Good evening fellow surfers of the web waves.
Have you ever been looking for a specific item online and as you're searching another thing catches your eye? Maybe it's a result listed just beneath what you're seeking, you click out of curiosity, and suddenly it's 3 hours later and you now know everything there is to know about tsunamis when you had only set out to find a new pair of shoes. I'm easily sidetracked & pretty much live online for my job so it happens to me ALL THE TIME.
And since I've got nothing but ALL THE TIME in the world on this dreary, socially distant Sunday I decided to settle in & tell the story of my favorite internet rabbit hole... I swear we'll get to the big-boobs-lady part of it, but first a little context at how the internet journey leading me to those honkin' double Zs began:
PART 1: Meet Virginia
My Mom's mom, Virginia, was one of the most important people in my life. She was smart, stylish, kind, ahead of her time, independent & had traveled the world. She was also a night owl like me & when I was a kid staying at my aunt's small Poconos vacation house we'd stay up well past midnight in the room we shared chatting about anything & everything. I can't remember too many other adults who had conversations with me like that. She was always supportive & rooting for me to succeed.
Unfortunately in the final few years of her life I was stationed in California and when I was on my first deployment I received a Red Cross message that she had passed. It wasn't entirely unexpected and I understood the duty that kept me from attending her funeral, but it still broke my heart that I couldn't be there. I loved her a lot (still do) but due to the circumstances at the time it was one of those things I just had to push back in my mind & keep moving forward from.
Now, in the many years since I've returned to civilian life & moved back East I find myself still having moments where I feel sad about that and miss her, and worry that I'm starting to forget things that I'd like to tell my own kids & grandkids someday (should that ever be in the cards for me). I wanted to find some small items to keep within every-day sight to reminded me of her.
For my other grandparents I have a gold bracelet, some Irish knick knacks, a tiny banjo (complete with tiny banjo case!),... but what could I get for Virginia?
At her home in Delco she had all sorts of neat collections. There were books, arrowheads, a screened-in patio with a menagerie of wind chimes bonking & tinkering around and among other things, geodes.
PART 2: Rabbit Hole Rocks
The reason Virginia had these geodes around her house was because she grew up in one of the biggest areas for them in the U.S., Keokuk, Iowa. In fact, there's even a kind called the Keokuk Geode, which is what she had because it was her own family that had dug around for them. (My great grandfather was the town veterinarian & in writing this blog I was jazzed to see that the animal hospital he started is still there today.)
Though I thought they were beautiful I wasn't quite sure what the deal was. Looking into the start of a rabbit hole I wondered, "Well... what exactly is a geode?"
They're hollow, round rocks lined with crystals like quartz & amethyst and they can be anywhere from the size of a golf ball to two feet across (the volcanic kind can be much larger). You crack 'em open and get to be surprised with what's inside.. There's joy & beauty in the break. So poetic!
In this case, Keokuk Geodes were formed 340 million years ago when clumps of mud began to harden around organic materials and over the years that middle material dissolved leaving a hollow space where quartz could grow. For early settlers of Iowa geodes were so common that some noted they were strewn about the ground like "potatoes in the field". There's even an old bridge made out of 'em.
And there's plenty left to be found, so like my great grandparents did, people still enjoy 'hunting' for them today near rivers, flood plains & excavation sites. At spots like Geode State Park anyone can come in & test their luck.
I thought that was all neat so it was settled; I'd buy some geodes to decorate my apartment with and they had to be from Keokuk, Iowa.
The search was quick; tons popped up right away. In fact, there were even sites that would ship a bunch for you to crack open so you could be surprised by what you got... A midwest oyster of sorts. (I wound up getting these for my nephew and Goddaughter one Christmas. Parents love anything that involves their child swinging a hammer around.)
Before I bought one though I wound up falling past it...
I've still never been out there & visiting that town has been on my bucket list for a while now. What if when I went there I went digging and that's how I got one? What does 'hunting' them really entail?? Curiosity took me off course and away to YouTube I went.
Part 3. Boob Tube
I typed 'Iowa geodes' into the YouTube search bar & scrolled for a video that showed how people find & dig them up there. It was only a few scrolls down that, much to my delight, I spotted another type of orbs...
This one seemed a little bit different than all the videos of geology folks & guys in wading boots digging around with their kids & whatnot. No brainer, I clicked.
Donning jeans & a blue bikini top, a woman known as Teresa Rocks shoveled into muck while a gent named Matt chiseled away nearby.
"This is how we dig for iridescent geodes," she says, bending over to reveal a sprawling lower back tattoo with a butterfly at the center. As a fellow stamper I loved this woman immediately. Throughout the short video the camera guy, who I believe is her husband, keeps zooming in on her chest.
When the video ended they'd each found a geode and my face looked like this:
AND THERE THEY WERE! THE DOG & BETH CHAPMAN OF GEOLOGY!!!!
Howdy. We are David and Teresa from Central Texas. Rockhounding is one of our favorite pastimes. We have been to Central Arkansas hunting Quartz Crystals and Wavellite, up in Rush, Arkansas hunting Smithsonite and Northern Missouri canoeing the Fox River for great Geodes as well as Western Illinois and SE Iowa hunting Geodes and Fossils. We also sell fine mineral specimens from around the world.
I would leave no stone unturned on this dynamic duo. I went back to their YouTube page to learn more and there were HUNDREDS of videos dating all the way back to the mid 2000s. It became clear pretty quickly that she and her husband were extremely savvy salespeople in the gem/mineral biz…
Some of the videos even had YouTube mandated warnings before you could click (which I think Is ridiculous, #freethenipple). Warnings on geode videos was not something I ever expected when I began searching for a rock that reminded me of my grandmother…
I also loved that randomly sprinkled between dozens of geode videos plugging their E-Bay page would then just be a strip of 10 - 30 second clips of her working out at the gym, or riding a horse or dancing with a pool cue or jogging down a hallway… Brilliant.
And the comments were just as inspired and hilarrrrrious as you'd think they'd be…
Going even further down this rabbit hole I discovered Teresa also collected other things & was looking for people to add to her antique can collection on her site, killercans.com…. Bravo!
And I know I'm rambling and going overboard on describing my findings here, but that's the joy of a rabbit hole. Once something has truly piqued your interest you fall in & there's no stopping you. In a way I can't quite describe the surprise of finding all this brought me a lot of joy. If you ask around the office I still bring it up and this rabbit hole was over a year ago now. (Sorry guys.)
I do have to admit though, as I was writing this I started to worry… I didn't want it to seem like I was making fun of Teresa or was just sitting here making her seem like nothing but 'BOOBS!'. But I don't think I need to worry. Reflecting on this reminded me of an old Dolly Parton interview where Barbara Walters, referring to her look, asked,
Do you feel like you're a joke, that people make fun of you?
And Parton replied:
Oh I know they make fun of me, but actually all these years people have thought the joke was on me, but it’s actually on the public. I am sure of myself as a person. I am sure of my talent. I’m sure of my love for life and that sort of thing. I am very content, I like the kind of person that I am. So, I can afford to piddle around and do-diddle around with makeup and clothes and stuff because I am secure with myself.
You can laugh all you want & she'll laugh along with you. She gets all the buzz & makes all the sales.
Teresa Rocks seems to have a great sense of confidence & humor about herself, too. So cheers to you & your killer cans Teresa Rocks, wherever you are.
Finally veering off Teresa Rocks I wound up going down some other paths and was then totally derailed. I logged off for the night, went to sleep and life went on. I was so distracted I never got the Keokuk Geode… (Disappointing after all this buildup, I know!) Then a few months later I was shopping in a HomeGoods of all places and stumbled upon one for sale. (Geodes are legit a hot decorating item right now & have been for a minute.) I bought it and now it sits on my windowsill next to my bed.
On the downside it's not nearly as meaningful as one from Iowa would be and it doesn't look any better with my boobs behind it (sorry).
BUT it is still a reminder and it really does make me think of my Granny. On a livestream I did the other night people asked me what it was and it felt good to tell them why I had it. I also know that one of these days I'm going to make that bucket list trip happen and I'll visit my great-grandfather's veterinary clinic, drive the area she knew as a kid and find myself a Keokuk geode to replace this one, and I like to think she'll still be rooting me on when I do.