Wednesday, January 5, 2022

IWSG: Wednesday, January 5, 2022 ~ Writing Regrets

 





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 J. Cavanaugh are Erika BeebeOlga Godim, Sandra CoxSarah Foster, and, Chemist Ken! 

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 announces a question 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's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy New Year Everyone!
Here's hoping 2022 is a good one for each of you!

I'm keeping this short because I'm still dealing with 
a raging thyroid and worsening eyesight.
I now weigh what I weighed when I was eleven!
As of today, my endocrinologist is treating me more aggressively with drugs,
and I see an ophthalmologist who specializes in Graves eye disease on Thursday.
Feeling better, seeing better, is getting closer.

So is Hawaii!  
Yes, fingers crossed, Terry and I are flying to Honolulu on Sunday.

Waikiki from the top of Diamond Head
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
March 10, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



My biggest writing regret?
I wish as a university student I had seen writing as a career option.
But it was drilled into me throughout my young life 
that I must have a career,
that I must be able to stand on my own two feet,
and I must not depend on a husband.
Generations of tragedy on both sides of my family fueled these imperatives.

My parents sacrificed everything for their son, 
and their four daughters, to graduate from university,
so I never considered writing as an option.
I needed a solid and secure career that came with good pay and benefits.

I regret not having decades and decades of writing 
what I wanted to write behind me now.

But if I had followed that path,
I would have missed the wonder of rocks and geology,
the thrill of searching and drilling for oil in the Oil Patch,
and my rewarding teaching career with all those amazing kiddos.

Driller Jack Taylor and I in the Doghouse
DNB Rig, Western Kansas Oil Patch, USA
February 1982
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I never did anything halfway.
I was always called an overachiever ~ How I hate that label!
I was not an overachiever!
I was passionate, 
and I poured my heart and energy into my different careers.
I had nothing left over to write the books inside me.
I wrote constantly connected to my work, 
but it was not what I wanted to write.

I think we all must wonder about the roads not taken.
I took a different road from that of a professional writer, 
but my chosen road was a rich and fulfilling one.
Regret is a powerful emotion.  Maybe I feel more of a what if.
My life is what it is, and now I can write.

I'm greedy for life, and I'm greedy for time to write.
I've smacked into a giant pile of downed trees obstructing my path,
but I'm sawing through them,
and soon I'll be back to writing as I want to.

This past month I've been beaten down physically.
I had a wonderful visit with some of my family in Calgary
and a lovely Christmas Eve with Terry's family,
but most of the time I've felt rotten and exhausted.

My brother Roy, me, Terry, and my sister-in-law Susan
My best day in December (10th)
Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I haven't looked at my blog or opened my email in a month.
I'm posting today because I care so much about the IWSG.
I can't promise that I'll get around much to visit today.
I have three medical/ophthamalogist appointments in the next two days,
and I have to pack.

I cannot wait to see the ocean, palm trees, and Diamond Head.
Our apartment on Waikiki has good wifi,
and my stronger and new meds should kick in soon.
So, I will get around to all my blogging buddies and IWSG visitors very soon.
My manuscript is traveling with me.
And, even if I have to crawl, I'm getting to the top of Diamond Head.

Our Great Niece Ella Grace MacBeath
An Independent Young Woman at Four
December 10, 2021
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I hope each of you has fun visiting around today.
Happy writing to each of you in January!





Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

https://selkiegrey4.blogspot.com 





Saturday, December 4, 2021

Taking a Little Breather!




I'll be back on Wednesday, January 5th for the Insecure Writer's Support Day.
I'm taking a little breather.
I hope to pop in and visit blogs during this time, but I won't be posting.
Hopefully by then, I'll be feeling lots better!

Wishing each of you the best of holidays, however you celebrate the season.
And may 2022 be kind to you!




Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

https://selkiegrey4.blogspot.com 





Tuesday, November 30, 2021

IWSG: Wednesday, December 1, 2021 ~ Stresses and Delights in Writing

 




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 J. Cavanaugh are P.J. ColandoDiane Burton, Natalie Aguirre, Jacqui Murray, and me, Louise - Fundy Blue! 

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 announces a question 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: 
In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you? 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy December, Everyone!
It will definitely be a happy month for me!
I'm flying to Calgary on Sunday to see some of my family.
I haven't seen anyone in my family since the pandemic began.
We are very close, and it has been really hard for me to be so far away.

We Five
Barbie, Bertie, Roy, Me (Louise), and Donnie
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
August 7, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Stresses and delights in writing?
Right now it's very black and white for me.
If I write, I'm delighted, and if I don't, I'm stressed.

November has been a frustrating month for me.
Graves Disease is impacting my eyesight, and my double vision is worsening,
making it difficult to drive and sometimes difficult to read and to write.
This has led to my battling depression.

My glasses that I bought to correct my double vision in late August 
are almost useless, because my vision has changed so much. 
I look like a turtle with an outstretched neck when driving, 
with my head lifted up and my glasses perched on the tip of my nose to see in focus.
And then there's the big pair of wraparound sunglasses on top of my prescription glasses,
because the sunlight hurts my eyes.

Nevertheless, I tackled NaNo and managed 39,605 words.
I'm disappointed I didn't get to 50,000 words,
but I've promised myself I'll reach that 50,000 words 
after I return from Calgary and before Christmas.

I'm sorry I neglected my blog this month. 
I didn't have the energy to both blog and participate in NaNo

I know I'll get on top of things.  This is transitory.
My endocrinologist and my ophthalmologist will work their magic,
and I'll be back to a more normal me.
I'm looking forward to a lot more writing delight!

And I have a new working title for my memoir:  Northern Exposure.
This has been resonating with me lately,
because my memoir is about more than Lansdowne House.
My book needs Fritz and John and Two Point on Lac Seul.

Meanwhile, as an IWSG co-host, I am looking forward to making the rounds.
I plan to visit lots of members today!

Northern Exposure 1
Mom, Gretchen (our dog), Donnie, Roy, and Barbie (back)
Baby Bertie, and Me (front)
Lansdowne House, Ontario, Canada
Late Spring 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Northern Exposure 2
Mom, Gretchen (our dog), Donnie, Roy, and Barbie (back)
Baby Bertie, and Me (front)
Lansdowne House, Ontario, Canada
Late Spring 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Northern Exposure 3
Bertie (left), Fritz, Barbie, and John (front)
Lac Seul, Ontario, Canada
Summer 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


I hope each of you has fun visiting around today.
Have a wonderful holiday season however you celebrate,
and happy writing to each of you in December!





Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

https://selkiegrey4.blogspot.com 





 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

IWSG: Wednesday, November 3, 2021 ~ This or That?

  




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 J. Cavanaugh are Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie LeesJoylene Nowell ButlerErika Beebe,  and Lee Lowrey.

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 announces a question 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's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy November, Everyone!
Can you believe we're into the tail end of the year?
American Thanksgiving and Christmas are racing at Terry and me.
Throw in a trip to Vegas, a trip to Calgary, and NaNoWriMo,
and I'm dancing on the tips of my skates trying not to fall.





This or that?  Title or Blurb?
I find both coming up with a title and writing a blurb daunting!

I've written a lot of things, but they are typically short.
Titles are much easier to create, and one will often come to me as I write, 
usually a significant phrase or words in the piece.
I've rarely written a blurb.

I do have my first book underway, my memoir.
I don't have a title for it.
For a long time its working title was Human Refuse, but that was too dark.
Now I'm using A Place Called Lansdowne House as a placeholder in NaNoWriMo.
I don't have a clue what the actual title will be.

Lost in the Bush
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


As for a blurb, my memoir is gushing like a broken water main,
overflowing with voices, themes, trauma, history, and everyday life.
I can't stem the flow, let alone reduce it to a blurb.

Right now I'm rewriting everything in a massive chronological narrative,
hoping my path through it all will emerge.

If any of you have participated in NaNo while rewriting,
how did you count your daily words?
I worked over four hours yesterday
and ended up with fewer words than when I started.
I decided to give myself 400 words for each hour I worked
for a total of 1624 words.



My purpose in doing NaNoWriMo is to get back into writing daily,
after a year of upsets, the latest my just being diagnosed with Graves Disease.
Should I move forward with my plan, or should I be kicked out of NaNo?

Good luck to any of you participating in NaNo this year!
Here's a little humor to help you along.


















I hope each of you has fun visiting around today.
Happy writing to each of you in November!





Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

https://selkiegrey4.blogspot.com 






Friday, October 29, 2021

Halloween Villains

My friend Rain's Thursday Art Date themes have finally pushed me
into attempting art, something I've been meaning to do forever, 
In my past I dabbled with art, usually in a required course
or in demonstrating art projects I wanted my elementary students to do.
I could count on the fingers of one hand how many times
I've sat down and made something artistic for the sheer fun of it.

In the last two months or so, I've learned so much about art,
and my idea about what art is has expanded.
I'm learning from Rain and from the talented people
who participate in her Thursday art date.

This week's theme is Villains.
I only recently learned that all kinds of art stencils existed.
I knew there were stencils for letters and geometric shapes,
but there was a whole world of art stencils I knew nothing about.
So for Villains, I ordered some Halloween stencils from Amazon to try working with them.


I was excited to shuffle through my 28 stencils when my Amazon package arrived.
It took me about five seconds to realize that I wanted to create 
a picture using bits of about fifteen stencils.

Six Stencils at Work

What I learned as I played with the stencils,
tracing the outlines, inking them, and coloring them,
was how relaxing the process was.  
And I forgot about perfection!  I just had fun.



It took me about five hours to complete my picture,
and when I was finished, I panicked.
I thought I had misspelled villain.
Even my super-speller-husband thought it was villian.
Fortunately, after a dinner break filled with imagining how to fix my drawing,
we checked the spelling again, and I breathed a sigh of relief:  villain.

I'm quite pleased with my finished picture, 
and I realized it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.
I relaxed and had fun creating something.
That's what counts! 

Halloween Villains
October 28, 2021
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


I heard back from my doctor, and my tests confirmed I have Graves Disease.
It's a very good result, and one I can deal with.
After months of searching for an answer regarding my troubling symptoms, 
it's a relief to have a diagnosis!
I'm feeling grateful and positive! 

Stay happy and safe!




Till next time ~
Fundy Blue



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







  

Friday, October 22, 2021

Adventures with Radiation and a Broomstick


I had a medical adventure this week.
After a number of medical tests and enough blood draws to make a vampire fat,
we're finally zeroing in on what has happened to me in recent months.
I have suddenly developed a hyperactive thyroid,
and yesterday's and today's tests should indicate what is wrong.
Right now I'm radioactive, LOL!

Sky Ridge Medical Center
Lone Tree, Colorado, USA
October 20, 2021
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




I went to Sky Ridge Medical Center for an outpatient 
Radioactive Iodine Uptake Scan (RAIU),
for a twenty-four hour test over two days.
This test determines a patient's thyroid function as opposed to its anatomy.

The first thing I did was swallow two radioactive pills 
containing a small amount of radioactive iodine,
a radiotracer that a gamma camera can detect.
I couldn't touch the pills with my hands.  
I had to drop them into my mouth from a special container.
My body identifies the radioactive iodine as iodine
and sends it to my thyroid to be processed into thyroid hormones.
Then I had to wait six hours while the radioactive iodine headed for my thyroid.




No problem!  After nine hours of fasting and not being able to have even a sip of water,
I raced for the hospital's Starbucks!

Starbucks ~ Sky Ridge Medical Center
Lone Tree, Colorado, USA
October 20, 2021
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved








And there was a witch with a broom on a Starbucks sign, 
so I have a pitiful something for Rain's Thursday Art Date broomstick theme!
I had no time this week to create art.  

Starbucks ~ Sky Ridge Medical Center
Lone Tree, Colorado, USA
October 20, 2021
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


I had planned to go to Park Meadows Mall to shop for some new clothes,
because I hadn't seen the inside of a mall since the beginning of Covid.
But the truth is, I was too tired to face walking all over the huge mall.
When your thyroid runs amok, all kinds of unpleasant things happen.
Your heart races, your breathing is fast and shallow, 
you contend with fatigue, muscle weakness, heat sensitivity, 
tremors, and difficulty sleeping.
The thought of trying on clothes was overwhelming.








Furthermore, I've lost nineteen pounds since April.
I was so excited that I was losing over three pounds a month.
I thought I had figured out how to eat healthy meals
and lose weight after Terry's heart attack in April. 
And now I know it was my hyperactive thyroid in action.  😱
Why buy new clothes if I might puff up on thyroid medicine in a month?
So I plugged my phone into a charging station and hung out.

Six hours later I was lying on a moveable examination table 
with my arms immobilized and my knees raised.
Russ, a friendly, knowledgeable, and calm tech,
slid the table into the machine and positioned an imaging scanner 
above my throat to record the radioactivity emitted by the radiotracer in my thyroid.
All I had to do was lay still for seven minutes for each position of the scanner.

A Similar Machine to Mine
Screenshot from You Tube


The scanners are like Geiger counters.
The radioactive iodine taken up by the thyroid emits gamma rays.
A gamma camera detects the gamma rays, 
and the gamma rays are turned into an electrical signal and sent to a computer.
The computer builds a picture of the different intensities
of the gamma rays in the thyroid, in shades of grey and white.
A gamma scan is also known as a scintigramm.

5 different scintigramms taken from thyroids with different syndroms: 
A) normal thyroid, B) Graves disease, diffuse increased uptake in both thyroid lobes, 
C) Plummers disease (TMNG, toxic multinodular goitre), D) Toxic adenoma, 
E) Thyroiditis. Marker 99Tc  Wikimedia
 
Then I had a second test sitting in a chair.
Russ placed a probe against my neck and took more gamma measurements,
followed by the probe placed on my thigh for additional gamma measurements.

Photograph of a typical probe counter used for thyroid uptake exams. 
The patient sits with the camera directed at the neck for five minutes, 
and then the leg for five minutes.



This time the computer generated images of the radioactivity 
in a blue or background wave and a red or radioactive wave.
By subtracting my thigh waves from my neck waves, 
the radiologist can determine how active my thyroid is,
the larger the subtracted red area, the more activity in my thyroid.

Today I returned for a second probe of my throat and thigh.
The two probes, 18 hours apart, help the radiologist understand 
the functioning of my thyroid better.

In the past few months, I have experienced increasingly bizarre double vision.
It's really freaky watching your two-headed stylist working on your hair,
with her upper lips talking between her lower eyebrows.

Mr. Bean doesn't come close!

Based on my worsening double vision, 
my doctor and ophthalmologist think I likely have Graves Disease, 
but I won't know until I get the results of my tests.
Maybe Monday!

So why would I share his?
The thyroid is a very important gland!
It creates hormones that enter the bloodstream and travel to every tissue in your body.
The thyroid hormones regulate how your brain, heart, muscles, and other organs function, and they control how your body uses energy and stays warm.  thyroid.org
Untreated thyroid problems can be life-threatening.


Thyroid symptoms are often mistaken for symptoms of other conditions.
I had had my annual THS (Thyroid-stimulating hormone) test in November, 
and my results were normal, like they had been for decades.
So my doctor initially looked in other directions:  heart, lungs, abdomen, and blood panels.

Between two sets of blood tests,
I had my freaky hairstyling event and raced to my ophthalmologist.
He coordinated with my doctor, and I had an immediate THS test.
My THS levels were barely detectable, 
meaning my thyroid was hyperactive and producing too much thyroid hormone.
In a few months my THS levels had tanked.

Before I left my doctor's office, my doctor ordered 
a more extensive thyroid blood panel and scheduled me at Sky Ridge for a RAIU.

If you are experiencing concerning symptoms, and you are not finding answers,
be proactive and ask for a thyroid blood panel.
An abnormal THS test can signal that something is wrong.
Additional thyroid blood panels can confirm it.

I hate medical mysteries, especially concerning me.
If you can get a diagnosis, then you can address the problem.
You can be sure I'll address mine, whatever the diagnosis.

Stay happy and safe!




Till next time ~
Fundy Blue



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