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text 2018-04-16 16:52
Rocks -- Befores and Afters (pic heavy!)

Murder by Death asked about some before and after pictures of the rocks I collect, cut, and turn into jewelry.  As it happened, I had some examples handy because I had them out for the studio tour last week.  And I love love love talking about rocks!

 

First is an example of what they look like in the wild.

 

 

Looks like a plain rock-colored rock.  But at the right-hand edge, you can sort of see . . . something.

 

 

Though it's rough and broken, it's kind of quartzy-looking, but with a somewhat waxy consistency.  So you turn it over some more . . .

 

 

 

 

And what you have is a banded agate.  Or at least part of one.  The banding isn't clear in this particular piece because the edge is all broken and dirty and rough.  This was part of one of my estate lots, so I have no idea where it came from, but agates like this are very common around here and pretty much anywhere there's been volcanic activity.  They aren't directly volcanic in origin, but form from water that seeps through volcanic material to dissolve the silica minerals and then deposit them in empty pockets.  I know, I know, TMI.  ;-)

 

This is another rock, one I did find, that I cut to make sure a new saw blade was installed properly.  I knew the rock was mostly the volcanic ash matrix the agates form in, but with a crust of chalcedony on one side.

 

 

You can kind of see the chalcedony -- that waxy-looking quartzy stuff -- on the end, though the other side shows it more clearly.

 

 

As with the first example, the inside is what matters, and I was pretty stunned when I cut this one.  I wasn't expecting anything very exciting.

 

 

 

 

In the picture directly above, you can see the matrix on the right hand side of the slice.  I usually have to trim this off with either the saw or an old pair of side-cutter pliers.  It's fairly porous and somewhat easy to remove most of the time, but it can be very difficult on occasion.  And it will not polish.

 

To give a better idea of the size, since this is larger than the little purple pieces I cut the other day, here it is with my favorite (and only!) Arizona quarter.

 

 

I did a little enhancement of these photos to try to bring out the patterns in the agate/chalcedony parts, but the truth is that when they're dry, they don't show up very well.

 

 

Upper left above is a slice of lavender sagenitic agate from the Sheep Crossing north of Phoenix. Lower center is from Brenda.  The other three are from the Chickenman place.  ;-)  They've been cut on the saw, tossed in kitty litter to get the oil off, then washed in water and dish detergent.

 

These next two show how dirty the little cavities can be.  Some of this is ordinary mud that gets into them over the years/centuries that they're out in the desert, if they have an opening that mud and water can get through.  Some of it is hardened ash that got in when the agates were forming.  That stuff has to be dug out with a dental pick, and sometimes it just plain won't come out.

 

 

 

After they go in the tumbler for six or seven weeks, the rough edges get ground off and rounded, and the exterior surface polishes to a nice glassy shine.  Much of the time, those little cavities turn out to be filled with tiny, tiny sparkly crystals, and they tend not to be affected by the tumbling process.  But I'm not good at capturing them with the camera!

 

 

In the shot above, the stone on the far right has a little depression filled with those tiny crystals, but they wouldn't sparkle for the camera.

 

Because the stones are unique, it's actually not hard to match up a before and an after picture of the same stone. Later today or tomorrow, I'll get some more shots of a few individuals so we can have a reference for particular befores and afters.  But the middle stone above came from a piece of rough that is actually still sitting by the saw.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it.

 

 

 

 

I hope this helps, MbD!  More to come anyway. . . .

 

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text 2018-01-08 00:05
Life and such

Buddy the beagle just noticed a diamond shape on the linoleum and is trying to ¨dig it up¨.  The diamonds are all over but he only cares about that one for some reason.  I wish the floor had more texture so he could file down his nails some doing that.  

 

We are getting ready to go on our vacation to California tomorrow night and my husband caught the crud I had.  My son and I both had the stomach flu for a good week.  Yesterday was the first week I´ve been totally better.  My husband is just starting now and going to be stuck on a plane and traveling with that.  I´ll make sure he packs extra underwear and maybe some depends. My husband is going to hang out with us at his mom´s house and then he is going to fly to another city in California where a friend lives and then they are going to drive to Vegas.  I´ll stay with my MIL where I can be more comfortable.  We will have our own fun.  She will probably want to go play some slots there in Cali though and I find that really boring.  You don´t even pull levers anymore, just push the button, spin, bloopidee-bloop, nothing....push the button, spin...etc  I would rather go shopping since they actually have places to shop there.  

 

I´m excited to go though.  I can´t wait to see GREEN TREES and FLOWERS.  My MIL said there are some things blooming in her yard.  

 

My book is not making me happy.  It is in rough shape so if it doesn´t get better I´m tossing it.  

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text 2017-08-28 10:14
I'm Back... kinda... an update on where I've been and whats been going on...

I'm back. I'm alive. And I'm still me. 

 

Back in December I had an accident at work and essentially broke my back. I had crushed vertebrae and have done extensive nerve damage to my lower limbs. I was rushed into surgery where I had a laminectomy and discectomy performed between L3 and S1 on my spine.

 

I have no feeling in my legs from the knees down. I have no movement in my right foot. I was discharged from hospital 2 months later. 

 

I have now been at home for 6 months and am doing intensive rehab and physiotherapy 4 times per week. I have muscles in my right leg that are beginning to atrophy and I have only just got an office chair from work to be able to get to my computer. I am still waiting for an arm chair to get me out of bed the majority of the time.

 

So yeah, that's where Archer has been. 

 

Hows your year going? Mines been kinda shit so far. 

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text 2015-06-09 03:37
Getting to Know You

1. Are you named after anyone?

 

Nope, my parents thought it was cheesy and cliche to name a child after other people. And it'd piss off the family members who the child wasn't named after


2. When was the last time you cried?

 

Friday. I was not having a good mental health day.


3. Do you have kids? 

 

Not yet but I want kids that I can pass on all my erm.... skills to.

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?

 

Probably, I'm funny when I'm feeling social. I can be a bit of a distant prick and I'm not the best people person but I am tremendously loyal to my friends 


5. Do you use sarcasm a lot?

 

Only when I'm breathing, or talking, or thinking... The fuck do you want from me? I'm British...

 

Muppet


6. Will you ever bungee-jump?

Eh... I dunno. Probably not. I think there are weight limits to that shit and I am waaaaaaay too heavy.


7. What’s your favorite cereal?

Honey Nut Cornflakes.... Or good old oatmeal. 

8. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

How tall they aren't.

9. What is your eye colour?

 

It varies on lighting. Sometimes its a deep sapphire blue, sometimes a deep gun grey and all shades of blue grey between.

10. Scary movie or happy endings?

Scary. Whats the point in Happily ever after if there's no struggle?

11. Favorite smells?

Vanilla, citrus, temple incense, wood smoke, BBQ

12. Summer or winter? 

 

Winter

13. Computer or television?

 

Netflix


14. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

 

I moved from the north of England to Tasmania... I can't go further without heading back to the UK again

 

15. Do you have any special talents?

 

I have no idea. I'm a hobbyist blacksmith. I can mix a good cocktail and I can slow smoke things to perfection. Other than that I'm pretty much a useless lump of sarcasm, caffeine and spite. 


16. Where were you born?

 

Whiston, Liverpool. 

17. What are your hobbies?

 

Blacksmithing, cooking, gaming, reading. Currently absorbed in The Witcher 3. I'm over 240 hours in and still haven't finished the story-line. 

18. Do you have any pets?

 

Two rescue cats.

19. Favorite movie?

 

No fair. That depends on mood and genre, but I will always Love The Shawshank Redemption. I used to watch it with my Grandfather before he passed away and it always make me think of him. 

20. Do you have any siblings?

 

A younger sibling who could, and can, do no wrong. I got in so much shit because of that little bugger. 

21. What do you want to be when you grow up?

 

Whats a grown up?

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text 2015-05-19 05:34
My head is fucked...

... No really, it is.

 

I have recently completed the diagnostic test for PTSD. That cutoff score being 38 points.... anything above that is a PTSD. 

 

I scored 56. 

 

So not only do I have clinical depression I have PTSD which exacerbate that and the associated anxiety disorder. 

 

This means, lots of time with a psychologist going through my worst memories and moments. Breaking them down, coming to terms with it and being emotionally wrecked afterwards. 

 

Honestly? I don't know if I'm strong enough for this. I'm worried about what it will do to me personally, I'm worried what stresses it will give my wife. I'm worried just plain and simple.

 

I have been voraciously reading though. I rediscovered Andy McDermitt's Nina WIlde and Eddie CHase series of archaeological thrillers and I've been devouring them. I'm back at work part time while this all continues and I'm smoking again.

 

Smoking will kill me, I completely agree, but smoking will kill me in 20+ years. My brain will kill me right now if it gets the chance. I'm on the mend but it's going to take time and perseverance.  I hope I'm strong enough, because if I'm not... I'm fucked. 

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