Happiness is Fat Bear Week

Some days, you just need a fat bear.

That’s why this week is so happy at Brooks River in Katmai National Park as the annual Fat Bear Tournament has kicked off. From September 30 to October 6, you can vote on who is the fattest bear. It’s prime fat bear season because the fuzzies are bulking up for winter. Matchups will be open for voting from 12 – 10 p.m. Eastern (9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Pacific).

Last year’s winner:

See also the NYT article.

Also a good shirt for anybody who lives in northwestern New Jersey (I have one, of course):

Have a beary nice week. (Yes, I can go that low.)

And if bears aren’t enough, here’s Alexandra Petri speaking for many of us, certainly me, about the news: “I’ve Had Enough News Now, Thank You” in the Washington Post.

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48 thoughts on “Happiness is Fat Bear Week

  1. Thanks to you “this blows dead bears” is part of my irritation/dismay lexicon!

    But live bears are cute. Dangerous but oh, so cute.

    I’m happy because I’m stable. Work is still full of hostile behaviour, even when I keep my head down. I work hard at not taking it personally. But then they move on to someone who they can hurt. So I gotta raise my head and hand and speak up. Sigh.

    The doggo is slowly putting on the weight he needs for his ribs not to be so prominent. I don’t want him to gain rapidly so reduced the number of eggs a week and switched to puppy food that has a higher fat content.

    It’s been raining since Thursday with temperature in the range of 15°C to 18°C and wind chill. Brrr. But my garden is happy. Yayness.

    I just started an Oprah/Chopra Pefect Health meditation sequence. 21 days. On my third try, this year, I did the Chopra Abundance one and it really helped me. I tried the recent Jay Balvin and Chopra one too but the group was negative and turned me off. So I’m going to do this to get back into reflective practice. Very excited.

  2. Yes, I’m trying to put myself on a news diet. Definitely good for the mental health. Watching corny old Disney movies dubbed into Italian courtesy of Disney + makes me happy. (Herbie, Apple Dumpling Gang, Freaky Friday, etc). The plots are dumb and I’ve seen them a million times already, so I can just leave them running in the background and feel like I’m still learning something. Sometimes it really is about the mental vacation.

  3. Also, early on in the pandemic I posted an article by Dr. Aisha Ahmad about ignoring all the coronavirus-inspired productivity pressure and learning to find a new rhythm and be gentle with yourself.
    I really liked that and I don’t do Twitter anymore, but I saw someone post a Twitter thread about her new advice about what to do now that most of us have reached a 6 month point of this. I won’t try to quote it all, but she talks about how hitting a wall around this time is normal (she works in war zones and crisis situations) and that once again, it’s time to be gentle and have faith that this dip will pass.
    It’s worth reading
    https://twitter.com/profaishaahmad/status/1307697965260328961

  4. I loved that WP article (watching the roomba dock my favorite line) mostly I love the comments by readers. But someone correct me if I’m wrong. Friday during the prime time news nobody commented on DJT taking the helicopter to Walter Reed (7 minute ride) and there were presidential SUVs already there and waiting to take him the rest of the way to the hospital (up a hill). The same SUVs that could have driven him. Another photo op.

    1. It could also have been security, traffic, or speed. Have you ever driven in DC? I was dumb enough to do that when the RWA conference was there one year and it was not something I’d want to do again. It makes perfect sense that they’d take the helicopter. This wasn’t somebody going out for groceries.

      1. I live in DC and I definitely vote all of the above. Anytime a big motorcade goes through DC (not just the president, but also many foreign dignitaries) it is a major pain the @ss for everyone on the ground. Closed streets block after block, police on foot guiding traffic, police cars leading and following, etc. Picture a big downtown holiday parade, but it’s a random Tuesday and you just want to get to work. It might not go on quite as long as a parade, but it can be quite the headache.

        And yes, DC traffic is down during the pandemic, but the flipside of that is a lot of city streets are now blocked off for strictly pedestrian use. I’m not necessarily saying they couldn’t get him there, but I’m assuming it was a better safe than sorry attitude which setting my personal feelings for 45 aside (ugh) is probably the best protocol to have when it comes to a president.

        1. I find this so crazy. We have a PM who walks to parliament from government house, often by herself, I think. When people see her in the supermarket, they ask for selfies.

          1. Yes, but 60% of your country doesn’t want your PM out by any means possible.
            Which reminds me, when you’re done with her, can we have her?

          2. We have a general election in 12 days, I am very much hoping that she’ll be too busy here at home to help you out, soz.

            I took my kids on a tour of parliament on Sunday (we were holidaying) and they got very excited about seeing the places they see ‘on the news’ and where Jacinda and James (Shaw, Greens co-leader) sit in the debating chamber. And then they wanted to see the media room, where our 1pm covid updates from the PM and the Dir General of Health (Dr Ashley Bloomfield, hero of the nation) are broadcast from. It was super cool to see them engaged in the concept of governance.

        2. DC traffic is the worst. We were unprepared for its horrors. We knew it was bad, but it was beyond. And we’ve driven in L.A. rush hour freeway traffic. In the rain.

    2. They might have driven him another time, but that was still rush hour (even now) for DC. Early Saturday morning–a drive would be more likely. However, for that movement I think a helo is protocol.

      I am livid with rage about last night’s drive-by stunt. For him to endanger his security detail like that–just so he could wave at a bunch of racists camping outside the hospital–just inexcusable.

  5. I am happy! I got all my Halloween lights up yesterday! I took soup to my working-too-hard sister! I made a Victoria Sponge Cake for the first time and we all liked it! I put my Halloween sheets on the bed this morning, and DH exclaimed with pleasure. I have a good book and chocolate. Perhaps a fire in the fireplace later on. I am concentrating on these things and life is good.

    1. Victoria Sponge can be very difficult, so a good one should definitely make you happy 🙂

    2. Do tell — what do your Halloween bedsheets look like? Or are they just flannel or fleece (still too warm for those in my area)?

  6. Ah, bears. None in my immediate neighborhood but there’s been activity a mile or so away. It’s only a matter of time.

    I got up to a FB post about 45 testing positive and the first thing I did was check out the source which was reliable. Well, it was only a matter of time.

    I made my first political campaign contribution, to an out-of-state Senate race, and will make one to my House rep and Biden/Harris soon. It’s time.

    Meanwhile, I’m enjoying Anna, knitting, and not turning on the news until late afternoon.

  7. I decided the world was just too crazy right now, beginning Friday, and I wouldn’t get any work done even if I tried, and the failure would just make me miserable, so I declared a three-day (possibly longer) weekend starting on Friday, to catch up on housework and pretty much anything I felt like doing. So I made cranberry-peach jam (for a recipe in a future garlic farm mystery), and a huge batch of chili (to freeze so I’ll have quick and relatively healthy — extremely low salt — dinners at hand).

    I guess this is also Working Wednesday material, but the jam looks so pretty (and tastes good too!), which made me happy, as does the prospect of not having to cook (or clean up) on fifteen or twenty nights.

  8. I cleaned out the drawers of my linen closet (shelves today, really), and when I was done opened one so the husband could show me with praise. He exclaimed, “You Marie Kondo’d the dishtowels!” I was so surprised that he recognized that particular bit of effort.

    It’s a little silly that the tidied (and mostly emptied – got rid of 2 good-sized boxes of old towels, sheets, napkins and tableclothes) drawers could make me so happy, but there you are. One more step on the road to Portugal.

    1. That sounds like a great title for a memoir — One More Step on the Road to Portugal!

      I guess it would need a sequel too, for after arrival.

  9. This is the last day of my 4-week holiday – and the sun came out! I’d resigned myself to a wet few days to finish (the weather’s mostly been good), so today’s been lovely. I drove ten minutes and walked along the edge of England. Took a few pictures, but my Mac decided to play up, so I’ve left processing them till tomorrow.

    There’ve been some fun things this week – the Powis Garden cat making a beeline for my lap, for example; and meeting an interesting woman from Anglesey on the hillfort. But my happiest time was visiting a new-to-me plant centre plus a garden centre and splurging on plants for my new plant tables (i.e. outside windowsills). They look brilliant, even before I’ve transplanted them. I’m really going to enjoy those tables.

  10. I have so many deadlines and the kids home for school holidays and I’m actually panicking but instead of doing anything I’ve just spent ten minutes scrolling #proudboys on Twitter and it’s lovely. Love conquers.

  11. It’s been a rough week, and I don’t just mean politics. Like “wishing for death” level of rough week at times. And things have not been going well with the crush on texting for the last few weeks–seems like anything funny I sent him he did not find funny, he was taking 20 minutes to text back and that’s not his usual behavior….I was smelling dude breakup all over the place here. Also, when you’re not finding stuff funny, that’s a bad sign.

    Anyway: this seemed officially bad enough that I felt like I should go see him. One last time, possibly, because I was suspecting he was super grumpy and/or have had enough of me or who knows what.

    I ended up remaking one of the presents I made for him that burned up in the fire, and photocopying all of the play memorabilia from the shows we were in (I’ll note that involved me going into a store…with people…not a thing I have been doing lately….).

    I also gave him a card that I’d been saving to give him until, I dunno, we were together or something because it’s a Han Solo card and the inside says “You captivate me.” (I kinda figured eh, if he’s about to friend dump me, why not.) In which I got very emo about not wanting to lose his friendship, but that was what I was feeling at the time. I told him to NOT open that in public others were there. We’ll see how he reacts once he’s home. Now it just seems like I was being … much.

    Anyway, he seemed to like that stuff, especially the replacing of the paperwork. We hugged twice and ah, were not so much maintaining the social distancing, though masks were on. So I have officially Been Bad and was in there for about 45 minutes, so I guess we’ll see in two weeks….
    Oh yeah, and he would like a Baby Yoda (I made a bunch of the things) so I may deliver one in another two weeks next time I need to drive the car so the battery won’t die. Assuming that’s physically possible anyway 😛

  12. My husband was pleased that for his birthday he awoke to hear that someone he despises has COVID19.

    He also laughed at the card I gave him which shows a mama bear and two cubs ransacking a picnic spot. It says:

    If you stay calm and back away slowly, bears will ignore you and move on.

    Inside it says:

    This strategy does not work for birthdays.

  13. Bears reminded me of the Ballad of Davy Crockett, where in the last line of the first verse, he “Kilt him a be ‘are when he was only three.” Seems unlikely.

    I read the article, and laughed aloud. Not at the news itself, but the cadence.

    At least it can’t get any worse.

    1. We had that on a small 45 rpm record when I was small. And my parents went to a party about that time where the hostess’ approach to ice-breaking was to pin the name of a character or personality or celebrity on the back of each guest and they had to guess who they were, with other guests allowed to give them clues – you know the sort of thing. The man who got “Davy Crockett” did NOT go to see Disney movies, or listen to popular songs on the radio . . . . so while everyone else was giving him hints, or whistling the melody, or discussing coonskin caps, he was the very last person to find out who his character was. Not sure he ever did, but I think he won last prize.

  14. I have a job interview tomorrow? For a job I applied for in July. On the one hand, there’s the nerves of a job interview, combined with the mixed feelings of going back to 40 hours a week office work (albeit at home office work) instead of freelance. On the other hand, it would be such a relief not to worry about money or health insurance. And there’s that optimistic, fresh start feeling of “what if I make friends here and really like it?”

    But yes. I’m happy because the sun is out, and today the fact that you can’t predict the future feels like a good thing instead of an ominous thing.

  15. I found myself watching the bears of Brooks Falls a lot this summer, especially when my dad was in the hospital. Very soothing for my poor worn-out brain. Last year’s Fat Bear winner, Holly, has a little cub who is ridiculously cute, bold, and naughty.

    My happy things this week are sweet & simple: Going for walks (when the air quality permits), rubbing dog bellies, anxiety meds, a conversation with a friend, tasty veggies, laughter.

  16. Most of my happy right now revolves around watching The Try Channel on Youtube, which my new housemate turned me onto when she moved in mid-March. It’s a bunch of Irish people trying things. The really funny ones usually involve copious amounts of alcohol. We watch our favorites over and over and laugh like crazy people.

    Starting work on the third cozy. I haven’t decided it that makes me happy or not. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

    It’s fall in upstate NY and the leaves are changing, so it’s beautiful.

  17. The bears are adorable!

    My happy this week came from many things. One, I passed my PMP (Project Management Professional) certification exam on Friday (last week) so this week’s vacation was about catching up on the things I put off to study and about relaxing. I was able to watch the full season of Wizards and the Enola Holmes movie, both on Netflix. I was able to work on some quilting but not what I should’ve. I also participated in retail therapy as it was my birthday month and places seeded my spending with initial gifts.

    Sadly, I spent a little time working and the weather is going cold in MI, so we harvested green tomatoes and bell peppers and the sweet potatoes. I’m not looking forward to winter but was able to spend last Sunday enjoying Meijer Gardens and the leaves changing color.

  18. I feel a little guilty, but I have been enjoying watching karma manifesting itself. I just walked into the house, turned the computer on, and discovered that the Attorney General is “self-quarantining.” I can’t do anything but track the body count, and the whole thing is like a very slow, but well-placed, bowling ball headed down the lane. Strike? Spare?

    Also unexpectedly, Gary has just made me happy be reminding me of a story of my mother’s I hadn’t thought of in decades, the Davy Crockett song. Now that I’m getting older, I like being reminded of my parents’ happy times when they were young.

  19. I have a bear story. Set the wayback machine for July, 1971, the weekend after the Fourth. Ensign Carnes, an instructor at Nuclear Power School, Mare Island, CA, has gotten my class excited with stories of Climbing Mount Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. So over half the class set out to duplicate this adventure.

    Step 1. We drove to Yosemite on Friday, arriving just at dark. Prepared meals. Bedded down in sleeping bags. Bears came and rooted through our garbage, ripped open a few backpacks. We played dead. It happened again, later.

    Step 2. We climbed the mountain from that parking area. My group climbed the rainbow trail, up next to Vernal Falls, 317 feet high. The trail lived up to the name. A lot. Above the falls, above the rapids, some of us swam as a break in the climb. The second half of the climb was to above Nevada Falls, 594 feet high. There’s a bridge over the falls where trails merge. Just up the Merced River from the falls, maybe 100 yards is an outcrop where I and a classmate climbed for a view of the falls.

    When we turned to climb down, there was a bear at the foot of the outcrop looking at us. We looked at the river. We looked at the bear. We looked at the river. The river was not an option. The bear left the outcrop. So did we.

    Step 3. We climbed the mountain. There were guide ropes. I took pictures from the top. We started down just at sunset, Saturday. We slept in the saddle of the mountain.

    Step 4. We hiked back to the parking lot and drove home. Going up took a whole day. Going down took 2 hours. No more bears.

    Just as a side note for that weekend, a tourist swam in the rapids at Vernal Falls and went over. He did not survive. Another tourist waded with his girlfriend near the outcrop. Witnesses said he slipped and grabbed her. They went over Nevada Falls together. They didn’t survive either.

  20. My parents met at Mare Island when both were stationed there in 1945! Dad took her to Yosemite backpacking on their honeymoon in 1946. No bears, but she saw a rattlesnake. Dad promised her $20 every time she saw another, so of course she never saw another during their married life, including quite a lot of time in and near Yosemite and other back country excursions.

  21. My husband and I have been calling this “the year of the bear” because we’ve had so many encounters. Part of that is we are out and about more often since we’re not tied to a nine to five job anymore, but there have been more in our area according to conservation officers.

    These guys aren’t as fat as the ones you’ve shared, but they showed up on our front lawn a couple weeks ago. https://www.instagram.com/p/CFIrrWPg89w/

  22. The bears near me are seriously jealous of all those salmon calories. Though they can put on a lot of weight on berries and the occasional really dense deer, they get nowhere near as fat as the coastal bears.

  23. From time to time, a bear wanders into our neighbourhood. Last time, the police and city workers were out advising everyone to be careful but there was no reported contact with the bear.

    I’ve got a full month of horticulture school under my belt. Most of the instructors have gotten the hang of Zoom and except for missing a tree ID quiz last week, I’m keeping up with the workload.
    Our primary professor is still struggling with the format and most of his classes are pretty boring. Today we watched a 25 min video on managing garden pests with beneficial insects – interesting but gruesome. The college is trying to get us on campus for 3 hrs per week in Jan to do practical elements inside the greenhouse – will depend on whether COVID rates start to decline over the next couple of months. Canadian rates are generally low but they’re up significantly in my province/region.

  24. I’ve been out of commission the past couple of days, so coming up for air and finding another segment of Anna is great! I had another surgery on my thumb; last year’s repair moved more than it should have, so he anchored it deeper. The 2 previous surgeries I stayed numb for almost 2 days, and wasn’t able to move it for almost 24 hours. This time everything was back by that evening, and believe me, I wished it had stayed numb longer! But that phase didn’t last long, and I was able to go back to work in a sling today without any trouble. And I slept most of yesterday, after not being able to sleep much the first 2 days post-op, for which I am also seriously grateful.

  25. I’m happy about the mention of The Try Channel, which I have subscribed to because it sounds funny.

    Happy because it is my 19th anniversary and the husband & I are still friends.

    Happy because I have a day off tomorrow, even though I shouldn’t because I have deadlines, but there are always deadlines, so f**k it.

    I have a bear story. When I was going-on-13 my sister and I went up to Alaska to visit our two uncles. One uncle picked us up at the Anchorage airport in his Winnebago and we drove down to the Kenai peninsula, but had to stop at a campground overnight. (This is, by the way, my ONLY camping experience.) In the morning we were doing morning things – I don’t really remember – in and around the campground, and there was a bear. Uncle Steve was trying to get a picture of said bear. I’m told that my sister and I were hustled into the Winnebago (you would think I could actually remember this!!) while the photo attempt was made. He did get a couple of photos. One of which was from about four feet away because the (non-aggressive) bear strolled right up to him while he was futzing with the camera. So then he teleported into the Winnebago and there were loud human noises, mostly laughter.

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