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 May 2018





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Background image - Looking south from my deck


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Bee-related posts are infrequent here lately, but at one time I was very involved. Just about every topic has been covered somewhere on this site some time or another. Best bets are: 1.) check back on today's date in various previous years 2.) visit the selected topics page 3.) search this site for keywords. 4.) visit

Tuesday May 1st 2018

Today Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers this morning. Wind becoming north 30 km/h gusting to 50 near noon. High 14.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Wind north 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light this evening. Low zero.

I visited with Jean a while, caught up on email, then drove to Red Deer.

I found the urologist's office right on time and sat down.  It  took an hour for him to work through the queue in the waiting room before my turn came up.  He is the sort who takes as long with a patient as he needs and doesn't just go through four an hour the way many do.

He greeted me and said I had seen him in 2013.  I said I didn't think so, then remembered. 

It had been an in and out visit.  My GP had sent me there but I had no real complaint other than high PSA, which I had lived with for decades, and did not want to get involved in biopsies and other bother, having had two biopsies before and experienced the bother and worry.  It seems clear that I have BPH and it is not a big bother, but it makes my PSA look terrible.  PSA used to be considered important but has more recently been deprecated in importance. 

At any rate, he figured we can cure or mitigate the BPH with antibiotics and that agrees with what I had concluded from my research, so I am now on doxycycline for six weeks. 

I am wary of taking antibiotics as there are always collateral effects but doxy is one of the ones I have fewer reservations about and tend to think may have constructive effects beyond the urinary tract.  In fact, it may have been my my imagination, but I have been feeling a bit off balance the past few days and had tightness in my head, but that seemed to disappear not long after I took the first pill and my general outlook improved noticeably.  Psychosomatic?

He also prescribed an Alpha-1 Antagonist, Terazosin, a drug about which I have reservations.  I purchased it, but will not take until I consult with my eye doctors as I am due for another SLT soon and also cataract surgery sometime in the future.

We really cannot trust our doctors to know all the implications of what they advise and need to research ourselves or have an advocate who does so.

He also prescribed a salve for a persistent rash I have had lately and I was on my way.  I stopped at the SuperStore and bought groceries.

Some people hate to shop, but I love buying food.  I am always impressed by how people all over the world have worked together to bring me such an amazing smorgasbord and that I can afford to buy what I want. 

I also am impressed, less favorably by how cleverly manufacturers have taken cheap and nutritious food ingredients and turned them into bait for what has proven to be a trap.  Taking the bait, it is increasingly known, leads to obesity, diabetes and heart disease and cancer.

At home, I relaxed and came across and article about installing Linux on Windows 10 without a VM.  I have a VM, but thought this would be fun.  I used to do programming and have played with Linux over the years so I went ahead.  By midnight, I was sill not finished and installing an X server proved balky, so I have bash, but no GUI.

The rest can wait until another time.

 Yesterday's post

 Quote of the Day
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
George Bernard Shaw

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Wednesday May 2nd 2018
5.6 209.4

Today A mix of sun and cloud. High 21. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Clearing near midnight. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 late this evening then light overnight. Low plus 4.

I slept well and am up at 0730.  I have to remember not to eat dairy products since I am on doxy, but made an omelet and added cheese by force of habit.  Uh oh. I ate it anyhow.  Dairy simply reduces the effectiveness of the drug.  Next time, I'll be more careful.

I am really surprised how a half tablet of glucophage once a day seems to be dropping my blood glucose, even twenty-four hours later. My early morning BG readings have been up to half a point lower since I started taking a half tablet in the mornings.

I am planning to relax today and take things as they come. It looks like a good day to get outdoors and I am feeling the need to walk more, so that is in the plan.

After lunch I took a stroll around town, walking about a mile.

As it worked out, I did a little cleanup and vacuuming and spent some time on email, made a vegetable stew and watched more of the Croatian Netflix series, The Paper.

 Yesterday's post

 Quote of the Day
When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land.
They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. 
When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.
Desmond Tutu

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Thursday May 3rd 2018
5.4  209.2

Today Increasing cloudiness. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 22. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Clearing late this evening. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 6.

I'm up before six.  The day is bright and the geese are back, joining the ducks on the pond. I can hear them outside.

I wrote a letter to my optometrist and sent it by fax.  Fax is antiquated, but still the primary written method of communicating with government and medical institutions. I gave my fax machine away fifteen years ago and don't have a landline, but have now opened a RingCentral account and have fax by Internet.  I write because phone conversations often gloss over points and most people are not good listeners -- or rememberers.

This resulted in a phone call and an appointment in the afternoon to recheck my IOPs and so I drove to town at four and met with the doctor.  She verified my IOPs were 17 and 19 -- significantly lower than what was read in Red Deer and also verified it is okay to take the terazosin.

Interestingly, the initial reading on the air IOP reader test administered by an assistant gave me lower numbers (16) than the more sophisticated device she used when I was in the chair and she used drops.  At any rate, there is no panic.

I had seen an article mentioning a screening of Falling Through the Cracks in Acme tonight and alerted my friends. Fen indicated interest so we met in Acme at the Community Hall.

This presentation interested me because I am very aware that although our Alberta medical response and treatment can be prompt and excellent -- they were in Ellen's case -- there are huge communication errors, redundancies and information gaps that can prove very confusing, worrisome, and wasteful at best -- and lethal at worst.  My letter writing and visit to the optometrist today was in fact directly related to this fact and the importance of getting things in writing.

"A verbal agreement is not worth the paper it is written on."

Getting a good medical diagnosis and appropriate and timely treatment in the Canadian system and maybe anywhere is a crapshoot.  This movie illustrates very clearly exactly how a 30-year old athletic, intelligent, educated, and involved young father slipped through the cracks and died unnecessarily due to a series of miscommunications, coincidences, incompetence and negligence -- in spite of his attention to his own condition and attempts to get appropriate responses and contribute his own insight.

We treat doctors with deference. Should we?  They provide a service for payment and in that way are no different from an accountant or plumber or any other service we hire.  Regardless, even as adults or seniors we address them by the honorific, "Doctor", not Jim, or Anne, or whatever their name is. 

Why is that?  To me it is indicative of an unhealthy relationship of non-equals that is a carryover from when the populace was uneducated and is an anachronism in a day when the patient who has prepared often has to cue and even sometimes school the doctor.

Not only does the system waste its own resources, but wastes those of patients and also fails to make full use of the abilities knowledge and wisdom of the well-educated and informed population it serves.  We are able to borrow large sums of money, trade large blocks of stock. file taxes, pay bills, and complete other vital and sensitive tasks  online without ever stepping into an office, so why do we have to visit a GP for every little issue? 

We are perfectly capable of filling out forms online and answering questions which can be posed by AI backends to do much of the preliminary assessment before being assigned a personal visit to an office if needed.

Using fax is just one clear sign of how far back in the last century much of today's medicine finds itself.

After the show, we went looking for a restaurant to have coffee, bit both were closed.  After all it was almost nine o'clock.  Fen suggested we go back to the old schoolhouse for coffee.  She had given Ellen some steel wheels and wondered if I still have them, She is doing some yard decoration at The Mill and they fit the theme.

Sure enough, we found them and I don't care about them myself -- I'm trying to get rid of things -- so we loaded them into her truck, then sat a while and chatted.  That was pleasant.  I don't have a lot of one-on-one conversations with my friends, having been in the habit of inviting the gang over all at once. I'll have to do this more often.

 Yesterday's post

 Quote of the Day
The planet is fine. The people are f****d. Because everyone is trying to save the planet. The planet doesn’t need that. The planet will take care of itself. People are selfish. And that's what they're doing -- trying to save the planet for themselves to have a nicer place to live.
George Carlin

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Friday May 4th 2018
6.2  211.0    97/56 62

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming north 20 km/h near noon. High 24. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers late this evening and after midnight. Wind northeast 20 km/h becoming light overnight. Low 8.

I took the 5mg terazosin last night before bed, knowing that 5mg is high for an initial dose, but trusting the doctor.  It can drop blood pressure and cause fainting.

I remembered when I got up during the night and was careful not to get up too quickly, or fall and did notice a distinct effect. 

Drugs all have off-target effects and we'll see how this goes.  It is supposed to get better and I am not faint today.  This morning my blood pressure was 97/56 and that is low. It came up over the next hour, though, to 108/65.  Still low.

I'm feeling better today than I have for a while.  After arriving home I had a generalized, non specific low grade anxiety that now seems to have resolved.  Whether it is the drugs, the doctors visits, a chat with a friend or non of the above, I have no idea.  Hope it lasts.

I've been feeling I should do a lot of things and, as I have said, been like a donkey starving between a bale of hay and a bucket of oats.

I spent the afternoon tidying, doing web research, and working on ham radio projects. After supper I got out my bike and rode up to Elliotts' and back,  It was a good workout.  Much better than walking.

I spent a lot of time working on a better cell plan.  The one I have in Canada is too costly. I looked at TextNow and got a number, but the system seems featureless.  I have had Fongo and that is not bad, but they lost my account.   I should look at Project Fi again.  It is only offered in the US, but apparently is used in Canada successfully by some who have US addresses.  It again, like Skype cannot offer Canadian numbers, though.

I watched The Paper (Novine) until bedtime and ran up against the end of that series.

I very much enjoyed that Croatian production.  It was not gratuitously violent.  The characters were developed well and not stereotypical,  The plot was plausible, although I had problems following it at points, possibly due to the language and possible divergence between dialog and the subtitles.

It seems I like European content more than North American productions lately.  I often find NA productions shallow, nasty and/or stupid.  I suspect that I like the Croatian production because I grew up post-war and the the values after a conflict of that magnitude are more gentle and nuanced that now, generations later.  Croatia has just recovered from war and does not need brutishness for entertainment.

 Yesterday's post

 Quote of the Day
Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
Albert Einstein

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Saturday May 5th 2018
5.7 209.4 99/63 59
Cinco de mayo

 Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. High 22. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers early this evening and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing this evening. Low 7.

I'm sleeping better, and getting up only once at night, so I have to assume the doxy and terazosin are working.

I can't figure out TextNow, It seems a waste of time. I need an Internet phone system that can take my Canadian Number and work on Mexican data.  The Mexican data plans are fantastic.  The hitch is that my Mexican number is hard to dial from Canada, so I need a VOIP app running alongside.  Fongo looks like the best option at present.

Google sent me a link to my timeline and it is fascinating how much Google gets right and how much it gets wrong.  When  I am in cell coverage, sometimes it shows me as having made wild excursions from my actual path, and when I was out of coverage some of the time like my trip to Isla San Francisco, it is spot on.  Go figure.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out the various phone plans and decided to go with Fongo and set up the app and decided to test it, so I called Bill and got his wife Faye. She couldn't hear me on the first try.

I received word recently that my new Birkenstocks have arrived in Airdrie and decide to go to town.  I got ready to go and got in the Merc and headed out then decided that Strathmore was closer and the stores are less scattered.  It seems I had forgotten that my initial purpose was to go and get those shoes.

At any rate I drove to Strathmore and went to Work Warehouse looking for pants.

I've lost some weight and my pants are starting to look pretty saggy so I thought it was time to improve my wardrobe. Mark's Work Wearhouse has some pretty high quality clothing usually, but it depends a lot on what region the store is in. If it's in a working-class neighborhood it tends to have working class clothes where is an upscale neighborhoods it has dressier garments.

I looked at the various trousers that were on offer and couldn't find anything that was suitable. All the blue jeans they were selling we're more scrubbed and worn looking than the ones I'm wearing and thinking of replacing.

The dress pants didn't look as if they would hold their shape very well but I did find a pair of shorts I liked and bought them. At the cash I was told that the second pair was half price but I didn't want two pairs so I just paid for the ones I wanted and left, then bought a few groceries and stopped at Extra Foods to fill up. Right now the prices up to $1.27 a liter and it's not even summer driving season yet.

When fuel prices were down governments were able to add a carbon tax without too much blowback from the public but now that the prices are up people are starting to squawk.

Not only that, the public starting to realize that a lot of the climate change 'science' has been selected, cooked and slanted.  It is becoming common knowledge that natural processes are being exaggerated and exploited to empower governments and manipulate the public.

We all know the climate is changing but we don't know if we can predict it and we don't know how much of it is man-made.  We could just as easily return to a cooling period as continue the recent warming trend.

We control the climate in buildings and hubris suggests we should control outdoor climate, too.  Even if we could, whose climate would determine the actions?  The North?  The South? The tropics?  The Arctic?

I suspect there are people who really know how planetary movements affect climate who may be able to say, but they are not listened to very much as there is no political hay to be made from admitting we live on a ball hurtling through space that is largely out of our control.

There's nothing like high prices to make people think about things and what they're thinking is more that the governments are wrong than that they should cut back on their driving. Even if the politicians and rabid greens can't see it, people just know naturally that doing so more than a bit would be disastrous for the economy and their wellbeing.

Cheap energy and alternatives brought an end to slavery in much of the world and has also been a huge factor in the liberation of women.  Cheap reliable cars and good roads provide a way for women to get around safely and quickly and take children with them securely.

Then I headed back to Swalwell and along the way I gave Bill a call on Fongo again. This time I got him and the connection was excellent. The connection seemed as clear or clearer than my regular cell phone does even though it uses the same mic.  We chatted all the way back home and I went in.  We had been talking about trying to connect on ham radio, so I turned on the HF transceiver.

I had contacted Bill from the Baja which is 3,500 km with marginal success and we had talked about connecting from Alberta to Ontario which is still quite a reach -- about 2,400 km -- and figured we would give it a shot.

There's a ham in Ontario who's always on 7.208 evenings, so I figured that hearing him would be a good way to determine conditions. Bill was able to hear him quite well but he was very faint here. Of course it was dark in Ontario and still daylight here and the ionospheric conditions depend on time of day.

About then I received word from my air conditioner guy that he could do my vehicles this evening and I drove to Three Hills. Danny recharged the Mercury's air conditioner and I returned home to get the van then drove back to Three Hills and he checked it out.

He was sure I bring it brought the van to him before but I couldn't remember it so I said I'd check my diary.

At any rate he evacuated the system and recharged it after testing with vacuum and not finding any obvious leak. The entire bill for both vehicles came to a little over a hundred and fifty which is quite amazing really.

I returned home and by then it was getting dark. It was already after nine here and I figured Bill would be in bed so I didn't bother contacting him about trying to reach each other via ham radio.   I looked in the diary to see if I can find references to the air conditioner and all I could find was that I had bought some air conditioner gas in July because the air conditioner was acting up. I must have also consulted with Danny but I have no idea what the upshot was. I think maybe we decided to do nothing at that time.

Just the same I wonder why I don't remember going there. I had a similar experience when I went to the urologist the other day.  He told me I've been to see him in 2013. I did not remember it all but I do vaguely recall having seen a urologist I just didn't remember which one.

At the time, I had been sent to see him due to my (new) GP's worry about my perpetually high PSA and I went, but figured it was a waste of time having been through several biopsies and been worried over nothing, and did not want to repeat that again.

We had a very brief visit and decided to do nothing, which I do recall amused him, I suppose, because everyone else is so worried. Maybe the briefness is why I don't remember more, beyond the vague recollection of having made an annoying and purposeless visit to a urologist and telling him I did not want to worry unless a DRE indicated reason to worry. 

In my case, so far at least, PSA has not been helpful at all.  It has raised a false alarm and led to wasted time and effort.  This time, I do have an infection and I knew it, and the visit was worthwhile. 

I had a late supper and went to bed.

 Yesterday's post

 Quote of the Day
I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.
Gerry Spence

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Sunday May 6th 2018
5.8  210.2  117/67 60

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. High 27. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers overnight. Low 11.

I woke up around 0200 and was still awake fifteen minutes later, so I got up.  I think the late supper was the cause.  I had a coffee and a snack and went back to bed and woke up at 0845.

I remembered today to dictate to my phone and email myself the text, then copy and paste.  Saves a lot of time.  Windows 10 has voice recognition, too.  Must see how good it is sometime.

It has been at least five years and probably 10 since I wash windows and I'm noticing they're starting to get hazy and have a few spots so I decided to wash one bank of the east windows. Including the west side there are 10 such banks of six.

Of course I had to start with cleaning off the window sills which are cluttered with plants and colored glass. Those items needed cleaning as well. The actual window cleaning was a bit of a job to as some of the spots didn't seem to want to come off very easily and I figured took me 2 hours and total to get the job done.

I played with the ham radio a bit and did some research at the desk again and various clean-up jobs.  I have so much stuff I don't know what to do with it all.  When I tidy one area, I have to put the stuff somewhere and that creates a mess elsewhere.

I started watching Netflix in the evening and decided it was a wasteland. Occasionally I find a good series that's not full of gratuitous and excessively graphic violence or formulaic and fake sex but on the whole what I'm finding these days is not particularly enjoyable.

 Yesterday's post

 Quote of the Day
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.

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Monday May 7th 2018
6.4   210.4 98/60  55

Today Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this morning. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. High 25. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers and risk of a thunderstorm. Low

I have friends coming for supper tonight, so this gives me an excuse to vacuum and generally tidy.  Things get a bit messy if I don't make a project of cleaning.  I do the kitchen daily, but other places need attention as the plants shed leaves and dust accumulates over time.

I find I am in a funk these days.  I came home to do things and have not accomplished much.  I've been busy, but not particularly productive.  I find I am in an aimless mood, uncertain of what to do next.  I'd really prefer to go back to Mexico, but feel I have things that need doing here, in BC, and Ontario. The drugs I'm taking for this infection may be affecting my mood.  I don't know, but I'm finding I'm depressed lately.

A group of us are working on the UBA and looking at planning a convention  in fall, We need to include more folks.  If you are interested in being involved, contact me.

I have nine coming for supper tonight and plan on a beef and rice dish and shepherds pie. That means a run to town seeing as I need a few things.

I drove to Three Hills and back, then I spent the afternoon getting supper ready.  Everyone showed up on time except one who couldn't make it.

We had a good supper and everyone left around 9.

I loaded the dishwasher and went to bed.

 Yesterday's post

 Quote of the Day
Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.
Jon Stewart

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Tuesday May 8th 2018
6.1 212.4  107/64 57  

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind north 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 24. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Wind becoming northeast 20 overnight. Low plus 5.

I woke up at 6 and got up for a while and then went back to bed and slept till 9.

I've been pretty sleepy these last little while. Could be the infection that could be the medication or it could be something else who knows?

I need to get a few things done here and one of the big things is to work on the bees. The problem is to start.  I have to get the bee truck running and deal with other little matters before I can do much.

I spent the day researching various matters.  Colin phoned and it seems that I have received an offer for Cassiopeia. It's a little under what I'd like to see given how similar boats have been selling, but the price is still under negotiation, so we'll see how that works out. 

If I get an acceptable offer, I'll have sold my first charter boat by month end. That will be the end of an era.  I bought Cassiopeia back in December 2012, a bit over five years ago.  It's been a great five years with many peak experiences, including sailing solo (mostly) around Vancouver Island.  During that time, I bought three more boats, one of which sunk.

So, if this deal completes, I'll be down to two saltwater boats, both 35-foot sailboats.  I'll still have my freshwater trailerable in Sudbury, too.

This morning, I was itching to get back to La Paz and this afternoon it is looking like I'll be going to the coast to deliver Just Do It! to drydock and back and to maybe complete my instructor qualifications. 

 Yesterday's post

 Quote of the Day
A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
John Barrymore

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Wednesday May 9th 2018
6.1 212.4  107/64 57  

5.7      213.2     111/70   56

Today Becoming cloudy this morning with 30 percent chance of showers later this morning. Periods of rain beginning this afternoon. Wind east 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 13. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight Periods of rain. Amount 5 mm. Wind east 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light near midnight. Low plus 5.

Our weather trend is turning cooler again.  We're six weeks from midsummer's day and the days continue to grow longer, but we still are at risk of frost. After spending time in warmer climes with fewer extremes, coastal BC and the Baja Sur, I'm finding the climate here takes some getting used to.

The grass is turning green and will need mowing in a week or two. I still have not done anything with my bees. There is so much to do, it's hard to know where to start, and I've lost interest in most of it.

Well, I'm back in the game.  I signed a counter-offer on Cassiopeia and am researching a leak in Just Do It!, my Jeanneau 35. Once I determine what the repair involves, it seems I'll be off to the wet coast to take JDI! to drydock somewhere and supervise the repair, then sail back

These little jobs take time and the day slides by. In my fascination for such matters, my Swalwell tasks are forgotten. I spent several hours researching and in the end concluded the leak is not a worry, but we should fix it.  I doubt it could lead to a serous breach and in fact is a simple fix.

The area where the driveshaft exits the hull is seeping and is not a real threat, but is a nuisance and should be repaired on general principal.  The former owners had applied a sealant and that held a while, but maybe it is time to do a more permanent repair.  This area is subject to a lot of vibration since full engine power goes into that shaft and out to the prop.  To me, it looks as if the metal tube has corroded an/or loosened between the flange and the fiberglass that encloses it.

I was corresponding with my friend, Colin, who owns Cooper Boating about my two boats yesterday.  He was at Port Sidney Marina, where Cassiopeia is kept and said that things were in turmoil there because a long-time worker at the marina had fallen from a mast and been killed and EMS, the coroner, and police were all over the place. 

The people who work in the marina were traumatized, as they all knew the fellow and some had seen the accident.  Apparently the rigger was almost decapitated in the drop.  I did not ask, but perhaps someone made and error handing the lines, too, as the method commonly used is to have someone man the ship's winches to raise and lower.  Best practices require using a safety line to limit the drop in case of human error or equipment failure, but as I mentioned earlier, I had to remind my rigger to attach his a few weeks back when working on Baja Magic.

In the evening, I watched an episode of Rosewood and then was occupied with the Cassiopeia sale again.  I had marked up a PDF and sent it off, but although the markup was clear in the electronic version, for some reason, it disappeared when it was printed from some software.  Regardless, it printed just fine when dragged into Firefox.

Rosewood is pretty silly and the acting in the pilot was a bit unconvincing, but it got better and the vid passes the time.

I went to bed just before midnight.  My mind was active, so I ran Spanish lessons on my phone with a fifteen minute sleep timer.

I have done this fairly often lately if my mind was keeping me awake.  It works.  I set the timer for fifteen minutes and have only heard the device shut off a few times.

The lessons work well as a sleep aid, and I am getting to sleep, but am I learning from this?  I think so.  I often wake up in the morning thinking about or repeating some word or phrase.  To my ears, too, my pronunciation is often surprisingly good when I try. 

The sounds necessary to speak other languages are often quite difficult for non-native speakers, but good pronunciation is important in mastering a language. While children learn easily, making unfamiliar sounds is more difficult for many adults.

 Yesterday's post

 Quote of the Day
 There are two different types of people in the world,
those who want to know, and those who want to believe.
Friedrich Nietzsche

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   "If I make a living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
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