A View From the Field








December, 2009


December 31 - New Year's Eve

Since most of you won't read this until tomorrow, I will wish you all a happy, healthy New Year! 


I went up to the north end and read for a while, then I took a nice hot shower and let the water run on my back, and that made it feel much better. Actually, it was feeling some better when I left the studio. I hauled out the heat wrap, which is so old the elastic bands are completely stretched out, and I strapped it around my back and slept with it all night. I feel much better today, I'm glad to say. When I sat in the bathroom this morning, I put on my fleece robe to keep my back warm. I petted a cat and cast on the second black sock.


Otherwise, I did very little, I'm sorry to say. I wrote a few - very few - checks to charities, and I went to the post office, where there was some mail, and a bunch of new catalogs, of course.


This evening, I cooked some chicken with low-fat mushroom soup, and it was all right. I like that dish. After dinner, I washed up a bunch of pan lids that had been lying around, and I sort of cleaned up the stove. I didn't do a complete job on it, but it does look a lot better. Tomorrow maybe I can do the other side, which isn't really dirty, just sort of cluttered with a lot of specks of stuff on it. The pans from tonight are soaking and tomorrow will be a put-away day. I began to try to do something about all the boxes that have been lying around. That's not finished, either. The place is still a terrible mess.


The weather was, well, wintry. It snowed off and on all day, although I don't think there was a lot of accumulation. It was up in the 20s last midnight, but the temperature dropped steadily all day, and it is now 18º. There is a mostly north wind in the 20-35 mph range, which makes it seem a whole lot colder. I was glad to get home.


This is the night when I usually look back on the year. Most of it was difficult, I have to say. I was sick a lot, and not feeling very well otherwise, at least until the end of November. Things are looking up now, if I can get past next Tuesday. My financial situation hasn't gotten any better, although a couple of monthly bills have decreased a lot, which will help. I tried selling my jewelry on etsy, but it hasn't done much. I tried scaring up a job for the summer, but nobody wanted to hire me, which is discouraging.


Weatherwise, it was cold.  Last winter was deceptive. We didn't have any big blizzards, but we ended up with 283" of snow for the season. The only month that could really be called "summer" was September, then we paid in October with some nasty, cold and wet weather. November was amazing, warm and dry. Then December came, and the bottom dropped out of the thermometer and it started snowing. As of yesterday, we'd had about 80" of snow at Delaware, according to George Hite.


Well, we all have years like that. I am grateful to be over the C. diff, and I hope getting rid of the gall bladder will solve the rest of my problems, other than the ongoing ones with arthritis. My mental state has been much better since I got over the C. diff and started taking a lot more vitamin D, so I am counting on the new year being much better than the last one.


I must also say that when I moved in here, five months after the stem cell transplant, I only had a hope that I might see 2010, so when I get up every morning, it is with delight that I'm still here and still perambulating. 


Now the lake is roaring and the wind is blowing and the snow is coming down, and I think I will totter up to the north end and not worry whether I make it to midnight. There are supposed to be fireworks at midnight in the park, but with the snow, I'm not sure I will be able to see them this year. I certainly am not going to freeze my fanny off to go down and see them there! It's cold outside!


It's a cold, snowy and blowy night in the field, a good one to huddle under the covers and sleep long and hard.


Happy New Year!


December 30

What a beautiful night! I turned out the light about 10:30, and the almost-full moon was shining brightly through skies that were almost clear. It was so amazing: the snow looked like the light was in it, and it was glowing like big fluorescent sheets all around. It was so bright I didn't need a night light or anything to see the cats. I was up about three times, which was a relief. The last time, the moon was hanging over the lighthouse, and it was sort of fuzzy behind some clouds over to the north. I don't think I've ever seen the snow quite like that.


By the time I got up, around 9:30, it was cloudy, though. I petted a cat and I finished the second Noro sock. They are very pretty, but I won't wear them. Anyway, it took a bit of time to finish the sock, and then I folded the underwear and put it all away. I noticed something wasn't quite right with my back while I was folding, and when I went to get up, I almost couldn't. My back has gone into spasms, for the first time in a long time. I don't know how it happened. The bathroom wasn't cold, and there were no drafts, but wow! I am OK when I sit down - not good, but OK - but when I try to get up or walk, I am in agony. I will use the heat wrap tonight and maybe take a strong pain pill, but if I don't feel better tomorrow, I may try to see if Johanna is available. 


As a result of that, all my good intentions for today didn't happen. I did manage (just) to fill the pail with birdseed, but I didn't get the feeders filled. I'm really sorry - there were a lot of birds around, including several woodpeckers I didn't see very well, and everything is empty except for the thistle feeder. I did get the trash off the counters, but the kitchen is a real mess. Sigh. If it's not one damn thing, it's another.


The weather was OK. While it got down to 13º overnight, with west winds in the 10-20 mph range, the temperature got up to 25º this afternoon, with almost no wind at all. There was a little sunshine around noon, and while it was cloudy, it was bright cloudy. It was probably nice out. I should have gone. There is a lake effect advisory out from tomorrow morning through Saturday morning, so we will be having some more snow.


I talked to the surgeon and I guess the vancomycin is the best choice we have, since I'm allergic to penicillin and sulfa, and the only other choice might cause the C. diff to return. It will only be one dose, so we'll have to hope for the best. She knew all about my concern, and she was willing to let me make the decision. She is trying to say the other doctor was the one who decided I needed the heart tests, but she went to him. So much for full disclosure.


 I can report that I wasn't nearly so hungry today, thank goodness! My body is a peculiar one, and I noticed a long time ago that when I don't get my sleep and my food at the intervals it is used to, all sorts of strange things happen. Besides, I was tired yesterday, and that tends to make me feel hungry. If I can't sleep, I must eat. I had one of the new (at least to me) low-everything TV dinners tonight, and it was better than I expected, and Buster thought it was the best thing he'd had in a long, long time. I'll have to see if I can find it again. He is a funny little cat.


 So even though it is relatively early, I am going up to the north end, take my bath, and sit on the heat wrap for a while before I go to bed. It's a quiet, cloudy night in the field, but the moon will make it bright. What a moon!


December 29

Again I didn't fiddle around much, and I think I was in bed by 10:30 again. This time I slept well. The lake was singing, although less loudly as the wind died down, and it was so bright outside from the almost-full moon, and I did good. I woke up around 8:15, as usual when I set the alarm, and I turned it off, but I got up at 8:30 anyway, and this morning I had time to do some of my morning surfing before I was off to town.


This was a much better trip than yesterday's. In fact, there was some sunshine, and I wore my sunglasses. It clouded up by the time I got to Laurium, but there wasn't any snow.


Now, this stress test was completely different from the last one I had. After walking down the hall with me, the technician agreed that I couldn't walk the treadmill. Besides, I mentioned that I was feeling like I might go hypoglycemic, so he gave me a little juice and he said I could have had a little breakfast - thanks a lot for telling me. Anyway, the way they did it was to take what amounts to two MUGA scans, one before the stressor (which was an injection) and one 20 minutes after. Each scan took 12 minutes, and I had to keep my arms over my head as best I could, which was the hardest part of it. The injection produced some interesting effects, including some queasiness in my stomach, but it wasn't all that bad. However, with all the waiting around, I was there for close to two hours.


I had the foresight to bring a small sandwich and some juice with me, so before I left the parking lot, I ate my lunch, after which I felt better, at least for a while. I stopped at Pat's for some more lunchmeat and some low-everything TV dinners. I got home about 3:15.


Driving was easy in both directions, although I got behind a guy going down the covered road who clearly wasn't used to driving there, especially on snow, but he turned off at Lac La Belle Road - possibly going to ski at Bohemia. And on the way back, I encountered a guy north of Mohawk who was one of the more timid drivers I have run across lately, but I passed him in front of the Cliffview Bar, since there was no traffic in the other direction. He could go as slow as he wanted to behind me. Not that I went all that fast, believe me. There were stretches of the roads where it was down to bare pavement at least in two tracks, but there were others where there was still ice. I don't think I went over 55 mph anywhere, even on the straightaways. Even driving on ice you can go a lot faster when you know you aren't going to have to brake suddenly.


When I left Calumet, the sun was shining a bit, and it continued up to Mohawk, but I could see that I was driving into a big, dark cloud, and it was cloudy from Mohawk north. The temperature got up to 24º here, and it was 21º when I was getting gas in Calumet, but there was a cutting wind and it wasn't nice out. My body and my legs were OK, but my hands were two chunks of ice after I got through fiddling with the gas nozzle. I wish they would standardize gas pumps. The person in the store had to tell me how to get the gas started - oops. I don't get gas there very often. Anyway, the wind was from the north in the 15-30  mph range until noon or so (at least here), and it has now died down to just about nothing.


So that was my day. One thing I notice about this low-fat diet is that I am eating a lot more. I seem to be hungry all the time. I had one of my TV dinners when I got home - OK, not great, but I only got one - and I just finished another sandwich, this one on a new kind of bun I found. I was hungry, but my excuse was that the lunchmeat I got at Econo was beginning to go, and at those prices, I needed to eat it up. Uh-huh. Anyway, once I get off this horrible diet, I will be interested to see if I am less hungry. I hope so, or there won't be any way to keep the weight off.


Now I am through with all the tests, and I certainly hope they all come out well. I see no reason why they shouldn't. Now I can try to do something about the house, and I need to move some things - including a bunch of orange bags - in the garage so Roxie can get in. I need to clean up the kitchen so she doesn't know just what a pigsty it has gotten to be. And tonight I can read to my heart's content then go to bed and sleep to my heart's content. Among other things, I do not like having the even tenor of my ways disrupted.


So it's a cloudy, quiet night in the field, and it's time to call it a night.


December 28

I didn't fiddle around last night, except to read for a while, and I was in bed by 10:30. That was later than I had planned, but oh, well. It didn't matter. I didn't sleep very well anyway. I was up any number of times, and my arthritic joints were all aching. I woke up about 6:45 and had to pee, and while I went back to bed, I didn't go back to sleep. That was just as well, because the alarm didn't go off. I think I know why, now that I think about it. I keep forgetting that that clock has an "AM" and "PM", and I suspect either the time or the alarm time is 12 hours off. That frequently happens when we have a power failure. So I got up at about 7:15 anyway - my right hip was really sore. I petted a cat a little, but I didn't knit any.


I got to have my breakfast and do some of my morning surfing, during which I discovered that some of my funnies don't update until late in the morning. They were fine when I got home.


I got off before 9:00, and it was a good thing I did. I heard the lake singing more and more loudly overnight, and when I checked the weather conditions, the temperature was around 15º and the wind was 36 mph with gusts to 46 mph from the north. Wow! When I checked later, I discovered that I'd missed the most fun - between 5:00 and 7:00 this morning, the sustained winds were about 40 mph with gusts to 50 mph. That, friends, is a genuine gale!


Driving wasn't too bad except around Lake Medora, where that wind was blowing across the frozen surface of the lake and creating near white-out conditions on the road. It didn't help that somebody who lives down there was parked ON the road while they dug out their driveway. By the way, when I came home, they were in their driveway, but there was a glass company truck parked on the road - evidently they had a window go. Wow, I'm glad I live in a relatively sheltered spot and I have a new house! I think it's probably good that I don't have any huge picture windows, too.


I didn't want to go very fast, even though I couldn't feel any actual slipping. I didn't see any traffic until just north of Mohawk, and when I saw the oncoming headlights on the road, I realized that there is a layer of ice underneath the snow. Not nice. All the way south, I kept running through bands of rather heavy snow, too, although I really don't think there was a lot of accumulation.


So I got to the hospital right about 10:00, and I had my pre-op interview, at which I learned something I am going to have to talk to the doctor about. She wants to give me intravenous vancomycin, but that is extremely hard on the kidneys, and I just won't let her do that to me. So I will call her tomorrow and see if we can get it straightened out. I had my blood tests, my chest x-rays (which I didn't know about, but they always do that) and my EKG, and it was still only 11:30. I presented myself at the outpatient admitting office, and they were able to work it out so that I got my echocardiogram at 12:00 rather than 2:00. I was very appreciative. Tomorrow I go back for my stress test - ugh!


Anyway, I was on my way home by 1:00. I stopped at the Laughing Loon to see if they had any big sweatpants, but they didn't, so Laurel and I had a nice conversation until some real customers came in, and she will make a note that I want some sweatpants. Even though it won't do me any good for this time, it would be nice to have some nice-looking, warm sweats. And I will go to the hospital looking a bit tacky.


I was starving by the time I got home. Even a big bowl of cereal just doesn't keep my from getting hungry during the day...but then, I don't usually eat that early, either. I think I will take a sandwich with me tomorrow, because I am running out of sandwich material, and I discovered that at least some Stouffer's Lean Cuisine is low fat, and that will help. There are a few of their things that I like. Anyway, I have to fast for the stress test, which surprised me. I didn't the last time.


The rest of the weather: the temperature plummeted overnight, and it was right around 15º from noon onward, at least here. Down the peninsula, in the "interior" it was around 10º to 12º all day, which made it rather uncomfortable to be outside. I had to wait outside the hospital while somebody moved her car, and I wished I had had my longjohns on. With that wind, it was downright frigid. The wind has died down a bit now, to 28-35 mph, still from the north, but the windchill is still below 0º. By the way, I just discovered that Microsoft is all wet again - the NWS calls it "windchill" not "wind chill" or "wind-chill". So there. And the Weather Underground has gone away - evidently they had a server failure, or something.


Anyway, it has been a nice blow, and we have some new snow, which has covered up all the ice. On our road, that is great. Aaron smoothed down all the ruts on Saturday before it froze, and now it's covered with new snow, although I think Ron did do the road this afternoon. I could see where he went out when I was coming in. A couple of families are coming up today for the New Year, and he agreed to clear them out - one is our friends Sandi and Bill, but the other one lives way out at the end of Horizon, which must have been fun to clear. I'm only sorry I couldn't have just stayed here and watched the snow come down horizontally.


Now I am really tired, and it's time to totter up to the north end, take my bath, and crash. I don't need to get up quite as early tomorrow morning, but I certainly can't sleep until 10:00!


It's a very cold, very windy, and very noisy night in the field.


December 27

I was so late with the journal last night, and then I read for a while, so it was nearly 1:00 when I got to bed. I was up a lot for some reason, and I got up around 10:30. I knitted and petted a cat for a while, so it was a truncated day. Then I remembered I had to fill the pill dispensers, so I did that.


I had my pancakes for breakfast, and they tasted very good, and besides, they cooked fast. This time the griddle temperature was just right (I can see why some people like electric griddles with temperature control), so not only did they taste good, they were cooked just right. The batter was quite runny, but they rose when they hit the griddle, and they turned out just the way I like them, nice and moist. Yum.


When I got up, it was snowing heavily, and that continued until after 2:00 this afternoon. We got quite a bit of snow. We are under a lake effect advisory for tomorrow. Figures, since I not only do I have to go to town, I have to go early and I have an appointment.


My day was quite truncated, and I didn't get all five loads of wash done, but the most important ones - the three I always do - are done and the last one is in the dryer. The fleece and the towels are still to do, but maybe I can do them tomorrow when I get home. 


Otherwise, it was "put-away day", and while it took me quite a while, I did get it done. The cat food is all in the pantry. I am a bit confused by what I bought while I was in Detroit. I'm not sure if I couldn't find some of the varieties, or I just figured I could get them here. Well, I know Buster likes everything I got. Trouble is, a lot of the varieties are the ones with chunks in gravy, and there just isn't that much real food in them, so sometimes I have to feed him in the evening. Sometimes reconstructing my thoughts from a time like that isn't easy.


After that, I got all the pots and pans (except the dirty ones) put away, unloaded the dishwasher, and began to load it again. All the counters need attention, but at least I have counters I can work on again. Oh, and I had laid in some new varieties of herbal teas - not that I really needed any more - and I got all that stashed away.


That was a mess, though. I have had the habit of turning my syrup bottle upside down when I get down to the end, so I can get the last few drops out. Well, it seems like the lid wasn't closed tight, so I had a sticky, gooey  mess in the cupboard and on a couple of boxes of tea. I had to soak it for most of the afternoon to get the puddle up, and one of the boxes is still sticky, but I did get the stuff back into the cupboard. I will have to be more careful the next time, that I make sure the bottle is closed tight before I turn it upside down. It didn't help my exertions that my back was bothering me...cold dampness is just not good for it.


I discovered I never folded the last month's last load of wash, so I did that, and I found the pair of sweats I thought I had lost. At least I have those. The doctor doesn't want me to wear jeans to the hospital. I guess I remember how hard it was to get into my jeans after I had my ovaries out, and how fast I got out of them when I got home. I wish I had some nicer looking sweats. Since in the past I haven't worn them in public - ever - I got the cheapest ones I could find, but they have pilled badly and they aren't nice looking. The black ones are even older and even rattier - they were seconds from K-Mart - and when I was in the hospital in 2001, I actually forgot I had them. They sure are comfortable, though. The ratty blue ones have cuffs and not elastic around the bottoms, and they are pretty comfortable, although they look horrible. I may try to stop at the Laughing Loon tomorrow or Tuesday and hope they have some big ones left. Roxie got a very nice pair, but Laurel told me a month or more ago that they were already out of the big sizes. So we'll see.


I decided to take a chance and not wear my compression hose today, and it seems to have worked out all right. It sure did feel funny, though. I kept feeling like something was missing all day. 


The weather was more wintry. I mentioned the snow. The temperature has been between 28º and 32º for the past 24 hours. It got up to 32º for about 3 hours, but it didn't get above freezing, and i don't think any snow melted. The wind was 10 mph or under all day, although it has finally - finally - shifted around to the north. 


There is a lake effect advisory out from 1:00 am through tomorrow night, and the wind should be rising and the temperature dropping through the night. Drat. I had hoped it might hold off until after Tuesday, but no such luck. Well, with EKGs and ultrasounds tomorrow, we'll see how good my heart is. I am not afraid to drive in snow, but I don't like to, if there's any way I can avoid it. A week from Tuesday can't come fast enough for me.


So I guess I had a busy day, and I've run on about everything I can think of, so it's time to toddle up to the north end and see if maybe I can get to bed a lot earlier tonight. I will have to get up around 7:30 tomorrow - much earlier than I ever want to! That means the alarm clock. Sigh.


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


December 26 - Boxing Day, St. Stephen's Day

I forgot to write my favorite Christmas verse last night, so here it is:


Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child,

Make Thee a bed soft, undefiled

Within my heart that it may be

A quiet chamber kept for Thee.


I went up to the north end and read and listened to the oratorio, but they only did half of it. I hope they do the other half next week. It is actually six cantatas that Bach wrote for the various holy days between Christmas and Epiphany, and they are all nice. Instead of the second half, there was a short cantata by Saint-Saens, which was nice, but not like Bach. It did end with a rousing chorus that I've sung, but I can't remember where or when. So that was nice. 


I kept right on reading, and it was midnight - again - before I got to bed. This has got to stop, although it obviously isn't going to tonight. I didn't get up until almost 10:30 this morning, and I knitted and petted a cat for quite a while. 


I was so late that I didn't do very much. I did write a few checks, and I went to the post office, where there were some Christmas cards from some e-friends, for which I thank them very much, and a package from Arthur and Mary Ann. After what was in my card, I thought Arthur was playing with my mind when he asked me my size, but he wouldn't do that, and I received a very pretty red cardigan sweater with embroidered discs on it. Very nice. I will wear it with pleasure.


I also got my Christmas present from myself, which I only ordered Sunday or Monday. I was surprised. Sometimes that place is slow, but not this time. It was just a lot of fun needlework stuff to play with, which I have to do now and then.


I am happy to say both our road and US-41 were much better today than they were last night. I ran into Ron when I was going up the hill, and I had to back down to the culverts in order to get a running start, but that wasn't bad. Then I ran into Aaron on the tractor, but he was able to pull over enough to let me by. He and Amanda had a bad time getting home last night (I saw their tire tracks), and I thought it was nice of him to do the road. He also scared up some diesel, which Ron was very low on, so that was good.


US-41 was just damp. Evidently the rain finally melted the snow pack on it. There was a traffic jam at the post office, but I was able to say "hi" go some people I hadn't seen in a while. And I got the stuff I had asked Johanna to get for me, so now I can have my favorite chicken dish, the one with the mushroom soup, as well as one in the microwave that is cooked in tomato juice. Oh, I'll make it until the 5th somehow. I discovered that pancakes are very low fat, too, so I will have some of them tomorrow. They won't be as good without butter and sausage, but they should be OK, and I can put some of my bilberry jam on them. Yum!


Otherwise, I never got anything done. Today was supposed to be put-away day, but it never materialized. Tomorrow, maybe, while I'm washing. Tomorrow will be a busy day. The pill dispensers are empty, too, and I really need to put away all the stuff on the sink and do some cleaning in the kitchen. It's always something.


The weather turned out to be much better than they were predicting yesterday. The temperature went down overnight to about 30º, where it stayed all day, with almost no wind and no precipitation. It may be snowing lightly now (it is at the airport), but there wasn't any rain or snow during the day. In fact, the whole mess is gone. The low that caused it is about over Milwaukee, but there doesn't seem to be much precip. Now, tomorrow may be a different story, but we'll see.


That's why I am always a little suspicious when the NWS starts wringing its hands about the horrible storms that are coming our way. Occasionally, they've been right on, but it seems like more times than not, they are way too pessimistic (or optimistic, depending on your outlook), and the resulting event fizzles like this one did. Not that it was nice out yesterday, which was a shame for the people who were trying to travel, but we certainly never got the 2' of snow they were talking about. That may come from tomorrow through Wednesday, but we'll see about that, too. The wind is still from the south, and it needs to switch around to the north before any snow comes.


This evening, I started typing again, and I have now transcribed 145,000 words of the section. I'm more than half done, but there's still a lot more to do. This was a long one. I'm so late in doing the journal because I got into the middle of an interesting episode and I just kept typing. I'm not done with it  yet, but I just had to call a halt or I'd be up all night.


So that was another quiet day in the field, and it's another dark, cloudy night, and maybe it's snowing, too.


December 25 - Christmas Day

A happy and blessed Christmas to everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful day and celebrated the way you enjoy with people you love.


I read for a while last night and finished the first binder of those stories. I think it was about midnight when I got to bed, and I didn't get up until after 10:00. So much for church. I should be more disciplined than that, but it's been a long time.


I didn't eat much, since it was so close to my dinner date, but I had something when I got to the office and I had a snack around 1:00. That was a good thing, since we didn't eat until around 3:00, and I would have been famished. It was a good group and we had a lot of laughs and a lot of good food. There were lots of veggies, and the turkey was good even without gravy. I got to eat turnips for the second time in my life, and I like them. I'd never eaten them because my family didn't like them - I don't know why, they taste quite similar to rutabaga, which my mother, anyway, liked. Anyway, I don't suppose I stuck quite to my diet, but I didn't do badly for a holiday. We had a good time, and I didn't get home until nearly 6:00. Buster was not pleased.


The weather was terrible. It may have snowed a bit overnight, but around noon it started raining hard, and it poured all afternoon, which made driving rather interesting. When I went out, about 2:00, it wasn't too bad on our road, although US-41 was slippery - 30 mph weather. When I came home, they had sanded US-41, which only made it not any worse than when I went out. Our road had softened up enough that I had to creep down the hill to the culverts and claw my way up the other side in 4WD. I don't like it when the whole rear end of the car moves to the left by 6" at a time. So I'm glad to be home. It's still raining, although when I came home some of the rain was turning a bit solid. All I hope is that there is a good new snow cover before I have to go out again, or it will be more than interesting. The temperature was round 34º all day, and the wind was in the 10-30 mph range, from the south-southeast. That is a very slow moving storm! We won't get any relief until the wind shifts around to the northeast, which will, hopefully, be tomorrow.


It was nice to put on my good black flannel slacks and find them fitting very well, even in the waistline. Somehow, I have to try not to gain back the weight I've lost - I think it must be close to 30 lbs now, and it makes a big difference. I still have my double chin, but it's not as big, and my face doesn't look quite so much like the full moon. The gold-colored watch my mother gave me back in the '80s fits again, and I didn't have any trouble getting on my rings, all of which delights me. Of course, that's only a small amount of the weight I should lose, but as my cardiologist said to me once, any amount helps. Especially when I can get back into some of the clothes and things that were getting too small. I imagine my mother's wedding ring would fit my right finger again, too, if I ever got it out. Except for the pants that never did fit very well, the other things I've growing back into are all dresses, and it doesn't really matter so much if they fit. All my pantyhose have probably lost the elastic in the waistbands, just because they are so old, and I don't think any of my shoes would fit any better, since that's mostly the tendons spreading out. Not that there's much chance I'll be wearing a skirt again very soon...



When I got home, the broadband had gone away, and it seems there was a power failure at the Mountain Lodge sometime between 4:40 and 4:55, and it is still not back up. So I will do this on dial backup before I reboot.


So that was my nice, quiet day, and now I am listening to all the lovely Christmas music. As soon as I upload this, I will go up to the north end and read some more.


Thank you to everyone who sent me Christmas greetings. There were some that I just couldn't see, some because my broadband isn't fast enough to look at movies, and some just because my software is so out of date. I can see still pictures as attachments, and I can see PowerPoint presentations, but that's about the extent of it. I hope you'll understand.


Oh, dear, I just remembered that they are going to do Bach's Christmas Oratorio from Germany. Rats. I guess I will just turn on the radio at the north end. I have sung the Christmas Oratorio, and I love it.


It's a warmish, went and nasty night in the field.


Merry Christmas!!


December 24 - Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve to everyone!


I went up to the north end at a reasonable hour, but I was reading again, and the story, while not very well written, is interesting and exciting, so I read for quite a while, and I think it was shortly after midnight when I got to bed. I slept well, I must say. I got up around 9:00, and I petted a cat and knitted for quite a while.


When I got up, it was snowing lightly, and between 11:00 and 2:00 it snowed rather hard. It has tapered off a bit since then, but we got at least 4" of snow during that time. It's warm enough that it is heavy, soggy snow. Evidently there is more to come tonight and tomorrow, but it will be warm enough that there may be sleet and freezing rain in it. Yuck! Give me cold and plain snow! The temperature rose slowly all day and is now 33º. The wind has been from the south all day and it wasn't too strong, but at intervals we had gusts up almost to 30 mph. Not only is every season different, every snowstorm is different. We will have to wait until the wind shifts around to the north and dumps the cold air on us...then we'll get the lake effect. I hope it doesn't rain too much.


Ron came with my packages, and he came back later and cleared the driveway and the road. He was debating when I talked to him, but I guess when the snow abated a bit, he figured he'd better get out there and not wait until it's all down. Probably a wise decision. I shoveled a bit, to get the snow away from the garage door, and it closes much better now. It is the pickiest closure I have ever encountered, and I wish I could get it to be a little less sensitive.


And I have an invitation to Christmas dinner with the Kauppis again - how nice of Peggy! I'm not sure what I will be able to eat - turkey, of course - but I guess I can slip a bit on a holiday.


I actually did something today! I guess I'm feeling a lot better than I was. I put away the stuff that was on the counter and washed almost all the pots and pans that were dirty. The baking dish is soaking. I wish I could put it in the dishwasher, but there is too much in there already, so I will have to wash it by hand. The dishwasher is almost ready to run tonight, and I cooked. Oh, yes, and I packaged up the chicken in small packages and took all the meat down to the freezer. My freezer is really packed right now, mostly with stuff I can't eat for a while. Wow, I did do a lot - for me!


I cooked. I browned some chicken breasts in Pam, then covered them with Italian flavored canned tomatoes. I ate it over spaghetti, and it was good...and very low fat. Buster liked it, too. In fact, he was sitting on the desk looking at my dish and hollering at me he wanted it so much. Maybe I didn't give him enough, but at least he had some.


I was a little suspicious of those chicken breasts, because they were a special, but the one I had was very tender. I think that's partly because I was careful not to cook them at too high heat, and they weren't overcooked. I hope the rest are as good.


Anyway, under normal circumstances, I would have sautéed them in a little olive oil (very little), which would have made them brown a little nicer, but it turned out pretty good. It's a recipe I've had for a long time, that used Campbell's Italian tomato soup, which isn't made anymore, so I am fiddling with it to use something that is available. Italian stewed tomatoes work pretty well. And I'll eat almost any kind of pasta. I can't have noodles, because of the eggs in them, but other kinds of pasta are certainly allowed.


When I got back from Detroit, I increased the amount of vitamin D I'm taking to 2000 units, and I think that's the answer. For probably forty years, I have been in a funk from about Thanksgiving until sometime in March. I'm sure its SAD, and it seems to be brought about by lack of vitamin D. The holidays are always a bit sad for me, just because of all the memories, but my mental outlook is much better now. I wish I'd known about that years ago - it's such a simple thing to take a couple of pills a day! And it's nice not to be in that depressed state for months at a time.


So I have been sitting here listening to the lovely Christmas music and typing a bit. Now it's time to go up to the north end and read a while, and I might just turn on the radio up there, too.


It's a dark, cloudy night in the field, and the snow keeps coming down.


December 23 - Christmas Eve Eve

I read for a while when I went up to the north end, and I got to bed about 11:00, I think. I didn't sleep very well. I think I was warm, and sometime during the night I turned partly onto my back and went to sleep, and when I got up to walk, my back was so sore I could hardly stand up. It was still sore this morning, so all my wonderful plans for the day got postponed. The story of my life.


Buster was mad at me for some reason last night. He went out into the great room and hollered for a while, then he went away, and he didn't come for his nightly brushing. In fact, I didn't see him all night. He is a funny little cat, though. Even though he may be mad, he just can't stand not to have me pet him, so he turned up this morning and we got in our loving. I got up around 8:45, because my back was really bothering me, so I had a nice long day to do nothing. I knitted a while, too.


Actually, I can't say I did nothing. I moved some things around in the sink so I could soak the pasta pot, and I actually put away some of the stuff that was on the counter, mostly the roaster and the platters, but also the chopper and the garlic mincer. It is still a disaster out there, but maybe I can do a little more tomorrow. When my back is so sore, it's really hard.


Otherwise, I really did do nothing much. I finished reading through and modifying the story I was changing back to the way it was, so that is done. Now all I have to do is try to find the places in the other stories where I have to make some changes.


The weather was yucky again. It looked to me like we might have had a little snow overnight, but I didn't see anything more than a flake or two today. The temperature was over 30º at midnight, but it dropped down to 26º, where it has been ever since. There was hardly any wind, from the east and now from the south. The big storm is slouching slowly toward us. There is a winter weather advisory out from tomorrow midnight until Christmas morning...which is a change from what they were saying earlier. Since John Dee is offline, I don't know exactly what is going on, but it may turn out to be another bust...in fact, there could even be a little freezing drizzle on Christmas Day. Oh, the sky is falling! The sky is falling! For every time they get it right, I think there are at least three times they get it all wrong.


Anyway, it was a very dark, dismal day, and I felt like I could have used lights all day long, all over the house. It was particularly dark in the kitchen. There aren't many windows there, and with the porch all closed up, it is really dark in there.


They called from the doctor's office, and apparently the pre-op people took the day off, so they can't change my appointment, so I will be off to town in time for a 10:00 appointment, then my ultrasound isn't until 2:00, so I will go prepared with knitting and maybe something to read. I am really behind on my reading. In the meantime, I can veg.


I have to confess I hedged on my diet today. I did well until dinner, when I just decided I didn't want another sandwich, so I looked through my TV dinners and picked one that had the lowest fat. None of the diets I have ever seen make allowances for people who live alone and don't want to - or can't - cook, and that has been one of the things that has angered me about all of them from the beginning. So I will do what I can - I'm eating cereal for breakfast and trying to be good all day - and as for the rest of it, oh, well. If it causes trouble with the operation, so be it. Tomorrow I will try to wash up the pasta pot (at the least) so I can have Italian chicken breasts for dinner. My poor rib roast...If it was just one slice of beef, I'd probably go for it, but the thing weighs 5 or 6lbs, so I'd be eating it for days, and that is too much fat. I'll wait a week or so.


So that was another quiet, useless day, and I'm up to the north end to read a while and hope I do better tonight.  It's a dark, cloudy night in the field, and the calm before the (maybe) storm.


December 22

I went up to the north end late, and I decided to unwind with a little reading...so it was nearly 1:00 when I got to bed again. Maybe tonight, but not likely.


I was still in bed when Johanna called this morning. She is my massage therapist, and she is a First Responder in the Harbor. She is studying to be an EMT, and one of the requirements is that she observe various clinical procedures. I said I had no objection to her watching my operation, and when I asked the surgeon, she had no objection either, so I left a message on Johanna's answering machine last night. So we had a nice little conversation.  She is going to be kind enough to get me a couple of things I forgot yesterday.


So it was late when I got up, and I knitted for a while and petted a cat, and it turned into a truncated day during which I did nothing. For one excuse, my ankles and feet were still so sore I could hardly walk on them. So I didn't.


The low fat diet is going to be just as hard as I knew it was. I really need to wash pots and pans, so that I can get them dirty again. I have a couple of ideas, and I am going to try to get some low-fat mushroom soup (we'll see how low-fat it is). Upon reflection, I really don't believe they actually believe anybody will stick to that diet. They hope we would, but I think they know we won't. I will do my best, but I'm not going to obsess over it. It seems that what is considered "normal" fat intake is 60 or 70 grams a day, so even 30 grams would be "low".


The weather was so-so. The temperature got up to 30º this afternoon for a while. The wind was very light from the southwest. There were a few little flakes of snow, so they can say it snowed. They are still saying we're going to get hammered from Thursday through Sunday, but the forecasts are changing a bit. Only John Dee has been pretty consistent. We did have a ray of sunshine around sunset and some nice gray-blue and pink clouds for a while - nothing worth running for the camera for, but nice - but it's still cloudy.


This evening, I was considering how to spend the evening when Debbie called, and we had a nice long conversation. Unfortunately, she has lost her job, but she was in the insurance industry, and the company she was working for is in bad shape, so neither she nor I were very surprised. I'm sorry to hear about it, because she is still digging herself out, but she'll be all right. She has found some people she likes to hang out with, and that's nice.


So not it is late again, and I will totter up to the north end and try to get to bed a little earlier tonight. It's another cold (but not too cold), dark night in the field.


December 21 - Winter Solstice

So this is the turning point. Today was the shortest day - 8h26m. From now on, although it will take a while, the days will be getting longer. Even though the depths of winter are ahead of us, at least there will be a little more daylight.


I knitted and read last night, and I started on the heel of the second sock. I thought I was paying attention to what I was doing, but the yarn is so over-twisted that I ended up with several rats' nests and I was slowed down a lot. And right as I ended the first half of the heel, there was a knot in the yarn. Geez! Anyway, with all that, and that I had to take a bath, it was a bit after midnight before I got to bed. 


I slept well, but I woke up at about 8:45 and had to pee, so I got up, since I knew if I went back to bed, I would never make it to my massage. I was late anyway, for various reasons. That certainly wasn't enough sleep, and I'm tired. Anyway, I petted a cat and knitted some more, and I finished the heel, which I wanted to do before I took my sock off to my appointments. Not that I got to knit, but I always take my knitting, because I never know.


I felt much better after my massage, and I got to come back home and do a few things before I left for town. The trip down was pretty good. Most people seemed to be going in the other direction. I did get behind one guy who wasn't driving as fast as I wanted to, but he pulled over at Phoenix and let me go by, which I thought was very nice of him. The covered road is nearly snow covered, but from Delaware south, there are nearly two tracks going in each direction, so while the trip took longer than it would have in the summer, it wasn't bad. Actually, the biggest problem is in the hospital parking lot. It is snow covered, and the usual five or six lines of parking spaces are down to three, which means getting a handicap place is next to impossible. I took my cane, and I used it.


The surgery is going to be on January 5 in the morning, unless something nasty happens to me in the meantime...I forgot to ask what will happen if we have a blizzard, but I'm sure they are prepared for that. Roxanne will be here to take me. Unfortunately, I have to stay overnight. That was a disappointment, but I can see the reasoning. This isn't trivial surgery. I am hoping that they can do it laparoscopically, which is a much easier operation. However, they won't know until they send the camera up and look at the gall bladder to see what it looks like.


Well, I had fondly hoped never to be in a hospital again, but if I have to have this done, I'm glad it will be soon and over with. The worst part for the next two weeks is that I have to be on a very low-fat diet, which will change my plans for my Christmas dinner quite a bit. No beef, no pork, no butter, no...well almost no nothing. I'm going to be very tired of chicken and turkey before this is over.


The surgeon is wonderful, and takes as much time as necessary to explain everything and give all the necessary instructions. I now know where my gall bladder is - under the liver - and exactly what they will do to remove it.


So that took at least 45 minutes, and then I had to get my blood drawn for the potassium, so it was 4:00 before I got out of the hospital. I decided to shop anyway, especially since I needed to lay in some of the stuff I can eat for the next two weeks.


I did a lot of damage at Econo. I got a lot of wine (they didn't say anything about not drinking, except right after the surgery), and I got a lovely rib roast, which I will put in the freezer for sometime in late January or early February. Darn. I was looking forward to that roast. Well, I'll just have to wait.


The thing is, if I don't try to keep the diet, there is more of a chance that they will have to open me up  to get the gall bladder out. Since that is the last thing I want, I will try to do the best I can. Probably I won't be able to follow it completely: the maximum fat content is 20 grams, and that is pretty hard to adhere to for any length of time, at least the way I eat.


Anyway, it was almost 6:00 when I got out of Econo, and it was 7:00 before I got home. I was hungry by that time, so I had the last of the tetrazzini, and before I go up to the north end, I will have one last chocolate truffle before I put the rest of the candy out in the breezeway. Finally, I got the car unloaded, although it was a bit frustrating, because all my juices were in one cooler, and it was so heavy I had a hard time getting it into the house. 


There is a lot of stuff in the breezeway that I will have to do something about, and I have a lot of stuff to freeze, including a lot of chicken breasts that I have to repackage. They had a special on 2.5lb packages of chicken breasts, and I don't want to try to cook all those at once. Tomorrow.


Now I am tired, and I don't plan on being up early tomorrow. I have a lot of things to do in the kitchen, which is still a disaster. In fact, I have a lot of things to do. Roxanne could be coming as early as next week, and I need to try to shovel out the kitchen and get the trash to the compactor before she gets here.


Oh - the weather. It was mostly cloudy, and it snowed this morning. There was enough sunshine on the way south, at least until Phoenix, that I had to put on my sunglasses, but there was a huge fuzzy gray cloud in the west that eventually covered up the sun and threw a few snowflakes at us. The temperature was in the middle 20s. It eventually got up to 28º here, about the time I got home. The wind was light, from the west in the morning and from the north in the afternoon. 


My trip home was interesting. It's been several years since I've had to drive that road in the dark and snow, and I'd forgotten. Oncoming traffic bothers my eyes, and for a good portion of the time north of Phoenix I couldn't use my bright lights because there was a person in front of me, although far enough in front that I could use them on the curves and hills. They turned off at Lac La Belle Road, and I had the covered road all to myself, which was nice, since I could clip the curves. Even with the brights on, it's not an easy drive, because most of the time you can't see far enough ahead of you unless you go 20 mph, which I wouldn't. I did get a bit disoriented, and I took those curves at Mac Frimodig Park, at the south end of Lake Medora, without ever knowing until later that I had. The nice thing is, there's no question where you are when you come into Copper Harbor.


I got to see the lights in the community park, and they are very nicely done, much nicer than what they did at the church in Phoenix. I don't think there were as many lights on the way north as I remember from 2005 when I came back the day after Christmas. Probably the economy. Electricity is expensive up here.


So that was my day, and now it's past time to crawl up to the north end and put myself to bed. I do have to bathe - I was dressed more for the out of doors than for inside, and I got really hot. It's another cold, dark night in the field.


December 20

Last night, I went up to the north end and read and knitted for a while and was in bed just after 11:00. i slept pretty well, and I got up around 9:30, although I didn't want to. I knitted and petted a cat for quite a while. The turquoise is turning to periwinkle blue, and I can see the lavender coming on,  but what follows that is anybody's guess.


I didn't do much of anything today. I got out some Christmas cards, and I guess I should do something about them tonight, but I'm not sure I will. I send out very few cards, but it's always a chore I hate, and it's worse this year, because I have to write a few notes I don't want to write. I have quite a selection of cards, and when they are gone, I may just stop sending them altogether.


The weather was a little brighter than yesterday, but not a lot. The temperature was almost steady around 21º all day, although it has now dropped to 19º. There wasn't any wind. There were just enough snowflakes to say it snowed. I don't think it accumulated.


This afternoon, my Schwan's guy came, and he managed to get in the front door, but I'm not sure how. So now I have some interesting new things to try, after I finish my tetrazzini.


Tomorrow will be a busy day. I get a massage in the morning and I see the surgeon in the afternoon, and I am toying with the idea of doing my shopping while I am down there, even though I will be late. The idea of two trips just doesn't appeal to me.


This evening, I went back over the last three or four months' journals to get all the important events into my yearly calendar, so I can talk to the doctor. It appears I've been having a gall bladder attack about every three weeks, which means I'm about due. I'll hope it doesn't happen.


So that was another quiet day in the field, and now it's another dark, cold night.


December 19

Well, I was waylaid by a wily radio station last night. It started with Haydn's "Military" Symphony (#102, I think), then a concert that started with Beethoven's First and ended with Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique, which I haven't heard in its entirety in years. After that there was some nice Christmas music. So it was after Midnight when I finally got to bed.


I got up around 9:30, mostly because I had to, but I'm hoping I can get switched around to going to bed earlier and getting up earlier again. It just makes the days too short when I get up at 10:00 or 10:30.


I knitted and petted a cat for a while. The green is turning into turquoise again, and it looks like lavender may follow that, so there is some repeating in the stripes, but it's not going to look exactly like the first sock. One of the problems with the yarn is that it tends to get tangled, and I have been going through a real rat's nest, which makes the knitting go slower.


I didn't do much again today. I partly unloaded the dishwasher, and I did get the bird feeders refilled. The jays were screaming at me this morning, so I finally got at it. It wasn't easy. The screen door was frozen to the track on the bottom, and when I finally got it free, it fell out, so it is now in the vestibule, where it spent the winter a couple of years ago. I really like that door better with no screen on it, at least during the parts of the year when it's closed. It's easier to see out and easier to get out. I had a terrible time getting the door to close and lock, because there is snow in the track. In fact, there was almost a foot between the screen and the door, which made getting out, um, interesting. However, as somebody said to me, it's clean snow, and the water adds to the humidity.


I had to wait a bit before I opened the door, because the male downy woodpecker was waling away at the suet cake on the side of the cedar feeder, and I didn't want to bother him. And when I went out, even though it was cold and snowing, there were lots of bird twitterings, including the chickadees telling everybody that the source of all good things was filling the feeders. I didn't notice how many came, though. I'm sure they made a dent in the sunflowers.


Like I said, it was cold and snowing. The temperature dropped from about 28º to 20º at 3:00 pm, where it stayed for several hours before it went up a degree or so. There was a rather brisk wind, in the 15-25 mph range from the north. It did snow, although nothing registered in the rain gauge. It wasn't snowing when I got up, but it was by the time I got to the studio, and it snowed lightly for most of the day. I think it still is, because I can't see any lights down the harbor. It was very dark and dreary, and of course, we are in our minimum daylight now - 8h27m - and the hour or so after sunrise and the hour or so before sunset are particularly dark, so we don't have much real daylight at all. When the clouds are as thick as they were today, it's always dark.


I haven't mentioned lately that Buster has gotten extremely vocal. He has never had much of a range of sounds, which makes it hard to figure out what he wants, but he has been talking to me and to Jasmine a lot. I think part of it is that she has always been very vocal, although she has a very high-pitched voice, and she peeps or grunts at about a C or D an octave above middle C - a little higher than I can sometimes grunt back. She peeps and mutters every time she sees us, and I guess Buster has decided that's the thing to do. He hollers at me from the time I start getting dressed until I give him his breakfast, and last night, he kept coming into the studio and sitting down on the book I'm transcribing and hollering at me. Curiously, he didn't come out into the kitchen until I said "show me"...and what he wanted was dinner! I guess it was so long ago that DC did the hollering that he's forgotten that he has to come into the kitchen when I'm there and holler. He does tend to stay out of the kitchen when I'm rustling around, because you never know when something will come crashing down, including large pots and pans and sharp knives. But if he stood by his dishes and said something, it would be a lot easier to know what he wants. Funny little cats, both of them.


I have been reading the stories that follow one that I transcribed last spring - the one where I said I had to write a character out because he wasn't in existence. Well, after reading the stories that follow that one, I realized that I can't do that. That character is vitally necessary to the story. So now I have to go back and write in all the stuff I took out, and I will have to change the story I'm transcribing now, which is where the character first appears. There were references to the place where the stuff I'm reading takes place, and of course, when the one I'm transcribing took place, I hadn't been to the place I'm reading about. Sorry, it's confusing to me, too. There is a chronology to the stuff I write, but sometimes it's hard to get it straight. Anyway, I started the rewrite tonight, although I didn't get very far.


It has also become quite clear that the stuff I'm reading will just have to be rewritten from scratch, sort of following the plot lines. I wrote those first stories in 1971 - 1973, and I've changed a lot of the back story since that time. I've also learned to write a whole lot better.  Besides, the characters go around proclaiming things that would be better not talked about. That's a future. I want to fix up the one episode, then go back and finish transcribing the one I was working on, but I think I will probably do the rewrite in longhand, just because I seem to think fiction better that way. The only trouble is, that no matter how I do it, I can't knit and write at the same time. So I'm reading.


I also want to report that my innards seem to be settling down a bit (fingers crossed), and I do feel better, diarrhea or not. As my colon heals, I expect to feel better still. So far, I've managed to eat my tetrazzini without more than a twinge or two in the gall bladder, which is a relief. I'm looking forward to talking to the surgeon.


So that was another quiet day, and it's time to totter up to the north end and maybe read a bit and knit a bit and get to bed at a semi-reasonable hour. It's a dark, cold and snowy night in the field, as usual.


December 18

I was a bit late going up to the north end last night, because I wanted to put in a Schwan's order, and I had my usual problems with the website, but when I went, I read and knitted for a while. The turquoise has turned to green and looks like it might go back to turquoise again, but it's hard to say, so I keep knitting. I have about 30 rows left on the leg.  This has been a fun project for something I'll probably never use.


It was around midnight when I got to bed, so I didn't get up until 10:00 or later this morning, by which time Buster was hungry. I guess I just need 10 hours of sleep a night these days, whenever I get it. It would be nice to get started a little earlier, but I won't promise.


As a result, I didn't do anything. I went to the post office, where the Christmas cards are starting to come in. I haven't even started writing mine. Oh, well. I'm usually late. There was also a traffic jam right before 3:00, and I saw a bunch of people I haven't seen in a while, if at all.


It was a very dark, calm, warmish day. The temperature got up to 30º, which made the snow rather mushy but I don't think it melted anything, and there is still ice on the harbor. There wasn't much wind, and no snow. It was so dark all day that I used it as an excuse not to do the stuff in the studio that I'd intended to do.


Last night, when I was having my problem with Schwan's, I wanted my latest catalog, and I couldn't find it, so eventually I pulled the cart with my beads in it out of the way, and there it was on the floor, along with a whole bunch of other stuff that should be thrown away. I have just been dropping my empty pop bottles on the floor, too, and I need to get at that, but when I was rustling around this evening, a bunch of stuff fell off the cart, so I have to take care of that first. It turned out that I managed to find the stuff I wanted to order anyway. One of the things I didn't order got very bad reviews, and the other one did, too, mostly because it was a soup with 430 calories in a 9.5 oz serving. I decided against both of those. My Schwan's man is coming on Sunday again, so he can have next weekend off. He would have to alter his schedule anyway, because I'm sure he wouldn't deliver on Christmas Day!


So now I have another mess to clean up, and I may do something on that tonight. Otherwise, I will be going up to the north end in a while - they are playing a Mozart piano concerto now - and try again tomorrow.


It's a dark, cloudy and quiet night in the field.


December 17

When I went up to the north end last night, I read and knitted for a while, and I was having twinges in my back, so I took my bath and cuddled up in bed and read and knitted until after midnight. The sock is still interesting. The beautiful purple shaded into magenta and the magenta into light royal blue, and that into turquoise. I think the turquoise is shading into green, but I don't know yet. Since i started from the middle of the ball, each color change is a surprise. And apparently, they don't repeat. I will probably never wear the socks, but they certainly are fun to knit.


I was awake around 9:00, but I went back to bed and didn't get up until 10:45, by which time Buster was getting anxious.  When I was awake during the night, there were stars, but I didn't look too closely at them. It was cloudy when I got up this morning. I knitted some more and petted a cat, and that made me really late getting to the studio. 


As a result, I ended up not doing anything today. I will have to do a few things, because I have to wash dishes tonight. 


The weather was blah. It got down to +1º overnight, with not much wind, and there is now ice over most of the harbor. The temperature got up to 26º this afternoon, because the wind is from the southwest, but it isn't very strong. There was a little sunshine around 1:00, but not much.


Thursday is the day I get most of the emails I have to read, or have links I have to read, so it took me a long time to do my morning surfing. Besides, I have signed up to get devotions from The Lutheran Hour, and one of them comes in the morning. I've tried to download the Advent and Lenten devotions in the past, but it's a real waste of paper to print them out, and if they're just on the computer, I never read them. So now I have two more to add to the other stuff I get. pretty soon all the over-hyped "buy today!" ads will be gone, and that will be a relief. The way these things are coming in, with all the discounts and free shipping and all that, I get the idea that sales are not going very well this year. It will be a relief when they all go away, just like it will be a relief from the printed catalogs. I don't like to turn off the emails, because every so often they have something I'm interested in, but they are getting pretty overwrought. It sounds like somebody is panicking.


Oh, well. I guess I have some surfing to do tonight, at that, but then after I load the dishwasher, I can totter up to the north end and sleep some more. It's a calm, quiet, cloudy night in the field.


December 16 - Beethoven's Birthday

Last night, I read and knitted. I finished the first sock, and I am happy to say that the brown turned into a very lovely shade of purple, so I will have purple toes on one foot. That color is continuing on the cuff of the second sock, although I've just begun it. I didn't cast on until this morning. I was going to do it last night, when I discovered that it was 11:45, so I took my bath and went to bed. I didn't get up until about 9:45 this morning, so I think I got my sleep.


I was delighted to see some sunshine when I got up, and it was partly cloudy for most of the day, although a couple of times there were a few big snowflakes coming down. It has cleared up now, and it should be clear for most of the night, which will be nice.


I didn't do very much, but I finally got the tetrazzini made, and it turned out good, as usual. I divided it into two pans, so I will be able to freeze one for later. It is in the fridge now, but I will take it and my turkey stock downstairs to the freezer tomorrow. In the meantime, getting the other pan into the fridge is going to be - um - interesting. The recipe says to reserve two cups of sauce and pour it over the pan before baking it, but I forgot it, and I don't think I will do that again. So it turned out a bit dry. Maybe next time, I will try using three cups of milk instead of two. The recipes I put together myself are subject to continuing experimentation. Anyway, it was good, and Buster got to lick the dish, although there wasn't much gravy for him to lick. I also almost forgot to add the minced garlic to the sauce (which is white sauce with a whole lot of parmesan cheese in it - that would be good on pasta even without all the other stuff).


Now, of course, I have an incredible mess in the kitchen, even though I did put some stuff in the dishwasher. I have pots and pans, both clean and dirty, all over the place, and there is so much stuff in the sink I can't soak the final pot, the pasta pot, that I used to mix the tetrazzini in. Besides that, there are two mixing bowls that held the parts of the mixture while I was doing other parts, two measuring cups in all three sizes, smaller measuring cups that held some of the ingredients...well, you get the idea. That's one reason I waited so long to make it - it gets everything in the kitchen dirty. I won't even be able to get everything in the dishwasher, so I will have to wash a lot of the smaller stuff by hand.


In the meantime, the steak bone I put in the disposer clogged it up, so when I got it running again, I ground it down, and pretty soon things were falling off the counter all over the place.


I was able to sit down for part of the time I was cooking, so except that I got awfully hot, my back wasn't too bad. That was the other reason I waited so long to cook. When my back hurts just walking around, that's no time to start cooking.


Even though the recipe is quite rich, it makes a lot, so I don't expect the amount I ate to bother my gall bladder...we'll see about that, of course. Sometimes it takes five or six hours before it gets bad. We'll see. it's never bothered me before.


The weather was rather nice, but cold. It got up to 19º for several hours this afternoon, before it fell off a cliff at sunset, and it is now 6º and on its way down. Clear skies are beautiful, but any heat in the atmosphere goes away as soon as the sun sets. The wind was rather strong from the north for most of the day (15-20 mph), but it has now switched around to the west-southwest and died down to under 10 mph.  I will have to try to remember to look for stars tonight.


When I was at the kitchen sink, I looked outside and there is now an area about10 feet wide of pancake ice along the shoreline. It's not solid yet, but it's beginning. I've been wondering when the harbor would cool down enough to start to freeze. With all the really cold weather we've had, I figured it would be sooner rather than later. Now, tonight there won't be a lot of wind and it will be frigid, so there may actually be some solid ice tomorrow morning. Poor Ron. After the harbor freezes is when we get the bad drifting down in the culverts. So far, he hasn't had to do much blowing except that my driveway has drifted over, so if he has time, he may do it tomorrow.


So I feel like I accomplished something today, even though I have a worse mess now than I had before. At least I have something yummy to eat. Probably I won't eat it all, but I will freeze it in individual portions. I haven't ever frozen it before baking it before, so that will be an interesting experiment, too.


So that was my day, and it's a cold, calm, clear night in the field. Sleeping should be good.


December 15

I think I may have stared at the floor for a while last night, but I was probably in bed by 11:30. I slept well, with the usual wakeups. I was doing pretty good when the surgeon's office called and scheduled my appointment for Monday afternoon - just late enough that I will have to go back down Tuesday to do my shopping. Rats. But I didn't want to argue, if I could have gotten my mind together enough. Oh, well. It's important.


I tried to go back to sleep, but I needed to pee and I needed to blow my nose, so eventually I got up. I petted a cat and knitted a while. The striping in the sock is not repeating itself. I am now knitting on a sort of orangish-brown tweed that may last through the toe. If it doesn't end then, I may cut off that color (maybe use it for the heel) when I start the second sock, because I don't like it at all. That has been my problem with the Noro yarns from the time they came out - there will be a very pretty colorway with one jarring color that spoils everything. At least this is down at the toe.


Anyway, I ended up not doing anything again. I think I didn't get enough sleep last night.


The weather was wintry. It snowed off and on all day, and the wind was in the 15-35 mph range from the north. The temperature was 15º until about noon, when it went down to 12º, where it stayed until about 7:00, and it has now risen a couple of degrees. Of course, it was mostly cloudy, although a couple of times a wan ray of sun shone in the south windows.


Sunset is now 5:01, so the days of earliest sunset are over, but sunrise is creeping steadily later. We now have 8h28m of daylight. The shortest days of all are only a minute shorter, and I think it is only fitting that the last shortest day is on Christmas Day, and then they begin to get longer. Anyway you look at it, that's an awful lot of darkness. 


So that was my nothing day. My bottom is a little less sore, thankfully, so I think I will totter up to the north end, wrap myself up in my nice Polartec robe and read for a while. The house is cold again, with the wind so strong from the north, but it's warm under my comforter and I can keep it pretty warm in the bathroom. 


It's a cold, dark winter night (new moon is tomorrow) in the field, and a good one to hunker down under the covers and listen to the singing of the lake and the howling of the wind.


December 14

I didn't read for long last night because my bottom hurt, and I was in bed by 11:15. I could see the lights of town when I went to bed, but it evidently started snowing shortly thereafter, and it snowed pretty much all night long and into the morning. It was so cold that the snow was those very fine crystals that don't add up to much accumulation, but there was at least a couple of inches new in the driveway this morning.


I got up around 9:30 and knitted and petted a cat for a while. The next repeat of the yarn isn't exactly the same as the first one, or I don't think it is, since it seems to be going back and forth between dark green and dark aqua. So I knit on. I only have about 18 rows of the foot left to go before the toe, so my hope that maybe the two socks would start at about the same place in the stripes seems to be in vain. That's all right - it's one of the interesting things about most of these striped socks. No two are ever exactly alike.


I sort of fiddled around this morning, but there are lots of things to read on Mondays - John Dee's journal, a newsletter from one of my favorite websites, and stuff like that. 


I had an accident this morning, fortunately not a horrible one, so that set me back, and then I had to dig out my parka and mittens and get myself together, but I made it to Laurium in about an hour. It helped that I didn't run into a car in either direction until Phoenix. The guy I got behind there nearly drove me nuts, speeding up and slowing down, but he stopped in Mohawk. There was quite a bit of weird traffic from there to Laurium, but it isn't too far.


The roads are in pretty good shape for winter. Down to Mohawk, US-41 has hard packed snow on it that it will have until spring. This year they are apparently sanding rather than salting, I'm glad to see. I won't say it's like clear and dry, but despite what some drivers thought, it is so cold out that it isn't especially slippery. You just have to take the curves a little slower - but not that slow!  and don't use your brakes! - and pay attention. It was actually worse in Calumet and Laurium, where there had been some salting and not enough plowing.


By the time I left for town , around 1:30, the sun was out, and I had to wear my sunglasses all the way. I actually prefer that in snow, since it gives a little more contrast. Coming home between 4:00 and 5:00 was a bit more difficult.


So I made it to my appointment on time and had an interesting conversation with the doctor. It seems it can take three or four months for things to settle down inside after the C. diff is gone, so while I can adjust my meds a bit in the hope of helping the diarrhea, mostly I will just have to be patient, and if I still have it in the spring, we can go from there. He did agree that the next order of business is the gall bladder, and they are trying to set up something with the surgeon. I would like to wait until after the first of the year - it's too close to the holidays now. I do have to stop back at the lab next week to check my potassium, but I will be going down anyway to shop for my Christmas dinner.


That took about an hour, and then I was off to Pat's, where I got some more salad greens and some fruit. The other night I got a yen for a pear, even though pears aren't my favorite fruit, and I also got a few apples and a couple of oranges. I'm not much for apples, either, but it has been so long since I've had any fresh fruit or veggies, I thought I would try a modest amount and see how it goes. The oranges will be the most interesting. I love citrus, and last year I just couldn't handle them at all. Maybe it will be better this year. All I will have to do is try to be modest and not overdo, like I'd like to. I love fruit.


Coming home, I got behind four guys who were all driving strangely, but one of them pulled over and I lost the last one at Lac La Belle Road so I had the rest of the way to myself. 


I didn't take the camera. I was in too much of a rush going down, and it was getting toward sunset when I came home. It is really pretty in the woods. There was more snow up on the hill, and all the boughs and branches had 6" of fluffy snow on them. You don't want to drive fast, just so you can enjoy the view. The piles are already a respectable size in the towns, but the snow last night covered everything up so it looked nice.


Otherwise, it was cold. It was about 18º all day here, with a 10-20 mph wind from the north-northeast. From the top of the hill south, it was about 14º, according to my car, although the sign in the Pat's parking lot said 11º when I left, and there was a wicked wind while I was pumping gas. I was glad I had my parka on, and if I hadn't been going to be weighed, I would have considered wearing my longjohns. After our warm November, we are back to the way things were for most of the year, where the high temperature was about the average low for the day.


We got about 18" of snow (officially, at Delaware) between the 8th and the 12th, which puts us at a little over 48" for the month. We haven't had nearly that much here. I forgot to mention that when I went to town on Saturday, there were lots of snowmobiles in town, and there were even a few in front of Mariner today when I left. It doesn't look like the groomers have started doing much on the trails yet, but since everything is covered with nearly untouched powder, I suppose it's not necessary.


I had two conversations with Arthur today, which was nice. I guess I'm getting something wearable for Christmas. He needed my street address, and he needed to check my size (I've lost weight, but not that much), but we had a nice conversation this evening. 


So that was my day, and I don't think there will be much reading or anything tonight. I don't mind driving in winter, but it definitely does require more alertness, and that plus the cold makes me tired. It's a cold, quiet night in the field.


December 13

Well, I thought I uploaded the journal last night, but this morning when I got to the studio, one of my good e-friends pointed out that it never got updated online. Oops. Power failure in the brain.


I went up to the north end, and i read for a while - in bed, my bottom is still sore - but around 10:00 I started yawning, and I saw no reason to fight it, so I turned out the light. 


I was up around 3:00 (among other times), and I was a bit restless. My left hip and knee were sore and I couldn't find a comfortable spot to lie. I was lying there, wondering how long that was going to last, when all of a sudden the wind, which had been nearly calm, began to blow and blow hard. Within an hour, it was from the north in the 15-25 mph range, and by 6:00, it was in the 25-37 mph range. The lake immediately began to sing nicely, and I went peacefully to sleep. I didn't get up until 9:45. I guess I was tired.


That was the height of the wind, although it was in the 15-30 mph range until around 2:00, when it started to die down again. When I left the bathroom, it was sunny out, and the harbor was deep blue-green (a little lighter than DMC 924) with lovely whitecaps on it.


Around noon, I was sitting in the studio, either embroidering or entering the phases of the moon on my 2010 calendars, with the sun shining brightly on me, when I looked down the harbor and there was snow over the mountain. It got thicker and thicker and closer and closer, until finally we were in the midst of it, and I couldn't see anything out the front windows. About 15 minutes later, it was gone and the sun was out. That happened another time, but not so much snow. That's what lake effect squalls are all about, and I just love to watch them.


The weather was a good one to sit inside and watch. The temperature was around 15º from 11:00 to 5:00, when it rose a few degrees. The wind was from the north all day, although now it is nearly calm. There were periods of sunshine, very welcome, and periods of dark clouds. 


I didn't do much but embroider and make some updates to my 2010 calendars. I got a publication from Sky & Telescope that should have had all the information I needed, and it did have the phases of the moon, but inexplicably, it didn't have the dates of the equinoxes and solstices. So I went out to the Naval Observatory site, and of course they had everything I wanted. Unfortunately, they are consolidating their site with some other Naval stuff, and as a result it's going to take a lot more clicks to get what I want, but it's all there if I can find it. Every year since I found the site, I've printed out tables of sunrise, sunset, twilight, length of day (which is new) and rising and setting of the moon. There is an incredible amount of information out there now, nearly as much as in the Nautical Almanac. I got one of those way back in the '50s for a couple of years, but it was expensive for something that was only completely useful for one year. Now most if the really useful stuff is online, although some of the tables are PDF files. Anyway, now I know where to get almost anything I want to know about what's going on in the sky.


Then I went back to my embroidery, and I made some progress.


So now it's time to totter up to the north end, although Pipedreams is playing Mendelssohn's organ music, which is interesting. Some of it is too romantic for my taste, but some of it is very nice.


So it's another cold, quiet night in the field, and this time I will try to get the upload to work right away.


December 12

I went up to the north end early last night, and my bottom was too sore to sit in the bathroom, so I cuddled up on the bed and read for quite a while, with a very happy cat curled up beside me and sound asleep. One reason I wanted to sit in bed was that I felt a little pressure in my back - nothing serious - and lying at the angle I do on my reading wedge is just right for my gall bladder. There wasn't any trouble. I read not until my bottom got sore, but until I started yawning almost continuously. I think I was in bed by 11:30.


It was a good night. At one point, when I was going back to bed, I saw a star out the front windows. I never did remember to look up when I was in the bathroom, but there were evidently some stars last night. By the time I got up, around 9:00 (that seems to be the routine, doesn't it?), it had clouded up, and it was cloudy all day, with the exception of a short ray of sunshine right before sunset.


I knitted and petted a cat for a while this morning. I am working on the foot of the sock, and on the next repeat of the stripes, and it seems like the first repeat was defective. I am in the middle of a very long stretch of navy blue, with a few turquoise slubs in it, and I haven't found where I begin the turquoise again. Oh, well. With repeats that long, there isn't any way to modify them. It's still going to be a pretty sock, which I will probably never wear.


I ended up not doing much today. I did box up the three fleece tops that have to go back and took them to the post office, where there wasn't as much mail as I'd expected after not being there for over a week. There were a few bills, of course and a few pleas for money, as well as the first Christmas cards.


Among the bills were my winter tax bills - four of them. There were two regular ones, which come in those tear-to-open packages, and two more in envelopes. I opened the envelopes first, and they said, "pay this bill - disregard any previous bills," so of course I had to open the original to try to see what had changed - about $500! Whew! It seems that when the guy who creates the bills put in the millages, he put one in as 4.0 mills instead of 0.4 mills. That could have been because of something that was voted down last spring, or it could have been a plain, stupid data entry error. Boy, am I glad somebody caught it right away!  Actually, I think it had to be a data entry error, because it was for the Copper Country ISD, which I'm sure didn't' change.


By the way, just to make everybody feel bad, people up here who have no children are exempt from the local school taxes. I believe in our Copper Harbor school, and I'd pay for it without complaint, but it is very nice of them. Every so often, I find another good reason for liking it here so well.


The weather has moderated completely. There was no snow today, and the temperature rose all day long, until now it's 28º, with light southwest breezes. Best to enjoy the balmy weather while it lasts, because it won't last long. The snow (with possible freezing drizzle - yuck!) will be back tomorrow.  It was nice to go out without bundling up and braving the wind chill.


There is a lot more snow in town than we have out here. Woodland Road is getting a nice mat down on it, especially from Aaron and Amanda's new house to  US-41, but there doesn't seem to be more than 4" to 6" anywhere. The piles around the parking lots are getting high already, and there seems to be more down there. Lake effect snow is very local, sometimes extremely local, and I think more dumped on town than here, especially when the wind was out of the east.


Today was the Winter Wonderfest, but I didn't stop. There seemed to be a fair number of people around in mid afternoon, and I met Mary Ann at the post office with her two granddaughters in a sled, and they had seen Santa's (female) elf there. At 6:00, there was a short fireworks display, and I guess they turned on the Christmas lights in the park. Donny Kilpila Jr. always does them, and he does a very nice job, although there isn't enough snow yet for the snowpeople under the poinsettia bower. The people around here who can work really hard on these things, and I hope this one turns out well. The Trails Club was having a pizza fundraiser at Mariner afterwards, and I hope they got a good turnout. 


So that was my quiet day, and I am off to the north end to read some more. I still have a sore bottom, but it's much more comfortable in bed anyway, so I will probably sit there.


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


December 11

I read for a while last night, but my bottom was sore and I was tired, so I was in bed by about 10:30. I had a little trouble going to sleep, but once I found the right place to like, I slept well, although I was up numerous times in the night to pee. I got up around 9:15, because I got a recorded call that said my Schwan's guy wasn't going to come today. I knew that, because he only comes when I order, but I suppose they had to call everybody. I figured if the Schwan's guy wasn't going out, neither was I.


I decided I was tired of all the games I have on the computer, so I took out the biscornu I was embroidering, and I did that for most of the afternoon. Since the pieces are so small, it has a lot of bitsy little spots to embroider, which I don't like very well. I also don't like the colors very well. Just Nan used to use lovely colors, mostly muted and rather antique, and I liked them a lot, but lately she has gone to bright, very garish colors, and they aren't nearly so pretty. However, this is the fifteen-sided thingie, and I want to see how it works up. I finished everything except the beads and the backstitching on one square and started the next one.


Besides, I got to face the harbor while I was embroidering. The sun came out a couple of times, and fifteen minutes later, it was snowing hard again. There was enough snow that the liquid registered in the rain gauge at the NWS station for most of the day. We had 0.19" of liquid, which might translate into a lot of snow, except that it was blowing, too.


I finally got the turkey off the bones and boiled up my bones today. This time, I didn't put anything in it except turkey and what little stuffing I couldn't get rid of, and I think it will work much better for gravy, tetrazzini and other things. In the past, with onions, garlic, carrots, and celery, as well as pepper and thyme, when I used it in gravy, it gave the gravy an off taste. The stock is cooling on the stove.


I decided not to try the tetrazz ini today. Maybe tomorrow. I had to unload the dishwasher and begin to reload it and wash up the stuff in the sink, including the platter the turkey was on, and that was enough work for one day.


Besides being windy and snowy, it was cold outside. The high for the day, 16º, was at 8:00 this morning, and it was around 12º all day. Now it has fallen to 9º or so. The wind was from the north to northwest, in the 15-30 mph range. The snow kept coming in waves, and the waves kept coming in waves, and it wouldn't have been a very nice day to be out. 


It was cold in here, I have to admit. I closed the French doors to the vestibule, and I kept the door to the office mostly closed all day. I turned on the ceiling fans in the great room, and I seem to have a problem with one of them. It works on 'high' and on 'low' but it doesn't work on the two speeds in between. I don't know if that is a problem with the fan or with the switch. I meant to turn it around last summer to blow up, but I never did, so I could check whether it works OK the other way. I think it made a difference with both fans on.


Now the wind is dying down some, although it has shifted around to the west, and it's warming up a little inside. That is just a problem with this house that it isn't possible to get over, unless I put auxiliary heaters in every room I inhabit. Burning the fireplace gets it warm (or hot) in here, but it doesn't do a lot of good in the great room. Besides, in order to do that, I'd have to move a whole lot of stuff I have no place to put. So I close the door (almost) and turn up the heat.


There was one hardy squirrel early in the afternoon, although it didn't stay long, with the wind blowing its ears back against its head, and a few hardy birds. I think they were mostly hitting the white feeder that isn't in the camera. I saw chickadees flying toward the tree, but they mostly weren't in the tube feeder. At one point, when I came into the studio, there was a little goldfinch huddled in one side of the square feeder. It has a sort of tray where the seed is and a couple of perches on each side, and the bird was sitting in the tray. If it had been trying to perch, the wind would probably have blown it away. I feel for those poor little things in weather like this, and I fear many of them don't make it through the cold weather.


I had a big drift in front of the patio doors yesterday, but when the wind shifted, it blew most of it away. There is still snow in the screen, but not as much as there was last night. The wind giveth, and the wind taketh away.


I had a good dinner tonight. Schwan's is selling something that is sort of like Italian mac and cheese - penne with a parmesan sauce with a little ground proscuito in it. and it's one of the better frozen dishes I've had lately. Buster agreed with me. The first Italian specialty dish I had was good, but I won't get again. I will this one. I have another meal - yum! I didn't want to eat too much of it on account of the gall bladder, but it was enough. Every once in a while I get a good one.


So that was my day, and I guess I must be feeling better, because I actually accomplished something today. Amazing. There is still a lot to do - more now, because I have to wash the soup pot and freeze the stock - but at least I did a few things.


Now it's a snowy, windy night in the field, and I think I will go up to the north end and read some more. I'm getting close to the end of the stories in that binder, and I'll have to choose something else to read.


December 10

I read for a while last night and I think it was about 11:15 when I got to bed. It was quiet night inside, and I got up around 9:00 this morning. Now, that's more like it. I felt better today, too, not that I did anything with it. I petted a cat and knitted for a while, but the wind had switched northerly, so it was a bit cool sitting by the window in the bathroom.


The wind had switched around to the north by midnight, and I could hear it whipping around the house all night. The lake was roaring loudly for a while, but then the wind died down into the 20-30 mph range, and it went lower, to 12-25  mph until just a while ago, when it picked up to 29-33 mph. It is from the north, but it has been moving steadily but very slowly toward the west. Now it's coming in at 350º, which is just 10º west of due north. The temperature has dropped slightly, from 19º when I got up to 15º now.  The wind chill is -5º. Stay out of the wind.


The story of the day was the drifts. Most of the Norland roads were clear, but there was a 2' to 3' drift in front of my garage, so even if I'd wanted to, there was no way I was going anywhere. The patio is even more interesting. There is a 2' drift (and growing) in front of the stationary pane of the patio door, where the webcam is, and there is snow all the way up to the top of the screen on the moveable side. I'm wondering how I'll be able to get out when it's time to fill the bird feeders.


There was a steady stream of birds to the feeders today, and I had a flock of goldfinches, which I haven't seen for quite a while. I hope the chickadees were able to get in to get theirs. They're my pets. The interesting thing about the feeders is that since it's been snowing, I haven't seen even one squirrel. I know they don't hibernate completely, but they must sort of sleep off the bad weather. The little birds don't, and I'm so glad I can leave the feeders out, because they come early in the morning and late in the evening (well - evening isn't late anymore!).


Speaking of that, we now have 8h32m of daylight. The sun is setting at 5:00, and has been for quite a while, but slowly sunrise is getting later. When it's cloudy and dark like it's been lately, it's more like six hours of useful daylight. No wonder my electric bills are so high in the winter!


We actually had almost a ray of sunshine this afternoon. It didn't last long, as a new band of lake effect snow moved in, but it was nice to see for a change.


Around 2:00, Ron showed up with the tractor. He can't use the blower very much yet, because there still isn't a very good snow mat down, but he was able to use the blade to clear my garage pretty well. I'm sure it will be drifted again tomorrow, but maybe not so badly. I went out and helped him shovel the snow away from the garage, and in the lee of the building, it wasn't half bad, although if I'd been out any longer, I would have wanted my parka.


I guess it's time to haul out the parka and the down-filled mittens. Maybe even the longjohns, if I have to be out in it very much...and I have a pair of insulated hiking boots that would be good, too, as well as several pairs of snow boots of varying heights. One needs to prepare in this climate. I just had on my sweats today, and I was a tad chilly when I got in. I will be interested to see how all those boots fit, since I haven't had them on since my feet got under control. And now that I weigh less, I can wear my longjohns again and still bend. How nice! Not that I plan to go hiking anytime soon.


My back is still bothering me, but that's to be expected. It seemed to feel a bit better today, but maybe that's because I wasn't standing for any length of time. 


So it's still snowing, and will continue at least for the next couple of days. This is what winter is all about in Keweenaw, but November was so balmy, we'd all forgotten how it can be. I would still prefer that the temperature declined gradually, rather than dropping off a cliff like it did this year. It prepares one for what's to come.


So it's another windy, snowy night in the field, the lake is still roaring, and it will be another good night to sleep.


December 9

Last night, I went up to the north end early, and I read for a while, but i didn't feel like knitting. I was in bed before 10:30. Around 11:30, I woke up, and I felt like I needed to walk, but by the time I was awake enough to do it, I had another accident, which meant I had to clean up the floor in the bathroom again and change my nightie. Sigh.


I went back to bed, and a couple of hours later, I was up again, with severe diarrhea. The third time, it occurred to me that I don't have the C. diff anymore, so there is no reason I can't take Imodium, so I started that, and my gut has been quiet all day, which is a relief. I feel a little better today.


I didn't get up until about 10:15 this morning, and I knitted a while. When I looked outside, I more or less decided I wasn't going anywhere today, so I put on my sweats. It wasn't so clear-cut. When I checked everything out, it didn't seem that it was such a bad storm, but I talked to Ron, and he said he wouldn't go, and when I looked at the pictures of Houghton and Calumet, it was snowing heavily there, so i bailed out. I will see the doctor on Monday. It's not like it's life-threatening, after all.


It has been a wonderful storm. The wind was from the east until about noon, and it is still from the northeast, so the low that is causing this is apparently moving slowly. The lake was roaring tenor when I got up, and it is now bass. This afternoon, we had winds that got up to a sustained 40 mph, and we had gusts up to 51mph for a while late this afternoon. That's a genuine gale, friends. The temperature dropped steadily after about 7:00 this morning, and it is now 19º. The winds have dropped marginally, but it's still snowing. I think, with the wind in the direction it is, most of the snow has been blowing into the lake, but we have had a goodly amount.


I actually like these nor'easters the best. We get the snow and the winds, but the house stays warm, because I am sheltered on the north and east. Ron probably likes it less - he faces mostly east, and the panel he puts over his picture window actually blew off this morning and he had to reattach it. I don't imagine it's very warm in his house.


Our road and my driveway have been mostly pretty clear, except for a drift in front of the garage and one on the deck in front of the patio doors. Ron may have to blow snow tomorrow, but he'd rather wait until we have a good snow mat down - it saves wear and tear on the blower, as well as shear pins. Marty came over with his plow truck (the one I fell out of over the summer), and they did clear things a bit. However, it's supposed to go on snowing. The blizzard warning doesn't expire until tomorrow night, and there is a lake effect snow warning on top of it. It's going to snow hard for the next two days.


I didn't do much, but I did get the dishwasher unloaded and partly reloaded. The cat dish situation is critical, so I have to wash dishes tonight. My back is still bad, but I was able to do what I needed to do. I think I will haul in the cat food tonight, so it will be warm tomorrow morning. The cupboard is just about bare, so it's time to start on what I brought back from Detroit.


Jasmine was running around today, like it was clear and dry. Buster seemed to feel good, too, and he got up early from his daily siesta. The barometer bottomed out around 3:00 and it has risen a little bit since then, so maybe that's the reason. I can't ever tell with those guys.


So that was my quiet day. I love to watch the storms come through. We had times of quite heavy snow, and it was interesting to see it blowing away from Lake Lily for a change. It was also blowing down my driveway pretty good.


It's a dark, hairy night in the field, and the lake will sing me to sleep. I love men's voices.


December 8

I went up to the north end early again, and I knitted and read for quite a while. Probably not good for my bottom, as it turned out. I finished the first episode of the second story and started on the rest, and I knitted until I had done the first half of the heel. 


Since this is striped yarn, I used the short row heel, and wow, did I make a mess. Since it's a 100 gram ball, and I have only one, I had to do the heel from the outside of the ball, with a reinforcement thread, and at least three times, I had to untangle the two ends of the yarn and the reinforcement. This morning, it was so bad that I actually broke the yarn, but it ended up helping, since I could pull out the other threads and get them back together. This morning I finished the heel and started the foot.


The trouble is, if I used the same end of the yarn to do the heel, the stripes wouldn't come out right. I started out doing that, and it really annoyed me how the stripes would get off and make a mess right over the instep, which is one of the few places you can really see my socks. So I have started using a separate yarn for the heel - as well as the short rows - which works just fine if I have two, 50-gram balls. It's much more difficult with 100 gram balls (about 460 yards in this yarn, which is plenty for a pair of socks for me). It does mean that the stripes are backward on the heel, but most of the time nobody notices the heels anyway. I think it's more important that the stripes are the same from the top of the leg to the toe, at least on the front of the sodk. Picky, picky, picky.


I was in bed before 11:30 last night, and I slept pretty well. I got up around 9:45, and knitted until after 11:00, which is why I'm now working on the foot. My hands aren't too happy. This weather isn't good for the arthritis.


I was minding my own business and playing games when I gurgled, and when I stood up...oops! It was a really messy accident, and I had to wash myself, my jeans, my compression hose, and soak my underpants. Yuck. I had hoped that might be over with. It also left me with a sort of sore bottom. Damn. I thought that was all the C. diff, but obviously it isn't. Damn.


The weather wasn't too bad. The temperature has been around 25º for the past 24 hours, and there was some fairly heavy snow activity overnight, but only little flurries all day. The wind started out from the north and has now switched around to the east as the low that's down in Illinois starts its inexorable track north. There are blizzard warnings out for tomorrow - forget that winter storm stuff - and the NWS warning for that says, "Do not drive."


OK, so I guess I'm not going to see the doctor tomorrow. When they called this afternoon to confirm my appointment, they said, see what it looks like in the morning, but unless the whole thing collapses, I am not going anywhere. I'm brave, and I know about snow, but I'm not foolish. They can probably get me in on Thursday or Friday, and that will be OK.


When I finished getting dressed the second time and starting the washer, I grabbed my locks and my snow shovel and mushed out onto the deck. I had to come back in, because there is a horizontal bar that is supposed to go into a slot in the track, and it just wasn't moving, so I had to get a small hammer to get everything locked down. I don't know that I need to use the locks, since I'm here, after all, but I always do. Part of it is that the keys are those neat round things that fit into a round hole, and I have been fascinated by them since I supported the Tandems, which used them to open the doors of the racks. The only thing is, I have four doors and four keys. I wish I could get one set of keys for all four doors. That would make it so much easier! I do want to try to contact the maker of the doors, to find out if there is something I'm supposed to be doing to make those slides move more easily (like oil or WD-40, maybe), and if I Do, I may ask them if I can somehow get four locks all keyed the same.


It wasn't too bad out, actually, at least on my deck, although there was about 4" of snow. When I came in, I was exhausted and my back hurt, so I didn't do anything much for the rest of the afternoon. It didn't help that my radio station went off the air for over an hour and a half in the middle of ATC, but I now know how to contact Minnesota Public Radio, so I called and  complained. Not that it did any good. I think I heard most of the important stuff, and when it came back on, they were saying there might be outages. Oh. Why didn't you say that at 4:00 or 4:30, guys?


Things aren't the way they used to be when I was in the business, for sure. 


So I ate about half of my TV dinner, much to Buster's disappointment, but I'm just not very hungry, and besides, occasionally, even when I haven't eaten very much, I get a little twinge in my back, just to the right of my backbone...oh, boy, I really need to get that gall bladder out! We'll see what the doctor says. I'd really like to wait until after the first of the year, because then Roxie can come and give me a little help for a few days, but we'll see. I'm not sure what to eat anymore, and since I'm not hungry, that means I'm not eating much. Maybe that's good for me, but I wonder. Fortunately, I take a ton of vitamins and minerals, and except for the fluids, that should keep me relatively healthy.


Oh, by the way, George Hite reported today that we had about 26" of snow from Thursday night through yesterday afternoon. That would be up at Delaware, where the lake effect bands really drop. We didn't get nearly that much, but I'll go with that figure. That's the official report for Keweenaw County. Since December 1, we've had 28.5" of snow. I guess it's winter, for sure!


In the late part of the afternoon I got a headache that seems to have more to do with the barometric pressure, which is taking a dive. Anyway, I do want to knit and read for a while tonight, and I need to wash myself off well, but I think I may be in bed a bit earlier tonight. It's another cold, breezy night in the field, and the blizzards are coming...the blizzards are coming! Yeah!


December 7 - Remember

This is the day that determined my early life, even though I was only five months old at the time, so I have to remember it.


It's gone! It's gone! More about that later.


I went up to the north end early last night and read the end of the first story and into the second one, and I knitted furiously. That yarn is addictive. I just have to keep knitting so see how the stripes will work out. I worked through a short band of very dark green which stopped abruptly, then turned into dark turquoise that shaded into tweedy green. Today, I did some more, and the green shaded into turquoise, about the color I cast on with, and it looks like the succession is going to repeat now, although there are some colors in the ball that aren't in the first repeat. I have done nearly 60 rows of the leg, and I want to keep knitting. I still don't like the yarn itself. Not only is it scratchy, it's spun like a homespun by a new spinner with lots of thick and thin parts and it's over-twisted, so it's impossible to get an even fabric. But the colors are so wonderful, I'll keep knitting.


I got to bed around 11:30, and I slept well. I got up around 8:45, because I had to, and I knitted some more, much to Buster's disgust. He hates it when I pay more attention to my knitting than I do to him (although he is sitting on my lap now, making it really interesting to type), so he went away and let me knit.


I seem to have lost another few pounds; not surprising, considering how little I ate last week.


Anyway, I was doing mostly nothing when the doctor's office called, and all three C. diff tests were NEGATIVE!!!!!!!!!! I could hardly believe it, especially since I still have diarrhea, but that could have something to do with what happened over the weekend and how little I ate. An E-friend, who is a nurse, suggested that the episode on Friday night may actually have been more gall bladder, and she could well be right. Getting rid of that will be the next task.


I finally did get out to the breezeway and get that arranged and filled the pail with sunflower seeds, and I got the feeders filled. My back is still very bad, so I couldn't do a whole lot, but at least the poor little birdies got to eat a bit before it got dark.


It was a cold, breezy day. The temperature was about 25º all day, The wind was from the north in the 15-25 mph, and it was dark and cloudy. Yes, it did snow, but it was light flurries off and on all day. It's supposed to snow overnight.


So I didn't do much, but it's gone...or at least so far, it's gone! Yeah!


It's another dark, cold night in the field, and I think I will go up to the north end and repeat last night.


December 6

Well, last night was a much better night! I think I was in bed by 10:30, and I didn't get up until 10:00 this morning. I slept well, with no untoward events. I knitted for quite a while, and petted a cat. That sock yarn is absolutely fascinating to work with, and I am enjoying every round. I have now progressed from periwinkle to lavender to blue a little darker than royal, and the shading is almost imperceptible. I would love to know how it's made. There are shades of green and turquoise to go, and I am most anxious to see how the stripes work. Buster got disgusted after a while and heft, because I was knitting so furiously. I finished the ribbing and started the leg.


I didn't do much else. I do feel much better today than I did yesterday (that's not saying a lot), but I didn't feel very robust, so I didn't do much. I was late getting to the office, and I sort of fiddled around all day.


The weather was a little more settled than it was yesterday. It did snow, but not enough to register at the weather station. The temperature was around 25º all day, with winds that were under 20 mph from the north. So the weathermen can say they were right, it snowed, but it wasn't a major event like the past two days.


Both my breakfast and  my dinner were less than happy experiences, but one lives and learns when one is eating frozen stuff. Maybe tomorrow will be better. I notice that almost none of these makers of TV dinners have websites, which means it's almost impossible to complain about the quality of their stuff.


I did get all the trash off the counters - almost a full large bag of stuff - and it's a little better in the kitchen now. Tomorrow, hopefully I will feel enough better to fill the bird feeders and close the shutters. I kept my back to the patio door, because it made me so sad to see the poor chickadees trying to find something to eat.


So that was another lost day, and I will soon be off to the north end to knit and read a while. It's a cold, dark night in the field and it's still snowing.


December 5

This will be early and short. I went up to the north end early last night and I finished the black sock, but instead of casting on the second one like a good girl, I cast on from a new ball of yarn I got the other day - it's called Noro Kureyon sock yarn, and it has all my favorite colors in it, in wide, soft bands. I have only done about half an inch, and I don't much like the yarn - it's very scratchy - but I just have to see how the sock looks. Or how both socks look, since they will surely be different.


Anyway, I knitted and read for a while before I took my bath and went to bed, at about 10:30, I think, but I had a hard time getting to sleep because my fingers and toes were cold. I woke up sometime after midnight with abdominal cramps and nausea, and I was up about every hour for the rest of the night. Around 6:30, I managed to get rid of some of what was bothering my stomach, and about 8:30 I got rid of the rest of it. Then I went back to sleep and didn't get up until 11:45. Not that I wanted to, but I had to.


My stomach was still so rocky that I didn't get dressed, and I didn't eat anything but some ginger ale and water until almost 3:00 this afternoon. I need food, for sure, but I'm having a hard time deciding what to have - whether to warm up my cereal or try something else. 


I strongly suspect that I undercooked my dinner last night, which is a pity, since I didn't really like it very well anyway. Anyway, it seems clear what I had was a little salmonella. I'm pretty much over it now, but I still don't feel very robust and my tummy doesn't feel very good.


So I did nothing except complain to Lands End about the fleece and type a little. I knitted a few rows on the new sock, too, but not a lot.


The weather was the story. Over night, I could tell, when I was up, whether we were in the middle of or in between the lake effect bands by whether I could see the lights of town or not. When I got up at 11:45, it was nearly clear and sunny, but I could see the big fuzzy clouds off behind the mountain, and sure enough, about 45 minutes later, we had a white-out, with very heavy snow and high winds (25-31 mph). After the sunshine went away, the wind shifted to the north, and we had heavy lake effect squalls all afternoon, although the wind wasn't quite as strong, and now it has died down to almost nothing. The temperature got up to 27º for a while in the middle of the afternoon, but with the strong winds, I imagine the wind chill was down around 0º. Winter is really here, with no question about it. The only day in the next few days that it might not snow is Tuesday, when the chance is only 50%. If this keeps on, we will make up for our wimpy November in a hurry.


I don't know how much snow has fallen here, but it looked to me like 8" to 10". Down in Eagle River, they had 12" - 14" overnight, but the wind was from the west then and they face more in that direction. Oh, we'll get ours, and I imagine up at Delaware, where the county measures the fall, there was an impressive amount.


Speaking of the Road Commission, I was a little annoyed to see one truck going south from Mohawk at about 3:00 yesterday afternoon, when I was coming home. There was enough snow down in Keweenaw County before that, that they should have been out when I left for town! Oh, well, they are ingrained and mired in the past, and we just have to deal with it. Once they get started, they do a great job keeping everything cleared, but I think November sent them to sleep.


So that was a zero day, and as soon as I decide what, if anything besides water, to put in my stomach, I will be off to the north end and try to catch up on my sleep.


It's a cold, snowy night in the field, and winter has come.


December 4

Last night was a much better night. I read for a while and I think I was in bed by 11:30 or so. It was interesting. When I walked out of the bathroom, I could see the lights of town, but when I turned out the light after reading my devotions, I couldn't see anything. So it was snowing. 


I was up a couple of times, nothing serious, and I got up around 9:00 feeling pretty good. I knitted about half the toe of the sock and petted a cat before I got dressed.


Well, my nice new fleece tops will be going back. I guess I should have known from the description, but I discovered that they are all very skimpy - like a whole size too small - so they will have to go back. Tomorrow, maybe, or Monday.


Today, I did my morning surfing and got the stuff out of the car that needed to get out, and I left about 12:15, bag in tow. It was snowing lightly here, but it was a lot worse on the way down, especially between Delaware and Phoenix and Mohawk and Calumet. I turned in my samples, and I had to go to admitting anyway, but I didn't have to go back upstairs, thank goodness. 


Then it was off to Pat's, where I did quite a bit of damage, since I was hungry when I shopped, which is not a good idea. I got some interesting things for breakfast and a few different TV dinners, as well as some interesting crackers that I haven't tried yet. And I think i got the things I went for, except for blue cheese, which is probably all right anyway.


When I got out of the hospital it was snowing hard, and I had to brush off a couple of inches of snow from my hood when I got out of Pat's. It snowed hard most of the way home, and between Kearsearge and Phoenix, it was just about a whiteout. It didn't help that I was behind a driver in a regular car who was driving very oddly. The worst was when we got to Phoenix and instead of just turning left onto M-26, he (or she) pulled way over to the right hand side of the road in front of the Phoenix store, and then turned left. I came out of the snow to see him pulled half off the road on the right, and just as I became visible, he started his turn...and I had to really stand on the brakes to avoid creaming him. Some people are soooo stupid in snow, even here!


After Phoenix things were better. I think the snow was a little lighter, and it's a lot easier to drive in snow in the woods, since it's darker and there is more contrast so I could see the tracks in the road. I did come up behind someone around the Mountain Lodge who, even though they had an SUV, was driving very slowly, but that was only a couple of miles. It looked to me like there was about 4" of new in the driveway when I got home. There was a lot more further down the peninsula.


Anyway, it was a slow trip both ways, but I didn't have any appointments to make, so it wasn't a problem. Given my choice, I wouldn't have gone out today, but I've done it before and I'll do it again. The worst problem was the visibility. It was cold enough that it wasn't exceptionally slippery. And my brakes worked fine, by the way.


The temperature was around 25º all day, although it's dropped off to 22º now. There was a brisk wind that was from the north until about noon, when it went calm for a couple of hours, at least here, then it switched around to the west and has been in the 10-20 mph range. I think it's still snowing.


When I got home, I brought in my purchases and put them away, and the car is now nice and empty. I'm tired now, and the cold dampness has done a number on my back and my ankles and feet. Of course, driving in this kind of weather is trying. So I think I will go up to the north end early again and read a bit before I go to bed.


One nice thing occurred to me this morning - for the first time in several years, I can tuck in my shirttail when I wear a turtleneck under another top. That makes it much warmer.  I probably will have to go to another jacket, though, since my heavy fleece jacket is now big enough that the wind tends to blow up my back. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.


Oh, and George Hite is back, and he has reported the snowfall for November - 1.5", a new record low. That has to be up at either Delaware or at Mohawk, because we didn't have any here. Now, however, the inundation is beginning. I wonder how many days in a row we'll have snow? There could possibly be a real blizzard next week, just about the time I have to go to my doctor's appointment, of course. Stay tuned.


It's a dark, snowy night in the field, and winter is here with a vengeance.


December 3

What a night! I went up to the north end early, with a story that I like a lot that will never be transcribed, but about the time I got there, I realized I was going to have a gall bladder attack. I took my bath (just in case, you know) and got to bed about 10:00, but I couldn't sleep, and around 1:00, I ended up sitting in the bathroom for half an hour, and finally it went away. That seems to happen lately. I've also had good results by sitting in the ugly chair. Anyway, I did get to sleep for a few hours. I woke up around 4:15 to pee, and about 4:30, I realized I had ignored the gurgling too long, and I had an awful accident that will mean I am going to have to scrub the floor in the bathroom with bleach. I had to get in the shower and hose myself down, find a new nightie, and at least try to clean up the floor a bit. When I got back to bed, around 5:00, I was wide awake, of course, but eventually I went back to sleep. I woke up around 9:30 and just decided I was not getting up, so it was 11:30 before I finally rolled out of bed.


Buster, bless his fuzzy little heart, knew I was sick, and he spent most of the night sitting real close to, almost on, my head, even though I told him I was OK. I petted him and knitted on the sock, down to where I start the toe, before I got dressed.


However, I didn't do much else. I didn't feel very robust, and I'm not very hungry, so I am still feeling the aftereffects. I think what brought it on was that I ate too much dark meat of turkey last night, along with gravy. I will have to watch that. Most times, I really don't know what brings on those things, so I just have to eat what I want and hope.


I did go to the post office, where Clyde gave me a barrel, there was so much mail. Most of it was catalogs and pleas for money, but the cross stitch charts I ordered had come, and I splurged last weekend on some new fleece tops from Lands End...royal blue, purple and bright pink. Not that I don't like the ones I have, but they are mostly gray or teal, and it was time for some new stuff.


I also stopped at the general store. I had grabbed a half gallon of real milk last week, and since most times their milk is very fresh, I didn't look at the expiration date. Well, it turns out that the "sell by" date was a week before I got it, and when I heated it to put in my mashed potatoes, it curdled and ruined my potatoes. Today, it tasted very cheesy. So we straightened that out, and I can now make my tetrazzini knowing the milk is fresh.


I would really like to  know what dairies are doing differently these days. It used to be that when milk went bad, it soured, but for the past six or nine months, when it starts to turn, it starts to taste like bad cottage cheese, and when it's heated, it separates into curds. They must be doing something different with their milk, and it's kind of weird. I have to throw out a certain amount of milk, just because I use it rather sporadically.


I'm glad I got my new fleece, because winter is here! The temperature dropped into the upper 20s overnight, and when I got up, there was a snow squall down the harbor, and it snowed lightly off and on all day - those lake effect squalls that come in waves. The temperature all afternoon was around 26º, and there was a brisk wind in the 15-25 mph range. It was cold and raw out. When I backed out of the garage to go to the post office, some little snowballs hit the hood, but there was something else coming down that froze to the windshield and made seeing rather difficult until I finally got it to melt. It's been quite a while since I had to put the air system on defrost. The rear window iced up, too, and something is not quite right with my rear-window defroster. It finally came on, but the light on the dashboard didn't. At least it finally worked. The roads were somewhat snow-covered, but they didn't seem particularly slippery. 


It certainly is time for that kind of weather, but it's been so warm for so long that it's a real shock. As my e-friend Pete (who now lives in the harbor) said when I met him at the post office, we're not ready for this. We sure aren't! Normally, the temperature declines gradually, starting in October, so when the wintry stuff comes, it isn't such a shock. I am going to have to change into fleece and turtlenecks tomorrow. I wore a hat and gloves with my heavy fleece jacket when I went out, and with just a cotton sweatshirt sweater and polo underneath, I was not quite comfortable. If I have enough layers underneath, the fleece jacket is usually warm enough until the temperature gets down below 20º.


Otherwise, my day was so truncated that I didn't do anything except fetch the ice packs out of the car and remove one of the coolers. There's still other stuff in the car, but oh, well. Tomorrow I have to take my samples to the hospital, and while I'm there, I will stop at Pat's and lay in some things I need, some of which is frozen. 


So it's a cold, cloudy and windy night in the field, and I will be going up to the north end shortly and read a while. Maybe the two tote bags that got splashed this morning are dry now, and I can put the knitting stuff back into them. I'm tired, even though I got up so late, and I don't feel all that good, so it will be an early night tonight.


December 2

The first time I tried to do the upload, the entire computer shut down for some strange reason, so I had to try it twice. Fortunately, the second time took. But then I decided to convert November to Word and get that done with. I certainly wasn't very with it for the first week or so of the month - there were any number of typos I didn't catch, for which I'm sorry. I seemed to be having a terrible time with capital "I".


I got to bed about 11:30, but I had a hard time getting to sleep, and I was up numerous times, mostly with night sweats. So it was 9:45 or so before I got up for good. I knitted and petted a cat for a while.


Unfortunately, Buster is paying for his feeling so good a couple of days ago. He was hiccupping and coughing this morning, and he wasn't even very interested in turkey gravy tonight. He spent most of the day asleep, I think.


I did a few things, but not much, because my back has tightened up again. I began unloading the dishwasher, which is a real task, since it was packed full. So far everything looks like it got clean, at least.


I was thinking about going to the post office, and I should have, but about 2:40, the electrician showed up to do the maintenance on my generator. He said everything looks just fine, and the changes of the time it self-tests are normal. So, OK. Anyway, it was too late to go out when he left.


Then I was listening to the radio when all of a sudden I lost my Internet connection. I called PastyNet, and there was a problem down at Quincy, but it should have been over, and I still wasn't getting connected, and the yellow and red lights that tell me it is connected to the outside world were off. Mike came over and looked at what he could, and determined that it wasn't my client that was at fault - it wasn't connecting up. Just a little while ago, I looked around, and there were the lights, and it's fine now. So the last picture that got uploaded was at 4:45.


In the meantime, I started having trouble with my mouse, but after trying several games, I'm not sure whether the entire problem was with the mouse, since some seemed to work fine and some didn't. It wouldn't surprise me if it's going. The wire that comes out of it isn't reinforced in any way, and that was what did in the last one. I would hate to lose my nice trackball mouse. There are two buttons on the right-hand side that are programmed to "back" and "forward" in IE, and I really, really like them. I know there are several other ways to do that, using various keys on the keyboard or in IE, but nothing I've tried is as handy as that one button on the mouse.


The weather has turned cold. It was about 40º until about 7:00 this morning, then the temperature went down to 33º, where it stayed all afternoon, and it is now 32º. The wind rose into the 20-30 mph range from the northeast about the time the temperature started to drop, and the lake has been roaring in a sort of contralto all day. It was dark and cloudy all day. The pictures looked like there was snow at least from Calumet south, but we didn't have any. They say it's coming tomorrow and through the weekend, though.


Of course, since I started taking my samples today, and I will run them down to the hospital on Friday. That will work out better than waiting until Monday, and it doesn't really matter, since I  know I still have the C. diff. So I decided not to wait another day. All they have to do is look at the last one to know I still have it. 


If I go down on Friday, I can get some more salad stuff and a few other things I need at Pat's. I have really been enjoying those salads, and they don't seem to be causing me any especial difficulty. It turns out, if I eat some every day, I seem to be able to get rid of it before it starts to go bad, which has been my problem in the past. Those salad mixtures are sealed in bags (or some of them come in boxes), and you would think they would keep, but it turns out they tend to get condensation inside the bag for some reason, and that makes them start go go pretty fast.


I had some thought of doing the tetrazzini today, but I was so late doing anything that I never got around to it. I need to wash up some more pots and pans and put a bunch of stuff away before I get into that. That's what I hate about housework in general - you get everything done that needs to be done, and then in a day or so, you have to do it all over again. I have never liked anything I have to do over and over again. I wrote a lot of programs when I was working so that I wouldn't have to do the same tasks day after day.


So it was another quiet day, and I may do a little typing tonight, although I'm tired now. It's a dark and cloudy night in the field, although the full moon above the clouds will keep it bright, and the singing of the lake should send me to sleep.


December 1

Well, it's December. Sigh.


Instead of doing what I said I would, I typed about 4,000 words, then I read ahead a bit, and when I got up to the north end, I read off the end of the other story I have up there, so it was 12:30 when I got to bed again. Only this time, after I woke up at about 8:30, I went back to sleep and it was after 11:00 when I got up! I feel much better.


I petted a cat and knitted a while before I got dressed, so it was a truncated day, and I didn't do anything with it. I do need to run the dishwasher tonight, since it is overflowing with stuff, so I did some things about that. I'm not sure I can get everything in. Mostly I just sat.


The weather was a total dud. It was dark and cloudy and the temperature varied between 34º and 37º, with almost no wind at all. Very dull.


I spent most of the afternoon in Paris, thanks to the Internet. I heard about a show at the Museé les Arts Decoratifs of dresses by Madeleine Vionnet, who was a very popular couturier in the '20s and '30s when they really knew what to do with luxurious fabrics. Unlike the other couturiers of the day, her designs were mostly very simple, and I didn't like some of them very much, but some others were wonderful. There were fabrics I wish I could have seen close-up, because I couldn't decide if they were beaded, appliquéd or the design was woven into the fabric. She liked chiffon and very fine lace. There was one dress that looked almost like patchwork, and I would love to be able to see how the edges of the pieces were connected. I looked at pictures until about 4:00, when the talking came on the radio and the computer hung up and I had to reboot.


Clothing still interests me, even though I don't need any myself anymore, and I enjoy seeing those extravagant things from the early part of the century. There is another exhibit in Paris, too, of the trousseau of a princess who was married to the last king of Italy, and that was even more fabulous, but the pictures were terrible, and the museum where they are being shown doesn't have a website with an online catalog. There were all sorts of things in crepe de chine (real silk) or satin cut on the bias, with the most incredible embroidery and other decorations, and at least six capes with 12' trains. I wish the pictures had been better, and I wish all of them could enlarge to real close-ups so I could see the detail.


Even the super-rich don't need clothing like that anymore, but I love to look at what they used to do with embroidery and draping. There is one designer I know about, Kenneth D. King, who makes custom clothing for people like movie stars, and he does a lot of fantastic things with decorative trims and embroidery. He writes articles in Threads magazine, to which I have subscribed since its first issue. He also has a couple of books out that I have gotten and gotten lots of ideas for the box project. I think I mentioned when I got the second one that he finally showed me how to do bound buttonholes, now that I don't need to make them anymore. At least I like to look.


I chipped a piece off the filling I cracked tonight, so I don't know if I'll be able to wait until April to get my crown. It's the fourth tooth from the center on the top, and it gets a lot of wear and tear. It might be OK, because it's flatter now than it was, but I'll have to see, and I do have to call the dentist and get my appointments made. It means two trips to Detroit in April, darn it, but I don't know about dentists here. I can see one saying to me, "Well, we usually just pull those..." Not out of my mouth you don't! Probably that's an overreaction. This isn't the middle of nowhere, quite.


So that was my day, and tonight I have to use FrontPage to upload all of this, then I may type a little more. It's a dark, calm night in the field.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM