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 February 2018

 

 

 

 

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Background image - Snowy and Cold here in Alberta

 

Thursday February 1st 2018

Today Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 17. Wind chill minus 30.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries late this evening and overnight. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 22. Wind chill minus 27.

Due to my cold, I slept even more badly than usual. but eventually found myself awake at 0825, breathing comfortably.  I was fine until I moved and then realized that I ached more or less all over, but that got better although I was still vague and achy.

Maybe the cold medicine had me hyper, but I was up a twice after midnight. At one point, I ate a banana and some porridge and two Benadryl, then went back to bed. That was 0222.  After that, I slept.

BG is 5.8, BP 113/74 with a pulse of 86 when I measured after coffee.
Pulse was still high at 78, two hours later.

I had porridge for breakfast, with walnuts and a few raisins and cranberries cooked in and later, I read BG at 11.0!  I had found my leftover metformin and taken one, and BG still went 'way high, so maybe porridge is not the ideal breakfast for me. My friends are skipping breakfast,.  Maybe I should too.  I used to eat eggs for breakfast and that hardly affected my BG.

It is cold, cold, cold out and I am sick, so I'll stick the keyboard.  Even after leaving my phone on the desk for periods yesterday, Fit counted 5,836 steps and I am up to 884 already today. What I have discovered recently, though, is that counting steps is pretty meaningless if those steps are just ambling around.

I'm sick today, but able to function.  A tree guy called up and I had him come by to look at several trees that are overhanging and threatening the house. He says he can deal with them for $1000.  I suppose that is cheaper than replacing windows or part of the roof.

I got some bookkeeping done, but I am not good for very much.  I did lot of research on various topics that I've been meaning to do.

I went to bed at 2030.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Friday February 2nd 2018

Today Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High minus 16. Wind chill minus 27.
Tonight Cloudy. Periods of snow beginning after midnight. Amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Wind becoming north 20 gusting to 40 overnight. Low minus 20. Wind chill minus 29.

Today Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 17. Wind chill minus 30.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries late this evening and overnight. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 22. Wind chill minus 27.

It's 1255 AM.  I woke up after sleeping soundly (AFAIK) for four hours.  I was only slightly congested, but on getting up I find I am still light-headed.  This cold is very different from the last.

For some reason, I left the Dristan spray on Baja Magic.  What was I thinking?  Fortunately, I have not needed it -- yet.

I decided to stay up for a while. 

I find if I stay up until I am wide awake and become tired, then falling back asleep is easier and sleep is better. If I was being nagged by one of those low-key, non-stop, pointless dreams, staying up a while gives it time to dissipate. 

I figure that when I sleep, my mind is rearranging the furniture and sorting though experiences and ideas categorizing them and filing them.  Sometimes, there is a lack of necessary information to proceed, and a loop results. Other times, a point is reached where no solution presents itself or the solutions are equally attractive.

It is unusual for me to not fall asleep shortly after lying down.  Usually, if I don't, I get back up for a while.  There is no point tossing and turning.

Adrian sends this: (I was suspicious of the URL, but it is okay)

"The flu vaccine is only 10 percent effective this year. Blame eggs.
Vox. The way we make vaccines isnt a good match for the virus type circulating this year. Read the full story. Apple News

I have been watching my vital signs and notice that my pulse has been much higher than normal for two days.  My blood pressure is good, though.  BG has been interesting, with several readings in the 5s and that one 11.

Everywhere I've searched for a deeper understanding of blood pressure and blood glucose, I find only generalities and opinions.  I find few facts but plenty of generalities that are somehow supposed to cover the entire range of people -- genotypes, phenotypes, ages, races, conditions. 

As I say, my resting pulse is up 20 over normal.  For interest's sake, here is what I recorded over the past few days.  BP now is 117/71. Pulse 78. Before bed: 122/74. Pulse 70.  Two hours earlier, 122/72. Pulse 70. 10AM yesterday: 124/75. Pulse 75.  The day before at 6 AM was 116/71. Pulse 64. Previous to that, pulse was always below 60 and often in the 50s.  I gather the virus is stressing me enough to raise my pulse. Apparently this normal unless resting pulse goes above 85.

I also have had aches and pains for the past several days. One pain that makes me wonder is right inside where my left arm meets the body where I injured my shoulder skiing many years ago.  The pain is close enough to the heart that I wonder if I should worry, but it is not in quite the right place, and swinging the arm a bit seems to stop the sensation for a while, so I have to assume that it is just a war wound.

Advice is to go to a hospital immediately if experiencing a chest pain. If I did that, I'd have to live there.  When I did have a mild heart event, I knew it and went right away, but at other times, pains come and go.  Is it different for other people?.

BG last evening was 5.1 and 5.4 and is now 6.6. I have not felt like eating since mid-afternoon, so I haven't eaten and I'm not hungry.  That is interesting, but what is with the rising BG.  I'll be interested in  the morning reading. I really don't understand this.

It's 0145 and I am going back to bed.

It's now 0354 and I am up again.  I had a really good nap and when I woke up, I thought that maybe the cold has broken. I'm not as light-headed and I'm a bit hungry.  However, I blew my nose and blood came out.  It did not bleed, though.  Odd. Last cold, my nose blew pink for a long time during and after.  I wonder what's next.

I got up for two reasons.  On was to wake right up and the other was to measure .  I know I'm getting fanatical about numbers, but I'm really curious.  If I'm feeling this much better, will the numbers change?  Hmmm 127/78. Pulse 83!  BG is 6.4. No improvement there.

As I say, I'm going on and on about this.  Time to cut back.
One last BP: 104/68. Pulse 81. (I can't help myself).

Not much happening with the bees right now.  It's minus twenty outside.


I went back to bed around four. I wasn't too sleepy, but felt like lying down. I took my phone and listened to conversational Spanish on Audible for a while.   Since I was a bit stuffy, so I took two Benadryl.  After ten minutes or so, I fell asleep. In Spanish, I seem to be understanding more of what I hear.


It's 0850 now and I'm up for the day.  I had three eggs for breakfast. 

That always worked in the past to keep my BS down.  That 11.0 reading after the porridge yesterday freaked me.  Maybe what they say about oatmeal does not apply to me.  It may be good for my gut, but what about the rest of me?

I'm wondering about eating all the recommended fruit, too.

213.8lbs, 5.9  130/78 Pulse 80

A reader asks about my temperature.  I don't know.  I have a thermometer somewhere, but where? I was aware that I had an elevated temperature a day or two ago, but I don't think I do now.  At its worst, the rise was noticeable but not very high.

He also suggests I am losing water and that lower blood volume can raise pulse. Could be, but my weight is close to where it was when I weighed in after coming home -- 214 -- so I doubt I am very dehydrated.

I'm still a bit foggy and unmotivated, but much better. 

This started late on Monday, and this is Friday, so if it lasts a week, as colds generally do, I'm past the midpoint, and if there are no more surprises, I am very grateful that the end is in sight.

Now, on to something more interesting...  But what?

Going and lying down?  That sounds appealing. I lay down and listened to more Spanish, drifted off, and next thing I knew it was 1100.  I found a thermometer and read my temperature. It's an old mercury thermometer and I used to hate those things under my tongue and the admonitions to keep my mouth closed. Anyhow, the result is 37 C or 98.6 F.

From here: The average body temperature, taken with a thermometer in the mouth, is 37C (98.6F), but anywhere between 36.5C and 37.2C (97.7F and 99F) can be considered normal. Armpit temperatures are 0.2C to 0.3C lower than this. A fever in adults is a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above.

That's disappointing.  If I feel this vague and light-headed, I should at least have a temperature.  I'm not good for much except writing about this cold. Sorry.

My BS is 5.6. BP 121/73 Pulse 76. Still high.

I suppose two out of three ain't bad.

After a half-hour, and some ramen noodles (I know) I lay down again with the Spanish lessons and next I knew I woke up and it was 1400.  I took another Allegra-D and checked my BP and pulse out of interest.  I also checked my BG, expecting it to be raised after the noodles.  It was..

BG is 8.6  BP is109/73 Pulse is 88


 I've been kidding myself.  I'm not better. I'm worse.  I lay down for a while and slept again. It's now 3:58 and I'm light-headed, chilled, my ears are ringing...

I may not be able to do much today, but I have been able to listen to Spanish lessons. 

Each of the authors claims his method is the best, and they all work in different ways. I find these Spanish audio books a bit confusing, though, in that while I am hoping to learn pronunciation as well as vocabulary and usage, I notice that the same person seldom pronounces the same word exactly the same, even when repeating it. Add to that the fact there is Castilian Spanish and South American Spanish, and it gets confusing.

Nonetheless, I am not at the point where my accent is going to need a final polishing and it does help to hear the same words and phrases spoken by a variety of people.

One of the series is too fast for me an I have to use the Audible speed feature that changes the speed without changing the pitch or anything else noticeably.

From here: After an incubation period of 24 to 72 h, symptoms begin with a scratchy or sore throat, followed by sneezing, rhinorrhea, nasal obstruction, and malaise. Temperature is usually normal, particularly when the pathogen is a rhinovirus or coronavirus.

After a few minutes up, I took all the drugs I dared and returned to my bedroom and lay down again.  I have the heat on full in there and my bed has an electric mattress pad. At times like this, it is wonderful.

Next I knew, it was after six.

112/65 Pulse 70 BG: 5.6

I slept a bit more when I awoke I found that my sinus congestion was getting worse and was not easy to clear.  I knew the answer, but it is 2,000 miles away in La Paz, so I drove to Three Hills to get more Dristan nasal spray.  I don't know if I should have been driving, but the route is wide open highway with four blocks in  town.  I was surprised.  It's Friday night and the main street had only one or two cars parked there.  Times are changing.

I went home, sprayed my nose, and went back to bed.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Saturday February 3rd 2018

Today Snow. Amount 5 cm. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this afternoon. High minus 18. Wind chill minus 30.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Fog patches developing late this evening. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 28. Wind chill minus 36.  

It's now 0242. I woke up and found that I was stuffed up so I blew my nose and applied Dristan.

The last time, I applied the spray, I was rather careless.  This time I followed instructions, applied more and made sure it got up my nose all the way into the sinuses, then lay on my back so it would be sure to go all the way up..

I had a nosebleed earlier in the day one side and it bled again now, but the bleeding was minor and stopped right away.  Odd.

I'm up until I get tired -- which seems to be about now at 0305. I went back to bed and next thing I knew, it was 0755.

212.4lbs, 5.9, 113/75 70

I feel better, not good, but better this morning. My head hardly hurts when I cough. No aches, and I'm not too light-headed. I am finding things more interesting.

It's minus twenty, going down to minus thirty-one tonight.  That doesn't really matter since I'm not likely to go out much anyhow.

Mexico is on my mind and I really want to get back there.  Everything else seems less appealing.  I have come to really like La Paz and am looking forward to being there again.

Nothing much is happening here and I don't see anything coming up.  I'll have a tree cut and another cabled, but I don't think I'll do anything about the heating system this trip.

My computer mouse wheel started doing odd things and would not scroll properly.  I was not sure if the issue was software or hardware, but I looked inside and here is what I found.

Hair was wound around the axle and interfering with the signal to the turn counter somehow.

I removed the hairball (right) and put the mouse back together and now it works fine. Mice need maintenance now and then.

It's now 1030 and I realise I have not eaten since the banana and a few nuts in the middle of the night, and I'm not hungry. How about that? Maybe I'll lose a few pounds.

I do sooo want to get back to La Paz.  My plan was to be home two weeks, but I'm itchy now. I checked the calendar and this my seventh day home.  That means if I stick to my plan, I'll fly by the tenth. In the meantime, I'm bored.  Why else would I be documenting a cold?  This may be a first though.  I don't know where else on the 'net you can get a blow by blow description of having a cold.

Here are comments from another reader, continuing along the current health and ageing themes:

You say you were able to tell the difference between pain from an old left shoulder injury versus pain related to a heart issue, I take some comfort in that :-)

I should mention that I had a rather severe injury to my left shoulder many years ago (crashed my motorbike at 100kph), and it still aches sometimes, front and back from my neck all the way down to my elbow. I don't even know what to say at checkups when the Dr. wants to know, in reference to my heart, if my left arm ever hurts. Nor do I know how I would ever be able to differentiate if an ache in my left arm might be indicating a heart issue rather than that long ago accident!

You say you were able to tell the difference between pain from an old left shoulder injury versus pain related to a heart issue, I take some comfort in that :-)

I should mention that I had a rather severe injury to my left shoulder many years ago (crashed my motorbike at 100kph), and it still aches sometimes, front and back from my neck all the way down to my elbow. I don't even know what to say at checkups when the Dr. wants to know, in reference to my heart, if my left arm ever hurts. Nor do I know how I would ever be able to differentiate if an ache in my left arm might be indicating a heart issue rather than that long ago accident!

Yes, in my case it was obvious.  I was faint, sweating and it felt like indigestion.  The shoulder pains are different, then there are some occasional small short stabbing pains in my chest.  I don't know.  People talk about angina.  Maybe this is it?  Or it could be anything.

I have found that people talk about all sorts of things and really don't know what they are talking about. As I said before, if I went to the hospital every time I have a chest pain, I'd have to live there. 

In this case, nobody wants to be the guy who said, "no worries", when you have a real one, but IMO, if you have a real one, you'll know.  Mine was minor and I had no doubt.  There was no chest pain, just indigestion, sweating and faintness.

Here is as good an article as you'll find. The article mentions anxiety and I always interpreted that as anxiety about health.  I have never mentioned it, and maybe did not realize it at the time, but earlier that same day I had the event, I sold all my stocks.  Now, looking back, that appears to be a sign of generalized anxiety.

I'm trying to figure out travel health insurance and it is a real time-waster.  As with much on the 'net these days, the focus is superficial. Usually the best reference is from other people in a similar situation. I'm not finding it.

  Well, I did it.  I bought a flight and shuttle seat for Feb 10th, one week from today.
  I lift off at 6AM and should be in La Paz by 3:30.

I laid down for a while and slept.  At 1645, I'm feeling better, but I noticed my skin is feverish and I have a temperature now -- 100.5+/-.    BP  is 115/71 Pulse 78. Shaking down a thermometer.

I lay down again for a while and got up around dark.  I watched the rest of Hickok.  It was watchable, but really strains my credulity. 

I am always amazed at how our artistic classes take license with the facts and appropriate real names for fiction.  At some point, a newcomer cannot know truth from fiction and that is a real social problem IMO. Nonetheless, there are big rewards for distorting and embellishing history.

Many  politicians have been misrepresented by television personalities for sake of laughs and ratings.  After watching, when they get to the voting booth, many people cannot tell a send-up they saw from a real interview and vote accordingly.  Sadly, the arts community and the media are all 'liberal' leaning and tend to assassinate those who have different opinions.  Personally, I would rather not have my opinions formed by people who make their living and reputation by pretending.

I had begun Hickok yesterday, but soon tired of watching.  Too sick.  I'd also looked at Man Down and was amazed at how incredibly bad it was.  Amazed.

After Hickok, I checked my numbers.

102/59  Pulse 64. BG 6.4. Less than 98.6 on the thermometer.

Oh yeah.  I drank some water a few minutes ago.  I guess that matters.

BTW, I'm not eating much today.  Not hungry.

(Later) Still can't get a reading of 98.6.  Maybe  I'm dead.

Maybe not.  I'm still moving at 9:15 PM and I'm off to bed.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Sunday February 4th 2018

Today Mainly sunny. Increasing cloudiness near noon. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 16. Wind chill minus 43 this morning and minus 25 this afternoon.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries this evening and after midnight. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 27. Wind chill minus 31.

I woke up at 053, feeling much better.  I got up and weighed.

211.8 lbs. BG is 6.2.  BP 116/74 Pulse 65. No temperature.

I see I've dropped a lot of weight, and imagine most of it (sadly) is water.  Am I dehydrated?  I don't think so, but I am drinking more water when I am not eating or drinking much coffee.  Sinus congestion continues, but is manageable with Kleenex and Dristan.

Although I am better, I am not yet great and I may go back to bed for a while.  I did, but  did not sleep, so I am up again.  I made an omelet made of egg whites.  I'd bought a bottle of them as a curiosity, seeing as the major complaints against eggs are against the yolks.

I spent the morning at the keyboard catching up and wrestling with my Canon printer that said another computer is using the printer when it really means the colour cartridge is low and I should buy another one-- from Canon, of course.  It did not mater in the least that I was printing B&W and did not need colour.  It just balked until I fed it an new cartridge.

I get increasingly frustrated by the so-called intelligent software that corrals me down through chutes of its choosing and imposes one-size-fits-all Procrustean solutions when I would like some control and some choice.

I'm a free-range guy and I don't like where things are heading.  It sure looks like pen.   At some point all our decisions will be made for us and we will be on schedules.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

I'm feeling better.  Still some stuffiness, still have a bit off a cough, and still feel a bit light-headed, but better.

I made some soup after noon and then spent the afternoon writing a latter to the Canadian Revenue Agency.

Last spring I had received on my private unlisted number, what sounded like a scam call from CRA wanting to discuss a claim filed by a company I formed to own boats and which Cooper Boating was managing.

The information he had -- starting with calling me as the contact -- was sufficiently incorrect he would have failed an identity test calling a cellphone provider or bank, so I said I don't talk to strangers who call up out of the blue about my business.  If you want to talk to me, send me a letter in CRA letterhead and we can go from there.

A while later in mid-May,  My regular accountant got a peremptory letter addressed to me asking for a bunch of paper.  I don't have that and I passed it on to Colin who is supposed to be handling all that stuff. 

About then the Cooper accountant's mom died and shortly after that my boat sank and Colin was up to his ears in alligators rearranging charters and dealing with insurance with limited accounting backup. Additionally, May/June is a very busy time in charter but he met the rush deadline CRA gave us: June 30th.

After all that panic, I heard nothing until 9:30 AM January 4th -- over six months later -- when I got a call from a woman at CRA.  Apparently the previous agent had quit and she got the file and they were back to calling me.  They had lost the authorization for Cooper to speak to them.

We spoke and I thought she had things straight, but she then demanded more documentation which was provided and still the matter is not closed. Apparently her supervisor is off sick or something and has been for a while. 

I think I have a bona fide case for a complaint under Taxpayers Rights. I'm not inclined to pursue it, though. I pity the poor desk jockeys, especially at government. I hear that many civil servants, including CRA, I assume are having trouble getting correct paycheques, even paid at all, due to the hopeless Phoenix payroll system.

We hear stories of dysfunction at CRA and tend not to believe it until we see it.  For me this is the second time they have gone through staff, wasted my time and eventfully said, no issue. The last time must have been forty years ago. Plus a change, plus c'est la mme chose.

I watered the plants.  They had been neglected for the last few days and some were quite dry.

I am a lot better.  I'm still stuffy and my ears ring, but its a big improvement.

Nonetheless, it is 1833 and I will go lie down a while. I'm starting to think of sleeping eight hours straight as something kids do.  I'm good with a few good big chunks.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Honey Bee World Forum | Contact me 

Monday February 5th 2018

Today Clearing. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 19. Wind chill minus 30.
Tonight Clear. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 25 with temperature rising to minus 20 by morning. Wind chill minus 33.
Tue, 6 Feb A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries in the afternoon. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 16. Wind chill minus 28.
Night Clear. Low minus 24.

I'm up at 0420, feeling better, but with a runny and chapped nose now, and some continuing congestion. I've quit worrying about how long and how well I sleep and just accept whatever I get.  I get up when I can't sleep and lie down when tired.

My head is clear this morning, almost.  I quit taking Allegra-D several days ago and am now just using Dristan when needed and Benadryl at night.  The runny nose is likely a sign of the end of congestion and the end of the cold.  The first symptoms appeared a week ago so if that is the case, things are on track.

Weight is 212.4 BG is 5.7 BP is 126/75. Pulse 72

From the above numbers, maybe I should get a cold more often. Nah. 

That said, sometimes viruses make permanent changes in gene expression. We don't know much about that. 

Below is a link to a really good article on pre-diabetes that everyone should read.  Judging by the changes and increase in information lately, I think that we are on the track to understanding and a solution beyond blaming the victims and prescribing difficult and often ineffective diet and exercise 'solutions'. Dr. Mirkin tends to be scientific in his outlook and scans the recent research regularly, changing and improving his articles as new, credible, information comes in: The Hidden Epidemic of Early Diabetes

It is still amazingly cold here.  It is minus twenty-three at the moment and not likely to get much warmer until I leave.

Allen,
You mentioned travel health insurance in your last diary entry. I'll be one to vouch for it. We travel to the states at least once a year, sometimes for months at a time. I religiously bought insurance from RBC, but never did any research in what we are actually covered for etc.
A couple years back my son slipped at the pool and bonked his head. We went to the hospital, presented our insurance papers, got him treated, and never paid a dime. The only correspondence we received after was some paperwork basically asking us to sign off on being able to sue them down the road.
It was a pretty minor injury, and not sure how one would be treated with a major stroke, or traumatic injury, but I'm sold on the relatively small cost of travel insurance

Yes, thanks, Dean. I agree.

I always had travel health insurance and when I had a business, and I was covered automatically anytime I left the country at no extra cost. I used it a few times for little things.  I was younger then and it was cheap and easy to get. As I age, the costs escalate and if I reach 90 and still travel, I won't be able to get it.

Additionally, any pre-existing condition may not be covered unless stated and it has no medication change for six months (sometimes ninety days) previous.  In the case of heart, you definitely want that coverage because when you're in distress on a gurney, you can't argue price.

The problem is that little things that are free or affordable here or Mexico can be billed at sky-high rates in the US. Moreover, I've heard that without insurance, people are given low priority, turned away, or transported across town.

When asking about the nearest hospital in Oregon when I scalded my thigh, we were asked what type of hospital? We did not understand. A bystander understood and pointed us to the nearest one.  I have seen other incidents and in one, my insurance was billed $700 in Rhode Island for checking me for strep and prescribing pills. Later, a scammer called me up and claimed the insurance had not paid the doctor and wanted a credit card.  Sure.  Goodbye.  Never heard from that caller again.

I'm not saying this is universal in the US because the US is hugely diverse, but I am afraid of having any sort of serious injury there without insurance that I am certain will go to bat for me.  I think even if they later decide to refuse to pay, that they have contacts and clout and will still arrange better and more cost-effective care if I am not able to make my own decisions.  I carry the card face-up in the window of my wallet.

Around noon, I laid down a while and had a short rest.

I wasn't down long, then got up and did some tidying, some research, the dishes again, and then shoveled the furnace. Carolyn came by and we went over some new things to do while I am away.

I get a daily email telling the latest on the world financial markets.  I ways try to guess before opening it.  Today, I guessed that after a huge down day Friday that today would be up.

Wrong!  All the markets puked.  Those are big changes. Too bad I did not own the VIX.  I knew this would happen eventually but I'm not playing.

I wonder how Bitcoin is doing.

Hmmm. Aren't you glad you didn't grab that last chance at 12,000 or so?

Here is VIX making a moonshot. (That thin vertical line is today and a 4:1 change).

Too bad I'm not playing.

There will be lots of sad faces around the dinner table tonight.

Stay tuned.  We'll see if the bottom falls out or there's a bounce. Stand back.

Well this is a financial day.  I just got a call from Rogers wanting to give me 12 GB of data, Office 365, and some other toys like two phone numbers on the same phone and voicemail-to-email for around what I am paying now.  I said, "OK".

Then I heard from my boat insurance, then my car insurance, and now this article from a fav: Ben Hunt.  Some days nothing happens and then...

Too Clever By Half

As it happens, it's not his best article ever.

I had supper of fish, broccoli and cauliflower.  I'm still not very hungry.

The congestion is getting better and under control with Mentholatum alone.

I spent time daydreaming about the Baja and now it is seven. I've still a bit of a light-head and ringing in my ears, but my mind seems clear.

I went to my bed and laid down for a while, listening to Spanish lessons. After a while, I got up and had a shower, and went back to bed.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Tuesday February 6th 2018

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries this morning. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 60 becoming light this afternoon. High minus 11. Wind chill minus 35 this morning.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming cloudy near midnight. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 22. Wind chill minus 27.

At 0345 I was dreaming. I was on a bus on the Pichilingue road (just north of la Paz) watching my progress on my tablet with Google Earth.  I was feeling quite pleased at how well the tablet was working when I woke to the howling of heavily loaded locos struggling uphill. 

The turbos were screaming louder than the sound of the horns as they approached the crossing five hundred meters away. That's unusual.  Trains have been  quite quiet lately.  This train must have been slowed or stopped for some reason at the bottom of the long grade that begins two miles south of me and ends two miles north.

Weight 209.4, BG is 5.8. BP is 118/76. Pulse 70

Whadyknow? These numbers are going the right way.  Good BP. Normal pulse. Improved BG.  Dropping weight...  My nose is still plugged a bit, but my ears aren't ringing and my head seems clear. 

My dream got me thinking about Pichilingue.  I had discounted it as an industrial and commercial site as it is a shipping hub and the centre of a lot of activity, located at the head of a long bay.  I thought the bay to be natural, but I see now that it is an artificial bay formed by building a causeway at some time in the past.  My search also shows that Pichilingue beach north of the causeway is highly rated and popular

I am finding out over and over that my guesses about la Paz and area have been consistently wrong.

We had a big drop in the markets yesterday and there is talk about the biggest drop, etc., and I just heard on the radio that that Musk is launching a car into space. It looks to me is if hubris has just peaked, but I've been wrong before.

If I don't mention having quit drinking three months ago very often, it is because I don't think about drinking very often.  This is much easier than I had expected. -- as long as I don't change my mind.

My phone rand with a strange number from Ohio.  I answered and it turned out to be a call from a man I had written about my Corus sensor systems on Baja Magic.  Seems he is an aficionado of the brand and does repairs.  We had a long chat about my wind sensor and I'll call him from Mexico when i have a chance to look at it.

Then the lady from CRA called with good news.  She only needs three more items and I'm clear for the refund.  I was getting worried after this having dragged on this long.

I called Colin and let him know.

The morning is gone and I should prepare for the city.  The Bluewater meeting is tonight and I use that as an excuse to go to Calgary and do chores along the way.  I'm mostly well and getting better by the hour.

I left around three and drove to Airdrie, where I bought a sleeping bag, then a pair of Birkenstocks, picked up the mudflaps for my van, and drove to the Bluewater meeting in Calgary.

I was still under the influence of the cold and had to blow my nose periodically and had an uncontrollable cough at times, but otherwise was okay.

The presentation ran long and I left just before the end as I wanted to pick up some yoghurt and berries before the stores closed at ten.

The presentation was about the building of a 46-foot offshore-capable sailboat as a retirement project.

Construction had began at a molding facility in B.C., then six years (or maybe seven) were spent in their backyard near Cochrane, with completion at Shelter Island, Richmond B.C.  It was an epic project and must have cost  a fortune, which I assume they have (or had) and were happy to spend.

From my perspective, they used up almost a decade and funds that could have been spent on the water, only to end up with a brand-new boat worth maybe half the money spent, a ten-year old design and maybe found that their desires had shifted over time. I know in ten years mine shift a lot.

Their construction work was definitely professional and they know every detail by heart.  The boat is by all signs a quality job and if nothing else they must find great deal of satisfaction in that

The presentation was well-illustrated and somewhat instructive, but I knew pretty well the whole process anyhow.  What I did learn was that they simply glassed in the wooden structure surrounding the batteries to form a liquid-tight battery box.  It's not an uncommon way to solve the problem, but I had been scratching my head about where I would get a battery box of the appropriate size for Baja Magic when I change the batteries. Production boats like mine often do not confine the batteries so well and so properly.

The structure of their boat is different from mine as there is a natural depression for their batteries and mine sit on a platform, but I think the idea can work.  I notice they installed eight golf-cart batteries and I plan on four, but figure I could probably get by on two.

I was home by eleven, ate some yoghurt and blueberries, checked the furnace and went to bed.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Wednesday February 7th 2018

Today Periods of snow. Amount 2 cm. Wind becoming east 20 km/h this afternoon. High minus 11.
Tonight Snow at times heavy. Amount 5 cm except 10 cm over western sections. Wind east 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 17. Wind chill minus 25.

I was up a few times during the night with a stuffed up nose, but slept quite well generally, judging by how refreshed I feel.  I got up at 0730.

211.2 -- 6.4 -- 113/68 -- 65

I want to fix the tractor tire today and go to town for Mexican cash.  I'm also well enough to get working on the books.  I need to get enough info to Kevin to do the missing T2 for CRA.

I searched around ,y computer and sent Kevin some files.  We'll  find out later if he needs more.  Then I went out and pulled off the tractor wheel and checked it under water. It turned out to have more than a rim leak, so It had to go to town.

After I took off the tractor wheel, I was feeling pretty bad.  My head was stuffy and I had a really sore neck.  Up until now I had resisted taking more drugs but took an aspirin and an acetaminophen and an Allegra-D.  I felt much better after a  while and drove to Three Hills.

The tire shop had it fixed in fifteen minutes for $27 while I was at the bank getting pesos.  I stopped at the hardware store on the way home to cut spare keys for the dinghy lock.

Lately, the van's starter is acting up again and it again took ten or more tries to get it to crank at the hardware store and a few times at the bank.   Until the lucky try, the solenoid just clicked. Other times, and usually lately, it started right up.

I've been putting off addressing this issue and for a while after the last time it acted up, I tightened connections and it went back to working 100%, but my fear is that on Saturday morning when I have to leave at 3:30 AM to make my 6AM flight, it might not engage at all.  I think I'll have to haul the van into the basement and take a look.

I put the wheel back onto the tractor and tried starting it, but had no luck, even with ether. After a few more tries, I gave up.  It is only minus fifteen, but it is overcast and near dusk and I was freezing my fingers.

I moved the van indoors to warm up and dry out.  I'll check the connections underneath and I may decide to drop the starter and take a look at the solenoid. 

At one time starter solenoids could be removed, disassembled and repaired, but these days, probably not. The starter and solenoid are probably one piece and the entire rebuilt starter is $300+.  A solenoid?  $25.

I finished at 1800 and decided to quit for the day.

After today, I have two more full days to get ready to go.  I have the coal on the bin to shovel into the bin and I hope to clear the drive, but that won't happen unless I can figure out how to start the tractor.

I still have the snow blower, but it needs reassembly and even if reassembled, doing the drive with it is a huge job compared to using the little tractor, and the tractor has created ridges that would make snowblowing hard work.

When I bought the tractor, I had thought it unlikely to be very useful for clearing snow, but it is amazingly capable.


When I bought the sleeping bag to take south -- I searched  in La Paz and could not find sleeping bags -- I was not sure how heavy it should be.  Remembering cool mornings back in the late eighties farther north in San Felipe, I bought one rated to below freezing just to be safe, although the temperatures in the Sea of Cortez never reach that low.  I may be going north to put the boat on the hard at San Carlos to save money -- or not.

This afternoon, I researched the lowest expected temperatures in the La Paz area and plus fourteen C seems to be the low, so the sleeping bag I bought is a bit heavy, but better too heavy than too light. When I unrolled it, it looks a bit fluffy, too.  I still have time to return it.


I'm still working on my Spanish and I am progressing, but have a long way to go.  The learning process is quite mysterious.  I follow a lesson and think I have it, but when I run that lesson again later, I find I see it from a different perspective and it seems strange. At any rate, I am getting a grasp on the most basic ideas -- doing, seeing going, eating preparing, understanding, reserving, speaking, being able to...  And the negatives.


This is Mexican adventure is an unusual splurge for me.  My long-time MO has been to only buy things that pay for themselves and if I have to spend on repairs, buy tools so I have something to show for the money. That philosophy, with a lot of luck has got me to where I am -- retired for seventeen years now and still solvent.

My other boats are businesses and I guess I intended to make this boat pay for itself too, but it has not worked out that way, and I find that don't care. I am spending money that is not earning a return of any sort.

Money spent on services and just spent on nothing tangible does not result in a pile of possessions taking up space and demanding attention.  That money has just disappeared cleanly not even leaving ashes behind.

Expecting that where there is a choice that cash outlays should obtain a tangible thing can be a blessing and a curse. It results in piling up possessions and that is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time.

When I go downstairs, I have all the tools I could want.  If I had just taken my machinery to service facilities, I'd have nothing.

Whereas I know people who have blown through three times the money I have seen and now have nothing, I find I have a lot of things I don't need or want that once seemed important, but now would cost more in time and effort to give away that they would yield. Everything I own owns me and having all these things clutters and steers my life somewhat, but still also empowers me.

Nonetheless, I am at a point where I really need to discard.


I'm still not up to 100%.  I chill easily.  I was chilled after supper, so I went to bed for a nap, then got up, went outside and downstairs to finish a few things left half-done and tools left lying due to freezing hands.

I then took a break, sat down at the keyboard and reserved a flight back from La Paz for 24 days out. It seems like along stay, but the last two trips have been three weeks and I chose the slightly later date I did because I found a direct flight for as decent, although not excellent price.  This past few months I have seen prices escalate and availability of choice flights dry up as the months pass. The lesson being to book January, February and March flights before Christmas when selection is good and prices are much lower.  Of course I had no idea back then what i would be doing now.  maybe next year I can plan better.

I have some accounting to do, but I didn't do anything challenging in the evening because my mind is not working up to speed and I'm making more errors than normal.  Some of what I wrote above is inconsistent and incomplete.

That's one way I know I am still sick and should go to bed.

Good night.

Steps today, 6,711. Past days, 6,589, 5,160, 3,875, 2,531, 1, 963, 2,665...

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Thursday February 8th 2018

Today Snow at times heavy. Amount 10 cm. Wind northeast 20 km/h becoming light this morning. High minus 14. Wind chill minus 25 this morning.
Tonight Light snow ending this evening then clearing. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 26. Wind chill minus 29.

The snow continues.  So far the accumulation has not amounted to much, but ay YYC some flights are delayed.  This weather is predicted to end this evening with maybe another four inches before it quits.

Friday is expected to be clear and sunny, so that would be the time to plow the drive.  I have to start the tractor, though, which might be difficult unless I can warm the motor. I have a few ideas, but don't want to overexert myself or waste to much time.

Today, I'll shovel the coal on top of the bin into the bin and make sure everything is ready for Carolyn.

I had intended to spend some time on gas heating on my trips home, but colds have wasted much of that time.  I'd have been better to stay south.

I did accounting until four when I decided that the pain in my neck that started yesterday was getting worse and needed a chiropractor.  I called the office and was told to come up, so I showered and changed and went downstairs.

The van had dried out nicely and was ready form me to work under it, but I needed to take it out, so I opened the doors and turned the key.  It took me twenty tries before it connected and started.  Not good, especially with a mission-critical trip coming up very early Saturday.

I backed out, taking several runs since a lot of snow had fallen since I went in, and closed the doors. n The studded tires make this easy.  Without them, I'd be spreading sand.

On the way top town, I phoned around looking for a starter. The closest one was in Airdrie, sixty miles from Three Hills, and fifty from home.  I decided that I had little choice, so after the chiropractor had crunched me and yanked my head around, I drove to Airdrie, got a starter, and drove home and into the basement again.  I hope the van dries out by tomorrow so I don't lie in water changing the starter.

Although the chiropractor may have fixed my neck, it still hurt when I got home, so I took 400mg of ibuprofen. That seems to have helped lot.  I hate to take ibuprofen though. There are concerns and it gives me weird dreams -- but not until I've taken it for several days.


I see the markets cratered again today and the Dow is now officially in correction. Even gold dropped a bit.  The Canadian dollar hasn't moved much.

At six tomorrow morning at 0600, it will be 24 hours until flight time, and I still have lots to do.  I'll check in and then I'll change the starter, look into starting the tractor, and shovel the coal.  After that, I'll tidy and start packing.  The packing should be pretty easy.  I left things down there last trip.

It's Thursday and I've now been sick for eleven days if we count the lead-in and recovery. I find it mildly irritating that I flew home -- and probably caught this on the plane -- then am recovering just in time to get back on a plane to go back after not being able to do much here.  I could have saved my time and money and had two more weeks in the sun.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Honey Bee World Forum | Contact me 

Friday February 9th 2018

Today Sunny. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 17. Wind chill minus 40 this morning and minus 27 this afternoon.
Tonight Clear. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 21. Wind chill minus 25.

I slept pretty well, with only a couple of interruptions and got up at 0605 to check in for my flight.  I now have 24 hours until takeoff.

Weight 210.8lbs  BG 6.1   BP 144/90  Pulse 63

That means I need to sharpen my focus and fortunately I am better still today.

I have to change the starter, pack, do a few furnace tasks, make some calls...

First, though, I'll waste a half-hour writing this.  I generally do this little routine to give me something to do until I wake up.  Like most people, I am not too sharp after waking from deep sleep and try not to do anything too important for a while after.  That is one reason I make a point of waking up an hour before driving.  Tomorrow I drive at 0330, so I'll, be sure to be up at 0230.

Writing this first thing, I sometimes make stupid editing goofs until I wake up.  For example, I just lost a whole section of the page due to fuzzy thinking and had to do some workarounds to get it back.

I recall, one time sailing downwind into New York in fog and waking the skipper for assistance with reefing and, being half-asleep, he issued inappropriate commands that resulted in a crash jibe.  No harm was done, but it just goes to show...

Now, I've been up an hour and it is time to get on with the day. 

(After posting this morning's post (above) and viewing it, I found more obvious mistakes and omissions.  Maybe I'm still not running on all three cylinders.)

Oh, wow!  Now that I look, It is minus thirty-four outside!  Hmmmm.

The forecasts were wrong! And by more than a little bit! 

Small chance I will clear the drive today.  I'd never start the tractor.  Shoveling the coal into the bin will be chilly, too, especially if any wind picks up

The shortest day and the lowest sun angle are now six weeks past and we are  halfway to he equinox and first day of spring.  However, we often can experience the coldest days of the year around this time.

This is the kind of weather that makes me worry about my house when I am away. My furnace keeps it nice in here, but if it failed for some reason, the place could freeze up in short order.

The floor under the van is dry and next I crawl under to see what surprises await.

I went downstairs and the first challenge turned out to be simply jacking up the van.  It is very low and reaching the jack points with the floor jack was not easy.

I finally got it raised and can see that the job may not be as simple as it was on my other van, so I called Three Hills for a quote on installing it for me. Now I am waiting for an estimate.

I'm thinking now, I can probably do it, and now that I think about it, in less time than driving to town and back and waiting while they do it.  It looks daunting now, but I have done harder jobs, and once I start I may find it easy.

I could also find that I cannot finish and cannot go back and be without a van and running out of time...

The estimate came in at $245, plus, assume the shop supplies scam and tax -- and the fuel and time to go to town and back. That is book price and in my experience, the book is just a scam and is almost always well over the hourly, often by several times.

By then I had looked again and decided that the job was not as bad as I had thought.  There is an O2 sensor in the way and that could be a problem if it is seized.  Also the opening to get the starter in and out looks barely large enough, but I had already started.

At times I tend to be frightened when confronted by what look like insurmountable surprises on jobs like this, but then I look back and realize that I have almost always overcome the obstacles and just have to have faith and put one foot in front of the other.

At this point, I have the O2 sensor out and the wires off,  so what remains is three bolts and trying to fit the thing out through a small opening.  Then the reverse of the process with the new ones.  Half the time so far has been finding the right wrenches.

Two bolts were fairly easy, but the third made a contortionist out of me.  I got them all done and the starter dropped, but not without some doubtful moments. It barely fit down through the gap, even after turning it and tumbling to find a fit.

Although at one time, the job was easy and accessible, over time, with increasingly complex and compact engine compartments, the job has become difficult.  I have spent many hours playing with one or two bolts in horrible hidden corners, turning them 1/16th of a turn at a time. Changing starters is not a task for the faint of heart or anyone lacking in agility.  The last one I did was on my 1998 van and I did it in the snow and freezing cold.  That was a real ordeal.

I set the starters side-by-side to compare and they seem the same in all regards.  That's good because I could fail to notice a gear difference or some small thing and find after all my work that the van won't start and the job must be re-done.  Come to think of it, I should hook up and spin the starter before installing to make sure it activates.

I'm now halfway done-- I think -- and I took a break for lunch. I've been at this two hours now.  I get keyed up on this work, so I need to sit back and relax from time to time because I get to running overclocked.

Okay.  Another rest.  Working on your back with your hands up in the air grows tiring.  I had thought I was on the homestretch when  I put the starter into position, but then I could not get it to seat into place.  I pulled the starter out again and felt around in  the place where it seats and that is when I found a shim that goes between the starter than the bell housing (left). 

Drat!  Aligning shims can be murder.  Shims squirm around and slip out of place, making starting bolts difficult. and moreover I can't stick the shim to the starter while it is out because the starter won't fit through the space with the shim installed.

Once my arms are ready, I'll go back at it or maybe I should do something else for a while.

I went back down and the job got easier.  I was finished at 3:48.  I turned the key and --- nothing.  Just a click, the same as before.  I tried several times and then it started. 

I knew right away what I am dealing width and I'm an idiot.  I drove 100 miles and spent $150 and then used up half a day changing a perfectly good starter when the issue must be cables, and that is the first thing to check. The thing is I had inspected them visually and tightened the battery connection, but had not gone any further.

Note: that old starter looks pretty used, so changing it was not an entire waste -- and I know the issue is not the starter.

Now, I disassembled the cables and scraped the surfaces even though they did not appear corroded and tried again. The engine started right away, so maybe that is it. I'll know if the problem doers not recur.  It was a come and go problem up until now and that sort of thing is hard to prove.  Those cables may be corroded internally.  I've seen that before.

I went out and shoveled the coal off the bin top and am taking a rest, but it is 4:45 and I have things to do before I go.  I'd like to be in bed by eight seeing as I have to be up at 2:30.

I am feeling better, but my nose still needs blowing hourly or so, and it is blowing pink.  That has to be from the Dristan and antihistamines.  I'll be glad when I don't need them, and in fact I did not use any all day.

Well, the laugh is on me.  After packing, I went down to lower the van and clean up the shop to be ready for going away and I tried the starter.  Click.  Click.

OK. Now I did what I should have done in the first place: test the battery, and the cables.  As I say the connections look so good, I had thought earlier, why bother?  I took out the jumpers and started by jumping negative to ground since I knew the lower positive connection is good.  I attached it to the starter earlier today.  I found a solid metal piece on the block and clipped on, then tried the key.  Bingo

I should hunt down and tighten the ground lug, but the van is lowered and I cannot see where the connection might be or reach it if I did.  I'll just jumper the starter in the morning and take my chances coming home in three weeks. I'll have the jumpers along and the jump is a simple thing to do.

I'm about ready to go to bed.  I'll get maybe five hours.

Yesterday's post

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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