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Born in Another Era

I would rather watch birds, like this Gambel quail, than television -- which is a good thing. -- Pat Bean

I would rather watch birds, like this Gambel quail, than television — which is a good thing. — Pat Bean

            Technology… is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. – Carrie Snow That’s Me

            I’m house-sitting my daughter’s house, horse, two dogs and two cats. It’s an opportunity for me to binge on television watching, since I don’t own one. And it means I don’t have to walk up and down three flights of stairs several times a day to take my own canine companion Pepper, who fits in quite well with my daughter’s menagerie, outside to do her business.

A gila woodpecker on a saguaro. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A gila woodpecker on a saguaro. — Photo by Pat Bean

            I simply open the door and all three dogs go outside. They do their business while I simply sit on the porch and watch the desert outside my daughter’s back door. There’s almost always a gila woodpecker in one of the nearby saguaros and several Gambel quail scurrying about. And on this stay, the backyard has also been full of curved-bill thrashers.

            While the yard is unfenced, all three of the dogs stay close by – as do I since the day I discovered Pepper in the horse coral, not more than 100 feet away, surrounded my three coyotes. You can bet your wad on knowing that this mama immediately turned into a screaming maniac and chased the varmint trio back into the desert. I really liked coyotes until that day.

            But back to my tale of woe: Somehow or other I messed with the remote control – or perhaps it messed with itself – so I can’t watch TV. I have absolutely no idea how to get it back to the setting my daughter put it on for me before she left.

            I also can’t figure out how to change the thermostat, which I asked my grandson, JJ, to turn down when I was fixing him dinner last night. And now he’s at his summer job all day while I have to wear a sweater in the desert because the house is too cold.

            All this technology stuff I can’t do reminds me of when I bought my first computer – and discovered a six-year-old granddaughter knew how to operate it better than I did.

            You would think I was born in a different era. Oh yes. That’s right. I was.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

            Bean Pat: Diane Henders http://tinyurl.com/zq7a4x2 Reading this blog made me feel better about my technology black hole.

            P.S. JJ fixed the remote and showed me how to work the thermostat. So I’m now comfortable and can watch television – well except there’s nothing worth watching on it.

 

OK. Just call me a brazen hussy. I'm the star of this blog.

OK. Just call me a brazen hussy. I’m the star of this blog.

“When I write, I lose time. I’m happy in a way that I have a hard time finding in real life. The intimacy between my brain and my fingers and my computer… Yet knowing that that intimacy will find an audience… It’s very satisfying. It’s like having the safety of being alone with the ego reward of being known.” — Jill Soloway

Because of a Story and a Book Review

            What Jill Soloway said in the a above quote fits me like my own skin – at least the skin I had when I was younger and it had no wrinkles. I like having people read what I write, and for 37 years, when I wrote for a newspaper, that was almost a daily occurrence. But since I retired, it’s been a rare happening.

So I was quite pleased when my 600-word flash fiction story, The Heart of a Dog, took first place at the Story Circle Network conference in Austin, Texas, that I attended in April. Then I came home to find that my review of Walking the Llano was selected as Review of the Month for SCN’s book review page. The book is by Shelley Armitage, and if you’re interested, you can read the review at http://tinyurl.com/mgry65 And if you want to ready my story, just send me an e-mail at patbean@msn.com and I’ll send you a copy.

I feel like a brazen hussy for promoting myself like this, but it feels good, too.

I write because to not do so is like not breathing, But when what I write is read – and liked by others – it’s like watching a sky full of exploding firecrackers in my head.

Bean Pat: Feral Poetess http://tinyurl.com/hzl6ucr I love this combination of photo and words. This is a blog I recently started following.

Take a Walk

            “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This was  a great ;pp[ walk, loop, mostly on a boardwalk, at Point Pelee National Park in Canada

This was a great loop walk, mostly on a boardwalk, at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. — Photo by Pat Bean

            It’s Good for the Soul

While I can no longer do a 20-mile hike, or even a 5-mile one, I do try to get out and walk every day. But while two to three-mile hikes are still on my agenda, I haven’t been taking enough of them lately, especially through amazing landscapes.

And this photo was taken during a recent walk up Ramsey Canyon, an hour and a half away from my Tucson apartment. Nothing gets much better than walking beside a gurgling stream as it ripples its way down a canyon. - Photo by Pat Bean

And this photo was taken during a recent walk up Ramsey Canyon, an hour and a half away from my Tucson apartment. Nothing gets much better than walking beside a gurgling stream as it ripples its way down a canyon. – Photo by Pat Bean

I realized this while looking through my photos of paths I’ve once hiked, which I did after stumbling on the post that gets today’s Bean Pat. The photos inspired me to look for more such paths, especially short ones, that might at least let me work up to 6-mile ones again

Now here’s what a few other people have to say about walking:

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. – Fredrich Nietzsche

            “I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church, but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe. — Alice Walker

            “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” Thomas Jefferson

            “Walking is Magic… I read that Plato and Aristotle did much of their brilliant thinking together while ambulating. The movement, the meditation, the health of the blood pumping, and the rhythm of footsteps… this is a primal way to connect with one’s deeper self.” – Paula Cole

            “I don’t know what my path is yet. I’m just walking on it.” – Olivia Newton John           

And just for laughs, and because I’m a transplanted Texan: “Some folks look at me see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called Walking.” – George W. Bush

Bean Pat: 28 Magical Paths http://tinyurl.com/j6mwd34 I got this one from a Stumble Upon recommendation. If you hike, you’ll love it.

 

I’m a Klutz

This was about my 30th time to sit on top of Angels Landing in Zion. I was never injure on the hike, which many people are afraid to take, because I always left my klutziness behind. I now need to learn how to do that on flat ground. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

This was about my 30th time to sit on top of Angels Landing in Zion. I was never injured on the hike, which many people are afraid to take, because I always left my klutziness behind. I now need to learn how to do that on flat ground. — Photo by Kim Perrin

And Age Hasn’t Changed Things

When I was growing up my knees were always skinned, I still have a scar from falling out of a tree, and I chipped a tooth falling on the sidewalk running for the school bus when I was eight. As I got older, I fell over roots while hiking, once slipped and hit my forehead on my desk at work that required 14 stitches, and things got even worse when I began birdwatching because I was always looking up and not down at my feet.

7741            My first reaction on taking a tumble – I’ve pretty much perfected the art of falling without seriously hurting myself – is to look around and see who saw me. I’m always hoping nobody. I only broke my first bone, a tibular, three years ago when I stepped into an unseen hole on a grassy lawn just a week after I moved into my third-floor walk-up apartment here in Tucson.

My daughter worries that I will fall down the stairs. She shouldn’t. I know to be careful on stairs. I always hold on to the railings, always have. It’s the flat ground, except for that one tree, that has always gotten me.

Until recently, I just accepted that being a klutz, which also includes spilling things, bumping into things and knocking things over, is part of who I am. I never truly worried about my klutziness. But the bruised butt and skinned knee I still have from a fall the other day while carrying two packages that obscured my feet, has finally gotten my attention.

This old broad’s body is showing its age. Falls hurt more and the damage doesn’t disappear as quickly. I can’t do everything I used to do with the same kind of impunity as when I was younger. This acceptance comes with a bucket of tears, including a few being shed as I write this. It’s hard to give up the belief that I can do anything and everything, a trait that has helped me survive in a sometimes tough world.

So does anyone know of a class that will teach me not to be a klutz? This 77-year-old broad certainly needs to take if it you do.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Big Sky and Big Adventures http://tinyurl.com/zcnphjh The movie review is interesting but the photos that accompany it are the real story.

 

To be a person is to have a story to tell.” —Isak Dinesen

The Snake River Canyon, Idaho. Wikimedia photo

The Snake River Canyon, Idaho. Wikimedia photo

A Story for a Granddaughter

When my children were growing up, I didn’t tell them stories about my childhood because I thought I didn’t have any happy ones, mostly because I thought no one loved me. Once I started looking at things through adult eyes, I realized how wrong I had been. But by then, my children were grown, living in far-away-places, and leading busy lives.

Through this blog, however, my children and grandchildren have learned many things about me they didn’t know, especially when a bit of memoir is thrown into the writing mix. Writing these stories down has also helped me understand myself better. It’s been one of the unexpected benefits of blogging.

So the other day, when I was with my oldest granddaughter, Shanna, and the subject of animal totems came up, I told her how the magpie became my totem. Afterwards, she asked me to write the story down for her. I said I would, and so here it.

My animal totem, the black-billed magpie. -- Wikimedia photo

My animal totem, the black-billed magpie. — Wikimedia photo

It happened when I was living in Twin Falls, Idaho, and working as regional editor for the Times-News. It was a time in the early 1980s, after my divorce when all my children had left home, and I had moved to this small city where I didn’t know a soul.

I made friends easily, but many of the women I liked best turned out to be New Agers, which is how this non-believing, stick-to-the-facts journalist got invited to attend a “Back to the Goddess” workshop.

The get-together was held beside the Snake River Canyon Gorge, near where Evil Knievel attempted his infamous motorcycle jump. The scenery was fantastic, as were the day’s activities. First, we walked down the canyon, getting rid of all the excess baggage we were carrying in our souls as we descended. On our hike back up the gorge, we picked up all the positive things we wanted in our lives.

I don’t recall what I threw away, or what I picked up, only that the experience was enriching. What I remember vividly, however, is what happened that starry Van Gogh night, as we sat beside the canyon around a campfire.

The workshop leader held a talking stick, and said when it came into our hands, we were to name our animal totem. I had never heard of such a thing, and decided all I could do was say I didn’t have one and pass the stick to the next person.

As the stick came around the circle, the women named many impressive totems: lion, wolf, beaver, elephant, golden eagle among them as I recall. When the stick, which I had planned to pass on, touched my hand, the word magpie came out of my mouth without missing a beat. I then went on to explain why this nuisance bird, a member of the crow family, was my totem.

It’s loud and raucous, like this native Texan. It’s also intelligent and playful, and its white and iridescently black feathers, represent a broad mindset of thinking, all traits that I believe I possess. I was still in a state of shock when I quickly passed the talking stick to the next person.

And that my dear granddaughter is how I got my animal totem, a bird that came into my life 15 years before I became a passionate birdwatcher.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Wayward Spirit http://tinyurl.com/zoa23t7 Writing on the Beach. I know how this feels.

 

    

Most recent watercolor and pen painting. -- By Pat Bean

Most recent watercolor and pen painting. — By Pat Bean

“To love doing one thing doesn’t mean one does not love doing other things.” – Pat Bean

And I Have No One to Blame but Myself

The painting before that. I'm guess I'm in a flowery mood.-- By Pat Bean

The painting before that. I’m guess I’m in a flowery mood.– By Pat Bean

My brain’s on overload after I wrote down all the things I must do or want to do this week, which involves six writing projects (two with upcoming deadlines), a Barry Manilow concert tonight, a play reading Friday night, a bit of painting when I can fit it in, dog walking and sitting (my part-time job), upgrade my computer to Windows 10, a delayed birthday dinner at my daughter’s Thursday, plus reading and cleaning my apartment, etc., etc., etc.

How does a supposedly retired person get herself into so much chaos? Something in me must love chaos. But I’m not going to have time to figure it out this week. I’m going to be too busy.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Where’s my Backpack http://tinyurl.com/jy4coej Find out how the Devil lost his thumb. Great armchair travel story.

Rainy Birding Day

“Save a boyfriend for a rainy day – and another in case it doesn’t rain.” – Mae West Today’s quote has nothing to do with my blog, but it made me laugh, and I love laughter.

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Willetts were one of the more plentiful birds we saw on our bird-watching rainy day adventure. — Photo by Pat Bean

How About Lunch instead?

On my recent road trip, I got to spend a couple of days with three children and their families. One of them was my middle son, Lewis, who loves bird watching as much as I do. Some years back, since he lives on the Texas Gulf Coast where one can easily find an abundance of bird species, he and I saw 100 species in a dawn-to-dusk adventure. I was hoping to repeat the record.

I snapped this photo of Bubba Gump;s on Galveston's Pleasure Pier on our way back along the Sea Wall after lunch. As you can see, it was still raining. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I snapped this photo of Bubba Gump;s on Galveston’s Pleasure Pier on our way back along the Sea Wall after lunch. As you can see, it was still raining. — Photo by Pat Bean

We started our morning of bird watching at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, not far from Lewis’ home, then we took the Bluewater Highway that runs along the Gulf of Mexico from Sufside to Galveston. Our destination was Lafitte Cove, a small nature sanctuary in a residential area on the outskirts of the island city, where we were hoping to see some warblers.

By the time we reached the San Luis Pass Causeway, we had identified about 50 birds, mostly shorebird species like willets, sanderlings, gulls, egrets, terns, dowitchers, pelicans, stilts and ibises. By the time we crossed the causeway and were heading into Galveston, the dark storm clouds that we had been keeping an eye on began generously dumping their watering cans on us, with no end in sight.

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A double-crested cormorant that we saw along the Bluewwater Highway. — Photo by Pat Bean

So we drove along the city’s sea wall to the far side and had a nice leisurely lunch at Mario’s. On the way home we picked up about 10 more bird species that were also braving the storm. It brought our total for the day to 60. Not bad for a rainy day.

Bean Pat: A Floating Speck http://tinyurl.com/jhtw2yp Don’t go gently. Awesome photograph, a favorite poem, and inspiring words, especially if you link to the post that inspired this blogger.

 

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