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As I trudge down the path of a new year, I will try to be respectful to everyone — OK, excluding nincompoops. — Photo by Pat Bean

          If we lose love and respect for each other, that is how we finally die.” – Maya Angelou

Morning Rant

          It was a Norman Rockwell painting depicting family that sent my blood pressure soaring yesterday. It wasn’t the painting itself, but the words posted beneath it by some nincompoop. “This is what the other side wants to destroy.”

I also hope to take the time to smell the flowers in the new year. — photo by Pat Bean

How rude, how ignorant, how disrespectful, how self-serving, I thought, I have friends and family on both sides. And no one whom I know wants to destroy families. To use an iconic dead artist whose work depicted the best of Americans in such a way disgusted me. And the idea that some people will buy into the nincompoop’s post frightens me.

Lately, I’ve been rereading Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series. I’m listening to the books on audible at night in bed. I love her world of spirit Companion horses and their chosen Heralds, and the philosophy of Valdemar in that there is no one right way.

I think my brain needs this kind of world to escape to so I can sleep at night because while I love my country, I am horrified at how it is being torn apart by too many people thinking only they are right.

`        Meanwhile, I have been pondering a word to focus on in the New Year. Last year it was Kindness. Lackey’s books, and the nincompoop’s post, finally decided me. My word for the new year is Respect. And I will hold on to Kindness, too.

While these two words won’t solve problems, perhaps they will help people come together, so together they can find solutions. You know me. I’m still looking for that silver lining.

Bean Pat: I can’t resist a best books list. https://bluchickenninja.com/2020/01/11/favourite-books-2010s/

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

 

Standing up for Myself

The beauty of mother nature in all her forms can sometimes bring tears to my eyes. —  American bitter art by Pat Bean

          A strong person is not the one who doesn’t cry. A strong person is the one who cries and sheds tears for a moment, then gets up and fights again.”

An Aha Moment

          It was the late 1960s, and I was juggling a dysfunctional marriage, five children ranging in age from four to 13, and working as a green-behind-the-ears, naïve reporter. I cried a lot at home, always being the one blamed when things weren’t to someone’s liking. I simply cried and apologized.

I cried a lot at work, too, although I hid these tears in the paper’s darkroom, where I had begun my 37-year journalism career processing camera film. City editor Roberta Dansby — whom I eventually came to credit with teaching me almost everything I needed to know about being an ethical journalist — yelled at me daily for two years for anything she considered I had done wrong.

Not wanting to be yelled at, I seldom committed the same error twice and learned a lot. But I clearly remember the day Roberta yelled at me for something I knew for sure wasn’t my fault. Without blinking an eye, I shocked myself by standing up and yelling right back at her across the newsroom.

That was the last time Roberta yelled at me, although I was under her tutelage for another two years.

It took me longer and a lot more tears before I finally stood up for myself at home, but eventually, I did. And life became much sweeter, even my tears. I continue to shed them, but most, these days, are tears of joy: A new great-grandchild, a magnificent sunset, the flash of sun on a red-tailed hawk’s feathers and a glimmer of hope that someday the world will be kinder.

*This post was prompted by my writing circle prompt to write about an aha moment.

Bean Pat: A rambling blog about Christmas cookies https://kjottinger.com/2019/12/28/wherein-pooh-is-quoted/ that made me laugh. I love laughing.

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

Was the sky tinged with yellow when I painted this scene or did I only remember it this way? — Art by Pat Bean

 

          The function of memory is not only to preserve but also to throw away. If you remembered everything from your entire life, you would be sick.” – Umberto Eco

Morning Chat about Memory

          Discussions of past events with family members and long-time friends were once awkward for me because I often didn’t remember things happening the same way the story-tellers did.

As time passed, I began noticing I wasn’t alone in this respect. I often heard people, especially husbands and wives and siblings, interrupt conversations by saying: “That’s not the way things happened.”

It was especially true in my own family so full of strong personalities.

I eventually came to realize that each individual experiences life differently, and even though the stories differ, each person is telling the truth as they remember it.

A compliment given by one person to two people might be received as just that by one of them, and as a snide remark by the other. I use that as an example because I’ve long been a person who ends up with her foot in her mouth rarely knowing why.

Meanwhile, as a long-time journal keeper who has recently begun rereading her words from the past, I got a good comeuppance this morning when I was doing just that. My own memory of an incident I thought I remembered clearly didn’t jibe with what I had written of the event the day it happened. My memory had several specifics quite wrong.

The only thing I could do about it was to laugh at myself. And laughter always makes life a bit easier to digest.

Bean Pat: Avoiding traffic jams https://johawkthewriter.com/2020/01/07/avoiding-traffic-jams-and-connecting-with-the-fast-lane-daily-quote/#like-5959 Making use one’s time is a smart idea.

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.

          “We ought to think we are one of the leaves of a tree, and the tree is all humanity. We cannot live without the others, without the tree.” Pablo Casals

The elephant and the baobab tree. — Photo by Kim Perrin

Morning Chat

Dredging up good memories of our shared 2007 trip to Kenya and Tanzania during my friend Kim’s visit over New Year’s had me looking back at the photos of our adventure this morning — while I was also pondering what to blog about today.

One of the photos I pulled up was the one above that Kim took of an elephant and a baobab tree. It takes a lot to make an elephant look small, I thought as I studied the snapshot, then found the notes I had jotted down about baobab trees.

A tree of a different kind, denoting how far to elsewhere. I think I took this photo of Kim at our stay in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Kim took the most photos on our trip, but I wrote the most notes. Together we made a good team. Anyway, my notes on the baobabs included one of the legends about why the tree looks as if grows upside down. Like an Aesop fable, it describes what happens if you are never satisfied with what you already have:

According to my notes, the baobab was among the first trees to appear on the land. Next came the slender, graceful palm tree. When the baobab saw the palm tree, it cried out that it wanted to be taller. Then the beautiful flame tree appeared with its red flower and the baobab was envious for flower blossoms. When the baobab saw the magnificent fig tree, it prayed for fruit as well. The gods became angry with the tree and pulled it up by its roots, then replanted it upside down to keep it quiet.

This story then reminded me of my favorite Garth Brooks’ quote: “Happiness isn’t getting what you want. It’s wanting what you got.”

My fingers on my computer keyboard took it from there. I had a blog, and my New Year’s resolution to blog every other day is still unbroken.

Bean Pat: To all tree huggers, of which I am one. And to the author of Miss Pelican’s Perch blog https://misspelicansperch.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/a-small-corner-in-my-realm/#like-5810 who sounds like a woman after my own heart.

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.

Tardy Intentions

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.

The Melodies of Christmas

“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.

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.