Friday, 27 December 2013

IN WHICH WE CELEBRATE JOHN THE BELOVED

According to Christian scripture and tradition, John was the only one of the twelve named disciples who was not martyred. Believed to be the writer of the Gospel and Revelation, he was exiled to the island of Patmos for a while, but died in Ephesus (in modern Turkey). He was an inspiration to many of the desert Christian hermits, and became a leader of the emerging Celtic branch of the Church. (The Celtic culture spread from Turkey to the British Isles.)

One matter overlooked yesterday: as well a Boxing Day, it is also time to recall St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. You may be familiar with him through the well-known Christmas carol:

Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.

Meanwhile, at home . . .


Today I decided to live dangerously and take my camera outside to get a winter picture of our house.


You can barely see the Christmas lights on the house. It's a grey day — of which we have had a lot throughout December — at about 5:00 p.m. You can't tell much about the snow from the picture. It's about half way to knee-deep, deeper where it is piled up. 


This is the back of the house. The window on the left is where my study is located.

Other Family Members . . .



This is Pippa, one of our daughter's dogs. She stayed with us for a few days while our daughter was out of town on business just before Christmas. Pippa's sister, Bella, was camera shy.

Wrapping up

All in all it's been a quiet day around the Bears' place. A good day for relaxing, reading, conversing, and generally taking life very slowly. Slow is good, particularly at this time of year.

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

IN WHICH WE MARK BOXING DAY

Boxing day traditions include giving the servants the day off. That's true for the dishwasher and oven this year, but I think I am going to need to use the microwave to heat my lunch. (I didn't have any breakfast — didn't need any, with all the food we have had recently.)

It's still too cold to take the camera outside, but I've got this nice picture of our house from around the time we moved in.


Front door to the left, living room and main bedroom in the middle,
the two floors of solaria to the right.

Today is also the day that my wife and daughter go shopping together. I read somewhere (earlier today) that close to half of all Christmas presents are purchased on Boxing Day. Could this possibly mean that even Black Friday is a second-rate shopping day? Boggles the imagination!

And, following years of tradition, they went to a move last night. I had the house, particularly the fire place, all to myself for a while. 

Time for lunch, then go out and shovel the snow which has accumulated. Snow shovelling seems a reasonable activity for the day. That's good.

And since we're still in the Christmas season, Christmas blessings and Bear hugs!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

IN WHICH WE BEGIN THE 12 CANADIAN DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas et Joyeux Noël from Canada!

Today, Christmas Day, begins the season of Christmastide, which runs for 12 days — until January 5th. January 6th begins the Season of Epiphany, which is a whole different story, featuring three wise men.

You may recall the British song about The 12 Days of Christmas, complete with the bit about a partridge in a pear tree. (Something like that just wouldn't happen in Canada around Christmas.)

Interestingly, the word Canuck is mispronounced in the following song, which makes me think it was actually not produced in Canada. (A lot of things Canadian come from the US, and elsewhere — way more than you would believe.) Anyhow, the abbreviation for Canadian — Canuck — is properly pronounce "caa-NUCK" — emphasis on the second syllable.

Sadly, under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (being secretly negotiated by a dozen governments and about 600 businesses), this kind of information may be illegal. If so, it could be punishable by a hefty fine. And there is no appeal of this industry-imposed tariff. 

Anyhow, without further commentary, The 12 Canadian Days of Christmas.

Blessings and Bear hugs, eh!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

IN WHICH BEAR FACES ANOTHER CHRISTMAS, YET . . .

Those of you who read my scribblings, even semi-regularly, know that my brain is messed up.  I am prone to depression, having lived with that condition for 50 years or so.

Probably the most depressing time of year, for me, and many other depressive souls, is Christmas. It is a time of year full of cheery activity that gets to be very tiresome, very quickly! Some days my favourite Christmas expression is, "Bah! Humbug!" 

 I want to introduce you to Andrew Solomon, who explains depression far better than I could. The first five minutes of his TED video will give you an excellent understanding of depression. The rest is a very positive story about living with depression. His key comment: The opposite of depression is not happiness; it is vitalityPlease, try to watch it all, perhaps after Christmas.

Seasons greetings to all; Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating that festival.

And, as always, blessings and Bear hugs!

Footnote

Bear has, as promised, published a new poem on his poetry blog. Please drop over for a short read.

Friday, 13 December 2013

IN WHICH WE REACH ANOTHER FRIDAY

Well, hello, and welcome to Friday! (Or welcome to whatever day it is if you're not reading this on Friday!)


1. Friday the 13th

I do trust that none of you suffers from triskaidekaphobia. That's fear of the number 13, especially Friday the 13th. If you do, I suggest you go back to bed, pull the covers up over your head, and have a restful day. If you cannot do that, I trust you will not have any panic attacks, or unhappy events, as you go about your activities. 


2. In the Cool Cool, Cool of the Winter

As you know, if you've been reading this blog, or following Canadian weather patterns, it's been a bit nippy in the Bears' neck of the woods. That means temperatures around -25C (or -13F) with wind chills down to about -35C (which is just plain cold in C or F, as in -31F).

J, being ever-vigilant, drew to my attention last night that temperatures at this time of year are usually -8°C (a balmy 17 degrees F). So it's cooler than "normal." (Though, in a time of climate change, one has to be careful about what one calls "normal.")

Also, it snowed again last night and this morning. It seems that we've been getting just a touch of snow every day for weeks now. There is enough that I'll actually need to go out and shovel it today. That will be later, as it appears the snow is still falling, and is scheduled to continue for most of the day.

BTW, I've been writing a pome about snow. I'll let you know when I've posted it to my poetry blog. If not today, then likely this weekend. 

Speaking of climate change, I hear that Texas, of all places, got a snow storm a few days ago. Did "wonders" for highway and airplane travel. But, I mean, really; how dare they steal our winter weather! (Well, I suppose I should relax about that.) Let's just call it a "cultural exchange" of sorts. Yes, I think that's the right wording. 

3. 'Tis the Season

I think most of our Christmas shopping is done. Some extra food in the larder; a few presents for our family. Christmas tree up (thanks to our granddaughter). Load of firewood ordered. Lot of seeds for the birds. 

The only thing that seems to be missing is a dog. However, we'll have our daughter's dogs with us for a few days (the ones I call "the floor mops on legs," because what's what they look like) while she is out of town on business. Talk about yucky weather and bad timing for travelling! Oh, well!

4. And Now the Time has Come . . .

I think that's about enough for one day. I hope you'll have an excellent weekend, whatever you're doing. 

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Friday, 6 December 2013

IN WHICH BEAR CONSIDERS "BLACK FRIDAY"

A week ago, it was "Black Friday" in the USA (and, increasingly, in Canada). It is, as I recall, the official (or unofficial) start to the Christmas shopping season. 

Yes, well.

Meanwhile, I'm reminded of an old seasonal song which seeks to share of the merriment of the Christmas-ish season:

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la . . .
Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la . . .

Etc.

I also remember, from many years ago, a different and less cheery set of words to the same music:

Deck the halls with advertising
Fa la la . . .
Tis the time for merchandising 
Fa la la . . .
Profit doesn't need a reason
Fa la la . . .
Spend the money, its the season
Fa la la . . .

Which fits "nicely" with an observation that Christmas is the time when people spend money they don't have, to buy presents they can't afford, to impress people they don't like. 

Some truth in that; how much, I don't know. 

Anyhow, Black Friday has it's own song. Though I'm not sure how popular it will become.

This serves as background to a disturbing piece in The Guardian newspaper of Britain, about the coming assault on ordinary American citizens in 2014. In the guise of lowering taxes, powerful interests will seek to destroy public education, health care, workers' pay and pensions, the environment, and other government services. This, so corporations can keep even more of their profits. "Profit doesn't need a reason."

Please note, while The Guardian deals with the situation in the U.S., the same is true for Canada, and Britain, and many other countries. 

It is going to be an interesting year, 2014. Sigh!

My assessment of the whole thing is, "Bah! Humbug!"

But what do I really know? I'm only a Bear.

Blessings and Bear hugs, nonetheless!


Footnote


R.I.P. Nelson Mandela, 1918 - 2013

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

IN WHICH READERS RECEIVE SOME BEAR FACTS

Bear Fact Number One: Our team won!

Explanation: The day before yesterday was Grey Cup day in Canada. Our Saskatchewan team, The Roughriders, were victorious. They beat the Tiger Cats from Hamilton (Ontario) by 45 - 23. We had the lead early on, won the game by about half time, and turned it into a rout by the end.

Explanation 2: If you're not familiar with "Grey Cup," think of it as Canada's Superbowl. Only we play it at the end of November, not the middle of January. If we tied to play the Cup in January, the ball would likely just freeze in the air when it was thrown. Not a good idea. 

Bear Fact Number Two: A long time ago, I promised you more pictures of our new den, if you were patient. I think I have tried your patience long enough. So. . . .

First Bedroom 

With enough closets and cupboards for the Queen of England (almost)




And a Solarium (all right, sun room) which is J's computer and art room, and our granddaughter's space and bed when she comes to visit.



The Second Bedroom


The door with the full mirror also goes into the upstairs solarium.

The Third Bedroom (our grandson's space) . . .




and also the Bear's study (from which I'm sending this note).

Remember: a tidy desk is the sign of a sick mind











Bear Fact Number Three: I have (almost) nothing to wear. And we're into the Advent and Christmas season.

Explanation: Everything I have is either too large or too small. But I don't expect much sympathy. I've shrunk yet another size. This is definitely self-inflicted. Sigh!

I think that's about enough facts for now. More, later.

Blessings and Bear hugs, everyone. 
  

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

IN WHICH BEAR PONDERS A CHANGE

Along with our change of den, some other interesting things have been happening.

This is one of them. 

I have lost 23 pounds. In two months. And I don't know where they are. 

Mind you, I'm not worried about them. I'm really quite happy they are not me. 

As well, I am now wearing clothes two sizes smaller than in the early autumn. 

And I'm not dieting!

I decided to sit down and figure this out. That's important, because I have not gone on a diet. 

Lots of fruits and vegetables in my meals. Not so much meat. A few less sweets. 

That does not sound like a magic formula, folks. The only things I notice are that I eat slightly smaller portions at my meals, and don't snack very much in-between. Those two things are different.

Of course, we now have a three-level house instead of a cage in a human filing cabinet. Basement, main floor, upper floor. I seem to do a lot of travelling from one place to the next; upstairs, downstairs, and back again. 

Also, since this is a winter city, I'm splitting firewood and shovelling snow off the walks. 

My doctor is pleased with this development (we're working together on this plan). But while there is a bit less of me to love, I'm puzzled by how this is happening. If any of you have suggestions about this development, I would love to hear from you!

Though, maybe I should just accept this as a new "fact of life," and get on with living. Yeah, that makes sense. I guess.

Blessings and Bear hug, friends!

Monday, 4 November 2013

IN WHICH BEAR EXPLAINS THE WAY THINGS ARE

Well, yes. Finally, I get to explain what has happened.

We finished our adventuring and arrived in a different location. Which is to say we changed our den. We are not living in a human filing cabinet. Unfortunately, a post decided to send itself out before it was ready, and some souls thought I was teasing them. I wasn't. It was an error. Please excuse me. 

Communications, first delayed by a computer problem, then a network problem, were delayed yet again by a power outage overnight. (These outages tend to happen with the first blizzard of the year, which arrived last night.) Your indefatigable Bear persevered through it all, even shovelling his sidewalk (with the aid of our son, and the grandkids — aka "the cubs").

So, what does this den look like? The answer: a house built in 1928, which has not been modernized (too much) by successive owners. 

The living room.

Notice the main floor solarium in the background

And what "proper" living room would be complete without  a wood fireplace?


You can see more of the solarium to the right,
and the dining room to the left

Speaking of the dining room . . .

You can see right through to the back door

 And here's the living room looking from the solarium entrance, including the stairs to the upper floor (where the bedrooms and study are located).



Now you may be wondering why there are no pictures taken of the outside of our new abode. Answer: I didn't want to freeze the camera. And pictures of the upper floor, and the rest of the main floor? Patience, gentle readers.

So, this is where our adventure ended. We are less than two blocks from where the cubs live, and they seem to end up here for at least part of the day, most days. Which was what we expected (or should have expected if we didn't). 

As for hibernating this winter, we seem to be in a bit of a quandary. The cubs apparently have no interest in hibernating, which means we may be "up" most of the winter.  I am not sure how well that will work, because I do like my winter's rest. But, well, things have changed, so one learns to adapt. 

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

IN WHICH BEAR ENDS HIS ADVENTURE, BUT AT A DIFFERENT PLACE

Bzappppp!  Crackle! Snap!

Tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic---Blonk!

I think that's it. 

Yes, we're back on line, after a rude technical malfunction.

 Now, where was I?

Oh, yes. Here we are. After adventuring around, we have arrived.

Details to follow.

Blessings and Bear hugs!



Saturday, 19 October 2013

IN WHICH BEAR MAKES HIS REPORT ON HIS ADVENTURE

We've been on an exciting adventure for some time now, and today, I'll let you in on what's happened.

As you kn        as been suffering from pneu     for a coup   of wee   While th t held        

Hey, what's happening here! The dis      go   al  won   ! 

BZAPPppppppppp&

Network failure! Comm             ash!


Bleoep!!!!!!!!! 

Buip-ping>>><<<<>>>>>>>>>∞∞∞∞       

Suiiwoosh!!!!

I don't know h      top th  !  

Zippppppzooooo* * * **   *   * **** <<<*¶>%@@#BBZapppppppppppppppppppppppp.............


Plink!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

IN WHICH BEAR'S MYSTERY ADVANCES

Aarg! 

Grrrrrr!

The guy who said, "Tote that barge, lift that bale," had no idea how much work he was creating. Bear is appalled. Not to mention almost overwhelmed. This adventure is starting to feel like work. 

I'll bet that writer was showboating! What a writer guy. As Bugs would say, "What a maroon!"

This adventure is not going smoothly at all! And here I thought it would. Sigh! 

It's absolutely enough to make a good-natured Bear grumpy! Fortunately, this pneumonia has not done me in!

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

STORY AND ADDENDUM: IN WHICH THE BEAR STOPS AND THINKS

When I was sick (and believe me, I was very sick) I seemed to do a lot of blogging (at lest I did once I started to recover). Now, I am getting healthier — much healthier, in fact. And my blog is languishing. (My several blogs are all languishing.)

I do not understand this change. It seems almost unnatural. It is unnatural, to be precise. 

"Strange, very strange," said the Bear in me. 

And now I am writing in the first person, instead of writing about, or as, the Bear (in the third person). 

Will the Bear simply trundle off into the wilderness, never to be seen or heard from again? Shall I become like a monk — silent and cloistered, while busy about my daily tasks? 

This bit about being on an adventure is producing some unexpected results. I do not now what to make of these. I feel a bit uncomfortable.

Strange, very strange. Indeed.

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Addendum

Last week I had a cold.

The week before that I had a cold.

This week I have pneumonia. The doctor pronounced that verdict when I saw him this afternoon.

GGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

IN WHICH BEAR UNDERTAKES HIS MYSTERIOUS MISSION

Right. We'll need to take that. That has to go. Oh, not sure about that. We definitely need to bring this along, too!

Lao tzu (the so-called "Father of Taoism") once observed, "a journey of a thousand miles beings with a single step."

That's not entirely true. 

A journey of a thousand miles actually begins with a good plan, and good packing. (You can quote me; Bears know about these things.)

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

THE MYSTERIOUS MISSION OF THE MESMERIZED BEAR

Now, this is not something about which you should panic, or be even a little troubled. Not in the least. It's just er, . . . um, . . . happening. 

Bear has set off on a marvellous adventure. (That's the way the advertising agencies would put it; we all know they give us nothing but the unvarnished truth!)

J and I are, well, um . . .ah,  yes, we are! And it is going to be interesting. Very interesting. And, no, I will not be hibernating. It's way too soon for that. 

"Where" you ask, "will you be adventuring, Bear?"

Be patient and Bear will provide the whole story, in several week's time. 

In the meantime, blessings and Bear hugs, one and all!

Friday, 20 September 2013

IN WHICH BEAR DOES MEDICAL ETHICS — FOR YOU!

Have you ever wondered who is in charge of your body? It might seem like a simple question. But it can become very complex. 

For example, the story of the "Six Million Dollar Man." (You only have to watch the first two minutes in order to catch the concept; sorry if you're stuck with a commercial at the beginning.) 

Now, did you notice that line of dialogue: "We have the technology; we can rebuild him." All very well and true.

BUT, does Steve Austin want to be rebuilt that way? 

Aye, there's the rub. 

After all, it's his body; shouldn't Steve have some input into the discussion of, and decision about, what happens to him? Indeed, shouldn't we all have some control over what happens to our bodies? 

Welcome to the world of medical ethics.

Normally, I would have put this on my blog The Ethical Pilgrimage. But I consciously shut that one dow a while ago. That means that ethical issues that Bear Noting will appear here. 

I must be getting healthier; I can actually think about these issues again. I take that to be a good sign. 

By the way, Steve Austin's choice is a matter which falls within the ethical category of "Autonomy." I'll have more about that in the future (soon, I hope).

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

IN WHICH BEAR TURNS MELANCHOLY

In the Beginning . . .

"Involutional melancholia or involutional depression is a traditional name for a psychiatric disorder affecting mainly elderly or late middle-aged people, usually accompanied with paranoia. It is classically defined as 'depression of gradual onset occurring during the involutional years (40-55 in women and 50-65 in men), with symptoms of marked anxiety, agitation, restlessness, somatic concerns, hypochondriasis, occasional somatic or nihilistic delusions, insomnia, anorexia, and weight loss.'"

Thus, Wikipedia.

Sounds like the Bear. Except for the "somatic concerns, hypochondriasis, occasional somatic or nihilistic delusions,  … anorexia, and weight loss," which, in the Bears case, should read "weight gain." But "weight gain" is natural for Bears in the summer, depressed or otherwise.  

Enough of that, already. Sheesh.


Something Old, Something New?

The good news was that, over the summer, I have been able to get a firm grip on the "Black Dog" which has been dogging my footsteps for so long. I tossed that dog out of the house!

But now, something else, something more vague, shadowy, perhaps. Fortunately, it is not debilitating, like what I have experienced in the past. But it does cause me to ponder — and to ask: where is this coming from, and why now? 

It feels more like a kind of "existential depression," which is different from "involutional melancholia." It is a kind of depression that "cannot be directly traced to a cause. We are quietly haunted by a vague sense or dark mood. Thru the hollow depths of our being sounds a low, moaning tone, which breaks into consciousness when our daily preoccupations fall away." In other words, it just is. It's a sense that comes from looking at the world — the violence, the poverty, and so much more.

Truth is, I am always bothered by troubling things. I was a sensitive child, who has grown into a sensitive adult, in a world that does not value a kind of existential sensitivity. A misfit. Attuned to injustice and pain. Desperately wanting to see other things — to see things differently, to see them becoming better. Whether war in Syria, or poverty on the streets of North America, or, . . . or.

Sigh!


In Other News

There is a new poem on my Urban Forest poetry blog. A bit romantic, a touch sensual. It is a response to another poem — I've explained that.  

I'd like to spend more time writing poetry. First, however, I need to clean out my den, to get ready for winter. That will only take me until the end of October. As in October, 2015. 

And so to Conclude

Time for a little bit of music: "Come to me my melancholy Teddy." Well, perhaps not this time.

Blessings and Bear hugs, folks.


Thursday, 29 August 2013

IN WHICH BEAR NOTES THE CHANGE OF SEASONS


First golden tinges
of fall
begin to 
spread themselves 
among the verdant splendour
of summer. 

(Oops; this isn't the poetry blog. But I suppose nobody will mind. Really, it doesn't matter, when all is said and done.)


GGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!


The "Finder" in my computer is all messed up and will not function. Meaning I cannot get the picture in here. 

Can you tell I am not amused? Well, I'm not. I'm suffering consternation at this point.

Really, it's a nice picture of some green trees, with one yellow tree in their midst, and the river in the background. But words fail to describe the colours.

Sorry!

The Next War (WWIII?)

It seems the United States is going to intervene militarily in Syria. A physical invasion army is not being planned — yet. But ships carrying cruise missiles are approaching the Syrian beaches in the Mediterranean Sea. Airplanes (fighter-bombers) are being moved into positions within striking distance of Syria. Does any of this seem remotely familiar? Libya, perhaps? Iraq, perhaps?

The US is a country that is trillions of dollars in debt, yet it apparently wants to start another war. Over oil. Or something. Essentially by helping Al Queda overthrow the Syrian government, and kill a lot of Christians in the process — though you don't hear about that on major news channels. This gets weirder by the minute. Some might even say more pathological.

We Canadians have a vested interest in this too, because our pro-war government will want to be in there with both feet, as we have been in Afghanistan. Remember Afghanistan; that's another conflict which is still brewing. The west, clearly, lost that war, though it seems the US is hanging on to the oil fields. Anyhow, we Canadians seem to be following US aggression much more eagerly these days. We have one ship to contribute to the process; a symbolic move. Sadly!

But perhaps President Obama believes the 34th Ferengi Rule of Acquisition, which says, "War is good for business." (That means business owners, but not workers, by the way.) But the mythical Ferengi are a Star Trek invention, as are their Rules. Somebody wants to go into a war based on a fantasy? Please folks, the Bear is a little brighter than to buy that. 

Anyhow, that's something that Bears Noting in the coming weeks. 

The thing that makes this a bit tricky is that Russia is an ally of Syria. I don't think any of us wants to see the US and Russians fighting it out. Please, let's not go there!


A House, A House . . .

Renovations at our son's and dil's place are coming along boldly. The windows are in. I expect the next thing will be the shingling of the roof. But what does a Bear know about such things?

"Pictures?" you ask? Sorry, computer malfunction. 


Thinking Faithfully

I thought I had put away some of my blogs, but now I'm getting one out again. No, it's not Chrome on the Range. It's Desert Epiphanies (that's a link), my faith-spirituality-theology blog. 

I realize that, for some of you, Desert Epiphanies will hold no interest at all. Which is why I keep it as a kind of blogging "sidebar" — and not my main publication. I have posted something new there, which you can read if you wish. I expect to be posting more there over the short term. (If you don't want to miss the instalments, you may wish to add Desert Epiphanies to your bloggers' block — though I will remind you here when I post something there, though notice here at Bears Noting may be slow in coming.) 


Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

IN WHICH THERE IS PROGRESS IN THE HOUSE AND WEATHER

Here are the latest pictures from the renovations at our son's and dil's house. These spell progress to me!


Roof is coming along nicely.


Looks like lots of inside space.

I haven't seen the addition myself, but J says there is all kinds of room up there. (In the pre-renovation place, things were very squished; it was only a one-and-a-half story house.)

"I  Can Gather All the News I Need from the Weather Report"

Well, maybe not all the news, but a fair amount. It isn't as hot as it has been. The high was just over 20 today (that's 68F), which is pretty darned decent. I got out for a couple of walks (total of 12 blocks — this is good, but I was a bit sore). 

The weekend will bring 30° temperatures (86F+). But starting next week it's all downhill, with early September highs below 20. Does it sound like autumn is coming? 

On the other hand, it's almost spring in Australia, and New Zealand, and Fiji, and Chile, and South Africa, and. . . . 

For the Birds

I saw a family of Canada Geese on the river this morning — lined up as usual.  But all the birds looked adult size, and the line was really strung out. Time goes by; the kinds grow up. Happens every year.

Also found a little bird on the cement deck around our swimming pool. Couldn't say what it was, but when J picked it up and set it on the ledge, it headed for the ground, which has quite a bit of cover. Probably fell out of a nest, thought we didn't hear any parents calling for it. I hope it's OK.


Ringing Ears

The fire alarm went off in the building this afternoon. (False alarm; no smoke, no fire engines.)

But it was so loud, I jumped. Literally. I was busy concentrating on something I was reading. Usually the fire alarm is a faint ringing in th distance; today it sounded like the alarm bell was right in our apartment. I guess bionic ears will do that to you.

And that's the news; I'm Rob-bear!

Blessings and Bear hugs, everyone.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

IN WHICH BEAR'S HEALTH TAKES A TURN — FOR THE BETTER


Yes, it's time to celebrate! Roll out the carpet; bring on the band; light off the fireworks.  (Actually, someone on the riverbank has been letting off fireworks, but I don't know why.)

Before I start, though, a word of thanks to those who have been so supportive. It's not easy being sore! As you understand.

Now, the details.

1. Something undiscussed previously. I have received my set of "bionic ears." (Or, as Granddaughter K calls them, dismissively, hearing aids. I think "bionic ears" sounds so much more interesting! Move over, Steve Austin; you've got competition.) I can hear things so much better! I knew I was having trouble when I couldn't hear and keep up with the conversation in some of our ethics board meetings. 

Now, instead of hearing things that are just around me, I can hear J talking to me from the other end of the apartment. Major improvement! I feel reconnected to the world. 

2. My back, which became such a problem, is now much improved. I don't have to worry about taking relatively short walks. And as I keep walking, I continue to gain strength in my back. So that is good news.

3. My pancreas, which has been so "uppity," is finally learning to behave itself. I'm not completely out of the woods, but am feeling considerably better. I rarely if ever have any symptoms.

The challenge here is that the pancreas produces insulin, without which one becomes diabetic. That is one of the things we will have to watch — to see if my blood sugar rises. Hmmmm. 

4. The deep depression with which I have lived for most of my life is easing. I still live with a lot of the physical symptoms related to depression, from fatigue to physical pain. Yet I seem to be able to manage these better. I know that because I am taking much less pain medication.

Do I expect to be entirely symptom-free? Not likely. But I will happily take any improvement that I can arrange.


Meanwhile . . . 

In the construction department, things are moving ahead, at the back of the house . . .


and at the front.


I have no idea when the work will be finished, but I am excited by the fact that things are moving so smoothly and quickly. Our son T, who has worked in construction, says the workers are very good and very professional. I thoroughly expect the work will be done before the cold weather sets in. That will make everyone happy. I expect the Cubs will enjoy their new home. 

Temperatures here continue to push 38°C (or 100°F). "When you're hot, you're hot." J and I got married in late August one year, on the hottest day of that summer. So we have always expected the latter part of August will have hot weather. We are not surprised by this year's developments, though thy are a bit extreme.

Blessings and Bear hugs, folks! 

Footnote

Steve Austin was the central character in a tv series of 1974-1978. Austin (played by Lee Majors) was an astronaut badly mangled in a test flight which turned into a crash. He was re-created as the "Six Million Dollar Man" — half person, half robotics. Interesting premise, but coming with huge ethical challenges. (Yes, yes, I know; only your ethicist Bear would notice that. Nonetheless, I'll explore that issue in a future post.)

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

IN WHICH BEAR BEAR'S UP, AND TALKS CONSTRUCTION

While Bear's health has been variable recently, his blogging has become the same. In fact, there may be some who think the bear is downright lazy. (Yes, there is some truth to that, but only some.)

Several months ago (as in during the early spring) Bear re-injured his back. Bah; humbug. I don't think I said anything about that, because, well, I've been dealing with other things. Like getting stoned from the inside, for having too much gall (so to speak).

There were some plusses and minuses to the re-injury. Since I had trouble trundling around, I was able to sit at my desk with my computer, and spend lots of time writing and visiting through my blog to your blogs.

My back has healed sufficiently that I can get on with some other things. J and I spent about two hours this morning cooking various delightful items (poached salmon, anyone?), getting ready for a week-long visit by the cubs. 


Destruction and Construction

See, their cave is being demolished and rebuilt. Well, only partly demolished.


This is the front of the house that was


The back of the house that was.


First, we see the house that was. (All photos by Tim Brown.)

















Then we see the house that is.

Notice the cubs checking out the work.  Not too close, you two!

Finally, we see the house that will yet be!














Yes, I know it is still wrapped up, but give the guys a chance, eh?



See; some of the framing is already done, ready to be lifted into place. 

BTW, Jeff from The Bipolar Diva is the honourary superintendent on the job. (You'll have to go over to her blog and learn about Jeff's very sad misadventure, and maybe offer some help.) 


Back to the Challenge at Hand

So the cubs are coming over, and we are getting ready. 

Another part of my activity, now that my back is getting better is to walk. I've been doing 8, to 10, to 12 blocks a day. And yes, my back really does hurt when I walk. But we soldier on (Inger, please take note in your Desert Canyon). The good news — even a short sit-down rest leads to a major improvement, and on I go.

Tonight, however, I could only go half a block before my back completely gave out, and I practically had to crawl home. (Not fun!)

So, here I am at my computer, writing you a story, trying to distract myself for another half hour, when I can take some more medication. Extra strength Acetaminophen. (Tylenol, if that's what you understand.) And while I don't comment as often as I used to on other peoples' blogs, I am reading your blogs. I don't want to miss the great stories I find there!

More on the walking, later. More on the rebuilt house/den for the cubs, later. 

Blessings and Bear hugs, folks. 

Friday, 2 August 2013

IN WHICH BEAR APPERS TO BE HEALTHY, AND SHARES ANOTHER TREAT

As some of you know, Bear has recently been through some tests, to determine what ails him. Bear got the results this week. 

Basically, there seems to be little wrong. The Abdominal Ultrasound and the CT Scan didn't show much of anything other than the insides of a normal Bear (ah, erm, well, Human; the insides of a normal Human). Insofar as one can consider the Bear normal (in either Ursine or Human phase). 

The best medical bet is that I passed a gall stone. We all know that is quite impossible, of course; Bear doesn't have that much gall. But the infuriating part is that I may be growing some more of those little nuggets. Imagine — Bear getting stoned from within, no extra materials necessary. As well, Bear experiences continuing pain in a few selective situations. Bah; humbug!

Now the specialist wants to shove a scope down my throat and check my upper GI (as in gastro-intestinal) tract. (So like a surgeon, trying to shove something down my throat.) But after 15 years on a Medical Ethics committee for our Health Region, Bear is suspicious of many things. (I won't burden you with details at this point.)


Otherwise . . .

Last time out, I shared some classical music via an orchestral and choral flash mob. Many of you seemed to enjoy that. And Terri, bless her heart, observed it was a "classical flash."  Very well written, indeed, Terri! I missed that observation myself, proving that Terri is smarter than an above-average Bear. 

Today, another sort of "classical flash," though the music is a bit more contemporary.

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!

Friday, 26 July 2013

IN WHICH BEAR INVITES YOU TO SOME PURE ENJOYMENT

So, maybe I'm a bit strange (but you already knew that). Not only strange in my behaviour, but in my taste in music (according to some). Classical, to be precise. Not the Foo Fighters. Classical music. Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Handel, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, and the rest. High octane music, gang!

Think Mason Williams doing "Classical Gas" with some symphony or philharmonic. Right, you got it. I've seen it happen: Williams doing "Classical Gas" with a whole orchestra!

Sorry for the digression; sometimes I get just too darn excited! 

But this is a lot more fun than even Williams with an orchestra. Check it out.

(BTW, if you don't want to take five minutes for something wonderful, please move on to the next blog. Well, this time, only.) 

Here we go!


Blessings and Bear hugs, friends.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

IN WHICH A POEM FAILS TO MATERIALIZE.

Well, it's like this. Some days, despite a poet's best efforts, a poem fails to materialize. 

I have been working on a poem for some time, but in the end it seemed trivial, inconsequential, forced, and unnatural. And those are some of the nicer words I could use about it. 

Now, am I going to unleash something that horrid on my readers?  No, I am not. Which is why "Coffee and Toffee" will continue to be the latest contribution to my poetry blog. (And that is now a couple of months old.)

I promise that I will try to do better, friends, and post pomes more frequently. Good poems, not gibberish. 

In the meantime, blessings and Bear hugs. 

Saturday, 20 July 2013

IN WHICH BEAR MEETS A CAT

I feel so silly about this, that it's taken we a while to write. Really, it is all quite bizarre.

Yesterday morning, a technician hauled invited me into a procedure room, and helped me onto a movable table. Then she brought in a huge, black Labrador Retriever. He jumped up on the table, sniffed and licked different parts of me, and gave his Lab report. 

Then she brought in the Cat. She took it out of it's crate and ran it over me twice, to get the CAT Scan. And I didn't get scratched once. (Well behaved cat, actually.)

It was one of those days.

Actually, though, that's not what happened. Not at all.

You see, a couple of delightful looking Humans filled me up with something called a "contrast medium." (I think that's doctorese for "dye.") It would be a tastier drink with something in it like cranberry juice, or bourbon (if you can tolerate bourbon). 

Then, another technician ran the moveable table back and forth through a huge donut with the label "Siemens" on it, while I held my breath. (I did that, not because of being scared, but because some voice, which appeared out of nowhere, told me to hold my breath.) The experience was sort of like ducking your head as you go under a low door frame or ceiling. Nothing about which someone — Human or Bear — should get excited.

Anyhow, the machine, called a "SOMATOM," produced a Computed Tomography (CT) scan, or series of scans. (But, no, I didn't get to eat a piece of the donut for being a good Bear.)


Siemens SOMATOM, from the company web site.

The "pictures," according to the technician, who had talked to the radiologist, were just fine. So they let me go.

I see my surgical specialist a week from this Monday — ten days, roughly. Then I find out what that all meant. Which, I suppose, is not much of anything. But what does a Bear really know?

Ironically, they're doing all that diagnostic work when my pancreas is feeling much better. But not entirely well. And it is important that one have a functional pancreas. The pancreas produces a number of enzymes (and the like) which help to digest the food. The Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas produce insulin, which keeps one from becoming diabetic. But if the enzymes cannot reach the intestines, to digest food, they will start to "digest" the pancreas itself. Which is painful, and a whole lot of "not fun," as well as "not a good thing."

Anyhow, after several months of mild to (occasionally) extreme pain, we may be closer to having an answer for what is making your friendly, neighbourhood Bear so uncomfortable. And, yes, I will bore you with the details. (That's a promise.) 

In the meantime, blessings and Bear hugs!