Greetings. I almost
can't believe that June is almost over. I suppose a lot of it has to do with
the fact that we have really struggled to have what most (including
Keweenawites) would consider summer weather. Just about this whole week was
spent in the 50's and it rained from late Monday all the way through
Thursday night. When I mean it rained in that time frame, I mean it rained
pretty much straight through. There were some 15-20 minute breaks that
occurred from time to time, but otherwise it was just raining. All told we
picked up about 2 1/2" of rain, which is really not that much for
having it rain for over 3 days straight, but actually quite a bit for us.
I have to admit that I was starting to get a little jumpy
having to stay indoors so much and really felt sorry for the pups, as they
did not even want to go out to go potty in the rain. So when the rains
stopped and the clouds finally parted on Friday, there was almost a
celebration that took place with all of us. We wasted no time getting
outside to enjoy things.
Despite the fact that the weather pretty much kept us
indoors almost all week, I did keep my promise from last week's entry and I
do have some pictures to share with you. The first is an indoors pic. Poor
Gracie did not feel real well early in the week and was up early fussing. I
had already started work, so Nora brought her down with her and comforted
her in our bed. After a while, Nora had to get ready for work, so big
brother Huck hopped
into bed to take over taking care of Grace.
The timing of the clearing of the weather was also very
good for a pretty important event in the Keweenaw. Friday was the start of
our local Relay For Life and that is sure not the event you want to try and
have in weather like we had this week. So thankfully the rains stopped in
time for them to set things up and by the time the event started, the clouds
were breaking up and by evening the skies were clear and remained that way
for the rest of the event. Last year we missed the relay because of
traveling south for a family function, but this year we were in town, so we
headed down and let Grace take part in her first Relay for Life.
Both Nora and I were a little concerned how she would do
with all that is going on. We did bring her stroller and had her in it for a
while. Then after a while she seemed to be growing a little tired of being
in it, so we got her out and let her go on her own and go she went. She had
an absolute blast walking
around the track and then running. I think it is about 1/4 of a mile all
the way around the track and that little girl ended up running
all the way around the whole track without stopping. Thankfully her run
is a brisk walk for me, or I would not have been able to keep up! Seriously.
Yesterday was a beautiful day, so of course a lot of it
was spent outdoors. Grace broke out her
personal watercraft and took some spins on it. Then it was time to hop
on the bike and take it for a spin. It started to get a little warm in
the sun, so she took a break inside the shop. She pointed to the TV on the
wall and said: "Brap, Brap", which means that she wanted to watch
a snowmobile DVD, so we popped one in and hung
out for a while as the DVD played. Of course a true sled head cannot sit
and watch a snowmobile DVD without getting the itch to get on a sled and
ride, so she climbed over to my sled and climbed
up on it. After all that activity, it was time to chill out and have
a popsicle with her buddy. Actually, I have to tell the truth. That last
pic was taken earlier in the week when it was still raining, but I thought
it would make a nice closing to that little chapter of this entry and it was
way too cute of a picture to leave out.
Not only is today sunny, but it is also getting pretty
warm. Nora and I did put the pool up about a week ago, but with all the cold
weather and rain, it's temp is only around 60 degrees. I do plan to start
heating it soon, but for now it is way too cold to swim in, so Nora picked
up a little inflatable pool and set it up out in the full sun where the
water will be able to warm up much quicker. Grace did not need for the water
to warm up today and jumped in and was all
smiles. It sure is nice to have some nice weather!
Needless to say there are some good things to say about
all the rain we have had. For one the woods
are a deep green and the fire risk is almost nil right now. The
grass is also nice and green and I have not had to water it once yet.
Usually by now I am watering the grass over the septic field every 3 days or
so to keep it from turning brown due to all the sand underneath it. Third,
the lake level is going to rise a bit. It is still quite low due to
sub-average precip the past 2-3 years. I am a little worried to see how the
bug population responds to this- especially the mosquitoes, but only time
I guess that about covers it for this one. Even though we
are still struggling to see summer lock in up here, I am sure that we will
have that type of weather arrive and lock in and then I will be writing
about how I am looking forward to the cooler days and nights of autumn! Hey,
the amount of daylight is decreasing now, so those autumn days and nights
are not a long way off!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
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Well, no question as
to if I was going to be able to write this week or not, but to tell you the
honest truth, I really do not have a lot of wisdom to share and not a single
First off, Happy Fathers Day dads! It was my second and a
good one. Gracie came down from waking up this morning with a card in her
hands a a big smile on her face. She then proceeded to walk over to me while
I was sitting on the couch, climb up, sit next to me and hand me the car,
all while retaining that big smile on her face. Nora said that she even
picked out the card herself. She was so proud to hand me that card this
morning and she is so cute how she loves to please us.
So, the week has been pretty busy, but not with much that
is exciting for all of you. I did start driving on Monday and also started
cardiac rehab. The rehab right now is all pretty light exercise. I walk for
about 10 minutes on a tread mill, do some work on a couple of exercise
bikes, there is a machine that you pedal with your hands and then there are
also the before and after stretches. They keep saying, apologizing really,
about how the workouts are not much right now, but will increase in their
difficulty. I keep telling them that I am not worried at all, that the
reason I signed up for the rehab was that I knew that they knew the proper
way to get my body back into action.
The rehab does take up a considerable amount of my free
time and it does wear me out a bit, so I am doing less in the way of
exercise here at home, which means less walks and no jaunts into the woods
for exploration yet, but in time that will happen. I have taken a few walks
with Nora, Grace and the pups, including a 2 miler, which went even smoother
than my first one. So all in all, my recovery keeps moving in the right
direction. I still have quite a bit of tenderness associated with them
cutting the sternum in half and spreading my rib cages apart. Sneezing is
still a real torture, but coughing is more tolerable and this will be my
second week off of the strong pain meds. I still take some extra strength
Tylenol from time to time.
The weather this week was nearly picture perfect much of
the time. About exactly what one would expect coming this far north into the
UP in the summer. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all were mostly
sunny, with highs in the low 70's and low humidity. Overnight temps dropped
into the 50's which made for excellent sleeping weather. Thursday and
Saturday were overcast, but dry and cool and today it has been raining non
stop all day. We actually did need the rain, so I guess it could be
considered a good thing. Although it would be nice to get the rain during
the night rather than the day. Can't have everything I guess.
We are suppose to get more rain Tuesday, Wednesday and
maybe into Thursday, but again, we could use it. The grass was starting to
turn brown. The main bummer part is the fact that yesterday we put up the
pool. So it is going to be way too cool and rainy this week to even think of
warming it up and using it. I guess we'll have to see how next week goes.
Even with the pretty dry weather (up until today), the
bugs have seen to have made a bit of a come back. Mostly the mosquitos.
While they are not much of a problem in the middle of the day when the sun
is so strong. If you are in a heavily shaded spot or the clouds are pretty
thick, then they are a real issue. The black flies are also still a problem
but not as bad as they could be and we probably only have about 2 weeks left
with them being much of an issue. I heard that the biting beach flies were
out early this week, which makes sense as they tend to pop up right around
my birthday. I learned pretty quick after moving up here to avoid the
beaches from around my birthday and the two weeks following. So by next week
some time, they should not be as much of an issue.
So that was the weather and bug report. Not much else to
comment on. I do plan to start up the summer forecasts. I have some things
to work on this week and next, so I am thinking on starting them up after
the weekend of the 4th. I realize that a lot of you will be wondering what
the weekend of the 4th will bring, but I just don't think I can
realistically do all I need to and the summer forecasts. So look for them to
start up around the 5th of July or there abouts.
Also, I did mention this on the discussion board, but I think I
forgot to mention it in the journal. Anyway, we have picked the dates for
the 4th annual Keweenaw Trails Work session. It will be Friday October 21st
and Saturday October 22nd. We will be staging out of Lac La Belle, but
participants in the work session will be able to lodge for free at either
the Pines in Copper Harbor or the Lac La Belle Lodge in Lac La Belle. We
will be providing sack lunches both days and I will be smoking up some
brisket and pulled pork for the dinner on Saturday. Sounds like there are
already quite a few planning to come and I hope to see as many of you as
possible. We get a lot of work done and it is also a lot of fun.
So I guess that about covers it for this one. I promise
to try and have some pics for next week.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Whew, I thought for a
moment that I was going to have to postpone this weeks entry until tomorrow.
Typically I write in the late afternoon and Grace was still taking a nap and
so I did not go up and do any work towards this weeks entry because I did
not want to risk waking her up. Then once she woke up, we all had dinner and
of course the slows set in as the food settled into my belly. I actually
have a pretty busy day tomorrow, so decided to head up and just work through
the sluggish feeling I had and hope that my sails caught a second wind and
as luck would have it, as I was working with the images, my sails filled
with a breeze and I will be able to make my way through this entry.
I am continuing to improve. I have been slowly weaning
myself off the pain meds and have been med free for a few days. I also
started to take some short walks with the pups every day that actually grew
into me being able to do what we call "the loop". It is a route
that I take every morning with the pups all year long and is about 2 miles
long. So I am very pleased with where I am right now. Still quite a ways to
go until I am what I consider 100%, but walking 2 miles just 3 weeks after
being cracked open and shut down is pretty good and way better than the last
I start cardiac physical therapy tomorrow and will also
start driving tomorrow. Both of which I am looking forward to, but probably
the driving more than the therapy. I am sure that the therapy will get a
little old after a while, but I REALLY want to get myself into the best
shape I have been in since college and that will be the first step. Then
will come workouts on the elliptical, Bowflex and I even plan to break out
the roller blades. There is an outdoor ice rink not too far away and it has
a concrete floor to it along with boards, which will be perfect to do some
skating. I doubt I will be able to get into the shape I was in while playing
hockey in college. In those long ago days I could sprint up 10 flights of
stairs and barely even be winded (at 7000 feet above sea level). However, I
do want to be in very good shape so I can enjoy all that can be living up
here and be in shape to do all the projects I have waiting for me.
Not much else has been going on up here. Most of my days
have been spent on playing catch up with things that I fell behind while out
of commission as well as the regular day to day activities. No hospital
visits- except to get my blood clotting time checked (I am on a blood
thinner for the rest of my life from the first valve surgeries), which is a
very good thing. The weather has been nothing to complain about really. A
bit on the cool side, but given just about everywhere else in the Midwest
were in the 90's and even some 100's, I'll take some days in the 50's with
open arms. Today was beautiful with temps in the low 70's and sunshine and
it looks like we will be blessed with lots of sunshine and 60's and 70's
Another plus is that the mosquitos seem to have backed
off quite a bit. The black flies are still out, but are not so bad that you
don't want to be outside. Plus they only have a few more weeks left in their
life cycle and will be done for the season. So maybe, just maybe the bug
issue will be tolerable.
We had a
visitor appear this week. That is probably one of the first raccoons
that I have seen since I moved up here. Back in northern IL and southern WI
they were very plentiful. Anyway, I picked up a pellet gun (just to sting it
and hope to scare it away) and we also borrowed a live trap. I only plan to
use the gun if it is convenient and the real plan is to live trap it and
relocate it to the other side of the county. I have actually not seen it
since that picture was taken, which was Thursday evening, but I know that
just because I have not seen it, does not mean it is not still hanging
around. I guess I am just hoping it realized that with us and the pups here,
life will be difficult if it hangs around. So far no garbage issues either
(knock on wood).
Grace has been pretty busy. She has been making the
rounds at garage sales, shopping centers and the
playgrounds. Nora found a really nice playground not too far away and
they have been heading over there on most evenings when the weather is nice.
One of our neighbors actually has a pretty nice swing set and slide that
they are not using anymore and when I get feeling strong enough, they said
we could come over and grab it and have it for Grace. Until then, Grace will
likely be making lots of trips to the public playground, which will not be
any problem for her with all
they have to do there.
One of the slides is inside a tube that has holes on the
sides. At first she made use of the holes to play peak-a-boo,
but then in true Grace-the-Adventurer form, she
used the holes to shimmy up the slide. She really is full of adventure
and loves to be a dare devil.
The other day Nora and Grace stopped off to pick up the
live trap for the raccoon and the folks that we borrowed it from have a
trampoline. That is actually one thing that we will never get for our house.
I have heard of way too many accidents involving them, but while Grace is so
small, I don't have a problem with her bouncing around on one. I missed it,
but Nora grabbed a few shots and told me that Grace
had a total blast playing on it. Here is an
Grace has also been spending a lot of time in the kitchen
helping both Nora and I make things, so we thought she might enjoy having
one of those play kitchen sets, so we picked up one the other day. Well, I
am here to tell you that I have put quite a few things together for Grace
already and that kitchen set was the toughest yet. About a thousand
injection molded pieces all tethered to each other, so they first had to be
cut free and then have the little plastic nib cleaned off before the
assembly could even occur. 2 1/2 hours later and it was completed and Grace
loved it. What really made it all worth while was when Nora whispered to
Grace that she should go over and thank me for putting it together. I did
not hear Nora do that, I was busy cleaning up after the construction, but
little Grace came over to me and said "Dadda, thanks" about three
times and then asked for a hug. No amount of money in the world can ever buy
those moments. Although if I could figure out way to bottle the feeling I
had in my heart and sell it to the masses, I would be the wealthiest person
in the world within weeks. I guess I will just have to settle for being the
richest man in the world. :)
So I guess another week has come and passed. Not sure
what the week ahead will bring, but perhaps it will be the first adventure
into the woods since the surgery. Stay tuned...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Ok, I'm back.
Actually, not long after writing that I had hit the wall yesterday, I
bounced back, but I had already put that note out there and I figured rather
than cause a bunch of confusion, I would just stick to the plan.
As I mentioned, I am feeling pretty good and each day
seems to be better than the last. The improvements cannot probably be
measured on a daily scale, but when I look back to how I was a week ago, I
can see some meaningful improvements. in fact, yesterday, I took a walk with
Nora, Grace and the pups. We did not go really far, but did manage to walk
down to the end of the road and back, which is about a half mile at least-
if not a bit more. I felt good and strong while walking and at the end of
the walk. Most of it was pretty level, but there was a few small hills. I
was pushing Grace in the stroller, so that was a bit of an added work out
for me- especially when we were going up the small hills.
I think the main thing I would like to be able to get
beyond is having to take the stronger pain meds to feel good. I try on an
almost daily basis, but I just get to feeling too run down and uncomfortable
and have to take one. Once it kicks in, then I usually feel really good.
Sometimes so good, I feel like I could do anything. I am not taking as many
pain pills as I was a week ago, so I think I am moving in the right
direction, I guess I just feel like they are a crutch I am leaning on and
wish I did not have to. However, I am glad that they are there and are
working and know that the day is not too far off that I will be able to stop
taking them for good.
I'm still leading a pretty quiet life. Nora went back to
work last Wednesday, so I am home all day with the pups and pretty much
stuck here as I cannot drive for another week, but it is not that important
that I drive at this point, although I will be happy to be able to get out
and drive myself around if I need something. I think Nora will be happy to
not have to be my chauffer or errand runner.
The weather up here has definitely become summer like. We
are not in the heat and humidity on a daily basis like many areas to our
south have been, but we get tastes of the warm and humid air and when it
cools down, it is not getting cold anymore. I think we will be needing to
put our air conditioners in the windows soon and the pool is probably not
too far off in the future from being put up.
This weekend was actually one of the "cool"
periods, but it was still sunny and warm enough to head to the beach and let
everyone have some fun. It took about 1.2 seconds for the pups to jump out
of the truck and get
into the water to swim. This was their first time to the beach since
last autumn and they had a blast fetching the stick. We forgot a tennis ball
for Millie, but she seemed to have lots of fun with the stick and playing
with her brother. Grace took off her shoes and socks and went barefooting
down the beach. She even had no problems sticking
her feet into the 38 degree water.
Everything was going just fine until Grace decided she
wanted to walk out into the lake. Both Nora and I had been making sure to
hold her hand so she did not wade into the deeper water and the split second
that she was not holding onto Nora's hand, she headed out to sea and ended
up stumbling and doing a belly flop into the frigid water. Nora was able
pull her out immediately, but the damage had been done. Grace
was soaked from head to toe and none to happy about the situation. We
did not have a change of clothes, so we had to pile into the truck and head
Grace sure has been getting bigger and acting bigger with
each passing day. She still will not slow down for a minute- going full
steam ahead from the time she wakes up until she takes a nap and then again
from the end of nap time to the time she goes to bed. One thing that is nice
is that she is finding lots of ways to entertain herself. It has to be a
little tough for her being the only child in the house. She does have Huck
and Millie to play with and I think that as she gets older and better
understands what they like to do to play, she will do more with them, but
for now, her main playmates are Nora, and to a lesser extent, me.
The other weekend, Nora planted her pots and weeded her
garden and Grace had an absolute blast helping
her. Nora said that she really did help too and not just play in the
mud. Grace has really taken to understanding what to help means and loves to
do it. I sure hope that this trend continues!
The other day Nora gave Grace some playdough to play with
outside. So Grace took it to a comfortable place to sit down and she sat and
played with the playdough for quite some time. Here is a
cute candid photo of her in the midst of playing. In side, her knack for
wanting to stack things continues. She likes to open one of the cupboards
and take canned goods out and see how high she can stack them. Here is one
of her latest stacking
Yesterday, I had a hankering for some sugar cookies, so
Nora and Gracie decided that they would make some homemade ones for me.
Grace did really well in helping Nora add each ingredient to the mixer. They
mixed up the batter and started baking the cookies. While the first batch of
cookies was baking, the started in on the frosting for the cookies. They
added the butter and vanilla and mixed them together and then came the
powdered sugar. It was added and then the mixer was turned on. Only it was
on a bit too high of a speed and the powdered sugar went all over the place,
As you can tell by the look on her face, she thought it was quite a funny
thing and we all got a good laugh out of it.
The last picture I have for you is of the great hunter
Millie. Yesterday she wanted to go out, so I let her out and she meandered
around the yard. What I did not know was that there was a deer on the edge
of the woods when I let her out and all the while Mille walked around the
yard, the deer was keeping an eye on her. Once Millie finished her business,
I called her in and just before she came in, Nora took a shot of Mille
with the unknown deer right behind her. To be fair to Millie, the wind
was blowing toward the deer and she had been let out with instructions to do
her business, but both Nora and I thought it was funny that the deer was so
close and Millie did not know.
So I guess that about covers it for this one. Hopefully
the next entry will be about how much better I am feeling and I will also be
on the verge of being able to drive again and I think once that happens then
some small walks in the woods will likely start to take place, although, boy
are the mosquitos and black flies ever nasty right now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Feeling pretty good,
but just hit the wall this evening, so will write tomorrow.
Good night from the Keweenaw..