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Pampering Myself

“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love anyone else?” RuPaul

Pancakes with sour cream and strawberries for a cool morning breakfast, topped off of course with a cup of dark, cream-laced coffee. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pancakes with sour cream and strawberries for a cool morning breakfast, topped off of course with a cup of dark, cream-laced coffee. — Photo by Pat Bean

Hot Bath and Pancakes

It was cool, sweater weather this morning. So after I took Pepper for her morning walk, welcomed Dusty for her day’s stay while her mom worked, and fed and tidied up after the four cats I’m looking after twice a day while their mom’s gone for the week, I decided it was Me Time..

Still a little chilled, I soaked in a hot bath with a book until the water cooled, and then fixed myself pancakes topped with sour cream and strawberries. I used to fix this for dinner sometimes when my kids were young.

Life is good. I think that’s what the two dogs thought, too. After they had their morning romp through my apartment they curled up and became couch potatoes.

Two couch potatoes. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Two couch potatoes. They had their eyes closed until they heard the click of the camera.  — Photo by Pat Bean

Bean Pat: Nature Has No Boss http://tinyurl.com/kgtn33s An oystercatcher’s breakfast.

Sunday Art

This singer is a common yellowthroat that I usually come across in marshy areas near water, which hums its own melodies as it swishes against a bank or over rocks. -- Art by Pat Bean

This singer is a common yellowthroat that I usually come across in marshy areas near water, which hums its own melodies as it swishes against a bank or over rocks. — Art by Pat Bean

And a Song

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  — Harriet Tubman

And a Song   

            Bean Pat: http://tinyurl.com/p9rzz9g I came across this blog this morning and found myself transplanted back in time by words that ring even truer to me today. I marveled at younger faces of singers whose music continues to be sung. How many of them can you recognize?

 

If only she smelled as good as she looked. -- Photo by Pat Bean

If only she smelled as good as she looked. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.” ~Franklin P. Jones

Equals Two Smelly Dogs

            Early this morning, from outside my balcony, I heard a familiar whistle. My friend, Jean, was walking her dog, Dusty. Her crisp whistle said: “Come out and play.”

And Dusty didn't smell any better. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And Dusty didn’t smell any better. — Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper had started dancing around even before I heard the whistle. Her keen sense of smell had already alerted her to the fact that her best friend was outside. She was excited and begged for us to go out and join in the fun.

What Pepper wants, Pepper usually gets.

And so it was that Jean and I sat talking at a picnic table, while our two dogs romped around in the grass. Then suddenly a tantalizing scent caught the dogs’ attention. . Before we two humans could react, the two canines were rolling their bodies around and around and around on a specific spot in the grass. .

When we hollered at them to stop, they both came running, jumped up on the table, and with grinning faces tried to give us kisses.

Jean and I quickly recoiled. Yuck! Both dogs smelled like poop

Our next order of business, regardless of other plans for the day, was doggie baths.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Fall Hike http://tinyurl.com/mw2pjly Take a short Colorado hike with Andy.

Thursday Art

Capturing a moment in time. --  By Pat Bean

Capturing a moment in time. — By Pat Bean

“I cannot keep the look of youth, but how October maples flame. Age takes our beauty, gives us truth. Age takes our wits, and makes us wise. Age gives us life’s October skies, and old October’s mellower days, a better time a thousand ways.” – Douglas Malloch

Bean Pat: Canoe Communications http://tinyurl.com/m2zdmpk  It’s seems only fair that I promote this excellent blog, seeing as how I stole the quote his blog this morning because I loved it so much.

Mornings

            “It is in the early morning hour that the unseen is seen, and that the far-off beauty and glory, vanquishing all their vagueness, move down upon us till they stand clear as crystal close over against the soul.” ~Sarah Smiley

I find mornings magical, a gift to me from Mother Nature. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I find mornings magical, a gift to me from Mother Nature. — Photo by Pat Bean

The Peaceful Time

I filled my nectar feeder this morning for the first time in weeks, having stopped the ritual because of summer bee season here at my apartment complex.

Verdins feed more at my nectar feeder than hummingbirds. I love watching them. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Verdins feed more at my nectar feeder than hummingbirds. I love watching them. — Photo by Pat Bean

As I sat in my living room chair, staring out at it through the open balcony door, a black-chinned hummingbird, perhaps the same one that has been regularly checking the empty feeder, stopped by for breakfast. It was soon joined by a verdin, a tiny bird that is as common as hummingbirds at my feeder.

While hummingbirds usually chase off their own species wanting to feed at the same time, these two peacefully shared the wealth. I wondered why I had taken so long to start filling the feeder again.

And then I drank in my favorite time of day. Too often it’s the only time of day my chaotic brain ceases to race through life. The desert morning was cool and still, making me feel as if I were the only human up and moving around at this moment  in time – just seconds before the sun would bring reality to a world full of good and evil, and beauty and ugliness. The air was tinged with magic, and my soul filled with peace as I gratefully accepted Mother Nature’s gift.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: The rest of the story http://tinyurl.com/lkx3jz9  I guess Ruth never heard about Paul Harvey. By the way, I’m laughing with this blogger because I’ve been in her position. Sometimes what we think is interesting, readers find less so.

Woman of the Mountain http://tinyurl.com/kpuqh4w A  Blue Ridge Parkway hero.  

            .

A Splash from the Past

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was 43 years old when I experienced my first white water adventure. Within the next week, I had bought my own raft, and for the next 20 years running rapids was my passion. The river taught me much about myself.

I was 43 years old when I experienced my first white water adventure. Within the next week, I had bought my own raft, and for the next 20 years running rapids was my passion. The river taught me much about myself.

A Long Swim

Being a writer and journal keeper, the artifacts of my life are found in words, like those that popped up yesterday when I was going through a box of photographs. Among the pictures was a faded proof of a story I wrote as a personal newspaper column back in 1988.

Who knows what is going to pop up when you're going through artifacts of your life? == Photo by Pat Bean

Who knows what is going to pop up when you’re going through artifacts of your life? == Photo by Pat Bean

While the story is about an incident that will forever be hazily embedded in my brain, the words I had written, when the details were fresh and new, brought back the memory in vivid, living color. I just love being a writer.

Here’s what I wrote over a quarter of a century ago – with a bit of judicious editing because I’m a better writer, if not a better rafter, these days.

            PIECE-OF-CAKE RAPID, SALMON, RIVER, IDAHO – I knew before it happened that it was going to happen. I was going swimming. Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy swimming. But I didn’t have the slightest yen to take a dip in a fast-flowing, bubbling, chilly rapid.

            The last piece of advice given me by White Otter River guide, Randy Hess, as I stepped for the very first time into a one-person, inflatable kayak, was “Just keep it straight. These babies are steady and designed so they slice nicely through the water.”

            Somehow he forgot to say: “But don’t let the kayak get turned broadside to the rapid or it will flip.”

            Actually I already knew that. I had even been down this stretch of the Salmon River before, only in a large paddle raft with six people to keep the rubber boat pointed downstream.          

An eagle on shore spotted during one of my annual floats down the Snake River below Jackson Wyoming. -- Photo by Pat Bean

An eagle on shore spotted during one of my annual floats down the Snake River below Jackson Wyoming. — Photo by Pat Bean

   Today, however, I quickly realized that I didn’t have the hang of maneuvering my wobbly (Randy lied. It wasn’t steady) craft, or the skill to easily use the two-bladed paddle, which was also a first for me.

            I might have had a chance to overcome the learning curve if the first rapid, Piece-of-Cake, named I’m sure by some maniacal jokester, hadn’t been within sight of the launch point.

            “Stay to the left,” I heard Randy, who was nearby in his hard-body kayak, yell at me.

            I was able do that, but I didn’t have enough control to swing the raft around to meet the oncoming second wave – and so I flipped.

            “Sh-ee-it!” I uttered as I flew out of the boat just a couple of minutes after getting into it. As the water drowned my exclamation, I told myself to just go with the flow, and almost immediately I bounced off the river bottom and back up to where the air was less thick to breathe – until a mean wave reburied me beneath the water again.

            But finally I managed to get my life-jacketed, and thankfully wet-suited body above the waves, and then quickly pointed my feet downstream, so they, and not my head, would hit any rock obstacle in the way. This wasn’t my first time being dumped in fast-flowing water.

            The current, however, stramded me in a patch of tricky backwash.  Sh-ee-it! I managed to get my favorite “I’m-gonna-die” word out this time before another kayaker came up beside me.

            “Grab on,” she said. I didn’t have to be asked twice. But with my weight hanging on to her hard-shelled kayak, she couldn’t escape the backwash, and although my kayak was just on the other side of her, I couldn’t get to it.

            Finally the expert, Randy, comes in to save the day, maneuvering his kayak so I can grab hold of it. I breathe a sigh of relief, figuring I’m now in capable hands.   

            The feeling was short-lived. In a rare, slow-motion moment, Randy’s kayak flips When I realize I still have hold of the boat, and am hindering Randy’s attempts to roll up, I let go. The rapid immediately takes me to the middle of the river, shoving more water down my throat until the waves subsist and I’m floating in calm water. Exhausted now, I wait to be rescued.

            I ride in the group’s raft with the lunch supplies for a while, but then get back in that dang inflatable kayak and spend the rest of the day without mishap.

            The kayakers later congratulate me for dumping Randy, a “pretty sight” they say they had never seen before. An abashed Randy then gives me “The Salmon River Swimming Championship Award,”

            “I think the river,” he said, “was a bit high today.” And then he grins.  –30

A few years later, when the water wasn’t quite so high, I got back in another dang inflatable kayak and with a granddaughter by my side in a second inflatable kayak, stayed in the boat through Piece-of-Cake Rapid and the rest of the day’s float trip. No rewards for me this day, only a deeply felt satisfaction in my soul.          

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat: A new mindset http://tinyurl.com/ovy7yh9 Ditto what this blogger wrote.

Art and Words

 

I wish I hadn't made some of the coral so dark.

I wish I hadn’t made some of the coral so dark.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.” – Scott Adams

 Life Lessons

One of the most freeing pieces of advice I ever received was the one given to me by a Weber State University art professor.

Quick sketch of a barn

Quick sketch of a barn

“Give yourself permission to paint a bad picture,” he said, then gave us the assignment to do just that.

I absolutely hated the “bad” painting I did for the assignment. But when the professor posted all of the students’ “bad paintings” on the wall, he pointed out what he liked in each of them.  I was dumbfounded at what he liked in mine, but in reconsidering I did see a few elements of saving grace in my ugly picture.

While I never did come to like that painting, I did learn from the exercise. From that time foreword, I’ve given myself permission to paint a bad picture every time I have a blank piece of paper or canvas in front of me. It frees me enough that I can actually paint without having to worry about messing up. That’s good because I always do.

I can honestly say I’ve never painted a piece that I felt was perfect — and probably never will. It’s the same with my writing. I can always see ways, after a piece is published, where I could have made the words sing more vibrantly, or whisper more gracefully.

Perfection simply isn’t within me. But that’s OK. It’s the imperfections that make me who I am – and unique.           

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Leanne Cole Photography http://tinyurl.com/ohj4k9t Abbotsford Convent, a delightful blog for the armchair traveler.

 

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