Monday, August 29, 2011


For some reason, I haven't been doing much book reading lately. I've been busy on the internet, with blogs and other articles (particularly journal items related to medicine and medical ethics).

So I decided to become more intentional about reading of things other than electronic. (No, I don't have a Kindle account.)

The challenge is that I rarely read fiction. I always think there's more interesting and important reading to do. But that's life when you're a Bear.

Only One Way Left. This is a re-read of a book by the founder of the renewed, rebuilt Iona Community, George McLeod. Celtic Christian insights into everyday life.

Living with Chronic Illness: Days of Patience and Passion. Cheri Register's book talks about what the title says. It's based on her experience, and the experience of other living with chronic illness.

A History of Wales. John Davies book, originally entitled Hanes Cymru in Welsh, begins with data from pre-historic times, and ends with material from about 1990. A lot has happened in Wales since, but to understand the present, one needs to know something of the past.

The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Journey to Wholeness. The book, by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, focuses on our ordinary life, with all it's imperfections — which they say are the norm. It's learning to live with those imperfections which helps us. Quite a bit of material from Alcoholics Anonymous is included.

God Hates Religion: How the Gospels Condemn False Religious Practice. Christopher Levan, retired Principal of a Canadian theological college, tackles the contemporary frustrations of church people and others, who are seeking a wholesome, lived Christianity in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. (I'm wondering if  it might be a commentary applicable to the "Christian Right" in both Canada and the U.S.)

Hmmm. Well, that'll keep me going for a while. If I miss your blog, you'll know what I've been reading other things, and haven't got to you. Yet.

Blessings and (gentle) Bear hugs, friends!

On my Bears Noting blog I have included some notes from Saturday's funeral for Jack Layton.


As some of you may be aware, Bear has a total of five blogs. Yes, five of 'em. Most of you are accustomed to being part of Chrome on the Range and Bears Noting.

But there are three others. One deals with things spiritual and religious. One deals with ethics, particularly medical ethics. And one is written in French. Entirely in French. Yes, I admit to being a bit of a peculiar Bear.

There is an explanation. Bear, being in better fame of mind these days, is starting to use all five blogs. I don't want my mind to rot — totally. The creative juices are starting to flow again. I would not want you to be bored by reading just one or two blogs. So, the ethics blog and the French blog are coming back "on line" this week. I don't use them as much as my main two, so I'll warn you when I'm posting there. Maybe I should say "advise you" when I have something thereabouts.

Happy reading!

* With apologies to Robert Service, Canadian poet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


The following is a short piece from The Rick Mercer Report on CBC television. Mercer was invited for lunch to the Layton's home.

It would be from a year or so ago. It's a very brief insight into some of Mr. Layton's life. This is a guy who walks the talk.


Jack Layton is receiving virtually royal treatment in death.

His body has being lying in state in the Centre block Parliament building in Ottawa. Tens of thousands of people have come to pay their respects, waiting in line for hours to do so. His wife, Olivia Chow, also a Member of Parliament, has been there, with their children and granddaughter. (She took a quiet detour to visit his parliamentary office while on the Hill.)

This afternoon, his body will be taken to Quebec. That is the province where he was born (son of a former federal Conservative cabinet minister) and where his party made its "breakthrough," making it the Official Opposition in the Commons.

From there, it will go this evening to Toronto. The city is his home; he served on its City Council for many years before moving to federal politics. His body will lie in state at Toronto's City Hall, until just before the state funeral, which will be held in the Roy Thompson Hall, Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. I believe it will be televised.

Jack Layton was a much beloved man. I always thought there was something so very different about him. He was not your average politician. He really loved people; he really cared, deeply about people. When he was on Toronto City Council, he often rode a bike around the city, so he could easily stop and talk to people. Yes, he was concerned about the environment, but people, and their lives, seemed his key interest. He is someone who will be hugely missed on the national scene.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Canadians were largely shocked and saddened to learn this morning that Jack Layton had died. Layton, the Leader of Canada's social democratic party (called the" New Democratic Party," or NDP) was 61. He died of cancer, after a long and effective career as one of Canada's elected leaders.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (one of Canada's national television and radio networks) had a story early this morning, which has been circulating across the country and around the world.

Layton left behind a Letter of Thanks to Canadians, which was released later this morning.

(For those of you not familiar with the British/Canadian parliamentary system, our Parliament is the same as the US Congress, Our House of Commons is like the US House or Representatives, and Layton (as Leader of  Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the Commons) would be like the Minority Leader in the US House of Representatives.

For me, Layton's death is on a par with the deaths of the Kennedy brothers, John and Bobby. Also the death of Lady Diana Spencer (ex-wife of Prince Charles). The Spirit of Canada is smaller today because Jack Layton has died

Here is a video recording of Layton at his finest, here in "River City." Truly, a man of the people.

An informal gathering will be held here in a few days. That had already been arranged by mid morning. Timing of the gathering will, I suspect, depend a bit on when Layton's funeral is held.

Outside Layton's constituency (as in "district") office in an older residential area of Toronto, a bouquet of flowers is growing by the hours. On the sidewalk, written in chalk, a simple, "Thanks, Jack."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


First, a very deep word of appreciation to you who have "felt my pain," and done something about that. You are so kind to have sent warm wishes and encouragement. I get by with a lot of help from such friends.

Second, I am getting better. The more I rest my leg, the better things are feeling. I had tea this afternoon with a friend who is having knee problems. About which he was in to see a specialist fairly recently. The specialist's advice to my friend: lots of rest for knees, a little bit of walking, or (better still) swimming. I feel vindicated! I'm being good, getting lots of rest, which is my excuse to spend lots of time visiting the blogiverse (or whatever you want to call it).

Third, I will be going back to my vet in about a week, by which time I expect to be much better — maybe even close to all better. (Oh, wait. Not my vet, my doctor. Sometimes I get a bit carried away with this ursine persona.)

As to what happened to me, well, it's like this. . . .

One other thought, while I'm on the subject. Diana, over at Welcome to My World in the "running" for the title of "Most Bionic Woman Since Jamie Summers." Diana has had two knees replaced at the same time. (If that isn't a hero, I don't know who is.) Physio is next. We, however, have not signed her up for the Boston Marathon. Yet. Perhaps you could drop over and pass on a cheery word. Thanks.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


About two weeks ago, I went shopping. Nothing unusual about that.

Except that about the end of the searching out of food, I had this strange pain in my knee. Something new.

And then my hip started bothering me. Hmmmm.

I paid for my food. And limped home.

The situation did not improve, so a few days later, I saw my vet (I mean doctor). Who prescribed some pills, to cut down the inflammation and reduce the pain. Which is reasonable.

Last night, I went shopping again. (One needs some food in the house, er, um, den, if one is going to prepare meals.)

By time I was finished in the store, my hip was feeling extremely tender. (Bear was in agony.)

I made it to the car, and thence home.

Today, after walking around the apartment a few times, and making breakfast, I can Bearly move.

It's better than getting hit by a train. But Bear is "not amused."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I've just learned that my cousin Flossie died recently in the ongoing misadventure called "Trains vs Bears."  She's the 13th Grizzley Bear to have been run over by a train during the last 12 years in Canada's Banff National Park. Two more Bears have been killed on the Banff highways this year.

Not a good year for us Bears.

Flossie's two kids are apparently doing fairly well since her death, so that is one piece of good news. Lots of cubs have died of starvation when their moms were killed.

The other piece of Bad News is that the Bear population in the Park is down to about 60. Even worse, the Alberta Government (Alberta's the province in which the park is located) says there are only 691 Bears left in the whole province. That's down from 1,000 a decade ago.

Yeah, the family is hitting hard times. Worse than a stock market crash.

The naturalists who keep track of these things say the loss of even one female Bear of reproductive age is a huge blow to the overall health of the ecosystem in that part of the Rocky Mountains.

Parks Canada (the Federal government agency) is teaming up with the Canadian Pacific Railway (the other side in "Trains vs Bears") in an effort to reduce the number of deaths. Last year the Federal government and the railway committed $1 million each over five years, to find a solution. In "Trains vs Bears," the Bears always lose. Always.

Some 50 Bear "specialists" and transportation scientists from all across North America are now committed to the project. They'll be meeting in Banff next month to work on the situation. As far as I know, no Bears were invited to participate.

As far as I'm concerned, fixing the problem cannot come a day too soon. There aren't many of us left.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

WELL, I WOKE UP SUNDAY MORNING . . . (Um, not exactly)

Oh, dear. Oh, my!

Bear is totally confused.

They threw a holiday into this week to totally confuse me. And they succeeded.

First, since yesterday was a holiday, this feels like Monday. So I'm writing my Monday post. But it's on Tuesday. And since it's Tuesday, I wrote on my Bears Noting blog.

So. What I was planning to write — here — yesterday — you can read there, at my Bears Noting blog, today. Clear enough? Sorry!!!

I will try to get my mind unscrambled sometime this week. I make no promises.