Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Z as in ZED THE LOT (A-Z Challenge)

And so we've concluded the A-Z Blog Challenge; we've written the posts, and added the comments. We've more or less done everything; we've said the lot. (Remember, in proper English, it's "zed," not "zee"; that way, we can recall the final letter in the New Phonetic Alphabet.)

It has been delightful to met you at your places, and share your wisdom and witticisms. The whole challenge of posting this regularly — daily — has been a . . . challenge. And not just for me!

So, what comes next? We each have to sort that out for ourselves. And we have "tons of options." So to speak. I hope I'll see and hear more from you.

Bear will continue to post, but probably not daily. I already have some ideas I want to share; one will be up tomorrow or the next day. And I'll visit you, gentle readers, as often as I can.

Z is also for Zeus, zephyr, zealous, Zoroaster, and Zulu.

Blessings and Bear hugs, everyone!



Addenda (how could we possibly conclude without one more addendum, or two?)

1. It snowed yesterday, and overnight. The snow that had disappeared last week has been . . . replaced. However, in an attempt to be creative (despite a depressive soul), I'm considering this a "Spring Storm." Right! 

2. I'll give the final words to singer Frank Sinatra, for whom Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka wrote these words.

Take it away, Frank! (Sorry if there's a commercial)

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Y as in YES (A-Z Challenge)

"Yes" is a delightful but troublesome word. Especially for those of us who suffer from linguistic di-polarity. That means we say "Yes" when we mean "No," whereas we say "No" when we mean "Yes." Linguistic di-polarity. Remember that. 

Being agreeable, saying "yes," is good. It is an attitude which builds harmony and community when people are working together on a common cause.

The other side is when you say "yes" so often, that people feel they can roll right over you; they can get you to do whatever they want. And believe me, they will. I've had that happen to me. Major problem.

I was reading an A-Z Challenger (as in Challenge participant).  I cannot remember who it was. There was a post linked to something from another year. It has big red "Y" on what looked like a piece of yellow Post-it note. I was going to praise the piece, and link to it, so you could read the wisdom. But when the time came, and Bear wanted to set up the link, he couldn't remember where it was. (Sometimes my mind goes on an excursion, and leaves me behind.) So, if it is yours, or if you know whose it is, please let me know. Thank you.

Y is also for yellow, young, yell, Yucatán, and yeoman.

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!


Addenda (as in more than one Addendum)

1. IT SNOWED TODAY! The sky was dark, the wind was bitter, and the snow accumulated on the ground. "GRRRRR!!" said the Bear, who was not amused by those developments.

2. I've just discovered April has been National Poetry Writing Month. And I missed it. Sigh. Well, one cannot do everything. So, by way of compensation of the misadventure of missing the important occasion,  next month will be Bear's Poetry Writing Month. You'll be able to follow all the action at Life in the Urban Forest (my poetry blog).

3. Fran at Broken Cookies Don't Count has done a lovely piece on "Yes." I think you'd be inspired if you checked it out.


Sunday 4 — April 28, 2013 (A-Z Challenge)

"The end is near," said the sign. And that's true. The day after tomorrow is the last day of this year's A-Z Blog Challenge. 

And a challenging month it has been. Posting something every day, starts out as a "fun idea." In then becomes "the daily grind." And perhaps ends up as, "What am I going to do if I'm not posting something every day?" At least that's the way it seems for this old Bear.

After six months of winter, the warm air and sunshine are beginning to make their impression. And that is a good sign.

We've gone from this . . .


to this . . . 


 and from this . . .


 to this . . .



and to this.


And we've gone from this . . .


to this.


So, it's time to get the horse out of the barn, and hit the trails.


Blessings and Bear hugs, eh?

Saturday, 27 April 2013

X as in XENA (A-Z Blog Challenge)

Xena, (pronounced ZEE-nah), is a non-existent community about half an hour's drive east of River City.

When the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway came through, it set up townsites about every seven miles or so. So on that line, you have (east to west) Watrous, Xena, Young, and Zelma. Then you start all over with Allen, Bradwell, and Clavet. A logical approach. (I think Mr. Spock would be pleased.)

The townsite was set aside in 1907. The last building in Xena was torn down in 1970, so the place is long gone. It had a grain elevator, for collecting and shipping grain from around the area, but never a Post Office. And that's all the information I can find on the history of Xena.

X is also for xylophone, Xerxes, x-ray, xanthous, and xeogenesis. 

Blessings and Bear hugs, everyone.


Addendum



Tennis, any . . . er, um, well; I don't suppose a net is absolutely essential. Right?



Friday, 26 April 2013

W as in W . . . (A-Z Challenge)

Logos Eis — Wistfully

Wistful: "having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing." Wistfully: adverbial form of the word.

Bear sits wistfully, looking at his computer screen wistfully. Only four more chances to do something in the A-Z Challenge. Only four more chances to visit more than a thousand bloggers. So much to do; so little time. 

But better too many to read than too few, perhaps. I think I've checked over 100, some fairly regularly.  Sadly, 100 is only 1/17th of the people initially enrolled in the project. Only 1/17th. Small number, that.

On the other hand, I've made some delightful new friends.  But I've not kept up with some older ones. I think that means I'm getting spread too thin.

After the blog challenge, what happens? I've been thinking about updating my blog. That somehow seems a bit more of a challenge than what I want to undertake at this time.

Sigh!

Logos Duo — Whoa! Where's Winter?
I think the pictures speak for themselves.


The grass is clear!

The ice is gone; the river is open!

Tennis, anyone?

We're making progress.


W is also for watershed, wind, whistle, Wongarra (Australia), and weird (as in Bear with a computer).

Blessings and Bear hugs, everyone!


Addendum
I was in to see my doctor veterinarian yesterday. This "kid" — younger than our own children — I have entrusted with the responsibility of trying to help me keep healthy. Large challenge for someone so young. 

But he's smart! I ask questions; he's got good answers. Thankfully.

Where did all the time go? I swear I'm hardly a day over 35. Yet I'm getting close to 35x2! That scares me some days.

Anyhow, the years have taken their toll. Parts of me are degenerating, though my vet assures me I'm not a degenerate. (Some in the blogsphere might disagree with the vet.) Still, I feel less functional. Disconcerting, that. 

Ah, well.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

A NICE AWARD FOR THE BEAR! (Not a part of the A-Z Challenge — Well, but actually it is)

This delightful gift, The Liebster Award, is from Jamie at Being Positive with a Depressive Soul. She and I both live with depression; a pair of depressives do an interesting conversation make. 

Now, the confession. There are instructions that come with this award. For those of you not familiar with the Bear, Bear is terrible at following instructions. If someone said to me, "Go to Hell," that person would have to provide a detailed map. Even then I might not make it.

So, we'll sub-title this post, "In which Bear tries to follow instructions, ah, er, well. . . ." 

Sigh! Pause. Right, then.

Here are the instructions:


These are the Rules nominees are supposed to follow:
1. The Liebster is given by bloggers to other bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
2. Each blogger should post eleven facts about himself or herself.
3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions that are asked by the person doing the nominating.
4. Choose eleven new bloggers to nominate for the Award and link to them in the post.
5. Create eleven new questions for your nominees.
6. Go back to their pages and tell them they’ve been nominated.
7. No tag backs.


Instruction 1   Less than 200 followers.
Yes, Bear (also known as the Bear) falls into that category.
Whew. That was no work at all. Maybe this won't be so tough.

Instruction 2  Eleven facts about the Bear.
OK, you know about my problem with instructions, right?  On the other hand, this is a chance to introduce myself more fully to those not familiar with me. 

a. I was born after World War Two, but I'm too old to be a Baby Boomer. Hence, I was born a mis-fit, a situation which I have repeatedly demonstrated in my life.
b. I was born at the centre of the universe (Toronto, Canada). There are many who don't know about that geographic distinction. Or pretend not to know. 
c. Toronto (actually, North York) was my home for the first 25 years of my life (minus a couple of months). 
d. During that time, I earned two University degrees. They did not give me the "third degree" in the process. Or so they claim.
e. At the age of 25 (minus a couple of months), I, my wife, our unborn son, and dog Sandie, went west. NO, I was not following the instructions of Horace Greeley. I was following the instructions of The United Church of Canada, which can send newly-ordained ministers wherever it wants. So I got to the west by the grace of God and the will of two committees. (That's how a Church really works!)
f. I began my practice of ministry in a town called Hudson Bay (which was nowhere near that Bay). I practiced, and practiced, and practiced, and still did not get it right. So I changed careers.
g. By that time, we had a son and a daughter. And I had had a surgical procedure to ensure we had no more of either.
h. The career into which I switched was radio news, which I did for a decade. It was a good time.
i. It was radio news which brought me to "River City," after which I went back to being a minister. (Confusing, I realize.)  j. I did post-graduate training at River City's University, in Ethics, and established myself in my third profession, without having received the "third degree" (mentioned above).

So far, so good. 

Instruction 3   Answer some questions from the Award-Giver. 
Here is what I had to deal with:
a. Coke or Pepsi?  "What's the difference?" Bear said, as the space ship lowered behind him.
b. Why do you blog?  Because I like writing, and have done it for a huge part of my life. (I have even won some awards for my journalistic work.)
c. If you could change your name, what name would you chose?   Why would I want to change my name from Rob-bear?
d. Beach, country, or city person? Pre-Cambrian rock, coniferous forest, rivers and lakes. Beautiful country life!
e. If you could trade places with someone for a day, who and why?  The pope. It would be a very different experience of life, and would help me understand things from a different perspective (for this Protestant). Or the Dalai Lama.
f. Purses or shoes? Have you ever seen a Bear with either?
g. Chocolate or Peanut Butter?  Combined.
h. Favourite Colour? Teal. Plum would be a close second.
i. Favourite musician? Stan Rogers (Canadian guy).
j. Favourite blogger? In American terms, I'm pleading the fifth (amendment). As opposed to the fifth of gin.

Instruction 4   Nominate Eleven bloggers for this award (they must have less than 200 followers)
So, in no particular order:

a. Reffie at Confessions of a Reforming Geek
b. Helen at Poetry Matters.
c. susan at phantsythat
d. Karen (kj) at Options for a Better World
e. Janie at That Janie Girl
f. DJan at DJan-ity
g. The Blog Fodder at The Blog Fodder
h. Amanda at Travels with Persephone
i. Carol at Better is Possible
j. Cathie at Life on the Muskoka River
k. J. Cosmo Newbery at Notes on a Serviette (Occasionally X-rated, without warning!)

Several of my best blogger friends didn't make the cut because they have too any followers. Sadly.

Instruction 5   Eleven Questions for Award Recipients.
This is the HARD part.

a. Tea or coffee?
b. Right-handed or left handed?
c. Hair color? Real or commercial (dyed)?
d. What is your place in the birth order of the children in your family?
e. What languages do you use (speak and/or write)?
f. How far from your home have you travelled?
g. Plane, train, or car?
h. Would you like to go into space? (Not the same as being spaced out.) If so, where?
i. What is your favourite colour?
j. If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?
k. Do you have a favourite blogger? If so, who?

So, I've been a good Bear and followed the instructions. Now I will claim my award!



BTW, did you know that Liebster means "dearer" in English. That Bears more investigation.

 "And that," said Bear, "is that."

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!

(If you're one the eleven recipients I've listed, I'm coming to get you!)

V as in VIRTUAL (A-Z Challenge)

I've often heard of electronic creations like blogging as offering virtual reality. But I'm not so sure.

Virtual is defined in my on-line dictionary as "almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition." "Virtual reality" comes as "the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment."

Sorry, that is just so "not on," folks.

You are not computer-generated people; you're real, "flesh and blood," Human beings. Just like my friends Bill, and Howard, and Bill who liver here in River City. What we are doing, by blogging, is essentially "high-speed letter writing." Instead of my letter to arriving in a few days, or a week, or a couple of weeks, it arrives a few seconds after I send it. We're sharing thoughts with one another, just as we would in a letter delivered by "snail mail." When I think of you, you're not "virtual friends," you're friends — real friends.

This "virtual" stuff is enough to make a Bear grumpy.

V is also for victorious, verdant, volition, variable, and velociraptor.

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

U as in UNTIMELY (A-Z Challenge)

I've mentioned in the past, that we've had more than six months of winter in and around River City. Finally spring is making it's untimely (unusual, unsuitable) arrival! Untimely, as in very late.

I was checking the Bear News Channel (BNC, #945 0n cable), and the reporter was saying the arrival of spring is being greeted with "generally positive" responses. One maritimus (Polar Bear) near Churchill, Manitoba said it was "about time," while an americanus (Black Bear) near Aylmer, Quebec, said it was «simplement merveilleux» [tr: simply wonderful]. Even the "usually grumpy" arctos horribilis (Grizzly Bears) were "enjoying the change of seasons," the reporter said. "Great time to be alive," said an arctos, who was interviewed near Banff, Alberta.

(I'm not so sure about the "usually grumpy" bit about us arctos horribilis Bears. How to cut a Bear down, or what? I know that most of the Bears working for BNC are americanus, which may have skewed the reporter's opinion, or she may have been having a bad day — like the Humans I know occasionally do.)

But, yeah, it's great to see some spring-time weather, no matter how untimely it is. I'm with the maritimus from up north: "about time."

How great is it? See for yourself.

Spring break-up — ice pans floating down the winter
Even the Geese are getting into a bit of a flap
Humans enjoying the sunshine
Tennis, anyone?
   
And that's the kind of day it has been up here.

Questions:

1. Is Bear "usually grumpy," as the reporter for BNC said? I need to know.

2. Have you posted any pictures of spring in your area on your blog? If not, would you please try? Everyone will feel better, I think.


U is also for unabridged, ultimate, under, unctuous, and ursine (of course!)


Blessings and Bear hugs, everyone!



Addendum

Wouldn't you know it! I got this post all done. Then I got new weather information.

The average temperature between the beginning of March and the middle of April was -9°C (16F). That is way below normal. In fact, the coldest since 1899. There is so much snow on the ground, in so many places, that the snow has set a new record. And we're getting predictions of flooding. The sandbaggers are hard at it, all over the place. 

Doesn't that just bring a smile to your face? (No, I didn't think so.)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

T as in TACITURN (A-Z Challenge)

Initially, was going to develop something around the word "tree" for this post. But that was so unexciting I hunted for something else.

For some reason, my mind drifted to Mr. Tuvok. He was a Vulcan, and the Chief of Security and Chief Tactical Officer on the Federation Starship "Voyager." (As in Star Trek: Voyager.)

How would one describe Mr. Tuvok? Well, like most Vulcans he didn't say much more than what he had to. He was … taciturn. 

See how a Bear's mind turns? And turns. And.…

But taciturn is not a word that people use very regularly. For instance, when was the last time it occurred in your conversation? Or was used by a character in your book, if you've created one? 

Now some could say that I'm using that word just to show off. Which may be true, but misses the point.

Think for a moment about words being tools. These are tools have a specific denotation (as in definition) and, perhaps, several connotations (ideas of feelings that are attached to that word, beyond it's literal or primary meaning). With these denotations and connotations, one is able to develop nuances (subtle differences or shades of meaning, expression or sound). As I said, like tools. A hammer is good for nails, but not so much for nuts and bolts. You wouldn't want to use wire strippers to cut a thick piece of lumber. Every tool has its use; the same goes for words. 

My point is that the more words you have, the better you can write (or communicate generally). And if your reader has to consult a dictionary one or twice, that's OK. You've helped your reader expand his/her vocabulary. 

But, generally, it's still better to use simpler, more common words. Say "quiet," rather than "taciturn," unless you want some nuances in meaning which taciturn evokes. 

So, writers and readers: any thoughts about lesser-used words being worthwhile tools nonetheless?

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Monday, 22 April 2013

S as in SMUDGING (A-Z Challenge)

Through the Idle No More (INM) movement, I have become increasingly aware of the spiritual practices of our First Nations sisters and brothers.

Take, for example, a meeting a couple of months ago. There were about 25 of us, including a couple of the women Founders of INM. We visited, and waited until most of the people who were coming arrived. Then, it was time for "business." But first, smudging and prayer.

Smudging starts with a combination of sage, sweet grass, and some fungus, which are lit. Traditionally, the purpose is to prepare and purify — a person, a place, or a thing — for a time of openness and truth in the presence of the Creator. First, an Eagle feather is smudged. Then, the one doing the smudging goes around the circle, smudging those who request that.

There are particular reasons for this:

Mouth - so that anything we say will be positive and helpful to others who hear us.
Ears - that what we hear and listen to will be positive and help us to learn.
Eyes - that what we see is positive and we can see that in others, not to look at the outside.
Mind - that what we think or how we react will be positive, with only the well being of others in mind. Not to be clouded by anger, lust, greed, etc.
Heart - that our hearts will feel our pain and joy, to be able to heal and use that to help others.
Body - that we will use our bodies in positive ways and take care of our physical health.

Even though I would be considered an Elder among my people, it is not my place to do this. It is not part of my tradition. But when invited to smudge before a session with First Nations' people, I gladly enter into the intention of the process.

(www.firstnationstreatment.org/smudging.htm. Accessed April 21, 2013)

S is also for saint, snake, strength, serious, and Sioux (and Sarcee).

Blessings and Bear hugs!


Sunday, 21 April 2013

SUNDAY 3 — April 21, 2013 (A-Z Challenge)

"Hidee ho!" said the Bear.  "Is anyone out there in the blogsphere?" Things are almost too quiet. I sense a calamity brewing.

Or, maybe it's just bloggers getting ready for week four of the A-Z Challenge? Good grief; week four already! S-X. (Not that doesn't mean what your think; straighten out your mind!)

Or perhaps bloggers are doing something very wise, like playing with partners, and children, and friends, and pets. (We had a birthday party for our daughter-in-law.)

If you're out there, will you tell me what is going on at your place?
Blessings and Bear hugs!


Addendum

We were supposed to get snow yesterday. What we got was rain (though fairly "thick" rain at some points). In the end, the was less white stuff on the ground than at the beginning of the day. So that's good! 

Rumours are circulating that this may be the start of spring. Here's hoping. Six months of winter is quite enough.

This is today

This was a week ago.

Yup; Bear-approved spring weather!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

R as in RESILIENCE (A-Z Challenge)

Being resilient is an important part of life. For materials, resilient refers to the ability of a spring back into shape when bent. For people, resilience has to do with the ability to "bounce back" from difficulties. It speaks of a toughness of spirit, mind and body, and the ability to cope with stress.

My favourite quote on the matter: "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." (Though, strictly speaking, flexibility and resilience are not quite the same thing.)

We all have some level of resilience. The important thing is to work at developing that, so we can more effectively cope with the challenges of life around us. 

The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests "10 Ways to Build Resilience", which are:
  1. maintaining good relationships with close family members, friends and others;
  2. to avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems;
  3. to accept circumstances that cannot be changed;
  4. to develop realistic goals and move towards them;
  5. to take decisive actions in adverse situations;
  6. to look for opportunities of self-discovery after a struggle with loss;
  7. developing self-confidence;
  8. to keep a long-term perspective and consider the stressful event in a broader context;
  9. to maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting good things and visualizing what is wished;
  10. to take care of one's mind and body, exercising regularly, paying attention to one's own needs and feelings. * ^(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_resilience. Accessed April 19, 2013.)
A few years ago, I got into a very difficult situation in which my resilience was not as strong as I thought. Basically, I was blindsided by some people I thought were friends. I'm still recovering and trying to rebuild. I think that resilience is possible for everyone, if we can follow the APA suggestions. 

R is also for reliable, rustling (bad!), rotary, recorded, and romance.

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends. 


Addendum

Tigger, the Tiger, of the Hundred Acre Wood, had more bounce to the ounce than any other creature in the Wood (including any passing Heffalumps). Do you think that Tigger had a lot of resilience?

Friday, 19 April 2013

Q as in QUEUE FOR EVERYTHING (A-Z Challenge)

For you to understand this, I'm going to have to explain the new phonetic alphabet. This, from a physicist friend, who was in the habit of putting things up in space, via NASA or whoever else is sending something up.

The old phonetic alphabet had a for alpha, b for bravo, c for charlie, all the way down to z for zulu. 

The new phonetic alphabet has: a for orses, b for mutton, on down to d for ential, f for vescent, i for get, j for oranges, thence m for size, n for mation, p for whistle and q for everything. (Did I mention my mate, Ted, is Welsh? You need to keep that in mind when you're going through this alphabet.)

Now we come to an Armenian gent named Albert. He was the father of a girl in our high school. He was also the goldsmith who made our weddings rings and engagement ring for J. 

Albert was also a philosopher. He talked about many things, including the reality that our lives being ruled by the clock and the line. 

Think about all the things for which you have to be "On Time." On second thought, forget that; I didn't mean to terrify you. 

Think about the lines you follow. Lines on the road, the lines on signs, direction where you should go. Or the lines at the coffee shop, the take out pizza place, or the grocery store where you buy your food. You line up, or queue, for just about everything. And you wait in line for you passport to be prepared, or your car to be fixed at the garage (not until next week).

So, the combined intelligence of two fine men reminds us there are lines in our lives, and we have to Q for (almost) almost everything we do.

If you're like me, you get tired of queueing. But the trend in here to stay, so the best we can do is get accustomed to it.  ("Grrrrrr," said the Bear, as he stood in line for his jar of hunny, along with Winnie the Pooh.)

Q is also for quiet, quilting, quarter, quiche, and the Queen (God bless her!).

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

P as in PROPRIETY (A-Z Challenge)

Propriety, or being proper, speaks of conforming to accepted standards, in bahaviour or morality. As in polite, and nice. 

As you may have gathered, I do not care much for strict or stringent propriety. Not that I'm opposed to having good manners. But trapped in the obfuscation of political correctness, for example, we lose a sense of what is real. We use "proper" language to hide meanings and motives, actions and attitudes. It's phoney baloney (as Mel Brooks might say). 

I think we, collectively, as Humans (particularly North American Humans) tend to spend much too much time and energy on propriety. I think plainer speech, without being unkind, would help all of us.

P is also for purple, plain, plane, peculiar (as in Bear), and Penobscot.

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

O as in OPEN (A-Z Challenge)

I'm thinking here about open minds. About the willingness to think new thoughts, and dare to do new things. 

I'm not a fan of change for the sake of change. But I do see times when we could do things better if we were prepared to do, or at least try, new options. 

In churches, I see an example. We function on the basis of traditions which have been around for a long time. Sometimes when I lead worship, I deliberately take time to ask questions and listen to peoples' responses. I understand the importance of dialogue, where everyone's participation is expected and respected. Challenges are met and overcome when we all work together. And an open mind, a readiness to at least consider new ideas, rather than simply dismiss them, is a key element. 

Just as long as you're not so open-mided that your brain falls out. 

O is also for Occupy, organize, occipital, Orangutan, and Onondaga.

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

N as in NEUROTIC (A-Z Challenge)

Neurotic people build "castles in the air" out of their fears, failures, and nightmares.

Psychotic people live in those castles.

Psychiatrists collect the rent.

See how easy it is to understand life! 

In truth, this is all kind of funny, until you stop and think about the reality of mental illness. The sickness comes in many forms, but has one constant factor; it steals peoples' lives. Sometimes it drives them to despair beyond their ability cope, and leads to suicide. Much more often, it steals their energy, hope, and love. 

Mental illness is about a lot more than building castles in the air, or living in them.

I know this, because I live daily with mental illness. I have since I was in my teens. 

N is also for neural, night, nine, normal, and nepotism (and also for Navaho!).

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!

Monday, 15 April 2013

M as in MONEY (A-Z Challenge)

"The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil."  
(1 Timothy 6:10)

Let take a moment to consider what that says, and what it does not say. 

The verse does NOT say is that money is bad, or that love is bad. 

There are people who say that money is inherently bad, because it is capable of doing such evil. 

I disagree with that entirely. Money is like any other physical part of creation. Bits of paper with ink on them. Coins made of silver, gold, copper, or whatever. What it does depends on what we want it to do, the way we think about it.

The problem is not the money; the problem is the attitude we take towards that money. The search for money can take over our lives. It can drive us into jobs, even soul-less jobs, so that we can make more money. So we can buy clothes, and houses, and cars. We can become people who work hours of unpaid overtime for the sake of having a job that gives lots of money. (That's how you "do more with less"; unpaid overtime.)

It's true that we all need places to live. But mansions with three-car garages? How about an apartment? And do we truly need a BMW as a status symbol, or will an economical Ford, or Chevy, or Honda do just fine to get us from place to place? 

The Occupy movement has clearly identified the "One Per Cent," the billionaires whose lives are nothing like those of the ordinary folks. The people who seem to be busy making money only for the sake of having more money, and who will do so no matter who they hurt or destroy.  Strange; very strange.

I try to make a point of loving people rather than money. I try to use the word "enough" regularly, as in "we have enough." I hope more of us can say that, often.

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends.

P.S.: "Love will get you through times with no money better than money will get you through times with no love."
 ~ The Girls Next Door.

Addendum

We were supposed to get three days of snow over the weekend. But we got nary a flake! Not only that, spring is beginning to clear the ground. (These pictures were taken of the ground just across the river from us.)





I suspect we may get a big spring storm, but I hope not. Especially for the sake of the new-born calves out in the fields.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

L as in LUNACY (A-Z CHALLENGE)


The word "luna" comes from the Latin word for "moon." Hence lunacy describes those who are, supposedly, under the influence of the moon. As in people who go crazy when there is full moon, or at other times. It is often also used to describe people who have peculiar thoughts — thoughts which are not accepted publicly.

There is a notion in medical circles that when the moon is full, things get much busier in a hospital Emergency Department. That has been disproven by research, but continues to be a working myth. It may be that there are no more people, but the ones who show up may be peculiar, meaning harder to handle and treat.

But is this so strange? The moon's gravitational effect causes a change to the water which covers about three-quartrs of the earth's surface. It creates High Tides and Low Tides. People on the sea need to understand those as they go about their work. So, if the moon can shift lots of water around on Earth, maybe it can have an effect on people, too. It may not make them lycanthropes (werewolves, werebears, etc.), as was thought in the past. But it could certainly have an effect on our bodies, which are about 70 percent water. It may also effect the complex Human brain. 

But what does a Bear really know about anything?

L is also for lunch, launch, limits, liking, and Lakota.

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends. 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

J as in JUSTICE (A-Z CHALLENGE)

"If we say we love people, at the very least 
we will see they are treated with justice." 

That's not exactly how the quote goes, but it is close enough. Besides, I don't know who said that, and I can't check it because I don't know the origin. 

 But it is true.

This goes beyond laws, which can be, and sometimes are discriminatory. 

What I'm referring to is called "Fundamental Justice"* — a vital and vigorous concept of fairness, which underlies the administration of law and the way that is operated. While fairness may vary a bit in understanding from time to time, I think all people have a rough idea of what is fair: don't cheat or steal, don't kill, treat others with respect; things like that. 

It is this fairness which needs to be at the basis of our laws and basic relationships with one another.

------------------------------------------
*With notes from Wikipedia — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_justice (accessed April 12, 2013)


J is also for jealous, jerk, junebug, junket, and jail (where you might end up if you're being a jerk).

(And, yes, I know that J comes before K, but, well, that just didn't work, this time. Besides, consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative — consistency being a term which cannot be assigned to this Bear.)

Blessings and Bear hugs, folks. 


Addendum

"L" which should have been here today, will be here tomorrow. So by Monday, I should be in sync with the rest of those who are following the A-Z path. And, no, that's no lip sync, or the kitchen sync.


Friday, 12 April 2013

K as in Koala (A-Z Challenge)

If you've already read my "B as in Bears" post you'll know that a Koala is not a Bear, even if some people call it a Bear. (Back there, I listed all the Bear species; the Koala wasn't one of them.)

Actually, the Koala is a marsupial, tree-dwelling plant eater. It's babies are born only semi developed, so they live in their mom's pouch for another six to seven months. (It's a strange way to look after newborn, but, well, that's how marsupials do it.)

The Koala has a stout, tailless body, with fluffy ears, and a spoon shaped nose. Koalas can grow up to 85 cm (33 in.) tall and weigh as much as 15 kg. (or 33 lbs.). (So says Wikipedia;  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koala, accessed April 2, 2013.) Their pelage, meaning fur or hair, ranges from silver grey to chocolate brown (that's from Wikipedia, too;  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelage, accessed April 2, 2013). The Koala is somewhat related to the wombat. Also distantly related to the Tasmanian Devil (as San Francisco is related to New York — distantly). The Koala is not a member of any Bear species.


Koala, Perth Zoo,
Australia

Koalas live along the eastern side of Australia, from the north of Queensland, down into New South Wales, and on a small part of the southern coast (east of the Great Australian Bight).

Because they eat so much eucalyptus, which doesn't have much protein, Koalas sleep about 20 hours a day. (We all need protein; Bears and Humans would sleep a lot, too, without protein.) But Koalas eat eucalyptus, just as Giant Pandas eat bamboo. (But, unlike Pandas, Koalas aren't Bears.)

The Koala population is declining. Too much Human encroachment (sneaking in) on their habitat (trees — groves of Eucalyptus trees; forests, even). So, if you're going to get a building permit in Australia, you have to prove no Koala will be harmed by the construction of whatever you're creating. That's the truth; that's the law! (Even Wikipedia says so.)

Oh, and did I mention that Koalas are not Bears? They're not Bears, even if people call them Bears. 

They're Koalas.

K is also for kite, kick, kitchen, king, and kleptomaniac (which some people think is an alternate word for "politician"). 

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends.



Thursday, 11 April 2013

I as in "IN WHICH THE WRITER HITS THE WALL" (A-Z Challenge) UPDATE

In high endurance sports, like running marathons, athletes sometimes speak of "hitting the wall." It's a sudden energy loss or general fatigue, the result of losing glycogen (sugar) on the body.

Bear has hit a different wall, probably not related to glycogen. My get up and go got up and went. 

So I'm having a few days off, or off days. 

But as General Douglas MacArthur famously promised, after his escape from the Philippines, "I shall return."

In the meantime, blessing and Bear hugs!


I forgot:

It snowed last night. It is supposed to snow again both Saturday and Sunday. We've had seven months of winter; do I hear eight?

And we are being promised nicer weather — for the week after next.

Addendum

Sometimes when you relax, things will come to you. Like turning a negative into a positive! Turning a challenge into a Blog Title! Yes!

"I love it when a story comes together," said the writer.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

H as in HOLLOW (A-Z Challenge)

Have you ever come up to something — a meeting, or family event, or social issue — and suddenly feel hollow, empty, nothing to say, finding it hard to do anything? 

In my daily walk with major depression, I come up hollow from time to time. It is the kind of hollowness that just cannot be moved by a deadline. It's a blankness of mind that simply will not respond to normal stimulation. It is an emptiness that stands in the way of prayer and meditation.

Through this I am still "Bearing up," more or less. Tomorrow will, I think, be different. But today will be a slow and sleepy day — rest, reading, and tea. 

I feel like I came out of hibernation too early, and I feel a bit "Bear brained" — the feeling that I should still be hibernating, even when I'm not. It's like being awake at night when you should be sound asleep, and would like to be sound asleep. Only it's much worse than that. 

I hope you are not having a hollow day, today. If you are, I feel some of your pain, and hope you can soon find your way through the wasteland.

When you have hollow days, what do you do to keep yourself going?

H is also for holy, hospital, heat, healing, and Haida.

Blessings and Bear hugs, folks.


Monday, 8 April 2013

G as in GOOSE (A-Z CHALLENGE)

A sure sign of spring; the Geese are back in River City. 

They arrived early Thursday morning last week — honking like drivers in a traffic jam.

For all the noise, you would think there should be hundreds of them around. Nope. Just two, by the Traffic Bridge, right below our place.

Back in River City - standing on the ice.

The truth is the Geese have hundreds of places they can go. On the island in the river would be the best thought. They nest all over that island, near the art gallery. Maybe up on the river bank, close to our church. Maybe by the water intake for the power station, a couple of miles down the river, where the water is open all winter.

Last year, the Geese arrived March 11th. This year, they are three weeks later. I'll bet even they want spring to be here, soon. We're again being promised temperature close to 0°C (32F) for this week, with above freezing temperatures next week. Sadly, we've had the same forecast for three weeks in a row — "next week will be better."  Some day the "weather man" is going to get it right, though I suspect more by luck than good management.

For the sake of the Geese, I hope the forecast is right this time, and we soon get some warmer weather. Come to think of it, I think that would make the Humans happy, too. 

Addendum

It snowed on Friday, and again yesterday. We've had snow on the ground since mid-October. Another week, and we will have had seven months of winter. But who's counting, eh?


G is also for gallop, grind, golf, gridlock, and grandiose.

Blessings and Bear hugs, folks!