Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

“Trust in what you love, continue to do it and it will take you where you need to go.”  – Natalie Goldberg

Sometimes it’s the holes, or flaws, in our lives that are the most interesting. View of the Ajo Mountains in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near Tucson. — Photo by Pat Bean.

I’ve taken up a challenge to write every day, even if it is only one sentence. I’m refining the challenge, issued by Jo Hawk at https://www.facebook.com/ to mean that I write every day on a work-in-progress, as I already write almost every day in my journals.

A second resolution is to make good use of time, because as an old broad who will turn 80 in April, I realize just how precious my remaining days on earth are.

A third, and final resolution, is to be kind because my heart tells me that kindness is the one thing the world could use more of these days.

So, what are your resolutions for the New Year?

Bean Pat: Ring out Wild Bells https://middlemaybooks.com/2018/12/31/ring-out-wild-bells-by-alfred-tennyson/?wref=pil An oldie but still a great poem for a new year.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. Check out her book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon, to learn more.

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Deer Creek Falls

“Who I am, what I am, is the culmination of a lifetime of reading, a lifetime of stories. And there are still so many more books to read. I’m a work in progress.” — Sarah Addison Allen

John McPhee’s Encounters  

I’m reading A Colorado River Reader, an anthology of essays that range from the exploration days of John Wesley Powell to modern-day river runners. The stories have both enlightened and educated me, and brought to the forefront my own experiences of time spent on the river.

Granite Rapid: I was tossed out of the boat at the top of this rapid, and wasn’t pulled back in until the raft got to the end. What an adventure.

In 1991, and again in 1999 as a gift to myself on my 60th birthday, I escaped from the world for 16 days and rafted 225 miles down the Colorado as it flows through the Grand Canyon. On the first trip, I spent most of my time in a six-person paddle raft, communing with the river when it was gentle, screaming with glee at it when it was wild, and straining with the five others in the boat to power our way safely down the river and through the rapids.

By the time of the 1999 trip, I was content to ride in a larger oar boat and let a boatman, or boatwoman, do all the work, leaving me just to hang on for the ride. The two trips were different in experiences, but every second of both were 100 percent joyous and worth remembering, which is why I so relished the memories of those trips that were refreshed and brought to the forefront of my brain when I read John McPhee’s piece in the anthology.

Tunnel, far right, dug to access rock structure for proposed Marble Canyon Dam.

The essay, “Encounters with an Archdruid,” was about a trip down the river with David Brower, a prominent environmentalist who opposed dam building (and whom I had met and wrote about as a journalist) and Floyd Dominy of the Bureau of Reclamation, who built dams. He got the Glen Canyon Dam built, but failed to get the one he wanted to be built in Grand Canyon’s Marble Canyon, although he got as far as getting a tunnel dug in the side of a cliff at the proposed dam site to access the rock structure.

I got to walk into this tunnel during my second trip down the Colorado River.

McPhee’s essay took me along on this now legendary white-water float through the Grand Canyon, dousing my memories with the cold-water waves of Deubendorff Rapid and sprinkling them with the rainbow-lit drops of mist coming off Deer Creek Falls, an awesome side canyon waterfall whose music filled my ears as I sat by it and ate lunch one day.

As I read, my mind wandered off to give thanks to the person who taught me to read. I can’t remember who it was, just that I truly can’t remember a time in my life that I couldn’t read. Reading has enlarged and brightened my world for as long as I can remember. And I’m thankful for this great gift.

I believe Ray Bradbury said it best when he wrote that not reading books was worse than burning them.

Bean Pat: Don’t call me sweet  https://awindowintothewoods.com/2018/12/18/dont-call-me-sweet/  Take a break from the holiday chaos.

Now available on Amazon

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon. It would make a great Christmas gift for all those who wander but are not lost.

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“The most important things in life aren’t things.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

I promised myself when I moved into my new apartment that I wouldn’t bring anything into it that I didn’t love. And I do love these tin birds which were a gift, and my home will always have room for flowers. — Photo by Pat Bean

Once Again I’m at that Point

            Back in 2004, when I downsized from my two-bedroom home in Utah to a 21-foot RV, I was amazed at how much stuff I had. That was nothing, however, to the stuff I had when I moved from a six-bedroom family home, after three of my five children had grown up and started life on their own, into a two-bedroom apartment.

And I love having a simple place where I can read and write, and look out at the world. — Photo by Pat Bean

That time I finally called the local thrift store to come empty out my large unfinished basement. It seems if you have plenty of storage space, you tend to fill it up.

Space in my small RV during the nine years it was my home on wheels hardly existed, and I quickly learned that if I brought one item into my life, another item had to go out.

I was thinking about this the day I drove through the small town of Leakey, Texas, and saw a sign on an antique store that read: “Sophisticated Junk for the Elite.” That was worth one of my loud belly laughs.

I turned to my canine companion Maggie and asked her if we should

Having a great view, as I do from my writing chair is important, too. It’s better than stuff. — Photo by Pat Bean

stop. She looked up at me from her co-pilot seat in my RV and yawned. I guess not, I told her. Sophisticated or not, there was no room in my RV for old, or even new, doodads.

When I retired from my traveling RV life, settling into a small one-bedroom, third-floor apartment with a view of the Catalina Mountains out my bedroom balcony window, I felt as if I had moved into a mansion, and loved its spaciousness.

Looking around, six years later, I realized that it wasn’t quite as spacious. It’s time to go back to the practice of when one thing comes in, another goes out.

Bean Pat: Bo’s Café Life https://boscafelife.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/11561/ Life shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Now available on Amazon

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon. Currently, she is writing a book, she is calling Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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The abandoned cement mixer that’s been turned into and abandoned space capsule by an artist. The oddity sits eats of Phoenix near the Casa Grade exit on the south side of the road.

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.: — Rosalia de Castro

Between Phoenix and Tucson

I was heading home to Tucson from Phoenix on Interstate 10 with my friend Jean when I saw a strange object in a barren farm field off the road to my right. It kind of looked like part of a rocket, was my immediate thought,

The cement tree that sits off Interstate 80 between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Wendover, Nevada.

“What’s that?” I asked Jean.

Truly a woman of the times, Jean said she didn’t know but she would find out.

“I doubt you’ll find that on your smartphone,” I said as she began tapping its keypad.

“Wanna bet?” she replied. Fortunately, I didn’t because a few minutes later she

Told me exactly what we had passed. It was an abandoned cement mixer from an old truck that artist Jack Milliard had painted to look like a downed space capsule. The abandoned mixer had sat in the field for 30 years before that.

Weird, I thought. Then my mind went to the cement tree that sits in the middle of the Bountiful Salt

The two-story outhouse in Gays, Illinois. — Photo by Pat Bean

Flats between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Wendover, Nevada. As a journalist, I had written about this 83-foot-tall structure that was built to withstand desert winds gusting at over 130 miles an hour, and earthquakes in the order of 7.5 on the Richter scale.

According to the local Highway Patrol, and Wikipedia, more than two million cars travel past the tree annually, and five to seven an hour of these cars stop for a more thorough look. When Utah pumped water out of Great Salt Lake onto the West Desert to avoid the lake from flooding in the 1980s, the joke was that the state was doing so to water the cement tree.

Then I remembered the Two-Story Outhouse in Gays, Illinois. I did a short travel blog for American Profile magazine on this roadside oddity.

Such surprising sights are what make road trips so delightful. Do you have a favorite roadside oddity?  I hope you do. I’d love to hear about it.

Bean Pat Frog Diva thoughts https://frogdivathoughts.com/2018/12/03/all-i-want-is-a-hippopotamus-for-christmas/#like-8863 Do you remember this? I do.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon. Currently, she is writing a book, she is calling Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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Painting from a photo I took on the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

“We don’t need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful. — Taylor Swift

Or Disagree with

I came across this quote by Rita Mae Brown — “A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all” – while drinking my cream-laced coffee this morning. My instant reaction was to disagree with Rita Mae.

Deadlines, which I had almost daily as a newspaper journalist for 37 years, are my best, and most favorite, writing inspiration. They mean I have a writing job. I also think I do my best work when scrambling to meet a deadline.

I collect quotes. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t write one down in my journals. I want to remember the best of them because their words inspire me, make me laugh, or speak one of my own truths to me in better words than I’ve yet thought out.

But as this old broad gets wiser, I’ve come to question whether some of the more popular quotes are actually true, especially ones that indicate animals have no feelings or reasoning. How do we know the lark is happy, or the owl wise?

The years have taught me that I can’t believe – or agree with – everything I read. It’s a skill that I treasure in the age of the Internet, where anyone can say anything and everything they want, which is not a bad thing unless what they say is malicious.

Meanwhile, the beauty of Rita Mae’s quote is that a deadline isn’t everybody’s favorite thing, and it truly is a negative inspiration for them. In this, as in most things in life, how one looks at deadlines is neither right nor wrong, simply different.

Taylor Swift says it perfectly.

Bean Pat: Baltimore orioles

https://belindagroverphotography.com/2018/11/28/baltimore-oriole-two-photographs-2/?wref=pil  To brighten your winter day. I write about seeing my first Baltimore oriole in Travels with Maggie.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon and would make the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who likes to travel. Bean is currently writing a second book, which she is calling Bird Droppings, and which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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Looking across the valley from the undeveloped ridge near my apartment complex where I often take my morning walks, — Photo by Pat Bean

“… an ordinary desert supports a much greater variety of plants than does either a forest or a prairie.” — Ellsworth Hunting

Just a Happy Accident

A gila woodpecker on a saguaro cactus, one of many I see on my walks in the desert. — Photo by Pat Bean

Six years ago, after spending nine years traveling this country full-time in a small RV with my canine companion Maggie, I made a small third-floor apartment in Tucson my home. It was an unplanned move, but the time had come when I wanted a nightly hot bath instead of a skimpy shower; and I wanted the pleasure of a local library. This southeastern Arizona apartment complex had a nice bathtub, was dog friendly with shady places to walk my pet, a library was close by and, just as important, it was affordable.

It also helped that my youngest daughter lived in town, the area was a great place to watch birds, and my new apartment stood in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains, which are comparable in their 10,000-foot elevation to Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, whose shadows I lived in for 25 years before I retired, sold my home and bought my RV — I’m not sure I could ever again live away from mountains. That I found

A Tucson sunset. — Photo by Pat Bean

myself living in the middle of the Sonoran Desert was just a happy accident.

The surprise has been how much I have learned to love the desert, particularly this morning during my early walk with my current canine companion Pepper – after I read about all the snow storms taking place elsewhere in the country.

Life is good – and this old broad is happy and grateful for her many blessings.

Bean Pat: Good signs https://simpletravelourway.wordpress.com/2018/11/26/consider-this/?wref=pil This goes along with my goal of encouraging people to be kind to one another.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is available on Amazon.  She is now working on 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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2018 Thanksgiving

{‘m thankful for rainbows. — Photo by Pat Bean 

This is my annual 100 things I am thankful for list, in no particular order. I wake up every day with gratitude in my heart, and you should know that this list is far from complete. It’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to say, but thinking about my blessings keep me sane in today’s chaotic world.

1, That I can laugh at myself

2, Soft flannel pajamas.

3, A snail-mail letter

  1. The view of the Catalina Mountains’ from my third-floor apartment.

    I’m thankful for a white-winged dove on top of a blooming saguaro. — Photo by Pat Bean

  2. The smell of the Sonoran Desert after a rainstorm.
  3. Sweet kisses from Pepper, my canine companion.
  4. That my back this year is not hurting like it was last Thanksgiving.
  5. The 29 stair steps that I go up and down at least a half dozen times a day because they help keep this soon-to-be-80-year-old-broad moving.
  6. That I finally have time to sit a bit and simply think, to connect all the dots of my life together so that there is meaning.
  7. Advil
  8. Good friends who know me – and still like me.
  9. Authors who write the books I love to read.
  10. Sunrises and sunsets.
  11. The great horned owls that are residents of my apartment complex.
  12. Road trips.
  13. My new 10-inch Kindle to watch TV and movies on.
  14. Art.
  15. That my book, Travels with Maggie, was finally published.
  16. The hummingbirds that scrabble at my nectar feeder.
  17. My Tucson daughter’s washing machine and dryer.
  18. Recently discovered old family photos
  19. That I have good, if barely affordable, health insurance.
  20. My 37-year journalism career that ended in 2004.

    I’m thankful for my canine companion Pepper. — Photo by Pat Bean

  21. My joy in learning new things.
  22. The unending support of My Story Circle Network writing colleagues.
  23. Readers of my blog.
  24. That I remember way more of the good things of my life than the bad.
  25. A good pair of comfortable shoes.
  26. Hot baths.
  27. That I can almost always find a silver lining when shit happens.
  28. Good blank journals to fill with my daily thoughts.
  29. Jean and Dusty, my apartment complex loving and supportive friend and her dog, who is my dog’s best friend.
  30. The Internet, which quickly helps answer most of my many curious questions.
  31. Hugs.
  32. The readers who reviewed Travels with Maggie.
  33. Trees and their shade on a hot Tucson day.
  34. Butterflies.,
  35. Board and card games.
  36. Ice Cream.
  37. That life still holds surprises,
  38. A good pen.
  39. Air conditioning.
  40. A good cup of cream-laced coffee to start my days.
  41. Wildflowers.
  42. Bright colors that radiate cheerfulness.
  43. Wolves that have returned to Yellowstone.
  44. Smiles and belly laughs.
  45. A comfortable bed and soft blankets.
  46. Skin moisturizers.
  47. The Writer2Writer online forum I moderate for Story Circle members.
  48. Interesting and meaningful conversations with pleasant people.
  49. My dabbling with watercolor painting.
  50. British mysteries, both books and TV shows.
  51. Sitting on my balcony and watching a summer storm as it waters the desert.
  52. National and state parks.
  53. Rainbows.
  54. Staying up until 2 a.m. with an old friend and reliving good times.
  55. The magic moment between night and dawn when the world is all shades of gray.

    I’m thankful for dandelions and butterflies. — Photo by Pat Bean

  56. Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park, which is my most special place in the whole world.
  57. Landscaped gardens with the work all done by someone else.
  58. Museums.
  59. A gurgling stream to sit by and simply enjoy.
  60. Electricity.
  61. Audible books.
  62. Old, gnarly live oak trees.
  63. Honking geese.
  64. Clean water to drink. Not everybody has it.
  65. The right to vote, and drive, and be independent, which all women in the world should have.
  66. That there’s enough undeveloped land nearby so that I occasionally hear coyotes howl at night.
  67. My GPS, which I only have had for the past four years – and maps, which I still use.
  68. A good haircut, both for myself and my dog Pepper.
  69. Happy hour on my balcony with a good friend and a Jack and Coke.
  70. My favorite stainless-steel cooking pot.
  71. Mexican food.
  72. Being called Nana by grandkids and great-grandkids.
  73. That I finally like myself.
  74. The black ravens that perch on the red tile roof and are visible when I sit at my bedroom desk.
  75. Scented candles.
  76. My computer.
  77. Funky earrings.
  78. Tucson’s offering of live community playhouses.
  79. Making a new friend.
  80. Bra-less days, which get more numerous with each passing year.
  81. Jean’s chocolate chip cookies.
  82. Memories of my mother and grandmother.
  83. Fireworks that light up a night sky.
  84. Hiking trails – short ones these days,
  85. Nature, travel and wildlife photographers who brings the beauty of the world to my living room.
  86. My daily walks with my dog Pepper.
  87. Tucson’s late falls, winters, and early springs, when the weather is almost always perfect.
  88. Old friends and family members who visit me in Tucson.

    I’m thankful for good friends.

  89. A dependable car and that I am comfortable driving.
  90. An occasional manicure and pedicure.
  91. Facebook, because I get to see photos of distant family.
  92. A comfortable recliner and good lamp to read by.
  93. Full-moon nights.
  94. The New York Times, which I read every morning.
  95. My easy-to-use digital camera that takes great photos.
  96. The public library.
  97. And last, but certainly not least, each and every member of my large family who give meaning to my life and make me feel loved. At latest count, my family includes five children and their spouses, 15 grandchildren and their spouses or partners, and six great-grandchildren (soon to be seven). I am indeed blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!   



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