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 December  2015 

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: Looking north from my Canmore condo balcony

Sunday December 20th 2015
Five Days until Christmas

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud near noon. Wind becoming south 20 km/h this afternoon. High minus 5.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Clearing late this evening. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 17.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

At 0628, I weigh 226.4, down another full pound from yesterday.  Fatsecret warns me I am losing seven pounds a week.

Is that a bad thing?  I cannot see how, given the short-term nature of this weight loss, the whole-body exercise that accompanies it -- and the good food I am eating. 

If this continued for weeks, I would be concerned, but the  estimated calorie deficit yesterday was 3,527, even with a calorie consumption of 1,418, so I doubt I was undernourished, and the loss is right on the predictions for a 3,500 calorie deficit.

What does puzzle me, though, is why I was not hungrier.

FWIW, this scale is so sensitive that it detected a gain of 0.8 pounds from eating a breakfast of two cups of coffee and three eggs this morning!

I checked things at home, and all appears to be well.  I still must decide what to do for the day. 

I'm thinking that it may be time to take a rest day, but I don't feel too sore.  I took an aspirin last evening and another early this morning when I awoke and felt achy.

I will have to run home to check on the coal at some point before Christmas, but I am expecting company today and tomorrow, so should stick around.  It is a two-hour drive each way.

I could explore Canmore, but wonder what there is to see, really.  I spent time here decades back when it was not the built-up tourist recreational town it is now.  Back then it was a modest mining town and just beginning to become a tourist haven.  Today, the architecture ranges from traditional to bizarre and townhouses and condos are everywhere cheek to jowl.

I started the day right by going back to bed and sleeping until 0900.  I figure more sleep is better, and I estimate I totaled nine hours.

By the time that I had made up my mind and was ready to go back to Spray Lakes, Fen and Maddy were at Exshaw.  So, I waited around, then met them at the Miners' Hall where the arts and crafts sale was taking place to give them a key to the suite.

As it turned out, Maddy was working a table at the fair and Fen was free for the day, so we loaded Fen's kick-sled into my van and she came along for the day.

We climbed the same steep winding mountain road that a little over a week ago I had never travelled, but am now getting to know so well, and arrived at the launch location just after noon.

We walked down to the shore at the higher launch site to check conditions and see who was doing what.  Fen and I helped a kiter get his kite and board set up, then drove down the hill to the southern launch. 

I chose the lower spot simply because the climb back up is a lot less steep at the end of the day, but it was the more popular launch today as well and most of the riders were there, not the other spot.  The uphill walk in downhill boots carrying skis and kites is the hardest thing I do all day, after my legs have turned to jelly from the hard riding, so a lesser climb and shorter walk is a good thing.

The wind was almost nil when we got there, but I rigged my 8.5, the wind picked up and rode until 1500 with ideal winds.  At one point, however the wind was shifty and strong enough to unexpectedly carry my kite back overhead and lift me a little, at which point I fell for the first time in a long while skiing.

The fall was nothing, really, and my biggest problem was getting back up with skis on.  I kicked them off, got up, put them back on and rode until the wind died.

The climb to the van is always a killer at the end of the day, but I made it up the hill.  My legs were okay, just a bit weak, but I noticed my back was acting up a bit, possibly from the twisting. 

Once back in Canmore, we stopped at the Hall to see how Maddy was doing.  She was doing well. We looked around and had supper there, then returned to the condo, spent some time in the outdoor hot tub.  Back in the rooms, we watched TV for a while. Fen  doesn't bother with TV at home -- they don't have one AFAIK -- so TV was a novelty.

The programming and ads were as horrible as ever and I gave up after while and went to bed.  Maddy was not back yet and Fen waited up for her. 

Insanity is contagious.
Joseph Heller

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Monday December 21st 2015
December Solstice (Winter Solstice) is on Monday, December 21, 2015 at 9:49 PM in Calgary. This day is 8 hours, 39 minutes shorter than on June Solstice.

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Clearing late this afternoon. High minus 4.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Low minus 20.

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Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I'm awake early again after a night of light, intermittent sleep.   I did sleep through, but surfaced briefly throughout the night before again falling back to sleep.  Red wine does that to me.  I know better, but old habits die hard.

At 1440 hrs, I weigh 226.0, down 0.4 pounds from yesterday in spite of an estimated 3,500 calorie deficit yesterday.  I slept only five hours and since I did not sleep as long as other nights, the morning weight today is not directly comparable, due to the fact that I lose 0.4 lbs/hour of sleep and slept less last night -- so far

First thing, I checked the cameras and telemetry at home and all is well, so things are fine for the present, but I worry about the bin feed.

Jean and family are skiing Nakiska today and will be staying here tonight, but I'm not clear on when and where we will meet.  They are usually reliable texters, but have not been very clear on their plans, probably because they do not know themselves.  Indecision and holiday stress?  The week between Christmas and New Years is usually not a whole lot better.

I'm glad I decided to come out here for the week.  I usually find the week leading up to Christmas particularly unsettled as people prepare for the big event, get colds, eat the wrong foods, and are generally stressed.  Out here, I am stressed alright, but the stress is entirely physical, not at all mental, and feels good.

That said, in spite of the fact that yesterday was my third day in a row kite skiing, I am not at all sore today.   Usually, I am sore after one day of downhill skiing.  Skiing on the level does not seem as hard on the legs.

I had breakfast, then went back to bed and slept lightly until eight.  It was a strange sleep: I would think I was not sleeping and look at the time, but then notice that a half-hour had passed since I last looked. That happened several times.

After I was up, Fen and Maddy left for home and I am doing a wash in preparation for the next crew. Jean and family are on the road, coming this direction, but have to run into Banff to pick up ski equipment for the kids.  They then plan to get to Nakiska around two.  I checked the wind forecast and Spray does not look at all promising, so I'll go down to Nakiska to join them.  I expect Nakiska will be a zoo, since this is a school holiday period.

I don't care.  I'm taking it easy today.

I drove to Nakiska and took a run and found the hill to be icy. I checked my edges and although they seemed sharp, I bought a sharpener and gave them a quick tune-up. That made a big difference.

By two, Orams showed up.  I found Jean and Nathan on the bunny hill and spent some time with him while Jean took a run.  His skis kept falling off, so he was having a hard time.

I then joined Mckenzie and Chris and bombed a few runs before the hill closed. By then, Jean had Nathan stable enough on skis to where he could go up the Bronze Chair.

That was it and we drove back separately to the condo.  I went to the hot tub for a while, then we all went down to The Georgetown Pub for fish and chips.  That definitely broke my diet for the day.

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Tuesday December 22nd 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. High minus 8.
Tonight Becoming cloudy late this evening with 30 percent chance of flurries late this evening and overnight. Low minus 15

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I weigh 226.4 this morning, up a bit from yesterday, and that is undoubtedly due to the two glasses of beer and the glass of wine I consumed at various points during the previous day and two pieces of fish and chips for supper.

I find it interesting to see the effects of various behaviours on my weight and find it increasingly clear that sticking with my vegetable stews and avoiding meats and alcohol are the fast track.  Any departure from my regime slows, halts, or reverses progress.

How badly do I want to progress?  Apparently not all that badly.  Without feedback and reinforcement from the scale, I quickly regress. 

I was down to 223 after the hospital stay, but quickly regained weight.  I simply forgot, conveniently, that I had goals.  I suppose I subconsciously construed the heart event as negative feedback and a counter-reward for my progress to that point.

At any rate, I am fairly determined at this point and being able to see small incremental changes keeps me interested.  I am not sure, however how well I will accept being smaller. 

Ideally, I am told, I could/should weigh 160 to 170 pounds.

Ideal Weight Calculator

Result

Based on the Robinson formula (1983), your ideal weight is 160.7 lbs
Based on the Miller formula (1983), your ideal weight is 158.1 lbs
Based on the Devine formula (1974), your ideal weight is 166.0 lbs
Based on the Hamwi formula (1964), your ideal weight is 171.3 lbs
Based on the healthy BMI recommendation, your recommended weight is 132.6 lbs - 179.2 lbs

That is 50 to 60 pounds less than I weigh now, or the mass of a 5-gallon (imperial) honey pail!  When I think that what I am doing now is walking, skiing or kiting with a 60-pound pack on and imagine being able to take it off, the idea is appealing, but at the same time when I think of being slim, something in my mind revolts. 

We'll see how this goes.  Maybe I can find a compromise around 180/190?  That is what I weighed in my thirties.  Of course, back then I was all muscle and an inch taller.

BMI Calculator

BMI = 25.10 kg/m2   (Overweight)
  • Normal BMI range: 18.5kg/m2 - 25 kg/m2
  • Normal BMI weight range for the height: 132.6lbs - 179.2 lbs
  • Ponderal Index: 13.92 kg/m3

Ooops! Even 180 puts me overweight.  Is there no mercy?  I cannot even imagine myself at 133 pounds.  That is over 90 pounds down from where I am now.  What would that be like?

I can see why people just give up.

Jean and family left for Nakiska and I followed shortly after.  I picked up my newly-tuned skis ($50 for a wax and edge sharpen) took one run down and joined the others for lunch.  Even with the skis carving well, I found the steeps to be dangerously icy and did not enjoy the run. 

I usually do not enjoy the first run or two, but soon warm up and start having fun, but today my mood was a bit off and I even felt slightly nauseous.

They had bought a huge sub at Save-on Foods and it was enough for all of us.  White bread and smoked meat are not exactly my ideal diet, but, along with trail mix, that was lunch.

By the time lunch was over, I decided I did not feel well and skiing any longer was just asking for trouble.  I had planned to run home to Swalwell to check the furnace and shovel ashes, so that is what I did. 

Two hundred kilometers and two hours later, I walked into my bright, sunny living room.  I was struck by how the brightness and sunlight of that room contrasts with the Canmore condo which faces north and tends to be dark, even at mid-day.

I watered the plants and added three feet to the cross auger to extend its reach, shoveled the ashes and returned to Canmore.

Normally I don't look forward to long drives much anymore, but I had determined to take my time and enjoy the drive on a bright, sunny winter day on bare roads, and I did.  The drive reminded me of the many, many times I have driven these roads on the way to the mountains or beyond.  Literally hundreds, I am sure.

Once back in the condo, I ate supper and went down to the hot tubs for a soak before bed.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
Winston Churchill

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Wednesday December 23rd 2015

Today Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High minus 11.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. Low minus 18.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

This beekeeping diary is turning into a weight-loss blog.  Sorry folks.  Not much to do with bees today.  My bees are 195 km away and waiting for spring, undisturbed in winter clusters.

Possibly in hopes of breaking my fascination with weight loss, and returning my interest to honey bees, a reader offered a non-dietary solution which I will present below.  Now for the daily report:

I weigh 227.6 this morning (I think). When I first stepped onto  the scale, I saw 226, then 228 and numbers in between each additional time. 

This scale has been absolutely consistent its readings until today and I have wondered if the uneven rough tile floor in this condo has an effect, so I moved the scale around.  Readings did not become more uniform.  I still saw variation.

I realised I wasn't really wide awake yet and wondered if I was overlooking something since the scale had been so reliable until now.  Even though the battery indicator was not showing low battery, I changed the batteries and placed the scale onto a flatter floor and noticed the readout is brighter and I get multiple readings of 227.6 with little variation. 

That's a higher reading than I expected or hoped for, but I calls 'em the way I sees 'em.  No sense fudging and kidding myself. That would be like cheating at solitaire.

Of course, now I'll wonder about recent and future readings and I'll just have to wait and see what transpires over the next few days.

Previously, I never saw any variation between readings at all if I weighed several times within a minute or two, but will carry on and see.  Maybe the scale is worn out.

Allen, I don't know what the Canadian Healthcare System provides, but here in the US some of my RN colleagues have had success with gastric banding. In this minor operation a sleeve is put over part of your stomach to reduce its capacity and it reduces your stomach capacity and you lose weight as a result. Pre-op teaching is mandatory as a person needs to thoroughly understand how it works and be vested in it to succeed. I enclose a link. http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/gastric-banding-surgery-for-weight-loss

It may seem drastic, but it works well.

Wow.  I've heard of this, but I have also heard of complications, and, of course there are risks in any surgery.

I appreciate the suggestion and briefly considered it, but frankly, my weight does not bother me enough to go to extreme measures.  I'm more concerned about diet generally and its effect on my general health and state of mind.

In fact, my weight problem is simply that I don't seriously enough consider my weight to be a problem.  If I did, I'd have done something about it long ago.

I have to convince myself -- and stay convinced.  That is what all this writing is about.  As I was discussing in a previous post, when I read what the experts suggest I should weigh -- 132.6lbs - 179.2 lbs -- I find it hard to imagine and when I do, I don't feel comfortable with the idea.

180, maybe, but 132???  

132 would be nice for skiing.  At 230, I have 100 more pounds driving me downhill and 100 pounds more to stop than a 132-pound me.  I'd have to buy all new clothes, though, and the wetsuit I want to fit into would be far too big.  Hard to imagine.

I also need a project.  I'm retired and live alone.  Losing weight is not hard, really, except when in restaurants or in the company of others.  I dropped to 208 pounds back in 2007 without much effort, but then found I was not as happy.

I wondered if the weight loss affected my mood.  The turn in world economics and world affairs in July of that year did not help my mood either as I very clearly saw that the good times were over and that we are in  for a long economic slide (which continues even today and is not nearly over) while we get over the debt binge of the 90s and 00s.

After the debt orgy reached its inevitable conclusion and a crash began, the central banks applied and continue to apply the hair of the dog -- more debt -- in an attempt to lessen the pain, and it does, but also only puts off the day of reckoning.

Back to the real solution.  People eat for a lot of reasons, and people consume a wide variety of foods, pseudo-foods and non-foods.

If we simply paid as much attention to making sure what we put into our mouths was the correct amount and type of fuel as we do when filling our automotive fuel tanks -- and watching our fuel efficiency -- the world would be a very different place.  (Imagine government-mandated food efficiency standards.  Emissions standards and enforcement, too? 

Logically, we should just consume what we need to maintain our bodies and provide energy, but that is not what most of us do.  In addition to eating and drinking the essentials, we also eat and drink for pleasure or from boredom.

Candies, breads, cakes, soda, juices and alcohol are high-powered, dangerous fuel.  All are addictive and harmful in anything but small amounts but highly profitable and promoted everywhere.

Additionally, our culture regards eating as recreation than a maintenance activity. 

Knowledge is power.

I went back to bed around eight and slept until nine.  That nap after breakfast is often the best sleep of the day.

On Facebook, there was a report of 12 knots of wind at Ghost, about 35 km away, so around noon I left the flat headed for the dam.  When I reached Morley, I checked for wind and there was scarcely a breath. I checked my phone and the word on Facebook was that the breeze now had died further down the lake, too.

Seeing as I was already part way to Nakiska, I turned around, drove to Mount Allan and put on my skis, arriving on the hill sometime around one.  The Silver Chair was down for maintenance, so I rode the Olympic Chair up to midstation for my first run.

The temperature in the parking lot was minus eight, but at midstation, it felt more like minus fifteen.  The snow was decent except for the steepest portions which were scraped down to ice in spots making them tricky to navigate.

I made six runs totaling roughly 8,000 vertical feet and each run took about fifteen minutes chair to chair. By three, the sun was disappearing behind a mountain and I was feeling cold.  I decided that six runs was a good workout and that it was a good time to quit.

So, I returned to the condo, detouring along the way through Harvie Heights to reconnoiter the rental cabins where I stayed with Mike M so many years ago.

I have half a mind to stay in the mountains for a few weeks this winter and have not decided on weekly or monthly condo or cabin rental, motels or hostels by the night on an ad hoc basis, or to load my camper onto my truck and camp out.

I have a season's pass to Nakiska and two prepaid days on hills in BC, plus several kites, so I have options.  Daily rentals or the camper give me more flexibility.  The other options offer greater comfort and permanence.  I don't have to choose, though.  I could alternate.

The camper option is obviously the cheapest, but means staying alone in a parking lot somewhere with less heat and power and no shower or fancy bathroom.  I have camped in winter with the whole family of four in an eight-foot camper and we all had a great time, but that was then and this is now.

Would I have stayed here the whole week if I had not booked the entire week in advance?  Maybe, and maybe not.  If I were in a motel, paid daily, probably not.  I'd come and go, and on a day like yesterday when I returned home to check the furnace (which is working fine now with the longer auger that I should have put on in the first place before coming out), I'd have spent a night at home before coming back.

I booked this big place partly in expectation that I would have more company.  One never really knows, but in my experience, a lot of people talk about doing things like this, but when the time comes, few actually show, or if they do, few stay for as long as they originally had wanted to.  They have things they must do at home.

Mentioning the furnace, above, it should by now have become obvious to readers (I seem to have a few left after deviating mostly away from bees for the winter) that it is a pet, and like all pets, it requires care and attention and has its rewards and its burdens. 

If anyone is looking for consistency and logic in thought and action, this is not the place. 

One of the reasons I write and share this diary is to reveal the inconsistency and illogic of my behaviour in regard to bee management and in my own life. 

People always say one thing and do another, and most are totally unaware of what they are really doing. This is just as true in beekeeping and in Bee Science (BS) as anything in life. 

People reach a consensus, generate a narrative, then interpret their own thoughts and actions in those terms.  Often, if not always, that narrative is objectively ridiculous, but it serves as framework, and people and societies need a framework.  Almost any framework will do, it seems. Humans are amazingly adaptable.

Our culture and beliefs are just as ridiculous as any we see in history, but they are ours and we accept them as 'gospel'.  There are those among us who would shun or even kill anyone who disagrees, and it was ever thus.

Keep that in mind when  you read articles, books, or take classes -- or read this diary.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
Will Rogers

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Thursday December 24th 2015
Christmas Eve

Today Periods of snow. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Amount 2 cm. High minus 12.
Tonight Periods of snow ending late this evening then clearing. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 25. Wind chill minus 30.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept well and got eight full hours of sleep.  As much as I hate to accept the fact, the secret seems to be to avoid alcohol. 

Avoiding more than one drink a day seems to be part of the weight loss secret, too. My weight jump followed a day where I had two beers and a glass of wine and the following day when ate part of the sub with cold cuts. Maybe salt and nitrates play a role, too, but I am not sure.  I salt my eggs in the morning, and there is a normal amount of salt in my chili and stews

I weigh in at 225.2 today, down 2.4 lbs from yesterday and the scale seems to be behaving again.

Here is my weight history chart from back in July when I began recording.

Just watching anything changes it. This can be as true in human behaviour as in the hard sciences, and particularly true if the subject is aware of being watched, which I obviously was.

It is quite clear that having an accurate scale and using it makes a big difference.  I am not really aware of changes in my mass.  My clothing does not tell me and my waist size does not seem to change much.

Seeing changes on a scale is a real incentive.

I'm still at Silver Creek, but have to move out of here by 1100, then appear at Jean's, three hours away, sometime around suppertime.  Everything is fine at home.

I see a high of minus thirteen predicted for Nakiska and no wind anywhere, so, since Nakiska is only twenty km out of my way, I think I'll go there and make a few runs before heading for Birch Bay. 

Looking out at 0955, though, the day is overcast with snow drifting down, so skiing could be less than pleasant.  We'll see when I leave here at eleven.

I did leave right at eleven and drove to Nakiska in  hopes of a few good runs.  This is Day Seven on skis if I counted right.

Along the way, I passed an accident near Lac Des Arc although the road seemed fine to me.  There was one car against the guard rail with the front smashed and another in the median.  A number of emergency vehicles were there or arriving.  Seemed like a minor incident.  Later in the day, I passed other similar unfortunates.

When  I arrived at Nakiska, it was minus eleven and snowing lightly.  I was not in a very good mood and knew it, but I dutifully put on my boots, took  my goggles which I never wear -- just in case-- carried my skis to the Silver Chair, sat down and rode up toward the heavens.

I could hear the snow guns roaring and I soon learned that some were aimed right where the chairs  are passing by. Passing through the wet fog at minus fifteen was not pleasant. 

Such rudeness has to be bad for business and I wondered if the hill manager knows -- or cares. 

I took a first run down and was not having fun.  I know that usually it takes a run or two before I catch my groove, get an exercise high and begin to smile, and allow for that, but today I was really not in the mood. My face was freezing and my ears were cold, and my sunglasses were fogging. I was ready to quit after this one miserable cold descent.

Most skiers wear goggles, but I almost always wear just sunglasses and most days they are all I need even at speeds that leave most in the dust.  This, apparently was not one of those days.

I didn't quit.  I went into the ski shop and looked at balaclavas.

I don't know why, exactly.  I had just done six days of skiing that would challenge many a younger man and had nothing to prove.

I guess just  knew that if I gave in to one defeatist mood and a little discouragement there could be no end to how far I might retreat from life and its annoyances. 

If I stay in my comfort zone, it just gets smaller and all my life, I have pushed back the limits.  No time to quit now.  Never surrender.

The prices were shocking and the balaclavas did not look like much.  However, I figured, I'm here, and this is what people are using, so let's just quit whining, get with the program and do it.  So I bought one that would cover my neck and also could be dropped down off my face when not needed.  $33 plus tax.  Robbery! 

I paid cash.
    "Do you need a receipt?" 
    "Nope." 
I received change, but did the transaction actually get registered?  I didn't pay attention, but wondered afterwards.

I put on the overpriced balaclava, pulled down my goggles and went back up.  Much better!  I took another run and suddenly things looked great.  Adrenaline is back on the job.

I had spoken to the rental shop yesterday about a pair of demos they had for sale, so I went over and arranged to borrow them, then went up again.

I took two runs with the demos and, wow, they carved beautifully, even at high speeds and on icy steeps.  Although they are only 178s compared to my 174s, they ski a lot longer due to the design which maintains full snow contact right to the tail and closer to the tip. 

By then the sun had come out and due that and to a light snowfall the slopes were less icy.  What had begun as a disappointing session had turned into a great day on the slopes.  I'm glad I had faith and persevered.

I made another run or two with my own skis, then another with the demos, then I bought the demos. 

I like to buy high performance demos.  They are far cheaper than new skis, fully tuned, and come complete with demo bindings that are a bit raised off the ski, allowing better stability on extreme steeps. 

Demo bindings can be instantly adjusted to fit any ski boot, meaning a family or group of friends can switch skis on the hill and ride with several different types of skis in a day.

By then, it was 1430 and I had skied 10,000 feet of vertical in two hours, a respectable afternoon's skiing, and it was time to get to Orams' for Christmas Eve.

The roads were mostly bare and dry, with wet and snowy sections here and there along the way.  I passed a few more cars in ditches here and there along my 275 km travels, but did not notice any slippery sections.

I arrived at Birch Bay around seven.  We had salad, and I had a few shots of bourbon, partly as an experiment, then we called it a day.

Season Six of The Good Wife is now on Netflix, so I watched an episode before bed.

History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
Abba Eban
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Friday December 25th 2015
Christmas Day

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 16. Wind chill minus 28.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Clearing before morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 28. Wind chill minus 31.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Environment Canada
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 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept well for six hours, got up, and weighed in at 227.4.

Fatsecret advised me that I am gaining 15.4 pounds a week, so my theory about alcohol seems to apply to weight, but maybe not to sleep.  The disturbed sleep effects I have experienced with wines and beers may be due to other constituents, not the actual alcohol. Unlike foods, which must be labeled with ingredients and nutritive vales, alcoholic beverages are not required to list anything except the alcohol by volume.

Since I had a calorie deficit of 2,000 calories yesterday, made seven runs, and ate nothing unusual, the two-pound gain -- rather than an expected nearly one-pound loss -- must almost certainly be entirely due to fluid retention and the bourbon.

After breakfast, we opened presents.  We are not much into the consumer buying orgy, but are content with a few modest gifts and mostly for the kids.

We did not do much today.  After lunch, we walked down to the lake and back.  The wind was light and the temperature lingered around minus fifteen. A few ice fishermen were out on the lake.

I napped and read.  It seems odd to not be active after seven days on skis.  I like action, but resting is good, I suppose.  I napped on an off in the afternoon.

I'm itching to get back into action, but there is no wind and the ski hills will be full of newbees, scraping off the snow and presenting an obstacle course to experienced skiers. 

I called Ruth and the dog is fine.  I suppose I'll go home sometime this coming week, but I'm in no hurry.

Chris made dressing, stuffed the turkey and put it into the oven over six hours before our suppertime.  Somehow, though, the bird was not ready by six, so we had our dessert first and continued to wait...

We ate and after, somehow, while clearing the table and setting up the dishwater (apparently it is  'guy thing' in our family), Chris and I got into a discussion with Mckenzie about 'class'. Jean and Nathan were upstairs.

Now, this is very interesting.  Mckenzie brought it up and postulated that somehow classes could be established to correct the injustices and inequalities that are so apparent to any conscious person.

Chris and I, of course both are very raw on these topics.  Chris was deeply into aboriginal studies and even inspired a new department  at UL, and I , well, I am just me -- an inconvenient and embarrassing truth-speaker and general s*it disturber. I cannot see imaginary clothes on Emperors.  Sorry.

Of course

 

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
Sir Francis Bacon
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Saturday December 26th 2015

Today Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches this morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 14. Wind chill minus 27 this morning.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 22. Wind chill minus 28.

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I went to bed after midnight and slept soundly until after 0700, but not without taking two Benadryl, a melatonin, and an aspirin to get to sleep.

I weigh 228.4 today, up one pound.  Yesterday, I consumed 123% of my RDI and after figuring in exercise went over by a mere 190 calories, even including the turkey dinner and drinks, so should have stayed at about the same weight, but I gained another pound.

As should be obvious to readers, I am experimenting.  Since I have an accurate scale, I'm playing around to see what the effects of various activities, foods, beverages, and activity levels have on me.

Yesterday, in addition to a turkey dinner with pie, (but no seconds of anything), I had a bourbon and three gin and tonics, all carefully measured, over the afternoon and evening and I tend to attribute the continued gain to that, or reduced activity, rather that to a calorie surplus or deficit.

Also, I have been proving to myself that although I really cannot hold myself to do exercise for exercise sake, I will gladly participate in extreme exercise in pursuit of a sport, and am eager to get back out and do it again.

I was sufficiently excited and pleased by by last week's skiing, the fun, and its positive effect on me that I am working on how how to fit more time skiing in between my plans to deliver my boat to Vancouver and attend the boat shows, to go east to visit my Mom and a possible trip to New York and to the Caribbean.

Jon and family have been going to Mammoth the last few years for a week and I have been unable to join them yet. 

Maybe this year?  I think so!

I am also seeing fairly clearly that even fairly pure alcohol (spirits) has the same effect on sleep as wines and beers and caused weight gain, independent of calorie content.  Bummer. 

Sleep is essential to good health, both mentally and physically and I am increasingly motivated to lose weight for no other reason than it seems increasingly important to me not to carry an excess 90 pounds around.

When I was in my early twenties, I helped unload a boxcar of fertilizer in 100-pound bags.  A half-century later, I still remember clearly how heavy they were. 

I've also lifted 100-pound propane bottles, and carried 33 and 60-pound pails of honey. 

The idea of voluntarily carrying any of these awkward weights further than a short distance and for a short while is ridiculous, so why am I content to carrying an extra 50 to 90 pounds everywhere I go?

Back in my forties, when  I weighed a mere 180 or 190, I went to a parachute group meeting, thinking of jumping from planes for fun.  They thought I was too heavy then.

Christmas and the week leading up to it has been fun this year.  Usually, I find the two weeks around Christmas a difficult time because of the expectations and disappointments and pressures that people around me are experiencing.  There is always far too much sitting, too much waiting, and too much of the wrong types of foods.

These days people around me already have everything they want and more.  If I do see a need and want to give someone an appropriate gift, I don't wait for a birthday or Christmas. 

I have absolutely no interest in the annual Christmas consumer orgy and it is just an unavoidable something to endure and wait out. 

I buy very few presents and expect few in return.  In  my experience, most such gifts are a total and complete waste. Kids are an exception and rather than impose my idea of what they might want, I give them spending money.  Money represents independence and power.

I have five traction kites now, but only three that are very useful, and I have nothing to cover the light winds I often encounter.  I had heard of a special on  a big kite, an 18.5 metre monster, and talked to Patrick -- Patrick was my kiting instructor and also is a kite dealer -- on the phone as I passed Calgary on the way to Canmore the other night.  He was on his way out and I could not complete the deal.

I like Patrick.  He makes a career of kiting. He kites everywhere and at a high level, yet is patient teacher.  He spends time with guys like me going over and over the basics and he feels responsibility for his charges and not just for how long a lesson lasts. 

Actually, I asked when signing up because the lessons are not cheap and the answer was, as I recall, "Until you are able to kite".  Hmmm. As it turns out, though, you pay him a one-time fee and you are his student forever.

I had one lesson a few years back at Weed Lake, bought a kite from him and not seen him since.  Well, that is not exactly true.  I somehow forgot my skis at Weed and he got them back to me <blush>. 

Anyhow, since then, I have done a fair bit of kite skiing, enough to get a bit casual with the rules, but my second day at Spray --   the day after the gale there and the tangle from which I recovered -- I was laying out my kite -- the one I bought from Patrick -- in almost no wind.

Since there was no wind, I was a bit sloppy in my layout and setup assuming that there was no risk of being gusted into the sky or other kiters.

 Anyhow, Patrick came up and chided me for not following protocol and warned me about doing things right, all the while helping me get things according to Hoyle.  I discovered that the bridle was still a bit tangled and he helped me get it straight, too.

Some people would be insulted, but I was really impressed that he cares enough to give me hell.  Many wouldn't care -- or dare.

I need all the help I can get.

Today I received an email from Patrick's server promoting that same special and I saw that they are down to three of those big kites, so I went online and filled out an order.

Even at half price, this kite is not cheap, but

--- begin excuses ---

If I drive somewhere to kite and I don't have a big enough kite to go riding, I am losing

"In for a penny, in for a pound." 

"Go big or go home".

"One might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb."

"Throw caution to the winds."

The wind around home tends to be light and I want to ski the local fields.  If I can kite from home, that is worth something.

--- end excuses ---

I hesitated after filling in the form when I came to payment, but I have decided lately not to be indecisive or as frugal as I tend to be, so I bit the bullet and pressed 'confirm'. 

Now I just have to pick up the kite and figure it out.

Next, Mammoth February 15-19 with Jon and family?

After lunch, we left separately for Calgary to have supper with Chris's sister and parents.

We arrived round four and visited until about 1930.

I drove home, turned up the heat, checked the furnace and slept in my own bed for the first time in well over a week.

The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.
Kakuzo Okakaura

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Sunday December 27th 2015

Today Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this morning. High minus 12.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming cloudy before morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 21. Wind chill minus 25.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I weigh 228.4 again today in spite of totally ignoring my diet yesterday.  Although I did not count, I did moderate the portions and refuse seconds.  I ate pie and shortbread, though -- in moderation.

I slept in and this afternoon, I am going to MacDonald Lake in Calgary to meet up with the kiter who has my new kite and maybe have a session.  I also need groceries.  My fridge is empty.

I'm tired today.  After I arrived home last night, I drank a few glasses of Shirley's homemade wine.  It was a bit murky and the yeast were not settled, I guess.  Sometimes I seem to have some reaction to yeasts in wine.  This effect is unpredictable and I suppose it hit me this time. 

I drove to MacDonald Lake.  I had a map, but still managed to drive around for a while before finding it.  When I arrived, the kiters were standing on the berm looking out, watching one kiter flying an 18.5 kite, the same model as I was there to pick up.  There was scarcely any wind and he was able to fly the kite and get a few rides, but it was not worth rigging on the chance it would last.

I picked up my kite and drove around the lake to see what other access was possible, then drove to Airdrie for groceries.

I went first to Extra Foods since it is the closest to the highway and bought gas.  Airdrie has the cheapest gas anywhere nearby, but it was ten cents more than I paid in Sylvan yesterday.

I needed produce and not much else and this store was out of celery and mushrooms, so I drove to Walmart and completed my shopping.  While I was there, I had a haircut, the first in two and half months. 

I find that when I get a cut, it is a bit too short, so in a month it is about right and by two months is getting longer than I like.

While there, I bought a cooked chicken at the deli.  These chickens are cheaper cooked than a similar raw chicken and make a few good meals.

I ate a bit of the chicken on the way home and a few nacho chips with salsa when I got home.  Other than that, all I ate all day was two eggs and some nachos.

Once home, I made a vegetable stew, watched video for a while and went to bed early at 2100.

Stew Ingredients

The vegetables are diced to about 1/2 to 1 cm cubes.  The items needing longer cooking are added first and the items that need only a a little cooking last.

 

Start with

  • 1 litre Campbells' chicken stock

  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes with Italian spice

  • Ground black pepper

  • Salt, if you want it, but usually there is already enough in the canned goods.

  • Crushed garlic

  • Oregano or whatever is handy.

  • (Cumin, crushed chilies, chili powder or other spices can be used in addition to or instead of the above, as suits the cook.)

Bring to a boil, then add

  • 1 cup +/- Cauliflower, diced, including stalks

  • 1 cup +/- Broccoli, florets cut up, stalks diced small

  • 1 cup +/- Rutabaga, diced

  • 1/2 pound carrots cut small or diced

  • 1/2 pound +/- of sliced mushrooms

  • 1 cup +/- Yam, diced

  • 1/2 cup Brown rice

  • 1/2 cup pot barley

Add sufficient water to cover and simmer.  Stir often to prevent sticking and burning.  Add more water as needed, but sparingly unless you want soup.

 

 When the above are half-cooked, add

  • 1 medium to large onion, diced.

  • 1/2 red pepper, diced

  • 1 cup +/- celery, diced

  • 1 can kernel corn

  • 4 or five cans of various beans, drained and washed

Taste and adjust spices to taste.  Stir every few minutes and simmer a short while.  Check for doneness and spice balance periodically. 

Remove from heat while the cubes are still 'al dente' and let sit.  The stew continues to cook and flavours combine.

Place entire pot in fridge to cool overnight.  Divide into containers the next day.  If placed in clean containers, this vegetable stew will last nicely refrigerated for over one week.  Can be frozen, too, with little loss of texture.

I like it better hot, but it is quite enjoyable cold.  I take a thermos of this stew and a spoon when skiing.

The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.
Kakuzo Okakaura

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Monday December 28th 2015

Today Periods of snow. Local amount 2 to 4 cm. High minus 8.
Tonight Periods of light snow ending this evening then cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 15.

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 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I weigh 232.8 this morning!  Fatsecret warned me that I gained 4.4 lbs since yesterday.  My left ear is also blocked.

I did not eat much yesterday, but I did eat nachos and chicken with skin.   According to the tally, after exercise, I still had a 1440 calorie deficit.  Shoulda lost a half-pound, not gained 4.4.

Is the scale broken?  Maybe, but I think that I just gained a lot of fluid as result of the wine I drank Saturday and a reaction to yeast in the homemade wine.  I could also be getting a cold.  We'll see.

I am tracking these things in detail because "the devil is in the detail".   Generally the recommendation is to weigh weekly because weights fluctuate so much daily.  To me, though, the fluctuations are most interesting and may reveal things I would not see in weekly charting.

In science, we are taught that anomalies and unexpected results are where new discoveries lie.  Unfortunately, however, unexpected events in a study or experiment are considered a nuisance by many since they disrupt plans and schedules.

If properly investigated apparent anomalies can stop the workflow, demand reconsideration of assumptions, and possibly result in loss of funding or even ridicule by peers.

Oftentimes, anomalies are simply dropped from the analysis or 'adjusted' as measurement errors, or ignored in the summary, even if they potentially nullify the entire thesis.

I switched from Synergy to Mouse without Borders today.  Synergy appears to have been causing my computers to freeze a bit and the pointer to lag and disappear at times.  At least that is what I gather since the problem has not reoccurred in the last hour or so since I uninstalled Synergy and re-installed MWB.

I am really itching to get back out on the snow again. It is snowing here today and in the mountains.  It will be a good day to be skiing in the Rockies, but I am here, not there and the drive looks a bit risky. 

I have cross-country skis and snowshoes, but somehow those two flatland sports never really appealed to me.  I find them boring and pointless.  I did enjoy cross country on the trails in the mountains near Lake Louise with the family, though. 

We had taken up cross-country when the ski lift line-ups at the hills got bad.  At one point, the morning lines at the front side of Louise got to be 45 minutes long and that is ridiculous. 

The roads are snow-packed and icy in places according to reports.  Checking the roadcams, although  things look good at Dead Man's Flats, visibility looks poor near Calgary.

Maybe I'll get some wind today and take my new kite for a ride in the nearby fields or local lakes.  Otherwise, I'll clean house, maybe work in the shop, and catch up with deskwork.

I wonder about people who don 't have or want smartphones.  I use mine for everything from  checking the roads to updates on nearby gasoline prices, ski reports, and wind predictions at the potential kiting spots.  A desktop can be used and I am using one right now, but for the above info, I picked up my smartphone.  Simpler.

In addition to all these other things, I sometimes make telephone calls, too.  However, given the texting option, my need to actually call is reduced by 90%.

Moreover, these days, since phones are on one's person constantly while driving, eating, sleeping..., and not an appliance sitting on a table or hung on a wall somewhere in  a house, it is a bit rude to ring someone's personal phone unless a text won't do.  In the case where a voice call to a personal phone is contemplated, good manners recommend sending a text in advance to see if it is a good time to call.

I received Alberta Bee News and read the articles about Small Hive Beetles and the proposed regulatory response.  I note that the Alberta Government proposes to implement restrictive control measures in spite of the fact that no problem has yet been proven to exist.

The Alberta Beekeepers Commission reports that these measures were proposed by the Government without any request from the Commission which represents the Provinces beekeepers, and that the Commission actually opposes any restrictive measures due the fact that they will actually be counterproductive.

This takes me back to the original closure of the Canadian/US border and how an expensive and useless embargo against US packages continues to this day, two decades later.

I recall that the original excuse was to avoid tracheal mites.  TM came anyhow and today TM are hardly considered a threat, but the embargo and inspections keeps an army of officials occupied and continues to prevent Canadian beekeepers from accessing the cheap bees from the traditional and logical suppliers in the Southern USA upon which our industry was founded.

After lunch, I started up the 4X4, shoveled the ashes, and took out 3-1/2 drums of ashes.  I figured I need exercise, wanted to see how well the truck starts, plus the job is easier if I don't save up too many drums.

I last shoveled ashes on the Tuesday of last week and, in spite of the cold weather since then, the ash sump was not full enough to need shoveling at all urgently.  I could have waited two or even three more days, but wanted to get the job done and over with.

As things stand, my furnace is as reliable as it has been for almost fifty years.  The one worry now that I reinstalled the bin buddy is that the transmission needs a little  work.  Several gears are worn.  I have found replacements and just need to find a day when I want to tear it down and rebuild it.  When I do, I want to be sure it is warm out and that I can finish the job.

I also have a backup system. I've had it all along.  I set it up November 23rd before going to California, but been reluctant to rely on it.  Not just anybody can operate it and it can only run a limited time -- ten hours? -- before running out of propane.

I really need to get back on the gas installation job, but keep getting distracted.

I used to employ the forklift for the ash drum removal job, but now, I just pull the drums on a crude homemade sled and it is actually easier.

After that I ran the snowthrower around the driveway a few times, but did not really need to do a thorough job.

*    *    *     *     *

I have had no more issues with mouse freezing or jitters since I got rid of Synergy.

Girls are always running through my mind. They don't dare walk.
Andy Gibb

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Tuesday December 29th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Clearing this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High minus 11.
Tonight Clear. Low minus 24.

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At 0620, I see we have ice fog again and visibility is poor. 

This morning, according to my scale, I weigh 230 and dropped 2.8 lbs since yesterday.  

Very interesting.  I had an 1890 calorie deficit yesterday according to Fatsecret, and that would account for a half-pound  at most, so either the scale has gone crazy or these weight changes are mostly fluid. 

In that case, assuming the scale is not acting up, which is not a certainty, the fluctuations seem to be due to alcohol consumption and I am carrying at least an extra five pounds of water, calculating from my Dec 24th weight of 225.2 lbs.  In fact it could be more if we figure in the dietary and exercise calorie deficits since then.

Time will tell.

Apparently some kiters had a good session on Weed Lake yesterday and I had no indication of wind there or I might have gone.  It is not far from here, 80 km.

*   *   *   *   *

Around 1100, I drove south through the fog to see if there was any wind anywhere.  As I drove south, I emerged from the fog into bright sunshine.

As I approached Langdon, I could tell there was no wind at Weed, so I drove west past MacDonald and found no wind there.

From there, I drove west to see if there was wind at Ghost and then on to Nakiska where I put on  my skis, joined the crowds in line for the Sliver Chair and after a ten-minute wait, rode up the mountain.  Other than ice on the steep spots, the snow was good, but the day was cold enough that I decided to quit after four runs and drove home.  It was 1530 anyhow, and the day begins to cool further about then.

Zip has been at Ruth's for over a week and I figured it is time to pick her up, so I called and headed that way.  East of Beiseker, I hit the fog bank again and almost decided to go home and abort the extra forty miles to Ruth's and forty back, but the fog turned out to be patchy and I continued.

Usually, Zippy is delirious to see me, and jumps right into the van, but this time, having spent the week with four other dogs and Ruth and Dave, she seemed fairly indifferent and had to be called.

Originally, we got Zip from Ruth and I am wondering if it is time to give her back.  Zip seems bored much of the time with me lately and If she is happy to be there, that might be best.  I like to travel and having a dog is always a worry.

We arrived home and I had a snack, then watched video.

*   *   *   *   *

If my calculations are right, I have a calorie deficit of 2716 today, so I wonder what I will weigh tomorrow.

It is amazing how much one can do in  a day of one just gets out of the house.

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who,
however, has never learned to walk forward.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Wednesday December 30th 2015

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 12. Wind chill minus 32 this morning.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming clear this evening. Low minus 20.

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I weigh 229.8 this AM.  I only slept five hours, though, so this is not a direct comparison to nights when I slept better.

I plan to drive to Gull Lake today.  Predictions are for winds over ten knots and minus six temperatures. Jean says she has a sore throat, though, so I'm hoping it is not contagious.

I arrived around two and took out the new kite. My Best lines fit fine and after some fooling around sorting things out, I was flying the 18 metre inflatable. 

I was unaccustomed to the kite and although I had plenty of great runs, I was going downwind a bit each time and after an hour, I called Jean to come and get me.

She drove down the shore two kilometers from where I was parked and where I had sailed in close to land.  We rolled up the kite and drove home.

The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it.
Franklin P. Jones

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Thursday December 31st 2015
New Year's Eve

Today Sunny. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this morning. High minus 1.
Tonight Clear. Low minus 18.

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I have no scale here, so no weigh-in today.

After lunch, I went looking for wind.  The forecast and the reports on Facebook seemed to indicate I would need a smaller kite, but I found only the slightest breeze at Birch Bay and drove to Sunnyside.  There I found a 5 KPH draft, not enough for kiting.  I decided to drive around to Meridian Beach and found no wind there.  I continued to Aspen Beach and found the same.   I circled the lake and found calm conditions everywhere.

On top of the hills (left) I measured 8-knot winds , but nothing down on the lake.

Twice I drove out to where fisherman were drilling holes and asked about the ice depth.  They each said about a foot.  That is thick enough to support a car.  Good thing.

Returning to Birch Bay, I saw a 5-knot reading and inflated the 18-metre kite. By the time I was set up, however, the wind had died down to nothing again and after waiting fifteen minutes I gave up and rolled up the kite.

   

We had supper and then watched Back to the Future once again.

Although I've seen it many, many time, somehow this time the movie seemed different.  Obviously it has not changed, so any change must be in me.  I guess I hadn't realised how slapstick it is in parts and how theatrical Christopher Lloyd's acting is.

While we were watching the movie, the neighbours set off volleys of fireworks, and apparently there was a party of some sort at the rink, but none of us had much interest in going out.

After the movie, we called it a day.  I watched some more video then went to sleep, around eleven.

I'm told there is a comet to be seen sometime around four AM.  Chris has set up his telescope outside so he and Kenzie can get up to see it.  I plan to sleep.

The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it.
Franklin P. Jones

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