Archive forAugust, 2011


I’ve found a free service which I’m sure will be of interest to those who love to write and would like to see what they write “in print.” It is also a good source of free books for those of us who are “readers.” I can download these books to my Droid cellphone and folks with iphones or ipads can also access them with apps for their devices.

Check it out:

I also love the free ebooks which Amazon makes available in Kindle format. With my Droid I can search the Kindle Store by price (lowest to highest) and find all those that are free. Yesterday I finished one by C.L. Bevill that was very good. I’m sure I’ll read more by this author.

So far, my price for my ebooks library = $.00.

One side note: I can read in bed and not bother John. The screen can be changed to a black background with white text and dimmed down so it’s only visible to me. (My too bright book light used to keep John awake, but he says it’s much better now that I’m using my Droid and eBooks.)

BTW Kindle books can be read using any computer, so if you don’t have an eReader device, you can use your laptop. Not as compact, but there are free books galore so you’ll never run out.

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Packing day

We had planned to leave the U.P. on Saturday, but decided instead to leave on Monday. Today we’ll pack what we can for our Saginaw-bound trip. It’s always a chore to winterize the place and make sure that it’s as safe as it can be until our return next summer. John does most of that stuff, so I sure don’t have anything to complain about. My part is easy.

He has done a great job cleaning up and grooming the yard. He also added a “skirt” so the area under the deck is now more “hidden” from view and can be used for storage. Don’t know how he does it all.

We moved furniture around in the living room. The place now looks bigger and gives us a little easier way to view the lake while relaxing inside. We’d like to get new living room furniture, but this stuff is actually quite comfortable.

It’s amazing that things continue to be livable even though we only visit once a year. We fear that someday when we get up here the pump or the hot water heater won’t work (both are old and way past their life expectancy). But for now, everything is purring and we enjoyed our stay.

Next time we come up here I vow we’ll have television, if it’s at all possible. Our old set that’s here has never worked well and requires an HD converter (which I forgot). But we’re thinking about getting a bigger TV for our living room in Florida. If we do, we can move the living room set to the bedroom and bring our Florida bedroom set home for use in the bedroom in Saginaw. (It’s a HD flat screen.) Since it’s a manageable size maybe we could bring it up here plus use it in our trailer. Or maybe we’d just bring our the small trailer TV and converter box up here and leave it. One way or the other, we need to have TV while we’re here. It’s been difficult to follow the progress of hurricane Irene and stay abreast of what’s happening in the world.

Guess I better go start packing.

(BTW it was COLD this morning.. only about 45 degrees.)

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No hot water!!!

When we got here (in the U.P.) on Monday, the place was dirty. After more than a year of being closed up, it smelled moldy and stale. We cleaned up what we could that night and I made the bed with bedding I’d brought from home including a clean mattress pad on the bed. It was livable. No hot water but we “washed up”. The next day (Tuesday), I was really glad when John got the hot water heater going so we could have wonderful hot showers that night.

Last night (Wednesday), I anticipated another relaxing shower, but the water heater wouldn’t stay lit.


Since we’ve only been up here twice in three years, it’s hard to keep track of how much bottle gas we have used. Apparently we ran out of gas.

Tomorrow they’re refilling our two 100-pound tanks. In the mean time we have no hot water.

I’d love a hot shower tonight (Thursday).

I can take the lack of TV but no shower is worse!!

Later: John just coaxed enough gas out of the tank to start up the water heater for a short while before it went out again. There’s hope that we’ll each be able to take a very short warm (not hot) one. At this point I’ll be happy with a warm dribble.


Yeah!!!!! The water heater put out enough to warm the tank and we both enjoyed gloriously hot showers.

Isn’t it funny how one adjusts and finds joy in simple things when they don’t come easy.

Considering that:

  • a tree had come down requiring major clean-up
  • we had mice in the trailer
  • there were some leaks in our piping
  • we have no TV (because I forgot the HD converter)
  • the flies are bad
  • the beach is non-existent
  • and part of the time, we haven’t had hot water
  • this visit could have been a disaster but we’ve had a surprisingly good time. I love sharing adventures with John.

    In fact we’re now thinking that instead of leaving tomorrow (Saturday) we may stay until Monday.

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    I hate talk radio!!!!

    I’m so sick of hearing how bad our administration and life in this country is. It’s really sad that all of the radio broadcasts are so negative. I’m tired of it.

    This week has been a real eye-opener. In my previous post, I explained that I left behind our HD converter so we have no television. Therefore we’ve been stuck listening to radio. I’m totally depressed. No one could listen to daytime talk radio and not come out with a distorted view of America. This land is wonderful. Not all politicians are corrupt. Not all Democrats are bad, nor are the Republicans. Seems we have a pretty good balance of good and evil in each party.

    I just wish talk radio would stop being so negative. They see nothing good in anyone.

    Give me a break. I’ll be so glad to get home so I can listen to Dr. Oz instead of the bitter talk radio personalities.

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    Stuff I Forgot

    I am the one who is responsible for “techie” stuff and therefore the HD converter was my responsibility. I forgot it! About a week ago, I had packed it up along with my new hard drive (which I’d planned to set up so it would back up my system) and my router (which was a key component in my plans). I put everything in a cloth bag and put it in the dining room (our staging area). The problem was that I’m also using that area to get ready for our Florida departure. Somehow in my mind, I thought of the bag as something which was ready for our Florida trip. So when I was packing for the U.P., I left it behind. It wasn’t even an accident. I just had the mind-set that it was for Florida (because I’ll also be taking it south).

    So we’re up here in the north woods without TV. Our only set is an old one. Last time we came up, there were no digital channels which could be accessed. That was over a year ago, so I would think that they’d have some available for those who can’t get cable. But we won’t know until next year.

    At least my new Verizon USB 3G service works just fine. Wish we could use it for TV but that doesn’t appear to be an option. I keep checking various apps which say that they play television, but they are just videos.

    I thought maybe we could at least watch videos with NetFlix, so signed up for the free month trial, but it hasn’t worked. I can’t get any sound. Maybe it needs separate speakers. I don’t know. It just doesn’t work, and also the 3G connection speed is so slow that it bogs down while buffering. Hopefully it’ll work better at home.

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    We’re in the U.P.

    Sunday, August 21st, we went to the Detroit Tigers baseball game with George and Judy Horny.

    The game was exciting to the very end. Only negative was that we were in the HOT sun without sunscreen and both got a little fried. Now I have a “farmer’s tan” since I was wearing a short-sleeved tee shirt with a slightly scooped neck.

    Stopped on our way home at Fuddruckers in Flint for a great burger.

    Monday we packed up and headed to our place in the U.P.

    We arrived mid-afternoon and found a real mess. Mice had gotten in so a lot had to be “scrubbed down.” Also a spruce had come down in front of the deck. If the tree had been a foot or so taller, we would probably have had damage to our place, but as it was, we squeaked by.

    view of Lake Michigan from our deck
    Yesterday (Tuesday), John managed to chop up the tree and work a little on mowing.

    I finally went down to the water this morning. It was totally “over-grown” with cattails and over 6′ tall marsh grass. There’s no beach. It’s depressing. It used to be so lovely up here! We’d take our lounge chairs to the water’s edge and stay there all day. It was heavenly. Thank heavens we have a deck because, from it we almost feel that it’s still beautiful as you can see in the photo.

    The stump in the center of the picture is where the tree was that came down. Actually it gives us a better view with it gone.

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    I’ve missed blogging

    Not posting to my blog leaves me feeling “incomplete.” When I haven’t written down my thoughts, especially for several consecutive days, it often feels that maybe my “life-experiences” weren’t vital enough to share but that definitely hasn’t been the case since I last posted. We’ve just been swamped with activities.

    Back on August 9th, when I last wrote, things nationally/world-wide seemed rather bleak, but the days since then, including Thursday the 11th through Sunday the 15th, were crowded with friends and music. That weekend, we were at the Gladwin Fairgrounds where we helped celebrate the Gladwin Carriage Days. It was fun! Lots of music performances, catching up with friends, and food galore. What more could we ask for? Even the weather cooperated and wasn’t as steamy as previous years. Yes, we had a few showers, but none stopped our good times.

    When we left on Sunday, we were exhausted, but good-tired. We were on a “high” that has carried us through the week.

    Then yesterday, Thursday, the 18th, we played for a Red Hatters’ Party at Wescourt Retirement Residence facility. Again, lots of fun folks and a great time.

    You can enjoy our performance here:

    Thank you, Sue Smith, for the video memory.

    (By the way, our 93-year-old friend and mentor, Bill Kuhlman started “In the Mood” for us.)

    Tonight we enjoyed a great walleye fish fry at the Saginaw Moose Lodge. It was one of the best fish dinners I’ve ever eaten.

    So life is great. The weather has mellowed and hasn’t been overly hot, and we’re staying really busy. I’m definitely not complaining, nor bored.

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    All of the news these days seems to be bad: helicopter crash kills 30, stockmarket takes a beating, record heatwave threatens much of U.S., national debt at record levels, England rioting.

    Actually today the market looked better. Maybe things are improving.

    Tomorrow I clean and pack the trailer for a weekend camping weekend with friends. That will cheer us.

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    Tired of Testing

    About a year ago I bought a wonderful external 2TB Seagate Black Armor hard drive which I felt sure would allow me great peace of mind since I’d never again have to worry about lost data.

    Actually it worked quite well until about a month ago. At 9:00 a.m. each day, it would back up any data added since the previous day. But it got so that the scheduled daily back-ups were failing most of the time. After about a dozen failures, a week ago, I figured that I’d clear it off and start over. I deleted a year of back-ups (but not before I’d made a series of small back-ups on 4GB jump drives.)

    Over the past few days, I’ve reinstalled the software multiple times but it’s working worse than it was.

    I’ve tried everything I can think of. A full back-up can take a day and a half to run to run and I can’t use my computer while it’s doing the initial back-up. At first, I got several hours into it before would fail, but always it stopped, and I have to start over. I keep thinking, “Maybe I just need to tweak this.” So I’d do some small change and try again.

    Now it’s stopping only a few minutes into a back-up. I’ve wasted about a week. I am at a loss. The Seagate site explains that there’s a three year warranty, but the website warns that, if you send the drive to them and the problem isn’t with the drive, they’ll send it back to you and charge you for their time. So I keep testing.

    I’ve finally given up and emailed their customer service department in hopes that they can offer a suggestion but I envision a whole department of “Peggys.”


    Monday, August 8, 2011 – 3:30 p.m.

    I just got off the phone after many hours with Seagate. They are the company which offers my 2TB hard drive back-up. Yup, they got back to me this a.m. by email, and I called them. They have been very helpful.

    I spent the whole morning working with their (U.S. based) service department trying to trouble-shoot and see if the problems I’m having are because of their drive or my computer. Many hours later, the two techs I worked with finally determined that the problem is with the back-up drive so they are sending me a whole new set-up.

    I will pay a $9.95 service fee which will cover the UPS cost both directions. I’ll have a brand new unit. I can keep both units for 30 days, so I can take my time and move the videos and photos I’d backed up.

    I hate to think of all the time I’ve wasted, but at least I found it wasn’t “me” and they’re the ones saying I should send the drive back.

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    John’s “Project”

    The year John was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis he started putting up vinyl siding on our Michigan home. That was the summer of 2009. Last year he wasn’t well enough to do much but this year he has been working on it, especially since it cooled down some. With less than two months before we head south, he’s in a frenzy. We are committed to a few days in Gladwin with our dulcimer club and a week in the U.P. but the rest of the time I predict he’ll be busy with the siding project.

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    Closet Cleaning

    I have waaaaayyy too many clothes I’ll never wear! They are crammed in two up-stairs closets, two basement portable closets, and 3/4’s of a walk in closet off our bedroom.

    I have decided to take clothes I know I’ll never wear to a consignment shop or donate them. Today I really got busy. When I got into the depths of the guest room closet, I found some things I’d totally forgotten. There is a pair of crisp off-white dressy crepe slacks with a very sharp crease which fit perfectly, a perfect long pleated evening skirt (I’ve been looking for one on eBay but hadn’t been successful), and a very pretty sleeveless flowered dress (very long) which will look perfect at at one of our dressy dances. Maybe tomorrow I’ll uncover more treasures.

    I went successful “shopping” in my own closet.

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    Too Hot

    This summer it’s just been too hot to enjoy being outside. I look at the temps in Florida and realize that it’s often even worse down there, but somehow I think of our time in Florida as breezy with lots of cooling pool time. Realistically I know that during the summer, everyone suffers in the heat.

    Next week we’re going camping with our Sub-Strings Hammered Dulcimer Club. Last year we about cooked in the campground in Gladwin. Hope it’s more comfortable this year.

    There is hope. This afternoon we’re supposed to have storms moving through and then cooler weather.

    John has been working on the siding so I have to keep after him to take it easy.

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    John said today that he wishes we’d stay in Michigan through October.

    Not me. I want to hurry down there, the sooner the better.

    In Florida, we have several events scheduled for October, and one is a “free” pizza party and there are a couple of dances. John also does better in Florida than he does up north.

    But mainly I want to get back to see friends.

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