The Midlife Makeover

Me…and a rock……in the desert.

I turned 50 in 2017. Never being one for big celebrations, my birthday came and went with little recognition from anyone. In my own mind, however, I had made a sketchy plan of where I had wanted to be in my life by the time I turned 50. Looking at that hazy dream, I realized that very little of it would ever be attainable. My health really put a wrench in the monkey works. But I had a new plan. I ALWAYS have a new plan!

My husband and I had been collecting rocks as a serious hobby since 2014. We ventured farther and farther from home and soon realized that , if we wanted to make the most of a three day weekend, we would need to purchase a trailer. So, in 2015, we bough a small, simple, jacked up trailer and followed our curiosity beyond the borders of Oregon and into Nevada and California. By 2016. we had acquired an 18 inch rock cutting saw and we started slicing into many of the rocks that were now forming piles around our property. Steve enjoyed this a lot, but since the beginning, his interest was focused, primarily, on thundereggs. While he was out-rigging our truck with a winch, stronger suspension and some serious off road tires, I was daydreaming about cutting my own stones to add to my jewelry designs.

So, on my 50th birthday, when we just happened to be a the local rock company buying a truckload of gravel, I wandered into the back garage and started eyeing the lapidary equipment. There was a new trim saw, a few larger old saws, two sets of grinding wheels from the 1950’s and a new, large flat lap. At the time, however, most of it was completely foreign to me. When the only mobile employee finally had time to answer my questions, I only had one. I wasn’t sure what a flat lap was for so when he told me that it was usually used for polishing thundereggs, my mind was made up. I rejoined my husband in the front, sales room and told him not to pay for the gravel just yet.

In the end, I purchased a combo grinder with two silicon carbide wheels, and expanding wheel and a flat sander, a 10 inch trim saw and, to my husbands near giddy approval, the 20 inch flat lap. Happy Birthday to me…and him.

Two days later, there was an ad in the local paper. Someone only two miles away was selling another combo machine but this one had diamond wheels. The price was more than reasonable. When we went to pick it up, the gentlemen who were selling it decided to get rid of all of the slabs they had as well and threw them in for free. NOW, I thought, I was ready to embark on a new chapter in my life. We were all set! I was going to figure out how to cut rocks. There was only one problem, however, we had no place to set up all these wonderful machines….yet.

It was a chaotic mess at first.

Author: Gillian C Bruce -Tangible Imaginings

I am an artist based in La Pine, Oregon. I have a degree in fine art with an emphasis in illustration. I have been designing jewelry for 8 years and recently began collecting and shaping stones in my lapidary. When I am not out in my shop making things, I am in my house crocheting or remodeling. In between all of that, I like to write and read. I have a congenital condition called Ehlers-Danlos so you might see mention of that here as well. Welcome to my pea soup of creativity life! Enjoy.

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