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1  Lapidary the Internet and You / Moderator, Michael Hoover / Setting up for Shows / Can You Dig It? on: April 13, 2016, 06:22:36 am
(To the like 3 people who automatically heard that in their head in the voice of the character Cyrus from the movie The Warriors--congratulations, you're weirdos!)  yes

I'm here to plug my club's show.  This year, the dates are May 21 & 22.  Hours are 10-6 on Saturday, 10-5 on Sunday.  Admission is $2 per head except the mini-rockhounds; kids 12 & under get in free.  It is a VERY kid-friendly show, with some fun activities just for the littles.  This weekend, assorted club members will be heading over east of the Sapphire Mountains to pick up some buckets of coarse sand from a river where they know there are garnets and sapphires, and kids will have up to half an hour each to comb through the sand for tiny but beautiful gems of their own.

Other details include:  we have 26 confirmed vendors, enough that if they all show up we might be pretty short on space.  We will have paleontologist Dave Trexler from Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, who typically brings some fossils that are still being sweet-talked out of their stone matrix (and some interns to keep working on them while he interacts with visitors).  Usually they also have a reduced-size cast of the skull of Sue the T-Rex.  Club members will be running tables and milling about, answering questions about the club, the local geology, geology in general, rockhounding, gold panning, and "what is this rock I found in my front yard/driveway/shoe/etc?"  There will be displays under glass from the club, from artists, and from collectors.  The geode saw will be on site, and you can bring or buy rocks to have cut on it--last year I got some Mexican all-clear-quartz geodes and a handful of Priday & Frieda beds minis that turned out to all have opal inside!  There's an ongoing raffle as well as at least one silent auction.

The location is, as always, the First Interstate Building on the Ravalli County Fairgrounds here in Hamilton, MT.  If you've been in past years but not the last few, you're in for an extra treat--I think they finally paved the parking area!  (It's 6:07 in the morning so my memory's a bit groggy, but I'll take a peek on my way to the riverbank later...)  For more information, the club has a website that's in the process of massive updates but the URL is still working: and there's also a Facebook page, public group, under Bitterroot Gem and Mineral Society.

If anyone does make it and wants to do a spot of VERY local rockhounding, I had our awesome treasurer take a look at a couple of things I found on said riverbank at last night's meeting.  One he IDd as aventurine, a fairly hefty river-cobble chunk in a lovely pale mint green with hints of aqua.  The other, also worn smooth, is an 8-inch-long roughly triangular piece with lovely brecciated bits in it that I was sure was "just" jasper.  Silly me..."What Is It, Wayne" says it's wood!  (I frequently refer to him as What Is It Wayne because that's how I tend to greet him at meetings, and I think he knows every rock in this valley by first and last name...)  Specifically, he called it 'bog wood', so what I've got is a chunk of fossilized swamp full of previously-fossilized and then broken-up driftwood!  It's nice and rainy and gross today, so I'm going to see if the river will still let me sneak under the bridge from the fishing access and look for any more awesomeness.  I'd also be happy to catch up with visiting board members at the show (which is all of like 6 blocks from my front door) and show them the huge "cobble bars" in the Bitterroot River if spring flooding hasn't covered them all by then--and if it has, you'll still know where there's free parking at the fishing access if you make it back when the waters recede.  dancer5
2  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Good homes needed, but where to post? on: March 21, 2016, 10:02:10 am
Another update!  yippie

The good news:  a way was found to re-route the problem dryer vent, and a mighty clever way it is!  Instead of going under the floor and eastward across the widest part of her unit, the contractor turned south and put it through a hole in the wall (purpose-made, not pre-existing, which the out-of-state owners HATE) and up to the roof.  The beauty of this solution is twofold.  The pipe is in MY garage--conveniently 100% out of her reach which makes me happy because she has shown vindictive behavior in the past.  It's also right next to the small upright freezer that actually belongs to the biker, but which lives in my garage so the Harley can have his.  That puts the vent pipe in the only corner of the garage that stays even remotely warm in the winter due to the freezer motor.

A way has been found to let me keep going on club field trips!  A lot of the members are older folks, and the awesome gal I reached out to with questions said a request for driving help would make both the members and the insurance underwriters very nervous (at the least) about taking me out into the woods.  Further research has narrowed down the actual health problem to Acquired Angioedema, Type 2.  There are 3 other types recognized, but Acquired T2 is the only one linked with the blood pressure medication I used to take.  It might respond to an epi-pen, but only after the onset of anaphylactic shock.  Our other awesome biker neighbor, who lives in the building to the east of us, joined up not only to be my field trip chauffeur but because apparently hanging around with me for like five years has gotten him much more interested in what he sees underfoot while walking his dog.  Because his truck is a bright shiny new leased rig that comes with a 10K/yr mileage allowance, the biker who lives in my building is going to be loaning him the old white Dakota, a situation both of them have worked with successfully before.

The drunken, foul-mouthed, child-smackin' fratboy jerk has moved out!  The only signs of that pack of wackos ever being here are a few scattered cigarette butts and the truck his girlfriend abandoned in the guest/overflow parking across the street--in the maintenance man's favorite parking spot, no less.  Their replacements have a 5-year-old boy and 2 "bully" type rescue dogs and they make SO MUCH less noise!  They're friendly (dogs included) and best of all on the several occasions I've talked to them thus far nobody's been wearing any kind of stink-pretty, a huge improvement over being able to smell the fratboy for a good three minutes after he went down the front steps in open air.

The other news:  I do not have the Skalkaho connection, sadly.  Due to a decision made by the aforementioned owners, I have been disqualified from the program that would have given me reason to interact with that person (and denied a medication authorized and recommended by an MD).

I can still smell the neighbor doing laundry, but it no longer makes my eyes burn or coats my mouth and nasal passages with a nasty oily feeling.  Now that I've had FIVE more episodes of angioedema, 2 of them in my digestive tract, it's pretty clear continuing exposure at the levels that turned this allergy into a life-threatening issue would have been a very, very bad thing.

My eye problem is not allergen-induced and, unfortunately, cannot be fixed unless it actually starts obstructing my vision; it's a small growth but will come back worse if it's removed.  The ophthalmologist said it was caused by exposure to bright sunlight as a small child, which I find baffling since I spent 33 of my first 34 years in northwestern Oregon and in the Puget Sound area.  The other year was in Orlando, much of it during hurricane season.  I did wind up with my first pair of bifocals, and I'll be back in physical therapy by appointment next week because OMG does my neck hate them.

Because the property where I live does not receive any federal housing subsidy funds, it turns out it's totally legal even with a doctor's letter to charge a disabled tenant for a life-saving alteration to the property.  I got nailed with a deadline of an hour and a half to find an unspecified amount of financing after 2 weeks without any communication my way from management, and promptly experienced what my therapist calls "decompensation".  Luckily for me I am reckoned by a few folks to have great value in their lives...but I'm still scared to ask exactly how much the Dakota's owner is paying for that vent pipe because he stepped in and told them they were going to hospitalize me again with that kind of stunt, volunteering to pay for it when they kept pushing.

The best news
:  I have 5 boxes packed!  I've gotten the addresses that were messaged to me, and will send as many as I can afford this afternoon after my "independent swim" physical therapy.  The only part of the Great Mailing Caper I still need to finish is locating those MtG cards I got all sorted out.  Red, green, aggro-stompy I remember--my scattered brain is drawing a blank on Goblins and black/red Elementals.  I'll ship whatever I find that I'm sure of, separately from the rocks.

A reminder:  I DO NOT WANT MONEY.  If you like the rocks you get, I can send future boxes, and if not I apologize in advance.  Whatever you'd send me, pay it forward.  Food banks, school arts & sciences programs, or friends & family in need would all be better off with money.
3  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Good homes needed, but where to post? on: February 10, 2016, 07:11:45 am
Time for a less cheerful update.

Cannot do anything about the downstairs neighbor laundry problem.  She has demonstrated VERY clearly that she will change nothing AND is now blaming me because she "never gets to see her family any more".  Did I ever mention that unlike me, she can drive?  Two different management teams have tried to get her to tell them why all her family time HAS to be in a 650-ish square foot apartment instead of wherever the sacred kidlet lives.  She responds by refusing to speak AT ALL.

Another neighbor has offered to sell anything short of his truck and Harley to fund moving the downstairs neighbor to a different unit.  She will not consider the idea.  Management has asked her at least twice since Christmas to stop poisoning me.  She did laundry this past Sunday (while the non-tenant problem child ran laps and slammed doors for three and a half solid hours) and somehow I was not surprised that she'd put in a new dryer treatment whatever so strong I had to wrap a scarf around my face twice and am now having eye problems due to allergen exposure.

The modification to the dryer venting cannot be done.  The contractor insists there is no way to use external piping--he would have to take her dryer exhaust down through the floor, run it under the widest part of her unit (kitchen, dining, master bedroom) and bring it back up at the east wall of the building.  He doesn't want the job, and the property owners don't want him to do the job, because the fire risk might render the entire building uninsurable.

There is nowhere safe to move to.  The menfolk who want so much just to help me out with ANYTHING have to stay here until autumn because neither can afford the lease-breaking penalties.  I can be made exempt from such penalties because we already have a letter from my MD stating that if my exposure to stress and allergens cannot be reduced I must leave the property.  Permanently.  Everywhere that's even renting has either a centrally located laundry room, meaning no unit is far enough away for someone with an artificial-scent allergy grown to lethal proportions, or it has no access to laundry facilities (including its own w/d hookups).  None of it is in budget for me, and the menfolk do not have medical exemption eligibility.

I lost my best friend in July and she has yet to notice.  I can think of 3 mental health care experts off the top of my head who would be willing to write to her explaining that her evaluation of my personality is WRONG, but it wouldn't make a difference.  I'm still working on getting through to her that I may never be able to visit her home again--I may never even be able to travel again if there's not an ER close enough to save me if my trachea slams shut.  Eastern Washington starts looking really scary between Spokane and Ritzville, Ritzville and Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Richland, Pasco), and between Tri-Cities and roughly Hood River, OR.  Considering that the allergic reaction I'm so scared about can also be triggered by stress and vehicular traffic is a known massive panic trigger for me, even the 50-60 miles from The Dalles, OR to Troutdale becomes terrifying.

I went through all the stress of applying for a medical marijuana user card, which will be going through the shredder before it's ever put to its intended use.  The property owners (who live in another time zone) have decreed that possession of medical marijuana on their property, even with a valid user card, is grounds for immediate eviction.  The provider to whom I was assigned will not sell to me if I cannot keep my medication in my own possession; if he sells to me and I do not have possession of the meds in my own home, the provider goes to jail.

I still have to wait 2 more weeks to even sign the consent waivers for the next medical exam, for which they must knock me out when it's finally time to do the dang thing.  Then I wait until the actual exam can be scheduled with the OR, and then wait for the report, and THEN find out about major surgery which will almost certainly have a minimum 8-week recovery time.  No rockhounding field trips for me this season unless they can get the exam and possible surgery done way faster than it's been going.

PM me with addresses and I'll start shipping as soon as I can.  If anyone has friends between Spokane and roughly Phillipsburg, MT, I will be quite happy to meet up with them in person to let them hand-pick rocks.  If they feel like driving all the way to where I actually live (about an hour from Missoula), they get their choice of everything I bring out as available.  If I need to catch a ride to Missoula or any of the towns near it on I-90, I'll bring everything my back will let me throw in the truck.  As far as timing goes, sooner would be better.  If you have friends wanting rocks and close enough to do the driving, once you have my email addy you have my permission to hand it off to them--just ask them to put 'Rocks needing homes' in the subject line so I don't junk their email.
4  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Good homes needed, but where to post? on: January 18, 2016, 01:12:26 pm
First, I'd like to say:

I have not forgotten y'all!

The bad news:  in addition to the allergy problem (solution is under way but slowly), I've developed a new health issue that may require both minor AND major surgery in the very near future.  My family life's also gone kind of crazy, but thankfully the craziest parts are in another time zone and not mine to solve.

The good news:  I have 3 medium flat-rate Priority boxes loaded with a combination of stones I hope will cut well and small fun specimen stuff that could be tumbled or just sit on a shelf looking pretty.  I hope to get another 2 boxes loaded by midweek, though my incredibly grouchy lumbar region would like me to be careful about how fast I'm slinging cobbles.

Redwilder, speed isn't the biggest concern, but if someone wanted to drive all the way here they'd be able to cherry-pick from my 'outbound' stock, which has both lapidary and specimen material--lots of granite, jasper, rhyolite, quartzite, and "green rocks from Biggs Junction" in that mess, plus things I haven't had a chance to get IDd yet.  There does exist a possibility that if Lookout Pass is clear enough, I might be able to meet some Rock Rollers halfway--and I'm always thrilled to get to meet other rockhounds!  Just for the love of whatever you love, DO NOT pick up any cone shells you find while on beaches while you're on vacation!!! ;)

Just a few days ago, while conducting some medical business, I discovered that someone I may be working with in a provider-client relationship (in which I'll be the client) has property up near Skalkaho Pass!  They seemed delighted by the fact that I IDd the bulk of the shop decor as having been bought from Skullis, and I had to restrain myself from trying to lick the display cabinet door when I realized there were several gorgeous quartz clusters from said Skalkaho property in there...
5  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Good homes needed, but where to post? on: January 07, 2016, 07:00:15 pm
For those following the neighbor-induced drama, there is news!

The toxic nightmare downstairs may have won the "I don't have to use unscented laundry treatments because someone who can't get away from my dryer exhaust is allergic" battle, but she has officially lost the war!!!

When the head of the Adult Case Management department of the county's mental health facility showed up in my landlady's office to inquire as to why the disabled clients were NOT being protected while the elderly, mobility-impaired smoker who has at least a dozen "noise from a non-tenant" complaints in her file got to have her own way, the corporate jerks the on-site manager reports to suddenly changed their tune DRASTICALLY.  Under the heading of "Reasonable Accommodation/Modification", the (so many unladylike words go here) downstairs has NO CHOICE about the fact that sometime in the next week or so an external shunt will be bolted to the outside of the building to force her dryer exhaust southward--away from my front door and the stairs leading to it, and giving me a 95% safe option to get into my apartment when she does laundry.  Man, she is SO MAD about it!  I do not understand people like her--exactly nothing about how she handles her day-to-day life will change; she's only pissed because it's not 100% HER WAY.  I really hope she tries to snark nastiness at the maintenance crew who will be handling the installation--our head fix-it honcho will be quite happy to remind her that if she had only shown ANY willingness to behave as if the life of someone not related to her mattered, none of this would be needed!

Rocks will still be getting shipped out just as soon as I can!  I do have too many, but there are some I won't part with :).  And France might not be too far away for a few small specimen-quality bits and bobs; I sent Magic the Gathering cards to Iceland without too much hassle.  If there's a specific type of stone you're interested in, Tina, let me know--I might have some I can afford to send.
6  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Good homes needed, but where to post? on: December 31, 2015, 01:25:09 pm
At this point I'll settle for a decent new year!

Still waiting on case management, probably until next week.  It's pretty much impossible for me to talk to my partner of 12 years about this whole mess without triggering his HUGE anger management issues--a thing I am blessed to have very rarely had to see in full flare.  Last I was sure of, he does NOT want to move and he does NOT want to live without me in the same airspace.  I'm hoping a tag-team of adult case managers (his of many years, mine the one I'll be returning to when she's back in the office) can explain to him that he cannot have both.  I'm also planning to ask the case managers to sit down with the landlady for an explanation of why the child-abusing poisoner downstairs gets ALL the legal protection here.

I should be able to start assembling outgoing boxes of rocks next week!  :)  There is a weight limit on Priority boxes, so I'll likely start with smaller ones to make sure I don't go over.

Christmas Day was fabulous, a welcome breath of loving family time amid the wreckage of my year.  Fingers crossed & prayers lofted for a solution that doesn't cost me my home, my partners, and my pets.  Ppl around town who know my face often say "hang in there", to which my standard response remains "Tooth and nail, baby, tooth and nail!"
7  The Gathering / Our Place / Christmas presents! on: December 25, 2015, 08:43:38 am
What'd you guys get??  :D  I had a very Godzilla Christmas this year, one of my favorite kinds.  I got bunches of little imported toys, including a Mothra (super-hard to get as they sell out almost instantly whenever any are available anywhere), a Millennium Godzilla action figure, a Final Wars (movie) set of Godzilla and a flying vehicle called the Gotengo, and some WAY beyond just awesome wall decals. 

My face just about fell right off my head when I opened the box from my dad and found a beautiful Fuji digital camera!  I loves me my li'l Canon PowerShot A720 IS, but it is my second of the exact same model and cannot live first was a factory refurbish and I put 120,000 images through it before hitting a crucial malfunction.  As easy as the Canon has been for me to use, the Fuji looks like it might be even simpler!

The family of the fella I take care of in the non-horrible downstairs unit decided to shower me with fantastic choices, like a nice warm 3/4 sleeve shirt made out of lightweight long underwear weave material.  In exactly the right shade of blue to go along with the blue cowboy boots I finally found earlier this year after over 20 years looking for the RIGHT shade of blue!  They also sent me a lovely coloring book full of abstract/botanical designs.  To my total astonishment, at least some of the set of Pentel fine-tipped coloring markers currently in my custody that I remember my mom using on mandala designs in the late 1970s still have usable ink in them!

And over dinner we'll do our traditional watching of seasonal favorites...stop-motion Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, animated Frosty the Snowman, the ORIGINAL Grinch, and Gremlins for a full-length feature since we watched Die Hard yesterday.  I totally love that meme my neighbor found about how "It's just not Christmas until I've seen Hans Gruber fall off Nakatomi Tower".  AND I get to add a new title to the annual film festival:  the Muppet Christmas Carol  yes (Kermit flail) YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!
8  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Good homes needed, but where to post? on: December 25, 2015, 08:28:32 am
First of all...


No matter which ones you celebrate or how :D.

As for the downstairs neighbor, no, people like that do not change :(.  3 consecutive on-site managers have asked her to stop dousing me in poison and the best response to date has been a grudging "I'll consider it."  HOWEVER, since the manager is severely annoyed that she is not allowed to insist I be treated with a modicum of respect, other plans are under way. 

First will be a physical shunt that the maintenance staff will be building and attaching to her dryer vent to force the fumes toward the parking lot--well away from my door.  Second, after the holidays I will be back in the case load of an adult mental health case manager I've known and worked with almost since I moved to Montana 11 years ago who is a powerful advocate with immense knowledge of community resources. 

Third, the people in the other upstairs unit (drunken kid-slappin f-bomb fratboy and whoever else) will NOT be offered a renewal on their lease this coming spring and the manager HAS been told that we can lay claim to that unit, which is a mirror image of the one I live in now.  They're even waiving most if not all of the fees associated with swapping units (the fella I take care of at night used to live at the other end of the parking lot but we got to move him over the same way several years back).  This means that the dryer vent underneath my front door will be from MY laundry machines!  They live downstairs with Limpy the Wonder Biker--his feet are actually on almost sideways due to cerebral palsy and other health adventures--and he uses unscented everything for his own health's sake already.  I've been doing his laundry for like 6 years and the worst I ever react is if I handle his anti-static-sheet-treated laundry fresh out of the dryer is a slight and very temporary rash if I'm sweating where I come in contact with the treated cloth on bare skin.

As for rocks and MtG cards, those collections will still be getting reduced even if we only have to move like 50 feet to the west.  Tomorrow I'll continue gathering and sorting stones with the hope of starting shipping VERY early in January.  The Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Society holds a little auction at the end of each meeting, and I'll definitely be sending some stuff that way.  It helps pay for the insurance during the field trips, the annual show (last year we had an Ethiopian fella with trays of Welos!!!), and all the club's other activities and expenses.  Since they also get my entire relevant photo legacy of large geological formations, collecting locations, specimens I've found, and specimens I either bought or was given, most of the "to go" rocks will be headed elsewhere.  It's not like the club will mind, since they have no one else currently who takes photos of trips, meetings, the show, etc!

Hummingbirdstones, I have the great good fortune to live in the Bitterroot Valley in southwestern Montana.  The very first time I got out of a car and put my shoes on Montana dirt, I was nearly overwhelmed by a feeling best described as my heart's home saying "Well THERE you are!  What took so long?"  I was born in Portland, OR, and other than the year I turned 4 while we briefly lived in Orlando, FL, I spent the first 34 years of my life between the Cascades and the beach, but it turns out Montana truly is my home.  I thought I would miss the ocean more, really :).  The one thing I could probably never do now is live somewhere flat and/or without forests.

Debbie, OMG I am so sorry you had to have an EMG in your foot!  My first was my lumbar spine & upper legs and the second was my left arm.  The neurologist who did the second was a paragon of mercy--he started with my stupid hand and when nothing turned up he declined to put my dominant hand through the same pain.  We did learn that country music makes me nervous; every time he actually hit the nerve pathways he was looking for, the little static machine started tuning in a country station!  My toes appear to be connected directly to my fight-or-flight reflex and I can't begin to estimate how many doctors over the years have narrowly missed getting kicked in the face for grabbing a toe without permission.  I tell folks if they're unfamiliar with the acronym that EMGs are a great hobby if you're into needles and electricity, and most of them turn kinda green.  I never had any obvious health problems dealing with Sculpey, Super Sculpey, or Sculpey III and I rarely used Fimo because it's too stiff for the way I worked, but now that I've heard any bit of your story I'm way less likely to pick the stuff up again even if anyone ever does figure out why both of my ring and pinkie fingers are largely numb and have been for almost 6 years.

So, in between bouts of dinner prep today, I shall be futzing about (as the biker says) with sorting rocks and cards to be shipped out.  Meanwhile, since I made out like a TOTAL bandit as far as Christmas presents, I'm gonna go start a thread and see if anyone else wants to jabber about what they got!  yippie  ura
9  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Good homes needed, but where to post? on: December 21, 2015, 12:59:17 pm
Dave, that is an AWESOME reminder!  Heck, you don't even have to pay for flat-rate priority boxes until you ship them!  I'll pick some up just as soon as I can zip by our post office.  Some of my rocks are really big (I have a jasper-flint-wtf from Biggs Junction that's bigger than my head) but many of them could be packed into assorted sizes of priority box.

Hummingbirdstones, I've got pics of many and will find the best specimens to put up in both locations.  I have a gorgeous hunk of rhyolite with landscape jasper patterning in it, also Biggs Junction, that should be suitable for a solo offer to start with, and it's already photo'd both wet and dry.

Updates on the home front:  my counselor is horrified at the thought that we might not be regarded as priceless around here for our consistency and will be seeing me weekly until this mess sorts out.  She says if she thinks of or finds out about anything I'm not already doing or setting up she'll write it down to make sure she doesn't forget.  I was able to give my psychiatric-med prescriber a heads-up before our appointment this week, too.

My MD actually wrote a prescription stating that if my exposure to stress and known allergens is not reduced I will have to leave this set of 4 apartment complexes completely for my own safety, which I'll be presenting to my landlady in about half an hour along with photos of my face from this weekend.  (It was super GRODY, I assure you!)  I also get to tell her that if my sweetie and I are forced to leave she will also lose the fella I take care of at night, who would rather figure out how to move with no money, a truck and a Harley trike, and severe lease-breaking penalties than see me lose access to transportation and himself lose access to my 30 years of providing in-home care to the medically broken.  Sad as it may sound, this is the best my self esteem has been since my second marriage, when the man who made so sure to say he loved me EVERY day for 18 months stopped the moment I needed him to help me instead of his boss (we lived where he worked).

We know the landlady will want to help us, but the problem is it's not her decision.  That belongs to a corporate consortium of total strangers in another time zone, and they might want to keep up the high turnover since the move-out standards are ludicrously high and almost no one ever gets their security deposit back.  We're hoping that maybe the problem tenant downstairs will be allowed to swap units with the one I take care of, which would solve the problem of a dryer vent spewing poison from under my front door AND put all the tenants who get complained about on one side of the building and all the ones who don't on the other!  Another neighbor tried to get the upstairs unit currently over-occupied by child abusers (if you get drunk, scream f-bombs at your toddler after the noise curfew AND THEN smack them around for still crying, YOU ARE A CHILD ABUSER in my book and I don't even like kids) about three tenants ago and was told he'd be charged $800 in move-in costs to swap from the 4-unit building right next to us, so maybe 'reasonable' isn't any of the owners' middle names. 

My chin is up, my fingers are crossed, and I have a growing backlog of medical and mental health professionals quite willing to say that my sweetie and I are NOT the problem here.

Prayers to anyone and assorted well-wishings are hugely appreciated!  After I deal with the landlady, I think it's gonna be time to dig in my rock stock and image archives :D.  My OCD actually loves that kind of thing, which is a great stroke of luck!
10  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Good homes needed, but where to post? on: December 21, 2015, 06:04:31 am
Debbie, I got no problem talking medical :).  I've been a care provider, both paid and volunteer, for the last 30 years.  My sweetie and 1 of the other tenants in this 4-unit building are both disabled, as I am now myself, and I help both of them with what we used to call Activities of Daily Living--preparing food, getting dressed, the works.

Yep, first attack.  Did as much research as I could between naps and med doses.  I might never have a problem again, but since I've now gotten worse again after my downstairs neighbor did laundry and I had to walk through the allergen plume from her dryer vent, I'm not hopeful that this will be my ONLY attack.  The biggest concern is that allergens are no longer required to start this all over--stress can do it too, and we have a neighbor who likes to get drunk, scream at and hit his kid, and ignore the 10pm-8am noise curfew that is a clearly stated lease clause.  He's been here since March, and we think there are 4 adults, a baby, a half-time custody toddler with a horrible attitude problem, and maybe a couple pets, all in a 650-square-foot 2-bedroom upstairs unit with inferior insulation in the walls and floors.

Last night was massively stressful and I'm even worse than after the dryer plume, but I did find out my love will NOT stay here without now instead of trying to find a new home for one person with minimal furniture, it's the whole household, cats included.  Indoor-ONLY cats who are nearly ten years old, poorly socialized, and have spent just over eight of those years in our current apartment.  There are no units in the 4 complexes I live in the middle of that will keep me away from people doused in the artificial scent products that are my worst allergy.

I feel your pain on polymer clay.  I was a sculptor for 19 years, making tiny animals out of Super Sculpey to set on shells and stones.  Now both of my ring and pinkie fingers are numb most of the time and I cannot hold the sculptures or the tools.  After an X-Ray, 2 MRIs (neck and brain) and an EMG (one of 2 medical tests that makes me cry) it was determined that there is absolutely no reason for this.  That was in 2009 and my fingers are still numb.  For the last couple of years, both hands also been just snapping open at random times, dropping whatever I happen to be doing.

My one worry about the corticosteroid solution is that every woman in my family responds to them the same way after a while...necrotic skin lesions (do NOT Google that if the term is unfamiliar--it means too long on the prednisone and my skin will literally rot off) and boy howdy after seeing my mom's condition this summer I do NOT wanna go there.  Despite the side effects she has to take prednisone for the rest of her life.

I've got about half a dozen calls to make when offices open today, trying to find both medical help and advocacy to either find a place or get the neighbors in line with "your (unladylike word here) is going to kill someone if you don't knock it off NOW."

Meantime, still need to know where to post rocks to go, since I'm not selling them...
11  The Gathering / Our Place / Good homes needed, but where to post? on: December 20, 2015, 06:25:59 pm
Having developed an allergic, stress-catalyzed reaction with a high chance of shutting off my airway at random times and no time limit on relapses, I have to move because it is the tenants of 2 of the other 3 units in my building who shower me in allergens and stress me to the breaking point.  I spent half of yesterday, split across two visits, in the emergency room with massive angioedema--thankfully in my face, not my throat or my intestines (its other favorite vacation spots).  Angioedema prefers the throat to the other locations, cutting off airways at random times, and no one has yet said I won't be at risk of relapse for the rest of my life, only that it "may take several years" to stop if it does at all.

I won't be able to take much with me...I must leave behind my love and light of 11 years who is not allergic, our pets, my family's heirloom furniture, and...of course...all the rocks.

I have MANY rocks.  The ones I'm 100% sure of after taking all my meds are: dusty-raspberry-colored quartzite from the Bitterroot River, quartzites in other colors from other locations, MANY local southwestern Montana jaspers that are largely reds or greens, multicolored shale (tan, dark and light green, dark and light reddish-purplish, some calcite layering--stuff makes GREAT photo backdrops) from just west of Missoula, MT, and a multi-year rockpicking collection from Biggs Junction, Oregon that includes opalite, flint, rhyolite, jaspers, and some spectacular light-in-bright green amygdaloidal basalts along with "lava bomb" style bubbled basalt, much of which has assorted druzy shades lining the bubble vugs.

If anyone wants a look at samples I can definitely do that--just need to know the best section to post them in and which ones people want to see.  I can even start that post with an updated-as-I-go list of identified stones.

I also have other hobby items that might be of interest to friends or family y'all out there might have handy.  I'll be rehoming a MASSIVE stash of Magic: the Gathering collectible playing cards since I will have no one to play cards with and they're not good for solitaire games.  Not sure about books yet, but it's likely.  The only thing I won't be offering up is my enormous archive of photos showcasing minerals and rockhounding sites, as I have already promised that part of my photographic legacy to the Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Society because they have no resident photographer for club events OR mineral specimens. 

I'll be setting up an appointment tomorrow to get help finding a new place to live.  After that, if anyone here would like to adopt some rocks, sooner will be better than later because I have no idea how long this will take to get set up and figured out and I may have to put together a move in just a day or two.  It's a pretty sure bet once I move I won't have internet access any more, so when I have a due date on that I'll have my membership here closed to avoid cluttering the servers. 

As I have no access to PayPal due to my peculiar refusal to send them scans or photos of my driver's license AND social security card (despite having a verified-their-way bank account!) when they will not guarantee who has access to that information, I am not looking to SELL rocks.  They just can't go with me and my nearest and dearest aren't all that into rocks.  The only payment I'd ever be interested in is paying it forward by helping someone else you run across someday when they need it.
12  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Mineral Specimens / Re: What a summer! on: August 30, 2015, 07:04:38 am
tkcaz, that's exactly why if we ever win the lottery we'll join the obnoxious throngs of 'snowbirds'.  When Montana's on fire or smoked out (August) and when it's frozen solid (January), we'll just bail southward to loll in some kind of tiny air-conditioned bliss in August and let me rove the chill desert slopes for cute pebbles in January.  That's the plan, anyhow.  My neighbor has dreamed what turned out to be winning lottery numbers twice (first time he blew it off as just a dream until he saw the winning numbers, second time the store clerk was closing early and refused him service and OMG yes he was severely <unladylike word> when he saw the winning # the next day) so if he ever dreams of lottery numbers again I'll break into my tiny stash of 50-cent pieces and Sacajawea dollars!
13  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Mineral Specimens / Re: What a summer! on: August 28, 2015, 06:25:59 am
Mark, the white areas on all the Thunder Mountain stones are opal.  The rock in that second image doesn't show nearly the botryoidal structure in the green that some of the other chunks do--but you are not imagining that hint of blue.  Several of the small bits from that trip have a distinctly blue cast to the white (opal) areas; the green is definitely a different mineral but probably not the "copper oxide of some kind" my brain first kicked up when I was collecting them.  I'm going to wave the botryoidal green at the club treasurer to see what he thinks :). 

And I do use the direct upload, because last time I tried to start a Photobucket account I got stuck on the page where they REALLY wanted me to look at "sponsor" sites--to the point that I was not allowed to proceed with signing up because I didn't want to know about car loans (I no longer drive EVER), mortgage refinancing (I live in an apartment with excellent amenities), or the cost of tuition at online universities I have no interest in attending.  Since I suck at image manipulation programs like Photoshop, the images I post here are 25% of full size, resampled and occasionally gamma corrected in IrfanView.

Sadly, our final trip of the summer has been canceled, though I heard several of the old-timers say the location we were scheduled to visit isn't highly productive even for the main goal, which would have been pyrite.  Attached is a photo of sunrise from a couple days ago or so...we are smoked in BAD and the woods around us are tinder.  Nobody, including the relative young'uns like me, is wildly enthused about hot vehicle engines in bone-dry forest or getting all our minerals in one chewy breath.  The truly amazing thing about the smoky sunrise is that nothing within MILES of us is actually on fire; weird valley-related air movement patterns suck it in from all around us and trap it here.

Guess I'll just have to be content with sorting, photographing, and deciding fates for the several hundred pounds of everything from Moolack Beach fossils to local river cobbles to "how much of this stuff now IDd as opal DID I drag back from Biggs Junction?"  Winter is NEVER boring for me :).
14  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Mineral Specimens / What a summer! on: August 14, 2015, 08:13:30 am
So far the rockhounding trips with BGMS have been the salvation of an otherwise depressing, annoying summer.  I just went on my 3rd, and as always it was a grand adventure, complete with 10 or 12 pauses for someone to get out of the lead car and roll BIG rocks off the dirt road.  We were looking for a thunderegg deposit that only 2 of the group found because it turned out to be about a 20-foot-long section of road cut a mile back from where the GPS told us all to park.  I only got a crack at it because the wonderful gentleman who let me ride in his truck was chatting with another rockhound, and I didn't get much time since there was a bigger truck waiting behind us.

Thunder Mtn 1 is common opal.  It's official:  every time I go rockhounding more than 5 miles from home, I bring home opal.  A significant chunk of my Biggs hauls is also opal, according to "What Is It Wayne", the treasurer and club ID master.  I found opal in Priday/Ochoco geodes at the BGMS show this year, and up at Cramer Creek as well as Keep Cool Creek, and now Thunder Mountain.

Thunder Mtn 2 shows the fracture pattern Wayne ID'd as opal, as well as some of the vivid green mixed into some of the "thundereggs" from that 20-foot section.  Most of them showed little to no rounding, which is likely why most of us drove right by since we were told to hunt for baseball-and-bigger rounded stones that looked like concrete on the outside (which they did despite the lack of rounding).

Thunder Mtn 3 is a mostly-opal fragment with some kind of yellowish mineral overgrowth I haven't had a chance to run past anyone in the club.

Thunder Mtn 5 is what has me REALLY excited.  My first thought was "gotta be a copper mineral!"  Macro photos, however, show that the majority of the vivid green is bottle-green, highly translucent to nearly transparent, and despite the crystalline sparkle that attracted my eye it's botryoidal rather than prism habit.  Most of the bubbles in the photo are well under a millimeter across (I LOVE LOVE LOVE having an easy Macro setting on my camera!).  Now I just gotta wait until the 2nd week of September to wave it at Wayne :).

Larger and more extensive photos can be sent by email if anyone's interested in seeing more!

15  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Rock Hounding Trips, Tips, and Pics / Cramer Creek, MT with BGMS on: June 07, 2015, 11:03:54 am
I went on my first field trip yesterday since scraping together the courage to actually JOIN the Bitterroot Gem & Mineral society.  It was a looooonnnnnnnngggggg drive on a dirt road to the collecting site around the bases of some huge power-line towers.  We were on the hunt for jasper, agate, and blends literally thrown around the landscape by the construction of the towers.  We might have been as much as 4000 feet above sea level, but it was still over eighty and contrary to the weather reports there was barely a cloud in the sky.  When the kind folks who provided me with transport got tired and wanted to go, I had no problem with packing and scrambling--by then I'd been up there for five hours.

Was it fun?
OMG YES.  Attached is a photo of most of the rocks I got to keep, pre-cleaning of course.  I'll try like all get-out to remember to post photos as I get some of the more spectacular specimens that came home with me.  Mostly I found jasper, but I also found murky dark-yellow dendritic agate, some just chips and others mixed with brecciated jasper.
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