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Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

   “When all of us are acknowledged as the human equals that we really are, there will be no space left for bullying. It will no longer be wrong to choose one thing over another.” – Jason Mraz

Kim Novak, when she was young and fit Americans' standards of beauty.

Kim Novak, when she was young and fit Americans’ standards of beauty.

Soapbox Time

Public judgments of how people dress, what they eat, what they believe, how they act and  how they look, have been bothering me for a long time, like a chigger bite that won’t stop itching.

Most recently, it happened on “Survivor,” of which I’ve long been a fan despite its goal of outwitting and lying to other players. I see that as part of the game. What I don’t see as a game is when one player makes fun of another because they’re not young and beautiful, which one beautiful on-the-outside-but-not-on-the-inside contestant did to another older female contestant in recent weeks.

That’s also exactly what was done by public figures to Kim Novak after her appearance on Oscar night. For crying out loud, why wasn’t she celebrated for being an old broad who was brave enough to appear in public?

Kim Novak today. May I look this good when I'm 81.

Kim Novak today, and in my eyes still beautiful. May I look this good when I’m 81. Heck, I don’t look this good at 75

And by the way, Kim, I say old broad with great respect because I am one — and proud of it.

We Americans are currently fighting, or so we say, to end bullying of young people. At the same time, I daily see  bullying by public figures against those who don’t look like they’re 17, have perfect features and so much money they can afford to never wear the same outfit twice. Did anyone ever hear of the philosophy of role modeling?

Kim, who I think looks fantastic for 81, was taunted with such comments as “she should sue her plastic surgeon.” — How rude!!!!!!!!!! She said she hid herself away for days, but finally decided to call the hurtful judgments by their true name – Bullying.   

            Thank you Kim for being so brave.

How about the rest of us?  Can we tell all the comedians and self-appointed critics that we‘re not laughing anymore?

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

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

Bean Pat: This one’s for you Kim.  “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be  trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

 

 

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I took this sunrise shot while driving across West Texas. At first I hated the power lines that make it look flawed. These days I look at it a bit differently. How about you?  -- Photo by Pat Bean

I took this sunrise shot while driving across West Texas. At first I hated the power lines that make it look flawed. These days I look at it a bit differently. How about you? — Photo by Pat Bean

“It takes a long time to grow young.” – Pablo Picasso

My 75th Birthday

I really never thought about this day, and what it would mean to me.

I spent most of my birthdays living far from kids, and so didn't have to endure them making me look silly. This birthday, however, I'm celebrating with several children and grandchildren, and actually loving it that they do so enjoy making me look silly. -- Photo by D.C. and Cindi Bean.

I spent most of my birthdays living far from kids, and so didn’t have to endure them making me look silly. This birthday, however, I’m celebrating with several children and grandchildren, and actually loving it that they do so enjoy making me look silly. — Photo by D.C. and Cindi Bean.

But now that it’s here, I feel I should give myself a Bean’s Pat for making it.

When I look back, my mind first focuses on all the mistakes I made in life, but then I realize it is because of those mistakes that I have my children, that I learned about empathy, that I discovered the necessity of having priorities in one’s life, and that I truly lived.

Knowing what I know now, which is far less than I want to know but far more than what I knew when I took my first step in life, I would probably make a lot more mistakes because I wouldn’t be afraid of making them.

Yup! Turning 75 isn’t bad at all. Especially when I might still have a few more mistakes in life to make.

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

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

Bean’s Pat: Sun Rise http://garyschollmeier.wordpress.com/  I chose this blog because the sentiment echoes my thoughts this day – and I have watched the sun rise from a small sailboat that I once owned. I eventually had to sell the sailboat because my financial priorities changed, but buying it was not a mistake.

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“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Oprah Winfrey

My friend Kim sent me this recently on my Facebook timeline. Oh how I wish I could. -- Unknown source

My friend Kim sent me this recently on my Facebook timeline. Oh how I wish I could. — Unknown source

My Female Soul Mates

While I have no biological sisters, I am blessed to have women friends who fill the lack.

First there is Kim, the one who personally knows all the skeletons in my closet, and with whom I’ve shared many an outdoor adventure. We met as work colleagues who had nothing in common. It took a few after work drinks and a crazy, wild rafting trip for us to bond, but then it was us against the world.

Some of my writing sisters during the recent Story Circle Network. -- Smart Phone photo taken by another sister.

Some of my writing sisters during the recent Story Circle Network. — Smart Phone photo taken by another sister.

While I never seemed to choose a male who completed me, Kim was the perfect fit for all my flaws. We’re as different as lemons and chocolate, and each of our strengths cover the other’s flaws.

It was she who sent me the above poster, and if I lived closer now than 800 miles from her, you better believe I would have taken her up on the request. Instead I’m just remembering such escapes as getting lost in Nine Mile Canyon, coming eyeball to eyeball with an elephant, conquering Lunch Counter Rapid in high water, and making it to the top of Angel’s Landing during a snowstorm.

Then there is my friend, Kris, whom I met and played with during the two years I lived in Twin Falls. She and I sometimes go five years between visits, but easily pick up right where we left off when we do get together.

And in recent years, I have found online sisters who share my writing passion through Story Circle Network. I recently got to get together with them in Austin.

Could I be any more blessed?

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

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

Bean Pat: Indian Wells Canyon http://tinyurl.com/qby2ped Texas has her bluebonnets, but awesome wildflowers at this time of year are not confined to the Lone Star state. Thanks to this blogger I get to see some of them.

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“No one knows what causes an outer landscape to become an inner one.” – Margaret Atwood

The drive between Dallas and Austin is filled with roadside bluebonnets right now. Get out and go see them. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The drive between Dallas and Austin is filled with roadside bluebonnets right now. Get out and go see them. — Photo by Pat Bean

Catch ‘em While You Can

I drove from Dallas to Austin this past Thursday to attend the Story Circle Network’s Stories from the Heart memoir conference. The bluebonnets alongside the road on my I-35 and toll road 130 route were magnificent.

 

Up close and personal with Texas' state flower.

Up close and personal with Texas’ state flower.

On Sunday, after a fantastic few days of association with like-minded writer women, I made the return trip — and the bluebonnets were even more abundant and just as magnificent.

How could anyone not like bluebonnets?

They were named bluebonnets because someone thought they looked like the bonnets worn by pioneer women.

Texas’ singing cowboy “Pappy” O’Daniel, who became governor of the state when I was 2 years old, sang: “you may be on the plains or the mountains or down where the sea breezes blow, but bluebonnets are one of the prime factors that make the state the most beautiful land that we know.”

The Indian paintbrush blossoms along side Texas highways aren't too shabby either. --  Photo by Pat Bean

The Indian paintbrush blossoms along side Texas highways aren’t too shabby either. — Photo by Pat Bean

Did you catch that Texas pride there? I have to admit it’s something I share.

If you were a native Texan, like me, and saw the fields of bluebonnets I’ve seen this past week, you would understand. .

This is a really good year for bluebonnets, which require special conditions of rain, sun and cold, to bloom at their best. But the fields of blue are short-lived.

So if you can, catch them soon.

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

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

Bean Pat: Not Yet There http://tinyurl.com/k243py5 This is one of my favorite bloggers, and this month Red Jim is writing poetry daily because it’s National Poetry Month.

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The New Language

“Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands, and goes to work.” – Carl Sandburg

Daily doodling. -- without typos.  -- Illustration by Pat Bean

Daily doodling. — without typos. — Illustration by Pat Bean

I’m Belly-Laughing, Not LOLing

            I must admit that the texting- twittering new language often leaves me befuddled. I mean take LOL, which I assume means laughing-out-loud and is the easiest of the acronym-craze to understand .But LOL could mean many other things, like living out loud, loving only lions, or liars often lie.

I would much rather be birding here than proofreading. Wouldn't you?

I would much rather be birding here than proofreading. Wouldn’t you?

OK! I’m being facetious. But then I just had this conversation, over coffee with a friend who is outraged about all the grammatical mistakes and typos found in today’s printed words, so much so that she can’t continue reading when she comes across a misused word.

Thankfully, she doesn’t own a computer, because when I reread my own posted blog, I often discover one or more of those overlooked verbiage gremlins. Like the rest of the writing world, I need a proofreader, a career that mostly disappeared with the ascension of technology. These days, writers have to be their own proofreaders.

Since I read for content, I can easily overlook an occasional grammatical error, well unless they’re many and truly a sign of sloppiness. Good writing is what is important to me.

Meanwhile, I’m currently trying to catch all those misused-misspelled-typo gremlins in my recently finished book, “Travels with Maggie,” before it gets published. I don’t want someone to stop reading because they found a grammatical error or a typo. It’s very hard work for someone who is a writer — and not a proof reader.

Oh, by the way, I never use LOL when I really mean belly laughing. I guess that’s because my brain was formed long before the days of texting and twittering.

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

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

Bean’s Pat: Interesting Literature http://tinyurl.com/nhhsob4 Just because it’s April Fool’s Day

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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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Taking a Break

             “The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.” — Abe Lemons  

Bring it on world. I'm ready for you again.--Photo by T.C. Ornelas

Bring it on world. I’m ready for you again.–Photo by T.C. Ornelas

Or Not

I was the oldest, and had three brothers whom I often became the caretaker for.  I married quite young and soon had five kids to take care of. When the oldest was 11 and the youngest was two, I went to work full time as a journalist and added that to taking care of five kids.

But I will never be so busy that I forget to smell the flowers, or in this case, admire the ones created in glass by Dale Chihuly. == Photo by Pat Bean

But I will never be so busy that I forget to smell the flowers, or in this case, admire the ones created in glass by Dale Chihuly. == Photo by Pat Bean

It felt like I was on vacation when they all left home, and I only had a 50-hour-per-week job that I loved — and actually spent 24 hours a day thinking and dreaming about in my head.

In 2004, I retired, sold my home, bought a small RV, and spent the next nine years living in it and traveling this country, which pretty much kept both my body and mind occupied full time.

Last year I nested in Tucson, and began a schedule that included daily writing on a book, a job writing a travel blog for American Profile magazine three times a week, and a dog-walking business in my apartment complex for working pet owners.

At about the same time I finished the book, the magazine was bought out by a conglomerate and I lost my blogging job, leaving me with only my dog-walking gig, which I started to make sure this old broad gets plenty of daily exercise..

While I have dozens of writing projects in my head, and really could use the money they might generate, I’ve taken a break this past week, with the exception of daily walking Pepper and two other dogs.

I’ve read and read some more, watched all the Star Trek movies on Netflix, spent a whole day playing Settlers with a friend, ate too much, slept in and generally did nothing I considered worthwhile, not even writing this blog.

It was nice – for a while. But I realized, as I lay awake in bed last night, retirement is not for me. I’m ready to get back to the grindstone. It really is what makes me happy.

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

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

Bean’s Pat: Giggle of the Week http://tinyurl.com/k98m8g9 I’m still laughing.

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This hole on the Snake River once ate me. While I was certainly trying to self-rescue myself, it was sure good to feel strong hands of others pulling me back into the raft  -- Photo by Pat Bean

This hole on the Snake River once ate me. While I was certainly trying to self-rescue myself, it sure felt good to feel the strong hands of others pulling me back into the raft. — Photo by Pat Bean

           “We’re our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.” – Tom Robbins

It’s Called Self Rescue  

When I was doing some serious white-water rafting, our bunch of river rats all looked out for each other. But we also believed in the philosophy of self-rescue. It’s a great philosophy, which one day I realized worked in the real world as well as the play world.

I know many people who are deathly afraid of spiders. I wonder what it is about this create that so inspires fear. -- Wikipedia photo

I know many people who are deathly afraid of spiders. I wonder what it is about this creature that so inspires fear. — Wikipedia photo

In my younger days, I wanted things around me to change to make my problems go away. Nowadays, I know I have to be the one to change, or act, or even escape from the people who disturb my well-being and self-confidence. There are people like that, you know.

So my wish for all of us good-intended souls is that we somehow find the means and strength to rescue ourselves, even if it’s just from boredom. Find your passions in life and follow them – and don’t let roadblocks get in your way. In other words, smash your own spiders.

Don’t you just love that phrase?  I certainly do. And when I recently heard it, I knew I had to find a way to share it.

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

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

Bean’s Pat: Breezes at Dawn http://tinyurl.com/q4g9jf3 Wake Up! Robin is one of my favorite bloggers. I hope you enjoy her, too.

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            “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso

From a distance, these looked like plants. Instead they are the welcoming art of Dale Chihuly the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. -- Photo by Pat Bean

From a distance, these looked like plants. Instead they are the welcoming art of Dale Chihuly to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. — Photo by Pat Bean

And Realizing I’m not Like Him

I recently caught an exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s glass art at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. One word says it all. Fantastic!

Nor was this a celebratory stack of balloons. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Nor was this a celebratory stack of balloons. — Photo by Pat Bean

It was the second time I had seen Chihuly’s colorful glass creations in a foliage setting. The first was in 2006, when I was living and traveling full time in my small RV, Gypsy Lee. The setting then was the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, where Chihuly’s work represented everything from reeds and Mexican hats to herons and meteorite-looking balls plopped down among a bounty of foliage and brilliantly hued flowers.

When I later looked at the photos, I found I had mingled Chihuly’s art with the creations of nature so well that I sometimes had to stop and ask myself which was which.

That night, as I lay in bed awake, I pondered how a genius like Chihuly came to be – and the answer suddenly hit me: Single-minded focus and dedication, which I knew was something I lacked.

For almost as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a “great” writer, yet I was always finding excuses for not writing. I knew I lacked the focus of a Chihuly, or a Van Gogh, or even an old boyfriend who religiously practiced his guitar four hours a day, seven days a week.

Don't you just love the color yellow.

Don’t you just love the color yellow.

While in my youth, I flagellated myself for this lack, today I’m thankful for it.

My life has been richer for the fact that I didn’t give up riding roller coasters with my grandkids, arguing politics with my friends, discovering who my grownup children had become, exploring new hiking trails, white-water rafting with my river-rat buddies, mindlessly watching the sun rise and set, piddling with my watercolors, reading Harry Potter final book the day it came out, and sniffing every flower in life I came across.

Writing is a part of my life, and will always be, but it will never be my whole life.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: The Why About This http://tinyurl.com/p7w7bll As an Old Broad who evolved from a barefoot and pregnant southern girl to an associate editor position at a 65,000 circulation newspaper, this blog has special meaning to me. And to this day, Helen Reddy’s first time out as a song writer continues to inspire me. I listen to it regularly, but loved this chance to see her perform it in person. I hope you will, too

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Aging Is Not All Bad

Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature. — Thich Nhat Han

The beautiful saguaro cactus needs age to become beautiful and grow its arms. It's barely a couple of inches tall at the age of 10 and can be 40 years old before it spouts an arm.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

The beautiful saguaro cactus needs age to become beautiful and grow its arms. It’s barely a couple of inches tall at the age of 10 and can be 40 years old before it spouts an arm. — Photo by Pat Bean

In Fact, I Like Most of It

While I fight against it, and am still active, there’s no denying that age has taken its toll on me. I can no longer hike 20 miles in a day, once again captain my white-water raft as I did from the age of 40 to the age of 60, or carry a great-grandchild on my hip for hours as I did my own children.

Sunsets can be as spectacular as sunrises -- from a different perspective. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Sunsets can be as spectacular as sunrises — from a different perspective. — Photo by Pat Bean

And then there are the little aches and pains as the body loses the glow of youth. The saying that “age isn’t for sissies” is so true it makes me laugh.

But age also has its rewards, ones that let me know I wouldn’t want to be young again. Young for me was full of insecurities, fears that someone wouldn’t like me, inner pressures to be perfect, doubts that I was good enough, and guilt for all the mistakes I made as a parent.

Being an old broad – and don’t call me elderly, I hate that term – having raised five children and being retired from a stressful 10-hour day job putting out a daily newspaper – has given me time to occasionally just sit on my balcony and reflect. Age, and a lifetime of doing, have let me truly come to know who I am.

And thankfully I like that person. I couldn’t say that when I was young.

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

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

Bean’s Pat: Soul Writings http://tinyurl.com/pmjfco7 To give credit where credit is due, this was the blog and quote that inspired my words today. The blogger posts often, but  the writing is always short and uplifting, and the photos that accompany it beautiful and thought-provoking.

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