A View From the Field








April, 2010

April 30

I didn't get to bed until 12:30, and that was without bathing. After I uploaded this last night, for some reason I started thinking about all the lovely PowerPoint slideshows people have emailed me, and I wondered how hard it was to do one. The answer is...well, it depends. It turns out to be trivially easy to string a bunch of pictures together. I don't know about adding words on the picture and adding music and all that stuff. I did one last night and several more tonight, and I now have 102mb of my own slideshows. The first one I did I called "Best Pictures", and three others are sunsets 1,2, and 3. I've taken a lot of sunset pictures. Then I did two single-picture ones, so I can fill the screen with either my favorite sunset or the picture Charlie named "Rays of Hope". I think that of the 1700 or so pictures I have taken since I got the digital camera, those two are my absolute favorites, with the sunset edging out the rays by a hair.


So I was late getting to bed. I still got up around 9:30, and I knitted and petted a cat, and I am now on the last few rows before I start the heel on the Tofutsies sock. It still surprises me that just starting it at a different place in the color repeat could make such a difference in how it looks - but maybe I'm just not remembering how it looked the first time. Anyway, I like it, even though it has less blue in it than I thought it would. There is a lot of aqua or light teal (whatever you call that color), and that's one of my favorite colors.


While I was sitting and knitting, we had a nice little thunderstorm, the first one of the year, and it dropped 0.31" of rain on us. That added to the 0.23" we had in the middle of the night, and I thought, that's nice, over half an inch of water. We certainly needed it.


It was a moist and breezy day, but the temperature eventually got up to 64º briefly this evening. The wind was from the south mostly, and it was gusty. It was cloudy and dull all day.


Then sometime after 7:00, and probably closer to 8:00, we had another nice thunderstorm, and it dropped another 0.31" of rain on us! How wonderful! Everything will grow like crazy (including, unfortunately, my tansy and spotted knapweed). Just what we had this morning seemed to make my poppies start growing. So far today, we've had 0.85" of nice rain. 


I didn't do very much at all other than some surfing. I spent a long time this afternoon running Spybot and getting it updated and running it on the laptop. The desktop is apparently fine, but there were two bad files on the laptop which I have now purged. I have no clue how they got there, but maybe it's a side effect of running on unsecured wireless networks.


So that was another quiet day (except when it thundered), and now it's time to totter up to the north end and take a bath. It's a dark, cloudy, moist night, and there's a slight possibility we might have some more rain. Goodie!


April 29

It just occurred to me that tomorrow is the end of April. Wow, what a way to lose a month!


It was around 11:30 when I got to bed last night, I think, and it certainly was good to be back in my own little bed again. I slept very well indeed, thank you, and I got up around 9:30 feeling much better.


I did the usual things, and I am finally back to the place in the Tofutsies sock when I ripped it all out. Geez, if I hadn't done that, I would be almost done with it now. Oh, well. Then before I got dressed, I unpacked the rest of the stuff in the suitcase and put the train case inside it. As I went down the hall toward the kitchen, I stashed it all away in the closet. The kitties have been much happier ever since.


I did my usual morning surfing, and I was talking to somebody from the registrar of my domain names when I got a call from Vicky at the Pines, and could I come to a presentation by the TV station in Marquette? So I ran out and went to the post office, where some of my stuff had come, and went to the meeting.


TV advertising is pricey, but Vicky was sorry that we'd already committed to other advertising, and now we have no money for anything more. So we are going to try to get the businesses in town to chip in, just to try to get the exposure, since that TV station covers most of the UP. They have set up a website that is going to try to be a comprehensive directory of businesses in services in their whole coverage area, and it would be good to be part of that. Well, we'll see what we can do, and revisit the whole advertising question next year. My only complaint is that they are about three months late in offering this thing.


So that took up the afternoon. It amuses me that these media sales guys all seem to be little monkey-men with gray beards and boundless energy. 


Anyway, he was talking about buying keywords from Google to raise the rank in search results, which got me curious. I know at one time, my webcam page was either one or two on the list (this was, like, 8 years ago). So I did a Google search on "Copper Harbor, MI", and discovered that I am still on the first page, about seventh. I think that's quite an accomplishment.


The weather was nice for most of the day, and the temperature got up to around 57º for most of the afternoon. However, it clouded up by late in the day and we have had a couple of little rain showers, with the promise of more to come. The wind has turned to the south - wonderful for the bird counters - and it is in the 10-25 mph range. Oh, I do hope we have some more rain! We really, really need the moisture.


This evening, I started rereading the story from the white binder, which is on the computer. Instead of knitting, I petted a cat, who was most happy to be sitting on my lap and purring. Mommy is home again.


I'm sorry that the bird feeders didn't get out today, but I was distracted and then I went away. Tomorrow, maybe.


I mentioned the bugs at Taquamanon, and Vicky said today that she had been walking in the woods at the fort, and she had run into swarms of black flies, too. They weren't biting, but they're there. They never start biting when they first come out - maybe the males come out first or something. However, I mention this because it's a good month early to see them. The only good thing about having a warm summer is that we'll get over the black flies early. Then it's only the mosquitoes, and they are easier to keep away. So we'll see.


I must also report that my teeth still hurt, and one of the worst times is when I am breathing through my mouth, which I tend to do when walking. My nose runs so much that it is hard to breathe through my nose when I'm doing much of anything. My allergies aren't as bad as they were further south, but I can still notice that something is out that is putting pollen into the air. I will be interested to see how long it takes to get my mouth back into order. Now it seems to be more cold things than hot things, so that is a step forward, but it makes it hard to get rehydrated.


Now it is time to totter back to my comfy bed. My legs were still sore and a little wobbly today, from my exertions of yesterday, but I am still thinking about the lovely waterfalls and the lovely sound of falling water. Now it's a cloudy, breezy night in the field, and I hope to hear some water falling from the sky.


April 28

Please note that there was an April 27 entry, but it didn't get uploaded until 6:00 tonight. Sorry about that. Maybe in the fall, I can get a room where I can get a reliable internet connection.


I was in bed before 9:30 last night, and I went right too sleep - too much JD, I think. However, I woke up just after 3:00 to walk and I couldn't get back to sleep. I must have dozed, because time passed, but I certainly didn't sleep. I have no idea why. I tried all my ploys, and nothing worked. So I got up around 6:30. Geez! That's almost unheard of for me!


That meant I was on the road before 8:00, also unheard of for me. I was concerned about my plans when I set off, because it was cloudy at Grayling, which was not in the forecast. However, the further north I went the clearer it got, and by the time I crossed the bridge, it was glorious, with all that lovely blue water, and not much wind at all.


So when I got to the junction of M-123 and M-28, I stayed on M-123. That took me through Paradise, which looks like it's a slightly bigger, slightly higher class town than it was the first times I visited it. I wasn't sure if any motels were open, though, but it was only around 10:00 in the morning, so it was hard to tell. 


When you drive M-123 in that direction, the first thing you come to is Lower Taquamanon. At that point, I wasn't sure which falls was which, so I stopped, and I got in without paying, but even the toilets weren't open yet. Now I know - Lower Taquamanon is lower. Upper Taquamanon is higher. OK, I won't forget that again.


I did get out and walk, with my cane in one hand and my camera in the other. I have fond memories of Lower Taquamanon. In season, you can rent (or just take, which is what we did) a rowboat and row over to an island that is in the middle of the river. The river flows around it on both sides in small falls and rapids, and there is a lovely hiking path all around it. I've been there twice, once with both my parents and once with my mother. somewhere in my effects are a lot of pictures I took there, and I've always loved all the views. There were no boats today, of course, and since there were stairs, I couldn't get any pictures of the falls on the right side of the island, which are higher. However, I did get a pretty good shot of one side and the river below. It's really pretty around there. I was the only person there when I got there, although two or three carloads stopped later.


That wasn't too bad a walk, so I went on and finally found Upper Taquamanon. There may be as much as 10 miles between the two parts of the park. There, I found a big sign saying I had to pay to get in and since there was nobody manning the booth, I had to fill out an envelope, put my $6 in it, and deposit the envelope in a locked box. While I was doing that, another car drove in, saw the sign, drove around the parking lot, and came back to the sign, where the people inside seemed to be having quite a discussion about whether to pay or not. I'm sure nobody was checking, because nobody was there to check. I wanted to tell them it was worth the price, and I hadn't even seen it yet.


So I parked as close to the trailhead as I could, took my trusty cane, and started off. It seemed to be pretty easy walking, but a little long. Fortunately, they do have benches along the trail, although none at the overlook. I finally got there, and this is what I saw. Pretty nice, eh? I love waterfalls. There is another spot at the top of the falls, but I didn't go there, since pictures from the top of most waterfalls aren't very interesting, and besides, I was getting tired. And besides that, when I sat down, little black bugs were flying around me...I may have gotten my first black fly bites, but I'm not certain yet, since they take time to develop. You can also walk down the gorge a way, but I didn't do that, either. I can only do so much.


I have always walked in the woods looking down, and every so often it pays off. Here are three wildflowers I saw. There were Trout Lilies all over the place, but off the trail, and after my one foray to take that picture, I realized that I simply am not stable enough on my feet to go tramping around in the woods. None of them were open very far, though. When they are completely open, their petals curve back, and they are spotted with brown. The leaves are spotted with brown, too, which you can see in the picture. The flower is maybe 1½" across. The second picture is something I have no clue what it is. It seems to be some sort of very small shrub, and I saw a lot of the leaves, but those were the only flowers I saw. The third picture is of Spring Beauties. They were all over, too. I don't believe I have ever seen them in person before. The flowers are only about 3/8" across, so that picture is a real close-up.


That third picture is a chuckle, too. It is very hard to see the camera screen when the sun is so bright and I have my sunglasses on, so I had to sort of guess where the flowers were. I centered the first two pretty well (the first picture is cropped, though), but the third one is another story. I laughed when I saw it tonight. The flowers were way off in the upper left-hand corner and I got a great picture of a bunch of last fall's leaves and a whole field of what may be the leaves of wild lily-of-the-valley, which doesn't bloom until later. So I had to crop that one drastically to show what I wanted.


It is really too early for the wildflowers, although I suspect that these are blooming much earlier than they normally do. That is why I'd never seen any of them before. Usually, my trips south are much too early, and I'm not sure they grow around here. When I was more agile, I loved to take pictures of wildflowers, and I would dearly love to do more. However, I have a way to go before I will be able to go tripping around in the pathless woods.


All the paths I was on were paved, which I guess is easier walking, although I always preferred to walk on dirt paths. And as I was pulling out of the parking lot, I saw a very small sign that said "Nature Trail" pointing to a nice dirt path. Oh, how I wish I could have taken that! However, when I started back from the falls view, I realized why I thought it was such easy walking. It was all on a slight downhill grade! Walking up wasn't nearly so easy, and I was hot and tired and my ankles were getting wobbly by the time I got back to the car.


But I saw Taquamanon once again, and I saw it on an absolutely perfect day. The temperature was in the low 50s, with a light wind, which means my fleece jacket felt good, but it wasn't too cold for comfort. My hands didn't get cold. There were some puffy white clouds off in the south, but they didn't get to where I was, so the sky was blue, blue, blue, and the sun was strong and warm. Just perfect. It made my day.


I got here about 5:30, to find Jasmine staring at me through the door, and while I was opening it, Buster came up, too, and he stared in a bit more friendly way. I think they are both glad I am home. So am I. Buster has been sitting on my lap as much as he could, and he got to lick the bowl after I finished my Pasta Orleans. It seems I'd saved all the shrimp, so I had a yummy dinner.


I am so glad to be home. I am so tired. My legs are so wobbly. But I got to see Taquamanon once more, and that made me happy. I will go back, if I get another beautiful day, but it has been at least 25 years since I was there, and that was when we got caught in a thunderstorm.


On a side note, for once, I didn't take enough clothes. I have no clue why. I splattered sauce on my tee shirt yesterday at lunch, so I couldn't wear it again...well, I could have, and I probably should have, but I hate to wear something I know is dirty. I dribbled Chinese takeout all over the polo I wore to Detroit, so I couldn't wear that. The only other top I took turned out to be a short sleeved polo. Fortunately, it wasn't any colder than it was, or I would have been uncomfortable outside. So I have decided it's better to overpack than underpack, and I will act accordingly the next time I go.


I also think I have started getting my summer suntan on my left hand. When I'm going north and west, the sun shines on that hand all the time, and I have to use it on the steering wheel. It feels a little warm tonight, like it got burned.


Traffic was minimal most of the way, although I did run across a few really weird drivers. I really appreciate not having to take that drive during the summer.


One neat thing I saw. I stopped at Newberry, as usual, to rest and get gas, and as I was coming out of the restroom there was a man with a little boy, maybe three or four. They walked outside and over to a double-bottomed log hauler, and the man put the little boy in the cab. I thought that was just lovely, that a dad would take his son with him in a big rig. He had a full load of logs, too. I can imagine how thrilled the little one was to be riding with dad in his huge, powerful machine.


There were some high cirrus clouds in the sky when I got home, and I guess by tomorrow we may even see some rain. Boy, do we need it. All over the fire signs said "very high" - I would have said almost explosive. It is really dry. Taquamanon was running pretty good, as you can see, but I don't think it was as full as usual. We have had a real drought here since the first of the year, and we need moisture.


Well, that was my adventuresome trip. I was able to walk better than I'd feared, which made me feel good, but I'm still not in good shape at all. I wouldn't have made it without that cane. I can still hear the roar of the falls.


Now it's a cool, nearly clear evening in the field, and I'm home safe and sound. Thank God.


April 27

Well, we'll either get this uploaded or we won't. I had a great wireless connection - even streaming radio - through the motel next door until about 6:45, and then it quit. So we'll see.


I didn't sleep well last night, which is typical the night after I take sleeping pills. Early this morning, I had a really weird dream - Mike, were you thinking about me?


I got up before the alarm went off at 7:30, so I had time to do most of my morning surfing before I packed up the car and was off to the dentist. He was really apologetic about the pain I've been having in my jaw from the temporary cap, and we agreed that the next time, when I say it's too high, he will try to do something to prevent this from happening again. At least it didn't affect my jaw hinge, like the last one did, but I still have a terrible time with very hot or very cold food, and it's not just the tooth with the crown, but the ones behind it and the ones on the bottom. Eating is, well, interesting. 


So he worked really hard to get the permanent crown to fit right, and now I think it will be OK, once my teeth recover from the trauma. At least my bite feels just like it did without the crown in place, and I have very pretty new piece of jewelry in my mouth. The amount of gold I have in my mouth at this point would probably pay my mortgage for a month.


I touched base with Deb, and her schedule was rather full, so we couldn't hook up for lunch. I checked with the bra place, and my bras had come in, so I swung around there, and then I went back to Fishbone's and had some more Pasta Orleans. And I have enough for dinner tomorrow. Oh my, is that good!


It was a real pleasure to drive through the streets of the Grosse Pointes. It is so pretty at this time of year. Driving down Kercheval, I passed some very large trees that were full of white flowers. I mean, these guys were taller than a two-story house. They were clearly planted a long time ago.


There were several interesting observations I need to write down, although they probably won't mean a lot to people who never lived there.


There was a Kroger's store in the Village (a shopping area) that had been there forever. I didn't like it, because it didn't carry the stuff I used, but I thought it was well-patronized. And on the corner of that street (I can't remember which one it was - a block north of Cadieux) there was a wine store. Well. Where those two stores were, which is about a half a block, there is now a very deep hole in the ground. I have no idea what it will be, since there didn't seem to be any signs. I will be most interested to see what's there when I go back in October.


Then I got behind a poor old guy in a car with three of his friends who could only go 25 mph in the 30 mph zone (where most of us go 35) on Kercheval. Fortunately, he turned off not far from the village. As I get older, I really feel for those people. They need to keep their wheels, because otherwise they and their friends are stuck, but they really are too old to drive.


I managed to hit the Hill and the vicinity of Grosse Pointe South High School (which is where I graduated, when there was only one high school in the Pointes) right at lunch break. There were bunches of kids actually walking down Kercheval, either to go home for lunch or to hang out in the Village. What impressed me more, though, were the dozen or so black kids waiting for a bus to take them down toward Detroit. That must mean that black people are now living in Grosse Pointe Park in large numbers. I have to say they were all dressed very well and they all seemed well-behaved, but it was kind of a shock. There wasn't even one kid with skin darker than Italian in school when I went (of course, that was - EGAD!! - 50 years ago). Well, the one thing I know is that they will get a good education if they want it. The Grosse Pointe schools are still some of the best. And property owners pay rather high taxes to see that they stay that way.


Then it was out Mack Avenue to Comfortably Yours, and that was a trip, too, between the people going 10 miles under the speed limit and the ones who wanted to go down the middle of the road (it has two lanes in each direction) and the bus-type thing that was in the right hand lane and didn't want to make the right turn where it was mandatory. Yiee! I need to be back on my one-lane unpaved road!


I did get to have a nice conversation with the owner of Comfortably Yours, whom I have known for a very long time, I think almost since she started the business. She is so nice! One thing she had learned that made me sad is that there is a sentence in the Health Care Bill that just passed Congress that says that pharmacists can sell prosthetics without being accredited, whereas businesses whose sole purpose is to sell prosthetics have to be accredited in order to deal with Medicare and Medicaid. It made both of us wonder how many other single-sentence gotchas there are in that bill. Anyway, I now am well-supplied with some very nice bras that fit well, are much lighter weight than my old ones, and look pretty good.


Then I was off to Fishbone's for some more Pasta Orleans. I'm sure they have other things that are as good, but I seem to be in a rut. This is fettuccini with various kinds of seafood, like shrimp, crabmeat and crawfish, in a parmesan cream sauce, and it is soooo good! I brought half of it away with me, and while it isn't as good warmed up as it fresh, it will do just fine. Yum.


I started north around 1:00. The trip from Detroit to Bay City was much nicer today than it was the last time, when I was a lot later. There was some weird driving on I-75, too, but there wasn't a lot of traffic, so it wasn't all that bad. I got to Grayling about 4:00.


I had a wonderful Internet connection until about 6:45, and then it went away, and I don't think I will be able to upload this, unfortunately. However, I wanted to get it written.


The weather all over Michigan was just glorious, unless you are worried about how dry it has been. It was clear and sunny, and the temperature was in the low 50s where I was. I think it never got to 45º in Copper Harbor, but it was a very pretty day. I wish I'd been there. 


It's supposed to be clear and sunny tomorrow, too, so I may do some sightseeing. Stay tuned.


I haven't been at this motel on Tuesday before, and I discovered that they have closed the dining room on Monday and Tuesday because they don't have enough business, so I had to eat in the bar while some guy was teaching line dancing. So now I know what line dancing is. I had decided to eat light, so I had a salad, and it did tate good. It's been a long time since I felt I could eat a salad for a meal, and I love them. However, the bar is noisy and not very comfortable, even when it is nearly empty.


Now I am very tired and too full of JD, so I will call it a day. If this doesn't upload, I will just pack up the computer and not try until I get home tomorrow. Aaahhh - home tomorrow! How I will be glad to get there.


So it's a lovely, clear night no matter where in Michigan you are, although it's going to get cold here, and it's time to call it a night.


April 26

Well, that turned out to be easy. Two JDs and a sleeping pill and I was in bed by 9:30. I set the alarm for 6:00, but as usual, I woke up around 5:30. I decided not to get up then, but I did get up before the alarm went off. I don't like getting up before the sun does, but oh, well. 


I really didn't have too much to do this morning, except to finish the packing, make sure the kitchen was clean, and check the weather. I even read my funnies, and in spite of that I pulled out of the garage at about 8:20. I can't remember the last time I got that early a start.


It was a beautiful, sunny day all over Michigan, and traffic was minimal, so I made good time. I don't know exactly what time I got here, but I was completely into my room by 7:30, despite having stopped for gas and for my Chinese takeout.


It was a pretty drive. In the UP, the tamaracks have turned green, the grass is green, and some of the aspens in the eastern part are beginning to leaf out. In the northern lower, there was some green in the trees, and the wild cherries - pin cherries, I think - in the understory were out and were very pretty. I saw a deer or two, and a vulture or two, but no other wildlife.


Traffic was good all the way, except at the I-696 to I-94 interchange, which is down to one lane in each direction. It was actually sad. I came from Crooks Road down to nearly Moross Road (where I used to get off I-94) right around 6:00, and except right at the interchange, traffic was half what it used to be when I worked in Troy and was coming home around that time of day. Things are bad in the Detroit Metro area, and the traffic showed it.


I have a new favorite place to stop for gas, even though I have to pump it myself and my windows don't get cleaned. It is right at the 10 Mile exit from I-94, and the first time I stopped there it was a necessity - my low fuel light had come on. Since then I've been stopping there because they seem to have the lowest prices around. Regular gas was $2.80, while even at the Indian reservation in Baraga it was $2.86. Still, I never get used to putting $60 in gas in my tank.


This is such a pretty time of year in these parts. The mid to late spring flowers and trees are in bloom, and the green trees are just beginning to come out. I expect to see more of that tomorrow, as I wend my way to the dentist's office through my old stomping grounds. I never go by my old house - and I never will - but I do take a sort of zigzag route through Grosse Pointe Farms and Grosse Pointe to the dentist's office, and I just love to see all the pretty trees and gardens. While I still prefer where I live now, it's nice to revisit the old places every so often.


The weather was sunny and nearly clear all the way from home to here. I noticed that there were some cirrus clouds in Copper Harbor this afternoon, but not much, and while there was that high haze in the sky, it didn't cover much. I was very interested to see jet contrails all over the sky on my way south. Apparently the mitten is on a great circle route from somewhere that has a lot of traffic.


The temperature ranged from the high 40s to about 60º, depending on where I was. There was a rather strong north wind all day, which meant I was fighting the steering a lot, particularly on M-28 across the UP. 


So now I am here. Tomorrow I can attack the dentist, and tell him he was quite wrong. I haven't mentioned it, but the temporary cap he put on my tooth has not been very successful. Despite the grinding he did, it is too high (and sometimes it slips a bit), and when I eat, the entire left side of my mouth gets sore. The tooth itself is particularly sore and very sensitive to cold and heat. The bottom tooth that hits it is sore, too, from beating on the upper one. In the morning when I get up, it's OK, but as soon as I start chewing, it gets very sore. I will be glad to get my permanent crown, and believe me, I'm not going to get out of his chair until I am sure my bite is right.  It will be a relief to get it fixed.


I have had my egg rolls, my wonton soup and a good portion of lo mein, and I have a great selection of stuff to take home and eat. Yum. Now it's time to attack the shower and try to get to sleep at a reasonable hour.


I'm here, and the only good thing about that is that I can start home tomorrow. Please remember that I may not be able to get an Internet connection in Grayling, so there may not be a journal posted until Wednesday. 


April 25

I knitted and read off the end of another story last night, and it was after midnight, I think, when I got to bed. I didn't do very well again, but I managed to doze until about 10:00. Then I knitted some more and petted a cat for a while before I got dressed.


The tasks of the day are all complete, except that everything isn't in the car yet and I still haven't decided what I want to wear on Tuesday. Of course, I can't complete packing the suitcase and the train case until morning, but that's the way it always is. It was much easier because it was only two weeks ago that I did this exercise for the first time.


I did have to do something in the kitchen, and that is all done. The clean dishes are put away, the dry cat food is all down, I swept, and I gave the counters a once-over. 


I backed up the files to the TravelDisk, and moved the important ones to the laptop. I was looking in the laptop case to see what, if anything, I could take out to make it lighter (my antique laptop weighs a ton, but it keeps on perking), when I realized I have a second battery that I've never used (or I don't think I have). The battery I bought to replace the one that died, died after two years, so I have to be plugged in to run the computer. I had to remove the floppy drive to install the battery, but who needs a floppy drive anymore? I bet there are very few computers that have them. It says it is charging now, but I'm not sure if it will really charge and if it does if it will give me any battery backup. I wouldn't use the computer on battery power, but it would be nice if it didn't immediately die when I pull the  plug out of the wall. We'll see.


The weather was rather nice, if cool. It was mostly sunny, although there are those high cirrus clouds again. The temperature was around 45º all day, but there was almost no wind, so it was pleasant outside.


I guess i left my cellphone on, because the battery was dead when I checked it today, so I had to charge that, too. That is the trouble with these newfangled devices. The guy who could invent batteries that would keep a charge for a decent length of time would become a billionaire. I regard cellphones as a nuisance, but it is handy when I'm in Detroit.


So it's early, but that's good. I will finish my second JD, and pack up everything that needs packing, and try to get to bed early, so I can get an early start tomorrow.


Now it's a lovely, nearly clear evening in the field, and I have to go away, darn it.


April 24

I read and knitted for a while last night, and it was about 12:15 when I got to bed. Bad me. I didn't sleep all that well - I guess I'm anticipating again. Hard not to. I got up around 9:30, but I hadn't been really asleep for over an hour before that. My left hip was too sore to lie on and too sore not to lie on.  And, as I've said before, I can't sleep on my back for any number of reasons. So it wasn't the best night.


After doing several more rows on the Tofutsies sock, I decided I didn't like the lace pattern. It came out sort of tweedy, and it didn't do the pattern justice. So I ripped again and started over. However, this time I started casting on at a different point in the color sequence, and I like the ribbing a lot better, so I can hope the rest of the sock will come out good, too. I really like the colors in this yarn, and I want to make it, but I want it to look nice.


Otherwise, it was a quiet day. I got the dishwasher nearly ready to run tonight. I could wait until tomorrow, but I did that last time, and I wasted time unloading it in the morning. So I will run it tonight and unload it tomorrow. Since I never completely unpacked, I don't think I have as much to do tomorrow. Or I hope not. My biggest problem now is what to take to wear, but I'll figure that out in the morning.


I actually spent a long time sitting in the ugly chair, and yowee! Huzzah! I actually finished the Angel of Dreams! I can hardly believe it. I looked back in the journals, and I started it sometime in July, 2004. Six years!! I've only had one or two projects that took me that long. Of course, a lot of it was that I abandoned it when I thought I wasn't ever going to get my framing back, and when I did get the framing, I was into other things besides embroidery. 


I really do love to  embroider, and I am going to have to try to do more. I'm not exactly certain what I will be doing next. I know what I'd like to do, but it is on 18 count Aida, completely stitched, and it uses about 50 colors, all shades of near-black or near-white. I'm not sure I'm quite up to that. I do know I don't want to do anything on dark fabric for my next project. I've had enough of that for the time being.


The reason I mention that is that I have set aside a piece that would be the front of a Bible cover, and it is very pretty, but it's on black fabric. I will keep it in mind, because it uses Anchor floss, which I love to work with, but there is that black...


After I finished embroidering, I put the chart away and put the needles and scissors back in the workbox and put the magnet board back in the thing I keep it in. I haven't put the floss away or anything, but things are a bit neater over by the ugly chair.


While I was embroidering, I got time to watch the deck. I wasn't looking up very much, so I didn't see who came to the feeders, but I got to watch the critters in the deck feeder, including either two or three really teensy chipmunks. I thought last year that they were eating the seeds, because they manipulate each one, but what I think they are doing is shucking the sunflower seeds so they can get more in their cheek pouches. That's what I'd do if I was a teensy chipmunk and had teensy little cheek pouches.


The juncos are back, it looks like. I have one that I'm afraid has some sort of growth on its left side, below its wing. It is rather thin, and I'm afraid it isn't going to make it. I saw at least one white-crowned sparrow, a female, I think, and at least one white-throated sparrow. So the spring migration is starting at least a month early this year, just like the weather. The chipping sparrows are back, too, but just a few of them.


There was a boat out in the harbor for a very long time this morning and early afternoon, with three guys with fishing poles. I wonder what they caught, if anything.


I think I've seen an eagle a couple of times, soaring overhead, but they move so fast, I'm sometimes not sure what I've seen. I understand there's a guy from Tech who has been up on the mountain every day for the past month counting everything he can see. The birding weekends aren't until May, and I hope there's something for them to see.


The weather was - eh. It was quite clear this morning, but as the day wore on, the high, wispy clouds thickened and it was rather dull this afternoon, with just enough sun to be useful while I was embroidering. The temperature got up to 60º briefly, around 1:00, then it dropped back to 49º for a while before it settled down at around 55º. There wasn't much wind, from the southeast. I had the patio door open a crack all afternoon, and it felt good. It was nice to be able to hear the outdoors, too, not that it was noisy, but I could hear a bird or two and the squirrels, of course.


So that was my day. Maybe I should have been doing some work, but that didn't appeal to me very much, and I've finally finished that angel! For the past year or more, since I had to put it on the frame, it has been sort of a millstone, and I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever get it done. However, when I started out today, I could see that I didn't have a lot more of the metallics to do, and then a few beads, so I just decided I was going to keep going until I finished it. It wasn't easy. With the higher magnification I've had to use to see the dark fabric, my glasses have to be in just the right position or they don't work, and they keep slipping, and until the sun got shining on the ugly chair, I was having some problems seeing what I was doing. After that, though, it went fast. There were a few floss stitches I'd missed, but I can't tell you how elated I was when I finally was able to take the piece off the frame. I hate to work in frames, especially big ones like that. Then there was a stitch or two that I didn't do right that jumped out at me that I had to fix, and I'm sure there are more, but this piece isn't meant to be looked at close up, and from a distance, it looks pretty good. I have it hanging from the mantel in the studio, weighted down on top with two bags of assorted seed beads. See? Those bead assortments are good for more than one thing! I would really like to get it framed, so sometime after I get back, I may take a trip to Houghton and talk to the framer there. The problem is, there are a few really huge beads - pebble beads, about 4mm in diameter - that are supposed to be scattered around. I don't like them very well, but I haven't found anything else to substitute for them. If I want glass over the piece, which I do, it will mean using big spacers between the glass and the embroidery, since I don't want mats. I will just have to talk to them.


So now I can begin to move toward the north end, with the good feeling that I really accomplished something that has been bugging me. and I can go on to other things, once I get this trip to Detroit out of my hair.


Buster was very clingy all day. I'm still not sure if he's sick or he thinks I'm going away again. We'll see how he acts once I get back and put the suitcase away. Jasmine was rather sleepy all day, I think because she probably spent the entire night out on the porch watching the show. I hope I can shut the window before I leave Monday, because it isn't supposed to be too warm while I'm gone.


Now it's a cloudy, rather warm night in the field, and it's time to start for the north end.


April 23

I knitted for a while last night, but I'm not going to be able to read while I do the Tofutsies sock if I continue with this pattern. So far it looks kind of neat, but I've only got about an inch done. I think I got to bed around 11:00, and the bright moon was shining in the windows. in fact, at one point in the night when I woke up, it was shining so brightly on my pillow that I turned over.


I didn't get up until almost 10:00, so I guess I got caught up on my sleep. I petted a cat, but he went away when  I finished the lace sock and got out my toolkit to finish off the toe.  So now I have a pair of lace socks. I still don't have a clue about why they didn't come out the same, but they look all right and nobody but me will ever know there's something wrong with them.


My day was rather truncated, but I did go to the post office, where there was a pile of catalogs and a pile of those yearly reports everybody sends out and nobody reads. There was also a good pile of pleas for money, and a couple of bills. The hospital is charging me for an ultrasound from my aborted biopsy, which I guess is valid, since they did do that.


Otherwise, I didn't do much. I sent off my resume, and got an email back saying that they filed it. So all I can do is hope.


I looked through my summer yarn again and chose some very old yarn from my stash. It is mostly cotton, and I have several pairs of socks from the same yarn in different colorways. This one is wild - bright rainbow red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and black - in short repeats. It will be fun to wear. I finished the ribbing while the talking was going on, so now I have something to do while I read.


The weather was nice. It was very clear this morning, but as the day went on, those high hazy cirrus clouds came in, and the sun went away for a while. The temperature for most of the day was around 50º, but it rose abruptly late in the afternoon and hit 62º at 8:00 before it started falling back. There was almost no wind, under 10 mph from the west, and quite a while when it was calm.


It was rather nice outside, and when I got back from the post office, I went out onto the deck and pulled up the shutters over the porch. It is so nice to have light in the kitchen and the hallway again! I opened the window in the hallway, but it was a while before Jasmine realized it was open and she could go out. She was more interested in the squirrel in the bird feeder anyway.


Late this afternoon, I was surprised to see the UPS truck pull up, and I now have a nice box of 48 mega-rolls of my favorite toilet paper. My goodness, that was fast. I only ordered it on Tuesday. Of course, the box is in the vestibule and it needs to be in the breezeway, but I guess I can figure out how to get it there. 


I was knitting away when I heard something like boxes falling over, and when I went out into the great room, Buster had pulled the box that his new scratching pad came in onto the floor and was trying to get into it. Then I discovered that the box was supposed to keep the pad in it and have the top pulled off, and it had a little packet of catnip in it. Well! All the time I was trying to get the scratching pad together and get the catnip bag opened, he was pawing at me and was very excited. So I poured it into the box thingy, and he immediately got in and ate some , then he laid down in the box.


A while later, Jasmine came by and she wanted some too, I think, because she and Buster had quite a wrestling match. But he is bigger and older and more stubborn than she is, so she went away. There is still some catnip in the box and I hope she can get it.


I had been giving Buster catnip regularly, and about the time Jasmine came, he seemed to get tired of it and he didn't want it anymore, so it has been quite a while since he's had any. I'm glad to see that he still likes it. I have quite a bit from the yard on Champine, and someplace around here, I have some catnip seeds I bought. I haven't decided exactly where to plant them, but catnip will grow almost anywhere. I only want to make sure I plant it where I can get to it and harvest it. They like fresh catnip, too.


So that was my day. I noticed that the last picture from the camera, at 9:30, was not quite dark, so the days are getting longer fast. Now it's time to toddle up to the north end and take a bath. It's a warmish, cloudy night in the field.


April 22

I read off the end of the story last night, and knitted while I did, and I think it was shortly after 11:00 that I got to bed. There was a nice first quarter moon shining in my windows, and early this morning, I got to see it set, a bit north of the lighthouse, where the sun sets in June. Pretty. It wasn't a pristinely clear night - those high aerosols were still in the sky all night, although it was clearer than it's been. I could see Polaris, but not very clearly.


I got up around 9:15, and I knitted and petted a cat for a while before I got dressed.


Again I didn't do very much. I got most of the trash off the counters, although I missed some and made some more. I folded all the wash, finally, and put away what goes in the closet, and I rewashed a couple of blouses. I thought I was being smart by drip-drying my denim shirt, but when it dried, it was like cardboard, so I washed it over and dried it in the dryer, and it is much better. Tonight I have to put away the underwear.


I spent some time trying to figure out why the second lace sock hasn't come out exactly like the first - and I have no idea - and knitting on it, and in thinking about the Tofutsies sock. It's nice to have something easy to knit, but it was coming out looking rather boring even though the colors are bright, so this afternoon, I tore it all out and started it over using a two-row lace pattern that will make the top edge wavy. I've only done a few rows, but it may be OK. If I don't like it, I'll just rip it out again.


The weather was quite nice. It got down to between 25º and 30º overnight, but the temperature rose quickly in the nearly clear skies, and it was 46º for several hours this afternoon. There was almost no wind.


The long-term forecast says it is probably going to rain in Detroit while I am there, but it will be sunny here. Hey, guys, we need some rain, too. It's extremely dry here, and it's not good for the growing things for it to be so dry. It would be much better if the weather would reverse - rain here and be sunny there.


There are green things coming up in my garden, but they need water, and I don't have any water available yet to put on them. When I get back, I will have to call Adam and see if he can get the pump ready early this year.


I sat in the ugly chair this afternoon for a while, and my red-breasted nuthatches are back. I was interested to see at least one of them eating thistle seed. I didn't know they liked that. Of course, they also love sunflowers. There weren't very many birds, but the nuthatches and chickadees were here, and several juncos. When I came back to the studio after taking my tray to the kitchen, there was a teensy little chipmunk in the feeder on the deck. Unfortunately, I scared him, because I had to open the door a bit to cool it off in here.


So that was another quiet day, and I will be going up to the north end and try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. It's a clear, cool, calm night in the field.


April 21

I ended my day by reading and knitting and listening to the lake singing, and I think it was around 11:00 when I got to bed. I had a rather restless night. My hips were sore - alternately - and I was up several times, although that means I'm beginning to get rid of some of the fluid. I didn't feel like I slept very well. I got up around 9:15 because I had to, and Buster had settled down right beside my head.


I found out why when I got to the bathroom. He had given up some more hair. He is not even forming hairballs now - they come up in a big mass. He was sitting on my lap when Jasmine came in. She looked at the mess, sniffed it, then shook her foot and walked off. Boy, is she picky. However, later in the afternoon, she was sleeping in the combination scratching pad and sleeping place that I bought (the big expensive thing), even though Buster had urped on that, too. Nobody seems to know it's for scratching, but they are beginning to understand you can sleep in it. and you can see mommy while you do.


Anyway, I knitted some more and finished the gusset on the sock. It seems to be going rather quickly, although this afternoon I had to rip out 8 rows because I had screwed up one repeat of the lace pattern on the instep. Grr...Buster sat on my lap for most of the time, and he is very clingy. I'm not sure if it's because he doesn't feel well or he thinks maybe I am going away again, since I haven't put the suitcase away. Well, he's right about that.


The weather was cold. It was 32º until noon, when it began to rise slowly, but it never got over 35º and it is dropping off again. The wind was from the east, and it was in the 15-25 mph range overnight. It died down steadily all day, and is now nearly calm. It was very cloudy and dark all day, and around noon, it almost looked like there was a little snow squall over town, and maybe something came down here, too, but not more than a flake or two. Then, between 5:45 and 6:00, suddenly all the clouds ran away to the south and it cleared up completely. Amazing! But that's what's fun about weather around here. It's still cold out, but it is supposed to warm up a lot tomorrow.


I didn't do much. The one momentous thing I did was to start to put together a resume, in the hope of scaring up a job. I'm not happy about the way it looks, but at least I have some words down. It's just not possible to really explain what I did for the last 16 years I worked, because I did a little bit of everything, but I tried. Unfortunately, it goes to two pages. 


I begin to reload the dishwasher. I spent some time in the ugly chair during the talking - the radio was behaving itself today - and that was when I screwed up the pattern in the sock. I am making progress, though, and I may even finish it before I leave...then I'll have to decide which pair to wear to Detroit. Decisions, decisions...


I recalled that I hadn't checked my bank accounts lately, and when I did, lo and behold, there was money in my checking account! Whee! Goodie-goodie! I have money!! I was very suspicious about filing my income taxes electronically and getting my refund (from the state) electronically, but now I'm sold. I got my money about 15 days after they acknowledged receipt of my return, whereas last year it was the end of July before I saw it. So I guess I'll be doing it electronically from now on. I don't know whether it's really easier for my accountant, but boy, is it nice to have that money now!


So that was my day, and I will be off to the north end shortly, after I bring in the bird feeders. There were a few birds that I saw while I as sitting in the ugly chair. There were several female juncos, so they are beginning to arrive. And there were at least two white-crowned sparrows, females, I think. So the migration is beginning, and when I get back I will have to spend lots of time in the ugly chair watching. I have been putting the feeders out so late, and it was so many days that they weren't out, that I am not getting the number of birds I was before I left. However, I'm pretty sure that a lot of my birdseed was going into the gullet of that fat old raccoon before I started bringing everything in at night. The goldfinches do chow down, but not that much! 


So now it's a cold, clear evening in the field and it's time to call it a day.


April 20

Well, I knitted and read long enough that i didn't get to bed early, but it was earlier than the night before - about 11:30. I did all right. I really didn't want to get up at 9:30, but I had to. I knitted for quite a while on the lace sock, and I got the heel done and started the gusset. Between the pattern and the gusset, this is one that I can't read while I'm doing it.


I didn't do a lot. The bird feeders got out, but not early, and I don't know how many birds came. I placed a couple of orders with Amazon. I think, if I've done the math right, that I an get my toilet paper a whole lot cheaper from them, and they have it on their subscription service, which means they will automatically send it to me every so often unless I tell them not to. I've had several things on that, and it's really handy. Something else I don't have to worry about, and if it really is so  much cheaper, all the better.


The advertising committee meeting was at 4:00, and we had another meeting with Mac about advertising on the radio stations he works for now. He is a good salesman. Then we talked about the video and about the town map and some other things. Then the other ladies got sort of into it on some personal subjects, and I mostly listened. I am still trying to get a feel for the dynamic of CHIA and it's not easy.


Some of the problems have to do with a problem I've noticed that women seem to have more than men do (or at least they show it more). Women seem to tend to feel that if an idea they have is attacked, they are being attacked personally, when that is most often not the case at all. It frequently causes hard feelings and sometimes more than that. I've sometimes had that problem myself, but I've been around so long that I've gotten used to it, but many women never do, and it can complicate matters.


Both yesterday and today, Miranda brought Aster, who is just beginning to walk. She is a cute little thing, but it's a good thing her mom is young and vigorous, because she is a very active baby. I wonder what will happen when the Queen starts to sail, and Miranda has to work. Maybe she will be able to get a babysitter. Aster seems like a smart little kid, but her attention span is short, which I guess is normal at that age.


So I didn't get home until 7:30, and Buster is sitting on my lap with his butt on my left wrist and his head on my right wrist - there, I had to mouse, so he has resettled himself in a little ball, and he is purring loudly. It will take a while after I get back next week before he will relax every time I go out for an hour or two. Since cats live completely in the moment, he never knows, when I leave, if I will actually come back. When I'm here for any length of time, he gets it, but then I go away for three or four days and he gets all upset again. It isn't helping that he is shedding like crazy and giving up hairballs. As he gets older, his tummy gets more sensitive, and he can't stand the hairballs at all. He decided he doesn't like the hairball med, so I'm stuck.


The weather was about like yesterday. The temperature maxed out at about 46º, at noon, and settled down in the low 40s for the afternoon. The wind was sometimes around 15 mph from the north, but then it died down. Now it seems to have picked up a bit from the east, and the lake is singing softly. It was clearer today than yesterday, although there were more of those high, whitish clouds in the afternoon and I'm not sure we'll be able to see Venus tonight.


I've forgotten to mention the length of the days. We already have nearly 14 hours of daylight, and the days are getting longer at over 3 minutes a day. The sunset has disappeared out of the camera view and it will be gone until at least September, I think. This is the time of year that gets me used to going to bed late, because it's light outside. I love the long days.'


So that was my day - not very long - and I will be off to the north end as soon as I post this and bring in the bird feeders. It's a partly cloudy, cool night in the field.


April 19

Oops. I read and  knitted for too long last night, and it was 1:30 before I got to bed. Oh, sigh. I didn't wake up until 6:00, but after that I didn't sleep very well for some reason, so I am really tired tonight. I got up around 9:00, so I had time to knit a bit and pet a cat and do part of my surfing before I was off to my massage, which I really needed. My whole back was really tight, and it feels much better now.


When I got home, I didn't do a whole lot except the rest of my surfing, and then it was off to the CHIA meeting. I was wrong about the advertising meeting, which is tomorrow, and it was just as well. Things are beginning to gear up for the summer and it was a long meeting. We got to see the first cut of the video, and it's going to be very nice. Johanna is the narrator, and she photographs extremely well. The producers did a wonderful job of photographing the area, too, and that was great. There were a few things missing, but overall everybody thought it looked wonderful.


Most of the discussions were about getting word out about Copper Harbor to a wider audience to entice more people to come and see, and stay. I hope my modest little journal and my pictures are helping to do that a little bit, but, of course, I think most people who come here and look at the camera and maybe read the journal are people who know about the area. I hope I have enticed some people who have never been here before to come and visit.


When the video is done, it will be available on the copperharbor.org website. I will let you know when it's there and I will encourage anybody who can view videos to look at it.


When I went out today, I noticed that the buds are beginning to swell on the juneberries - and that's at least a month early! The maple flowers seem to be out, but it appears I've lost some of my little maples down by the end of the driveway, because I know last year there were some flowers that were very close to the window when I drove by. Oh, I hope that doesn't mean a hot summer!


It was a nice day, although the sky was still very pale blue or whitish, and sometimes the clouds were thick enough that the camera pictures didn't look like there was much sunshine. The temperature spiked up to 57º around 4:00, and it is still 50º, so it got a little warmer than the forecast. The wind was under 10 mph all day, and it was from all over the map. This weather makes me want -again - to pull up the shutters on the porch. Maybe tomorrow.


This evening, I sat in the ugly chair while the talking was going on and worked on the lace sock, and I have now finished the leg and I am ready to start the heel flap. Last night, I was working on the new Tofutsies sock. I finished the ribbing and got five rows of the leg done, but it's not enough to really tell how it's going to look. I will have to do at least 2" before I can tell whether it will be a plain leg or have a pattern. It's rather bright, but it's summery, and I think I am going to like it.


By the way, when I look at the last Tofutsies socks, which I didn't like close up, they look pretty good from a distance. The orange yarn, which was mixed in with pale blue, sort of recedes, and from a distance, the whole thing looks rather pinkish with dark blue highlights. Not bad at all, and it resigns me to wearing something with orange in it. Have I mentioned that my least favorite color of all is orange?


So that was my day, and I'm really tired tonight, so I think I will go up to the north end early - like now - and get my reading done and get to bed at a reasonable hour. It's a calm, mostly clear evening in the field.


April 18

I read and knitted again, and it was 1:00 before I got to bed. They lied about the stars - there weren't any. I got up around 9:30, because Buster was bugging me, and besides I needed to move. I didn't want to get up, and I was tired all day.


In fact, I was so tired that in the middle of the afternoon I shifted to the ugly chair and knitted. I decided I wanted to finish the Tofutsies sock. Along about 3:00, I remembered I needed to wash clothes, so I spent the rest of the afternoon going back and forth to the laundry room. The last two loads are in the dryer now. 


In between, I worked on the sock. It didn't come out very well. The closer I got to the outside of the ball, the more moth damage there was, and there are little end bits sticking out all over, hopefully on the wrong side, and the knitting isn't very even. But it's done. I can wear them to Detroit. I want to finish the lace sock, but I need a project that is mindless knitting, so I looked over my summery sock yarn. Most of it needs #2 needles, and I already have too many projects on those. I was tempted by the Panda Soy, which is actually all rayon, part made from bamboo and part made from soy. 


I don't know where I got the link about the bamboo thread, but it led to the FTC, which has issued an edict that says at least the big manufacturers can't call that stuff "bamboo" anymore, since it actually isn't bamboo fiber. It's rayon made with bamboo. In making rayon, they melt the cellulose fibers in some kind of noxious chemical, then they extrude the yarn from very fine holes into another noxious chemical that sets them. Anybody who tells you that rayon in any form is "green" doesn't know what they're talking about. Some of the chemicals are reusable, it's true, but it's still a chemical process.


Anyway, the Panda Soy is extremely soft and it will make a wonderful pair of summer socks, since both the bamboo and the soy rayon are cool and absorbent. However, I need to get something off the #2 needles before I can start working on it. It is mainly pink, but it has some pale blue and green and yellow in it. It's called a "print", so I'm hoping the colors are sort of blotchy. It might do well in a lace pattern. We'll see.


So I selected another ball of Tofutsies. This one is shades of green and blue, but very light - there is a lot of pale yellow-green in it, but also a pretty medium blue, a blue-green and I think a teal. From the ball it looks like it might stripe, but from the first three rows, it will blotch. If it were to stripe, I'd make lace from it, but if it blotches, it will be plain knitting, so my current effort is almost a swatch - which might turn into a sock. I had a terrible time with the end stitches on each side of the needle, but I think it's OK now. 


The weather was cold but sunny and calm. The temperature held at right about 41º all day long, and what wind there was came from the north at under 10 mph. It was almost calm for a good part of the afternoon. It was sunny, but the sky was full of aerosols, which left it almost white, and there wasn't any kind of good sunset. However, after the sun set, there was a nice crescent moon up in the sky and Venus down below it, very pretty. It was very humid, and my knees and other joints were telling me so all day long. The only kind of humid weather that is good for my joints is the kind I hate - warm and humid.


While I was sitting at the computer, my three deer raced through the backyard. I still think the two big ones are making love, and the little one, which is the fawn from two years ago, doesn't quite know what to make of it. At least it (I think it's a she) stopped in the yard and watched the other two do their thing. And there were various boats of fishermen out in the harbor for most of the afternoon.  The camera didn't get any pictures of them, but I saw them. It was a lovely day to be out on the harbor, since it was nearly calm. I was a bit surprised that I didn't see a kayak or two.


I ate the end of my Chinese takeout tonight. I do have some plain rice left - I need to cook something to go with it - but all the rest of the stuff is gone. It sure was good. I was a little bit concerned about bringing it back, since I wasn't sure of the temperature in the cooler until I got the ice, but everything came through just fine, and I haven't had any tummy upsets. I will do that again next week.


Tomorrow will be a busy day. I get a much-needed massage in the morning, then there is a CHIA meeting at 4:00 and an advertising committee meeting afterwards. Not much knitting time. 


So now I will totter up to the north end and put myself to bed, I hope quite soon. It's a clear, calm and cool night in the field.


April 17

Well, I read for a while and knitted, and it was almost midnight when I got to bed. It was a good night to sleep, with the wind whipping around the house and the lake singing in the background. At least once when I got up, there were a few stars, but not very bright ones. I didn't get up until about 10:00, and it was cloudy. I knitted some more and petted a cat before I got dressed.


I didn't do a lot, but I got most of the stuff out of the car. I needed to, because I needed some of the cat food I bought for tomorrow. The stuff they get on Sunday is special, and I had run out of it. Having the ice in the cooler sort of washed it out, although it needs a thorough washing, which I will have to do sometime this summer.


The only other thing I did was to start transcribing the next episode out of the blue binder. I did almost 6000 words. This episode isn't as long as the last one, so it won't take nearly as long to finish. It's the last one I can transcribe, because I'm still writing the fifth episode, and I have proven to my own satisfaction that I won't write fiction on the computer. I've already taken the last few pages of the story I call "First" and added them to the end of the handwritten pages. I'm not sure what I'll do about the other one that isn't finished, because I think I made major changes to it while I was transcribing it. I know how both of those stories end, but I need some material between where I am and the end, and somehow, I'm having a hard time generating it.


I've also realized that should I try to sell any of those things, I really don't need to publish "First" first, even though it is the back story to almost everything else, because I have referred to it enough in the other stories. I keep thinking about publishing, but it's not an easy thing to do, and I'm shy about trying. I wish I knew somebody who had a good literary agent.


The weather was OK. It was cloudy for most of the day, with some sunshine for a few hours around noon, and the temperature was nearly steady between 40º and 43º. The wind blew hard - 25-40 mph - from the north all night long, but around noon it started to die down and it is now under 10 mph.


I didn't put the bird feeders out again, because of the wind, but I will certainly have them out tomorrow, when it is supposed to be quiet and rather sunny. We'll see about that - they've not been very accurate lately.


I have been inundated by spam emails advertising mailing lists all day today - at least 100 of them. It is a real pain, and if they keep coming, I will have to talk to PastyNet about it. Just looking at a few of them, they are poorly formed messages, and at least some of them seem to be coming from Japan, although that's not clear. I'm not sure why PastyNet's spam filters don't catch these things - they should be filtering out anything that says "mailing lists". Oh, well, just another aggravation.


So now I will totter up to the north end and probably read for a while before I take my bath and crash. Tomorrow is washday, so I need a good night's sleep. 


It's a cool, cloudy night in the field.


April 16

Hee, hee, hee! I just brought up my WU page before I began this, and it's snowing at Gwinn, which is south of Marquette. Well, it's not that bad here.


I ended up not getting to bed until about 11:00. I read for a while when I got up to the north end, then I had to take a bath and treat my sore bottom. However, when I got to bed, I really did good. When I was up during the night, there were stars - quite bright stars - in the west. Mars is quite far east (or south, at that time of night) of Gemini, probably entering Leo, so there were Castor, Pollux, Mars and Regulus all just about in a line right across the windows. It was neat. I got up around 9:30, and it was cloudy. Well. That was not what was predicted.  The wind blew hard all night long and the temperature dropped.


I petted a very happy cat and knitted for a while. I have finished the gusset on the Tofutsies sock and started the foot. My goal is to finish it next week and wear the pair to Detroit on the 26th. I think that's doable, if I knit while I'm reading.


Other than that, I didn't do anything except go to the post office. It wasn't a good day to be outside. Oh, yes, and I had to keep petting a cat. He laid on my lap and got a very long belly rub and seemed very happy, I had to chase him off when I began this, because he was asleep with his head pillowed on my right arm, and that makes it hard to type.


The temperature dropped all night, then stabilized at 40º, plus or minus a degree or two. The wind was very strong, topping out around 30 mph with gusts up to 44  mph. Then about 2:00 it began to drizzle, and it was more or less raining when I went to the post office. It was not nice, and my knees are telling me so.


I didn't put out the bird feeders because it was so windy, i doubt there would have been many birds anyway. I hope the wind will die down tomorrow and I can get them out.


I called the glass company and got on their list to come out and rescreen the patio screen and fix the rollers and get it into the frame properly. I don't have any idea when they'll come, but until I do, I hope it's cold enough that I don't have to leave the door open. If I do, I'll have to patch up the hole in the screen with duct tape, just in case a cat might decided to go out. I'm sure Jasmine was fascinated when whatever critter it was tore the hole and started eating the seeds on the frame, right under her nose. I know she was awfully interested in that door yesterday. I wish she could tell me who did it, but I think it was a squirrel.


So that was a quiet day, and I just enjoyed being here. Now it's time to totter up to the north end and read and knit some more. It's a cold, windy night in the field, but the rain seems to be over. There was kind of a nice sunset, but the sun has gone so far north that it is setting over the lighthouse, well out of camera range and into the area where it's hard for me to take a picture with the Nikon. I wonder when that happened? I didn't even notice it was gone.


April 15

I'm sorry last night's entry didn't get posted until after 4:00 this afternoon. I simply couldn't get an internet connection that would stay up, and after a while, it went away completely, so I gave up and went to bed at about 10:30.


It was a weird night. I slept, with my usual wakeups, except that every time I woke up I was so stiff and sore I could hardly move. Moving helped, though, and by this morning, I was OK. I do think it's rather weird that the further north I get the fewer aches and pains I have. I woke up about  7:30 and decided I might as well get up, because if I went back to bed, I'd never make it home.


That meant that I was on the road by 8:45. Traffic was minimal, except in Marquette, of course, so I really flew. When I went through the Marquette - Ishpeming = Negaunee corridor, I finally realized why I don't like it there: it reminds me too much of Detroit, and not the nicer parts of the metro area. It's too much big city for me. Even though all the stores I might want to shop at are in Marquette, I will take Houghton - Hancock and Calumet with their limited shopping. Parts of them are pretty dilapidated, especially Calumet and Laurium, but somehow it's different.


The weather was not typical April. It was in the middle 60s when I left Grayling, and in Munising and Marquette, it was 75º - much too warm. It was also very humid. Several places, I could see where it had rained, although I only caught a little of that around Baraga. There was also a stiff south wind that meant I had to do considerable steering on M-28 and on US-41 west of Marquette.


The temperature was in the low 70s at Houghton and most of the way home from there, but it was 69º when I got home - at a little before 4:00. I mean, I flew. Cliff Drive is now open, so I could circle around Mohawk, which is faster, and there was no traffic at all from there to Copper Harbor. Oh, how I love to come down the hill and see the lake! There was even a little clear sky when I got here.


The views along the road are still very dull, although I could see that the buds are swelling on the maples and some of the other trees, and the tamaracks are beginning to turn sort of dull orange. Some of the grass along the roadsides has turned green, and you can tell where the road work was last year because that grass is all green.


When I saw the weather forecasts yesterday morning, I toyed with the idea of swinging around to Taquamanon, but when I got off the freeway at M-123, I could tell I was chasing a rain cell. I didn't get wet, but the road was, and it was north of me. Every time I've been to Taquamanon, it has rained. One day I'll sneak up on it and take some pictures, but not today.


Buster was having a snack when I came to the door, and he immediately came over and meowed at me before I got it unlocked. He was very happy to see me, and I think Jasmine was, too, although she was skittish. I opened both sliders, which aired out the house, but I had to close them because the wind has gotten very strong from the northwest, with gusts up to 32 mph.


When I went to close the door in the studio, I discovered that some persistent critter has torn a hole at the bottom. It's probably because I spilled some birdseed in the tracks, but now I have to have the door re-screened...again. Oh, well, if I can get them to come out, maybe they can get it seated in the track properly.


I ate early, and after I do this, I'm going to bed. I need to take a bath, and it will certainly feel good to sleep in my own bed again. I don't know what it is about southeastern Michigan, but my body just seizes up when I go down there. I was using the cane a lot. As soon as I got to Grayling, I began to feel better (except for during the night), and when I got north of the bridge, I loosened all up again. It's very strange.


Oh, yes, and I saved a picture of last night's sunset. I wish I'd seen it in person, it must have been a good one. I think I have the web all back together now, but we'll see how it goes.


I think this entry has been pretty disjointed, and I'm sorry. I'm tired. It's a partly cloudy, windy night in the field, and it's time for bed.


April 14

I'm having a version of my usual problems with the internet connection at the Ramada Inn in Grayling, so I will write this and hope I can upload it, then I'm going to crash.


I actually got to bed around 10:30 last night, and while I slept well, with only one wakeup, I woke up for the second time at about 6:20, which was only about 10 minutes before I'd set the alarm - see? It works every time. Anyway, that was not nearly enough sleep.


I actually got to do my morning surfing, although I was early enough that I didn't get much in the way of mail, and I couldn't see most of my sites because it was still dark. I got the car packed and went off to the dentist. Even though I was a couple of minutes late, I was still there 15 minutes before my hygienist, who always runs late, but as I discovered, the whole office doesn't care too much about schedules. After my teeth cleaning, I was prepped for my crown, and I now have a very funny feeling temporary. It seems to chew all right, though.


As it turned out, I didn't leave the dentist's office until after 11:00, so I was only a few minutes early for my lunch date, which gave me a chance to correct a mistake I'd made on the gusset of the sock and also make a trip to the restroom, which I'd forgotten to do before I left the dentist.


So I met Debbie, and she liked her birthday present and we had a yummy lunch...and we finally left the restaurant at 4:30. We could have kept on talking. She is still living her soap opera, but she finally may have found a way to put a little more distance between her and her ex. We can hope. She has been doing fundraising for the family of a young man the age of her oldest, and a friend of his, who recently died of lymphoma. While her background is in computer science and project management, she is a natural at things like fundraising, and she is considering possible ways to get a job doing that.


So we had a good time together, and I hit the rush hour in trying to get out of town. It was, however, still just 3 hours to Grayling. I got here about 7:45, and was checked in by 8:00, even though I stopped for gas.


I forgot to mention one of the nicest things about coming to southeastern Michigan in mid-April - all the early flowers are out. The weeping cherries, magnolias and daffodils were just beautiful, and there was green showing on most of the trees. And most lawns are so green early in the spring! There was green showing in the trees about to West Branch. So spring is creeping northward.


So is the temperature. It was around 65º when I left Detroit, and while it dropped to 64º for a while, it was 68º when I got here. That's too warm for this time of year! I had to buy a bag of ice to attempt to keep all my yummy food good until I get home. The skies were mostly sunny, with high, wispy altocirrus clouds I prefer to drive when it's cloudy, but it was all right. It sounds like I'm exiting the lower peninsula at just the right time. It's supposed to get really hot around Lansing tomorrow. By that time i should be back in the cooler regions.


So that was my day, and my trip, and now I can see if I can upload this thing. Then I am going to forgo the bath and crash, I think. So I won't look so hot. So what. I never do anyway. It's my last night away from the field for a couple of weeks.


April 13

I keep forgetting. I can't listen to music and run FrontPage at the same time on this computer: there isn't enough memory (it's 2000 vintage). So let's try this again. 


I need to go to bed, but more about that later


It was after midnight when I finally got to bed last night, and I did not sleep well. Part of it was hangover from the sleeping pill, but part of it was that I ached all over, including some places I've never ached before. I finally did get a little sleep, but then my nose got all stuffy, and that was bothersome. I'm allergic to this place. Really.


I set the alarm for 8:00, and as sometimes happens, I got up a few minutes before it went off. I got to do my morning surfing before I got dressed and off to the doctor.


The doctor was a nothing. We had a short conversation, because he was very busy, and he said to come back in six months. He also said that I will just have to deal with these things with my breast, since I had cancer in the other one. Sigh.


After that, my next stop was the ATM, and boy, have ATMs changed since the last time I used one. I haven't used one since I retired, and that was over 13 years ago. They are neat. 


So I got my money and swung around to my favorite independent pharmacy. There were several things I wanted there, and I got them...except for my extra large Kleenex, which isn't being made anymore. I was devastated. I have relied on that for my drippy nose for a very long time. I still have a stock, but once it is gone, it's gone. I may go back to handkerchiefs.


The timing was such that I went back to the motel, had some soup for lunch (yum!) and turned the heel on my sock. By that time, I could go off to my next task.


It was time for some new bras - they are two years old, and the elastic is stretching out. Besides, I have had a hard time keeping the left strap (my real side) from dropping. The result is what they call the mastectomy twitch, when I reach inside my shirt and haul up my strap. That turned out to be a nice task. The second bra I tried on fit better than any I have had, and they had two of them on hand. Oh, goody! Besides, they are all very nice ladies. The store is called Comfortably Yours, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who: has had a mastectomy; has or has had any other kind of cancer, especially where they have lost their hair; has a hard time getting bras to fit. I am delighted with my new bras, although I won't start wearing one until next weekend.


And then it was the pet food store, where I laid in enough cat food to last well into the summer. But they have varieties I can't find anyplace else, and besides, their prices are better, although the cost of cat food has gone up. I also got a thing which is a combination scratching pad and someplace to lie. I didn't realize how expensive it was, so I hope the fur faces like it.


As usual, they had an adoptable cat...sigh. It was another Buster, except that its eyes were the most beautiful emerald green, and it looked so sad when it looked at me. I could never work at anyplace where there are adoptable cats, or I would end up with 66, like the woman I got Jasmine from.


Then I got to come back to the motel and knit a while and listen to some of ATC. Whew!


All of this took place with great difficulty. As is usual when I come down here, I am so stiff I can barely walk, and I hurt all over. Like I said, I'm allergic to this place.


Around 6:00 I went to dinner at the Blue Pointe, and oh, my, it was good. I had sautéed lake perch, and they were wonderful. Yum. I also had two JDs, and I should only have had one. I'm getting over it now, but I was pretty drunk when I left. Oh, well. It didn't last long and I got back here safely.


Then I started trying to write this while I was listening to the radio, and I keep forgetting that just doesn't work.


The weather was so-so, both here and in Copper Harbor. Here, it got up to about 55º here and 50º there. It was more or less cloudy all day in both places with not a lot of wind. Blah.


However, the camera did catch a rather nice sunset picture. It has been sort of intermittent all day - I noticed that we missed a lot of pictures, for some reason. However, I think that one makes up for it. By the way, while you can get to the picture from here, you won't be able to get to it from the gallery until I get home - there's something weird going on with this copy of FrontPage. Oh, sigh.


So that was my day, and I need to try to get to bed soon, because I have to get the car packed and get to the dentist by 9:00 tomorrow morning...but then I can have lunch with Debbie and start home. Whoopie!


So it's another night away from the field, but we're making progress.


April 12

Much as I would have wished otherwise, it was midnight before I finally made it to bed. I should try not to procrastinate quite so much, I guess. I woke up for the second time at 7:30, and that was when I got up. Two JDs and a sleeping pill meant I slept, but I probably won't tonight. Ambien does that to me.


It took me two hours to get everything done that needed to get done. I had to unload the dishwasher and finish packing and eat and all that stuff, so it was 9:30 when I finally left.


It was actually a very easy trip. Traffic was almost nonexistent, and I missed the rush hour here. I had spent some time on the MDOT website yesterday, trying to find out where I might find road work, and I am still puzzling that one. They are working on the entire I-696 - I-94 interchange, but what they were reporting on the website and what is actually going on don't seem to agree at all. At least I was able to get from I-696 to I-94 west with little trouble, and it looked to me like I won't have any trouble going back. You would think that they would know what they are doing, but it didn't look that way.


I got off the freeway at about 7:30, got gas - even at $2.80 a gallon (the lowest I've seen it in a long time) 20-odd gallons was serious sticker shock. Then I stopped and got the Chinese takeout order I'd phoned in, and I got to the motel about 8:00, although it took me half an hour to get everything unloaded, and thanks to the nice young man who fetched me a container of ice. Their ice machine is on the second floor, and it has caused me grief before now.


In fact, the only problem I had on the whole trip (which I hesitate to mention) is that I wet my pants. I was wearing an incontinent pad, which in the past has worked well, but I overflowed it between Baraga and Newberry, and then I piddled again before I stopped around West Branch. I don't know what brought that on, and I was most annoyed. Fortunately, I always prepare for the worst, and I have two more pairs of jeans, which I hope will be enough.


So I sat and did my daily surfing and ate and ate lo mein until I finally couldn't eat any more. Oh, my, was it good!  As was the special wonton soup (I'll have more of that tomorrow) and the egg rolls. Yum!! Now it's very late, and I have to be up and moving tomorrow. 


Oh, yes, and among the things I neglected to bring are my current car insurance certificate (I put it someplace with the idea of putting it in my wallet, and I don't remember what I did with it), and my money. So I arrived here with $30 in my wallet. I guess my first stop after the doctor tomorrow had better be one of my bank's ATMs.  Geez...my mind! I think I need more mental stimulation than I've been getting lately. I'm getting very careless mentally.


The insurance thing occurred to me because the state police were crawling all over I-75 north of West Branch. I think I counted at least five cars parked in the medians. Evidently they weren't looking for people doing 77 mph, because they didn't come after me. Whew! All I need is a speeding ticket plus a citation for not having a current insurance certificate!


The weather was actually pretty good to drive. The temperature was in the low 40s when I left Copper Harbor, and it was in the upper 40s or low 50s all the way here. It was more or less cloudy all the way, too. Most of the way it was bright enough that I wore my sunglasses, but it wasn't bright sun. The only problem I encountered was a rather brisk wind from the east. It was interesting going over the Mackinaw Bridge, to see whitecaps on the east side and relatively calm waters on the west side. Usually it's the other way around.


Besides the road work, they are already working on the bridge, but it looked like it was just the normal painting that they do all the time. The repairing of the road surfaces over the bridge is done with, thankfully. There was one stretch of I-75 (I don't remember quite where, but it was in the northern lower) where they had both sides down to one lane for at least 5 or 6 miles, but there was nothing going on at all. That always annoys me. I don't think they should narrow the road until they are actually working on it...and no, it wasn't because of the time of day. 


I guess that's about all I can remember about my trip. I wasn't as tired or stiff as usual when I got here, which is good. Now I can attack the interesting shower and try to get some sleep tonight.


It was cloudy in the harbor, and I'm here in exile.


April 11

Well, the plan didn't work. I read for a while and I think it was midnight before I got to bed. I did not sleep well. I was wakeful and achy, and i had some very strange dreams. I was awake around 7:00 this morning, but that was entirely too early, so it was nearly 10:00 before I got up. Then I knitted for quite a while, and I started the heel on the Tofutsies sock. I petted a very purry cat, too. Even this morning before I started doing anything, he knew something was up.


I procrastinated for most of the day, as I usually do, but eventually I got most of the stuff done that needed to be done - including washing and drying the sweats and underpants that got messed up.


Let's see. The cooler, the lunch bag and the boos bag are packed, and the camera and the briefcase are in the car. I have some more stuff to put in the car, and then I can go up to the north end and pack my clothes.


This time there is going to be a lot of extraneous stuff. I need conditioner as well as shampoo (I can't get a comb through my hair when I wash it otherwise) and I am going to have to take the curling brush, much though I wish I didn't. Down in the big city, I have to look good.


When I get through with these trips, I am going to have to get my hair cut, and I hope to consult with the barber on the top. I have let it grow out, and if it's curled, I like how it looks, but it gets in my way and if I bend over, I get hair all over my face, which is a nuisance. I am really tired of having the top short, but I don't know what I want to do with it. I'm hoping that as it gets warmer and more humid, I won't have to use the curling iron. I might not have to in Detroit, but I'm not willing to take the chance.


I have always been a hair freak, and for a while I had wonderful hair that I really liked. No more. It's thin and in the winter, when it's dry, it gets straight and looks like a head of straw. I guess I got spoiled when I had a lot of hair. And actually, now that I feel it, it's not so thin, it's just much thinner than it used to be. I've always said that if I ever lose it again, I will be bald. And sometimes I think that is easier.


I also always said that losing my hair when I was doing chemo was a good thing. Being able to wash your head with a washcloth makes keeping clean a whole lot easier.


But right now, I'm struggling.


Anyway, I still have a lot of things to do, and there will be more in the morning. I hope to get away at a reasonable hour, but we'll see. By the way, since I'm taking the laptop with me, there will be journals.


I had a relatively short conversation with Debbie tonight, but we made plans to meet for lunch at one of my favorite places on Wednesday before I start north. She had a very bad March, but she is doing OK. She is a survivor, for sure. I'm looking forward to seeing her.


The weather was really nice today, if a little cool. The temperature was just about 47º all day. There was a brisk north wind - in the 15 mph range - from the north for most of the afternoon. It was beautifully clear until not long before sunset when the clouds began to thicken. Really nice. I have the patio door open a bit, because it got quite warm in here this afternoon.


So that was my day. Tomorrow's entry will be from the Parkcrest Motel in Detroit. Sigh.


Now it's a cool, partly cloudy night in the field and I need to do something before I can totter off to bed.


April 10

The plan is to go to bed early and with any luck, get up early tomorrow. It will be a busy day.


I read and knitted when I got up to the north end last night, and it was 1:00 before I got to bed. I got up around 10:00, I think, and I knitted on the lace sock for one whole repeat, so I was late getting to the studio. 


I had almost finished my surfing when it was time to go off to the Advertising Committee meeting. That took longer than I'd hoped, but we had to read through the entire Copper Harbor brochure, and there was a lot of discussion. It is a very pretty brochure. I'm sorry it isn't ready; I would love to take a few and leave them in the various waiting rooms where I will be for the next couple of days, since it is aimed at the wider world.


Anyway, I did a little work on the kitchen, so there won't be so  much to do tomorrow, but there is still a lot of stuff to do. I want to at least get the trash out into the garage and clean the kitchen counters...maybe even sweep, and then I have to pack the cooler and my baggage. Ugh. I do not want to go!


The weather was so-so. It was cloudy until after 3:00, when it cleared up. The temperature was just about steady at 40º, and there was a 15 mph wind out of the north, so it was chilly outside. Johanna had been mountain biking, and she said it was much more comfortable up in the woods. The sunshine and clear skies this evening were nice.


I looked for Mercury again, and I might have seen it, but Venus is getting brighter and Mercury has gotten a lot dimmer - at least a magnitude - and I only thought I might have seen it with averted vision a couple of times. Well, at least I have one confirmed sighting to remember.


I wanted to read a bit tonight, so I opened the story I call "First", which is the back story for the characters I use in most of the other ones. I do not know what I did to Word, but I had the most terrible number of formatting choices I have ever seen, and I couldn't get it go go the way I wanted it to, so I finally copied it into a new, blank document. That cleared up a lot of the formatting problems, but now I have to read through it and re-correct all the grammar non-errors that Word thinks it has found. Sigh. It would be sooo nice if things worked the way they were supposed to. I only got through the first twenty pages or so, so I'll have something to do when I get home. Ha!


So that was  my day, and now it's off to the north end, and maybe I can keep from reading forever. It's a clear night in the field now, but it's supposed to cloud up overnight.


April 9

I read when I went up to the north end last night, and it was midnight, as usual, before I got to bed. It was nice an cool in the bedroom, so I slept well, except for when I woke up with both hips sore. That is becoming a usual thing these days, and I don't like it. I got up around 9:30, and I petted a very purry cat and knitted.


I can never tell what gets into Buster when he is so clingy, but this morning I think it was a tummy ache, because eventually he got off my lap and gave up a little fur, so I gather he has (or had) a hairball. His tummy is so delicate even the littlest bit of fur will give him a problem. However, he has been clingy all day, so I'm not sure whether he is still not feeling good or if he is worried that I am going to go away and  leave him...which is true.


I started out knitting on the Tofutsies sock, but then I decided that when I am knitting and not doing anything else, the thing to do is work on the lace sock when that's all I'm doing. I can do the Tofutsies sock when I'm reading or sitting in waiting rooms. So I put the lace sock back on the circular needle, knitted a couple of rows, and thought I had screwed it up, so I ripped back and then realized I had been right the first time, so I reknitted what I had pulled out and a few rows more and finished the first half of the pattern repeat. I don't know what I was seeing, but it looked like I had put in one too many plain rows, but then I discovered  I hadn't. Oh, well. I get easily confused.


I went to the post office and got some pop to take with me. The only other thing I did was to back up my files to the TravelDisk and copy the important ones to the laptop. One thing I wanted to be sure I did, besides getting the updated web on the laptop, was to install WinSCP, which is a neat FTP utility I have been using to copy the files to the website. Jon Hopper suggested it to me, for which I thank him. It is another one of those little programs that does one thing very well and doesn't try to be all things to all people like most Microsoft programs do. Not only does it copy files very nicely, it gives useful messages when things don't go well, and it does its copies encrypted, which isn't a bad idea when I'm using wireless networks in motels. Mostly I like it because it does one thing well. Anyway, the way things are now, I think everything is set up on the laptop, so all I will have to copy Sunday is the journal file.


The weather was sunny but cold. It was actually partly cloudy for most of the day, but there was a lot of sunshine and blue skies and blue waters. The temperature hung right about 34º for most of the day, although it got up to 37º a little while ago. The wind was from the north, but it was under 15 mph all day, and now it is calm. It was a pretty day.


I have to say that I am glad to see that the temperatures have decreased in Detroit. It will be warmer than it is here, but not in the 80s like it was last week! I don't want to go anyway, but if it was really hot, I would be miserable. It looks like I will be getting out of town before it warms up again, and it will be a little warmer here, too. 


There was something wrong with the broadband when I got to the studio this morning, but before I could call PastyNet, it cleared up. The camera couldn't complete any uploads, and the mail files wouldn't download. Apparently they knew about it, because everything has been fine and very fast for the rest of the day. However, you missed a few pictures this morning. Sorry about that.


So that was my quiet day, and I am planning to go up to the north end rather early tonight and read for a while before I crash. It's a partly cloudy, cold night in the field.


April 8

It snowed! More about that later.


I felt so bad  when I went up to the north end last night that I got the barf bucket out of the closet, but fortunately I didn't have to use it. I sat and read for quite a while before my tummy settled down. I have no clue what caused that. Anyway, I got to bed about midnight. I had had the window in the window seat open a bit, but it seemed rather cool in there last night, so I closed it, and I'm glad I did. I slept fairly well, and I got up around 9:30. I petted a cat and knitted a while before I got dressed.


When I went to put out the bird feeders, I noticed that there was white stuff on the deck, and around 12:30, it started to snow, and it was still snowing when it got dark. Geez. There was only a little accumulation - a quarter inch or so - but there was white on the grass and on the deck. After having no snow at all in March (for the first time since records have been kept), now we get it in April. I guess they had a lot over by Marquette.


It was a nasty day outside. The temperature all day was around 30º, although it has risen to 32º now, and there was a strong northeast wind, in the 25-35 mph range. Of course it was cloudy and dark. Yuck.


I decided it was too nasty to go to the post office, so I typed instead, and I just finished the episode I've been working on for so long - 215,000 words. Now I can file it away and maybe start on the next episode, although I am still reading that. Probably I won't do anything about that until I get home.


Otherwise, I got the dishes out of the dishwasher and loaded in what was dirty. I have some work to do in the kitchen, and some stuff to get out to the garage, but I'm not going to be rushing around to do a lot of stuff I don't need to do.


The doctor's office called and my potassium is fine, so I will just have to keep taking the potassium, which is a pain. It upsets my stomach so much that I have to eat half my breakfast, take half a pill, eat the other half of my breakfast, then take the other half pill. What a pain!


Now it is late and time to totter up to the north end. It's a dark, cold and snowy night in the field. 


April 7

I started reading and knitting when I went up to the north end last night, and it was 1:00 again before I got to bed. I got up around 9:00, because I wanted to at least be dressed when Aaron got here, but he didn't come until after 10:00, so not only had I eaten, I had had a messy accident and changed all my clothes by the time he came.


He cut down the dead tree and moved the birdseed into the breezeway. I actually took a little walk, out beside the garage and around on the driveway. It felt good, except that my legs and back were sore by the time I got into the house.


The weather was mostly sunny but quite cold - under our average temperature for this time of year. It was between 34º and 36º all day long, and there was a strong northeast wind - in the 20-30 mph range - until late in the afternoon. The lake was singing nicely when I got up, and it continued all day.


Otherwise, all I did was some typing, and I'm working my way to the end of the episode. I was going to sit in the ugly chair and embroider, but I never got to that.


This evening, right after I ate my dinner, I started to have abdominal cramps, so I need to go and sit and see what that's all about. I don't think it was anything I ate, but what do I know? I'm sorry I didn't get to take a picture of the sunset, because there were some very pretty rosy-mauve clouds, but right then I had to make a fast trip to the powder room, and having had one accident today, I didn't want another one. Sorry. 


When I brought in the bird feeders, I could see Venus through the clouds, but I didn't see Mercury. On that topic, it seems I actually saw it when it was closest to Venus, so just the few degrees north of 40º latitude that we are (we're at 47.5º) makes a big difference in how close the two of them are. I will have to remember that if it gets clear again. At least I've seen it.


So now I need to go to bed, and I need to figure out what to do about my tummy. It's a cold, breezy night in the field.

April 6

Oh, well. I read to the end of the episode I'm transcribing last night, and when I got to the north end I started reading the next episode, so it was after 1:00 when I got to bed. Sigh. I got up around 9:45, and I petted a cat and finished the rose sock. While I would like to have started the other one, I just think I should work on the summer socks first, so I gathered up all that stuff into a larger bag. I now have five pairs of socks on needles, so I need to finish some things.


I did my morning surfing at my leisure, and it was 1:30 before I set off for town. It was a good day to drive. There wasn't any traffic going my way, and I made good time. It didn't take long to get my blood drawn, and then I went off to Pat's and spent more than I intended, but that is my shopping for the month, I think. I probably forgot something, but I may have to go back in a couple of weeks for more lunch meat. I got  home around 4:30, then I had to unload the car and pack away everything I got. The fridge is bulging again.


The weather was OK. There were high clouds in the sky all day, and there was a little wind this morning, which went away during the afternoon. Here, the high temperature was 45º, except for a brief period around 7:00 this evening when it went up to 52º. It was 58º from the Mountain Lodge all the way to Calumet. I wore my sunglasses going down, but I didn't coming back. Sort of blah. It was quite humid, and my joints felt it, but I was actually moving pretty well.


I have been watching the weather in Detroit and I am beginning to be a little concerned. It's been in the upper 70s or lower 80s, and if it's that hot, I'm going to be perfectly miserable. I hope it cools down.


So that was my day. I did my duty and got my food, and I can stay here for the rest of the week. Aaron is going to come fairly early tomorrow morning and cut down another dead tree, so I need to be off to the north end.


It's a calm, cloudy night in the field.


April 5

I ended up not getting to bed until about 12:30 last night, and I don't remember quite why. When I turned out the light, I couldn't see the lights of town, so I knew it was foggy. And it was still foggy at sunrise. Between 9:08 and 9:23 this morning, the fog rolled away, but that was before I got up. I think I made it out of bed by 9:45.


I petted a cat and knitted on the rose sock. I tried it on and decided that I had done enough rows for the foot, so I started the toe. Somehow I picked up an extra stitch on the sole, probably when I was doing the heel, but I will work that off at the end of the toe. So I am almost done with it. I have decided to go back to the Tofutsies sock and the lace sock. I am working on the second sock of both of them, and with the weather warming up, they will be much more useful than wool. After I get them done, I can go back to the wool.


I felt tired today, and I didn't do a lot. I need to get the dishwasher ready to run tonight, and I did part of that. I paid, or scheduled for payment, a bunch of bills. I typed a little. Now I only have 70 handwritten pages left. I think I get about 2½ handwritten pages to one typed page, so I'm getting to the end of this episode.


The weather turned out nice. The humidity was nearly 100% and the winds were calm for most of the night, but after about 10:00, the wind sprang up from the northwest and it got quite breezy. The peak came at about 4:00, with gusts up to 32 mph. The temperature went up to 60º and stayed there for most of the afternoon, so even with the wind it was comfortable outside. Or I suppose it was - I didn't go out until it was time to bring in the bird feeders. The skies were clear after the fog blew away, until around 6:00, when it began to cloud up. It was partly cloudy  at sunset, but there were clouds in front of the planets, so we didn't get to see them tonight.


About the time the wind got strong, we had a power glitch, just enough to make the computer restart. Well, not quite. I had to turn it off and back on manually to get it to reboot. I always get a little nervous when I do that, because it was while doing something like that that I trashed my disk a couple of years ago. However, this time, everything came up just fine, and the broadband was solid as a rock and working very well today.


So that was a nothing day, and I'm off toward the north end with a stop in the kitchen to get the dishwasher ready. It's a warmish, partly cloudy night in the field.


April 4 - Easter Sunday

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!


I am tired. Not only did I have to get up before the crack of dawn - about 6:30 - I didn't sleep well last night. I think I will tonight.


Last night, after I uploaded the journal the first time, I realized it was very clear outside and I might be able to see Mercury. After searching the sky with my binoculars where I thought it might be, I finally resorted to a star chart and found out sort of where it is (although the scale of the chart is so small, it was hard to figure out). By the time I had that straight, Venus was behind the trees in front of the house, so I went out onto the deck and walked up to the north end, almost as far as my bedroom, so that I  would have a good view of the northwestern horizon. And I looked, and there he was! He was about 10º north of Venus, and almost at the same altitude. That isn't what the star charts are saying, but they are for 40º north and we are 47.5º north, and that makes a difference.


I wasn't going to be  positive I had seen it, but when I checked, there are no bright stars or other planets except Venus and Mercury in that part of the sky, and then tonight, an efriend pointed me to one of the astronomy websites where someone had posted a picture that wasn't too much different from what I was seeing.


So I saw it. After 55 years or so of being an amateur astronomer, I finally saw Mercury! And if there is any clear weather for the next three or four weeks, I'll see it again.


It isn't nearly as bright as Venus (no star is) and it's not as bright as Sirius, but it is about first magnitude, which means it sticks out, even in the haze in the west. The tableau with Venus was really pretty. I am hoping it will be clear on April 15, which is the day I return from my first trip to Detroit, because besides the two planets, another very thin crescent moon should be in the same area of sky - in conjunction, as they say. After seeing that very new moon last month, I am hooked. In fact, if it's clear and I'm not totally dead from my drive, I might even go up on the mountain to look at it. Well, we can hope. At least I've seen Mercury for sure, and I should be able to see it again.


Anyway, it was chilly - in the low 40s - and very windy when I was out on the deck, but I took the time to look at the other stars that were coming out. Orion is in the southwest, but still high in the sky at that hour (around 9:30), and I took a peek at the nebula with my binoculars. So pretty. Sirius was down in the southwest, also very pretty, and up near zenith in the south was Castor, Pollux and Mars. Mars is pulling away from Gemini now, and it is about three times as far from Pollux as it was when I first saw it out my bedroom windows. It is still pretty bright - brighter than Castor and Pollux - and it is clearly reddish.


That is all I can see from the front deck. If I want to see any part of the rest of the sky, I have to go someplace else, either up to the north end of the house or out on the driveway. It was too cold to do that.


I had gone out the sliding door in the great room, and when I went to go back in, there, sitting in front of the door like a little Bast, was Jasmine, no doubt wondering just what in the world I was doing outside, wandering around in the dark! I was wondering how I was going to get in, but when I walked toward the door, she ran away. Sometimes her being so skittish is a good thing.


Anyway, that was my wonderful astronomical adventure, and it made me wish again that I had a telescope.


I was about to go to bed, around 9:45, when Jack, who works at Mariner, called to invite me to Easter dinner, at 1:00. I'm afraid I sounded a little spaced out, although he said not. I would have preferred to eat later, but hey, it's a free meal, and I rarely turn down free food.


So I took my bath and went to bed, and while I slept, I didn't get any deep sleep all night, and I was more or less awake when the alarm would have gone off, so I turned it off before it did. At least I had planned my costume, so it was only a matter of getting it together.


I guess I haven't mentioned that since my hair has gotten long and it's been dry in the house, I have been curling it with the curling iron if I am going to be out in public in any way except the most casual. Fortunately, my hair does curl easily, but it takes me 5 to 10 minutes to do it, and I really need a curling brush with a barrel about 2" in diameter, which I don't have. So it looks kind of funny most of the time, but it's better than having it hang down straight and frizzy. I have let my bangs grow out, too, and that's a problem, because they tend to drop over my face. I suppose I should give up and cut them again, but I have worn bangs for 40 years, and I was ready for a change. The hair right at my forehead grows downward, though, so it's a problem. I haven't decided what I want to do with it, so I'm just letting it grow, and we'll see. It should look better and need less curling in the summer.


Anyway, I had some orange juice and prepared my grapefruit sections, and I had a while to do a little of my daily surfing. When I got to the studio, the camera software was hung uploading a picture, there was no picture on the website, and everything was acting rather strangely. I fiddled around and even tried uploading it manually using the software Jon recommended (which I love - it's called WINSCP, and it's great), and that kept timing out, too. I rebooted and shut everything down and did all the usual things. Then I called PastyNet and told them they had a problem, and I went off to church.


Church was wonderful - good hymns, good messages, good everything. Also, good brunch. Bonnie had cooked an incredible amount, but I think everyone brought something, and there was an amazing amount of food. By the time we ate, I was so hungry that I had more than I'd intended, but oh, well.


When I got there, Rich was tending the door, and when he saw me, he said "Christ is risen! Alleluia!", and of course, being a good Missouri Synod Lutheran, I responded immediately, "He is risen indeed! Alleluia!". Apparently they don't use that antiphon in the ELCA. Too bad. It sets the tone for the day. However, it was a joyful service altogether.


I got home around 11:00, and I had time to do the rest of my surfing, except for one crossword, before I went off to dinner. That was most pleasant, too. There were only six of us, presided over by Donny, but the food was wonderful and everybody seemed pretty cheerful. They had turkey, but they also had seafood stuffed whitefish, and I just couldn't resist that. It was sooo good, and there was so much of it that I brought home enough for another meal. I got home from that around 3:00.


I was really tired, but I started typing again, and I am down to the last 90 handwritten pages, so I am making progress. It is a long episode, but that's all right.


Along about 6:00, Jon called to tell me there had been a problem with the upgrade they did on Friday and they had just resolved it. At least he always calls back. See? I told them in my phone message that it was their problem.


The weather was yucky. It wasn't too cold - it was 41º when I went to church but there was no wind -- but about the time I left church, it started to rain lightly, and when I went to dinner, it was raining hard. We had almost a quarter inch of rain, which is the first precipitation of any kind we have had in over a month. It was rather yucky when I got out of the car at Mariner, but we need the rain so badly! The temperature went up to 47º briefly around 10:00, and then it dropped off. It was around 39º for most of the afternoon, and it has now dropped to 36º. If it rained at all after 2:00 it was just drizzle, but it is extremely humid. It was very dark and cloudy all day, and there was some fog down the harbor. There wasn't any wind to speak of, and it's been calm for the past several hours.


One effect of the weather is that when I tried to get up out of my desk chair I almost couldn't, and my back, knees and wrists are all sore and creaky. Yuck.


However, we need the rain so badly that I'm willing to endure.


So that was a nice day, and I was so full when I got home from dinner  that I haven't eaten anything else except for a few crackers and a JD. Now it's time to totter up to the north end and hope to sleep better tonight. It's a dark, dank, calm night in the field.


Christ is risen! Alleluia!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!


April 3 - Holy Saturday

Short addendum: after I uploaded this for the first time, I decided to see if I could maybe, just maybe, see Mercury. I had to resort to the star chart WU provides, and I had to go out onto the deck - and almost trip over some dead branches - but YES, I am confident that I have seen Mercury! Wow! It was north of Venus, at about the same altitude, and it looked a bit yellowish, but there are no bright stars or other planets in that area, so I am confident that after being a sort-of amateur astronomer for 55 years or more, I have finally seen Mercury! It wasn't too much fun. It's windy and rather chilly outside, and both Venus and Mercury were twinkling madly, but I know what I saw. More tomorrow.


Whatever I did, it was after midnight before I got to bed, and it was warm enough in the bedroom that I didn't have the comforter over me until morning. My temperature was all right, and I slept well until about 9:30, I think. I would like to have kept on, but I had to walk and besides, Buster was sitting beside me staring at me. I think the problem was that not only were all the food bowls empty, all the water dishes were either empty or almost so. I'm not doing my duty.


I petted him and knitted a while, and then I decided I was tired of digging through the washbasket for underwear, so I sat and folded everything, and before I got dressed, I put everything away. Amazing. Then I cleaned the toilet.


Sometime later, after I got the bird feeders out, I had a nasty, messy accident, so I had to clean me, wash a bunch of stuff, and clean the toilet in the powder room. That just about did my back in.


I went to the post office and stopped at the store for more lettuce - I am eating lots of lettuce lately, and it certainly tastes good.


This evening, while my soup was heating up, I cleaned off the counter, emptied the dishwasher, finally, and got at least some of the dirty dishes into it. I don't know quite why, but I seemed to have a lot of energy today.


The weather was much cooler than it has been, and it was windy. The weather statistics are misleading, because it was 60º at midnight, but it started dropping shortly thereafter, and between 9:00 and 10:00 this morning, it went from 53º to 44º. It eventually recovered to 48º, but by that time the wind was from the northwest and gusting up to 30 mph, so it felt a little cooler than it was. It was very dreary and cloudy for most of the day, until around sunset, and we got a lovely picture of Venus. Mercury should be someplace around there, too, so I will be looking when I go to bring in the bird feeders.


This is early tonight, because I have to get up and get myself together to get to church by 8:30 tomorrow - after I pick a suitable outfit and prepare my modest offering for the brunch. That isn't too much of a problem - I have been taking a casserole full of fresh grapefruit sections, so all I have to do is pour them into the bowl, but it's one more thing to do, and I don't like to go rushing in at the last minute. 


I guess I will take the chance that my cotton slacks will look all right - I have never found any purchased slacks that fit the way I like my slacks to fit, but since I've lost weight, maybe they will do. I think, in honor of the day, I will wear my bright pink boiled wool jacket. It should be cool enough that it will be all right. That, and a white shirt and some jewelry and I'll look all right. There is one lady who always overdresses, but nobody else is really dressed up except for the little children. Most wear nice slacks and tops, so I'll be OK. In the big city, I always tried to get quite dressed up for Easter (and Christmas), but it isn't warm enough to wear any of my pretty summer dresses, and it's too warm for my pretty winter dresses, which are too dark anyway. Besides, there would be the problem of shoes and pantyhose and all that stuff, and it's a real pain. Things are casual enough in Copper Harbor that as long as you're clean and neat, nobody cares too much. It's too formal an occasion for jeans, but slacks will be just fine. Maybe someday I will get to wear my pretty periwinkle rayon dress again, but I'm not counting on it.


So that was my day, and as soon as I get this uploaded, reboot the computer, and bring in the bird feeders, I'll be off to the north end for an early evening. 


It's a nearly clear, windy night in the field tonight.


April 2 - Good Friday

For some reason I just didn't want to go to bed last night... so I didn't, until about 3:00 this morning. Oh, well. I got up around 10:00, I think, and that wasn't enough sleep. I'm tired. I petted the cat and knitted a while before I decided on a costume to wear for the day. This weird weather makes for difficult wardrobe decisions.


I got most of my surfing done, and the bird feeders filled and out, before I was off to church. Church! Yea! It certainly has been a long time since I've been. It was a very lovely service, very meditative, and I was very glad I went.


The weather was amazing. The temperature peaked at 69º around 1:00, at least at the NWS station. I think it was 72º or higher in town. There was a rather brisk wind for most of the day, in the 15-30 mph range, from the southwest. It was mostly cloudy, although there was a little sunshine about the time of the highest temperature. It cooled down later in the afternoon, to the extent that I closed up the house again. It certainly was great to have things opened up for a while, though, and I turned off the radio after the talking, so I could hear the twittering and cheeping outside.


This will be another record high, by 12º over the old one. What a spring!


It was cloudy enough at sunset that we didn't see any stars. Of course it's cloudy, because Mercury is up there someplace now, and heaven forbid we should actually see it!


At intervals, and after the talking was over, I typed again. I only have about 140 pages (handwritten) left to transcribe, so I am making progress.


While the talking was going on, I knitted, and I fixed a couple of places where I messed up a stitch about 4" back in the foot. I didn't drop anything, thankfully, but I slipped a couple of stitches and they didn't look good. Raveling back one stitch and picking it up again aren't hard, just tedious, and I have to be careful that I actually catch every thread. If it's only a few rows, I do it with the needle, but when I have to rip back as far as I did this afternoon, I use a crochet hook. I like that rose sock so well, I want to make sure it's nice.


So that was my day, and now I'm off to the north end to crash. Possibly I should take a bath, but I'm not going to. It's a cloudy, breezy and warm night in the field.


April 1 - Maundy Thursday

Well, it's April. Amazing.


I think I was in bed shortly after midnight last night, and I slept well. I got up around 9:00 this morning, with the idea that I could do most of my surfing before I went to my massage. Wrong. The broadband went down just about the time I got to the studio, and even though I called PastyNet, it was still down when I left.


My massage left me feeling much better. She worked hard on my hands and forearms and my back, and it certainly helped. Then I stopped at the Laughing Loon and had a nice conversation with Hannah - and I got another pair of those wonderful sweatpants, as well as a tee shirt that says "Copper Harbor" in copper metallic words. 


After that, I came home and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.  Massages always leave me tired. Johanna says they also energize the immune system, and I think she's right, but it takes a day for me to get over them. The broadband was back up when I got home, and I have no clue what the problem was, although I know it wasn't a problem with my equipment like the guy I talked to thought it was.


The weather was beautiful, at least until late in the afternoon, when it clouded up a bit. There was no Venus, but you couldn't have seen it anyway, since part of the doorframe was right in the middle of the camera view. Sorry about that - I completely forgot when I opened the door. The door has to be open either just a crack or all the way. I'll do better tomorrow. I had it open because the temperature in the studio got up to 76º and I began to sweat.


The temperature was in the upper 40s for most of the afternoon, then it went up to 53º at 7:00, back down to 46º at 10:00, and it is now 55º. Weird. There was almost no wind, but what there was started out from the east and is now from the southwest. The sky was clear and beautiful this morning, but there are clouds out there now.


I got the bird feeders out earlier than usual this morning, and it was so lovely on the deck. The harbor was glassy, and there were several pairs of mallards, most of which flew away, but one pair stayed, and the male quacked almost constantly for about five minutes. Our resident geese came back later. I think they are planning to nest here, but between the dogs and the coyote pack, I worry for them. Even before I got in the door, there was a pine siskin on one of the feeders, and they were around all day. I think the goldfinches have gone away to molt, but the siskins did a job on the tube feeder. I wish I could get the feeders out so early every day, but probably I can't.


This evening, after the talking was over, I started typing again, but I couldn't get through the next conversation, so I just had to drop it in the middle. I'd like to go on, but it's late and I'm tired.


Now it's a dark and quiet night in the field, and it's April, and it's Maundy Thursday. I don't know where the time has gone.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM