Tag Archives: rock tumbler

It’s Been A Year?! ‘Crystals’ Are Done, Saver’s Back At School, New Pet

Random Thoughts

Did you know that today is my one year anniversary here at WordPress?  I didn’t till I opened this up and got the “Happy Anniversary” notice.  I was just determined to ‘do something normal’.  A whole year already!  I managed 57 posts this year, a wee bit more than one a week.

I’ve actually learned a couple of things from doing this.  There’s the obvious; I’m more technologically literate than I was a year ago.  I still have much more to learn about using this site, but I haven’t had to scream for help in quite some time.

I’ve learned to edit myself better before I even begin typing.  You wouldn’t believe the pages upon pages that I’ve rambled through this year.  Most stuff never even made it here.  And did I mention the hours ‘n hours?

What surprised me, though, was finding out that I enjoyed this.  Well, most of the time.  And I found I enjoyed opening up my stats page and finding out that people from all over the world pop in to visit.  Who knew?

So here’s to another year in the trenches.  And perhaps a goal of 100 posts minimum to keep me moving?  Fingers crossed!

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Brief bitch:  As I mentioned above, I wound up here just to ‘do something normal’.  The past couple of weeks have been ‘not fun’.  I haven’t even been reading my favorite blogs.  Okay, I take half of that back.  Saver was home for a week, which was wonderful but busy.  The week after that sucked topped off with a lot of ‘no sleep’.  So I’m forcing myself to put myself first.  Which is why I’m here.   And I have to put sleep up on the list too.  Lack of it totally fucks with my life.  Pardon the french.  Bitch over.

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Oh, and I’m nearly 3 weeks behind on my Simple Abundance.  Aaargh!

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Here are a couple of sayings to get started back up:

“Gather the crumbs of happiness, and they will make you a loaf of contentment.”  — Unknown

“Minds are like parachutes:  they only function when open.”  — Lord Thomas Dewar

Life At Our House

Only one more week till the play is over with!  Yes!  I love going to see the plays, I just don’t like the 3 months of daily practices.

Here are a few pictures of my trip taking Saver back to school.  I love how the snow on the ground highlights the naked trees.  It almost looks like the hills have a beard!

We'll start with the obligatory 'mom driving the car'.

We’ll start with the obligatory ‘mom driving the car’.  With her mouth open, again.

Out the side window.

Out the side window.

Between the hills.

Between the hills.

Coming over the top.

Coming over the top.

Plane trails and the sunset on my way home.

Plane trails and the sunset on my way home.

More of the sunset.  You have no idea how many shots I took to get these as I was doing them one handed, driving at speed, in traffic and over potholes.

More of the sunset. You have no idea how many shots I took to get these as I was doing them one-handed, driving at speed, in traffic and over potholes.

Fur Babies and Other Friends

Here's Jake waiting for the bus to bring Spider Bait home.  Which he doesn't always because of the play.  Jake waits till both the High School and Elementary buses go by before coming back in.  He's still holding on despite the cancer and being anemic from the constant bleeding of the tumor.  Hugs, Jake.

Here’s Jake waiting for the bus to bring Spider Bait home. Which doesn’t always because of the play. Jake waits till both the High School and Elementary buses go by before coming back in. He’s still holding on despite the cancer and being anemic from the constant bleeding of the tumor. Hugs, Jake.

There is a new addition to the Fur Baby family.  Say ‘Hello!’ to Stitch!

Yum!  Sunflower seeds!

Yum! Sunflower seeds!

I was at the pet store talking to one of the employees.  They all know me up there.  And Stitch was hanging out in front of the glass showing off and stretching and just being totally laid back.  He caught my eye first because I’ve never seen a white hamster with black eyes in person before and second because of his attitude.  I used to raise hamsters back when there were only two kinds available: Golden and Long-haired Golden’s (no we won’t discuss my age).  Attitude is very important in a hamster.

But, I really didn’t need another Fur Baby.  I’m behind in keeping up with what I’ve got.  The woman I was talking with was also impressed with his attitude since she had just put him out that day, but reminded me I had said I didn’t need another Fur Baby so I should take a pass.  “He’ll find a home, the other two hamsters I put out with him are already gone.”  So I passed.

Fast forward 5? 7? days.  I’m out with Saver for the shopping trip before return to college and we stop at the pet shop.  Guess who was still there?  One of the other employees there said they sometimes have trouble with selling the white ones.  Which I don’t get, but, whatever.  I won’t tell you how long I wandered hem hawing around.  It should have an easy “No” because of money.  But I had all the cage crap at home and when I was rooting through papers and boxes for Spider Bait’s Eagle project I had found an old birthday card that had a gift certificate for that pet store.  And it was still good.  Look closely at my picture up top.  See the big, black letters that spell ‘SUCKER’?

I’m happy to say he’s adorable and coming along nicely.

Hi!

Hi!

I really love my ball!

I really love my ball!

Out In The Yard

My first crocus of the year.

My first crocus of the year.

My first 'mini' Iris.  (cristata? damn, I should look that up.)

My first ‘mini’ Iris this year. (cristata? damn, I should look that up.)

And this is what I saw when I looked out the window a couple of nights later.  Blasted snow!

And this is what I saw when I looked out the window a couple of nights later. Blasted snow!

Crystals

So the ‘crystals’ / rocks are done.  My brain’s fried so I just didn’t think the pictures through very well.  I forgot the penny for size comparison.  And I forgot that the tumbled pictures were laid out differently than the original picture so there are ‘extras’ in the final shot.  *sigh*  And there was no way I was going to take the time to reset and retake the pictures.  The stones were too slippery and not playing nice with each other.  And it’s getting late.

Note that a number of the stones did not take a polish.  They needed to be ground longer, but I only had one packet of each type of grit.  And it’s also possible that the polish I had wasn’t supposed to be used on the 2 green Chrysoprase stones.  There are number of different polishes used by the pros.  Here we are:

Polishing done.

Polishing done.

Note the two green chrysoprase, one on top and one on the bottom.

Original photo with rough stones.  Note the two green chrysoprase, one on top and one on the bottom.

I couldn't lay this out exactly because the stones wouldn't lean on each other.  The stones on the right are ones I couldn't figure out or were buried under the others in the original shot.  Yeah, don't you just love pre-planning? :)

I couldn’t lay this out exactly because the stones wouldn’t lean on each other. The stones on the right are ones I couldn’t figure out or were buried under the others in the original shot. Yeah, don’t you just love pre-planning? 🙂  And, OH!, see the wee little purple tipped stone at the bottom?  That’s the ‘special’ gemstone in the packet.  An Amethyst.  It might fit on a pinky ring…

Mugs

I’m drinking from a favorite tonight that I’ve posted before.  I don’t know if I mentioned it the first time, but this is a mug from my BFF.

Such a cheerful mug.

Such a cheerful mug.

Night everybody!

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Yay! To Noticeably Longer Days!

Random Thoughts

When forced out of bed at the obscene hour of 6 a.m. on Wednesday, I realized that ‘light’ was appearing earlier than before.  This was greeted by snarling from my son who complained that it was interfering with him sleeping on the bus on the way to school.  Poor baby.  It also hit me that at one point in my life 6 a.m. was the routine ‘up’ time for me.  Huh.  Maybe this is the year I’ll be able to get myself back on a (snort) ‘normal’ schedule (eye roll).  Any who, I looked up the daylight hours here:  http://www.almanac.com/astronomy/rise

On December 21, 2012 we had 9 hours and 18 minutes of daylight.  The sun came up at 7:41 and set at 4:59 p.m.  Today, March 1, 2013 we had 11 hours and 19 minutes of daylight.  The sun came up at 6:55 a.m. and set at 6:14 p.m.  AND I’m starting to hear birdsong in the morning.  A sure sign spring is on the way.  YAY!

Soon it will be time for these beauties!

Soon it will be time for these beauties!

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I’ve gotten behind on my Simple Abundance and am trying to catch up.  I liked this section:

“Today, if you feel frightened or unsure about the future, pick up the double-edged sword of Light and Love.  Always remember, it’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.  But as in the best old tales, at the end of your exploring, you will live happily ever after.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

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My March 1st quote of the day:  “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” — Churchill

Life At Our House

Life has been a crazy round of after school wonderfulness.  Boy Scouts, The Play (6 days a week), and now Physics club for a gravity car competition.  But first they must build the thing.  Ugh.

But the real fun started last week when our furnace began to make the house sound as if it were under attack.  The bushings?bearings? and fan were dying dramatically.  Fortunately, the repair guy said it wouldn’t kill us.  If it died the whole thing would beat itself to death in what he called “the squirrel cage” without catching fire or blowing us up.  Phew.  Then he told us the company that made the furnace was long out of business (our furnace was 29 years old) and thus no parts.  Attempting to jerry rig something would only be a band-aid as the rest of the furnace was rusting to death.  Which we knew.  We were hoping to get through just one more winter before coughing up money for a new furnace.  We still have to put in sewage and had just enough money to do that.  Well, not anymore.

The first estimate was $3000.00 for an 80% efficient furnace and $3500 for a 90%.  I about had a stroke.  Eventually, after more estimates and some dickering, we got the company we wanted to put it in and a Rheem 80% efficient furnace for $2300.  $24oo something with tax (hey, I’m still traumatized).  Fingers crossed for a hefty tax refund from Uncle Sam to help off set this.  Having a kid in college has helped with that the past couple of years.

In the meantime I had to try to sleep (not) for 5 days with the furnace alternately sounding like a jet trying to take off or someone beating it to death with a sledge-hammer.  Gah.  Wednesday saw me up at the butt crack of dawn (6:00 a.m.) so that I could get a shower before they showed up and shut off the gas to install the furnace.

Life smiled on us.  We were given an estimate of a day and a half installation with heat guaranteed by night.  Well, we had two people working and someone to pick up the dead body and we had heat by 3:00 p.m.  I was stoked.  Of course, nothing is ever totally simple around here.  The furnace started up and burned a bunch of oil off the inside which flooded the house with smoke.  It looked like a fog had rolled in.  I have respiratory issues so this was ‘BAD’ and I ran around opening windows and doors and fighting with the fire alarm that was refusing to shut the hell up.  Oh, and did I mention the window screens?  We take them off for the winter.  They are on the inside of the house (what idiot came up with this I don’t know) and we wash them and put them away.  So after I threw open windows I had to have my husband keep the cats from jumping out while I dug screens out of the ‘Junk Heap’ (garage).  AND it was 40 degrees out and I also have circulatory issues so this was ‘Not Fun’.  But everyone survived and we now have a furnace that is half the size of the old one and really blows the air around.  I slept 14 hours yesterday and 12 hours today.  Thank heavens I had nowhere to be and things could be put off till the weekend.

Crystals

I changed out the rocks in the rock tumbler after 7 days.  The grit was gone.  Three days into the medium grit cycle the medium grit was gone.  WTF?  So now we are on the fine grit cycle.  I decided to see what I could find on the net and, wow, what a difference since 2004 when I bought the cheapo tumbler.

The cheapo rock tumbling kits give you 1 bag of each size grit.  It will get you so/so polished rocks, mostly of the cheap brown variety.  I had purchased on an order form the rocks that are in now so I got a somewhat better selection, but still only one bag per size grit.  What you’re supposed to do is ‘recharge’ each stage of grit with more grit till the rocks are ground down properly.  Smooth, no edges, no pits, etc.  Then you move to the next finer grit.  Repeat.  Apparently wearing the grit down in 3 days is not unusual.  But since I don’t have extra grit, I have to live with what comes out in each stage.  *sigh*

I find this whole process fascinating so I went looking around at ‘proper’ equipment and found that for one good 3 lb. tumbler and tubs, not envelopes, of grit I would have to come up with about $200.  *sigh*  So this won’t be happening anytime in my immediate future!  The following pics are 1) the original rough stones. 2) The stones after the rough grit. and 3) The stones after the medium grit.  You have to look carefully between the last 2 pictures to see the differences between the 2 steps.

Note the two green chrysoprase, one on top and one on the bottom.

Note the two green chrysoprase, one on top and one on the bottom.

It isn't an exact copy of the original photo, but close enough.

It isn’t an exact copy of the original photo, but close enough.

Note how the red striped rock in the roughly 10:30 position went from a slipper shape to oval in just 3 days.

Note how the red striped rock in the roughly 10:30 position went from a slipper shape to oval in just 3 days.

I wish I knew how to put these pictures side by side.  Next up will be a picture of them after the fine grit and then to the polish stage!

Mugs

After all the fun we’ve been having I grabbed a gift bottle of bubbly that we had been ‘saving’.  And I dug out my favorite hand painted wineglasses.  Well, only one.  And there are only three, not four, which is why I got them super cheap at a Christmas craft fair whose parade the Band always marches in.  I love these glasses.

Sooo pretty.

Sooo pretty.

Painted all the way down.

Painted all the way down.

Night all!

Spider Bait’s an Eagle Scout! And I’ve Got Crystals!

Life At Our House

I spent who knows how many hours over several days going through box after box and bag after bag looking for my son’s Badge Cards that are required for his Board of Review.  They had been put ‘Someplace Safe’.  Eventually on the day before the Review I found an envelope actually marked in big black letters with the Badge Cards tucked safely into plastic card protectors.  Short only the most recent, of course.  Luckily I found those several hours before he was due to leave.  Which was a good thing because when my son put his shirt into the wash he hadn’t inspected for stains.  And when I went to iron the shirt I found big greasy fingerprints down one side.  *sigh*  What is it with guys?  So I had to stain treat and rewash the shirt.  Finally all was ready and off he went into a brief snowstorm that dumped 2 inches in an hour.  My husband said they went skating around some turns and down some hills so it was a good thing he had taken the van (snow tires). He was given into the hands of his Scout Master and returned about 3 1/2 hrs later as an Eagle Scout.  We were all soooo thrilled!!!!

The awards won’t be presented until the Blue and Gold Banquet in April but here is a picture of him on his way out the door.   Squee!

Now an Eagle Scout!

Now an Eagle Scout!

Out in the Yard

Here are some pictures from the quicky snowstorm.

Across the street.

Across the street.

My butterfly bushes.

My butterfly bushes.

It was a wet snow.

It was a very wet snow.

Crystals

I got an Amazon Gift Card for Christmas.  After much perusal and mostly looking at books, I discovered crystals for sale!  Now I’m normally not one for buying crystals sight unseen.  But they, Crystal Allies, guaranteed satisfaction so I figured what the heck.  And there went my $25 Gift Card!

Rough Orange Calcite.  I like rough stones as well as polished.

Rough Orange Calcite. I like rough stones as well as polished.

Rough Chrysoprase

Rough Chrysoprase.  They’re actually a bit greener than this picture.

Tumbled Grey Botswana Agate

Tumbled Grey Botswana Agate

Tumbled Rhodonite

Tumbled Rhodonite

Tumbled Fluorite

Tumbled Fluorite

Looking at these stones got me to thinking about what I had done with my rock tumbler.  I got it in 2003? 2004? with a Toys R Us Gift Card.  Yes, occasionally I shop for me at Toys R Us.  I was pretty sure there was an unused batch of grit and rocks somewhere.   I was quite pleased to find my memory was right for a change.  So I decided to start a run and add a couple of my rough stones to the batch.  Unfortunately, the calcite is too soft, only a 3 on the hardness scale.  So I could only add the chrysoprase which has a hardness of 7.  Here is what the batch looked like before being put in the tumbler.

Note the two green chrysoprase, one on top and one on the bottom.

Note the two green chrysoprase, one on top and one on the bottom.

And around and around they go down in the basement.

And around and around they go down in the basement.

There are four runs to make: 1 coarse grit, 1 medium grit, 1 fine grit, and 1 polish.  It will take roughly 4 – 6 weeks depending on how long the grit lasts.  I’ll start checking this round every 2 days.  It’s always fun to see how they progress.  The sad part is that you lose 1/4 to 1/3 of the stone before you’re done.  I’ll post pictures as I go.

Mug of the Day

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Nite all!  (Cross your fingers.  This will be my second attempt to post.  The first time Word Press ate all the words but kept the pictures.  Grrr… And it’s now 1:13 a.m.)