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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

When snow melts, the creeks do rise. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams

Remembering my Grandmother

I was reading High Tide in Tucson, an essay anthology by Barbara Kingsolver who mentioned that she was often tempted to use one of her grandmother’s axioms when asked to commit to a future obligation. “Lord willing, and the creeks don’t rise,” she wrote.

My grandmother used to say exactly the same thing — and suddenly my wondering-brain was wanting to know the origin of the phrase  …  and then I was putting down Kingsolver’s book for a bit of research.

As usual, I came up with conflicting stories. One is that the phrase was first used by Benjamin Hawkins, U.S. General Superintendent for Indian Affairs between 1796 and 1818. Supposedly he used it in a letter to Thomas Jefferson requesting his presence in Washington D.C. in which he replied he would be there “God willing and the Creek don’t rise,” meaning the Creek Indians.

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors — and I’m loving this book of essays by her.

Others believe that Creek merely refers to a stream, and that it was simply a hayseed rural term meaning if nothing stops me or all goes well. One example for this is a mock rustic speech from an 1851 Graham’s American Monthly Magazine: “Feller-citizens — I’m not ’customed to public speakin’ before sich highfalutin’ audiences. … Yet here I stand before you a speckled hermit, wrapt in the risen-sun counterpane of my popilarity, an’ intendin’, Providence permittin’, and the creek don’t rise, to go it blind!”

Another example of early use of the phrase, according to Wikipedia, is from the 1894 Lafayette Gazette: “We are an American people, born under the flag of independence and if the Lord is willing and the creeks don’t rise, the American people who made this country will come pretty near controlling it.”

It’s also said to be a sign-off tag line of the 1930s’ radio broadcaster Bradley Kincaid. My grandmother liked to listen to the radio so maybe this is where she picked it up. And finally, it has also been attributed to Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson, among others, on the usual principle that attaching a famous name to a story validates it.

Well, that was enough information, if not exactly uncomplicated, to placate this wondering-brain of mine — until the next time it is wants answers. In the meantime, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll go back to reading High Tide in Tucson. And in case you’re wondering about that title, Kingsolver explains it in her first essay.

Bean Pat: In tribute to Mary Oliver https://deborahbrasket.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/mary-oliver-washed-in-light/  Her words live on.

Now available on Amazon

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. Check out her book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon, to learn more. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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A Week with No Internet

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

I did finish this painting during my no-internet agony. Watercolor by Pat Bean

It Wasn’t Intentional

A few months ago, my Wi-Fi was down because I needed an updated modem. As a stop gap, I realized the Wi-Fi connection of my brother was near enough by so that I could use it.  It worked well and my life wasn’t interrupted while I waited for a new modem to arrive.

A few months later when the contract for my internet provider expired, I learned that the company wanted to increase the cost of my internet-only service – I don’t own a TV – from $70 a month to over a hundred dollars, I was incensed. I talked to my brother, and he encouraged me simply to cancel and use his Wi-Fi, which I already knew worked quite well for me.

The Internet lets me see my youngest great-grandchild Cora grow up, and lets others see me with this precious one when I do get to see her in person. — Photo was taken by another family member during our Christmas get-away in Florida.

Great, I thought. My limited, fixed-income budget was grateful for the brotherly love. And it was — for a couple of months. But then things began to go haywire, and after I was without internet for a couple of days, I knew I had to get my own. I found a different provider, however, one that was only going to charge me $45 a month for life –well there was another $10 for monthly modem rental and the life was only good for as long as I never moved from my current location, which I almost certainly will.

Of course, it took time to get reconnected to my own Wi-Fi, which left me almost a whole week without internet. It was agony. It made me realize how much I need and enjoy being connected to the world.

I begin my days by reading the New York Times online. I stay in touch with friends and family, getting to see my great-grandchildren who live far away grow up day by day.  I blog. I submit writing to potential publication markets and search out potential writing jobs.  I use the internet prolifically to find answers to my always questioning mind. I stream TV and movies on my computer or Kindle. I do research for my essays and blogs. I play computer games. I look at maps to see where I’m going or want to go. I shop online. I read Amazon reviews of my book Travels with Maggie online, and I download books from Amazon and the library. And I moderate a daily writing forum called Writer2Writer for Story Circle Network.

That’s a haystack made entirely of needles to this old broad, seeing as my family didn’t get a TV until I was 14 years old.

The world changed, and I guess I changed with it.

Bean Pat: First you must believe you’re a writer https://lithub.com/how-to-say-im-a-writer-and-mean-it/  A blog for writers.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. Check out her book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon, to learn more. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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Painting from a photo I took on the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

“We don’t need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful. — Taylor Swift

Or Disagree with

I came across this quote by Rita Mae Brown — “A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all” – while drinking my cream-laced coffee this morning. My instant reaction was to disagree with Rita Mae.

Deadlines, which I had almost daily as a newspaper journalist for 37 years, are my best, and most favorite, writing inspiration. They mean I have a writing job. I also think I do my best work when scrambling to meet a deadline.

I collect quotes. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t write one down in my journals. I want to remember the best of them because their words inspire me, make me laugh, or speak one of my own truths to me in better words than I’ve yet thought out.

But as this old broad gets wiser, I’ve come to question whether some of the more popular quotes are actually true, especially ones that indicate animals have no feelings or reasoning. How do we know the lark is happy, or the owl wise?

The years have taught me that I can’t believe – or agree with – everything I read. It’s a skill that I treasure in the age of the Internet, where anyone can say anything and everything they want, which is not a bad thing unless what they say is malicious.

Meanwhile, the beauty of Rita Mae’s quote is that a deadline isn’t everybody’s favorite thing, and it truly is a negative inspiration for them. In this, as in most things in life, how one looks at deadlines is neither right nor wrong, simply different.

Taylor Swift says it perfectly.

Bean Pat: Baltimore orioles

https://belindagroverphotography.com/2018/11/28/baltimore-oriole-two-photographs-2/?wref=pil  To brighten your winter day. I write about seeing my first Baltimore oriole in Travels with Maggie.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon and would make the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who likes to travel. Bean is currently writing a second book, which she is calling Bird Droppings, and which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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When I’m watching birds, like this common yellowthroat, I forget all about one-gallus creatures. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

 

“If something is true, no amount of wishful thinking will change it.” Richard Dawkins

Wishful Thinking

I recently came across the word one-gallus while rereading Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac. I had no idea what it meant, so I looked up the meaning. When I found it, I laughed out loud.  Leopold had called people who didn’t respect wildlife “low-class, ignorant and backward.”

I used to read with a dictionary beside me, but these days it’s my Kindle because it gives me quick access to the internet. I love this modern highway of information, although like almost every change in life, it comes with a dark side – those one-gallus creatures who use it maliciously.

Does the good in life always have to be countered with a dark side? This is a question I ask myself often. I would like the answer to be no, but the longer I live on this planet the more saddened I become that my wished-for answer is never going to come to pass.

And this brings me to one of my favorite quotes: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Or in my case, asking the same thing over and over and expecting a different answer.

I did get a different answer, however, when I went online to double-check the name of the author of the quote. It’s usually attributed to Albert Einstein, but now someone is saying it might have been Benjamin Franklin, or Mark Twain, or none of the above.

If made me think that perhaps nothing is set in concrete, and that perhaps there is still a chance, slight though it will be, that we can eliminate the word one-gallus from the dictionary.

But I suspect this is simply wishful thinking.

            Bean Pat: Bluebirds to cheer your day https://pinolaphoto.com/2018/11/16/a-bluebird-day-at-the-celery-bog/  A photo blog that makes me happy

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, she is calling Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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Logically, this should have something to do with my post — but it doesn’t. It’s simply my latest watercolor, which I was doing as a workbook exercise.

Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be, but as it isn’t. It ain’t. That’s logic.” – Lewis Carroll

A Page from My Journals

July 14, 1996, “At one time in my life, I sought logic in everything. Now I know better.” – Pat Bean

And this is simply a quick sketch I did of a great blue heron. I think I gave the bird an attitude. Is that logical?

I collect quotes, 99 percent of them from people who better put into words my own thoughts. Occasionally, however, I surprise myself and find the exact words to perfectly express what I think. Like the one I recorded in my journal, and which I’m sure came to me in a flash of insight because of something in my then life.

I kind of stole the last half of the quote from Maya Angelou, who is quoted many times in my journals. “When you know better, you do better,” she wrote. This thought always soothed me when I thought of the many mistakes I had made my life.

But to get back to the matter of logic, and my own words. I was already in my 50s, when I wrote the quote in my book on that 1996 summer day. It stands alone as the only words I wrote for this date. And as I reread it this morning, my first thought was how come it took me so long to reach such a painfully clear conclusion,.

The next thought had me wondering, what was the event that prompted me to come to that conclusion.

The answer to the first is easy. I truly am a very late bloomer – even though I precede the baby boomers.

I have no answer for the second, but I suspect I’m going to lose a few hours of sleep for the next few days pondering the answer, which will probably still elude me.

And that’s not logical at all.

Bean Pat: To be or not to be. https://interestingliterature.com/2018/11/03/a-short-analysis-of-shakespeares-to-be-or-not-to-be-soliloquy-from-hamlet/   I found this to be quite interesting, especially since I was thinking about popular quotes when I read it.

Blog pick of the day.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, she is calling Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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Winklepickers

These flowers aren’t periwinkles, but their color is about the right hue. — Art by Pat Bean

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.” — Dr. Seuss
The Word Stumped Me

I was reading Eric Brown’s Murder Takes a Turn, which is set in England shortly after the end of World War II, when I came across the word winklepickers. I love British mysteries set in this era, before DNA and other scientific methods changed the tone of modern-day crime solving; and I love reading books that teach me something and introduce me to new words.

They call these shoes Winklepickers. But they’re more of a cobalt blue than periwinkle blue, don’t you think?

Wunklepickers was one of these, and stopped me in my reading tracks. My Kindle was on the table beside me, so I used it to look up a definition of the word, and discovered that it is a boot or shoe with a pointed toe that became popular with British rock and roll fans in the 1950s.

The name is related to periwinkle snails, which I had also never heard of, but which are a popular snack across the ocean. The only periwinkle I’m familiar with is a five-petaled flower that is mostly purple or blue. Periwinkle is also a watercolor hue that I sometimes use.

The shoe moniker, however, refers to the sharp-pointed object that is needed by snail eaters to extract the soft snail flesh from the shell.

But then perhaps you already knew this. I asked my friend Jean this morning, when she dropped off her canine friend Dusty for me to watch while she went to work, if she had heard of winklepickers. She immediately thought of the snails, but then she’s a chef and spent many years working in Europe.

Stores are still selling winklepickers today, I discovered when I went online to research the word – but I think I’ll stick to my tennies. I’m sure they are way more comfortable.

Now available on Amazon

Bean Pat: A fall walk https://pinolaphoto.com/2018/10/26/a-fall-walk-through-the-miami-whitewater-forest/?wref=pil Enjoy. I did.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, she is calling Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Polifax in the 1999 TV movie The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax. Other actors have also played this character, but Angela is how I always pictured the character when I read Dorothy Gilman’s books.Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us. – Boris Pasternak

The Write Words

One of my favorite authors back when I was trying to figure out life, which of course I still am, was Dorothy Gilman and her Mrs. Polifax series. For those of you who haven’t read any of the books, Mrs. Emily Polifax is a white-haired widow who adored hats, had a brown belt in karate and worked for the CIA as a spy.

Life”s surprises are a gift, like a butterfly that unexpectedly appears. — Art by Pat Besn.

What I liked about Gilman’s heroine was that no matter how difficult a situation she found herself in, she was always hopeful she would find a surprising way out of her difficulties.

Reading back journals, I discovered I often used the character’s dialog as quotes. The gist of the one I remember best is that life is not like setting a table where everything can be placed exactly like you want. I thought about this on reading this month’s prompt from my online writing circle, which is:  Write about a journey you’ve been on where you got sidetracked and ended up with a much more fulfilling outcome.

My second thought was: just my whole life.  

            Dreams I had of how my life would go – to quote one of my grandmother’s favorite sayings – went to hell in a handbasket. Other dreams turned out better than I could ever have imagined, even though they bumped forward on a rocky path with many detours along the way.

Looking back, I’m glad life didn’t go the way I had planned. It wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting.

Bean Pat:  https://lithub.com/alice-walker-on-writing-dancing-and-bursting-into-song/  I  loved this.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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