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 December 2019

 

 

 

 

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A Dull Winter Day in Swalwell

 

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Friday December 20th 2019

          

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of rain showers or flurries late this afternoon. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this morning. High plus 3. Wind chill minus 8 this morning. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 60 percent chance of rain showers or flurries changing to 60 percent chance of flurries this evening. Risk of freezing rain late this evening and overnight. Wind becoming east 20 km/h before morning. Low minus 4. Wind chill minus 9 overnight.

228.8 6.7

I woke at eight and went down for breakfast.  It is minus twenty and a beautiful winter morning with bright sun on white snow.

Nicole had arranged for a walker salesman to come by so John came by at ten and by lunch Mom has a new walker and we are going to see John at his shop Monday to look at a bed and a wheelchair.

After lunch it had warmed up to minus ten or so.  I went out and knocked the ice and snow off the van and it started first twist.  The sun was melting the remaining ice by then. I called Bill and went over to see his new home addition.  He was working on the wiring.

We decided to go shopping, so first we stopped at Canadian Tire, then at the Bulk Barn.

The Bulk Barn today is built on the location where as high school kids we spent many hours at Estes' house and our "Club House", a survey shack sitting out back of the house. That is another story and a long one.

Today a small shopping centre occupies the site and there is no sign of the past.  The location is unrecognisable.

Next, Wal-Mart for groceries. then back to Bill's for coffee and back to 1207 for supper.  Now I am upstairs catching up on things.


I watched another episode of Movies That Made Us.  This episode was about making Ghostbusters, so after watching this, I went looking for Ghostbusters on my Roku TV.

I found Ghostbusters listed on Netflix, so began watching. but in a little while in I was wondering why it seemed unfamiliar, and then realised that this is the 2016 re-make

Frankly, it was unbelievably awful, so I went looking for the original, but it was nowhere to be found on my initial search.  I'll have to maybe dig deeper sometime, but it was after midnight and I went to bed.

Quote of the Day
Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.
Xunzi

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Saturday December 21st 2019

Today Periods of snow ending early this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High plus 3. Wind chill minus 7 this morning. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Becoming cloudy this evening with 30 percent chance of flurries late this evening and overnight. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 4. Wind chill minus 8 overnight.

I woke at six and went down to make coffee.

I'd only slept five hours, but was done sleeping.  I had coffee and some fruit, then went back and lay down for a while, but got up again shortly after.

I'm behind on a few routine things like the diary so am catching up.

I'm in a strange state of mind.   I have been putting myself under pressure to be ready to be here and now I am here.

Christmas is only days away and then it will be over.  Then back home and the heating project and then on to Mexico and after that Vancouver via Sidney.

Actually, I don't like Christmas itself much, but it is family time and that is important. While I'm here, I have some idle time and I'll study and plan and get the year end done.

In addition to the furnace project and associated worries, I'm waiting on the results of the cardiology series to know where I stand on my marine medical. That may impact my summer plans.  I'm not worried about my health, but rather the treat to my travel medical insurance and my to my work as sailing instructor. 

Interestingly, I got a phone call yesterday that there was a cancellation and I could have gone in to see a cardiologist yesterday afternoon, but I am here, so had to decline.  However, I did ask to still be on the waiting list after Jan 1 when I am available.

The neighbours may drop in this morning, and this afternoon I have to cook a huge chicken Nicole brought over.  I'll cook and freeze some mashed potatoes, too, and maybe cook the butternut squash and freeze some.  I'll also make a bean salad, so I can see the day filling up fast.

Marge, Sharon and Mich came by for coffee and left just before noon.

After lunch I had a two-hour nap. When I went down Jaquie was visiting.

I put the chicken into the oven and turned up the heat. I was hoping to have it done by five, but it is a big chicken and still frozen solid.

I then peeled and cut up the potatoes and started the pressure cooker.  As it turned out, the pressure cooker would not get up to pressure and ran out of water, burning the bottom of the pot.  The potatoes were okay, though and I mashed them, kept a few meals out and froze the rest.  Meantime, I was making turkey soup and that was done by five. 

The chicken wasn't done on time.  In fact, we did not eat until seven.

I watched another episode of Movies That Made Us and an episode of TED talks.

Quote of the Day
Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.
Xunzi

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Sunday December 22nd 2019

Today Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this morning. High plus 2. Wind chill minus 12 this morning. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Cloudy. Periods of snow beginning this evening. Fog patches developing overnight. Local amount 2 cm. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 6. Wind chill near minus 9.

Sarah and Lindsey came over at ten and brought coffee. At eleven-thirty they left and we had lunch, then Mom had a nap.

After, we went for a drive around the neighbourhood, in and out every little street as far out as Second Avenue, then home again.

Supper was at five-thirty, then I went to Bill's for a visit.  We had a beer and spent some time tuning the bands on ham radio, from 20 down to 160, then listened a bit on the broadcast band.  That takes us back to our high school days.  We shared electronics as a hobby and both obtained amateur radio licenses in ensuing years. 

I returned to 1207 and watched Louder with Crowder, Affirmative Action is Racist | Change My Mind, CNN is Fake News,  | Change My Mind, Insane Anti-Trump Protester goes BERSERK on Crowder! | Change My Mind, then Joe Rogan Experience #917 - Steven Crowder for a while, and am off to bed at eleven. 

I find these guys really informed, frank, and interesting. The last video is almost four hours long and as they began drinking around the forty-five minute mark, I suspect they are pretty drunk by the end.

 We'll see some other time.  Maybe. The first part was very intersting.

Quote of the Day
There are no secrets to success.
It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
Colin Powell

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Monday December 23rd 2019

Today Periods of snow ending early this morning then cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating late this morning. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this morning. High minus 1. Wind chill minus 10 this morning and minus 3 this afternoon. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries overnight with risk of freezing drizzle. Fog patches developing this evening. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 9. Wind chill minus 7 this evening and minus 12 overnight.

I woke at six.  Today Mom and I go to look at electric beds and a better wheelchair.

We drove to Val Caron and spent an hour there looking, bought nothing, then drove back to 1207.

I had a nap, then went out to Canadian Tire and bought a new pressure cooker and returned to make chicken stew from the carcass. 

Sarah and Lindsey came over and wrapped presents with Mom. They left, we had supper and I watched video until ten, then went to bed.

Quote of the Day
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
Frederick Douglass

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Tuesday December 24th 2019
   Christmas Eve    

Today Fog dissipating this morning then mainly cloudy. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 3. Wind chill minus 12 this morning and minus 7 this afternoon. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Clearing after midnight. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 16. Wind chill minus 10 this evening.

I slept poorly at first, waking every hour, but then slept from five until almost nine.  I'm groggy, but I figure I am now caught up on sleep.

Today we make peanut brittle, then this afternoon go to Sid's for supper.

We started making the peanut brittle, and all went well until I dropped the candy thermometer into the candy.  I washed it off and proceeded, but noticed water had entered the thermometer dial.  I thought nothing of it, but when the candy got up to about 200 degrees, instead of climbing faster, the temperature climbed very slowly.

Then, suddenly, the candy was burning.  We added peanuts and poured it onto the pan, but after it cooled, we declared it a disaster and threw it out.

Sitting eating lunch, I realised that water must have gone down the tube in the thermometer to the tip where the bimetal strip is located and maintained the temperature at boiling--212F--more or less--even when the candy was getting much hotter. 

Oh, well.  Live and learn. We are out of corn syrup, so unless I go out for more and maybe a new thermometer, this project is on hold. It is noon and we go to Sid's at four.  There is time, but do we really care?  Not really.  Making peanut brittle for Sid is a tradition stretching back decades, but all things eventually come to an end.

The day is dull, but the temperatures are right around freezing, and that is ideal compared to the extreme cold weather we could as easily be experiencing at this date.

"The lowest temperature ever recorded was −48.3 C (−54.9 F) on December 29, 1933"

The Lake is frozen and I saw a snowmobile, but no cars or ice-fishing shacks, so the ice is still not trusted by the locals and they know, since they drill holes all over the lake to ice-fish.  I did not bring my kites as I had expected that it would be too early to kite yet.

I went out and bought corn syrup and a new candy thermometer, returned to 1207 and made another batch of peanut brittle that turned out really well. At four, we went to Sid's and had supper, then returned to 1207 around seven.

I'm back upstairs, listening to Joe Rogan and Steven Crowder.  It is fun to listen to two, smart uninhibited guys rap.   They go from profound to ridiculous and back again. I'm in at 2:40 and the end is at 3:57 and I'm off to bed.

Quote of the Day
There are many who dare not kill themselves for fear
of what the neighbours will say.
Cyril Connolly

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Wednesday December 25th 2019
   Christmas Day    

Today Clearing early this morning. Fog over eastern sections early this morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 5. Wind chill minus 18 this morning and minus 9 this afternoon. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Clear. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 17. Wind chill minus 16 this evening and minus 21 overnight.

Merry Christmas.

I slept until eight and then went downstairs. Mom and Nicole were up already.  It seems Mom has a sore leg today.  Last night she was very unsteady and she needs help to stand now.

We were to go over to Sid's to open presents this morning so I called and they came over instead, bringing everything with them.

We were done by eleven and Mom went to nap.  The others will bring supper over tonight.  We were to go there, but I have decided it is too much for Mom so everything is happening here.

I went upstairs and had a nap. At five-thirty, Sid, Sarah, and Lindsey came over, bringing a turkey roll, asparagus, mashed potatoes and gravy plus apple pie and ice cream.  We had a pleasant meal and they left around seven.

Joe Rogan Experience #1070 - Jordan Peterson

It is fascinating to watch Joe Rogan listen intently for two hours.

Quote of the Day
I usually lump organized religion, organized labor,
and organized crime together.
The Mafia gets points for having the best restaurants
Dave Beard

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Thursday December 26th 2019

Where did this day go?  The neighbours came by.  Mom had a sore leg and had to be moved from chair to chair.

I watched YouTube in the evening.

Quote of the Day
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Dalai Lama

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Friday December 27th 2019

Another lost day.  I had a migraine, Mom was unable to walk so I spent the day caring for her and making hambone pea soup.  Slept poorly. 

Did study Spanish, though and am amazed at how much I now naturally understand. Taking time off may have paid.

Quote of the Day
Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
George Bernard Shaw

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Saturday December 28th 2019

Today Sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 1. Wind chill minus 10 this morning and minus 15 this afternoon. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Clear. Increasing cloudiness before morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 13. Wind chill near minus 19.

Another migraine and digestive upset.  Coffee at ten. Mom is better, but still not 100%. Seems we have had a bug going around.

I'm finally back at the keyboard working a bit.

I cracked the front glass on my phone the other day so am researching how best to get it repaired.

Quote of the Day
Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.
W. E. B. Du Bois

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Sunday December 29th 2019

Today Clearing early this afternoon. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 5. Wind chill minus 8 this morning and minus 13 this afternoon. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Clear. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 16. Wind chill minus 13 this evening and minus 19 overnight.

I've had a stuffed semi-migraine head for three days. These days have careened by and I have not been writing.  That is not necessarily a bad thing or mean I did nothing. I did things but did not feel compelled to create a narrative, which in itself is an interesting observation.

I cracked the front  glass on my Pixel XL phone the other day.  The phone continues to work perfectly but the screen is crazed. I'm getting used to it but have ordered repair parts. From Amazon and eBay.

In the meantime, I decided I need a second, backup, phone, so after my usual many hours of deliberation and equivocation, decided to bite the bullet and buy an UMIDIGI F1 Play as a spare. It should arrive in Swalwell by Thursday.

My current Pixel XL is the best phone I have ever owned, and that is after my Nexus Xl which similarly seemed perfect, but which was crushed under the  gear lever on Shongololo just weeks that boat sank forever under Malibu Rapids at the hands of a charter client.

For a phone under $300 CAD, the UMIDIGI F1 Play specs and benchmarks (right) are impressive and, surprisingly, better than my costly Pixel XL.  The reviews are mostly good, so we'll see. 

Amazon reviews are tricky because the same review often refers to several models of the product and sometimes even several entirely different and unrelated products.  It seems the database feeding the reviews gets corrupted.

The one worry is that this phone will be stuck at Android 9 Pie, and may not get updates, so I wonder about security.  I may need to purchase a security suite as a backstop.  Exploits are getting more frequent and dangerous.


Mom likes to go out for supper periodically so we called the wheelchair cab and she rode in her electric wheelchair to the Apollo.  That eliminated the need to manhandle her in and out of various chairs and the vehicle. 

There were seven of us for supper, Mich and Sharon, Nicole, her boyfriend, Jason, and her daughter, Tara, plus Mom and me.

I had reserved a return cab for an hour and a half after our arrival there and when I called to see if we could extend our stay, the dispatcher said we were the last fare for the day and they were closing down due to sleet. 

Stepping outside, the sidewalk was treacherously slippery and the back roads were slick, but our cab returned us safely to 1207. 

That was my day.


I went to bed at nine, but woke again at midnight in a strange mood, so I am up for a while, catching up.

I'm in a mixed mood. On the one hand, I am glad to be here, but concerned about Mom's difficulty standing.  I'm also in between jumps. 

Tuesday I land at YYC and then have the cardiologist's visit in Calgary the following Tuesday if I am not called in earlier. 

I'm not really looking forward to that.  Usually, I like to know the facts, but some things I just do not want to know, and a doctor's verdict could affect my ability to teach sailing.

I still have my flight booked to SJD on the 7th and have not cancelled just in case.  That will land me in Mexico for a few weeks and then I fly to Victoria. How I book that leg will depend on how things have gone at home during my absence.

From Victoria, I'll cruise to Vancouver on Cassiopeia or Magic Memories (MM) and spend the week at the Boat Show.  Last year I was giving free boat rides on False Creek on MM.  This year?  Who knows, but the Boat Show is a longstanding habit.


I've started studying Spanish again and, after an inspiring session or two am finding I am not as smart as I like to think.  But I am progressing.  I think I can catch as much conversation now as a two-year old.  I hope I am not flattering myself.  Some two-year-olds have a surprising grasp on language. 

Interestingly, understanding 20 to 50 percent of what is passing is enough to appear to understand, and frankly I have long thought that many adults don't get 20% of what I am saying to them, if I judge by their subsequent actions or conversation.  Is that reflection on them?  Or on me?

It feels good to write again.


2020 is only days away and I can remember clearly when 1984 seemed far, far in the future and 2001, A Space Odyssey was set in the far, far future.  Nobody had walked on the Moon back then.

I started to watch that film a while ago, remembering how hyped it was back in its day. Don't bother to see it.  At the time it was considered a very deep and meaningful movie, but today it is embarrassing drivel.

Of course, much or most of today's film and TV deluge of 'content' is no better and maybe worse, but sufficiently with the fashion of the day that nobody can see what junk it is.

I scroll through the offerings and find myself watching people talking or fixing things on YouTube. Joe Rogan, Steven Crowder and Jordan Petersen are some current thought-provoking picks.

You can likely see that I tend to be a fiscal conservative, even if socially I tend to be a liberal -- in the true freedom-loving sense, not today's politically perverted meaning of the word which almost inverts the meaning 1984-style and relates more to neo-fascist herd mentality than to individual freedom and responsibility.

Glancing down, I see it is 2AM sharp and time to hit the rack again.

Quote of the Day
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
Milton Friedman

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Monday December 30th 2019

Today Mainly sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 4. Wind chill minus 23 this morning and minus 7 this afternoon. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Clear. Becoming partly cloudy near midnight. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 7 with temperature rising to minus 1 by morning. Wind chill minus 12 this evening.

I'm up at eight. It is raining and minus three. Mom's leg is improving.

Tomorrow I fly home and that will be a change. from my life here.

I see the weather there is quite mild and expected to be that way for the coming week.

I don't see much snow or many new tracks in the drive at home.

I'll be there tomorrow night, God willin' and the cricks don't rise. That is not certain, though, as there is sleet predicted today and tomorrow and YSB closes if there is any bad weather.

Flights are delayed and cancelled already today.  I should know by mid-morning tomorrow.  I checked in anyhow.

I did some accounting and am finding that Quickbooks 2014 is faulting and quitting every so often. I am guessing that Win 10 is tightening control to prevent hijacking and that QB is trying to access formerly accessible areas of memory or disk. It seems no data is lost, however.

I stayed in all day and went to bed around ten.  Mom is standing better, so we have hope that she can get along better soon.

Quote of the Day
The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future
by merely changing his attitude.
Oprah Winfrey

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Tuesday December 31st 2019

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40. High plus 4. Wind chill minus 9 this morning. UV index 1 or low.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 3. Wind chill minus 9 this evening.

I slept poorly and got up at six, had breakfast, stopped here to check flights, jot down a few things and am now off to finish packing to go.

Flights are departing on time so far. We'll see how long that lasts as delays tend to pile up over the day and snow is forecast.

Bill takes me to YSB at twelve-thirty.  Between now and then, John comes to demonstrate lifts, I finish packing, and disconnect the battery on my van.  The van is iced up, so opening the hood may be a task.

Well, I managed to disconnect the battery and pack in time to be rady for the drive to YSB. 

Of course, just as we pulled up to the terminal I got an email from Air Canada saying flight 8608 was going to be twenty minutes late taking off from YSB now that everyone had rushed to get there.  They knew that at least an hour before they bothered to tell us.

Yeah, sure, it snowed and sure we know there are delays--for our own safety--but why lie?  If they say twenty minutes, it will more likely be an hour or more.

Of course I checked the YYZ departures and the northbound flight 8607 had not even left Toronto and the plane was well over an hour away.  What a bunch of liars!

I sat in the restaurant for an hour and then another hour or so in the waiting room.  AC8608 finally left YSB well over an hour late. My onward Calgary flight 147 had lifted off and disappeared west even before 8608 touched down at YYZ.

I lined up at Air Canada customer service and was given a pass for an aisle seat in exit row on 149.  I walked to gate 43, boarded immediately, and Bert picked me up four hours later at YYC.

We drove to Airdrie where he had left his car and clothes as he explained to me that this is New Years Eve and he is off to a party.

I drove home, turned up the heat, cracked a beer, and here I am, sitting beside an electric heater, listening to country classics on Spotify and catching up.

On the way home, I listened to my Spanish lessons.  I have gotten back to daily practice and am impressed both by how much I recognize and how much I don't.

I congratulate myself on buying one last tank of gas tonight on the way home, just before that quixotic carbon dioxide tax comes on at midnight. I also pre-bought a load of coal earlier before the deadline.  I don't even know if I'll need it, but I'll use it up.

I cannot believe how crazy our federal government is, raising taxes and burning through billions upon billions of borrowed money.  A third of our taxes now go to interest and the feds are not the most proliferate spenders.  It is only a matter o0f a few years until several provinces go broke.  We're burning the furniture and running up credit cards.  We have young voting generations who have never known austerity or hardship and figure money grows on trees. It does, until the day of reckoning.  Everything is easy--until we hit the wall.

The thing about borrowed money is that the lenders will want it back and when the lenders are our retirees who will need it soon...

It is good, really good, to be home. That was a very strange Christmas. 

It is good to be here, but I'll be gone south in a week or two. Mexico beckons.

It is now eleven twenty-two and I doubt I'll stay up for midnight.  The house is still warming and I put an electric blanket on the bed so I'll be toasty.

Happy New Year!

Quote of the Day
Never worry about numbers.
Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.
Mother Teresa

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