Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Scavenger Hunt 5 - The Final Countdown

Here are the last of my Scavenger Hunt photos:

#4 People Playing a Board Game - well it can't get more literal than this game of Human Chess at the Maryland Renaissance Festival!

#10 - A College or University.  This is Bucks County Community College (or rather PART of it) which is literally across the street from the development I live in... which explains why it took me so long to get this photo, right?
#11 - A cellular tower.  Another one that is across a different street from my development - near the high school property.  Looks ridiculously out of place.
#14 - A traffic signal.  Also within a half mile of my house. So why did I wait until the last day of the hunt to take these photos??? Beats me.
#21 Photo of me... Well, me taking a photo of me writing out my sign!
And that's it.  I got all 21 plus a couple of the alternates. And the rocking chair is coming....

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

So how many of you out there in blog land have been waiting with baited breath to find out if I got my 30th anniversary diamonds?   Or had you just completely forgotten about it?

Well, wait no longer - yes, I did!

 I had been telling Jay for the last year that I wanted an anniversary band for our 30th anniversary.  He really didn't get it.  Shortly before our anniversary, he was offering to buy me a $100 vintage copper pot. Silly boy!

When I went to the shore in July with my sister Deanna, we scouted the jewelry stores. I fell in love with a blue topaz ring that reminded me of the color of sea glass at an expensive store up on the boardwalk. It was a gorgeous oval cut with lots of facets that reflected the light beautifully and was surrounded by tiny diamonds. Alas, not a very practical ring - the stone sat high and would catch on everything. It was more of a dress up ring than an everyday ring. And I really wanted an everyday ring.

We spotted this beauty at Artisan's Alcove in town.  Artisan's Alcove specializes in estate jewelry and this particular ring is from the 1920's in a vintage art deco style.  I love the filigree on the sides. The round center diamond sits low and is well protected by the setting.  I decided that if the ring was still there when our family went back to the shore in August, this would probably be the one.

Fast forward to August 16th, our first full day at the shore. Right after breakfast I dragged Jay to the shops in town.  The ring was still there! He didn't really even say much, just handed over his credit card. Luckily for both of us, this ring was very reasonably priced!
Getting a photo that really shows off the beauty of the ring was harder than I anticipated. This comes close.

It is funny, now that I have the ring, I am constantly moving it to my right hand. It just feels more comfortable and natural there. So now I'm thinking about having my original rings (engagement ring, wedding band, and wrap) resized so I can actually wear those too.  I've resized them before.  But consider this ... my ring finger was a size 4.5 when we married.  It's now an 8 or 8.25.  I guess it makes sense that I've had to resize more than once.  I don't think my fingers look fat... but numbers don't lie, right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

THRIVE - the Summer Review

WARNING - this a LONG post and very photo heavy at the end!

I'm trying to stay accountable to myself for the things I have set out to do. THRIVE is a big word. This is what thriving looked like in June, July, and August...

1. Read A Book:  Thanks to beach reading, I've totally knocked this one out of the park!  In June I finished THRIVE by Arianna Huffington, and two novels Heaven is for Real and Silver Siren.  In July I read Mad Dash by Patricia Gaffney and, on the recommendation of a website for Outlander fans, The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley.  Both were worthy novels. I have a couple more Kearsley novels on my "want to read" list.  I miss Outlander...  In August I finished off Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin (Karen's recommendation and I totally agree that I learned a bit about myself in the reading.  I'm clearly an Obliger and need someone outside myself to hold me accountable for my goals. The downside of being a people pleaser.) and four trashy summer romance novels.  I think it's a record for me!

2.  Try A New Recipe: In June I tried a crock pot pulled pork recipe.  In July, I contented myself with trying new things at restaurants. I can't remember a specific new recipe to have tried. In August, it was OMG Chicken.  Basically bake chicken with sour cream and parmesan cheese on top.  I didn't think it was all that OMG - more like meh. :)

3.  Declutter:  Can you say OVERACHIEVER?  This is the one area where I made huge progress. But if you look around my house, you can't see a single thing that looks less cluttered or more organized. How's that?  I spent the Summer working on decluttering my digital life. What did I actually accomplish?
  • Cleared out work email - from 581 MB down to 556 MB (nearly 500 MB of that is information on a legal matter that I am required to retain).
  • Cleared out home email - from 164 MB down to 118 MB (may not sound like much, but that is a LOT of deleted emails!)
  • Went through my yahoo email account.  It had gotten so unwieldy with junk mail that I hadn't touched it since March. I deleted over 1700 emails and unsubscribed from 46 different companies that were all sending me ads to buy more stuff... I don't need that temptation!
  • My downloads folder (temporary storage for all the digital supplies I buy). I hadn't unzipped and filed these purchases in nearly a year! I started with 41 gb of information represented by 25,613 files in 1,652 folders. I filed or deleted until this folder was down to ZERO!
  • My digiscrap supplies folder started at 135 GB represented by 73,545 files in 4,653 folders.  Then I ADDED most of the stuff from my downloads folder above.   I forgot to record the total at that point. Then I started going through and deleting supplies I would never use and consolidating folders.  I am currently at 105 GB represented by 63,966 files in 3,367 folders.  Given the 25,000 files I added at the outset, this means I've deleted nearly 35,000 files!  I'm not through the entire external drive yet, so this number should continue to trend downward. This has been a real lesson in how much INVISIBLE STUFF I own that hasn't been used yet.  It has really made me think hard about buying any more digital products!

4.  Complete An Unfinished Project:  See Decluttering Above. As much of a project as I can take on right now!

5. Improve Flexibility - I'm holding steady at 5" from the touching my toes.  (I was briefly at 4" but lost that advantage once my therapeutic massage stopped.)  I'm going to have to work a LOT harder to make any progress on this one.  

6. Scrapbooking - My Favorite Five - I'm tossing in the towel on this one.  I haven't done this since March.   

7.  Photography - I've been participating in Rinda's Summer Scavenger Hunt.  And I took tons of sunrise photos while on vacation. Otherwise, I haven't been doing much in the way of improving my photography skills.  Kim Klassen's class is still simmering on the back burner. 

8.  Art Journaling - The closest I've come to art of any kind in the last three months is making the Altered Art Bottles during the Summer of Color challenge.

9.  On the Wellness front - I started this year with such high hopes. This was going to be the year I would finally lose weight and kick my sugar addiction.  Instead I've struggled with a sudden and unexplained weight GAIN of twelve pounds over three months earlier in the year, constant hunger, erratic periods (which frankly I am too old to be dealing with!), and a lot of illness this year.  I joined a fitness class in June. In August, before my vacation, the teacher retired.  I'm still waiting for them to start a new class at a time I can actually attend.  My chiropractor just advised me that my insurance will no longer pay for my visits since I am on "maintenance."  Not sure how that works since my plan is supposed to have unlimited visits.   To say I am discouraged with my progress on the Wellness front would be an understatement.  But I'm not giving up. 

June documentation.

The OLW assignment was to write out answers to a progress questionnaire. I did it, scanned it, and added little photos of it in my planner.

July's OLW assignment was to add cards about songs that are speaking to us right now. I placed this in the June section because I had the space and they fit better than than in the July pockets.

June Gratitude Page

July documentation

Totally forgot I had completely cleaned up my craft space in July! :)

Shots from my trip to the shore with Deanna.

July Gratitude page.

August documentation.   What a month!!! That little bit of turquoise leather is from a new purse.

I had a banner week for steps while at the shore!

The OLW assignment for August was to document things we are grateful for.  Couldn't have picked a better month for this one!  Since I don't have a fancy cutting machine, I printed the Thankful title on regular printer paper and did some old fashioned fussy cutting.

August gratitude page.  And oh yeah - I cleaned out the freezer after the girls went back to school! Lots of really OLD stuff went in the trash.  Another project where the decluttering is pretty much hidden.

And there is my summer in a nutshell! I can't believe we are already halfway through September and it is already starting to feel like Autumn around here. I'm so not ready.   Are you???