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Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

A Bright Morning Turns Dark

Photo of Mount Lemmon taken from my youngest daughter’s backyard patio. I live 13 miles closer to the mountain and thus the overview is not visible, just like the lives of those less fortunate. — Photo by T.C. Ornelas .

“Many people … wake up one day and say, ‘Hang on. Who am I? Is this really me? Is this what I really wanted?’ – Kate Winslet

Who Am I to be so Blessed?

I’m sitting in my bedroom, barricaded in a comfortable chair with my computer on a table in front of me so I can write and my beloved canine companion Scamp can’t get on my lap and lick my face for attention.

I’m drinking cream-laced coffee, looking out the window as the day lightens. Between the tree branches, I watch as the sun dances among the peaks of Mount Lemmon. It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day.

Mount Lemmon from my living room balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

I love mornings. They are my favorite time of day, before my mind forgets itself and goes about the business of the sometimes-chaotic day.

This morning, however, my little gray cells had a mind of their own. My thoughts considered a conversation a friend and I shared recently about not always having a bedroom of our own when we grew up.

We both bemoaned this very fact.

But as I wrote this morning, I thought about the fate of babies born in places in the world where they not only don’t have a bedroom, but no roof over their heads, not enough food to eat, and war raging outside their doors. I thought of women who can never travel alone freely across their country, who are married off at 11 or sold into sexual slavery.

Who am I to be so blessed with the place of my birth? To be comfortably housed, with plentiful food in my cupboards, to have the leisure to write, to travel, to read, to simply go to a movie when I want, and to sit here and enjoy my mornings?

Life is not fair. How could I ever have thought it was? I wish I could find a silver lining for every baby born into this world.

My thoughts have turned this bright day suddenly dark. I want to scream and yell and do something to change things. But what?

When I started this post, it was meant to be light and upbeat, but my fingers on the keyboard decided otherwise. It sometimes happens when I let the words just come. This morning I let them be. They needed to be said, even if they brought tears to my eyes.

I needed to be reminded how blessed my life has been, even if I didn’t always have a bedroom of my own.

Bean Pat: Dawn’s post:  http://dawndowneyblog.com/index.html/ another blogger whose day went awry.

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.

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Grandma Said It

Me and my oldest great-granddaughter Savannah, who is now a tall five-year-old.

“My grandmother was over 80 and still didn’t need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.” – Henny Youngman

Morning Chat

          I recently read an article that listed 63 sayings that we learned from our grandmothers. As I read, I remembered my grandmother actually saying about half of them.

But the list didn’t include her favorite; Pasty Lee — that’s what she called me – Did you know the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I heard that often, most likely after some excuse I had invented to get myself out of trouble from mischief.

My grandmother was not the stereotypical sweet little old lady. She was big, fast with a switch to my legs when I misbehaved, and loved her afternoon Pearl Beer – and I loved her dearly. She made the best enchiladas in the world and she had two songs she was always singing; My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean, an old Scottish folk song, and It’s a Long Way to Tipperary from World War I. The lyrics from those two songs still often pop into my head at unexpected moments.

A few of my grandmother’s other sayings included: Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, Pretty is as pretty does. You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. There’s no use crying over spilled milk. And, There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

I was only 11 or 12 when my grandmother died. But I still miss her.

Bean Pat: To grandmothers the world over. And to my own 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren who have brought many smiles to my face.

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.

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Sleep and Dreams

I often find myself in nature in my dreams. — Painting of Shone Falls by Thomas Moran, which was discovered at the Twin Falls, Idaho, Library when I lived there in the mid-1980s This would be a nice place to dream about. –

          “I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.” – Henry David Thoreau

Morning Chat

          I went ice skating last night. That’s amazing because in reality I never could do it. I played tennis, I hiked, I even roller skated. But I could never stand up on a slim blade of steel on ice.

But when I awoke this morning, the image of myself skimming around a frozen pond on skates was still vividly in my mind. I don’t remember anything else about the dream except the feeling of competently gliding across the ice.

It was wonderful, and I didn’t want to let it go. But go it went as soon as I opened my eyes to see my canine companion Scamp staring into them as his way of demanding his morning walk.

Scamp sitting on my bed watching me as I write this blog. He seems to be asking if I’m writing about him. — Photo by Pat Bean

I don’t sleep well these days, often waking frequently to shift into a more comfortable position or go to the bathroom, or to try and scoot Scamp over to his side of the bed. I think at least the first two awakenings are simply a side effect of being 80 years old, as I hear similar complaints from other oldsters among my acquaintances.

When I was younger, I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, and I awoke rarely remembering my dreams. These days, some mornings arrive with me feeling I never truly slept. I don’t worry about it, however.

I once read that if you close your eyes and lay still it’s as good as sleep. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but since I usually wake refreshed, I suspect it might be. Or else I sleep more than I think.

I do know I dream more, or at least remember more, and seldom are my dreams anything but pleasant. When I do have a nightmare it usually involves me back once again as a reporter chasing a story and in danger of missing a deadline.

I usually wake myself up before that happens. Then I lay still so as not to wake Scamp, who is ready to go for a walk the second his eyes open – even if it’s 4:30 a.m., as it was this morning.

I took him for his walk, then crawled back in bed for a rare, solid three hours of sleep before waking to find myself skimming across the ice on those thin steel blades.

  Bean Pat: 1WriteWay https://1writeway.com/picking-up-after-others-makeamericabeautifulagain-leaveonlyfootprints/ This is a writer’s blog I follow, but she has a non-writing goal that tunes into my soul. Let’s all do it.

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.

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Smiles

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. – Leo Buscaglia

My canine companion Scamp — who is quite aptly named — makes me smile every day. I took this photo of him last night as he claimed the pillows I tossed off my bed before I crawled into it. He followed me onto the bed. Did I mention he is a bed hog? — Photo by Pat Bean

Morning Chat

As I was driving out of the library parking lot the other morning, a woman passed by with such a big smile on her face that I stopped the car, rolled down the window and told her she had a beautiful smile.

I often make art that makes me smile. What makes you smile?

She thanked me and indicated the load of books in her arms, and said it was because of the wonderful library we had.

Now I love this library, but it’s a small branch and not really grand at all. I suspected that this woman was one of those people who was always smiling. If so, she was a kindred spirit.

Back in the 1990s when I was a reporter covering Utah’s Hill Air Force Base, my newspaper’s publisher wanted a photo of me for a promo ad. One of the paper’s photographers took a dozen or more and gave them to the publisher to choose which to use.

The publisher rejected everyone, then called me into his office, and told me he wanted a picture of me looking serious and not smiling. So back I went for another photo session, in which I found it almost impossible not to smile.

I thought about this after reading a memoir in which the author said: Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to swagger into a room with a bad-ass attitude instead of a wide-mouthed smile.

An interesting idea, I thought, contemplating just such an action. And then I thought of how the smiling face of the woman at the library had cheered me. I could do with more smiling faces these days — and less bad-ass attitudes.

          Bean Pat: I just finished reading The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. I loved this book and highly recommend it. It’s a book about overcoming loss, facing reality and simply surviving and carrying on.

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.

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Just Do It

Art projects of one kind or another are always on my to-do list. Fortunately, I rarely use my dining room table for its designated purpose. So I’ve started keeping my watercolor materials easily available for when the just-do-it moment hits me. — Photo by Pat Bean

 

“If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.” — Wanda Sykes

Morning Chat

It is January 15, halfway through the resolution-breaking month of the year. I’m not sure I ever made it this far without breaking my New Year’s resolutions -– even if they were as simple as to blog every other day and to mark three things off my lengthy to-do list every day.

Swan — By Pat Bean

These were the only New Year’s resolutions I made this year, but I also adopted a theme to go along with them: Just do it!

The reason my to-do list has become so long. Yes, it is actually several pages. The reason is that whenever I think of something I want to do — like write a letter to a 10-year-old grandchild discussing the upcoming movie Dr. Doolittle Movie, telling him that the Doolittle books were some of my very favorites growing up — I add it to my to-do list. And then promptly forget it.

No more. When I think of such things from now on, time and circumstances permitting, I am going to simply do it. This Just-do-it theme even prompted me to make my bed this morning before I even left the bedroom. Some days I surprise even myself.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a letter to write.

Bean Pat: Colline’s blog https://collinesblog.com/2020/01/15/reading-goal-2020/ Check out her New Year’s goal.

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.

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It saddens me to think what all the wonders of Mother Nature some of my grandchildren are missing because when they are out in the car with me they have eyes for only their cell phones. — Photo by Pat Bean

          “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” — Socrates

Morning Chat

          “You’re a grown woman Mom. You should know how to work your phone.”

No. One of my children didn’t say that to me. I read it somewhere and laughed – out loud.

I’ve never really liked talking on phones. I want to look a person in the eye and see the expressions on their face during a conversation. I only ever got my first cell phone when the bosses I worked for demanded I get one and they paid for it. I always thought of it as a leash, and often would forget to carry it with me when I left home on errands, a habit that is still with me.

There are man-made wonders out there, too. — Photo by Pat Bean

I continued to use an outdated flip phone long after the shiny new cell phones, with all their apps and capabilities, came out. My oldest son bought me my first smartphone after I had retired and was living on the road in an RV. He was worried about me being out there in the world all alone, well except for my canine companion, and the phone had a tracker on it so he always knew where I was.

I felt blessed for the concern, but a bit annoyed that such concern might mean he thought I was getting old and not able to take care of myself.

Although the phone my son bought me was top of the line, when I gave up the RVing life, I went back to a simple flip phone, partly because the dang phone had capabilities that I didn’t need, but mostly because the monthly bill for a simpler phone was less expensive.

When it died, my friend Jean, who had just bought a new phone, gave me her old phone, which I used until recently, when it died. It was time, I finally decided for “Mom” to get one of those dang smartphones and come into the 21st century. And so, I bought a Maven 3 on Amazon for $60.

It wasn’t the cheapest so I thought I had chosen well until I mentioned the cost to my son, who laughed and said he had spent $800 on his newest phone.

Yikes! I thought. Then I pointed out that everything he could do on his phone I could do on my computer. And it had a bigger screen that was easier on 80-year-old eyes.

I’ve had my new phone for five days now. It took me three of those days simply to learn how to answer the dang thing. When I finally figured it out, thanks to a Utube video, I concluded the phone might be smart but it certainly wasn’t logical.

When I mentioned my conclusion to a daughter-in-law, she laughed and pointed out that logical or not, it was smarter than me.

I concede the point.

Bean Pat: Story Circle Network blog https://onewomansday.wordpress.com/2020/01/13/january-13-you-can-teach-an-old-dog-new-tricks/ True words from real women.

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.

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As I trudge down the path of a new year, I will try to be respectful to everyone — OK, excluding nincompoops. — Photo by Pat Bean

          If we lose love and respect for each other, that is how we finally die.” – Maya Angelou

Morning Rant

          It was a Norman Rockwell painting depicting family that sent my blood pressure soaring yesterday. It wasn’t the painting itself, but the words posted beneath it by some nincompoop. “This is what the other side wants to destroy.”

I also hope to take the time to smell the flowers in the new year. — photo by Pat Bean

How rude, how ignorant, how disrespectful, how self-serving, I thought, I have friends and family on both sides. And no one whom I know wants to destroy families. To use an iconic dead artist whose work depicted the best of Americans in such a way disgusted me. And the idea that some people will buy into the nincompoop’s post frightens me.

Lately, I’ve been rereading Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series. I’m listening to the books on audible at night in bed. I love her world of spirit Companion horses and their chosen Heralds, and the philosophy of Valdemar in that there is no one right way.

I think my brain needs this kind of world to escape to so I can sleep at night because while I love my country, I am horrified at how it is being torn apart by too many people thinking only they are right.

`        Meanwhile, I have been pondering a word to focus on in the New Year. Last year it was Kindness. Lackey’s books, and the nincompoop’s post, finally decided me. My word for the new year is Respect. And I will hold on to Kindness, too.

While these two words won’t solve problems, perhaps they will help people come together, so together they can find solutions. You know me. I’m still looking for that silver lining.

Bean Pat: I can’t resist a best books list. https://bluchickenninja.com/2020/01/11/favourite-books-2010s/

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

 

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