Friday, September 29, 2023

Lucky Louise!

It's been an intense time for me recently, 
but as of today, everything has worked out!

In early May Terry discovered a repositioning cruise from Honolulu to Sydney,
and he asked me what I thought about going on it.
Duh!  It's been my dream to see French Polynesia, New Zealand, and Australia,
but I never hoped that Terry would consider an eighteen-night cruise across the Pacific. 
You can be together for forty years, and your spouse can still shock you!!!

Mount Tohiea 
Mo'orea, French Polynesia

Terry warned me that we wouldn't be able to see all the places I wanted to visit on this trip.
Royal Caribbean was moving the ship from the summer season in Alaska 
to the summer season in the South Pacific, 
and the Ovation of the Seas was only calling at a few ports. 
But we would be able to see some of the places I longed to visit.
Something or nothing?  Nothing hard about that choice!
Something is always better than nothing!!!

But he wouldn't book it.  
He had a deal in his sights, and I couldn't budge him.
I was beside myself, while he calmly waited and waited, 
until the price dropped to its lowest in late July, and he jumped on it.
On the final possible date in August, Terry paid the balance and said to me,
"There's no turning back now, because the money is unrefundable."
Whew!  I could finally dare to believe that we were going!

Ovation of the Seas at Sydney, Australia

My dreams of seeing the Southern Cross and the Magellanic Clouds,
crossing the equator, viewing the volcanic mountains of Mo'orea, 
and standing on New Zealand and Australia were about to come true.

The Southern Cross
This wide-field image shows the Milky Way stretching across the southern sky. The beautiful Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) is seen at the right of the image glowing in red. It is within this spiral arm of our Milky Way that the bright star cluster NGC 3603 resides. At the centre of the image is the constellation of Crux (The Southern Cross). The bright yellow/white star at the left of the image is Alpha Centauri, in fact a system of three stars, at a distance of about 4.4 light-years from Earth. The star Alpha Centauri C, Proxima Centauri, is the closest star to the Solar System.

The Route:  Honolulu to French Polynesia, to New Zealand, to Australia

Our plans proceeded smoothly until the end of the first week in September.
When we tried to take a photo of me on my iPhone for my Australian visa,
the Australian government rejected it.
We tried to retake my photo dozens of times over the next several days,
but it was always rejected.
It had worked for my New Zealand visa.  Why wouldn't it work for the Australian?

I thought it was my wonky eyes, because it's difficult for me to look at a camera.
Terry thought it was my awful passport photo which had been giving me difficulties
with TSA officials at airports and customs officers at borders.
Regardless, the computer program refused to match my face with my passport photo.

I referred to my photo as MushFace.
I have no idea how my passport came back with this barely recognizable photo when it was issued.

Finally, in desperation, we decided I should try to apply for an emergency passport.
A wonderful government worker at the National Passport Agency
told me to call the Colorado Passport Agency early on September 19th
and to make sure the person understood I needed a visa as well as a new passport.
Otherwise, I'd have to wait to October 2nd to call.

The days leading up to the 19th crawled by.
I was lucky that the office was in Aurora.
The next nearest offices are in Phoenix and Chicago.  

I landed an appointment last Friday and scrambled to get photos and documents together.
I was in at 10:00 am and out within an hour.
The officer took one look at MushFace and approved me for a new passport.

Overheard from an applicant explaining his lost passport:
"My dog ate it.  He usually goes for my socks."
Believed no teacher ever, but it worked for the passport officer.
I picked up my new passport on Monday at 2:00 pm!  
I'm recognizable, and you can't believe the security improvements 
that have been made since my old passport was issued over five years ago!

We raced home, filled out the Australian visa application, and took my photo again. 
It went through. 
I dropped my head on the kitchen counter in relief, and then Ding!
My phone alerted me to a text message:  Planned System Maintenance.

"You're cursed!" Terry said.  "You have a black cloud hovering over you and following you around everywhere you go!"

It was only 7:00 a.m. in Australia, so we had to wait an anxious hour until we could call to find out what to do
because I had submitted my application during the blackout.

An hour and five minutes later, Ding!
My phone alerted me to a text message again. 
My Australian visa application had been approved.
It had gone through anyway.  
I was drenched with relief! 

New Zealand had already granted me a visa,
but now I had to update it with my new passport.
Five minutes after submitting my update, my phone dinged again.
New Zealand had received my visa update 
and would let me know if it was approved before we traveled.
Give me a break!

No time to sit around and worry though.  It was Monday night.
We had an 8:10 am flight to Vegas on Tuesday morning, just overnight,
so we could earn a free pass for me from Denver to Honolulu and back early next year.
Terry wasn't going to pass up a deal like this!

Hurry Up Train!  Heading to the Airport!
Aurora, Colorado, USA
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

We made our flight, had a delicious Thai dinner at 8 East, gambled a little,
and I watched a great cover band, Alter Ego, until it finished its third set at 1:00 am.
Terry had gone to bed.  
He can barely tolerate standing with me at the barrier in front of the stage for one song,
let alone three hourlong sets.

Terry Drops Me Off Near the Stage
Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Thai Beef Jerky, a Scrumptious Appetizer
8 East, CIRCA, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

When it was over I decompressed at American Coney Island at the D
with a classic hot dog smothered in chili, relish, mustard, and onions.
I was wired after Alter Ego's last set which featured heavy metal.
I could still feel the beat of the amplifiers thumping on my chest
and Metallica's "Enter Sandman" ringing in my ears.

Back in the room I found Terry wide awake under the covers.
"You don't need to worry about me!" I told him for at least the thousandth time.
But he does, because "Things happen to you!" he says.

Alter Ego Members:  Johnny Douglas (Guitar) and KV,  Kevin Vecchione, (Bass)
 DC, Daniel Conway, (Drums) pictured on the screen  
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

A Street Cleaner Gets into the Act and Revs Up the Crowd  
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Riding SlotZilla's Super-Hero Zoomline 
(Starting 11 Stories High)
Under the Canopy and above the Stage
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue  
All Rights Reserved

Alter Ego Member Rich Embry (Vocals)
Accompanying "Hotel California" Acoustically
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Me Enjoying the Show
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Johnny Douglas and KV,  Kevin Vecchione
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I Hate That I'm Going to Miss Teddy Swims' Concert!
Johnny and DC Getting Ready for the Next Set
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Up and at it early on Wednesday!  We left for the airport at 1:30 pm.
Everything was tickety-boo, until I lost my purse on C Concourse.  
I felt sick when I flashed on the contents of my purse:  driver's license,
health insurance cards, medicare card, credit cards, boarding pass, iPhone, and money.
I could not believe it!
We hadn't stopped anywhere!  
Where could I have lost it?

We ran back 23 gates to security.  
Several professional and calm TSA agents searched the area for my purse,
while another scanned the security tapes looking for me.
There I was at the last bench slipping my purse over my shoulder and exiting the area.

Terry suddenly remembered that he had a locator for me on his iPhone,
but he didn't know where it was or how to use it.
A police officer, who was also helping us, took out his iPhone
and walked Terry through the process using his family's locators as an example.

Terry's iPhone spotted mine immediately and placed it in a map of the concourse.
It was stationary near a Burger King back beyond the 23 gates.
The police officer walked us back with a plan to scan the vicinity of the Burger King.
If we didn't find it, he and Terry would start asking people if they had seen it.

C Concourse Stretching into the Distance

"Does this happen often?" I asked the police officer.
"All the time.  People are traveling, hurrying, and distracted.  
They put something down without realizing it, and they don't remember where."
I didn't have the heart to ask him how many things were actually found.
I just hoped my purse would be one of them.

"Well, at least I'm getting my steps in," I remarked, looking at my FitBit.
"So am I," the officer answered looking at his.  Simpatico! ~ lol.

When we reached the end of the concourse, the officer told me to wait by a water fountain where Terry had filled his water bottle, then they left to search.
I couldn't handle standing still for more than a couple of minutes.
I realized that the restaurant we had entered for a meal 
before our flight was by the Burger King.
I raced to the hostess stand at the entrance.

"One for lunch?" the hostess asked.
"No!  Did you find a black purse?"
"Yes, we did.  Let me go get it."
The gratitude I felt when I saw her walking toward me with my purse was profound.
Terry and the police officer entered the restaurant from the opposite side 
just as I was tearing through my purse to grab my iPhone and call them.
They knew from the look on my beaming face that it was my purse.

Black purse, black seat, wonky eyes.
I couldn't see it when I had automatically slipped the purse 
onto the chair where I was about to sit for lunch. 
And when I realized that I didn't know where my purse was, I had panicked.

"Thank you!" didn't seem adequate when I thanked the police officer for his help.
I gave him a big hug and he disappeared into the crowds.

I hugged Terry too.  He had been so kind and supportive.
He never once gave me The Look
or said, "I told you so!  Things happen to you!"

We made it home, and I checked my email for something from New Zealand.
Nothing, after six days.
We rushed to see a recording of the "Survivor" premier for its 45th season.
We had seen every episode of all 44 previous seasons,
and we were not going to miss this one!
Afterwards I checked my email again.
My New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority Visa had been issued.

I managed to sleep before rolling out of bed yesterday for my latest blood draw at LabCorp.
Then a couple of hours later I was off to CVS Pharmacy for my Covid and flu shots.
Then time to write my post.

I have no idea where I found this 9 years ago.

I was too tired to stay up late into the night to finish it,
so here I am on Friday afternoon typing away.
My blood test results arrived today and are in the normal range.
If they hold for several months, I should be able to have my eyes operated on.

It looks like smooth sailing ahead!
I'm not cursed!  I am Lucky Louise!

πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ€   πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ€   πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ€   πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ€   πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ€   

I'm sending a shout out to all the dedicated government employees
and public servants who work hard for Americans every day.
The vast majority are wonderful and often work in difficult, essential jobs.
It's almost guaranteed that many will be required to work 
in stressful situations without pay starting tomorrow.
Be kind to them, and they will be kind to you.

Our Congress will be paid however!

Have a great weekend!

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

  My next post will be soon! πŸ€ž

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



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! πŸ€ž

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.

ReykjavΓ­k, 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! πŸ€ž

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