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Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

Piddling around with art is one of the things that is always on my daily to-do list. Some days I paint, and some days I don’t. This simple one of a tree and meadow were done a couple of years ago.

          By taking the time to stop and appreciate who you are and what you’ve achieved – and perhaps learned through a few mistakes, stumbles and losses – you actually can enhance everything about you. Self-acknowledgment and appreciation are what give you the insights and awareness to move forward toward higher goals and accomplishments.” — Jack Canfield

Morning Thoughts

          As I picked up my daily journal yesterday morning, I noted that it was 8:30 a.m. I then wrote “It’s not yet nine a.m. and I have walked my dog Scamp, made my bed, washed dishes, blogged and read a chapter in Carole King’s memoir. A Natural Woman.”

I paused for a moment, then laughed as I continued writing. “It feels good to give myself credit for the things I’ve done instead of beating myself up for all the things on my to-do list that I haven’t done.”

          All I can say is that at 80, it’s about time.

Reading my journals of the past, I discovered that I was constantly abusing myself for not doing everything I planned or wanted to do, even though in the earlier journals when I was a working mother, I found myself amazed that I had managed to do so much.

While I no longer beat myself up, today’s to-do list is, as always, longer than my attention and energy can handle. I like it that way. It assures that I will never wake up and find myself with nothing to do.

But being OK with not accomplishing it all is a blessing that has only come with age. I like that, too.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Bean Pat: Silly Saturday https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2019/09/14/silly-saturday-the-past-unblogged/ A plug for blogging that made me laugh.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. 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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Mission San José de Tumacácori: I did an onsite sketch of the mission on a painting field trip a while back, then added watercolors when I got back home.

          “The books that help you most are those which make you think the most.” – Pablo Neruda

Morning Thoughts

          I buy books and eBooks from Amazon, I buy books at Barnes and Noble, I buy books from Bookmans (a used book store here in Tucson), I buy audible books, and I go to the library weekly. Just thinking about not having something within arm’s reach to read at any given moment would be cause for a panic attack.

This was the view behind the mission, which is located off Highway 19 south of Tucson. It’s an interesting place to visit if you’re in the area. — Art by Pat Bean

Thus, it was that I found myself standing in front of the “Good Reads” book stand that welcomes visitors to the Dusenberry-River Library, the closest library branch to my apartment in Tucson’s Catalina Foothills. The stand contains mostly current best-sellers, and I usually make my first selection of books to check out here before moving on to look for more esoteric choices.

“So, what do you like reading?” A kindly voice asks. “A little bit of everything except for horror,” I told the tall, slender woman adding books to the stand.

“Maybe you’ll like this,” she asks, pulling a book from the backside of the stand. “It’s well-written and funny,” The book was Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, and is about a therapist and her therapist.

“Sounds interesting,” I said, and put the book into my bag for later check out. (I’ve already started reading it, and I love it.)

She then brought out a second book, one I knew was a popular book club selection and had gotten rave reviews. She asked if I had read it.

I sort of frowned, then noted that I had started it but found it unoriginal and boring. I felt guilty about saying this, until she smiled and said, “I’m so glad you said that. I tried to finish it twice but couldn’t. But everyone else I’ve talked with absolutely loves it.”

I’m hoping to meet up with this library worker the next time I visit.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Bean Pat: Libraries everywhere. Visit one soon.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. 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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“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” — Friedrich Nietsche

I was trying to come up with a name for this recent watercolor and all I could think of was “Happy Poppies.” I asked my friend, Jean, what she would name the painting, and she came up with “Poppies ,Poppies,” and invoked a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” Our two minds certainly aren’t on the same page. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

Time Changed the Lens in my Eyes

How each of us views life is colored by a unique perspective – our own. Truth is usually somewhere in the middle. I first began to see this years ago when I compared how different reporters covered the same event, and then by listening to my adult children render five different accounts of the same event – or if I added in my two cents, six different accounts.

Eyewitnesses of events can vary so greatly they sound like two different happenings. For example, when I was an environmental reporter, I might lead my story about a speech by a lumber industry spokesman by using his quote: “A tree can produce enough oxygen to keep five or more people alive for a year.” But the paper’s business reporter’s lead would more likely quote him saying: “Logging is the lifeblood of hundreds of small communities; stop cutting trees and people will starve or turn to welfare.”

An art teacher once told me to set out to paint a bad painting as an exercise to free my anxiety. Well, this one fits that description. I was not happy at all with how this yellow-crowned night heron turned out. Life is like that. You win some and lose some.

Both of us are accurately quoting the speaker, but the reader is likely to only like, or even believe, the story that bends in his or her direction. The polarity of politics today certainly supports this conclusion.

But I also got to thinking about how this dichotomy even works as we age while reading Mary Karr’s book, The Art of Memoir. “Getting used to who you are is a lifelong spiritual struggle,” she explained while talking about how age can change how we look at our own pasts.

Susan Branch, author of “The Fairy Tale Girl,” explains this phenomenon by noting: “The thing I like about getting older is finally getting a handle on what the heck was going on back then.”

I’m also reading Dani Shapiro’s book, Still Writing, and she says: “…the idea that there is ever a definitive spot from which life can be understood is, I think, to miss the point of the ever-evolving nature of consciousness and life itself.”

I find it quite interesting that these three writers, so unalike in their personalities and writing styles, all seem to agree that everyone sees things differently, and as we age, even we begin to see things differently than we did when we were younger. I know I do.

Confusing, but it keeps life interesting.

Bean Pat: Bird Note https://www.birdnote.org/ A great way to learn about birds from your comfortable living room.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. 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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Cooper’s Hawk. Once I became addicted to birdwatching, I couldn’t not see birds. And occasionally I got lucky and got a good photograph. — Photo by Pat Bean 

“Does the road wind uphill all the way?  Yes. To the very end. Will the journey take the whole day?  From morn to night, my friend.” — Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Dredging up the Past

I’ve begun work on my memoir, which friends have been urging me to do for years. Like most people’s lives, mine has good parts and bad parts. My book, Travels with Maggie, is 100 percent upbeat, focusing only on the life’s sunshine. I’m happy with it.

If you’re looking for a good book with lots of trivia about America’s cities and landmarks, check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon. It’s G-rated and an excellent book to read together with your kids. Maggie was my canine companion on the six-month birding trip. — Book cover by Sherry Watcher.

For the past year or so, I’ve been working on a second book about my adventures as a late-blooming, bird-watching old broad, tentatively titled Bird Droppings. It also looks at the world through Pollyanna’s eyes. I’m thinking I might start trying to market the chapters I’ve written as single essays.

Meanwhile, as I think about my memoir, tentatively titled Between Wars, a book that will focus on my 37 years as a journalist while also being the mother of five children, and surviving a nasty divorce, I know I will have to put the rose-colored glasses in the trash bin.

I’m not sure I can do it. But I’ve started going back through all my journals and finding I at least enjoy doing the research.

For example, as a former river rat who took two, 16-day, white-water rafting trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, I almost couldn’t stop laughing after reading this entry:  The difference between a fairy tale and a river trip: The fairy tale begins “Once upon a time,” while the river trip tales begins: “No shit! There I was…”

            This past day’s entry also contained some quotes that are still worth repeating.

Me, at the Standard-Examiner in 1992, when I was the paper’s environmental reporter. It was my favorite newspaper job, and I held it for 10 years before I became city editor to get more money.. — Photo by Charles Trentelman.

“To the dull mind all nature is leaden. To the illuminated mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson. I think I was reading one of Emerson’s journals at this time.

I was also probably reading one of Natalie Goldberg’s writing books, too. For I wrote down this quote of hers. “If you do not fear the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.”

I also wrote down some thoughts of my own, in quote form. “At one time in life, I sought logic in everything. Now I know better,” and “If our thoughts were not continually shifting, we’d be a broken record to ourselves.” – Pat Bean

Bean Pat: What a Waste https://brevity.wordpress.com/2019/08/29/what-a-waste/ Leonard Bernstein and scammed writers.

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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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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Road Tripping

If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all.” – Dan Rather

Nothing beats a lonesome scenic backroad for a peaceful drive. This scene is just west of the Navajo Bridge on Highway 89A, — Photo by Pat Bean

The Last 500 Miles

            Day 12: Jean and I were on the road by 7 a.m. After being together almost constantly for 12 days our attitudes were both a bit crusty. We are not anything alike. And with so much time spent in each other’s company, our individual trifling quirks had become major annoyances.

Jacob Lake Campground: Peaceful and soothing.

So it was that the 10-hour scenic drive home was made with little conversation. This was OK for both of us, I think. I enjoy driving in silence, preferring not even to listen to music, and Jean could peacefully enjoy some awesome scenery she had never seen before.

After leaving St. George, we would head to nearby Hurricane, Utah, where we would hook up with Highway 59 that would turn into Highway 389 when we hit the Arizona border near the infamous Colorado City. The town was formerly called Short Creek and had been founded by polygamists when the Mormon Church abandoned the practice.

We didn’t make the turn off to the town, but back in the early ‘70s, I had driven through it – and it had been creepy. My car was followed until it was well past the town limits.

Our drive then took us through the Kaibab Indian Reservation almost all the way into Fredonia, where we would hook up with Highway 89A. This scenic backroad is one of my favorites.

Navaho Bridge

We stopped for a break to walk our dogs, Scamp and Dusty, in Kaibab National Forest’s Jacob Lake Campground located near the turnoff to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon I had stayed here a couple of times during my RV-ing years, and found it pretty much as I remembered  it: Peaceful and uncrowded with the scent from the Ponderosa pines that towered above soothing my soul.

Back on the road, we would cross over the Navaho Bridge that sits high above the Colorado River. I had floated beneath this magnificent 44-foot wide, 447-feet high bridge twice during the first days of my two 16-day rafting trips on the river through the Grand Canyon. I had also driven across the older 18-foot wide bridge before the new one was built. That one is now a footbridge across the river.

This section of today’s drive was filling my brain with vivid memories, and they continued as we passed the Vermillion Cliffs, where the first California condors born in captivity had been released. As a reporter, I wrote several stories on the recovery of this magnificent bird, whose population went from 27 in the 1980s to over 500 today, including 300 that are once again flying free in the wild.

Scamp and Dusty were eager to get home too. — Photo by Jean Gowen

While today’s drive may have been the longest of the trip, it didn’t seem that way. Soon we were on Highway 17, that would take us into Flagstaff, and then into Phoenix, where we picked up heavy traffic again, and finally onto Interstate 10 that took us into Tucson.

There is no place like home.

As for the uncomfortable tension and any unresolved issues between Jean and I, we got over them. About two weeks later, we had a good talk, and our friendship is even stronger now than it was before. This was the trip’s silver lining – the one I’m always trying to find.

Bean Pat: Living Life Graciously https://imissmetoo.me/2019/08/22/your-table-is-ready/ My kind of dining room table.

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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Ben Lomond, which dominates Ogden’s northern view.: The creator of Paramount’s mountain logo once lived in Ogden, and Ben Lomond is said to have been his inspiration for the design. I discovered this piece of trivia while writing a story about the mountain for the newspaper in the 1990s. 

            “With age comes wisdom. With travel comes understanding.” – Sandra Lake

The Wasatch Mountains in my Rearview Mirror            

Day 11: Jean and I left Ogden early in the morning heading south on Interstate 15.  We were heading home, a journey of about 830 miles that would take us two days since I don’t drive at night.

Bentley, shown here sitting in Robert and Karla’s boat, became Scamp’s playmate while we were in St. George. 

Today would be a scenic, pleasant day’s drive – after the first 80 miles.

As we neared Provo, where we would leave the Wasatch Front’s traffic jam behind, I pointed out Timpanogos to our east.  At 11,753 feet, it is the second tallest mountain in the Wasatch Range. If you kind of squint your eyes, you can imagine the profile of the Indian maiden Utahna sleeping on its peaks.

According to legend, Utahna threw herself off the mountain after her beloved was killed by a rival for her hand. There are several versions of the legend, but inside a cave in the mountain, reached by a steep mile and a half hike, lies her heart. Actually, it’s a large heart-shaped stalactite, which was lit from behind by a red light every time I saw it. The hike to the cave was one of my favorites – when I was a bit younger.

After passing Provo, our drive took us in view of Mount Nebo, which at 11,933 feet is the tallest in the range. At 9,763 feet, Ben Lomond, which stares down at Ogden, is the range’s ninth tallest.

My first meeting with Scamp took place in St. George at Robert and Karla’s home. He was all over me the second I sat down.

I guess you can tell that my thoughts at this juncture of our journey were on the fact that I was once again leaving the mountains I had so come to love. I now live in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains, which although different are still impressive — and one of the reasons I was content to settle in Tucson after my RV-ing years.

Putting my thoughts back on the drive, I let myself enjoy the passing scenery. One mountain or another seemed always to be in view, even if on the far horizon. The goal for today was St. George, where Kim’s brother and his wife lived.

I had originally planned to travel a bit farther because stopping here meant traveling only about 330 miles this day, leaving 500 miles to cover tomorrow. I also hated to impose our two dogs on the couple, who had an English bulldog named Bentley that hadn’t been too friendly to my new canine companion Scamp when they first met. My friend Kim had adopted Scamp from an Ogden shelter for me, and I had met her in St. George at her brother’s home to pick him up in early May.

I eventually decided, we had to spend the night in St. George, coming to this conclusion after Robert and Karla, who had heard we would be passing through the area, called and asked when we would be there. I got the impression these dear friends of mine would be hurt if we bypassed them.

The St. George stop included a home-cooked dinner as well as a night’s lodging, a treat to our shoestring travel budget. Most important, however, was the companionable conversation and feeling of being loved that came with the visit. And my fears about the dogs getting along were for nothing.

Bentley and Scamp joyfully played together this time, while Dusty kept her distance from their rambunctious enthusiasm. That the two dogs got along greatly pleased me. It bodes well for future visits.  Karla and Robert, meanwhile, were quite surprised by the interaction.

“He’s never played with any dog,” Robert said.

Jean retired early this night, and Robert went off to help a son with a stalled car, leaving Karla and I time for a companionable chat. The next morning, I was up in time to have coffee with Robert before we would hit the road again.

I am extremely glad Jean and I had stopped in St. George.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Bean Pat: True, and funny https://kathywaller1.com/2019/08/18/which-would-you-rather/ But I guess will keep blogging because I simply enjoy doing it.

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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