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Archive for the ‘Adventures With Pepper’ Category

     “Travel is like a giant blank canvas, and the painting on the canvas is only limited by one’s imagination.” — Ross Morley

Gypsy Lee at sunrise at Cholla Campground in the Tonto Basin about 35 miles north of Globe, Arizona.

Gypsy Lee at sunrise at Cholla Campground in the Tonto Basin, with Roosevelt Lake in the background, about 35 miles north of Globe, Arizona. — Photo by Pat Bean

Tonto Basin and Roosevelt Lake

            “Let’s take Gypsy Lee, Dusty and Pepper and go to Eisenhower Lake,” said my friend Jean, whose dog, Dusty, I pet sit during the week while she’s at work. Gypsy Lee is the small RV I lived in for almost nine years while traveling this country full-time, and Pepper, of course, is my own spoiled dog.

My three traveling companions. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My three traveling companions. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Where’s Eisenhower Lake?” I asked between sips of Jack and Coke during a Friday happy hour, when we were sitting out on my bedroom balcony watching the sun go down.

“You know. Up by Globe (Arizona).”

“In the Tonto Basin?”

“Is that by Globe?” She asked.

“Yes. And I’ve been there. It’s a beautiful area and lake. Let me show you the photos I took of the area some years back.” And I did, and she responded with just the right amount of oohs and aahs.

Those of you who are familiar with the Tonto Basin area are probably by now exclaiming: “What in the Sam Hill are those two old broads talking about? There’s no Eisenhower Lake in Arizona.” While others might be thinking: “Are they stupid? The only Eisenhower Lake I know about is in Rhode Island.”

Of course we soon discovered that the lake near Globe is named Roosevelt. We just got our presidents mixed up.  But just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, so Roosevelt Lake would be just as awesome.           

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Choosing gratitude and joy.  http://tinyurl.com/k68qur5  Good advice for all those who find themselves stuck on the road. There are a lot worse situations in life in which you can find yourself.

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“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” – Isaac Newton

First came the tail. Is that like walking up the down staircase? -- Photo by Pat Bean

First came the tail. Is that like walking up the down staircase? — Photo by Pat Bean

Hometown Point of Interest

When I’m traveling, I research the cities I will pass through along the way. I find this type of advance preparation both fun and educational, especially since  Internet sites like Wikipedia, Trip Advisor and Roadside America, make it an easy task.

Pepper staring down at the traffic passing below as we travel through the snake's belly. -- Photo  by Pat Bean

Pepper staring down at the traffic passing below as we travel through the snake’s belly. — Photo by Pat Bean

I’ve also found many sight-seeing ideas by using simple key words, like  “Things to do” in Lake Jackson, Texas (the Sea Center), or Camden, Arkansas (Poison Spring State Park), or Hot Springs, South Dakota (The Mammoth Site). Well you get the idea.

So why not apply this same philosophy to my current non-wandering lifestyle, I asked myself? So I did. And I discovered over a hundred (I don’t exaggerate) places of interest within a few miles of my Mount Lemmon foothills’ apartment.

One of these was Rattlesnake Bridge, which Pepper and I took a walk across yesterday morning. I learned of its existence on Roadside America’s web site.

We entered the 280 foot long bridge through its tail, where motion sensors set off an eerie rattling sound that had Pepper looking for the source.

The unique bridge crossed six lanes of traffic on Broadway Boulevard before the snake  spit us out through its head, which sits near a small landscaped park and walking trail. Pepper and I followed the trail for a while before backtracking to Cayenne, our ruby-red vehicle.

The snake's head, which we entered to retrace out steps back to the tail. == Photo by Pat Bean

The snake’s head, which we entered to retrace out steps back to the tail. == Photo by Pat Bean

According to Roadside America, the concept for the bridge came from Tucson artist Simon Donovan in 1997. The bridge was then completed in 2002, using public art funding.

Pepper and I had the bridge to ourselves when we walked across it at about 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. It was a delightful way to start our day.

Bean Pat: Travels and Trifles http://tinyurl.com/mqmwtad Dreamy!

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

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Yesterday's art and the first piece in a new journal that I have promised myself I'm going to add a daily quick sketch.

Yesterday’s art … a scene captured on the hop. — Quick sketch by Pat Bean

            “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

            ‘If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.” – Thomas Aquina

A Journey through the Mind  

Pepper taking a break on the picnic table after a hard run around the dog park. She got groomed later this day.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper taking a break on the picnic table after a hard run around the dog park. She got groomed later this day. — Photo by Pat Bean

          As a young, but erratic journal keeper, I quickly realized that what I would write one day would not be the same thing I would write the next day. Not only is memory an infallible tool, life changes us every day.

No one puts this reality into luscious words better than Vita Sackville-West in my favorite writing quote:

   “It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.”

While it can be confusing, irritating and even debilitating occasionally, I’m glad my mind, and hence my writing, is constantly in a state of flux. It’s a byproduct of my eagerness to learn something new each and every day, and my willingness to take my ship into unknown waters.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat:  The Return of the Modern Philosopher http://tinyurl.com/m3udejl A very large umbrella solves the problem. This blogger usually has a very upside down view of life. He makes me laugh.

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            I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself. – D. H. Lawrence

 Think Again

I suspect even a big old moose could feel sorry for itself if another male won its girl from him. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I suspect even a big old moose could feel sorry for itself if another male won its girl from him. — Photo by Pat Bean

            While I’ve always accepted, as fact, that animals have feelings and thoughts and can grieve, I might once have seen the above quote as simply inspirational. I mean I agree with its philosophy that we shouldn’t feel sorry for ourselves.

Pepper curls up into a ball, eyes drooping, giving every indication that she feels sorry for herself when she knows she's being left behind. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper curls up into a ball, eyes drooping, giving every indication that she feels sorry for herself when she knows she’s being left behind. — Photo by Pat Bean

But time, and my love and observation of animals, have convinced me that animals can, and do, sometimes feel sorry for themselves. Why not? They are, after all, intelligent beings, who clearly display emotions of joy and sadness.

I once had a dog that showed clear signs of depression after my cat, which had been her long-time companion, died. And my current canine companion, Pepper, clearly shows signs of feeling sorry for herself every time she knows she’s going to be left alone at home. As I go out the door, she slinks into a corner, droops her head, and stares, with her velvet brown eyes, accusingly at me.

Thankfully, she’s a dog and holds no grudges — which is more of a cat trait — and greets me with uninhibited joy when I return.

While I don’t know what Pepper does to console herself when she’s in a Pity-Pepper mode, I do know what I do when a Pity-Pat mood strikes me. I simply think of all the people in the world who would gladly trade places with me – and I realize just how many millions that would be.

Sometimes we simply need to rethink things – like D.H. Lawrence’s popular quote.            

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat:  Janaline’s World Journey http://tinyurl.com/pskalcm I loved this delightful arm chair journey to visit the Temple of Ta Prohm, and now want to go back and watch Tomb Raider so I can view the scenes in which it was featured, just as I revisited the movie, Master and Commander, after visiting, in actuality, one of its filming sites in the Galapagos Islands. Since the world is so big, and my travels are limited by time and money, I’m thankful for being able to view some of them from my comfortable home. Thank you Janaline.

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“The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.” – Flannery O’Connor

The large X Marks the Spot painting that hangs in my living room that was a gift to me from my artist friend Richard Sheppard.

The large X Marks the Spot painting that hangs in my living room, which was a gift to me from my artist friend Richard Sheppard.

A Silly Game

            My mornings begin by walking my canine companion, Pepper, and then returning to my apartment for a cup of bold, cream-laced coffee, during which time I plan my day by writing down everything I want to accomplish in my daily notebook.

A painting my Wassily Kandinsky, an artist whose work I love.

A painting my Wassily Kandinsky, an artist whose work I love.

The list is usually lengthy – and most certainly undoable. But, since I don’t suffer from OCD, I get pleasure in crossing out anything on the list that I do complete, and accepting that what’s left over makes a starting point for the next day.

Often, as I drink my coffee, I look up at a painting that was a gift to me from my friend Richard Sheppard. It’s titled X Marks the Spot.

My imagination asks me which X represents me this particular day.  Do I feel energized like a red X, happy or giddily like a yellow X, or strong and determined like a black X.? I know it’s silly, but it’s a game I’ve been playing for years.

This morning, as I drank my coffee and looked at the painting, I thought of the opening line of an Indiana Jones movie in which the professor said “X never marks the spot.” But of course it did.

Then I decided that my X for this day would be the biggest black one I could find. It would represent my determination to keep my newly created resolution to write three hours a day. I’ve learned that if I at least mark off this item on my long list, I will feel a sense of achievement that will put a big smile on my face.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pats: Spiced Memories http://tinyurl.com/n3vsf7v  and Wassily Kandinsky http://tinyurl.com/lx9ou9d I liked these two blogs because they sent me on a research mission to learn more. I checked out the photo on Spiced Memories, and found a creative spice commercial that was truly artsy-fartsy. And the second blog introduced me to an artist whose work has now made the list of my favorites, along with the paintings of Homer Winslow, Van Gogh and Emil Nolde’s colorful interpretations of life that goes on around us. The Internet is so much better than the encyclopedia volumes that my curious mind devoured before the world-wide-web became a daily part of my life.

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            “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”  — Lao Tzu

I just realized this morning that Pepper sort of looks like the dog token in Monopoly, which was always my favorite game piece.

I just realized this morning that Pepper sort of looks like the dog token in Monopoly, which is always my favorite game piece.

Change is Inevitable

            I recently learned that a cat token had replaced Monopoly’s iron token. I don’t know about you but I think it was about time.

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

My iron went out with the first days of wash and wear. Before that, which was way back when I had growing children, by the time I got to the bottom of the basket that held clothes to be ironed, my children had outgrown them.

The change to Monopoly – a game I played for endless hours when I was a child – was a result of a popular vote to eliminate one icon and replace it with another.

It seems logical to me why the iron was displaced, but why not something more new age, like a computer or a space station, as the new token?

It gives us something to think about. So what token would you have replaced, what would your choice have been for a new icon, and which one do you like as your game piece?

I always play with the dog.

But I can’t think of a better choice than a cat for the new token.  If you own the right cat, or  more likely it owns you, as I have three out of four times, I found them to be almost as companionable as a dog. It’s OK Pepper. I said almost.

Change, I’ve come to learn in my old-broad wisdom, is often neither good or bad. It just is. And it’s inevitable.      

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

      Bean Pat: Worthy of Attention http://tinyurl.com/k8qbk8d  We all like compliments. And this blog reminds me to be freer with mine.

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            “And as imagination bodies forth

            The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen

            Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

            A local habitation and a name. — William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Nothing helps my writing better than a morning in which I take a walk in time to see the sun come up. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Nothing helps my writing better than a morning in which I take a walk in time to see the sun come up. — Photo by Pat Bean

Perhaps You Are

“Just because I’m not writing doesn’t mean I’m not writing.” – Unknown

And when I take that walk with Pepper, I'm a lucky old broad indeed. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And when I take that walk with Pepper, I’m a lucky old broad indeed. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came across that quote when I was 10 years into my 37-year journalism career. From that point forward, it never strayed far from being in plain sight when I sat down at my computer.

While one is never going to become a writer unless he writes a heck of a lot, I think those who do write, do it even when they’re not doing it.

Perhaps only writers can understand this. But observing the features of the person sitting opposite you at Starbucks, and imagining how you would describe those features to readers, is writing. Recalling the full-bodied dream you had, and wondering if it could be a story, is writing. And staring out the window at the clouds and not thinking of anything is writing.

To write is to be observant of life as it plays out all around you. Putting what you see into words makes awesome sunsets and the aged wrinkles in an old woman’s face both seem real – and both seem beautiful. At least that’s the way it is for this writer.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Cape Point Hike http://tinyurl.com/mssarg7 I can never resist a scenic walk, and always enjoy when a writer takes me along with them.

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