Office Dog’s Abuse of Power, Oh My!!

Rainier as a Pup

Rainier the Wonder Dog, ’cause everyone wonders what kind of dog she is!

See that sweet puppy face over to the right? Doesn’t she look innocent? And kinda funny with her short legs sticking out at odd angels and one ear flipped back?

You would never know that this wonderful creature, Rainier by name, could be a stone-cold abuser of office dog power.  Alas, my lovely puppy had a dark streak hidden beneath her velvety fur!

The following video is not for the squeamish at heart or of stomach! I warn you!! And I am NOT responsible for any snorted coffee or tea spat across your keyboard! (Okay, maybe you won’t find it as worth of such incidents as I believe it to be, having experienced the coffee up the nose, myself. But then, I think practically everything Raini does is wonderful, lol)

The video quality stinks, but I still hope you enjoy! 😀

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Lost and Regained

A friend of mine, Allison, blogged about losing writing then getting it back. At the end of the post, she then said she’d “love to hear your stories about dreams that you have thought were lost that you are getting back to or when you have realized a dream.” I wrote the following in response to that, because, Yes, I’ve been there!!!

I am an artist, no two ways about it I love to create — visually and sculpturally as well as writing, I wrote my first book at about the same age you wrote yours. Then I discovered clay in our pasture… and once I had a horse of my own, both lessened as I spent every free moment during daylight with the equines and nighttime reading.

But I always wanted to be an artist (like my dad) and still did a fair amount of watercolor and copious numbers of drawings. Off to college I went and earned a BFA in studio ceramics and planned to take some time to build my portfolio for entrance into an MFA studio ceramics program.

AND Life Happened!

I ended up spending 2 years in wretched pain, unable to move much. This was my first serious autoimmune flare, although back then it wasn’t recognized as such. Alas, with the pain went any chance of working in clay… I thought I’d lost the love of my life forever. Painting is great, but clay RULES. I couldn’t even hold a pencil or pen for more than a few seconds. Even so, I thought up story after story…but never got very far with most of them.

AND Life Happened!

The flare broke, and I was courted by someone who had gone to the same church as my family, when I was still too young to remember. He was charming and suave, and good-looking…. and eventually I was firmly on his hooks. The experience with this master manipulator (and later discovered to be a serial killer) was one that should have ended in my death at his hands, but my mom knew something was off — something was wrong — and she got help to break me away from this man’s control.

AND Life was Happening Again!

I decided, since health-wise I was still on shaky ground, to help others…especially those who were being manipulated into giving pieces of themselves to another. So I picked up the necessary undergraduate classes, plus a bunch of social work classes before beginning my Master’s in clinical psychology.

Working on my MA was one of the best times in my life! I had a graduate assistantship, which was actually fun, learning (which I love to do), and most evenings I was painting again.

After earning my degree, I went out into the big bad world to earn my living. I had hoped to begin work on a non-fiction book that I had begun planning soon after getting away from that manipulative killer. But a day doing therapy or psychological testing leaves you little to no energy for much else. Especially as I worked mainly with sex offenders and adult victims of molestation.

AND Life Happened!

I eventually burned out. For the next several years I took temp jobs and entry-level jobs doing physical labor, and my mind began the process of putting together that non-fiction book on extreme interpersonal manipulation. It got written…took years of research and I have no idea how many drafts, but it was written.

No publisher wanted it, though. I may be good at the creative end, but marketing is something I have had to learn. I hate it. It shows,  suspect.

Looking back, I see how horribly dry the writing was; I was writing to two very different groups of people — the professional mental health crowd and the average person-on-the-street. Because of that, the writing stank. The info is golden, but the presentation has the stench of a three-day-dead codfish sitting under a sink. (And yes,I kinda want to rewrite it again and try again to get a publisher interested At some point.)

All this time, however, I was writing other things as well, this time on a website I owned, designed, and coded. Topics ranged from cooking to how to ship artwork to (of course) extreme interpersonal manipulation.

IN the Meantime, Life Happened!

I was working direct care for a DDA (developmentally disabled agency) — I did one 48 hour shift (with sleep time) over weekends for a nonverbal man with a history of behavioral outbursts. (Because of my background in psych, I usually was assigned to homes with more behaviorally disturbed folk.)

My sister, one day, was casually looking over what opening there were at for Guides (experts)  in the various topics, She saw they had a posting for a psychology guide (as they were then known). The next day I went online to apply, but there was no listing for a guide to psychology…. but there was one for pottery!

I sent in my sample and was approved to go through the next phase of training, before a final decision would be made as to whether I would get the job or not.

I GOT IT! Which meant, I GOT CLAY BACK!!! Proceeds from that job paid for a new wheel and kiln. Oh, the rapture of being at a wheel again, listening to the clay and having the clay listen to me. It was like the rejoining of long-lost soul mates!

So now I got paid to do two of my most favoritest things! Clay and writing! It was through colleagues that I found out about NaNoWriMo, and through NaNo I found so many new friends! AND…. I finally know the story I want to tell, and I believe for the first time I have the chops to write it the way it is meant to be written,

After all, I’ve only tried to write a credible novel…oh, say…..fifteen times before this!

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So What’s in a Surname?

I have taken the surname Tustone here on my blog…which is an outgrowth of  birch2stone. Which… well… it could mean that I am petrifying. I do love birch trees, always have, and I love petrified wood (which is a type of agate), so that might not be all that bad, lol.  Or perhaps I’m petrifying to other people?? ~WEG~ That has been said once or twice, or more, within my hearing. *evil chuckle*

But really, Two Stones comes from my real family names. My father’s last name (and my own) is Peterson. Son (scion, daughter) of the rock. My mother’s maiden surname was Keesling. A decade or so ago, I went looking for the meaning of the name, only knowing it was from what is now in the east-southeastern portion of Germany. Turns out it is an affectionate or diminutive form of gravel or pebbles.

Well, that didn’t seem too impressive! But then a bit more digging and I discovered it was a term used during the late Middle Ages to denote master masons, i.e. stonecutters, stone carvers, sculptors, architects, and so on. Now, loving to sculpt in stone (although not as much as I love clay), this made me happy.

So…. The bones of the earth runs in my veins from both sides of my family! Two stones! Solid. Dependable. May be a bit cracked.

What’s that you ask? Oh! Why change it from Twostones to Tustone? First, it looks cleaner. Second, it still allows the first possible interpretation, that I may be moving toward becoming a lump of rock. And third, I was inspired by a website I once used a lot when trying out trial versions of software I might want to get — I haven’t been there, other than just now to see if they still exist, in well over a decade, but… a good name gets remembered!

Okay! So there you have it! The reason you may find birch2stone aka Birch Tustone, running around the web! I sure as heck ain’t running IRL!! 😉

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I ~AM~ Birch


“Fall Birch” oil painting by Beth Peterson, all rights reserved

I have found myself at one of those points in my life when things have to shift a bit, lol… Mainly, recognizing that it is a season for standing still and doing standing still kinds of things, like observation, writing, and such, rather than flying  the creative winds where ere they blow…and using energy I don’t have right now to do it. 😉 It’s all good, and in a real way, a relief as I relinquish that feeling that I need to keep *doing* rather than keep “being”.

I am, in fact, claiming my name. Seriously. My given birth name is Teutonic for Birch, as well as being one of the Celtic spellings for Birch. I ~am~ Birch! (We’ll get to my surname in a bit….)

Not only does my name mean Birch, which I have known for decades, but I just very recently found out that I was born in the month of Birch. Yes! The first month of the year in the Ogham tree calendar is Birch!

So. I am Birch born in Birch.

But the interesting (to me) stuff continues. My parents had a completely different name picked out for me. It wasn’t anything like Beth. (And yes; my name is Beth, not Elizabeth or Bethany or any other variation.)  But… once I was born — in the midst of a DC blizzard, no less!! — when I was given to my Mom she looked at me and said, “Her name is Beth.” No if’s. No and’s. No but’s. But also no middle name, so the family scrambled around for a suitable one for me.

I’ve often wondered why my name was so given to me. It really does feel to me that it is a name given, and there is significance in that giving and in the name. But then again, I could just be a tad crazy, rofl.

Hm. So what does the birch tree symbolize? Well, the Celtic meaning is an interesting mixture of stability, renewal, transformation, adaptability and growth. Birch trees are the first to recolonize burnt out stretches of forest… boldly growing where no tree has grown before (well, after that big fire, anyway)! They are the first to bud and leaf out in spring. They are incredibly versatile when it comes to human usage, for everything from some of the best natural tinder in the world, making containers, canoes and boats, and even provides sweetening!

Wow. That’s a lot to live up to!! No wonder I didn’t really claim my name until now.  … I mean, even in high school I was making stationary under the name of Birchhome, so I kinda claimed it, but now I’m claiming it!

It has become my personal totem, if you will, just as the blue pegasus was before, the phoenix was before that, and a horse was before that. Each of these changes have marked some pretty profound changes in my life. I suspect that this time I am marking the change before I know what the change will fully end up being and where it will take me.

So, I am Birch. Pleased to meet you! Welcome to my changing world! 😀

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What’s your favorite type of rock?

Fairly obviously (I at least would think) my favorite tree is the birch. I love them, in all their varieties! So I am not even gonna ask you that question. Instead, I am going to ask, What is your favorite stone?

As for me, I like all of them! But, if you nailed me down…um, but not really, please!…. I’d have to say my favorite type are the igneous rocks. I love the high drama of lava being spewed forth and forming aa or other of the volcanic stones. Basalt is so cool, especially when it cleaves into octagonal ‘pipes’, and granite is just so much fun to study; I spent hours looking at all the different parts of this one stone!

But hey! That’s just me! I would greatly enjoy hearing why you chose the type of rock you did! Just throw down a comment!

Oh, and if you would like to explore more about rocks, one of the best web pages that will get you to all sorts of info is Rock Picture Index: Master guide to rock pictures and descriptions, written by Andrew Alden for

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