Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday, Oct. 17 - Follow-up

This is a "follow-up" to my big metal detecting find on the trip. (Refer to Aug. 27 post). I found this object on the property of my aunt and uncle in Monroe, New York, in the foundation area of an old carriage house that had burned down a long time ago. After some discussion, we finally decided it must be some sort of door knob, with the slit on top being the keyhole. (the other side had a short shaft-like projection). I could make out the letters "Q.R.S. Co" on it and I did a brief Google Search to see if there was ever a hardware company or doorknob company called "Q.R.S." The only company I could find was some kind of music company that had that name and I couldn't see any connection with doorknobs with them. And that's where things stood until I got home.

But after much research on the computer since I've been home, I have finally discovered what the circular metal thing REALLY was. It is NOT a doorknob. It is the end piece to the music reels made by the Q.R.S. Company to play in player pianos in the first two decades of the twentieth century (that's 1900-1920)! The company was located in Buffalo, New York. In this picture I found on the internet, you can see the same circular disks like I found on the end of each roll of music. I'm guessing the other end also had the same cap, and the tube the paper was wrapped around fit onto the protuberance that was on the other side of my piece. The paper had little holes cut into it, and as it turned, pneumatic tubes inside the piano were activated and the melody was played as the keys went up and down on the keyboard by themselves. I'm sure you've all seen a player piano. Anyway, I had a lot of fun finding it, researching it, and finally figuring out what it was --- kind of like a detective game. Maybe looking for coins or jewelry at the beach won't be the only thing I do with my metal detector in the future!

While I was gone for the summer, my husband Dave (who doesn't like to travel), started a new hobby: lapidary work. He is making beautiful jewelry out of rocks! He used to do some lapidary work before I met him and now that he is retired and has more time on his hands, he is going back to it. He joined the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society and signed up for a class specifically on cabachon-making (see below) and goes once a week and can use their equipment (at least until his early Chanukah present arrives next week!)

Dave started out tumbling small rock pieces in a rock tumbler which polishes them on all sides; you can see a few in the small white bowl at the top of this photo. But what he has really gotten into lately is making cabachon jewelry (see below) which he cuts out of rock slabs like those shown here. He finds the slabs in rock stores, on the internet, or at gem and mineral shows (which is where he is right now). He picks out ones that have interesting patterns or unudual colors. All the rock patterns are natural, none are painted.

This picture shows the progression of a stone from its original rock shape on the left (the rock on the left is a piece of petrified wood I had gotten for Dave at the beginning of my trip when I visited the Petrified Forest National Park). The big flat piece is called a "slab" which has been cut out of a rock; this is what Dave usually starts with. You can see the oval shape he has marked on this piece where he intends to cut the rough cabachon shape from next week at his class. Once the basic shape is cut out, the next step is grinding the sides of the piece until a smooth, rounded dome shape is obtained. Then he polishes the surface until it shines and the colors of the rock look their best. The last step is to mount it in a setting which can be hung on a chain as a necklace as all the ones shown on the right are, or a pin, bollo, belt buckle, bracelet charms, earings, etc. Then you wrap it all up pretty and give it to your wife! I like this new hobby of Dave's a lot!

The last few days of my trip, when I reached under my dog Juliet's belly to rub it, something didn't feel right. It almost felt like a new nipple had appeard in the middle of her chest. When I finally turned her over, this is what I found:

When I got home, I took her to the vet. She took a sample of the fluid inside this growth and checked it under the microscope. There were some abnormal cells there and she sent the sample out to a pathology lab for further testing. A few days later, I got the results. Juliet has a malignant plasma cell tumor. She is scheduled for surgery to have it removed next Tuesday. The only good thing about this is that it isn't a mast cell tumor which is what the vet originally thought it might be. A plasma cell tumor, I am told, is usually completely removeable by surgery with a wide margin around it and generally doesn't spread. So, please keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer for my little Juliet next Tuesday.

I don't like chewing gum. But when driving long distances, I do like to chew something and I found that jujubes work just fine (since all my dental fillings have been replaced by crowns which seem to stay on a lot better). Before I left on the trip, I ordered 14 pounds of jujubes which my calculations said would be the right amount. I was off; brought back about half. (Those are gallon size Ziplocs.)

Another "follow-up:" Remember back a few months while I was in New York and I fell and broke my left hand ring finger (see post of Aug. 27)? (This is what it looked like at the time.) It really hurt a lot at first and I kept it splinted for 4 or 5 days. Then, as it hurt less, I stopped using the splint and by the time I got home, I was able to use the finger pretty much as before (which wasn't a whole lot anyway, due to osteoarthritis).

Well, last week when I was seeing a new rheumatologist about the increasing arthritis pain in my left wrist and thumb, he ordered x-rays of my left hand. The next day I got a phone call from his office telling me that they were referring me to an orthopedic surgeon for the broken finger joint in my fourth finger. I hope that including this picture of the x-ray doesn't grosss anyone out. I think it's really neat to be able to actually see where the bone is broken and even more amazing to me is the angle the little bone at the tip is, relative to the direction it should be going (it should be pointing towards the tip of the finger which is bent to the right in this picture.)

The orthopedic surgeon I was referred to says that I had to keep
that last joint immobile and let the bone heal correctly. It is surprising that it really doesn't hurt unless I press hard on it. If it had kept
hurting, maybe I would have kept the original splint on instead of taking it off after a few days. Since I broke it 7 weeks ago, it would have been healed by now. Anyway, now I get to wear this nifty splint 24/7 for the next 6 weeks. Oh, joy.

I just had to include another picture of Philip and Ryan taken at family dinner night last Wednesday. They're just so darn cute! I don't know WHERE Philip gets all his curly hair from!

My brother Jeff, holding Ryan, is cute too.

We have a huge pine tree (huge by urban San Diego standards) that has sat in the corner of our front yard ever since we moved into this house in 1971, and I'm sure for many years before that. You can see in this picture its size relative to the neighbor's one-story house (approx. 60 feet according to the arborist's estimate). It is an "evergreen" and that was always its color: green. When I got home from the trip, I noticed that its color was now brown, as in dead brown. The arborist said it had succumbed to to the bark beetle and pointed out the numerous holes in the bark. He did not think it was saveable. So, next on our to-do list is getting this huge tree cut down and the stump removed.

"Next"(above) refers to the current problem of getting the kitchen sink unplugged --- hopefully without having to replace the sewer lines again --- the plummer has been here 3 hours today as I am writing this. Yesterday he replaced a pipe and put in a new garbage disposal which seemed to stop the leaking but overnight it developed another leak and so far today he has stopped that leak but now the water purifier under the sink is leaking and the faucet itself is making a strange squeeking noise when you turn it off. I suggested to him that maybe it was the sound of a can of worms being opened.....

So, as I say good-bye to this tree, I will say good-bye to you, my loyal followers, end this blog, and return to my "normal" life, with all its trials and tribulations,
....and start thinking about my next trip....

[how's that for a sappy ending?]

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