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Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

Invest in Yourself

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir

Colorful and whimsical and looking at these objects, which include one of my own art pieces in the background, make me feel food. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Colorful and whimsical and looking at these objects, which include one of my own art pieces in the background, make me feel food. — Photo by Pat Bean

Don’t Wait for Someone to Bring You flowers

I’m not a particularly a neat person. Sometimes dishes remain in the sink overnight, and my artsy fartsy craft activities, writing projects, and half dozen are so books I’m currently reading are usually spread all over my small apartment.

But over the years, I’ve learned that I work best when things are both in some semblance of order and pleasing to the eye. That’s why my writing desk is set in front of a window with a view — and why I buy myself flowers.

I love the way flowers make me feel, and I decided long ago I wasn’t going to wait for someone else to buy, or pick, them for me.

Above are the ones I bought for myself at the grocery store yesterday. While my budget is tight, I considered it a good investment in me.

And don’t you just love the whimsical tin birds that sit beside them. They were a gift from someone who knows how I like quirky and colorful objects.

Life is good.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Art and Friendship http://tinyurl.com/pxn6h55 Be sure and click on the link “A little bird told me.”

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Feeling at Home

“I long as does every human being to be at home wherever I find myself.” – Maya Angelou.

The view from my third-floor balcony. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The view from my third-floor balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

In the Shadow of the Catalina Mountains

I’ve never truly had roots, moving frequently as both a child and an adult. I didn’t graduate from high school, so have never had that kind of reunion. And, after sneaking in the back door of a community college, I have five institutions of higher education in my background, so no real connections there either.

I've filled my apartment with color, and comfort for myself and all who visit. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I’ve filled my apartment with color, and comfort for myself and all who visit. — Photo by Pat Bean

The closest I ever came to feeling at home was in the daily chaos of a newspaper newsroom, and then living life on the road. But during my recent 12-day stay (because of back pain) at my youngest daughter’s home, where I was lovingly waited on hand and foot, I found myself tremendously missing my third-floor walk-up apartment in which I’ve lived for less than three years.

I moved into it after spending nine years living in an undersized 21-foot RV, where home was wherever I parked it. I returned from my daughter’s home to my 600-square-foot Tucson apartment, which sits in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains and which I decorated from scratch, yesterday – and soon found myself sitting on my bedroom balcony staring out at the Catalina Mountains.

I’m not sure I have ever felt as much as home as I did in that moment.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: 20 Minutes a Day http://tinyurl.com/nh8oszr A favorite blogger who shares her own interpretation of home.

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A Bump in the Road

             “Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.” – John Wayne

I remember this morning with perfect clarity. That's my youngest daughter and grandson fishing. And the light was just perfect for taking photographs. It's moments like this that make life worth living.

I remember this morning with perfect clarity. That’s my youngest daughter and grandson fishing. And the light was just perfect for taking photographs. It’s moments like this that make life worth living. — Photo by Pat Bean

OUCH!

I have been greatly blessed to have lived a healthy, free-from-physical-pain life. Emotionally, however, I’ve been through the wringer, twisted dry and emerged as sweet-smelling cotton at the end, having learned something from the tears and heartache — and always discovering the silver lining behind the dark clouds in the end.

Another morning brought me the sight of new life, once again emphasizing the importance of the moments in each day. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Another morning brought me the sight of new life, once again emphasizing the importance of the moments in each day. — Photo by Pat Bean

I’m not sure, having been laid low 12 days ago by an attack of back pain, that the outcome for physical hardship will be the same. The good news for now is that I’m on the mend – and once again able to think logically enough to continue on with life – and with this blog, which seems to have turned into a kind of public journal.

Intellectually, I knew the time would come when this old body, so blessed for three-quarters of a century, would get hit by the circle of life. But emotionally, I wasn’t ready. The problem with my back is simply the results of time and living, and, thankfully, with a little medical help, will just be a “bump in the road.” At least that’s what my doctor said, and for now I choose to believe him.

But we both know there will eventually be more bumps ahead.

Thankfully, I live in a time when medicine has answers to keep at least most of the pain at bay. But it’s up to me to make the most of this blessing. It’s sure got me thinking about how I want to spend the rest of my life, as do plan on being around yet for a long time – despite the potholes in the road.

Bean Pat: http://tinyurl.com/q5y57do I took this bloggers words to heart this morning.

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I’m an Art Schizophrenic

This was a carefully done illustration of a gila woodpecker  I did to go with an Audubon birding blog.

This was a carefully drawn, then painted, illustration of a gila woodpecker I did to go with an Audubon birding blog.

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” – E. L. Doctorow

This was a freehand col I did quickly, spending maybe 15 minutes on, and with no advance drawing.

This was a freehand watercolor I did quickly, spending maybe 15 minutes on, and with no advance drawing. I love it.

 

 

Not Sure If That’s Good or Bad

When I was a reporter, I learned to talk to everyone from the homeless guy on Ogden, Utah’s 25th Street to Congressman Jim Hansen in his Washington D.C. office. I loved my life because it was always different and never boring.

And this is a piece I agonized over for days because I had a bright idea of a fish in a bowl of flowers, and which in my opinion is a total flop.

And this is a piece I agonized over for days because I had a bright idea of a fish in a bowl of flowers, and which in my opinion is a total flop. I hate it.

But I eventually developed a voice as a journalist, not so much my own voice but as a style of writing in which I let readers see the world through my eyes. It was more difficult after I retired and began writing personal essays. I had to work to develop my own voice, and that took time. I finally decided that I write with an old broad’s voice, and I say that proudly, who is a wandering wonderer.

Lately I’ve become more active in art, particularly watercolors. This morning I looked at three recent pieces and realized, as far as technique and style, they had absolutely nothing in common. I keep experimenting hoping that I will discover an artistic voice, just as I have a writing voice.

Right now my artistic efforts are clearly schizophrenic. But then again maybe that’s my real art voice. What do you think?

Bean Pat: Paths of Color http://tinyurl.com/pyosgg3 Now this is an artist with a distinctive voice, and its one I love.

 

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Dale Chihuly in the garden. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Dale Chihuly in the garden. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Swami Vivekananda

Is It Worth It?

I spent this morning editing a chapter in Travels with Maggie, the book I’ve written about my journeys in my RV with my canine companion, Maggie. The chapter includes an account of my visit to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, where Dale Chihuly’s glass art was mingled with tropical plants in the garden’s geodesic greenhouse.

Chihuly flowers

Chihuly flowers — Photo by Pat Bean

I was awed by the exhibit, and lay in bed that night, with Maggie by side above the RV’s cabin, pondering how a genius like Chihuly came to be. But I already knew the answer: Single-minded focus and dedication.

For almost as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a “great” writer, yet I’m always finding excuses for not writing. I lack 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. I’m always getting distracted, and it used to be that when the writing went undone, I flagellated myself.

Beside a waterfall. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Beside a waterfall. — Photo by Pat Bean

Such abuse went on for years, until I finally realized that giving 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 the day it came out, and sniffing every flower in life I came across, were more important to me than being a great writer.

Writing is a part of my life, and will always be, but it will never be my whole life. Knowing this, accepting this, and now content with this, I lay silently that night in bed, content and listening to Maggie gently snoring at my feet before I let the waves of sleep take me.

That was several years ago, and time has only made me more content with that decision.

Swami Vivekananda, whom I quoted at the beginning of this blog has it exactly right,  But I’ve chosen another path, the one Albert Schweitzer recommended when he described what it takes to be successful.

“Success,” he said, “is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

I did and I do.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Hunting Butterflies http://tinyurl.com/qxckzg5 Living in the moment. Good advice

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            Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. –Charles Richard

This day, standing beneath a covered shelter on a bridge across a pond at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge with my son, Lewis, was a seized day that left me with special memories. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

This day, standing beneath a covered shelter on a bridge across a pond at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge during a storm, with my son, Lewis, was a seized day that left me with special memories. — Photo by Pat Bean.

Seize the Day

            Just a few quotations that hopefully will inspire you to not let today pass by unnoticed.

Enduring that same storm was a scissor-tailed flycatcher that I captured with my camera through the rain. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Enduring that same storm was a scissor-tailed flycatcher that I captured with my camera through the rain. — Photo by Pat Bean

Live every day as if it were going to be your last; for one day you’re sure to be right.” — Harry “Breaker” Harbord Morant

            “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” — Wayne Dyer

            Just FYI, I’m currently reading Dyer’s recent book, I Can See Clearly Now. His much earlier Your Erroneous Zones had a major impact on making my life better back in the 1970s. Dyer is one of my heroes.

“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”Braveheart

            This final is a quote from the toast my son, Michael, made at his older sister’s wedding. “May you live, so that when you die, you know the difference.” It’s one of my favorite quotes.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Eagle flight http://tinyurl.com/ng5s3ca WOW! Also, Cecil the Lion http://tinyurl.com/njcg2n2 NY Times Opinion Peace. Well said.

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Bogged Down

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis   ” Every day is a good day to be alive.”– Marty Robbins

I think the alligators got me when I tried doing too many things. --Photo by Pat Bean

I think the alligators got me when I tried doing too many things. –Photo by Pat Bean

Time to Simplify I have to admit that the past two weeks have found me doing not much of anything worthwhile. I think it started when I wrote out a complete list of all the things I needed to do, should do, and wanted to do.

Anne Lamott advises writers to take things Bird by Bird in her excellent book. I think I'm going to try and follow that advise from now on. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Anne Lamott advises writers to take things Bird by Bird in her excellent book. I think I’m going to try to follow that advise from now on. — Photo by Pat Bean

After finishing the list, which took up about 50 lines in a notebook, I was suddenly too tired to do anything. For the next several days I played computer games, which prompted me to vow not to play computer games for the next 50 days. Then I watched TV programs on my computer for several days. I’m not sure what finally gave me a clue as to what my problem was, but clearly that impossible to accomplish list had mired me in a muddy pond thick with alligators. So I put the list aside, and went back to simply listing a few prioritized things that needed accomplishing on a daily to do list — and which I could reasonably complete and still have time left over for dawdling, reading and smelling the flowers. As if by magic, I recovered my energy. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think my brain gets a kick out of playing games with me.     

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Wildlife Sighting http://tinyurl.com/q57dgvv Take an armchair trip with this photographer as he watches a cougar drag its dinner up a cliff.

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