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Looking Back

The Standard-Examine's new building, where I spent the final years as a journalist, reflects the surrounding mountains that I so loved. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Standard-Examiner’s new building, where I spent my final years as a journalist, reflects the surrounding mountains that I so loved. — Photo by Pat Bean

       “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey

But Living Forward

Back on July 14, 1979 – a time of upheaval in my life – I wrote down a list of things I wanted to accomplish. On that list were the expected things such as be a better parent, live healthier, remarriage, financial security and advance in my career. Perhaps less expected desires were write a book, live in the mountains, take up an exciting hobby and meet interesting people.

A view of Mount Ogden from Ogden's 25th Street. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A view of Mount Ogden from Ogden’s 25th Street. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came across that list this morning, and realized I had achieved many of those goals. I have written a book, and while it’s not published yet, I have had a very successful writing life. And as a journalist for 37 years, meeting interesting people happened almost daily

While I carry around a few more pounds than I should, I’m quite healthy and active for my age, I did briefly remarry but after that didn’t work out, I realized how much I enjoyed being single.

In 1983, I took up white-water rafting, which gave me many adventures for almost 20 years. Financially, I’ve never had much money but it’s always been enough to feed and house me, let me buy books and still have a little leftover for travel.

At the time I wrote the list, I was working for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It was a prestigious job, but there wasn’t a mountain in sight. A few months later, I moved to Utah, where the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains became my backyard. It meant that I went from being a tiny fish in a large lake to being a slightly bigger fish in a smaller pond – but I never regretted the decision.

“Dare to be different” was the final item on that 37-year-old-list. When I wrote that wish down, I hadn’t yet learned that this desire was a no-brainer. Everybody is different in their own way. And that is one of the most beautiful things about this world.

Bean Pat: Ralie Travels http://tinyurl.com/zrgtbmo Great armchair travel through Arizona’s Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Having visited here, this brought back great memories.

It’s a Raven!

“I believed then – in a deep, easy way that is impossible for me as an adult – that there was more to this world than meets the eye. Trees had spirits; the wind spoke. If you followed a toad or raven deep into the heart of the forest, they were sure to lead you to something magical.” – Jennifer McMahon

            “I’m so sorry Jennifer. I’ve long been an adult – and I still believe.” – Pat Bean

Life outside my window. -- Watercolor by Pat Bean

Life outside my window. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

Or is it a Crow?

            Ravens didn’t live in Dallas, where I grew up. It was only after I moved West that I began seeing them. They looked just like crows to me. But being the curious person that I am, I soon wanted to know how to tell a raven from a crow.

Note the wedge-shaped tail on this raven Also, except for once during breeding season, I've never seen more than one or two ravens together. Crows, on the other hand, most often flock together. -- Wikimedia photo

Note the wedge-shaped tail on this raven Also, except for once during breeding season, I’ve never seen more than one or two ravens together. Crows, on the other hand, most often flock together. — Wikimedia photo

While ravens are larger, unless you see them side by side you can’t really identify them by that clue. But it’s easy to tell them apart if you see them flying. The raven’s tail is wedge-shaped, while the end of the crow’s tail is straight.

I see a pair of ravens almost daily here in Tucson, They land in the trees outside my windows and hop about on the roof opposite my back balcony – and they inspired my latest watercolor.

Bean Pat: Daily Echo http://tinyurl.com/hjeleff This blog so reminds me of the way I traveled and dawdled when I lived in my RV and was exploring North America. U think my wanderlust is getting to me. I need to take a road trip soon.

Fireworks

            “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

My life has had moments like this -- and they're still vivid in my memories.

My life has had moments like this — and they’re still vivid in my memories.

We All Need Some Sparkle in our Lives

From my daughter’s backyard patio on the western outskirts of Tucson, I had a front row seat to a fireworks show Monday night. Rockets burst in the air, sending showers of sparkling stars and streaks high and wide – over and over. It was the longest firework show I’ve ever seen.

Finally, however, I tired of the extravaganza, realizing that one can only endure so much splendidness.

White-water rafting was my fireworks for almost 20 years.

White-water rafting was my fireworks for almost 20 years.

Afterwards, as I was feeding carrots to my daughter’s horse, Hondo, who hadn’t liked the explosive lighting show at all, I thought about the fireworks in my life – from late-blooming delicious relationships to facing down  giant rapids from the front seat of a paddle boat on the Colorado River.

My life started out complicated and difficult, then exploded with adventures, and is now moving in slow motion.  I’ve lived a full circle. And what I find strange is that the ending is every bit as fulfilling as the middle.

But it was the beginning, when I was a child of an alcoholic, the outcast in school, too young married to the wrong man, and an unprepared mother, that formed me into the person I am today. My children and grandchildren are the bonuses from that time, as is this person I have become.

I can’t regret any of my life.

While it’s the fireworks’ years that dominate my memories, it’s these years toward the end that are giving me my greatest contentment. Of course, I can’t help but hope there are a few fireworks’ memories still out there for me to create.

But no way do I want to go back to the beginning stage. Once was enough for that period in my life.

Bean Pat: Hairy Puccoon http://tinyurl.com/gtoxu2e Portraits of Wildflowers, one of my favorite bloggers.

*#!(*&%#* Computers

            “The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do.” – Ted Nelson

            “Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.” — Steve Wozniak

            “A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.” – Emo Philips

Trying to solve a computer problem is harder for than trying to identify little brown birds among foliage. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Trying to solve a computer problem is harder for me than trying to identify little brown birds among foliage. — Photo by Pat Bean

It’s a Love/Hate Relationship

            As I mentioned in my previous blog, downloading Windows 10 destroyed my ability to download photos onto my computer from my camera’s memory card.

A trouble-shooting action told me I needed a new driver.

Though a bit of research on the internet, which turned up lots of helpful commercial offers, I learned I needed up to 142 new drivers. But finally I found a Microsoft program that said I only needed to update 14 drivers. Not wanting to buy a new computer, I decided to risk it, although downloading any programs gives me the heebie jeebies.

Thankfully, after multiple downloads and restarting of the computer, and hours simply trying to locate if Driver E was on my computer – a simple task before Windows 10 – it worked.

Once again I can import pictures from my camera onto my computer. It’s not as easy as before, but it is doable.

And it only cost me two frustrated days of fiddling with my computer – and $30 for a year’s update of my drivers.

There is an upside, however. Solving one of my quirky computer problems always makes me feel like a genius.

Bean Pat: Chris Martin Writes http://chrismartinwrites.com/life-is/ I like this blogger’s view of life.

           

The Death of a Friend

            “A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.” – John Muir

This tree with the split personalty was my favorite tree when I was a campground host at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. -- Poto by Pat Bean

This tree with the split personality was my favorite tree when I was a campground host at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. — Photo by Pat Bean

Life Happens to us All

            My Tree Fell Down. The huge one in which, over the past three and a half years, I’ve watched great-horned owls and Cooper’s hawks try to claim a nesting site — each succeeding once. They laid their eggs in the very same nest..

            But on Monday evening, when a kind of mini-tornado blew through the complex, the tree toppled. The giant took out the balcony next to mine as it crashed against my 30-residences apartment building. Thankfully no person was injured.

Me being silly and hugging a tree in Custer State Park in South Dakota.

Me being silly and hugging a tree in Custer State Park in South Dakota.

The mess is still being cleaned up by workmen with shovels, saws and ladders. I figure it will take at least a couple of trucks to haul off all the wood that was once the awesome tree.   I would show you pictures, but Windows 10 ate the driver that I need to import pictures from my camera to my computer.*

The loss of my tree, as I felt it was, makes me sad. My eyes dampened this morning as I sat on my front balcony looking at the empty air where the tree once towered above the three-story apartment building across the way.

I’ve listened as gila woodpeckers rapped on the tree’s trunk, and watched as hawks, owls, ravens and, doves frequently visited its branches — while I leaned back in my chair, as I drank my morning coffee, and observed them with my binoculars.

I feel as if a good friend has died. Actually, that is exactly what happened.

Bean Pat: Deidra Alexandra’s Blog http://tinyurl.com/zr9oh4g A funny story that made me smile – and I needed to smile. Don’t you?

            *By the way, does anybody have any good, inexpensive suggestions on how to fix the import driver on my four-year-old computer, or, as I suspect, am I going to have to get a new computer?

 

A Writer’s World

Butterflies -- that's another magical word. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Butterflies — that’s another magical word. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.” Buddha

Magical Words

            When I was a kid, I often told those who bullied me that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” What a crock of bull. I was hurting from their words even as I quoted the saying.

 

Friendship and Contentment. The two best friends,  Pepper and Dusty seem contented as they share a patch of sunshine.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Friendship and Contentment. The two best friends, Pepper and Dusty seem contented as they share a patch of sunshine. — Photo by Pat Bean

           This morning, as I was reading a blogger who listed 50 things that made her happy, I started my own list, and at some point the word “words” was added to the list, which made me want to start a list of my favorite words.

            Cacophony was the first one that came to mind. I’m not sure why, but the first time I came across this word – and then looked up its meaning – I loved it, and was/still am always trying to find a way to use it in my writing.

            I then thought of words that seem magical because of their meanings — or personal connotations. Peace and love led the list, followed by these 10:

            Grandchildren, Travel, Nature, Pepper (my dog, not the spice), Books, Inquisitiveness, Art, Friendship, Birds and Contentment – the last a state of being that only now am I coming to find in my life because of words like restlessness and ambition that are much a part of me.

            What words are magical to you? This inquiring mind wants to know.

            Bean Pat: 20 Minutes a Day http://tinyurl.com/hgnheby This flash fiction story by one of my favorite bloggers ends with words that I’m now incorporating into my life.

Connections

            “Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” — Charles Eames

            “People find meaning and redemption in the most unusual human connections.” Khaled Hosseini

This photo was taken over 30 years ago, when I played Mrs. Zubrisky, as did actress and author Mary Louise Wilson. That's a very young looking me sitting on the left. What a wonderful memory

This photo was taken over 30 years ago, when I played Mrs. Zubritsky, as did actress and author Mary Louise Wilson. That’s a very young looking me sitting on the left. What a wonderful memory

Books Bring Me Joy

            I just started reading Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard when a small sentence let me know how much I was going to enjoy this book. “But then some people bird watch,” said the book’s protagonist, which let me know, in a whispered writer’s voice, that the author knew all about crazy bird watchers – like me.

            A bit later on she said of her husband: “It takes more than 10 years in bed with an American to cure a European of his natural reserve.” I connected with this sentence because I understand how different people are, and that you never truly get to know them – even if you sleep with them for years.

            It’s these kinds of personal connections that give me so much pleasure in reading these days. And since I have a lot of living behind me, I’m able to make more and more connections with each passing year.

            I thought about this as I was reading My first Hundred Years in Show Business by Mary Louise Wilson this

Mary Louise Wilson

Mary Louise Wilson

morning. I’m not sure anyone but someone involved in theater would truly understand and appreciate the book. But, since I was very involved with amateur Little Theater during the 22 years I lived in Ogden, I’m loving it.

            Even so, I didn’t have any real connection with the author until she began writing about her role in Neil Simon’s little known play “Fools.” It’s a fantastic play about this village that has been cursed with stupidness, and Mary Louise and I both played the role of the intellectually-challenged wife, Mrs. Zubritsky.

            When she described how in the play, when she was supposed to open a door but couldn’t, that she decided to pull on the handle instead of push, I connected. It was exactly how I had dealt with the same door scene. And we also reacted the same way in the play when the husband asks his wife to lower her voice. To comply, we both decided to bend our knees.

            Reading My First Hundred Years in Show Business is bringing back wonderful memories – what fun!

            There is no question but that books are wonderful. But when you can make a connection with them, they become magical.

            Bean Pat: Wanderlust http://tinyurl.com/j4rbmb5 I easily connected with this blog and blogger because we share a passion for travel.

P.S. If you’re interested you can type in Fools, Neil Simon and find videos of scenes from Fools.

 

 

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