Friday, September 13, 2019

Something Unexpected


I am fortunate to live in the flight paths of Denver International Airport
and Buckley Air Force Base, home of the 460th Space Wing.
That means I get to hear and see all kinds of interesting aircraft.
Often the sound of helicopters and fighter jets
has me running to our deck to search the skies.
I can't help it.  I was a Royal Canadian Air Force brat.

I hear helicopters almost every day, and they are often military helicopters
flying from Buckley to Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, or other destinations.
Some people resent any aircraft flying over our community, but not me.  
I never tire of them.


Helicopter Last Weekend
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 8, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Sometimes, when I'm really focused on a task,
I ignore the helicopters and other aircraft I hear.
Such was the case last weekend
when I was working on our budget for September.
I heard and ignored the siren call of whirling rotors.
I thought, Maybe a Black Hawk on its way to Fort Carson.

But the sound of rotating blades did not increase and decrease.
They went on and on and on, circling near Piney Creek.
So as I was trying to make columns of figures balance,
I was thinking:  News helicopter? Police helicopter?  Flight for Life helicopter?

Finally my curiosity overcame my focus,
and I had to go out on my deck and see what was going on.

Helicopter
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 8, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




The helicopter had flashing red and blue lights
and hovered near an electrical transmission tower.
Police helicopter was looking like a good guess
until I noticed that a wire stretched out tautly behind the helicopter.

Helicopter
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 6, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




As I watched I realized that the helicopter was stringing wires 
from one electrical tower to another.
I thought it was an amazing bit of flying.

I've been watching for weeks as a second set of electrical towers
has marched across nearby hills parallel to the old power line.
Given the thousands and thousands of houses that have been built
in this area in the past twenty or so years,
it was not surprising to see a new power line under construction.


Sunday's Helicopter
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 8, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




I watched in awe for a while,
and then went back to the dreary task of budget numbers.

Monday I noticed the helicopter was back at it, and it droned all morning.
Finally I couldn't stand it any longer.  
I had to go down to Piney Creek and see the action closer up.

It had been at least two months since I walked along this portion of the open space,
and I was surprised to see a new road and tons of equipment littering the landscape.


Giant Cable Spools
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Transmission Lines, Road, and Equipment
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Nobody was around ~ They must have been on a lunch break ~  
So I stepped onto the site, snapped a couple of shots, and left quickly.

Transmission Lines, Road, and Equipment
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I kept hoping the helicopter would show up.
After all it had been flitting about like a dragonfly most of the morning.
Now that I had shown up, it was nowhere to be seen.

I hung out in a nearby field pretending to be very interested in nature photography.

Waiting with Weeds
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Waiting with Weeds
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




After waiting for almost an hour, I finally gave up and headed for home.
Then suddenly I heard the rotors in the distance and ran north toward the sound.

Boy, was my patience rewarded!
And, boys oh boy, was I surprised!

Surprise
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



This time the helicopter wasn't stringing wires.
It was carrying a lineman from tower to tower.

Not the Job for Me!
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Monday's Helicopter
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019 
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




The Transmission Line on the Right Is Live!
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019 
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



It's hard to grasp how big these towers and their components are
until you see a man dangling beside them.

Lineman at Work
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
September 9, 2019 
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I chased the helicopter with its dangling lineman from tower to tower
snapping photos as I ran.  These guys work fast!

The helicopter pilot would lower the lineman by three giant pulleys on one side of a tower,
and then he would hoist him up by three giant pulleys on the other side of the tower.

I don't know exactly what the lineman was doing, but he appeared to be making sure
that cables were feeding through the pulleys properly. 

But I do know this:  both he and the pilot were doing very dangerous work.

© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Moving from One Tower to the Next
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


I later read that helicopters are used when linemen work on 
high voltage, high-tension power lines that span huge distances.
The helicopters move them from one massive primary transmission tower to another
These towers can be 500 feet high and carry hundreds of kilovolts of power.



Moving Faster Than I Can Run
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





I also later learned that Xcel Energy is building 125 miles of new power lines
in its Pawnee-Daniels Park Project.
The 20-mile segment being constructed in our area runs
from the Harvest Mile Substation in Aurora
to the Daniels Park Substation in Castle Pines.
When finished the new power lines will carry 345 kilovolts (kV) of electricity.

(I find it difficult to understand what a volt is, but a kilovolt is a thousand of them ~ 
So it's a 345,000 volt power line.)
Article     Map 

© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Moving Above the Trees
(middle left)
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




It wasn't long before the helicopter and the lineman outpaced me.
Fortunately, the helicopter lowered him to the ground,
for a well-deserved break I'm sure!

© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I'm so glad that curiosity got the better of me!
I had no idea that helicopters and dangling linesmen constructed power lines.
Actually I didn't know anything about constructing power lines.
I wouldn't have missed seeing this for anything.

Back to Reality
Upper Pond, Piney Creek
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Till next time ~
Fundy Blue


Waiting for the Ferry to Tiverton
Grand Passage, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada
July, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved








For Map Lovers Like Me:


Location of Aurora, Colorado, USA




Area Where I Took the Photographs
(by the asterisk in the lower middle)
Map Data © 2018 Google United States


Southern Aurora and Northern Parker
Map Data © 2019 Google United States





Adapted from a Sign in the Park
Red-Tailed Hawk Park
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Friday, September 6, 2019

Message Received! Deadline Met!


I'm a wreck this morning as I work on my post for tonight.
I took that bolt from the black a couple of weeks ago very seriously. 

A Bolt from the Black!
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay




I metaphorically got off my derrière ~ 
metaphorically, because that "something" I had been putting off
required a whole lot of sitting.  As in sitting and writing.

I had promised myself months ago that I would submit 
a story to the IWSG 2019 Anthology Contest,
even if I had never written in this year's genre.

I had been playing with an idea for months, 
but it was still in a nebulous form.


Lagoon nebula (Messier8)


Okay, it was so nebulous that I hadn't written a single word
and I couldn't see past the first scene.
I had the vaguest idea for a plot, 
so vague that it could be summed up in one word.

Ever since that bolt I've been frantically bingeing on writing;
well, between a wedding in Colorado Springs, 
a visit from a writing friend in Seattle, 
a doctor's visit and tests, 
working with my trainer on the consequences of my fall,
moving heavy furniture 
(Bad idea when you've been injured.),
and the other stuff of life 
(Do 10 crackers slathered with Nutella count as a meal?).

I'd add a photo of me binge writing, 
but it would be a scary sight!

I was in the flow, and thrilled to be there.
But let me tell you, in the flow is not a placid float on the Sissiboo.

Kayaking on the Sissiboo River
Nova Scotia, Canada
August 2, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


It's a wild ride on the raging Arkansas.
Rafting Seidel's Suckhole on the Arkansas River


My fabulous and patient husband supported me all the way,
by plunking food in front of me periodically,
by not suggesting that I really should sleep and/or shower,
and by giving me lots of big hugs accompanied with,
"I'm so happy to see you happy and having fun with your writing."

He didn't even complain when yet another obscure book showed up from Amazon.
Shhh!  Don't tell him, but I paid more for super fast delivery than the book.


At Our Friends' Wedding
(Also Our 35th Wedding Anniversary)
Colorado Springs
September 1, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Perhaps even better than submitting my story to the contest,
I have a sense of direction in my writing again:  not nebulous or vague.
I've been floundering around without direction for months,
and now I have a clear route.

And kudos to Alex Cavanaugh, the founder of The Insecure Writers Support Group.

He was kind, patient, and helpful to me 
on a very busy day for him yesterday.
Technologically-challenged me was in a panic over technical problems 
when I tried to submit my manuscript to the IWSG.
But we got it done!

If you have not discovered Alex's website, the IWSG, or his great science fiction books,
you should do yourself a favor and check them out!
I've read and enjoyed all of these!

Alex's Books


So now it's back to reality, hopefully a little more structured. 
And maybe I can drastically shorten the list of blogging buddies
I have gotten behind on visiting.  See you soon!




Till next time ~
Fundy Blue


Me, on Donnie and Martin's Deck
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
August 7,  2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved










Julie and I at Her Wedding
Colorado Springs
September 1, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Julie and Terry at Her Wedding
Colorado Springs
September 1, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IWSG Day: Wednesday, September 4, 2019 ~ Black Bears Don't Growl








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:
Gwen Gardner,  Doreen McGettigan, Tyrean Martinson, Chemist Kenand Cathrina Constantine.

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:

If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story,
where would it be and why?  
Would it be some faraway, exotic location?

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

Hi, Everyone!
I hope that you are having a fun IWSG Day!

My post is late today,
because I had an important deadline to meet:
Today's closing date for the Annual IWSG Anthology Contest.
I just submitted my manuscript at lunchtime.

Whew!

Late Monday evening I crawled into bed convinced
that I would not finish my story before the deadline.
I thrashed around for hours really upset with myself
and unable to calm my hyperactive brain.

I kept going back and forth between how could I meet the deadline,
and have I made any mistakes.  Especially bonehead errors!

Take black bears, for example.
Did you know that black bears don't growl?
I didn't.

I should clarify that:  Black bears rarely, if ever, growl.
However, it's true that a black bear's moan of fear can be mistaken for a growl.


American black bear (Ursus americanus)
near Riding Mountain Park, Manitoba, Canada


I was fascinated to learn that people expect black bears to growl,
so they tend to interpret any bear vocalization as a growl.

I was even more fascinated to learn that a recording of a wolf growling
is often used for black bears in movies and television,
because people believe that's what black bears sound like.

There went this scene I was writing
about a black bear running out of the woods
growly fiercely as it attacked some people:
snagged in an unspooled pile of growling wolf tapes.

The thought of bonehead mistakes like this keep me spinning around in bed.





I expect a lot of things from myself when I write,
and accuracy is near the top of my list.
If black bears don't growl,
then I'm going to be damn sure one doesn't growl in a story I write.

Have you ever caught a bonehead mistake in your writing?

With regard to this month's IWSG question:
If I could pick one place in the world to sit and write my next story,
I'd sit at my kitchen breakfast bar where I'm writing right now.

Why?
It's the center of our home 
(so I'm in the middle of everything)

Unlimited coffee at hand 
(to keep me perky when I'm drooping)

Lots of chocolate in the fridge 
(to keep me running when I'm depleted)

CNN or HGTV on my kitchen television 
(white noise to calm my distractible brain)

My shower and bed nearby 
(So, if I remember I need to shower and sleep, I can do so quickly)

Nowhere exotic please!
I would not be able to concentrate on my writing.
I would have to get out and experience the place fully!


Blue Ice Covering Lake Fryxell

(formed from glacial meltwater
from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers)
in the Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica




Happy writing in September!



Note:  
If you are curious about black bear vocalizations, this is an excellent source:  bear.org


Friday, August 30, 2019

A Bolt from the Black!


Do you ever think that the Universe is trying to get your attention?
A little over a week ago, I certainly did!


The Milky Way
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay




I was sitting at our kitchen counter one evening working on our budget,
when out of nowhere, a gigantic thunderbolt boomed overhead.


A Bolt from the Black!
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay




Startled, I shot straight up out of the high chair I was sitting in,
simultaneously backing away from the open door to our deck.
I fell backwards, well over the arm of my chair, and my legs followed.

I dropped at least three feet straight down,
landing in a V on my tailbone, my right hand partially breaking the fall.

Terry, who was standing on the other side of the counter by the fridge,
yelled "Louise" and ran for me.
He thought I had been struck by lightning.

He found me sitting on the floor stunned by what had happened.

As soon as he determined I had broken nothing, 
he pulled me up off the floor and helped me to a soft, comfortable armchair.

A violent thunderstorm rolled over us following the initial thunderbolt,
and it seemed to last forever.

Every time lightning struck around us, 
I covered my ears and cowered in the armchair.


Thunderstorm
Image by Felix Mittermeier from Pixabay 




It took me a while to recover from the shock of my fall
and regain my usual composure during a thunderstorm.

The next day everyone was talking about what a storm it had been.
For the next two days I was nursing a swollen and painful wrist
sandwiched between two ice packs.  And sitting very carefully!

This might seem like nothing more than a ridiculous fall,
but I saw it as something different:
a message from the Universe telling me to get off my rear end
and get busy with something I've been putting off.

So I'm frantically working on it against an impending deadline.
Wish me luck!





Till next time ~
Fundy Blue


Me, on Donnie and Martin's Deck
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
August 7,  2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved