Just a gentle reminder to all of you out there to be careful of your precious hands!...I am pretty grateful of mine after all these years, and especially the unusual amount of work I have expected mine to carry....and they have done well for me....but I did finally get myself an injury, born out of rushing, not paying attention, and figuring that "just doing this one little thing" won't hurt!...jewelrymaking is hard on your hands in the best of situations. I was setting some peridots into gold ( very hard metal!) for a competition I was invited to, and the stones arrived late, literally hours before the pieces had to go out overnite express. Rather than take the time to set things up properly in my GRS benchmate clamp ( which by the way, is the best tool ever invented!)...I held the little buggers right in my hands, bracing them on my bench block. I woke up the next morning to two swollen thumbs, and let me tell you, this opposable thumb thing really IS what sets us apart!...try living without them...I dare you!...we just take them so for granted! Make a long story short, when they finally calmed down, I had little round bumps in the three joints where you see the band aids here...I finally went to the hand surgeon to get them checked out, and after a lovely discussion about medicine and the soul, spontaneous healing,the importance of a positive outlook, and 3 cortisone shots I was on my way, after being told to rest my hands for 3 days...they hurt like crazy right now, so I wouldn't want to be doing much at the moment anyways. Hopefully these little cysts I created, because I was rushing and not paying attention will go away now.... The moral of the story, I think, is that there are no shortcuts in life....there is a reason why, if we are paying attention, we accrue more and more knowledge as the years go on....and when you ignore stuff that you already know in your heart, in the name of possibly just getting some free publicity, or anything else that is not that important in the big picture of things, well...you can sometimes get a little burned. This feels like my own personal reminder to always SLOW DOWN and pay attention to what I am doing....so...in a way, this little 'bump' in the road, for the short term will be a good thing for the LONG term....a reminder to pay attention to the BIG picture, not the little one!namaste!