Friday, 28 February 2014


It's a darned cold morning in the land of the Bear. (For the weather details, see the note at the bottom.)

However, cold morning or not, the dogs and I went outside to check the yard, and plug in the car so J can go downtown to have lunch with a friend. (Why anyone would want to go anywhere in this temperature is beyond me. But, well. . . .) Block heaters are amazing things for helping your car's engine to start on a very cold day. Even if you just plug the heater in for an hour or so.

Oh. The dogs? Well, since you asked. . . . 

Please allow me to introduce Shadow.

He is named that because, wherever you go, he goes too. Just like a shadow. So I think that name suits him well. The minute I sit down in my chair to read, he's sitting or lying down at my feet. He won't necessarily stay there, but he never goes far. (He's sleeping at my feet right now.) I just have to make sure I don't step on him when I get up. 

And this is Salsa. 

I don't know how she got her name. She has a bit of trouble hearing, so hand signals work best with her. She likes to sleep in closed-in spaces, where (I guess) she feels well protected. Safe. 

They are both very quiet dogs. When I prepared lunch, they are right there at my feet, watching, silently. They seem to think that, if it hits the floor, it's theirs. 

And how did we get two beautiful Shelties (Shetland Sheepdogs)? Some friends are going to be away for a few days, so they left their dogs with us. 

They think we are doing them a favour. Actually, it is the other way around. These two are my "dog therapy," or therapy dogs, or whatever. That's not a joke.

There is a growing body of research that shows having a dog around is good for your health. I have read about it in the medical reports and journals I get. Petting a dog will lower your blood pressure, make you feel more calm and relaxed, help you get out for a walk in the "fresh" air, etc. This also seems to be true of horses. (Cats? Don't ask.) So they are particularly helpful for people, and Bears, with many mental health issues. A colleague of mine, a counsellor, takes her dog to work, and allows her clients to interact with the dog. She thinks the people do better because of the dog. 

Phone just rang; I got up to answer it. Shadow came with me; Salsa kept sleeping. Now I'm back, and Shadow has ultimately gone to sleep by the door. I don't know why there; perhaps he is just a "cool" dog. 

Anyhow, our animal ethics committee at the university approved a project for dogs to come on campus during exam time in April. That was at our meeting on Wednesday — two days ago. Yes, this is ethical treatment of specially-trained dogs in a well-supervised situation. We also think it will be a good thing for students, particularly first-year students who are away from home. Help them to deal with year-end jitters, and the like.

Anyhow, I have my own therapy dogs for a while. And I feel better with them around. Much better, really. I think one would be enough, but them come as a pair, so this is dandy. I'll tell you more about them, anon. 

I think this is going to be a good weekend! I can feel it already!

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends.

Today's Weather Report
Currently (noon), -27 (or -17F), but the wind chill goes to -40 (same in both languages). Tonight, -52 (-62F, if your thermometer doesn't break!). A bit cooler than usual.

Monday, 17 February 2014


It was a very grey morning, and early — about 7:30. The temperature was about -30C (or -22F). 

I heard this noise. It woke me, and since I wasn't quite awake, so I had to listen to it a couple more times.

My cell phone. My cell phone is ringing. 

Which was peculiar, because only family members (and a few others) have my phone number. (Bear is actually quite a private Bear.) So, if it's someone calling, it must be important.

Crawl of bed. Hunt for call phone. Finally find cell phone. Go to open cell phone. It stops ringing. 

This has gone from being GRrrr to being GGGRRRR. 

Wander into study and wake up computer. (It's usually about as sleepy as I am.) Find my phone book app. Type phone number into reverse look-up. Sit and wait. Finally a message comes: "no listings were found." 

Translation: it was a telemarketer. At 7:30 in the morning. When I was sound asleep. 


But by then, I was feeling well and truly "bounced" — as if Tigger (friend of Winnie the Pooh) had enthusiastically landed on my bed, front paws on my shoulders, with a cheery "Good morning, Bear!" 

I appreciated the sentiment, but it was most certainly not feeling like a very good morning. I mean, have you had a Tigger "bounce" you when you were still sound asleep? Children, perhaps; a Tigger, not so much, if at all.  

I had to go somewhere, so I had breakfast, sent myself to the shower, got dressed, and headed out. I was still feeling edgy, a bit nervous. I couple of very minor things happened, but they upset me — more like threw me off course, mentally. I noticed that my reaction times were slower than usual. I was not as steady.

Anyhow, I did what I needed to do. I got home, still feeling a bit "bounced." After several cups of tea, and lunch, I started feeling a little better. 


So, dear friends, have you ever been "bounced" by a #@&$^ telemarketer, first thing in the morning? How did you feel about that?

Sigh! I feel tired, all over again. 

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!

Today's Weather Report
Bright and sunny, with a bit of haze or very thin clouds. Temperature at -9C (16F); with wind chill, feels like -15C (5F). Could turn out to be a nice day. 

Monday, 10 February 2014


We all know the rules for any given piece of life. And things move along just fine — until someone changes the rules.

Music for the "Good Ol' Boys"

I can't say I'm much of a fan of country and western music. Sunday afternoon with a good book and some Bach on the cd is just fine, thank you. 

But both the radio stations for which I worked were country music stations. I worked in news so I didn't get to play much music, but I picked up a bit of a taste for country just because I worked there. Sort of like osmosis, or something. There's Waylon, and Willie, and Johnny (several Johns actually), and Kris, and Charlie, and Patsy, and Tammy, and Dolly, and all the rest of them. You could get your money by Cash or Paychek. You know what I'm talking about. 

Anyhow, the themes are pretty common. How he/she did her/him wrong. The pick-up truck or 18-wheeler. The cattle. The dog. Yeah. Yeah. You know "the rules." 

By the way, do you now what happens when you play a cowboy song backwards? The guy finds his truck, the dog comes home, and the wife quits crying. You can trust the Bear on that.

Cowgirl anthem for the 21st Century

Well, things were fine until a perky young miss came along with her own ideas. Her name is Kacey Musgraves, and she's from Texas (naturally). Her first albums came out in 2002 and 2003, and basically went nowhere. At 25, she has won a Country Music Association award (last year), and two Grammies (this year), so this gal knows her business. And her latest album, called Same Trailer, Different Park, is doing pretty well. As is this single, "Follow Your Arrow," which is not entirely according to "the rules."

If you are not quite sure what you heard, or you're not sure if you can believe it, you can check the words.

Yup! That young woman has her own ideas all right.

 Blessings and Bear hugs, friends!

Tonight's Weather Report
Dark, partly coudy, about half moon; -25C (-13F) with a wind chill down to -28C (-18F).

Thursday, 6 February 2014


I woke up his morning feeling GgRRrr, which is pretty normal. (That's better than "GGGRRRRRRR," and different from "GgRrr?".)

But the sun! Oh, my goodness, the sun. Bright and light. Almost enough to blind a Bear or a Human, especially when reflecting off the snow. The temperature was COLD, but the sun! It seemed like a day full of potential. 

I was involved in a national church conversation just before lunch. I cannot say it left me feeling uplifted. So many challenges.

Maybe the most important part was that J and I walked for maybe a couple of miles, in the afternoon. True, it was all within the city. But even here there are stores, and restaurants, and people to see. But you have to watch your step on the icy sidewalks. The worst place is at a corner when the city owns the property. The have not been following their own by-law, and the sidewalk is thick with ice, and very uneven, with foot-sized holes which could trip you up. Might even cause a broken leg. Or hip.

I got some reading done, too. But most important was the walk. After a bleak Christmas and January, I think I'm picking up a bit. I've put the Black Dog in the back yard, and he seems to be staying there.

For more about the Black Dog (of Depression), you can check out this video, from the World Health Organization. (It is a great video!)

Blessings and Bear hugs, friends! 

Today's Weather Report
Bright sun in clear blue sky; -24C (-11F), with wind chill at -37C (-35F).

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


Three of these guys are cousins of mine. The fourth one (at the back) is my nephew (though I originally mistook him for another cousin).

Please do not mess with these guys! The encounter will not end well — for you — if you do! 

Aside from that, Blessings and Bear hugs!

Today's Weather Report
Overcast (as in quite grey), -25C (-13F) with the wind chill at -36C (-33F).