Friday, 27 December 2013


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


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


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


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!


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

Friday, 13 December 2013


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


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 . . .


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!


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