of rain on the windshield around Gaylord, maybe? But that was all there was, and after that it cleared up. So much for the NWS.


I pulled into the motel at 7:45 - 10 hours exactly. Part of that was because I didn't have to stop at a rest stop after I crossed the bridge, but it was a fast trip. There was almost no traffic the whole way.


I discovered that the MDOT website lies. They said that the interchange from I-75 to I-696 westbound was closed, leaving me to assume (ahem - never assume!) that the eastbound interchange was still open, as it had been two weeks ago. Wrong. They have now shut down the whole thing. So I got off at the next exit, which was 9 Mile Road, to find that that was under construction, too! Geez, guys... Anyway, there were two cars in front of me who looked like they were in a hurry, so I followed them...turned around, got back on I-75 going north, and despite what the road signs said (geez, guys!), the interchange between I-75 north and I-696 east was open. That solved my problem, and I only had to go around in circles a little bit. I was not about to go down to 8 Mile, like the detour signs said.


The Detroit Metro area is so huge that, even though I have lived here for most of my life, I am not very familiar with the north and west sides, and the northern suburbs really baffle me. Heaven knows where I might have ended up! Fortunately, I do have a good directional sense. That is particularly nice right now, because my car's compass got screwed up someplace between Marquette and the Mackinaw Bridge, and it now says south is north. Hopefully, it will straighten itself out soon.


Spring is just barely coming to the UP. There is no green in the trees yet, but the grass at the side of the roads has greened up, finally, and except for the Keweenaw, most of the snow is gone, except for little patches on the north side of slopes. From about Gaylord south, there began to be little signs of greening, and south of West Branch, there was a green haze around the trees and there were some early trees and bushes in flower...serviceberries, maybe? Curiously enough, the amount of green was just about the same all the way from West Branch to Detroit. I guess it's been cold here, too.


It was cold. In  Copper Harbor, it was 33º all day. It was in the upper 30s all across the UP, and in the lower, it was in the 40s, lower in the north and upper in the south. I think there was a wind in the 10-20 mph range for most of the day. I did feel something of a crosswind a couple of times.


So that was my trip, and I'm here, and I'm confused about what day of the week it is, I'm tired, and it's time to think about attacking the horrible shower. Soon it will be over.


April 26

By the time I got to bed, around 11:30, the wind was rising and the lake was howling in tenor. The deeper the pitch, the higher the waves.


I was up around 3:30, I think, and I could tell that the wind had swung around to the west, but based upon my experience, I didn't think it was nearly as strong as they had been predicting. However, even in the dark - and it was dark, although not quite as dark as the night before - I could see that the ground was white. So we did have a little snow. It was windy. The sustained winds never got over about 22 mph, and the gusts never got over 32 mph, so they were way, way off in their predictions, but it was windy. The temperature got down to about 29º, so while it was chilly, it wasn't frigid. It was a nice temperature in the bedroom for cuddling under the comforter.


Today, the temperature finally got up to about 35º, and the wind is still blowing in the 15-25 mph range, but it has shifted around to the north. It was a good day to stay inside, although I was a little put out that I couldn't open the garage door while I was loading the car. Too cold.


I got up around 9:00 and petted a very cuddly cat and knitted for a while before I got dressed and came down to the office. I had little enough to do that I didn't do much for most of the day. However, everything that can go into the car, except the laptop, is in the car, and there isn't much else to do except move this file and straighten up the kitchen a bit. I'm not taking nearly so much stuff with me this time, so it wasn't hard to move it. One day I'll learn. Too bad it took me two trips to get it down to a science.


My friend Sandi and her husband are in town, and they aren't going home until Sunday, so I hope to see them when I get back. We had a nice conversation, and I got the word on the forest fire around Grayling, which is now out.


So I guess that is about all I know, and after I copy this file hither and yon I will trundle up to the north end, knit a while, and maybe get to bed really early so maybe I can get an early start tomorrow. If I've got to do it, I want to get it done.


April 26

I got to bed around 11:00 last night, which was a bit earlier than lately. I knitted for a while, and did the first half of the heel of the Easter egg sock. 


While I was knitting, I began to hear grumbling and bumbling sort of out over the lake, which was one reason I cut short my knitting. When I turned out the light, I don't think I have ever seen it any darker. Between the fog and the thick clouds, it was absolutely black, outside and in. I could just barely see the sky, after my eyes adapted.  Then there was a flash of lightning that was so bright that after it was gone, I saw the windows in negative - white frames with black outside. Rather a neat phenomenon that I don't remember having seen before. There wasn't a lot of thunder, but there was lightning, and shortly it began to rain hard, and it continued for about three hours - almost half an inch. It was a dark and stormy night, and that put me to sleep, for sure.


When I got up , around 9:30, the sun was shining, but while I was knitting and petting a cat, the clouds rolled in, and it was cloudy for the rest of the day. It wasn't very nice out. The temperature hung in at about 40º until 4:00, when it began to drop and it is now 33º. For most of the day, the wind was in the 15-30 mph range. It started out from the southwest, and it is now out of the west and rising. They still insist it's going to get up to 35 mph sustained, but it hasn't yet. 


Along about 4:00, there was a big blast of wind, and when I looked up, it was snowing, and it snowed lightly, in big flakes, for over an hour. There wasn't any accumulation, and what hit the windows in front of the camera melted right away. Donnie says that's April.


I am glad to see they are backing off on the probability of precipitation for Monday. It is now down to 30%. I can live with that. While I've never had any particular problems driving in the rain (or snow, for that matter), it does stress me out, and I drive slower. I want to get this thing over with.


That was about all the excitement for the day.


I got the trash collected and off to the compactor, and I just about got it in. Rich is off with Bonnie for the weekend, and apparently there's nobody else to run the compactor, so it was full. There are actually two sitting there, but the other one was padlocked. I only had one big bag and one small bag, which isn't too bad.


Otherwise, I did nothing, and I'm off to the north end shortly, after I fill the dishwasher. I could wait until tomorrow, but I do hate to come home to a full dishwasher, so I think I will do dishes tonight. 


It's going to be rather noisy tonight, but that should make for good sleeping. It's a dark and windy night in the field tonight.


April 25

I was late last night again. I think I knitted a bit, then I sat staring at the floor. I finally read the stuff my financial advisor sent me, and the money situation doesn't look good. I have several options, but it will take time to work out.


Anyway, I slept well, and got up around 9:00. Buster had settled down beside me, and he has been exceptionally cuddly all day long. I guess he must know I'm going away again, and as usual, he thinks that if he sits on me, I won't get everything done, so I won't go. Sorry, Bub, it just doesn't work like that.


The task of the day was wash, and the wash part is done, but I have another load waiting in a basket for the one in the dryer to dry. It's a real shame they can't make a dryer that dries as fast as a washer washes.


The last load will probably run all night long. When I came home last July after moving out of Champine, my bedside rug had disappeared, and I finally located it under the bed. I just left it there and put down another rug. So today, I fished it out, along with its dust bunnies, and washed it and the one I had been stepping out on, which was pretty dirty. Even though my floors are usually warm, I prefer to step out of bed onto a rug. These rugs are ones I got from the gift shop on top of Brockway, and they are woven out of the cast offs from sock factories in the south. They are nice thick rugs, they seem to wear like iron, and they wash wonderfully well. Besides, they're blue, mostly. They're thick enough that they take forever to dry, though.


It was a good day to ignore the outside. While it was just hazy at sunrise, the fog rolled in pretty quick, and the harbor was socked in all day. The temperature got up to 50º, briefly, about 1:00, then it began to plunge, and it is now down to 38º. There wasn't any wind. When I went to dinner, it was so foggy that it was drizzling on the car. Not a nice day at all.


I guess we are in for some nasty weather over the weekend, and it looks like I may be traveling in rain and/or snow on Monday. We are supposed to have very high winds tomorrow and tomorrow night, and rain mixed with or changing to snow. It's not going to be a nice weekend. I keep reminding myself that the more precipitation, the better. Suck it out of the ocean and drop it on the lakes!


Monday is shaping up to be rather ugly, with a 60% chance of rain and snow the whole way, although in southeastern Michigan it should be just rain. Ugh. Well, I can't hit it right all the time.


So that was another quiet day, and I guess I'm about on schedule. Tomorrow has to be trash and the post office.


I talked to my financial advisor today, and he is going to be tied up on Wednesday, so I won't get to do lunch with him. It also means I don't have to take any dress-up clothes with me, so I unpacked a pair of chinos. It's also supposed to be relatively cool in Detroit, so I rearranged my packing for that.


Now I think it's time to totter up to the north end and wait until the load of underwear finishes drying so I can put the rugs in the dryer, then it's off to bed.


It's another misty-moisty night in the field, and a good one to sleep.


April 24

So last night I went up to the north end late and sat staring at the floor for quite a while, and it was 12:30 when I got to bed. I got up around 9:00 because I had to walk, so maybe tonight will be earlier. At least I'm starting this earlier.


It was clear to partly cloudy overnight. I did see a few stars and I did see the shadow of the moon, but I couldn't see Polaris, so it wasn't really clear. It was relatively clear this morning, but it got more cloudy as the day wore on, and in the middle of the afternoon it got quite dark, followed by a short, light rain.


The task of the day was to get my handicap tag, and I accomplished it. The office in Mohawk is manned by one person, and lunchtime is 12:30-1:30, which is rather inconvenient for me, at least. However, I was pretty much done with my breakfast and morning surfing by 11:00, so with a few stops in between, I got off around 11:30. It takes about half an hour to get to Mohawk, less than five minutes to get my tag, and another half hour back. And to think that when I lived in Yardley, PA, back in the early '70s, I used to complain that I was a half hour drive from everything! That was true, I was, but the difference then was that I wasn't happy there, and I am happy here.


So now I am equipped to park wherever I want to. The rules say you shouldn't have the tag hanging when you are driving, and I have noticed that almost everybody who has one ignores that rule. I will try not to, since sometimes non-handicap parking places are actually more convenient than the designated ones. Besides, I don't like having things dangling from my rear view mirror. I may also have to hide it, because I was warned that they get stolen, and if one is lost or stolen, I have to pay $10 to replace it.


That was about all I did, except to tidy up the kitchen a bit. I have been trying to keep it neat and clean, just to save myself some last-minute work. Tomorrow the work starts, but everything I had to do I want to do as near to Monday as possible. Tomorrow, I think, will be wash, cat pans, and trash. We'll see how much of that I get done.


The temperature dipped down into the mid-30s overnight, but it briefly got up to 61º around 2:00. For most of the day it was in the mid-50s. The wind picked up into the 15-25 mph range from the south between noon and 6:00, but it is now nearly calm again. We only had .04" of rain, but there is more on the way, along with possible thundershowers.


I still have to say that, much as I don't enjoy driving in rain (or slushy snow), I am really glad to see the precipitation. That means we are over our drought, and I suspect we are over the exceptionally low water. I took a good look at my beach, and the water in the harbor is back where it was in the fall of 2006, which is a relief. 


The creeks are running, but I don't get to see many of them going down US-41. There is one place, just this side of the Mountain lodge, where the road was cut out of a steep cliff, and there were a couple of places where the water was pouring over the edge of the cliff, down to the ditch, and underneath the snow crust. Kind of neat.


While our snow is mostly gone, except where it was exceptionally deep, up in the higher elevations, there is still lots, I would say a foot or more in some places, but it is spotty. Unfortunately, it is all dirty and ugly. Surprisingly enough, Lake Medora is still all ice-covered. That ice must have been really deep! Of course, it is all mushy, and you wouldn't want to try to walk on it.


The other thing I noticed is that apparently the sap is running, and the pileated woodpeckers have been extremely busy. I saw any number of dead or dying trees with huge new holes in them on the way down the covered road. I suppose the woodpeckers have been eating seeds and berries all winter and they're really hungry for a few good grubs. When they attack a tree, there is a huge pile of wood chips at its base. I would love to see one at a tree someday, but they are very shy.


That reminds me that I ran into Aaron down by the culverts the other day on the way back from the post office. He has the cutest little black lab puppy, about 8 weeks old. He was out because we apparently have some beavers who were attempting to dam up the culverts and turn Lake Lily into a beaver pond. He was trying to unblock the culverts to prevent the lake from flooding over the road - the lake was almost at road levels right there - and today it looks like he did a good job and the overflow is draining through the pipes very nicely. The lake level is down at least a foot, too. Oh, the joys of living in the woods...


I would love to see a beaver at work, too, but not around the culverts under our road! It would be really easy to wash out the entire road there and strand us. Once, back in the 70s, I saw a place where that had happened on the way to Chapel Lake in the Pictured Rocks, and it was so ugly, I just turned the car around and we went back. It was my dad's car, and we were waterfalling in the snow in late September. I never have seen Chapel Falls. That was the first time I got snowed on on the 22nd of September, and it was the year we cut short our vacation. After that, we made reservations at King Copper, and we started coming earlier, but it never was so cold so early again.


Ah, the memories!


So that is all I can think of, and I would like to get to bed a little earlier tonight. Now the work starts, and I need to get an early start tomorrow. The shirt I soiled is soaking in Oxy-Clean, and tomorrow is washday.


It's a dark, moist evening in the field tonight.


April 23

I did get to bed earlier last night, and I got up earlier this morning, but I finished the toes of the Maizy socks, except to weave in the ends, so it was late when I got to the office.


It was a beautiful morning and a beautiful day. It was sunny, although there was a high haze in the sky, and there was almost no wind at all. It was foggy other places along the lake, like down in Eagle Harbor, but it wasn't foggy here, so it was beautiful. The temperature went up to 50º around 9:00, and it stayed there pretty much until 5:00. It went briefly up to 60º, and it is now down to 50º again There were clouds moving in at sunset, so I don't know if there will be any stars tonight or not. There was no wind to speak of all day.


Last night there probably were some stars, but I was sleeping most of the time. I did get up around 3:00, I think, and the moon was way low in the south, and I could just about see Polaris, but I didn't waste any time looking for anything else.


It was another quiet day. I got the Maizy socks finished, and I do like them, although I seem to have made the legs a bit short, too. Evidently my gauges have changed since I last worked on #3 needles, or this yarn is a little weird. They'll be fine for summer, though, when I don't want a lot of anything on my legs. They aren't the prettiest socks I've ever made, but they'll be fine.


I also read several of the magazines I had put aside earlier, and that occupied me for most of the time. There isn't much to do, except the things I want to leave until close to the time I leave, like trash and packing, and the things I can't do until the end, like the laptop and the cooler. I have a long list, but most of the things won't take long, especially since I never unpacked my bags when I got back here. I don't want to get into anything new here, because I would have to leave it in the middle.


Tomorrow it's off to the Secretary of State office in Mohawk, and I hope to come back with my handicap hangtag. Of course, it may rain, but that's all right.


It got so hot in here again that I have the east window open, and Buster is sitting under it. He will be disappointed when I close it. For most of the afternoon, though, he was sleeping in the sun in the ugly chair, and I don't know how he could stand being so warm. He's always liked that, though, even more than DC did.


I went into the kitchen for something in the middle of the afternoon, and there was Jasmine stretched out on the dining room table, also in the sun, taking a bath. I have a piece of fabric I was auditioning draped over the table, and she seemed to think that was a good place to relax. She looked at me, but she made no effort to move or anything. She sure is comfortably at home now. Later she moved to the navy blue chair, but she didn't move then, either. She sure is a snotty little cat.


Much to my surprise, a guy from the bank branch in Grosse Pointe where my accounts are called me about my CD, and I have an appointment to talk to him on Tuesday between the cardiologist and the mammogram. I could have made it after, but I may end up either at the bra supply store or the pet supply store, or both, and with gas prices the way they are, I really don't want to start going around in circles. Unfortunately, the nice guy I dealt with last summer has quit, but the new guy seems pretty nice, too, so that is OK. I opened the CD on the internet, but I wasn't sure what I was going to do about getting the money back at the end of the term, and I need some of that money. As usual, it's easier to give the bank money than it is to get it back.


The big pile of snow in front of the breezeway is all gone now, and the one on the right side of the garage is down to a little puddle. The big piles where the guys pushed the snow they cleared at the south end of the driveway are still there, but even they are going down fast. The only snow left in the garden is over the pond and up the waterfall, where it was pretty thick. There are green things in the garden. I suppose most of them are weeds, but I could discern the poppies even from the deck.


It smells good outside, nice and fresh, although it isn't earthy yet. It's nice to get a little fresh air in here. It smelled woody and stale in here when I got back on Friday.


So that is about all I know, and now it's off to the north end. 


April 22

Last night it was a book. I started reading a book of essays by Roger Tory Peterson (the field guide guy) while I was away, and I got into it again last night, and it was 2:30 before I fell into bed. Bad me. Tsk, tsk.


I got up around 10:00, and I was surprised to see some sunshine, and it was warm when I got to the office. 


It was a weird day. The temperature jumped up to 57º for a couple of hours around noon, then it abruptly plummeted to 41º before it recovered into the middle 40s. The sun went away about the time the temperature fell, and it was very dark and ominous and foggy for most of the afternoon. Nothing happened, though, and I got to the post office and the store without being rained on. Then between 3:00 and 6:00 we had a nice thunderstorm, and almost .4 inches of rain. There was a little wind, but not much, from the southwest, although it has turned north since the rain. It was still dark and foggy at sunset. although it is supposed to clear up and give us a rather clear night and tomorrow.


I don't remember doing anything much, which means I probably didn't. I had to go to the post office to return a polo shirt I got from Land's End. I couldn't really tell the color on the website, so I bought it. It is called "soft jade", but it is actually just about the color of pea soup...not a color I would be terribly interested in wearing, nor, I think, would many other people. They aren't offering it anymore. at least in polos, and that's probably why. It was really ugly...and yet, one of the beading books I got, the author uses opaque beads in about that color in most of her sample pieces. It's really ugly in them, too.


I am glad that not everybody likes the same things, but sometimes the colors that other people like baffle me. Pea green, pumpkin orange, and mustard yellow come to mind immediately, and there are a few others.


Anyway, I just received word that my friend Syd's son was attacked in his apartment in Chicago and is in ICU with eight stab wounds, two in the neck. He, and his family and girl friend need our prayers right now. More than ever I am glad I live where there aren't many people.


I finished the Peterson book tonight, so I won't be quite so late, and I guess I need to organize myself and decide what needs to be done before I leave again.


It's a dark night in the field tonight, and I'm off to the north end, not quite as early as I'd hoped.


April 21

I guess I'm over my tired. At least, I'm going  back to my old bedtime. I knitted for a while and got to bed around 10:30, and I did sleep. When I was up, I could see moonlight, but it wasn't very bright, so it wasn't as clear last night as was promised. Around 6:00 this morning, when I looked out the windows, there was a bright orange moon over the Mountain Lodge, with a lovely  orange glitter path on the water. Unfortunately, it was too early for the camera to wake up, if it could have seen in that direction at all...there may well be a tree in the way.


I got up around 8:30, I think, and petted a cat for a long time and knitted for a long time, and I have now started the toes of the Maizy socks again. This time, I think they are long enough.


I didn't do much today, although I got the dishwasher ready to go tonight, after I put my dinner dishes in it. I also got everything except a package of bottled water out of the car, and I put the cat food away. I have enough cat food now to last for quite a while. 


I forgot to mention, when I bought all that cat food, that the pet food store and Wal-Mart have the same prices, and they are higher than they were a couple of months ago. So everything is going up, including cat food. Sigh.


The weather was remarkable. It was rather sunny all day, although there was a layer of very thin cirrus clouds. The temperature started out around 45º overnight, and rose to a high of 63º, where it sat for about 4 hours before beginning to drop off. There was a moderate wind - 10-20 mph - from the south.


It was so nice outside and so hot in here (it got up to 79º!) that I opened one of the east windows and the sliding door in the office. That cooled it down nicely. It smells fresh and springy outside. The cats, especially Jasmine, were very excited by the open windows, and being able to smell and hear what was going on outside, as well as see it. So was I, actually. That's the first time this year that I have been able to get the windows open (at least on purpose).


The screen on the office sliding door needs to be repaired, and there is that window in the window seat that is plugged up with duct tape, so once I get back from Detroit next week I will be having some conversations with the glass company.


It was so nice I began to toy with the idea of opening the shutters over the porch, but it's really too early for that. When I get back from Detroit is soon enough. And I have to decide what to do about the cushions.


The snow is disappearing at a remarkable rate. I still have a huge pile between me and my southerly neighbor, and the remains of the big drift between the cedar and the lilacs on the north, but the huge pile in front of the breezeway is all gone, and the pile at the other side of the garage is going fast.


I discovered that somebody (not me, for sure!) dumped a pile of my special rocks on the ground in front of the breezeway. Some of them are the flat rocks I use as weights when I am cutting cloth, and a couple of them had been sprayed with acrylic varnish. How they got where they were, I have no clue, but I rescued them and put them on the cement. Eventually, I will wash them off and bring them inside. That is a real mystery.


I read through a couple of books I got right before I left for Detroit, and they are interesting craft books. That is why I'm going to be late going to bed tonight. Oh, well.


So that was my quiet day, and it's going to be a cool, cloudy night in the field tonight.


April 20

And I'm still tired!


I didn't get to bed as early as I'd planned. I had woven the toes of the Maizy socks, and when I looked at the first one, I realized that they were simply not long enough - by over an inch! I don't know how I managed to get them so much smaller than the sock I was measuring against, but they were. Sooo...I ripped back to before the toe shaping and put them back on the needle. Easier said than done, but I think I managed, somehow, to get them the same length. Then I went off to bed, probably between 10 and 10:30.


And I did sleep, with a few walks, until 9:30 this morning. And I'm still tired.


Buster was sitting on my lap after breakfast, which is why I ignored the gurgling, and I missed the bathroom again, although this time it didn't cause quite such a mess except to my tush. Memo to self: never ignore the gurgling! At least I didn't mess up my new knit pants, which are very comfortable and a lot less warm than sweatpants.


For the rest of the day, I did not much. I started filling the dishwasher, which will need to be run tomorrow, full or not, because I am running out of cat dishes. Then I read a bunch of catalogs - all of which I threw out - and a magazine or so. I spent some time in the ugly chair, but with the light coming right in front of me, it's not easy to read there. That chair is still comfortable, though, so I need to spend more time there.


The weather was certainly better than yesterday. It was cloudy in the morning and partly sunny in the afternoon and it is now cloudy again. It was bright-cloudy, though, so it wasn't bad, and the little sunshine was nice. The temperature was around 40º until 5:00, when it went up to 45º. There wasn't any wind again. We were on the list of low temperature spots overnight, though. Much nicer than in the lower, where it is still too warm.


So now I am yawning again, so I guess it's time to totter up to the north end. Bath tonight, and maybe I can knit on the socks a little more. I now know that however I do the heel, I have to have 9" between the bottom of the heel and where I start the toe shaping. Since I'm making this pair together, I don't have to count rows...and besides, I really can't since I had taken out all the markers before I had to rip them out. Grr.


Buster and Jasmine were sleepy today, which isn't surprising with the weather. However, Jasmine came in when I sat down in the ugly chair, and she was going to look out onto the deck, then she remembered that she would be within arm's reach of me and she ran off. Buster wanted some of my dinner - more of my ribs from last night - and Jasmine had to come up and see what was going on, but we had finished eating by the time she got here. I bet she would like ribs, too.


And that is all there is. It's a calm, dull night in the field tonight, and we probably won't see the full moon.


April 19

I'm still tired. I think I turned out the light around 9:00, although it could have been 9:30 - I don't remember - and I slept and slept in my lovely bed. Of course, I had to get up several times, but that didn't bother me, and at intervals I had a purry cat sitting near my head, but that didn't bother me a lot either, except when he bopped my head with his tail. I think I got up around 8:30, and Buster spent a very long time on my lap, purring so loud he almost choked himself. In spite of the weather, Jasmine was dancing around various places, so she was happy, too. A couple of times, she got very close to me before she remembered and ran off.


I knitted on the Easter egg sock. The Maizy socks are ready to be finished off, but I didn't feel like getting out the double points, which I need to use to weave in the toes. Maybe tonight. I did my morning surfing and put the clean dishes away, but I haven't started loading the dishwasher yet. A couple of times I went out to the car and moved some of the stuff out of it, but my back was bothering me a lot.


No wonder. It was cloudy and drizzly and foggy and the temperature stayed right about 38º all day, with no wind. That is some of my least favorite weather - a close second to too hot - and it really does a number on my arthritis.  However, according to the NWS, it is supposed to be rainy all week, although a bit warmer. In spite of my aches and pains, I am glad to see all the water come down, or I hope it does. Last year at this time, we were well into our drought, and I would like not to see that happen again. So I will endure the chill and the dampness, if only it rains. Fill up that lake!


The water is higher than it was last fall, as I could clearly see when I passed by the bottom of Keweenaw Bay yesterday, but it is still very low compared to its normal height. We have a ways to go...and no doubt in a few years, people will be bewailing the high water and the Corps of Engineers will suggest some new hairbrained scheme to protect people who built entirely too close to the water in the first place. As I've said before, the lakes go up and the lakes go down, and the cycle has been occurring over and over forever. Global warming may eventually change that cycle, but not in my lifetime. All we have to do is be a little patient, and God will give us water.


Buster didn't mind that I sat a lot, and he sat on me as much as I'd let him. He is sitting on me now, which makes typing rather interesting.


I ate out tonight, and it is dead in town. There were two other tables of diners and a couple of kids sitting at the bar doing crossword puzzles, and no cars at Zik's. This is the really, really dead time, as bad as late October and November, and it will continue till after the middle of May, Mother's Day not included. That's the way it is in a tourist destination.


So now I am going up to the north end again and finish my socks, I think. I expect to be in bed early again, and maybe I can recover from my exertions of the week. I was much more active for several days than I usually am for that length of time, and I wasn't getting enough sleep, so I have some catch-up to do.


It's a dull, misty-moisty night in the field, and a good one for sleep.


April 18

Aaaahhh...I'm home! The kitties were glad to see me, most of the stuff I brought with me is still in the car, and it rained, but I'm home.


I ended up not getting to bed until around 11:30, and I did sleep well. When I woke up at 7:30 this morning, I decided to get up, and what with packing the car, getting breakfast and checking out, I think it was probably between 9:15 and 9:30 when I started out...I forgot to look. 


There was almost no traffic in Grayling at that hour of the morning, which was weird, and I didn't have nearly as much trouble finding North Down River Road as I did last fall. There was almost no traffic on I-75, either, until I got to the bridge, where of course a whole bunch of us got behind two semis, which aren't supposed to go over 20 mph on the bridge.


They are making progress on the bridge, I have to say, but the northbound lanes won't be open until the middle of May, and then I suppose they will close the southbound lanes. What they are doing is resurfacing and building new curbs on the causeway part of the bridge. I suppose it's time, and now that the toll has gone up to $3, they have the money to do it.


Virtually all the snow is gone, not only below the bridge, but in the eastern UP as well. Things are turning greenish in the lower, but it is still brown and gray and dull in the upper. All the streams and ditches are in flood. There is still some snow around Marquette and up in the highlands around Michigamme, but not a whole lot.


Altogether, it is amazing how much snow has disappeared in the three days since I went south. There are a few pockets of snow, and there is still a lot on the ground in Keweenaw, but more has gone than is still down.


It was cloudy when I started out, and someplace the eastern UP, it started to drizzle. That lasted to past Marquette, when there was 50 miles or so of relatively hard rain...it seems to me that has happened before.


Traffic was remarkably light all over, even through Marquette, and I think it was around 4:30 when I pulled into the garage...aaahhhh!


All the snow is gone off the road, except for a little bit on the big hill, there are some incredible puddles, and the glacier is down to about 5' at its deepest. There is bare ground in the back yard and the front yard, the birdbath has fully emerged, and the junipers are uncovered. Of course, since I'm here and I can look out, there haven't been any birds this evening.


The temperature when I left Grayling was in the lower 50s, but as soon as I got into the UP, the temperature dropped into the lower 40s and stayed there, except around Mohawk, when it went up to 50º. It was right around 40º here all day, and there wasn't much wind. About the time I pulled into the garage, it rained a little bit.


I'm tired, and I need a good bath. I am so spoiled by my wonderful shower, and I haven't really had a chance to get really clean since I left. I am also spoiled by my regulation-height toilets - or I always thought they were regulation height. They certainly aren't high-rise toilets, but every one I had to use on the trip, except for one handicap stall at a rest stop, was so low I had a terrible time getting up from them. I forgot to mention that on the trip down, I stopped at one rest stop where the handicap stall was locked shut, which I didn't think was fair at all. I suppose a motel has to accommodate children and short adults, but sometimes I wonder if they don't overdo it. Kids that small should probably have help getting onto the pot anyway.


But then I'm tired and I hurt. Cool damp weather is just hell on my arthritis, even when I've been sitting all day. 


I have to say I probably misspoke when I said I had passed my gallstone. I had my favorite breakfast this morning - hash browns with bacon, sausage, ham, onions and green peppers and eggs - and it is rather greasy, and I did have a gall bladder attack this afternoon. Drat. I hoped I had gotten over that.


The other thing is the gas. I was determined to stop at the Indian reservation for gas, and even there, it was $3.51 a gallon. Other places, it was between $3.60 and $3.63. This is appalling, and I really fear for the summer tourist season. At least I think I probably have enough to last until I can get back to Baraga.


I do have to drive down to Mohawk to the Secretary of State office next Thursday (It is only open on Thursday), and I might have to go to town to find something to eat for breakfast...although what I took this time certainly wasn't very satisfactory.


That is about all I can think of tonight, and even though it's really early, I am going up to the north end and TAKE A SHOWER!!! Then I think maybe I will read a while and go to bed early. I haven't been getting enough sleep, and it's time I began to catch up.


I'm home...I'm home...I'm home. I wish I didn't have to go back in a week and a half, but oh, well. I'm home and it's wonderful.


April 17

Well, here I am in beautiful Grayling, and I am now communicating with the internet, having reinstalled the wireless adapter software 5 times...again. Now I know what the problem is, so when I get back to my comfy office, I will be communicating to the Linksys people to try to resolve it. I thought this wireless stuff was supposed to be a no-brainer...well, wrong.


I ended up not getting to bed until after midnight last night. The last half hour I was staring at the floor trying to make myself attack the shower again. It is not the best shower I ever tried to use, by a long shot. I did sleep pretty well, although while I was finishing up I was wondering, because the person in the next room suddenly turned up the TV so loud I could almost hear the words. I guess he wanted to hear them while he was in the bathroom or something. Fortunately, he turned it down pretty fast, or I would have been calling the office...some people!!


Anyway, I got up around 8:30, and diddled around for quite a while before I got the stuff together, but because I did that, I got the housekeeping people to help me get it into the car. Next trip, not so much stuff, for sure!


It was getting really warm by the time I finally left the motel - upper 60s - and I was off to the mastectomy store. Actually, that is only part of their business. They also carry bras in really small and really big sizes, and a lot of other items not necessarily related to breast cancer. I have been a customer there for a very long time, and what I like is that all their sales people are experts at fitting bras. So I got two new prostheses, one for dress-up and one for knocking around, and a new bra, with three more on order...fortunately all that stuff is covered by insurance, because the total is hair-raising. The companies that make that stuff charge an outrageous amount for it.


It was around 12:30 when I left the store. I toyed with the idea of stopping for lunch, but I didn't know where to go, so I didn't. By the time I left, the temperature was in the low 70s and the skies were hazy. 


There was an incredible amount of traffic, particularly on I-75, all the way to Pontiac, and a moderate amount until after Flint...and then it almost all went away. The detour around the Zilwaukee Bridge is painless, at least during during the day, although I-675 is   only 2 lanes in each direction, and I can see that it might get pretty congested during rush hours. It made the trip a little, but not a lot, longer. North of Bay City, I don't think I've ever seen so little traffic, and that was nice. I got to Grayling around 4:00, which was fine.


I suddenly realized, as I was heading out of Grosse Pointe, that quietly and without any fanfare, MDOT has changed the speed limits on the freeways, and they are now 70 mph almost all over, except on I-94 right in town where it is very curvy. And around Flint and Bay City, where they used to lower it to 65, it is now just 70 mph all the way. Interesting. I guess they finally admitted that most everybody was going 75 or faster anyway so they might as well just set the limits closer to the reality. If they could set them at 75, they probably would, and I really don't think that would make result in most people driving at 85, at least in these parts.


It was really hot going up I-75. My car thermometer got up to 76º for quite a while, and it was still 73º when I got here. It was getting cloudier as I went north, and it is quite cloudy now.


In Copper Harbor, it was cloudier and cooler. The temperature hung in around 43º all day long, but when I finally got back on the internet, there were geese floating out in front of the house, and I can see that we must have lost a good foot of snow since I left, maybe more. I may be able to see the birdbath when I get home tomorrow!


For the rest of the afternoon I screwed around with the wireless adapter software, and I now think I really know how to use it, except that in order to run the network monitor, I have to reinstall the software...and that's the problem. That should not be happening, and so I will have to attack Linksys, but not tonight.


I went to dinner a bit early, since I was hungry, and I had a nice meal, but a near disaster at its end. I started gurgling, I just made it back to my room, and I didn't quite hit the toilet, so I had a real mess on my hands. I was wearing a diaper, but it would have been very embarrassing...it still is. I don't know what brought that on, except that I have been eating funny and not according to my usual schedule at all. Fortunately, I wasn't planning to wear my denim shirt tomorrow, because the shirttail got soiled. I would really like a little JD before I go to bed, but I am now bare-naked from the waist down, and it's just too much trouble to go out to the car for the JD and down the hall for the ice...too far to go anyway.


I am really stiff and sore, although less so after sitting for the afternoon. I have had an extremely strenuous several days, and that, coupled with the coolish dampness of the spring, has done a real number on my poor old bod. It will be very good to get home and into my own bed, and my own shower, and my own desk chair again.


So that is the end of my adventure for this time, and by this time tomorrow I will be firmly at home once again, if only for a week. I never was a very good traveler, and as I get older and in poorer shape, I get less so. However, I keep thinking about the doctors in Keweenaw, and I will keep going to Detroit to see my old ones.


And oh, it will be good to get home!


April 16

Well, there. I doed my duty, and now I can go home...with one short stop at the mastectomy store.


I was up before 8:00 this morning, and I managed to do my morning surfing before it was off to the dentist. I think I got there on time, but my hygienist has never been on time for as long as I have known her, so it didn't matter much. The dentist news is mixed. I am going to have two full crowns, not inlays. One of the teeth was just too far gone, and the other one had a big crack in the surface he was going to attach the inlay to. So I now have two funny-looking metal temporaries. And when I go back in two weeks, I will not only have the crowns inserted, I will be having two cavities filled. Rats. It's been a good number of years since I've had any cavities at all, and I'm sorry there are a couple of new ones.


So that took a couple of hours, then I went off to the pet food store via Lakeshore Drive. The lake was green and choppy, with whitecaps, and it wasn't very pretty, but at least it was water. The kitties now have enough cat food to last quite a while, I think, and I got to ask about where some of their favorite dry cat food had gone...and found out that it had just been renamed, and the bag I gave Cindy is actually one they had been eating all along. Oh, well. I wish companies wouldn't do that, or at least if they do, they would tell people beforehand. I didn't find that out until after I had checked out, so I may have to stop back the next time I am in town. 


Then I sort of went around in circles. I needed ice for the cooler, and I thought my favorite pharmacy carried it...well, they used to, but evidently they don't now...so I had to circle around to Kroger's to get any, and while I was there, I picked up some cheese that I can't get in Houghton. 


I still had some time to kill, so I came back to the motel and played with the computer and knitted until it was time to go to the internist. That turned out better. We had a nice conversation. I got the impression that he has been waiting for me to admit I'm not going to get any better, and he was quite willing to sign a form for a permanent handicap hang tag, so now I have all the angles covered. If they won't give me a permanent one, I have a form for a temporary one. He gave me a prescription that may help my ears, and he suggested something I might try for my diarrhea. So that turned out well.


With all the walking I have had to do over the past two days, I was certainly wishing I already had that hang tag, but when I went by where the Secretary of State office used to be in St. Clair Shores, it seems to be gone, so I'm glad I didn't go chasing after that!


Debbie decided she wanted Mexican food, so we met at a restaurant that isn't too far from here, and apparently on her way from her doctor's office. She enjoyed her dinner, but I have to admit I wasn't too impressed. I'm used to Mexican food with some heat to it, and this was all very bland. Made nicely, but bland. They do make a soft taco that is scrumptious, but it would be much better if the meat was more highly spiced. Anyway, we had a lovely conversation, she thinks she is going to like her job, and she liked her bracelet.


The weather was very spring-like here. The temperature got up to 66º under sunny skies and 20 mph winds. Some of the early daffodils and tulips are out, and some of the maple flowers are starting to pop...no wonder I was sneezing this morning! It will be prettier in three or four weeks, but it was nice to see green grass and a flower or two.


It was nice in Copper Harbor, too, at least until late in the day. The temperature there got up to 59º - really unseasonably warm - and there wasn't much wind. It did cloud up in the middle of the afternoon, though.  I'm sure the snow is melting at a great rate, but there is a lot of snow to melt.


On that subject, I guess I have forgotten to mention that all the lake levels are clearly up. It wasn't so easy to see at the bottom of Keweenaw Bay because of the ice, but Lake St. Clair is up quite a bit, and a lot of the ugly mud flats that were there last fall are gone now. That is good news, and the snow melt should help some, too.


So that is all I know, and tomorrow I can pack up at my leisure and after I stop at the mastectomy store, I can take my time about getting to Grayling...and I'm on my way home for this trip. Thank goodness!


April 15

Well, let's try this again. I was almost through with a nice, long entry when the wireless software hung...again. I really, really don't want to try installing it again - after 5 or 6 tries - but I may have to.


I didn't get to bed until around 12:30 this morning. I had just uploaded last night's entry when I realized that I had been running without Norton - for some reason not known to me, it didn't load on the last reboot before I wrote the journal. So I thought it would be prudent to run a virus scan, just in case, while I went off and took my shower. When I came back, it was about halfway through, and it had found a suspect file...so I had to wait until it ended to find out what the file was, and it turned out, it was something I put out there and I want there. Usually, I could use the repair wizard to ignore the file, but that didn't work, either, so I gave up and went to bed.


Well. As frequently happens the night after I take a sleeping pill, I didn't sleep at all. I dozed for most of the night, but there was no deep, restorative sleep. I woke up at 7:30, and after 20 minutes or so, I realized there was no way I was going back to sleep before 8:15, so I got up and did my morning surfing, with several hang-ups. It is clear that the last load of the wireless software wasn't completely clean, but I just don't want to hassle that again.


So it was off to the oncologist, and the word is good. Come back in six months, get a chest x-ray and a mammogram. The mammogram is scheduled for the next trip, so I stopped and got the chest x-ray - front and side - before I left the cancer center. It's a wonder I don't glow in the dark. Anyway, he also signed a form for a 6 month handicap hang tag, and he explained why he doesn't think I should try for a permanent one. So now all I have to do is go to a Secretary of State office, and I will be able to park in the handicap parking spaces legitimately. That will help.


I was so sleepy or whatever when I got up that all I could eat was some orange juice and half a sandwich, so after I stopped at my favorite independent pharmacy for Kleenex, which I had forgotten, and wrapping for Debbie's birthday present, and a stop at the bank, I had another half a sandwich before it was off to the eye doctor.


My new ophthalmologist is a cute young blonde thing who can't be much over 30, but she seems to know what she's doing, and she's very nice. The word there was good, too. My cataracts seem to have stopped growing, thank goodness! And she explained why I get shooting pains in my eyes when I've been staring at the computer for too long. I have an inherited condition of the corneas which isn't dire but it does explain why I could never wear contacts without getting corneal ulcers. And it seems that when my eyes get dry, which they do when I'm staring at the computer screen, small pieces of the outer layer of the cornea flake off, and that is what causes the pain. OK. I will try to keep my eyes lubricated, and I will try not to stare at the computer screen for so long.


It seems I always go to the eye doctor on a clear, sunny day, and my trip back to the motel was interesting. When my eyes are dilated, I can see less well than usual, and on the way back, I wasn't seeing much.


It was a beautiful day all over Michigan again. This morning, when I first checked the weather, it was 29º here and 39º in Copper Harbor. Ah, the wonderful heat sink I live by! It got up into the middle 50s both places - 55º in Copper Harbor and 57º here. 


Even though I haven't heard back from the email I sent to the Marquette NWS office, somebody reset the weather station in Copper Harbor during the afternoon, and it is now reporting wind again, I am glad to see.


Debbie called this evening while she was waiting for a long train to cross the road she was on, and we have tentative plans to meet someplace for dinner tomorrow.


Then I trundled off to the little neighborhood restaurant that we used to frequent when my mother was alive. They have good fish and good pasta, and I like to go there because when I see their regular clientele, I feel young. There were more canes and more walkers than I have seen in a long time, and it seems like a certain number of really elderly local citizens prefer to eat there to cooking at home. I didn't feel bad about tottering around, because almost everybody does. However, there were also a couple of families with kids who came after their baseball game, so it is a real family-type place that serves boos, just like I am used to up north.


Anyway, they didn't have perch on the menu (although I think they had it), but they did have bluefish. Bluefish is about my favorite ocean fish, and it is a game fish, so it is very seldom available in restaurants. It has been a very long time since I have had any, so I had a lovely dinner, and felt very moral about it. All those omega-three fatty acids in such a nice package! And the vegetable was rutabaga. I first tasted rutabaga at that restaurant at least 25 years ago, and I loved it then and now. It's the only restaurant I have ever been in that would dare to serve such a thing, but they keep doing it so it must go over well.


Now I am yawning and I'd better save this before the computer hangs again.


Day one is over, and in a couple more days, I will be on my way back to my beloved home.


April 14

Well, here I am in the big city, and the wireless is working, too, after I had to reinstall it at least five times. But from the beginning.


I can't remember when a JD has hit me as hard as it did last night, and as a result, after the second one, I was as drunk as I've been in many a year. Whoo! Had a hard time even standing up. However, I managed to get a bath and tumble into bed before 11:00. I also took a sleeping pill, so I was out cold for about 5 hours. Then I had to pee and turn over, and that lasted for another 4 hours or so. I woke up at around 7:00, I think (I'm having a hard time remembering). 


Buster got petted last night, and he sat on my lap for a while this morning, and then after breakfast, he went away. I know his problem. I didn't want to leave, either.


In spite of all I did last night, by the time I ate breakfast, gathered up the last of the stuff, and did my morning surfing, it was 9:45...but for me, that's leaving early.


It was a beautiful day all over Michigan, clear and sunny. I prefer to drive when it's cloudy, but I'll take anything other than a blizzard or driving rain. It was about freezing when I left the Harbor, and the temperature on the way got up to just over 50º before it settled down in the upper 40s. 


The snow was interesting. Down around Baraga, there wasn't much, and between Munising and Newberry, there wasn't much, but around Marquette, there was nearly as much as we have in northern Keweenaw. There was ice in the bottom of Keweenaw Bay, and along the shoreline between Marquette and Munising, and Munising Bay is iced in, and all the inland lakes are still ice-covered, although it did look rather mushy when I could get a good look at it.  There was snow on the ground to about Gaylord, but spring is really here in southeastern lower Michigan.  Even the weeds on the sides of the road are beginning to green up.


I saw two features of interest. Someplace in  the eastern UP, there was a little hawkish bird flying around. I couldn't get a good look at it, but it could have been a peregrine. And in northern Oakland county, all of a sudden, one car swerved and another almost stopped...and when I passed what they saw, it was a turkey that had apparently run across I-75. And here I thought wild turkeys were smart...


It was nice to get here  before sunset. I pulled into the motel at 8:01...so 10 hours, 15 minutes was the commute time, and I had to make one more rest stop than usual. 


I had made the erroneous assumption that it was too early for road work...wrong. Very wrong. It hasn't wound up yet, but the northbound lanes of the Mackinaw Bridge are closed, leaving one lane in each direction open. Really nice when you get behind a semi that is keeping to the 20 mph speed limit, except when he starts to go faster then slows down....arrrgghhh!!!


There are a couple of places on I-75 where they are starting the repairs, and I noticed that all the northbound lanes of I-75 over the Zilwaukee bridge are closed...eek! They have big piles of very rusty steel at intervals all across the bridge. I was wondering, until I remembered that it has to be 30 years ago that the bridge opened, so I guess it's time. Then I noticed that the detour for northbound traffic takes you off I-75 north, around in a circle onto I-75 south and back south to I-675, for heaven's sake! I'm glad I noticed that, so I will get off at I-675 when I meet it and go through Saginaw. We did that a time or two before the new Zilwaukee bridge was built, and it's not a bad trip at all...provided you know in advance what you have to do.


In Michigan there are only two seasons - winter and road repairs.


By leaving when I did, I conveniently managed to miss all the rush hours, and the only really bad driving was on i-696 and I-94, which is only 15 miles or so.


It was such a beautiful day in Copper Harbor, it really hurts me that I wasn't there. The temperature started out around freezing and got up to around 43º. I don't know about the wind, because the ASOS station still isn't reporting it, but I don't think there was a lot.


I forgot to mention last night that while we were having a blizzard, the sunset disappeared out of camera range to the north. Pretty soon it will be north of the lighthouse.


As I was driving east on M-123 around 2:30, I noticed the very pale gibbous moon about 30º up in the sky. I really enjoy seeing the moon in the daytime.


And I also have to say that as many times as I have driven that route, I seem to see something new each time, especially when there aren't any leaves on the trees and bushes. Sometimes it's a house back in the woods, sometimes it's a side road I never noticed before...or something else. One thing I have noticed before, frequently is the cedar swamps that line M-28 between Newberry and M-123. The trees look like they were shaped by some gardener, and they are all bare trunk from the ground to about 6' up. I finally, today, realized why they look that way - deer browse. I don't think deer really like cedar and spruce, but in the winter when food is scarce, they will eat anything they can reach, so the cedars in that swamp are all pyramidal, like typical Christmas trees. Strange and interesting.


I also noticed that while there aren't many signs of spring in the UP yet, the willow branches are dark golden, and the birch twigs are turning yellowish. I suppose that is in response to the warm sun, but it does mean spring is coming...


I seem to have brought quite a lot of stuff with me for a three-day stay, and it took several trips to get everything into my room. This motel is not well arranged for people arriving in cars. And it was horribly hot in here. I have had the outside air on since I got here, and it is finally cooling down enough that I might be able to sleep...


I thought I left this computer with the wireless installed and working, but when I tried to use it, it wouldn't come up. So I reinstalled it, and got one picture from the camera before it crapped out...the I had three reinstall attempts that didn't take, including one where the shutdown didn't work right, before I finally got everything together and (apparently) working right. I had hangs and abends, and the whole shot. I think it had something to do with the trouble I had in Grayling. But I still haven't figured out how to tell it to connect to a new network. And this time, for all the installs, I didn't get the very detailed questions I had to answer when I originally installed it. So we shall see what happens tomorrow, and what happens when I get to Grayling again. It should be automatic, right? Well, not quite.


Oh, yes, and something seems to have gone haywire with the answering machine at home, and it doesn't seem to be working at all. Now, what that problem is, I don't know. 


I also discovered that when I am out of the cellphone area covered by Verizon, while I can use my phone, I can't get my phone mail messages.


So that's about all I can remember. I'm here, and I'm not happy to be here, but that's the way things are. Now I have to take a bath and hope I can sleep tonight.


I'm away from my field, and that isn't good.


April 13

I'm even more tired than I was last night, but more about that later. I guess I'll write this while my pasty is baking. I think I've done just about everything I can do, except for the computer stuff.


I didn't sleep well last night. I kept waking up all hot, and I didn't feel like I fell into a deep sleep except for the first two hours. I went to bed at 9:30, so I got up around 8:30 this morning, which should have been enough...but that was just time in bed, not sleep. Tonight it will be two double JDs and a sleeping pill, and that will knock me out for sure.


I knitted for a while and petted a very unhappy cat for a while before I toddled down to the office. My exertions of yesterday left me extremely stiff, and my back has been horrible all day, so I had to stop and sit down a lot.


However, the food and clothes and a lot of odds and ends are in the car, the rest of the stuff is packed up, and I will put at least some of it in the car after I move this file to the laptop. I made seven sandwiches this time, instead of taking the makings. I know they won't be the best, but it's an easy way to eat breakfast.


Whew! I also swept part of the office and the kitchen and got the cat food ready for Ron. 


I don't say the office is pristine, but at least you can walk around the desk and the computer desk, and you can get into the office without going around anything much, so that much is done. Maybe when I get back, I can do something here.


I had left the garage door open yesterday, and I thought I saw a bird briefly when I was schlepping trash, but this afternoon, when I left the door between the breezeway and the garage open, a very confused junco got into the breezeway and was flying around trying to get through all the doors and windows. Poor thing! I think he finally got out. At one point, he was perched on a pot, and I was not more than 2 feet from him. Juncos are cute birds, and it's a sure sign of spring when they come back.


Poor Buster is nearly a basket case, because he knows mama is going away, and he hates that even more than I do (if that's possible). Even Jasmine seems unhappy about it. I tried to pet Buster as much as I could, and I tried to explain to him it's not forever...but he's heard that before, too.


So everything seems to be on track, except that I will be eating a bit late, and I will be off tomorrow. The motel in Detroit has wireless broadband, so there shouldn't be a problem with journals, but you understand that while I am away, I may miss a day or so, so don't worry.


It was a lovely day in the field today. It was mostly sunny for most of the day, although there were a lot of high cirrus clouds. The temperature started out at about 31º and it rose slowly to 35º, where it is now. The wind has finally died down, and while the ASOS station is still not reporting it, it was from the northeast in Houghton, so I would guess that's where it's from here. The lake has calmed down, too, although it took a while. There was lots of blue sky and blue water today.


So that is about all I can think of to report, and I will proceed to the moving of files. The travel disk makes that so much easier, but it is still involved.


It's a lovely night in the field, and I don't want to leave.


April 12

I'm tired. I knitted for a while, and got into bed around midnight, and the first time I woke up was at 6:20! Wow! I had sort of come to and turned over sometime earlier, but I didn't get up then.


I had just gotten back to sleep, sort of, when the sewer guy called to say he was on his way. Oops. So I got up and did my morning thing, and he arrived just about the time I was putting my breakfast into the oven.


It didn't take him any time at all to auger out the toilet, and he informed me that some toilets are made better than others, and mine aren't. As I recall, I didn't pay much attention to toilets when I was picking my bathroom fixtures, so I suppose I got the cheapest Kohler makes, and now I'm paying the price. Evidently some toilets have a 2" exit hole and some have a 3" exit hole, and you really don't want the 2" ones.


Before the sewer guy left, Ron appeared on the tractor to clean out my driveway. It was a real chore, because the snow was so wet and heavy it really clogged up the blower pretty badly. I ate my breakfast while he moved snow, then I went out and shoveled the snow away from the garage. I had a humungous drift on the right side of the garage, where the east wind blew around the side of the garage and blew the snow into it. I would have thought the snow was too wet to blow well, but I was wrong. 


That felt pretty good, so I went on and shoveled off the front stoop, although I didn't clean it completely. It goes about 3' beyond the doorway, and I didn't think there was any conceivable reason why that part had to be cleaned off. Anyway, Ron will be able to get into the house without a problem.


When I had done that, I was tired, so I sat and did my morning surfing and things for quite a while. 


I definitely needed to clean the toilet, and when I did that, I also cleaned the sink and counter in the powder room, so that is all spiffed up, too.


This was trash and cat pans day, so eventually, I got at the cat pans, which were unspeakable, and I gathered together all the trash I could find and swept the kitchen floor, although I didn't do the best job of it. It needs another pass, and I also want to sweep in the office.


I made it in time to go off to the post office and send my taxes, and pick up the mail, then I had something like 9 small bags and 4 big bags to hoist into the trash compactor. When I got home from that, I was really tired!'


I decided Debbie really needs a birthday present other than dinner, and I happen to have a pink spiral helix bracelet - the same as my bangle - almost done, so I spent the late afternoon finishing that off. Hers is nicer than mine, though, since I had to use a rose quartz nugget for the closure. I certainly hope it fits!


Then I put away all the beads that were scattered all over my bead board, and I cleaned up the board, so that is done. I think that bracelet has been on the board since about last May or June, so it is nice to have it done, and to have such a nice place for it.


The weather was beautiful. It was mostly sunny all day, although there are a few cirrus clouds now. The temperature was 30º until 3:00, when it went up to 35º. I can't tell you what the wind was this afternoon, because the ASOS station stopped reporting it at 11:00, but up until then, it was in the 25-40 mph range from the east. The way the lake sounds, and the way it felt when I was schlepping trash, it's still nearly that strong, although it may have finally moved to the northeast. 


The lake was roaring in baritone, which probably means about 10 to 12 foot waves, and Ron said it was really beautiful. It was lovely when I went to the post office, almost navy blue with pretty whitecaps.


I exerted myself enough that when I got up to go to dinner, my left knee didn't want to work at all, so I limped down the hall until it got itself back together.


There was another frat formal tonight, and this was an altogether different group from the others I've seen. However, there were several things to look at. One girl came in wearing a pale blue long dress that looked like a modified flamenco dress, complete with train, and when somebody asked her if she'd made it, I think she said yes...and she goes to Tech! Yeah, girl! You go! It was very nicely done.


The other thing that made everybody turn and look was the guy who came in wearing a dress tartan, complete with tailcoat with brass buttons, kilt, knee-highs, and the proper shoes. I only got one short glance at him, and I wish I'd had time to see more. He looked perfectly at ease. Absolutely amazing. No guy I knew when I was that age would have been caught dead in an outfit like that! And he goes to Tech, too!


So that was the entertainment of the evening. The way they had set up the tables, it looked like they might be going to dance.


There were quite a few other patrons, too, apparently all skiers, including three guys and the two kids of one...ten and thirteen. I know because one of the other guys asked them. Very well behaved boys, I would say, although I imagine that after skiing Mount Bohemia all day, they were pretty tired. Apparently this was weekend with dad, and from what the thirteen-year-old said to the eleven-year-old, I can see why mom and dad aren't together anymore. 'Nuff said.


So now the sun is setting, and I am really, really tired, so I think I will toddle up to the north end and crash. Tomorrow it's packing and finishing up the other stuff that needs to be done around here. I do hope to get the car packed early, so I can at least attempt to get to bed early, sleep hard, and get an early start on Monday.


It's a lovely night in the field, and the blizzard is only a memory...


April 11

I noticed, when I got up to the north end last night, that the lake was making itself heard, and the wind was pounding on the side of the bathroom rather strongly. I was just about ready to go to bed when there was about a three-second power outage, just enough to cause the clocks to reset and the computer to reboot. I thought I'd best check on the computer, and when I looked at the camera display, I didn't understand what I was seeing, so I rebooted...and the second time, I didn't get any camera driver at all...so I rebooted again, and then I realized what I was seeing. So it was more like 12:30 when I got to bed.


The wind and the surf certainly didn't keep me awake, in fact, the contrary, as often happens when it's stormy. I awoke around 3:30, and I couldn't see the lights of town, so I knew it was snowing.


And boy, was it snowing! I was up briefly around 7:45, and there was at least 4" on the deck railings, and so much on the screens that I really couldn't see out the windows at all. So I went back to bed, but I had my usual early-morning problem of late - I kept thinking about everything I have to do. I did doze or sleep or something until about 8:45 (which I read on the clock as 9:45). 


So I was up when the sewer guy called at 9:45. He opined that it was rather stormy and he didn't fancy driving up to Copper Harbor...well, he didn't say that, but I got his drift...so how about tomorrow? I don't really care a lot, except that I want it fixed before Monday.


I did do some things today. The bathroom is about as clean as I can get it, and I swept the closet, the hallway and the laundry room. I cleaned up the powder room toilet as best I could, although I am sure it is gross again. I made a certain amount of sense in the office, and I paid all the bills that are due in the next week or so. I got the taxes ready to send off.


My back wasn't bothering me quite as much as it was earlier in the week, except when I started sweeping.


Looking at my list of stuff to do, it doesn't look like I've done much, but the only real big task left is the cat pans and the trash. I need to go to the post office tomorrow, for sure. 


Oh, yes, and I updated the files on the travel disk and the laptop, so that all I will have to do Sunday is the journal file...or I hope so. The laptop's antivirus files are all up to date, too. I also finally processed last month's journal into Word, although I didn't put it on the laptop...must remember to do that.


Sometime during the afternoon, I think, we had another 5-second power glitch, which reset all the clocks again. I figured that since I now have a working generator, we wouldn't have a long outage. If that's what it takes, great. One way or another, I'm covered.


It snowed from sometime last night until around 5:00 this afternoon, and it looks to me like we got 6" - 8" of wet, heavy snow. That's the reason the tree branch is cutting off the view. The temperature was between 30º and 32º all day, and the wind has been from the east, mostly in the 15-35 mph range, although at the 4:00 report they had a gust at 39 mph. It is supposed to be snowy and windy all night, but they've canceled the blizzard, so it won't be as bad as it was all day. The lake is really speaking, and every so often a blast of wind hits the house like a hammer.


During the afternoon, I looked out the south windows and there was a very windblown-looking little nuthatch pecking around the edges of the screen. I do hope he found something! I feel really bad about not feeding the birds this winter, and I hope it won't ever happen again. One of the first tasks when I get back from my second trip to Detroit is to repair all the bird feeders and get them hung.


When I was at the post office yesterday, Clyde showed me the flock of juncos that was eating the seed he had thrown out. That seems to me it's rather early for juncos, but the geese are early, too, and there have been robins around Carolyn's house in town, too. Maybe it warmed up down south before it did here.


During one of my rest periods, I made an appointment for my mammogram. It will be on my second trip, which is good. Next week was getting pretty full. So all I have to do is figure out when to get the cat food and my bras.


I didn't go out to dinner tonight, unfortunately. I just decided that it was too much trouble to mush my way through the snow and slush, so I had a pizza. Yuck.


So it's another hairy night in the field, and even if it isn't snowing and the blizzard has been called off, it's still windy and nasty outside, and maybe I can get to bed a little bit earlier than last night.


I think I may make it out of here without rushing around at the last minute. I hope to get the car all packed on Sunday night, so all I have to grab on Monday morning is my briefcase. We'll see. First I have to get rid of the trash.


I have to go, and neither Buster nor I are at all happy about it.


April 10

I knitted again last night, and I finished the gussets and started the feet of the Maizy socks. It was after midnight when I turned out the light, which was later than I intended, but oh, well. I slept, at least until sometime between 7 and 8 this morning, when I had to take a walk, and it seemed too early to get up. I thought I was wakeful, but I guess not, since it was 9:15 when I finally got up, and I don't remember the passage of time.


I knitted some more this morning, and I realized that while knitting two socks together is sort of ungainly, I will probably continue to do it, since they are both done when you are through, which is an advantage. I have had orphaned socks lying around for years because I never got around to doing the second sock. The advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages. It may be a while before I go back to it, though. I have three single socks on needles now, and the next ones I want to make make two socks out of one ball of yarn, and since the yarn is printed or stripy or something, I can't start one from the center and one from the outside of the ball. So I will have a chance to think about it for a while. Anyway, the Maizy socks, on #3 needles, are coming out very nice, and I will enjoy wearing them.


Eventually I got the day started with a nice breakfast of poached eggs on an English Muffin. The muffins are OK, but not so outstanding that I would buy any more. Thomas's are perfectly all right.


The weather started out almost clear, and when I got up, the harbor was the most beautiful shade of blue. But it eventually started to cloud up, and the end of the day was dull and cloudy. The temperature actually dipped to 22º at 8:00, but it bounced right back and hung steady at 34º for the rest of the day. There wasn't much wind, and it wasn't bad outside.


 I got the last load of wash out of the dryer, folded it and put it away (amazing!), and I put my travel pillow and covers in to fluff. They still need to come out.


I fiddled around with the toilet, and it is still clogged, so I called the plumber who directed me to somebody called "Always Available", who may or may not be. Evidently he is the only sewer person in all the Copper Country, all the way to Ontonagon, which is where he is tonight. I wouldn't call my situation an emergency, exactly, except that I would like it fixed before I leave on Monday.


I also called on Ron to help me get the front stoop cleared off - which wasn't much of a problem at all - and get the boxes and trash into the garage. The trash is in the back of my car, to be added to. I began to collect the trash that is scattered around the house, too.


So I guess I did do a few things today. Tomorrow maybe more? Maybe. My back is still bad, which makes a lot of the things I should do very difficult, so we'll see.


And now it's off to bed, with no knitting, I don't think.  I'm tired. And so far, it's a quiet night in the field. There are billows of rain and/or snow to our south and east, but so far, it hasn't hit here. The forecast is dire, with blizzard warnings out for tomorrow night and all day Saturday. We'll see. But that is a humungous low, and when the wind shifts around to the east and north, almost anything might happen. Watching the weather here is so exciting!


April 9

I knitted for a while last night and turned out the light around midnight. I did sleep well, and I don't think it started snowing until sometime after 3:00 am. I awoke briefly about 7:45, and I decided that was just too early to get up, so I went back to sleep until around 9:00. When I was awake, there was a couple of inches of snow on the deck railings, and the trees were all flocked.


When I got up, I couldn't see down the harbor, so it was snowing over there, but it didn't appear that it was snowing here - sort of weird - but when I got to Bible class, there did seem to be more snow there than here, so maybe what I was seeing was lake effect. We got at most 3" here, which didn't cause any problems, and in fact, since it was wet, heavy snow, it probably made the road smoother. It certainly was pretty, with every twig and branch frosted with snow.


The weather was the kind I don't like, though. The temperature got up to about 35º, and it was very humid, and my back was killing me. There was a little wind in the middle of the day, but it has died down. We are under a winter storm watch for tomorrow night through Saturday night...so we'll see what happens with that.


This Bible class was our last until next fall (at the earliest), because either Bonnie or I are busy until the end of the month, and she is tied up from May through September. So we made up for it by talking forever. 


I got to the post office at my usual time, and got all my stuff, including the samples of two more fabrics. I like both of them. One has an off-white background with pink and bluish-purple flowers and green leaves, and the other hs a black background with green leaves, red flowers and not very much of the horrible dark mustard color that ruined the other two black fabrics I looked at. I like them both, so now all I will have to decide is whether I want dark or light cushions. The one advantage to the black one (besides its price) is that there is a nice sort of random stripe that would go with it, to make pillows and perhaps cover the footstool. And, of course, the black wouldn't get as obviously dirty. But the light one is awfully pretty... I will just have to lay them out and look at them for a while.


I got home so late that I didn't do much, except the last load of wash is in the dryer, so that is done. Now all I have to do is put everything away. With my back so bad, that is a chore, as are all the other things I need to do. So we'll see what I get done.


I had a nice steak for dinner, and this time I didn't overcook it badly, like the last one I did. I ended up dirtying two pans, though, because the first one I heated up wasn't big enough for the steak. Grr. And I'm sure I messed up the stove again, but that's to be expected. I have been trying hard to keep the kitchen in some kind of order, and I am going to have to work through my back to get it spiffed up. Then there is the bathroom and the cat pans...


Speaking of bathrooms, I seem to have a terminally plugged up toilet in the powder room, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it. I need that toilet. I guess I will leave it for the night and see what happens tomorrow. I tried to plunge it out, but nothing will go down, so I'm not sure if it's my plungers or that it is so clogged. That toilet hasn't ever worked quite right, but now it's useless. Oh, dear.


So that was my day, and I am off to the north end to do a little more knitting and get a good night's sleep, and hope that tomorrow I will feel good enough to do some of the things on my list.


April 8

No occultation tonight, for sure. Of course.


Instead of reading last night, I knitted, and I got the second heel done and started on the gussets. This is the confusing part, and it's hard to keep track of where I am with the decreases, but I'm making progress. They're going to be pretty nice socks, I think.


I didn't get to bed until about midnight, but I did sleep, although not so deeply between 7:00 and 9:30, and there were some weird dreams.


So I knitted some more this morning and petted a cat, and it was 11:00 before I got to the office, but oh, well. 


The task of the day was wash, and the second and third loads are now in the dryer...it's a big dryer. Usually I don't do that, but I still have two more loads to do (tomorrow), and I don't want to be up half the night waiting for the first load to dry.


In the meantime, I discovered something I guess everybody else knew - Oxy-Clean is miraculous. First I had a pair of underpants I had an accident in, and the stains are all gone, so I decided to try it on some towels. One is a fingertip towel that looks and smells like it got full of grease, and the others are some of the antique fingertip towels that got stained under the sink on Champine. I am still soaking them, but it really looks like all the stains may be gone, so I added some terry fingertip towels that had gotten really grungy through use and lying around. Amazing stuff! I have a tee that somehow got a nasty mark on it, like rust or something, and I will try it on that, too, only maybe not right now. So that turned out all right.


The weather was blah. They are promising us 3"-5" of snow overnight, but it hasn't started yet. It was dark and dreary all day, and the temperature was just about steady at 32º. It is amazing how much snow has gone over the past few days. I haven't inspected the front stoop in detail, but it looks like most of the snow on the steps and in front of the door is gone, so we won't have a problem getting it cleaned off. A lot of the huge pile to the left of the garage door has disappeared, and most of my driveway is down to bare gravel. Amazing. It really wasn't that warm. There is still ice around the shore, and a few floating pieces, but I guess the wind pushed the rest of it down to the other end, and there isn't much there, either.


There was a flock of geese this afternoon, but they went away before I got to look at them. 


So that is all I have to report, and since we will have Bible class tomorrow, I need to get to bed at a reasonable hour.


I'll believe that snow when I see it.


April 7

I took my bath and read for quite a while last night - until just after midnight, in fact. I just am not sleeping very well. I was up any number of times, and when I got onto my right side, I couldn't go back to sleep. It didn't help that Buster got behind me in bed, which was OK, but then he started coughing, and just what I do not want is to have to rewash the comforter because it got a hairball on it.


I actually got up around 8:30, but I finished the heel on the first sock and started the second one, so I didn't have a lot of time to eat and do my morning surfing before it was off to visit Johanna for my massage. I sort of begrudged the time, but I was glad I went. I felt much better for it, and my back, which was very stiff this morning, was much better when I got home.


I didn't do much, unfortunately, but on my way out, I noticed that a packing box full of paper products, which happened to be on the bottom of the pile in the breezeway, had gotten wet from the water that is coming in from somewhere, so I did finally get out there and unpack the box into two plastic file boxes. Nothing was completely soaked, but there is a lot of dampish and slightly moldy-smelling stationery, and I'm not sure how well it will dry out...it won't for a while, since it is cold and damp out there. I should bring it into the house, but I'd have to take it down into the basement, and I don't feel quite up to that.


It was one of those days, weather-wise. It apparently started raining about 6:00, and when I left the house, it was really pouring. The only thing good about that was that most of the salt got washed off my car. It's not really clean, but it isn't brown anymore. The temperature peaked during the night, at 45º, but it hung in around 40º for most of the day. There was a wind in the 15-25 mph range this morning, but it died down in the afternoon. They are still saying it will snow overnight, but they've been pushing back the arrival time all day, and it doesn't sound like much will fall.


It was foggy and dampish and raw, and not a pleasant day to be outside, so I was glad to get back in.


I was sitting in the office when I got back from town when I heard a flock of geese. Carolyn said last Wednesday that she had seen them - and I saw them on the lawn across from her house - but today they were out here. I don't know what they found to eat, since it's still pretty snow covered out here. I wish they ate spotted knapweed...or tansy.


So the little signs of spring are coming one after another.


While I was scaring up some breakfast this morning, I ran across the asparagus I bought last Thursday and forgot about. If I'd remembered it yesterday, I probably would have used a different recipe for my chicken, but that's all right. I had half of it tonight, and oh, my was it good! Asparagus is the one spring tonic I can still get. When we had a rhubarb plant, my mother would always make an extra pie and freeze it and dig it out around this time of year, and it always tasted so much better than the first time. I sometimes think about planting a rhubarb plant, but then I'd have to either make pie or crisp out of it, and then I'd eat it, which is probably not a good idea. So I remember the taste of my mom's rhubarb pie, as well as her piecrust made with lard. Yum. Yum-yum.


So that was my quiet day, and I'm off to the north end and hope, with the temperature a little lower tonight, that I will sleep better. Part of the problem is that I am thinking about Detroit, as well as getting ready to go, and that keeps me awake. However, I'm tired and not quite so achy tonight, and maybe that will help.


It's a misty-moisty night in the field tonight.


April 6

So the one night in the past month or so when I forgot to check the camera software when I rebooted, of course it didn't come up right and we had black screens until I finally got back to the office at 11:30. CHECK THE CAMERA, dummy! I will try to do better.


I read for quite a while last night, and I also slept better, partly because I was careful about how much of the comforter I had over me. I was up a number of times, of course, but not for any length of time. There weren't any stars, that I can remember, so that was a shame. I finally read enough of this month's Sky & Telescope to have a good idea of what I have been seeing, now that I'm not seeing it anymore.


I turned out the light at 11:00 and I was up by 9:30, but I knitted for quite a while, and I have started the first heel. I have to do the heels one at a time, because I only have one spool of reinforcement thread, but maybe that will work out better anyway. They are going to be nice socks, and I will enjoy wearing them this summer. 


For most of the time I was knitting, I had a cat on my lap, although when I sneezed, he jumped down...and came right back. Poor Buster. I think he knows something is up, and he thinks if he sits on me a lot and is real nice to me, nothing will happen. Well, sorry, Bub. This time I have to go.


I did a few things today, not much, but a few things. I am trying to make some sense in the office, which is quite a task, in its present condition, and I unloaded and began to reload the dishwasher and gathered up all the stuff that had accumulated on the counters.


I actually cooked tonight. I fetched up a package of chicken breasts and had one of my easy dinners - the one with broccoli, since I have a lot of that. It tasted good, and Buster thought so, too. And Jasmine actually came and tasted what was on the plate. She missed most of the chicken he didn't eat, but she did get a taste. I keep doing everything I can to let her know she is a full member of our family and I, at least, love her.


It was a spring-like day. When I got up, it was actually quite sunny, and there was some sunshine until early afternoon, when it got cloudy, and by the time I went into the kitchen, it was spitting a little rain...not enough to wet the deck, but there were some drops on the windows. In the morning, when it was sunny, the temperature was around 36º or so, with no wind, but when it clouded over, the temperature went up to a high of 52º with winds that are now gusting to 25 mph. That was a lot warmer than it was supposed to get.


For quite a while this afternoon, I could hear a chainsaw somewhere around here, and I suppose somebody was out clearing up the debris of the winter. Ah, spring...


Speaking of hearing things. Right after I turned out the light last night, I heard something that at first I thought was Jasmine talking, although she doesn't whine long whines like that. When somebody jumped up onto the window seat to peer out the windows, I realized that what I was hearing was a coyote...at least one coyote, howling its head off. I had never heard that song before last fall, and I have to say I don't like it very well. It is very eerie and unpleasant. However, if we have a pack that has taken up residence in this area, I suppose I might as well get used to it.


So that was my quiet Sunday, and as soon as I upload this AND CHECK THE CAMERA!!!! I will be off to the north end to read a while again. It's a dull, cloudy night in the field.


April 5

I think I am going up to the north end early - very early - tonight. I read for a while last night and turned out the light around 11:00, and I thought I was sleeping fairly well, but I was warm for a lot of the time, and I was up a lot...that diuretic fish again. I got up around 9:15, but all day I have felt like I didn't get nearly enough sleep. Maybe tonight.


All night long, when I got up, there were stars, and pretty nice stars, too. I saw Auriga set, and I saw Gemini set. and there were two bright stars in Leo where there should only have been one - Saturn is not far from Regulus. Through the screens without my glasses I couldn't see Cancer, but I know it's there, and if I had been outside with my binoculars, I could have seen the Beehive cluster. I didn't think it was supposed to be so clear, but it was nice.


Buster came and sat on me for a long time in the bathroom, while Jasmine went bouncing up and down the hallway, stomping on the floor and making some other noises I couldn't identify. I am making progress on the Maizy socks...I only have about 8 rows left before I start the heels. I'm beginning to get really, really bored with socks, but I have to keep at it until I get back from Detroit, since they are the best waiting room  projects.


I had a real breakfast this morning, and it was good, even though the eggs were a little more done than I prefer. I had poached eggs on one of my new English muffins, and I can report that the sourdough muffins are excellent, although they are humungous. I had most of the second half with peach preserves which I also got from the same place, and they were good, too. The only thing that was missing was a nice big cup of good coffee, but I don't drink that very much anymore...and never regular coffee.


Like I said, I was tired and didn't feel very good all day, so I didn't do much except chart out my bills for the month - this is not going to be a good month - and make a list of all the chores I have to get done before this time next week. I think it's doable, so long as I feel OK.


I also went to the post office, and I suppose Clyde will be mad at me, because I forgot he doesn't open until 1:00 on Saturday, so I left a package on the ledge in front of his window. I wanted it to go out today and it was too big to put in the mailbox.


The road is really horrible, and where it is down to bare ground, it is full of potholes which are full of water. But that wasn't the fun part. On the way home, as I came around the first curve, a bird flew down onto the road, so I stopped, and when I got a good look at it, for heaven's sake, it was a woodcock! I know they are supposed to live around here, but I'd never seen one here. This poor little fellow was poking around the edges of some of the potholes, hoping to find a bug or a grub...it's much too early for earthworms. They are absolutely the cutest birds, very plump and round with round heads and huge long beaks like a knitting needle. And they walk. Finally I edged up beside it and it flew into the woods, but now I know there are woodcocks in our woods.


I was reminded of the first woodcocks I ever saw. My mother and I were doing the car tour around the Seney Wildlife Refuge when we got word that a guy in a camper had fallen off the road and was blocking it, so we had to turn around and come back. Since I was the last guy in, I was the first guy out, and we were nearly back to the visitor's center when I stopped and held up the entire procession for a couple of minutes. Because there was a mom woodcock leading her chicks across the road, and it was absolutely the most magical thing. The little ones looked exactly like mom except about a quarter of her size, and they all looked like they were popped out of the same cookie cutter. They were following her about half an inch apart in a line - I think there were four or five of them. My mama and I just sat and looked until they got into the weeds at the side of the road, and we didn't even say much about it - it was one of those moments you just have to remember and savor.


I still miss my mama, and I so much wish she had been here to see this place and experience with me the wonderful things I have seen and heard and smelled and felt. She, and my dad, too, loved it here as much as I do, but unfortunately, they didn't get to live here.


Anyway, that made my day.


The weather was nicer than they were forecasting. It got up to 45º about 5:00 this morning, then it dropped off and hung at about 36º all day, with not much wind for most of the time. It was rather clear in the morning, clouded up a lot during the middle of the day, and now is mostly clear again but with a lot of cirrus clouds. They keep saying it is going to rain and/or snow for the next week...but then, this is April, right? It's nice to see the sun shining on the wall behind the printer.


Around dinner time, I went up to the north end and took off my clothes, which were bugging me, and there in a nice nest in the middle of the bed - in the sunshine - were my two kitties. Buster sort of ignored me. He had been on my lap for quite a while earlier, until he figured out that I wasn't going to sit still enough for him to sleep. Jasmine was going to glare at me, until she figured out that I wasn't going in that direction. They both looked very comfortable, thank you. Buster always sleeps with his back to Jasmine, though.


I didn't go out to dinner because the biggest of the frat formals is tonight, and I would either have had to go way early or not at all. I decided not at all. I wasn't all that hungry anyway.


So that was my quiet day, and I'm off to the north end. My hair looks like an oil pot got dumped on it, so I need a bath, then I think I will read for a while again and hope I can sleep better tonight.


Most of the ice has moved out of the center of the harbor, and it is a perfectly calm evening in the field.


April 4

I realized after I posted this last night that I left out two important words in my rant. What annoys me is unsolicited personal advice from people who don't know me. In fact, it used to annoy me when my mother did it. As any of you who read this regularly know, I frequently solicit advice about various topics, some technical, some otherwise, and I don't want anybody to stop sending me your opinions on things like computer stuff and household things. But don't bother to tell me you think I need "some guidance" (whatever that means) in the ordering of my personal life. At this late date, there's no way you could possibly domesticate me anyway, and under any circumstances, you can't possibly know enough about my personal life, not all of which appears in these pages (really!), to give an informed opinion. I'll take all the help I can get, but leave my personal life alone. I chose it deliberately, with malice aforethought, and I'm not about to change it...not, with my physical limitations, that I could if I wanted to. Sorry to beat on the subject, but it really annoyed me.


And I thank the people who wrote to support me. It's always nice to know there are other people in the world who believe, as one of my friends puts on the bottom of all her emails, that you should "Own your true self."


So I was tired enough last night from my exertions that I only knitted for a little while before I took my bath and crashed. I did sleep well, although I woke up a couple of times all hot and sweaty. I think it was rather warm in the house from the sunshine. I was in bed before 11:00, I think, and I got up about 9:15 this morning.


There are a bunch of big boxes in the bedroom, and there is one on top that I think is full of bedding. Buster has managed to break the tape on it and crawl inside. He was so comfortable this morning that I had been in the bathroom for 15 minutes or so and I was talking to Jasmine, who no doubt thinks he is crazy to let himself get boxed in like that, before he realized I was up and about, so he didn't get his usual amount of morning petting. She actually sniffed the ends of my fingers!


I was thirsty all day yesterday, and I drank enough fluids that I was up frequently overnight, and every time I was up there were beautiful stars in the sky. It was particularly lovely about 4:15 this morning, with Leo setting in the west and the Big and Little Dippers overhead.


There were some little floccus clouds when I got up, but they went away, and it was mostly another beautifully clear and sunny day today. The temperature has now risen to 42º, and there has been almost no wind all day long. About the time I went to dinner, a cloudbank started looming up in the west, and while it made for a nice sunset, it does not bode well for the next few days...the next week, actually.


It figures, because the thin crescent moon is going to occult (pass in front of) the Pleiades on Tuesday, and of course it will be cloudy and we won't be able to see it. I had been thinking again about the great telescope in the sky (not in the budget), but of course, when something is scheduled to happen, it will be cloudy. That's the rule in Copper Harbor. If I'd had it, I'd have been outside all night looking at faint fuzzies. This time of year, for most of the night the north galactic pole is up, and the sky is full of galaxies, my favorite.


Anyway, I guess I sort of recovered today. I went to the post office, and I will have to go back tomorrow, because I have to send back half of my Eddie Bauer order. My new compression hose came, though, and I do hope they will work better than the old, stretched out ones do.


Oh, yes, I did do something: I finished unloading the car and got all the cat food nicely stashed away. I think there is enough for the month, and of course, when I am in Detroit, I will lay in as much as I can. So the kitties will eat well while I am gone.


Woodland Road is getting steadily worse, and the big hill was a real trip on my way to dinner. The deep snow mat (8" - 12", I would guess) is beginning to break up, and for a while I was almost going sideways up the hill. But there are more and more snow-free areas, including most of what would be the "platform" in front of my garage. I thought Ron was going to have to come in the basement door, but the way the snow on the front stoop is melting, with a little help, he won't have a problem getting in. Getting into the driveway, maybe, but not getting into the house.


Tonight I finally remembered to make my motel reservations, so I am committed. No backing out now. Ugh.


Tomorrow, I need to sit quietly and make a list of everything I need to do for the next week. The kitchen doesn't need anything but a little picking up and sweeping, but I do want to do the bathroom before I go, and I would really like to try to get the office under control, so I don't come back to a complete mess. Like I say, I need to sit down and contemplate what needs doing. Then I can plan it out so that maybe this time I am not doing everything at the last minute. I hate so much to leave  that I usually try hard not to think about it until it's too late and I have to rush around. Maybe I can avoid that.


So that was another quiet day in the field, and I am enjoying the slow coming of spring after a real Keweenaw winter. It's a quiet night in the field again tonight.


April 3

I knitted for a while, as usual, and made it into bed by 11:15, and I did sleep well. When I was up in the night, there were stars, although fewer early in the morning. I woke up at around 9:15 with one cat sitting beside my head in bed and the other rubbing her whiskers on the edge of the lampshade. I don't know why, but all my cats have done that, and since their saliva is brownish when it dries, it's not especially good for the lampshades.


So I knitted a while and petted a cat, while the other one lay down practically at my feet, and I generally took my time about getting up and going, then I did my morning surfing while I tried one of my new English muffins.


On the English muffin scene, my response is, eh. They're OK, but not worth the price. They taste too yeasty and not quite cooked, even when toasted. However, it's another breakfast option.


I had pretty much finished my morning surfing when I suddenly had to rush (so much as I can) down the hall, and I didn't quite make it to the bathroom, so after I took care of that, I had to go back to the north end and change all my clothes from the waist down...and use a lot of TP and baby wipes. I hate that. I really didn't think it was quite that urgent.


Before I go on, I received an email this morning that I feel requires a general response. I have some advice for you who feel the need to send emails full of advice, especially advice which might not be welcomed by the recipient: before you send the email, just read it over, and consider how you would feel if you got that message from someone you don't know, who couldn't possibly be completely aware of your situation. Also, consider the tone of your writing. Other people have sent me advice I didn't like, but this one was really grating. If the person who sent it comes across in person like she did in her message, I can imagine she has lost a few friends. And, as I have said before in this forum, if you don't like what I write, or you don't approve of how I live, nobody is requiring you to read my journal. If you don't like what's here, feel free not to read it.


So eventually, I started for town. It is really nice to be in 2-wheel drive and be able to return to my usual summer driving speeds. All the main roads are clear and dry, except for one place going down the hill from the Mountain Lodge to Copper Harbor, where the sun doesn't hit at all, and that was heavily sanded. Cliff Drive was barricaded , and I suspect it might be because Eagle River is beginning to flood. You can get in there if you want to skirt the barricade, but I don't think you could get all the way to Allouez.


There was more traffic, too, like all the hibernators are crawling out of the woods. Actually, it's probably more that the first of the month and time to lay in supplies.


It was a beautiful, sunny day, and it was in the middle 40s by the time I left home. It got up to 54º by the car thermometer, as I was leaving Hancock. It only got up to about 50º here, with almost no wind, although it was windy at the gas pumps at Econo. Of course, it always is. Anyway, it's clear that we've come to the summer switch, which means spring really is here: in the winter, it's warmer here than in Houghton, but in the summer, it's cooler.


There wasn't anything to take pictures of. This time of year is dull and dirty and ugly all over. The snowbanks along the roadsides are awful - gray to coal black from all the stamp sand they use along with the salt. In Mohawk, I ran across the first "road work" sign - they were digging back the banks, so all that snow doesn't melt into the road. And North of Mohawk, there were spots where they had dug back into the banks, and for a while I couldn't figure out what they were for, until I realized they were on the downside of the slopes, and they would channel the melt water away from the road. Since this is the first serious winter we've had since I've lived here, this is the first time I've seen some of the little things the road commission has to do to cope.


The other thing I observed, unfortunately, is that at this time of year when you come across a tall stick with an orange flag on it, beware. That is what they use to mark the spots where the road has heaved or sunk. There are a couple of spots along the covered road that really rattled my teeth. Only it wasn't until after I passed over the second one that I realized what the flags are for.


I think I did good at Econo, even though I spent my usual amount. I now have plenty of cat food, JD, TP, OJ, and yogurt, as well as deli meat, and I don't think I got very much I didn't need...except for a cute little sewing kit...and oh, drat! I completely forgot to look for more little mice for Jasmine! Well, maybe the pet supply store in Detroit will have them...or Kroger.


Gas prices are all over the map, from $3.40 to $3.56. Those last were in Hancock, and I have a hard time believing they are getting many customers. It is a relief only to have to use 4WD on Woodland Road, It really does a number on my gas mileage, which isn't great anyway.


I did dawdle about getting the stuff out of the car, but all that's in it now is cat food and things to drink. I had another really dumb kid packing my order, but I think it was loaded into the car by one of the managers, so maybe the kid will hear about it. I always ask that my frozen food and stuff that needs to be kept cold, like deli and meat, be packed in plastic, because it's easier to get into the coolers that way, but the rest is better in paper...so the kid packed everything in paper. Like he couldn't tell the difference between frozen food and cat food! Geez...


So that was my day, and now the shades of night are falling fast, so after I load the dishwasher, I think I will toddle up to the north end and maybe read a while. 


It's another quiet night in the field.


April 2

I knitted for quite a while last night, and I am beginning to get the hang of the two-socks-on-one-needle thing, but it was after midnight when I got to bed.


I had awakened about 7:45 with the idea of taking a walk when the phone rang (I have never, that I can recall, been asleep when the phone rang, even at 2:00 am), and it was the electrician, and somebody would be here in about an hour to connect up the generator.


Well...So I got up and got dressed and had something to eat. Then I tried calling Bonnie and apparently I misunderstood when she was getting back into town, so I didn't have to tell her I wouldn't be at Bible class.


By noon or so, my generator was hooked up and I have another humungous tin box on the wall of the basement. There were a couple of times when they had to turn the power off (obviously, since they were working on power to the whole house), so picture updates to the camera page were rather spotty this morning.


And I got to Carolyn's for the handwork meeting. A lot of the regulars are out of town, so it was just a small, good group. Our most dedicated quilter had a beautiful little wall quilt she had done several years ago, all shades of blue and white in the kaleidoscope pattern. I decided to take the crocheted tablecloth to show, and it wowed them...as well it should. I consider that my master work in crochet. One of these days, I will use it again, and I will be sure to take pictures when I do. I do like that thing.


By the time I got home, I felt that I have the two-sock thing completely under control, which is good. I don't know if I will ever do it that way again, but I do want to finish this pair that way.


It was another beautiful day. It was sunny all day, and the temperature briefly got up to 44º, although for most of the day it was more like 36º here in Copper Harbor. There wasn't any wind to speak of.


There is only one problem with all the sunshine and warm temperatures: Woodland Road is turning into Woodland Lake, since the ground is still frozen. Usually, almost this whole area drains so well that there are seldom many puddles, but wow, do we have puddles now! They are nasty, brown things that do a real job on the car and splash all over the place. This, folks, is the mud season, and just like we'd never seen a real Keweenaw winter before, we'd never seen a Keweenaw spring before. I see why people tend to leave town in April.


Not that it bothers me a lot. It's just another interesting thing about living in God's country.


The ice is being pushed hither and yon by the wind. Sometimes it is down at this end, sometimes down at the other end. Some of the ice castles are subsiding, and apparently, according to the people who live down M-26, the winds and the lake really took down the mountains a lot. 


But the sun is shining and it is 48º up in the sky at noon. The days are just about 13 hours long now, and we are sliding up toward summer at nearly 3½ minutes a day. The sun is setting over Porter Island, and very shortly it will be out of view from the camera. I love to watch the change of the seasons.


I had a nice conversation with my financial advisor, then I had just finished my dinner when Debbie called. She lost a good friend to cancer this week, and she wanted to talk about it and everything else, so we had a nice chat, until her cell phone was about to die. So those were a nice way to end the day.


Oh, I almost forgot. While I was waiting for the electricians to leave, I brought in all the grocery bags that were out in the breezeway and packed away everything in them. It was mostly canned goods and paper goods, but squirreled away in the bottom of a bag, I found two liters of JD. I thought there should be some, but I couldn't find it. How nice. I had been drinking wine and saving the JD, but now I don't have to do that.


Tomorrow, I think I'd better go to town. I don't need JD for a while, but I do need OJ and cat food, and probably yogurt, so a quick trip to the supermarket is in order. I also have to figure out something to eat for breakfast while I am in Detroit. Hmm.


And Ron brought a box of some kind of special English muffins I got a catalog for. I hope I like them - there are a lot of them. One bag is cheese flavored, and I'm most anxious to try them. 


So that was my day, and I was up so early that I'm tired now and it's time to toddle up to the north end and maybe knit a while before I collapse into bed.


April 1

It was nice to see that at least in the websites I visit, there wasn't much April 1 tomfoolery.  April Fool's Day is like Halloween to me - a day I would just as soon ignore. There was a really funny video on the pasty cam, but it didn't need to be April Fool's to do it...it would have been funny anytime, and it did have a message.


I went up to the north end fairly early last night, but I decided to finish the pink sock, and I did. So now I have a nice pair of summer socks that will fit. They are really pretty, too. Sometime, if I remember, I will take a picture.


I was sitting and knitting and enjoying sound of the lake, which was really agitated, and around 11:00 I looked up and the screen was all covered with snow. So it finally started. I think I got to bed around 11:30, and I couldn't see the lights on the public dock at all, and in fact, I was having trouble seeing the lighthouse, so around then it was snowing hard.


I was up several times, no doubt partly because I drank a bottle of flavored water while I was knitting, but I had sort of come to about 5:00 when I heard something like a "thunk", and when I looked around, the lights were out. Oh-oh. So I called UPPCO, and their new trouble reporting system is in place and I don't like it, since it has that voice recognition garbage in it. I cannot tell you how voice recognition answering systems annoy me. I want to scream at them every time I hear one.


I decided that, since I didn't have a working surge suppressor it would be best to turn off the computer circuit, so I toddled down to the office and did that.


Then I went back to sleep. It was amazing how dark it was. Between the new moon and the heavy clouds, it was as dark in the house as when I have my eyes closed. I treasure that, even though I have to use a flashlight to see where I'm going. As a big city girl born and bred, the true darkness of the nights up here always delights me.


I was awake around 7:00, and the power was still out, but when I woke up around 9:30, it was on, and the clock in the bedroom showed me the power had come back on about 8:45. Par for the course, I guess.


I got up, but I petted a cat and knitted for quite a while, and I finished the ribbing on the second Easter sock. I call it that because the colors are bright pink, turquoise, yellow and white. Like an Easter basket. This one will be my no-brainer project, since it takes some thought to do the Maizy socks two-at-a-time on one circular needle.


I determined that, since the power to the computer was off, I would swap out the surge suppressor. Well, that was a trip. I got down on the floor, sort of, after determining that I can in no way kneel on either knee anymore. I ended up with my legs almost crossed, and I discovered just how stiff I am from the waist down. It's pretty bad. 


Eventually, I managed to get far enough under the desk to pull the cord on the old surge suppressor and, with difficulty, plug in the new one, and I got everything plugged into the new suppressor. I think there are 10 plugs. I tried to get them in so that the ones I unplug fairly often are toward the front.


Then there was the matter of getting up. I thought about trying to use the chair to haul myself up, but space is tight between the two desks, and there is the matter of not being able to kneel. So I decided the only way to get up was to scootch along on my fanny to a flight of stairs. I really tried to get the right angle at the stairs to the loft, but there wasn't enough room, so I ended up going all the way to the basement stairs - about 30 feet. Whew! Even there, getting up wasn't easy, but fortunately the railing is well bolted to the wall, so I was able to haul myself up on that.


And that is why the first picture of the morning from the webcam was at 11:51. That was when the reboot finished after I turned the power back on. I have a wall switch that turns off the receptacle where I plug in the surge suppressor, and that was what I turned off when the power went out. It's just one extra level of security.


The new surge suppressor works just fine, thank you, and all I have to do is watch it and be sure the green light stays on. If it actually fails because of a surge, the company says they will replace it, but that I'll have to see.


Anyway, it was a strenuous morning, so I sat around for most of the rest of the day. I looked at the claim form from the insurance company and determined that I would get back about $8 if I submitted it (notarized, of course), so I decided not to bother. I think it's too late anyway, but that's the way it goes. At least I am fairly sure the drywall in the laundry room is OK, so the rest of it I will just eat. If I decide to get Adam to fix the cracks in the drywall and paint, we can paint the laundry room, too.


I did go to the post office and there was a ton of mail, including my taxes and a couple of other things of interest. The taxes turned out OK - I owe on the Federal taxes, but I will get it back from the state, plus a little more, so that is OK. At least in Michigan, there is an advantage to having a big property tax bill on a moderate income.


And I got a preliminary projection from my financial advisor that seems to indicate I won't run out of money until I'm 95, which is somewhat after I expect not to need it anymore. I don't know quite how he expects to do that, but I trust him. However I don't understand some of the figures he used, so I have a call into him.


That took most of the afternoon, so I didn't do much else.


The weather was that interesting mixture we get here in early spring. There seems to have been about 6" of snow before it stopped, and the winds were very high, in the 35-45 mph range overnight and nearly as strong today. They started out from the east, as I mentioned last night, but backed northerly and died back later in the morning. The temperature was around 30º all the time, which was good for me when the power went out.


The east wind pushed all the ice away from this end of the harbor and down into the west end, and when I got up, there were breakers on the shore ice in front of the house. Then, when it backed northeast and northerly, the ice began to fill up this end of the harbor again. It is all pancake ice, and some of the pieces look to be about 6" thick or more, but most aren't more than 2" at most.


It was beginning to clear up when the camera took its first picture, and it was a nice sunny afternoon. The lake is still fussing, and there were whitecaps and nice breakers in the harbor all afternoon. When I went to the post office, the open water was that deep teal green it only gets when it is riled up. The contrast with the white ice is really pretty.


So that was my interesting day, and now I have to use FrontPage to upload this thing again, so I won't be early getting to bed. No reading tonight.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM