Posts Tagged ‘journaling’

I was in my 40s when I got hooked on white water rafting, a passion that I indulged in for the next 25 years. I also learned to ski in my 40s. — Photo by Pat Bean

          Live now; make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.” Jean-Luc Picard, from the episode “Inner Light”

A Page from My Journals

One of the eye-openers of rereading my journals is the footnotes I sometimes want to add to the bottom of a page when I come across an entry that has a new, or expanded meaning in my shifting brain.

I had quite a few boyfriends beginning in my 40s, even married one of them — for eight months. We parted friends. When Willie and Julio sing about all the girls they’ve loved before, I think of all the boys I’m glad came along. 

For example, on May 9, 1998, I quoted Katharine Butler Hathaway, whose memoir, The Little Locksmith, was first published in 1943, and then reprinted in 2000 by The Feminist Press. Though disabled, Katharine made a full life for herself.

Wrote Katharine: “It is only by following your deepest instinct that you can lead a rich life … if you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct then your life will be safe, expedient, and thin.”

My 1998 response to the quote was to recall a Star Trek episode in which Picard realized it was his foolish youth that gave him the necessary confidence to be the captain of the Enterprise.

Thinking back now I realize that it was my own wild 40s, when I was truly on my own for the first time in my life, that was my version of a foolish youth. I don’t think I would be the happy, confident, satisfied, old-broad I am today without those years. And I kinda like this old broad. Whatever it is, my life is not thin.

     Bean Pat: I recently got hooked on this site: poem-a-day@poets.org A poem comes to my email every day in both type and audio form. I listen to the audio. It’s a great way to get my brain juices rolling in the morning.

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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Road Trip: June 21 – July 6, 2002

“The real voyage of discovery consists in not seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

A page from my Journal.

After spending way too much time driving to the end of the road in Canyonlands National Park, I knew most of the rest of the day’s explorations would have to come through the windshield of my vehicle. That was OK because I was traveling through familiar territory that I had been through many times.

My Journal

While I often tried to drive new roads and see new sights on my trips to Texas to visit family once or twice a year, the one I was traveling this time was the shortest and the most used. Shortly after leaving Canyonlands, I stopped in Moab, one of my favorite towns, to gas up and get snacks for the road. Cheetos and a Coke, I suspect, as this is my usual travel fare.

But even in my hurry to get down the road, I did stop for about 10 minutes at Wilson Arch to take a few pictures.  Wilson Arch is about 25 miles south of Moab and quite visible from the road (Highway 191). There is also a half-mile trail leading up to and around it.

The first time I spotted the 46-foot-high by 91-foot-wide arch,, I had been amazed. It simply stood there without fanfare.

Today there are turnouts and interpretive signs noting that Wilson Arch was named after Joe Wilson, a local pioneer who had a cabin nearby. Additionally, the signs say the rock formation is entrada sandstone and that the arch was formed when ice-filled cracks formed and caused parts of the rock to break off. At least that’s my interpretation of the more scientific data.

Whale Rock in Canyonlands National Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

On the same page of my journal that I noted my stop at Wilson Arch this day, I also listed the birds I saw, a habit I followed each day of my journey and one I continued in my book, Travels with Maggie about my later RV-ing years. And yes, the same Maggie who made this trip with me is the same one in the book.

The birds this day included American robin, European starling, California gull, magpie, raven, violet-green swallow, Say’s phoebe and pinyon jay, the latter being a species I saw for the first time and which I added to my then-growing life list.

Bean Pat: All about the Everglades https://earthstonestation.com/2019/03/06/two-people-that-saved-the-everglades-earnest-coe-marjory-stoneman-douglas/  Great blog for nature lovers like me.

Now available on Amazon

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. 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. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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Logically, this should have something to do with my post — but it doesn’t. It’s simply my latest watercolor, which I was doing as a workbook exercise.

Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be, but as it isn’t. It ain’t. That’s logic.” – Lewis Carroll

A Page from My Journals

July 14, 1996, “At one time in my life, I sought logic in everything. Now I know better.” – Pat Bean

And this is simply a quick sketch I did of a great blue heron. I think I gave the bird an attitude. Is that logical?

I collect quotes, 99 percent of them from people who better put into words my own thoughts. Occasionally, however, I surprise myself and find the exact words to perfectly express what I think. Like the one I recorded in my journal, and which I’m sure came to me in a flash of insight because of something in my then life.

I kind of stole the last half of the quote from Maya Angelou, who is quoted many times in my journals. “When you know better, you do better,” she wrote. This thought always soothed me when I thought of the many mistakes I had made my life.

But to get back to the matter of logic, and my own words. I was already in my 50s, when I wrote the quote in my book on that 1996 summer day. It stands alone as the only words I wrote for this date. And as I reread it this morning, my first thought was how come it took me so long to reach such a painfully clear conclusion,.

The next thought had me wondering, what was the event that prompted me to come to that conclusion.

The answer to the first is easy. I truly am a very late bloomer – even though I precede the baby boomers.

I have no answer for the second, but I suspect I’m going to lose a few hours of sleep for the next few days pondering the answer, which will probably still elude me.

And that’s not logical at all.

Bean Pat: To be or not to be. https://interestingliterature.com/2018/11/03/a-short-analysis-of-shakespeares-to-be-or-not-to-be-soliloquy-from-hamlet/   I found this to be quite interesting, especially since I was thinking about popular quotes when I read it.

Blog pick of the day.

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, she is calling Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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Snippets from my Journals

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places” – Ernest Hemingway (This is a quote that I just added to my journal this morning.)

My granddaughter Keri, and my great-grandson, Kaiden, a few years ago. — Photo by Pat Bean

And a Horse Story

I read a lot of nature books, and I often write down some of the more interesting trivia that I learn, often with a personal comment. For example: “If a female beaver slaps the water with her tail, the entire colony will instantly dive. If an adult male issues the warning, only some will dive.” To which I commented … well males do tend to exaggerate a lot.

But then I also noted in this same journal, when camping beside Lake Claiborne at Isaac Creek Campground in Alabama: “Female pine cones are fatter than their male counterparts.” To which I commented … well that accounts for our big hips.

My granddaughter Heidi, a few years back when I was still a full-time RVer. Note Gypsy Lee in the background. — Photo by Pat Bean

Another nature tidbit that fascinated me was learning that some snakes give birth to live babies, while others lay eggs. This had me doing a bit of research, in which I discovered that 70 percent of the planet’s snakes lay eggs, and 30 percent birth their babies. The vipers fall mostly into the latter category.

In one of my journals, when I was working on my book, Travels with Maggie, I noted that Bob Newhart, at 77, had published a book, I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This. When asked why, he responded: “I feel we need to empty our brains and pass along things that we’ve learned along the way,” … To which my personal comment was … Good enough for me. 

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: I’ll give this one, once again, to Horse Trail Adventures http://tinyurl.com/lzeada9 written by my daughter, who is recovering from some serious health problems that left her quite depressed. Getting out on her horse once again is helping her spirit recover. But this Bean Pat comes with a story I recorded in one of my journals. My daughter raised three girls (each of whom has given me a great-grandson) and now, my daughter is raising three boys, currently all teenagers. I hope the gods have pity on her. Anyway …

As a mom, my daughter taught her girls that if they got lost while out riding, they should just give their horses their heads, and they would automatically return home. The two oldest, Heidi and Keri, tried this — and three times found themselves back at the far point in their ride. Eventually they had to find their own way home.

I would never have remembered this story if I hadn’t written it down in my journal.

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The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write a journal. Take long walks in the woods.” – Robin Sharma

The Mark Twain Lighthouse in Hannibal Missouri, which I wrote about climbing up to see in 2006, when I was traveling the country full time with my canine companion Maggie in a small RV. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Mark Twain Lighthouse in Hannibal Missouri, which I wrote about climbing up to see in 2006, when I was traveling the country full-time with my canine companion Maggie in a small RV. — Photo by Pat Bean

A Half Century of Memories

            I began keeping journals when I was 25, when, like a bolt of lightning on a clear day, I discovered I wanted to be a writer. For the next 15 years, my journals were cheap spiral notebooks that never got completed. I might write for a week, and then the next entry wouldn’t happen for three months, and sometimes the journal got lost in the between times.

I say lost because I never threw one away, and I think I eventually found most of them. A few years ago, I recopied the scant early journaling pages into one volume.

Pages from my journal  written when I was in Hannibal, Missouri, and took a paddleboat cruise on the Mississippi River.

Pages from my journal, written when I was in Hannibal, Missouri, in 2006, and took a paddle boat cruise on the Mississippi River.

My first journals were written when I was a working mother of five with no help, and the journal contents were too often filled with my beating up on myself because I never completed a day’s to-do list. What amazed me in the rereading, however, were all the things I did accomplish, and never gave myself credit for doing. Today, I honestly don’t know how I did all I did back then.

Around the age of 40, I decided to buy decent journals – one of my favorite being a Gibson that has thick enough paper to write on both sides and a spiral binding for ease in writing. I also began journaling more regularly. As time passed, the journals filled more quickly, until the present when I complete about two a year with a record of my days and thoughts. My journals, even the early ones, are also packed with quotes that have meaning to me.

Until recently, I had never read most of my journals, a task that now finds its way on my daily to-do lists. Unlike many of my journal writing friends, who told me they wrote more when times were bad, I’ve discovered that most of my entries are about the good times. While that means there are big gaps, especially in my earlier journals, and makes for an incomplete recording of my life, I’m discovering a treasure trove of memories that are delightful to relive.

And the thoughts I did record are enough for me to see how I’ve changed over the years – from a goodie-two-shoes who beat up on herself to an imperfect human who makes mistakes and is not usually sorry for them – and into someone who actually likes herself.

And that’s enough for me.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: 10 Forgotten Books http://tinyurl.com/hs5qh7n This dang blog cost me money. As an avid reader of travel books, I had to have The Illustrated Journeys of Celia Fiennes, 1685-c.1712, which was on the list. But thankfully I found one for 97 cents (plus $3.99 shipping) instead of having to buy a new one for the listed price of $59.

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Looking Back

The Standard-Examine's new building, where I spent the final years as a journalist, reflects the surrounding mountains that I so loved. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Standard-Examiner’s new building, where I spent my final years as a journalist, reflects the surrounding mountains that I so loved. — Photo by Pat Bean

       “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey

But Living Forward

Back on July 14, 1979 – a time of upheaval in my life – I wrote down a list of things I wanted to accomplish. On that list were the expected things such as be a better parent, live healthier, remarriage, financial security and advance in my career. Perhaps less expected desires were write a book, live in the mountains, take up an exciting hobby and meet interesting people.

A view of Mount Ogden from Ogden's 25th Street. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A view of Mount Ogden from Ogden’s 25th Street. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came across that list this morning, and realized I had achieved many of those goals. I have written a book, and while it’s not published yet, I have had a very successful writing life. And as a journalist for 37 years, meeting interesting people happened almost daily

While I carry around a few more pounds than I should, I’m quite healthy and active for my age, I did briefly remarry but after that didn’t work out, I realized how much I enjoyed being single.

In 1983, I took up white-water rafting, which gave me many adventures for almost 20 years. Financially, I’ve never had much money but it’s always been enough to feed and house me, let me buy books and still have a little leftover for travel.

At the time I wrote the list, I was working for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It was a prestigious job, but there wasn’t a mountain in sight. A few months later, I moved to Utah, where the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains became my backyard. It meant that I went from being a tiny fish in a large lake to being a slightly bigger fish in a smaller pond – but I never regretted the decision.

“Dare to be different” was the final item on that 37-year-old-list. When I wrote that wish down, I hadn’t yet learned that this desire was a no-brainer. Everybody is different in their own way. And that is one of the most beautiful things about this world.

Bean Pat: Ralie Travels http://tinyurl.com/zrgtbmo Great armchair travel through Arizona’s Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Having visited here, this brought back great memories.

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The color purple makes my world better, especially when it trims up some white flowers and helps attract a butterfly.  Photo by Pat Bean

Flowers make  my world better, especially when they attract a butterfly.           Photo by Pat Bean


  “The salvation of America and of the human race depends on the next election … But so it was last year, and so it was the year before, and our fathers believed the same thing 40 years ago.”    

While these words might have been written just yesterday, they were actually written 168 years ago by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The color blue cheers up my world too, especially when used by glass artist Chihuly in this outdoor sculpture piece. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The color blue cheers up my world too, especially when used by glass artist Chihuly in this outdoor sculpture piece. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came across the quote when I was reading my 1998 journal, some of which was written at the same time I was reading Emerson’s journals and, at the same time, ranting about talk show hosts like Jerry Springer and narrow-minded windbags who preach of Christian values but seem to have no Christianity in them.

I was a reporter at the time and so couldn’t turn off what was going on in the world, which some days I now do for the sake of my sanity. Instead, back then, I comforted myself with the thoughts of writers like Emerson, who recognized the world has its cruel side, always has and probably always will, but focused more on its positive attributes.

“My life is a May game. I will live as I like. I defy your strait-laced, weary, social ways and modes. Blue is the sky, green the fields and groves, fresh the springs, glad the rivers, and hospitable the splendor of sun and star. I will play by game out,” he wrote, as well as: “If Milton, if Burns, if Bryant, is in the world, we have more tolerance, and more love for the changing sky, the mist, the rain, the bleak overcast day, the sun is raining light.”

            For me, it’s been writers like Maya Angelou, who believed God put rainbows in the sky to give us hope, and Charles Kuralt, who saw the everyday kindness of the back roads as making up for the acts of greed in the headlines, who have made my world better.

It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers and criminals,” wrote Kuralt.

If, as my grandmother would say, it looks like the world is going to hell in a hand basket – and I can’t disagree in these troubling times – there is good out there, too. Neighbors helping neighbors when hard times fall, kindness and thoughtfulness as part of everyday, ordinary lives, and friendships and partnerships that last a lifetime.

Yes. Nothing ever seems to change.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: CindyKnoke http://tinyurl.com/jsbmjdl I’ve always wanted to live for six months on a houseboat on the Mississippi River. It’s on my bucket list. But this houseboat in Amsterdam looks pretty cool, too. What do you think?

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