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Archive for the ‘Dogs’ 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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   “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

Fall was in full progress when I arrived in Maine, and followed me on my southward return. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Fall was in full progress when I arrived in Maine, and followed me on my southward return. — Photo by Pat Bean

Is Finished

For all of you who have stuck with me for a bit, and followed the writing journey of my book, “Travels with Maggie,” I’m delighted to inform you that it is now ready to go out to the world.

Maggie claiming the driver's seat during a stop for gas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Maggie claiming the driver’s seat during a stop for gas. — Photo by Pat Bean

The 75,000-word travel book/memoir is about a six-month journey my canine companion, Maggie, and I took in 2006. The title is inspired by John Steinbeck’s  “Travels with Charlie,” and I’ve been telling prospective agents it would sit nicely on a book shelf between his book, and Charles Kuralt’s “On the Road,” with Tim Cahill’s “Road Fever” nearby, but that its uniqueness lies in the fact that it was written by an old-broad, wandering-wonderer.

I’m currently in the process of looking at ways to get it published as an e-book, and getting a cover designed for it. Next will come a printed book – I’m hoping.

The journey began in Camden, Arkansas, where my youngest daughter lived at the time, and ended in Rowlett, Texas, in time for Thanksgiving dinner at my oldest daughter’s home. It was a trip of 7,000 miles that took me to Maine and Acadia National Park that wriggled its way through 23 states and Canada.

Any advice those of you who have self-published a book is welcome. Especially helpful would be experiences any of my readers have had with Vook or Bookbaby.

Meanwhile, this is my way of yelling from the mountain top that the third rewrite of “Travels with Maggie” is now behind me.

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

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

Bean Pat: Two short videos. Footloose and Kevin Bacon fans will enjoy this one, even if they saw it on the Jimmy Fallon show: http://tinyurl.com/oldwfxj And old broads and anyone who loves life will enjoy this one. I smiled all the way through it. http://tinyurl.com/qz8btq6

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Most people who ask for advice from others have already resolved to act as it pleases them.” – Khalil Gibran.

Of course when I hiked the benches of Mount Ogden in Utah, I wasn't exactly along. I always had Peaches or Maggie with me. Peaches would have torn the limbs off of anyone who tried to harm me. But, Maggie, who is shown here, would have been hiding behind me for protection.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Of course when I hiked the benches of Mount Ogden in Utah, I wasn’t exactly alone. I always had Peaches or Maggie with me. Peaches would have torn the limbs off of anyone who tried to harm me. But, Maggie, who is shown here, would have been hiding behind me for protection. — Photo by Pat Bean

It All Depends

This is a photo my daughter shot while riding alone in the desert. -- Photo by T.C. Ornelas

This is a photo my daughter shot while riding alone in the desert. — Photo by T.C. Ornelas

I’m not a fan of giving advice – or getting it for that matter. I cringe when all but my youngest daughter asks me for advice, especially in areas in which I’ve made mistakes – and that covers a about a jillion areas.

And the only reason I don’t mind giving my youngest daughter with neck problems advice is that I know she won’t take it. I guess she takes after me. I can’t think of hardly any advice given me that I didn’t distain in favor of the hard knocks of experiencing things for myself.

Besides, over the years, I’ve learned that sometimes good-intentioned advice is not in my best interests. The best example is the frequent advice I was always getting not to hike the benches around Ogden alone.

coyote

And this is one of the coyotes that have followed her. — Photo by T.C. Ornelas

If I had followed that advice, heeding the fears of others, I would have deprived myself of some of the most soul-filling moments of my 25 years of living in Northern Utah. Knowing this is what keeps me from telling my youngest daughter not to ride her horse along in the desert, where coyotes trail her path.

For some of us, having our alone time in nature, is absolutely necessary for maintaining sanity. It was for me when I had daily newspaper deadlines to meet. And my daughter is a working mother, who raised three daughters and is now raising three boys, including two teenagers among them.  Talk about needing to hold onto saneness.

I also didn’t follow the advice of all the financial gurus who told me how much money I needed to retire. Instead I’ve spent the past 10 years, nine of them  traveling – alone – full-time in an RV across this vast country, perfecting ways to get by on much less than the gurus claimed I needed.

Recently, I’ve been checking out advice for getting my book, Travels with Maggie, published. Advice for this seems to be just about around every corner — and in the tradition of writing advice, the various suggestions are often contradictory.

But this morning, I read the best piece of publishing advice I have come across since I started researching the issue. It was offered by Chuck Wendig, author of “Kiss –Ass Writer.” The first step, said Chuck, is “write something great.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a better piece of advice, or one that I will try harder to follow.

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

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

Bean’s Pat:  Winter’s Heartbeat http://tinyurl.com/nxuqj55  This blog might actually make you not want to chase away the cold.

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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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What is Home?

            “You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.” — Maya Angelou

This view from my balcony is now part of what means home to me. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This view from my bedroom balcony is now part of what means home to me. — Photo by Pat Bean

Whatever You Want It To Be

            I spent nine wonderful years living and traveling this country full-time in Gypsy Lee, my 22-foot motor home. Recently I realized that was more years than I had ever lived in one specific dwelling in my life.         

Desert sunsets from my front balcony now seem like part of my home. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Desert sunsets from my living room balcony now mean home to me.  — Photo by Pat Bean

All that time I was traveling, the road felt more like home than any of my former rooted dwellings. This wondering wanderer pondered why?

            The road, I finally decided, with its wondrous sights and beauty, was what I had longed for almost all my life. I dreamed about exploring this country, from coast to coast and border to border, ever since I can remember.

            The hundreds of travel books I read over the years — “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat Moon, “On the Road,” by Charles Kuralt, “Travels with Charley,” by John Steinbeck, “A Walk in the Woods,” by Bill Bryson, “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey, and many, many more – fueled those dreams.

            Then finally, at 65 years of age, I made the dream come true. I figured I had about five years before age would catch up with me, and I would have to stop living atop wheels, but I almost doubled that expectation.  

And Pepper is part of my home now. I'm a very blessed and a very thankful person. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And Pepper is part of my home now. I’m a very blessed and a very thankful person. — Photo by Pat Bean

          This year I exchanged the road for a Tucson, Arizona, third-floor apartment in the Catalina Mountain foothills. Although I find it hard to believe, it now feels like home. Of course this wondering wanderer pondered why?

            In doing so, I listed what home meant to this old-broad wandering wonderer these days. My answers included: A place with a large bathtub so that I could soak in a hot tub whenever I wanted. This, I should tell you, is the only think I missed after paring down for my RV lifestyle and the road..

            Home also means a place where I can spend a whole day in my pajamas – if I wanted and did not have my dog, Pepper, to walk, but then Pepper, herself, is home.

             Home is a place with lots of books, even if one has a Kindle. Home is my desk and computer, where I can write to my heart’s content.  Home is a place where I can keep in touch with loved ones, and occasionally travel to visit them. Home is a balcony with a view of nature and birds and mountains. Home is a place to bring friends.

            What I now also know is that home is more inside of one than outside of one, and that it can be whatever you want it to be, and make it to be.       

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

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

     Bean’s Pat: The Road Not Taken http://tinyurl.com/l37f994 Something to think about.

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         “Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” — George Eliot

Think all doves do are coo. This white-winged species has a nest in a tree that I walk beneath and screeches loudly at me every time I walk past. -- Photo y Pat Bean

Think all doves do are coo? This white-winged species has a nest in a tree that I walk beneath and screeches loudly at me every time I walk past. — Photo y Pat Bean

Letting my Mind Wonder as My Legs Wander

            I’m recovering nicely from my broken ankle, but still not up to the adventure of a trail hike. Instead I have to get my kicks from walking on level ground. Mostly, on the four daily 15-20 minute walks I take with Pepper around the apartment complex, she and I retrace the same territory over and over.

Pepper off on one of her scent trails. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper off on one of her scent trails. — Photo by Pat Bean

But each walk is different because of the people we meet along the way, a suddenly blooming plant, an old sight seen in a new way, the variety and activity of birds at the time, and always the varying thoughts in my head.

My best and brightest or most absurd and ridiculous ideas bounce through my brain like a ball in a pinball machine when I’m walking.

Pepper, who sniffs every twig, every new flower and urine bulletin board messages left behind by her doggie colleagues, always adds a layer of fun to the walks.

This one little flower in a big pot seems awfully lonely/ == Photo by Pat Bean

This one little flower in a big pot seems awfully lonely/ == Photo by Pat Bean

So far she’s never met another canine or human whom she didn’t like, although thankfully she’s come to know which four-footed and two-footed beings don’t want anything to do with her, and has learned to sit quietly by my side while they pass.

Dogs, I’ve come to believe, have much better instincts than we humans

But a smile or a tail wag from any of our apartment neighbors is enough to make her deliriously happy and playful. She is forever bringing smiles to my face.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Like a moment from Midsomer Murders: http://tinyurl.com/d2rrved  A First of May sunrise. I suspect the reference to Midsomer Murders is because there is always one village celebration or another taking place in the English TV mystery series, which is one of my favorite shows. The blog’s title is what caught my attention, but the photo is awesome.

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            “Home is where the heart is.” Pliney the Elder           

This colorful sleeper couch was one of my first purchases for creating a new home and a new lifestyle. i think it's a "joyful" beginning. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

This colorful sleeper couch was one of my first purchases for creating a new home and a new lifestyle. I think it’s a “joyful” beginning. — Photo by Pat Bean.

“Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.” Tad Williams

Creating a New Home

            The road has been my home for more than eight years. It was the home I had dreamed of for most of my life and it was every bit as wonderful as I had imagined.     

My third-floor apartment lets me live at tree-top level It's the closest thing I could find to living in a tree house, which is something I would still like to do. These two winter-naked trees are visible from my front-room balcony. I'm eagerly awaiting them to change into spring garments, and watching them do so is one of the joys I look forward to in coming days. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My third-floor apartment lets me live at tree-top level It’s the closest thing I could find to living in a tree house, which is something I would still like to do. These two winter-naked trees are visible from my front-room balcony. I’m eagerly awaiting them to change into spring garments, and watching them do so is one of the joys I look forward to in coming days. — Photo by Pat Bean

        Me, my bossy canine companion, Maggie, and for a short time a joyful puppy named Pepper, traveled this country from border to border and ocean to ocean in Gypsy Lee, a 22-foot RV that I bought new in 2004, and which now has almost 140,000 miles on her.  

            To live this wondering-wandering life within my personal financial means, I sold or gave away, almost everything I owned before I could get on the road to explore this fantastic country. “America the Beautiful,” it truly is.  

            I knew, however, that one day my full-time life on the road would have to become at least only part-time. And when that day came, I knew I would be starting from scratch in the homemaking department.

            That day came this past December 26. And this red sleeper couch was one of my first purchases. And I love it. It feels like a good start to a new home. What do you think?

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“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” Maya Angelou

Mind Triggers

The sight that greeted me when I looked up from the computer. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The sight that greeted me when I looked up from the computer. — Photo by Pat Bean

            I was just completing yesterday’s blog about Willie Nelson, when I looked up from the computer and saw my canine companion, Pepper, grinning from ear-to-ear as she sat in the middle of a devastated stuffed cat.

The dead cat. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The dead cat. — Photo by Pat Bean

I couldn’t do anything but smile. The toy had been on sale at PetSmart, and I had bought it for her, knowing full-well I would pay the clean-up consequences.            And then Willie’s quote about bigoted people not being his friend popped into my wondering-wandering mind, and I laughed, and continued laughing as I picked up the stuffing from every room in my small apartment.

Pepper is not prejudiced against cats. She’s also destroyed a big stuffed dog, a bear, a raccoon, and several ducks. She even took a bite out of my daughter’s Great Dane’s indestructible dinosaur.

Indestructible was the word my daughter used, even after I warned her that Pepper didn’t know the meaning of the word.

They look so innocent when they're asleep. -- Photo by Pat Bean

They look so innocent when they’re asleep. — Photo by Pat Bean

During Pepper and my first month together, she destroyed three pillows and their pillow cases, two pens (the stain of one which can still be seen on the rug in my RV) a computer cord, half a dozen pairs of socks, two of my daughter-in-law’s flip-flops and just about anything else she could get her teeth into.            Fortunately, she finally learned the difference between things that were hers and things that were mine, well except for socks and these days I blame myself for leaving any within her reach.

In the meantime I, or since I moved to Tucson, also my daughter, keep her supplied with plenty of chew bones, chew toys and occasionally a stuffed animal which can give her days of fun, and me days of picking up stuffing.

But as I said, she’s not prejudiced. She’ll chew up any stuffed animal.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Alastair’s Blog http://tinyurl.com/b4ggr4t How to Wash a Cat. I got great belly laughs from this one. I hope you laugh at it as much as I did. Laughter’s good for the soul. And I’m not prejudiced against cats, just for the record.

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    “Ever wonder where you’d end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash?” – Robert Brault

Pepper, who is sitting in the new arm chair I bought for my new apartment and asking me just why it is that I can't take her for a walk. Thankfully the dog walker I hired until my foot is better arrived a few minutes later.

Pepper, who is sitting in the new arm-chair I bought for my new apartment and asking me just why it is that I can’t take her for a walk. Thankfully the dog walker I hired until my foot is better arrived a few minutes later. — Photo by Pat Bean

My Dog, Pepper

Pepper turned one-year-old December 26, 2012. She adopted me when she was 4 ½ months old and weighed 11 pounds. She weighs in at about 20 pounds these days.

I say she adopted me because I wasn’t looking for a puppy, and I had never known a terrier I wanted to own. Too high-strung and energetic was how I looked at them.

My armchair travels today took me to Ushuaia, where I took a hike on the Martial Glacier. -- Wikipedia photo

My armchair travels today took me to Ushuaia, where I took a hike on the Martial Glacier. — Wikipedia photo

But Pepper, a Scottie-mix or so the SPCA shelter where I got her said, took one look at me, stopped running around with all the other dogs in the enclosure, and made a mad dash toward me.  I was sitting on a bench at the time, observing the animals and looking for a cocker spaniel-mix about two years old. But she hopped into my lap, connected her creamy chocolate eyes onto my blue ones, and in no uncertain terms told me she was coming home with me.            “That’s Kenzie,” the shelter worker said.

I now know what love at first sight means. Of course she came home with me. And on that drive, as I sat in the back seat of my daughter’s car, I decided she wasn’t a Kenzie.”

“So what shall we call you,” I asked her out loud. I went through half a dozen names, and when I said Pepper, she yelped “Yow!” in agreement.

She’s turned out to be the best companion in the whole world. I’m one lucky dog owner.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Climbing in Patagonia: http://tinyurl.com/a9x55qk While stuck in my third-floor apartment with a broken foot, I have to do my traveling via an armchair, the one Pepper’s sitting in above. I found this to be a great hike, and especially loved passing through the haunted and twisted forest.

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” — Abraham Lincoln.

Happy New Year Everyone

I just want to say a big “Thank You” to my readers.  I’ve taken a break from blogging since Christmas as I have been making a big lifestyle change, one that will  be reflected, I’m sure, in the blogs I will post in 2013.

Pepper and I wish everyone a Happy New Year. This is Pepper the day I rescued her. She's a bit bigger today.

Pepper and I wish everyone a Happy New Year. This is Pepper the day I rescued her. She’s a bit bigger today.

Meanwhile, since this is New Year’s Eve, here are my resolutions for this blog in the coming year.Post five times a week. This is part of another resolution to not touch a computer one day a week. The other missing day is to get out in Mother Nature’s realm so I can continue telling you about her wonders.

Tell readers at least once a week about a book I’m enjoying reading.

Finish writing “Travels with Maggie,” so I can go on to a new writing project that I can share with you.

Keep you updated on Pepper, the lively Scottie-mix canine that I’ve lived with for the past eight months who has stolen my heart.

Continue providing a link to another daily blog that I’ve enjoyed,

I also commit to responding to everyone who makes a comment on my blog, and hope that in the coming year I will get to know many of you better.

Thanks to all of you for making this a great blogging year for me. Now here’s what WordPress had to say about Pat Bean’s Blog.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 48,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 11 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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