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Scott’s Oriole — Wikimedia photo

A Colorful Walk

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Walking my canine companion Scamp early every morning is both a chore and a pleasure. Living in a third-floor apartment with no yard means it’s something that must be daily done – and at the first glimpse of dawn when I’m awakened by a dog sticking his cold nose in my face. If that doesn’t work, Scamp drapes his 40-pound body on top of mine and begins to whine.

You can read more about Maggie and her adventures with her mistress in Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon.

I have no choice but to get up, throw on some clothes and get his leash. Every morning I do this, I think of my former dog Maggie. She, as anyone who knew her would tell you, was a spoiled brat, but she liked to sleep in and so I got to wake up at my leisure not hers.

But by the time Scamp and I are going down the stairs, often with the moon still visible in the morning sky, the pleasure of being out and about so early, with rarely another soul in sight, takes hold of me.

After Scamp waters a tree, he begins a slow exploratory stop-and-go trot to the dog park where he likes to do his more serious business. We live at the top of the apartment complex and it’s at the bottom, leaving me with plenty of time to observe the sights around me.

The first thing that caught my attention this morning were eight white-winged doves sitting on a utility line. Mostly all I could see were dark profiles, emphasizing their individual shapes. Six looked exactly alike while one appeared skinnier and one fatter, the latter with a tail a bit longer than the others. Seven of the doves were facing away from me, but the one at the farthest edge faced toward me. I wondered what they were all thinking.

As we turned a corner, my eye was then caught by three large round bushes that were covered in bright purple flowers. The bushes had been trimmed a few days earlier by the apartment’s gardeners, and it seemed to me as if they had simply bloomed overnight. Or had I simply not seen them the day before?

The color purple always stops me for a better look when I see it in nature. Pictured here is a Rose of Sharon blossom.

Finally, Scamp — whom I let lead during his morning walks because once the day warms his walks are quick and short because this old broad doesn’t do well in the heat – headed back to our apartment for his breakfast. My own mind at this point was focused on the cup of cream-laced coffee that awaited me.

But as we began walking up the stairs, I got distracted by some movement in a nearby tree. I stopped to look more closely and was rewarded with a flash of yellow and black before a bird flew directly in front of me. It was a Scott’s oriole. While common in Southeast Arizona, one doesn’t see this oriole species often. As an avid birder I was thrilled at the sight – and immediately forgave Scamp for waking me so early.

Bean Pat: As one who wants to identify all the plants I see on my walks, I love this blog. Perhaps you will, too. https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/

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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“You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln.

A small bit of protection for monarch butterflies is my silver lining for today. If I’m going to face reality, I will also need to find a bit of good in the world to keep me sane.

If not wearing a mask while carrying an American flag in a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters, and then purposely coughing on one of the peaceful protesters, is considered patriotic, then I am living in the wrong country.

The above incident actually happened here in Tucson. What has this world evolved into?

When did so many Americans become so hateful? As a person who is always looking for a silver lining, will I be able to find one among the current cacophony of hateful voices? These are questions I’m asking myself this morning.

I’m also asking myself what can I do as an 81-year-old former journalist to halt the hateful acts I see going on around me. Since beginning this blog 11 years ago, I have written nearly 2,000 posts. With rare exceptions, they have all been upbeat and positive.

Perhaps it’s time I lost my Pollyanna persona, which truly is the majority portion of my being, and dipped into the part of myself that writes about the darker side of life that goes on around me – the side I didn’t ignore as a working journalist,

Perhaps I should now take this blog to the political side.

But I am not going to blame Trump for the actions of the American people. I don’t believe in the blame game. While our president often makes me cringe because of his behavior, and even ashamed to belong to the same human race as he, the woman who coughed on another person in these days of the coronavirus virus, is the only one responsible for her bullying, despiteful, hateful act.

But you can bet your life on it, I will not be voting for Trump.

Bean’s Silver-Lining Pat: A partnership of 45 companies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been formed to reduce the loss of monarch butterfly habitat in North America. Perhaps a drop in the bucket to the loss of other wildlife protections these days, but any step forward is one that I consider a 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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Blue Herons on a cold morning at Farmington Bay in Utah. Nature is what helps keep my blood pressure in check during these days of isolation, even if it’s just remembering past moments spent in the outdoors. — Photo by Pat Bean

“The survival of democracy depends on the ability of large numbers of people to make realistic choices in the light of adequate information.” – Aldous Huxley

From a Moderate Independent

I’m sick and tired of the blame game, politicians’ personal and hateful attacks on their opponents, and no one standing up and taking responsibility for their own acts when they’ve made a mistake.

I don’t expect the leaders of this country to be perfect, but I do think they should put what’s best for all of this country’s people ahead of their own welfare and personal agendas.

And I want to hear exactly what today’s candidates for office would do to improve things if they do gain leadership power, not just that they think their opponent is a slug, or whatever else name-calling they decide will get them elected.

As a former journalist who believed that it was not my duty to change the world but to inform the world, I’m sickened by those in the media today who distort facts, repeat lies, and take sides. These tactics weaken the real media’s role as a government watchdog, a role which some journalists still take seriously.

I’m also quite sick of slogans that mean absolutely nothing but are just words that sound good or patriotic.

To quote a well-known rant, I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore — even if all this old broad can do at this point in her life is to speak out against hate and lies and in favor of justice and kindness.

Anyone else out their want to join me?

Bean Pat: Isolation is getting to me. This blog, which looks to nature as a resource for these days, inspired me. https://windbreakhouse.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/spring-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/

 

available on Amazon

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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Morning Thoughts

When Scmp gets bored, he looks for things to shred. This morning it was two bookmarks. At least he doesn’t eat the pieces, and I get plenty of exercise picking up after him. — Photo by Pat Bean

With a cup of cream-laced coffee in hand, and my canine companion Scamp squeezed into my recliner with me, I continued my morning perusal of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotes, the first edition of which was published 165 years ago. Just for fun, I’ve been reading a couple pages a day of the old book.

It’s arranged chronologically and I’ve only gotten up to the 300 B.C.s. This morning’s reading included words by the

Theocritus — Wikimedia photo

Greek poet Theocritus’ His thoughts echoed in my own mind, speaking to an old broad who has finally slowed down and longs for peace in her life — which given the chaos in the world has been difficult to achieve.

Wrote Theocritus: “Sweet is the whispering music of yonder pine that sings. Our concern be peace of mind: some old

crone let us seek. To spit on us for luck and keep unlovely things afar. Cicala to cicala, and ant to ant, And kestrels dear to kestrels, but to me the Muse and song.

“The frog’s life is most jolly, my lads; he has no care … Who shall fill up his cup; for he has drink to spare … Verily, great grace may go. With a little gift; and precious are all things that come from friends.”

I thought it interesting that on the same page, Bion, another Greek poet, also mentioned frogs: “Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs do not die in sport, but in earnest.” A good point to ponder, I think.

And now I’ll go put up Bartlett until tomorrow morning, and go walk Scamp, He has been looking at me with injured eyes because I have been ignoring him.

I wonder if Theocritus and Bion ever used a dog as an analogy in their writings?”

Bean Pat: Never Assume https://forestgardenblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/23/sunday-dinner-never-assume/ My thoughts exactly.

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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“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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Early morning view of Mount Lemmon taken while walking Scamp. — Photo by Pat Bean

          “Everybody should have a shelter dog. It’s good for the soul.” – Paul Shaffer

Who Needs a Gym Membership?

          Scamp, my rowdy, half-trained canine companion, wakes me shortly before 6 a.m., impatiently eager for our morning walk. He snuggles next to me and kisses my face sweetly. He is always sweet in the morning. I scratch behind his ears, run my hands over his furry body, and rub the night boogers away from his eyes.

And then, to complete our morning ritual, I ask him if he’s ready for our walk. His reply is to wiggle all over, give me one last sloppy kiss, and then to hop down from the bed, but only after I have at least one foot on the floor. I don’t think he trusts that I really will get up.

Can’t you put your shoes on faster? I imagine Scamp asking as he waits for his morning walk. –Photo by Pat Bean 

Scamp then paces around me as I throw on some clothes, and lies in front of me as I sit in my living room recliner to put on my shoes and lace them up. This latter behavior is much appreciated. I adopted Scamp as an eight-month-old from a rescue shelter in May, and for the next two months, he kept attacking my feet as I tried to put on my shoes.

With a good grip on his leash, I open the door and tell him to wait before we walk down three flights of stairs. He is slowly learning to do that, but I always hang on to the railing as we go down. Sometimes he’s still too much of a puppy to go at my pace.

Once down, Scamp takes a long pee, and I praise him, thankful that he is now sleeping all through the night without a potty break. Then we take a meandering walk through my large apartment complex, with Scamp marking most trees as we pass them. He usually waits until we get to an upper courtyard level before doing his other business, which I dutifully pick up and dispose of at the pooper station.

Most mornings, it’s just the two of us out an about. It’s peaceful. I love the freshness of a morning with the sun peeking up from the horizons. We have resident great horned owls, and sometimes they are still up and, hooting from one of the tall trees. The morning view of Mount Lemmon, never quite the same, lifts my soul and prepares it for the day ahead.

If there are others up at this early hour, walking their dogs or heading off to work, Scamp wants to greet them. He’s become a favorite of many of the residents and mostly they stop and give him a pat or two.

Scamp, since I adopted him, has never met a human or a dog he doesn’t like. That makes up for a lot of his other faults, like pulling, chewing and demanding attention.

Once back in my apartment, I feed Scamp before brushing my teeth and making coffee for myself. Most mornings I drink my coffee on my third-floor balcony with a book in my hand and Scamp at my feet watching the world go by below.

I can’t think of a better way to start my day – which will include at least four more walks for Scamp and me. He and the stairs are this 80-year-old’s exercise plan – a rare one that can’t be skipped.

I count myself blessed.

Bean Pat: Writing myths https://ryanlanz.com/2019/10/05/6-myths-about-writing-2/ One of the writing blogs I follow.

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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Thorns

Beauty among the thorns. — Photo by Pat Bean

          You cannot show people only the petals and not the thorns. It’s not fair to them.” – Bethenny Frankel

Morning Chat

          Marianne Moore, an American poet born in 1887 whose work was rife with irony and wit, said: “Thorns are the best part of you.”

My younger self would have argued the point – until the day I noticed that my children were all in love with my mother. She was a person who had lots of thorns.

She was also a kind person, but the thorns, as Marianne proclaimed, were the best part of her.

It took a few more years, however, before I let my own thorns show. And that only happened when I realized that people would still like me, well at least the people who counted, if I were more than a smiling, agreeable twit who never said “No” to anyone’s request.

It seems I had only been pretending to be a goodie-two-shoes – and that probably lost me more friendships than it saved.

I still smile a lot, and try to be kind. But sometimes, as my close friends and telemarketers can testify, I can be a real bitch.

Bean Pat: Celery Bog https://pinolaphoto.com/2019/09/27/the-fall-migration-comes-to-the-celery-bog/ A walk among the birds I wish I could take.

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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Dang Those Extra 30 Pounds

It’s fall. I love pumpkin pie and my pumpkin soup. And I’m going to eat as much as I want. — Painting by Pat Bean

          “Embrace what you have. Say, ‘Belly, you might be poking out today, but I’m going to choose to love you and nurture you.” – Ashley Graham

Morning Chat

          As I’m rereading my journals from the 1990s, I find myself frequently coming across instructions to not eat so much, to get serious about losing weight, t0 exercise more, and numerous promises to myself to follow this or that dieting plan.

As a young girl, I was on the skinny side and stayed that way, even through five pregnancies, until I hit about 30. I then spent the next 20 or so years at a weight that felt right for me. But when I hit my 50s, I began adding pounds, eventually about the 30 extra that I still carry around today.

I can starve myself for two weeks, then look at food and I’m back where I started. I finally realized that if I ate reasonably sensible, but never denied myself anything I truly wanted, my weight didn’t fluctuate. Over the past 15 years since I retired, my weight has not varied by more than five pounds, and that was downward, and might have had something to do with the numerous trips I make up and down three flights of stairs every day.

Today my weight only varies by one or two pounds — no matter what I eat. It seems my body wants those extra 30 pounds and there is not much I can do about it other than starve myself and be miserable. But since I enjoy cooking and eating, and am not a martyr, I have come to love my body just the way it wants to be — and to be thankful to it for all the good times it has given me.

I think I must have started down this path on April 5, 1998, when I wrote in my journal: “I need to walk more for my soul, and less for exercise.”

          Bean Pat: https://westwardwewander.com/ If you like traveling, nature and hiking, you’ll love this blogger

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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Cats I Have Known

A painting I did of my cat Chigger. She was a black and orange tortoise-shell cat with lots of personality. She loved to sit on the laps of visitors, especially if they were allergic to cats, as was my old friend and co-worker Charlie. 

          “I’m curious. Period. I find everything interesting. Real life. Fake Life. Flowers. Cats. But mostly people. If you keep your eyes open and your mind open, everything can be interesting.” Agnes Varda

Morning Chat

          I grew up with dogs and thought I didn’t like cats. That feeling was confirmed when my nine-year-old daughter, Deborah, brought home a black cat that she said had followed her home from school. Maybe, maybe not.

The cat across the way who prompted me to write this blog. — Photo by Pat Bean

She named her Mai Ling, and she was the nastiest meanest cat I have ever known. She hid under the couch and scratched people’s ankles as they passed by – and she jumped on people in the middle of the night.

But my daughter loved her and so the cat stayed – until she adopted another home down the street. My daughter brought her back a couple of times but she always went back. I think our home was one she simply adopted temporarily after she tired of her home before ours.

Meanwhile, my kids – I had five of them – were always bringing home stray dogs, which we took in until we could find a home for them. One day, however, they brought in this skinny, bedraggled, ugly cat. I knew before we could find it a home, we would have to fatten it up a bit. But by the week’s end, the whole family had fallen in love with this cat, and we kept her.

After a few more weeks, just as the ugly duckling turned into a swam, our ugly cat turned into a beautiful calico that lived with us for many years. We named her Kitirick, after the Houston TV Channel 13 KTRK’s mascot Kitirick. The sexy, black-cat dressed mascot was played by Wanda Louise Orsak.

A collage of cats from one of my art journals.c

The next cat I came to love was a 17-pound, cross-eyed Siamese with an overbite. He was the first family animal that liked me best, and his favorite sleeping spot was my pillow — right next to my head. We named him Emperor Sock-It-To-Me in honor of the TV show >Laugh In.” But we just called him Imp.

The last cat in my life came into my life on Christmas Eve in 1982. My son, Lewis, was on leave from the Army and had found a tiny kitten abandoned on a snowy canyon road. He dropped her into my lap and said, “Merry Christmas Mom.

She was tiny and cute, and I thought of naming her something sweet and pretty, like Crystal or Tiffany. I went to bed thinking about what her name should be; I had a lot of waking time to think because she wanted to play all night. By morning, I knew her name was going to be Chigger, because nothing is peskier than chiggers.

I had her until she died in 1999, leaving my then canine companion, Peaches, depressed. While in the company of humans, Peaches pretended the cat didn’t exist. But after Peaches became deaf, I would often come home from work and find the two animals curled up together on my bed.

So why am I writing about cats this morning? Because I’m staring at one in a window across from my balcony.

Bean Pat: To all the people out there who take good care of their cats, and other pets as well. Not much makes my blood boil hotter than someone who abuses animals.

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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