Wednesday August 20th 2014
Today will be cooler. We had rain during the night and the day is overcast.
I woke up this morning, leaving a dream in which I had arrived late at an painting class (test?) in my basement shop.
About twenty artists were there, already sitting at easels. They were already working on 24 X 30 canvases and their work varied from blobs and smears to detailed panoramas. That many people would not fit in that part of the shop, but who says dreams have to be practical?
I have not painted for decades. My wife was the painter and did not appreciate my painting, too, so I found other things to do.
At any rate, Jon is coming up from LA on the September long weekend to hang a show that Ellen had assembled and framed, and I suppose that has stirred memories.
I reserved gallery space some time back for a retrospective when I was more enthusiastic but the kids found these twenty-six framed paintings and this show was a natural.
Unfortunately, I do not at all care for this series and am not inclined to make a big effort to try to like it and promote it. Also, now that she is gone, I'm burned out when it comes to showing Ellen's art. I spent more than a little time and effort assisting Ellen in all the various aspects of obtaining materials, and arranging, delivering and and hanging shows over the years, all to very little thanks.
Jon volunteered to hang the show, but I think that is all that will happen. The show will hang in the gallery for a month, then be taken down. No opening, no promotion.
This show is an alphabet series and I have no idea if it makes sense to sell one or two works out of the set. I doubt it, so I think we'll advertise it as for sale as a set, or NFS.
Anyhow, I am tired of showing paintings. I am glad I have a house full of art work, but no idea if it has any value. We could not sell much of Ellen's work when she was alive, even when we made strong efforts, so I doubt we'll sell much when she is dead. People were effusive about her work, and happy to receive gifts, but slow to reach for their wallets.
I have a friend who sells in New York and Toronto for tens of thousands of dollars per painting, but I don't think Ellen ever sold for more than $1,200 or so, and sales were few and far between despite showing in good galleries in Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto.
Will I take up painting again? Good question. I have a lot of paints and blank, stretched canvas right at hand. I could, but had not thought of it until the dream reminded me.
Today, however, I am still a plumber. The sinks drain, but the system is still jury-rigged as a test and so I can wash dishes. I am not a kitchen neatness nazi, but I do like to keep things tidy.
I think I'll take the Sawzall and rip out the joiner section downstairs and run the line direct to the main I may also change a sink drain section that is still galvanized over to plastic pipe and fittings. Galvanized pipes get rough inside and attract build-up. Plastic remains slick.
What would I do without my Sawzall? It cuts off mufflers, drain pipes, tree limbs, and I even used it to cut off the truck box on my yard truck. In the yard, it lops off branches in an instant and stumps under the below ground level when other saws would be clogged or dulled. The blades are very expensive, but last well, and the time savings compared to using hand tools for hack-sawing and pruning are amazing.
I lit the furnace this morning. Although it burns coal, I am heating with books, old catalogues and magazines at present. I went through the shelves and have about five hundred pounds of outdated and inconsequential books to get rid of. I called the recyclers, but they are picky, so I boxed the books and shove them one box at a time into the fire. Examples are stock picking books and dated books like "Megatrends".
A day and a half after starting a project should have taken a few hours -- I thought, I have kitchen sinks that drain and pipes that don't leak. If I knew then what I know now, I would have just cut out the entire drain and re-plumbed it from scratch.
Now I just have to clean up the water and dirt and put the tools away.
I think the wax just exacerbated a problem that had been developing over time. This sink has had a way of clogging the day I am about to leave home and I have unclogged it numerous times. After slicing the pipe with the Sawzall (above), I can see why. I should have taken drastic action years (decades) ago.
As for the metaphor, hmmmm... could be. I had not thought deeply about it. After all, I had just woken up when I wrote that. Writing is what I do in the morning until I wake up.
I could have probably stayed asleep a little longer and maybe even steered the dream a bit, but I didn't. I was surfacing and the day was dawning. I'd slept nine hours with a few interruptions like a rainstorm during the night and it was time to meet the day.
After all, I had a morning of adventure plumbing to look forward to.
Looking at the forecast at 1700, I see that the expected nighttime temperatures have been increased two degrees, making frost less likely. Bonus!
Note to self: Write about the time I neglected my bees. Is it time to do that again?
The last two days have been quite a detour. There is nothing quite like having the kitchen sink plugged to throw things off in a home.
A cult is a
religion with no political power.
August 21st 2014
I slept eight hours and awoke refreshed. I fell asleep without CPAP, then awoke a half-hour later and decided to use the device.
My results in Sleepyhead software (right) indicate that using the CPAP machine was a good decision; I see that the air pressure ramped up a number of times during the night and there was a little apnea and hypopnea. Some nights, there are almost no events and almost no pressure change.
It seems that sometimes the machine is comfortable and sometimes it keeps me awake. Sometimes I sleep better with it and sometimes not. Curious.
I see that three degrees is again predicted for Friday night. Given the time of year, variability of terrain, and limits of prediction, there is a good chance of frost in some low-lying areas that night. Hope not.
I'm going to have to read through the last year in this diary to see what I have been up to. Tonight, I was looking at making reservations for US Thanksgiving. I know it is early, but flights for that holiday are likely to fill up fast and I figure to begin watching.
I checked back and found out that Mckenzie and I went south a week late for Thanksgiving last year because Jon's kids were in R.I. for Thanksgiving with their mother. So, we had our turkey a week late.
Then on our return date, we were delayed a day in California due to cancelled flights caused by storms in Alberta -- and I returned to Gull lake to find my van door smashed by a helpful neighbour of Oram's who had been clearing their driveway with a Bobcat. On arriving home, my driveway was impassible. That date is only 104 days or a little over three months away. Time flies.
Of course, I remember now, but I wonder what else I have forgotten. This was quite a year.
I did not reserve a flight. I missed my chance and I'm betting better opportunities will come up.
Should I neglect my bees? And, why do I like TV series like "The Good Wife", The Guardian", and other "nice" shows on Netflix? These are future topics for discussion.
I started the furnace the other day and and noticed that the chimney is not drawing the way it should, so I took the Shop Vac to it. There is a fifteen-foot horizontal run to the stack from the furnace and it collects fly ash over time. I last cleaned it on Thursday November 24th 2011
One would think it would be a clean job with a vacuum cleaner, but I managed to get covered with soot from head to toe. Last time, Jon and I simply removed the horizontal section, carried it outside and dumped the soot into a barrel.
I'll be off to The Mill for supper tonight.
* * * * *
I got to The Mill at 1900 and we had a supper Maddy and Annie made out of pickings from Maddy's garden.
We had a good time and in the three hours I was there, I drank four small glasses of red wine and a shot of Bailey's in coffee.
Driving the back roads at night took me past some of my old bee yards and reminded me of being out at nights moving bees. I noticed a lack of insects on the windshield and wondered about that. A deer considered crossing in front of me but retreated over the fence at the sound of my approach. My old Ford Power Stroke diesel sounds like a sack of hammers falling downstairs. They all do.
formidable even to the best prepared,
Friday August 22nd 2014
Cool and rainy. I slept fairly poorly. Drinking affects my sleep and my shoulder was bothering me, too. I think I did my shoulders harm wrestling with the snow blower last winter. Cranking the winches on Cassiopeia did not help, either.
I got up at 0630, had breakfast and coffee, took an ibuprofen for the shoulder, read email, and went back to bed. At 0812. I awoke, feeling much more wide awake.
Our economy is a Ponzi scheme. Like a chain letter, people expect to get more out than they put in, and like a chain letter, a Ponzi scheme only pays out to current participants as long as an increasing number of new recruits pay in. When everybody who possibly can join and paid has joined and paid, or the number of new joiners decreases, it is all over. None of the newest recruits can be paid more than a fraction of what they contributed as their contributions have already gone to early participants.
Wikipedia says that a Ponzi scheme is 'a fraudulent investment operation'. I am not so sure that many Ponzi operations are fraudulent so much as ill-considered or even inevitable. People are dazzled by the present rewards and don't seem to be able to see the inevitable ending, or care if it seems far-off. If you are starving today (or think you are) you'll be inclined to take a chance on something that might or might not happen tomorrow, or even in your lifetime.
In a case like a chain letter there is definite potential for fraud, since one can simply move one's own name up the list or send off copies of the letter and no money, and in the economy, we definitely see cheating, too, but IMO, the problem with the Ponzi aspect of the economy is that we have no way to avoid playing, even if we know that there are limits to everything and that everyone can't get something for nothing.
Life is a Ponzi experience. We take as children, contribute as adults, and hope there will be enough people contributing when we retire that we can be supported. We can't eat money, and have to turn our savings into food, lodging and services. Obviously we are lucky if we get back what we put in, but most of us expect more.
Anyhow, Daniel Amerman has studied ways to explain why societies build Ponzi structures, then collapse, and says all this far better than I ever could. I haven't bought his courses and probably never will, but he makes great arguments and explains things we need to consider if we want a comfortable old age.
Here is one of his best: Apple Pie, Economic Growth & Fatal Stock Market Flaws. In it he asks these simple math questions
Think about it. If we want to get more goods and services than we contributed, we either have to beat the averages and/or pray that new participants continue to enlist. The conventional strategies simply have to break down at the saturation point. In history, they always have.
* * * * *
Poor Amos. He is getting grey and a bit lame. Each night he runs out to hunt and each morning he hobbles in to sleep the day away. One of these days, I expect he won't come back. It's a wild world out there and the hunter is also hunted. Grey owls and coyotes are common around here. I saw three grey owls sitting on a drum in my yard the other day and at night the coyotes can be heard outside our windows. I haven't seen any foxes for a year or so, but they are around.
He didn't go out last night and has been downstairs. He came up once, this morning. I think he is sick.
* * * * *
He is sick. He was downstairs, hiding out, so I brought him up where I can watch him and keep him company. I feel helpless like a mom whose child has a fever and a stomachache. He'll probably get better, but I can imagine the worst.
He is sluggish and looks as if he would like to throw up, but can't. I phoned a few vets, but decided against taking him in. He hates going to the vet and I doubt they can do much except charge me $75 and keep him overnight for observation -- even though they will go home right after and not be there until the morning.
At least I can keep him company although I can do nothing more except sympathize.
There are only two
kinds of men: the righteous who believe themselves sinners;
Saturday August 23rd 2014
I slept nine hours and awoke at 0830. The day is sunny, but expected to be cool. Nonetheless, the bees will be working today.
Amos still looks about the same. He was downstairs this morning and I found him and talked to him. A while later, he came looking for me and cried a bit. His sides are heaving. I called the vet and made an appointment for 1315 today in Drum.
* * * * *
I took Amos to the vet in Drum and $215 later, including an X-Ray and examination , I learned he is dying. I guess I already knew that, but at least I know I have done what I can. His immediate issue is an abscess in one ear. It gave off a lot of green pus during examination, but that is secondary. He has a lot of fluid around his lungs. No, it is not congestive heart failure. Even though he has always had a murmur, his heart looks fine. The vet had a term for it, FIT if I recall. Anyhow, it seems his days are numbered. I hope not. Even if he is a PITA, he is a pal.
This brings into focus how important my animal companions are to me. They have kept me company since Ellen died and blunted the pain of the loss. Losing one of them would hurt a lot.
I increasingly understand how life must look to my mother. She has lost friends and pets, replaced them, then lost the replacements and still keeps going. Me, I always figured that I am here for a good time, not a long time, but maybe I get both. The long time may not be a good time, but as they say, any day above ground is a good day. We'll see.
You are entitled
to your own opinions but not your own facts!
Sunday August 24th 2014
I slept in again. As nights get longer, dawn comes later, and nights get cooler, this becomes easier.
I am not at all ambitious today. I spent some time looking at yachts for sale in the Caribbean. Frank and I looked at a Beneteau 505 at Nanny Cay on January 5, 2013. I've been dealing on it ever since. At the time, I could not get away in the winter, but now, assuming I can solve my home management problem, I can.
Amos is not eating. He seems better than he was at his worst, but is pretty subdued and sleeps all day. I was able to get a pill down his throat tonight and have to do this twice a day until they are gone. There were 28 pills. I plan to go east next week and wonder how that will work. I need a cat caretaker.
I did not do much except some accounting. I spent about two hours off and on looking for and trying to fix a lost entry. I thought I found and fixed this same problem in a previous session. I think I have it fixed now. (Again?)
Sometimes when I start up where I last left off, I wonder if gremlins have been at work. The accounting file always checks out for integrity, but sometimes it seems that entries have been reversed and reconciliations changed or undone. Any time I check the balances, the accounts balance. I wonder if QuickBooks is doing some sort of integrity and link check and fix on startup or shutdown.
It is easier to get
into something than to get out of it.
August 25th 2014
I slept until 0800. According to Sleepyhead, this is the poorest sleep I have had in a while with an AHI of 2.94. Why? I don't know. I did work in the basement yesterday, and also did not have much exercise, but I have no explanation, only suspicions.
When I got up, Zippy was anxious to go outside, so I let her out. Then Amos ran upstairs, clawed his scratching post and went out too. I'm supposed to give him another pill this morning. I hope I can find him.
We seem to have dodged the bullet as far as early frost is concerned and the days and nights are in a warming tend again. Today promises to be warm and sunny. I have bee work to do.
A while later, Amos came back in and acts like nothing happened. I think the abscess in the ear was the main issue that laid him low, but am now aware that there is a background condition that may kill him prematurely. I already knew he has a murmur.
Thanks for the concern, folks. I'll do what I can. I was not even aware of the abscess until the vet was palpitating him to feel for issues and quite a bit of green pus squirted out of his ear.
I found Amos and he took his pill without too much hassle. He is still weak, but looking brighter than he has. He comes around and and complains a bit every so often. He sounds a bit squeaky.
Ken sent some pictures from the memorial earlier this month. As I said, I put on a suit for an hour or so since I was the one who led the event. This does not happen often, so I thought I'd post a picture for everyone's entertainment.
This morning, in spite of the beautiful day outside, I have been working at the desk, catching up on the books. It is a thankless job, but keeping caught up makes things easier down the line.
Somehow the house is a mess again. I do the dishes regularly and vacuum often, but somehow, there seem to be dog hair dust balls in the corners again. That will have to wait, though. I have things to do outside.
Enough procrastinating. It is now noon, eighteen degrees and sunny, and time to go outside.
I also went and opened the 'grumpy hive'. It is happy, with lots of brood and in good humour so I continued to the next hive. That hive was not so jolly and I needed smoke. The brood was off-centre and there were some poor centre frames, so I smoked it well and rearranged the brood frames.
This hive looked to me to be a candidate for a varroa alcohol wash, since sometimes varroa can make a hive cranky, so I did a wash. I saw one immature varroa (plus some stingers and junk) in a sample of about 200 bees that had been standing on open brood. Nothing to worry about.
The next hive has five boxes and is finishing the fifth, so I left it.
I don't usually waste time looking at drone brood, but I came across some drones in burr comb and checked them for varroa. Nothing.
I worked through the rest of the South of the Hedge Yard and four out of seventeen were duds. The rest are good for the fall.
Note the excellent brood pattern for a newly drawn frame. You can see young bees emerging in the centre.
I hear Roy is here, cutting my hay.
Elijah came over to work again today. He had an eventful trip to Saskatchewan and now it is time for him to go back to school.
Amos is looking better every time I see him go by. By the way he glances at me, I can tell he appreciates what I did for him. I hope he keeps eating his pill. I know he hates taking it, but knows it is necessary. He is still not eating much.
Do not fear to be
eccentric in opinion,
Amos went out last night and came in this morning looking good.
I did some housework and went out and worked through more hives. Frankly, I don't know what I am doing or why. I don't have enough equipment and what I do have is full of honey. Getting the honey to extraction is a problem. What I did last year worked well, but this year I have no supers. I've pulled off some honey, but it just sits here and if I pull more, I don't have replacement boxes other than brood comb and a lot of it is full of honey, too.
Beekeeping is easy. It is dealing with the honey that is hard. I can't even give it away, it seems.
Lack of supers and extracting capacity was one reason we retired after pollination was cut back: not enough supers. Another was the lack of good staff.
My bees have kept me busy and worried all season. I need to get rid of them. I have been home since the end of June. The memorial was a reason to be here some of the time, but the bees have kept me tied down.
The day turned hot and I had a swim in the afternoon, even though the pool is only getting up to 18 degrees now that the days are shorter
The wages of sin
are death, but by the time taxes are taken out,
Amos seems to be back to normal.
We're expecting another hot day today. I have bee work to do and I am beginning to hate the thought.
I got out there fairly early, but the day was already hot and by noon, I'd been swimming twice. I'm making progress and feel a bit more enthused, but really wonder why I am doing this. Raising bees is fairly easy, but getting rid of the honey is a hassle.
If I give people reason to think I am miserable, I am from from it. I am quite happy, but frustrated that I have given myself a big job when I have a cottage and boats that I should be enjoying. Of course, I am enjoying this place, too and it has been a wonderful summer, but I have bitten off more than I can chew with the bees.
I was interrupted by a phone call from a charter outfit that handles boats in the Caribbean. I came in shortly after, had lunch, made another of my famous bean stews then had a good long nap and did some research dealing with spending time in the Caribbean next winter. I'm still thinking of buying a boat there, but it has to pay for itself.
I think I just made an offer on the boat I looked at two years ago for a broker friend. I have been communicating with him since then, but we never agreed. Now he is hot to sell the owner a new boat and maybe he will meet my terms.
Now, at 1600, the temperature is 29.3 out there. I think I'll go back out. It's hot, but the sun is lower and I was accomplishing quite a bit, so would like to keep it up.
It is now 1658 and I did not yet go out. I got busy with a few things, like writing here and outlining my talk for the meeting in September.
It is hot. My living room is now up to 80 degrees F. I don't have A/C. On the radio just now, they say tomorrow will only reach twelve degrees Celsius. Quite a change.
I went out with the best of intentions, but got distracted by the duckweed, then the swimming pool. After a swim, I came in, barbecued a steak and quit for the time being. I may go out again in a while, but maybe not. In the meantime, I am dreaming of the Caribbean and working on my presentation.
Trying to determine
what is going on in the world by reading newspapers
Rain is predicted and a high of nineteen.
I slept poorly last night, even with the CPAP machine.
I'm going to clean house, water the plants, tidy my desk and have people over for supper -- I think. I have yet to hear back.
I may get out to the bees.
I have promised to write about the time I abandoned my bees for a few years and the surprising result I did not recognize at the time, but sitting is the new smoking and I need to get going.
I spent the morning cleaning. Mid-day, I drove to Three Hills for groceries. On my return I finished cleaning and cooked supper.
Somewhere in that time, I emailed the broker and think I bought a boat in the Caribbean. There are procedures to go through, but I made an offer than will be accepted I am told.
People started arriving around 1800 and we ate around 1900. Fen arrived in her new pickup truck and we all went out and admired it.
We had just started supper when Bruce and Bruce arrived and joined us. They are on a motorcycle tour from Saltspring Island and are planning on touring the Drumheller badlands before returning west.
Most of the guests left around 2200, but Bruce P. and I sat up until 0200 talking. I have not done that for along time.
If your parents
never had children, chances are you won't, either.
Friday August 29th 2014
Today is sunny and cool. I woke up around 0800and had breakfast with Bruce and Bruce. Then they headed off to Drumheller for the day.
I heard back from the broker that my boat offer was rejected. I told him that I stand firm and that my offer will continue to be valid only until 6 PM MDST. I don't like being left hanging. I had already compromised. Enough is enough. Buying that boat will be stressful. Good stress, maybe, and maybe not. Paying too much will not reduce the stress.
I'm having a lazy day, recovering from the late night. I pried the glass off the back of my Nexus 4 and replaced it. The phone now looks like new. In the process, though, I damaged the coil antenna that allows charging without plugging in. I never used that feature anyhow. I don't have that type of special charger, and reports are that the phones tends to fall of them, so have not been tempted to get one.
After more than a year, it is still the best phone I have ever owned.
I went out and had a good several hours working on the bees. I have some honey to extract and hope I can manage to get it done before I go east.
Bruce and Bruce returned, we had supper, then Shirley dropped by to see if the plants were okay and sat with us a while.
If we don't change
direction soon, we'll end up where we're going.
Saturday August 30th 2014
I slept right through the night, using the CPAP machine and Sleepyhead reports an AHI of 0.24, which is excellent. Last evening, we shared a bottle and a half of red wine, so I anticipated sleep problems -- red wine sometimes does that to me -- so I took a melatonin, two Benadryls and an aspirin before I went to bed at 2230.
That seemed to work. The melatonin was to fall asleep early, the Benadryls to ensure no congestion or allergy, and the aspirin so my shoulders would not bother me. I know it seems like a lot of medicine, but sometimes a good night's sleep is worth a little "Living Better Through Chemistry".
Bruce and Bruce are leaving today for B.C.. We've had a good visit. Although I enjoy living by myself, I enjoy company, and Bruce and Bruce are easy guests to have around. I pick Jonathan up at YYC this afternoon, so I will have him around for a few days now, and I always enjoy having him here.
I enjoyed my bee work yesterday and hope to get out early today. I'll have to leave for the airport at 1630 at the latest and if I plan to shop along the way, earlier.
We are now experiencing the transition to fall weather and the days are shortening noticeably. This, is in many ways, the nicest time of year -- until we awaken to frost on the windshields and wilted flowers. The cooler weather makes my bee work much more comfortable, but the swimming pool is usually a bit too cool these days.
I went out and worked for a few hours. In the North Yard, a few hives had developed drone layers or gone queenless, so I used the boxes to augment the other hives. I am really short of empty comb, and even the duds are full of honey. When I find a dud, I just use the boxes, bees and all on a nearby hive.
The pool thermometer read 15° C (59° F.) mid-afternoon and that is pretty chilly, but I was hot from my work and I went in anyhow. It was pleasant enough, but I seldom stay in long. There is not much to do in a small pool except cool down.
After that, I drove to YYC to meet Jon. We had a burger on the way home and spent the evening visiting at the kitchen table.
I tend to live in
the past because most of my life is there.
Sunday August 31st 2014
I slept in until 0900 and woke up to a beautiful day. The sky is clear, the sun is up, and sunlight shimmers on the poplars that surround The Old Schoolhouse as the leaves rustle in a light breeze. The thermometer reads 14.3° C.
I awoke congested and with a slightly swollen left eye, so I assume a bee must have stung me there yesterday. I don't really recall. I was working without a net or gloves as is my custom, and occasionally bees get me in the face. I took an antihistamine and assume it will go back to normal within and hour or so.
Jon and I are going to visit the Orams this evening and he has work to do today, but otherwise, I have nothing scheduled.
Looking in the mirror, I see that both eyes are a bit swollen. I must have had a few stings yesterday. Can't recall.
I pulled some honey yesterday and left it tipped on top of hives. Going back today, after lunch, I see a little robbing, but not as much as one might expect after an overnight rain. A little robbing does not bother me and can be useful fro cleaning up dripping burr comb on boxes of honey. It also stimulates any remaining bees to fly.
Jon spent the day working on a remote server, transferring files, so he was fully occupied.
I'll have to pick it up.
I did that, had a dip in the pool, and around 1530, Jon and I drove to Gull Lake, arriving in time for supper. I went to bed early.
Human beings are
the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.