Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thursday Theme=Mineral

A mineral is a naturally occurring solid formed through geological processes that has a characteristic chemical composition, a highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. A rock, by comparison, is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids, and need not have a specific chemical composition. Minerals range in composition from pure elements and simple salts to very complex silicates with thousands of known forms. The study of minerals is called mineralogy.---- Wikipedia

Uncut Tanzanite

TANZANITE, the gemstone variety of zoisite

VARIETY OF: Zoisite, Ca2Al3(SiO4)3(OH), Calcium Aluminum Silicate Hydroxide.
USES: Gemstone
COLOR: various shades of blue to lavender, deeper along the crystal axis.
CLEAVAGE: perfect in one direction
CRYSTAL SYSTEM: orthorhombic

Tanzanite is relatively new on the gemstone market, but has left its mark. Its blue-lavender color is rather unique and a wonderful addition to the gemstone palette. Found in Tanzania (hence the name) in 1967, it has since become a well known and widely distributed gemstone. It has become so popular that in October of 2002 the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) announced that tanzanite had joined zircon and turquoise in the traditional list of birthstones for the month of December.
It has better fire than the tourmaline elbaite or peridot and an adequate hardness. Its only one direction of cleavage is somewhat of a problem because it is oriented with the direction of strongest pleochroism. This would be a problem in most gemstones because that is the direction the gemcutter would usually select to maximize the color. However, with tanzanite the color is usually strong enough anyway.
Pleochroism is very pronounced in tanzanite and is seen as three different color shades in the same stone. In the viewing of a tanzanite stone from different angles, the colors dark-blue, green-yellow and red-purple can all be seen as a result of the pleochroism. Lesser stones may have a brownish color due to the mixing of blue, purple and green. These stones are usually heat treated to a deep blue color. Iolite is a blue-violet gemstone variety of the mineral cordierite, has strong pleochroism and can be confused with tanzanite. However, iolite is usually less strongly colored, its pleochroic colors vary from blue-violet to yellowish gray to blue and it has less fire.
Nearly all tanzanite has been heat treated to generate the beautiful violet-blue color this stone is known for. When first mined, most stones are a muted green color. The only known source of Tanzanite is a five square mile hilltop at Merelani, ten miles south of the Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania. ---Google-Minerals by NameThe Beautiful Land of Tanzanite

How I Came to Love Tanzanite
Five years ago I spent a week in Jamaica attending my youngest daughter's destination wedding. Needless to say a good time was had by all as our family from the USA gathered together for a glorious time. While there I went to the jewelry stores in our hotel looking for a blue sapphire ring, but an absolutely beautiful tanzanite with diamonds ring caught my eye. After looking at it on several occasions I purchased it on the day I departed Jamaica. This ring has become my second favorite piece of jewelry, my first is a diamond cross my oldest daughter gave me for Christmas nine years ago. It is the ring I wear practically all the time along with my mother's ring which has two garnets, two aquamarines and one topaz. I travel a lot and one of the things I always seem to come home with is a piece or two of jewelry(ring or earrings).

This is my tanzanite ring

To all People who loves Nature

Dear travel agent take money for the ticket,
enough for two first class return tickets,
to fly to a beautiful land of Tanzanite!
Respected pilot when do we start the flight,
a flight to the beautiful land of Tanzanite?
She has been waiting for me day and night,
waiting over there at Dar-es-Salaam Airport.
After breakfast at Kilimanjaro mountain top,
i will give her a wedding ring of Diamond,
before a wedding at the cornerstone church.
On a huge Ostrich we will take a free ride,
while watching animals in Ngorongoro park,
then a motorboats ride in the Victoria Lake.
I will buy her a special Tanzanite bracelet,
just before honeymoon in the Zanzibar Island.
We will eat fruits in the Masai Grassland,
then visit the mines of Diamonds and Gold.
We will visit the historical Olduvai Gorge,
while eating fish from the Lake Tanganyika.
Yes Tanzania the beautiful land of Tanzanite!
Edward Paul Manega


click here to listen to the new ICA Gemstone Song... (Flash PlugIn required)

The air is crystal clear and here comes the sun
Sending fire opal rays to chase the chills
Silent jasper Mountains know night is done
Fancy light fills the cabochon hills.

Aquamarine sky hosting glittering clouds
Wind is blowing - they sail lazily.
Throwing million dots of sparkles around
Like golden dust trapped in lapis lazuli.

Listen to the colors, follow your heart,
Let us come together now,
From violet to red love traveled a mile,
We're coming and she's showing us how.

Citrine shore relaxing yellow and warm,
Small hematite fish play in the waves.
The sea is deep velvet blue sapphire
Cradling pearls inside their oysters.

Juicy mandarin fruits and amethyst grapes
Are growing between emerald leaves'
Tsavorite groves sread longing faacets on the earth
"Tanza-night" falls - fancy sapphire sun leaves.

This day is a Gem - saying one thing for all:
Love in you, I am them, calibrating hearts to this call:

Listen to the colors, follow your heart,
Let us come together now,
From violet to red love traveled a mile,
We're coming and she's showing us how.

While opal moon escorted by topaz stars
Paints an onyx trail to the milky way,
Morganite cheeks with marble teeth smile
And hand you poppies red like ruby, like spinel, saying:

Listen to the colors, follow your heart,
Let us come together now,
From violet to red love traveled a mile,
We're coming and she's showing us how.

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Day of Spring

Today the first day of Spring has finally arrived. The sun is shining, but it is cold here in Connecticut, we even had some snow this morning. Spring is my favorite season of the year, because everything emerges from its long winter sleep. This year it has been a very long, very cold and very snowy Winter. Wishing all a healthy and happy Spring. I hope you find one of the following works of poetry pleasing.

A Prayer in Spring Robert Frost (1915)

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Lines Written in Early Spring William Wordsworth (1798)

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:--
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

812 Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Theme Thursday=Ode to the Artichoke by Pablo Neruda

click to see a picture of a artichoke

Ode To The Artichoke
Pablo Neruda

The artichoke
With a tender heart
Dressed up like a warrior,
Standing at attention, it built
A small helmet
Under its scales
It remained
By its side
The crazy vegetables
Their tendrills and leaf-crowns,
Throbbing bulbs,
In the sub-soil
The carrot
With its red mustaches
Was sleeping,
The grapevine
Hung out to dry its branches
Through which the wine will rise,
The cabbage
Dedicated itself
To trying on skirts,
The oregano
To perfuming the world,
And the sweet
There in the garden,
Dressed like a warrior,
Like a proud
And one day
Side by side
In big wicker baskets
Walking through the market
To realize their dream
The artichoke army
In formation.
Never was it so military
Like on parade.
The men
In their white shirts
Among the vegetables
The Marshals
Of the artichokes
Lines in close order
Command voices,
And the bang
Of a falling box.

With her basket
She chooses
An artichoke,
She's not afraid of it.
She examines it, she observes it
Up against the light like it was an egg,
She buys it,
She mixes it up
In her handbag
With a pair of shoes
With a cabbage head and a
Of vinegar
She enters the kitchen
And submerges it in a pot.

Thus ends
In peace
This career
Of the armed vegetable
Which is called an artichoke,
Scale by scale,
We strip off
The delicacy
And eat
The peaceful mush
Of its green heart.

Translated by Jodey Bateman

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thursday Theme=Animal

I wrote a little about the deer a couple of weeks ago, but I thought I would write something else about them for our Thursday theme.

The pictures of this deer were taken through the window of my dining room. He was there in the hill behind my house with the other members of his herd. There are seven deer in the herd. Everyday they pass through twice a day. Generally, they come over the hill in the morning making their way down until they cross to the undeveloped land across the road. And they make the reverse trip late in the day. Occasionally they are on the move through before daybreak. If you are like me you know the story about Bambi, so you hold the thought of deer with fondness. Now they are beautiful to look at, but they are very destructive to the landscape.

Every spring I love to plant flowers and perennial plants. And every year it is a challenge to keep the deer from eating them. Hosta is one of my favorite perennials and they are also a favorite of the deer. Another favorite of mine is impatiens, they like those as well. Several years ago one of my neighbors told me to buy a watering can and fill it with water and egg. So I buy eggs just to deter the deer. It works as long as you remember to put the egg water on the plants after it rains. We even go as far as pouring the egg water all along the perimeter of the property.

I gave up planting tulips years ago. I remember spending a fall day planting three dozen tulip bulbs while wearing two orthopedic boots for double partially torn Achilles heel. That was no easy task. Come Spring the plants came up and were growing nicely. I could see the plants from my bedroom window. One the evening I could see some red beginning to show on the tulips. The next morning I got up, went to the window, opened the blinds and all I saw was stems. Now I couldn't believe what I was seeing, so I went and put on my glasses and took another look. Sure enough there were only stems sticking up, the deer had eaten every single tulip bud.

This is what happened last year. I have a large flower pot that sits on top of the well cover. I had filled the pot with red impatiens , green and white vinca vine, and a tall green grass. All summer everything grew beautiful and lush. They were given an egg water treatment all summer, than for some reason I didn't keep it up. One morning I went to the bedroom window, opened the blinds and the flowerpot only had a green display. The deer had feasted on only the impatiens. I didn't put on my glasses this time, because I have seen this too many times in past seasons.

The deer don't limit their feasting habits just to my summer flowers and plants. They have destroyed all the Yews that were once planted as foundation plants. And this winter they have eaten every leaf off the three Rhododendrons that are planted in the Hosta garden.

Its guaranteed you will never see ornamental deer and the lighted deer of Christmas displayed at my house.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tagging is Going Around

I have been tagged by lovely Cinnamon
  1. Put the link of the person who tagged you on your blog
  2. Write the rules
  3. Mention 6 things or habits of no real importance about you
  4. Tag 6 persons adding their links directly
  5. Alert the persons that you tagged them

So here are 6 things about me which I have not mentioned before:

  1. Blue is my favorite color.
  2. I'm allergic to most things, but I keep it under control.
  3. While on vacation in Rome two years ago, I left my camera bag in a taxi. I lost a Canon SLR Rebel camera, lens, memory cards, a Canon Digital Video Camera and Mini cassettes.
  4. I am a lover of cats, but I don't have one at the moment.
  5. I cook most types of food, my adult children always request me to make lasagna.
  6. I'm a packrat.
The people I'm tagging are:DeboHobo, granspeaks, listen2auntie, mycastleinspain, willowmanor, j

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Winter Walk on a Springlike Day

It's been a long cold winter. On Monday at my house there was eight inches of snow and all week the temperature has been in the single digits and at the highest in the low 20s. But today we have temperatures in the 60s. The sky is sometimes blue, the sun is sometimes shining and the birds are singing. It is an ideal day to go for a walk. I just could not wait to get out there. So I will share with you some of the things I saw while taking a wonderful two mile walk.

In my excitement to start the walk, I didn't realize I didn't have on matching shoes. I had intended to wear the Ryka's because there are numerous puddles along the road. I had already walked down my long driveway and part way up the road when I came to the first of many puddles. I looked down to not step in it and to my dismay I realized I had on two different shoes. The Skeecher on the left and the Ryka on the right. If my driveway wasn't almost 300 feet up hill I might have gone back to the house and changed them. I just hoped I wouldn't see anyone I knew as I continued the walk. I did pass a father and his children walking the dog. Hope they didn't notice.

Along the road there is a very curvy section, but it is the most beautiful section of the road. At that point a brook flowing down the hill crosses under the road.

Because the snow is melting the brook is quite full. There is nothing so relaxing than seeing and hearing a babbling brook.

Babbling brook

Fruits of last season still cling to the plants along the road.

I have walked up and down my driveway many times over the past 45 years, but I had never seen this, a jawbone with teeth still in place. It probably belonged to a cow or horse. Back in the late 1930s or early 1940s Grandpa-in-law drove livestock back and forth over the land and to this day there is a noticeable trail that runs across my property. In the past we have found other bones along the trail, never along the driveway.

Daffodils poking up through the soil. Can spring be far away?

Jumbo Allium cracking the soil, they are waking up to greet the Spring.

"Spring could it really be coming? Is it possible I won't have to sit out here is the cold and snow much longer?"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday Theme=Glass

Materials made by cooling certain molten materials in such a manner that they do not crystallize but remain in an amorphous state, their viscosity increasing to such high values that, for all practical purposes, they are solid. Materials having this ability to cool without crystallizing are relatively rare, silica, SiO2, being the most common example. Although glasses can be made without silica, most commercially important glasses are based on it. The most important properties are viscosity; strength; index of refraction; dispersion; light transmission (both total and as a function of wavelength); corrosion resistance; and electrical properties.
Chemically, most glasses are silicates. Silica by itself makes a good glass (fused silica), but its high melting point (1723°C or 3133°F) and its high viscosity in the liquid state make it difficult to melt and work. To lower the melting temperature of silica to a more convenient level, soda, Na2O, is added in the form of sodium carbonate or nitrate, for example. This has the desired effect, but unfortunately the resulting glass has no chemical durability and is soluble even in water (water glass). To overcome this problem, lime, CaO, is added to the glass to form the basic soda-lime-silica glass composition which is used for the bulk of common glass articles, such as bottles and sheet (window) glass. Although these are the main ingredients, commercial glass contains other oxides (aluminum and magnesium oxides) and ingredients to help in oxidizing, fining, or decolorizing the glass batch.---Sci-Tech Encyclopedia

Thirty-five years ago I had the daunting task helping my mother-in-law clean out her parent’s house. Amongst all the furnishings there were some favorite things I like. What are they? Items made of glass. I knew I couldn’t take it all to my house. And I had about two weeks to decide which items I wanted for myself and for our children. To learn more about the different types of glass sent me on an investigative search at our local library (the one in the theme two weeks ago). Searching through numerous books I learned there are cut, pressed, carnival, Tiffany and many more types of glass. Armed with the knowledge acquired I was able to make many good selections. I have been able to use the selected items during holidays and while entertaining.

I have chosen a mere four of my favorite pieces of glass selected to photograph for this week’s theme.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Time to Eat

Last week the snow had finally melted. I looked out the dining room window and not too far from the house I had the treat of watching a herd of deer. These deer always pass through, but they had stopped to have a meal in the hillside. At least this time they were not eating my shrubs. Oh yes, they have eaten every leaf off the Rhododendrons. Not to disturb them, but to be able to capture them I had to take these pictures through the window. At the end the one deer I was concentrating on decided to look at me for awhile before running off further up into the hills.