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Home with a Scamp

Scamp taking in the morning sun as it came in through my bedroom balcony this morning. — Photo by Pat Bean

“No one appreciates the very special genius of our conversation as the dog does.” – Christopher Morley

At Least I Can Hug My Dog

The shelter ad said she was eight months old, a schnauzer mix, and it called the dog Smidge.

Wrong, wrong and wrong. She was a he, and probably a couple of months younger than claimed, and there is not a smidgen of schnauzer in him– at least according to the DNA results I received yesterday, a gift from my youngest daughter who did the swabbing.

Scamp taking a snooze after a lengthy session of ball throwing and retrieving in the house. — Photo by Pat Bean.

I immediately knew the dog’s name was not Smidge, and thought it might be Harley. But two weeks later, I knew without a doubt that his name was Scamp. For one thing, he resembles the Disney animated dog Scamp, and he definitely is one.

His puppy ways and how he kept growing and growing out of the 20-pound lapdog I was expecting convinced me that he was quite a bit younger than eight months when I took him home last May. He finally stopped growing in January, weighing in today at about 35 pounds.

His DNA results show he is 50 percent Siberian husky, 37 percent Shih Tzu, with some cocker spaniel, Maltese and miniature poodle thrown into the mix, which may be why he is convinced he is the lapdog I wanted.

Whenever I sit in my living room recliner, he shares it with me, lays at my feet when I am at my desk, and is a bed hog when he sleeps with me at night. We do have lots of conversations these days, as he is my only isolation companion.

He’s a better listener than most of my other friends, cocking his head to one side as if he truly understands what I’m nattering on about.

Both of us are extroverts who like people and animals. So, this isolation is not the easiest to endure. Thankfully we have each other.

available on Amazon

Bean Pat: Zimmy https://lithub.com/meet-zimmy-the-quarantine-dog-or-an-insane-response-to-an-insane-time/ This post was my inspiration for today’s blog. It’s cleverly written and funny.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

 

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” — Robert Frost 

Chillon Caste at sunset.

Two Poems from Childhood

When I was quite young, about 10 as I best recall, I began reading a poem that I came across in one of the books in my late grandfather’s collection, and which I remember clearly to this day. My grandfather had died when I was about three years old. I don’t remember him, but I evidently inherited his love of reading, and also, according to my mother, his wanderlust.

After his death, his books were stored in an upright chest with a door — and forgotten. When I found them, it was like having dug up the buried treasure Robert Louis Stevenson wrote about in Treasure Island, the first of my grandfather’s books I read.

His book stash, mostly cheap book club copies of the classics that were already beginning to disintegrate when I discovered them, included the entire works of such authors as Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, James Fennimore Cooper, and Jack London.

Poppies — By Pat Bean

I read them all. The poem that fascinated me, however, was in a literature book that I later learned had belonged to my mother. It seems she had failed a high school English class and had to purchase the text book and take the course over.

The poem was titled The Prisoner of Chillon, written by Lord Byron in 1816. It was a ghastly long narrative, but I eventually memorized it, as determined to accomplish the achievement as today’s youth are to achieve the highest level in some video game or another.

I was fascinated by the way the words went together, just as I had been by a shorter poem that started off my memorization goals. I found it in the same literature book, and although I didn’t understand its true meaning, I loved the way the words rolled off my tongue. While I’ve long forgotten the exact words of The Prisoner of Chillon, I can still recall from memory John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields.

“In Flanders Field the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; And in the sky;

The larks, still bravely singing, fly.

Scarce heard beneath the guns below…”

I wouldn’t know I would want to become a writer for another 15 years. And even then, I thought such a lofty goal was not for the likes of a high school dropout like me. Now, as I approach my eighth decade on this planet, I wonder how much McCrae’s simply words sent me off in a direction that has given me joy, sustained me through bad times, and has satisfied my love of learning, both for the things I learned in order to write about them, and two in my unending pursuit to learn how to be a better writer. The two are unending tasks that will fill my days with purpose until the hour my hands can no longer hold a pen and my fingers have not the strength to press a computer’s keyboard.

While I’ve long forgotten the exact wordage of Lord Byron’s Prisoner of Chillon, its message has long intrigued and influenced me. The poem is about a prisoner who became so used to his chains that he misses them when he is finally freed. A simple plot, if one can call it that, but the wording seems like magic to my ears and mind.

I’ve thought about the poem’s premise often, ever since my 10-year-old eyes first went through the narrative line by line. While I’ve had no physical chains to restrain me in my own life, I’ve recognized that there are many ways to imprison oneself: Refusal to change, always playing life safe, not continuing to adapt with the circumstances, and not accepting responsibility for one’s own life.

I’ve dallied with all these, but then I remember, and grieve for The Prisoner of Chillon. These words of Byron, which come toward the last of his poem, are ones still stuck in my head:

And all my bonds aside were cast,

These heavy walls to me had grown

A hermitage – and all my own!

And half I felt as they were come

To tear me from a second home

With spiders I had friendship made

And watch’d them in their sullen trade.

Had seen the mice by moonlight play,

And why should I feel less than they?

We were all inmates of one place.

And I, the monarch of each race,

Had power to kill – yet strange to tell!

In quiet we had learn’d to dwell’

My very chains and I grew friends

So much a long communion tends

To make us what we are – even I

Regain’d my freedom with a sigh.

The Year Was 1939

These are times when I need the calming influence of nature to calm my thoughts. This photo is of Maggie at Andrew Jackson State Park in South Carolina, which I describe better in my book, Travels with Maggie. — Photo by Pat Bean

“What is history? An echo of the past in the future, a reflex from the future on the past.” – Victor Hugo

History in the Making

          I share a birth year with Lily Tomlin and Tina Turner. The three of us were all born in 1939. I discovered this fact while doing research for my memoir, which if it ever gets written will be called Between Wars.

The most significant events of 1939 were the official ending of the Great Depression and the official beginning of World War II. I was raised by a mother who had been influenced by the Depression and could make a penny stretch to the moon. While I’m not nearly as thrifty, it pains me to see things go to waste.

As for the war, I would only be six years old when it ended, and thus have few personal memories about it. The one thing I do recall, probably because I was severely scolded, was finding and childishly destroying the family’s stash of ration coupons. As I vaguely remember, it meant that I ate my cereal without sugar for the month. According to the history books I studied in school, items rationed during the war included sugar, meat, coffee, and automobile fuel.

I overheard a conversation once that left me believing my dad had illegally acquired gasoline to take my brother to the doctor. Knowing my dad, that’s quite possibly true, but he probably had to do so because he earlier wasted gas gadding about for his own purposes, Gas, by the way, cost about 17 cents a gallon in 1939

I compared rationing in my early years with what is going on in the world today because of the coronavirus pandemic. Stores here in Tucson, and elsewhere I’m sure, are limiting how much toilet paper, and other items considered essential to life as we know it, can be purchased to halt hoarding.

Meanwhile, on a much lighter note, there were some other interesting firsts for 1939.

Batman was introduced in Detective Comics No. 27 and Superman got his own comic book. John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath was published and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlow character was introduced in The Big Sleep.

Premiering on the big screen were Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, while Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood gossip show made its radio debut. Nylon stockings went on sale for the first time and Harvard University students swallowed goldfish.

In New York, both the Baseball Hall of Fame and LaGuardia Airport opened.

Judy Garland’s Over the Rainbow topped the music charts, with Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade coming in second, Kate Smith’s God Bless America third and Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit fourth. It was Holiday’s first civil rights song.

I wonder if future 80-year-olds will look back on their own birth years – and discover that the coronavirus pandemic tops the list of significant events?

Bean Pat: A Slice of Life https://lindahoye.com/and-yet/ A reflective post for today’s times.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

 

 

A Time to Read

         “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin

If you take your book outside to read in the fresh head, keep a lookout for butterflies. — Photo by Pat Bean

Books: A Key to the Universe 

I read a whole book yesterday. It was an Amazon Prime kindle eBook freebie, The Lost Hills, a new murder mystery series by Goldberg featuring Eve Ronin. It was a page-turner tease. The second book in the series won’t be out until 2001.

Perhaps you will see a white one.

Thankfully Patricia Briggs’ latest Mercy Thompson book, Smoke Bitten, recently came out on audible and I downloaded it with my monthly credit. I usually read during the day and listen to books at night in bed.

Currently I’ve gone through all the library books I had checked out. But the libraries here in Tucson are now closed for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing me to look elsewhere.

First, however, I’m going to exhaust the books I already own, both physical books and eBooks that I haven’t yet gotten around to reading. There are actually quite a few of these since I am an admitted bookaholic, a condition my limited budget much appreciates. I also might reread a few of my favorites.

I recently reread Call of the Wild, which I first encountered when I was about 10. After viewing the latest movie based on the book. I wanted to see how it compared to Jack London’s original work. I decided the movie kept to the book’s basic premise, but

Or maybe even a brown one. We all need beauty in our life — and lots of books. 

Disney-fied it so it was less gritty.

I also want to reread the Dr. Dolittle books, another childhood favorite. After seeing that movie I sent my 10-year-old great-grandson Junior a copy of the first volume of Hugh Loftings’ stories about the man who could talk to animals. Junior called me this week to tell me had had finished reading it, so I sent him the second volume.

To have a great-grandson who is a reader, and who even likes one of my favorite childhood books, in this age of YouTube and video games, was joy to my soul

Learning to read was one of the most important events in my life. Books are my ticket to the universe and everything in it – or even not in it. I read just about every genre except horror, but mysteries, fantasies, travel journals, autobiographies and nature books are my favorites.

Just in case anyone is interested, following is a list of books I’ve read thus far in 2020. Yes, I keep a list. And Martin Walker is a newly discovered favorite author for me.

The Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg, an Eve Ronin mystery, 3-2020

Black Diamond, by Martin Walker, audible, 3rd Bruno, 3-2020

Terns of Endearment, by Donna Andrews, a Meg Langslow cozy mystery 3-2020

Miss D and Me: Life with the Invincible Bette Davis by Kathryn Sermak, 3-2020

The Dark Vineyard, by Martin Walker, Bruno audible, book 2 3-2020

Bruno: Chief of Police, by Martin Walker, audible, first of a mystery series about a French detective, and second I’ve read. good book. 3-2010

Monkey Dancing by Daniel Glick. Great book about a divorced father who takes his 13-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter on a trip around the world. 3-2020

The Whitstable Pearl by Julie Wassmer, good cozy mystery. 3-2020

The Mage Winds Trilogy: Winds of Fate, Winds of Change and Winds of Fury, by Mercedes Lackey, audible reread 2-2020

In Patagonia, by Bruce Chatwin, 2-2020

The World That We Knew, by Alice Hoffman, 2-2020

BirdNote, a collection of stories from the public radio program, 2-2020.

Call of the Wild by Jack London, reread, 2-2020

Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer. Great book. 2-2020

Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton, a so-so cozy mystery. 2-2020

This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff, 2-2020, great book. I couldn’t put it down.

The First Girl Child, by Amy Harmon, good book. 1-2020

The Yellow Envelope by Kim Dinan, 1-2020. Great Book

Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery & Adventure, 1-2020,

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro 1-2020

Just Kids by Patti Smith 1-2020

Where the Angels Lived by Margaret McMullan, great book, 1-2020.

available on Amazon

So, what are you reading? This bookaholic wants to know.

Bean Pat: Travels and Trifles https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2020/03/28/lens-artists-challenge-90-distance/ The Distance Challenge, a blog for today.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

         “We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving, and we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.” – Louisa May Alcott

It’s just a tiny waterfall, but from such are mighty rivers created. — Photo by Pat Bean

        There’s nothing wrong with a bit of wishful thinking. I came across that phrase in a book I was reading way back in 1980. Back then my wishful thoughts were mostly centered on finding my one true soulmate, which I spent many years unsuccessfully searching for.

It sounds more fun to call myself artist-in-residence than in-isolation during these stormy times. — Art by Pat Bean

Today, especially in these times but also in the ones leading up to them, my wishful thinking has been for world peace. It’s a topic that has been at the forefront of my wishful thinking ever since I realized that I had to be my own special soulmate.

As a realist, I sadly acknowledge that world peace won’t come in my lifetime, if ever. Not when we live in a world divided by borders, colors, beliefs, languages and hopes and dreams.

It won’t come, at least the way I see it — and which I do understand may not be the only way to see the world — until this planet’s residents all see themselves as one race: Human Beings.

This is not a new thought to me. It’s one that I have long thought about, and in my own rebellious way have acted on. Whenever I have come across a request to identify my ethnicity, I have marked the “other” box, and wrote in “human.”

It’s exactly what I did when I filled out the short online 2020 Census yesterday. World peace has to start somewhere.

If not me, then who? If not now, then when?

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: To all humans, around the world, who are doing their part, be it nursing the sick or staying isolated in an effort to get us through these hard times. I have family members in both categories, including a granddaughter who is a nurse and a grandson who has lost his income because his job is not considered essential. Personally, I thank the woman who put a load of groceries in my trunk that I had ordered for pickup at Walmart yesterday. We stayed socially distanced, with her signing my receipt. I thanked her for her service and she thanked me for her job. It was enough to put tears in my eyes.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

“Nothing creates cool like scarcity.” – Neil Blumenthal

I wouldn’t mind having those 13 rolls of toilet paper that Scamp destroyed in the early months after I rescued him. — Photo by Pat Bean

I just finished reading Monkey Dancing by Daniel Glick, which is about the father taking his 13-year-old son and his nine-year-old daughter on a trip around the world to see the wonders of this planet that are disappearing.

It was a trip that opened his children’s eyes to how humans are desecrating our planet, and how the poor and unprivileged in many countries eke out their daily lives. It’s a trip, at least in my tree-hugger-peace-loving-eyes, that would benefit many, especially home-owning Americans.

I know my eyes were opened and appreciation for my own life increased dramatically when I saw Maasai women daily walking miles across Africa’s lion country to fetch water.

What horrified Glick’s teenage son most on the trip, however, were instances when he had to use primitive bathroom facilities that lacked toilet paper, or even toilets. He worried so much about this that he made sure to always carry some of the behind-wiping tissue with him wherever he went.

I thought about that this morning on my 6 a.m. walk with my canine companion Scamp. One of the quaint, a bit off for sure, old guys who live in my apartment complex passed me carrying a huge package of toilet paper.

As advised because of the Corvid-19 virus currently sweeping across the planet, I kept my distance.

Scamp, before I could stop him,, went in for a hug and a scratch behind the ears, which the man always gives him. Not sure if this was OK or not, but I washed my hands thoroughly when I got back to my apartment.

Anyway, after giving Scamp attention, the red-faced and slightly tipsy man waved the large bundle of toilet paper at me – “I’m going to sell this for $20 a sheet,” he said.

I’m not sure he was kidding.

Bean Pat: If we were sharing coffee https://collinesblog.com/2020/03/22/weekend-coffee-share-one-week-done/ Living with social distancing.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

The two memorable rapids on the Snake River below Jackson, Wyoming, are Kahuna and Lunch Counter. Kahuna was wild when the water was low and Lunch Counter was wild when the water was high, which meant we rafters always had a thrilling ride.

          “Life is like the river. Sometimes it sweeps you gently along and sometimes the rapids come out of nowhere.” – Emma Smith

          The year was 1983 when I found myself, for the first time, completely on my own. Two marriages, one of 22 years and one of only eight months, were behind me, while my five children had all left the nest and scattered, not just across the country but across the world.

I took both these photos from Lunch Counter — a couple of hours after our groups had passed through this same spot. — Photos by Pat Bean

The freedom turned me giddy, and searching for adventure. I had taken up skiing a few years earlier with my one child still at home. I loved it, but I was a chicken skier who sat down on the snow anytime I thought I might get out of control.

When my final child got married, I soon after followed suit, moving to Nevada, where my new husband and I both worked for the Las Vegas Sun. It was a fun time in my life – for eight months. After the breakup, I ended up as regional editor at the Times News in Twin Falls, Idaho, where I soon went on my first white-water rafting trip. It immediately became a passionate hobby that I indulged in for the next 25 years.

Within a month of my first rafting adventure, I had bought my own, six-person, paddle raft and every weekend, weather permitting, found me and friends floating down the Snake River between Hagerman and Bliss, Idaho.

It was a fun trip, with rapids big enough to thrill but not deadly, or so I thought until the day I forgot to check water levels before launching. It was the day that the irrigation water had been turned off and a resulting gigantic rapid flipped the raft and sent all the passengers scurrying for land — and a five-mile walk back to civilization.

That was the first lesson the river taught me: Never assume!

When I left Twin Falls, the regular summer rafting trips took place on the Snake River below Jackson, Wyoming. I also took two 16-dqy trips through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River — as a paying passenger in which I paddled the first time and was oared down on the second, which was a present to myself on my 60th birthday.

There was also a week-long trip down the Salmon (The River of No Return) one year, plus numerous day trips on other western rivers, including Utah’s Green and Idaho’s Boise and Payette. One mantra of those river trips, especially in the boat I captained, was self-rescue.

While everyone on the raft looked out for each other, everyone knew they were ultimately responsible for themselves. And on the few commercial trips I took, I always had to sign a waiver acknowledging that very same thing.

I came to realize that self-rescue was also a good life-management tool.

But I think the most important thing the rivers gave me, at a time when I desperately needed it, was the confidence to carefully decide on a path of action and then fully commit. There was no sitting down, or turning back, at the top of a rapid – just the thrill at the bottom to know you had faced your fears and done it!

Life, as we are all fully understanding now, has no safety net. I’m thankful for the guts the rivers gave me to live it.

Bean Pat: To all the health workers and everyone else out there who are helping others at the risk of their own lives, and to all those who are currently jobless and struggling to survive isolated at home in an effort to stop this pandemic.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.