A View From the Field








February, 2009

February 28

I think it was before midnight when I got to bed. I did my usual thing and started looking at a book before I went up to the north end, and you know how that goes. I decided it was cold enough to wear a flannel nightie to bed, and that was a mistake. I slept, but I had some very strange dreams and a wakeful time around 3:00. So tonight I won't do that. I woke up around 9:00 and just decided I'd had enough strange dreams, so I got up.


It was so early (for me) that Buster was still asleep somewhere, and he never did get his petting until this evening. So I knitted a while. I decided I was early enough to have a real breakfast, and I really did - French toast my way, sausage, and coffee. The coffee is some Ron has been giving me every Christmas, and it is exceptionally good, and it is decaf. I had forgotten how much I enjoy a cup (well, 16 ounces) of coffee in the morning. I think, particularly as long as it's cold, I will try it again. Anyway, I had a lovely breakfast.


I didn't do much again, although there is now another bag full of catalogs. Now I have to go through the magazines and sort out the ones to put away. There are several cross stitch magazines I am keeping out because they have designs in them that I really want to make. The office still has stuff all over the floor, but a whole lot less than it did.


Late this afternoon, I finished the embroidery on the scissors fob. Now I have to convince myself to sew it together and finish it. We'll see. It is a cute little thing, although it is a bit larger than I think a fob should be. If I finish it, I will take a picture. It has a pair of purple-handled scissors with it, but I have another fob to make that would also go well with purple scissors.


Oh, yes, and I got most of the dishwasher unloaded. There are still some things to put away, but I will be able to start reloading it. I have always hated things I have to do over and over.


It was a very cold, clear night last night. It was around -10 all night, with a low of -12 at 4:00. It was still around 0 when I got up, and believe me, I could feel the cold radiating from the window in the bathroom. However, it had come up from -8 to 0 in an hour, and it got up to 10 (above) in a couple of hours, and in the afternoon, it hovered around 14. There was almost no wind overnight, but it had picked up into the 15-25 mph range by noon, and it is quite windy now, mostly from the north, although it looks like it can't quite make up its mind.


There were high clouds for most of the day, but there was also a lot of sunshine, and it was clear at sunset again. The moon is a lot higher in the sky than Venus tonight, but they were both shining in the windows around the time I went to get my dinner. Whether it stays clear or clouds up and snows depends upon who you believe - the NWS or Environment Canada. Environment Canada has tended to be more accurate for this location, so we'll see.


When I was up in the night, I could see stars, not a lot, but enough. The second time I was up, I looked way up in the north, and I could see the bowl of the Big Dipper. I think I also saw Regulus, at about 6:00, but I'm not sure. When I woke up the first time, Orion had set already, except that I may have seen Betelgeuse hanging over the mountain. Without my glasses, it's sometimes hard to tell what I'm seeing, except that they were stars.


It was nice to have all that sunshine. When I got to the office, the boiler had been running so much that there were ice drops all over both screens on the south side. The exhaust pipe is right under those windows (a terrible place for it), and it had apparently been running almost continuously all night. It was better after the sun came out.


As I am sorting out the catalogs and magazines, I am catching up on some I missed reading when they came, so I am doing something, although I have been fooling around some. 


Buster finally came and got his loving late in the afternoon. I hope he is all right, but I think he was just confused that I got up so early.


Now I am going to try to do the same thing again. Tomorrow I have to fill the pill dispensers and I have to wash. I am running out of underwear.


It's another frigid, clear night in the field, although it isn't supposed to be quite as cold as it was last night. It's another good night to cuddle up under the comforter. Maybe tonight I can avoid the weird dreams.


February 27

Well, I may not have hauled myself back on schedule, but I think I caught up on my sleep! I turned out the light at about 11:20 last night, and I finally rolled out of bed at 11:20 this morning! That ought to do it. I don't feel quite so tired tonight.


I knitted for quite a while and petted a cat, and I had just gotten to the office and started my morning surfing when - pfft! The broadband went away! So I rebooted and I power cycled the receiver and - nothing. I was about to call PastyNet when Ron called me to ask if my broadband was down, and that turned into a long conversation. We both live without other adults and we both like to talk. 


So it was a while before I called, and I got no satisfaction. So I fooled around here until 5:00, then I called again and got Charlie. If you want something to happen, call Charlie (if you can find him). A while later, I got a call back saying that a server had failed and everything should be all right, which it is, but for the afternoon, the broadband was down. Sorry for no pictures.


So I fiddled around and played some games, and worked on the back of my scissors fob (not as much fun as the front), then I decided to DO something. I now have four full (small) trash bags and part of a fifth, and the greater portion of the catalogs and pleas for money that were under the desk and had overflowed on the floor in the corner are now gone. I can stretch out my legs! Buster isn't happy, because there's nothing for him to get onto before he tries to get onto my lap. I still have a huge large pile in one corner, but I will get at that tomorrow. And there is still a lot of other stuff lying around, but it's beginning to get a little more organized.


No way was I going out. I knew it was supposed to get cold last night, but it was quite comfortable in the house. It got a bit chilly in the bedroom during the night, but that's fine with me, so long as it's warm and comfy under the covers, which it was. When I got the office, the temperature was 1 and there was a wicked wind out of the north (19 - 23 mph) and it was cold out there! During the night, we had really strong winds, with a gust of 38 mph around 3:00 (poor Ron was out on the tractor!). The wind has died down now, but the temperature is down to -2. It apparently snowed all night and into the morning, and it was still snowing when I got up. I think we probably had 5" or 6" of new snow, although it is so drifted it's hard to tell.


However, there was a lot of sunshine, too, and after 4:00, it cleared up beautifully. When I went to get my dinner, there were Venus and the crescent moon, very close together in the northwest, so beautiful! Environment Canada has changed its mind, and it should be clear all night and only partly cloudy tomorrow. It should also be a little warmer, which would be really nice. It was a beautiful day, if you didn't have to be outside in it.


Anyway, according to Ron, when he went to take Trevor to the bus, he came across Mike and his kids stuck in his jeep in front of the fort (Mike said that his wheels were right off the ground, and the drift had to be 4' high). Ron took all the kids back home, and Mike used the fire walkie-talkie system to tell the bus driver the kids wouldn't be coming, then our neighbors Ron and Dick came out to help him. Aaron helped dig, and Dick finally pulled Mike out with his SUV. It's so nice to have neighbors! Since there were white-out conditions at the time (about 7:00, I think), Mike was afraid the plow would come along and cream his jeep, which was certainly a possibility.


Mike spent the rest of the day trying to get a good portion of Copper Harbor back on the broadband. Evidently there was a coding error in the server which only showed up after the server was rebooted - at just after 1:00 this afternoon.  Oh. The only thing that annoyed me a bit was the guy who told me everything looked all right. The heck it did. We were all down or mostly down. Oh, well. At least with PastyNet, I know all the people who are working on it and they aren't in India.


It was so beautifully clear that I almost turned out the lights to see if I could see Orion in the south, but I couldn't turn off the monitor (well - I could, but it would be annoying), and I am updating the anti-virus on the laptop, and I couldn't turn that off. So I gave up on the idea. At about 8:00 this evening, Orion was due south and at its highest altitude. I do love to look a those stars. It is so clear here that even when it is setting in the west and I am looking through the screen, I can see that the middle "star" in the sword looks pinkish - the Orion Nebula. Seeing isn't so good, but I have never actually seen the winter Milky Way, and I would like to do that, too...but not when the temperature is -2 and the wind chill is -10. I have been out in this kind of weather, and I don't like it. When the snot freezes in your nose, it is too cold.


While I was doing my dinner, I almost got the dishwasher loaded. I need to run it tonight, since I am running out of cat dishes, and it's full anyway. When I take out the stuff I used for dinner, I will finish that, and I think I will go up to the north end early tonight, and I may even pick up a pen. My finger is nearly back to normal, except for a new lump which is rather tender, so I think maybe I can write a bit.


So it's a dark, frigid night in the field, and a good one for another long winter's nap.


February 26

Oh, my, I need to haul myself back on schedule again. It was after 3:00 when I fell into bed. I got up around 11:30, so nothing got done today.


I was getting to the end of a ball of yarn and I again had the problem of not being able to find the end of a new ball in the center, so I ended up rewinding the entire ball. This one was a real problem because some of the strands had fallen off the outside, and everything got tangled into a real mess, so it took some time to untangle it and it isn't a very neat ball, but it will do. I am afraid to start from the outside of a ball, just in case there really is a pattern to the multicolored yarn, so when I can't find the end at the center, I have to rewind the ball. Cuts down on production no end. 


I think it was after 1:30 when I finally got dressed, and since I had another accident, it was 3:30 before I finished my daily surfing.


I emptied the wastebaskets in the bathroom and the closet, which were overflowing, so I can't say I did absolutely nothing. Pretty close.


The weather was snowy. I think it started snowing before I went to bed, and it snowed all day. The temperature was about 12, with a northeast wind that is now beginning to rise into the 20-30 mph range. I don't think there was much snow accumulation, but it is blowing around. There is a winter weather advisory out until sometime early tomorrow, then it is supposed to get very cold. Well, February isn't over yet.


I am happy to report that my finger is recovering. It felt much better today, although it is still tender, and the swelling is down a bit. You don't realize what is really going on in your knees until you see it happening in your finger.


Now I am going up to the north end early (for sure!) and try to get to bed early and get enough sleep. It's a cold, wintry night in the field, and good for sleeping.


February 25 - Ash Wednesday

It was 1:45 before I made it into bed last night, and it will be at least as late tonight, although I am toying with the idea of not taking a shower. My hair wont' look so good tomorrow, but I have no plans to go anywhere. I got up around 9:45, after two walks, and that was only 8 hours of sleep, but I wanted to have time to get dressed and have breakfast at a reasonable pace. 


I knitted a while, although my finger is still very swollen and sore. I can knit or write (with a pen) or embroider, but the swollen part is on the side between the two fingers, and I keep hitting it, and it feels funny even when it doesn't hurt. It was very sore this morning, so I tried to put some ice on it while I was doing my morning surfing, but that didn't work. I couldn't use the mouse while I was icing it, and besides, after a few minutes, I had a blue finger, which hurt more than the swelling.


The task of the day was to go to church. I had not met the new minister, Pastor Lloyd, and he seems very nice. I would like to know more about him. He wears an earring. Anyway, he did the same service he did at Bethany in Mohawk tonight, and it was much more formal than Bonnie's services. So I came away feeling quite churched. My only real complaint is that they don't sing enough, but that's all right, since I'm not singing very well anymore. 


It felt really good to be back in church. I've said before that that and my friend Debbie are the only things i miss about not living in Detroit.


I didn't do much else but go to the post office and clean out my box - a 4" pile of catalogs and pleas for money. There were also three bills, a bank statement, and three magazines in that pile. One of the magazines, one of my cross stitch magazines, had a beautiful bible cover, so I guess that is going to be my next project...on black (shudder). However, they prefer Anchor embroidery floss, so I will have a chance to use it again. I prefer it, too, but most charts use DMC. I think I know where the boxes of floss are. I think we unpacked them last summer...or I hope so. I have been looking for a new project to embroider, and this magazine had four that I liked...


There is still the angel, which is certainly turning into a UFO. I stopped in the middle of the metallics, and I just have not had any desire to start it again. Too bad, too, because it is really very pretty. Maybe someday...


The weather was warm. The temperature peaked at 34 about the time I was coming home, so we had some melting. However, it dropped off to about 30, and after 7:00 this evening, it plummeted, and the last reading was 16. Part of the reason for that is that the wind has gotten into the 20-35 mph range from the north, and the snow is on its way. It snowed very lightly off and on all day, but there wasn't more than an inch of new before it started to melt. It is almost certain to snow tomorrow, and we could have some significant accumulation.


So that was my nice, quiet day, and after Schubert's Unfinished ends, I will be off to the north end and a good night's sleep.


February 24

Last night it was a book I got a while ago and never looked at very much. It was worth it, because I learned a very good way to attach piping - if I ever get to my porch cushions. I may just start with one of the throw pillows, to get the technique down. Anyway, I think it was probably 1:30 or so before I turned out the light, and the first time I woke up was almost 8:30. That has to be a new record.


I went back to sleep and finally got up around 10:30. Buster was lying right by my head making a nuisance of himself. I dozed for a while, because when I woke up, I had a sinus headache and I didn't feel good at all. After waking up slowly, I felt some better.


I read some more of the book and learned some fool-proof tips on how to make bound buttonholes, now that I will probably never make another bound buttonhole in my life. And I have learned several very useful things to do with my adjustable zipper foot that I had never thought about before. So the book has already paid for itself, and that's only the third chapter.


I actually did a few things today, wonder of wonders. I started loading the dishwasher, and I finally got all the pots and pans off the draining board - and immediately put out a bunch of other stuff to dry. I started on the office. You can now see some parts of the floor that have been covered up for a long time, and there are some baskets full of stuff I want to keep. It's not good, and under the computer desk is still a disaster, but It's a beginning. There are two full (or overfull) trash bags, and that is only the beginning. I found a few small things that had gotten misplaced, which is good.


And I cooked. When I was down in the basement Friday putting away my Schwan's stuff, I noticed that I had a package of beef country ribs. I like to keep a package of them in the freezer, especially in the winter. So I had my braised country ribs tonight. I even found that I had gotten a bottle of inexpensive burgundy for the liquid. And I discovered that my potatoes are starting to go. It was really good, even though it made an even more horrible mess of the stove top than it was before - browning the meat and wilting the onions, you know.


I toyed with the idea of making mashed potatoes, but I didn't. I just stuck a potato in the microwave, and before I had finished thickening the gravy, it was done. I have been keeping my potatoes out in the breezeway this winter, and they do keep better there, but what I have noticed is that they are sweeter than I can ever remember potatoes being before. I don't know why, but evidently the starch in the potatoes has begun to change to sugar. They are Yukon Gold potatoes, but I usually buy those, and this is the first time I can remember them being so sweet. And good. They are very tasty, for potatoes, and they make a good thing to put under country ribs. I've also had them when I broil a steak, because they sop up the juices from the steak very well. But why so sweet this year?


Anyway, that is the mystery of the day.


The weather was so-so again. The temperature got up to about 30 between 5:00 and 6:00, and there were mostly light southwest to west winds. It was partly cloudy all day, and there was lots of nice sunshine. All that free solar heat! I didn't go out.


Venus was shining brightly in the west when I went to get my dinner out of the oven, but they say it is going to cloud up and snow overnight. Right now, it's a clear, calm and not very cold night in the field, and since it's already after midnight, I will be late again tonight.


February 23

I'm not quite sure why, but it was 1:45 before I turned out the light last night. I was up once in the dark, and there were stars, but not very many - Polaris, Capella (setting), Castor and Pollux, and that was about all. All night long, when I looked out the front windows, I could see a big cloudbank in the west, either coming or going, and apparently about sunrise, it covered the sky. By the time I got up, around 10:30, it had cleared up, and it was mostly sunny for the rest of the day.


I knitted and petted a cat, and that was all I did. I don't know why. 


When I went to bed last night, the side of my right index finger was so sore I could hardly touch it, and it is still sore and achy. I have a huge arthritis bump on that joint, and apparently a new place has decided to get inflamed. I suppose it is from all the typing and knitting. I hope it goes away soon.


The weather was sunny but frigid. The high temperature for the day was 15, and it is now 2. There wasn't a lot of wind, and it was from all over, although it seems to have settled down to the south, but very light. 


When I went to get my dinner, Venus was twinkling in the windows. When something that bright is twinkling, it means the atmosphere is very unsettled, so even if it is clear, it till be bad seeing. According to the Clear Sky Chart, it is supposed to cloud up around midnight. Environment Canada got it right for today, which the NWS didn't. They had it cloudy with maybe even some snow, whereas Environment Canada said it would be mostly clear. Sometimes I wonder about the NWS. However, the Clear Sky Chart is for Copper Harbor specifically, and the NWS forecast is for all of Keweenaw. As I mentioned the other day, it can be clear here and snowing in Houghton.


So that is my report for the day, and I was just sneezing my head off, whatever that means. It's a cold, cold night in the field tonight.


February 22

I made it into bed just after midnight last night, and I got up just after 10:00 this morning. That should have been enough sleep, but I'm tired again, and it's not that late.


And I wasted another day. Sigh. One of these days, I will have to spring into instantaneous action, but so far I've been able to avoid that.


I finished the sleeve of the sweater this morning and did a couple of rows on the body, so now I can just sit and knit around and around forever. Buster got upset when I started rustling around changing needles and putting away markers and things. As soon as I started knitting again, he came back.


I finished the front of my little scissors fob tonight, and I finished transcribing the story, with only a couple of additions. That's a little under 400,000 words, and almost 770 pages typed (12  point font, though, I have to say, so I can read it). When I thought it over and read over what I had written, even though I'm not totally happy with the ending, I decided it would be more fun to write some new stuff using the same characters. There are a lot of things which will happen after the end of this story, and I'm interested to see how they work out. I have some ideas, but I never really know where a story is going until I write it. The other one I was writing on needs some attention, too. I know what the next episode is, but while I was working on the typing, it was too confusing to try to write something completely different. So I may work on that, too.


I'm getting the urge to pick up the beads again. I've been thinking about boxes again. One of these days, I will get at that. Only first I have to shovel out the office. It is really bad in here. The catalogs and pleas for money just keep piling up, and I need to get that all out of here. Not having that huge white binder sitting on top of a pile beside the desk will help, too.


The weather was about the same. The temperature was 18 from 7:00 this morning until 5:00 tonight, when it began dropping off slightly. There was some wind, in the 15-25 mph range mostly from the north. According to the camera, we had some snow early this morning, but it stopped by 8:30, and as the day went on it got steadily clearer, until it was pristine at sunset. Interestingly enough, when it was perfectly clear here, it was snowing lightly in Houghton. That's what 50 miles can do for you. When I went to get my dinner, Venus was glaring down out of a clear but unsteady sky. There may be some stars tonight. It may also get very cold, with all that clear sky out there.


So that was my day, and it's time to totter up to the north end and see if maybe, just maybe, I can get to bed around midnight again. It's a cold, clear night in the field, and it will be a good one to huddle under the comforter.


February 21

I fooled around on the computer far too long, so it was after 1:30 before I got to bed. Actually, there was a little (but not much) rationale. Last week, when Norton fired up the virus scan, everything overheated, so I was interested to see whether it would do the same when I was playing my game which also was overheating it. Well, it didn't. It sat there and purred away like it wasn't doing anything. The temperatures probably went up a bit, but not enough to be worrisome. But then I should have gone to bed, and I didn't. Oh, well.


I got up around 10:30 - just about the time Buster had given up on me and settled down to sleep, so he complained - and I started the ribbing on the sleeve! Now I have only 13 more rows to go, and I can go back to the body and knit until it's 17" from the underarm, or when the yarn gives out, whichever comes first. I suspect, in this case, I will have some yarn left over. If I have two balls left, I could make a matching pair of socks, and that would be fun. 


I guess my years of having to look nice (and the influence of my parents, both of whom loved clothes and loved to look good) has left me wanting things to match. These days, it's the turtle with the sweater or the fleece, and at least coordinating socks, even though usually nobody sees my socks. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to wear my favorite fleece top, the one I made myself out of the snowflake print in shades of aqua, from pale aqua to deep teal. I discovered that hiding on the bottom of my pile of turtlenecks was one that went perfectly. It is just a bit lighter than the deep teal in the fleece, and it looks wonderful. When I wore the Mosaica sweater for the first time, I discovered that I have a turtleneck that is almost the exact color of the bright blue in the yarn...so good a match that somebody asked me if it was planned. I like things like that, and I'm sure it's been noticed. 


The problem is finding sock yarn with the colors that coordinate with my tops. It's nice not to have to worry about bottoms: jeans go with anything, although I confess I ordered a pair of black jeans today. With the Mosaica sweater, which is almost black, and the black one I am making now, I decided a pair of black jeans is a necessity. I've tried to get a pair several times in the past, and every time, I ended up with pants that didn't fit. I am fairly confident that these will, and if they don't, they will certainly be sent back.


Now, fit is another problem. Except for jeans, I have not been able to find pants that fit the way I want my pants to fit. I wear them anyway, but the only way I will ever get good-fitting pants is to make them, and I don't seem to be able to get at the sewing machine even for things I know I need to sew. I hate pants that bag and cup and pull.


Of course, I have so many clothes I could wear something different on top every day for a month and not run out of things to wear. That's a shame, really, but I do get tired of the same old stuff all the time, so it's nice to have something different to wear occasionally. I am getting tired of knit tops, but they are so comfortable, I guess I will just keep on wearing them. At least my favorites aren't likely to wear out very soon.


Anyway, I tried to stretch the gurgles a bit too far this morning and I missed the bathroom for the first time in a while. Sigh. It wasn't too bad, mostly on my underpants and me, but cleaning up after myself tired me out and depressed me enough that I didn't do anything for the rest of the day. Every night I say "Tomorrow for sure" and every day I seem not to be able to get anything done. Maybe tomorrow.


The weather was so-so again. The temperature got down to 0 between 4:00 and 6:00 this morning, and it briefly got up to 25 around 1:00. There wasn't any wind at all. There were a few lazy snowflakes floating down early in the afternoon, but we didn't get the snow that was predicted. However, sometime after the last picture from the camera, it started to snow, and it is still snowing. So I guess the NWS guys can say they were right - it snowed before midnight, so it snowed today.


I have been forgetting to mention the kitties. If I don't go up to the north end by about midnight, Buster begins to get agitated, and he either wants to sit on me or on the fleece under the windows. So he has been sitting there, and several times, Jasmine has come up behind me and actually scratched on the back of the chair! I wish she wouldn't, because the chair is leather, but it is so amazing to have her do something like that. She will hang around, because she wants to be close to Buster, but she seems to actually be paying attention to me. Most amazing. 


I did unload the dishwasher tonight (gee - only two days after I washed dishes!), so that is done, but that was the only thing I did today.


So it's another quiet night in the field, snowy and cold, and I will try to do a little typing before I toddle up to the north end, earlier than last night, I hope.


February 20

It was 1:45 before I finally turned out the light last night, and I don't quite remember why, except that I spent some time fooling around on the computer. I came to around 9:30, and Buster was bound that I was going to get up. He stood behind my head and kept kneading the fuzzy pad and purring until I finally gave up and got up.


Not that I did anything with my day. I knitted for a long time, and I am getting down to the end of the sleeve. I would have done more except that I thought I had put in an extra decrease again, and I had ripped out two rows before I realized that I hadn't.


I knitted on the shawl for a while. After I pulled out all the nupps for the second time, I decided to just put it aside for a while. I will have to read my book on Estonian lace and see if I can get some tips on working nupps. Otherwise, this may unfortunately turn into a UFO. I just was not happy with the way they came out looking, and the second time I worked them, I found I had knitted an extra stitch into them, which didn't help at all.


So I got out the little cross stitch scissors fob and worked a few stitches on that.


In the meantime, I nearly gave myself heart failure. I have noticed lately that the computer was running hot, so hot that any time I played one of my games with all the graphics, it began to overheat...not a lot, but a few degrees over the safe high temperature. I've suspected that the reason was that the fan was very dirty. Also, the last time I had the case opened (last October, I think), I put it on its dolly backward, with the locking wheels to the back, which was another annoyance, since I've been having to haul it out from under the desk frequently.


Sooo....in the middle of the afternoon, I decided to solve both problems. I shut down the computer and opened it up on one of my CraftStors. Boy, was I right! I used Q-Tips and I used an entire charge of bottled air before I finally got all of the dust and dust bunnies out of the fan and the case. That is something everybody should do every so often, and I had forgotten to do it when I was fooling around with disks last fall.


I closed up the case, got it back onto the dolly right-side-to, and tried to start it up...and nothing seemed to happen. I had a black screen. After trying that several times, I checked the cords and discovered that I had pulled half the display plug out of its socket. I like this monitor, but it has an extremely short cord. I had to fiddle around, because the side that had not come out of the socket was screwed in so tight I had to use a screwdriver, but I finally got it seated properly, then I turned on the CPU...and ended up in safe mode! Oh, no!! Oh, oh, no!!! So I shut it down again, punched the button and it came up. Whew! Big sigh of relief. I have no clue what its problem was the first time, since I didn't have a display for a while.


Anyway, my cleaning did seem to work - both the CPU and system temperatures are running about 10 below what they were before, and I haven't had an overheat since. I am sensitive to that, because I'm fairly certain it's what fried the other CPU. I didn't have the monitor program at that time, so I didn't know whether things were hot inside or not. I think the fan is running a bit higher now, too, from not having all that dust on it.


After that, I didn't do much else.


It was another cold day, but the wind has died down. The temperature got up to 18 for a couple of hours this afternoon, but after sunset, it plunged, and is already down to 8. The wind was under 10 mph from the north all day, and it is now calm The reason it has gotten so cold is that it's nearly clear. I noticed, when I got up, that there was sunshine, and we had a lovely, almost clear day. It was a nice change. There were a few clouds at sunset, and there was almost a sun pillar, but it wasn't worth a picture. When I went to get dinner, Venus was glaring over Porter Island. She has moved an enormous amount to the north over the past few weeks. 


I didn't really go out, although I did bring in my Schwan's order. Now I have all sorts of new stuff to try, as well as some old favorites, and a nice selection of breakfast stuff to eat.


I was starting to do a little typing, but I thought I would do this first, so that when I get more tired, I can just stop and go right up to the north end.


So it was another quiet day (with one exception) and it's a clear, calm, very cold night in the field.


February 19

I jumped into bed around 1:30 last night, and I slept fairly well, although I had a strange dream this morning which included one of my old bosses - from back in the early '80s. I don't know where I dredged that up from! Dreams are amazing sometimes.


I got up around 10:30, and petted a cat and knitted for quite a while. I discovered that sometime yesterday afternoon, I had managed to decrease an extra stitch on one side of the sleeve - and it was sort of out in the middle. I don't know how I did that, but it wasn't worth ripping out 12 or 18 rows just to fix, so I compensated. If the yarn wasn't black, you could see things like that, and I would have had to rip, but it's very hard to see any structural things in this yarn. I am making progress. I have about 36 rows left, and they will go faster, because every six rows I decrease two more stitches.


I managed to get the kitchen straightened up a little. At least I got rid of the trash and most of the dishes are in the dishwasher. I should run it tonight. I cooked - chicken with broccoli cheese soup and fresh broccoli. I don't like raw broccoli, so when I buy veggie trays, I always have all of it left, so I figured I would use some of it. I like the combination a lot, on a bed of rice. Yum.


Otherwise, I did not much. I finished the first lace section of the shawl, with some difficulty, and started the second, and oh, my, that is going to be hard. It has little bumps on it called "nupps", where you increase five stitches in one, then purl them all together on the return row. That "purl five together" would be hard in regular yarn, and in this very fine yarn that doesn't stretch, it is nearly impossible. I have been doing it with a crochet hook, but even that is hard, without dropping a stitch (or all of them). I have the suspicion that is why the photos with the pattern show the final end instead of the beginning...the beginning might not be so neat. I will persevere, at least for a while, but it's going to be hard.


It's a little disappointing, too. The pattern looks like lily of the valley, and it has always attracted me when I saw pictures of it. I suspected it might be hard to knit, but not this hard. I also have an interesting book on Estonian lace, where they use tons of nupps, and I had hoped to maybe make one of the patterns in the book, but now I'm not so sure.


Tonight, I transcribed about 13 pages and I only have about 16 more before I have to decide what to do about the ending. I still think it will mean rewriting it, but we'll see how I feel when I have everything else in the computer.


The weather was cold and windy. I think it snowed most of the night, but it stopped by 10:00, and then we got some sunshine, which was nice. The temperature bottomed out at about 6 at 9:00 this morning, then it rose steadily to 17, where it is now. The wind has died down a little bit, but it is still in the 20-30 mph range, from the north, and it is wreaking havoc with the road down in the culverts. According to all the reports, we probably didn't get more than 4" or 5" of new snow, but it is blowing around enough to be difficult.


Oh, by the way, there were two black pictures in the middle of the afternoon. I'm sorry about that. I had to reboot, and I neglected to check the camera. It has been coming up so nicely lately that I figured it would be all right...wrong. I must remember never to neglect checking it. Fortunately, there were only two black frames before I discovered it.


So that was another quiet day, and it looks like it will be a good night to sleep, with the lake and the wind roaring in the background.


February 18

It was more like 11:30 when I made it into bed last night, and I slept well, although I was up three or four times, and I got up around 10:00. I am tired again now, but I expected that.


I didn't do anything much, because today was the ladies' meeting, and it was fun again, although there weren't very many of us. You'll see why in a minute, although if you were looking at the webcam during the day, you know why.


One of the ladies is hassling with a possible recurrence of breast cancer and all the tests that requires, which was a downer, but we had some laughs in spite of that. There were three beautiful quilts to admire, too. They are such a good group.


So that took up the afternoon, and I had to stop at the store - egg and milk time - so it was 4:30 or later before I got home. However, I got quite a bit done on the sleeve of my sweater, which was nice.


I began to work on the kitchen while my dinner was in the microwave (I will cook this week, but not today). I washed up all the dirty pots and pans and got all the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. There is still a lot of trash on the counter, but I will take care of that tomorrow.


Tonight I wanted to put in a Schwan's order, since I have eaten most of what I had, and after trying to enter it three times and getting caught in a loop before I could complete the checkout, I finally had to call them and give it to a person. It only took me about an hour and a half to get it done. Sometimes I wonder if computers are worth it.


And then there was the weather. The wind had started to rise when I got to bed last night, and I could hear the lake speaking, although it is never as loud when the shore is iced up. When I got up this morning, I could see billows of snow being blown off the roof, and I couldn't see anything down the harbor. So they were right about the snow. The temperature dropped overnight, and it hovered around 12 all day long. The wind was in the 25-40 mph range, and around 9:00 tonight, they reported a 44 mph gust. It was from the east until noon, when it began to shift and it is now out of the north.


It's hard to say just how much snow fell, but I don't think it was more than 3" or 4". It is drifting, though. Our cars were parked in front of Carolyn's, and when we came out, there were 18" drifts on the right side of the car parked next to me and one on the left side of my car. There wasn't much snow on the windows, though, but then, it probably got blown away. There were some drifts on the road, but the worst was actually on US-41 in front of the fort and in front of the waste treatment plant, where there was some really bad drifting in spots. Anywhere there was a clear path through the trees, there was a drift big enough that for a while we had to drive down the middle of the road - slowly - to avoid getting stuck.


So winter isn't over yet.


I was happy to hear the generator do its thing this morning, so I am safe if the power goes out. And so far, everything seems all right with the heat. These days, I am thankful for small favors.


So that was my social day, and it was nice. Now I can go back into hibernation for a while.


It's a cold, windy, snowy night in the field, and a good one to hunker down under the covers for a long winter's nap.


February 17

I made it into bed a little after 11:00, but I didn't sleep very well again. For one thing, it's warm at the north end. For another, I kept having to get up and walk, and not just to pee. It was most annoying. I did sleep hard for a while this morning, and I think I got up around 10:00, but I really wasn't sleeping all that time. I am tired again, so I think I will try the early thing again tonight.


Even though I got up relatively early, I didn't do much today, as usual. I knitted a while, with a very purry cat on my lap.


While I was stirring my oatmeal, would you believe, Jasmine came and ate a little out of the bowl of canned food! I could hardly believe it. Of course, she disappeared when I moved to get my milk out of the microwave, but she actually ate while I was in the kitchen! Awesome. And she was rather calm for most of the day, too, letting me walk by her. I certainly wish I knew what goes on inside her little head!


I knitted a bit on the shawl, too, although I had to rip out a couple of rows because I dropped something (an easy thing to do with that yarn). I am not finished with the first square yet, but I'm making progress.


I went to the post office and got a couple of big packages. Amazon packs its stuff in whatever size box they happen to have available, which means I have two rather large boxes now. One of them had a smaller box inside it (still rather large) and inside that, bouncing around, were six small bottles of pills. I had to email them a complaint about that, for sure. Why in the world they put the smaller box inside a big one, and why the smaller box had no packing material, is beyond me.


Other than a very little typing, that was all I did.


The weather was the calm before the storm again, although I looked at the national weather map, and I can't see anything coming. The temperature got up to about 28 for most of the afternoon, with no wind to speak of at all. It was mostly cloudy, but not particularly dark.


There is a winter storm advisory out, starting at 1:00 am tomorrow and going through Thursday morning, for a total of 6" - 9" of snow and high winds. Like I say, I can't see anything on the national map yet, and I wonder if they may have overreacted again. However, we'll see.


Ron came to deliver my cat food, and another bag of his good coffee, for which I thank him, and he was worrying about being able to get out tomorrow. He worries too much. If it's that bad, there won't be school, either. I hope it's not that bad. There is a ladies meeting at Carolyn's tomorrow, and I like to go to that.


So that is all I know, and it's off to the north end. It's a warmish, quiet night in the field tonight, and we'll see about the storm.


February 16

It's crash time. I didn't get to bed until after 1:00, and for some reason, I didn't sleep well at all. I had a lot of dreams, and I was up three or four times. I finally did sleep a little between 8:30 and 11:00, but that was all. Buster was very happy curled up beside me, for a change. I don't know what his problem is now. Every time he gets excessively loving, I wonder if he's sick.


Anyway, I got up late and I knitted for quite a while, so it was nearly 1:30 when I finally got to the computer, which made it a lost day. About all I did was a little knitting, besides reading some long emails and following a few of the links in them.


I started the first lace block of the shawl, and I don't know quite what my problem was the last time, although it may just have been that I wasn't keeping good track of what row I was on. I did have to rip out a couple of times, but not more than part of a row. Knitting with fine yarn on relatively large needles (#3) isn't very much fun, I find. I would have been happier if I had been using #0 or #00 needles for this thing, but then it wouldn't be as lacy. I do love to pet the yarn, which is just about as soft as cashmere, although it is quite wiry. I'm sure I will get tired of it and put it away again, but it's kind of fun to work on it a little bit. I'd like to get the first tier done, so I can see all the patterns.


I only transcribed a few pages, but I am really tired. I took out the last ten pages or so to take with me up to the north end, and I think I am going to do them over and expand them. I suddenly got tired of the thing, I think, and I got very abrupt. 


The weather was so-so. When I was up in the night, there were some stars, but it was mostly cloudy for most of the day. I didn't see any snow. The temperature got down to -1 at 7:00, but it rose steadily after that, and it has been about 28 for three hours or more. The winds were from the west and during the middle of the day they got into the 15-25 mph range, although they have died down again. Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, all of a sudden there was one big gust, which I would put at over 25 mph, but it only lasted a minute or more, then it went away. I wonder what causes things like that. It is nearly calm now.


There were several things I was going to do, but I was so late, it was 2:30 before I finished my daily surfing, and I was too tired anyway. Everything will still be there tomorrow.


So I will be off to the north end earlier tonight, and maybe I can sleep better than I did last night. It's a cool, dark night in the field, and there is supposed to be a little snow.


February 15

Try as I might, I didn't manage to get to bed before 1:00, sigh. Maybe tonight? I woke up this morning at exactly the same time as yesterday - 9:22. If it happens again, I'm going to believe something is happening at just that time.


I knitted a bit, but I had to start a new ball of yarn, and I couldn't find the end at the center of the ball. Since the yarn has a multicolor in it, even though I haven't been able to find a pattern, I didn't want to start at the other end of the ball, just in case. So I ended up having to rewind the entire ball. 130 yards is a lot of yarn. Buster stood it for a while, but then he got disgusted and went off. I was moving around too much, especially when I got down to the end. I did get it fastened into the knitting, but I didn't do very many rows.


Let's see, did I do anything else? I worked on the shawl, and I had to rip out a side triangle because I did what I wanted to do rather than what the pattern said, so I didn't make very much progress on that, either. I did get the dishwasher unloaded and I started reloading it. And tonight, I transcribed 34 pages, so I am making progress. Only 51 pages more to go, although the more I think about it, the more I think I'm going to have to expand the last part a bit.


The weather was cold. It was beautifully sunny until about 1:00, when the clouds started to move in, but the temperature all day was right about 15, with a moderate north wind (around 15 mph). The temperature has now dropped to 8, and the wind has moved around to the west, although it is almost calm. There might have been a snowflake or two late in the afternoon. Now, that's more like it! Just a little more snow, please. We've only had about 35" so far this month, and that's not enough.


This afternoon my neighbor Amanda came by with all the papers in my box - I haven't been out since Tuesday - but she was walking her dog, so she didn't come in. Such nice people!


That was my quiet day, and now they are playing Haydn's "Surprise" symphony, and I have to listen to that (although I don't like the interpretation very well), so I suppose I will be late again. It's a cold, quiet night in the field.


February 14

Valentine's Day is one of those "holidays" like Halloween, that I feel was concocted by retailers to get us to buy stuff, and I don't observe it. If you do, I hope you had a happy one. Just don't bother me with it.


i made it into bed by 1:00 last night, and I thought that was pretty good. I got up before 9:30, in the hopes that I would get tired early. Well, I am, but I had to spell and grammar check 280,000 words or so, and that took a while. I do it about every couple of days, just to see how many things I've missed.


Anyway, I knitted until I had done the first decrease on the sleeve, which took a while. Most of the time, I had a cat on my lap, although it does annoy him when I'm knitting and odd needles keep dropping on him.


And I guess that except to type my 30 pages, I didn't do anything. I didn't feel like doing anything.


In a tub of stuff I had brought upstairs and need to take back downstairs, I found the shawl I started several years ago, using very expensive Suri Alpaca lace-weight yarn. I thought I might take a look at it again. When I originally started it, I took it back to Detroit to work on over the winter, and I discovered that the moths had gotten into the yarn...and I think into the part I had knitted as well, so I had to rip it out and start over. Then when I tried to do the first pattern square, I got so messed up, I ripped that out, too. So today, I looked at it, and the moths had chewed a hole in not the last triangle I had done, but the one before the last, so I had to rip out two triangles and do them over. I am still working on that. This is by far the most difficult knitting I have ever done, and between the difficulty and the moths, I wonder if I will ever get it done. The yarn was so expensive, though, that I would like to finish it...not that I will ever wear it. It's just one of those projects that is a real challenge. 


I wasn't counting on the moths, though. I thought I had gotten rid of them, in this project at least, some time ago. I have noticed that I have very high-class moths. Their favorite yarn is the Suri Alpaca, and their next most favorite is the hand-dyed merino wool I used in a vest and in the coat of many colors, which has been so chewed up I almost certainly will never finish it. I have also noticed that they don't seem to like blended yarn, like I use for most of my socks (wool and polyester). It's almost enough to get me to stop using 100% wool yarn. The last sweater and the one I am working on now aren't, so I think they're safe. But I like wool, particularly merino and alpaca. Darn.


The weather was sort of dull, but it did snow lightly for the whole day. The temperature got up to 25, briefly, and there were very light breezes from the north. There wasn't enough snow to do more than cover up the tracks.


So that was my day, and I'm yawning, and it's time to toddle up to the north end and jump into bed. It's a cold, quiet night in the field.


February 13

Last night, it was after 2:30, so tonight I'm starting this earlier. A magazine was my downfall. I got up around 11:00, but I didn't sleep very well after 9:00, so I'm tired. I finished the first sleeve, and the second one is on the needles. That didn't take long, as knitting projects go, but I have a long way to go before the sweater is done.


It was nearly 1:30 before I got to the office, and that cut down on my day, so I ended up not doing much else. I typed my 30 pages and paid a couple of bills (online) and that was about it. While the talking was on the radio, I embroidered a little.


The weather was so-so. I don't think it snowed, at least after sunrise. The temperature got up to 25 for a couple of hours around noon, and there was an hour or so of beautiful blue skies and sunshine between 3:00 and 4:00. There wasn't any wind at all. I imagine it was nice out, but I didn't go. 


And that's about all I have to report. It's a calm, cold night in the field, and I want to try hard to get to bed a little earlier tonight. We'll see.


February 12

I seem to have settled down to bed at 2:00 and up at 11:00. I wish I could slide it forward couple of hours, but I don't seem to be able to. I knitted for quite a while this morning and started the first row of the cuff on the first sleeve.


I'm not quite sure what it was doing outside last night, but I couldn't even see the lighthouse light when I went to bed. I did turn on a floodlight briefly, and it looked like something very fine was coming down, but I don't know if it was snow or rain. Most of what I was seeing must have been fog, because we only got about an inch of snow overnight. It has cooled down, and there was a little more snow today. The temperature was still above freezing at midnight, but it slid slowly down and it has been around 25 for for several hours, with an east wind in the 10-15 mph range. I didn't go out at all.


I did do one thing today: I finally brought in the cat food I bought two weeks ago and put it away. Now I have something to feed the kitties. I think probably they would be just as happy with dry food, but Buster, at least, has been conditioned to expect canned food in the morning, so I have to give him some. I don't know about Jasmine. She is certainly eating, but I don't think I've seen her take a bite more than five or six times. She simply will not eat when I am in the room. Poor Jasmine.


Before I to to bed tonight, I have to prep the dishwasher to run before I get up in the morning. It is almost ready, except for today's stuff. 


Tonight, I typed again, and I am making progress. I am down to the last 150 pages handwritten. Wow, it seems like I've been typing forever. I did read off the end of it tonight, and I have to say it ends rather abruptly, and I may have to do some work on the last part. But at least I will be done typing it. Of course, then there's the better part of the blue binder...


And that's about all I know. It is a quiet, coolish night in the field, and I hope our thaw is over at last.


February 11

It was 2:00 again. This time it was a catalog. Oh, well. I didn't get up until nearly 11:00, even though Buster wanted me to, and I knitted for almost an hour. I have only two more decreases to go before the cuff on the first sleeve, which is about 18 rows, the 14 rows of ribbing. This is going a lot faster than I expected it to. Maybe I will be able to wear it before it gets too warm! I am already planning my next project, but I might just go back to socks.


I didn't do a lot. I got about 34 pages transcribed so I am making progress. I have finished the part that I wrote last March, when I thought maybe the story was over, but then starting in the summer I wrote another 185 pages, so now I can start on that. I have some doubts about it, and there may be some rewriting.


Oh, yes. I made a couple of appointments for when I am in Detroit in April, and I won't be able to see my cardiologist, who has very few office hours, all on Monday and Friday. I won't be there on Monday, and I'll be damned if I'm going to hang around until Friday! So far everything else is set up all right.


The weather was another ugly day. The temperature hovered around 34 all day, with winds of under 10 mph from the north. It was a very dark day and it got very foggy not long after sunset. Yuck. At least the temperature is headed in the right direction...down.


Tonight I cooked, one of the easy dishes - pork chops with Spanish rice. It was good. It has always been easy to make, and since I got my alligator chopper last year, it is even easier. Just bang on the lid a few times, and everything is chopped nicely. It is really nice to have the green pepper chop up easily. I still have to put it away and put the pan to soak, but I had a good dinner for a change.


So that is about all I know, and I'm off to the north end. It's a dark, foggy, and maybe snowy night in the field.


February 10

Somehow, I ended up not getting to bed until 2:00 again last night. I don't know quite how it happened, but I guess I was reading or something. I found I'd never read all of February's Sky & Telescope and I always like to read about what I'm missing in the sky. I was awakened from a sound sleep at 10:00 by Stacy, saying that I had a package at the store - the rest of my candy - and that was just as well or I might never have gotten up.


It was a dull, dreary and warm day, but if there was any rain it was at night, and it's been raining lightly for a couple of hours. We did set a new temperature record, 45, and the winds were rather strong (15-30 mph) until around 3:00, from the south. The wind is now from the west and beginning to shift to the north.


I noticed that in Lansing it got up to 66 today. I'm glad I'm not there. I hate it when the temperature gets that warm at this time of year - I hate it when it gets up to 45 here. That is too warm, when we know it's still winter and we still have lots of snow and cold to go.


Besides, the roads are a real mess. My driveway is like a skating rink, and the snow mat is so soft that the car was slithering around all over the place, and I almost ended up in that damn tree again, coming home. I was glad I went out, though, besides the rest of my candy, I had a bunch of mail at the post office. Most of it was catalogs and pleas for money (which are getting really raucous), but there were a couple of bills and a magazine or two. I dug out my Yak Traks, and they are wonderful, although I can see that they  might be slippery on a tile floor.


Otherwise, I fooled around a bit. I read my magazine, and I finally got the dishes into the dishwasher, so the kitchen is a little bit neater than it was. I was going to cook tonight, but I had such a big breakfast that I wasn't very hungry, so I decided to wait until tomorrow.


And that is about all there is. It is a warmish, dark and windy night in the field, and they are saying that the rain may change to snow. I hope so.


February 9

Bedtime is creeping up again, I see. Last night, I think I managed to make it into bed around midnight, but I didn't sleep very well. All the sunshine had warmed up the house so much that I was hot all night long, and I didn't sleep deeply, and I had a lot of strange and wonderful dreams. I was sleeping well this morning, though, and I didn't wake up until 10:00, which meant I was late for my massage.


I needed that massage, and I feel much better for it. I woke up with a very sore right foot, and Johanna massaged all the tight muscles in it and it feels fine now. She also really worked on my back, and that feels much better, too. It had been really bothering me since it got warm and damp.


When I was up last night, the beautiful full moon was shining on the snow, but it seemed to me that it wasn't as bright as it should have been, so there must have been some high clouds, and around 6:00 this morning, I watched it disappear behind a big, black cloudbank over Porter Island. It was neat before it disappeared, though, sort of pale golden and lighting the clouds around it.


When I got up it was cloudy, and it was cloudy all day, although during the day we only had one short rain shower. It has apparently been raining lightly since 9:00. The temperature went up to 34 and stayed there, and there was a strong south wind, in the 15-30 mph range, for most of the afternoon. It was OK when I was out, but I was just as glad to get back and stay inside.


With the warm temperatures, the snow is extremely slippery and getting around, both by car and on foot, is dicey right now. I hate this. We need sub-freezing temperatures and a good snowfall to cover up all this junk.


As I was leaving Johanna's, Mike was coming in (late, I guess), and he agrees with me that what I need is a new broadband receiver, although he said that everybody's signals were very weak all day Saturday. Apparently it had something to do with the snow starting to melt and sending up clouds of water vapor. The signals are microwave signals, and apparently they are affected by some atmospheric events. The broadband has been working OK for the past couple of days, although every so often it will hiccup.


I forgot to mention that Saturday night, I was sitting in the dark doing something (probably playing a game) when I heard popping noises. I couldn't figure out what they were, but they were behind me, so eventually I looked outside, just in time to see the end of a short fireworks display...so pretty! According to Johanna, there was a vintage snowmobile convention in town on Saturday, and the festivities ended with fireworks. Amazing. They really are trying everything they can to get tourists in town.


I also forgot to mention that sometime yesterday afternoon, I saw Aaron and Amanda and their dog walking across the harbor on their snowshoes. Apparently they had walked out to the lighthouse on the road and decided to take a shortcut back. Several weeks ago, Johanna and her significant other did the same thing, and she said the ice was very rough, but we've had a lot of snow since then to fill in the rough spots. It has to be nearly a mile out to the lighthouse by road from here, and cutting across the harbor is a shorter route back. I wish I could get on snowshoes.


After I could turn the lights on, I typed for a while, then I had to grammar check the whole 335,000 words, because I decided to capitalize a word, and that caused Word to flag it as an error. Geez! Anyway, I am making progress, and I only have about 235 handwritten pages to go! Wow! I might even get it done one of these days!


So that was my day, and it's high time to toddle up to the north end and sleep. I don't want to get back into the same old cycle again. I need to rig up some way to get light on the pages I'm typing from so I can write before I can turn on the ceiling lights.


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


February 8

Well, I managed to do what I intended last night. What with the shower and all, I think it was probably around 11:00 when I got to bed, and I slept well until about 8:00, even though I didn't get up until nearly 10:00. I could have gotten up earlier, but why? I petted a cat and knitted a couple of decreases, which would be about 12 rows. 


I really did something today! Wow, what's going to happen! I decided I really had to do my filing, and when I got started, boy was I right. I discovered that, while I had set up the file folders for last year, I had never done any more, so I had a whole year's worth of stuff to go through. It filled a plastic file box. Yuck. However, I attacked, and I am happy to report that 2008 is now all filed away in an archive box, 2009 is all set up, and besides that, I have a relatively clean desk. There are things around the edges that I need to go through, but I have a big, clean work surface. Amazing! 


I didn't file because I hate it, but it really didn't take me all that long to sort things out, throw away all the envelopes, arrange all the bills and statements by month, and put everything where it belonged. Whew! I must try to be a little more organized this year, and file at least every couple of months. It would make everything so much easier at the end of the year.


I now have several fingers full of hangnails, and the requisite paper cuts, one right where I hold my yarn when I knit. No wonder I don't like to file. There are few things harder on the hands. I will have to do some work with the cuticle nippers and use lots of lotion tonight!


The next big task is to get the taxes ready to send to my accountant. Well...that's one of the next big tasks. The other is to get all of last year's pleas for money and the old catalogs thrown away and last year's magazines filed. Every year there are fewer magazines, but there are still two cross stitch magazines, three knitting magazines, and a beading magazine that I keep, so I have to go through everything, sort out what to keep, and throw the rest away. I will have at least four small bags of stuff. Then maybe I can get at the rest of the stuff that is piled on the desks and do something about that.


The weather was warm and sunny. It was so nice to have all that sunshine warming up the house. I don't think the boiler ran all day. The temperature only got up to 34, at around 1:00, and it has dropped considerably since. Until about 5:00, there was a brisk northwest wind. The sky was sort of clear, although there were some high cirrus clouds in the sky all day...at least until sunset.


When I went to get something to eat, after dark, there was the full moon shining brightly in the east windows of the great room, and Venus shining brightly in the west windows. So pretty! The moon was almost full last night, too, and I wish I'd had the blinds opened to see the moon. There was enough haze in the sky that I couldn't see Polaris when I was up during the night. I opened the blinds today, to let the sun in to warm up the north end, so I will be able to enjoy the bright night tonight.


The weather forecast is calling for warmish temperatures and rain on Tuesday and Wednesday...boy, I hope not! I hate these midwinter thaws, and I hope it gets over with as soon as possible!


After I could turn the lights on (the camera is now shutting down at 7:10) I did some typing, but I only got about 12 pages transcribed. I am not going to do any more. After I get this uploaded and reboot the computer, I'm off to the north end for another good night's sleep. I have a massage tomorrow morning, so I can't sleep all day.


Anyway, it's a cool, clear night in the field, and the full moon will make it seem almost like daylight all night long.


February 7

Somehow, I managed not to get to bed until 4:00 this morning. I looked ahead a bit in the story and realized I really had to change a name - of a horse, not a person - and in order to do that and be able to spell check it, I had to edit my custom dictionary. There are quite a few things in my dictionary now, mostly names, but I found a couple of misspellings that I somehow managed to get in there, so I had to edit the whole thing. As I have known for a long time, when you add something to your dictionary, you'd better be sure you know it's spelled right. At least now, I know what it's called, so I can fix it. What I still don't know is where the base dictionary is. There are words that are in my custom dictionary that for some strange reason, they left out of the main dictionary...and they're not all such strange words, either.


On that topic, the way Microsoft chose to build the dictionary is simply stupid, in my opinion. If you have a name, say Smith, you get an entry for Smith, another entry for Smith's and a third for Smiths (as in "the Smiths"). This tends to make the dictionary very long, and occasionally they left out one of the forms. At the least they could have recognized apostrophes. It would also have been nice if they had permitted you to delete an entry from within whatever program you are running, instead of having to quit it and use Notepad to edit the dictionary. But that's Microsoft.


Anyway, after I fixed up the dictionary, I started reading near the end of the story, so it was 3:00 (I thought) before I started up to the north end. By that time, Buster and Jasmine were curled up on the desk, although Buster got tired of cuddling and left, leaving Jasmine sitting there with her feet tucked in, looking very, very sleepy. So was I by that time. I had to take a shower, so it was 4:00 or so by the time I turned out the light.


I got up around noon, but that wasn't enough sleep, so tonight I will start hauling myself back onto a more human schedule. I knitted for quite a while, mostly with a cat on my lap, but he got upset and went away when I started digging out my 47" circular needle. I had transferred the sleeve to an 11" needle, but it is very stiff and small, and I could tell after a few rows that I was going to have a problem with my hands if I tried to do the rest of the sleeve on it. So I am now using the "magic loop" method, which is how I have been knitting my socks since I learned it. I could really have gotten away with a 40" needle, but I'm not planning to change it now, and it is much more comfortable. The #4 needles are small enough that I won't have any trouble with the spot between the two sides. Anyway, by that time it was 1:30 and I hadn't dressed, eaten or fed the cats, so the rest of my day was rather truncated.


I did fill the dry cat food bowls, which I think they appreciate. They were down to one kind that they don't like very much, so having their favorite flavors available will be nice. They were happy yesterday, because not only did they like their canned food (and of course I don't have any more!), I had canned salmon and I put down the dish with the juice and the little bits of salmon in it, and that went over very well, too. Boy, are they spoiled!


I also finally got the dishwasher unloaded and the broiler pan washed. I haven't started filling the dishwasher yet because everything that needed to go in it needed soaking first. I also gathered up the trash on the counters and put it out. 


I started going through the piles of magazines and catalogs on the floor and in piles, and I think I made some progress there. I need to get the bag out of the wastebasket, and then I can start filling more bags. Not only did I get an incredible number of catalogs before Christmas last year, I have gotten an incredible number since. 


And not only that, I keep getting these emails with "great deals" on practically everything. Well...most of them aren't. Most of them are for things I really don't want anyway, and if I might, they're still two expensive. And, by the way, I don't consider a 10% discount off an overly inflated price a "great sale." On the other hand, one of the sewing catalogs I did get some things from had a good sale going - 20% to 50% - and then they had a special offer for an additional 15% off the sale price...now that is a good sale. I got a couple of things I've been wanting, including a bead spinner, for an excellent price. I haven't used it yet.


Anyway, the office doesn't look much different, but I think the piles are more in order now. The top right-hand corner of the desk is empty, which is truly amazing. I found several magazines I never got around to reading, so I have some more reading material.


I am happy to say that with the exception of one short period, the broadband was working much better today. I can't imagine what the problem was yesterday, but as long as it's over with, I won't complain. It was nice to be able to do my morning surfing in a reasonable length of time.


The weather was - eh. The temperature peaked at 39 at around 9:00 this morning and it has been falling slowly ever since. It's been 27 since about 5:00, and and there is now a north wind in the 25-35 mph range from the north. I figured it was blowing, because it seems to be cooling off around here, but otherwise, I haven't noticed it. I will when I get up to the north end, no doubt. It was cloudy and dreary all day, but if there was any precip, it was in the form of very light drizzle, although there were some raindrops in front of the camera around 9:30 or 10:00. It was foggy down the harbor all day, but I think that was probably just fog, caused by the warm temperatures and the ice. I'm glad it didn't stay warm any longer than it did, and I hope it doesn't happen again.


So that was my quiet, truncated day, and I don't plan to do much tonight except maybe read a little and go to bed. I really must try to get back on a more reasonable schedule. If I want to be a social person at all, I have to be around when the other people are.


It's a dark, windy night in the field, but it's not very cold out.


February 6

Well, it was 3:00 or later when I finally made it into bed this morning. I kept typing for quite a while, then I read until my eyes wouldn't focus. Sigh. It was about 11:00 when I got up, but I knitted and petted a cat for quite a while, and got to the point where I had to transfer the sleeve to an 11" needle. I don't like to work with those, since they are so small, but they are better than double points.


I was so late that I ended up not doing much at all, and besides, I had so much trouble with the broadband that I never did get all my surfing done. It is down now, again. I called Mike, but he was out, and I'm not sure his wife told him I called. There is something really strange going on with that, and I'm beginning to wonder if maybe my receiver is dying. Anyway, it's really annoying, because it won't stay up for more than five minutes at a time, and then it may be down for half an hour or more.


It was a sunny day, but it wasn't clear. There were high clouds in the sky all afternoon. The temperature got up to 34 briefly, and it was above freezing for most of the afternoon. There was a light southwest breeze, which is where the warmth is coming from.


I would like it colder, but I'll take all the sunshine I can get. It was warm in the house this afternoon, which means that the boiler didn't have to run, and that's good. I still can't get over how comfortable it has been in the house this winter. That is in part because we haven't had a blizzard yet, but we have had some high winds, and so far, all is well. Amazing.


After the talk programs, I started typing, and I got my usual 30 handwritten pages transcribed, but my hands are sore, so I am stopping, even though I'm sort of in the middle of something. I had to stop here for a while, because I was doing a spelling and grammar check, and at the end of that, it ties up the entire computer while it counts words--almost 326,000. That's a lot of words, and I still have a way to go. Oh, well.


So that was a quiet and truncated day, and I will try to get this uploaded one way or another. It's a warmish, quiet night in the field.


February 5

I think it was around 1:30 when I finally made it into bed, and I don't remember why it took me so long. I didn't get up the first time until it was light out, so I didn't see any stars, but when I turned out the light, the gibbous moon was shining through the vertical blinds. If it warms up like they say it's going to, I will be able to open the blinds, and that would be nice.


It was about 11:00 when I got up, and I petted a cat and knitted. I am making good progress on the sleeve, but then, it started out with only 98 stitches and I am decreasing steadily, so it won't take long. Buster is disgusted, of course, that I am paying so much attention to something other than him, but that's normal.


I really didn't do much of anything today. I collected up all the misfiled mail and took it back to the post office, and I was surprised by how much was in my box. Most of it was pleas for money and catalogs, of course, but I thought that was over with. I stopped at the store because I was running out of Miracle Whip, and I discovered that a package had come on Tuesday and nobody told me. 


After dinner, I started typing, and of course I got into the middle of another long episode, so I am going to be very late to bed tonight. It is just about 2:00 now. Sigh.


Oh, yes, before I started typing, I went out to Amazon, because I was running out of cat food and vitamin B6, and in the course of ordering that, I discovered more about my incontinence pads. I think I mentioned, in late December, that when they sent me a package in December, the price had increased 300% over the previous shipment, and I was angry enough that I called them. At the time, the person I talked to wouldn't do anything about it, even though I was sure the price on the website, which I had been charged, was an error. Well. I checked the price tonight, and it was back to what it was in October! So I immediately called them and said, hey, you owe me $35...and the woman I talked to agreed with me! So they are going to credit me the $35. 


I think I know what happened. Somehow, they had to reenter the price, and when they did, instead of typing "14.95" they dropped the "1"...and got "49.50". Eventually, probably partly because of my original complaint, they corrected the price. Hey, I will pay $14.95 for those darn things I hate, but I will not pay $49.50! Or I won't pay it if I can in any way avoid it.


I have found that Amazon is very good to deal with. They do make mistakes, but they are willing to admit it when they do. They are very good about returns, too, which I must remember. You do have to return things within 30 days. I occasionally have bought a craft book that, when I saw it, was nothing I really want. I returned a couple last fall, and I must remember that from now on, I can do that. I have rather curtailed my book-buying lately anyway, but they evidently consider me a very good customer...as well they should. The cat food doesn't come from them, but the vitamins do. I now have four things on subscription, so there are some of my meds I won't have to worry about anymore.


So that consumed some time, and it is why I started typing so late. And why it is so late now.


The weather was rather nice. The temperature got up to 19 for a good part of the afternoon, with a moderate north wind, so it felt warm outside. I guess we are in for a real thaw for the next few days. I hope it doesn't last long. The roads get really ugly when the snow begins to melt. We had quite a bit of sunshine, although it clouded up for a while late in the afternoon. 


The sun was peeking from under the cloud as it set behind the Mountain Lodge, and lo and behold, it is now in the camera's view, right beside the thistle feeder. We have almost 10 hours of daylight now, and the days are getting longer at over 3 minutes a day, so things are looking up. Spring will come eventually.


So that was another quiet day, and I am going to be very late to bed. It's a clear, cold night in the field.


February 4

After I finally got this written and uploaded last night, rebooted the computer and checked to see that everything was working right, it was almost 2:00, so it was 2:30 or a little later when I finally got to bed. I got up around 10:30, which was all right, but not quite enough sleep. I knitted and petted a cat and I managed to do part of my morning surfing before I went off to the ladies' meeting.


That was a good meeting. There were lots of people there, including Syd (they're back for three weeks or so, although they will be having company), and we had a good time. After a few of the ladies left, the rest got to telling the scary stories about raising their kids, and it was a fun time. We laughed a lot. They are a great group.


So it was nearly 5:00 when I got home and got to see what I got in the packages that came today. I got some fun stuff to play with, I must say, and it was mostly on sale. One thing is one of those bead stringer thingies, where you put the beads in a bowl and spin the bowl and the beads are supposed to jump onto the long curved needle that comes with it. I am interested to try it, but right now there is so much stuff on my desk, I don't know if I have the room to set it up. There is also a big piece of fleece with cardinals on it, so now I have two pieces of cardinal fleece to make tops out of.


The weather was...cold. It snowed until about noon, then it cleared up, and there was a lot of lovely sunshine for the rest of the afternoon. It didn't warm up, though. It was right about 7 until noon, then it began to drop off, and by sunset, it was 3 and dropping fast. At 11:00, it was -8. I guess I will have to dig my flannel nightie out of the wash basket. There was a north wind in the 10-15 mph range until about 5:00, when it shifted west and died down almost completely. It is going to be a cold, cold night, I can tell.


When I got home, I loaded the dishwasher, because I am running out of cat dishes, so I will run it tonight. It is so nice to have the dishes out of the sink, I really should be more diligent about that.


After the radio returned to music - including Beethoven's First - I typed a little, but only 15 pages handwritten, which is about half what I have been doing lately. I could go on, but I think I will just call it a night. I have about 350 handwritten pages to go, so slowly but surely I am making my way through it.  I knew it was going to be a chore, but for some reason, I felt the need to do it...I don't know why. It is easier to read when it's in the binder, and I really don't want to print the whole thing. Oh, well. It's fun to read it as I type. If only I could type as fast as I can read!


So that was my day, and I will be getting to bed a bit earlier tonight. It's a cold, clear night in the field, and I might even see a star or two.


February 3

I think it was around 12:30 when I got to bed last night, but I don't really remember. I got up around 10:30, and for the moment when I got up, it wasn't snowing. That didn't last long. I petted a cat and knitted. I finished the ball I was working on for the body and left off that and started the first sleeve. I haven't gotten very far, but there are a lot fewer stitches, and it decreases as I go along, so it should go fairly fast. I really like the feel of #4 needles in my hands...which is a good thing, since it's going to take a while to do the sweater.


I guess I did a few things today. I got the dishwasher unloaded and the trash out of the kitchen. I filled he birdfeeders, and I determined that wherever the platform feeder has gone, I won't find it until the snow melts, and I only hope I will find the chains with it. They aren't expensive - I may just have to buy a new one.


I finished the second half of the strawberry and decided I'd had enough of that, so I started working on something else, a fob that says "snow" on one side and "happy winter" on the other.


I started having trouble with the internet connection this afternoon again, so I called Mike, and he came over this evening. He did move the antenna a bit, but he discovered that the humungous drift in my garden is all crusted over and he will have to break it up with a pick or something in order to knock it down. We did have some warm temperatures last weekend, so it wasn't too surprising, but oh, my is that a huge drift! Sometime when it gets warmer, he has said he will have to find a permanent solution to my problem, which may even mean a newer receiver. It is working, but sometimes it is iffy.


After he left, I started typing, and that is why I am doing this at 1:30. I got into a very long episode with no obvious stopping points, and I just kept going. I would like to do more, but I would like to get up tomorrow, too, in time to go to the ladies' group.


The weather was quite normal for this time of year - very cold and very snowy. The temperature hovered around 8 all day, with a northeast wind in the 15-30 mph range. The lake effect snows came through in wave after wave all day long, and it's still going on.  It was light for most of the day, but many times I looked out the front windows and couldn't see anything.


While I was fiddling with birdfeeders, I discovered a reason I was having so much trouble getting the patio door shut. It seems a while ago, I didn't shut it completely, and some snow got into the side right above the lock, which then thawed and froze into a nice little chunk of ice. I was able to get that off, and now the door closes solidly. That might make it warmer in here, too, although it has been pretty comfortable lately.


I was fiddling around with the computer today and I discovered one possible reason why I have been having problems with my Norton security. Somehow, two programs that are supposed to run at startup time had gotten turned off in the startup file - I don't know how. So I fixed that and we'll see if I have any fewer problems. I had had to turn off their spam filtering because I couldn't get it configured properly. I think this is all left over from last fall when I had to rebuild the disk, but heaven knows how those two programs got stopped. We'll see what happens. Computers - if it's not one problem, it's another.


Mike mentioned to me that there was a power surge in last Saturday night. I didn't notice it, and apparently it didn't affect anything here, that I know about, but it zapped a bunch of people in town and evidently some other hardware. Did I go to bed early or somethng? Weird. 


So that was my quiet day. I typed away this evening and listened to all the lovely Mendelssohn - today was his 200th birthday. Now it is Brahms, but that will be over by the time I get this uploaded and reboot the computer.


February 2

Oh, it was 2:30 before I got into bed again. I got to reading one of the other magazines I got over the weekend - this one had several articles on Charles Darwin - and time just passed. I was up around 9:30, and Buster thought I should get up, but that just wasn't enough sleep, so it was 11:00 before I finally rolled out. I petted a cat and knitted for a while before I put on some clothes.


I had some idea of doing bird feeders and wash, but I didn't get a lot of it done. I did get a new cord put on the cedar feeder, but I didn't fill it or put it out. I had to wash what I was wearing below the waist, because I had another accident. I almost made it this time, but not quite. Sigh. And I did the fleece. I still have towels to do, but that's for tomorrow.


The weather was rather calm, at least here, and rather snowy. There was a brisk wind, according to the NWS, but it was from the east, in the 10-20 mph range, mostly. I am so sheltered on that side that I didn't see any of it. The temperature got up to 18 around noon, then it dropped back into the low teens.


I was most surprised to see Ron on the tractor about 11:00 last night, so I turned on the lights for him, and it took him almost an hour to dig out my driveway. He wrote me later, and evidently the drifting was pretty horrible in the culverts and in Aaron's and my driveways. I knew it was sort of deep in my driveway, but I didn't realize, until I saw the depth of the drift he had to cut through on the straight part, just how deep it was. It wasn't surprising, with all that wind. There was also one right at the "Y" where Woodland and Horizon split off, which was evidently a new place. Who knows how the wind blows...


I typed several thousand words tonight, and slowly but surely I am making progress. I only have about 400 handwritten pages to go now.  I did a little embroidery, but I started out by having to rip out the better part of one row, because I had made a mistake at the beginning of it. The thread is hand dyed and variegated, so I can't just rip out the first stitch and fix it, I have to rip back so the color sequence will be right. I like the look of the variegated threads, but they aren't the easiest to stitch with.


So that was another quiet day, and it's time to toddle up to the north end. No reading tonight.


February 1

You know, I was just looking at last January, and we had a blizzard on the 29th and 30th...and the 31st is when the pipe burst in the upstairs bathroom. That had the good effect that the heating system finally got fixed, I hope. At least It has been all right so far.


After I uploaded this last night, I got to reading one of the magazines I got yesterday, whose cover story asked if the sun was causing global warming. The answer seems to be, probably not, but I was gratified to see that in the several years since that question first came up, scientists have learned a few things. They have particularly learned not to say "Absolutely not! The sun isn't variable!" That is nonsense, of course, and they are now beginning to learn how variable it is. It seems we get more radiation from it when there are a lot of sunspots (rather counterintuitive, until you discover that around each sunspot is an area that is brighter than the rest of the sun). It isn't extremely variable, but the fact is that the several times in the past when there were no sunspots for an extended period (50 - 100 years, about), coincide with what has been called the "Little Ice Age" in Europe. So they admit something is going on there, and they seem to be keeping open minds while they gather the data that is now becoming availible.


On that topic, the next sunspot cycle seems to have been delayed - and they don't know enough to know why - but it seems to have started about last November. The only trouble with that is, the maximum won't begin until 2012 or later, and I never plan that far ahead. I only hope I will still be here then, so I can watch the sky fill up with northern lights once more. I still think that is one of the most awesome sights in the night sky, and surprisingly enough, a lot of amateur astronomers (and some professionals, too) agree with me.


The wind was blowing hard when I finally got to bed at 1:30, and it was battering the north end of the house with incredible ferocity, with gusts up to 43 mph. Buster doesn't like that - it's too noisy. It was so noisy that the only way I could hear the roaring of the lake was to put my ear right up by the window. According to someone in Copper Harbor (I don't know exactly who our "trained observer" is), we had one gust of 60 mph at 7:00 this morning. I heard that one. I was up briefly, and I heard this incredibly strong gust come by...and then it seemed to die down, which I thought was weird. It actually didn't die down at all, but there was an abrupt direction shift from northwest to north, which means I couldn't hear it much anymore.


I noticed that it was snowing hard then, too, although when I finally got up, around 11:00, I think, it had stopped for a while. I knitted a while and petted a cat, but I had to fill my pill dispensers this morning, so it was quite a while before I got my breakfast...and Busters. He was complaining, but I think that's only a conditioned reflex, since he has plenty of dry food down all the time.


It snowed off and on all day long and it blew until about 5:00 before the wind started dying down to reasonable speeds. I had a chat with Ron this afternoon, about whether he should go out on the tractor, and since there was a white-out over the harbor and the snow was blowing horizontally into the culverts, I told him it would be better to wait, and I guess he did. It will mean he'll have to be out early tomorrow, but Aaron cleaned out the drifts this morning (4' to 5' in the culverts, he said), so it won't be impossible. I almost said "impassible" but it could very well be that, the way that snow was coming in.


I had to wash jeans yesterday, but I finally got the two other necessary loads done today, and they are in the dryer. All I really need right away is the compression hose, since I have no desire to go anywhere tomorrow. 


I may have to go out, though, because the platform feeder blew off the hanger. I looked at it yesterday afternoon, and I was afraid it would go, but I didn't want to go out. That was a bad decision. I only hope both it and its chains are down below the deck, because if they aren't, I won't have anything to feed the squirrels on until spring when I can put it back on the deck. I will at least try to get the feeders filled - and the big cedar feeder patched up.


So that was my quiet day, and maybe I can get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. It has quieted down in the field, but it is still windy and snowy.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM