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Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

New Year’s Resolutions

          “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” — Mary Anne Radmacher

My dear friend Kim and I recalled memories as we sat around and drank Jack and Cokes on New Year’s Eve. One of the best was the hot air balloon trip we took together over the Serengeti in Africa. This was the balloon ahead of us.

It’s been the best of weeks and the worst of weeks, which is why I’m just now contemplating my New Year’s resolutions, I always make them, and I always break them,

Kim, me and her son Cory hiking Indian Trail above Ogden, Utah. Cory was still a baby when I first met him.

The best of the week was that a dear friend, who I’ve known now for over 40 years, flew in to celebrate the advent of the new year with me. The worst part was that my back went out of commission for a few days and I still had to walk my dog (and another I was babysitting) up and down three flights of stairs four times a day,

My youngest daughter used my woes to once against suggest I move to a ground floor apartment. Nope, I said. Those stairs and my dog, are my foolproof exercise plan. And I know from experience that my back gets better quicker if I continue to move around instead of lying around,

And thus, that silver lining that I’m always looking for happened. My back was back to its normal 80-year-old self after four days. Normal, if you hadn’t already guessed, is not the same as a younger back. It sometimes hurts and I can’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds without paying the consequence.

Kim and me just before we went skydiving to celebrate my 70th birthday.

But this old broad, who once ran everywhere, not only can live with that, but is thankful for all the blessings that living a slower life has brought: More time to observe nature, to learn new things, to read and write, and to connect the dots of 80 years of living.

As for that New Year’s resolution, I think Mary Anne Radmacher’s words cover all the basics:

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”

That’s a lot of New Year’s resolutions to break, although since I’ve already had a lot of practice trying to live them, they might be non-breakable.

Bean Pat: Old Plaid Camper https://oldplaidcamper.com/2020/01/03/fifteen-minutes/ Another blogger who looks for life’s silver lining.

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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“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind: To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – Calvin Coolidge

A cardinal, the Christmas bird, on a tree near my apartment balcony.

Morning Thoughts

I put up a tiny Christmas tree in my apartment a few days ago. Its true beauty only shines forth in the dark when its glowing lights twinkle and dazzle. As I looked at it this morning, I suddenly found myself thinking of one of the first songs I learned.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine … Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

I think I learned the repetitive tune at Vacation Bible School, back when I thought the world was a kinder place than it turned out to be. As my canine companion Scamp and I took our before sunrise walk, I continued thinking about what Christmas means to me today as an adult, whose only spiritual leaning is to believe that a higher power lives within each of us,

While many find that higher power, many never do, and I believe it is those who wreck havoc on the world. But for a day or two at Christmas, kindness seems to overflow even the hardest of hearts.

My favorite Christmas song is I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. And as corny as it is, I can’t hear it without wet eyes by the time it ends with the words: The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth goodwill toward men.

          Peace, what a beautiful word.

Bean Pat: To all the beautiful Christmas songs that promote peace on earth.

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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The Mystery of Disappearing Time

I can’t believe it is only five days until Christmas.

          “The trouble is, you think you have time.” Buddha

Only Five Days until Christmas

          Now that all but one of the packing boxes have been taken down to the recycling bin and things – including all that stuff I can’t understand where it came from — are mostly put in place, I took a deep breath this morning with my cream-laced coffee and realized Christmas is only five days away?

Scamp is a bewildered as I am about the disappearance of time, or so I imagine. This will be his first Christmas. I bought him a no-pull harness. But I think that is more of a Christmas gift for me than him. — Photo by Pat Bean

That’s just not possible, my confused brain said, despite the calendar’s confirmation. But then one of the most-used phrases in my journals, after a lapse of writing in them, is: Where in the heck has time disappeared?

          The big moving day to my new apartment was 16 days ago. I guess I just put everything on hold until I got resettled. Surely it didn’t take me over two weeks to do that?

As an old broad with more time behind her than ahead of her, the hours have become more precious with each passing day. I don’t want to lose a precious minute of them.

But growing older has also given me the wisdom to appreciate the positive more than the negative. And so, as I slowly sipped my coffee, I looked around at my new, larger, brighter digs, and gave myself a pat on the back for a job well done.

While Christmas might only be five days away, there is still time to do a little decorating. So, where in the heck did I put my Christmas decorations?

Bean Pat: Raindrops https://mybeautfulthings.com/2019/12/19/raindrops-another-leaf-and-love/ I like this blog because it reinforces my thinking that the little things in life are the most important.

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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A Change in Views

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” – Wayne Dyer

Oh, My Aching Back

In case you noticed my absence the past couple of weeks, I didn’t disappear into one of those new black holes scientists are discovering. I simply changed apartments. I moved from a third-floor, bottom of the hill apartment to a third-floor top of the hill apartment that is a bit bigger and a lot brighter.

Scamp helped in the move by tearing up paper and boxes use in the move. Once he located his toy box, he settled right in.

My poor aching back has come to appreciate the saying that aging isn’t for wimps. Now my poor aching back is telling me that moving isn’t a good idea for old broads with weak backs, even if they let someone else do all the heavy lifting – which I mostly did,

But I love my new place, and the views. Both my front and back balconies have trees close enough to make me feel as if I’m living in a tree house. And since I have a corner apartment, I also have two large windows that get the mid-morning sun. And, unlike most of my friend, I’m a person who loves change.

I had lived in my old apartment for seven years, which for me and my itchy feet seems like an eternity. I was ready for a change, and this one, while only a tiny move, gave me that. And my new location even comes with free wi-fi, a big savings for my fixed income.

After days of packing, then unpacking, I’m finally ready to get back to more writing and reading. As for my poor back, it’s going to get a steroid injection Monday.

Bean Pat: https://pinolaphoto.com/2019/12/18/a-quiet-morning-at-prophetstown-state-park/ The photo in Dave’s blog brought back the week I camped at Prophetstown State Park in Battle Ground, Indiana, where I also howled with wolves at Wolf Park. Dave’s photography blog has gotten him out and about now for eight years. Thanks for the good memories, Dave.

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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I am thankful that I once got to float across the Serengeti in a hot air balloon. — Photo by Pat Bean of the balloon ahead of the one she was riding in.  

          I am thankful the most important key in history was invented. It’s not the key to your house, your car, your goat, your safety deposit box, your bike lock or your private community. It’s the key to order, sanity and peace of mind. The key is Delete. – Elayne Boosler

A Slower Pace is Good

          Boosler’s quote reminded me of one of the many, many things I’m thankful for Laughter. Not only does it bring joy to my life, it lightens the load when the going gets tough, like when my 80-year-old back decides to act its age.

I’m thankful for every sunrise and sunset in my past — and future. — Photo by Pat Bean

I’m thankful that the years have not diminished my zest for life, although these days that’s more likely to be enjoying a good book than getting dumped out of a raft at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

I’m thankful for my large family, blood and heart-related equally, a few of whom worry about me these days. I’m very thankful they show their love for this imperfect Mom and Nana, but also take a perverse delight because I once worried a lot about the comings and goings of my children. But I do try to keep my guardian angel among them informed of my whereabouts as she kept track of me during my RV roaming days. Besides she’s a daughter-in-law whose youthful ways worried her parents, not me.

I’m thankful for my slower pace these days. I see more, take time to enjoy more and enjoy using my mind to connect the dots of my life. In earlier days, I ran instead of walked through life. Both travel modes have their season, but this slower pace is quite enjoyable.

I’m thankful for Scamp. I drove a thousand miles, roundtrip, to get him and this is a picture of our first meeting. — Photo by my dear friend Kim Perrin, who rescued him for me. .

I’m thankful for my canine companion Scamp, although he is turning out to be more of a wolfhound-mix than the schnauzer-mix the shelter claimed. He is closing onto 40 pounds, but he and my third-floor walk-up apartment are my alarm clock and exercise plan. I can’t imagine not having him my by side during the day, or curled up beside me at night. I’m finally even getting around to convincing him I‘m his alpha. It takes a quiet voice and a staredown. Scamp’s saving grace is that he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body, and he has yet to meet another person or dog he doesn’t like on sight. Every 80-year-old needs a challenge in life – and currently, he’s mine.

I’m thankful for books, and the actual time these days as a retired being to read more of them than in my younger years.

I’m thankful for the friends I’ve accumulated over the years and the new ones I’ve made since moving to Tucson. They daily bring joy to my life.

I’m thankful for butterflies and flowers, and all other miracles of Mother Nature. — {hoto by Pat Bean.

I’m thankful for the journals I have kept over the years. They remind me that I’ve lived a full life. I’m also thankful that there is still more life in me and more journals out there for me to fill.

I’m thankful for the joy and peace Nature still brings into my heart with its majestic mountains, awesome trees, winding canyons, desert landscapes, and colorful sunrises and sunsets. Mother Nature keeps my soul sane in these chaotic, polarized days.

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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“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.” — Philip Marlow as created by Raymond Chandler in Farewell, My Lovely

Crows: Their flock name is A Murder. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

So Many Lists, So Little Time

I frequently come across lists of recommended books to read, from 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die to The 50 Best Travel Books. There is even a book about book lists, aptly titled A Book of Book Lists: A Bibliophile’s Compendium,

Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep was on one of these lists, so I checked it out of the Library. The book, published the year I was born, with its cynical private eye Philip Marlow, was made into a movie in 1946 starring Humphrey Bogart as Marlow and Lauren Bacall as the leading lady.

As a sample of Chandler’s Marlow character, here are a few bits of his dialog:

“She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.”

“It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.”

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep.

           “A really good detective never gets married.”

           “The kind of lawyer you hope the other fellow has.”

           “When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.”

“The streets were dark with something more than night.”

Chandler wrote seven and a half Marlow novels with the eighth finished by Robert B. Parker (whose Spenser books I also love) after Chandler’s death. Parker died in 2010.

Perhaps because I picked up Sue Grafton’s D is for Deadbeat (published 1987) to read right after I finished The Big Sleep, I decided Grafton probably had might have been influenced by Chandler’s books because I saw similarities between Grafton’s protagonist Kinsey Millhome and Philip Marlow. Both are no-nonsense characters with a strong sense of morals, their own if not society’s, and fiercely independent.

Says Kinsey in V is for Vengence: “I know there are people who believe you should forgive and forget. For the record, I’d like to say I’m a big fan of forgiveness as long as I’m given the opportunity to get even first.” And in F is for Forgiveness: I pictured a section of the ladies’ auxiliary cookbook for Sudden Death Quick Snacks… Using ingredients one could keep on the pantry shelf in the event of tragedy.”

Grafton, meanwhile, was more prolific than Chandler, getting all the way up to Y in her alphabetical murder series before she died two years ago. But even she wasn’t as prolific as another of my favorite dead mystery authors, Agatha Christi. Her characters, the egotistical Hercule Poirot (“Hercule Poirot’s methods are his own. Order and method, and ‘the little gray cells.” – The Big Four), and the old pussy Miss Marple (“Everybody in St. Mary Mead knew Miss Marple; fluffy and dithery in appearance, but inwardly as sharp and as shrewd as they make them.” — 4:50 from Paddington) have enthralled me almost as long as I’ve been reading, which is well over half a century.

So, what are you reading?

Bean Pat: To all the authors, dead and alive, whose characters and thoughts and knowledge have enriched my life. Thank you!

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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Western Kingbird: Along with reading books on writing, I also love to read books on birding. Kenn Kaufman’s Kingbird Highway is one of my favorites.

“Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that’s no reason not to give it.” – Agatha Christie

Morning Chat

          I’m a big fan of books about writing and the writing life, beginning with E.B. White’s 100-year-old classic The Elements of Style.

Among my favorites are Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life; On Writing by Stephen King; Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg: and The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr.

These writers have offered me some very good advice, but also lots of other advice that doesn’t work for me. I thought about this as I finished reading Dani Shapiro’s book, Still Writing. It was full of good writing tips, but as one who has been writing for the past 55 years, I know only about half of her advice would work for me.

For one thing, she’s a lock yourself in the room and stay there and write kind of person. I’m more like Barbara Kingsolver, who calls herself a writer who does other things. Staying active and busy, but with some time for thinking and writing, works best for me.

Even so, the best writing advice of all times is simply: Butt in chair. Well, unless you write standing up.

What’s your favorite book on writing? Inquiring minds want to know.

Bean Pat: A blog about a western kingbird http://www.10000birds.com/a-western-kingbird-at-jones-beach. If you’re a birder, check out Kenn Kaufman’s Kingbird Highway. I once birded with Kenn (at the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival) and the first bird of the day was a western kingbird.

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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