Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Santa's helper

Merry Christmas Folks!!!

 When I was a kid, the nearest enclosed Mall to us was The Pontiac Mall. Opening in 1963, just a year after yours truly arrived on this good green earth, it was a fantastic place! Decorated, as it was in late 50's post-modern/futuristic design. Lots of tile and metal sculptures!
Fountains ran the length of the main concourse, which to us were seen as wishing wells, we'd throw in coins and cast our wishes to the fates.

The main fountain was right in the middle of the mall, in front of the S.S. Kresge store. The special thing about this fountain was, every year at Christmas became the home of Santa's Igloo!
The fountain was covered, Metal trees removed and a huge flocked half dome was erected over
Main Fountain viewed from S.S. Kresge
it, resembling a giant igloo. Decorated with animated elves, hammering away or sawing wood for toys. Candy canes, and a seal balancing a brightly wrapped present on its nose! Stairs on one side led up to Santa's throne, where we would tell him our fondest wishes. 
It was THE place to see Santa as I was growing up, and I made more than my share of trips up to see that jolly old elf.

Fast forward to 1981, I had graduated High School earlier that year.
I had spent what free time I'd had from school and my part-time job at the sporting goods store in drama, debate and speech and acting competitions. Things that don't translate well out of school, other than I could argue your socks a convincing Russian accent! Lol

That November, I was strolling through the mall doing some Christmas shopping when a fellow about my age stopped me.
"Hey, you went to Kettering didn't you?"
"Yeah," I said looking him over. About my height, maybe 40 lbs. or so heavier, red hair and freckles.
"You were in drama, right?" He asked.
"I was," I told him. Looking closer, I had no idea who he was. "I'm sorry, what was your name?"
"Oh, you don't know me. I went to Mott (our rival school), but I've seen you in're pretty good. You looking for a little extra Christmas money?" He asked.
"I've got a job over at Gell's, behind the mall...why?"
"I'm one of the Santa's they hire for the mall, and we just had a guy quit, you'd be perfect, and I know they'll work around your schedule. Whatdaya say?"
"I don't know..." I hemmed.
"Come on, I'll introduce you to the boss!" He said, starting off towards an "employees only" door.

 In short order, I was in front of the "Head Elf" herself! Money was discussed, I tried on the suit and accouterment, and she said
"Ok, let's hear your best Santa..."
So I lowered my voice, projected from my diaphragm, gave some
"Ho Ho Ho's" and my best "Merry Christmas!" 
The boss lady nodded her approval and said, "You're hired, when can you start?"

Thus started my career as a mall Santa!
What a blast I had! I still have a box with Christmas lists; pictures kids had drawn for Santa, and little men, candies, handmade ornaments and the like. One big drawback to being know how Santa seems to take a lot of breaks? Well, it's not so we can sneak back for a nip of Christmas cheer, oh no!!! Nor is it because the job is so taxing. It's because some overzealous parent forced little Tommy to sit on Santa's lap when he really, REALLY didn't want to...

What he wanted to do is use the bathroom...and he did, right on Santa's lap! Each Santa has one coat, but four pairs of pants to change into that are laundered nightly. 

So when you see Santa taking a break, chances are good that he just got peed on!!!

My favorite story happened about halfway through my tenure there.
In between kids you were encouraged to wave to the passing shoppers...give a hearty "Merry Christmas", maybe even call out a "Hello Billy..." on the odd chance that a "Billy" was walking by with his parents.
 So, Friday night. The Mall is full of people bustling home with their treasures, when what to my wondering eyes should appear?
Why two girls from school, they're practically here!
"Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas Lisa Meyers! Oh, and there's Gretchen! Have you two been good this year?!?" I called out.
They stopped dead in their tracks, wondering I'm sure, just how in the Hell this mall Santa knew their names? A quick moment of whispered discussion and they got in line to see me; it was just Killing them! When at last it was their turn, they each took a knee.
"High Santa!!!" They beamed brightly, then under their breath "Who are you???" I gave them some hints, but I was too well disguised. When I finally whispered it in their ears, they gave a delighted squeal and posed for a picture with each kissing one of Santa's cheeks! Well, word went out and before long I had one or two girls from school each night...I could get into this!!!

But alas, all good things come to an it got closer and closer to Christmas the line of kids dwindled down to but a few and the powers that be, called it quits. I got fond hugs from all the elves I worked with (good looking College girls all), and we each got a commemorative picture of us as Santa. I'd include it if I knew exactly where that box was at.

But every Christmas I'm reminded of those magical days and the unreserved love of children I'd never met, who looked at me with eyes full of wonder and belief in the magic of Christmas. Why it's enough to keep this old Grinch going each year.
 Be Well Folks!
And a Very Merry Christmas from The Beastly Bear!

Friday, December 18, 2015

You're kidding me, right?

Hi Folks, I know it's been a while...sorry!

 Back when Mama Bear and I were just dating, back in the archaic 80's, we went out to eat a lot. One of our favorite places to go was for a pan pizza at a chain restaurant that rhymes with Pizza Slut.
You could sit down, order a beer (or Pepsi in Mamas Bear's case) and enjoy an appetizer while you waited for your piping hot pizza to be delivered right to your table. We went probably once a month, but when that craving hit, nothing else would do.

 One particular evening, I had picked up Mama Bear and we drove to the closest location of the chain. For a delicious Meat Lover's pizza. The lot was not particularly full when we arrived, which was somewhat unusual as they were quite popular at the
time. There were several around, and though not as common as say McDonalds they were plentiful, but we had our favorite. We walked in and waited by the obligatory "Please Wait to be Seated"
sign, though it was clear we had our pick of seating locations. After a brief wait, a bubbly waitress came and seated us and took our drink orders.

 I had to be up early the next day so we just went with a pitcher of Pepsi. She brought us to full glasses and the pitcher, then asked if we wanted an appetizer. We ordered our normal garlic toast, half with cheese half without. She left us with our drinks and went to turn in the appetizer order. Small talk about work ensued until she returned to take our actual order.
"All right, what can I get you folks?" she bubbled.
"I think we're gonna get a medium meat lovers pan pizza..."
"Oh, I'm sorry..." she seemed to deflate and adopted the pookey lip. 
"We're out of pizza."
"I beg your pardon?" I asked skeptically unsure if I had heard correctly.
"Yeah," She explained "our truck didn't come in today so we don't have any dough." Then she brightened again and said, "But we do have salads...and pasta, so what can I get you?"
"I'm confused," I said "the sign outside doesn't say Salad Hut or Pasta Hut...we came here for pizza, and that's what we want."
"Well we don't have any, so you'll have to order something else."
She said, a little snip to her voice.
"No, I don' fact, you should have told us as soon as we walked in that door that you didn't have pizza, instead of seating us, taking our drink and appetizer order. So we're leaving!"
"But you already ordered can't just leave!"
"Watch me!" I said, as we got up to leave I peeled off $3 for the pops we drank and we walked out.

 As we got in the car we looked at each other and burst out laughing, shaking our heads at the absurdity of it all. 
"Well," I asked "what now?"
"Still craving a meat lovers pizza..." Mama Bear said.
"Ok, we'll try another!" So we drove the 4 miles to another location. This one had more cars in the parking lot and was noticeably busier. We walked in and waited behind a family of four that had walked in ahead of us, as the waitress came and showed them to their seats. She came back, welcomed us and then said,
"Before I seat you, I need to let you know that we aren't serving pizza tonight. We do still have salads and pasta though if you'd like."
"Lot of that going around," I said, "we just left your Walton Blvd. location and they had the same problem. Except they seated us and took our drink and garlic bread order before letting us know..."
"That's just wrong..." She said shaking her head.
"That's why we left..." I assured her. 
"OK, well thanks for letting us know. We're gonna try somewhere else."

 Outside the door, we looked at each other and started cracking up, again...what are the chances? When we settled in the car, I asked
"Now what?"
"I still want pizza!" She said.
"We can try the one on the other side of town..." I offered.
"Let's do it!" She replied emphatically.

 So we drove all the way to the other side of town, parked and walked in. We stood by yet another "Please wait to be seated" sign, and waited for the Hostess.
"Just the two of you tonight?" She asked, menus in hand.
"Yeah," I said. "before you seat us, can I ask if you're serving pizza tonight?"
She looked at me as if I were a world-class moron.
"Ummmm, yeeeeaaaahhhh."
"Hey, if you'd had our night so far, you'd know that question is not out of line..."

Here's hoping you all get what you want...with a little less effort.

Be Well Folks, 

Beastly Bear

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tooting my own horn...

Beastly Bear Fiction

Hi Folks!

Those that know me already know, those that don't will find out.
I'm not really one for blowing my own horn, never have been.

Probably stems from my school days where I was quite accomplished in Drama Club. I won several "best actor" awards in local and regional competitions and was duly proud. In discussing this with my extended family, I was later told that someone I was very fond of thought that I was very conceited about my successes.
I never spoke of them again.

Fast forward to this week.

I entered the Yeah Write weekly micro story challenge. This weeks prompt was "where can I get one of those?". You may not use the prompt in the body of the story or in the title, but you must convey the idea so that even someone that doesn't know the prompt would understand.

I lucked upon a pretty good idea I thought, going with a Depression-era story.

Lo and behold, I actually won this week by a single vote. Just eking by EagleAye and his "Curious Encounter" (he is really great, check out the link to his site). Only fair he took third last week with one more vote than me. Lol

My deepest thanks to any that voted for me, and a deeper thanks to those who took time out of their day to read all the entries and vote.

So this is my Horn blowing post! I still have tons of room to improve, (as not even half of the 36 voters thought I was one of the top 3) but this is encouraging. 

So, I will wear my badge proudly and display it here as well as my regular blog Den of the Beastly Bear. Stop by if you enjoy my writing, there I tell true life stories in what I hope are entertaining ways.
There, now you will hear no more about it!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Monday, October 26, 2015

Not so Evel Knievel...

Den of the Beastly Bear

(Please note the new button in the upper right that will take you directly to my fiction/challenge site! Thanks.)

Hi folks!
I'll bet you're all dying to know just how this motorcycle obsession of mine started, aren't ya?
Well that's just plain rude, but I'll let it slide this time!

As you may have guessed, it started with dear old Dad.
See, Dad had himself an old burgundy and cream Indian motorcycle. Which I pestered him endlessly for rides on.

One day Dad asked me if I wanted to go for a ride in the truck with him. He had something he needed to pick up. Of course, I was as eager as any 8-year-old boy to spend time with him. So we piled into Dad's '68 sky blue and white Chevy pickup.

Out we drove into the countryside, past farms and fields bouncing down dirt roads. The sun peeking through the canopied trees over the roads. Until, at last he finally pulled into a small farm with an actual red barn and little white country house.

The thing I remember the most? The smell. You see in front of the barn was a pen filled with 10-12 hogs, and the smell was, in a word atrocious! I was fascinated however, so wandered off to watch the pigs as Dad talked business.

Finally, a price was agreed upon, money changed hands and the doors to the barn parted. Revealing this...well not this particular one but you get the idea!
A bright yellow minibike with a 5 hp. Briggs & Stratton engine! I couldn't believe it! A bike of my own!!!

On the ride home rules were discussed, the consequences for the breaking of those rules reinforced by stern words and harsh looks! Dad was an ex-Marine after all!

I couldn't wait!

I was after all the terror of our neighborhood on my Raleigh 3-speed banana seated bicycle!

My first time, Dad fueled her up and showed me how to start her up. It was a she of course! After the engine warmed up, Dad pointed me towards the middle of the back yard.
He explained the centrifugal clutch, hand brake, and engine stop. "Start out slow..." He admonished me.

When I was fully prepared to Dad's satisfaction, my helmet was donned and I was ready. Mom and sisters came out to watch the maiden voyage...
So with fantasies of Evel Knievel and Ceasar's Palace fountains I was off.

Things went swimmingly at first as I accelerated into the yard. "Wow," I thought. "I'm a natural..." 
When another thought occurred to me...I've never driven this fast before!

And that's when panic set in.

So, I was instructed in what to do...grab the brake, the brake? Where the HELL is the brake?!? I know I was told, but where is it? My bike had peddle brakes, no that's not it. As I searched in vain I neglected to pay attention to where, exactly the bike was headed.

Just as I remembered handbrake! My forward momentum was suddenly arrested by my Mother's prized Forsythia bush!

While the bike stopped suddenly, I did not...
And just like my hero, I Evel Kneiveled right over the handlebars into the woody bush. The bush, however, had other ideas and having bent under my weight sprang back launching me back over the bike and onto the lawn. Arms and legs all akimbo, flat on my back.

"OH MY GOD BOB! I TOLD YOU HE WAS TOO YOUNG!!!" I knew that voice!!!
Suddenly Mom was there ripping at the helmet as Dad retrieved the bike, I wasn't sure which of us was in more trouble.

So, thinking fast I hoped up, disentangled myself from my Mother looked to Dad and said "Can I try it again???"

He smiled at my Mom, patted my shoulder and said "Sure, just remember the brake is up here." 

And that my friends was the start of it all.

May your travels be fair and your crashes few.

Be well Folks,
Beastly Bear

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The things you see when you're not paying attention...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

I'm generally credited with being a rather observant person, but every now and then even I miss a thing or two.

I've spoken of my experiences driving for Perry Drug Stores. I worked there for 11 years and let me tell you, you see a lot, you just don't always know what you saw.

One hot August day, on the South side of Chicago...115th. and Washington Ave. to be exact. My stalwart, though not overly bright companion Leon (of the Coca-Cola perm incident) and I were unloading the truck. We had newly installed liftgates that allowed me to bring the load to their door, one pallet at a time.

The sun was beating down on us like a hammer, and the humidity hovered around 98%. As we toiled away, a white van pulled into the alley from the other direction, ahead of my truck. Three men got out, all dressed in white coveralls with company logos on the left breast pocket. We watched as they took particular interest in the air conditioning unit attached to the wall of a business farther down in the plaza.
As hot as it was, we assumed heating/cooling repairmen.

Tools came out next and among animated discussion, the A/C unit was removed...plywood blocked the hole and they loaded up and pulled away.

Well it wasn't but about 15 mins. after they left we heard:
"AWWWWWwwwwww HEEEEeeeeelllll NOOOOOoooo!!!"
This exclamation drew our attention to the skeletal, 6'4" white pants and pink polyester frocked black man that sashayed our way with great haste! I could only assume this was a hairdresser of some type, that or we were about to be assaulted by a RuPaul impersonator. Eyeliner and all.

When he was close enough he pointed one thin arm back towards the place his A/C unit used to reside and said. "WHAT in the HELL happened to my Air conditioner, Humph???"

He looked back and forth between Leon and I, as if we were the culprits to blame for his misfortune...Leon couldn't take the pressure.
"They tookted it!" he blurted out, staring at the ground.

"Who "tookted" it?" he demanded air quotes and all. Before crossing his arms under non-existent breasts which clearly showed his name, LaVonn in bright red stitching.

"The repairmen," I interjected taking some of the heat of that gaze off Leon "just a couple of minutes ago, didn't they tell you they were taking it?"

"No, cause I didn't call no damned repairman..." he said, head weaving as his eyes flashed to me. He looked me up and down and didn't like what he saw.
"God DAMN!!!" he stomped his foot, spun on his heel and sashayed back the way he'd come.

"What the hell was THAT?" I said to Leon, starting to chuckle.
Joining me, Leon explained. "He own dat hair salon a couple doors down, he alright but damn he shore is mad!!!"

About a half hour later the cops were there, took our statements, asked us questions we obviously didn't know. Come to find out this crew has been ripping off air conditioners all over the neighborhood the past week.

"We'll get'em," the cop said. "or somebody will." with that he gave his partner a smile and off they went to fight crime and write reports.

Couple weeks later when I rang the buzzer, Leon could hardly contain himself with the news. "Dey got'em, Oooo boy dey got'em!"

"Got who Leon? what are you talking about?"

"Dem brothers what ripped off the air conditioner from the hair salon!" He replied.

"Good, I'm glad the cops got them..."

"Ohhh da cops didn't get'em, no sir..." he was beside himself.
"Somebodies from the neighborhood catched'em takin one, an dey whooped dey asses wif baseball bats! Cops come and had to take dem away by ambalance!!!"

"What about the guys that caught them? They get in trouble?

Leon shared with me a big broad grin. "Ahhh nobody seen dem..."
And he busted out laughing. 

Now I'm not for vigilante justice, but you don't screw with a man's A/C in August!!! Just sayin'.

Hope you're all a little more observant than I...

Be Well Folks,
Beastly Bear

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi folks!

Back in the bygone days of yore when I was not gainfully employed in any significant manner, I sold my soul into the bondage of babysitting...or more to the point Demon sitting!

You see, there lived in our hamlet a single Mother named Maria, who was a Nurse by trade. Divorced, she had custody of her children Carl 6, and Lisa 8. Such sweet looking children...little would you have known that they were, in fact...demon possessed.

I came to be lured into this Faustian bargain as every single female in the neighborhood of child watching age had been approached and run screaming when asked. Citing previous hellish encounters, those that didn't flee sat gibbering nonsensically to themselves as they rocked, hollow-eyed and trembling.

Having a date, and at her wits end Maria asked me if I'd be interested. I was skeptical at first, but the lure of $15 for about 3-4 hours work was to my '70s era mind the deciding factor.

I was 14 at the time, not tall but big for my age and frequent visitor to our schools weight room during gym class. What had I to fear?!?

That first time was the sweet-spot, that made me think how foolish these girls had been to turn down such easy money. Perhaps it was that they were not familiar with me that kept them at their best behavior. They listened, ate dinner and went to bed with absolutely zero problems. They were polite and well behaved, the picture of contrite compliance.

It was not to last...

When asked if I'd be willing to do it again, I was quick to say I would. Remember now, the minimum wage was $2.35 at the time.
This should have been a clue.

From the start Maria had told me, in front of her kids even, that should they require it...she was more than ok with me paddling their asses. I assured her that I didn't think that would be necessary, and turning to the monsters...I mean children said, "Right guys?"
I got open-mouthed, wide-eyed nods.

As our times together progressed, and they became more familiar with me they started acting out. Not in big ways, but subtly pushing boundaries.

Finally, the masks came off and I learned just why I was the only one brave, nay foolish enough to watch them.

They had a slightly older cousin, a toe-headed little blond child of the corn that I sometimes watched with them for an extra $5. I can't recall her name but things were always more of a problem when she was there.

One night things were quiet, the kids were playing in the playroom...soft talking and giggles were all I heard. I was in the living room looking at Maria's new coffee table book, "The Treasures of King Tut". The exhibit was making it's U.S. debut and was all the rage. The Bee Gee's were softly singing "More than a Woman to Me" off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack when I heard a "Smack" followed by an ear-splitting shriek!!!

I sprang off the couch and was almost to the playroom when Lisa shot out the door and down the hallway perpendicular to the one I was in, screaming like the devil himself were after her...and he was. Carl, hockey stick over his head like an irate Samurai was hot on her heals. I glanced into the playroom where the cousin was cradling her arm and crying.
I backtracked, heading them off as they came up the other hallway.
I turned sideways to let Lisa shoot past me, then turned full on filling the opening and blocking Carls path. He showed no signs of slowing down even as I reached out and snatched the hockey stick from his grip. This brought him up short, and he looked up at me with a perplexed expression on his face for a heartbeat...before drilling me right in the nuts!!!

He was at the perfect height, and his straight-armed shot could not have been more effective had it been delivered by Muhammad Ali.
He put everything he had into it.
Air left my lungs, my knees buckled and my vision dimmed...and then the little shit laughed.

You know the saying "Don't poke the bear"? There is a reason it remains in our common vernacular.

Surprise and pain gave way to anger, and as I straightened up...Carl knew. As he tried to back away I snatched him up by a handful of Scooby doo T-shirt, brought him to eye level and said "ENOUGH!"
I carried him that way for the 5 or so steps to his room, opened the door and tossed him on his bed.
"You come out of this bedroom for anything other than the bathroom for the rest of the night and you won't sit right for a WEEK! Got me???"
He nodded and I slammed the door like a thunderclap.
Pictures bouncing, but not falling off the walls.

Lisa, who had seen my handling of Carl was frozen to the spot.
I knelt down and quietly asked her if she was ok, did Carl hit her with the stick too? She shook her head and the tears started, I scooped her up and she clung to my neck as we went to check on the cousin.

She was still crying and had a nasty welt on her forearm so I moistened a dish towel and filled it with ice. I cracked it against the counter a couple of times to break it up into smaller pieces then applied it to her arm.

There were no VCR's or cartoons to watch so the two of them ended up on my lap looking at the book with me.

Carl came out only once, to use the bathroom and apologize, then started crying when I made him go back to bed. I told him he could have seriously hurt the girls, maybe broken his cousin's arm. His excuse was "They wouldn't play with me..."
My response was "Well, who's playing with you now???"

When Maria got home I told her everything, she listened intently, asked if I was ok and...was I free next Saturday? 

*sigh* "Sure."

I came to dread watching them, it was something every damn time.
Finally, I got a part-time job at the sporting goods store and was able to buy back my just wasn't worth it.

Let's hope your experiences were better than mine!

Be Well Folks, 
Beastly Bear

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Beastly Short Story...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!
We're gonna try something a little different tonight.
I was chatting with Kathy over at The Giggling Truckers Wife Writes. She asked if I'd edit something she wrote, give her my take and make any suggestions that struck me. I was once again deeply honored that she would ask little ole me to do such a thing, as I think SHE is brilliant! She was writing a 100-word short story to a picture prompt. She had already written a great story, but it was too long. She kicked around a couple ideas with me, maybe changing her take. She settled on a rewrite of her initial idea, and it's a good one! You can find it at the link above.

But our discussion was rolling around in my head, and I started writing my own little story for the prompt in my head...and thought "I should write this down.".  I however, did not follow the 100-word restriction as I wasn't doing the challenge.

So, here is my foray into short fiction using the same picture as Kathy. You have her to blame...
Hope you enjoy.


As Jane poured the last of the wine into her glass, she stared out at the setting sun and wiped away a tear. She thought it a metaphor for her relationship with Dave, who lay motionless in the bed where they'd just made love. For the very last time.

High School sweethearts, they'd been together through 20 years and two kids, good times. But that was over now, and never would be again. It was the affair.... 
An intern, barely out of college. Wide-eyed and so impressed with him, he thought she didn't know.

So for their anniversary she rented a room by the sea. His favorite wine and they'd make love one last time before she told him she knew. She loved him so much, it was the only way she could let him go.

So when it was over and he lay drowsy and spent, she got up for more wine.
Her purse was right there, and she asked over her shoulder "Were you thinking of her?"
"What are you talking about?" He asked hesitantly.
"I said, were you thinking of her?" She said slowly as she turned and leveled the revolver at his chest.

The windows were open and she could hear them coming, a distant wail over the crash of waves. Everyone's windows were open, a gentle breeze blew in off the ocean so she was sure everyone had heard. She finished her wine, raised the gun to her head and looking out on the last sunset of her life. Joined him in the next.

Well, there you have it...something a little different from your friendly neighborhood Beastly Bear. Please let me know what you think...I am truly interested.

Be Well Folks, 
Beastly Bear

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

8 Pics of Happiness Challenge

Den of the Beastly Bear 

Hi Folks! 
Wow, it's been a while...time sure does get away from you! It's been almost 3 months since my last post.

I've been tagged by my good friend Kathy over at Giggling Truckers Wife in the 8 pictures of Happiness blog prompt. Always one to support my friends, and perhaps needing a boot in the ass...
Here goes:

Pretty, pretty damn expensive! Lol
#1) These two ladies! Momma Bear Kathy and Princess Bear Kaitlin. Without these two I might have more money, but my life would surely be diminished in ways I might never understand.

On Squirrel Patrol
Lovin' her Daddy

#2) My Mocha, our rescue pup. The sheer joy she displays when I come home, the unconditional love, the quiet companionship...she's my baby.

Probably should be something from Craig Johnson or George R.R. Martin
#3) Books!!! What can I say...if I'm not talking I'm probably reading!!! Talk about cheap entertainment?
You might pay upwards of $10 for a 90 min. movie, for that same money I might be entertained for weeks!!!

My Guncrafter Industries 50GI conversion on my Glock 21SF
#4) Shooting. Rifles, pistols, shotguns, bows, you name it!!! If it shoots, I like it. There is a certain zen mastery thing going on to take this tool, bend it to your will and hit a target from several feet to several hundred yards away.

Awesome movie, just make sure you watch the directors cut (European version)
#5) Movies. Old or new, doesn't favorites I'll watch every time they are on. They don't even have to be particularly good for me to like them...
Don't get Momma bear going on how many times she has had to set through Ronin or The Fifth Element!

I got the music in me!
#6) Music. 60's, 70's, 80's even the 90's after that, let's be started to suck. Don't believe me?
Two words: Justin Beiber

My 2010 Triumph Rocket III
#7) The Ride. Remember when we used to just go for a ride? No destination, no timetable, just pick a direction and go...see where the road takes you. In a car was nice, but there's just something about taking your special someone on the back of your bike. The feel of the wind, the smell of the air that you'd miss in your car, but most of all their arms around you as you cruise into the night.

Ahhhh, the sea after a storm...
#8) Solitude. Sometimes there is a simple joy associated with just being ok to be alone with your thoughts. No conversation to keep up, no one to accuse you of not listening, not helping, not caring...etc. Sometimes it's just good to be alone.

Ok folks, there you have it...
My 8 pictures of Happiness. I guess according to the rules I must tag other bloggers...

Here are the guidelines for the eight photos of happiness bloghop:
  1. Tag me in your post.
  2. Link to the creator of the tag. In this case Vidya Sury!
  3. Show off your own 8 photos of happiness and have fun picking them!
  4. You can add a little description of the photos or just let the photos speak for themselves. Easy!
  5. Tag others. Essentially, spread the happiness and make the world a better place!
I am happy to tag the following bloggers! 
No pressure, but imagine actually refusing to have fun!
I therefore pass the torch to:

Jo at My Wandering Mind

Sherry at Faith, Friends & Flip Flops

The Families newest Blogger, my Niece
Rachel at The Responsibility Catalyst

And the ever irascible Joe at Cranky Old Man

Be well folks, Hope you've had a great summer!!!

Beastly Bear

Friday, June 5, 2015

Catching up...

 Den of the Beastly Bear

Hello Folks!
Contrary to popular belief I have NOT, as may have been reported...
In fact dropped off the face of the earth.

Or as my mother would say "I'm not stinkin' yet!"

As I have been castigated by no small number of readers to "Get off your lazy ass and write a new blog", I shall endeavor to comply.

It has been a busy and event-filled couple of months since I last regaled you with my limited talents. Here's a brief update.

I finally have in my possession the Smith & Wesson revolver stolen from my Mother's boyfriend (who was more like a step-father to me) several years before his death. It's recovery and subsequent return took way longer than necessary, directly due to the now outgoing Chief of Waterford PD. I detailed the beginnings of this saga earlier in the life of this blog. Once we told them that we did not want it destroyed but, in fact, wanted it back that the games began. First we had to produce a copy of the will, "That should be enough". Then after a few weeks I called back, "Well, can we get a copy of the death certificate?", that was supplied. Now the Evidence Officer, Mike was a pleasure to deal with! It was the Chief making these demands. Next they wanted a copy of my Mother's Drivers license as she was the executor of the estate. Again weeks go by. Finally, Mike tells me that "The Chief would feel better if you filed the will in Probate Court, that way there'd be no way someone else could show up and lay claim to it."
"Well," I told him "we are not hiring a lawyer and filing in Probate, just to get back a thousand dollar revolver! It'd be cheaper to just go buy a new one...we're NOT doing that." 
"See if your Mom can get the lawyer that did the will to call the Chief and talk to him, maybe that will work.", it didn't.
So it was that I bided my time...and low and behold the Chief becomes embroiled in a political scandal such that he is placed on leave and eventually forced to retire. Awwwwwwww.
So I called Mike back up, it's been almost a year at this point since he initially contacted us. And asked him to run the whole thing by the acting Chief, and get his take. 

Long story short (I know, too late right?) two days later we had it back, and it's now registered in my name and has become my "go to" everyday carry gun. At 14 oz. loaded it is nearly a half pound lighter than my Kahr PM9.

Next adventure, after 20 some odd years I am once again a motorcyclist! I bought myself a used 2010 Triumph Rocket III!
Been wanting one of them since they were introduced in 2004, and finally made that happen. The fellow that had it before me took immaculate care of her and added all the extras I would have. 

She's 2300 cc's, sports 146 hp. and 163 ft. lbs. of torque...and even with my grizzled old butt on her, she moves right along!

I did have to make one change, the stock mirrors were woefully inadequate, and not very stylish so I had to change them out to these...

So a portion of my time and energies were devoted to finding, trying and buying those things I no longer had. Leather jacket, new helmet, gloves, and boots. Added a Blu Tooth com/entertainment system to my helmet so I can listen to music, books on tape, and take and make calls should I feel the need.

Next thing occupying my mind/time was some home improvements. For the last few years, we've wanted a couple trees removed and the trim on the house wrapped. After getting a quote from a guy Mama Bear used to know during her time working for a builder, we decided to get the siding and gutters replaced as well.


Trees Down
I don't yet have final pictures yet. We also had the center two columns removed from the porch, which really opened it up.

The work was done and I was getting ready to take pictures when I got up one morning, hit the restroom, and as I was washing my hands I noticed the water pressure was really low.

"No problem," I thought. "I think they're flushing the fire hydrants this week, must be that."

As I went downstairs to let the dog out, I passed the door to the basement..."That's funny...the water softener shouldn't be running until 3 AM." But we'd lost power recently and I thought perhaps the timer was off and I'd have to reset it. When I walk back by the door, it didn't sound quite right so I opened it, looked down the stairs to see a couple inches of water, WHERE NO WATER SHOULD BE!!!

I flew down the stairs and saw there was a geyser of water coming from the water softener. I made my way to it as quickly as I could and tried to turn off the water, but my hands were wet and I couldn't get a grip. Putting a hand up to shield my face I noticed one of the couplers after the bypass had let loose. I yanked the bypass lever, and the geyser stopped.

Now I don't know about your basement, but our basement was FULL of almost 30 yrs. worth of accumulated crap, most in cardboard boxes. 

Sooooo, a 20 yd. roll-off dumpster, an industrial strength dehumidifier were procured and the clean-up began. 

Now, being allergic to mold and mildew...I was instantly in dire straights when we started cleaning up...well not instantly, I made it a whole day before my sinuses went ballistic and the asthma kicked in. Let me tell you, being a couple hundred pounds overweight and toting shit upstairs over and over is not helped by an inability to breathe. 

After all the wet and ruined was pitched, it seemed like as good a time as any to go through the detritus of our lives...
If we haven't seen it or used it in the last 2 years it got chucked.

This is not an easy, or a simple thing. It brought up many memories...some good, some not. It made us re-evaluate those treasures we just HAD to have that now sat forgotten in the basement.

Amid this madness, one of my FAVORITE authors was once again quasi-near us. I took a day off from my toils to drive down to Dayton, OH. Yes, it was Craig Johnson...

No Camaro this year and Mama Bear had to work so it was just me running down to listen to him give a talk, a reading from his new book and to get some signed. As usual he was warm and personable, greeting every reader like a long lost friend! A rare commodity among NYT Bestselling Authors. The only other author anything like that, in my experience, is George R.R. Martin. After the book signing, I headed to one of my favorite places for a burger (Hardee's Mushroom and Swiss thickburger, nothing else comes close!)

Once we had the basement behind us, I started on the garage.
At which time Mama Bear suggested that, perhaps, we should get rid of the 15-year-old half fridge and put a full sized one in the garage instead. This would just require removing some cabinets...

Finally, yesterday morning the dumpster was removed.
The majority of my inside work is complete, now I have to put my efforts towards removing the surface roots that were not included in the stump grinding. Then there is the trimming of the hedges, and the removal of some upstart little (well not so little anymore) elm tree that is attempting to kill my Rose of Sharon with his head!!!

That about catches us up, gentle readers...all the news from the Den.

I realize my excuses for not writing are lame at best and hope that you will deem to forgive me.

Be Well Folks,

Beastly Bear

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Cereal Allegory...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Let's lighten up a little after those last 2 blogs.

Anybody else remember cereal variety packs from their childhood?
As one of three kids (sometimes 4 when my step sister stayed with us) we always found it hard to agree on which breakfast cereal we wanted.

My twin sisters were fond of the "Two against one, we win!" rule,
which I of course thought was complete crap!

This is where the variety pack would shine. Everybody could have what they wanted, and no-one "Won".

What was even better is you didn't need a bowl! That's right, any 5-year-old with a sharp knife and a spoon could eat right out of the box! And they were DESIGNED that way. They even had perforations showing you right where to cut. Hey, it was the 60's & 70's...don't judge!

As I got older and started dating and later married I developed a little thing I like to call "The Cereal Allegory". I try to impart this wisdom to men I meet that are thinking of getting married.

It goes something like this:

When you are dating, it's like you're eating from the variety pack.
You meet and date many different types of women.

Like "Rice Krispies". She's nice, interesting, but she just won't stop talking.

Or "Fruity Pebbles". She's colorful and sweet...almost too sweet and in the end lacks substance.

Then there's "All Bran". Kind of boring though you know she's good for you, you just need a little more excitement.

There's "Raisin Bran". "All Bran's" cousin...she's a little more put together, a little more hip drawing you in with her fancy clothes (Raisins). But in the end it's a soggy mess too.

"Frosted Flakes" may seem appealing. She starts out sweet, but underneath you realize she really IS a flake as she starts telling you about her first suicide attempt on your very first date. Yikes!

Then there's "Muesli". At first you get that really 'cool chick' vibe until you discover she's some new age hippie vegan that refuses to shave...

As a modern man of the world, you might even try "Coco Puffs"!

Eventually, you find what you believe to be the perfect breakfast cereal(woman), "Lucky Charms"!!!

Why is she perfect? Well, because she takes the boring every day(crappy oat cereal) and does special things(tasty marshmallows)
to make it all palatable.

What special things you may ask? Going to a movie she can't stand just because you want to see it. Surprise sex. Showing up at your place with a pizza, a six-pack, and a hummer because you've had a bad day at work. Those kinds of things.

So you say,"I'm In! That's it, I'm gonna sign a contract that I'm only gonna have "Lucky Charms" for the rest of my life!" And you Propose.

You get married and for a while everything is great, you slog through the crappy oat cereal because the tasty marshmallows make it all worth while!

But after a few years you start to notice there are more and more bits of crappy oat cereal and fewer and fewer tasty marshmallows.

Your single friends keep reminding you of the variety they are "Sugar Smacks" really likes that kind of thing and is all kinds of 50 Shades of Grey.

So you complain to management...

Management kindly reminds you that tasty marshmallows were not specified in your contract, and perhaps if you picked up your socks more often...

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" you reply. "Tasty marshmallows were certainly implied if not exactly specified."

At which point she smiles, reminds you that you are free to break your contract at any time. It'll just cost you half of everything you own.
Plus child support.
And alimony.
And half your retirement.

So you suck it up, pick up your socks and move on.

Still wanna get married?

Thus concludes The Cereal Allegory.

Now, I'm sure there is a female corollary to all this...

Something to do with cards and flowers, moonlit walks along the beach and probably portion size.

But I'm a man and can only speak of that which I know.

So, before the hate mail starts to arrive please note this is all in good fun and not meant to hurt anyone's feelings nor are the specific girls based on anyone living or dead! 
Well maybe...but I'm not saying!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear