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Archive for the ‘Adventures With Pepper’ Category

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” – Albert Einstein

            “An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau

Nothing is more enticing to me than a path -- or a road - that leads to a place unknown.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Nothing is more enticing to me than a path — or a road – that leads to a place unknown. — Photo by Pat Bean

My Answer is Laughter and a Walk

Soul Writing’s blog http://tinyurl.com/keqkm8e this morning asked “What are the two best cures for anything? Before reading more, I looked at my canine companion, Pepper, and said: Laughter and a walk.

And nothing excites me more than when whatever path I've chosen to walk turns up a surprise, like this great blue heron that I cam upon while following the above path at Brazos Bend State Park in Texas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And nothing excites me more than when whatever path I’ve chosen to walk turns up a surprise, like this great blue heron that I cam upon while following the above path at Brazos Bend State Park in Texas. — Photo by Pat Bean

At the sound of the latter word,  Pepper’s eyes sparkled, her tail waved and she jumped around in a way that made me thing she was laughing with joy. I think Pepper likes to laugh as much as I do.

So I took her for a walk before coming back and picking up reading where I had left off reading. I wanted to see how Soul Writing answered the question. I was 50 percent in agreement with the blogger. She thought laughter and sleep were the two best cures for anything. I don’t know what her third choice would be, but mine would be chocolate.

This wondering-wandering old broad would love to know how you would answer the question.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: List Making http://tinyurl.com/lcndr3p As a person who is a writer, one who daily makes lists – and talks to her dog as well – how could I not love this blog?

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“A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.” – Ernest Hemingway.

This is Gandolf, a great horned owl that my son, Lewis, and I discovered on the side of a road on the Texas Gulf Coast. He was in shock, probably after being struck by a passing vehicle. My son and I suspected. We got him to a wildlife rehabilitator, who dubbed him Gandolf. Three weeks later he was well and released back into the wild. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

This is Gandolf, a great horned owl that my son, Lewis, and I discovered on the side of a road on the Texas Gulf Coast. He was in shock, probably after being struck by a passing vehicle, my son and I suspected. We got him to a wildlife rehabilitator, who dubbed him Gandolf. Three weeks later he was well and released back into the wild. — Photo by Pat Bean.

A Great Horned Owl, That’s Who

            I’m not sure I understand Hemingway’s words. But they’re fun to ponder.

I made this card for a grandson's graduation. It tickles my fancy.

I made this card for a grandson’s graduation. I guess I have owls on the brain, but they tickle my fancy.

Just as it’s been fun to ponder  the great horned owl, whose  hooting has been taunting me awake each morning, and serenading me to sleep each night, for the past two weeks.

The hooter has annoyingly been avoiding my sight, but I finally caught a glimpse of it two days ago from my third-floor balcony window. The owl was sitting, just above my eye level, in a tree about 30 feet away.

Then, early yesterday morning, as I was once again looking for the owner of the hoots coming from the trees, a great horned owl flew directly over my head, wings stretched out like a sheltering canvas. It was big, and it landed on the roof top of an adjacent apartment building.

And this is one of my great horned owl doodles. I did it from memory after the Gandolf incident.

And this is one of my great horned owl doodles. I did it from memory after the Gandolf incident.

Pepper, whom I was walking at the time, and I wandered closer, and the owl briefly looked down on us with its great golden eyes. I was mesmerized, but glad that my canine companion was standing close. This was a mighty big owl, much larger, I realized than the one that I had seen a few days before from my balcony.

A surge of joy, like a big yippee, went through my bones. I suspected my apartment complex was now home to a mating pair of owls. The one I was looking at had to be the female, who is always larger than her male mate.

The big owl didn’t linger, but quickly disappeared beyond the roof line, leaving me pondering where her nest was, and did it already contain eggs. I’m sure I’ll be looking for it every time Pepper and I go walking during February.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Texas Tweeties http://tinyurl.com/mgovo9e Bringing home dinner. Bob’s one of my favorite bloggers. I’ve been privileged to see an osprey spring from the Snake River, and from a couple of lakes, with a fish in its talons, but it’s a sight worth seeing over and over again.

 

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    “You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by; but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by” — James Matthew Barrie

Tucson has escaped the ugly cold and flowers can still be seen in front of my apartment complex. I thought I would share with my more northern friends. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

Tucson has escaped the ugly cold and flowers can still be seen in front of my apartment complex. I thought I would share with my more northern friends. — Photo by Pat Bean.

The Last Day of January

If you haven’t broken all your New Year’s resolutions by now, I want to know your secret.

And of course cactus blooms as Tucson is located in the desert.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

And of course cactus blooms as Tucson is located in the desert. — Photo by Pat Bean

As January’s freakishly cold weather for most of the country slips past into February’s what will the days ahead be like, I ponder on my past month’s accomplishments, which of course includes already breaking most of my New Year’s resolutions.

Thankfully, however, I’ve finally learned that acknowledging what I did get done is more rewarding and encouraging than beating myself up for all the things I didn’t do.

That actually was a 2013 resolution that became easier to do as the days slipped by. I don’t know about you, but I can’t live every day as I’ve planned it in my daybook.

For example, on today’s list I have four writing projects that need to be done,  house chores, a trip to the library, art projects that include making two  cards for upcoming family birthdays, and half a dozen more trivial things.

I know that marking a line through each item when completed will give me great satisfaction. But I also know the wisdom of James Barrie’s words.

Finding time to enjoy playing and walking with my canine companion, and smelling the flowers along the way, and leaving time to watch the hummingbirds at my feeder, or simply letting my frantic brain think about nothing for a while, is just as important as what is actually on my to-do list.

I hope you do, too. Have a great last day of January.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Craves Adventure http://tinyurl.com/khs4jkx Words to live by.

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“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” – Gilda Radner

Me, Pepper and Cayenne. -- Photo by T.C. Ornelas

Me, Pepper and Cayenne. — Photo by T.C. Ornelas

Hello Cayenne

            Ten years ago I sold my home and traded in my car for a new RV, which I named Gypsy Lee, in honor of my wanderlust and a grandfather I never knew but from whom my mother claimed I inherited my rootless ways.

Me and Gypsy Lee in 2004, 140,000 miles ago.

Me and Gypsy Lee in 2004, 140,000 miles ago.

I lived on the road for nine years before settling in a Tucson apartment a year ago, during which time Gypsy Lee, a 21-foot motor home continued to be my only means of transportation.

This past weekend, I parked Gypsy Lee at my daughter’s house and drove away in a bright, red new car that I named Cayenne. I thought it was a fitting name to go with my canine companion, Pepper, and this flower child who still loves to wear tie-dye.

Over the past few months, I came to understand that driving an RV in a crowded city was holding me back from doing things, like attending a play where there was no parking or driving on city streets at night. There was also Gypsy’s gas guzzling stomach to consider, which meant I mostly only drove her for errands once a week because of the cost of keeping her fed.

My beloved Maggie, who spent the first eight years with me in Gypsy Lee. She is still missed

My beloved Maggie, who spent the first eight years with me in Gypsy Lee. She is still missed

I knew I was going to eventually have to give her up, but sensibly had decided to keep her one more year for financial reasons.

Then it finally dawned on me that while I’m, thankfully, healthy and physically active now, I’m going to be 75 this year. Now is not the time for me to slow down. I need to keep running as fast as I can, as far as I can, and as hard as I can for as long as I can.

So on Saturday it was good-bye Gypsy Lee. We had an awesome 10 years together. I will always treasure the memories we made during our 140,000 miles on the road.

And hello, Cayenne. You’ve got a lot to live up to in sharing your life with me and Pepper.

Oh, and the first place I visited yesterday, after waiting a year to do so, was Tucson’s downtown main library, where Gypsy Lee couldn’t go because there was no parking space for her.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: You gotta do what you gotta do to survive http://tinyurl.com/k8tor9v This is a story that made me feel blessed for everything I have – and for the power of starting over, which I once had to do in life. Although my situation wasn’t as drastic as this story, I did have to borrow money to pay rent for a while.

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            “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.” – Regina Brett

One of the best things about taking Pepper for an early morning walk is getting to see the sun come up over the desert. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of the best things about taking Pepper for an early morning walk is getting to see the sun come up over the desert — while the moon is still in the sky. — Photo by Pat Bean

That’s My Life

What Regina said is what I have to do, despite the fact I’ve been fighting a sinus infection. I’ve gotten up, dressed up (OK, so it was just a sweater over my pajamas at 6 a.m.) and walked my dog, Pepper, four times a day.  And I live in a third-floor walk-up.

But don’t get me wrong.  I’m actually thankful, because the task of doing this over the past year has gotten me in better shape than I was a year ago. That’s great news for someone who is pushing 75.

Every old-broad should have a dog to walk.

Bean’s Pat: Interesting Literature:  http://tinyurl.com/oqw3gsj More quotes. I like No. 9 best.

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Resolutions are popular because everyone feels they could use a little improvement.” Marilu Henner

This glorious desert sunset welcomed me home to Tucson

This glorious desert sunset welcomed me home to Tucson. — Photo by Pat Bean

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s 5:15 a.m., and the morning after I arrived back home to Tucson from attending my granddaughter’s  Texas A&M graduation — and the first time since I left on the spur-of-the-minute trip that I feel I have a few minutes of time completely to myself.

Me and my granddaughter, Pacee.

Me and my granddaughter, Pacee.

It was as perfect a trip as a trip with my strong personalities-family could be. By that I mean that I had a fantastic time, the hiccups were few, and my granddaughter’s surprised and pleased face when she saw me made all the hassles to get there worthwhile.

I even enjoyed the two-day long drive coming and going, even though on this trip the destination was more important than the journey. I still, as always, love sitting behind the steering wheel of a vehicle and watching the landscape flow by. The road has always felt like home to me.

I got back to Tucson in time to share birthday cake with my son-in-law, Joe, and then I spent the night here at my daughter’s house, choosing to sleep in my RV, Gypsy Lee, which I left behind for the trip. This morning I will return the rental car I drove, and then Gypsy Lee, Pepper and I will drive back to our small apartment home, where I can once again watch, from my bedroom balcony, the Catalina Mountains come to life with the morning sun as I drink my cream-laced coffee

My granddaughter was one of 4,980 students who graduated from Texas A&M on December 13. She's sitting on the front row on the left, fifth from right.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

My granddaughter was one of 4,980 students who graduated from Texas A&M on December 13. She’s sitting on the front row on the left, fifth from right. — Photo by Pat Bean

Waking up while everyone else is asleep is a thing I do often. It’s almost always the best time of any day. This morning, I lay in Gypsy Lee’s bed thinking about the fast approaching New Year. It’s a time when I always make a long list of resolutions – and yes they are usually all broken before the New Year is a week old.

As I thought about the things I want to put on this year’s list, because while I break my resolutions they do stay in my head and I do keep them occasionally, I realized that last year’s resolutions were still good to go – with just a little tweaking.

And that’s the same for my life. This old broad loves her life and could only think of a few tweaks to make it better.

Does this mean I’ve achieved all my goals, or have just relaxed enough to accept myself for who I am?

Well of course I haven’t achieved all my goals, but I do give myself a pat on the back for putting a big dent in them. And yes, I no longer beat up on myself when I’m not constantly in achievement mode.  So I guess it’s a little bit of both.

But mostly I think it is simply because I have come to not just accept, but to love, all my imperfections. So now I just have to decide what tweaks will make 2014 even better.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Oh Christmas Tree http://tinyurl.com/mqujzxy I don’t have a Christmas tree this year, although I have put up a few holiday decorations around my apartment. I gave away my huge collection of ornaments when I took to the road in Gypsy Lee. They now hang on my youngest daughter’s tree, and since I’m spending Christmas with her I’ll get to enjoy the memories again this holiday. A lot of the ornaments are travel souvenirs, but my favorites are  simply a few plastic poinsettia blooms, which hung on my first Christmas tree. Money was tight back then, and so that tree was decorated with nothing more than the plastic flowers that I had  separated from a dime-store  bouquet. There have been over 50 Christmases since that day, and the red flowers have seen them all. Meanwhile, enjoy the trees on this blog. I did

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            “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” Roger Miller

Morning comes to Tucson's Catalina Mountains. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Morning comes to Tucson’s Catalina Mountains. — Photo by Pat Bean

Morning Walk with Pepper

            It was that magical moment before dawn when Pepper and I stepped out for this morning’s walk.

The landscape was all hues of gray, with a stillness over it that spoke louder than words, like the reflections on a lake bereft of a breeze,

I hadn’t heard it, but rain had fallen during the night. The uneven walk and grounds still held puddles that the desert’s dry air had not yet sucked away, or the land claimed for its own. Best of all there was the green smell of trees washed clean of dust, and an earthen spice that wafted up from the ground. No man-made perfume could ever smell as sweet.

The scents intrigued Pepper, whose furry black nose searched everywhere. I simply breathed in Mother Nature’s bounty and felt blessed, and my soul rejoiced that I was a writer. Although words could never fully capture and expel all that I felt during my short morning walk with a beloved canine companion, they were there in my head. And I knew I had to write them down and share.

And now that I’ve done just that, I’ll go have my morning cup of coffee.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Take an armchair walk in France http://tinyurl.com/mfjc37m While the architectural details of the palaces are magnificent, the walk through the trees is what drew me into this blog.

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    “Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” – Henry David Thoreau

Mother Nature used the rain to paint this canvas of wet and dry gravel pattrns. My apartment is at the top of the stairs yu see in the background. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Mother Nature used the rain to paint this canvas of wet and dry gravel pattrns. My apartment is at the top of the stairs you see in the background. — Photo by Pat Bean

Morning Walk with Pepper

It was lightly drizzling this morning when Pepper and I took a walk while dawn made her presence known. This is my favorite time of day, and as usual, Pepper and I  had the apartment complex courtyards to ourselves.

This is a close-up of the lavender blossoms on the bush next to the tree, which a gardener neatly trimmed. I can't help but wonder how many  blossoms were lost to the trimming tool. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This is a close-up of the lavender blossoms on the bush next to the tree, which a gardener neatly trimmed. I can’t help but wonder how many blossoms were lost to the trimming tool. — Photo by Pat Bean

Some mornings we leave the manicured grounds and take the short trail beyond the parking lot ,so as to glimpse a view of the unfettered desert in  its many moods. But not this morning.

Today, we simply walked the path we walk several times a day, keeping our eyes open to the world around us. Well, I keep my eyes open and Pepper keeps her nose open. Like most dogs, she sees more through smell than I see through my eyes.

Her nose lets her know there is a lizard hiding beneath that rock over yonder, and that Ellie, a favorite German shepherd playmate, peed beside this tree. Of course she pees on top of the spot to let Ellie know she’s been here, too.

My eyes, meanwhile, take in a canvas painted by the rain. It’s the pattern of wet and dry gravel beneath a tree just outside my apartment. I don’t have my camera with me, but after our walk I retrieve it and go back down from my third-floor apartment to capture Mother Nature’s whimsical drawing – well that’s how I see it.

And then I realize that it can serve as my point of view for the week’s photo challenge.

Bean’s Pat: Hoof Beats and Foot Prints http://tinyurl.com/nz6fu4o This is a blogger who also takes time to capture the simple things that can be found in a day, when you take the time to look.

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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin

One of the pair of Cooper's hawks flying around the apartment complex earlier this year. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of the pair of Cooper’s hawks flying around the apartment complex earlier this year. — Photo by Pat Bean

First the Lovers, Then the Juveniles

            Earlier this year, I blogged about seeing a pair of Cooper’s hawks that appeared to be courting. For the past week, the results of that courtship have been entrancing residents. The hawks built a nest in a tall tree visible from my bedroom balcony and raised two young in it

And a quick sketch of one of the less-colorful juveniles now flying around my apartment complex. --  Pat Bean sketch

And a quick sketch of one of the less-colorful juveniles now flying around my apartment complex. — Pat Bean sketch

Those two juveniles have now fledged, and are so much less wary of we humans than their parents that I’ve been seeing them daily for over a week.  A few days ago, I actually saw one of the birds dehead a songbird in the air.

The luckless songbird’s body fell near where Pepper and I were walking. The hawk watched as we passed by.  I hoped that it retrieve its meal, as it would have been a shame for the songbird’s death not to have served a purpose.

As one who is an avid nature watcher, I’ve learned to accept the circle of life, which puts hawks at the top of the bird food chain. While many small birds can produce up to three large broods of chicks annually, hawks rarely raise more than one or two each year.

House wrens, for example, can go from egg to fledging in less than a month. Cooper’s Hawks’ eggs take over twice that time, and larger birds of prey, like the bald eagle, require more than four months to develop from an egg to a fledgling. And the parent will continue to feed it long after that.

I’m thankful that I still view birds, and all the rest of nature, with the wonder of a child, but also with the awe of learning the details of how everything fits into the environment.

Bean’s Pat: Discovering Myself http://tinyurl.com/mfhqdro Yes, yes and yes!

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            “The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” – Albert Einstein

Blooming this morning. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Blooming this morning. — Photo by Pat Bean

Morning Walk with Pepper

            I have many friends who find joy and relaxation digging in the dirt and making something grow. I appreciate them greatly, probably more so because I’m not one of them.

Simple and elegant -- Photo by Pat Bean

Simple and elegant — Photo by Pat Bean

The only thing outside of a potted plant that I’ve ever successfully grown was a patch of strawberries, once.  The robins, who knew the exact second they would be ripe, enjoyed them.

For most of my life I faked an appreciation of gardening, perhaps trying to convince myself I enjoyed getting hot and dirty and pained from stooping over.  It simply seemed unwomanly to admit that I didn’t like digging in the dirt.

Finally I accepted my true self as a non-dirt-pottering kind of woman. It felt good.

I love gardens, and gladly eat the delicious tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas and all the other home-grown vegetables that find their way into my kitchen. I even eat the zucchini that is a never-ending gift from my gardening friends.

And no morning would be complete without a view of Mother Nature's handiwork, the Catalina mountains. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And no morning would be complete without a view of Mother Nature’s handiwork, the Catalina mountains. — Photo by Pat Bean

And I dare say no one could appreciate their flower gardens more than me. Such live, growing beauty seeps deep into my heart.

So today, I just want to send out a big thanks to those responsible for my apartment’s flower gardens, and all the other hard work of keeping the grounds  trimmed and edged and growing. I find some new growing miracle on almost every walk.

And thanks to Mother Nature, too.  Mountains and wildflowers seep deep into my heart, too.

 

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