Friday, September 22, 2023

Happy Things!

This week I needed an attitude adjustment after hiding under the covers last week.
I really had no choice, so I got after what I unexpectedly had to do.

When I headed out to do some of those things, I had a  lovely surprise.
Lounging under the blue spruce across the street were two beautiful mule deer.
I adore the muleys' ears!  They remind me that big ears can be cute!
I took that as a sign that I was doing what I should: adjusting my attitude.

Beautiful Mule Deer
Aurora, Colorado, USA
September 16, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Two weeks ago I had a routinely-scheduled mammogram.
That number that kept calling my iPhone afterwards,
the one I didn't pick up for days because I didn't recognize it, 
it was the breast care center.

I had to come back for more tests asap:  One reason for the covers over my head.
No matter how friendly the people are and how cheery the facility is,
it's hard to wait in a robe for a radiologist to examine your latest scans,
especially when cancer is rampant in your family tree. 

HealthONE Breast Care Center at Centennial Hospital
Aurora, Colorado, USA
September 14,  2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Fortunately, the news was great, and I didn't have to have a scheduled ultrasound
after the additional mammograms.  Terry and I were beyond relieved!

My other aggravation is taking way more time than one anxious afternoon,
but I should have it resolved within the next week.
Meanwhile I'm cramming as many happy thoughts as I can into my brain.

Coming Up Roses
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
September 12, 2017
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Earlier this year when I was in Maui, 
I came across a touching tribute to a feral cat named Rusty
I started donating to the National Wildlife Federation in his honor.
Its magazine National Wildlife is beautiful and hopeful.

Rusty the Cat
Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
January 18, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

This week in the magazine I read a heartwarming story about Bobbi Wilson,
a proactive 10-year-old who is making a difference in her New Jersey community. 
If you ever were a young geeky naturalist following your outdoor passions,
you will love this story.  You'll love it regardless! 
"Fourth Grader vs. Spotted Lanternfly" by Shantal Riley, Summer 23, National Wildlife.

Bobbi became concerned about an Asian invasive species,
the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula),
and she joined New Jersey's eradication campaign in 2022.
The pest arrived in Pennsylvania in 1914 and has now spread throughout the Northeast.
It eats everything, causing wilting, defoliation, low-yielding crops, and plant death.

Spotted Lanternflies on a Red Maple

The pest can look like a beautiful butterfly, but it is a planthopper,
one of thousands of insect species that get their name 
from their remarkable resemblance to vegetation in their environment 
and their ability to hop around like a grasshopper. 

Spotted Lanternfly Displaying Underwing

Bobbi began eliminating the spotted lanternflies
in her neighborhood with her own bug spray recipe.
Like all good scientists, she recorded her observations
and experimented to improve her spray.

Sadly, last year, the then 9-year-old, was reported to the police 
by a former New Jersey Councilman who lived across the street from her.
He was scared by a tiny, hooded Black woman spraying the sidewalks,
and a police officer quickly arrived to investigate.

Fortunately, the story has an inspiring non-racist ending.
Shortly after the neighbor's 911 call,
Bobbi's 13-year old sister and father spoke at a borough council meeting,
and Bobbi's story was picked up by the local press.

A female Black professor of Public Health at Yale University
invited the family to visit the campus.
During their visit a Yale Peabody Museum manager said
that the museum didn't have any spotted lanternflies in its collection.
He explained how to freeze and ship specimens to the museum, 
and Bobbi was soon collecting and shipping the planthoppers there.
Her donations were accepted, and the museum named its new collection after Bobbi.

Bobbi also visited Princeton University's Plasma Laboratory
and received an award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
She was honored during Black History Month 
at the governor's mansion for her contributions to the state.
Bobbi and her sister Hayden received full scholarships to attend
the New Jersey Institute of Technology's 2023 STEM summer camp.
This remarkable young girl wants to be a chemist,
so she can try to make things that people need.

Bobbi's story raised my spirits like nothing else could!
I was that young geeky girl once (still am inside),
although my storywhich the press spread across Canada 
over sixty years ago, did not have as inspiring an ending.

Young children are amazing!  
They have the power to change their world!

I wasn't sure what to link to  Nicole's  Friday Face Offand then fortune smiled on me!

Recently I shared two Teddy Swims music videos in a post.
I've been gorging on his singing, and yesterday YouTube sent me to a new video of his.
"Til I Change Your Mind" features one of Teddy's talented band members, 
Addy Maxwell, creating a surprising work of art.

I was going to send a link to Debra, She Who Seeks
because it reminded me of the detailed art techniques she uses.
But then I thought I'd share it with everyone in today's post.
Some people like Addy are unbelievably talented in multiple areas.

Teddy Swims and Addy Maxwell

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I hope fortune is smiling on you!
Have a great weekend!

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

  My next post will be soon! 🤞

On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Friday, September 15, 2023

Morning Dread

My plans for last weekend, this week, and the next six or seven weeks
have been thrown into disarray.  I could get discouraged, 
but I'm going to suck it up buttercup.

Reykjavík, Iceland
June 12, 2014
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Well, once I get out of bed that is.  
When I wake up, I want to pull the covers over my head
and make the world go away.
This is so not me!  I am a morning lark.

I recently read an article by Tom Chiarella who was interviewing Jeff Bridges
in a summer issue of AARP The Magazine, and this jumped out at me.
Sometimes Bridges experiences what he calls morning dread.
"'I sometimes wake up and say, 
'Oh God, I gotta get up and do all this stuff that I don't want to do.'"

That's where I am right now.
Does this happen to you?

Everything will get squared away, but it's going to take time I'm short on,
and involve aggravating things I don't want to do.

Whine.  Whine.

So this morning I told myself that I could wallow for a little while
after getting out of bed, and then I had to get real.
I went hunting for some memes to cheer me up:

If Bruno Mars and "Uptown Funk" can't lift my spirits and purpose,
I can always count on the faces I love.

So here are some happy faces that are certain to work for me,
which I'm linking to  Nicole's  Friday Face Off.

Card Games at My Cousins Julie and Dave's Home
Blair, Julie, Sue, and Barb
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
August 11, 2017
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Jeannie and Rosie
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Date Unknown

The Best Guy in the World!
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
June 14, 2014
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Guaranteed to make me laugh; a favorite childhood photo of mine, ADHD me,
in a perpetual harness, tied on, and trailing a rope for a good three summers of my life.

Aggravation in the Past!
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
Summer 1952
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

What do you do if you experience morning dread?
When you wake up and say, 
"Oh God, I gotta get up and do all this stuff that I don't want to do."
I'd love to know what works for you!

Last week I didn't get around to visit as I planned.
🤞I make it this time!

Have a great weekend!

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

  My next post will be soon! 🤞

On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Friday, September 8, 2023

Down the IWSG Rabbit Hole: Part 2

As many of you know, I am a member of an inspirational online writing community
known as The Insecure Writer's Support Group.
The IWSG has been a writing mainstay for me since I joined it almost a decade ago.
We get together on the first Wednesday of the month
to support and encourage one another with our writing projects.

Some members write flash fiction, short stories, and novels across many genres.
Others write non-fiction books, writing craft books, or memoirs, and some are poets.
But the one thing we all share is a love of writing.  

Writers Getting Together

Wednesday marked a special anniversary for the IWSG, 12 Years Strong!
We were encouraged to share when we discovered the IWSG,
how we connect with it, and how has it helped us.
I decided to find out how it started twelve years ago and fell down a rabbit hole.

Down the Rabbit Hole
Wikimedia Commons ~ Valerie Hinojosa ~ License

I read dozens of IWSG founder Alex J. Cavanaugh's posts
and scanned thousands of comments looking for information.
As I worked on the draft, I realized I had way too much information for one post.
It was too late to regroup, so I split the post into two parts: 
The first was And So It Begins! on the founding of the IWSG,
and the second is my post today sharing my relationship with the group.

I learned about about this awesome group through my blogging buddy, Pat Hatt.
He has long been member of the IWSG, one who has published over 100 books.
At the time I joined the group, Pat had published at least twenty,
so I figured that he knew a good writing group when he saw one.

A Few of Pat's Books
Aurora, Colorado, USA
July 21, 2021
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

                                                                       Alex Cavanaugh featured Pat 
on his blog on January 13, 2014, as he has for many IWSG writers:                                                            "Today I have for you a special treat              A funky rhyme that can’t be beat.        Because today Pat and his cat                    Are here to amuse at my mat! "

Pat had recently released his latest book at the time,  Fight for the Light.
In his blog It's Rhyme Time, Pat invited readers to hop over to Alex's blog to see his post.
I thought What the heck?  Why not?

I commented on Alex's post:  "How fun to visit your blog, Alex. 
Of course rhyming Pat sent me your way! Have a great day!"
and Alex responded:  "Fundy, thanks for stopping by!"  
Such a humble exchange that led to friendships, opportunities, and fulfillment for me!

Blogging Buddies ~ Pat and I
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
July 28, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I spotted Alex's link to The Insecure Writer's Support Group and followed it.
I discovered all these writers and all sorts of information!
At the time I was publishing posts on my family's time in the North,
and working up the courage to write a memoir.
But did I join the group?  No! 
I was too shy and insecure to join, but I became a Looky Lou.

I kept going back to Alex's blog and leaving comments.
I couldn't believe that first Pat, and now Alex, were actually interacting with me.
Real, honest-to-God, published authors!

That meant so much, and I began to dare a little.
On January 29, 2014 I went into LinkedIn and changed 
my professional headline from Elementary Teacher to Writer.
I claimed myself to be a Writer!
I wrote, "I've been out on a lot of skinny limbs,
but this one feels about one Planck Unit wide!"
Talk about insecure.

Pat replied in his rhyming fashion:
"haha got it out there
Now all know near and far
Writer at your lair
Can give a har har"

And Alex replied with encouragement:
"You took the plunge! Now you are officially a writer. Believe it. 
And believe you will be an author just like your sister."

And others replied who have given me their friendship and support over the years,
among them, Debra, Martha, Baili, Peggy, Noushka, and Jim.

My Sister Bertie  (Published Author) and I
Presenters, Colorado Council International Reading Association, 2009, 2010, 2011

On February 24, 2014 Alex gave me a push saying, "Fundy, please join us."
But I didn't feel I was good enough, real enough to join the IWSG.

It took me a couple of more months, but on April 9, 2014 I decided to join the group.
And, of course, typical me, I struggled to get the technology to work.
I poured out my heart in my post How LD Feels! What's Simple is Hard!
As in stupid, Stupid, STUPID!

Alex replied, "Yeah!!! Glad you finally joined us. 
One can never be too insecure for the group. 
Trust me. You are in the right place."

And Pat replied, "that cat joined and he isn't insecure at all, just be crazy and you are safe haha And if the mirror talks back like that, smash it"

The Stupid LD Person in the Mirror

Five days later I had my mojo back and posted a review of Alex's first book

Alex replied, "Wow, what a surprise!!! Fundy, thank you. 
I'm excited that you enjoyed it. Yes, first efforts, and I did get better.
And - there is a strong female character in the second book I think you will really enjoy.
Thanks - you just made my morning!!" 

I made his morning?  He made mine!

I mentioned opportunities.  Yes, the IWSG has given me opportunities.
I had a small article published in the IWSG book 
and I had a short story "Dare Double Dare"
published in an IWSG anthology Voyagers: The Third Ghost.

A Happy Author!
Aurora, Colorado, USA
April 24, 2020
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

It's been over nine years since I joined The Insecure Writer's Support Group.
Since then I have never missed publishing a monthly post for the IWSG.

I was five days late once.
On September 4, 2018, I tried to write a post Computerless and Lost! 
and publish it while sitting in a train station and then riding on a train.
I had accidentally left my computer behind in the security line
at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Nova Scotia on August 8th.

"Hello, Fellow IWSG Members!  I’m sorry this doesn’t look like a regular IWSG post. 
I’m sitting in a train station in Brighton on the south coast of England,
and trying to write a post with my iPhone." 

I messed up so badly that Google locked me out of my account for three days.
It's the only post I've ever published that didn't have a photo.

Said Alex, "Wow, glad you didn't lose your computer! That would've sucked.
No worries, visit when you can and don't stress not writing. Just enjoy the trip."

Said Pat:  "Great you got the computer back at least. Losing it would be worse than the screen of death. At least if you get the latter you can get the satisfaction of taking a hammer to it lol
Sure far far away from your sea this time. Hope you are enjoying away and you can post many pics when you get back to make up for none today."

Brighton Train Station
United Kingdom
August 30, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

How do I connect with the IWSG?
What you see is what you get,
my ups and downs, my technology difficulties, my ADHD challenges,
my writing progress and lack thereof,
through sickness and health, me unfiltered.

How has the IWSG helped me?
How can I count the ways?
Friendship, support, encouragement, understanding, compassion, inspiration, validation.
I'm one member's story, sharing a few interactions with my friends Alex and Pat.

Alex, who founded the IWSG has given so much of himself to so many others.
He reflected in his Wednesday, May 6, 2015 post:  
"Writing is tough business. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant to continue. (I didn’t sign on to do more than one book anyway.) I know the bad reviews on Amazon were inevitable, but it always sucks. I’ve been through some incredible highs and lows, and I want to do my part to help other writers going through the same stuff. I’m not a great writer, but maybe I can be a great supporter."

I beg to differ, Alex!  You are a great writer and a great supporter!
And so are you, Pat!  
Thanks to both of you for being there for me!

Here's to the next twelve years of the IWSG!

I'm going to link to  Nicole's  Friday Face Off.
My face is in the post.  That will have to do for this week!
It's 1:37 am, and I had promised myself no more staying up late to write a post.  Oops!
If there are any errors, I'll find them tomorrow.
I might be a little late making the rounds.  😵‍💫

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

  My next post will be soon! 🤞

On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



IWSG Information:

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is on several online platforms including
FacebookGoodreads (IWSG Authors)Instagram,
X, formerly Twitter, (Our twitter handle: @THEIWSG; Our hash tag: #IWSG),
and Blogger and other blogging sites.

I belong to the blogging group, and all the IWSG requires of me and other members
is to publish a post on my blog about writing on the first Wednesday of the month,
visit a dozen other members' posts, and return comments. 

The IWSG announces a question each month that members can answer in their IWSG posts.
These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. 
Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post,
or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

The IWSG welcomes anyone interested in writing,
and you can explore its website here:  The Insecure Writer's Group.
You may join on the IWSG Sign-Up page.

Insecure Writer's Support Group