Wednesday, December 5, 2018

IWSG: Wednesday, December 5, 2018 ~ A Writer's Survival Kit






It's the first Wednesday of the month,
the day that members of the
Insecure Writer's Support Group
share their writing struggles
and writing successes
and offer their encouragement
and support to fellow writers.






To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are volunteering today,
along with IWSG founder Alex Cavanaugh are:
J. H. Moncrieff,  Tonja Drecker,  Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey.  

I hope you have a chance to visit today's hosts and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate a visit and an encouraging comment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every month the IWSG that members can answer with advice, insight,
a personal experience, or a story in their IWSG posts.

Or, the question can inspire members
if they aren't sure what to write about on IWSG Day.

Remember the question is optional.
This month's featured question is:

What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy IWSG Day, Everyone!
I hope each of you is enjoying the holiday season wherever it finds you!

Terry and I have arrived in Surprise, Arizona,
and my brother Roy and sister-in-law Sue flew in last night.
We are anticipating a fun-filled and active week
of hiking, swimming, and pickleball,
with lots of cards and games and conversation.

Needless to say, I am already wrecked from Late Night #1.



My Current Writing Space
Surprise, Arizona, USA
December 5, 2018
Photo Likely by Sara MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



December's IWSG question, What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?,
depends on where I am.
I wish I could list all these wonderful objects and talismans
that inspire me to great heights and productivity in writing,
but mostly I operate at survival level.
Certain pedestrian objects are always with me, 
so I can work in any place and at any time.

This has been a year of traveling for me, and I write on any surface I can;
but, guaranteed, there will be a cup of coffee not far from my right hand.

When traveling, even on a one-night trip with a small bag,
I always take a power strip and an extension cord.
That way I can be sure of enough plug-ins to power
my computer, iPhone, and other technology.
Access to the internet ~ that's sometimes impossible to bring about,
but I am prepared.  

Next, I always travel with a folder of reference materials,
because I am working on a memoir; and, because I am an optimist,
I always have more notes and materials than I can get to.



My Folder of Reference Materials
Surprise, Arizona, USA
December 5, 2018
Photo Likely by Sara MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Fourth, I have a wireless mouse right now, 
because my mouse pad on my computer no longer works.
I don't think Santa is going to bring me a new computer
to replace my poor, banged up, memory-challenged Mac,
but maybe in the spring ... .

And last, I have a pair of red magnifying glasses,
because, unfortunately, my eyes are getting older every day.


The Unvarnished Truth
Coffee, Wireless Mouse, Magnifying Glasses,
and a Teacher's Bad Habit ~
Eating While Working
Surprise, Arizona, USA
December 5, 2018
Photo Likely by Sara MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



So there you have it:  my writing survival kit,
my traveling office.
I have no excuses for not writing.

Oh yes, it's always nice to have a carrot dangling in front of me.
My writing reward today is a glass of wine, a piece of dark chocolate,
and a swim in a lovely, warm pool.

Happy Holidays and happy writing this December!

I'll be making my IWSG rounds in the late evening today.
Have fun, Everyone! 



Pure Bliss
A Swimming Pool at Sun City Grand
Surprise, Arizona, USA
December 5, 2018
Photo Likely by Sara MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Friday, November 30, 2018

On the Move


A bad weather forecast for four days of snow in Flagstaff, Arizona
had us on the move from Colorado three days early.
Talk about a mad scramble to pack!



Somewhere on I-40 and Route 66 South
Arizona, USA
November 28, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Terry and I are both past the days when we plow our way
through snow in the wide open spaces of desert lands
and zip through icy mountain passes.



No Place to Be Caught in a Snowstorm
Arizona, USA
November 28, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Dropping 6,000 feet, step one, as we head for warmth and sunshine.
I'll be back as soon as I get some sleep!



Don't Want to Navigate This on Icy or Snow-Packed Roads!
Arizona, USA
November 28, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Friday, November 23, 2018

Thanksgiving Along Piney Creek


If you celebrated American Thanksgiving yesterday,
I hope you had a happy time.

It's one of my favorite holidays,
because it's a time to spend with family and friends,
a time to be grateful for all that is good in life,
and a time to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast.



Mule Deer Buck
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



We've shared many Thanksgivings over the past thirty years
with our close friends Cheri and Gary, their son Jeff, 
and one, two, or three of our nieces and nephews.

The kids have grown and scattered,
so it was just we four celebrating yesterday;
and we went for a family style dinner at Maggianos,
an Italian restaurant that we all enjoy.

So, of course, in addition to turkey and all the trimmings,
Maggianos offered a tempting array of pastas:
a groaning board for sure, and boxes of leftovers to take home.



Hawk High Overhead
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


We each had a strategy to shed some of the calories we consumed at this feast.
Gary and Cheri planned a long walk with their Shih Tzu, Sam.
Terry played a fast round of pickleball with friends in the chilly mid-morning air,
and I meandered with my camera along Piney Creek once we returned from Maggianos.

Our Thanksgiving day was cool and cloudy,
not the best circumstance in which to go hunting with my camera.
A cloudy late November day colors the high prairie spaces 
with dull browns, grays, and faded yellows.


 
Icy Pond and Reflections
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Nevertheless, I layered up with warm clothes and headed down to the creek,
grateful for the gifts of unstructured time and peaceful solitude.

At first the riparian area seemed drab and lifeless
with its sere vegetation, splotchy patches of snow,
stripped stands of cottonwoods, and slow waters.


Dead Cottonwood Leaves, Horsetails, and Grasses
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Gone to Seed
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Remnants of Snow
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Stripped Cottonwoods
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






A Small Pool Along Piney Creek
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



But as I jumped the creek and wandered from the path,
I heard the soft twitters of birds in the cottonwoods
and spotted big ears in bleached gold thickets.





Birds Among Cottonwood Branches
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






A Mule Deer Buck and Doe
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



It is a joy to lean against a corrugated cottonwood, close my eyes,
and hear whispered conversations among the birds gathered in its branches;
then to open them and see muleys motionless in the underbrush,
their outsized ears swiveled toward me, their dark eyes fixed on me.

Although the world around me has faded to muted colors,
it is vibrant with rich textures:
sawtoothed leaves, layered or fluffy bullrushes,
billowing rabbitbrush, and pocked skims of ice on smooth water.



Ridged Cottonwood Trunks
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Cottonwoods in a Puddle
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







Weathered Bullrushes
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Billowing Rabbitbrush
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






A Skim of Pocked Ice
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I see more than thick limbs,
withered leaves, slender branches, and winter buds against a steely sky;
I catch a scamper of fur racing along dark, heavy highways:
an energetic squirrel patrolling its territory and adding food to its caches.
 



A Speedy Fox Squirrel
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



As I ramble throughout the long, narrow open space along Piney Creek, 
the sun lowers beneath the cover of cloud,
burnishing small shrubs and washing the landscape with gold and ruddy tones. 



Lowering Sun
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







Sun-Silvered Shrubs
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved








Magical Light Brightens the Landscape
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Following a tip from a fellow walker,
I round a corner and find what I have been seeking:
a herd of deer browsing among dry grasses, brushes, and milkweed.



Thanksgiving Feast
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Mule Deer Buck
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






A Muley Doe Browsing
in a Wild Wetland Meadow
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






A Milkweed Pod
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I turn and backtrack for home, refreshed by a quiet walk on the wild side.




We're Watching You!
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






A Female Red-winged Blackbird
Among the Bullrushes
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







Magic Moments for an Amateur Photographer
Aurora Open Space, Colorado
November 22, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




For Map Lovers Like Me:

Location of Aurora, Colorado, USA




The Open Space Along Piney Creek
Where I Often Walk
Map Data © 2018 Google United States




Aurora Open Space Along Piney Creek
Map Data © 2018 Google United States







Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018



Happy Thanksgiving to all my blogging friends
who celebrate American Thanksgiving!

I hope you're enjoying a special day with family and friends.
If you're traveling, travel safely,
and if you're in the northeast, bundle up and stay warm.

Sending all my blogging friends, celebrating or not, hugs and love.
I am thankful for each and every one of you! 


Aurora, Colorado
Fall, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Friday, November 16, 2018

Picture of the Day #3: Moody Morning in Venice


Whenever I hear the word Venice, my mind leaps
to gondoliers and their graceful gondolas gliding over its myriad canals.

I have taken hundreds of pictures of gondoliers, gondolas, and canals.
This is my favorite.


Gondoliers rowing on the Grand Canal
looking toward St. Mark's Basin
Venice, Italy
September 13, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




God willing, I'll take hundreds more.
Venice is magical, especially on a foggy morning.



For Map Lovers Like Me:
Location of Italy




Location of Venice




St. Mark's Basin
Venice, Italy



Sunday, November 11, 2018

Remembering


On this cold and snowy Veterans Day in Colorado,
I am remembering that I am safe and free
because of the tremendous sacrifices of others,
strangers, friends, and family members
who chose to serve to preserve our freedom and way of life.

It's the 100th Anniversary of the end World War I,
and I am remembering this simple, poignant tribute 
to the One Million British Empire Dead in that horrific war.
The memorial graces a column in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.


Tribute to the British Empire Dead of WWI
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
May 2014
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Seeing Canada and Newfoundland on that plaque
brought tears to my eyes in May 2014.
Among these one million dead are members of my family
whom I know only from old photographs. 



One Million Dead
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
May 2014
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




I am also remembering the simple, poignant, poem
of Canadian John McCrae, a physician from Guelph, Ontario,
who died shortly after penning these words of life, love, and loss:


In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae



Most of all I am remembering my parents,
Donald and Sara (MacDonald) MacBeath who served in the Canadian Forces,
my mother during WWII and my father shortly after WWII.
My mother was just old enough to enter WWII,
my father just young enough to be unable to serve in that war.

I like to remember them, not in their uniforms,
but on their honeymoon when they were young, optimistic, and full of hope. 

Don and Sara MacBeath
Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
September 4, 1948
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



We must never forget the sacrifices of those who served, 
who were injured or maimed physically and mentally,
or who died for us.

Whether you mark this day as Veterans Day, Remembrance Day,
Armistice Day, or by another name,
I hope you are remembering 
these selfless sacrifices with gratitude and love.

Lest We Forget
Flanders Poppies




Friday, November 9, 2018

POD #2: Friday, November 9, 2018 ~ The Art Lover

I call myself a photographer, 
but real photographers might roll their eyes at that statement.

My camera is a point-and-shoot Canon SX620 HS, 
bright red, of course!

I rarely use my iPhone as a camera
because it's much more expensive and visible,
and I don't want to be targeted by a phone snatcher,
especially when traveling.
Furthermore, I don't want to be encumbered
with a heavy camera, equipment bag, and tripod.

I go for the candid shot on the fly,
hoping I won't have to edit too much to get a photo that pleases me.
I have no qualms about editing a photo with my computer.
If I share a photo, I want it to be the best I can create.

The Ever-Patient, after years of me and my camera,
just keeps slowly moving forward,
while I stop and run to catch up, stop and run, stop and run. 

When I'm out and about, my Canon is snuggled in my right hand,
its strap looped around my wrist and thumb.
I'm on the hunt for anything that catches my eye.
I believe there are interesting, funny, or emotional shots anywhere.

Terry and I arrived in Florence for the first time on a morning train from Padua.
We dropped our bags on 500-year-old tiles in our room in the Residence Bellevue
and raced to explore the historic center of Florence,
a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982.

After hours of wandering from square to square
and marveling at the art, sculpture, architecture, and monuments
that grace one of the most beautiful cities in the world,
we found ourselves walking down the Piazzale degli Uffizi toward the Arno River.


Piazzale degli Uffizi
Florence, Italy
The Arno River lies just beyond the arches at the end of the street.



And suddenly, among the crowds I spotted a shot I wanted!
What do you think I spied?

The Ever-Patient (in bright a red shirt) Heads for the Arno
Piazzale degli Uffizi
Florence, Italy
September 16, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




"Oh please don't move," I whispered,
as I slipped the strap off my hand and lifted my camera,
opening the lens, edging forward, stalking my subject.

CLICK!
Gotcha!



Entranced!
Piazzale degli Uffizi
Florence, Italy
September 16, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




The cutest little art lover sat staring at a caricature of President Obama.
Given the water dish nearby, I suspect the art admirer belonged to the caricaturist.
Sometimes I get lucky! 


For Map Lovers Like Me:
Location of Italy





Location of Florence





Location of the Piazzale degli Uffizi