Thursday, January 28, 2010


Some time ago, I wrote/threatened/promised I would start publishing some of my "Moral Economy" Op-Ed columns on my Bears Noting blog. Next week, I am going to start doing that.

Chrome on the Range is my everyday, "fun, friends, and family" (and sometimes serious) blog. Bears Noting on the other hand, is deliberately set for "more serious stuff." While that may sound ominous, it will be OK; as long as I don't take myself too seriously. (When was the last time Bear did that?)

But I'll give you a "heads up" here when I'm adding to Bears Noting.

Next weeks piece will deal with political disenchantment in Canada, and some related thoughts.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


We are having just a bit of a winter storm here. Environment Canada posted a "Winter Storm Warning" about 43 hours ago, and it's been snowing ever since. Not heavy snow; tiny flakes that kept coming, and coming, and coming. I don't know exactly how much snow we have, but it's banked up against our basement windows. I'm guessing at least 20 cms (about 8 inches). And the wind came up overnight; 70 kph (about 40 mph). Not a lot of fun.

And there is so much snow that Sadie isn't really getting out. I took her for a walk after supper yesterday, but traction was so bad, it was difficult getting anywhere. It was a short walk. Today, no walking at all.

I've cleared the walkway beside the house twice since this snow began. But that was pretty useless, as you can see.

I have to encourage Sadie a lot just to go outside and get off the porch. So after supper today, I cleared the sidewalks for the third time and made a circuit in the back yard for Sadie. She loves it!

But we're not alone, in terms of feeling "snowed in." City Transit pulled all its buses off the streets earlier today, because the going was so difficult. I do hope they get enough plowed that people can get to wherever tomorrow (Monday). Meanwhile, a lot of activities were canceled today, because of the snow.

I stayed on our nice warm basement, with the gas heater, drinking tea and think deep, Bear-like thoughts. Sadie was here; J came down, too. Whole family together!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


When the weather changes here, and we get very cold air meeting flowing water, our world is transformed.

We go walking in a winter wonderland.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I'm not really going blind. It just seems that way. Even since Sadie made herself a "Spectac-ular Dog," life has just become a bit more challenging. (Sadie still has an ASBO for that — as in "Anti-Social Behavior Order" — and probably will for a while yet.) "Grr@$#%$^&*@rr," says Bear. "You're grounded for a long time, kid!"

My first eye surgery went delightfully well. I can see almost perfectly through my right eye. I probably won't need glasses for distance viewing, or to drive, in the future. (Bear is very pleased about that!).

Surgery on my left eye will be done a month from today. (Bear is very pleased about that, too!)

But I can't read anything. If it's closer than about three feet, it's becoming a fuzzball. (I use a magnifying glass to read what I'm typing, including this post.) But all of this in quite manageable; low nuisance value.

This afternoon I decided to cook some rice. Easy as Cake. Piece of Pie. (If you're confused about the transposition in those phrases, you need to see the 1984 movie based on Arthur C. Clarke's
2010: Odyssey Two.) One cup of brown rice, two cups of water. Put in a heavy pot on the stove, bring to a boil, let simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. And, "Bob's your uncle," cooked, nutritious brown rice.

Uh, no.

Bear opens kitchen drawer. Bear looks at measuring cups. Bear cannot read the labels on measuring cups. Bear reaches for magnifying glass on window ledge in kitchen. Finally figures out which measuring cup is which. (Figuring out one cup or half cup actually isn't too difficult; but between a third and a quarter cup — who can tell?) Rice is made.

In the process, I have come to appreciate very much the sight I have. I have also come to wonder how people manage who are blind. I know there are some skills that can be learned to compensate, somewhat. Bit I'm sure it is much more difficult that I can ever imagine to be truly sightless.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Her Ladyship, Miss Sadie, is recuperating comfortably at home after her ovariohysterectomy surgery yesterday at the university's veterinary hospital. (She was spayed.)

Lady Sadie wished to sport a British motif for her first official picture since returning home. In addition to her black fur coat she is dressed in an "Elizabethan Collar" (the official name for the cone-shaped thing around her neck). She is in her accustomed position, on the sofa beside the gas heater in the basement.

Lady Sadie wishes to thank all those who have expressed their concerns for her welfare during this planned procedure. She does not understand, however, that her activity is to be restricted for the next 2-3 weeks, as she recovers from her experience at the vet hospital.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Tonight, we have one less dog in our household.

Nuala has gone to a new home, where she will be loved, and pampered.

Nuala was my wife's dog, and Momma Bear just didn't have the energy to look after a very enthusiastic puppy. (Even more enthusiastic than Sadie, though not as big!)

We all miss her. But Sadie is forlorn; she just keeps looking for her sister, waiting for Nuala to come out and run around the yard with her.

Sadie is sleeping beside my desk as I write this, one of Nuala's old toys between her paws, her head resting on it. I think I'm almost going to cry.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


$800.00 (or about £400.00) spectacles (or glasses, if you prefer). Well chewed, especially the legs. Rims all bent out of shape. One lens (un-needed post eye surgery) intact. All we can find are a few glass chips from the other lens; we and vet are taking note of Sadie's behaviour, hoping she didn't swallow the thing either whole or in pieces. Fortunately, no sign of cuts in her mouth! And these lenses were supposed to be unbreakable.

Sadie must have gotten bored while I was at an ethics meeting early this morning. Lifted them off my bedside table, and. . . .

Move over, Exmoore Jack (as in Jack Russell Terrier). Sadie is about to get an ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) like yours; you're going to have to share your shed (or wherever Jane puts you to keep you from getting into even more trouble).

Teen-agers— human and canine; what can you say?

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I don't often get bored. What with beloved wife, two dogs, house and grounds to maintain, two interesting children, two darling grandchildren, several ethics committees on which I serve, and friends to visit (in person and on line), life is quite full.

However, much of that came to a screeching halt two weeks ago, when I had eye surgery.

Some things are much better. I can see to do thing around the house, for example. But reading actually takes a magnifying glass in hand. Sherlock Holmes I am not. VERY frustrating!

So instead of reading, I thought I would try to do something totally different. Make pea soup.

I've never tried that before. But there's a first time for anything — in my case, anything appropriate. So why not try making soup?

I found what looked like a good recipe. I could read it with a magnifying glass. Seemed healthy and hearty.

So I scurried about, gathering up the necessary ingredients. And got to it.

Put the peas in a big pot (two cups peas, six cups water), boil, then simmer for an hour and a half. No problem.

But as I looked at them more carefully, they looked a bit odd. So picked up the package and the magnifying glass to check the label.


Right. Not exactly what we were expecting.

So I left the lentils to simmer and took Sadie for a walk. Trying to clear my head. Think . . . think . . .think, like old Pooh Bear.

Sudenly I remember seeing another pea soup recipe which said one could substitute lentils for peas and get a satisfactory soup.

YES! Problem is now in hand.

After cooking the lentils for about half the required time, they were quite soft but not mushy. I suppose for real lentil or pea soup one wants them mushy. But I have no experience with "mushy peas." And, frankly, as one who prefers his pasta «al dente», this looked just fine. And the lentils were the preferred consistency.

While the lentils were simmering, I got the rest of the ingredients ready. Chicken (instead of pork hock), carrot and celery thinly sliced, garlic, lemon juice (lemon juice?), spices. Yet in the very middle, "1 onion, finely chopped."

Onions are a challenge for me at the best of times. But right after eye surgery? "Cruel and unusual puishment," I say. (Right after I got all the additional ingredients into the pot, and got it boiling again, I reached for the various eye drops I take to prevent problems with my eye, and dripped them in, one at a time!)

In the end, I ejected the bay leaf (which was, magically, sitting right on top) and tried a small bowl. There was a certain je ne sais quois about it. It was all right, but needed something. I ground some fresh pepper and added it. Didn't quite do the trick. Hmmmm . . . And a few rice crackers didn't help much either. Altogether a bit too bland. But better bland than too spicy!

Still and all, I've got several packages of soup in the freezer, to pull out for lunch on a cold day. We're supposed to be geting some of those in a bit. This is winter in Canada, you realize.

And my eye is OK, right now. I hope it will be in the morning.