A View From the Field








December 2011



December 31 - New Year's Eve

The seventh day of Christmas.

Happy New Year's Eve!


I fiddled around last night, reading and editing, so it was 1:30 or so before I got to bed. Again, there was a star or two, and this time I think it was Jupiter setting, because it was low in the west and none of the bright stars of Christmas are that low yet. I was up at around 4:00, I think, and when I looked out, there was Polaris, and if I got near the window, Capella was going down toward the northwest. It was a calm, cold night, but when I went back to bed, I could see the clouds beginning to come up in the west.


I was awake briefly around 8:00, but that was too early, so it was close to 11:00 when I got up. It had clouded up, but there was no precip. I knitted the second half of the square, with some difficulty. I shouldn't do that, because what goes well and looks nice one day may not the next, but I was so late yesterday that I didn't want to spend the whole hour and a half it takes to do a lily of the valley square.


I didn't do much, of course. I finished unloading the dishwasher and I gathered up some more trash and threw it out into the breezeway. I'm sort of keeping the trash out of the kitchen, but now it's ending up outside the door in the breezeway. 


The weather was blah. The temperature was around 15 all night, but it went up to 34 and stayed there for most of the afternoon. The wind is starting, slowly, to pick up just a bit, but no gusts over 20 mph yet. It was cloudy, and there was no precip today, regardless of what the Weather Underground and the radar maps said. 


They have toned down the forecast a bit. Now it's only a winter storm watch, not a blizzard, and it is supposed to start around 10:00 and go until 7:00 Monday. We'll see. There is definitely something coming east from the plains, but whether it will pan out or not isn't clear yet. So I guess I'll have to get up early and see how things are in the morning.


This is the day when I usually look back on the calendar year and sort of sum up what went on, not that I can remember much anymore. Overall, it was an OK year. Hard on the pocketbook, but OK. It was nice to get my new computers, even though I'm still paying for them and will be for some time. 


The big negative was poor Buster. He started showing signs of kidney failure in March, but it wasn't until August or September that he really got bad. I knew he was on his last legs when he came to get some of my chicken and just stood beside my chair and grunted - he was too weak to even jump up onto my lap. And on October 9, I just had to take him to the vet. I should have done it before, but finally I couldn't let him suffer anymore. I still miss him, and Jasmine is still freaked out over the whole thing.


Otherwise, nothing much happened, so in that respect, it was an OK year. I like it when nothing happens.


We got a few hints that the next solar cycle is starting, and I managed to see a couple of nice displays of Northern Lights. The summer wasn't bad at all, with not more than a handful of hot days, but warm enough that I could have the house opened up for a while.


I am still dealing with my pesky squirrel, and in the spring I will have to have both patio screens rescreened, and maybe the door to the porch, too. Even the coon I had the other day knows what door handles are all about. I wish Jasmine was so smart.


So I really can't complain, and maybe the new year won't be ay worse than last year. I guess that's about all one can hope for.


By the way, Jasmine was upstairs when I got to the kitchen this morning, and I think she was up here for a while before she went down to bed. We had a short conversation, but I didn't see her.


So that was my day and my year. 


I ate dinner early tonight - a nice little steak - and maybe I will write a bit before I toddle up to the north end and get ready for tomorrow. I won't stay awake until midnight, but I'm sure the fireworks will wake me up, if there are any this year. If there aren't, well, then I won't wake up. I'm excited to see what the weather will be, but not so much that I want to stay up that long. It might all fizzle out, and then I would have to go to church with not nearly enough sleep. In a way, I hope I can go to church tomorrow, and that Pat's is open, because if neither of those things happen, I'm going to have to go shopping next week anyway. I'm running out of OJ, JD and a bunch of other things I use regularly.


So it's a cloudy, rather quiet New Year's Eve in the field, but the snow is coming...the snow is coming...Well, we'll see about that.


December 30

The sixth day of Christmas.


I read through the story last night and did some editing, as well as correcting some errors that Word missed. I frequently amazes me, with all the "errors" it catches that aren't errors, how many true errors it doesn't catch. With all the advances in artificial intelligence that have been made over the past ten years or so, that tells me they aren't really trying very hard. So we edit and hope we catch all the things it misses.


One thing I wanted to do was begin a list of characters for all these stories, so I did that and started one for the prolog. I set up the first page - Part two, chapter 1 - of the second story. After reading as far as I did the other night, I can already tell that this one is going to be even more of a rewrite. I don't know if I feel up to starting it tonight.


I spent quite a while staring at the floor when I got up to the north end, so it was 12:30 before I got to bed. I was a bit perturbed. I had to fiddle with my liquid soap, and it seemed like I was running low on hot water before I finished my bath. Oh, no - not a panic call to the plumber!  I don't have a normal hot water heater, I have a hot water maker that works with hot water heat, and it is supposed to be able to produce 6 gallons of hot water a minute. for as long as the heat is on. Anyway, that upset me a bit, so I had a night of interesting dreams. Everything seems all right today, though, so what the problem was last night, I don't know. We'll see tomorrow.


I got up around 10:00 and knitted half a square before I checked out the hot water. I got to the post office and sent off Debbie's present as well as the last couple of charity checks, and gave Ron his Christmas Truffles. 


I was surprised, because someone - Jack, it turned out - had been down the road with a plow, and late this afternoon Ron came around and did my driveway. I went out and cleared out right around the garage door and the door to the breezeway, which will be the entry of choice for the winter. It was nice out. It looked like we had at least 6" of snow yesterday, and that is what a "trained observer" "two miles east of Copper Harbor" reported to the NWS. I think it has to be the new guy at the Fort, although it might be Dick. One of these days I will have to poke around and find out who is reporting. I would love to do that, but as it turns out, I don't have a sheltered enough place to set up a snow station. There isn't anyplace on my property that isn't subject to winds from some direction.


The weather today was just dull and gray. I don't think there was any more snow. The temperature got up to 31 for part of the afternoon, and there wasn't any wind. It was cloudy at sunset, but when I went to get my dinner, there was Venus low in the west and the crescent moon high in the sky, and it looked pretty clear. 


Surprisingly enough, it was clear when I went to bed last night, too, and Aldebaran was shining in my window. That didn't last long, though.


Anyway, it looks like I'm not going to get to church on Sunday. We are under a blizzard watch from late tomorrow night through Monday night, and we could have significant snow, as well as high winds. Oh, goodie! I love a good blizzard! But I'm disappointed that I'll probably miss church. Well, I'll plan to go anyway and see how things look when I get up on Sunday morning. If it's snowing like crazy and there's a lot on the ground, I'll just chicken out. That is why I've tried to be so good about going for most of this year: I knew that when winter finally came, I wouldn't be able to get there. I've had my times of driving down the peninsula in a blizzard, and I think I've done it enough.


Jasmine came upstairs this morning and I think she was up here for a couple of hours before she went back downstairs. We had a short conversation, and she looked at me before she ducked into the cat hole, then when I sat down in the powder room, she ran down the hall to the great room. That was the last I saw of her. She looks all right, and she is eating well, so I guess she's as all right as can be expected.


So that was my quiet day, and now I have to decide whether to read a bit and work on the names for the prolog or start Part Two.


It's a dark and fairly clear night in the field, but the blizzard is coming...the blizzard is coming...


December 29

The fifth day of Christmas.


I finished the story I was writing, and it looks to be novella length, about 38,000 words. I want to read it through, which I will do tonight, but last night I started reading the next one in the series, so it was midnight before I got to bed, without a bath. Oh, well.


When I was up in the night, I could tell that it was snowing lightly, because I couldn't see the lights of town. I finally got up around 10:00, and not only did I finish the square I was working on, I did the left triangle, too. Now I have done three-quarters of the middle of the stole - oh, did I mention that there will still be edgings? This is one of the biggest projects I've ever done, on the scale of an afghan only harder knitting. I have always loved to knit lace.


That was about all I did. I didn't finish my surfing until it was too late to go to the post office, but I probably wouldn't have gone anyway, because of the weather.


It snowed most of the night and it snowed all day. The NWS station, which appears to have its dialup connection straightened out, reported 0.44" of liquid, and it didn't get all the snow. It looked like there was a good 4" on my deck railings, and that is probably fairly accurate, since there wasn't much, if any, wind. The temperature got up to 32 for about 3 hours this afternoon, but it didn't get over freezing, and it is dropping off again now. The snow fell straight down all day long and sometimes it was fairly heavy.


Not only did the camera not see down the harbor all day, the snow is so heavy that the branch in front of the one where the feeder hook is has gotten so heavy that it is framing the top of the picture. As far as I know, it's still snowing, even though the advisory went off at 5:00. Now, this is more like it! This much snow every day and pretty soon we'll have a decent amount!


I haven't seen Jasmine in a couple of days, although I think I've heard her around at night a couple of times. I don't know what set her off this time.


So that was my quiet day, and now I want to read what I just finished writing, and then I do have to take a bath tonight. It's a cold, calm, snowy night in the field.


December 28

The fourth day of Christmas.


Geez, writing is just as bad as reading. I got into an exciting part of the story last night and I ended up writing until after 2:00. Not only was it late, but my hands hurt. So I was very late getting to bed and I didn't get up until 11:00. Sigh.


I got the dishwasher almost ready to run, but then I went to the post office and when I got back, I forgot to turn it on, so I will do that tonight. I was upset, because Debbie's Christmas present came back - I can't read my own handwriting, I guess. So I will have to readdress it and send it out again. Darn it. Oh, well. I wrote a couple of checks for charities today and I will write a couple more tomorrow, so I will have to go back to the post office anyway.


It was a cold day, and there were a few snow showers, but the wind died down. The temperature was in the upper teens for most of the afternoon, although it has now risen to 23. There was almost no wind. While I was doing my surfing, I looked outside, and there were little snowflakes coming down for a while. It was gray and cloudy, but that's to be expected.


I'm not sure I can finish typing this story tonight, but I do want to do some more. I need to tend my scalp as well as wash dishes tonight, so I hope I won't be too late. It's a dark, cold night in the field, but it isn't snowing and it isn't blowing.


December 27

The third day of Christmas.


It ended up being around 11:30 before I got to bed. I wrote for a while, and I think I spent some time staring at the floor before I took my bath. Then i went to bed, and it took me a little while to get to sleep, but once I started, I slept well. There were several wakeups, of course, but they weren't bothersome. I was awake around 8:00, but that didn't feel like enough sleep, so it was 10:30 before I got up. I may be fighting another small cold. Before I left the studio last night, I had a sneezing fit. Anyway, I seem to be needing an amazing amount of sleep.


I stopped writing when I did because I wanted to consider the next episode in the story I'm rewriting, and that may be why it took me so long to get to bed. i think I have it straight now.


I didn't do very much today, of course. I did get some more stuff into the dishwasher, and the way it looks, I may run it tonight. That was about it.


The temperature plummeted overnight and the wind rose. By 9:00 this morning, the temperature was down to 23 and the wind was from the north at 27 mph with gusts to 42 mph. The lake was roaring nicely when I got up, and every so often I would hear a thud when a rogue wave hit the rocks. It's still roaring and the temperature was down to 18 at the last reading. The NWS station is having a problem with its phone line. The wind is a little slower, down to 28 mph gusts, it isn't making much difference. It snowed lightly all day long, although I don't think we had much accumulation. 


I finally called the Road Commission, and through yesterday, we'd had 30" of snow in December, which is a little less than half our average. Not good. There will be more today, because they take their readings at Delaware, and there is always more snow up there, but we're nowhere near where we should be. Oh, dear.


So now I'm tired again, but I will write some more, at least the episode I was thinking about last night. Now it's a dark, cold and snowy night in the field and the lake is singing loudly.


December 26

In my denomination, Christmas isn't over yet. This is the second day of Christmas.


I did crash last night. I was in bed and nearly asleep by 7:30. Of course I was up several times during the night. I was awake at 5:00 or so and that should have been enough sleep, but it was too early. I woke up again around 8:00, and that certainly should have been enough sleep, but it was still too dark to knit, so I went back to sleep and I didn't get up until after 10:00. Wow! I haven't slept that long since I was sick, if I ever did even then. I should have caught up on my sleep, but I'm tired again, so there may not be much writing tonight either.


I knitted my square and after I got to the studio, I did my surfing, which took me most of the afternoon. There was a lot of stuff to read, as is usual on Monday, and there were lots of after-Christmas ads to follow up on, although I didn't find anything to buy. I'm thinking about a couple of things, but nothing really turned me on.


The weather was weird. It was very windy, with southwest winds gusting up to 35 mph, and the temperature set a new record, 46 for heaven's sake! It was mostly cloudy for most of the day, but it cleared up around sunset, and when I went to get my dinner, Venus and the moon were side by side in the southwest sky, so beautiful. The moon is a thin crescent, and it was very easy to see the rest of the moon by the reflection of all the clouds on earth. I love to see that, and it's been a long time since I've seen such a pretty sight. Now the wind has dropped to nothing, which means that front is probably coming through, and tomorrow will be different.


I did get the dirty dishes mostly into the dishwasher, so I accomplished something.


Now I think I will either read or write for a little while before I go and crash again. i haven't been washing my hair often enough lately, and my scalp is getting yucky, so I will probably do that. It's a dark and possibly clear night in the field.


December 25 - Christmas Day

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you had wonderful day doing what you wanted to do with the people you wanted to be with.


I did go to church last night after all. When I finished my dinner I got really sleepy, but I had a chocolate truffle and that made me feel better, so I got my clothes on in a hurry and went off. The roads were not very good, but I made it in about 50 minutes. It was a lovely service, with lots of good carols and a good message. I wept all the way through Silent Night, like I usually do. There were more people there than I've ever seen in that church before, although it still wasn't full.


Unfortunately, coming home, I got behind Bill and Mary Ann and I didn't think it would be polite to pass them. Bill was driving Mary Ann's truck, and I can only guess that was why he was driving so excessively slowly. He is a truck driver, but he doesn't know her vehicle like his own. Anyway, I didn't get home until 11:30 - I think it took an hour and 10 minutes. Whew! I was in bed by 11:45 - no staring at the floor last night! - but I didn't get nearly enough sleep.


I got up anyway, and I was off shortly after 8:30 - no sitting around this morning, either. It had snowed an inch or so overnight, and while the plow had gone north, it hadn't gone south yet, so it was a bit slow. I made it almost in time, but since I had to make a pit stop, I missed the first part of the recital. 


That was very nice, organ arrangements of some of our favorite carols. There were only four or five people there when I got into the sanctuary, and I don't think very many came too early, which was a shame, because Jan did a very nice job. The organ is a small one, but it is a nice one, and she showed off a few of the stops that we don't get to hear very often in services.


It was a good service, too, with some carols from the hymnal addendum, most of which are newer, although Break Forth is in it, in a lower key, of course. There was communion, which was nice. We got out quite early, though, because there weren't very many people there at all. Too bad. 


Well, when I was singing on Christmas Eve, I didn't go on Christmas Day, either. When I was in Detroit, there was a communion service on New Year's Eve, so I didn't have to go when Christmas Day was on Sunday, because I had another chance.


Anyway, I got home around 12:30, so I had a while to do the part of my surfing I couldn't do before I left. Every time Peggy has one of these holiday meals, there are a different set of people there, and it turns out that Donny's daughter and her family are going to be moving to Las Vegas in the spring, so it's likely to be the last time in a while that I'll see them. I remember when the kids were tiny, so it was a shock to see that the older one is now 11 and turning into a real young lady. Pretty, too. It was a good dinner. Unfortunately, I was so tired that I couldn't eat very much of it, but I have a nice box full of yummy stuff to have tomorrow.


Oh, yes, and I had time to open Debbie's gift, and it is a beautiful velour jacket, in one of my favorite shades of blue - well, which shades of blue aren't my favorites? I haven't tried it on yet, but it is a very lovely thing, and I will have to call her and thank her. She has been working at a place that I thought just sold lingerie (that's where the lovely velour robe I'm wearing right now came from), but clearly they sell other stuff I like, too. I would like to check it out, but probably better I don't.


So that was my day. I spent a little time reading what I've been writing for the past few days, and I like it, but I am just too tired to do any more tonight, even though I'd like to. Even though it's only 7:00, I'm going up to the north end and crash.


The weather was sort of wintry. I noticed when I was up in the night that it looked like it was snowing, and I was right, but it didn't snow very much, and if there was any snow today, it was very light. The temperature was steady at 33, but I don't think anything much melted. The wind was from the north and it was in the 25-35 mph range all day, so there will be some surf to sing me to sleep tonight. It was a dark, cloudy day.


So that was my day, and it was a nice one, and now it's a dark, windy night in the field and there may be some more snow. It won't bother me. I'll be sound asleep.


Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child,

Make Thee a bed soft, undefiled

Within my heart that it may be

A quiet chamber kept for Thee.


December 24 - Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve! I'm writing this early. while I eat, so I don't have to do it when I get home, so you'll just have to wait until tomorrow to find out how  my venture out into the darkness went.


In the middle of the night, around 3:00, I guess, we had a power glitch and the computer did not reboot, so there were no pictures this morning. It only does that when I'm not looking, of course.


I wrote for a long time last night, so I didn't get to bed until 1:00, and I got up at 10:00 or so, so I didn't really get enough sleep. I knitted my square, with some difficulty, and then I had to fill the pill dispensers, so it was late when I got my breakfast.


I didn't do much. My friends Rick and Teri called and we had a nice long conversation, as usual, until somebody - Magic Jack or AT&T cut us off. After that, I took my bath and blow-dried my hair, and I don't much care for the thing I got to blow-dry, but considering how often I use it, I guess I'll just make do. It did dry, but it didn't shape the way I wanted it to, so I will have to curl it, too. Not that I expect to look gorgeous, but I'd like to look OK.


And that was about it.


The weather was all right. The temperature got up to 31 for a while, and there was just about no wind at all - 7 mph or less all day. It was cloudy until late in the afternoon, when we had some sunshine and clear skies, and I think it was nearly clear at sunset.


Now it appears that the camera hung up, too, so there was one and only one picture - with varying times - all afternoon. Rats. I must remember that.


Oh, well. now I will finish my dinner and get dressed. It's a partly clear, calm Christmas Eve in the field.


December 23 - Christmas Eve Eve

Well, I didn't get to bed early. I wrote for quite a while, and it was 1:30 before I got to bed. The problem with this one is that I'm not just transcribing, I'm rewriting. So much has changed since 1971, including the back story and my writing ability, that I am having to compose as I go. I wrote 11 typed pages, which must be about 5500 words 


I slept well. of course. I was up several times, and I finally got up for good around 10:00. Not enough sleep, probably, but I had to get up anyway, so I stayed. I knitted the right side triangle and the first 8 rows of the next square - more lily of the valley.


That about summed up my activities for the day. There was a lot to read online again. I have a new Schwan's deliveryman, and one thing in my order has been discontinued, I guess, but I got the rest of it. I will eat rather well this weekend, I think, even though there won't be any prime rib.


The weather was snowy again. It didn't snow all night nor most of the morning, but it started around noon and it's been snowing ever since. The temperature rose to about 26. It got quite windy, with gusts up to about 25 mph from the southwest. It was a good day to be inside, although I had to go out to the breezeway to get my food, and it was cold out. The breezeway is around freezing now, which means I now have my big food locker again.


Jasmine was under the dishwasher door when I came into the kitchen, and we had quite a conversation before she ran off downstairs. She still sounds sad. Poor Jasmine.


So that was another quiet lost day and now I will listen to the nice music and try to write some more. I hope not to be so late tonight, but we'll see about that. It's a dark, cold, snowy night in the field.


December 22 - Winter Solstice

The sun hit its most southerly point at 12:30 am this morning, so depending upon where you live, the solstice was either yesterday or today. I wasn't watching.


I wrote (yes wrote) for a while last night. I seem more inclined to do that at this time of year. I suppose it's an escape into a happier place for me. Not that I am as depressed as I used to get, but there are just too many memories around the holidays. So rereading or writing in my own little world gets me away from all that.


I washed my hair, which was pretty oily, and I was in bed at 11:30. I slept quite well, all things considered, although I was up several times. I finally got up for good at 10:00, and I finished the square I was knitting, which finishes the 16th tier, I was tempted to do the triangle, but I decided not, since it was late enough already.


Not that I did anything. I discovered, at the last minute, that I had some bills that needed paying today, so I did that and went to the post office and stopped at the store. I needed eggs, and I decided I would get some more JD, just so I don't run out if I don't get to the store next week. With the holidays, though, I will have to go shopping during the week sometime, since I won't be able to shop on either this Sunday or next.


When I got home from that, I finally pulled down the shutters over the porch screens, the latest I've ever done it. I hate to do it, because it makes it so much darker in the kitchen and the hallway, However, I will remember next year how much of a problem I had. There was a thick coating of ice on the deck right under two shutters, and I had to use my little hammer (which has a wedge-shaped head on one side) to break it up. I always take the hammer, because the latches don't always work very easily. Anyway, by the time I finished, my fingers were totally numb, the first time in quite a while that I have had a problem with my Raynaud's Disease. Besides, the flies get up inside the roller and they all fall out when I pull down the shutters, and sometimes they get all over me, depending upon where I am when I pull. The wind will blow all that away, but right now the shutters are pretty yucky.


I just looked up Raynaud's, to find out how to spell it, and I discovered that it has been elevated from a "syndrome" to a "disease" since the last time I looked for it. Also, among the accompanying diseases that can cause it is Sjogren's Syndrome, which I also seem to have. although I've had the Raynaud's since I was a very little kid (I can remember coming home from skating with my fingers and toes numb and sore when I was 5 years old or so), and I don't think I developed the Sjogren's until later. They both seem to be autoimmune diseases, which doesn't surprise me too much. My mother died from one.


Anyway, I did accomplish something today, and after I got my fingers warmed up, it was almost time for the talking to start, so i didn't do much more.


The weather was cold. It started out around 26 and slid slowly down to 22, where it is now. When I finished my knitting, I looked out and there were little snowflakes coming down, and it snowed lightly for the rest of the day. There was maybe an inch of accumulation, although it's hard to tell. The wind was mostly from the north or northeast. It was strong overnight, with gusts up to 30 mph or so, then it died down a bit, and it has now picked up again with 25 mph gusts. It was cloudy all day but not quite as dark as it has been lately. Now that's more like it, although we need a lot more snow.


So that was my day. I think I will write a bit more before I crash. I got enough sleep that I felt better today, but I'm getting tired again, and I want to get as much sleep as I can over the next couple of days because I'm not going to get much over the weekend, I don't think.


Now it's a dark, cold, snowy night in the field. But it's all uphill from here!


December 21

Well, I was so late last night that I didn't get up until noon, and I finished the square I was knitting and started the next one, so I was late getting to the studio. I decided I didn't want to go out today for any reason, so there won't be any prime rib for Christmas. Oh, well. I'll get mine.


I was so late that I didn't do anything except my surfing. Tonight is going to have to be earlier. I'm really tired, and besides, I think I've finished reading everything, so now I can decide what to do next. I may write a bit.


The weather was completely nondescript. It took a while, but the temperature has been stuck at 36 for several hours now. The winds were almost calm until just a while ago, when they picked up to 10 mph or so from the north. It was dark and cloudy. Blah.


Only one thing to report. I am pretty sure that I was half awake around 10:00 or 11:00 this morning when I heard Jasmine peeping, and she was almost certainly in or very near the bedroom. I didn't say anything and she went away quietly, but at least when I was in bed, she got sort of close to me and inside one of those horrible doors that close. I'm afraid that Jasmine's unfortunate early life has left her not only scarred but not nearly as smart as she ought to be about things human. She apparently hasn't realized yet that if I'm sitting or lying and I'm at least one human-length from the door, there is no way it can close without me giving her ample time to escape. And she hasn't realized that if she is more than about three feet away from me, there is no way I can clutch her before she can run away. I would have thought her years with the three of us would have taught her a few things, but losing Buster has so traumatized her that if she learned any of those things, she has forgotten them. Patience...


So that was a slow day, and it's a dark, quiet night in the field.


December 20

Oh, yeah, I have to write a journal, don't I? So it's tomorrow and I've been reading again. The problem with writing the way I do - in one continuous stream - is that I get reading that way, too. So it's late again.


It was late last night, too, but I got up around 10:15 and knitted half a square before I got dressed. I got to do a little of my surfing - everything but the crosswords - before I went off to my massage.


Johanna seems to be slowly getting over her problems, but she looked pale and thin. She still gives a good massage, though, and I felt much better after it.


And that was about all of my day. I have the dishwasher almost ready to run, and I got some of the trash off the counters, but that's all. It looks like there won't be any Christmas cards this year, either. Sorry.


The weather was rather nice. The temperature got up to 34 for a while before it began to drop off, with light westerly winds. It was quite clear for a while before some clouds came in. It's amazing how much later it gets dark when there aren't any clouds. It was nice to see the sunshine. When I went to get my dinner, I glanced out the windows, and Venus was glowing in the far southwest between the clouds. So pretty!


When I came home this afternoon, Jasmine was sitting in the hallway again, and she did not look too pleased that i was coming back. She ducked through the cat hole when I came in, and she didn't come back until after dark. I think she sneaks up and eats some canned food while I'm eating my dinner, and she is probably upstairs now, because a while ago we had a little conversation.


So that was another nearly lost day, and maybe I will be in bed pretty soon. There is still more to read, but I am getting tired. It was tempting to go down to Calumet and shop tomorrow. Pat's has a couple of things I was thinking about on sale, but I really don't want to, and I really don't need anything, since Schwan's can stop on Friday and I can get things like eggs and milk at the Gas Lite. So I probably won't.


Now it's a dark and at least partly cloudy night in the field, and I really must sleep sometime tonight,


December 19

It was late again last night, but once I got to bed, I slept very well. I was awake around 8:00, but that was far too early, so it was 11:30 before I got up. I did another square with some difficulty, even though it was fern. First I dropped something, and then right at the end I left out a yarn over. I got it done, though.


I was so late that I didn't finish my surfing until the talking was almost ready to come on, and that was about all I did.


I was on the computer, with my back to the door, when I heard some plucking at the screen door. Oh, I thought, that pesky squirrel again. Well. I turned around, and this is what I saw. That is not a good picture. The flash went off, and the coon went off before I was able to get more than one picture of him, so I had to PhotoShop it pretty heavily. So the squirrel isn't the only critter who knows what a door handle is for. He trundled down the deck, but I knew he could go faster than I can, so I let him go. I guess I'm glad the feeders weren't out. He (or she, I couldn't tell) looks pretty fat and healthy, and I was quite surprised to see him during the day. I thought they mostly came around in the evening or morning.


However, it was a very dark and dismal day. There wasn't any precip, though, in spite of what the Weather Underground was thinking. The temperature went down all night and it was just about 28 all day. There were some winds (20-35 mph) until around 3:00, when they settled down to between 15 and 20 mph, from the northeast or north-northeast. Like I said, it was very cloudy and dismal all day.


Jasmine came upstairs maybe about 1:30 or so, while I was in the powder room. She walked around a bit, talking to me, and then she went back downstairs. It wasn't nice enough up here to entice her. I don't blame her.


Last evening, I talked to Johanna, and while she wants to keep doing massage (she is still battling her kidney problem), she had a meeting down in Hancock this morning, so I will see her tomorrow afternoon. I guess I'd better not stay up so late tonight, although I could probably have made it even today if I hadn't knitted.


So that was my quiet day, and now it's a dark, cloudy night in the field. The lake isn't singing quite as loudly as it was last night, but I should be able to sleep to its song.


December 18

Well, I made it into bed by 10:15 last night, but I didn't sleep well at all. I kept waking up all sweaty. I did have to make a number of trips to the bathroom, but it wasn't all that. I really didn't want to get up this morning, but I don't think I could really have slept if I stayed in bed, so I did.


I got a late start and the roads were slow, but I wasn't too much later than I usually am. I try to plan to get there shortly after 10:00 so I have time to visit the bathroom and settle myself before church. Jan helps by starting to play the organ at about 10:10, and that helps a lot. Since there was no communion, we got out quite early.


I had toyed with the idea of food shopping, but I was tired, and when I investigated the fridge, I discovered that I still have two jugs of OJ, so I didn't. I did stop for gas. Probably I could have made another trip on what I had in the tank, but in the winter I try to keep it more than half full, because you never know.


I got home around 1:00 and I didn't do anything except finish up my surfing and write a really cranky post on PastyCam. I'm sorry about that, but Charlie started it, and most of the posts on the cam page should have been moved to the "Politics and Religion" page. When I read the cam page, I want to read about the picture or maybe about people's lives, not their political views. I have gotten much more liberal as I've gotten older, but it is quite clear that a lot of the people who post regularly on that page haven't.


After I finished my surfing, I started reading, and I have just broken off that to write this.


We had a really pretty sunset tonight, with some good color and some interesting clouds. Here is one of the pictures. Unfortunately, my wide-angle picture turned out to be wildly slanted, so you won't get that one, but this one wasn't bad. 


I was afraid I wasn't going to get anything, because the color sort of came and went. I wanted to go out the patio door in the studio and take pictures from the deck. When I opened the door, there was a lot of snow between the screen and the door and the screen was frozen in (another reason why the bird feeders won't get put out for a while). Then, when I tried to close the sliding door, a whole lot of soft, icy snow fell into the track and packed up against the door jamb, so that I couldn't get it completely closed. Eek! I wanted that sunset! So I went over to the great room patio door and took my pictures through the stationary pane. Fortunately, I can still hold the camera steady at 1/60 second.


When I first saw those clouds near the horizon, I thought they might be stationary wave clouds, but now I'm not so sure they aren't just the bottoms of some mammatus clouds. From the pictures, it's hard to tell. Anyway. it was a pretty sight, and it was over in about 10 minutes.


After I got the pictures, I dug out the track of the door in the studio and I finally got it shut, which is a good thing, because the wind has picked up again. However, I still can't get out the screen door. It's quite warm now, and it may be tomorrow, too, and I will have to see if I can unfreeze the door. The trouble is, of course, all the rain we had before the snow, and then the temperature plummeted, so there is ice under everything, including the door and the roads.


The weather wasn't at all bad today. It was 28 when I went to church, but it was 37 for most of the afternoon, and it has gone up to 39 now. There were moderate southwest winds, 10-20 mph for most of the day. I think at midnight, the wind was in the process of shifting more northerly and there are breakers on my beach again. It was very dark and cloudy all day.


When I came into the breezeway when I got home, Jasmine was sitting in the hallway, upright, with her tail around her feet and curled up over one leg. She sits very neatly. She watched me until I made for the door, then she ducked down the basement again. Just a little while ago, she came up again and started talking to me - I had forgotten to give her new canned food. She still cries a lot and it is so sad. At least she was upstairs for a while when it was daylight.


So that was a quiet day, and I will have to decide whether to start the next story or go to bed. It's a dark, breezy night in the field but it's not very cold out.


December 17

Oops, I did it again. I wasn't up all night, but it was late when I got to bed, and then I couldn't get to sleep for some reason. I got up around 10:30, which wasn't enough sleep, but oh, well, and I knitted another square. It was lily of the valley, and I only intended to do half of it, but it was going so well, I just kept right on.


I went to the post office. There wasn't much mail, but Ron had the package the Gas Lite had given him. It is my Christmas gift from Debbie, and I haven't opened it yet.


The weather was colder than they thought it would be, at least until right now. It was around 20 all day and there was some wind and some snow, which made it nasty - cold and damp. In the past hour, the temperature has risen to 30 and the wind has shifted around to the north in the 15-30 mph range. I wondered. I started hearing breakers on the beach a while ago, and after I figured out what I was hearing, I decided it must mean the wind is rising. There was a little snow, but not a lot.


Today was washday, and the last load is in the dryer now, except for some fleece which has to be dried separately, so that came out all right. Now as soon as I post this, I will take my bath and try to get to bed as close to 10:00 as I can.


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


December 16

Happy Beethoven's birthday.


Well, I think possibly I'm back on track. I almost did it again, but I took myself in hand and didn't start the next story I want to read. I took a nice bath and I was in bed by 11:00. i slept and slept, with just a few wakeups, until 10:30 this morning. I feel much better. I knitted the next square before I got dressed.


I didn't do much of anything else, though. I spent a whole lot of time reading my email and following some of the links in it, then there was my surfing, which hadn't quite finished when the talking started.


I have had a very sore right shoulder for several days, and I finally decided I must be dehydrated again, so I drank water all day and it feels much better already. I will do the same tomorrow and maybe that will solve my problem. Now, why being dehydrated would mess up my shoulder, I don't know, but it seems to work.


The weather has turned cold. When I went to bed, it was still snowing, and there was the most interesting phenomenon. It was snowing hard enough that I couldn't directly see the lighthouse blinking, but every six seconds there was a blink someplace over toward the fort, but at a different place every time. All I can figure is that the light was bouncing off snowflakes and to me. It looked like a bright green lightning bug out there. Really interesting. It didn't keep me awake.


By morning, the temperature was down to 20, more or less, and the wind had died down, too. It stayed just that way all day. There wasn't any more snow here. It was mostly cloudy except for an hour or so between 3:00 and 4:00, when there was a little sunshine and some patches of blue sky. It never ceases to amaze me how fast the wind can pick up and how fast it can die down to nothing. It was calm for most of the afternoon.


So now I will read some more, hopefully not very late, although they are going to play Schubert's great 9th Symphony in a while, and I do want to stay up to hear that. I'm tired again and my eyes are kind of droopy, so we'll see what happens. It's a cold, calm, cloudy night in the field.


December 15

Well, I did it. I knew it was coming, and last night was the night: I pulled an all-nighter. It seems easy for me to lose myself in all that stuff wrote 40 years ago (egad!) 


So I finally got up around noon, and I did the left-hand triangle before I got dressed, but I didn't do anything else. It took the rest of the afternoon to do my surfing, and besides, it was so nasty outside, I didn't want to go out.


Twice during the night, Jasmine got almost two feet into the studio before I looked at her and she remembered herself. I think that may be a step forward, but who knows. We seem to take a step forward and half as step back. I know she couldn't figure out why the heck I was sitting there rather than lying in my bed. She'll just have to learn. Every so often I do something really weird.


The weather - oh, the weather! It rained for most of the night and the wind was rising when I went to bed. By the time I got up, it was raining again, and the wind was still rising. As I was reading my email, suddenly the rain turned to snow, and it was being blown horizontal down the harbor. It has snowed all afternoon, but not very hard, and the wind has been blowing and the temperature has been dropping, but it was above freezing until an hour or so ago. At 8:00, it was 30 and the wind is 27 mph with gusts to 49.5 mph from the north. Oh, goody, it's winter again!


The pictures from the camera haven't been very good, because there has been a lot of half-frozen snow on the window. Sorry about that. Sometime, and I don't remember when, although I think it was after it got dark. we had a power glitch, so the computer had to reboot again , but I think everything came up all right. So far, the power has been solid ever since, so I don't know what that was.


So I don't have much else to report. We'll see when I get to bed tonight. Right now, I am listening to a Chanticleer Christmas, and of course I have to hear that - the second thing they did was Victoria's "O Magnum Mysterium", which is one of my all-time favorite pieces of music. I got to sing it again one of the last years I wintered in Detroit, and it made me weep every time I did. So I have to listen to the rest of it, even though I'm not usually too fond of male sopranos. These guys are really good, though.


So it's a hairy night in the field, and the wind and the lake will send me peacefully to sleep whenever I go.


December 14

I was even later last night (or this morning) and late getting up. This has got to stop. I'm really tired tonight, and I can't postpone the bath anymore. It was another old story that has some interesting ideas but is really long and has too much talking. I kept reading, and after I while, I realized that a whole lot of station checks had passed and besides I was having a hard time seeing.


Anyway, the task of the day was to pay a couple of bills and get to the post office to mail Debbie's gift, and I did get that. Otherwise, I spent most of my waking time doing my surfing.


It was a really yucky day. The temperature was almost steady at 36, plus or minus a degree or two, and there wasn't any wind. It started raining rather hard around 11:00 and it has rained lightly ever since. Really yucky.


Besides, it turned Woodland Road to ice, which meant I went slithering up the road on my way out. I went slower on the way back. Nasty.


I had to take a crate to get my mail, and there were cards from a number of my e-friends. I thank you all very much for the thoughts. I may or may not get any cards out this year, although there are several people I do want to know I'm still here. It's so nice of you to think of me.


I've also had any number of people give me suggestions on how to handle Jasmine, and I thank you all for them, but she is a nearly unique case and I think probably patience is the best course. She was in the great room and she peeped at me when I went through early this morning, but I haven't seen her today. I don't blame her. I only got up because I didn't want to get totally off-schedule.


So now my desire to go to bed early is being thwarted by the first Christmas special from Minnesota Public Radio, and of course I have to listen to that. It's a dark, damp night in the field, and they say it's going to snow overnight. We'll see about that.


December 13

Well, it was another late night and another lost day. Oh, well. I was reading, of course, and there are some interesting things in that couple of stories, as well as some fairly good writing for 1980. It was after that when I started what ended up in the blue binder and the white binder, so that was about when I began to hit my stride. Anyway, I got to bed too late, but I got up around 10:00 anyway, and I knitted another square. This one was lily of the valley, and I only had a little trouble with it. So I 'm making progress on that.


I have to report that the dishwasher ran just fine, so my drain seems OK again. And I verified that the Coast Guard fixed the lighthouse. It was working just fine all night. So those things are all over.


I was late enough that I didn't do much of anything, but I finally found the stories I was looking for. There was a binder that had gotten buried that had all the rest of the stuff in it. So now I have more to read. There is one I'm reading now and another one then a third that pulls together characters and places from both the others. These are from at least 10 years earlier than the ones I read last night, and the writing isn't quite as good, but they are interesting.


The weather was nondescript but unusual for December. The temperature was nearly steady around 34 and there was almost no wind at all. It was dark and dull and yucky. I didn't go out.


The shippers are taking advantage of the mild weather and low winds, though. When i looked around noon, there were 14 lakers out there, most of them out in the middle of the lake. There were a couple of 1000-footers and a whole bunch of smaller stuff, including the Coast Guard cutter Alder, which looked like it was headed for Duluth. I think the Alder is the main buoy tender, and I think maybe it winters over there. They call it a defense vessel and they don't say much about it or where it's headed, but from its position and course, Duluth looked pretty sure to me. I do love that website!


I went downstairs to get something for dinner and Jasmine went streaking for the back of the basement, so at least I saw her. She really doesn't trust me. Apparently she will only come upstairs when it's sunny out. If that doesn't change, she's going to spend a lot of time down in the dark.


So while I want to do a little more reading, I think tonight I'm going to have to go to bed early, after I take a bath. It's a dark, calm night in the field.


December 12

I started reading after I uploaded this, and as a result it was after 1:00 before I got to bed. Sigh. I didn't sleep very well. I had a couple of night sweats, and my sinuses were draining, making me cough. I finally got up around 9:45 - not nearly enough sleep - and I knitted a square. 


I didn't do very much at all. I packed up Debbie's Christmas present, but I was so late doing it that I didn't get to the post office. Wednesday is soon enough. 


I ran the disposer this morning and everything seems all right, so I will run the dishwasher tonight and see what that does. I have a full load, so I have to do something. I guess the Liquid Plumbr did work, but it apparently took 24 hours or more to do its thing. I will have to remember that. However, I don't trust it, so I will be watching it.


The weather wasn't good. It was very cloudy all night, so cloudy that the moon didn't make that much of a difference. When I got up there was light fog down the harbor, and that lasted all day. There was no precipitation. The temperature got up to 37 anyway, and there was no wind at all until just recently, when it got up over 10 mph, from the east. It was dull and gray and misty-moisty. Yuck.


Jasmine left me another mouse this morning. I don't know if it's that she doesn't like field mice or she is trying to give me presents in the hope it will appease me. I think she still thinks I will grab her and take her away, and I don't know what to do to convince her I will not do that. I didn't see her all day - evidently her exertions plus the weather made her sleepy. I just went out into the kitchen and she yelled at me, and when I came back to the studio, she was crouched under the coffee table. Poor Jasmine.


I called the Road commission, and we had 17.5" of snow last week, at least at Delaware. It was a good start, but we need more. Our month-to-date total is only 19.5".


I also finally called the Coast Guard, and as it happened, they were already out at the lighthouse trying to fix it. I haven't checked it tonight. I'll report tomorrow.


I also misspoke when I said the 1000-footers were all out of Superior. There have been several over the past two days, including the Burns Harbor, which, at 330m (almost 1100 ft) has to be about the biggest. She was off Keweenaw Point this morning, but I would have had to rush to go see her. Anyway, a whole bunch of the biggest lakers are on their way either to Duluth or down toward Chicago tonight. I do love that web page! At least I know what's out there, even if I can't see it.


So now I will read some more, probably too much, before I totter up to the north end and try to get a better night's sleep tonight. It's a dark, foggy, rather warm night in the field.


December 11

I made it into bed just after 10:00 last night, and I slept well until around 3:00, I think. After that it was spotty, so I'm tired. I got up at 7:00, as usual on Sunday. It was a nearly clear night, although there were a lot of aerosols in the atmosphere. The full moon rode high in the sky all night, and I was amazed to discover that the first two camera shots caught it in the corner! I've never seen the December full moon before. Usually, it's too cloudy. That makes me want to turn the camera a degree or two toward the north, but I think the wall would get in the way if I did.


The first shot never got uploaded. Something strange was going on on the network around 7:30, and while the camera took that first picture, it never got it uploaded. Since I have error messages turned off, I don't know what happened, but at just about that time, I couldn't do any surfing, either.


 I made it to church without any particular problems. The road weren't good down to Phoenix, but after that they were clear and nearly dry. It was nice, there was communion, and Mary Ann and Bill were there. Mary Ann has apparently been sick with upper respiratory stuff since Thanksgiving, so i haven't seen her at all. The church is decorated very nicely, with a lovely tree that must be 20' tall, covered with Chrismons and white lights. The ladies who make the wreaths do a very nice job.


And the organ has been tuned and fixed and is working very nicely. When it works, it is a nice little organ, with some very nice stops. In honor of that and Christmas, Jan is going to be giving a recital before church on Christmas day. Oh, I hope I can make it! However she will start at 9:45, so that just about convinces me I won't be able to go to Christmas Eve. That service starts at 9:00PM, and it would be at or after 11:00 before I could get home. If I have to get up early to get there on Christmas Day, there is no way I could get enough sleep to be safe driving. However, all that is dependent upon the weather, so we'll see what happens.


I got home around 1:00 and I didn't do anything much after that. I finished my surfing, and that was about all I did. I should have gone out and pulled down the shutters, but it was such a beautiful day, I just did not want to shut out all that lovely sunshine. 


The drain seems to be draining. I think I will try using the disposer tonight and see how that works. I am getting a full load of dishes, so I will have to wash pretty soon.


Jasmine spent the entire day in the great room. I didn't see much of her, but every so often she would surface and mew at me. I'm glad to see her upstairs, but I think the reason is that now that the machine room door is closed, it's cold down there. I keep the temperature set at 60. Besides, there was all that sunshine.


The weather was amazing. The temperature got down to 19 overnight, and it was 43 for a couple of hours this afternoon. There was almost no wind, and it was perfectly clear all day long. And this is December? Wow! I guess it's supposed to get back to more normal this week, but it sure was nice to see today.


I do need to mention that we are now down to 8 hours of daylight, and the sun is only 19.5 above the horizon at noon, which barely gets it over the trees. So even though it was clear and warm, I don't think we lost very much snow. The sun is rising around 8:30 and setting at 5:00, and for a good hour after sunrise and before sunset, it is really dark. We have a few more minutes to go to get to the absolute shortest days, 8h27m, from the 18th through the 25th. Isn't it interesting that we start gaining minutes on Christmas? We have seen the earliest sunset, 5:00 exactly. There is one more day of that and then it starts crawling later. It's sunrise that is still getting later and will until the 27th. Fortunately, the time of sunrise doesn't bother me except on Sundays. All this reminds me that it's nearly time to print out my tables for 2012.


This is the time of year that produces SAD in those of us who are susceptible to it. I am so glad I am taking all that vitamin D, which seems to have solved my personal SAD problem. I only wish I had known about that a very long time ago, since for most of my adult life I have been depressed from Thanksgiving until the middle of March. Now I pop my pills (along with all the others) every day, and I do much better.


I think I will do a little reading tonight, even though I still haven't found the stories I wanted. I know they are there, I just haven't found the right binder yet. Then I will crash and sleep late tomorrow.


Now it's a clear, dark night in the field and it's not even very cold.


December 10

I was trying to find something among the old, old stories - which I didn't - and I read for a while when I got to the north end, so it was 11:45 before I got to sleep. Actually, it was later, because my mind was going around in circles again. Usually reading and my prayers settles my mind, but it certainly didn't last night. I was up a couple of times, and I got up around 8:00. I tried to go back to sleep, but by 8:45 it was clear that it wasn't going to work, so I got up. 


I knitted a square, then I started reading again. Those very old stories are so different from the way I see things now that it's almost like reading someone else's writing. i like the new way better.


When I came into the kitchen, Jasmine was crouched between the wall to the great room and her water dish and she cried at me. When I came in further, she ran into the great room, but every time I've gone back in this afternoon, she's been there. It's cold and dark in the basement with the machine room door shut, so at least she has come upstairs. Poor little Jasmine! She is really a sad case right now, and all I can do is speak kindly to her (I hope) and be patient. At least she's upstairs. I guess she picked that place because it's the warmest one that isn't in a closed or closeable room, and she has an escape route through the archway into the great room, where there are lots of places to hide.


I didn't do much of anything. Last night, I poured a bottle of Liquid Plumbr down the drain, but it didn't seem to do much good. It wasn't right this morning, either, but it seems better now. I'll have to see tomorrow. It is really inconvenient. Not only can't I use the waste disposer, I can't run the dishwasher, either, since it empties into the disposer. Ick. I have a real thing about garbage (as distinct from trash) that i have had since I was a little kid, and I have a terrible dislike of washing dishes by hand, which I would probably have to do in the laundry room. Ick. I will call the plumber on Monday. He would probably come if I called him, but I don't want to pay his weekend rates - he's expensive enough during regular hours.


The weather has abated somewhat. The wind died down overnight and shifted toward the west. We had some snow this morning but only a little squall this afternoon. The temperature was around 20 all day, and it has now risen to a balmy 24. The wind has died down, too, into the 10-20 mph range. It was cloudy all day, and there were some pretty colors in the sky around sunset. For a moment, everything turned pale orange. Tomorrow, it's supposed to warm up, but we'll see about that.


This afternoon, I did a little knitting on the hat I started a while ago, but I didn't get very far before it got dark. Knitting lace has spoiled me for all the rest of the stuff. Straight knitting is boring. This cap has a color pattern in it, but even that seems boring after the lace. I really need to get to work on it, though, because it looks like I'll be wearing my parka soon, and I want to make a navy blue hat, too, to wear with my pea coat and my down-lined long coat, if I need that. If it stays as cold as it's been lately, I will need both of those and hats to wear with them.


I fiddled with my ceramic angels that I got last year, too. They use electric tea lights, and the lights were all so dim this year that I tested the batteries and they were all dying or dead, so I had to change them all. They use the same batteries that my calculator and the old computer use, and they included extra batteries with the lights, so I have plenty of those. One of these days, I will have to put in a battery order to Amazon (yep, they offer the low prices on those, too, but from an outside source), since two of my oral thermometers and a watch all have dead batteries. 


I like dealing through Amazon. If there is any problem with something sold through them, they will help resolve the situation. Not only do they have about the lowest prices on almost everything, their customer service continually amazes me. I know people review things and say they had bad service, but the way the reviews are written, it looks to me like they just complained in the review and didn't try to resolve their problems with the company. So far, I haven't had bad service.


So that was my day, and I will be off to the north end pretty soon, I think. I want to go to church tomorrow. I figure to go as long as I can, so when I can't maybe I won't feel so bad.


Now it's a dark, cold and cloudy night in the field. The moon is full, which makes it really bright even with the clouds. And the wind and the lake have calmed down.


December 9

After the talking stopped, I was going to read, but I couldn't decide what I wanted to read, so I ended up sorting the last batch of beads, packing everything up, and getting it off the desk. Then I straightened it up a bit and moved some of the books that I don't want to read. That took enough time that, after I took a bath, it was 1:00 before I got to bed. I slept well, with only two wakeups, but I woke up again at 9:30. I didn't want to go back to bed then, because heaven knows when I would have gotten up, so I got up.


I knitted for a long time, doing the final square in that tier and the right-hand triangle for the next tier. Now I have only 9 tiers left - 40 squares and a few triangles. So I'm making progress. Of course, after that, there are a few details left, like edges, and weaving in all the horrible ends from when the last ball of yarn started to fray to pieces. 


That was about all I did. I didn't get enough sleep, and I'm really tired now. I got to the studio late enough that it took me most of the afternoon to do my surfing. 


The weather was exceptionally cold all day again. The temperature finally rose to 22 before it began to drop back, and the wind has shifted back to the north in the 25-35 mph range. It was cloudy all day, with one or two peeks of sunshine. It snowed pretty much all night, and at intervals all day - lake effect showers. I didn't look to see how much may have fallen, but since it's so cold, probably there wasn't a lot of accumulation.


I forgot, yesterday, to mention the lighthouse light. It has gone bonkers again, and this time it's really bad. It seems to be revolving at two or three times a second, so it's blinking really fast all the time. I forgot, also, to call the Coast Guard and find out if they know about it. It's spinning so fast it could break something.


Not that there are a lot of ships out there right now. I have really enjoyed that Live Ships web page, and it has only shown six or seven ships for the past two days. Yesterday, there was one (I don't remember who) anchored in Bete Gris, and now there are four between Marquette and the end of Keweenaw Point. There was one day last week when there were at least four 1000-footers off the end of Keweenaw, but they're all gone now. I don't imagine there will be much traffic between now and when the locks close.


The Edmund Fitzgerald was a horrible tragedy, but it did have the good effect of reining in some of the cowboys out on the big lakes. Just because it's a lake and not the ocean doesn't mean it can't be deadly. In fact, in the old days, they would certainly have called it a sea, even though it's fresh water. It is big enough and deep enough that it makes its own weather, and the fun part of that is that I live close enough to the middle of it that I get to experience it. Frequently, the marine forecast is more accurate for Copper Harbor than the regular forecast is. Unfortunately, they've taken in the buoys, so I won't be able to report wave heights.


So that was my day. The Gas Lite palmed my packages off on Ron, so I won't have to worry about that tomorrow. It should be a little warmer, so I may pull down the shutters. My sink seems to be clogged up (oh, dear!), so I will be working on that. The snow overnight is all over the porch, but I think I will just let it stay there and not try to lock myself out of the house again.


Now it's another dark, cold, snowy night in the field and I don't think I will be long out of bed.


December 8

I read again, and it was 11:45 before I went to bed. I was up several times, and I discovered this morning that it was because I took my morning pills instead of my evening pills. You'd think I would know better by this time, but occasionally I will just grab the box on top - and it happened to be the morning box.


I got up around 10:30, I think, and I knitted for a long time, because I did a square and a half. The whole one was fern, which goes fast, but still, I was late getting to the studio.


I didn't do very much, but I did manage to get down into the basement, turn out the light and close the door to the machine room. That will cool it off down there, so maybe, just maybe Jasmine will come up, although it's been pretty frigid around here today.


The reason for that is mostly the wind, although the temperature helped. It was right around 20 all day long, and the wind has been from the north-northwest in the 20-35 mph range. It was cloudy all day, and at intervals a lake effect squall would come through. From the front porch, which is sheltered, it looks like between 2" and 3" of snow here.


I need to apologize for the camera. Today it hung up around 10:30 and showed the same picture (with only a change in the time) until 3:30, when I realized that all the pictures in between showed the exact same pattern of whitecaps on the harbor and I reset it. Unfortunately, these webcams can't run completely unattended, and all the ones I look at have the same problems. Actually, except for right before it got dark, it looked about the same all day long, so it didn't matter.


I didn't see or hear Jasmine today, but I suppose she is huddled someplace in a corner of the basement trying to keep warm. If only I could get her to realize it's a lot warmer on my lap... She has come up to eat overnight, so I know she didn't croak.


It isn't warm around here. It was 68 in the office all day, which was a bit cool to be sitting around, so I wrapped my kitty throw over my shoulders and that helped. IT was 63 in the bedroom this morning, and at least that cool in the great room. I finally filled my tummy with a big bowl of noodles and I feel warmer than I have all day, even though I had hot cereal and hot tea for breakfast.


This is supposed to go on for at least another day or maybe day and a half, so we can say that winter has finally come to Copper Harbor. I should have gone out and pulled down the shutters yesterday, and I knew it, but I didn't, and I was damned if I was going out into 25 mph winds and 6 wind chills today. So now I will wait until Saturday or Sunday, when it calms down and warms up a bit.


The package I was expecting today didn't get delivered here, so the UPS guy isn't going to come down the road again until spring, and I will have to go tomorrow or Saturday to get it at the Gas Lite. Maybe Saturday, since I expect one tomorrow, too. I think he is afraid he won't be able to make it up the hill in his large van, and he could be right.


So now it's a cold, windy night in the field. When I was down the hall a while ago, the gibbous moon was peaking through the puffy clouds, but that's the way lake effect clouds are. I think it's gone now, and there will probably be some more squalls before morning.


December 7 - Pearl Harbor Day

I know I mention this day every year, but it had a profound influence on my life, as well as that of my parents. I was only a bit more than four months old when it happened, but it colored the first five years of my life and i believe it shaped my father for the rest of his life. Just one of the things I hope to understand when I see him again.


I was very late last night. I got to reading the story I call "First" because it's the back story to everything else, and I think it's a pretty good one. So since I had to take a bath, it was 1:30 before I got to bed.


I slept fairly well, and it was 11:00 or so when I got up, I think. I only knitted half a square before I got dressed and I had lunch instead of breakfast.


I went to the post office and stopped and got eggs, but the only other thing I did was to get the dishwasher unloaded and start loading it again.


I didn't see Jasmine today, but she ate, and at some point, I heard her, and she was crying. Poor Jasmine. Dawn seems to have a lot of adoptable kitties, and I'm tempted, but no, not yet. Stubborn as she is, I think I'm even more stubborn, and I want to give her plenty of chances to change.


The weather was nondescript. It was fairly warm, around 30 for most of the day, and it has now gotten above freezing. There was some wind, in the 20-30 mph range mostly from the north. It was mostly cloudy, with a few rays of sunshine now and again, and there were some nice red clouds around sunset.


I guess we are in for it for the next couple of days. Mostly it will be lake effect snow, but that means high winds and who knows what could happen. Well, it's time. We need the snow. With the temperatures as low as they have been for the past couple of days, I was glad I don't have any roses. 


So that was my day, and I will read a bit more - they are playing Beethoven's Fifth right now, and of course I have to listen to that - and then I will totter up to the north end and cuddle up under my comforter and listen to the roar of the wind and the lake. It's a dark night in the field.


December 6

Not much to report today. It was another lost one.


i got to bed around 11:30 and got up around 9:30. I knitted and had another accident, which led me to have to wash my sweatpants, since both pairs were dirty. I didn't see Jasmine again, although she ate and I did hear her at one point. I have the door to the studio partly closed to keep the heat in, so if she was out there, I couldn't see her.


The weather was cold, and we had more snow overnight. The temperature got up to 25 for a while, but mostly it was colder. There wasn't much of any wind. it was mostly cloudy, although we did have a little sunshine and clear skies around 1:00. That was interesting, since while it was clear here, it was snowing at the airport. Looking at the Keweenaw live cams on PastyNet is always interesting. It often shows what a difference 40 miles can make.


And that's it. Now it's a mostly cloudy, cold night in the field. I will read a bit, take a bath, and try to get to bed earlier, although I've nearly given up on that.


December 5

I read for too long again, until I couldn't focus my eyes, and it was close to 11:00 when I turned out the light. I slept very well, thank you, and since I didn't get up until nearly 10:30, I almost caught up on my sleep, although I've still had trouble focusing all day. That may be because I still have a runny nose and clogged sinuses, so my eyes are running, too.


Anyway, I knitted and did my surfing and I had several bills to pay. I hadn't updated my check register in a while, so I did that, and not only couldn't I see very well, my gouty finger is so stiff I had trouble writing. No wonder I'm trying to get all my stories into the computer. Soon I'll have even more trouble signing my name than I do now.


The weather has turned cold and snowy. The temperature all afternoon was around 20 and there were light snow showers almost all day. They didn't show up in the rain gauge, and I don't think there was much accumulation here, but there were flakes coming down every time I looked out the windows. It was hard to see down the harbor. There was some wind, mostly in the 10-20 mph range from the north or northeast. It was a good day to stay inside, and I am going to have to shift to fleece and turtlenecks.


I sort of got the kitchen uncluttered. The last of the pots and pans is soaking and I have a load of dishes to wash tonight, but I didn't do much. I didn't feel like doing much.


I didn't see or hear Jasmine all day, so I suppose she is hibernating, too.


Now it's a dark, snowy and cold night in the field and it will be good to cuddle under the comforter and sleep for a long time.


December 4

It was a bad night. I went up to the north end early, like i said I would, and I turned out the light by 9:30. However, I didn't sleep at all well. I was hot all night long and my sinuses were draining and making me cough. I slept some, but not deeply, and I had another bad dream, this one including my daddy. It's been years since I had a dream that included him. Anyway, I didn't want to get up when the alarm went off, but I did, and I did most of my surfing before I got dressed.


I left early, and it was a good thing that I did, because the roads were not good. It took me nearly an hour to get to Laurium, because I wasn't going to go very fast. I met a couple of plow trucks going in the other direction, so the problem was that they didn't think anybody would be out on the roads that early on a Sunday morning.


Church was good as usual, but I have to check the blue hymnal to find out if maybe "On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry" isn't in it, because this was the Sunday when the Gospel is about John the Baptist. If it isn't, and it isn't in the maroon hymnal either, I am going to be very disappointed, because that is one  of my favorite Advent hymns.


After church, they had a potluck, which i didn't go to, and then they were going to make wreaths and decorate the tree. Not that I could have helped with either of those things.


So instead, I went off to Pat's, because I could see that I would be running out of JD pretty soon and it's cheaper at Pat's. Michigan has strange booze laws. They set a minimum price that can be charged, but individual stores are free to charge more if they want to. I can understand why the Gas Lite charges more for things, because there is probably a charge to them for deliveyt, and besides, they have to worry about their bottom line, too. Only I don't get booze from them unless I have to. I was also getting low on yogurt and I wanted some more deli salads. 


Every year JD puts out a special box with a bottle of something in it and some glasses, and this year it was a fifth with a couple of nice almost-square glasses. They are not quite as square as the first ones I got, but the last ones were round and they weren't nearly as much fun. So now I have enough JD to last until the next time I shop, which will probably be the Sunday before Christmas. JD every night is still cheaper than wine, so that's what I'm having.


Due no doubt to the weather, there was hardly anybody in the store, which was nice, and the shelves were stocked pretty well. I still have not been there when all the yogurt shelves were full, but I'm beginning to narrow down the kinds of Greek yogurts I like, and they had those. I just had a little container which has Orange Blossom honey in a separate well. It's a mess to mix up, but oh, my is it good. it's the one kind with nothing added to the yogurt, too.


Anyway, considering how much JD I bought, I got away pretty modestly and I was on my way home by 12:30, with a sandwich and a bottle of lemonade for the trip home.


It took nearly an hour to get home, too, but the roads were better. The plows had been out in both directions and they had been sanding the curves and hills as well as plowing.


I put away the stuff I bought, but I didn't do anything else for the afternoon. I am very tired and I think it will be another early night tonight. I only hope that I can sleep better.


I was sitting in the studio when I heard a little "mew" and when I looked around, I could see a tail up in the loft. Jasmine has a very skinny tail. I talked to her, and she sat all hunched up on the first step down and we talked for a little while, until I asked her to come and see me, when she said "No" and ran down the stairs and apparently into the basement. Geez! I'm beginning to get a complex.


Her dry food dishes were all empty, so I filled them before dinner, and she will be happy about that. I need to go down to the basement - the light in the machine room has been on for a week and the door is open, but I keep forgetting except after I am in bed and I can see the light through the cat hole. When I do, I will have to do her trays. I'm sure they are bad and I'm sure that doesn't please her either.


The reason for the road problem is that it started snowing around 3:00 in Calumet and shortly after I posted last night's entry here. When I went to bed, there was snow on the deck and on the roof of the garage. However, it was quite warm - up to 36 overnight - and I think there was some rain here. It was colder in Calumet and it just snowed there, apparently about 7". The snow and the ice under it made the roads rather slick, I think, although I didn't slide in 4WD. The temperature was 35 here when I left for church, but it was only about 28 in Calumet, and by the time I got home, it had dropped to 30 and it's been dropping slowly ever since. There was a strong northeast wind, with gusts up to 32 mph overnight. It apparently snowed or rained or something until about 7:00 this morning. The wind has died down a little bit. Needless to say, it was dark and dreary all day, and when I came by Lake Medora on my way home, the top of Brockway looked like it was covered by one of those gray, puffy clouds that usually has snow in it. I forgot to look when I got here.


Oh, well, I looked at the camera, but it had gone haywire around the time I left for town, so there were some pictures from the middle of the morning that didn't look very good. Sorry about that. I haven't figured out what that's all about yet. It is annoying, and eventually I will track it down, but for the time being, strange things will happen to the picture every so often.


So that was my day, and I'm tired. Now it's a dark, cold and windy night and the lake is singing, and I will be going up to the north end in not very long.


December 3

Last night it was reading. I got to some interesting parts and I just kept on going, so it was 1:30 before I got to bed. I slept well until around 8:30, when I woke up having had a real nightmare for the first time in a while. I had a hard time letting go of it, and while I tried to go back to sleep, it didn't work, so I got up around 8:45. Not enough sleep, for sure, and I was groggy all day,


I knitted my triangle and the first 8 rows of the next square - another fern - and it was nice to get done with breakfast and my accident (not too bad) before noon. 


I didn't do anything, but like I say, I've been groggy all day. I ate dinner early, and I hope to be in bed early, although right now it looks iffy whether I'll get to church.


I was in the powder room in the middle of the afternoon when I started hearing Jasmine, and shortly she poked her head through the cat hole from the basement and she cried at me for several minutes. I feel so bad when she does that, but there isn't anything I can do about it. I can't bring Buster back. She did run into the great room, I think, but I didn't see her and I suppose she is back downstairs now. She looks pretty good, but she looks thin. I know she's been eating, but probably not as much as she used to.


The weather was pregnant. It was dark and dreary all day and night came early for a change. Good thing I didn't reset the timer on the camera. The temperature got up to 37 for a while this afternoon, and it was above freezing all day. While there was some wind early this morning, it died to nothing, and it's been calm since about 3:00. 


However, I've been watching the weather map all afternoon, and there is a storm system coming our way. So far, it has been either rain or mixed stuff and mostly south and east of us. Right now, radar shows that there should be relatively heavy rain right over us, but I just looked outside and the deck is still dry. Shows how much you should believe weather radar. Maybe if i could see the sky, there would be heavy virga or something, Anyway, there is a winter advisory out for from now until noon tomorrow, so I guess I will assume I'm going to church and decide when I see what it's like in the morning. It is snowing lightly in Houghton at 7:00.


I've learned something about plumbing in the past day or so. Several days ago, I started hearing strange noises when I was in the bathroom and either I flushed the toilet or the sump pump in the basement started (it pumps out any water that is run in the basement, and I have the humidifier going). After listening to it for a while and thinking about it, I deduced that the problem must be that the trap for the bathtub, which I never use, had dried out. So this morning, I ran water into the tub, even though it was full of cat hair, dust and dead flies. And that solved the problem. Oh. So now I know that the traps have to keep water in them and if you don't run water into them every so often, they will dry out, and then you can hear all the water draining out of the pipes you do use. Okay so now I know, and I will try to keep that trap full.


I didn't do any sorting today, but I have been reading, and I will do that for a little while longer. Now it's a very dark, calm, pregnant night in the field and eventually something will start coming down from the sky.


December 2

I did it again, and since I had to take a bath, it was 1:00 before I got to bed. I slept, thankfully, and it seems that my bug has progressed to the point where I can get by on less than 11 hours' sleep, which is good. I got up around 10:00.


I knitted the next square on the shawl, which was fern and went fast, and I set up the left triangle. I was tempted to knit it, too, but it was getting late. That will finish tier 13, which means I only have 10 more to do - 90 more squares. This is a big project.


I didn't do much, but I finally began to sort out the mess in the sink. It's not all gone yet, but the pots are all washed, I think, and some of the stuff is in the dishwasher. Maybe I can do the rest of it tomorrow, or at least the part of it that doesn't need soaking.


I called the Road Commission, and we only had 17.5" of snow last month, and 2.5" yesterday. I think there may be some more coming, but the winter is getting off to a slow start. When I looked at the historical record, there was one November (1991-1992) when we had 75", but the rest of the winter was a dud. It seems to be December and January that determine whether it will be a good or bad winter. We can't expect to have 41" in April like we did in 2007.


I also called the electric people and oh, gee, nobody called me back. Duh. They say they will be out next week to service the generator, but they seem to do things rather casually, so we'll see what happens.


The weather was a bit warmer than yesterday. The temperature finally made it up to 32 late this afternoon. There was some wind, which is rising a bit. We recently had some 32 mph gusts, from the southwest. It was mostly cloudy for most of the day. There were a few rays of sunshine, but not many. I didn't go out.


I heard Jasmine but I didn't see her today. I think she comes upstairs when there is some sunshine, which means I'm not likely to see much of her for the foreseeable future.


I didn't do any bead sorting today. I have just a few more to do to finish this batch, and then I am going to put them all away. There are some things I must do that I've been postponing, and I can't do them with the desk covered with beads. I have been reading a bit, and I will do a bit more before I totter up to the north end. Right now I am suffering through a horrible modern something-or-other to get to Sibelius' Second, which I have known since I was a kid and I like.


Now it's a dark, windy night in the field and there may be a snowflake or two.


December 1

Oh, I did it again. It was 12:30 before I got to bed. I read some and there were more beads. And then I couldn't get to sleep. I don't know if it was too much chocolate too close to bedtime (chocolate has caffeine in it, you know) or that I sorted more than I read or what, but it took me a long time to go to sleep, and then when I had to get up around 4:00, it took me a long time to get back to sleep.


I got up around 10:00 or so and knitted the next square - birch leaves - with hardly any problems, so i got to the studio a bit earlier than I have lately. i had most of my surfing done by the time I went to the post office, where there wasn't as much stuff as I'd been afraid of. Thankfully, a lot of the places I used to get catalogs from don't bother with me anymore. Of course there were pleas for money and some bills, but at this time of year I expect that.


I did do some sorting while the talking was on. I think I have it down now. I only pour into the sorting tray (the top of a Lake Champlain chocolate box) enough beads to just cover the bottom and no more. Then I can go through each batch carefully and get everything I'm looking for, It never ceases to amaze me what I miss, though. After I go through the batch, I shake up the tray and turn it around, and I even find really big beads I missed the first time. Admittedly, most of them are clear glass, which don't show up as much against the white surface, but still, anything a quarter inch in diameter should show up. Really. I'm sure I'm still missing things, but I'm doing a much better job than when I started.


When I looked at the PastyCam this morning, somebody mentioned that they missed hearing more about Jasmine. Believe me, folks, when there is something to report, I will report it. I didn't see her at all yesterday, which is why I didn't say anything. Today, after I got back from the post office, she mewed at me, and when I turned around, she was standing by the sofa in the great room. When I spoke to her, though, she immediately ran away and went back down to the basement. So we take one step forward and one step back. It still puzzles me why, after she has lived with me for four years, I think, and i haven't done anything to her, she should believe I will if she comes around me. I guess taking Buster away has convinced her that I might do the same thing to her. That has to be the only time she has ever experienced sickness and death, and it has confused her and made her believe I am not a good person. Sigh.


The weather was cold. The high temperature was at midnight, and it dropped slowly all day, until now it is 24, I sure am glad the pump isn't just sitting there anymore. There was some wind around noon - 18 - 25 mph from the northeast - but it died down a bit and is now around 15 mph from the north. It was partly to mostly cloudy all day. There was a little blue sky, but i don't think there was any real sunshine.


Of course, part of the problem is that there are only 8 hours of daylight now, and the sun is only about 21 above the horizon at noon. it rose at 8:17 this morning and it set at 5:02 tonight. All that means that it is darkish for at least an hour after sunrise and before sunset, and it's none too light even at noon. At least I seem to be taking enough vitamin D that I don't have SAD like I used to, but it's the dark part of the year, and it will be sometime in February before it gets much better.


So that was my quiet day and I hope to be off to the north end at a reasonable hour tonight. It's a dark, cloudy and cold night in the field. And it's December.


Last  updated 01/01/13 08:22 PM