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Archive for the ‘Adventures With Pepper’ Category

It was love at first sight when Pepper and I met at a Dallas area rescue shelter. -- Photo by Pat Bean

It was love at first sight when Pepper and I met at a Dallas area rescue shelter. — Photo by Pat Bean

Love is a Multiple Splendid Thing

I married the wrong man because I felt no one else would ever love me – and oh how I had ached to be loved.

Keri and Kaiden, granddaughter and grandson, and just two of the many loves in my life. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Keri and Kaiden, granddaughter and grandson, and just two of the many loves in my life. — Photo by Pat Bean

Thankfully I discovered that love isn’t confined to couple relationships. When, at 38, I was finally willing to spend the rest of my life alone and without the love of one man, I discovered its magic was all around me. My children, my friends, the love I had for Mother Nature and for learning, the virtual love of caring people all around the world, and even love for myself.

While not as heady as that of a man for a woman, I learned that these people and things were still love – and less fickle and quite wonderful. While I never found my perfect soul mate, and believe me I searched, I did come to realize I had plenty of love in my life. And this is why I celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Bean Pat: Check out this web site if you’re a female writer, and want to be a better one. http://tinyurl.com/7bez4o2  Story Circle Network is my personal writer’s support group.

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     “Sometimes you have got to look at things really positively – without putting your head in the sand, you have got to manage the negatives and keep putting a positive slant on it. Keep trying to find answers.” – Brian McDermot

I just got a glimpse of these white sand dunes as I passed by them just outside of Alamogordo, New Mexico. -- Wikimedia photo

I just got a glimpse of these white sand dunes as I passed by them just outside of Alamogordo, New Mexico. — Wikimedia photo

White Sands: Beauty and Missiles  

            When you think of White Sands in New Mexico, what’s the first thought that pops up in your brain? Monument or Missiles?

White Sands National Monument, whose dunes of glistening gypsum sands I passed on the final leg of my trip home after three weeks in Texas, is a place of both. I didn’t stop this day, but have taken the time to explore the 275 square miles of glistening white sand on past road trips.

But I did stop long enough in Texas Canyon, 50 miles east of Tucson, to snap a few pictures of the area's rocky landscape. == Photo by Pat Bean

But I did stop long enough in Texas Canyon, 50 miles east of Tucson, to snap a few pictures of the area’s rocky landscape. == Photo by Pat Bean

The National Park Service claims that this is the world’s largest gypsum dune field, and that its rising  from the heart of the desert in the Tularosa Basin is like no place else on earth. The Park Service also notes that occasionally the monument is closed to the public because of testing events at the nearby White Sands Missile Range, which Wikipedia claims is the largest military installation in the United States.

The seemingly oxymoron of beauty and missiles crossed my mind, sending me back in time to when my youngest daughter served on a destroyer tender during the Gulf War. Her ship was the USS Acadia, named after Acadia National Park in Maine.

Whose bright idea was it to name military ships after National Parks, I wondered at the time?

Such thoughts occupied my mine again during the next hundred miles or so driven beneath low-hanging clouds. I hit the rain at Texas Canyon in Arizona, with its own unique landscape of giant granite boulders. Although eager to get home, which was just 50 miles away, Pepper and I took a brief, damp break at the canyon rest stop.

By the time we did reach home, the drizzling rain that accompanied our last leg of the journey had turned into a downpour. I took it as a sign that Mother Nature was welcoming us back to Tucson.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Blood-Red Pencil: Breaking up is good to do http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/ I like this writing advice, probably because I still have a journalistic habit of short paragraphs. Some editors like it, and some don’t. It just goes to show that writing is never like math. Two and two are never four when it comes to words. What one editor thinks is wrong, another editor loves.  So sometimes you have to choose between pleasing yourself, and pleasing the editor who wants to publish your writing. At various times in my life I’ve done both.

“You can’t sit around thinking. You have to sit around writing.” – David Long

 

 

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Road Trip: Lovington, Texas, to Alamogordo, New Mexico

             “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E L. Doctorow  

I went from fog and clouds to clear sky from one side of the mountain to another. The silver lining was actually waiting for me to arrive. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I went from fog and clouds to clear sky from one side of the mountain to another. The silver lining was actually waiting for me to arrive. — Photo by Pat Bean

From Cold Fog to Warm Sunshine

I’ve always loved the way Carl Sandburg describes fog: “The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits, looking over harbor and city on silent haunches, and then moves on.”  These are words that sing to me.

Another snowy, foggy day, although this photo was taken while driving over Galena Pass in Idaho. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Another snowy, foggy day, although this photo was taken while driving over Galena Pass in Idaho. — Photo by Pat Bean

But I wasn’t singing when the second part of my day’s drive, which had begun with 30 mph winds adding chill to the thermometer’s 28 degrees, became blurred with fog. It began in serious after I passed through Artesia, and had left the passing scenery of cattle, oil rigs and cotton fields behind me.

The landscape along the 92 miles on Highway 82 from Artesia to Cloudcroft rose over 5,000 feet — from 3,382 feet to 8,668 feet — and the fog varied in thickness from letting me see one vehicle – always a slow-moving truck — to two vehicles ahead. I decided, wisely, to just relax, not try to pass and enjoy as much of the passing, often snow-covered scenery as possible.

Being a wimp, I didn’t stop as I usually do to take photographs because my dashboard kept informing me that the exterior temperature never got above 27 degrees, and was often lower.

And then an amazing thing happened. As I started down the mountain into Alamogordo, I found myself in sunshine with the outside temperature rapidly rising. When I hit the Alamogordo city limits, it was 61 degrees. You can’t fool Mother Nature but sometimes she sure fools us.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: The Return of the Modern Philosopher http://tinyurl.com/nfamnct This is usually an off-the-wall blog that makes you think. Today, the blogger was a bit more serious and asked a question that is probably been running through all sane, peace-loving humans who inhabit this planet.

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The tumbleweeds blew across cotton fields... -- Photo by Pat Bean

The tumbleweeds blew across cotton fields… — Photo by Pat Bean

“On day one of the drive, I saw my first dome sky. The world was so flat that I could see the level horizon all around me and the sky looked like a dome. Skies like that will give you perspective when nothing else will. The second day, a tumbleweed blew across the interstate. I’m in a western movie, I said to myself, laughing.” — Kimberly Novosel

Tumbleweeds and Bilbo Baggins

By definition, a tumbleweed is any plant which habitually breaks away from its roots and is driven by the wind. If you’ve ever driven across West Texas, I’m sure you’ve seen them. This day, an army of them pursued me as I began my journey home.

and past oil rigs this Texas day. The lowest price I paid for gas on the trip, just fyi, was $1.84 a gallon. I never thought I would see gas so low ever again. It was up to $4 a gallon when I quit traveling full time. -- Photo by  Pat Bean

and past oil rigs this Texas day. The lowest price I paid for gas on the trip, just fyi, was $1.84 a gallon. I never thought I would see gas so low ever again. It was up to $4 a gallon when I quit traveling full time. — Photo by Pat Bean

When I left Lubbock at 9 a.m., it was a chilly 28 degrees with a wind speed of 30 mph, which made it hellishly cold when you factor in the wind chill. But no sooner had Pepper and I gotten warm and comfy in Cheyenne (my bright red car) when the tumbleweeds started to attack.

They mostly blew across Highway 82, but occasionally they put on a frontal attack. I missed most of them, but not all. One, however, was a monster. It was as if a two-story bush had yanked up its roots and decided it had wanderlust, like me.

Fortunately the wind, which was already blowing briskly, became gusty and yanked the giant tumbleweed off the road just before contact. Whew!

As Bilbo said, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Of course that’s the best thing in my book about being on the road.

“The Road goes ever on and on, Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say”         

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

   Bean Pat: Bobby’s Photo  Blog http://tinyurl.com/k3ffnrv Comet Lovejoy. I’ve long followed Bobby Harrison because of his birding photos, and that he was involved for a while in trying to find and photo an ivory-bill woodpecker, after it was thought not to be extinct. This night sky photo, meanwhile, speaks to my soul

 

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“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

It's a road day for me. Pepper and I will be leaving Dallas soon for Lubbock, and a visit with my granddaughter and great-grandson.  Y'all have a good day. -- Photo by Pat Bean

It’s a road day for me. Pepper and I will be leaving Dallas soon for Lubbock, and a visit with my granddaughter and great-grandson. Y’all have a good day. — Photo by Pat Bean

He Believed in Truth

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

            A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

            Ethical axioms are found and tested not very differently from the axioms of science. Truth is what stands the test of experience/

            I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

            Imagination is more important than knowledge.

            The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth.

            Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

            Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

            Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.          

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

  Bean Pat: The Day After http://tinyurl.com/nxxsp2o More good advice

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     “Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile.” — Mark Twain

 

One of the highlights of my trip to Brazoria County on the Texas Gulf Coast,  where I lived for 15 years, is an opportunity to go birding with my son, Lewis. He is as avid a birder as I am. We always see great egrets on our outings. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of the highlights of my trips to Brazoria County on the Texas Gulf Coast, where I lived for 15 years, is an opportunity to go birding with my son, Lewis. He is as avid a birder as I am, and we always see great egrets on our outings. — Photo by Pat Bean

Texas in my Soul

I arrived in Texas, my native landscape, on December 19, after leaving my current home in Tucson and traveling all the way across New Mexico. I spent the night in a two-star hotel in Van Horn before traveling on to visit a granddaughter and her husband in San Antonio.

On December 20, I drove to West Columbia, to my oldest son’s home where I celebrated Christmas with two sons, seven grandchildren, three spouses, and a brand new great-granddaughter. It’s a family of large personalities but all was peaceful – perhaps because everyone was enthralled with the sparkling personality and cheerful giggles of Savannah Kay, the youngest family member.

Sam Houston played a prominent roll in early Texas history, and so like most things in Texas, here he is -- larger than life. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Sam Houston played a prominent roll in early Texas history, and so like most things in Texas, here he is — larger than life. — Photo by Pat Bean

The day after Christmas I took the half-hour drive from West Columbia into Lake Jackson, where my middle son currently lives. The city’s moss-covered trees, winding streets and green-green landscape felt familiar, perhaps because I lived in Lake Jackson for 15 years, from 1956 to 1971, when I left Texas — and never permanently came back.

A few days and another road trip away, I celebrated New Year’s Eve in the suburbs of Dallas with my oldest daughter and her husband, a granddaughter and her partner, and a niece and her husband. Dallas is where I was born and lived for the first 16 years of my life.

I remember back when Dallas, the Big D, was Texas’ largest city. Now it’s only third having been surpassed by both Houston and San Antonio.  While the Texas landscape of cotton fields, oil rigs and live oak trees still feels like home whenever I see them, Dallas never again felt like home after John F, Kennedy was killed here.

I can’t help but wonder how much of who we are is tainted by where we lived, from our accents to our way of thinking. I think of Utah, where I lived for over 30 years, as a full-blooming flower in my life; Idaho, Nevada and now Arizona are the leaves of my plant-being,  varying in intensity and color like the seasons. Texas, however, contains my roots, the first glimmering of whom I would be and the catalyst of my personality.

But it’s the still the road itself that has always been the place I felt most at home. I was born, I believe, with wanderlust in my soul.

On Monday, I’ll be on the road again, although staying in Texas just a bit longer. I have one last Texas family member to visit, a granddaughter, along with her husband and my first great-grandchild, 5-year-old Junior. They live in Lubbock.

And then it’s back to Tucson, where I’m letting the desert creep into my being.          

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat: Miss Pelican’s Perch http://tinyurl.com/nmv9zeh Looking at the world in a different way.

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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.

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