All about the rocks, our "staff", and the Tiger:
I started collecting minerals when I was about 10 years old. We lived on a farm, and the driveway was composed of gravel which had lots of small bits of colorful transparent and translucent material which I thought might be gems. In reality, the gravel had been contaminated with small pieces of glass which had been naturally "tumbled" during processing, but that explanation never occurred to me at the time. My Dad, hoping to get me interested in science, bought me a mineralogy text, and for next few years we spent many weekends collecting with a local club. He even helped me with a high school science project displaying fluorescent minerals under both longwave and shortwave UV - in 1958! If my Dad hadn't nurtured that curiosity about our farm's "gemstone" driveway, I'd probably be collecting coins or stamps - Thanks Dad!!
Over the years my interest in the hobby has waxed and waned, with family, work, and other hobbies pushing collecting into a minor role in my life; however, I never could completely clear rocks out of my head (or my basement!). When I retired from the corporate world, the kids out of the nest, I decided to start collecting again. However, as the collection grew, more and more space was subtracted from that available - hence the need to reduce the pile by a ton or two!
So now I'm combining mineral collecting, photography, and woodworking, trying to enhance and organize my collection (hopefully without digging into any retirement funds!), in an effort to make new friends and spend my free time creatively, productively, and happily.
I've been retired since May 2000, and I've had a lot of fun with this endeavor! Two large lighted display cabinets now house some of my "top-shelf" specimens, at least the ones which fit on a shelf; the remainder of my collection (somewhat over 1000 specimens) will be sold via eBay or this website, or traded with other collectors, as I find the time and energy to do the photography and logistics. I've met many new friends - customers, fellow collectors, and dealers - both in person and on the internet. As far as my free time, I've spent somewhere between 0 and 10 hours per day (the low estimate is mine, the higher one my wife's) with my rocks, camera, computer, and eBay ; I'm not sure how "productive" I've been, but at least it reduces the hobby's costs, and it sure beats "working".....
Here's a peek at the 2001 Tigerowner Minerals staff and support team (below left) - left to right, that's my wife Susan, my grandson Zachary, my granddaughter Melanie, and myself - what a motley crew! I'm the staff, and the others are my support team.... Update: the photo below right is what the team looked like as of August 2007 - it's obvious that some of us have shrunk a bit, and some of us have grown - a lot! I should probably update it again sometime soon (or maybe not!)....
When I started this hobby/business, I decided to put the picture on the left above on the website, as a way of involving my grandchildren - I originally hoped that one or more might be interested enough to actually follow me into the hobby..... I still have that hope, and so we've decided to add to the "staff" page all the grandchildren who have followed the original two above. The 2016 picture below shows two of them, Nate and Henry, both of whom have expressed interest in the rocks - Henry has a good start on his own collection! And we have three additional grandchildren, Mason, Maddy, and Luke - you can expect their pictures here as well (assuming they and their parents will permit it!) ..... BTW, the more observant of you will have noticed that while I am aging rapidly, my lovely wife has decided not to....
Finally, to answer an often-asked question: yes, I did own a Tiger - but it was the four-wheeled kind, not four-footed... And I sold it recently - when I had my knee replaced, I found I was no longer able to operate the clutch (not enough room under the steering wheel)! I still needed a toy of course (boys will be boys...), so I bought an old BMW 323i (below). It's actually a better performer than the Tiger (33 years younger!), but more importantly, it has a lot more room for the driver (that would be me) to operate the clutch... And no, I'm not going to change my handle...
Last note (really): If you're looking for the Ran(t)dom Blog page, I've decided to make access to it "on request only" (use my email link) - I just decided that leaving it connected so that "web crawlers" could index it was probably a mistake, given the current political climate in our country....
Jim Simpson (firstname.lastname@example.org)