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Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

When I’m not reading or writing these days, or walking my dog Scamp, I piddle around with my watercolors. This is my latest piece. — Art by Pat Bean

“A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.” – Martin Farquhar Tupper, 1810-1889

Morning Thoughts

I am a fan of quotes, especially the ones that say a lot in a few words. So, it was that John Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations was one of the reference books in my personal library during my earlier writing days.

It was a thick, sturdy book with a green cover that I had acquired sometime in the 1960s. And it was among the hundreds of books that I gave to friends, sold to a second-hand store, or donated to a charity thrift store in 2004 when I downsized all my belongings to only what would fit in a 21-foot RV. I had bookcases in every room of my h

And this was the one before that.   –Art by Pat Bean

Recently, my friend Jean found a copy of Bartlett’s book and gave it to me. It was a 15th edition, published in 1980 on the 125th anniversary of the book’s first edition published in 1855. This one, also a sturdy book meant to last, has a faded red cover and 1,540 pages.

As I hold it in my hands and peruse the contents, it feels like I am holding a valued treasure – but one that has lost its purpose. To find the quote I used at the beginning of this post, I first searched the 500-plus page index for the word books.

There were well over 200 entries in print so small these old eyes had to hold the book under a bright light to read them.

Each few-words entry was followed by a page number and a line designation. It took about 20 minutes for me to find the quote I used, and I only looked up about a dozen of the entries.

Today, when I’m searching for an appropriate quote for my posts, I type in a word on my Bing search engine, and immediately have hundreds of entries to choose from.

So, I won’t be using Bartlett as a reference source. But it’s quite fun reading on its own, and bringing back memories long forgotten by this old broad. One was the songs of Stephen Foster, lines from which were included among the quotes and which were quite popular when I was a kid.

Oh Susanna, Camptown Races, Old Folks at Home, My Old Kentucky Home, Jennie with the Light Brown Hair, Old Black Joe, Beautiful Dreamer, My Old Kentucky Home. I sang them all with my grandmother.

It feels good to once again have Bartlett’s book sitting on a shelf in my home.

Bean Pat: To my friend Jean for her thoughtful gift. And to book lovers everywhere who value written words.

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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“Don’t leave the butterflies white,” someone told me when I was painting this. . Of course, I didn’t listen. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

Morning Ponderings

Yesterday, I went to see the movie Knives Out, a good who-done-it in an Agatha Christie kind of way. This morning, I came across a question I had posed to myself in my idea journal: Who is the sturdy, steady ship to your tugboat? I think the question came from a writing prompt, to which I had no answer at the time.

An eagle, plotting its own course, — Sketch by Pat Bean

As I once again pondered the question, the opening scene in Knives Out flashed through my brain. In it was a large coffee mug that proclaimed: My House, My Rules, My Coffee. I laughed when I saw it, and again this morning when I recalled the cup while rereading the unanswered question.

I suddenly realized that I had always been that sturdy, steady ship. While I had, and have, strong, supportive people helping me survive this life, I have always been the one at the wheel of the ship steering my tugboat and directing its course.

Perhaps I would have missed quite a few falls down the mountain, and many deep potholes, if I had let someone else lead the way. But I never relinquished the ship’s wheel.

Probably by sheer luck, but I must say with a great bit of stubborn determination, I ended up in a good spot today. But if I hadn’t, I would have had no one to blame but myself.

Bean Pat: Fish Creek to Buffalo https://www.10000birds.com/fish-creek-to-buffalo.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+10000Birds+%2810%2C000+Birds%29 Take an armchair bird walk.

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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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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