Wednesday, 29 January 2014


The Continuing Misadventures of Don Quixote 

Poor Don Quixote. Still trying to do the right thing. Still getting bashed and beaten for his efforts. 

In the most recent chapter, Señor Quixote encounters a chain of prisoners being taken to the king's galleys. After inquiring about their circumstances, he sets about to liberate them, an act in which they take part. Then he makes a small request of the criminals. Their response is to attack him with a blizzard of stones. Poor Don Quixote, his horse (Rocinante) his squire (Sancho) and Sancho's donkey all end up in a bruised and battered state. 

 Don Quixote's assessment of the situation is that "doing good to the lowborn is throwing water into the sea." 

The More-Than-Momentary Disappearance of the Bear

When it comes to computers, 2013 ended on a bad note, with the Bear having to clean out and re-download all his main files — losing a number of items in the process. 

Now, 2014 is starting on a similar note. But much worse. 

Bear has a defective main drive in his computer. Grrrrrrr!

Which means the current hard drive will have to be replaced, a new one inserted, and re-programmed. This is not looking good. 

So, if Bear disappears sometime, with no notice, and doesn't return promptly, please understand that I have not gotten mad and gone away in a huff. It's just that my computer is just being reconstructed. Rebuilt. Whatever. 

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Friday, 24 January 2014


It has been a very odd week, in terms of the weather, in the land of the Bear.

Saturday, +10 (50F) and sunny

Can you see the little stream of water coming out the downspout?

Sunday, +5 (41F) and sunny

Monday, -20 (-4F) and sunny, with snow in the evening.

Sidewalk waiting to be cleared the next day.

Tuesday, -5 (23F) and cloudy

"Gloomy day, isn't it." said Eeyore

Wednesday, -27C (-17F)

Thursday, -5 (23F, again) with the threat of freezing rain (that, fortunately, never came)

Friday, +4 (40F) and the snow is melting! Nice clear sidewalk at the front (though still a bit damp),

puddles at the back,

and the snow is coming off the clear plastic roof over our back deck. 

All of which brings to mind some fanciful song lines:

Ho-ho, He-he, Ha-ha,
Someone made a faux pas
when setting up the laws of nature
here in Canada. 

 Blessings and Bear hugs, friends.

Thursday, 16 January 2014


Weather Warnings

Ezra Pound, American poet of the last century,  wrote an ode to winter which expressed a number of feelings. One line that I remember (more or less) was about "sprayeth bus and sloppeth us." 

That is a good image for the streets of River City today. Water, sand, snow, salt, all over the place. Waiting to attack any unwary pedestrian, or driver. The temperature, in the space of a couple of days, has gone from minus 40 to melting, and above. 

Yes, it's strange, but that's how the weather works up here.  And if we get a flash freeze overnight, everything will be dangerously slippery tomorrow. And I have a friend's funeral to attend.

Meanwhile the wind is picking up, and should reach up to 110 km/hour, or about 70 miles/hour. That's hurricane force wind. Without the hurricane, or tornados. (I'm going to put some extra lead in my boots so I don't blow away.) 

I've checked around the house, for branches or other things which might cause problems. I think we're OK. But we have to put the garbage out tonight, and I'm not so sure how our bin will fare in the bluster and blow. I'm rethinking that plan. 

Back to the Books

I have long thought that I do not read enough books. So I thought I would make a point of reading at least 12 books this year — one a month. I know that's setting the bar terribly low, but I want to succeed. Nothing, after all, succeeds like success; small successes lead to larger successes.

The first book is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Actually, de Cervantes wrote it as two separate books, about 10 years apart, which were later combined. It's only 965 pages, really the size of about four books, but, well, whatever. (A book this size will take a long time to read, and will have to be borrowed several times from the library. I won't be reading it in one weekend.) 

As I read along, I'll tell you about what I'm reading. (I'm not great at doing book reviews, so I don't now how this will work.) This will be an irregular feature. But hopefully, it will be fun.

So far, I've discovered that Don Quixote, a gentleman of the La Manchia region of Spain, is the hero. With nothing better to do, he read so many books on chivalry that he drove himself crazy. He decided to become a knight-errant, riding around on his horse and doing noble, chivalrous things. 

But Don Quixote's life is not an easy one. He tried so hard to get things right — he thought he's doing things right — but he invariably seemed to get them wrong. 

For example, he saw some giants in a field, and decided to charge them and kill them, or at least scare them away. But they're not giants; they're windmills. And our poor hero suffered for his indiscretion. 

In another care, he comes to the aid of a boy who is being beaten by has master. Don Quixote rides up and solves the problem (to his thinking), but when he leaves, the hapless lad is beaten even more seriously. 

Don Quixote is, it appears, an accident perpetually looking for a place to happen.

More, the next time.

Oh, I'm also reading A Concise History of Canada' First Nations, by Olive Patricia Dickason. She begins in the period of prehistory, taking time to explain the formation of the various cultures of the groups which, supposedly, crossed the Bering Sea ice bridge more than 10,000 years ago. That's thousands of years before the arrival of the British, French and other Europeans. Dickason details the cultures of various groups of hunters, fishers, and farmers. All quite fascinating. Then the Europeans came. 

Again, more next time.

A Weighty Matter

Some of you may recall that Bear is trying to become smaller. Not shorter, the other way. For the record, Bear became 2.5 pounds smaller over the Christmas holidays. Not what one would normally expect, but, I'll take it. Or, actually, got rid of it.

So, to Conclude

I think that's enough for now. I'm not sure whether I'm walking Wally again today, so I had better check on that.

Blessings and bear hugs, everyone!

Friday, 10 January 2014


Hi, friends! This is Wally.

He's a darned cute Dog, isn't he? Perky, friendly, attractive. Gets along really well with people and other dogs. Cats, not so much. (In fact, not at all — he thinks of them as prey to be chased down.) I didn't measure him, but his back comes up to about my hip bone. So no, he is not small.

I'm told he is part Greyhound, so he's fast. (But I don't think he has ever been to a race track.) From the amount and pattern of grey on his back, I think he is part Irish Wolf Hound. His coat is really coarse. He loves going for walks — though I suspect not at -40 degrees (which is what we've had here lately). Aside from that, he's a big couch potato at home, and chooses to spend a lot of his time sleeping in his crate. Ideal Dog companion for a hibernating Bear.

Wally used to be on staff at our University, but when the decision was made to close the Animal Resource Centre (where he lived), poor Wally was rendered homeless. 

Which led to Wally becoming our daughter-in-law's Dog. 

A and our grandkids have been away, visiting her parents in Ontario. (Our son T stayed home and dealt with the workmen repairing their house.) This was my chance to get to know 
Wally better by taking him for walks. Which is what we did. I'm sure he is strong enough to take me for a walk, but he is really mild-mannered, so we had no trouble. 

So, if I mention Wally again, you'll know who I'm talking about.

Blessings, sloppy Dog kisses, and warm Bear hugs, everyone!

Monday, 6 January 2014


"My desire to stay well-informed has overwhelmed my desire to stay sane."  ~ Anon

That pretty well covers things. 

No, I haven't cancelled my Facebook account. I have changed my settings. I only accept posts from people who make me feel good. The rest is just bad news piled upon bad news, whether mainstream media, or indie reporting. (When it comes to the main news outlets, a large part of the bad news is their failure to report important things.) I can do without it all very nicely, thank you. So I shall.

But please note: happy posts will be welcomed!

You don't have to be very smart to figure out these things — even a Bear can do it.

And you know, it doesn't take a lot to make a Bear happy, or cheer up a Bear.

Now, in the dark, and particularly the cold, of the Canadian Prairie (northern Great Plains), life can take on a fairly brutal nature. 

For those of you in Texas, and Oklahoma, I was about to suggest a trade of some of our cool weather for your heat. But it seems your heat has already disappeared. (The non-joys of climate change.) 

How cool is to today? I'm told it's -29C (that's -20F) in River City. How is your temperature?

The important thing is that the sun is shining here! And there's no wind! Two things which make me very happy! 

Also, I had a good Christmas, overall. Another good point. 

Really, it doesn't take a lot to make a Bear happy, or cheer up a Bear. It just takes a bit of time. 

And here's a question. What are you doing to brighten up your life in early 2014?

Blessings and Bear hugs, everyone!