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Rainy, Cold and Overcast

The view of the Catalina Mountains this morning from the parking lot of my apartment complex. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The view of the Catalina Mountains this morning from the parking lot of my apartment complex. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.: — Vivian Green

Days for Being Lazy and Reading

We had snow in Tucson the January month I began nesting here. Three years later, we had snow in Tucson again.

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The peaks a couple of days ago when they were mostly hidden behind a cloud curtain. — Photo by Pat Bean

My first Sonoran Desert snowfall was fairy like, and I got a photograph before it all melted a couple of hours later. This past week’s snowfall never made it down to the valley. But unlike my first one, which dusted the Catalina Mountains fo only a day, this one has provided me with mountain snowfall vistas for a full week. I’m assuming that while we got consistent rain in the foothills where I live, it snowed at higher elevations .

In the meantime, no matter how many things I wrote down each morning on my daily to-do list, by 10 o’clock, all I wanted to do was curl up in my recliner by a window with a book, and watch in total contentment as the cold, overcast, rainy day passed by my window..

And mostly, with occasional outings in the weather to walk my canine companion Pepper, that’s exactly what I did.

Today it’s sunny in the valley, and the Catalinas are losing their frosting. The sun defrosted my lazy ways too. Already I’ve cleaned house; spent an hour on the telephone with Comcast trying to get them not to raise my internet fees as they do every year in January; went to the store and bank; retrieved my mail, which has been sitting in my box for a week, read a bit, painted a bit, crocheted a bit, cooked a bit, and now am writing this blog – and it’s still early afternoon.

The sun and warmer day have recharged my batteries.

Bean Pat: In recognition of the death of David Bowie, my pat on the back today goes to the Wall Street Journal’s article and video on the rock star. http://tinyurl.com/hgagykl   And as a writer, this is one of my favorite quotes by Bowie: “Don’t you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything.”

 

          

The color purple makes my world better, especially when it trims up some white flowers and helps attract a butterfly.  Photo by Pat Bean

Flowers make  my world better, especially when they attract a butterfly.           Photo by Pat Bean

 

  “The salvation of America and of the human race depends on the next election … But so it was last year, and so it was the year before, and our fathers believed the same thing 40 years ago.”    

While these words might have been written just yesterday, they were actually written 168 years ago by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The color blue cheers up my world too, especially when used by glass artist Chihuly in this outdoor sculpture piece. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The color blue cheers up my world too, especially when used by glass artist Chihuly in this outdoor sculpture piece. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came across the quote when I was reading my 1998 journal, some of which was written at the same time I was reading Emerson’s journals and, at the same time, ranting about talk show hosts like Jerry Springer and narrow-minded windbags who preach of Christian values but seem to have no Christianity in them.

I was a reporter at the time and so couldn’t turn off what was going on in the world, which some days I now do for the sake of my sanity. Instead, back then, I comforted myself with the thoughts of writers like Emerson, who recognized the world has its cruel side, always has and probably always will, but focused more on its positive attributes.

“My life is a May game. I will live as I like. I defy your strait-laced, weary, social ways and modes. Blue is the sky, green the fields and groves, fresh the springs, glad the rivers, and hospitable the splendor of sun and star. I will play by game out,” he wrote, as well as: “If Milton, if Burns, if Bryant, is in the world, we have more tolerance, and more love for the changing sky, the mist, the rain, the bleak overcast day, the sun is raining light.”

            For me, it’s been writers like Maya Angelou, who believed God put rainbows in the sky to give us hope, and Charles Kuralt, who saw the everyday kindness of the back roads as making up for the acts of greed in the headlines, who have made my world better.

It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers and criminals,” wrote Kuralt.

If, as my grandmother would say, it looks like the world is going to hell in a hand basket – and I can’t disagree in these troubling times – there is good out there, too. Neighbors helping neighbors when hard times fall, kindness and thoughtfulness as part of everyday, ordinary lives, and friendships and partnerships that last a lifetime.

Yes. Nothing ever seems to change.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: CindyKnoke http://tinyurl.com/jsbmjdl I’ve always wanted to live for six months on a houseboat on the Mississippi River. It’s on my bucket list. But this houseboat in Amsterdam looks pretty cool, too. What do you think?

New Year’s Resolutions

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” Neil Gaiman

I want to take time to smell the flowers and enjoy Mother Nature in 2016. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I want to take time to smell the flowers and enjoy Mother Nature in 2016. — Photo by Pat Bean

Kindness

            I toasted the New Year into being with two dear friends and with my last Jack and Coke of the evening; and then the three of us burned our New Year’s resolutions in a bowl on my balcony, sending our intentions smokily drifting up into the cold night air.

And so ended 2015 and 2016 began.

And I want to play more.  I'm third from the right floating down the Little Colorado into the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon in 1999.

And I want to play more. I’m third from the right floating down the Little Colorado into the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon in 1999.

Steven Spielberg says that every single year we’re a different person. I agree 110 percent.

My two friends said the way they wanted to be different in the coming year was that they wanted to be kinder. An admirable resolution for one, an outspoken, cheeky woman whom I treasure, but a redundancy for the other who is one of the kindest people I know.

I think of myself as a kind person, but as the others spoke, I realized I was not that kind as I seldom go out of my way do kind things for others. Perhaps, I thought, this should be one of my New Year’s Resolutions, too.

It’s certainly a resolution that the entire world could use during this time of terrorism, war, beheadings, rapes, and mockery of others on television. We’re all guilty of the latter one. If such atrocities as making fun of how people dress, or look, or are simply different didn’t attract viewers, such media behavior would disappear.

Then there is the recent political rhetoric about Muslims that has made a Muslim friend of mine, one who was born in America and is one of the most peace-loving people I know, afraid to go to the grocery store.

Yes. Purposely and thoughtfully, I added kindness to my New Year’s Resolutions. I believe it is the only way that 2016 can end up being a different and better world.

What do you think?

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Daily Essay http://tinyurl.com/z7yu6pe Tongue in cheek about New Year’s Resolutions. If you’re a writer, I bet these will make you laugh

 

A Homemade Christmas Gift

 “The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.” – Charles Dudley Warner

 birthday wall hanging made by my daughter and her husband that is both thoughtful and appropriate for me. I love it, and I hung it where I can see it frequently. .

A birthday wall hanging made by my daughter and her husband that is both thoughtful and appropriate for me. I love it, and I hung it where I can see it frequently.

Appropriately Thoughtful

My kids have accused me of better remembering where I saw a bird for the first time than their birthdays.

Not true. I remember all my children’s birthdays. You don’t forget the day you gave birth. Of course I don’t remember, or sometimes even know, the birthdays of their spouses, grandkids or great-grandkids. In my defense there are a lot of them.

Now, however, I have no excuse. My youngest daughter and her husband made a Christmas gift for me that is most appropriate. I love it and immediately made a place on the wall to hang it where I can’t help but see it frequently each day.

I suspect I’m not going to get away with forgetting someone’s birthday anymore.

Bean Pat: Snow crow http://tinyurl.com/qhwlcdc Simply a short blog that a birder might enjoy, or anyone else who loves watching wildlife in nature’s habitat.

 

Through my windshield: Somewhere in New Mexico on one of the better stretches of road. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Through my windshield: Somewhere in New Mexico on one of the better stretches of road. — Photo by Pat Bean

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” – William Feather

Snow and Ice Adventure

            I left Dallas the day after Christmas, after three weeks visiting my scattered Texas family. It was a quiet, cold overcast morning with 950 miles of interstate driving ahead of me. I hate freeway driving, but I needed to get home by the 27th because my Tucson daughter was having surgery on the 28th.

To make the drive go faster, I listened to an audible version of Ken Follett’s “Edge of Eternity,” which is the third of the author’s Century Trilogy, and which covers the period of the 1960’s through the ‘80s. Those are years I lived through, so the book was a refresher history course for me of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Civil Rights issues.

Not too far from my daughter's Rowlett home.

Not too far from my daughter’s Rowlett home.

About 5 p.m., I pulled into Van Horn, Texas, and checked into a $47 a night Motel 6 – and immediately regretted my economy decision. About 7 p.m., as I was lying on the bed (on my own blanket) watching TV, the electricity went out. It flickered on and off for another hour then blacked out altogether. I blamed the cheap motel until I got up a bit later and opened the window curtain to see if I could let in some light. My car, parked right outside my door, had about 10 inches of snow on it — and the entire town was blacked out.

The next morning I learned of the Texas tornados, and that one had sat down just two miles from my daughter’s home — where my return to Arizona journey had started. Thankfully all my Texas family was OK, although sadly other families were not so fortunate.

Since I needed to get home, I got on the road early – well, after a half hour of scrapping ice and snow off my car without the proper tools and no gloves. For a while the roads were clear, but somewhere before I hit El Paso, snow began to fall. And somewhere after El Paso, the roads turned to ice. At one point I was following a snowplow, and at another traffic slowed to 10 mph, or even stopped completely a time or two.

Cayenne in El Paso, after I cleaned her up in Van Horn and before the nasty New Mexico snow and ice. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Cayenne in El Paso, after I cleaned her up in Van Horn and before the nasty New Mexico snow and ice. — Photo by Pat Bean

On the sides of the road were many stuck and wrecked cars and semis, whose drivers I assumed didn’t know the first rule of getting from one place to another on ice. Drive as if you have no brakes because you’re going to lose control of your vehicle when you apply them.

With 25 years of Northern Utah winter driving behind me, I felt reasonably confident I would make it through, and so I decided to take William Feather’s advice and consider the day an adventure.

It worked. I forgot about making time and my stress level dropped significantly – and I even made it home before dark. You don’t get many adventures like this at my age.           

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Pelicans http://ghostbearphotography.com/pelicans/   One of my favorite bloggers hates birds, but loves pelicans. I love his photos.

 

 

Merry Christmas to All

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to it original dimension.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The first week of January, 2013,  at my brand new apartment. I didn't know how unusual the now was in Tucson. I haven't seen it in the city since. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The first week of January, 2013, at my brand new apartment. I didn’t know how unusual that was in Tucson. I haven’t seen snow in the city since. — Photo by Pat Bean

2016 is Almost Here

I hope all my readers have good times, good laughs and lots of hugs this holiday season. I’ll see you again in 2016 when my goal is to do five blogs a week.

Pepper -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper — Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper says hi, too.

 

Writing and Talking

“A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.” — Charles Peguy

arches, 3 gossips

“We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.” — Diogenes

Two Different Worlds for Me

Ann V. Klotz wrote an essay for the Brevity Blog that began with the sentence: “I write the way I speak.” It stopped me in my tracks and had me recalling what my newspaper colleagues often said to me. “It’s a good thing Pat Bean doesn’t write the way she speaks.”

I think it was partially because of my Texas accent, but I knew it was also true in other way a well. I actually don’t write the way I speak. My thoughts and verbal communication skills get tangled up when my tongue is moving. The truth is I started writing because I discovered it was the best way for me to communicate.

It is common for me to sit down in front of a blank page on my computer thinking I’m going to write one thing and my fingers actually type something else. While the words might actually be on the same subject I sat down to write about, they are often not what I thought I was going to say.

Writing clarifies my thoughts and pushes ideas much deeper and clearer into my head. I can’t imagine what my life would be without the written word. Perhaps that’s because things only seem real to me after I write about them, or more likely I only remember things as they were after they become words on a page.

So do you write like you talk, or are more like me? Do you know?

Bean Pat: Ann V. Klotz’ Brevity blog in case you’re interested. I find the process other writers employ fascinating. http://tinyurl.com/ozxkd9h  

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