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Weekend Friendship Catch Up

There is nothing on this earth to be prized more than true friendship.” – Thomas Aquinas

Kim and me just before we jumped out of an airplane to celebrate my 70th birthday.

            “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.,” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Required Sleep Catch Up on Tuesday

            The text from my friend Kim, whom I met 39 years ago, simply said: What are you doing this weekend?

My immediate reply was: Hopefully spending it with you.  And then the telephone rang, and while we talked, she booked a cheap flight from Ogden, Utah, to Phoenix. I was more than happy to drive the two hours to the airport to pick her up.

Kim with a new friend just before we left for our African Safari. — Photo by Pat Bean

Kim and I were work colleagues; rafting and hiking buddies; travel companions (including a 16-day African Safari); and adventure cohorts. One of our best escapades was sky-diving on my 70th birthday, and another was an all-day unpaved, muddy road trip up Nine Mile Canyon in which we got lost, and had to scrape mud off the headlights of her new four-wheel-drive SUV to see to get back down the canyon. We finally made it back to town at midnight– starving. We also climbed to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion during a snowstorm one year.

This past weekend, Kim got my lazy butt out of my armchair, and up to Kitt Peak National Observatory, followed by dinner at my youngest daughter’s new home in Tucson. Kim knew Trish from when I first started working at the Standard-Examiner newspaper in December of 1979. Back then, my daughter was a rebellious teenager, and I would vent loudly about her occasionally at work. For my part, I watched Kim’s son go from diapers to fatherhood, and today claim him as one of my own.

Kim first came into my life when I was a fairly new single parent, and beginning to try out my unbound wings for the first time. It was a surprise to both of us that we became friends and adventure partners. But the joke between us eventually became that we would always have to be friends as we knew where each other’s skeletons were buried.

Kim and me hamming it up at the photo booth at her son’s wedding reception.

Anyway, Kim’s second day here in Tucson, we drove through Saguaro National Park, which is right next door to where I live – but which I hadn’t yet visited. Then we took in a show, “The Vampire,” at the Gaslight Theater, which had both of us roaring with laughter. There were also a couple of 3 a.m. nights in which Kim and I sat up talking and sipping Jack and Cokes.

By the time I got back home from taking her to the airport on Monday, I was pooped – but feeling mightily blessed for having, and keeping, despite time and distance, such a good friend.

And that was my weekend. I hope everyone else had as good of a one.

Bean Pat: Marfa, Texas https://mrspadillystravels.com/actual-contact-marfa-texas/   As a native Texan with a penchant for oddities, this is a site I will visit the next time I visit family in the Lone Star State. It reminds me of Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo. Thanks for sharing Mrs. Padilly,

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

What Life Has Taught Me

Completing a painting, whether it’s good or not, makes me feel happy. — Crow by Pat Bean

“If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.” — Richard Bach

20 Things that Make Me Happy

I’m not one to give advice. The choices I’ve made in my own life have not always been perfect, and often disastrous. But I was recently thinking about things that have made my life better, which I did feel good about sharing. I came up with the following.

Having a dog and walking her daily:

Not taking anything personal unless it makes me feel better.

Realizing people are more concerned about how they look than how I look.

Writing and bird watching.

Watching birds, like this snowy egret, makes me happy, too. — Photo by Pat Bean.

Believing in myself.

Accepting that I’m not perfect – and even prefer it that way.

Learning something new every day.

Getting enough sleep, but not occasionally missing out on a special opportunity to keep going until I drop.

Smiling

Hugging someone

Laughing often and loud, especially at myself

Beating a pillow with a tennis racket when I’m frustrated, or simple screaming the anger out.

Eating chocolate

Taking a hike in the mountains, or forest, or beside a stream, or on an ocean beach.

Completing a project.

Saying no when I don’t want to do something.

Not breaking promises to myself.

Giving myself credit for reaching goals, like finally publishing my travel book or simply finishing a painting.

Doing something I’ve never done before.

Watching sunrises and sunsets.

So, what’s on your list?

Bean Pat: Live to Write https://nhwn.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/write-now/#like-18435 Good advice for us writers.

Now available on Amazon

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

 

Going Back in Time

             “One of the best ways to make yourself happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past. Photos are a great memory prompt…”  — Gretchen Rubin

Salvaging Old Slides

This was the slide my son attached in his email to me today. It’s from a rafting trip I took down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1991. A friend took the photo with my camera. Looking at it makes me happy.

I used to take color slides with my great, old Canon camera because they were cheaper than having prints made.  Yes, that was a long time ago, well before the days of my great, point and shoot digital Canon that I use today. No, I don’t take pictures with my phone.

These days I paint as much as I shoot photographs, and this is my latest piece. I call it bird watching. — Painting by Pat Bean

Over time, the slides and an antique slide projector that I used to view them, got packed in a box and stored away. I kept telling myself I was going to go through the slides one day and figure out which were worth saving in an easier-to-view form. The idea stayed in my head for years until I finally figured out that it wasn’t a task I wanted to do, and accepted that I would never get around to doing it.

I asked my oldest son, D.C., if he was interested. He was. So, I packed the whole shebang up and took it to him when I visited Texas in July.

Earlier today I got an email from him with one of the photos attached, and a note letting me know he had just finished scanning the last of about 1,000 slides. He told me he had bought a special slide scanner for the task.

Along with all the nature shots I had taken were a lot of family photos,  including graduations, weddings and vacation photos, my son said. He’s now going to put them on USB memory sticks and will share them.

I think looking at them is going to make me very happy.

Bean Pat: Breezes at Dawn  https://breezesatdawn.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/a-monday-meander-elemental/  This blog is another photo treat, especially for nature lovers.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

Two Sad Days

“Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time… It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other.’ — Leo Buscaglia

My friend, writing colleague and mentor Debra, living life to the fullest while she lay in her hospital bed shortly before her death. I love her dearly and will miss her forever.

Life Goes On

Today is the 17th anniversary of 9-11 in which 2,996 people died. Yesterday I learned of the too-young death of a writer colleague who was one of the most giving and kind people to become a part of my life.

Life is simply not fair. But I know my friend would be disappointed in  me if I let her death drag me down. And I suspect that this is the same for everyone who ever lost a loved one – be it 17 years ago, or just yesterday.

I was city editor at the Standard-Examiner on 9-11, and helped put out the sad news on that fateful day.

It is what I know I want from my friends and family when my times comes. Celebrate my life, not my death.

None of us truly know when our time will be up on this earth. Once I accepted this, I began to appreciate just how precious every moment is. My goal is to try and live every moment to the fullest. While I know every moment can’t be productive and perfect, I know I am still blessed to have had it – and thankful to have had it, too.

Bean Pat: It’s time to smile now, and you can do this by reading Emily Dickinson’s Refrigerator

https://tricksterchase.com/2018/09/10/emily-dickinsons-refrigerator/?wref=pil And may my soul always be blessed by laughter, especially when I laugh at myself.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

“There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil: Remain detached from the great.” – Walter Lippmann.

.

I was just playing around with some new watercolors when I painted this. It looks a bit befuddled, just as I was as a fledgling reporter.

            “As anchorman of the CBS Evening News, I signed off my nightly broadcasts for nearly two decades with a simple statement: ‘And that’s the way it is.’ To me, that encapsulates the newsman’s highest ideal: to report the facts as he sees them, without regard for the consequences or controversy that may ensue.” — Walter Cronkite

When Nixon Ran for President

            I was a daily newspaper journalist for 37 years, and proud of it. I slipped in the back door of a small Texas Gulf Coast newspaper in 1967 and spent the next four years going from a darkroom flunky to the paper’s top reporter. That experience, in both my eyes and that of future employers, was worthy of any college degree.

 

I finally got the hang of reporting, but not sure about my watercoloring.

I subscribed to the ethics of truth and fair presentation of both sides of an issue to the degree that some of my colleagues labeled me the conscience of the newsroom. I believed it was my duty to report the goings on of the world, not to change it.

But before I gained this lofty attitude, I was a naïve, green-behind-the-ears woman who had spent the previous 11 years of her life-changing diapers and seeing the world through Pollyanna’s rose-colored classes, which led to me doing something that in some eyes today might be called Fake News.

It was a writing prompt – Write about something that most people don’t know about yourself – for the Writer2Writer online forum that I moderate, which revived the memory. And remembering horrified me, but also made me almost pee myself laughing.

Richard Nixon was running for president back then, and a rally for him was held in my home town of Lake Jackson, Texas. People turned out with tall vertical banners with Nixon’s name spelled from top to bottom. There were a lot of these look-alike signs, which I’m sure some supporter had made and handed out.

I was both reporter and photographer for the event, and would both write up the story and develop and print the picture to run with it when I got back to the office. Lo and behold, I was crushed when I saw the photograph I had taken. The prominent banner in the picture had been put together upside down. Instead of NIXON, it read NOXIN.

A few years later in my career, I would have been delighted to have caught such a boo-boo, and have it published, too. But back then, I felt as if it was my personal mistake for not taking a better photograph. So, I printed the picture, cut the sign out, turned it right side up, and pasted it back on. And that’s the version that ran in the newspaper. I never told anyone this story until now.

Some years later, in the late 1970s, when I was a reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and after Nixon had resigned, the former president made a public appearance at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. I covered that story, and the piece I wrote ran above the fold in the newspaper. Thankfully, the paper sent a photographer along with me for the story.

Bean Pat: The promise of fall https://maccandace.wordpress.com/2018/08/26/the-promise-of-fall/?wref=pil

Now available on Amazon

 

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

Great-Granddaughter Cora

Road Trip: Austin to San Antonio

“Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.” — Sharon Draper

Cora is now a month old. And she still has adorable fat cheeks.

 

My great-granddaughter Cora was born in San Antonio while I was attending the Stories from the Heart writing conference in Austin. I got the news from my daughter and Cora’s grandmother T.C., and it came with the information that the baby had gotten stuck in the birth canal and was born with a broken shoulder, and perhaps some other problems.

Cora, Ben, Heidi and Marshall. One happy family, which warms this Nana’s heart. 

I was worried and heartbroken.

So, when I walked into my granddaughter Heidi’s home four days later and heard Cora crying as her dad, Ben, changed a poopy diaper, the sound was as grand as any musical concert I had ever attended.

It was a normal baby’s cry, and my heart was full to overflowing with joy when Cora was transferred to my arms, and curiously looked up into my face. Her shoulder, Heidi said, hadn’t been broken only dislocated, and everything else was fine.

I held her for most of the rest of the afternoon, constantly amazed at this tiny bit of new life with fat loveable cheeks.  Cora alternated between looking around at her new world, eating, and sleeping. I felt like the luckiest great-grandmother in the world.

While Cora will have to get reacquainted with me the next time I see her, which might be this Christmas, the afternoon I spent with her is a precious memory that pushed my happiness meter to the exploding point.

It was the perfect ending for my three-week road trip.

Bean Pat: Even if the umbrella is not big enough https://yadadarcyyada.com/2018/08/22/umbrella/?wref=pil An upbeat blog that put a big smile on my face.

Now available on Amazon

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

 

Road Trip: Austin   

‘Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.” – Ann Landers

Photo from 2016 Stories from the Heart Conference with vivacious Debra Weingarten at the head of the table cheering us on. Sadly, she was missing this year.

My road trip to Texas, so far, had been a family thing, reconnecting with distant loved ones, and spending cherished time together with lots of hugs. My four-day stay in Austin to attend Story Circle Network’s Stories from the Heart Writing Conference was just as full of love and hugs.

Though not related by blood, I considered the other female participants – from  SCN  founder and award-winning author Susan Wittig Albert, whose published books are almost too many to count, to writers who were still hoping to be published – my sisters.

Without many of these women in attendance here in Austin, and other members scattered across the world, my own book, Travels with Maggie, would never have been published.

I first discovered Story Circle Network in 2010 when I saw an ad in Writer’s Digest for the Stories from the Heart Conference. I have not missed one of the conferences, which is held every other year, since.

I was on my second draft of Travels with Maggie when I first joined the organization for women writers, and was trying to give my book the voice which critiques said it lacked. In the first draft, I had tried to disguise that I was an old broad. Story Circle gave me the confidence to realize that being an old broad, and still having a zest for life, was the unique voice the book needed. And then when the book was finally finished to my satisfaction, and with the very generous help of SCN member Sherry Wachter, it was my SCN sisters who lent me their confidence to publish it.

To be among these women, my sisters, was every bit as heartfelt as being with my blood relatives.  The only thing missing was my marketing mentor, the vivacious Debra Weingarten, who sadly was in the hospital with terminal cancer. This award-winning author and publisher’s high energy, overwhelming love and always-upbeat attitude were missed by everyone at the conference who knew her.

It was important for me to hold Debra’s hand, and SCN’s beautiful new president, Jeanne Guy, made it happen. Together we skipped out of the conference to visit Debra, who was weak and soft-spoken as she lay in her hospital bed — but smiling through the pain.

Even as I write this, I can still feel Debra’s hand in mind, and her love and support for me, and for all of my other Story Circle sisters.

Thankfulness fills my heart for having found Story Circle Network, and such wonderful women as Susan, and Jeanne and Sherry and Debra, and all the many other wonderful women whom I now consider sisters.

I now serve on the board for the organization, and during a board meeting that had me staying over an extra day after the conference ended, I learned my worth.

According to Susan Albert, SCN had paid $450 for the Writer’s Digest ad that had caught my attention – and I was the only person who responded.

“It was a worthwhile investment,” Susan said. Of course, that made me feel good, but then that’s how I felt from the first to the last sisterly hug I got at the conference – and there were many.

Bean Pat: A Cat Story: https://windagainstcurrent.com/2018/08/18/the-cat-that-found-me/?wref=pil

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com