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Bill, flying my kite.  He got hooked pretty quickly.

Friday February 1st 2013
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At home, the weather is mild, but here, it is minus 25.  Today I'll find out what the plans turn out to be and I'll try to get my van into as heated shop to troubleshoot it.  I'll do some basic troubleshooting first, though if I can stand the cold.

After I pulled the exciter wire from the starter and found that it was still wanting to crank, it became clear to me that the problem is a stuck solenoid.  I had to drive Mom to the hair dresser and buy groceries, but found time to take the starter off and take it to a repair depot. 

Working on the cold steel at minus twenty was hard on the fingers and I had to go in and warm up periodically.  One of the two bolts was out of my vision and neither of them could be turned more than 1/8 turn on each turn of the wrench.

Last night the consensus was that there would be a visitation, but no funeral, since my sister, brother-in-law, and mother are all well-known and liked in the area and the concern was that the chapel, which only holds 100 or so would overflow.  Today, that plan is out the window.  Now the funeral, complete with United Church minister is scheduled for Monday at 1130 hrs.

Good thing I brought my suit.  I haven't worn it for about ten years.  In the interim, the moths found it and made a few tiny holes, but I'm counting on no one noticing.  I also assume that it is still in style, or stylishly 'retro'.  The lapels are pressed entirely flat, but that can be fixed.

In my life, I have gone from overdressed, to underdressed, to overdressed and back to casual Friday every day.

I live in the West where the guy wearing a suit works for the guy walking beside him wearing jeans and cowboy boots.  But, this is the East.  When in Rome...

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.
Leon Trotsky

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Saturday February 2nd 2013
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I awoke at 3:30 Am realising that I did not bring dress shoes and I need a haircut.

I also realised that the shortness of breath I experienced snorkeling in the BVIs may have had to do with some ranitidine or famotidine I took occasionally for GERD.  Shortness of breath is listed among the possible side effects.

I have thought about that experience from time to time since, and wonder if I was forgetting to breathe all the way out.  I recall not being able to get enough air.  I was not certain that I was not hyperventilating, but only certain something was wrong and that a rest was in order.

Snorkeling is very different from SCUBA.  With SCUBA, air is forced into the lungs and the trick is not to breathe too much air (since breathing is so easy and pleasant under the slight pressure) and consequently run out early.  The other trick is to adjust the amount of air in the lungs to maintain neutral buoyancy by breathing out to a greater or lesser amount.  There is little chance of not getting enough air as long as the gear works properly.

With a snorkel, air must be sucked in through a tube and sometimes water comes in with the air.  One must always be prepared to blow water out, so breathing out all one's air is not wise, so when snorkeling, I have learned to breath less deeply than ideal for obtaining maximum oxygen.  Normally, that is not a problem, but in current, that can be a limiter.

I snorkel a lot in calm fresh water, but have not done much in choppy salt water with a current, except when equipped with a SCUBA BCD.  I don't trust snorkels and that does not help.

I noticed at the Caves that the snorkeling tour boats provided each guest with a "noodle".  These long tubular colourful pieces of foam add considerable buoyancy and also visibility. 

Each noodle gives about 10 lbs of lift and they are cheap to buy.  Good Idea.  Inflatable life jackets advertise 22.5 lbs of floatation.

I also realised that I still have a slight sore throat on one side.  It seems to be the same as the sore throat I experienced just before I came down with the cold several weeks back.

BTW, I heard from Frank yesterday by email for the first time in weeks.  He had been island hopping, is in the Turks and Caicos and has been away from wi-fi for ten days.  He reported that he had come down with the same cold at exactly the same time as I did, and suggested it must have come from the dockside restaurant we ate at in Tortola the night before we went to Soper's Hole.

I stayed up an hour.  I guess the wine I drank last night was oaked.  Many wines are oaked, since many people like that oak cask taste.  However, oak is a carcinogen and oak is banned from high school woodworking classes in Alberta.  I have also found that oaked wine wakes me up in the middle of the night.  Being awake is not unpleasant, but if I am trying to get in enough Zs before morning, it is a nuisance.  I went back to bed after the hour and slept until 9.

Today, Job One is to mount the starter.  It is a tricky, cold job.

I got the starter installed and working with much less trouble than I expected.  The van started right up, so I knocked off the ice and snow and I went shopping.  I needed a haircut, too.  It is a decade since I've been to a barber.  My wife cuts my hair and I prefer it that way.  Anyhow, the haircut worked out OK and I am now ready for the funeral.  While I was waiting, I bought a new wiper blade for the van -- $22! and some casual clothes.

It feels really, really good to be back in my van.  I was driving Mom's Saturn Ion and that was OK, but my 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager is a lovely ride.  I like vans.  Sitting up high with plenty of room all around appeals to me much more than sitting on the ground in a little car.

It is also nice to know that I can still fix things.

>> Excluders work best over single brood chambers and require
>> careful and conscious management to work consistently above
>> doubles. They often fail over triple brood chambers.

> I don't know if anyone else does this, but I reverse the brood
> chambers when I add supers above an excluder if there is a honey
> band. This puts the brood right up against the excluder, and the
> bees go right up.

Yes. Excluders only work reliably if they are close to brood, separate the bees from a space they have previously occupied, or the area under the excluder is quite limited. Otherwise the beekeeper has to make sure they are accepted and working as intended and perhaps bait the space above with brood or stickies*.

Upper entrances can sometimes assist in acceptance since the bees have to go up to guard that entry point, but the downside is that if there is too much ventilation and cool weather, the bees may refuse to go up anyhow, plug the combs under it and and lose heat into that unused space.

Reversing is indicated if there is a significant honey arch, but reversing is only one of the many tricks practised by the "careful and conscious" beekeeper mentioned above. Other tricks include moving a brood frame, or several, above the excluder; adding an empty comb or a sheet of foundation in the middle of the brood before adding an excluder; etc.

The problem is that reversing is not always required, and sometimes it is actually counter-productive. All these tricks require either a benign climate or a wise beekeeper. Rules are no substitute for understanding.

Unfortunately, contrary to what most people want to believe, employing excluders is a subtle management technique that can't be conveyed in a few words. It requires some considerable understanding, ability to follow rules, or simple luck. Of course, of the three, the first is best.

Since we have covered this in great detail in the past, the best way to get a variety of opinions and suggestions is to consult the archives.

The other way to understand excluders is to use them and observe carefully. Let the bees show you how they "think". Experiment and observe.

Don't just slap an excluder on and walk away, then come back in two weeks and declare excluders to be "honey excluders".

* Stickies are supers which were extracted and still are coated with honey.

We invited Sid and the girls for supper.  After losing Linda, and waiting for the funeral, time can drag.  I had put turkey legs and vegetables in the crock pot around noon and they were ready at 5.  The others brought over some of the food that thoughtful friends had piled on them and we had a feast.   Even in times of grief -- and we are all feeling the loss -- there is an opportunity for laughs and good times.  Must be the Irish in us.

We were talking at supper about privacy and Facebook, etc.  I worry about privacy a bit, but remember what a bank manager said to me many years ago.  He said, "There are no secrets".  I have found that to be true.  There really are no secrets.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance
and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King Jr.

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Sunday February 3rd 2013
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My brother, Ron, will be here today.  He flew into YYZ last night from Palm Springs and will drive up from Toronto.

I flew my kite a bit mid-afternoon, but there was not really enough wind to keep it off the ground.

Ron and his wife, Joan, showed up just before supper.  Mom and I had been planning to go to Segsworths', but cancelled and ate at 1207.  In the evening, I ran over to Bill's to borrow some shoes. He had some new black shoes, but they sorta look like runners.  Oh, well, that is better than white runners.

Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
Mark Twain

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Monday February 4th 2013
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It's minus twenty-five here in Sudbury.  The funeral is just before noon today and Joan flies out at six.  Ron stays until tomorrow.  As for myself, I have no plan.  I cancelled my car in Vancouver yesterday, but think I will go later this week.  I'll check fares Tuesday and go on the weekend or just before.

I wonder how my van will start in the cold.  It seemed to be cranking a little slow yesterday, even after being on automatic charge for some time.  I was already thinking I should get a new battery after my solenoid problem and the suggestion that the problem was low voltage.  I had thought that it might  have been due to having a little undercoating oil on the battery terminals when I reinstalled the battery after arriving here, but I also know this battery is at least four years old, has been completely flat at least twice and frozen once, so prudence suggests a replacement.

I went out and the van cranked and started in a few seconds.  I'll give this battery a bit longer and replace it later.  I suppose I should have it load tested.

We arrived that the funeral home early and my cousin Don was there, having flown in from Toronto.  The rest of the family arrived soon after us and soon we were ushered into the chapel  which holds 100+ and was packed, with some latecomers standing at the back.

The funeral service was pretty standard, with a eulogy read by one of Linda's close friends with mention of many people, but not one mention of her two brothers, which I found ironic as we were sitting in the front row; and a short sermon by a United Church minister who had never met Linda.  All in all, it was a nice, brief service.

The funeral was followed by a reception upstairs.  The large room was crowded with family friends and people who had known my sister and family, some of whom had flown or driven from Ottawa and Toronto for the service.

After the crowd cleared, we returned to 1207 and Don rode with Mom and myself.  After an hour's visit, I drove him to YSB and then did a little shopping on the way back.  After I got back, Ron drove Joan out to YSB and returned.   We had a simple supper of leftovers and a quiet evening at home.

He who is not busy being born is busy dying
Robert Zimmerman

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Tuesday February 5th 2013
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Today is mild and there is a light snow drifting down. Once again, there is no wind at all. Ron, Mom and I visited all morning, had lunch and a nap, then Ron packed and headed south to Toronto to catch his plane back to YVR.  Lindsey and Sarah left for Toronto just after noon as well.

I'm tired today, and had a second nap after he left. 

Now that things are quieted down I have to change my flight.  I have one reserved from YYC to YVR tomorrow and it is obvious that I won't be on it.  I'll change it to a flight from YSB or YYZ to YVR on Friday or Saturday.  I looked at flights earlier this week and decided to wait until today to decide.  I see the prices have gone up since, so I may find it makes sense to make the 4-hour drive to YYZ instead of the 1/2-hour to YSB.

I called Air Canada and spent 33 minutes on hold the first time before giving up, putting the phone on charge and going to supper.  After, I called again and managed to make the changes after an additional 62 minutes on the phone.  I'm paying high prices for these last-minute flights.  Oh, well, I don't do this often.

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then
Bob Seeger

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Wednesday February 6th 2013
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It is minus twenty-five again and bright and sunny out.  No sign of any wind, though.

I woke up early and had breakfast at 4:30, then went back to bed and dozed a bit.  Now, I am up catching up on the books.  I plan to get out and do a little shopping today.  I enjoy being in town and take the opportunity to go to stores since they are 10 minutes away at most.  At home, the closest large stores are a half-hour away.

Here is a good article on queen rearing: http://bib.irb.hr/datoteka/616219.JAR_52.1.07.pdf

I did a little bookkeeping, then went out to shop.  I bought a new battery for the van.  Maybe there was some life left in it and I could have managed a bit longer, but it was down to the dregs.  I noticed some weakness when cranking the cold engine..  I'd have had to buy a new one soon, and I might as well enjoy the new one now, not just before I sell the van as I don't know how long I'll keep it.

On the way home, I stopped at Adanac, the local ski hill.  Things were quiet there and if the afternoon was not half over, I might have rented gear and taken some runs.  I returned to 1207, looked out to see enough wind to kite,  rested a bit, then saw the wind had died.

Mom and I went to the Holiday Inn for prime rib, then called it a day.

The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was 'involved' the pig was 'committed'.
unknown

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Thursday February 7th 2013
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Today is another cold one.  I drove Mom over to her hair appointment and had coffee with Bill and Faye while I waited.

I had heard of stormy weather and heavy snow expected in Toronto late Thursday and on Friday and checked my flights.  I found I could re-book at no cost, so moved my flight to Saturday from Friday, hoping the mess will be cleaned up at YYZ by the time I make my connection there mid-day Saturday.

In the afternoon, I did some shopping and after supper Bill and I went to see Harri.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Mae West

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Friday February 8th 2013
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I should be flying out to Vancouver today, but will go tomorrow due to weather.

We have had no wind for days, but I see some now, with a promise of 30 KPH from the NE.  The temperature is minus eighteen and the 'wind chill" is minus thirty, but I think I'll see if I can fly the kite when the sun comes out.

I have to troubleshoot my printer, too.  I had intended to take the print head over to Harri last night, but forgot.  Maybe today.

I took the printer to Harri and we decided that the ROM must be toast, but then on the way home, I realised that maybe the software on my computer is a fault.  Anyhow, the printer is at his place until I return.

I returned to 1207 and did some work, then picked Bill up and we drove to Nipawin lake to do some kiting.  The day had warmed up and the wind was strong enough, but twisty and gusty.  Our session lasted over an hour before the sun began to set.

We drove to Bill's place for supper.  I returned home at 9 and went straight to bed.  I fly in the morning.

Tomorrow: Vancouver.

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.
Elbert Hubbard

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Saturday February 9th 2013
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If I don't write things down, I can't remember here I've been and what I've done.  It gets to be a blur.

Anyhow, I checked my flights before leaving 1207, and it was all good, so Bill drove me to the airport.  The flight south was  fun.  People talk on that flight since it is from a relatively small town and only an hour, so I had an interesting talk with a young mother who had also had here flights disrupted.

When I arrived at YYZ, though, I found my outbound flight had been cancelled.  After standing in the wrong line for 30 minutes, I was directed to line up at "N", wherever that was, and after I finally found "N", about a mile from my gate, there were about 1,000 people in the line.  I was told that the folks at the front had been there up to 48 hours.  The guy next to me was missing his mother's funeral, but everyone was cool.  I did not see any melt-downs or impatience.

I had my laptop and my cell phone gives me wi-fi, so I went online as I stood in line and in five minutes I had rebooked online.  The best offer was about a ten-hour wait and I took it. 

Then they told everyone who was local to go home and rebook by phone or online.  I heard later that this caused a 5-hour jam-up at Park-and-Jet.  I went to my gate to wait and found a nice Air Canada lady there in that quiet backwater who put me on standby for an earlier flight and so I walked the 1\2 mile back to the same gate I had been to twice and waited there.

I met people while waiting and one pointed me to this video

I did not get on the next flight -- I was number 67 on the list -- but I did get on the one an hour later and arrived in Van several hours earlier than my original rebooking.  I watched two movies on the flight.  One was "Arbitrage", and the other escapes me right now.  Arbitrage is a thought provoking flick.

I got my car and drove to Ron's, had a glass or two of wine and hit the hay.

I slept.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying
to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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