Tuesday, September 29, 2009

By Cracky!

I started this blog with other thoughts than about health. I make a solemn vow right now that this trend shall not continue! However, this event did make me laugh:

A cane in the hands of a granny (that's me) in pain (that knee) can bring out character traits I did not know I possessed. I've been cripping around for the last couple of months, and I'm getting pretty good at it. However, the other day I got to the elevator in my apartment building, and no matter how many times I pushed the button (yes, I am one of those multiple button pushers. I can't help it. Pray for me), the elevator did not arrive. Plainly it was being held on another floor, but it was taking too long for impatient me. Carefully I rapped on the elevator door, shouting, hello? With no response, I laid a few good raps upon the elevator door and crabbily took the stairs. When me and my torn ACL and MCL labored our way to the second floor, I peeked out. There was the culprit, a young man standing in a half filled elevator, finger upon hold button. I couldn't help myself. "By cracky", I said and brandished my cane. "That's just wrong, you release that elevator right now, young whippersnapper! Wrong I say!" I lapsed into full on codger. Praying that he was moving OUT of the apartments and not IN, I went on my way, leaving that shocked-faced young man to think it out. Bet he's wondering just what a whippersnapper is... Pretty sad, isn't it? I hope I get that knee replacement soon is all I can say.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Raloxifene dreams

Or maybe it is my subconscious screaming Alert! Alert!

Today, I dreamed that I was working on the computer, looking at a conspicuously full inbox and making delete/keep kinds of decisions. I stop on one email, the title of which was 'Denmark (something)". I get a lot of travel oriented email, and if I'm the mood to read them I do...or I just delete them in favor of getting on with business. But wait...I don't recall ever having gotten a 'visit Denmark' email...so I decide to open it and read the text at least.

I open the email, just open it mind you, and suddenly control of my computer is seized. Cascades of colors fill the screen, falling. I head directly for the red 'X' in the corner of the screen, to close the page. There is no X! Oh no, what now? I try other ways to close a page, yet when I do more pages open. None have the slightest thing to do with Denmark.

You have no idea what sort of adrenalin rush I get (and it's not a good kind) if I think I've inadvertently granted admission to a computer virus! I'm moving to reboot the computer (and it's not responding, just spinning it's wheels), and I wake up. Whew! It was only a dream!

It's 7am and I hear noises coming from the kitchen. It's youngest daughter, toasting waffles for breakfast. She and I have an ongoing battle over syrup usage. I do buy 'lite' syrup, but she has a penchant for putting on half a bottle, the better to have puddles on the plate, like on the tv commercials. I have given her a shot glass to measure syrup, but I know she's not really using it, so I went in and oversaw the procedure personally. One shot glassful, perfect amount!

Yesterday's dream: The main thing I remember is my friend Maggie suddenly cutting into my dream world, screaming loudly for me to WAKE UP!!! I was staying with a young lady that Maggie normally cares for. This young lady is a diabetic, and her blood sugars have been all over the map lately, hard to attune. It's a fear of mine, when her blood sugar levels are unpredictable, that she will drop too low before morning, causing a true life and death crisis. Well, now that Maggie has screamed me to consciousness, I awoke my young one and checked her blood sugar. High. In fact, it's one or two points higher than it was around 11pm when I last checked it. What the? She normally drops about 100 points during the night, so we try for around 200 at the 11pm check. Go figure, I don't know. I take care of her from time to time, and I have sat bolt upright in the middle of the night before, with her blood sugar on my mind. I pay attention to that, because it has happened in the past that she was dangerously low and needed a small snack to raise her sugar back up and safely get her through the night.

So that's two 'Alert' type dreams in a row, which makes me wonder about the raloxifene I started on four days ago (we hope it will prevent me from developing another primary breast cancer). I've read the literature and done an internet search and am finding nothing about sleep disturbances and raloxifene. But you gotta wonder...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cash and Treasures, Part Deux (or Emerald Hollow Mine)

Transferred from another of my blogs:

Originally posted on January 10, 2009

I'm still addicted to watching Cash and Treasures on the Travel Channel, even if Becky Worley is gone (wah!) (enjoy the new baby, Becky, we understand) and now we have Kirsten. The show has gone from showcasing the treasure to an attempted star vehicle for Kirsten Gum. Suh-weeeeet!

Not so sweet, actually. For some reason she just rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it's the way her front arrives in the frame before the rest of her. Tain't necessary, Travel Channel! Hey G2, do you like the way I'm not using actual sailor-type descriptive language here? Can I get a Suh-weet!?

Anyway, back to the Emerald Hollow Mine. What, You didn't know that we were talking about emeralds here? I'd say that this mine was one of our favorite places in North Carolina, for sure. We took a long side trip to get out to Hiddenite, which is where the mine is. About a mile out of town (teeny town), we turned right at a dirt road, and drove down a ways. The worst thing about this place is that we got there in late afternoon, so our time was very limited. Yes, we did find some emeraldy kinds of things, and some other things too. Now that I have them home, the orangey clay they were born in still clings, making it hard to tell just exactly what all we have. Except, I know we have star sapphires, those I can pick out of the pile, with their sort of octagonal shape. And some of the emeralds are clearly that, emeralds. I don't think we found anything cut worthy, but we didn't hang around to find out. By the time we left we were pretty much sluicing in the dark. I loved it there. I wished we went there first. Next time, first, and we dig some instead of just buying buckets, OK? But we'll buy some buckets, too, cause at the heart of it all, laziness wins out. You know it does.

Watching this episode of the show, I really did have to laugh. Kirsten wasn't finding much, and what she did find, she was trying SO hard to make that teeny tiny piece of green seem like a real find, I had to hand it to her. She ended up not finding anything cut worthy, and turned in her pieces and traded up to a nice piece that could be cut. Her emerald ring is gorgeous, and I really really want to find a nice hunk of that for myself.

This time we have jewelry made for ourselves, hey G2? I really enjoyed gifting my daughters and granddaughter for Christmas, but gee...I want some too. A garnet crucifix, topaz earrings, and a ruby necklace. Not bad, not bad at all, and it felt amazing to give those presents. How special was that? They have lovely jewelry made from stones that I myself found. Totally cool. Suh-weeeeet!!

In case you wonder, Kirsten exclaimed "Sweet"!!!!!! just about every other word when she first started. I started throwing things at the TV (soft things)...it really drove me crazy. She's doing better now...you can almost see "Sweet!" forming on her lips until she throttles it back. Someone must have told her, just stick out your chest, honey!

Sorry. I couldn't help myself.

Most frustrating: The Travel Channel has removed the Becky shows from the website. Arghhhh! When my DVR croaked, all of the beloved Becky shows went with it. I just liked to watch a few of them from time to time, and now I can't. Sigh. It's not sweet.

But the traveling and the digging, the miner's manicures, those are the best, and we need to be talking about where to go next. Idaho, for star garnets? Southern California for tourmaline? Or just back to North Carolina (or maybe even Georgia) for more mining there? North Carolina stunned me...I loved it so very much.

And the place where the Emerald Mine was? That was in Iredell County, where my Scott ancestors first owned land in the New World. This time I'd like to find the land they once owned, just to walk upon it, or perhaps scoop up a little bit of earth.

Well, off to check some blood sugar (no, not mine) and then to bed. I can't believe I'm getting this posted while it is still January 10! And oh, dear Barbara, happy birthday. She was my mother in law, and is still missed (and I'm not even married to her son any more, how about that?)

(who is caring for a couple of handicapped young ladies, too far from my own home to get at the photos that surely would have gone with this article).

Treasure Hunter: Kirsten Gum - Spruce Ridge Crystals

Transferred from another of my blogs:

Originally posted on
Saturday, February 7, 2009

I've been boycotting this new incarnation of my favorite show (geology junkie that I am), the Cash and Treasures that once was. It's an hour long now. I didn't even have it on the DVR list, but tonight, well I just had to record it.

This show was about the one geology trip I crave to make, here in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle. The place is called Spruce Ridge, and here is how Geology Adventures describes the trip in :

Access to Spruce requires a strenuous hike: 1,000 feet elevation gain in one-half mile. That's about the energy equivalent of taking the stairs to the 30th floor of an office building. Our "office" is at 3,000 feet in a beautiful mountain valley. You'll hike through an old growth forest, with many stops to admire the view (and catch your breath!).

As much as I want to prospect for crystals there (and I really, really want to!), I have a knee that needs replacement one of these days.

>>>Not only that, I just had to reboot my computer in the middle of this post, because somehow it began to type in all caps. When I put the caps lock on, it then typed in all lower case, and no longer was able to handle punctuation at all. I have no idea how I do this, but I'm sure it is some finger dragging across some key combination. Rebooting cures it, but I sure would like to know what it is that I do in the first place.<<<>

Treasure Hunter: Kirsten Gum, 4 more episodes

Transferred from one of my other blogs:

Originally posted on
Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm beginning to get it. Cash and Treasures, which I adored, is gone. Just like any other series that
I've grown to look forward to it's cancelled...it's gone.

"Treasure Hunter" is a whole different sort of show. At first, I saw it as the same show, different name, and the whole emphasis on Kirsten Gum as the star really bugged me. Her own emphasis on herself bugged me too. However, I'd kill to have her job!

Of course, I'd have to be thirty years younger to pull that off, and that's what the real difference in the two shows is. Cash and Treasures was all about things to do that I could actually do, if I wanted to give it a try. "Treasure Hunter" is a more voyeuristic sort of show. It's all about places that are totally cool, and treasure that is really something...but for the most part, you can't go there. I can appreciate the coolness, though. And like I said, Kirsten has the coolest darn job ever. I notice she is even starting to cover up a bit more, but only a bit. Something tells me that I'm no longer the demographic that they are shooting for...the new demographic is much younger, and it is male. Ok, I can take it...

Four episodes aired today, a couple of which I've seen before:

Treasures of the Wild West: The quest is for smoky quartz and aquamarine, which is located in a private mining claim in the high mountains of Colorado. Translation, we can watch but we can't go there ourselves. 1. It's Privately Held. 2. it's at close to 14,000 feet. I've hiked at 12,000 feet, and know firsthand about oxygen debt. Got altitude sickness too. Ok, I ain't going there, but it was fun to watch the HUGE smoky quartz that was found. I swear I could hear Killashandra singing as she cut crystal (you have to have read the Crystal Singer series by Anne McCaffrey to make any sense of that, but for those who have, this crystal was really something).

Then, it's off to Texas and hunting for red plume agate. It's only found on ONE ranch in west Texas...private land. Translation, Kirsten got to go, but you and I don't have a chance. We could always drive by the gift and lapidary shop and buy some, but it's just not the same. The red plume agate was gorgeous. Kirsten winds up her trip with some line dancin', and beer.

Treasures of the Deep: First up, crabbing in Puget sound. It's clearly summer in western Washington, cause she's broken out the tight t-shirts (steady, men). After getting her limit in Dungeness and rock crab, Kirsten wins the wager for the day, and celebrates with beer. Ok, this is something I could do, and in fact, have done. Except the beer, have never been fond of beer. Next, she's up and 4am and heading out on the ocean with professional crabbers. Outfitted in full rain gear, this job is not for sissies. I reluctantly admit that she acquitted herself admirably. You could not pay me enough to go out on one of these boats! I used to go out deep sea fishing with my dad when I was young, and have spent plenty of time barfing over the side. I love crab, but not that much. The show winds up with a trip to Pike Place market, with much fish throwing...

Second half of the show centers on finding sea glass in the Bay area. The first place they go is clearly on Alkatraz Island, accessible only by kayak. Great finds. Then they rappel down a cliff near Davenport (which is near Santa Cruz), and dare the waves to find beach glass there. I recognized the beach! I used to climb down that cliff, bare handed. And back up again. Ahhh, those were the days. They look for glass the hard way...I love to hunt for beach glass, and have a couple of secret places that I go to get it. I'm not telling where they are, but I can say that I have a piece of orange , lots of red, even more of cobalt blue, and tons of the more common colors. My favorite find: the bottom of a rum bottle from the 1800's. Ain't tellin where I found it, heh. Finally, another something I can do!

Volcanic Treasures: Exploration of ancient lava tubes (under water) in search of rare and pricey Hawaiian shells. Nope...not something I could do. Fun to watch someone else do, though. The big island is on my short list of places to visit, even though I am unlikely to don a wetsuit when I do. Kirsten winds up freediving in order to spear fish. Watching Kirsten go down too quickly and pay the price with ear pain and a bloody nose...sobering. Lots of swimsuit shots for the guys, here, lol.

Next, she heads to the Modoc National Forest on the border of California and Oregon. We are hunting for rainbow obsidian. It looks like there is a LOT of obsidian in the areas in which she hunts (but we don't exactly know where these places are), but very little rainbow. It's beautiful. I want some! One of these days I might have a try, if I'm in the area again. Ok, it's another thing I could do! Next, Kirsten tries her hand at creating an knifeblade out of obsidian, she wanted to make a 'killer' knife. Unfortunate choice of words, inadvertant I'm sure. Last up, fly fishing for breakfast. Yum, trout for breakfast, and we've had a great education in Native American culture, as well.

Last show of the day is a repeat of Golden Treasures. I reported back before on this show, and because of it I have signed up for a treasure hunting trip with Geology Adventures. Not up Spruce Ridge in search of pyrite and crystal...that dream has flown.

Instead, we'll take a two mile round trip on old railroad grade, in search of amber. Cool! This will happen in September, and we'll be sure to report back. In the meantime, I've ordered ten pounds of crystal from the Spruce mine claim. No museum pieces will be in the bag, which comes exactly as collected, dirt and all. But lots and lots of crystal points, which I intend to try my hand at making into jewelry.

Treasure Hunter: Kirsten Gum - Bones and Relics

Transferred from one of my other blogs:

I've heard rumblings that this show might be cancelled...I certainly hope this is not the case! Some version of this show (that once was Cash and Treasures) deserves to remain. I especially love the shows that center on US destinations, since it is one more way to explore the endless variety that exists in this country. That said, the Brazilian and Australian shows were great fun (C&T). Travel Channel, when can we expect a new season?

Bones and Relics is the one episode that I haven't previously seen, unless another one pops out, and that would be an unexpected surprise. This the megalodon shark teeth part of this episode, the first half. Cash and Treasures also did an episode on shark teeth, with Becky Worley. First, they sift the bottom of an Florida inland river in search of teeth, with some success. After Kirsten swims with sharks in an aquarium tank (something she repeatedly said she had wanted to do all her life), they head out for a dive in the Gulf of Mexico.

Instead of thinking well I don't dive, I'm slowly developing a desire to learn to dive. The thought of diving in warm water entices. They found some cool stuff, and looked pretty good in their wetsuits. I'm not going to think about how I would look in a wetsuit, but hey, who really cares about that? It just looks like fun.

Next they hunt for relics in the South Carolina swamps, on the sites of old plantations. In temperatures above 100 degrees, in humidity we don't want to think about, I'm thinking this is something better done in spring or fall. The bugs. The spiders. The poisonous snakes! Yikes! Lots of history learned...I make plenty of my own heat and humidity, this definitely does not appeal, lol.

Must start planning my star garnet expedition...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cash and Treasures, Alaskan Gold

This one of the last episodes that did not contain the words "Kirsten Gum" in the title. For the life of me, I don't get this change, but if it does increase viewership, fine. It's all about marketing and branding these days, and if Kirsten can transform herself into a brand, more power to her and the show.

The best thing about this episode is ALASKA, which is the true treasure. Gorgeous, craggy, incredibly remote, we're lucky to get this view of the place. Most places in the interior, you have to take puddle jumper type planes, which are an experience in themselves. You have to be brave.

First we have a primer on how pan for gold, dispensed by a crusty ole miner named "Peck". Peck has an eerie resemblance to my first husband (you think I'm kidding, but I am not). If it weren't an invasion of privacy that would incur supreme wrath if it were discovered, I would post their pictures side by side. But I'm wiser than that. Some episodes later, after the rebranding of the series, Kirsten will again pan for gold, but will inexplicably have forgotten anything she ever knew.

After trying out panning, it's off to try out suction dredging with a couple of recreational miners. She has a little better luck here, and her total approaches fifty bucks or so. And after spending the afternoon in the cold water of the creek (no tank tops in this episode, boys, so sorry), she's got wet feet and a little more paydirt.

We then gear up with state of the art metal detection equipment, it's off to Moore Creek Mine, where you can dig your gold right out of the ground, after you have detected the presence of metal. This involves not one, but two flights in the aforementioned puddle jumpers. You are not going to drive here.

This mining land has been turned and prepared, a la farming fields. As they say, she quickly learns that all that beeps the detector is not gold. She comes up completely empty when it comes to nuggets. In one of the best scenes of the show, she and two other miners show off their impressive takes of rusty nails, rusty sardine can keys, and the like. Pretty funny.

Two days later, Kirsten is still gold nugget free. As they are waiting for the charter puddle jumper to pick them up, the crew gets a chance to try their luck. Almost immediately they find gold, two beautiful nuggets. And do they get to keep them? We shall soon see.

One complaint I have had with the earlier shows is that they always 'sell' what they find, with the quite ridiculous statement that they 'have to pay for the trip'. Come on, Travel Channel. The three hundred or so that those nuggets were worth will not make the slightest dent in what it cost to make this episode. Let the crew keep their finds!

At least in the newly branded version of the show, it looks like that silliness has been suspended.

This looks like it would be an incredibly fun vacation, as long as you didn't bank on finding enough gold to pay for the trip. I'd love to do it someday, better start saving now!