Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In a Pickle... in a Milk Can

Little bear found himself in a bit of a pickle today. He found a very cool looking milk can and thought that it warranted an exploration! It smelled very interesting and looked like a perfect hiding spot. Little bear climbed up the side and peered into the depths of the milk can. Was there something in there? He couldn't quite tell.

Little bear leaned forward for a closer look and a bit farther... and a bit farther... and... plop! Little bear found himself down in the depths of the milk can! And what was an easy climb up on the outside of the can was not so easy on the inside. The milk can was wider at the bottom than at the top and he couldn't get out!

Oh, poor little bear... he finds himself stuck... Now what? Maybe he should have looked before he leaned? Maybe he should have brought a rope and some supplies? He should have packed some of those Christmas chocolates! There's nothing in this milk can except dust!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bear Stand

Little bear has been watching too many old Olympic re-runs. Today he thought that he would try to do a hand-stand. Well, his little arms don't quite reach to the floor... so then he thought he would try a plain head stand.

After several attempts out in the open, little bear figured that he could use some help from a wall. But little bear doesn't have the best sense of balance in the world. He fell sideways. He fell backwards. He feel on his tummy. He fell on his bum. Poor little bear! Was he ever going to get this?? Maybe this was just a waste of time? Maybe he was making a fool of himself??

But then... all of a sudden... success!! For a fraction of a moment, little bear had it! He was balanced on his head (with the help of the door)... yay! And then he fell down again. But that was OK... he had done it! If only for a moment... time for the next adventure! Once was enough for this little bear. There were more things in life to try out!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Friends of a Different Sort

Well, little bear has learned a few things today! He's learned that there are more friends out there than just other bears! Today he met a white mountain goat and a blue dragon with tiny purple wings. Both of his new friends have horns, which little bear thought was kind of strange at first. Why didn't he have these cool horns?? Why didn't he have cute little purple wings? Little bear learned that there are all sorts of folks out there, and that not all of them are the same shape and size and colour. But that's OK. Even though his two new friends are very different from little bear, they decided that they could still be best buds!

Which bodes well for the rest of us. If little bear can make friends with a billy goat and a dragon... well, maybe we can make friends with people who are very different from us. Different religions, different cultures, different races, different in so many ways!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tuneful Bear

Little bear has discovered the sound of music! He loves the radio, but sometimes he just wants to listen to something else... all by himself. And maybe turn up the volume and drown out extraneous noise! Nowadays there are tonnes of music to listen to and little bear is developing quite an eclectic taste in music. A bit of everything. Some classical. Some blues. Some classic rock. Some pop. Just no heavy metal... too hard on the eardrums! He absolutely loves the nature music!! Sounds of birds and the wind and the waves with a bit of light music... ahhh... that's the sound!

Now, admittedly, the headphones are a little big for little bear... but so far he's doing OK with them. Not sure human ear bud style headphones are going to fit in his little bear ears!

But little bear has a lesson for us here as well. Sometimes the best way we can handle the stresses of life is to sit back, put on a pair of headphones and just let the music wash over us...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Caring Bear

So one of little bear's friends got a little sick last week with gallstones. Very painful for little bear's friend! She even had her belly shaved thanks to an ultrasound. Although she's feeling much better, little bear decided that he should check her out.

After examining her belly and deciding that "yes, the hair is growing back", he just sat with her and offered a sympathetic ear and a caring presence.

Little bear is pretty good that way. He doesn't say a lot... and sometimes that's what people really need. They just need someone to sit and listen and not say anything. They don't need us to fix them. They don't need us to do anything. Just listen. Little bear could have told his friend that she really needed to lose some weight, eat right, exercise more, etc. etc. But she didn't need to hear that. How often do we offer advice to someone when all they really need is an open ear?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Playful Bear

Alright, little bear has discovered the joy of photocopiers! Maybe it's something universal in all sentient beings... but a photocopier brings out the playful side in most people... or the impish side... or the silly side! And of course, he had to do all of this on the colour copier... $0.50 per copy!

First it started with a full facial... Little bear obviously had to squinch his eyes tight shut for this one... and for the full frontal, which came next! Must be nice to just lounge around on the photocopier....

And little bear was not content with just those beautiful shots. No, he had to do a full backside as well! Luckily he couldn't figure out how to get his snow pants off...  There's nothing like a bare bear bum to make people run for the hills screaming in terror! A snowpants covered bear bum doesn't have nearly the same fear factor for most people...

Little bear reminds us that sometimes, when life gets crazy and overwhelming and absolutely nuts... we just need to get a little crazy and silly ourselves. Play a bit... have some fun... Photocopy our faces... or hands...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Bigger they are...

There's a saying... the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Well, little bear met a large bear today, and it's true he did seem kind of hard. This was not a soft, cuddly bear like our friend little bear. No, this was a rock solid, iron hard bear. Frozen in time and space. Little bear tried to sidle up and make friends, but these bears weren't the type.

The sat there and stood there, immovable and solid. Little bear tried hopping around... no response. He started at them with a sad look for a while. But then he realized that there were a lot more bears out there... more his size and style! Time to get moving and keep looking!

Little bear could have stayed there and tried to turn the iron hard bears into something softer... but he would have been there a long time. A very long time. He's a wise little bear, and he realizes the futility of trying to make others be different than they are. Better for little bear to move on and find other bears who are his type! Good message for us as well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tired Bear

Well, after his adventure in the airport and on the airplane, little bear was pretty tuckered out! Today was his first experience of sleeping in a motel room. Although Goldilocks might have been picky about things being "too big" or "too small", little bear didn't really care if the bed was way too big for him!

He flopped onto it and let himself sink into the pillows... ahhhh... Long day, long flight... tired bear. Little bear quickly snuggled under the covers and tried to close his eyes, but his mind was going 100 miles an hour. All of these new experiences needed to be processed... Plus, once the lights went out, there were a lot of strange noises in the room.

There was the sound of the traffic outside the window. The toilet was running. There was a faint noise of elevator music coming from the hallway outside. The little bar fridge kept kicking in. Poor little bear... So many new experiences! Luckily for him, his ear flaps served as pretty good ear plugs and eventually he was able to soothe the noises in his own head as well. Exhaustion eventually won out and he had a peaceful sleep.

Little bear isn't the only one who has trouble falling asleep because of a runaway mind! I suppose the lesson for all of us is to learn to calm and still the waters of our turbulent minds. Just stop... and float on a sea of peace. If little bear can do it... maybe we can too!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Air Sick Bear

Oh dear... little bear was so excited about his first airplane ride but then... there was the teensiest bit of turbulence and little bear began to turn green... green like the colour of his little coat. The saliva started to run, his tummy did some funny flip flops and he didn't feel very good at all! In fact, he felt quite dreadful... horribly dreadful. Maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to eat all those honey cookies before the flight... oops...

Luckily, in his foray through the seat pocket, little bear had seen a plastic coated bag... with a bit of help, he pulled it out and managed to get it open just in time... Poor little bear. He's learned that although air plane rides can be fun, sometimes they aren't all that comfortable!! Ugh...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Air Bear

So, little bear had his first plane ride. He was monstrously excited to get on the plane and wanted to everything all at once! Luckily it was a fairly empty plane, so little bear got to have a seat all to himself. There was a lot of activity going on while the plane was on the ground. Baggage was being loaded, passengers were getting onboard. There were other planes nearby which were leaving. Little bear had his nose glued to the window for the longest time. How was this massive thing going to get into the air?? Where were the wheels going to fit? How far can it fly? How high? How fast? How many passengers can fit on here (people... not little bears). Could he ride up in the overhead bin? Little bear had a tonne of questions...

He hopped around his seat like a little jumping bean. Looking out the window, crawling into the seat pocket, examining the safety card, learning where the emergency exits were. He paid strict attention during the safety demonstration and then got some help putting on his seat belt. Except once he was strapped into his seat, things got very boring... He couldn't see out the window or move around or see anything that was going on. Very boring...

But then... movement! The plane was moving back from the gate... taxi-ing down to the end of the runway and finally... with a burst of speed that pushed little bear into his seat, the plane was airborne. Wow!!! What new adventures were going to await him when he got to his destination? Would he make friends?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

X-rayed Bear

Little bear had an x-ray today. Alas, we don't have a picture of it because the security people at the airport aren't all that accomodating when it comes to little bears! Suffice to say that little bear went through the security screening checkpoint at the airport and came out the other end free and clear. Our little bear is not a security risk. No claws, no teeth, no hidden sharp objects...

After the excitement of that, how would the rest of the airport compare? Well, the view out the windows was a bit blizzardy, but little bear had fun watching the planes taxi out to the runway. And the huge snowploughs were a site to behold as well! But there is only so much excitement to be had in watching snow being ploughed and airplanes moving back and forth.

Little bear found it far more exciting to sit in his chair and watch people go by and listen to them. People at this particular gate were headed off to a place called Cuba. By watching the people, little bear learned that they were obviously going somewhere much warmer! Unklike him, these folks were dressed in t-shirts, shorts and sandals. Ah... to go somewhere warm and sunny! Little bear is an observant little bear...

We too can learn a lot just by watching and listening. Sometimes we speak too soon and say too much. Far better to sit back and just observe... what can we learn from just watching people? We can learn a lot... but it takes some time... It also forces us to stop and just be...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sparky Bear

Today little bear discovered power lines... or rather power towers! These tall metal contraptions looked very inviting to climb!! It was almost like a monkey bar!! Little bear could climb up and look down on the world... but little bear also saw the sign that said these power towers were very dangerous.

Although it might be very tempting to climb up the towers, little bear recognized that he, or others, could get seriously hurt if he was foolish enough to attempt that. He realized that he didn't have to do everything in life that looked like fun... because sometimes the "fun-looking" things are really quite dangerous.

In addition to being a Clean Bear against litter... he could become Sparky Bear... an advocate for safety around electrical devices!! There could be a whole line of bears that would be advocates and spokes-bears for safety and environmental awareness!! Little bear might have a good idea going here!

We could learn a lesson from little bear. Sometimes we do the "fun" things even though we know they are dangerous. Maybe instead of always pushing hte boundaries of "fun" we could actually be spokespeople for safety... drinking & driving, speeding, etc. Little bear might have something to teach us!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Litter Bear Patrol

Little bear came across another piece of littler today, and he's already started categorizing the pieces of litter than he comes across. This one appears to be one of the most popular... a brown cup with a log. Sometimes there are even brown plastic lids that go with it. What makes people throw away these things, when there are bear-proof garbage cans everywhere??? Are people too lazy to carry it any farther? Do they think that eventually it will decompose? Maybe the cup will but the plastic will be around for a long time.

Little bear is thinking that maybe he could recruit other bears to form a litter patrol. Perhaps people woudl think twice if they knew that there was a litter bear patrol wandering around, ready to tap people on the shoulder! They could hand out fines... do educational programs... visit schools!! Hmm... this could lead to something! They could be the Smokey Bear of Litter!!! Maybe they could call themselves the Clean Bear Patrol... or Litter Bear Patrol... or...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Poop Scoop?

Today little bear was out for a walk and came across something that had him completely perplexed. It was a huge, monstrous pile of brown stuff. It sort of smelled like poop... but not dog poop. And it was WAY bigger than a pile of dog poop!! Was it a huge dog or something else? Little bear learned that there are other creatures out there called horses... and that they eat grass, so their poop is different than dog poop.

But little bear still wonders... why didn't someone scoop this poop?? If dog owners are supposed to scoop the poop from their dogs, why don't horse owners scoop the poop from their horses?? Clearly the pile is way bigger than for dogs... and much more obvious. Maybe poop scoop bags don't come big enough for this pile? Or maybe horse owners just don't want to be bothered to stop, dismount and scoop?? Hmmm... there seems to be a species bias here! Horses are immune from the scoop laws... Little bear might just decide to start a campaign for horse owners to stop and scoop!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beach Bear

Little bear decided today, that he was going to stay off of the ice... tempting as it might look, and just the sunshine on the beach! Sunbathing on a beach in the depths of winter might seem a little silly, but little bear is well dressed for it, and unlikely to make it to a tropical climate. So, he decided to make the best of it, and just chill out for a little while. Little bear learned that he can meditate by just sitting on a beach. He doesn't need a yoga mat or a singing bowl... he can just sit and let the sunshine and silence wash over him and be still.

Sometimes we need that as well... time to just sit and be still, without all of the hustle-bustle that we allow to run our lives. We just need to sit sometimes... soak up some sun and some silence and be still.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bearista Bear Hockey League

Having seen people having so much fun playing hockey on the ice, little bear figured that maybe he should give it a whirl. Alas, they don't make hockey sticks for little bears, so he had to improvise. A little scouting along the lake shore and, voila, a perfect "hockey stick" was found. A little round rock and he was ready to go.

Little bear learned some laws of physics today - (1) the law of exert a force and there will be an opposite and equal force to counteract it and (2) the law of gravity. Whacking at the rock made the rock go in one direction and little bear in the other direction, which given the slipperiness of the ice, meant he ended up on his bum again. Little bear has decided that he is unlikely to pursue a career in the Bearista Bear Hockey League. Maybe he'll just cheer from the sidelines!

Which we can do as well. We might not have the skills or the talents to excel at something like playing hockey or figure skating, but we can sure contribute in other ways. The other lesson little bear learned was that sometimes things are a lot harder than they look! Hockey players make it look so easy... but unless it becomes a career for little bear... well, better to focus on something else! Which could be a lesson for us as well. Find what we are passionate about and excel at that!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bubbles Befuddle Bear

Having put his career as a figure skating champion on hold for now.... little bear decided to investigate becoming an ice researcher instead. Peering through the ice, little bear decided that it was at least as thick has he was tall... and maybe more than double his height! He could see rocks and sticks under the ice... and even in the ice, which was kind of neat.

Little bear noticed cracks in the ice, which at first gave him a bit of cause for concern, but then he noticed that they were quite shallow and not really significant. Nothing to be worried about. One of the most perplexing things that he found were air bubbles trapped in the ice! And not just random air bubbles, but columns of air bubbles... What the heck? How did those air bubbles form? What was causing them to form as columns.

Little bear decided that there was only so much he could learn from frozen air bubbles by lying on the ice. He could speculate on what caused them... but he wouldn't be able to prove it, because the ice was way too thick! And he is just a little bear... He did think that maybe there was a clam or something burrowed under the lake bottom, where the water wasn't frozen, and these bubbles were pockets of the clam's exhaled air bubbles... Or maybe it was rotting vegetation releasing bubbles of gas?? Or maybe it was a hot water spring releasing gas??

Little bear actually wasn't too far off the mark. Apparently these columns of air bubbles are caused by rotting vegetation releasing methane gas. The water freezes, gas collects under the surface, more water freezes below that and the air bubble is preserved in ice.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bear on Ice

Today little bear discoverd that he could walk on water! Frozen water that is... Having seen several people out on the lake, little bear figured that if the ice was thick enough to support them, then it could probably support him.

The expanse of ice looked very inviting in the winter light... and all those people sliding around on it with such ease made little bear think "it can't be all that hard". With a few tentative shuffles, little bear managed to get out onto the ice. There, that wasn't so bad! Just a few wobbles and a few slithers. Now, maybe a few shuffle slides, and he'd be off and skating like those people over there!

Alas, little bear learned that skating is not as easy as it looks... not at all. With a bit of windmilling of the arms and a bit of dancing of the legs, little bear landed flat on his bum. Luckily his winter hat has some padding... as do his snow pants, so he was well protected. Hmmm... maybe this skating thing was going to take a bit of practice! After a bit of grunting and some slithering along the ice, little bear discovered a patch of wind-blown snow. Ahhh... terra firma!! Or at least something that is relatively stable!

Maybe he'll just try some sliding motions to start with... get his ice legs under him... Walking or sliding on ice is very different than walking on land... but with a bit of practice he'll get the hang of it!

The one thing with little bear is this... he won't give up. If at first he doesn't succeed at skating, he'll try again! Which is a good lesson for us as well. If we don't suceed at something at our first try... that just means that we might need to practice a bit more... and give it some time. Despite falling on his bum, little bear had a blast out on the ice!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Calm Bear

Today, after another dose of yoga, little bear was introduced to the magic of the Tibetan singing bowl. Listening to the bowl, little bear was able to let go of all those thoughts "when will I ever lose those pounds"... "will my coat ever fit properly again"... and actually just be in the present moment and listen to the soothing drone of the singing bowl.

After a few rounds, little bear wanted to try it as well. Alas, he started off with the felt end of the stick, which is the harder end with which to begin. But after a bit of practicing, and turning the stick around, the little bear managed a passable hum on the bowl. Nothing spectacular, but you have to admit, the bowl is a little big for him, and he did get a little dizzy running around the bowl rubbing the stick against the edge. Little bear will have to grow bigger before he can manage the singing bowl with any finesse.

Sometimes that's how it is for us as well. We think we should excel at something right now, right away. And maybe the truth is, we need more practice, we need to become "bigger" or "calmer" or "more grounded". We just need to have patience with ourselves!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yoga Bear

Part of little bear's exercise regime includes yoga. Now this is something completely new for little bear. He's done a lot of outside walks, but this stretching thing doesn't really seem like exercise... at least not to begin with! After a few moves, little bear decided that this was most definitely exercise! He discovered that he wasn't quite as supple as he had thought and that he could definitely improve his flexibility!

Little bear liked the yoga blocks, they gave him a momentary sit-down time when he could catch his breath! Whew... poor little bear, but that's the price you pay for munching on chocolates indiscriminately! "But it was only one chocolate... and then one more chocolate... and then one more chocolate". Each one was going to be the last, but we all know how it goes. It never stops with one chocolate. Sigh.

Which is a good lesson for us as well. It never stops with one chocolate. It never stops with just one... we always have to have one more and then two more and before you know it, yup the whole bag is gone. Funny how we have no self-control... but that comes with practice. So little bear is learning to practice... yoga and self-control!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Enough... More than Enough!

So little bear came into our home for Christmas and there were an abundance of sweets lying around. I mean an abundance!! We actually loaded up a shopping bag with excess sweets that we wanted... but didn't need... and put them in the food bank box at the local Sobey's. There's self control for you. Alas, little bear didn't have as much self control. He discovered the stash of loose chocolates and well... went to town with them.

Little bear has learned a couple of lessons here... chocolates taste good initially but one can actually overdose on them... to the point that one feels ill. Also, chocolates do not just pass through the little bear system without having consequences. Little bear noticed that his jacket was fitting a little more snug than usual and finally acknowledged that chocolates might be the culprit. The only other option was that his jacket had shrunk in the sun, but after much searching on Google, little bear admitted that there was no scientific corroboration of that.
Pudgy bear

So, we are left with a slightly pudgy bear and a bunch of empty chocolate wrappers. It seems like little bear will have to learn the finer points of losing weight... exercise... and getting rid of any leftover chocolates!

I'm just guessing, but that might be the case for a few of us who also over-indulged over Christmas. Too much chocolate, too much stuffing, too much turkey... and not enough movement!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For the Birds - Part 2

Little bear is shaping up to be quite the little naturalist! He is learning a lot about the flora and fauna of this area. So far, he's discovered birds and ant hills... and squirrels and pine cones. Today, little bear noticed a very interesting stump of a tree with holes dug into it. Little bear learned that these holes are made by birds, searching for bugs. The stump of a tree is a great example of how the cycle of life happens. A tree grows, provides shade and shelter for various birds and animals. It gets old and is broken by a strong wind, but its contribution to the world is not over. The resulting stump starts to die and insects come along to help the process along, returning the tree to the ground from which it came. Along come a few birds to feast on the insects... and a little bear to investigate.

Our lives too form a cycle. People come into our lives and touch us... and then move on to other things and other places. We grow old and our influence changes and alters. We view life differently and contribute to life in a different way. When we are young, it is our vigour and energy that we bring to activities. When we are older, it is our wisdom and life experience that we bring. In all of this, we are able to share of ourselves and contribute to others.