A View From the Field








January, 2009

January 31

Well, in 20 minutes, January will be history. My, my, how time flies!


I managed to get to bed around 12:30 last night, and I got up around 11:00, so I should have had enough sleep, although after about 9:30, Buster was bugging me to death. He is more of a creature of habit than any other cat I have ever lived with, and mama should get up and pet him by 10:00. Well, poo.


I think part of the reason I slept so long is that I had to rush to the bathroom twice during the night, and one time I almost didn't make it. I started taking Imodium, but it doesn't seem to have started working yet. And I had a nasty accident after breakfast (lunch?) that resulted in my starting the laundry today instead of waiting until tomorrow. Yuck. I wonder what brought that on?


Anyway, I petted a cat and knitted for quite a while before I got dressed (the first time) this morning, so it was a rather truncated day.


I washed the load of jeans, and I went to the post office, and that was about the extent of my activities. I worked on the strawberry, but rice stitch goes very slowly, even though each stitch covers a lot of threads. It's coming along, I think. And this evening, after I could turn on the lights, I typed another 10,000 words or so.


The weather was sort of weird. The temperature was 9º at midnight, and it rose slowly and steadily all day to 27º at 10:00, then it jumped to 33º. Whoa! Where did that come from? The wind was gusty during the afternoon, in the 20-30 mph range from the southwest, but we are supposed to have very strong winds for the next 24 hours or so, as well as colder temperatures and snow. We shall see. It did snow a little bit today, but not much, so I guess we won't reach 100" for January after all. I think I said earlier that we had, but I was just repeating what George Hite had on his site, and his math was wrong. We were at 98" a couple of days ago. Hey - that's 8 feet!


Well, you can't see the 18' or so we've had this season, because it packs down a lot and there has been a little melting. I would say there's a good 36" to 40" on the ground, and the drifts and piles are amazingly high. It will be interesting to see what the rest of the season is like.


Whoa - the wind just took off, and it is battering the front of the house. It never ceases to amaze me that more often than not the wind doesn't gradually increase around here, it jumps all of a sudden. I wonder if that has something to do with the lake? At least it has shifted around to the west, so we won't be getting much more of that warm weather, although the official temperature right now is 39º! That wasn't supposed to happen, either.


The weather in these parts is so interesting.


So it was another quiet day, and I'm off to the north end. Usually, I wouldn't bother with a bath, but I think I need to clean myself up a little better than I did earlier.


It's a warm, windy night in the field, and I'm wondering what the weather will be like tomorrow.

January 30

Oh, well. After I uploaded this last night, I got to reading ahead in the story I'm typing, and after I finally went up to the north end, I read there, too, so it was around 2:30 before I got to bed. I didn't get up until 11:00 or so, but for the last two or three hours I had a terrible time because Buster wanted to sit beside my head, or under the covers and he wanted to be petted. I don't know what his problem is. He is sitting on my lap right now, which makes it a bit difficult to type.


I thought I might do something today, but the temperature for most of the day was 3º, and it was windy enough that the wind chill was down around -15º. so I stayed in. The wind was from the north, so it was relatively comfortable in here. The wind dropped to nothing around 6:00, and so did the temperature - it bottomed out at about -1º before it rose to 7º at 10:00. That seems strange, but my outdoor thermometer is reading 5º, so I guess it must have happened. I know it snowed a little before dawn, but I don't think there was any snow today, and we had some nice sunshine and partly cloudy blue skies after about 3:00. 


I worked on my strawberry and have started the second side. This is a stuffed thing, so I have to make two. I still have to add beads (for seeds) and leaves, but I'm making progress. It will be a cute scissors fob, but I'm not sure how much handling it will stand.


I have fobs on quite a few of my scissors. It isn't quite so necessary anymore, but back before I had a house here, I spent most of my vacations sitting in the car in the middle of the field - that would be where either the great room or the bedroom is now - and embroidering. It was really easy to lose a pair of embroidery scissors somewhere in the car, and I found that fobs worked very well to keep track of them. There was a little store in town that I'm not sure is still open that had some fobs that are shaped like tiny dolls and are filled with lavender, and I have a couple of those. When I open the box they are in, the fragrance is wonderful. Even though I don't have the problem of losing scissors anymore, the fobs do help when I'm trying to grab a pair to use.


I did a little surfing and some typing - I'm up to 272,000 words now - and that was about it. It was too cold to go out to dinner, so I had the other end piece of my beef roast, and it was good.


So it was another quiet day and it's another wintry night in the field.


January 29

Well, much better today, all things considered. I dropped into bed at about 11:00 last night and I slept very well, with only two wakeups, until about 10:45 this morning. The first time I got up, my feet and knees were so sore I just about made it to the bathroom and back, and they were still sore this morning. I am happy to say, they feel quite a bit better now. Every time I do that, it just brings home to me what terrible shape I am really in. Sigh.


Needless to say, I didn't do a lot today. I petted a cat and knitted a while this morning, and I typed a very little bit this afternoon - I may do more after I upload this, but it's getting awfully boring. I did a little embroidery on the strawberry fob. I dug out a kit for another scissors fob, which says "Snow" on it, that I thought was quite appropriate. It has a pair of scissors with it.  I finally backed up my files to the TravelDisk. There have been enough interesting problems with the computer lately that I thought it was wise not to wait longer to do that. I got the trash out of the kitchen, but I didn't unload the dishwasher yet. My bod wouldn't allow it. 


I cooked tonight, and I really like to cook like that. I dropped my rib roast on a rack, plugged in the probe, told the oven and the probe what temperature to go to, and went away...and a couple of hours later, I had a lovely standing rib roast. Yum. I was a little suspicious of it, because the meat looked very light red when it was raw, which usually means it is very young beef (just old enough not to be called veal), but it turned out to be very tasty and very tender. With a nice baked potato, it made a very nice dinner indeed. Yum.  And there's more where that all came from. Boy, that's the way to cook. No slaving over a hot stove with my feet and my back howling all the time. Too bad there aren't more things that are so easy to cook.


I never cook standing rib without thinking about my mother. She was the standing rib queen. Back in the '60s and '70s my parents were part of a potluck bridge group, eight couples that got together every month during fall, winter and spring. Everyone brought something, and the host was responsible for the main course. My mother would go to the local meat market and get a whole standing rib (7 ribs, I think?), and she had developed a way to cook it to perfection. After dinner, everybody put in $1 and they played bridge for several hours. It was a good group, all of whom I had met, and they had a lot of fun.


My dad was the second to the last man of the group to die, though, so they had to stop the party in the early '80s. I think most of the men were older than he was, but not by that much. It was a sad commentary on the times that all those men died so young.


Somewhere I ran across a picture of my mother taking the roast out of the oven, standing beside her double ovens in her wonderful new kitchen - that was the kind of party where everybody always ended up in the kitchen, and she designed it appropriately - and laughing. Unfortunately, not long after that the men started dying off, so she probably did more entertaining before she had the kitchen than afterwards. It was a good kitchen for practically anything, though.


I wish she had been able to see my kitchen here. I'm sure she would have approved (even though she would have thought the whole house was too big, and she would have been right), and I'm sure she would have had a ball cooking in it. Oh, well. Memories.


Anyway, I had a very nice dinner. Until lately, I have still had my habits from when I was working, when I would only cook on weekends and eat leftovers for the rest of the week. There isn't any reason why I should do that now, so I decided not to wait to cook my roast. I might eat out tomorrow, but it will keep.


The weather was back to its old habits. It was snowing when I got up this morning, and it snowed lightly off and on all day. The temperature hit its high of 20º at 9:00 this morning, then it dropped off slowly for the rest of the day, to 13º  now. There was a north wind in the 15-25  mph range after about 8:00 this morning. It was cloudy, of course, but it was quite bright, so I could embroider without squinting.


So it was another quiet day in the field, and I hope to get to bed at a relatively early hour again. My feet and knees feel much better now, after sitting for most of the day, and my left knee doesn't keep trying to buckle on me anymore. I hope that by tomorrow, my feet won't be sore.


It's a quiet, wintry night in the field. No more stars.


January 28

Sigh again. After I finally got last night's stuff uploaded, I started reading ahead in the story, then I think when I got up to the north end, I read a little of that story, too. With all of that, I didn't turn out the light until 2:45. I never did get into a deep sleep all night. I was awake around 9:00, and I should have gotten up then, but I dozed until 10:00 before I got up.


I had to get some things out of the car before I left for town, so I was late in getting away, and I was late for lunch. We didn't have a chance to talk as much as it would have been nice to, but Ann is a very nice girl, and I think we enjoyed ourselves. I didn't think the food was all that good this time, though. Somebody had taken almost all the beef out of the Sichuan beef and veggies. I once had that sort of problem with another buffet-type restaurant. You'd think people would have a little more consideration for the other diners.


After that, I had to do Wal-Mart, and I only hope I got everything I wanted there. By the time I got out, I was already exhausted, and I still had to buy food. I managed, but I was about done in by the time I got home. However, they had standing rib on sale, so I will feast. I guess some people have extensive parties for the Super Bowl. I don't even have TV reception. After all the other stuff I've been eating, some nice rare roast beef will be nice.


I didn't start unloading the car until 8:00, and I just barely got all the cold stuff into the house. The rest will just have to wait until tomorrow.


This morning, after I turned out the light, I could see stars, but they weren't very bright. I could see Capella and Orion slipping behind the mountain - but not very well - and some other stuff I'm not sure about. There was one bright star shining through the trees almost on the horizon that might have been Deneb, but I'm not sure. Anyway, even though it wasn't the best seeing, it was certainly nice to see any stars at all.


It started out to be a lovely, clear but very cold morning. The temperature bottomed out at -4º at 8:00 am,  which got us on the list of cold spots in Michigan, although there were four places colder than we were. At 9:00, it was only 3º, but by the time I left, it was up to 10º. It got up to 15º here while I was gone, and I think it was about the same temperature in Houghton. There wasn't any wind. By the time I got out of Econo and started pumping gas, the cirrus clouds were starting to move in, and it was getting quite cloudy by the time I got home. It was a nice couple of days.


The roads were snow covered from here to Phoenix, but from there south they were mostly clear and dry, until I got to Hancock. They are using salt on US-41 from Delaware to Hancock, but it doesn't look like either Hancock or Houghton are using any salt at all, and while it wasn't particularly slippery, the roads were ugly. My car is now covered with a thick coating of white, since US-41 was wet in spots, and you know what wet salt does to a car...With the temperature as low as it has been, though, it didn't seem slippery, although I was in auto-4WD between about Mohawk and home both ways. That makes for bad gas mileage, but it's safer.


I took the camera, but I didn't take any pictures. I would have had to take a movie anyway, to show everything on the trip down, and coming back it was dark enough that my headlights actually came on, even though it was only around 4:30 when I got to Delaware. Sometime, I want to get a picture of what I have been calling "snowbird nests," which are globs of snow that rest on a branch that hangs out over the road. Most of the snow has fallen off, leaving just one big blob out toward the end. I'm not sure how that happens, but often it looks like a bird's nest, only made out of snow. I will try to get a picture one of these days.


The snowbanks are awesome. At one side of the Econo Foods parking lot, there is a mound that has to be as tall as the building. They are cutting back the banks from Mohawk south, and most of the cuts are at least 4' high. We've had a lot of snow, and we aren't done yet. It isn't so pretty down there. North of Mohawk, the snow is mostly clean and white and it really is pretty. While I was petting a cat this morning, I was looking out the bathroom window, and the sun was making the surface of the snow look like piles of diamonds...or tiny silver-lined clear seed beads...you see where my mind goes...


I don't know who was cleaning up the parking lot at the Cliff View Bar, but that is the kind of snow blower we need! It was some kind of large machine with this huge blower that must have been 6' high and had an enormous thing like a fan inside it. Now that would get through the Lake Lily Glacier for sure! There was also a huge front end loader there. I couldn't see any names on the equipment, or I would have kept it in mind for future reference.


So that was my day, and I'm really, really tired tonight. I am thinking about not taking a bath, although I did sweat a lot today. All I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep.


It's a quiet night in the field tonight.


January 27

Sigh. I had written a long entry and set up all the 2009 picture pages, and when I went to save everything, FrontPage and the entire computer hung, finally leaving me with a black screen, and I lost everything except the basic pages. I will try to recreate remember what I wrote, but I don't promise anything.


After I uploaded the journal last night, I typed for a while - about 6,000 words, I think. When I got to the north end, I read for a while, and as a result of all that, it was 2:00 before I got to bed. I got up around 11:00 and I petted a cat and knitted for a while. There are quite a few stitches on the body of the sweater, but after doing the yoke, it doesn't seem like so many. I find it very comfortable to knit on #4 needles, even though there are so many stitches.


I did my morning (afternoon?) surfing, and I went to the post office and the store. I think I have the answer to the mystery lights on the mountain last Thursday. According to Jeff, both the Keweenaw County Sheriff and the DNR have snowmobiles with flashers on them, and since a car can't get up the mountain at this time of year, that must be what I saw. Usually the reason they stop snomobilers is that they don't have a permit. I didn't know you had to have a permit to drive a snowmobile, but it doesn't surprise me. The state has its hand out for almost any kind of vehicle except maybe a tractor. It also could be that somebody left town with a glow on and they got nailed for DUI.


The weather was...wonderful. It is still extremely cold. We got up to 14º briefly around 4:00, but then the temperature plummeted, and it is now (at 10:00) -2º. There was hardly any wind at all, and it was nearly or completely clear all day long. It was soooo pretty! 


The reason I set up the 2009 picture pages is that the last picture from the camera was worth sharing. Just to the left of the thistle feeder is the young moon, only a day past new, and only 3% illuminated. Oh, it was so pretty! And when I went out to the kitchen after dark, there was Venus shining in the upper windows of the great room. She must be at nearly her highest altitude, and she was so bright and lovely.


While I was at it, I got the pictures out of the camera that I took last Saturday afternoon while I was making my dinner. It was nearly clear except for a cloud over the Mountain Lodge and the sun was behind it. I don't think I've ever seen such crepuscular rays. Those three pictures were all taken within a minute of each other. I wish I could have taken more, but most of the display happened while I was getting the camera - you know I don't walk very fast.


That's what's wonderful about living and watching the weather here. You never know what's going to happen next. This is the first winter I've been here when there has been any sunshine in January at all, so I enjoyed every ray that I could. I also enjoyed the solar heat. The great room is warm for the first time in weeks (or months?), and it's still 70º in the office. 


According to George Hite, as of Sunday, we officially had 220.7" of snow for the season, measured at Delaware. That's 103" in December and so far, 102.5" in January, and it's supposed to start snowing again tomorrow night. Maybe this is our 400" year? Poor Ron.


I noticed, when I went to the post office, that the drift on the harbor side of the culverts is up to at least 5'. Last Thursday, it was only about 2', so those winds over the weekend really clobbered us. I thought maybe Aaron and Ron were obsessing about that drift, but I guess not. And we still haven't had a blizzard yet this season.


Every season since I've been here has been different from the other years, and that's one of the things that keeps me fascinated about living here. You just never know what will happen. We haven't had a blizzard yet, and we haven't had any sun pillars this year yet, but there are still at least two more months of winter to go.


So that was my day, and I hope I don't have any trouble uploading this thing, because I have to go to town tomorrow. I have a lunch/appointment with Ann - she has some papers for me to sign, since the bank screwed up the mortgage. I say again, that was the most chaotic mortgage I have ever done, but at least now it should be over. I am looking forward to seeing her again. She is a nice person.


It's a clear, frigid and calm night in the field, and I hope to see stars tonight.


January 26

Well, after I uploaded the journal, I started reading ahead in the story, and it was 2:30 before I got to bed. It was enough warmer in the bathroom that I was able to take my bath in comfort, so that was nice. I did wear my flannel nightie again, and I was quite comfortable. I think when I last wore one, I was having night sweats, which only got worse because of the warmer nightie. 


I got up around 10:45 this morning, and I petted a cat and did two more rows on the sweater. That left me with only two more before it was time to split off the sleeves, so I brought the knitting bag down to the office.


I was surfing away in the middle of the afternoon when all of a sudden my internet connection went away in a very strange way. It would be fine when I first reset the receiver, but then within about 30 seconds, I would lose connectivity again. Finally I called and complained. Well, around 7:30 my neighbor Mike came over and shoveled off part of the big drift in the garden (and I mean, it is big), and everything is fine now. He has me on his list now to point my antenna more toward the Mountain Lodge, but he obviously wasn't going to do that after dark on a night like this.


Besides, he told me that he thinks he has a buyer for his farm in Wisconsin, which would be wonderful news, but he has had it up for sale for so long that he isn't going to believe it until he has the money in hand. Probably a good thing.


So anyway, we didn't get any camera updates for most of the afternoon...not that things looked any different later in the day. You'll just have to take my word for it.


The weather didn't moderate very much. It snowed all day. The temperature was around 8º all day. The wind was in the 15-30 mph range from the north until about 4:00, when it dropped off to under 10 mph. I was out on the deck when Mike was shoveling, and it wasn't too bad out there, compared to what it has been...of course, I had my parka on. I forgot that I didn't put my hat in my pocket, and I discovered how nice a down-lined hood can be.


After the broadband crapped out, I got at the sweater again, and I have now got the sleeves split off from the body and I am working on the body. I will do the sleeves first, but I always do some of the body to make a solid base to attach the sleeves to. It seems to work better that way. Now I'm down to two markers again, and that makes things go faster, too. That is nice, soft yarn and nice to knit it, and I think it will be a nice sweater.


Oh, and while Mike was here, we tried to get the printer do do a "semi-hard reset" and it won't do it. So now I can write HP again and say, so now what do I do, when the instructions don't work. Grr.


So that was my day, and I'm thinking maybe I will go up to the north end early tonight, and maybe write a bit or maybe just go to bed. I didn't type more than a couple hundred words today; I knitted instead.


It's another cold snowy night in the field, but not as cold and not as windy as some others have been.


January 25

It was a bit warmer at the north end when I got there last night - 66º in the bathroom and 62º in the bedroom - but not quite warm enough to take a bath, so I didn't, and I think I jumped into bed around 12:30 or so. I wore a flannel nightie, and I was very comfortable all night, until the temperature started to come up this morning. I got up around 11:00, I think, and I petted a cat and knitted my two rows...I only have 4 more rows to go on the yoke now, but they are the longest ones. I am making progress.


The wind was still blowing in the 20-35 mph range this morning, but it was from the north, which makes things much more comfortable in here. The temperature outside was around 5º all day, so the wind chill was way below 0º. The wind did start to die down late in the afternoon, and after 6:00, it went almost completely away and the temperature rose to 8º. Whoopee!


Ron called to see if I had been down the road today, and we had a nice long conversation. He came by around 7:30 and blew out the driveway. I had some drifting across the straight part and in front of the front door. He didn't say how much there was down around the culverts, but I imagine there was some, because while I was talking to him, I was watching billows of snow blowing in that direction. It snowed more or less all day, and for most of the day, all the camera showed was a white background for the bird feeder.


The little birdies were no doubt looking for the big feeder, but I didn't get around to putting it back out. I may have to put a new piece of clothesline on it and hope it lasts the winter. I just don't feel like hunting up the drill and the drill bit.


It was enough warmer in the great room that Buster spent a good part of the day sleeping on his paper there. There seems to be one spot - right in the middle, where I want to walk, of course - that is warmer than others. If it were me, I'd scratch up some of that paper into the box and sleep there. At least that's sheltered.


I did some typing, and while I was waiting for various things to happen, I worked on a little thing that finishes as a strawberry scissors fob. It is all rice stitch, which I hate, so I'm not sure if I will be able to get it done or not. I know I started it a very long time ago and only did about four or five rows. If I could finish it, it would be really cute.


So that is all I know and it is time to totter up to the north end, and tonight I have to take a bath, no matter what the temperature. 


It's still cold and snowy in the field, but it isn't quite so windy tonight.


January 24

I think it was around 11:30 when I turned out the light last night, and the temperature in the bedroom was around 69º. Even the first time I got up, around 3:00, I could tell that it had cooled down a lot, and when I got up, around 9:30, I think, it was frigid in there - about 60º. It was a little warmer in the bathroom, so I put on my robe and knitted my two rows and petted a cat. 


It was 63º when I got to the office, and when I checked the Weather Underground, the reason was quite clear: the temperature overnight had been under 10º, and the wind was mostly out of the northwest, in the 15-30 mph range. It snowed all night, too.


It snowed for most of the day as well, and while the temperature very slowly rose, so did the wind. For most of the afternoon, it was from the west or northwest, and those are the two bad directions for the house. For most of the day, it was in the 15-30 mph range, but between 7:00 and 8:00 this evening, it suddenly rose into the 30-45 mph range. Fortunately for me, it also switched around to the north. The temperature is dropping again, and it is now down to 10º.


Well...the NWS station was reporting winds in the 15-30 mph range. From the noise around here and the way the snow was whipping around, I think it was stronger out here. That weather station is rather sheltered on the west, and I don't always believe their reports.


One of the reasons I am so late tonight is that it has finally gotten up to 68º in the office, and it feels so good, I don't want to leave. Hopefully, it will be a reasonable temperature at the north end, but it certainly isn't in the great room. I discovered a reason for that. when I put my hand where the two sides of the patio door come together, I could feel a breeze coming through. When I go to town on Wednesday, I am going to have to see if I can get some of that peel-off weather-stripping to put around that door. I can't do that in the office, because I go out that door, but I don't use the one in the great room in the winter. I also might try it around the windows in the window seat in my bedroom, where I also felt a little breeze coming in.


Anyway, it was a very cold day. When I got to the office this morning, the first thing I noticed was that the big cedar feeder was missing. I mentioned that the hanger looked like it was coming apart, and it did in the wind last night. I wasn't surprised, but it was under the deck someplace. Fortunately, Aaron came around to clean out my driveway this afternoon, and I put him on to get it for me. I am just going to have to enlarge the holes in the roof and use a chain to hang it. I have the chain, but I just have never gotten around to hauling out the electric drill and finding the 3/8" bit (I think I have one). I will have to do that now.


Not that there were any birds around today. I think the blue jays got the seed that spilled out of the feeder under the deck, and I saw one very cold-looking squirrel sitting near the platform feeder, with her tail into the wind. Brr!


I don't know where the cats were, but they do know all the warmest places around here. I only saw Buster once or twice, and I didn't see Jasmine at all.


I typed for most of the day and I got quite a bit done, including the whole next episode, but as a result, I have very sore hands. My fingers get very stiff after I have typed for that long.


I also broke out one of the soups I bought at the general store last week. CHIA is selling frozen soup as a fund raiser, so I contributed by buying two kinds. This one was chicken with spaetzle, and by around 4:30 this afternoon, the idea of some nice hot chicken soup was more than I could resist. Well, it tastes more like parsley soup to me, and an 8 ounce serving has half the sodium I'm supposed to have for the day, but it was hot and it has lots of chicken in it. It warmed me up wonderfully. I think I probably ate about 12 ounces, which is OK for my sodium intake.


So now the temperature is dropping and the wind is out of the north, and it is high time I jumped into bed. It is a cold, very windy night in the field.


January 23

Today would have been my parents' 69th wedding anniversary. I always commemorate it, quietly, since if it hadn't happened, I wouldn't be here. And even though my dad has been gone 25 years and my mom has been gone 15 years, I still miss them both a lot.


I guess it was about 2:30 when I got to bed last night, which is why I'm doing this early tonight. I need to reverse this trend and get to bed early for a change. Buster wanted me to get up around 9:00, but I frustrated him by going back to sleep, and I think I got up around 10:30, only because I had to. I knitted a couple of rows, and that frustrated him, too, because he wasn't around when I got to the bathroom, so I started to knit, and when he finally came and sat on me, I was too busy to do a really good job of petting. Poor Buster.


I neglected to mention that when I got up yesterday morning, I looked over the side of the bed, and there was Jasmine curled up on the rug, with her back against the bedside table. Of course, she went under the bed when I put my feet on the floor, but she evidently wanted to sleep close to me. And this morning, when Buster got on my lap, she came in and sat on the rug and went to sleep. That might have been because all the food dishes were empty, but I think it was more than that. The only thing is, she won't allow herself to be in a room with a door when I know she is there, which means she does a lot of running around. She wants to be in the office, looking out at the birds, but when I move, she scats, just in case I might try to close the door on her. Poor Jasmine.


When I got up this morning, it was snowing. It started sometime during the night, and it has been snowing all day. The temperature has been dropping, too. It started out at 26º at 3:00 this morning, then it took a steady dive to 3:00 this afternoon, when it was 7º, and that's about where it's been ever since. The wind began to blow when the temperature peaked, and it has been in the 25-35 mph range all day, from the north. The wind chill has been around -15º. It is cold again.


I didn't go out. I wanted to go out to dinner tonight, but it was just too cold and nasty, and besides, we had several inches of new snow today, and I didn't want to deal with that. So I stayed in. I finished typing the part of the story where there is a clear break, and now I have 235,000 words done. I love the story, but the typing is getting really boring. That was about all I did.


Now I am planning to go up to the north end relatively early and, I hope, get to bed relatively early, and catch up on my sleep, although I have finally figured out where the story I was writing is going, so I may or may not do what I had planned.


It's a cold, snowy night in the field again, and our warmish weather is gone.


January 22

Well, I did it again last night, and it looks like it will be almost the same tonight. After I did the journal last night, I started typing again - there were some good things on the radio - and when I decided I couldn't see well enough to type anymore, I started reading ahead, and it was 3:00 before I jumped into bed. I got up around 10:00 this morning, because I had to walk, and besides, Buster was driving me nuts. So I didn't get nearly enough sleep last night.


I didn't do much of anything today. I went to the post office, and I typed, and that was about it. Oh, and I filled the bird feeders.


The weather was almost the same as yesterday. It was dark and dull and gray, but there was no snow that I know of. The temperature peaked at 28º early in the day, and it fell off slowly as the day wore on, and it is now 24º. There wasn't any wind to speak of, and it is calm now.


I did see a couple of interesting things. When I went to the post office, there was a SUV in the ditch just this side of the entrance to the fort, and their big tractor was on its way to pull him out. I can't figure how he got there. It didn't seem slippery to me. But then, even up here there are people who want to drive the roads like they were clear and dry.


And tonight, around 7:00, I looked up at the mountain, and there were two police cars up on the overlook with their flashers on (all I could see were the flashers). They looked like police flashers, not ambulance flashers. I will have to inquire around and try to find out what in the world happened. Theoretically, the road up Brockway is closed to wheeled traffic in the winter, but they do keep it groomed as a snowmobile trail, and I think I've heard of a few cars going at least partway up, so I'm sure the police could get up there. Very interesting. See? Something is always going on in Copper Harbor even in the winter! I will report back.


So that was my quiet day. I have reached the end of another episode in the story, and the next chapter isn't so exciting (the one after that is, but I need time to type it), so I won't be tempted to type all night tonight. We are under a winter weather advisory starting tomorrow morning. We are due for another blast of arctic air that will get the lake effect machine going again, so I guess this was our "January thaw". It will be interesting to see what comes of it.


Right now, it's a quiet night in the winter field.


January 21

When Mozart's 40th started playing, I kept right on typing, forgetting that I had to do a journal tonight. Oh.


I didn't make it into bed until 1:30 last night, and I don't remember quite why, although I did read for a while and I spent some time staring at the floor. I was up around 9:00 this morning, so I really didn't get enough sleep, which I will have to remedy tonight.


I didn't get all of my morning surfing done (which I just remembered!) before it was time to to off to the Ladies' handwork meeting. It was a good group, and everybody had some nice show-and-tell. I wore the Mosaica sweater, and everybody thought it was beautiful. 


Well. it's OK. The sleeves aren't quite as large as I would like them to be, and the neckline is far too large, although I may be able to fix that. It does look OK and it fits tolerably well, so that's all right. I must say, it's very warm.


The quilters all had something to show off. Liz, who owns the Eagle Lodge, had a beautiful lap quilt with fans on it, and she does beautiful machine stippling. The other Sharon had made another of her blue and white wall quilts that I love, and Syd came with a thing she had appliquéd, and she does exquisite appliqué. I need to get her to give me lessons. So we all had a good time, and it was very nice to see all the ladies again.


Buster was apparently so mad that I left that he didn't come to see me at all until a couple of hours after I got home, then he stood on me for a couple of minutes before he went away again. I am sure he is happy, because it is quite warm in the house. I know Jasmine is.


It is quite warm outside, too. It has been about 27º all day, with very light winds. It was very dark and cloudy, but it didn't snow, so we had a respite for a day.


After the talking stopped on the radio, I started typing, and I got through another interesting episode, but like I said, when Mozart came on, I just kept on typing, so it is now tomorrow, and it's time to repair to the north end.


It's a warmish, quiet night in the field tonight.


January 20

It was around 11:00 when I jumped into bed, and I slept well until after 8:00, when I was a bit wakeful. I didn't get up until 10:00 or later, and by that time I had sore hips. I petted a cat and did four rows on the sweater this morning. It's coming well, and I will probably have to move to a longer needle pretty soon. There are lot of stitches there.


I partly unloaded the dishwasher while I was making my breakfast, but that was about all I did that was constructive. I looked through the embroidery kits I have had up here for years, but I didn't see anything that really turned me on. I did do quite a bit of typing, and I deleted a large number of the chapter headings I had put in. I'm not sure if what's left makes any sense, but it makes more sense than a five-page chapter. I will have to go back over that whenever I get the whole thing done. At least I am in the second half.


The weather was so-so. There was some snow this morning, and while it was bright, there was no sunshine. The temperature got up to 20º for a couple of hours, and for most of the day there were very light winds from the west. A typical blah day.


Ron came around late in the afternoon and cleaned up the driveway, so that is nice.


I was sorry not to have been able to watch the inauguration, but I did hear most of the speech on ATC. If only they can carry through! It would be nice to be hopeful about the country again.


So that was my quiet day, and it's off to the north end, although I guess I will have to wait and listen to Beethoven's "Waldstein" sonata. It's a quiet night in the field.


January 19

I think it was right before midnight when I got to bed. I read a little of the story I had been writing on before I took my bath. Buster wanted to sleep with me or something, so it took a while before I got rid of him. He isn't content to sleep at the end of the bed - he wants to sleep either on me or right beside me. He got on top of the body pillow, with his hind legs on my gut and his front paws almost over my heart, and he seemed quite comfortable. I am not comfortable that way, because he is lying right where I want to put my arms. 


I am a little concerned about him. He has been awfully clingy lately. I don't know if that means he's sick or it just means he remembers a trip we took or something else. When I wish they could talk.


I got up around 9:30 this morning, which should have been enough sleep but doesn't feel like it. I petted the cat and knitted my two rows and dumped out the trash before I got dressed. Unfortunately, I felt a little groggy, and my back was bothering me all day, so I didn't get nearly what I hoped to get done, but I did get three trash bags filled before Syd and Marty got here, and I got the dishwasher almost filled to run tonight.


Nancy came and cut my hair off, and it feels much better not to have it falling in my eyes and over my ears. It had gotten away from me over the past couple of weeks, and I kept forgetting to call her.


The weather was the usual. The temperature was steady at about 18º all day long, with an easterly wind in the 10-20 mph range for most of the day. We had maybe two inches of new snow at most. Ron had cleared out the driveway at 4:30 this morning, although he can't get too close to the garage door when it is closed, so getting in and out was no problem. The only problem I had was that it seemed very humid, and that bothered my back.


I did a very little embroidery, and I did a few pages of typing - at least enough to be halfway through the story - but I think that instead of going on, I will toddle up to the north end.


Johanna called just a while ago, and her tests all came out showing there is nothing wrong with her, which is fine, except nobody can figure out why she seemed to be having problems. So they will just watch her and see what happens. I hate female problems. It's so hard to tell if something is really wrong sometimes, but at least in this case, it seems to be all right.


It's a cold winter night in the field.


January 18

So I got to bed around 11:30 last night, and I didn't get to sleep until after 1:00. Oh, well. I didn't sleep very well at all, probably because I knew I had to get up this morning. I was up at 9:00, which gave me enough time to do most of my morning thing...or it would have.


I was knitting away, with a purry cat on my lap, when all of a sudden, one end of the needle I was working with came off the cable - eek! There are enough stitches on that needle already that a lot of them dropped off. So I got out the other cable - fortunately, KnitPicks interchangeable needles come with two cables in each size - and an end plug, and I moved all the stitches from the one cable to the other. I couldn't completely finish, or check what I was doing, because I had to eat, etc., so I brought the sweater bag down to the office, and after I got back from my massage, I checked and counted everything, and it is OK now. I had dropped a couple of stitches, but by using my task lamp and looking through the fabric, I was able to find them and fix them right away. I also glued the end part back onto the cable, but I don't know how strong it will be. Jeez! The messes we get into!


My massage made me feel much better, and I had a nice talk with Johanna. She is having some female problems, and I was able to give her some information she didn't have, including a blood test that her doctor had not ordered until she asked about it. And some people wonder why I don't trust the doctors up here...


The weather actually felt warm. The temperature for most of the day was 22º, except for a couple of hours in the middle of the afternoon when it got up to 23º. There was a 10-20 mph wind, but it was out of the northeast, which means it wasn't very troubling. It's amazing how warm low 20s can feel after low single digits. I think we are in for a few more days of that, at least. We had a few snow showers, but not much, and there was even a little sunshine, but not much.


This evening I typed another episode of the story, and I would like to do a few more pages, because that will bring me halfway done, but I think that instead I am going to bed. The total size of the story looks to be about 400,000 words...and I'm only halfway done...


So that was my quiet day, and it's off to the north end.


January 17

It was before 1:00 when I turned out the light last night. I hope tonight will be even better: I have a massage tomorrow, and I need to get up. It wasn't as cold in the north end as it was in the south end, but I could hear the wind roaring through the trees when I went to sleep. It started snowing sometime after I went to bed, and it was still at it when I got up at 10:30. I petted a very purry cat and knitted two rows on the sweater before I got dressed. I'm having the breakfast problem again.


I didn't do very much, though. I went to the post office, where there were some magazines in with the catalogs, and more pleas for money. I'm sure, with the financial situation in the country, that charities are having a terrible time. I wish I could help them, but as I said before, I don't see bankrupting myself so I can give to all the charities I would like to support. I do the best I can.


I met Syd at the post office, so they are back for a few days, although they will be going back to Chicago at the end of the week, for a few days. Things keep happening down there that they have to attend to, even though they'd rather be here. And the sign for the Ladies' Handwork meeting was up. I was worrying about Carolyn, but I guess she must be all right. It will be nice to see the ladies. As winter deepens, the community events begin to start up again.


I did a little embroidery on the little hardanger thingy I started the other day, and I looked through my other CraftStor. Tonight I did a little typing...and that was about it. I finally got everything out of the dishwasher, but now I need to fill it again. 


It snowed all day, and it was marginally warmer. The temperature peaked at 12º this afternoon. There was no wind at all for most of the day, which finally warmed it up in here a bit. I have to say, there is an awful lot of snow around here. In town, the piles where they have plowed are up over the top of the car. I have a 4' pile in front of the front door. I suppose I should do something about that, so that my front porch doesn't collapse, but it looks like a horrible job. Where Ron has blown it into the corner between the house and the breezeway, the pile is up over the windowsill. It has been a long time since I've been able to see the birdbath in the garden which means there is more than 3' there, but of course, it drifts there.


There were lots of birds at the feeders today, which I was glad to see, although mostly I have goldfinches. The chickadees do come, but they grab a seed and take it off into a tree to eat it. There was one blue jay, who announced his presence by shrieking to announce his presence, before he filled his pouch and flew off. There was one squirrel, too, but I don't know what it found. The seeds in the platform feeder disappear quickly, and they tend to get messed up with snow and stick together.


So that is all I know, and I'm going up to the north end early tonight and hope to get to bed early so I can get up tomorrow.


It's a cold, snowy night in the field, again, and a good time to hibernate.


January 16

Well, I did a little better last night. It was shortly after 1:00 when I got to bed. So I'm trying. I was awake briefly at 4:30 when Ron came by on the tractor and blew out the driveway, but I didn't get up until around 11:00. Then I petted a cat for a long time and knitted a bit. I already have 282 stitches on the needle, so it takes quite a while to knit one round. Of course, the final rounds of the yoke will be 418 stitches, so I still have a way to go.


I was so late that I didn't do anything again except for my daily surfing and reading a couple of catalogs. This has got to stop.


The weather is beginning to moderate. It snowed for most of the day, until around 3:45, when the sun came out, although there were still some clouds in the sky. The temperature peaked at 10º (wow - double digits!) between 1:00 and 4:00 before it started to fall back, The wind was in the 10-20 mph range from the north for most of the day, but between 4:00 and 5:00 it switched around to the west-southwest. The snow is supposed to continue forever, but it may be a little warmer for the next few days. When I went to get my dinner, I looked out and there was Venus shining brightly in the west, so pretty! There may even be a star or two tonight.


I don't like west winds. I could tell that it had shifted, because it began to get quite cool in here. Tight as those windows are, the wind does come through them, and the wind chill is still down around 0º. I may need to wear my flannel nightie tonight.


I did a little typing, and I got through another exciting episode, but I decided to stop and try to get to bed a little earlier tonight. We'll  see.


So that is all I have to report, and I will toddle off to the north end. It's still frigid and windy, but it isn't snowing right now.


January 15

Wow, January is half over already!


I am so far off my schedule that I didn't do any typing today, and I'm not going to do any now, for sure. I am at a very exciting point in the story, and I know if I start typing, I will never get to bed.


I did quite a bit last night, but as a result, it was about 2:45 before I got to bed, and Buster insisted that I get up around 11:00 this morning, so I didn't get my usual quota of sleep, and I'm tired (I ought to be at 10:45!). 


Everything was late today, and I just finished my dinner a little while ago. The task of the day was to pay some bills, and I did that. I got sidetracked because I had another accident and had to do some wash. Sigh. I have all three books on IBS that I ordered, and I guess I'd better buckle down and read them. This was a combination of raw carrots and trying to ignore my gut when it started gurgling, so it was my own fault that I didn't quite make it to the bathroom.


The only other thing I did was to read my favorite catalog. I was happy to find that there wasn't a lot there that I can't live without, except for a few books to add to my needlework collection. Maybe every so often I can get one book. Amazon doesn't carry most of these, and they are expensive, but I just love needlework books.


The weather was not the kind you'd want to be out in if you didn't have to be. The temperature for most of the day was about 1º, although it did rise to 4º for a while this evening, and the wind has been in the 20-35 mph range, which puts the wind chill down at -20º or below. It snowed all day, more or less hard, but it was so cold that the flakes were very small and I don't think there was more than an inch or so of accumulation. it was a very good day to hibernate.


So that was a quiet day, and it's time to toddle up to the north and and see if just maybe I can get to bed at a reasonable hour for a change.


January 14

Well, that didn't work. I started typing after I posted last night's entry, and before I knew it, it was after 2:00...how did that happen? It is a good part of the story, but still...So it was after 3:00 before I got to bed, and it was 11:30 before I got up this morning. That meant that I wasn't here to check on whether the generator did its weekly test or not. I still don't know - it's been at least a month since I've been in the office at 11:30. I knitted and petted a cat before I left the north end. I'm almost halfway down the yoke, but the next half will take a long time, since the further I go, the more stitches there are.


So I didn't do anything much except some typing.  I finally got the winter banner hung, and I hauled one of my CraftStors out of the front closet and found a few little hardanger card inserts and started one while I was listening to the radio. I can play games or knit or embroider when the talking begins, but I can't type.


The weather was...frigid. The temperature was just about 3º all day long, and the wind was in the 20-30 mph range from the north, which puts the wind chill down around -20º. That's cold. We had wave after wave of lake effect snow all day long, although around noon there was even a little snow.


I didn't stick my nose outside - in fact, I had my sweats on all day. I am happy to report that so far the temperature inside is holding up, although the boiler was running a lot again today. I can also report that even when the temperature in the office was down around 65º, my hands didn't get too cold, so I'm really acclimating.


This is the time when I wish there was a more sheltered place where I could hang the bird feeders and still get at them. The wind blows down the deck and it is pretty cold, even though they all hang in a pine tree. But if I moved them around to the back of the house, I couldn't see them so well, and the camera wouldn't see them at all. There were a few hardy birdies today, and maybe one squirrel, but not many.


So that was my quiet day, and I will do some more typing tonight, maybe a lot, because I'm getting to another exciting part of the story.


It's a frigid night in the field, and good for hunkering down under the comforter.


January 13

That worked well enough last night that I'm going to try it again. I typed for a while, but I didn't finish another chapter, and I jumped into bed around 11:30. I did have a short wakeful period in the middle of the night, when I was having cramps and running, but I took some Immodium and that solved the problem. What I didn't count on was that I was tired enough that I didn't get up until 11:30 this morning, and then I petted a cat and knitted for quite a while, so I had another truncated day.


About all I did was go to the post office, where there was the usual pile of stuff. I met Ron on the road, plowing, and I followed him into my driveway coming back, so I shoveled the drift away from the garage door and had a short conversation with him before I went in.


It was cold outside! The temperature hovered around 2º for a good part of the day before it finally warmed up to 5º a while ago, and there was a strong 20-30 mph wind, which is now also dying down. That put the wind chill down around -20º or so, and it wasn't very pleasant to be outside. I had toyed with the idea of putting on some longjohns this morning, and if I'd known I was going to be out for any length of time, I would have.


It snowed for most of the night and off and on all day, too, and while I don't know how the road looked, there was probably another 6" to 8" in my driveway, not including the foot-high drift in front of my garage door.


I guess it's going to be about like this for the rest of the week - very cold and snowy. Well, it's January, for sure!


I am happy to report that with the wind from the north, it was really quite comfortable in here. Not that you'd want to be running around in a bathing suit, but it was over 65º all over, which is pretty good by me. Of course, the boiler was running frequently all day.


It was interesting last night, when the wind was quite strong. Ron had reported that the lake is frozen out about a quarter mile in front of his house, and while I could hear it singing, it was much further away and sort of muted. Soon I won't be able to hear it at all, which is a strange feeling when I know the wind is blowing and the sea is up and I can't hear a thing. But that's winter.


So tonight I will type for a while, not long, I hope, and try to get to bed even a little earlier and begin to get myself back onto a human schedule.


It's a frigid, snowy night in the field.


January 12

It's early, but I decided to do this first, then type for a while. I'm tired. I read ahead for a while before I went up to the north end last night, and I got to bed before 2:00, but not much. I got up around 10:30 this morning, so I didn't get my usual amount of sleep. I petted a cat - who left a little exudation from his anal ducts on me, then proceeded to lick it off for me - and knitted a couple of rows on the sweater. I have only done about a dozen rows on the yoke, but already there are a lot of stitches to knit.


It snowed for part of the night, and it was snowing hard, with big flakes and no wind, when I got up. It actually snowed for most of the day, and there was some accumulation. At least, there was 3" or 4" on the deck railings. The temperature was steady at about 20º until around 2:00, and it has been falling off ever since. It is now down to 13º or less (my thermometer on the door handle says 9º), and the wind is beginning to rise into the 20-35 mph range, from the northeast. Oh, it's gonna be a cold night in the field tonight!


I didn't do very much with my extra time. I typed some, and I will do some more after I finish this. And finally, around 3:00 this afternoon, I got the bird feeders refilled. Whew! I wanted to do it today so I didn't need to go out tomorrow if it's as cold as they say it's going to be. I had to shovel at least 6" of snow, not counting the drifts, off the deck, but it was so light and fluffy it wasn't hard to move. Unfortunately, I dropped the cage that the woodpecker cube was in over the side, too, and I guess that will just have to stay there until spring. Somebody had eaten all the seed. I have another cube, and if I decide to put it out, I will just have to hang it without the cage over it. I don't think it was the squirrels anyway. More likely it was some bird or other.


When I went out to bring the feeders in, the chickadees were telling everybody I was there, and there was another call I've never heard before, and I have no idea whether it was just a bird I know with a throat problem or someone new. However, they were all gone when I hung every thing back up, and I don't think I had many takers this afternoon. 


I noticed that only one wire of the three in the piece of clothesline is still intact on the big cedar feeder, so I guess the next time I bring it in, I will have to replace it. I am moving slowly and inexorably toward having to use a chain, like I originally intended. I decided to try the clothesline because in order to use a chain, I will have to enlarge the holes in the roof, and that seemed like a lot of work. However, the way that thing has swung around in a couple of our gales, it's clear to me that the wire clothesline isn't strong enough. Oh, well. So far it's OK.


So that was my quiet day, and I will type for a while and maybe read for a while before go up to the north end. I am determined to eventually get myself back on a human schedule.


It's a snowy night in the field, and the temperature is dropping...


January 11

Last night, I overdid it. I started reading ahead in the story - this is one of the good parts, and I just type too slowly - and when I got to the north end, I finished the neck shaping on the sweater and worked two more rounds. Of course, I had to take a bath, so it ended up around 2:30 before I got to bed. I was awake around 9:00, and I toyed with the idea of getting up, and I should have, because it was 11:30 before I finally did, and then I knitted some more. So it has been a most truncated day, and this has to stop.


I was awake briefly around 5:00 am, too, and the full moon overhead was so bright that it looked like dawn was coming. It was really amazing how bright it was, even though it was cloudy.


I didn't do anything much again today, except type on the story. This evening, I had a telephone call from a couple down in Illinois who are thinking about moving up here when he retires, and she has had some of the same elimination issues I have, so we had a nice, if rather long, conversation. Of course, you know I love it here, but I don't like to be too enthusiastic when people think they want to move up here, because it isn't for everybody. You have to cope with bugs and snow and tourists and living out in the country, among other things. But if bugs and snow don't bother you and you like country living, it is a wonderful place.


The weather was more of the same. It snowed off and on all day, and the temperature was about 23º all day long, with a light north wind.  I should have filled the bird feeders today, but oh, well. They have issued a winter storm watch for tomorrow and Tuesday, for high winds blowing snow and very cold temperatures. So we'll see about that.


I was a little surprised, because the fur faces were full of energy today, rustling around and getting into things. I notice that Jasmine moved the camera again, so I will have to fix that tomorrow. And tomorrow has to be the day for the bird feeders, since they expect the temperatures to be around 0º for the rest of the week. Ah, January in the frozen north!


Anyway, it was another quiet day with not much accomplished, and I need to prime the dishwasher before I go up to the north end. It seems to be the calm before the next storm in the field tonight.


January 10

Today is my re-birthday. Eight years ago today, I got my stem cells back. It took them eight days to find their home and start to reproduce, but today was the defining day.


I read too long last night again, and it was 1:00 before I jumped into bed. I didn't really well, but I didn't get up until 11:30, either, so I should have had enough sleep. Then I sat and worked on the black sweater until 1:30. I am almost done shaping the neck. That is going to be a nice soft sweater, not too thick. 


Otherwise, I didn't do very much at all. I put a few things in the trash and I put a few things in the dishwasher, and I typed my 10.000 words. I am so late tonight because I was reading ahead, and this is part of the story that I really like. I have invented some really nice people.


The weather was the usual. There was a little bit of sunshine and blue sky about the time I got up, and a little bit of snow while I was eating my breakfast. The temperature was around 20º for most of the day. The wind was variable, sometimes calm and sometimes around 15 mph, mostly from the west.


So that is about all I know, and even though I would like to keep on typing, and listen to Mozart's Piano Concerto #23, I know it's time to toddle up to the north end. It's another wintry night in the field.


January 9

Last night, it was yarn. When I got up to the north end, I cast on the neck of the new sweater, hereafter called the "black sweater", although it's not completely black. The yarn has a single ply of black wound with a very thin boucle in rainbow colors. The fabric just has a haze of colors over it, and it's kind of neat. I ended up restarting the cast on four times before I got the length of the tail right, then I had to do at least the first row. I got looking at my swatch, and I wasn't sure I had actually worked it on #4 needles, especially since the ball band said to use #6s. It was #4s, and it does have the right gauge. I think I am going to have to fiddle with the pattern, though, because the body comes out 54½" around, and I don't think it really needs to be that big.


I had to rip out and do the first row of the ribbing twice - for some reason I have a hard time starting 2x2 ribbing. After the first row, I'm usually fine, but I get distracted and get the pattern wrong on the first row. By that time, I was nearly crosseyed.


Anyway, because of all that, it was 1:30 before I got to bed again. I woke up at 10:00, and while I wasn't ready to get up, I had to walk, so I did get up. I knitted a few more rows on the ribbing with a happy cat on my lap before I got dressed, and that was about all I did.


It was another one of those days, where the lake effect showers kept coming across the harbor one after another. In between there was almost a little sunshine, but it didn't last long, just like the snow didn't. I don't think there was any accumulation. The Temperature was around 17º all day, with light north winds. I'm not sure what the conditions are now, because the NWS station stopped reporting at 7:00. 


I found out who cleared the road last night. It was Jim, who lives with his wife over on Lake Fanny Hooe. Ron was kind enough to agree to clear their driveway so they can get to work. It was nice of him to offer to help out, and for the first time he'd ever been on the tractor, he did a good job. So that means there are three guys available to spell Ron, which is great. It's this community thing, which is wonderful to be part of.


I typed in another 8.000 to 10,000 words today and got through another interesting episode, which is why this is so late again. I am interfering with my weekly virus scan.


I got to the post office today, where some of the pills I ordered the other day came, as well as one of the books on IBS. All mail slows down so much in December that it's always a shock when January comes and I get things three or four days after I order them. It's good, too, because one of the pills is one of my IBS things, and I didn't have enough for the month.


I have been eating hot cereal for breakfast lately, and wonder of wonders, I haven't had any hypoglycemia from it. I always knew that was partly due to fatigue, so apparently I have been getting enough sleep lately. Only I never know when it will crop up again, so I approach my oatmeal (or multigrain something or other this morning) with some trepidation. I've found it's satisfying enough that I haven't been getting hungry until dinnertime, too, so that is good. And I'm getting my bananas.


When I saw the doctors, my potassium level was on the low side - a problem I've always had, which is no doubt exacerbated by my IBS-D - so the doctor said, eat bananas. I don't dislike them, but I get tired of them pretty quick. Mixing them in cereal makes it better, especially when they are as overripe as these are.


So that was another quiet day in the field, and I'm off to the north end, and maybe to bed before 1:00?


January 8

Waylaid by a wily radio program. I was just about to call it a night when they began playing Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, for which I have a special fondness, so I started transcribing again, and before I knew it, it was 1:00. Oops. So it was 1:30 before I jumped into bed, and it was 11:30 before I got up this morning. Oops. That truncated my day so much that I didn't do anything.


Well, not much. I did finally darn in the ends on the Maizy socks, so they are finished. Of course, I won't get to wear them until next summer, but they're done. And this afternoon I dug out a spool of black thread and sewed the buttons on the sweater, so that is done. I dug out the needles for the other sweater I made a pattern for, but I didn't start it. I guess I will take everything up to the north end and maybe start it in the morning.


I really like that sweater I just finished, except that the neck hole turned out much larger than it was supposed to. I used the stitch counts and dimensions from my book of patterns, so the problem must be with them. I might have to see if I can make it smaller, maybe by crocheting around the base of the neck ribbing. Or it may look all right. I will wear it with a turtleneck, so maybe it will be all right. Of course, I'm assuming it's going to fit.  We shall see.


The weather was the usual. The wind shifted around to the north last night, and we had wave after wave of lake effect showers all day long. The temperature settled at about 15º and the wind was in the 15-30 mph range for most of the day, although I didn't notice it because it was from the north. It has died down now.


I didn't think we'd had very much snow, but somebody in a red parka and hat came around 7:00 tonight and cleared the driveway, and I was surprised to see three or four inches of new. I have to think that was Aaron, unless either Ron or Steve have gotten some new clothes. I also think it was Aaron because he didn't do exactly the same kind of job Ron and Steve did. It was nice of them to do it, though. Ron has to do most of the work, so it is really nice for the other guys to give him a break. I wish I could help, too, but I couldn't get up onto the tractor.


I transcribed some more this afternoon, and I progress, albeit slowly. I like this story, and I'm getting into the really meaty part now.


So it was another quiet day in the field, and it will be another late night, but maybe I can keep away from the typing, the writing and the knitting.


January 7

I wrote a bit last night and it was 1:30 before I got to bed. I was hoping to be earlier tonight, but it doesn't look like I will be. This morning, Buster wanted me to get up around 9:30, and that was just too early, so he settled down to brood with his tail toward my head, and I went back to sleep until 11:00. All I can say is, it's a good thing he wasn't whipping his tail around like he sometimes does, or he probably would have gotten thrown across the floor, although a good loud screech usually sends him packing.


It was a quiet day and I didn't do much, although I did finally get all the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and started refilling it. 


There wasn't any snow overnight, but it snowed off and on all day, with not much wind. The temperature went up to 30º and stayed there, and after dark, the east wind started to pick up into the 20 mph range. It was cloudy and sort of blah.


I got a couple more chapters typed into the computer. Those chapters are really too short, but I'm not really sure what to do about them. I have defined a chapter as an episode, and most of them seem to be around 6,000 words long. I suppose I could double them up, but logically it doesn't make much sense.


I finally almost finished the sweater. I got all the ends darned in, and all I have to do now is sew on the buttons. I want to use thread for that, so I have to dig out some black thread. That is going to be a nice sweater.


Now I have to find the Maizy socks, which are someplace in this room, and finish them off, too, and then I can go on to other things.


So that was my quiet day, and it's off to the north end, where I will probably get to writing again and be late to bed again.


January 6 - The Epiphany of Our Lord

I fiddled around again, and I think it was close to 1:00 before I got to bed. I didn't sleep very well, for some reason. I was warm, but that wasn't the whole reason. I didn't get up until about 11:00, and I might have kept on sleeping except that Buster insisted. If I stay in bed past 11:00, he gets very agitated, and he doesn't understand why, if I'm even half awake, I just don't get up. He is a funny little cat.


I did a few things. I washed the towels, and I folded all the stuff that was in the dryer yesterday. Now all I have to do is be a good girl and put it all away!


I went to the post office, where there was an incredible pile of catalogs as well as a couple of bills and a few other things. 


Among the other things was a note from the daughter of one of my mother's friends. It seems her mother died only a couple of months after her father, back in 2007, and she also told me our friend Bernie had passed. I was able to find Bernie's obit, and she died in June. I was disappointed that the people I hoped would tell me those things apparently decided that since I moved up here, I wasn't interested in them anymore. I'm sorry about that. Now there are a couple of notes I should write, but since it's been so long, I guess I have time to decide how to frame the letters.


So all my mother's close friends are now gone. I wasn't surprised - they were all close to 90 and in very poor health - but it is sad. Maybe my mother was lucky to go so young and so fast.


The weather was a respite. The temperature was around 25º for most of the afternoon, although it has now risen to 30º, and there was a south wind in the 10-20 mph range. It was mostly cloudy, but there were a few rays of sunshine somewhere in there. As far as I can determine, there was no snow.


When I finally turned out the light last night, the gibbous moon was hanging in the northwest over the harbor, and I could see it even though the blinds were pulled. There were clouds, though, and I did see one star, but only briefly, when I was up, so it was a partly cloudy night.


This evening I got another chapter typed into the computer. I now have 111,000 words, but I seem to be only about a quarter of the way through. It's a long story.


In tracking down obits, I found the one for Bernie's husband Steve, and I had to check back in the journals, because the date wasn't what I remembered. It was right, though. However, what interested me is that even back at the beginning of 2002 I was noticing that my elimination was screwed up. I may have IBS-D, but I am absolutely certain it was caused by all the chemo in 2001. Someday, I'll get other people to believe that, too. Now if I can only figure out how to fix it...


So that was my rather sad day, and I'm off to the north end. I have another book, this one on the early Middle Ages, so I will probably read a while. It's a quiet night in the field.


January 5

I fiddled around for a while, reading ahead in the story I'm transcribing, and it was 12:30 before I got to bed. When I got to the north end, the wind was hammering the end of the house, and it was 62º in the bedroom. I closed the blinds, which helped. It was a more reasonable 68º in the bathroom after I turned on the heat lamp for a while, so I got to take my bath in relative comfort. It was cold enough that I put on my flannel nightie...and around 4:00, I took it off. Once I get the bed warmed up, I generate enough heat to keep it quite comfortable under the covers.


I didn't really sleep well until after 7:00 this morning, though. It was just too noisy. The wind was from the northwest, which not only makes it cold in the bedroom, it makes it noisy. According to the NWS station, it was only gusting to about 30 mph, but it sure sounded like more than that.


I finally got up around 10:00. It was still windy for the next couple of hours, and it snowed pretty much all day long. I decided to hibernate today, so I put on my sweatpants, and I was quite comfortable, even though it was only 63º when I got to the office. It warmed up quickly, after I almost closed the door to the great room. I've found that even though I can't close the doors completely, even a partial close helps.


One reason it was so cold this morning is that the temperature bottomed out at 7º for a couple of hours early this morning, before it began rising. It briefly got to 16º before it dropped back, and there is now almost no wind at all.


I don't know how much snow we got, but it was a lot - eight to twelve inches probably. Ron had reported there was quite a drift at the end of my driveway, and when I looked out, I had a huge pile right across the whole driveway just about at the front porch...much too deep to try to drive through. You would hardly know Steve was here yesterday. Ron came by at almost dark tonight and cleaned it up nicely - the tractor seems to be working very well now. I turned on all the floodlights to give him something to see by, and I hope it helped. The sides of my driveway aren't always that easy to see. I should try to get some sticks for next year, just to make it a little easier.


They are predicting lake effect snow until 1:00 am, so we aren't through yet, although I don't think there will be a lot more, at least from this storm.


So I hunkered down and transcribed some more of the story and watched the snow fly by. I also watched the birds. Once the wind died down, they were here in flocks. I can imagine they were hungry after having to try to avoid the winds for a couple of days. I have a big flock of goldfinches and several chickadees. I still haven't seen any nuthatches, darn it. I hope they are there. I will have to fill feeders tomorrow.


Otherwise, I washed the fleece tops, and that was all I did.


So it's a cold, quiet, snowy night in the field, and I'm going to be late again.


January 4

I jumped into bed at around 11:30 last night, and I slept very well, until about 10:00 this morning. It was a quiet but snowy night - very snowy, in fact.


When I got to the office, there was a nice blanket of between 8" and 12" (I didn't measure, so I can't tell for sure) over all the driveway, and some largish drifts in front of the office patio doors. 


It was warmish - around 25º - and quite calm until around 2:30, when all of a sudden the wind picked up and the snow started again, and it's been pretty hairy around here ever since. The temperature has fallen to 15º and is on its way down, and the wind has risen into the 20-40 mph range and is now out of the north. When it started, it was from the west for a short while, and it was really ferocious. It has blown away all the drifts on the deck (thank you very much!).


Steve came on the tractor around 4:00 and did a beautiful job on my driveway, although I expect somebody will have to come tomorrow, too, since it has been snowing as well as blowing. Thankfully, the tractor and the blower have been working fine.


I did a few things today. I washed four loads of clothes, the last three of which are in the dryer now (I have a huge dryer). The last load started out to be the sweatpants and sweatshirt I had been wearing, and when I went to get my robe, I found a bunch of other stuff I'd forgotten. Tomorrow I will do the polar fleece and the towels. 


The reason I had to wash what I'd been wearing is that I cooked - pork chops in mushroom soup with rice - and when I ate, I dripped all over myself. That pair of pants, which are pale blue French terry, is one of my bad-news garments. I don't seem to be able to eat without getting stuff all over them. So now they are in the dryer, and the sauté pan and a large pot are in the sink soaking. I didn't get the dishwasher unloaded, so I can't put in the dirty dishes yet. I actually cooked rice without it boiling over, for only about the second time since I have lived here, but I had to use a huge, deep pan to do it. Whatever works, I guess.


I had to do a lot of surfing today, because I refilled my pill dispensers and found that I am running out of several of my supplements. That always takes a lot of time. I also ended up ordering some books (of course!), including a couple on IBS that purport to cure it. We'll see about that. 


One of them claims that a lot of IBS is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, and since I am certain mine was brought on by all the chemo, it makes sense to me that if the chemo killed off the bacteria that keep others in check, I could have an overgrowth of kinds that cause diarrhea. The trouble is, since everybody's symptoms are a little different, everybody has a different idea of what causes it and how to treat it. The only thing they are coming to agree on is that it isn't a mental problem, and goodness knows I can prove that. If it was caused by stress, like some doctors think, I would have had it big time when I was working, and I didn't.  Even though my beloved Dr. Lehman doesn't agree with me, I am absolutely certain mine was brought on by the chemo, and something is out of whack in my digestive tract, and if I can figure out what, I should be able to get rid of it, or at least keep it under control.


That consumed most of the afternoon. There seem to be a lot of books on Amazon that have an excerpt of the first chapter available to read, and I'm finding that is very useful. Unfortunately, the craft books usually only have the table of contents, and that makes it harder. A while back I returned a couple of knitting books that were just useless to me (Amazon is good at that, too), and if I'd been able to see a few of the projects, I would never have bought them. 


Of course, I had to look at all the new and soon to be released books in my fields of interest, and that consumed a lot of time, too. In the middle of it all, when the wind and the snow started, I lost my connectivity, and that took time to resolve. So it was a nice way to pass the time while the wash was washing.


So that was my day. I really am feeling much better than I did for several weeks in December, and that's nice. I figured I was harboring some kind of bug that finally came to a head on the 26th. I was having night sweats, which is always a good sign that I'm fighting something. I haven't had any since, even when I had to pee, and that's nice, too.


So it's a hairy night in the field, and it's past time to go to bed, since I do have to bathe tonight.


January 3

I finally made it into bed around midnight last night, and I don't quite remember why. I didn't write and I didn't knit, and I don't remember what I did do. I got up around 9:30 this morning, because I had to walk. I think I could have kept on sleeping, but I had a sore hip, so it seemed best to get up. I petted a cat and knitted a while before I got dressed.


And that was just about all I did, other than some surfing, and not much of that. I printed off my tables of sunrise and sunset and so forth, and I found a couple of new ones that are most interesting: length of day and length of night for every day of the year. We are over the really short days, but we are gaining time at a very slow rate right now. We are still in the days of latest sunrise - 8:39 am until the 6th. Sunset is slowly getting later. It is now about 5:15 and getting later by almost a minute a day.


What I found interesting is that while our shortest days, from Dec. 15 through Dec. 25, are 8h27m, our shortest nights are 8h2m from June 18 through June 23. So it's not completely symmetrical, which I sort of thought it was. I'm glad - 8½ hours of daylight is quite short enough, thank you. And those long days in June are 15h58m - sooo nice!


Anyway, even though I get the same information daily on the Weather Underground page, I like to print the tables, so I can look at how things change over weeks or months. I've been doing it since I discovered the Naval Observatory data page, back about 2001. Of course, if you live in the boonies like I do, you have to know your latitude and longitude, but there are ways of finding that, including getting a GPSS. 


I did type about 11,000 words, and I am up to 95,000 now. I'm afraid this thing is close to 500,000 words long, and I keep wondering if I will be able to keep it all in one file...or if I'll want to.


Oh, yes, and I processed the December journal into Word. I apologize for the several strange sentences I discovered while I was reading through it - sentences with one or more words left out. I do try to proofread these entries, but clearly sometimes I don't do very well (in my mind I've always called it preafrood). I will try to do better this month.


I had been having some trouble with Outlook Express abending lately, and I finally figured out that it was because my inbox was almost 240mb. People have been sending me big files with pictures and PowerPoint presentations, etc. So I cleaned out all that stuff. I still have it on disk, but one of these days I will move it to the TravelDisk and delete it. I appreciate the pictures, but not the time it takes to receive them and the amount of disk space it takes to store them.


Speaking of appreciating. Several people have sent me emails lately saying that they have set up FaceBook pages. Well, good for you. I'm sorry, but I'm going to be a stick-in-the-mud. I just have no desire whatsoever to get involved in that thing. Since I can't even look at your pages unless I register, I won't be able to see what you've put out there. This journal is my contact with the world, and email is the way you're going to have to talk to me for the foreseeable future. It's a matter of time on the web and my precious privacy.


The weather was more of the same. It snowed off and on all day without any accumulation to speak of. The temperature started out around 20º and has now risen to 25º, and there is a huge area of fairly heavy snow south and west of us, headed in our direction, because the light winds are from the south. We are under a winter storm warning through Monday night, although they've been waffling all day about how long to extend it. It is going to snow. Period. And it is going to get windy by tomorrow night.


I guess I sound rather cranky tonight, although I didn't think I felt like that. It's definitely time to go to bed.


I realized last night when I was reading my nightly devotions that I have not said very much about the religious part of this season we are still in. I'm sorry about that, because that is mostly what I consider Christmas to be. The reason I realized it last night is that they had printed my favorite Christmas prayer (and hymn) in the new translation in the new hymnal, and of course they massacred it. So I will print it here, the way it's supposed to be. Since Epiphany isn't until Tuesday, we can still pray and sing it:

Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child,

Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,

Within my heart that it may be

A quiet chamber kept for Thee.


There. Now I can go off to the north end feeling all serene inside.


It's a wintry night in the field, and the snow is on its way.


January 2 

I finally got to bed about 2:30, and I did sleep, but my feet were like two blocks of ice, and I didn't sleep well until after I woke up around 6:00 and put my socks on. Then I slept nicely until about 10:00. That wasn't nearly enough sleep, and I will be going up to the north end shortly.


I did my morning thing and then I called Syd, and she came over around 2:00. While I was waiting for her, I filled the bird feeders. I noticed that the deck is very icy and slippery. If that doesn't change, I will have to put on my shoes and my Yak Traks to make sure I don't slide. It was all quiet when I brought the feeders in. It took me a while to fill them, especially since I knocked over the thistle feeder all over the floor and I at least had to move the seed out of the way. When I went outside again to hang them back up, I could hear little peeps and whistles and a few "chick-a-dees" coming from the trees...they noticed. They didn't come to the feeders at once, but then I got busy, and I noticed that the tube feeder had gone down quite a bit by sunset.


I've also noticed that several days ago - I don't know when - my little four footed friend moved the camera again. I will have to see if I can fix that tomorrow. It is aimed too far to the right now. I think the flies are just about gone, so maybe she will stop it, but I also think that is one place where the mice come in, so maybe not.


Syd came, and I now have a sparkling clean kitchen. It's really nice. I defrosted my quart of bean soup for dinner tonight, so I got a few things on the counter, but not a whole lot, and I am going to try to keep it clean in here. We shall see. Syd and Marty are leaving Monday, but they will be back in a couple of weeks, and we'll see how it looks then. In the meantime, I am going to try to work on the office so that when she gets back, we can work in here and maybe get it under control, at least for a while. I have four or five more bags of catalogs to throw out, as well as all the pleas for money. I need to start taking things to the dump, too.


The weather was the usual. The temperature dropped down to about 18º and stayed there all day, and there was a brisk north wind, in the 20-30 mph range. I put on a hat when I went out, but I didn't feel cold in my fleece jacket. I guess I'm getting used to it at last. It snowed on and off for most of the day, sometimes quite hard, but again, it didn't look like there was much accumulation. I don't know where it all goes. We are under a winter storm watch for Saturday night and Sunday, so maybe there will be more then - just so Ron has something to do before Trevor goes back to school on Monday.


I have gotten used to the way Word works, and FrontPage is bothering me more than usual tonight. If I mistype a word it knows, or if (as I frequently do) I capitalize the second letter of a word as well as the first, Word will change it, most of the time automatically, which is really neat. FrontPage isn't so nice. It flags the word as being wrong, but it's up to me to change it. You know, Office is supposed to be a suite, and to me that means all the parts should work the same way. But noooo...that's Microsoft.


So that is all I can think of to report, and I am going up to the north end and try to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. My right eye is bothering me, which only happens when I'm tired or I've been looking at the computer or embroidery too long. I have a cornea condition which causes little pieces of it to flake off (nothing to worry about, the doctors keep telling me) and lodge under my eyelid or in the corner of my eye, and that is most uncomfortable. No matter what causes it, it's a sign it's time to go to sleep. So I shall.


I think it will be a good night for a long winter's nap. The lake should be speaking and singing me to sleep.


January 1 - New Year's Day

Happy New Year! I hope this year is a happy, safe, and healthy one for everyone, and we get over our financial woes in a hurry.


I was in bed before midnight last night, and shortly after I turned out the light, I heard something go "boom!", and when I looked down the harbor, there were fireworks! They only lasted about 5 minutes, I think, but they were very pretty, and I had a very good view of them from my bed, so that was a nice way to ring in the new year. Much better than Detroit, with the war that goes on around there.


I got up around 10:00, I think (although I don't really remember), and I petted a cat and knitted a sock for some time before I got dressed. It was snowing (so what else is new?).


When I called Syd, she said that instead of coming over, I should go over there, with a few other people for pizza, so of course I said sure. I met a new person - Mike's wife Chris - and we had a very good dinner of various pizzas, each of which was different, and all of which were good. There was a lot of good conversation and a lot of laughter. Ron and Bill and Sandi left fairly early, but the rest of us stayed and enjoyed ourselves.


I got home around 1:30, and there were two very sour looking cats standing in the hallway frowning at me when I came in from the garage. I'm just not supposed to go away for that long, and even Jasmine thinks so. Too bad about her.


That was a very nice way to spend New Year's Day, and I enjoyed it.


The weather was the usual. It snowed off and on for most of the day, and there was a rather gusty west wind. The temperature sat just around 20º for most of the day. There wasn't enough snow accumulation to warrant taking out the tractor again, but we did make new tracks when we drove in and out.


I actually did something today. I got the dishwasher load started, and I cleaned out all the trash, so things look much better in the kitchen. I washed the pots and pans that had been sitting in the sink for so long, and I put the rest to soak so I can do them tomorrow. So that accomplished something. There is still stuff to put away, and stuff to wash, but it is very much better out there than it was this morning.


And now I am going up to the north end and jump into bed - no hanging around for a bath tonight! - and sleep hard and fast. It was a nice day, and it's a wintry night in the field again.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM