Solitary mornings of quiet and tea


The early morning before sunrise is quieter than any other time of day. There are those of us who cherish that peace, that solitude, that quiet time of the mind before the world jangles us with the endless demands of life. A simple perfection of silence, a hot drink and ease of mind cannot be gainsaid as a way to start the day.

Such mornings are rare these days. Our early rising son has been getting up almost in concert with me as he works to finish off his first semester of theatre performance. By the time showers are done, breakfast and lunch taken care of and hes be driven to the train station it is our daughter’s turn to rise and the dog’s turn to be walked. The value of the quiet in the morning is as immeasurable to my keeping an even keel as it has been impossible to find of late. In such impossibility I am reminded of my small need for solitary mornings of quiet and tea.

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The world as but a world

The troublesome twosome our son and daughter.

The troublesome twosome our son and daughter.

Our son has an audition this morning for a film role and headed downtown early. He headed in several hours before the audition and on the way there I said “Well it will give you time to run lines,” trying to sound all fatherly and up to speed with the acting profession to which I’ve had absolutely no exposure.

“It’s not that kind of audition.” Wait, what? It turns out not all auditions are like what we see on television which crushes me since my vision of life was formed by the light box in the corner of the living room and the stories it has told me. Oh well, I’ll get over it.

This type of audition starts with just the actor and director having a chat about life, the universe and everything perhaps even the number 42. Later they run lines from a script that the actor hasn’t seen with the actor being asked to do the lines of several characters. Our son tells me he’s done this type of audition before and it is, for him, his long suit. Cool.

As he got out of the van I wished him luck and then corrected myself with a “Break a leg.” Some days I am so cool, and with it, I give myself frostbite.

No word on the biopsy and MRI results yet. As ever, fingers crossed.

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It has been a little while since I worked on any fiction. The NAIT teach yourself power engineering course has been taking up a lot of what passes for spare time. Earlier this week though I opened up Britannia to have a look at it. Weighing in at 15 000 words and 27 pages it is longer than I remember. I read the incomplete story to refresh my memory of where it had been left. It was good, at least to me it was good. I know where it goes from where I left it so all that remains is to get the rest of it down then hand it off to Helena in Hong Kong and Donna in Edmonton and wait to see what they have to say. Then comes the real work of writing: rewriting.

Here’s the first paragraph with a question: would you read on?

He could have gone to her grave side. He could have gone to where she lived the last thirty years of her life. He could have visited with family and spoken words about how wonderful a woman she had been. He almost thought her death left him unmoved but for the sudden slowing of time and the insistent demands of memory. He did not plan to drive anywhere, not a conscious plan, he arrived and knew where he was and what he wanted to see.

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The future is coming.

Trying to meet and network with people in a city 3500 k away is a different kind of thing to try and do. By nature I am gregarious when with people but reaching out over the Internet to try and create a network is more difficult.

Part of the difficulty is the disingenuous feel of the whole process of trying to network with people you don’t know. It isn’t that I don’t want to know them but the ability to get to know them is limited. I’ve made some contacts through NAIT and Facebook but it is slow going. There’s another 19 months to try and build a network. When you live decades in one place you take your network for granted, that changes when you decide to move. Add to the networking efforts the process of creating an online presence which will convey to prospective employers why their company would benefit from adding me to their team and the process becomes more interesting.

With luck, and a little bit of skill perhaps, it will all come together.

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CT done

My son’s CT scan was done last week. He was a little ill from the radioactive isotopes but other than that things went well. Results should be in within a fortnight. Fingers crossed.

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Small steps towards information

Our son got in touch with the doctor last week and found out that they have scheduled a CT for next week. They don’t want to discuss the results of the first test until they have the results of the CT which seems reasonable enough. No point in giving good news only to then have to give bad or vice versa. Best to keep the cards close to the chest and then see how it plays out. So we will have to wait but will know the results before the end of next month on supposes.

Our daughter went to the open house at Dawson College yesterday. She want’s to be a medical examiner – a forensic pathologist – which means pure and applied sciences and about eight years of university. If she’s lucky and gets in she will be working by the time she’s 26 or 27. It’s a long row to hoe. Yesterday she told me that she doesn’t want to move to Edmonton.

It is hardly surprising that someone who grew up in such close proximity to one of the most recognized cities on the planet with so much going for it wouldn’t want to move to a northern city where the snow hits the ground in October and only leaves it in May. Edmonton has half the population of Montreal but covers twice the geographic area. Montreal is vibrant all the time so if you are young and want to be out and about Montreal is somewhere you would want to be. I like Edmonton and it is a great place to go if you are looking for work but our daughter won’t be looking for work for a long time yet.

Since our son plans to stay in Montreal and Lynn’s mother still lives here it is possible that our daughter will be able to stay and still have support of family. It will get sorted one way or another. Just another hiccough.

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Another tragedy another excuse

The talking heads are already at it on the morning news drumming up support to abrogate more freedoms in the name of “security”. Before we all go running up to hand over our rights remember the words of Benjamin Franklin – Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

In short order there will be new bill(s) tabled as the government seeks to leverage the tragedies of the last few days into more powers to surveil and restrict freedom in the name of security. The irony of using the deaths of those who fought to protect our freedoms to remove those freedoms will be completely lost on the majority of the population and the media.

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Same as it ever was

There is no word yet on our son’s biopsy. No CT scan scheduled yet. It’s the waiting game. We’ve been here. We’ve done this. It is a different time but it feels familiar.

School has been going well, well, well enough. The first exam part 4A1 resulted in a mark of 86 while the second exam part 4A2 resulted in a mark of 75. Next Friday is the final. In November part B starts provided the final is a success. The 75 threw me a little bit. It isn’t that it is a bad mark it is just that it is not reflective of how well I felt I did in the exam. It is ironic that I thought the first exam had not gone well at all. Fingers crossed.

My LinkedIn blogging hasn’t really resulted in any traction. It doesn’t matter that much. It is nice to be able to blog about things which are work related and not have it intrude on the personal blog. The real point of the blogging on LinkedIn is to give prospective employers an idea of who they are hiring. In the work related blog as with my personal blog I only write what I believe which may or may not be of interest or liked. I’m of an age where it seems best that whomever hires me knows ahead of time what they are getting. If they still want to hire me then it’s probably going to be a good fit.

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In for a penny in for a pound – NAIT continues to be NAIT

Heading into the 4A final for Power Engineering I had a few questions so sent off an email, as we are told to do, to ask a few questions. Here is the exchange

Me – Good afternoon,

Studying hard for the 4A final. I have a few questions (well more than a few but these ones bother me the most).

Are diagonal stays or through stays more common on firetube boilers?

Are all safety shut off valves automatic? (sounds obvious but is there a manual override?)

How do you test if a safety shut off valve is working without tripping the condition that causes it to function automatically?

What type of valve is used for a SSOV? Gate?

How many SSOVs are required?

Sorry for all the questions but I can’t seem to settle my curiosity on this with the book.


NAIT: Do you have the ASME code book?

Me: I’ll take that as a look it up yourself answer.

NAIT: No, but the answer are in the ASME. Do you want me to just tell you or do you want to try and find the answers and if you can’t I’m more than happy to help.

Me: I have the ten volumes. Will find it.

NAIT: You don’t have just the extract?

Me: No extract in library just volumes 1 – 10 in all it is 16 books which is still brief in comparison to the 37 volumes for the full ASME @ $16K


Yes the cost of the ASME full set is $16 000.00.

For the record there is NO ASME extract anywhere to be found in the online library, none was delivered with the books I ordered and none is available for download on the Power Engineering site – at least none that I can see.

In the realm of self study NAIT continues to deliver on what I perceive to be the concept of: if you signed up for self study, you’re on your own.

Brilliant money making technique.

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Always an adventure

Earlier this summer our son started having some stomach discomfort. He kept putting off going to the doctor but eventually he did make the effort. After several on again off again bouts of burning pain he made his way to the emergency room. The first go around they ran some blood tests which came back negative. Second time around they ran some blood tests and took an x-ray and it came back negative. The third time around he was experiencing pain on both sides of his abdomen. When they were drawing blood he seized and went unconscious. Again he was released. This past week he went in again after passing a lot of blood.

This time the doctor seemed to pay more attention which may have been because our son passed out in the emergency room. A GI consult was ordered and after a day of prep and about 36 hours without food a colonoscopy was performed. Things went well at first and our son was watching the monitor as the camera worked its way along the colon. Then the doctor found some unusual growths and took tissues samples for biopsy. The GI specialist has ordered a CT scan and now we are waiting on the appointment.

If nothing else life is always an adventure.

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