Saturday, November 27, 2010

There is never a good time.....

The heartbreak of losing a long-time pet might be lessened if you have an idea how their life will play out....

I found an informative article regarding the incidence of cancer(s) in Golden Retrievers ( My sister called me this morning to tell me that my mixed-breed Golden has been diagnosed as terminal and is currently under 24-hr intensive care at the animal hospital near their home.

My dog, Cagney, was a rescued from a family who couldn't (shouldn't) own a dog. They kept her as a young dog tied to a tree, often forgetting to feed her or bring her water. The neighbor asked to adopt her. When that neighbor moved, she could no longer care for a large dog at her new home, and I was able to adopt Cagney. When I went back to college, in 2003, Cagney stayed with my sister and her two dogs (both mixed breeds), and became well integrated into her family. My sister and her husband moved in 2006, with the dogs, to New Hampshire. I usually visit twice a year.

Cagney had suffered some lesions on/under her skin over the past two years. She had medication for them. My sister left for Thanksgiving vacation earlier in the week, and says Cagney appeared 'normal' considering the usual anxiety the dogs express anytime the family leaves. A close friend and neighbor pet-sit while my sister is away. The sitter noticed Cagney not eating and very lethargic. When the third day, she was not improving, the sitter took Cagney to the vet and called my sister with the news. The vet advised not to move the dog back home, as the cancer was making breathing difficult, and Cagney could be monitored better at the hospital.

I had read something about paternity-tests for dogs not too long ago, and wondered why would that be helpful to know. In that article, it was mentioned abut Golden Retrievers' elevated cancer risk. So, Cagney's situation is not a complete shock. However, it is always heartbreaking to lose a sweet-tempered pet that is such a loving part of the family. Most heartbroken will be her canine playmate, Lucy! I hope my sister will remember to play fetch and catch with her more often now that she has lost her best friend.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dreaming of Spiders... sort of

Last night, well, technically this morning after I answered the phone and went back to sleep, I dreamt about tarantulas. Not just any tarantulas, and many more than one... It happened like this:
   My friend and I were outside in the back yard making plans for an outdoor party. A character portrayed in the dream by the name and image of my ex-husband is checking out the grass and decides we need to put a picnic table at a location too close for comfort to a native animal's freshly dug hole. Indoors, he explains that tarantulas, oh look! there they are! Gray like a mouse, and not much bigger... are really not aggressive and he just likes to have them around. Apparently, this man is moving in with me but not as a romantic interest. Upon learning about the tarantulas, which are roaming freely about the house and climbing on me, I tell him this is not going to work. The tarantula that has climbed into my hand (not by invitation) senses my tension and begins to rear up in strike position. I toss it aside, and I make my point that the tarantulas will be a nuisance (and a terror) to guests. I remember feeling relieved that the moving process was not too far underway and he could easily move back to his previous roommate within a day or so.
   Keep in mind, I am not afraid of much. Spiders don't freak me out. The tarantulas did not freak me out even when they were climbing on me. I just did not want them wandering loose wherever they pleased. I worried one would crawl into the bed and I would roll over on it or startle it and be a victim of a nasty bite, or they would get into the pantry and into the food. Plus, I was worried my friends would be less relaxed if there were big hairy spiders and would set one off and become a victim also.
   So, non-weaving big hairy tarantulas that are not menacing but are nonetheless a nuisance, the idea of my ex-husband and myself on amicable terms, friends/family frequently invited to my house for food and fellowship.... I have never dreamt about tarantulas in the past. This is a  new symbol for me. Web-making spiders I understand, vicious spiders I understand (like snakes, mean animals)... and more than one. There is a message in the numbering. It is significant that there was not ONE spider, but several (not a throng, but maybe more than a few... maybe four or five? all mouse-gray... just alike).
   I am going now to look up gray tarantulas in wikipedia... I once dreamed of a white rhinocerous. Turns out the message in in knowing something about the animal (how it moves, hunts, eats, protects itself, etc). Maybe the tarantulas are a similar totem?

Happy Birthday, Jaran Stratton!

Repost: November 16, 2011...
Never give up on someone who not a day goes by that you don't think about them...

(Letter to long lost person of interest on his birthday, November 16, 2010)

Wherever you are, I hope life is treating you well! Even in the brief months our paths coincided, you made a tremendous impact on my life, more specifically: my spiritual life. The Christ Light shines brightly from within you. I admire your ability to remain composed under fire and your unyielding respect of others when they showed no respect to you. You inspired me to reach for the stars and to follow my passion.

 When we worked together, I was over-stressed, hungry and exhausted , and I could rattle off the most absurd ideas without conscious cognitive filtering. For that reason, and maybe others, you must believe I am a complete wacko. Perhaps, I was at the time. Now, I have been reborn, and I am amazed and embarrassed by some of the things I remember about those months.

 When we last spoke, I was preparing to enroll in astrophysics at a local university. Well, rocket science was a little beyond my aptitude, and I found I am well suited for rock science. I earned a BA in Geography/Earth and Environmental Sciences and am pursuing the dream to be an astrogeologist with NASA or USGS Mars research (in the future, at the moment I am taking remedial courses at State :) to meet graduate school admission requirements for a Master's in Geology)..I haven't honed in on a grad school yet...

I hope you periodically search your own name in Google or other places, and you will stumble upon this message. If you do, I hope you will take a few moments and send me a message on my Facebook page or some other venue. I miss you, especially those big blue eyes! I hope you are well, warm and fed.
God bless you always, Jaran!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Oh, I had a great day! A friend and I went LETTERBOXING! We discovered a total of nine (9) boxes today! I got the bug last night when I discovered a new box not too far away that had no recorded finds. My friend agreed we should go get it (discover it, stamp the logbook, and record the find). She and I took our individually designed and hand-carved stamps and our logbooks (and a few pads of ink) on our trek. We were too late to snag the bragging rights as first finders of the new box. However, the first finder left a special token/charm for the second finder. Awww! Touched. I might have to be more aggressive to finding new boxes and leaving consolation gifts to the second finder. (I mean that sincerely, although, I know you tried to read that with sarcasm!)

What's letterboxing, you ask? It is a globally popular pastime of planters and seekers (finders)! Information, rules of conduct, glossary of terms, and most importantly clues to the locations of the boxes, are found at I understand that Letterboxers of North America (LBNA) also has listings, although I have only used that site on occasion and sometimes atlasquest clues are redirected to the LBNA listing for that box.
To begin this inexpensive (except for car fuel) hobby make a stamp using a bar eraser (like the pink erasers) or purchase your signature stamp at any craft store (can get a coll one for $1. You just have to look) Next, you need an inkpad (I recommend one from the stamping section of the craft store, as office supply inks often bleed through the page) and you need a logbook... any lined or unlined journal or even a spiral-bound set of index cards.
Then go to read the code of conduct and, if you can agree to the rules, set up an account. Do a quick city search on your city to find location of boxes near you. Go treasure hunting! haha. The treasure is getting outdoors, doing a little walking, and finding pretty pictures to stamp into your logbook. Don't forget to stamp YOUR signature stamp into the box's log. Put the stamp and log back into their container and rehide where you found it. Go home and log in to atlasquest to record your find(s)!! (no spoilers! you can comment "Nice stamp!" but don't write "Oh! what a pretty butterfly!" because part of the treasure is the surprise of the design!)

This is a global hobby, and there are letterboxes everywhere you go! So now you can pack your stamp and journal with you whenever you are traveling, and you can look up box clues before you leave and you will have something inexpensive to do on your trip! Fun to show off stamps (more fun than some geocache stuff I have seen!)

Speaking of geocaching... Sometimes there are letterboxes in the same area. A letterbox is usually marked that it is a letterbox (on the inside), plus, it has a rubber stamp usually wrapped and placed in a plastic baggie together with a small notebook. Nothing else. So WHY would a geocacher think this is a GC box and take the stamp out? So, please put the stamp and logbook back. Oh, nothing else? Well, there is this thing called a hitchhiker, but I will let you discover that on your own!....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Voices in my head

That is nothing new. Voices in my head, I mean. Only, they don't usually all try to speak at once. I am stressing over registering for the Spring semester. As much as I love my new home business, it is that: a home business. I can only get out of it what I put into it, and if I am not putting in some time several days every week, the returns will not be earthshaking. So I am worried about paying for tuition next semester. I SHOULD be worried about paying insurance premium, cell phone, and student loan payments after next month. So I looked at my immediate inventory, you know, the stuff I have sitting around that I could part with. Hmmm. A few licensed items I could post on eBay. Nothing worth $50 or more. So what about crafts? I like to sew (I broke my sewing machine), and crochet, and I just recently taught myself to knit. How quickly (in my "spare" time) can I crank out some liquid inventory? Set up account on to sell handmade items.

So now on to studies: optical mineralogy. We did some heavier math situations today. To find the birefringence of a mineral, and use that data to determine the mineral, you find some 2V angle which is the difference between the Optic Axes (plural) and look that number in the table to start narrowing your options. This might take a few days to sink in.

Then, I read an article in our campus newspaper about some 30 year study that links the ratio of a nation's debt to their GDP (gross domestic product) to establish a "tipping point" at which the economy of that nation will start to decline... like a debt-to-income ratio for individuals. Turns out, 0.77  is the magic number. Just like in the real world, when your DTIR exceeds 75%, you are failing! (falling, failing...). You are already out of control. The US debt-to-GCP ratio is currently 84%. But "this shouldn't be overinterpreted," claims Thomas Grennes, professor in department of economics at NCSU. He states, "When the country spends more than it has, it will issue bonds." That will fix everything! Everyone, let's go out and purchase government bonds at low interest rates. Congress must get our budget under control (pay cuts in the Capitol are a start, I don't see how any of them deserve the obscene salaries they make! How many houses, cars, boats, vacation homes... do you have? )

Okay. Enough rambling. I must get to work on crocheting some quick crafts so I can post a few sell-able items . I need to take pictures of the 4 items for eBay ... pathetic... 4 items? that's it? I need more yarn!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My New Job

Okay, forgive me for being behind the times.... what exactly should a person blog about? Mundane details of the day? Maybe political rants (I have seen those!)? Am I writing to myself, or to please the reader? See, that makes a difference as to what I would actually include. Hmmm... let's start from the top:

I am no longer 30-something. I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up (any day now!). I want to be a planetary geologist. I believe that title has been reconstructed to "astrogeologist," for reasons unknown except now the title is one word instead of two. Longer titles make lower salaries? So, to get to that dream career, I learned I need at least a Masters in Geology. Wow. My Bachelor's degree isn't propelling me toward any great-paying jobs, but I CAN use it to fuel my graduate studies. Darn it! Graduate school costs an arm AND a leg! I also need to take the GRE (general requirements/graduate readiness exam different people refer to it by different names). To top it off, my undergrad did not include some of the core courses required for my new academic path. That's okay. The local universities (plural!) offer those courses, so I am safely enrolled for now. .... except I have a hard time working a 9-5 or 7-7 or 8-5 or whatever rat-race hours are out there. I need to work when I can work, and be off on the days I need to study, or go on a field trip, or visit my grandmother, or travel to visit with far away friends and family.

That's when I found PartyLite! I was a guest at a party back in the spring, with no money to actually buy anything. The consultant gave me a free "tealight" candle with her contact information and asked me to check out her website. We stayed in contact through the summer, and when I quit my second job since the party, I asked her to tell me more about this home party business. No startup costs!! I just needed to have a show at my house (or a friend's house) with $350+ in sales, and sign the paperwork! Okay, I also had to call up my friends to get 6 shows in the first month (or two months). I had 3 for the first month, and two for the second month at first, but then I discovered I can easily meet new people and get leads for new parties either at the parties or while I am out and about! If I have at least one show a week, I get a check every week from PartyLite! I control my hours and my income, and I learned quickly that (e)x EFFORT  = (e)xRESULTS!! So, if I put in only a little effort in seeking new prospects, I get small returns on my effort. Contact 3 people, maybe get one party scheduled. Contact 10 people, maybe get 4. Contact 20 people, maybe get 12!! It's not a perfect relationship, but rewarding! I earn from EVERY party, and my host earns a pile of free stuff, too! It's WIN-WIN for me, because PartyLite sends me MORE FREE PRODUCTS every time I meet a sales challenge! The challenges are ALWAYS attainable! I LOVE IT!

Oh, my!! I guess I enjoy my new job?! Ha Ha.. That's a first! code: X77W9T