Rocks and Talks

•March 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

On Saturday, we went down to Albuquerque for the Treasures of the Earth Gem and Mineral show. They have great silent auctions, my hubby even got into the bidding! We picked up some awesome specimens for our collection for next to nothing.

I got this Agate for $2

I got this Agate for $2

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The fluorites for $2, 3 and $4. I like fluorite, can you tell?

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This massive herkimer diamond for $4.

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Aaannd…these little beauties for $16. Also herkimer diamonds, which aren’t really diamonds at all, but rare and special. Wikipedia says this about them:

Herkimer diamond is a generic name for a double-terminated quartz crystal discovered within exposed outcrops of dolostone in and around Herkimer County, New York and the Mohawk River Valley. Because the first discovery sites were in the village of Middleville and in the city of Little Falls, respectively, the crystal is also known as a Middleville diamond or a Little Falls diamond.[1]

Herkimer diamonds became largely recognized after workmen discovered them in large quantities while cutting into the Mohawk River Valley dolostone in the late 18th century. Geologists discovered exposed dolostone in Herkimer County and began mining there. The popularity of mining for double-terminated quartz in the Herkimer County outcroppings is what led to the name, Herkimer diamonds. Currently, Herkimer diamonds can be found in large quantity in at least Herkimer, Fulton, and Montgomery counties, and double-pointed quartz crystals have also been found in abundance in Tibet and Afghanistan, as well as in other countries.

Many of the New York crystals are known for their extreme clarity, and Wiccan and New Age belief systems often ascribe specific occult properties and a wide variety of mystical powers to them.

These quartz crystals, which geologists theorize formed extremely slowly in small solution cavities or vugs, have 18 facets (6 sides) and two terminations. There are also larger cavities that are several feet in diameter that are called “pockets”. Herkimer diamonds are found clear, cloudy, smoky or even containing a variety of rare impurities. Impurities (rare and general) can include clusters, scepters, fluid inclusions (sometimes incorrectly called enhydros), phantom, and bridge crystals. A fluid inclusion is a pocket within a crystal containing liquid, usually water, sometimes also methane or oil, and rarely, smaller crystals. A phantom is a crystal containing other visible crystals of the same type, a skeletal crystal contains a series of crystal edge outlines inside the crystal and a hopper crystal has its faces replaced by a step like pattern.

I got to visit some friends including my bestie, Tamara. She crocheted a bed for my bengal, Hootie. He absolutely loves it and guards it from our other cat.

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Waste Not…

•March 15, 2015 • 1 Comment

Store bought chicken broth is bland and full of nitrates. Make your own! We get rotisserie chickens fairly often, so I cleaned off the meat and threw the bones, fat, wing tips and skin into a pot, covered them with water and simmered it for an hour. Now I’ve got 3 cups of primo chicken broth.

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Let it cool and put it in a freezer bag and lay it flat in the freezer to use later. And don’t give the bones to your pets! You can add a rough chopped carrot, onion and herbs if you like.

Second Hand Saturday

•March 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I went into town this morning for some grocery items and checked out the thrift stores while I was there. I scored a mini donut maker for $2:

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and these cool ties for $1 each (I’m planning to make a skirt or apron once I have a good supply of cool ones):

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And finally a Spam 70th Anniversary shirt that looks brand new for $1. Surely it’ll be collectable someday…not to mention that my Bizarre Foods Monday involves Spam this coming week.

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I also got a T-shirt for my best friend’s husband and some PJ pants for her daughter. At the other shop, all I found was these mortar & pestle sets, but I got both for $7!

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When I got home my hubby had washed the dishes and hung up a window I got from my mom. It’s SO pretty!

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I can almost smell Spring…

•March 8, 2015 • 1 Comment

The ice is melting away and buds are starting to sprout. I planted our first round of seeds a week or so ago and they’ve sprouted! So far we have a ton of Romanesco broccoli, De Cecco Broccoli and Snowball cauliflower. Our mini orchard is looking nice again too. Our pomegranate tree even has what looks like a tiny fruit starting on it.

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We had a couple friends over for dinner last night and I’m wondering why we haven’t done it before. We both have social anxiety, but it’s much easier with just one or two people and I love to cook for people. I think as the weather warms we’ll be having a lot more dinner parties in the future.

I Love My New Doctor!

•March 6, 2015 • 2 Comments

This week I had to establish primary care with a new doctor. My doctor moved last year and I’ve been trying to replace her since. I had a false start with one doctor who messed up my insurance paperwork by reporting that I was obese as a diagnosis (I fully admit I’m overweight, but I blame most of it on my birth control) when I’d only gone in to establish primary care. She didn’t even have the guts to say anything to me about it. She just put it on my billing paperwork and submitted it to my insurance which then refused to cover the visit. Anyhow, she was terrible to deal with so I won’t be back.

With the whole healthcare shakeup, my Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance was cancelled so we moved to Molina, which is partnered up with Presbyterian Health. I had my doubts about my new doctor because she’s based in our small town and we’ve had mediocre experiences in the past. The visit didn’t start out the best, I was nervous, which brings out the worst in me, so I was nearing panic attack levels after being in the waiting room an hour past my appointment time. My blood pressure reading was terrible as a result. The reception staff apologized and explained what had happened when we came back the next day for my husband’s appointment. Part of why I waited so long is because the doctor actually spends time with her patients. They did let one woman go ahead of me because she was elderly and had to be to another appointment.

Once I was seen by the doctor, she was very understanding and eager to help. I’m currently taking 20mg of Prozac (down from 40mg in August) and take Lorazepam as a rescue medication on rare occasion for panic attacks. She understood my desire to get off pharmaceuticals, but also that I may not be quite there yet. She’s going to run a thyroid test for me just to make sure there isn’t a physiological reason behind my anxiety. She recommended going to the herb store where I already shop in search of herbal options, which I really respect. She was intrigued that turmeric and omega 3 oils were helpful because they are anti-inflammatory.  She also is going to do some pharma-genetic testing to see what medications will work best for me since we still aren’t sure if I’m bipolar, have anxiety or something else. She and I agree that I don’t present as typically bipolar, but that there’s definitely a problem somewhere. I feel pretty good about my chances of finally having a diagnosis and possibly a better treatment plan.

My husband went in the next day and came out with a clean bill of health, she even said he was in the top 5% of healthy people in the county. She gave him some food for thought on quitting smoking from her own experience, but didn’t push him on the issue. She told him she doesn’t really need to see him for another 5 years unless he gets sick or decides he wants to quit smoking.

Atlanta Trip

•March 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Over Valentine’s Day weekend, I won a trip to Atlanta with my best friend, Tamara. They covered our airfare, hotel and gave us a $200 visa card. We flew out Friday morning before dawn to arrive in Atlanta by noon.

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Us before dawn. Damn Tamara for having her eyebrows done at 4am. We both struggle with anxiety, but somehow managed not to freak out during the trip. This is practically a miracle. When we arrived in Atlanta, we picked up our rental car. We got a veloster, which had a back up camera. I really want one now!

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Then Tamara did a lot of this:

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We headed right to the Georgia Aquarium, where we had special tours booked. I couldn’t get us tickets to the same animal encounters, but I got myself in with the otters and her in with penguins. Mine was scheduled first and she was able to watch through the otter enclosure.

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They taught us all about otters and got one out to show us his tricks. We got to pet the otters paw and nose. It was a lot softer than I imagined it’d be. For a reward for letting us pet him, we got to feed him clam popsicles and take pictures with him.

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Right afterwards, Tamara had her penguin encounter. They did those in the back, so I didn’t get to watch, but she got a picture too.

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Once we were off a schedule, we explored the rest of the aquarium.

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After all this excitement, we headed to our hotel and ordered up some Chinese food with GrubHub. Which I highly recommend. It’s so easy!

On Saturday, we got up and got breakfast at Highland Bakery, which was crazy packed. We followed that with second breakfast at Cacao Atlanta. We got some sweets to take home, but the main thing was their sipping chocolate.

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I somehow got a parking ticket with the car in full view of the shop front. Oh well, I have to give props to Atlanta’s apparently Ninja parking enforcement. Next we headed to Jeju Sauna in Duluth for a good soak.

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We didn’t get any pictures inside since the baths are all nude. We ran around naked and soaked in the hot pools for awhile. I almost ran into the common, co-ed area where the saunas are, but Tamara was smart enough to read and get me to put on our little prison outfits. They had several saunas in the co-ed part, where you could go lay on straw mats and sweat. We checked out the gold and silver room since it’s supposed to help neuroses. They had a carbon one and a gem one that had a whole ceiling of amethyst crystal. We’d intended to eat there, but I wasn’t feeling any of the soups they had there, so we headed to Buford Highway Farmer’s Market. It’s kind of like a massive Ta Lin Market (a place we have in Albuquerque) it’s got all kinds of strange products. We had a blast looking through it all and got so much stuff we had to check a bag on the way home.

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We checked out Underground Atlanta before getting dinner at Legal Seafoods. Underground was pretty neat, they had an arcade down there, but I got the impression that it used to be a lot bigger. It seemed like a dying mall. I should have realized it was Valentine’s Day before going to get lobster, but it wasn’t really that bad.

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On Sunday, we hit the World of Coca Cola first thing and tried a bunch of gross sodas from around the world. They did have some pretty cool visual effects including a 360 degree projected screen that moves to create doorways. It was willy-wonka-esque.

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We stopped a Scott Antique Market on our way to the airport, but everyone was in the process of packing up, so we didn’t hang out long. Our flight got us home by 9 Sunday night.

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The vacation’s over face. Atlanta surprised me. I’ve only ever been through their airport and it’s always been horrid. The people were nice, the weather was a little cold, but we missed the worst weather, the architecture was beautiful and we had a blast.

Tamara’s Birthday

•March 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Back in February, my best friend/lifemate had a birthday. I went down to Albuquerque to spend it with her. We went out to dinner at BJ’s and got her a Pizzookie.

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We had a good ol’ sleepover and since her daughter had an early release day at school, we picked her up and headed into Albuquerque for lunch. Ta Lin Market has food trucks set up every Wednesday, so we went there to try some new grub. I got something called bibimbap from a Korean food truck. Tamara got her daughter a smoked turkey leg (she’s a tiny hardcore carnivore) and a strawberry shake.

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Then we went inside. Neither of them had ever been to Ta Lin Market before and had a blast. We bought all kinds of weird crap to try.

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It kind of turned into a game of find all the dirty looking stuff, but we got some mangosteen and rambutan to try. I ate a chocolate covered bug and we all had our fill of strange carbonated drinks.

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Then we hit the indoor flea markets for some shopping and goofing off.

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