Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

Scamp: The Scamp

            “Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift.” – Mary Oliver

He’s a scamp, but he’s my Scamp. — Photo by Jean Gowen

Dynamite on Four Legs

            There is a saying about being careful what you ask for. While still grieving for the loss of my canine companion Pepper, I saw this picture of an adorable eight-month-old puppy, or so the shelter said. I suspect now, judging by his continuing puppy mannerisms and how much he has grown since May, that he might have been a bit younger.

Dang dog!!!! — Photo by Pat Bean

The important thing, however, is that the minute I saw what I thought was her face but turned out to be his face, my heart did a jazz dance. “I want this dog,” I wailed, knowing he was over 800 miles away from my home in Tucson.

The tears worked. With the help of a good friend, Scamp – who was Smidge at the shelter and Harley until I realized his true name was Scamp – now belongs to me. He weighed 18 pounds when I got him, and now, I’m guessing, weighs 30 pounds. I’m hoping he won’t get  much bigger.

The best thing about him is that he has never met a person or a dog, German shepherds and English bulldogs included, that he doesn’t like, and hasn’t got a mean bone in his furry body.

On the other hand, he wasn’t house broken when I got him. To get him to that stage, I walked him every hour for two weeks – and I live in a third-floor walk-up apartment. We’re now down to five or six walks a day, the first one at 5 a.m. He is this old-broad’s exercise plan, I should note.

Photo taken this morning of Scamp and his best friend, Dusty, sitting nicely — for treats. — Photo by Pat Bean

Scamp is sassy and wants his way, and pulls when he wants to go in the opposite direction than I do on our walks. I’m working on that. He comes about 50 percent of the time when called, but is good at sitting – for a treat. The word NO is still a foreign language to him, but I have this loud YEECCK sound when I am really exasperated that he seems to understand.

The second I sit down in a chair, he hops in my lap and proceeds to push the book away, or else try to chew on it. He is seriously cutting into my reading time. He doesn’t like me talking on the phone either, or being on my computer. He thinks he should have all my attention.

I’ve kept track, and so far, he has torn up 10 rolls of toilet paper — make that 11. Between the time I started writing this and now, he got another roll that I forgot to put back on a HIGH shelf when the phone rang and interrupted my brain,

He’s chewed up two plastic dog dishes, a plastic plate, one pen, one leash, and I now have chew marks on one of my dining room chairs. A cardboard box is his favorite toy. He tears it into penny-size pieces for me to pick up.

But he’s mine, and I love him. He’s a damn lucky dog!

Bean Pat: Nature up Close https://tom8pie.com/2019/08/26/global-dragonfly/#like-13543 global dragonfly.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

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

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Battle Mountain, Nevada — Wikimedia photo 

            “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” – Matsuo Basho

Cruising I-80 in Nevada and Utah

            Day 7: The next morning found us back on Interstate 80 for a scenic, peaceful day’s drive to Battle Mountain, Nevada, 350 miles away.

The Bonneville Salt Flats as viewed near the Nevada-Utah border. Wikimedia photo

            In my research to discover what battle had been fought here, I learned there hadn’t been any battle, but I did learn that in December 2001, the Washington Post published an article that called the town the “Armpit of America.”  And that Battle Mountain then used the title as a publicity opportunity, hosting an annual “Armpit Festival” from 2002–2005. The event was sponsored by Old Spice.

I saw Battle Mountain as just one of America’s small towns past its prime after a  familiar history of copper, silver and gold mining and accessibility to a railroad to bring miners to the area and transport the ores elsewhere. The city’s economy today is gold mining, gambling and a plethora of motels because it sits in the middle of nowhere.

It was simply a convenient place for Jean, me and our doggies to spend the night, order take out from a nearby steak house, and then start the next day at the town’s excellent dog park before continuing our journey. The pleasant dog park made me discount the armpit title.

Day 8: Back on Interstate 80, our goal for the day was Ogden, Utah, where I had lived and worked as a reporter, columnist and

Utah Tree of Life, a cement structure that sits beside Insterdate 80 between Wendover, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah.

editor for 25 years. I was eager to once again be in sight of its magnificent Wasatch Mountain backdrop. I was also eager to see friends I had left behind when I retired in 2004 and took to the roaming RV life for eight years before nesting in Tucson seven years ago.

But before that could happen, there were 350 miles ahead of us, the first 300 continuing on Interstate 80 through a mostly unsettled landscape that was sometimes awesome and-sometimes barren. The most interesting sight along the way – one that Jean, a former chef and now a high school culinary arts teacher was eager to see for the first time – came just after we crossed into Utah after passing through Wendover, Nevada, where Northern Utahns come to gamble.

It was the Bonneville Salt Flats, a remnant of Lake Bonneville that once stretched across portions of Utah, Nevada and Idaho until it broke through Red Rock Pass in Idaho about 15,000 years ago.  I knew the area’s history well because during my days as an environmental reporter I often wrote about the flats and the Great Salt Lake, which I had watched go from a historic low in 1963 to a historic high in 1983. Today, the ever-fluctuating lake is once again reaching historic low levels.  

We stopped for a short break at a viewing tower overlooking the salt flats shortly after crossing over the border into Utah. Jean, curious about its texture, walked out onto the salt.

 As we drove on, I noted that the area we were passing through was called the West Desert and that in addition to containing the salt flats, it also contained an Air Force bombing range and was home to Dugway Proving Grounds, where chemical weapons are tested. In addition, I said, there are several landfills, including one for hazardous waste, which I had also visited and wrote about as a reporter.

This portion of the day’s drive was full of memories for me and new territory for Jean.

To be continued:

Bean Pat: Worth reading for writers is today’s Jane Friedman’s column. Check it out at https://www.janefriedman.com/metaphor-and-imagery/   

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

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“When the man walked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.” — Barbara Kingsolver.

I knew it had gotten too quiet. — Photo by Pat Bean

It’s morning. My coffee is brewing. I am sitting at my computer checking email while waiting for it to be ready. It is quiet. I look down.

The scene is easily described in two words: New Puppy.

And now you know why I renamed him Scamp.

*Available on Amazon, 

Bean Pat: Reading with a dog. http://lindahoye.com/readingunwanted/

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com


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Mornings with Scamp

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” — J.B. Priestley 

Morning coming over the desert behind my apartment complex in the Cataline Foothills in Tucson. — Photo by Pat Bean

Sunshine and Doves

I’m a morning person, most often up before the sun peeks above the horizon. At the first upward flick of an eyelid, I’m ready and eager to bounce out of bed. It’s as if I can’t wait to discover what surprises the day will bring. It probably helps that I an optimist who usually thinks all glasses are half full and not half empty.

Scamp, with his head cocked in curiosity. — Photo by Shanna Lee

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a frsh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” — J.B. Priestley

This early morning exuberance has not helped me win friends over the years, especially among coworkers who only came to life just before quitting time. It might have helped if I hadn’t always been so verbosely cheerful, but the bratty kid in me was usually in charge.

My early morning enthusiasm these days, however, is greeted with equal enthusiasm from my new canine companion Scamp, who in my introductory blog https://patbean.net/2019/05/13/loss-and-joy-and-a-true-friend/  about him, I then called Harley.

He was called Smidge at the shelter when I adopted him, then Harley by me because I simply liked the name and couldn’t think of a better one – until a few days ago.  He was acting like a scamp, and I realized that he actually looked a bit like the dog Scamp in Disney’s movie “Lady and the Tramp.” This is particularly true of his silver-gray coloring and the cute way he cocks his head when looking at you.

Scamp reminds me of Scamp in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp.

The name fit like a paw in wet cement — perfectly.

When I first got Smidge/Harley/Scamp on May 11, I had to walk him almost hourly as he hadn’t been house-trained, although he was eight months old.  The walk schedule is now up to about every three hours, and he is sleeping all through the night. I am very happy, wildly happy, to say Scamp was a quick learner and we haven’t had an accident in over a week. Now if I could just teach him the meaning of the word NO!

But when he and I wake up, we are both ready to get outdoors and watch the sun come up. Well, I like to watch the sunrise, Scamp likes to chase the mourning doves that are still snoozing on the ground. The important thing is mornings make both of us happy.

Life is good.

Bean Pat:  Badlands National Park https://anotefromabroad.com/2019/06/10/south-dakota-badlands-national-park/  One of my favorite places.

Blog pick of the day.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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“Before you get a dog, you can’t quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterwards, you can’t imagine living any other way.” – Caroline Knapp

His name was Smidge at the animal shelter. He’s now mine and I call him Harley.

My New Dog, Harley

Almost two months ago, I lost my canine companion Pepper. It was a sad time in my life, but almost immediately I began looking for a new dog to rescue. Sadly, I discovered the shelters were filled with pit-bull mixes and chihuahuas, while I wanted a 20 to 30-pound female dog, as I have always owned, one full of energy and life and love.

I finally put a notice on Facebook asking friends if they knew of a dog that needed rescuing, and almost immediately received a picture of Wilma, who seemed perfect. But after I had filled out a ridiculously long adoption application, I was notified that someone else’s application was accepted over mine.

Harley likes laying by the patio door so he can listen to all the outside activity here at my apartment complex.

Then early Thursday morning, when I opened my email, I was informed that Suzanne, the mother of one of my best friends in the world, had tagged me in a Facebook post. When I checked it out, I saw the dog, then called Smidge, you see above. I immediately knew that was the dog for me – and soon I started crying, which is how my friend Jean found me when she dropped off her dog Dusty, whom I watch during the day while Jean works.

Like me, Dusty has been grieving for our beloved Pepper, The two were besties who had played together almost daily for five years.

“So why are you crying?” Jean asked. I want this dog, I said, as I showed her the photo, and she (at that time I thought it was a she) is at a shelter in Ogden, Utah, 800 miles away. I had already called my friend, Kim, who lives in Ogden, and my former coworker, Charlie. Kim didn’t answer her phone and Charlie said he would love to go get the dog for me except he just had a shoulder replacement and couldn’t drive.

I was pondering who else to call in Ogden, where I lived and worked for 25 years, when Kim woke up and called me back, asking what the emergency was, noting that I had called her four times. After I explained, she said, “I’m on my way to the shelter now.”

And it was a good thing she was, because just minutes after she arrived and asked to see Smidge, and took the dog out for a walk to see how it behaved. another woman showed up wanting to adopt him.

After walking him, Kim called and said the dog seemed perfect although he was a male. “Do you still want him?  “She asked. I did.

So, she got him, kept him Friday, and Saturday drove 300 miles south with him to her brother’s house in St. George, Utah, while I drove 500 miles north to St. George. Talk about a good friend! I am truly blessed.

And she was right about Smidge, who now is called Harley, although his puppy ways might get him nicknamed Dufus. He is perfect — well almost.

He’s seven months old, still with a puppy’s chewing ways, weighs 18 pounds, but looks bigger because he badly needs a haircut, and I have to have him neutered within the next 30 days as part of the adoption agreement. But he’s mostly house trained, loves to cuddle and wants to greet and play with every person and dog he meets, which was a Pepper trait that I dearly loved. He also likes to play tug of war with my socks when I’m putting them on.

Edith Wharton said her little dog was a “heartbeat to her feet.” Since Harley now follows me everywhere, that fits him, too. Just having him around has already made my heart beat happier.

Bean Pat: Mothers and Daughters https://onewomansday.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/may-13-that-baby-stuff/  A Mother’s Day blog

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She is also currently looking for a new canine companion. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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“What is the feeling when you’re driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their flecks dispersing?  It’s the too huge world vaulting us, and its good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” – Jack Kerouac, author of “On the Road.”

Maggie in her favorite spot on the over the cab bed in my RV. She had an attitude, as you can see from this photo. This photo was taken near the end of our journeys when my canine companion was almost 15 years old. — Photo by Pat Bean


Five-Star Reading

In July I wrote a blog about putting the finishing touches on my book, Travels with Maggie, and mentioned how hard it was going to be to let “my baby” go out for the world to read. But I knew if I kept thinking that it was not perfect, it would never get published.

So, I finally let it go.

It’s now been up on Amazon for a couple of months, and even has garnered a few five-star reviews. But this morning I remembered that July post when I shared the back of the book blurb and list of contents and asked my blog followers if they would read this book.

I know some of those who responded have, but not all. So, I decided to use my blog to blatantly promote my book a second time.

Maggie didn’t like it when a passenger took her co-pilot seat, but when I stepped out of the RV she always got in the driver’s seat. The above photo was taken near the beginning of our journeys when Maggie was not yet seven years old. — Photo by Pat Bean.

Travels with Maggie is a book about one woman’s fulfillment of a dream that began when she was 10 years old. It chronicles a 7,000-mile RV journey, mostly on backroads, through 23 states and Canada. The odyssey begins in May of 2006 from a daughter’s home in Arkansas, and ends in time for Thanksgiving at another daughter’s home in Texas.

I think my writing voice brings a much-needed feminine voice to the world of such travel writer greats as John Steinbeck, William Least Heat Moon, Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson and Charles Kuralt. It’s a book about chasing birds across American, and a book about my relationship with Maggie, my on-the-road companion for eight years.

Never an early riser, like me, Maggie preferred to sleep in until about 10 a.m. – Photo by Pat Bean

And this is the table of contents: How it all Began … Letting Go of the World’s Worries … What Queen Wilhelmina Missed … Yes, Virginia, There is a Silver Lining … Two More Oklahoma Parks – And a Lifer …  Childhood Memories, A Kindred Soul and Marlin Perkins    Heart of the Ozarks …  Roy Rogers, A Tragic Past and an Ouch … A Scenic Riverway, a German Town, and a Margarita Night … Saint Louis: Chihuly, a Birdcage, an Arch and Beer … In the Footsteps of Mark Twain … Meandering Through Illinois Where Kickapoos Once Roamed… The Prophet – And Howling with Tristan … Hotter than Hell in Indiana …  Highway 12, Cade Lake, The Brick Dick and Henry Ford … Celebrating a Summer Halloween … Traveling Beside Lake Erie … Niagara Falls and New In-Laws …The Adirondacks … Ticonderoga, Norman Rockwell and Rainy Vermont … The Stone Man … Good-Bye White Mountains, Hello Maine …  A Week on Desert Island … Strong Women and Paul Bunyan … It’s a Log … Or a Moose …  Scarborough Marsh, Bad Vibes and Boston … Help! My RV’s Lost at the Airport … An Embarrassing Moment and a Hug from a Granddaughter … Hawk Mountain and the Big Apple … Sitting out a Storm in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot … Lost and Found in Philadelphia …  All Dressed up for Pony Watching … Crossing Chesapeake Bay and a Sick Dog … Dismal Swamp, Roanoke Rapids and Simple Things …  The Carolinas – Books, Tobacco and Art …  Georgia on my Mind …  Alabama: Home of the Bible Belt and a Boll Weevil Monument … Mississippi Bird Encounters and a Historic Trail … Know When to Hold ‘Em and Know When to Fold ‘Em… Memories of a Dear Friend …   Epilogue.

So, would you please buy and read this book? And if you’ve read it, would you please write a review.

Bean Pat: Bo’s Café Life:


A daily cartoon about writing.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now upon 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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“When the man waked up he said, ‘What is wild dog doing here?’ And the woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.’” Rudyard Kipling.

The day I picked Maggie up from the animal shelter. — Photos by Charlie Trentelman

My Canine Traveling Companion

I’ve been trying to organize my hodgepodge of journals, photos, scrapbooks and newspaper clippings lately. Going through them has actually been fun, and they have brought me many a delightful memory, like the one picture above of me taking Maggie, a black cocker spaniel, home from the animal shelter in Ogden, Utah.

My dear friend and newspaper colleague Charlie Trentelman captured the moment.

Peaches came before Maggie, and while Peaches would have given her life to please me, Maggie expected me to give my life to please her. I loved them both equally, and am glad for the memories they left me. — Photo by Kim Perrin

Maggie, I was told, had been abused, and needed a good home. I had a blind, aging dog, Peaches, and had recently lost my 18-year-old cat Chigger, who came to me as a tiny kitten. I knew Peaches, who was depressed from the loss of the cat — which she ignored in the presence of others but curled up with during the day when no one was home – might benefit from some daytime company, as I was working long hours at the time.

It was a good decision. Maggie did cheer Peaches up, and then she cheered me up when I lost Peaches six months later. It took a while, however, and two cross-country road trips to Texas, before Maggie became comfortable with my wanderlust ways. When I got her, it soon became apparent that she didn’t like riding in the car. She would huddle on the floor and shake whenever I took her for a ride.

Thankfully, she adjusted, and when four years later I sold my home and moved the two of us into a small RV, she was as ready for the road and adventure as I was. So, it was that for the next eight years, we traveled this country from border to border and ocean to ocean.

Sadly, dogs don’t live as long as humans and in 2012, I had to say good-bye to Maggie. I was blogging and working on my book, Travels with Maggie, at the time. I posted a flower header, and if you will look to the right, you will see that I dedicated the flowers to Maggie, and I promised myself that it would be my only photo header until the book about our life together on the road was published.

That happened last month. But I think I will keep the flowers.

Bean Pat: Wild in the Pryors http://tinyurl.com/yd6wpote The Mighty Renegade, a horse love story. A great blog for those who love wilderness and the creatures that belong in it.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y You can contact Bean at patbean@msn.com

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Two Dogs


Dusty and me relaxing at Jean’s place. — Photo by Jean Gowen

If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one.” Andy Rooney A Blonde and A Brunette

            Pepper and Dusty are the best of friends.

Pepper is my canine companion, a black Scottie mix who adopted me at an animal shelter in Plano, Texas in April of 2012. I had just recently lost my canine traveling companion, Maggie, who is featured in my soon to be released book, Travels with Maggie, and I still was quite sad.


Dusty did it. Well, OK, we did it together. — Photo by Pat Bean

When I visited the animal sanctuary, my fourth of the day, I sat down to watch the dogs playing in the yard. Pepper saw me, ran over and jumped up in my lap, looked into my eyes and communicated that she was going home with me. It took all of 15 seconds for us to bond, never mind that I was looking for a bit older cocker spaniel and not a rowdy four-month old terrier.

My sadness, however, lessened, although I still think of, and miss, Maggie, and her predecessor, Peaches, too.

Dusty, the blonde and an undetermined mixed-breed, belongs to my good friend, Jean. She was also rescued from an animal shelter – and is the first dog Jean has ever owned. It was a match made in heaven between them, as far as love goes, but there were immediate problems. Jean is a high school culinary teacher, and Dusty turned out to be a dog who couldn’t stand being alone while her mistress was at work.

Before Dusty could completely tear up her owner’s apartment, or get her owner evicted, Jean and I met, and I began baby-sitting Dusty at my apartment. Pepper eagerly waits for her arrival each morning, around 7 a.m. When Jean leaves, the two dogs begin their day of shenanigans. They gang up on me when they want treats, have frequent friendly tussles and games of tug of war, and stare meaningfully into my eyes when they want a walk or their water or food bowl is empty.

When I have to run errands, I cue them to “Guard the Castle,” at which time they both retreat to a different corner and give me woeful looks. They behave while I’m gone, but on my return I am savaged with their kisses and attention.

About 4 p.m., they both settle in by the front door, waiting for Jean’s return. By this time Dusty is ready to once again become an only child, as is my Pepper. When Jean arrives, they both greet her with the same savage attention and kisses I get when I return from being gone, even if it’s only five minutes to take out the garbage.

The two dogs make sure we two humans never feel unloved.

I think we’re doubly-blessed. Don’t you?

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Sanctuary for the Wild Soul http://tinyurl.com/lnqy3u7 These photos speak a thousand words that all say serenity.

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The cover for Travels with Maggie, which I had designed back in 2014.

“It is always better when you give a damn.” – John D. MacDonald

Coming to the End of a Long Road

In May of 2006, I left my youngest daughter’s home in Camden, Arkansas. Six months later, in time for Thanksgiving dinner, I arrived at my oldest daughter’s home on the outskirts of Dallas.

In-between, my canine companion, Maggie, and I traveled 7,000 miles in a small RV, through 23 states and Canada, to Maine, where we stood on top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park one morning to get this country’s first ray of sunlight.

The Mark Twain Lighthouse in Hannibal, Missouri, which I climbed up to explore during my Travels with Maggie. — Photo by Pat Bean

The in-between miles are the topics of my book, Travels with Maggie, which soon will be available at Amazon. It’s part travelogue, part memoir, part bird book, part nature book, and part about one woman’s conversations with her dog. I think it would fit nicely on a book shelf between John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley and Charles Kuralt’s On the Road, with Peter Cashwell’s The Verb to Bird nearby.

But this book is written with a feminine voice, that of an old-broad, wandering-wonderer.

This week I put the mechanics of putting Travels with Maggie up on Amazon into the hands of an angel who, unlike me, knows what she is doing. I spent three frustrated weeks trying before I finally gave up.

A view from Acadia National Park in Maine, which was the destination of my journey. — Photo by Pat Bean

Late yesterday evening, when I was having a Jack and Coke on my back balcony with my friend, Jean, who needed it after her high school teaching day, to celebrate the new stage of my book, I suddenly found myself crying.

I’m not exactly sure why.

My book, whose first draft was named one of the top 10 when it was entered in a Mayborn Non-Fiction Writing Workshop contest, has now been through five rewrites, edits and proofings.

The second rewrite was a major one to add voice, which I had omitted because I was trying to hide the fact I was an old-broad. The Mayborn critiques, all of them, said this was the book’s one major fault – and I knew immediately they were right.

The third rewrite was mostly a polishing of my writing, as was the fourth. The fifth was

Mostly a typo-catching read-through. And there will be a sixth proofing yet to come. This is a 75,000-word manuscript so each of these steps took some time.

My dream of writing just such a book is over a half-century old, during which time the whole world of publishing changed. I was reluctant to let go of the traditional world, but finally decided I didn’t have the time to wait around any longer. In the traditional world, the publisher would have done the marketing for the book. In today’s world, most writers are now having to accomplish this step themselves.

It’s what I am going to have to do – and telling my blog readers about my book is a first step toward that goal. Whew! I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders for writing this. I’ll now let you follow each step of getting Travels with Maggie out there with me. Maybe you’ll even buy my book when it’s finally out to the public.

Bean Pat: Citizen Sketcher http://tinyurl.com/k9xrpq4 I love the watercolors on this blog, and the artist’s celebration of them. Reminds me of my current celebration.

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Alone or Lonely

      “We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life.” Tennessee Williams

That's my canine companion Pepper on the right playing tug of war with her best forever girlfriend Dusty. -- Photo by Pat Bean

That’s my canine companion Pepper on the right playing tug of war with her best forever girlfriend Dusty. — Photo by Pat Bean

Shared Touch and Thoughts

I’m a single woman who lives alone, and sleeps with her canine companion. I’m not the least bit lonely, but the shared warmth of another creature curled up against my back gives me great comfort, I thought about this as I awoke this morning, and felt Pepper’s small body snug against mine.

And here they are sharing a spot of sun. I think I would be lonely without my Pepper, and perhaps she would be lonely too if she didn't see Dusty almost every day. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And here they are sharing a spot of sun. I think I would be lonely without my Pepper, and perhaps she would be lonely too,  if she didn’t see Dusty almost every day. — Photo by Pat Bean

As usual, the second I stirred, my canine companion Pepper became animated, insisting that we go for a walk right this minute! I obliged, taking only as long as it took me to slip on some clothes and smooth down my nest of night hair. Back in my apartment, I put the coffee on, gave Pepper her morning treat, and straightened the kitchen as I waited for the caffeine to brew.

Once settled with a cup of cream-laced java, I wrote in my journal for a bit then picked up a book to read for a bit before getting to one of the things on my always-too-long daily to-do list. The book was Lots of Candles Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen, whose essays remind me a lot of Ellen Goodman, who is 11 years younger than Anna and of my generation.

I recently came across a column about turning 40 written by Ellen that I had saved in my journal. Anna’s essay, which I was reading this morning, was also about aging, but written from the prospective of a woman in her 50s; so I guess it’s really true. Fifty is the new 40.

As one who was a journalist for 37 years, I’m drawn to the writing of these two women, who are both Pulitzer-Prize winning columnists. Reading their thoughts, which in many instances mirror my own, gives me as much companionship as does my Pepper.

I’m thankful I have family and friends who are there for me, both for companionship and for when I need them, but I’m also thankful for all the time I have to be alone. I’ve considered myself an extrovert for most of my life, and that is indeed a part of who I am, but as I look back on my busy, chaotic life, I realized I was always looking for a spare minute just to be with myself.

These days I have that time — but I don’t think it would be nearly as enjoyable as it is without a canine companion, good books, and friends and family out there when you need them. But then perhaps that’s not being alone at all.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: In the Paw Prints of Lions http://tinyurl.com/z7zhjrh Watching lions in Africa was one of the highlights of my African safari to Kenya and Tanzania – and I liked this blog because of the good memories it leaked into my head. But our guide always made us stay in the Land Rover.

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