Friday, October 18, 2019

Fighting for Tickety-Boo

I wish I could say I'm Ms Tickety-Boo today, 
but I'm decidedly not.
I'm feeling discouraged and overwhelmed,
sitting here drinking my first cup of morning coffee,
much later than normal for me.

Let me tell you right up front that this post
is not going to be a pity party for me.
I am fighting for Ms Tickety-Boo.
I'm going to own where I'm at and do something about it.

Tickety-Boo #1
Carefree ~ Barbie, Donnie, Unknown Dog, and Me
Margaretsville, Nova Scotia, Canada
Early Summer 1959
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I had trouble sleeping last night worrying about what I could post for tomorrow.
I have dozens of ideas, none of which I can pull off in a day.
I'm a slow writer, and things worked against me this week.

I was also thrashing about over this persistent cold,
which may interfere with my cataract surgery on Monday.

And I was skewering myself for ever thinking I was a writer,
after reading two fabulous books and starting a third 
breathtakingly-beautifully-written one this week. 

Tickety-Boo #2
Grumpy Cat never fails to make me smile!

So I'm half listening to the news on CNBC
when my ears perk up at the words "rare earths."
Now, I know that most peoples' hearts don't start beating faster
at the words "rare earths," but my geologist's heart does.

CNBC's Brian Sullivan was reporting on the role
of rare earths in the US-China trade fight,
how important that role is,
and how many Americans don't know about it.

Perhaps they should because their iPhones, Teslas, and MRI images,
among other things, depend on neodymium magnets
manufactured with the rare-earth element neodymium, boron, and iron.
(Neodymium is pronounced nee·ow·di·mee·uhm.)

As a nation we have rare-earth element ores.
What we lack is the capacity to refine it.
Guess who has the bulk of the world's refining capacity for neodymium?
China!  Something to think about.

But what really got my heart racing was the 

at the end of the newsclip!  clipart

It was a huge explosion at the bottom of the 400-foot-deep open-pit
of the Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine in California.

"Well, at least I've gotten to blow up dynamite,"
I said to Terry, looking glumly over the top of my coffee mug.

"What?" he exclaims as he looks up from his iPhone.
He hadn't heard the rare earth story on tv,
and he doesn't remember my telling him
about my glory days on the Burin Peninsula:
those exciting days in Newfoundland
when I rode in a jeep with dynamite,
drilled holes with an auger in the barrens,
stuffed them with dynamite,
and blew it all up with glee:  Kaboom! 

The memories were already lifting my spirits!

Tickety-Boo #3
Where things went kaboom!
The Barrens between St. Lawrence and Lawn, Newfoundland, Canada
Early Summer 1972
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

This immediately reminded me of the Oil Patch in Kansas
where I got to do so many way-cool things as a wellsite geologist ~
after I spent some of my most desperate hours contemplating suicide.

What saved me was the fact that an S.O.B. of a driller
pissed me off so badly that I postponed killing myself
until I could rub in his face that I was a capable geologist.
By the time I did that, we had become friends, and I'm alive today because of him.

I'll never forget stomping into the main doghouse
and catching him searching through a duplicate set of my drill samples
looking for pieces of the Heebner Shale,
a critical marker that would indicate where we were in the subsurface rocks.

"You did good, girl" he said gruffly.
"I agree with the depth you picked."
That was high praise from someone who had wanted to run me off his rig.

Tickety-Boo #4
Don, who saved my life
Hodgeman County, Kansas, USA
February, 1981
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Tickety-Boo #5
A roughneck rides the traveling block to the top of the derricks. 
Hodgeman County, Kansas, USA
February, 1981
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Tickety-Boo #6
Me on the monkeyboard near the top of the derricks
 ~ hanging on for dear life after riding the traveling block up
determined to be a real wellsite geologist.
Hodgeman County, Kansas, USA
February, 1981
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Thinking of the Kansas Oil Patch and its good and bad memories
reminded me of two fabulous men in my life who have always had my back:

Tickety-Boo #7
My brother consoling me during a devastating, fragile time in my life
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Fall, 1980
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Tickety-Boo #8
Terry (the best thing that ever happened to me) and me
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Christmas Morning 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Ms Tickety-Boo is back!
Sometimes all it takes is thinking about
a few people and experiences for which I am grateful.

What lifts you up when you are down?

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Roy and I
Beautiful Cove
On the Bay of Fundy
Long Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
July, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


  1. Sometimes sticking it to those who don't want us around or who are just pain in the you know what can sure help keep one going. Making friends out of it is a win too. Sometimes we just have to think about things that lift us up and the tickety boo can start to resurface again.

    1. Sometimes sticking it to someone is the sweetest feeling! I kept having to prove myself all the time in the field, from my first field trip at university till my last fossil dig in Wyoming. On that first hole that I sat on in Kansas (above), the guys kept calling me "Cherry" as in a "cherry wellsite geologist." They said I wasn't a real wellsite geologist until I rode the traveling block to the top of the derricks. My boss got wind of that and said he'd fire me if I rode the block. I rode the block. After I did, the guys told me they didn't know any geologist crazy enough to do that. Whether that was true or not, I don't know; but I felt like a million bucks! That was sweetest feeling ever! Have a good one, my friend!

  2. One person can make all the difference in our life. Glad you are still with us and can continue to share your stories.

    1. Thanks, Alex! I'm glad too! I think of all I would have missed and what a loss that would have been. I didn't know it at the time, but Terry would enter my life about 19 months later. I hope that you had an awesome vacation with your family! It's good to see you back!

  3. I hear that you count your blessings. I find it strange and wonderful that we find inspiration after we don't.


    1. Hi, Teresa! In essence that's exactly what I was doing: counting my blessings. It is strange and wonderful to find inspiration in the depths. It can be the tiniest thing, like walking through a winter field in Kansas in February under a sullen sky and feeling joy at the sharp wind and a stray beam of sunlight piercing the clouds, just to feel alive. Wishing you an enjoyable weekend!

  4. What if everything we do is just to get the stuff? Every war, each move into territory, all the meetings with heads of state...UGH.

    "...pissed me off so badly that I postponed killing myself
    until I could rub in his face that I was a capable geologist.
    By the time I did that, we had become friends, and I'm alive today because of him."

    This is charming, hopeful, and absolutely bonkers. 😂

    It reminds me of a story a friend told me. He was in a mental health hospital and met others who were struggling. They would meet in groups and talk about their problems. One of them told of an elaborate plan she had had to do the deed, but as the time neared she lost the mood and was alive to tell the tale. made me think these people didn't need help, they needed eachother. You didn't need a doctor, you needed a friend.

    "And I was skewering myself for ever thinking I was a writer..."

    I am reading this because you wrote it, Writer! ;-)


    "Terry (the best thing that ever happened to me) and me"

    There is no higher honor than being the best thing that ever happened to someone.

    A lovely post today, in all kinds of ways. Bless you.

    1. Thanks you so much, Sandi! Your comment meant a great deal to me!!! I did need a friend, and he was one of several I found on the rig. Have a lovely weekend!

  5. Great post! Lately, when I'm down, I really try to focus on something good, no matter how small, just something to lift me out of that dark mood just a little - the way the light comes through the window, the smell and heat of my morning coffee, etc. It doesn't always chase away the darkness, but it usually helps lighten it.

    And my husband is the best thing that ever happened to me. :)

    1. Thanks, Madeline. As long as there is some light in the darkness, there is definitely hope. I'm glad that you have a special husband too! Take care!

  6. Sorry to read that you were feeling down, discouraged and overwhelmed. But glad that your "Tickety-Boo List" helped you overcome the negative and regain the positive! I especially liked your story about Don the S.O.B. Sometimes guardian angels appear in the most unlikely of guises, don't they! Hugs to you, Louise.

    1. Thanks, Debra ~ Hugs very much appreciated! Don was a guardian angel. I have a friend who is gifted in healing touch massage and graphology. She is highly intuitive and psychic. She's known all around the world, has been on Dr. Oz and many tv and radio shows. She was giving me a massage one day (She's been my massage therapist for about 25 years) and exclaimed that I had angels all around me. I couldn't see or feel them, but I never forgot what she said. Sometimes I think that I've have only made it this far because I have angels around me ~ an odd thought for an agnostic ~ LOL Have a great weekend with your Rare One!

  7. Pleased you are back to your positivity Louise, I can relate to how you were feeling most certainly. You have cheered me many a time and I thank you.
    Enjoy your weekend.


    1. Thanks, Yvonne! You've been very much on my mind, so it is a relief to see you! Wishing you an enjoyable weekend too. Terry told me that it's been rainy in your part of the world ~ May sunshine break through!

  8. Hi Louise :) Sorry you're feeling down, it's so good to remember the best things in your life, gratitude can change your entire outlook! Lovely photos by the way, I love #6!! And is that a stubby your brother is holding? :)

    1. Hi, Rain! I don't know what a stubby is, unless it's some kind of a beer bottle?? I love #six too. That day the crew had to pull out some 5000 feet/1524meters of pipe to change the drill bit. Another of my friends, the evening driller was on. For some reason, he was up in the derricks stacking the top end of the drill pipes as they pulled the pipe out of the hole. I was so scared I stayed up there with him the whole 4 1/2 hours it took to take the pipe out, change the bit, and run the pipe back in. The monkeyboard, or fingers as it's sometimes called, was 65 feet/19.8 meters above the floor of the rig. One of the scariest things I ever did was step out onto the traveling block from the monkeyboard. 65 feet is a long way to look down and the traveling block was swinging. Everything was greasy, including my boots. I would rather have fallen and died than not make it up into the derricks. Obviously I lived! Riding the "elevator," as the traveling block was nicknamed, was one of the proudest moments and biggest accomplishments of my life! Wishing you and Alex a great weekend ~ six furry pets too!

    2. Just reading that gave me anxiety!!! Gosh that was brave! I like my feet FIRMLY planted lol! Yes, a stubby is that old roundish beer bottle of the 70's and 80's! I think that the hipster generation is bringing it back as "kitch" lol...down with hipsters lol! This weekend is all about digestion lol...we had our Thanksgiving dinner last night and it's been leftovers and naps ever since!

    3. I hope your tooth was and is feeling a lot better, Rain. Our Thanksgiving doesn't come until late in November. Terry and I are going with our two best friends to an Italian restaurant for our Thanksgiving dinner. I can't wait!

  9. That's one of your older photos where I can easily tell it was you.

    1. Oh good, Adam! It's hard to believe that I've more than doubled my life since then. Have a great weekend with Daisy!

  10. I've been a bit of everything in my life: one of them was a carpenter's helper at one of the Petroleum plants where I had to regularly scale 200 ft ladders carrying a long, heavy scaffolding plant (mostly in the rain). I compared every bad job with that one!

    I am glad you had someone who bolstered you when you truly needed it. Thanks for visiting my blog tonight.

    1. I would not like to scale a 200 foot ladder! Being a rare blood courier sounds much easier! Visiting your blog was my pleasure, Roland! thanks for visiting mine!

  11. i am sorry dear Louise that you are having cold after surgery !

    i think while i am writing this you are feeling better my dear kind and sweet friend :)

    you handled your post so wisely here even you were not feeling well which is wonderful thing
    i want to meet Don and say THANK YOU for saving my lovely friend who is inspiration to me always :)

    i was not aware of rare earth term so i just googled about it ,thank you for sharing the news

    i think you are so blessed and being blessed means (to me ) that you are in good book of God or nature what ever you say this
    all you suffered with was phase that youngsters usually do in this part of age , what matters most is that you choose to fight with circumstances those you felt were forcing you towards negativity :)))
    you broke the fog and got out and it is an achievement indeed
    i too believe that God work through people around us to save us to better us and he did in your case either ,he planted friends and family to encourage you and best about it that YOU WERE ABLE TO LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND !
    i am praying for your health dear Louise ,may you recover soon and feel better ,amen!
    you intellect and insight is too POWERFUL to hidden by fever though :)
    sending tons of healing energy and hugs!

    1. Thanks for your kind and perceptive response, Baili! Someday I may write about that dark time in my life, but I'm not quite there yet. I am very grateful that I didn't throw my life away back then, because so much good was ahead of me. I've had to battle depression and anxiety throughout my life. I call it the family curse, because I can trace it back through each generation to my great grandfather Pratt. I can't go farther back because he arrived in Prince Edward Island as a nine-year old orphan from Scotland and was raised by a Pratt family. Unfortunately depression and anxiety have occurred in our next generation too. Fortunately there are drugs and treatments available today. They have helped me and other members of my family.

      I will be forever grateful for Tipper Gore. She is the estranged wife of Al Gore who was President Clinton's vice president. In 2000 Al Gore ran for the presidency, but lost. During his campaigning, his wife Tipper spoke out as a strong advocate for seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. I was listening to her speak on tv in my kitchen one morning. She prompted me to go get help, and it changed my life. Now I am so much better, but I will likely always have to battle milder depression and anxiety.

      I appreciated your most recent post on cleaning your mind! I work on this often. It's important to confront those negative thoughts for the lies they are and eject them!

      Thank you for your encouragement and love! Hugs and love right back at you!

  12. one thing that i want to say is that i loved all the images ,so special and beautiful
    one of your's and Terry seems to tell the happiest ending of the story to me :)
    joy and serenity is reflecting through your precious faces my friend
    my prayers that may you live together a long happy life ahead each moment !!!

    1. Thanks for your lovely prayers, Baili! I am so fortunate to have such a gentle, kind, and loving partner to go through life with. All the best to you and your family!

  13. Wow, a geologist, a profession I have always been interested in and sometimes kick myself for not pursuing the field when I was in college. Hang in there!

    1. Thanks, Jeff! I'm so glad that I majored in geology at university. It has deeply enriched my life and appreciation for our world throughout time. I'm doing much better! Have a good one!

  14. Hello,
    I can't recall where I found your blog. We all seem to be connected somehow. I now see others whom I follow.
    I read where you had spent time in Kansas. I spent my formative years in Kansas so we are connected. :)
    I also read where you said it is not always easy to find something to post..... But when you start it just comes. I read the replies to your post and how sincere they are!

    I just posted a Blue topic.
    It really helps to write about our feelings.
    I like the sound of Tickety-Boo. My tickety-boo is a bit tacky.

    1. Hi, Mae! Yes, we do have blogging friends in common. I am grateful for the time I spent in Kansas, mostly Ness, Hodgeman, and Ford Counties. It has a gentle beauty that appealed to me, and its people were wonderful to me. It does help to write about our feelings. It's good to know that others share the same struggles and come through them. Take care!

  15. I am glad that you decided to fight... You are brave! I liked the photos, they seem to hold a lot of memories.


    1. Thanks, Damyanti! I'm glad that you liked the photos I shared. My photos mean a great deal to me, and the one of my brother and me is my favorite of the two of us. Have a good one!

  16. I love this post my friend! Just the other day, when I was driving home from work, I thought about an ex, that basically stopped talking to me and I never heard from him again. Usually, when I think of him, I don't want to, but this time, I smiled and laughed! I thanked him, for what he did and pray he is in a good place. He was so brave, for breaking up our relationship! I know if we were still together, things would be horrible! He was a guardian angel in my life at that time and set me in the right direction! I am so grateful for everything and try to live in the moment! That's all we have is this moment and it's so special! Big Hugs!

  17. You know I always enjoy reading your stories. I think you have led such a neat life, and I am glad that you forged ahead of those dark days to live your life and share your stores with us now. When I'm down, I like to sort through old photos. Rarely do we take photos of the sad moments in our lives, so when you go through a shoe box of old photos, you get to relive so many happy times all over again.


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.