Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ah for just one time...

Ah, for just one time, I will seek the Northwest passage...

So, the federal government is helping Parks Canada search for the two missing ships from the Franklin expedition. Stephen Harper took some moments out of his day today to announce the project. They are using the most sophisticated equipment to date to try to locate the ships lost hundreds of years ago in the arctic in an ill-fated quest for fortune and glory.


As a science and history geek, this tweaks all kinds of curiousity and interest for me. But wait. The Harper government is not known for being supportive of science. Or parks. I have this weird, niggling doubt in the back of my mind about the goodness of this endeavour.

The reporter describing this announcement on the news added that our prime minister is fascinated, maybe even obsessed, with the mystery of the Franklin expedition and its sad ending. And I find myself wondering why.

The Franklin expedition was not about scientific discovery. It was about profit. It was about finding a quicker way to reach the orient and thus exploit the resources of that region for the enhancement of the British ruling class. The crew of the two ships imagined it would be smooth sailing. They expected to be through in one summer and never imagined they would have to winter in the harsh arctic conditions. They did not understand nor give sufficient concern and respect for the environment they were entering.

An analogy begins to take shape....

Ok, we know PMSH has a real warm fuzzy going on for the War of 1812. I am still working on untangling the nuances of that. But it does harken to a time of militarism, absolute monarchistic rule, and an age where the general population was less than educated on the workings of government and largely did as they were told.

But I digress. The search for the two ships will have a side program. It will involved detailed mapping of the ocean floor in the arctic. Again, my science nerd side is all “squee” with excitement about learning more about this largely unexplored area. Fascinating work. And yet, I am troubled. This kind of detailed mapping could also be a prelude to amassing the data required to enable a far less benign kind of exploration. It is suspected that there are vast oil deposits beneath the arctic ice. A detailed topography of the ocean floor in this area could be very useful in furthering the search for and exploitation of such oil. And oil drilling in the arctic is rife with threats to an incredibly fragile eco-system, one which is already under considerable pressure from climate change. Even without drilling for oil, if they actually discover a navigable route through the ever-shrinking arctic ice cap, the potential shipping traffic (probably carrying toxic pollutants such as fossil fuels) is rife with phenomenal risk to the wildlife and ecology of our north.

I find, despite my excitement about unlocking the mysteries of history and one of the most inhospitable places on our planet, I am deeply concerned about what other agendas might be served through this project.

We, as a free and thinking people, must be alert. We need to pay attention to what our government is doing. We have ample evidence that the Harper government puts profit before people, wildlife, the environment and the future of our country. We need to keep an eye on this and not be placated by lofty sounding goals of discovering national historical artifacts.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Life Off the Grid 39 – July 22, 2012

8:00 AM

Woke up at 6:15, just in time to see a beautiful grey-blue heron type bird take off from the shore. And then it started to rain. The rain stopped fairly soon, but it continues to be overcast. I may or may not get any painting done today.

And it's raining again. I may have to re-arrange my to-do list. This is disappointing.

According to the news, it is one year since Anders Brevik shot all those people in Norway. Meanwhile, in Halifax, people are celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The world is a strange place.

12:50 PM

Finished the first can of paint. Got the front of the cabin and half the east side rolled. It looks so different. Vastly different. Like a whole new cabin. But it isn't. As I paint I become acutely aware of the wood. Where it is solid and where it is failing. There are several boards that are quite rotted and I am worried about them.

The deck is still brown and looks very dark and I am wondering if it should be the same colour as the cabin, or remain brown, or maybe some intermediate colour. I think I am leaning towards a mocha...

Cell signal is very sketchy today. Trying to communicate with Jeff about tool sorting and bookcase design and I find it is just not working well. I am trying not to be frustrated by this. It is a great blessing to be able to send or receive at all. I should be very thankful. I shall keep telling myself this. As my maternal grandmother was fond of saying, “Possess your soul in patience”. Often very good advice.

Another thing she was adamant about was bed-making. There are a few things of her I carry with me and that is one. Patience and made beds. Does anyone make their bed anymore, besides me? Duvets have made it so easy and yet, if my husband and children are any example of the common population, even straightening the sheets and spreading the duvet neatly over them is a thing of the past. I'm not even sure hospitals still do hospital corners. But I do. Making your bed makes a huge difference in making a bedroom look cleaner. I keep telling my kids this. And eventually, once in awhile when I can stand it no longer, I steal into their rooms and make their beds. Because it drives me nuts. OCD, remember? I don't wash my hands to excess, or recheck every little thing. But... I like my spices alphabetized, I like things sorted (and I like sorting, I find it calming), and I like beds to be made...properly.

The third thing of my grandmother's I carry in my life is making sure I say, “You're welcome” when someone thanks me. Or, more peculiarly, I use her words as often as not. “You are entirely welcome.” It's sort of weird when you realize that you have heirloom behaviours.

There is one other thing I share with her. My name.

My maternal grandmother was a lady. She carried monogrammed hankies (cloth hankies are so gross, no I do not do THAT), she never revealed her age and she drank tea out of treasured Royal Dolton china, not a mug. I don't remember ever seeing her in pants. She wore a slip under her dress, even in the hottest days of summer, and wore long cotton nighties to bed. And she would be appalled to read this. She called her friends of decades by their surnames, “Mrs. MacIntosh, Mrs. Baker, etc.” even as they sat together sipping sherry and playing bridge. She collected royal memorabilia and left several large scapbooks full of clippings of royal weddings, christenings, visits. Her hair style mimicked Queen Elizabeth's all the years I knew her, and the old photos from before I was born suggest it was ever so. She had doilies on her furniture and scented cachets in her drawers. Ok, there's another thing I do, except I have sticks of incence in my drawers so my clothes smell like patchouli and sandalwood. I remember as a little girl, picking rosehips with my cousin and sewing up little cloth bags with drawstrings to give Grandma MacBain sachets for her drawers. As I recall, she made a bit of a face but took them and thanked us profusely. She had a passion for lavender and always had clove lifesavers in her purse (do they even make clove lifesavers anymore?). I loathe clove lifesavers.

She was very proper and was always on about standing up straight. Keeping your chin up. And, of course, making your bed.

But she was never rich and she did not have an easy life. She was born in the NorthWest Mounted Police (forerunner of the RCMP) barracks in Regina towards the end of the 19th century. Her father was a veterinary surgeon with the force, looking after the horses and breeding race horses on the side. They moved to Fort MacLeod when she was quite young and I think they moved to other posts during her time at home with her parents. These places were pretty rough and ready back then. There were no cars, no electricity, no phones, no indoor plumbing. Kind of like here at the cabin. Wood stoves kept them warm inside, furs kept them warm outside in the winter. First Nations people would come to the fort (yes, Fort MacLeod was a fort back then, not a town) to trade furs and my grandmother said they would come to the door and ask for a cup of tea. Her mother was always worried because some of these folks would make such a fuss over her little blond daughters. They were fascinated with the blond hair and kept saying “pretty!” and she was afraid one of them would try to steal one of the girls. Racism was rampant back then. These first or second generation Canadians found first nations people alien and off-putting, and held tight to their European (mostly British) traditions.

I was shocked when I learned my grandmother had taken an active role, along with several other family members of her generation, in breaking up the romance of a second cousin. The young lady he fancied, you see, was most inappropriate. She was Jewish. It's hard to understand that way of thinking these days. But, unfortunately, it was normal back then. Another cousin owned a plantation in the southern US. My grandmother and her sisters were taken there to visit a few times during their childhood. Even as a small child it made my skin crawl to hear her tell stories about the plantation and refer to the people who worked there as “darkies”. She was oblivious to the discomfort of everyone else listening.

But, as I was saying, she did not have an easy life. After she finished school, she became a teacher. And then she met the man who was to become her husband. I can't imagine her parents approved. Or perhaps they did initially. He was a carpenter. He was also a gambler, but I don't know at what point that became really apparent. I do know that my mother, and her sisters, were moved from town to town all over southern Saskatchewan during her childhood because either there was no work for him (this was the 1930s), or the gambling debts were catching up to him. From grade one to grade twelve my mother attended about 10 different schools in different towns. Jack could not make enough for them to live on, or gambled the money away, so Grandma went back to work. She taught school, and in some places she was the principal.

Jack was also a notorious womanizer and just generally not a nice guy. We ( my cousins and I) learned this after Grandma started to suffer from dementia and she would rant about Jack and his women. About bills and bruises. It was shocking to my 13 year old self. Our mothers would try to shush her, or get us out of earshot...

Jack got sick and Grandma packed him off to Winnipeg where he could be closer to medical services while she remained in a small town, probably enjoying a peaceful life for the first time in many years. He died several months before I was born, so I never met him. My Dad told me once, when I was older and had children of my own, that Jack was a right old devil and downright nasty to my Mom. Calling her stupid all the time, saying she could never do anything right. In light of this, my Mom's many anxieties and profound lack of self-confidence suddenly made a lot of sense. And yet, she and her sisters adored him. They referred to their parents as “Mother and Daddy”.

I'm not sure of the chronology of their separation. At 17, my Mom went to live with her father in Winnipeg to attend university. She was the oldest, with one sister 8 years younger and the other 10 years younger. Only the youngest left now. Which is part of why I am writing this. Not because I imagine that most readers will find this remotely interesting, but because it is important to record family history somewhere. Maybe my children will find it entertaining... or maybe they will find it explains some of my weirdness...

My grandparents were married in 1922. And by 1941 they were living apart. And the world was at war. And it wasn't a time when people talked about separation or divorce. It just wasn't done. So Grandma lived her life, with her 10 and 7 year old daughters and Jack lived his. I think the story was he went to the city to find work or, conversely, he went to the city for medical treatment. He wasn't well, that much is fairly clear. But it's one of those family mysteries as to how much of his departure had to do with economic and medical circumstances and how much had to do with his behaviour and my Grandmother's inability to tolerate it any longer. They were together when he died. After Grandma retired and Jack was really quite ill, she moved to Winnipeg. It may have been earlier. These things weren't talked about. I wish now I had asked my Mom while she was alive, but I'm not sure I would have got much out of her. I may ask my aunt...

My Grandmother had a sister, Helen. Her young man was struck down either in the First World War or in the flu epidemic of 1918. I was never sure. Anyway, she remained single the rest of her life, like one of those tragic Victorian heroines. She was the older of the two. I remember her hands shaking terribly. I knew nothing of Parkinsons, and it hasn't been said, but I suspect that was what she had. When I was 4, my mother and my Grandmother and I were coming back from shopping to the apartment the sisters shared. Being a bouncy little girl, I went sprinting through the door as quick as Grandma could get it open. There was Aunt Helen, on the kitchen floor, surrounded by broken crockery. She had been making a cup of tea. I don't know if it was a heart attack or a stroke... I was deemed too little to go to the funeral, but I remember the gathering after... That was the first of many deaths.

This happens when your whole family is old. I was a late-life child for my parents. Which meant pretty well everyone in the generation before them was really old. My next oldest sibling is 16 years older than I. My childhood, from then on, was punctuated by wakes and funerals. Consequently, death in the family is something I do really well. I know the drill, you might say. My husband had been to his grandmother's funeral and his cousin's funeral and my sister-in-law's mother's funeral and my sister-in-law's funeral and my Mom's funeral, but when my Dad died I was surprised that this was the first dead body he had ever seen. That I kissed my father's forehead and said goodbye I think really shook him up.

As a society we have sanitized death, removed it from our lives. Maybe that's part of why some people are so cavalier about wreaking havoc with guns and knives. Death is an abstract concept. Real death is handled by professionals. Nurses and doctors, personal care-home staff, paramedics, police, coroners, undertakers... Used to be, someone in the family washed the body and prepared it for burial. Death was personal. And that care was a last gift to the deceased.

4:30 PM

The thunderstorm has passed. The sky is bright and cheery again. And I am hungry. My two eggs for breakfast seem forever ago now, even though it was only 8 this morning.

5:20 PM

Really hungry. What to eat? I have eaten everything. Several times. Curry sounds good, but I have less than 500 ml of yoghurt left until Friday. Pasta. I guess it's going to be pasta. But I have to fetch water first.

5:40 PM

Water retrieved. Filtered and in a pot getting hot. There should be veggies to go with. Hmmmm...

Really not inspired. Hot. Tired. Ok. I give in. Basil pesto it is. Maybe some crushed chilies.

5:55 PM

Crap. The propane is out. Glad I dragged that full tank down. Gotta go out and switch tanks and relight the fridge. Reminds me of my Mom talking about living someplace where there was gas-light and the gas would go out and they had to plug the meter with coins to get it going again. Only here, I have to lug a tank into place and use pliers to undo the old tank and connect the new one. We tried to hook up those modern type connectors with the handle to turn, like on barbecues. Didn't work for some reason. So we had to put the old lines back on.

At least the fridge came back on first try. That is a bonus. It's always a bit stressful, pressing the electronic ignition, over and over, with no result. First thing to go on barbecues... And the old fridge you could light with a match. Circa 1940s propane fridge, only way to light it. Not sure how to light this fridge if the electronic ignition fails.

I was wondering why the water was taking so long to boil... Now it will boil, and then, soon after, there will be food. Possess your soul in patience.

6:20 PM

Dinner! YAY!

6:30 PM

So much prep time, so fast gone. However, I am sated, so it's all good.

7:00 PM

Guinness is sleeping. He's having some sort of dream, legs twitching, barking and grunting...

7:45 PM

It's got quite dark in the cabin. Seems fairly clear outside. Must be the changing angle of the sun, relative to the trees, that's making it seem dark so early.

Starting to think of going to the cabana to read and, eventually, sleep.

8:00 PM

I think that's it. Off to read in the cabana.

Life Off the Grid 38 - July 21, 2012

Life Off the Grid 38 – July 21, 2012

7:50 AM

Only 15C so far. Guinness tried the same thing again last night. About 1:30 AM he woke me up and indicated he needed to go out. Rushing to the door, rushing back to the bed, wagging his tail. Rushing back to the door, looking at me expectantly. This time he had his collar on. I took a sweater and my flashlight.

Without his collar he moves silent as a ghost. With it he jingles slightly when he walks. He peed and then started to wander off down the beach. I said, “No way, Guinness, come back here.” He ignored me. Disappeared into the darkness and bushes. But I could hear him. I knew he was close by. Soon I could hear him peeing again, a little way off. When he was done, I called him again. More jingling. No Guinness. I called again. And waited. Finally he came back. It wasn't quite as long this time and I wasn't panicking. I could hear him.

More painting today. More brushing off awful things. More spiders. Blech.

Such horrors...

1:50 PM

Finally! Made it all the way around the cabin with a second coat of trim and edge cutting! As high as I can reach, anyway. Over 30C out there. The thermometer on the deck says 36C...

Tired. I really hate spiders.

2:35 PM

Been sitting here, making a list of everything that needs to be done and matching jobs to dates left before Jeff gets here. Well, that and zoning out. It's amazing. The summer seems to be slipping away so fast! I have just barely over a month left out here before I begin the big trek back to Alberta. I always plan to get back in time for Garnet's birthday on August 25. So far, I have been able to. I don't know how many more years that will be important to him, but while it seems to matter, I will make the effort.

7:20 PM

Went and played with the dogs on the dock for awhile. There is a monstrous fly out there that wants to bite me. Not a deer fly, they are flat and smaller. Maybe a horsefly, although this seems bigger. Not any sort of bluebottle, this was big (close to an inch long) and evil. I hate flying things that want to take a chunk out of me almost as much as spiders.

Anyway, we played and then I took shelter in the cabana, checked messages, responded to messages. Somewhere along the way I ventured up to the cabin and finally ate – leftover curried lentils and veggies – and felt better for a bit.

But now I have have had most of 2 litres of Peach cider and I am faltering... Happy, yes. Competent...not so much. Ok then. But much better than I was down on the dock hating all living, flying, biting things. And wishing them all dead. I know, I know. Eco-system and all that. But why do they have to horribly disrupt my small amount of R&R? Surely there are other things they could bite? I have become very pacifist but I draw the line at flying things that want my blood, and chunks of flesh.

At some point you have to defend yourself. Else you wind up just another rotting corpse in the woods. Am I right?

Ok, peach cider is considerably stronger than what I usually drink out here. Feeling quite...what's the word? Unable to type without severe concentration, that's for darn sure. Lots of cool tunes, as usual,
on Vinyl Tap on CBC.

I probably need to eat. (afraid to admit how long it took to type that).

News on now...6 shooting incidents in Toronto in a week. Holy cow.

What on earth makes these people with guns think that is any kind of solution to anything?

8:40 PM

Pistachios for dinner, Jian says they're healthy...

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Life Off the Grid 37 - July 20, 2012

Life Off the Grid 37 – July 20, 2012

6:30 AM

Wow, what a rough night. First, I had a bad dream. I dreamed Guinness had got lost. Because he doesn't have his collar on (because of the hot spot) there was no way for anyone to bring him back to me. Never mind that a dog would have to go an awfully long way through very rough country before anyone found him. It was a dream and the ID tags on the collar were central. I woke up all upset. Calmed myself down. I could hear him snoring. He was safe. So was Seamus. I decided that tomorrow I would put their collars back on and just take them off for swimming. Comforted, I went back to sleep.

About ten to two, Guinness woke me up. He was very anxious to go out and pee. I stumbled to the door and let him out. I waited on the porch with my headlight. He peed a long time. The bugs were biting my bare legs so I ducked back in to get some pants. I was inside just a few seconds, but when I came out he was gone.

It was very dark. I soon figured out that was because there was a heavy cloud cover. Lightening was flashing in the distance. I called and whistled, and whistled and called for what seemed like a very long time. Every awful scenario ran through my sleep-addled mind. He had gone for a swim and couldn't tell where the shore was in the dark. He had followed a small night creature into the woods. He had scented a bear and gone after it. He had got confused and went the wrong way to come in. He had seen me go in and thought I was abandoning him... Intellectually, I know he is a smart dog. He can find his way to the cabana. He wants to be with us and would be quite insistent about coming in if he wanted to be in. It's hard to be rational in such a situation, though. The more I whistled and called, the more disconsolate Seamus, stuck in the cabana, became. His whimpers and howls wafted to me through the open windows and it sounded like he was calling Guinness too. He sounded afraid and terribly sad. Which did nothing for my psychological state.

It was probably less than ten minutes before Guinness came padding out of the bush, wagging his tail. I was so happy to see him. We went in, I handed out doggy cookies and made a big fuss over them both. We went back to bed. I was WIDE AWAKE. Mosquitoes had come in with us and they entertained me for awhile.

I don't know when I finally fell asleep, but it was a sadly short night. I read for quite a long time before I actually felt sleepy, and texts came through from Jeff and the kids. It was probably 11 or later when I fell asleep the first time. Don't know where Guinness got to while I was panicking on the cabana porch. No doubt off doing dog stuff. He likes the dark.

It's partly cloudy this morning. And already 22C. It's going to be a hot, hot day. My legs are itchy from bug bites.

7:50 AM

I am staring tired. I think I tranced out sitting here. How did it get so late? Must get to work. Can't even think what I need to do to make that happen. The dogs have gone back to sleep here in the cabin.

8:25 AM

Breakfast was good – leftover pasta and veggies from yesterday. I am feeling more awake. I should be able to start painting soon. I know once I get going things will go fine. It's just getting started that's hard.

10:00 AM

Painting, painting, painting. Up a rickety ladder with things falling on my head that, if I were to think too hard about it or let my resolve weaken, would have me running screeching. A live spider hit me in the face as I brushed off a section of fascia and I very nearly went not only off the ladder but also over the edge of the deck. That would have been a drop of about 12 feet, which would have been unpleasant. Possibly even more unpleasant than having a spider narrowly miss my eye. I kept it together. More or less. If someone had been taking a video it might have made America's Funniest Home Videos. Just as I was typing that, another spider climbed out of the breast pocket of Jeff's old shirt that I am using as a paint smock. There was a brief break in my typing just now while I squealed and jumped around and whisked at the shirt front. Don't know where the spider went. Feeling all creepy now. I really don't like spiders. Really. A lot. Eeeeeeeeew! So not liking this job!

Taking a much needed break. Lots more to do. Again, I say, “Eeeeeeeeew!” I think I shall sit here and tremble for a bit before getting back at it.

It's 32C and humid. Debating whether that is too hot to do any more now.

All creepy crawly feeling. My own sweat running down my body is freaking me out.

11:50 AM

I can do now more now. I am so hot, so harassed by black flies and mosquitoes and deer flies. So not good with spiders. Or ladders. I don't mind heights. I'm not even afraid of falling. It's the sudden stop at the bottom that bothers me.

If the ladder was stable and on level ground, and if there was a crash mat underneath me, I would be totally cool with doing the high parts. Or if I was somehow harnessed to the roof (with some way to get down should the ladder fall away), that would be ok too. But this is real life. And I intend to stay alive. So no super high wobbly ladders for me until other people are out here that can go for help if things go sideways (and down). This may seem quite cowardly, but you haven't seen the ground the ladder would stand on (all uneven and rocky). I probably haven't mentioned that at it's highest the roof is over 18' high. And I may not have mentioned that I am basically pretty clumsy. I spaz out and bump into things. Trip over my feet. Lose my balance. Not a great combination for safety.

There are lots of other things I can do for the rest of the day. Sadly, none of them is very pleasant either. Pretty well everything on my to-do list is fraught with the possibility of spider encounters. Or ants. Or both. Also dirty, dusty, sweaty and difficult. My nerves are shot.

3:30 PM

Well, I debated lots of jobs I could do this afternoon. But with the encouragement of my darling husband, I gave up and dedicated myself to playing in the lake with the dogs. He, unfortunately, was at his desk, working through lunch. I feel bad about that. Of course, none of his job involves spiders.

It's still 30C and I am toasted. I washed and my scalp is clean! I am convinced I have now managed to remove all the webs, pine needles, dead insects and other nasty things from my hair and body. Yay! I feel so much better. So much better. I feel like a new person. A brain-baked, sleepy and somewhat hungry new person, but clean! CLEAN. I really, really like that.

I guess I missed lunch, yet again. Breakfast seems a long time ago now. What to make?

Blah. I am going to have to go get water from the lake before I can make anything. I have pulled on one of my beautiful, full-length batik muslin hippie dresses. I shall have to knot it up at the sides so I don't trip on the way down or up...

3:55 PM

Water got. I guess I haven't really explained our water system. There are two 10 litre buckets. They are used to scoop water out of the lake and carry it up to the cabin. Onto the counter, and then a drop or two of bleach added to each bucket to kill any beaver fever or other nasties that could be in the water. Yes, beaver fever is a thing and it's not dirty in the way you might think. At the top of our creek is a beaver dam. Which means there are beavers in the other lake out property abuts. When there are beavers in the water there are microbes in the water that can make you really sick. Water spills over the dam, in spite of the fact it is taller than I am, so whatever is in that water is in our water too. So, chlorine.

Stage two: the water goes through coffee filters into water jugs to remove any suspended particles. Yes, there are suspended particles. Anything from large things, like bark bits, to very tiny things that are large enough to be caught by a coffee filter, but too small to see.

We used to balance the plastic coffee filter on two knives so it wouldn't fall into the jug. This was always a tenuous and precarious arrangement. My very clever son came up with a new solution. Very simple and very effective. Four popsicle sticks glues into a square. It works really well.

Oh, and if you don't think 20 litres of water is heavy, try going up hill with that.

4:20 PM

Ok, veggies cut up. Mushrooms, asparagus and a tomato. The things that most need eating. This is the end of the mushrooms and asparagus until I can get to town. I still have a couple of tomatoes in the fridge. Blooms only so far on my tomato plants...

Kettle on and 1/2 cup of red lentils waiting for the boiling water. It's going to be curried lentils (dahl) and sauted veggies.

4:35 PM

Water boiling. Added to lentils, along with Vindaloo curry paste. (1/2 cup lentils, 1 cup boiling water, 2 Tbsp curry paste – I use Pataks because it doesn'y have nasty preservatives in it) Return to boil and cover and reduce heat. I like my curry HOT. I like plain fat free yoghurt with it. The counterpoint between the heat and the cool I find very pleasing.

Frying pan heating with a little olive oil. Add some minced garlic, ginger and chili peppers.

Add mushrooms...

The dogs are both totally sacked out. I have been stepping over Seamus every time I go to the kitchen and he doesn't even open an eye. I tired them out! Yay! I just realize my skirt is draped over Seamus' head and he is paying no mind whatsoever.

Add asparagus. I know, it looks like I choose too small a pan. We'll see...

The lentils are at a point where I have turned off the heat but left the lid on. Let them absorb the rest of the water.

And... suddenly the dogs are up, especially Seamus who is indignant and “having the barks”.

I give in. Transferred the veggies to a bigger pan.

And, add the tomatoes.

And give it a stir. Isn't that pretty? Food should be appealing in appearance. Presentation is important.

5:10 PM

So tired. And it's early yet. Too much sun. Too much icky spider stress.

5:30 PM

Mmmmm! Yummy!

5:40 PM

That was too good. And again, the eating takes a fraction of the time it took to make it. At least there's leftovers.

5:55 PM

I don't know what's going on but the aerial traffic is terrible right now. Jets, helicopters. There have been at least half a dozen aircraft of one kind or another overhead in the past 5 minutes. It's constant. And noisy. What on earth is going on?

And it's still going on! That's 10 minutes of heavy air traffic. Bizarre.

6:10 PM

It seems to have stopped. All the bosses at the quarry heading home for the weekend? Who knows. Upset the dogs, it was that loud. Upset me. Were I in an urban setting I would have thought there was some sort of movie-style suspect pursuit in progress. Spoke too soon. There goes another helicopter.

6:50 PM

It has settled down to a chopper every so often. Much less intrusive. For awhile there it was like the storming of the beach in Apocalypse Now, minus the Wagner.

7:45 PM

Heading down to the cabana. Hoping to get some texts and a breeze. Read my book...