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Archive for the ‘Adventures With Pepper’ Category

            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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A friendly game of tug of war between Dusty, left, and Pepper. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A friendly game of tug of war between Dusty, left, and Pepper. — Photo by Pat Bean

   “A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.” – Elbert Hubbard

Best Friends

They like to wrestle, too.-- photo by Pat Bean

They like to wrestle, too.– photo by Pat Bean

Most late afternoons my friend Jean and I meet for a bit of chit-chat with our dogs.

I treasure such time with a friend. And so do Pepper and Dusty, who are friends, too.

Everyone needs friends.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Top 10 http://tinyurl.com/pb6ruhe Flowers that look like animals. This is amazing.

 

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The view of the Catalina Mountains from my bedroom balcony. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The view of the Catalina Mountains from my bedroom balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

   “Those fields of daisies we landed on, and dusty fields and desert stretches. Memories of many skies and earths beneath us – many days, many nights of stars.” – Anne Morrow Lindberg

How Amazing

            If you think of the desert as a dry, sterile patch of inhospitable landscape, think again. In the 16 months I’ve lived in it, I’ve found more beauty than I thought possible in a desert.

Admittedly, it’s the Sonoran Desert, which has also been called the lush desert because it has a monsoon season. But still I didn’t expect to come to love it as much as I have.

Patches of yellow on the landscape. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Patches of yellow on the landscape. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came to Tucson to spend Christmas 2012 with my daughter, and stayed, mainly because I found a dog-friendly apartment in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains that was exactly what I had been looking for when I ended my full-time living and traveling in  small RV.  Its location sang to me, and just as important it was a nice apartment I could afford.

My canine companion Pepper and I left it recently for almost three weeks – at heart I still love being on the road. And when I returned, as if by magic, summer had sneaked, or is that snuck, in. Tucson’s desert landscape does that while more northern states are just beginning to enjoy spring, or if truly northern still struggling with the remains of winter.

What I noticed first, when Pepper and I drove west on Highway 10 and turned north on Alvernon Road was that the landscape, patches of which still remain in the city, was decked out with yellow trimmings. I found it both beautiful and enchanting.

What a fantastic homecoming. Don’t you agree?

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

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

Bean’s Pat: Live to Write – Write to Live http://tinyurl.com/ny8487f  The Hero’s Journey: This blog taught me something about writing, and made me laugh, too. But don’t read it if you don’t want the plot and ending of the movie “Gravity” spoiled for you

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“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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