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Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

I’m thankful I had my canine companion Scamp at my side during the good and the bad times of 2022.

Aging My Way

 It’s that time of year when I put together a list of 100 things that I’m thankful for. In no specific order, my list for 2022 includes:

  1. That I got my leg and back pain under control after a setback that put me in a dark place for over two months.    
  2. For all the friends and family who were there for me during this time.
  3. For finding a new first-floor place to live in so quickly after being forced to give up by third-floor apartment that I lived in and loved for almost 10 years.
  4. For loving my new home.
  5. For my canine companion Scamp, who worried about me and was beside me my whole painful journey.
  6. And even for his stubbornness not to use the small fenced-in patio area for his toilette, since it means I get at least some daily exercise because I have to walk him, even if it means using my new rollator to do it.
  7. For my regained zest for life and search for silver linings.
  8. For the world’s multitude of book writers – and that I’m an avid reader and also a writer, because it means I will never be bored.
  9. For the birds that visit my new place.
  10.  That a granddaughter and her wife were able to move into my same apartment complex so there would always be family close by, and especially for the love they have given me.
  11.  That I am once again able to take care of my own needs – mostly. I can’t lift anything heavy.
  12.  For my writing colleagues, and Story Circle Network, the women’s writing organization that has been my support group for 12 years now.
  13.  For the brilliant colors of fall.
  14.  For the luxury of a hot bath.
  15.  For Reese’s peanut butter cups.
  16.  For trees, especially the two giant blooming oleanders and the cottonwood that grow in my small patio yard.
  17.  For the wonder of the Internet’s instant information source and for its connection to friends and family – but also for my sense not to believe everything I read.
  18.  For soft comfortable pajamas, which I could live in all day if I didn’t have to walk Scamp.
  19.  For my rubber tree plant, which came back to me 12 years after I left it to go galivanting around the country in my RV. It likes its new home.
  20.  For grand and great-grandkids and their wonderful parents, and for all my kids and their families.
  21.  For a happy hour, anytime, with a Jack and Coke.
  22.  For live theater, especially on a local level that offers affordable tickets.
  23.  For new friends.
  24.  For stimulating conversations, even if it’s just with myself and my journal.
  25.  For Dusty, who is Scamp’s best canine friend, and who I’ve babysat while her mom is at work for nearly 10 years now.
  26.  Warm, soft blankets on cold days.
  27.  Air conditioning and heating.
  28.  For my journals – and that I’ve been keeping them for 50 years now.
  29.  The mountain view from my bedroom window.
  30. The solar lights that brighten up my patio at night.
  31.  Scamp’s great groomer, especially because he has a bad report card and no one else wants to groom him.  
  32.  For audible books that make lying awake at night a pleasure instead of a pain.
  33.  A hot cup of tea. Lemon-ginger is my favorite.
  34.  For libraries. May they never go away.
  35.  Receiving, and writing, snail-mail letters from old friends who haven’t forgotten how to write them.
  36.  The smell of the desert landscape after a rain.
  37.  For all the good memories I’ve made in my 83 years on Planet Earth.
  38.  For kind people.
  39.  For the comfortable Roadhouse Cinema where I can watch matinee movies on the big screen and eat lunch at the same time.
  40.  For the colorful, fun paintings, mostly mine, that brighten up my white walls.
  41.  For comfortable shoes.
  42.  For good surprises, not the flat tire or my car won’t start kind.
  43.  That decisions can be reversed.
  44.  For my comfortable new mattress, which I finally broke down and bought this past year.
  45.  For Advil.
  46.  For my chicken and rice, which is my comfort food for days that need to be made more joyful.
  47.  That I got to make a road trip to Texas this year before my leg pain hit me, and reduced the distance I can comfortably drive.
  48.  For jigsaw puzzles, which I love to build.
  49.  For board and card games and healthy competition.
  50.  For Social Security.
  51.  Modern appliances so I have time to read.
  52.  The Desert Bird of Paradise plant that blooms all around my new apartment complex. The orange and red blossoms have become my favorite flower.
  53. My morning cream-laced coffee.
  54.  For the tiny gnome garden my long-time friend Kim created for me around my cottonwood tree when she visited me from Utah.
  55. For laughter in my life, even if it’s at myself.
  56.  That I’m finally learning how to use a smart phone after fighting against making it a priority for years. `
  57.  For the tall lamp I found at a thrift store for $12, and which brightens up my living room.
  58.  For all the strong women who have influenced my life – too many to name.
  59.  For my curiosity and the insatiable longing to learn something new every day.
  60.  For sunrises and sunsets.
  61.  For Pond’s moisturizing cream, as nothing else seems to work for me.
  62.  For butterflies, which I seem to have seen, and painted, quite a few this past year.
  63.  For gardenias, because their smell reminds me of my grandmother.
  64.  That I don’t have to be perfect to be loved.
  65.  For all the rollercoaster rides I took when I could.
  66.  For rivers, and lakes and waterfalls.
  67.  For twinkling Christmas tree lights.
  68.  For my wrinkles and experiences.
  69.  For hugs – and doggie kisses.
  70.  For a new haircut.
  71.  For my heating pad when my knee is hurting.
  72.  For a good pen.
  73.  That I discovered Louise Penny’s Inspector Garmache series this past year. I’m on Book 11.
  74.  For a rainy day, and the excuse it gives me to curl up on the sofa with a good book.
  75.  For my home physical therapist, who helped me get better.
  76.  For the colorful clay turtle my friend Jean brought me back from Mexico and which now brightens my patio.
  77.  For local parks with paved trails that accommodate my rollator.
  78.  For my Kindle.
  79.  For cheddar/sour cream potato chips.
  80.  For being able to still drive, if only for short distances.
  81.  For being born in America, and for the privileges I’ve had as a woman because of it.
  82.  For the corny jokes a son tells me during his daily calls.
  83.  For no longer having to pay long-distance charges to talk to a loved one.
  84.  For America’s national parks and scenic byways, and for being able to see and travel so many of them.
  85.  For the great horned owls that I got to see grow up this past year.
  86.  For the daily e-mails I share with a daughter-in-law.
  87.  For artists whose paintings inspire me, like Van Gogh’s sunflowers and Donna Howell-Sickles’ cowgirls.
  88.  For talking once again to an estranged loved one.
  89.  For my improved vision after cataract surgery.
  90.  For my microwave, which heats up leftovers so easily.
  91.  For the howl of nearby coyotes.
  92.  For the saguaro cacti that can be seen all around Tucson.  
  93.  For antibiotics and vaccinations.
  94.  For wrinkle-free clothes – and the fact I don’t own an iron.
  95.  For new sox and underwear.
  96.  That I enjoy my own company and never suffer from loneliness. Having the time and solitude to connect the dots of my life is a treasure.
  97.  On the other hand, I love company, including drop-by friends who always make my days more interesting.
  98.  Rainbows, of which I’ve viewed quite a few this year.
  99.  My renewed interest in finally writing the memoir about my journalism career.

100 And last, but not least, I’m thankful for all the readers of my blog. Thank you.

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My Canine Companion Scamp keeps me smiling all day long.

Aging My Way

I was recently thinking about things that make my current life better. While earlier lists might have included climbing a mountain, winning a journalism award, or rafting a wild river, this one’s for the 83-year-old I am today.

Being able to walk my canine companion, Scamp — even if I have to use a rollator to do it.

Not taking anything other people do or say personally.

Writing and journaling.

Watching birds, anywhere, anytime.

Reading and listening to audible books.

Believing in myself.

Accepting that I’m not perfect.  

Learning something new every day.

Watching Survivor, Amazing Race and the Challenge on TV, and then discussing the programs with my son, D.C,

Getting enough sleep, but also occasionally having a fun night out to keep going until I drop.

Smiling.

Living independently in my own cozy apartment.

Hugging someone.

Playing computer games.

Watching my great-grandchildren grow up on Facebook.

Third Wednesdays – because that’s the day I get my Social Security check,

Laughing often and loud, especially at myself

Eating chocolate – especially with a Jack and Coke before bed.

Piddling around with my watercolors.

A surprise box from my Guardian Angel daughter-in-law.

Completing a project.

Saying no when I don’t want to do something.

Not breaking promises to myself.

Doing something I’ve never done before.

Watching sunrises and sunsets.

Completing a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Entertaining and cooking for friends.

Playing Frustration with my granddaughter Shanna and her wife Dawn.

Visits, phone calls, email and snail mail from loved ones and old friends.

Simply sitting and connecting life’s dots in my head.

Getting paid for something I’ve written.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days aging her way – and that’s usually not gracefully.

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On Being Still

These days I go to bed with the chickens but wake with them at o-dark-hundred as well. I used to make fun of my mother for doing the same thing. Thinking back, I realize she could never sit still either. I’m proud I share her DNA. — Art by Pat Bean

Trying to Age Gracefully

As those who read my blog regularly know, I’m a big fan of Louise Penny’s Inspector Garmache. Well, I’m currently reading the 11th book in the series, The Nature of the Beast. In it, Gamache has retired to the peaceful village of Three Pines, where he is sitting on a bench mulling over a murder case in which he has been consulted, and an opportunity offered him to return to work.

As I read, I came across this sentence, which so totally describes my present situation that I wrote it down in my journal. “Garmache knew that sitting still was far more difficult, and frightening, then running around.”

After a lifetime of running around – raising five kids, working for a newspaper and chasing stories on deadline, and leading an active outdoor life of hiking, rafting, tennis, skiing and exploring the wonders of nature, here I am mostly stuck at home. I’m just now able to slowly walk my dog using a rollator – and very thankful I can do so, because for a while I couldn’t even do that.

Being still is harder on me, emotionally, than all the running around I used to do. But I’m doing my best to adjust. It’s part of my plan to age gracefully and to be thankful for all the things I can still do – and things I love to do but never had enough time to do when I was younger and in better shape than I am at 83,

I read, write, journal, draw and paint, do jigsaw and crossword puzzles, write snail-mail letters to friends, moderate a writing chat group, spend a little time on Facebook to keep up with friends and family, peruse and weep over the news, cook and do my own housework a small bit at a time, usually between chapters in books, watch birds at my feeders and in my yard, play Candy Crush, Scrabble or Spider Solitaire games, snuggle with my canine companion Scamp, visit with friends who drop by, watch sunsets with a cocktail, and occasionally stream  a TV program.

Writing all this down makes me think I’ve found my own way to continue running around. And thankful I am for finding it. Being still, I think, is not yet a part of my DNA.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days learning to age gracefully.

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Looking for Silver Linings

A goose doesn’t lay golden eggs, but it does lay eggs. — Art by Pat Bean

Aging Gracefully

Silver linings happen all the time. I know because I’m always chasing them. For example, my spoiled and rascally, but greatly loved canine companion Scamp recently gave me an unexpected one.

For the past three plus years, ever since I drove 1,000 miles roundtrip to rescue him from a shelter, I’ve had to walk him up and down three flights of stairs four times a day so he could do his business. I called it my fool proof exercise plan.

I loved my third-floor apartment, with its great views that this past year even included great horned owls visiting a Ponderosa pine in close proximity to my front balcony. I never wanted to move.

But after waking up on July 14 with atomic leg pain, which I am still trying to conquer, my granddaughter, her wife and friends, had to walk him, until I moved on Aug. 20 to a ground-level apartment with a small-enclosed area where Scamp was expected to do his business.

But Scamp, whom I had successfully house trained the first three weeks I had him, decided the fenced area, partially cement and partially dirt, was off-limits for doing his business. He stuck to his guns even after my granddaughter walked him around and around in the area on his leash, and even after his own poo was brought into the yard, he simply refused to pee or poo in the area.

Scamp held it until he was at least just outside the gate, and once that was for nearly two days. That stubbornness made him sick and I gave in.

Will that ever change. Probably not friends and family said, pointing out that was because he was as stubborn as his owner. OK. I admit it. I’m not easy and do want my way. But, like Scamp I would like to think I’m lovable.

So, what, you might ask, is the silver lining in this situation. Thankfully, I’m now enough back to normal that I can comfortably walk with a rollator, and Scamp and I have adjusted to walking together using it. So, the silver lining is that I will be walking more. And walking is good for me.

Also, since Scamp is a very social dog who wants to say hi to everyone he sees, I’m rapidly meeting many of my new neighbors. And that’s good because I’m a social person, too. I might also add that friends and family members, when visiting, help with the walking task, and they, too, are silver linings.

As, I said, silver linings aren’t hard to find. Sometimes it’s simply all about attitude.  

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, piddling painter, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days learning to age gracefully.

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Difficult Times

It’s not wise do deny dragons exist when you live near one. — Art by Pat Bean

It’s been exactly a month and two days since I spent most of a day in a hospital emergency room because of atomic leg pain. It seems like a zillion years, because the pain is still coming and going daily.

I’m back to the doctor this Thursday to ask for painkillers, for the first time in my life, and thinking he better give me something strong. I don’t think all these new rules because of people abusing pain-killing drugs should apply to an 83-year-old in pain.

Meanwhile, I’m struggling to end each day by having done at least one thing to give me a sense of accomplishment, a trait that this old broad Type A personality still requires in her life.

When I was younger, the daily goals might be climbing a mountain, writing a story that topped the front page of the newspaper I worked for, or building a small picket fence to finish enclosing the backyard of my new home.

Today’s goals are much simpler. I get pleasure out of writing a long snail letter to a friend, painting a watercolor, cooking a tasty dinner for my granddaughter and her wife, getting together with friends, daily moderating my online writer’s chat group, journaling and reading, posting a new blog, or simply sitting still and watching the sunset as I try and connect the dots in my life.

 All these things, many of which I didn’t have time for when younger, do make my life still very enjoyable and rich. So even though I’m sniveling now, don’t feel sorry for me.  

But since my leg pain began, it’s been a struggle to end my days with that needed sense of accomplishment.

One of the changes forced on me because of my damn leg pain has been a move to a ground-floor apartment because I can no longer continue to walk my canine companion Scamp up and down three flights of stairs four times a day. This has been my fool-proof exercise plan for the past 10 years, and I’ve stubbornly refused to give it up. Now I have no choice.  

Thankfully, I found a nearby place, with trees and an enclosed area for Scamp. This move, which will take place this coming weekend, has prompted me to set a goal of packing up at least two boxes of my belongings every day. Accomplishing this gives me a sense of rightness at the end of the day, even if I haven’t done anything else except play computer games, which keep me from thinking about my leg.

While life isn’t perfect, I’m still committed to ending each day feeling like I’ve accomplished something – and always with gratitude for my family and friends who have been here for me during this difficult time.

I wish every old broad is this world could be as blessed.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning 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 (Free on Kindle Unlimited) and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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A tree and birds. I like that. — Art by Pat Bean

Nothing like a day spent at a hospital emergency room after being woke up at 3 a.m. with crippling leg pain to set you on a path of new beginnings. I swear it was worse than childbirth, and I have five children.

Thankfully, it wasn’t a blood clot, or something else life-threatening. After tests, it turned out to be related to the back pain I’ve been fighting for a few years – just on an atomic bomb level.

It clearly called, however, for a major change in my life, one family members have been pestering me to take for a few years now, a move to a ground-floor apartment. I know I’ve been a stubborn bitch for not heeding their advice, but I loved my apartment, and I wasn’t interested in a change, even if it meant continuing to walk my dog up and down three flights of stairs four or five times a day, not to mention laundry and errand trips.

I’ve been calling it my fool-proof exercise plan. But dang-it, the plan was no longer working.

So, while recovering this week at home, with family and friends taking on my dog-walking duties, I came across a quote by Stephanie Raffelock, which I found in her book, “A Delightful Little Book on Aging.

We should all take a little more time to cry and wail, allowing tears to baptize us into fresh starts,” she wrote.

Well, I certainly did that Friday. I wailed and sniveled practically all day about my horrid, bad, no-good dilemma. Then on the weekend, I begin online searches for a new apartment. It wasn’t looking good, until my granddaughter Shanna and her wife Dawn, remembered a small nearby apartment complex that they had looked at for themselves a few months ago.

Its office was closed until Monday, but with them carefully ushering me down the stairs, we drove by to take a look at the apartment that was for listed to rent on their web site. It was just about 10 minutes away, a location near the top of my priority list because I wanted to stay in Tucson’s Catalina Foothills, which I’ve come to love since moving to Arizona in 2013.

While I still haven’t looked at the inside, I immediately fell in love with the soon-to-be-vacated outside’s large, fenced-in patio that had doors leading to it from both the bedroom and living areas. It would be perfect for simply letting my canine companion Scamp in and out, an amenity that topped my list of must haves, given that I’m 83 and my back pain is likely to recur.

The clincher for me was the huge tree growing in the middle of the patio. You should know that I once bought a house almost solely because I fell in love with its huge backyard tree.

The new neighborhood is older but nice, and the small apartment complex grounds abounded with flowers and greenery. And within minutes I was looking at birds, including nesting doves above the office door. I can already envision a small fountain and bird feeders beneath that patio tree.

All of the above gave me the confidence that I can meld the inside to fit my needs. Age has let me know that no one can ever simply have everything they want, but it looks like I will have all I need for a happy life.

I cinched the deal Monday and will be moving in around the middle of August. I’m so excited about this new beginning that I’m not even thinking about all the tasks involved in a move. Not yet anyway.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning 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 (Free on Kindle Unlimited) and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Mishaps on the Road

Texas Canyon Rest Stop — Which I passed twice last Wednesday. — Photo by Pat Bean

I left Tucson – for the first time — right around 7 a.m. last Wednesday. It felt joyous to be on the road after too many months of covid-enforced hibernation. The morning was cool and breezy and the roadway was lined with tall-stemmed blooming agaves. I drank in every sight with delight.

I made it to the Texas Canyon Rest Stop before I realized that while I had remembered to pack my camera, binoculars, spare glasses, and all the other important accoutrements needed for my trip to Texas, I had forgotten my purse.

I said the S-word out loud, three times with vigor, and then became thankful I still had enough gas to make it back home.

A U-Turn, and 144 miles later, I left Tucson – for the second time — around 10 a.m. this time, and driving just a little faster to make up for lost time, but still not thinking yet about how often in my life mishaps came in threes.

I wouldn’t start thinking about that until I ran into another stumbling block just as I was about to drive through El Paso. A blinding dust storm and I hit the Texas border city at the same time. The dust interfered with my vision, while the wind tried to yank the wheel of the car from my hands, and as I gripped the wheel tightly, I watched large semis weaving from side to side. Traffic slowed to a crawl.

On past drives through El Paso, I usually cleared the city limits in half an hour. This day it took me over an hour, and I still had 120 miles to go to get to Van Horn where I had motel reservations for my canine companion Scamp and I.

Once past El Paso, the wind waned, traffic lightened, and then the third mishap struck. Out of nowhere, or so it seemed, it started raining, which then increased in intensity until I couldn’t see the road ahead of me. I finally managed to pull off to the side of the road, as thankfully the cars ahead and behind me were able to do the same.  

This mishap had been a bit scary, but since it was the third one of the day, I hoped it would be the last.

And it was. And I arrived at the end of my day’s journey before dark, an important detail to an old broad on the road whose night vision went on strike a few years ago. I was exhausted, but actually pleased with myself for surviving the day – and still eager to get back on the road for the rest of my trip.

You never know what’s going to happen when you’re on the road – and that’s one of the things I like best about traveling.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning 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 (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Great Horned Owl

“Getting up too early is a vice habitual in horned owls, stars, geese and freight trains,” said Aldo Leopold.

I could easily be added to that list. For most of my working career, I reported to the office no later than 6:30 a.m. – and I wasn’t beloved for doing so. 

There would usually be one or two other reporters who had come in early to meet their early-morning deadline for a story they had covered the night before. They would be sitting in the dark in front of their computers.

As a light-loving, morning person, I would turn on the lights and utter a cheery “Good morning!” All I usually got back was a snarl or a groan.

Scamp, my current canine companion, insists on a walk at the first sign of dawn, often when stars are still visible. He usually wakes up even before I do, but this morning the tables were turned. I had taken him for a later-than-usual last walk yesterday, and he was still snoring away when I awoke at 5:55 a.m.

I let him sleep until 6:10, when I couldn’t stand it anymore and roused him for our morning walk. We came back and he promptly went back to sleep while I enjoyed drinking my cream-laced coffee and watching the birds from my third-floor balcony. There were sparrows, mourning doves, hummingbirds and house finches, but no geese.

As for trains, when I was traveling across the country in my RV, I often heard a train somewhere nearby blow its whistle right around 6 a.m. I wondered if it was just coincidence or if all train engineers had a pact to took their horns at daybreak.

Then there are the great horned owls. We have resident ones who yearly raise chicks here in the apartment complex. I often hear them hooting in the early mornings, and sometimes I even see them zooming overhead between tall Ponderosa pines and the red-tile rooftops. Their silent, broad-winged flight always leave me awed.

Yesterday, a great horned owl was sitting on a large tree stump near my path. I’m pretty sure it was a juvenile because of how close it let me come. After spotting it, I took Scamp back to the apartment and grabbed my camera.

With each snap, I got closer to the owl until I was only about 10 feet away. The bird didn’t move, just stared straight at me with golden yellow eyes. I snapped a few more shots before retreating so as not to disturb the owl more.

I was excited about the photos I had taken, but later I discovered the memory card in my camera had been missing. It was still in my computer from the last time I had downloaded my photos.

I guess my brain, if not my body, decided it wanted to sleep in.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning 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 (Free on Kindle Unlimited) and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Enjoy Today: It’s a Gift

Some of the best trails end at waterfalls, like this one in Idaho. – Photo by Pat Bean

“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today’s a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” These words from Bil Keane, a cartoonist best known for his The Family Circus strip, had special meaning for me this morning when I reread words from a decade-old journal.

  At this time, I was still exploring this country, mostly on backroads, in the small RV in which I lived and traveled for nine years.

On November 10, 2010, I listed 100 things I was thankful for. On seeing this list again, I saw that some of those things, when I was 71, were not applicable to the 83-year-old I will be in just a few days.

 On the upside, I’m still thankful for belly laughs, good cream-laced coffee, being a writer, my zest for life and hot baths – and thankful for my family, which has grown by four great-grandchildren the past 12 years.

 But I still miss my canine companion Maggie, a mischievous cocker spaniel who spent eight years on the road with me, and my nature hikes, which have been curtailed by a bad back.

   While Maggie has been replaced by a spoiled Siberian husky/shih tzu-mix canine companion, whose name of Scamp perfectly fits him, my trail days have been replaced with short walks around my apartment complex with the Scamp. Some days I can comfortably walk an eighth of a mile, and on other days much less.

  While there are many blessings that have come with my years, including the gift of time to ponder as well as write, actually liking myself, and learning to slow down and really see Mother Nature’s wonders, I mourn my lost hiking ability.

 Thankfully, I seldom let an opportunity to go on a hike pass me by when I was younger. And thankfully I can still drive back roads and park in scenic spots where I can bird watch at a trailhead. In my younger days, one of my older birding colleagues did just that – and often saw more birds than those of us who took the trail.  

But take it from this old broad. If there is something you love to do, make sure you do it while you can. It makes it easier to continue being thankful for what you still have, and more able to see what you gain from the passing years.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning 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 (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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The Possum Monument in Wausau, Florida, the Possum Capital of the world.

Quite Tasty

These days I often scratch the itch of my wanderlust soul from the comfort of my living room recliner, but it’s large enough so that my canine companion Scamp — who thinks 45 pounds is the perfect size to be a lap dog — can curl up with me.

 From this seat, books and the internet take me all over the world. This morning it was to Wausau, Florida, a small town of only 400 where possums supposedly outnumber humans, and which is home to the Possum Monument.

Erected in 1982, the monument’s inscription reads: “…in grateful recognition of the role the North American possum — to be technical correct possums only live in Australia, America has the opossum — played in furnishing both food and fur for early settlers and their successors.

 Possums were also a great source of protein for residents during the Great Depression, the article said.

On reading that, I remembered the time in the early 1940s when my dad went hunting and brought home a possum for dinner. My grandmother cooked it with sweet potatoes, and as I recall the meal was pretty tasty.

If you want to taste for yourself, you should visit Wausau on the first Saturday in August, which is the day the Florida Legislature designated as Florida Possum Day when possum and sweet potatoes will be on the menu.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning 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 (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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