Thursday, July 29, 2010


Her Ladyship, Miss Sadie, and the Bear are polar opposites, in some ways.

What we have in common is that we don't understand our own strength.

Miss Sadie, I think, underestimates hers. At four feet tall (or more, when standing on her back legs — something I really discourage), with 50 pounds of energy and enthusiasm, she really could knock you down. After which she would lick you to death.

Bear, on the other hand, overestimates his.

Case in point.

Yesterday was cool and breezy in the evening. We hadn't received any rain. (A day without rain is a "novel" experience this year; one is not quite sure how to handle that.) And as our front and back grass were both in need of cutting, Bear got out the lawnmower.

(You've probably guessed the rest already.)

The land on our "micro-holding" is not level, and is broken up by trees, and gardens, and other sorts of spaces and obstacles. So cutting the grass in a straight line really doesn't happen for more than a couple of metres/yards. One has to do a great deal of maneuvering around in the process of "mowing the hay." (And I have to carry the lawnmower part way from front to back because of the new stepping stones we put in this year.)

Anyhow, I did the mowing last night. And when I was finished, it looked quite good. I was happy with that. Plus, I got the grass cut before the next rain shower (scheduled for tonight). YES!!!

But after a bit, I wasn't feeling so good. I have an old injury in my back that I keep re-injuring. By bed time I was in quite a bit of pain. So I took some medication (fairly strong stuff, actually), and went to bed about 9:30. By then I was feeling extremely tired, and a bit dopey from the medication.

I slept through the night (something I rarely do), and woke up at 7:00 this morning, not quite sure who or where I was. I was able to look after Her Sadieship and get my own breakfast. Then I thought I would lie down and have a rest.

I woke up at 11:30. It is now just after noon. The effect of the medication has worn off — meaning that I'm not dopey, but in pain. I'm going to make lunch and try to figure out what to do next. Miss Sadie needs to be walked. I need to do some shopping. There are parts of the yard which need to be trimmed, weeded, and otherwise tidied up. I have several books I want to read. Currently is it 26°C (that's 79F), too hot a day for Bear's liking.

— — —
Footnote: We did indeed go shopping, but not as expected. We went to our favourite bakery (where we haven't been for a while), and picked up some things. They're baking a lot of different things there now — major focus on Italian — so we picked up some goods as an experiment. What we've tried thusfar has been really good.

After lunch, J and I talked for a while, and I finally took Sadie for a walk. It's 27°C (81F) outside, but with the humidity feels like 33C (91F). We're going to stay inside, and stay cool (er).

Monday, July 26, 2010


It doesn't have to be a "home on the range." It just needs to be a nice home —  reasonably clean, where taps, and lights, and things like that work properly. 

Sadly, there are a lot of people who don't have decent housing. 

So I put some thoughts together on my Bears Noting blog. It's a bit heavier thinking than I normally do here. But if you're concerned about how some of us live, take a peek. 

(And if you would care to comment, please leave your comment there.)

Hmmmm. . . . did somebody say something about unpopular beliefs and ideas?

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Sonia (over at Gutsy Writer) got me thinking about this topic a few days ago. I had some questions for myself. 
What does it mean do take risks?
Why should I take risks?
What kinds of risks could/should/would I take?

I've taken a lot of risks in my life. Changing jobs; changing careers; moving across a country for work; walking into burning buildings with nothing more than an inch and a half (diameter) fire hose; getting married; having children; writing, broadcasting and blogging; upholding unpopular beliefs and ideas. In each case, these were things I did because I thought they were the right thing to do. A couple of those proved to be really bad (two were health destroying); the vast majority were good, and I'd do them again.

Even though I'm hitting retirement, I don't expect my attitude will change much. I'm probably a bit old for walking into burning buildings and having more children. I'll probably spend more time upholding unpopular ideas, in a time when democracy, human rights, co-operation, citizen action, and faith are all under attack, particularly in North America.

I'd love to have you come along. And if you're coming along, I really hope you will chat with me about what you and I are thinking.

Do we have a deal?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Her Ladyship, Miss Sadie, spend Monday night and much of Tuesday in the Intensive Care Unit of our University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Monday after supper, she began to show a whole bunch of problems, involving several of her systems. A quick call to the hospital and a chat with a clinician, and I took her in. The initial suspicion was an early onset of Addison's disease, a chronic condition of the adrenal glands. She was also dehydrated.

So after some IV fluids, lots of tests, and rest, Sadie was discharged. It is not Addison's, fortunately. The doctors still don't know what was wrong with her, but suspect she may have eaten something toxic in our back yard.  (Which is, in some ways, peculiar, as we use no chemicals in our gardening.) I guess this means that I won't be letting Miss Sadie out as freely as in the past. Which is sad for her. 

In the meantime, she is getting back to her "normal" self. A bit more rest, and no recurring symptoms, and she'll be just fine. My wallet, on the other hand. . . .

Friday, July 16, 2010


In response to questions about finding the various poems in the Bear poetry contest, you need to go to Rachel Westfall's blog, The Waxing Moon. The contributions are spread over several postings; check the attached comments to the posts. I've put in the links for all four of the key posts on Rachel's blog

Monday, July 12, 2010


As I mentioned earlier, I won a poetry contest. (Still can't really believe it — has something to do with my self-image about not being a poet.)
My prizes arrived today. Wow! Excitement!
First, a beautiful Bear picture — a fitting award for a contest related to Bears. This, from Rachel Westfall, of Whitehorse, in Canada's Yukon Territory, who sponsored the contest. (My picture of her picture doesn't do justice to her work —you'll see much better on her blog.)

The other two items are also part of the "prize package." 

The pinkish bear is carved from Jade (technically "Rhodonite") at the Cassiar Mountain Jade Store in Jade City, British Columbia.  It's also from Rachel. The "Bear Paw" is from another contestant, S. L. Corusa, an amazing poet (like Rachel) who lives in Manilla, in the Philippines. (There are no boundaries to the world wide web!) 

So to Rachel and S. L., thank you, and many thanks again. These are cherished items.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Subtitle: "In which Bear and J work several hours in the garden, and accomplish some improvements."

Ah, yes; this IS starting to look better.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


OK, let's review.

The garden was a mess!

So Bear "took the bull by the tail" and got working on it. 

Soon, it wasn't looking too bad.

But there's something here that' not quite right. There's a certain «je ne sais quoi» feeling about it. I seems somehow incomplete. 

Think. Think. Think. (Think like a puzzled Winnie the Pooh.)

Think. Think. Think.

Well, if it were a picture, I could show it off a bit better by putting it in a nice frame.

Wait — that's it. Put something around it. Like, . . . like, . . . like — a border. Yes! That's it. A border!

Say, this is looking better.

And we're done! 

Her Ladyship, Miss Sadie has been supervising this all the way along. 

Now, she's allowing her picture to be taken alongside the completed project.

Allowing her picture to be taken in this manner is Her Ladyship's supervisory "seal of approval" that the work has been "completed to the highest standards." 

(When her Ladyship isn't looking, Bear rolls his eyes.)

So, the task is complete!

Now, all that's left is

Oh, my!  


Saturday, July 3, 2010


Disaster has struck at the home of the Bears.

While were away for a few days, our garden was overtaken by weeds!

 A closer investigation reveals the true nature of the difficulties.

How do we deal with this disaster? Bear put on his Tilley hat and considered the options.

(I know that your allotments look allot better than this.)

Let's face it; Bears are better at raiding gardens than growing gardens.

I guess we follow the old W. C. Fields plan: Take the bull by the tail and face the situation squarely.

Meaning, get on with the weeding.

This isn't coming along too badly.

There's light at the end of the tunnel!

To be continued > > >

Friday, July 2, 2010


Subtitle: “In which Bear Survives a Storm, Celebrates Canada Day, and Does Well in a Poetry Contest.”  

As famed Canadian poet Robert Service put it, "There are strange things done in the midnight sun." (That's the opening line from "The Cremation of Sam McGee.") 

There are, of course, strange things done at other times, too.

1. As many of you have already noted, there is a lot of "peculiar" weather this year. Normal patters appear to be skewed, for some reason. Global warming; a disruption in the "collective unconscious" —  who knows. 

We had a fairly brutal storm a couple of nights ago. We received about four inches of rain over three hours in our city. The hail at the Bears' house ranged in size between marbles and golf balls. Residents' basements, whole neighbourhoods, and even civic buildings, were flooded — and not just in our community. 

At one point, a few blocks from our home, the water flow and pressure in the storm sewer was so strong, the water blew the man hole cover off the service access. That sent water charging into the street, and cascading though a park directly to our river. The result was a huge washout, as you can see, on the path beside the roadway.

That cut is about 30 feet wide, and about 20 feet deep,

and runs all the way down the hill, through the park, to the river, which you can see in the distance.

We had another storm tonight, but it wasn't nearly as bad.

The washout, btw, is about two blocks from our son's house. He and his family were fine, as were we, and our daughter (who lives a bit further away, and on higher ground).

2. Canada Day is our national holiday. On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act came into force, and Canada became a Dominion within the British Empire (on which the sun never sets, I'm told). 

Yesterday, all kinds of things happening around us, from pancake breakfast first think in the morning, to fireworks at night. Our grandchildren came for a sleepover, and stayed up until the fireworks started (which we didn't think they would). But after a few, they had seen enough, so off to bed and sleep. 

In the process, they cut a few Canadian flags out of papers, and put them on a door and a windows. My flag continues to fly atop my flagpole; I think I'm the only one around here who actually flies a flag. (The bad news is that my flag is getting a bit tatty, and needs to be repaired or replaced.)

3. As at least some of you know, Bear has been a writer and broadcaster for quite a few years. And Bear loves telling stories. 

But Bear is NOT a poet. I thoroughly enjoy poetry, but I'm not a poetic writer.

Well, at least not until now.

Rachel Westfall, a good poet, writes poetry on her blog. To encourage others to write or try poetry, she decided to hold a competition on her blog. 

But not just ordinary poetry. It had to be about Bears, and it had to be Haiku (that particular form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 moras, in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 moras respectively). 

Since it was about Bears, this Bear thought, "Oh well, I'll give it a try,  just for fun, and see what happens."

So what happened? Rachel explained it this way:

"When I read the poems over and over, one author moved me in the way of the bear-spirit more than any other: Rob-Bear! Congratulations, dear Rob-Bear! Your bear in shining fur poem truly gave me goose-bumps (bear-bumps)?"

This is a bit strange, because I thought there were much better contributions than mine. But, hey; it's her blog, so we'll abide by her decision.

What did I write?

Bear in shining fur,
glowing with bright moonlight,
sniffs distant food, wonders.

I'm to get a prize, and it will be a Bear sort of thing, which I'll add to my collection of Bears. Quite Bearable, all in all. Thank you, Rachel!

But Bear still sits and shakes his head. Me? A poet? 

"And that," said Bear, "is that."

§   §   §

One other matter. This is my 200th post since I started blogging (in 2006). Bear figures if he works at it long enough, he may actually catch on to what blogging is. (There are so many really talented bloggers out there; some are included in my sidebar! And, yes;  there's one very prosaic, pedestrian Bear.)