Sunday, July 6, 2008
I visited the MD on Thursday per hubby's request, but I thought the exam was a waste of time and money as his assessment of my PITA or booty pain was inconclusive at best. He determined that my symptoms represented classic sciatica and promptly prescribed the following: No more long car trips in the near future (okay, Illinois, I'm a captive audience), twice daily stretching exercises, no heavy lifting (hubby is hereby sentenced to grocery shopping with me for a while), heat pack on the affected area (hmm, sounds good), and drugs (of course; what else are MDs good for?) which include Feldene and Flexeril. I am following the first four instructions faithfully, but in all good conscience, I cannot continue taking the drugs. The Feldene is not as effective as ibuprofen, and it produced some heartburn. The Flexeril (taken at bedtime) promptly knocked me out, but it gave me brain fog the next morning. I'm probably already perilously low on brain cells. I don't need to lose any more. Luckily, I couldn't find a local pharmacy open Thursday evening, so I didn't suffer any ill effects until Saturday. Friday (July 4), we decided to visit some fairly local attractions: Stoneface in the Shawnee National Forest (Saline County) and The American Fluorite Museum in Rosiclare.
We found this site on the way to Rosiclare by consulting a book we purchased about ten years ago, Fifty Nature Walks in Southern Illinois, written by Alan McPherson and published in 1993. Unfortunately, hard economic times and a federal policy of "letting things go" have rendered the trails nearly impassable. There seems to be a Catch-22 mentality operating here. Visitors are welcome but may be discouraged by the roughness of the terrain.
We found the site with some difficulty. Apparently, the local kids must take some perverse pleasure in removing directional signs from the road, and the Forest Service does not regularly inspect or service those signs or the roads leading to the trailhead.
We finally made it up to the top of the trail to view what we think might be the Stoneface. It doesn't look like the picture in the book, but the photo there was taken from an aerial vantage point.
Maybe it's a good thing the trail is difficult to negotiate. Otherwise, this monument to Josh's indiscretion might be situated on the relatively undisturbed rock face. We found this mess in the parking area, probably a favorite haunt for local youngsters. Josh, this is no joke. Clean it up!
Here are some specimens of the booty we discovered in the mining spoils at The American Fluorite Museum.
Hubby got me interested in minerals a long time ago (30 years, to be exact) when we first met. Both of his parents were avid gem and mineral collectors, and they encouraged his interest in geology, his profession for the past 28 years. We seem to have come full circle at this point in our life together. He was recently hired to explore for oil again in the Illinois basin, something he did way back in the early-to-mid-80s, before the price of oil plummeted and the oil industry crashed. Neither of us is happy about the high price of gasoline now, but we are thrilled that he has a chance to finally work again in a field that interests him and potentially will benefit our family finances.
Fluorite, a cubic, crystalline mineral, comes in many colors, including this lovely shade of blue. The color is produced by impurities in the mineral deposition. I rather think this specimen's beauty is enhanced rather than spoiled by its impurities.
Apparently, someone else thought the blue specimen was worthy of photographic depiction.
Per hubby, this is a "geologic map showing faults and folding of the subsurface, and the most prominent feature on the map is Hick's Dome, a large circular upheaval caused by igneous intrusives. The fluorite found here was created by minerals deposited over time in the cracks which opened up during a cataclysmic event precipitated by magma flow upwards through the rock layers."
I insisted on bringing home a few tiny specimens (pictured above) from the spoils pile outside the museum, and hubby obliged me by picking through it. Though the price seemed cheap to me (one dollar per pound), hubby says he remembers a time when his parents purchased museum-quality, fist-size and larger specimens from one of the Rosiclare miners for 25 cents a pound. That practice of profiting on company time would be grounds for dismissal in any business now, but back in the day many miners supplemented their incomes, and the practice was acknowledged but ignored by company officials. The price of fluorite then was high, profits were soaring, and a little moonlighting could be overlooked. Rumor has it that the cheap Chinese fluorite which flooded the market and eventually necessitated the closing of the mine may become too expensive to import because of rising fuel prices. Maybe the wheel has also finally come full circle for the economically depressed town of Rosiclare.