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 May  2016 

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: My crabapple trees in bloom

Sunday May 1st 2016
Monday May 2nd 2016

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Environment Canada
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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

We motored on day and night against twenty-knot winds and huge swells, at times our speed dropped to three knots.

By Sunday morning we reached Atlantic City and went in for fuel, then proceeded on.

Monday morning, small birds of several varieties landed on our boat and came into the enclosure to catch a ride and eat flies. 

Little birds either blow offshore in strong winds or get chased by predators and get too far out to get back without tiring.  We have encountered them as far out as hundreds of miles from land and figured they might be blown off Africa.

One died from the exertion but the others eventually flew away.  In the meantime, they entertained us.  They were not in the least afraid and sat on our heads and hands or shoulders at times.  They would not allow themselves to be picked up, however.

By midnight Monday, we reached Sandy Hook, motored around the spit into Atlantic Highlands in rain, and were tied up at Alden's mooring ball by 0130 early Tuesday morning.

The entire trip was 900 sea miles.  It's all a blur.

The route is at right.  And here is a KMZ file for Google Earth.

The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.
Andrew S. Tanenbaum

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Tuesday May 3rd 2016

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept in this morning.  We had breakfast and then moved to the dock to tie up.

Alden came down and visited.  Frank went to do laundry and I am resting and reading.  I spent an hour or more reserving a flight tomorrow early.  I found a direct flight for $200 and then had to figure how to get to EWR by 0630 from here.   Train is the answer, it seems, but it is all strange to me.

Emil left mid-afternoon to catch the ferry to Manhattan and then the Megabus to Toronto.

I stayed aboard until late afternoon, then decided to write the Advanced Standard exam.  Although I completed the practical many years ago, I had put this off for years because I just do not understand weather fronts and find all the light signals confusing.  It is memory work and I was never any good at remembering anything with no consistent logic or narrative.

Emil and I had studied the lights, but I was not convinced I could sort them all out or know the ones chosen for the exam question.  There is no consistent rhyme or reason it seems to the arrangements of lights and day shapes that indicate vessels engaged in various activities and situations.

Also, reinforcing my doubts, on the way into Sandy Hook, we had passed work boats and barges dredging in the dark  They were lit up like Christmas trees and although they were displaying the appropriate lights I am sure, their work lights totally confused their identity until were  were upon them. 

Of course my expectations of perfection are unreasonable.  When we remember that back in school most of our fellow students typically scored anywhere from 50% to 90% correct on exams, why we anyone expect any better performance after leaving school or that now things would be different? We are surrounded by -- and trust -- professionals and tradespeople and we don't know who barely passed some subjects even when they cheated, repeated, or were primed for the exams.

Anyhow, I finished the exam, quite convinced I will not get the required 70% to pass and Frank and I went to supper.  I bought again and this time it came to $75 with tip. 

I hate tipping.  I also don't much like restaurants, other than plain Jane diners, either.  Frank loves eating out in fancy restaurants and I can't complain.  He fed us really well on the voyage and is a good friend.

Drive-in banks were established so most of the cars today could see their real owners.
E. Joseph Crossman

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Wednesday May 4th 2016

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h early this afternoon. High 30. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming clear this evening. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Wind becoming north 20 gusting to 40 before morning. Low 9.

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Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I woke up at 0300 and got up, ate breakfast and packed.  When ready, I was still early as my flight was scheduled to lift off from EWR at 0755 and EWR was about an hour away, depending on  choice of trains and cab or Uber.

I decided that I would rather be at EWR, wishing I had not arrived so early than on the way somewhere as flight time neared, wishing I was at EWR, and walked in the dock to the shore.

I checked my Uber app and no cars were available, so I called a cab.  The cab took over twenty minutes to arrive and in that time and the time to Middletown Station, I missed the first direct train.

The Uber app is a bit crude in that if no cars are available, it just says there are no cars.  There is no indication as to the reason.  It could be that there is never any Uber service there, or simply that all cars are busy or off-duty.

No problem, I could miss two more trains before I would be running out of time.  I caught the next one and arrived at EWR almost two hours early.  In spite of being very early, by the time I took the air train around to Terminal A and got through the slow and poorly functioning security -- even with Nexus priority -- I arrived at my gate only one hour before liftoff.

The flight was uneventful and maybe it was my imagination, but the seat seemed roomier than usual. Could it be just that I am smaller and more limber?

During the five-hour direct flight I slept an hour, then watched the Air Canada promotional videos on the menu, then Chicago

I had been totally unaware of this film from 2002, and found the concept, the dynamicism, the acting, and the flawless dance and song amazing.  I don't usually like musicals much and had to skip through some of the slower parts, but have to give this flick two thumbs up.

I landed at YYC before noon and dropped by Global to visit with Mike, Liz and Attila, then bought groceries and drove home.  It is hot here today and dry.  The trees are leaved out and the grass is green.  So is the pond.

I called to see how Zip is and Ruth says that she took Zip to the vet for the operations today.  She has something lodged in the webbing of one paw and a small growth on one eye.

I phoned the Regular Suspects to try to arrange a supper tomorrow night. We'll see.  Meijers are fairly definite.

My scale says I weigh 222, but it is afternoon and after a long flight on which I drank a lot of water -- and a voyage where I slept three hours at a time, max, was shaken around day and night, ate well, and drank a lot of of wine -- and some rum, too.  I think it will take a few days for my fluids to balance and my weight to stabilize.  I am smaller, for sure.  I have to hold my pants up at security after I take off my belt.  We'll see.

Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content.
Louis L'Amour

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Thursday May 5th 2016

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h early this afternoon. High 30. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming clear this evening. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Wind becoming north 20 gusting to 40 before morning. Low 9.

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 is my first day home and it is cooler.  Last evening was insufferably hot but the weather has changed.  Today, I ran the furnace.

I'm catching up on books and tidying and having friends over for supper tonight.  There will be only seven of us tonight.

I'm cooking a duck and a salmon. I started early, maybe too early, but I will be ready.

Frank texted me that I passed the Sail Canada Advanced Standard.  When I handed it in, I had been quite sure I had flunked, but I got 85%.  70% is a pass.  Not bad.

Of course I am one of those people who is reluctant to even try if I'm not sure to kill.  I like to think 100% is the minimum acceptable score, but made an exception in this case, and drank a bit of wine while writing so I'd have an excuse to fail.  But I didn't. I passed.

Does having this credential matter?  I had thought not, but maybe it does. I'm thinking now that maybe I should qualify as an instructor in order to take on students.  Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary thought so.

It seems there are 50-80,000 refugees fleeing Fort McMurray at present.  I wonder if I can help.  I have a house I plan to abandon much of the time with a fully equipped art/stained glass studio that sits unused and a garden with unusual plants I know nothing about.  There are bound to be people who could move in, but how to find and qualify them?   Maybe some are beekeepers? I'm reluctant to get involved, at least at this point since I will be away so much and this place is not an ordinary home that most people would understand.

I had a nap this afternoon and woke up wondering where I was, what the time was, and who was at the helm.  Were we drifting?  I experienced a similar momentary disorientation as I woke up this morning, too.

Since the 25th of last month, I was waking up in a different place every time, and multiple times a day, with the only opportunity to sleep being three-hour off-watch periods, except when in port.

My friends came for supper.  I had overcooked the duck and the salmon, but it was good just the same.

The strong do what they will, and the weak suffer what they must.
Thucydides

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Friday May 6th 2016

Today Sunny. High 22. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Clear. Low plus 2.

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Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Today looks brighter and warmer.  I'm planning to be at Jean's by suppertime.

My scale still says 222, but after two weeks of eating indiscriminately and drinking wine and beer, what can I expect? 

After two weeks delivering a sailboat up the East Coast, sleeping odd hours, eating whatever was handy, and drinking wine and beer, I have gained.

I assume the gain is mostly fluids and will dissipate with a few days of being back. In spite of what the scale says, I am slimmer. I had to hold my pants up when I took off my belt at security screening for my return flight.

I enjoy Ben Hunt's writing in his web series, Epsilon Theory -- Viewing capital markets through the lenses of Game Theory and history, and here is the latest in which he mentions beekeeping of all things. 

His writing appeals to me due to his surprising intelligence and clarity.  Although he is writing about economics, what his comments on data sets and statistical analysis summarize eloquently my weak but urgent protests about the misapplication of statistical analysis in bee science.  The anecdote about the surgeon and the question about controls is classic, too.

Mid-afternoon, I drove to Gull Lake and joined Orams for supper and a visit.

I was tired and went to bed early.

The value of an education ... is not the learning of many facts
but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.
 Albert Einstein

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Saturday May 7th 2016

Today Sunny. Wind becoming south 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 28. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Clear. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light near midnight. Low 7.

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Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I'm at Gull Lake this morning.  No definite plans as yet.

Jean and Chris are doing yard work.  We launched the boat and I took the kids for a cruise.  It was cool in the breeze, but we had a good time.

We had lunch and I had a nap, then decided to head home.

 I stopped at Aspen Beach and found it crowded, with people swimming and sun bathing.

I thought of returning to Birch Bay to get the kids, but it was twenty minutes back where I had come and by then  it was after four.  I figured that the day would cool shortly.  After all, it is only May 7th and far earlier than the usual beginning of beach season in Alberta.  I decided to head home.

As I left the beach, I passed  a fire truck and officials tcketing a camper who had a cooking fire in a pit.  I had noticed the open fire coming in and wondered.  With the Fort McMurray fire and other bush fires out of control, we have a province-wide fire ban and they are enforcing it.

I fuelled up in Sylvan Lake and was on 11X when Jean texted saying Jean and family were going beekeeping in Lacombe with a friend in the evening.  The temperature was still 29C and the sun high and I realised I could have taken the kids to the beach, had lots of time for swimming, and stayed over.  Just the same I wanted to get home.

I drove by The Mill and Bert's as they are along the way, but no one was home and I arrived in Swalwell by six.

I am aware that I have been disoriented since the voyage and realise I am rushing from one thing to another, not being where I am, and not feeling much.  I am also tense all the time.

I find I have absolutely no interest in my bees or my property.  They are just too overwhelming and embroil me in endless futile tasks.  Owning a share in a cottage is just one more burden.  I do, however have enthusiasm for my boats and boating, so depression is not a likely diagnosis.  Burn-out is or maybe brownout more likely.

Burnout is a type of psychological stress. Occupational burnout or job burnout is characterized by exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, feelings of ineffectiveness, and also may have the dimension of frustration or cynicism, and as a result reduced efficacy within the workplace.

My current exacerbation is perhaps a result of pushing 24/7 before and during the voyage and the scheduling of the upcoming trip. It could be due to heart medication. It could be due to losing my sister and wife, my mother approaching 100, and my having the heart incident last summer. Hard to say.  Maybe I really need that ten-day vipassana retreat.

The upcoming trip will be the opposite of the delivery.  Although we have several five-hour days scheduled, many days look as if we will just be chilling on our boats and exploring the Northern Gulf Islands.

One of the serious obstacles to the improvement of our race is indiscriminate charity
Andrew Carnegie

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Sunday May 8th 2016

Today Mainly sunny. Increasing cloudiness this afternoon. Wind south 20 km/h becoming north 30 gusting to 50 this morning. High 21. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers. Low plus 5.

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'm at home today again.  Alone. I had figured it not worthwhile to recover Zip from Ruth for the week especially since Zip is convalescing from the recent surgery.

When I weighed in today, Fatsecret warned me that I am losing 13.3 lbs/week.  Of course it is just water as my system rebalances after 10 days of going 24/7 with only three-hour sleep segments much of the time and the travel home.  I have yet to return to the trend line on the chart.

The trend line was steeper back at the beginning and has been leveling off as I have become less rigorous in diet.

I find my current weight acceptable although, with a BMI of 30, I am still classed as obese, but just on the cusp of 'overweight'. Losing one more pound, however, would put me in the 'overweight' class.

 less than 18.5 you may be underweight
 from 18.5 to 24.9 you are at a good weight
 from 25 to 29.9 you are overweight
 30 or higher you are obese

I'd have to shrink to 175 pounds -- losing 40 more pounds -- to barely make it into "Normal Weight" and another fifteen to get the middle of that class.  I'd blow away in a light breeze.

I've already shed about 40 pounds over the past few years.  When I think of a bucket of honey weighing 35 lbs -- 2-1/2 gallons, roughly, and carrying that around all day, that burden and its loss seems impressive. 

However, when I visualize a bucket of water and fat weighing 40 pounds I can't see where it came from or how I can afford to lose another 40 pounds to achieve "normal".

The problem here is a failure of imagination as much as anything.

I have organizational things to do today and the day is predicted to be cooler than yesterday, so maybe I will get outdoors and do some outdoor work

I finished some deskwork and eventually got outside to look at hives.  In the North Yard, only four of the sixteen are alive.  Of those, two have just a frame of brood and one is drone layer.  I was interrupted by rain and went in.  My heart is not in working bees, either.

I see the two Canada geese that stayed here have raised three goslings.  The picture is not very good, I'm afraid.

In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
Johann von Neumann

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Monday May 9th 2016

Today Cloudy. 40 percent chance of showers late this morning and this afternoon. Wind north 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 13.
Tonight Clearing late this evening. Wind north 30 km/h gusting to 50. Low plus 1.

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 have an eye appointment at 1230, so have to leave here around ten.

I did and dropped into Costco along the way to return a bad battery, then drove to the Southwest and spent two hours doing tests and being examined, but mostly waiting around.  My pressures are good and there are no changes, so the doc said he won't need to see me for a year instead of every six months as he has for the last ten or so.

I drove to Kensington to buy a pair of Birkenstocks, but they were out of what I wanted, so I drove on up 14th street.  That as my old stomping grounds four decades ago and it has changed a bit, but not as much as one might expect.

I drove out 16th Ave to the Deerfoot and up to Airdrie. then stopped at a doctor's office on Main Street where I had good service previously.  Up where I live, we have no doctors available. 

I was concerned about some blemishes on my face and scalp and wanted to consult.  I have also had some urinary problems come and go over the past while.

Somewhat to my surprise the doctor turned out to be a woman wearing a headscarf.  She proved to be very attentive and efficient.  After a quick break for an urinalysis and a five-minute wait, she declared I have an infection and prescribed an antibiotic I have not come across before, nitrofurantoin.  I checked it out and it seems appropriate.

As for the blemishes, she had a dandy little squirt bottle of liquid nitrogen which she used to deal with the worst spots and suggested I make an appointment and meet another doctor who is taking new patients,  get acquainted and arrange to spend more visits treating the various precancerous spots.  It take several visits she said.

I was quite impressed, having seen more than a few doctors in my time.  Knowing some are much sharper than others and having had good luck here twice, I agreed and have to drive there again tomorrow.

It's so much easier to suggest solutions when you don't know too much about the problem.
Malcolm Forbes

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