Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

Mother Nature Does it Best

Looking down at a small pond filled with reeds and stuff at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Looking down at a small pond filled with reeds and stuff at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. — Photo by Pat Bean

 “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail.” — John Muir, Our National Parks

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea  http://www.pbs.org/  Don’t miss this Ken Burns film that begins tonight on PBS

Read Full Post »

“The reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day.”― Anne Lamott

This was the rainy day view through the windshield of my car when I left Tucson a week ago.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

This was the rainy day view through the windshield of my car when I left Tucson a week ago. — Photo by Pat Bean

It Falls on All of Us

The above photo was taken through the windshield of my car, at the corner of Swan and Sunrise in Tucson, a week ago. Although the photo doesn’t pick them up, I could faintly see the silhouette of the Catalina Mountains directly ahead through my swishing wiper blades.

But that doesn't mean you cant see scissor-tailed flycatchers in the rain -- and you don't want to miss that. -[ Photo by Pat Bean

But that doesn’t mean you can’t see scissor-tailed flycatchers in the rain — and you don’t want to miss that. — Photo by Pat Bean

         It was still raining 450 miles later when I pulled into the Whitten Inn in isolated Van Horn Texas, where I would spend the night before driving another 450 miles to Austin, Texas. This day, the sun came out, and I was even rewarded with a few patches of Texas bluebonnets whose blooming had peaked a couple of weeks ahead of my arrival.

After a marvelous, fantastic, awesome four days in Austin mingling with 100 writing sisters, I left Sunday afternoon to drive to my oldest daughter’s home in Dallas. I didn’t take a picture of my leave taking this time, but the top photo – minus the unseen Catalina Mountains – will work perfectly.

Some days we have rain, and some days we have sun. I don’t know about you, but I try to get on with my life whatever the weather.

Bean Pat: Hasty Words http://tinyurl.com/htdt9za For Real? This blog should give you lots to mull over.

Read Full Post »

The Wyndham Hotel in Austin kindly turned the men's room into a women's room this past weekend when over 100 female writers took over the premises.

The Wyndham Hotel in Austin kindly turned the men’s room into a women’s room this past weekend when over 100 female writers took over the premises.

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. ~Vita Sackville-West (I know I’ve shared this quote before, but it is my favorite writing quote because it explains why I’m so glad I can call myself writer, a title which took way too many years of writing before I gave myself permission to use it.)

Doing It With Sisters

I’m just hours away from spending four days surrounded by my writing sisters, where we gathered in Austin this past weekend for the Stories from the Heart Contest.  It was a fantastic experience, and for way many more reasons than – can I hear a drum roll – that  I won the flash fiction prize for my story “The Heart of a Dog.”*

And someone was kind enough to turn the urinals into unique vases.

And someone was kind enough to turn the urinals into unique vases.

The reason I’m sharing this with you is because one of the presenters, awesome Debra Winegarten, encouraged us  to put ourselves out there to the world without apology, and that was just one of the many pieces of wisdom I came away with.

Now laugh if you will, but the biggest note of things to do that I wrote to myself was to put a note pad by the toilet. Doing just that I realized would better help me to clasp that net over the butterfly of words.

Bean Pat: Live to Write – Write to Live http://tinyurl.com/gpkwxyv This is one of my favorite writing blogs, and today its author, Lisa Jackson, encourages writers to enter contests.

*If you, men included, want to read my 600-word story, “The Heart of a Dog,” send me your email (mine is patbean@msn.com) and I will send you a copy.

Read Full Post »

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” –  Cesare Pavese 

I don't drive at night, but I do like to be on the road in time to catch the sunrise. I caught this one on my last road trip to Texas. = Photo by Pat Bean

I don’t drive at night, but I do like to be on the road in time to catch the sunrise. I caught this one on my last road trip to Texas. = Photo by Pat Bean

Upcoming Road Trip

            I just started reading A Way to See the World by Thomas Swick, who begins the book by explaining how he became addicted to travel while still a teenager. It’s kind of how I begin my just completed travel book, Travels with Maggie.  

Pepper and I didn't see any rattlesnakes at this rest stop on one of our trips to Texas to see family, but in an unmanicured area just beyond the building, she got into a nest of burrs that took me a good half hour to pick out before we could continue on our way. Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper and I didn’t see any rattlesnakes at this rest stop on one of our trips to Texas to see family, but in an unmanicured area just beyond the building, she got into a nest of burrs that took me a good half hour to pick out before we could continue on our way. Photo by Pat Bean

          While our stories are quite different, both of us clearly have a gene of wanderlust in our souls that made itself know at a young age.     As I’m reading Swick’s book, it gets my mind thinking about my upcoming road trip to Texas for a writer’s conference. It’s a 900-mile adventure over familiar territory, so I know I’m going to have to look at the roadside landscape with fresh eyes.

But then that’s one of the best things about travel, at least for me. I just can’t wait to get on the road again,” as Willie would say.

Or as Robert Louis Stevenson said: “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

And I’m going to follow the advice of Molsih Eddin Saadi, who believes we should use our eyes when we travel: “A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.”

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: More Travel Quotes: http://tinyurl.com/3p8msma I love them all.

Read Full Post »

Jack jump up and kiss me plant. -- Wikimedia photo

Jack jump up and kiss me plant. — Wikimedia photo

                If I  had  my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to  more dances. I would  ride more merry-go-rounds. I would  pick more daisies..” – Nadine Stair

Too Numerous to List

            At one time in my life, I decided to keep a list of the wildflowers I came across on my hikes and walks, the same as I keep a list of the birds I see for the very first time. It was a decision that I quickly gave up as a hopeless task, right after I learned that a daisy comes in over 20,000 species and each, most likely, has dozens of common names.

So I just started enjoying the flowers, and identifying them by the name I liked best.

Butter and eggs. -- Wikimedia photo

Butter and eggs. — Wikimedia photo

One of my favorites is the one I call butter and eggs, a non-native plant considered a weed that is now common across much of North America. It’s also called toadflax, plus such local colloquial names as brideweed,   butter haycocks, bread and butter, bunny haycocks, bunny mouths, calf’s snout, Continental weed, dead men’s bones, devil’s flax, devil’s flower, dragon bushes, eggs and bacon, gallwort, impudent lawyer, Jacob’s ladder,  monkey flower, ramsted, rabbit flower and wild tobacco, just to name a few. .

I can’t help but wonder where the “impudent lawyer” moniker came from, just as I wonder about the name given a small purple wildflower that I’ve often come across. Among other names, it’s known as the Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me-flower. It also goes by such names as the Johnny jump up, hearts ease, three faces in a hood, tickle-my-fancy, love-in-idleness and wild pansy.

So now do you understand why I don’t keep a flower list?

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

            Bean Pat: Mr. Grumpy Gets a Bath http://tinyurl.com/goay5lg For fans of Ogden Nash and birders interested in grackles and coots.

Read Full Post »

Texas Bluebonnets

“I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part and discuss it only with consenting adults.” – Molly Ivins

Texas bluebonnets are now in bloom. -- Photo by Deborah Bean

Texas bluebonnets are now in bloom. — Photo by Deborah Bean

And a Thoughtful Daughter

If you’re a Texan, you brag a bit. At least that’s how it is with all the Texans I know, including myself. While it’s not a trait that will gain you friends, we just can’t help ourselves.

So if you’ll forgive me, I’ll just say that when it comes to bluebonnets, Texas outdoes itself. Nowhere else on earth does this Texas native flower grow as well or as abundantly. If you’ve ever seen a meadow full of them, I’m sure you will agree.

Such a sight always makes my heart beat quicken with joy.

The problem for me, however, is that they’re currently in full bloom – and my trip to Texas to attend a writer’s conference isn’t until mid-April.

Because I know Texas’ bluebonnets have a short growing season, I mentioned to my Dallas daughter that I was afraid they would be gone before I got there.

In response she sent me the above photo. I’m twice blessed.

Bean Pat: Trees with stories to tell http://tinyurl.com/jl3ud9e  You don’t want to miss this National Geography post. The trees pictured in black and white are magnificent.

Read Full Post »

“Too many cooks spoil the broth.” – Unknown, but both my grandmother and mother used to say it when one or the other got in their way in the kitchen. Perhaps that’s why I don’t like other people in my kitchen.

Everything tastes good when you're camping beside the Snake River in Wyoming. --Photo by Kim Perin.

Everything tastes good when you’re camping beside the Snake River in Wyoming. –Photo by Kim Perrin.

Get Out of My Kitchen

            Jean, my best friend in Tucson is a chef who worked in Europe when she was young and now teaches high school students to cook. Her food, which I sometimes get to share, both looks and tastes fantastic, especially her beef stew, which is the best I’ve ever tasted in my life.

Or watching wildlife with a good friend in Africa, which Kim and I did in 2007. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Or watching wildlife with a good friend in Africa, which Kim and I did in 2007. — Photo by Pat Bean

But Jean, although she’s always giving me a hard time about my kitchen techniques – like the fact that I use my dishwasher to store plastic bags and not for washing dishes — likes my food. That makes me happy because I like nothing better than cooking for people.

I consider myself an inventive cook and rarely make the same dish exactly the same way twice. It usually depends on what’s on hand in the refrigerator and pantry, and what ingredient or leftover I need to use before it goes bad.  I rarely throw food out, which is why at least once a week I make soup from odds and ends of veggies, meats and leftovers.

I call it Refrigerator soup. Thankfully I have an instinct about what ingredients will taste good together and it’s only once or twice a year that the mixed results don’t turn out tasty, well at least to me.

I also specialize – back from the days when I worked full-time out of the home and put dinner on the table for seven people every evening at 6 o’clock – in quickie meals*.

Still one of my favorites from those days is to mix Wolf Chili (I prefer no beans) with Hormel Beef Tamales (including the juice) in a casserole dish, throw some cheese on top, and pop it in the oven until it’s hot and bubbly. Sometimes I also throw in onions.

I fixed the dish for Jean once – and she loved it. Now when she gets a craving for it, she asks me to make it again, as she only makes food from scratch.  Chefs, you see, don’t open cans. Just us cooks do that.

Bean Pat: The ospreys have returned http://tinyurl.com/jp2pwlh This one’s for bird lovers, or anyone for that matter.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

*Two other tasty, quick meals from cans.

            Noodles and Tomatoes: 1 can Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, 1 can tomatoes with chilies, and a generous splash of sour cream. A great late-night treat.

            Red Beans and Rice: Cook three slices of chopped bacon with one small onion, then add two cups cooked rice and one can Ranch Style Beans and red pepper or chili powder to taste.        

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 973 other followers