Wednesday 1 January 2020

"Hello!" said the Bear, feeling a bit uncertain — or more than a bit, actually. It's been more than a year since he has tried this, and he's not sure if he knows quite how to do it.

You see, it's like this. My veterinarian (doctor) has been "encouraging" me to [try to] write more, so I am trying to do just that. Write more. So here goes: MORE.

Well, that wasn't too difficult. So I'm going to carry on. 

To begin at the beginning. The year 2019 was a difficult year. I'll spare you the details, except to say I have been in a lot of pain. I was taking some fairly heavy-duty narcotics. I got off of those (I'll tell you more at another time.) I ended up in an outpatient program in one of our hospitals. The Geriatric Evaluation and Management program is designed to help people who have been struggling with this or that as they progress in years. Of course, I'm Rob, not Geri, and I'm a Bear, not an "atric" (whatever that is). But we sorted things out and the program went well enough that I'm a bit more mobile. Sufficient to say I had a lot of physiotherapy in the process. My one goal for the year 202020: to stay more mobile. (Though I'm not going to sign up this year for the Boston Marathon.)

For some reason, this has been a very dark autumn and early winter. Even J has noticed that. We don't often get the bright sunshine we normally get in the winters. And instead of getting temperatures like -20C to -40C, it's been more like -4C to -8C. As well, there is not much snow on the ground. This is very confusing for a Bear; it definitely does not feel like hibernating weather. I tried hibernating but it just did not feel right. So I'm awake — sleepy, but awake. You may not notice much difference in my behaviour. I don't know if your fall and winter have been unusually dark; pleases let me know about your experience.

One item of note: in late August J and I marked our 50th wedding anniversary. We did not have a party on the occasion. We are both introverts and parties tend to be a bit overwhelming. (That is not a joke.) Actually, some parties are a whole lot overwhelming.

Today's Weather Report
How could I possibly send you a note without today's weather report from prairie Canada?
So, to the weather for River City. Today, the expected high is -4C, and the sky will likely be at least partly cloudy. Tonight, -6C and mostly cloudy.  Just as I told you — grey skies frowning at me.

Tuesday 21 August 2018


I'm not going to explain my unplanned absence except by saying "intense pain" and "dodging smoke."

I'm thinking about the fire reports from British Columbia (also knows as British California for its location and sometimes temperament.) At last record, there were firefighters from Australia and New Zealand helping out — those are not exactly our "next-door neighbours."

The last picture I saw was of a giant smoke cloud rising to 25,000 feet. I looked initially like someone had set off a small nuclear bomb. Certainly not a time to be travelling by aeroplane.

(I would show you a picture but I can't get it to transfer from where it is to here. 😢)

Now I'm sure you realize that is a long way from Bear's home. About 1577 kilometres (or 980 miles). But the smoke from there is getting all the way to River City! But that's just the beginning. The smoke goes all the way to Northern Ontario. (In US terms, Ontario is mostly north of New York and Michigan.) That's about 2,520 kilometres or 1,600 miles east of River City. 

And the smoke is dangerous. We received a warning:

### Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk. People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.

Time to take health concerns seriously. A lung specialist I heard on tv was saying people react to the smoke like it is an intruding infection — developing inflammation and other responses. This adds up over time, leading to things like lung cancer. 

So, I've been busy trying to dodge the bad air. Keeps a Bear busy! Sadly, I have not been very successful. My throat and chest feel pretty uncomfortable at 1,500 kilometres away from the fire. Not good for a former firefighter.

Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow. 

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!

Tonight's Weather Report
Going down to 8C overnight, then up to 25C tomorrow. No clouds to speak of, but continuing small-particulate smoke.