Posts Tagged ‘family’

“There’s always failure. And there’s always disappointment. And there’s always loss. But the secret is learning from the loss, and realizing that none of those holes are vacuums.”  –Michael J. Fox

Me with my granddaughter Shanna and grandson David, who is my oldest grandchild, at Sue Ellen’s for my book signing party.

Sh-ee-it Happens Among the Good Times

After spending a few days with my two sons and their families in West Columbia and Lake Jackson, and having a delightful fish dinner on the beach, I was off again, this time to Dallas, to visit my daughter, Deborah, and other family members.

Three generations of women:: My daughter Deborah with her daughter Shanna and me.

Having lived on the coast for 15 years during the ’50s, ‘60s and “70s, with parents living in Dallas, I didn’t need a map for the 300-mile journey, which would take me straight through the middle of downtown Houston during the morning rush hour. Even after I had moved away, I ended up still having friends and family on the Gulf Coast and family in Dallas, so it’s a drive I’ve made almost yearly since I left home at the age of 16.

In earlier years, the trip was made on Highway 75, which was under constant construction, and which was eventually eaten up by Interstate 45, just as the old Route 66 was eaten up by Interstate 40, which now winds its way between California and North Carolina.

In recent years, getting through Houston has always given me a sense of satisfaction that I could still make the drive while remaining cool and calm in the midst of multiple lanes, which oft times were full of idiotic drivers out to get me – as it was this particular morning.

Once on the north side of the huge metroplex, I breathed a sigh of relief, and stopped at a Flying J and its Denny’s for breakfast. Although I had promised myself when I first started the trip that I would write in my journal daily, this was the first time I had pulled it out since I had left Tucson. I tried to recapture all the events that had happened while I waited for the eggs Benedict I had ordered.

The breakfast was excellent, but soon I was back on the road heading to Dallas.

I was going to stay at my daughter’s, but my son Michael made an unexpected trip to visit his sister, and so I ended up staying at my granddaughter’s so everyone could have a comfortable bed. It all worked out well, and I was delighted to get to spend a bit of time with my youngest son as well as my oldest daughter, her husband Neal, and their two children, my granddaughter, Shanna, and my grandson, David.  We played board games and laughed a lot.

Shanna and her wife, Dawn, and I played numerous games of Frustration in the evenings, and the two held a book signing party for me at Sue Ellen’s, where I sold a few copies of Travels with Maggie to their friends.

The day before I left, I finally found a few minutes again to catch up on my journal. Sadly, when I couldn’t find it, I realized I had left it at the Denny’s in Houston, 250 miles in the opposite direction from where I was next headed.

It was a sad loss, and a logistics problem that I have not yet been able to solve.  Sometimes, even in the best of times, sh-ee-it happens!

Now available on Amazon

Bean Pat: Theodore Roosevelt National Park https://naturehasnoboss.com/2018/08/13/room-to-roam-2/?wref=pil  Enjoy the views.

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

Read Full Post »

             “The Early bird gets the worm. The early worm … gets eaten.” – Norman Ralph Augustine

It was peaceful and quiet at the Matagorda County Bird Nature Center, where rare time spent with a son was even more important than the lovely scenery and the birds. — Photo by Pat Bean


A Day for the Birds

The greatest number of bird species ever reported in one U.S. county in a single day is 250.  The day was December 19, 2005, and the place was Matagorda County, Texas, according to Wikipedia.

This yellow-crowned night heron patiently posed for his portrait. — Photo by Pat Bean,

Knowing this bit of trivia, it was an easy decision when my son asked me where I wanted to go birding, which is how he and I bond when we have a rare day to be together. I chose the Matagorda County Birding Nature Center located in Bay City for more reasons than that, however. It wasn’t December. It was going to be a hot 100-degree plus July day, and I knew this bird sanctuary had a golf cart that birders could use to get around its 37 acres. And while summer birding in Texas isn’t exactly great, I suspected the center would still have some birds in residence.

Lewis picked me up early, and we birded until 10:30 when the heat got to me and I had to yell uncle.  We then did a drive through nearby San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, which is in both San Bernard and Brazoria counties.

Lewis posed for a photo to be texted to his wife, Karen, who wasn’t with us this day. She was in Niagara Falls, where Lewis plans to join her soon. — Photo by Pat Bean.

The day’s final bird total was well below the 100 birds Lewis and I got on an April birding day on the Texas Gulf Coast a few years back, which began on the beach in Quintana, and included a visit to the San Bernard refuges. But we still had a few extraordinary sightings,

There were a couple of green herons, always one my favorite birds; a close overhead flyover of a Cooper’s hawk; a brilliant summer tanager, which was one of the birds Lewis and I saw on our first bird outing together at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge in 2002 when Lewis caught my birding addiction; and a great photo-op of a yellow-crowned night heron.

We ended our adventure by having lunch at Dido’s, where a couple of hummingbirds entertained us as they vied for nectar feeders that sat in front of the large windows that overlooked the San Bernard River.

It was a great day. But as much as I loved the birding, the best part of the it was simply getting to spend time with my son Lewis.

Bean Pat: Writing Soul Mates https://smpauthors.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/waiting-to-be-prospected/  Some good ideas for those times when we struggle with writer’s block.

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

Read Full Post »

On the Road in Texas

Junior this Christmas

Junior this Christmas

Me and Junior, my first grandchild, five years ago.

Me and Junior, my first great-grandchild, five years ago.

            “I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults.” – Molly Ivins

Time for Memories

Cattle, cotton fields, small towns with boarded up buildings, oil rigs and northern mockingbirds, along with a few hawks, dominated the passing, brown winter landscape as I drove from Dallas to Lubbock yesterday. I realized the Sonoran Desert, where I now live, has more color than this part of Texas right now.

But it  was still a pleasant drive, well, once I left the traffic cacophony of the FortWorth-Dallas Metroplex. The area is more commonly called the DFW area, but I once worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the newspaper’s stylebook always put Fort Worth first.

Driving across Texas is almost always a time for reflection of earlier times and earlier trips that annually crisscrossed my life once I left the state for good. And so it was this day. But the best part of the day’s drive was when I could hug a granddaughter, grand-son-in-law, and most importantly a 5-year-old great-grandson.

It was one of the few times in my life when the destination was more important than the journey.

Bean Pat: Write to Done http://tinyurl.com/pnfkcgn Some writing blogs to check out

Read Full Post »

Pacee and Peaches

Pacee and Peaches

“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” – Sydney Smith

No Regrets Here

My granddaughter, Patricia Colleen Bean, was named after me, but she has always been called Pacee.

She is the ninth of my 17 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but the only one whom I saw come into this world. I was honored to be in the room with my son and his wife for her birth. That’s because, at the time, I was the only family they had within 1,200 miles.

Very few events in my life can compare with the high I had the day of her birth. One of my greatest pleasures in her early months of life was watching her and my beloved dog, Peaches play together. Peaches, a golden cocker spaniel, would jump into her playpen for the fun event.

Paee at Easter

Pacee at Easter

But life is ever changing, and soon my son moved his family back to Texas, leaving me in Utah once again without nearby family. I only saw Pacee maybe once a year from that time on.

She grew into a beautiful girl – and on December 13th, she is graduating from Texas A&M University with a civil engineering degree.

Having just recently returned from two weeks in Texas for a family reunion, I pleaded that I could not attend the graduation. Yesterday, however, I realized that I couldn’t miss it. To do so would leave me with regrets and I’ve promised myself that I would be an old woman with no regrets.

Pacee, today. Oh my oh my. Where did time go?

Pacee, today. Oh my oh my. Where did time go?

So I spent most of yesterday making plans for a quick trip that involves an economy (better gas mileage than my RV, Gypsy Lee) rental car, a pet-friendly hotel (Pepper’s going with me) to break up the 900-mile drive into two days, calling family members to say I was crashing at their houses, raiding my savings, and clearing the decks for a December 10 departure.

Don’t you just love it when everything comes together?

Bean’s Pat: Day of the Condor http://tinyurl.com/lde5nlj I have been in love with condors ever since, as an editor, I put the picture of the first captive born condor, on Page 1 of my newspaper.

Read Full Post »

“The thing about family disasters is that you never have to wait long before the next one puts the previous one into perspective.” — Robert Brault

It’s All about Love

Family is like this waterfall, turbulent at times but always with a rainbow in sight. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Family is like this waterfall, turbulent at times but always with a rainbow in sight. — Photo by Pat Bean

I was listening to a woman tell a group of us what a wonderful family gathering she had just come from, and was beginning to inwardly moan at yet another “perfect family” story  when she added an addendum to her first words.

“Of course the fun was in spite of the fact that everyone in our family has big personalities. It only took an hour or two before the tensions erupted.”

In a nut shell, she had just described my family, which has been fractured and thrown to the four winds time and time again. But we’re family. And that means something — even if I’m not always sure what it means.

I’m the matriarch of five children and five spouse-in-laws; 15 grandchildren plus two more by marriage, plus seven or so grand-spouse-in-laws or partners, plus several non-related young people I claim as grandchildren; and  two great-grandchildren plus two more by marriage.

I’m not even going to count the numbers, because what counts is that each and every one is family, and family matters. Not a single one of them – I dare say not even the great-grandchildren — is perfect. And they all have big personalities — and in those two things I can truthfully say they all take after me.

I feel like the luckiest, if at times the most frustrated, person in the world.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat:  So you just write the book http://tinyurl.com/ltyqwl6 As one who is struggling with the third rewrite of “Travels with Maggie,” this tickled my funny bone. Writing is darn hard work  — even if you love doing it and consider it as necessary as breathing.


Read Full Post »

Family Matters

       “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.  Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”  ~Jane Howard

I’m a Blessed Old Broad

My women’s luncheon Wednesday opened my eyes to how blessed I am. There were nine of us, but because of the table configuration, I spent the time primarily talking with three other women.

My grandsons, Patrick, JJ and Tony, giving Gypsy Lee a bath. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My grandsons, Patrick, JJ and Tony, giving Gypsy Lee a bath. — Photo by Pat Bean

They were in the neighborhood of what I call my old broad age, a term I use affectionately and which is an age I’m happy to be enjoying. They, however, were concerned about what this age portends.

I didn’t understand at first, and when Lady A said she had moved from her third floor home because it was too hard carrying groceries and other items up three flights of stairs. I, laughingly said, I used my three local grandsons for the heavy stuff.

But then Lady B mentioned that she had to go into a nursing home, which had been quite traumatizing for her, while recovering from a hip transplant. And Lady C said that would probably be her fate, too, if she became disabled.

All three women, I suddenly realized, were single with no children or other family members still living. It was an unhappy fact the trio had long been aware of, however.

It made me realize how fortunate I had been when I broke my ankle earlier this year. My youngest daughter was there for me, doing my shopping and laundry and taking me to the doctor until I could once again drive and get around on my own.

And what's fun is that I get to do such things as attend Tony and Patrick's band concerts, which I did just this past Thursday.-- Photo by Pat Bean

And what’s fun is that I get to do such things as attend Tony and Patrick’s band concerts, which I did just this past Thursday.– Photo by Pat Bean

I have other children and grandchildren as well, who have made it clear that they will be there for me if I ever need them. I’m an independent cuss and hope I will always be so, but I have to admit that knowing they want to be there for me is comforting.

As ladies A, B and C, who had not known each other before the luncheon, realized what they shared, I became the outsider of the group. This was a fact that was actually noted by one of the ladies as the three women began sharing contact information with each other as part of a newly formed support group.

I was extremely happy that they had found each other, and for the first time in my life glad I didn’t fit in. It didn’t feel at all like what Anne Lamott had described in “Bird by Bird” as that kid standing alone by the fence, which had been me growing up.


The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Thar she blows http://tinyurl.com/a9aeoaz This blog has made me want to go back and reread “Moby Dick.

Read Full Post »

 Travels With Maggie


Rain drops keep falling outside my RV -- Photo by Pat Bean

“May you live all the days of your life.” Jonathan Swift

I awoke in Austin this morning, where my RV is parked outside the home of my granddaughter, Lindsey. It rained most of the night, and is still dripping. It’s an intermittent lazy kind of rain in which the sky stops to breath every few minutes.

There’s no loud pinging on my RV roof as in a storm, just a gentle tittering, like Mother Nature is quietly giggling, trying to suppress her delight in watering her Texas gardens. It reminds me of the quiet tittering I did yesterday evening as I sat beside my 2 ½ year-old great-grandson at a local restaurant where I had taken him and my granddaughter out for dinner.


Maggie asleep on the couch as rain falls outside in early dawn. -- Photo by Pat Bean

His mother, of course, was worried about his enthusiastic behavior, but I delighted in it.

“Shush,” I told her. “Remember how I used to get you in a headlock when you got a bit rambunctious as a kid. Nana can handle it.” And I did.

As I lay in my RV over-the-cab bed this morning, listening to the rain , I once again realized how blessed I am. It simply feels good to be alive. Maggie, of course, was still sleeping.

I’ll leave Austin for Lake Jackson soon, and. Mother Nature seems intent on letting the rain accompany me. I hope she keeps the rain to a gentle titter instead of letting it become as rambunctious as a 2-year-old.

Read Full Post »