Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Serendipity Shines

Thought for the day:  It's a bizarre but wonderful feeling to arrive dead center of a target you  didn't even know you were aiming for.  [Lois McMaster Bujold]

The stones found in our first scoop of pay dirt.
Ms. Bujold is absolutely right, and what she's describing is what I'd call serendipity, which Lawrence Block defines as Look for something, find something else, and realize what you've found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for. 

Have you ever experienced something like that? Happens to me all the time.

As mentioned in a couple previous posts, for our forty-fourth anniversary, Smarticus and I decided to celebrate our golden years by going to the north Georgia mountains for a few days to try our hands at gold and gem panning.

 I promised to tell you today what kind of gem I picked to have cut, polished and mounted for a necklace. Although tempted to go with the large emerald, I decided on a garnet. Surprised? So was Smarticus. Before I show you the finished product, and tell you why it turned out to be such a serendipitous choice, how about some fun facts about gems?
  • Sapphires come in all colors of the rainbow, not just blue. How 'bout that? And get this: know what red sapphires are? Rubies! Who knew?
  • Amethyst (violet) and citrine (yellow) are made of the same mineral... beryl. Excessive heat can change a stone's color from one to the other. (Hmmm, that'd make for an interesting necklace choice for a woman experiencing hot flashes, eh?)
  • Aquamarine and emerald also come from the same mineral.
  • Violet-blue iolite has the same polarizing capability as a pair of sunglasss. Allegedly, Vikings used to look through a piece of iolite to help them locate the sun on a cloudy day.
  • Ancient Greeks named amber from their word for electron, because if rubbed, it gives off static electricity. (I'll give ya some static if you rub me the wrong way, too.)
  • Fossilized tree sap must be at least 30 million years old to be considered amber. (Prior to that, I guess it's just stale sap.)
  • If you sand malachite, it can give off a poisonous dust.
  • When exposed to radiation, diamonds turn green. (Hmm, I wonder if there's an industrial application to take advantage of this quality?)
  • Marlene Dietrich was renown for her massive jewelry collection, especially her emeralds, which she wore in most of her movies. However, when hosting a dinner party one evening, she couldn't find her mega-carat emerald ring anywhere. (The report I read said 37.41 carats, but I find that hard to believe.) Anyhow, the ring turned up, safe and sound. Inside a guest's slice of cake. (I'm guessing there was no finders-keepers rule invoked.)
  • The word amethyst comes from the Greek methustos, which means not intoxicated. The ancient Greeks often made their drinking vessels from amethyst, in the belief that using them would prevent imbibers from getting drunk. (But offither, you muthn't arreth me... I'm methustos.)
                                             Okay, ready to see my garnet necklace?


Beautiful, isn't it? It has a deep reddish purple color, and no, I didn't pick it because the color reminded me of a nice glass of merlot. Okay, so maybe I did. So sue me. It's a pretty color. But in spite of my shallow choice based on a pretty color, choosing a garnet for the occasion actually turned out to be ... how shall I put this?... a brilliant choice.


Are you familiar with the Greek myth about Persephone? She was the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. When Persephone accidentally fell into the Underworld, Hades wanted her to stay and be his wife, but Demeter was so distraught, she said she wouldn't let anything grow on Earth until Persephone was returned to her. Before allowing her to leave him, Hades gave Persephone a pomegranate, the sweet fruit of the dead, in the belief that if she tasted it, she would come back to him. She ate six of its seeds, and as a result, she thereafter spent six months of the year with her mother, and the other six with Hades.

So what does that have to do with a garnet, you ask? The garnet got its name from the Latin punica garanatum, which means pomegranate... partly because the coloring of some garnets is similar to the color of pomegranate seeds, and partly because the ancient Greeks considered the garnet to be a symbol for lasting love, and would give them to their lovers to ensure their return.

See? A perfect anniversary present, right? Talk about serendipity! Sometimes serendipity is just intention unmasked. [Elizabeth Berg, The Year of Pleasures]

                                           Oh, and that's not ALL...



Here's a picture of three of our grandchildren taken a couple years ago. The cutie sitting on the toy car? Believe it or not, her name is...  Persephone.

Yep, serendipity out the wazoo.



Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer's daughter. [Julius Comroe, Jr.]

Serendipity is putting a quarter in the gumball machine and having three pieces come rattling out instead of one — all red. [Peter H. Reynolds]

Serendipity is having the good sense to fall in love with your best friend.  [me]

Oh, that necklace isn't the only perfect memento we brought home with us. We also found these smooching salt and pepper shakers in an antique shop. What can I say? I love whimsy.



                                    Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

When love feels like magic, you call it destiny. When destiny has a sense of humor, you call it serendipity.

99 comments:

  1. The necklace is gorgeous! This was an interesting post - I'd totally forgotten that story with Hades and Persephone. Thanks for the reminder. And a belated Happy Anniversary :)

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    1. Thanks. Glad ya liked it. I'd forgotten most of the Persephone/Hades stories, too, until our son and DIL chose the name for one of their girls. (I'm SOOOO glad they didn't go with "Hades" for their son...!)

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  2. Lovely necklace! Both the stone and the chain are stunning! Now I'll always think of you whenever I eat pomegranates. Sounds like you and your hubby had a wonderful anniversary! Wishing you both many more happy and healthy ones!

    Julie

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    1. I forgot to mention how adorable your grandchildren are!

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    2. Thanks! Wow, do you actually eat pomegranates? Cool! I vaguely remember trying it once as a young child.

      Thanks for the anniversary wishes and the comment about the kiddies.

      But MOSTLY thank you for the wonderful review you wrote on your blog about my book. Wow. Really, thank you.

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  3. Garnet is my birth stone - and they are beautiful. And the one that was facetted and mounting for you is a stunning example - and merlot is my wine of choice.
    Lovely necklace, gorgeous grandbabies and wonderful post.

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    1. When you told me earlier that garnets were your favorite, I had a feeling you'd appreciate this necklace. Reminds you of merlot, too, huh? Great minds think alike.

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  4. Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer's daughter. [Julius Comroe, Jr.]

    With my tongue plated firmly between my cheek, sounds like the plot of an x-rated movie.

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  5. Serendipity is saying, 'Yeah, I'm still busy but I'm gonna READ my blog reading list. Hm. What's with 'Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade'? Worth reading, always. What's going on?' I got treated to a talk on gems (always enjoyable - I love gems), a sidebar on some nifty stories about gems and some pretty laughable news stories. Good choice! Thanks!

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    1. Hi-ya. What's with "Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade?" People are actually BUYING it! Woo-HOO! And the lovely Julie (Empty Nest Insider... as seen in a comment above) posted a wonderful review about it on her blog today. Yeah, I know a bad review is inevitable, but I'll enjoy the warm glow while it lasts.

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Beautiful necklace and beautiful babies....

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  7. First of all, I LOVE Lois McMaster Bujold. Are you a fan of her work?

    Secondly, that is one beautiful garnet. I never knew the name came from pomegranate, and since I've only ever seen dull, reddish-orange-y garnets, I guess that's why. Yours is gorgeous!

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    1. Alas, I must confess: I'm not familiar with her work. I simply stumbled across the quote and loved it.

      Thanks.

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  8. And what is little Persephone called for short? Perse? Sephy?

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  9. Very very beautiful necklace. When I was in college I worked at a jewelry store and I really learned ot appreciate gemstones. I think my favorite will always be the emerald :)

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    1. Oh, very cool. Funny thing is, I was never one to much care about gemstones... or jewelry. These gems... and rocks, really... are special because we found them ourselves, and the necklace is special because my hubby had it made for me. The sentiment means a lot more than whatever stone is in it.

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  10. Now that really is a very special piece of jewellery - absolutely gorgeous. I love the pepper and salt shakers, too:-)

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    1. Thanks. Yeah, I really love those shakers. If I were to get into collecting anything, I think it would be salt and pepper shakers. Some of them are so adorable. (I know. What a cliched old lady thing to collect, huh?)

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  11. OH, Susan, I love this story. And the necklace is exquisite. And I'd love to have those salt and pepper shakers - so cute! Happy anniversary. 44 years. Oh my goodness.

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm glad you like those shakers, too. I don;t know what it is about them, but I'm always drawn to the salt and pepper shakers when we go into an antique shop.

      (I know... 44 years! I was actually a zygote when we got hitched.)

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  12. So no rub a dub dub
    Or stealing your grub?
    or you'll give them static
    Kicking them so hard they go to the attic?

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    1. You have a cat,
      So you should know that
      Rubbing the wrong way isn't good.
      One way earns you purrs,
      And the other earns grrrs
      And a cat in a very bad mood.

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  13. I guess serendipity is a logical extension of the quantum universe. Nice looking gem and grandchildren!

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    1. YES! That is definitely a classy way to consider serendipity.

      Thanks.

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  14. So now I've learned some more stuff.

    Beautiful Gem.

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  15. Serendipity is biting into a slice of cake and finding an emerald. Serendipitous unless you crack your tooth.

    Very informative blog post (as usual).

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    1. Yeah, I reckon even serendipity can have a down side for someone whose motto is "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."

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  16. Great post! Lovely necklace too :) Don't you just love it when everything falls together so perfectly?

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    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it. And yes, like the guy used to say on A-Team, "I love it when a plan comes together."

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  17. Hi Susan .. love the salt and pepper cellars - such fun .. and congratulations on 44 years - some great time .. and I love the necklace - would suit me!?!??? I'm a January girl - my birthstone ...

    But names and links .. funny how life works out ... I met a Persephone the other day, and Hepzibah ... two of those ..

    Gorgeous necklace though - stunning .. and I'm so pleased for you .. luverley!

    Have fun - Hilary

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    1. Oh, wow! You actually met someone named Persephone?! How cool. Nice to know she isn't the only one in the world saddled with that unusual moniker. HA! (Actually, it kinda suits her...)

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  18. I like the salt and pepper shakers, and love your necklace. I didn't know any of those gems of information. I think Persephone is a great name for a gorgeous little girl.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I'm glad you like the shakers. A little silly maybe, but they're just my kinda thing. Glad I could sprinkle a few gems of info on ya.

      Thanks. She's one of our real treasures.

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  19. Girl...you forgot to add yourself in that collection of gems!

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    1. Oh, how sweet. I dunno... the name sounds distinctively French, but surely, you've kissed the blarney stone on more than one occasion.

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  20. Love this post !
    So interesting and your dish of gems is fabulous.
    I adore Garnets. First because they are my birth stone and second because they are beautiful.
    I will now think of you when I eat Pomegranates and in several home I have lived we always planted a Pomegranate tree. In fact I am trying to figure out where to plant one now.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. It seems as though we have a number of garnet-lovers here on this blog. Cool. AND pomegranate-eaters! But I do believe you may be the only one who has ever grown them. (I KNEW you were unique!)

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  21. I've always loved garnet but never knew that story. Thanks.

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    1. It's a story I learned when I was in school, but that was a loooong time ago. It took a little bit of research to reboot my memory. Glad you liked it.

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  22. I'm methustos today - honest.
    Another fascinating and informative post. I have a collection of ancient rings - some of them are over 500 years old.

    Your garnet necklace is beautiful. Ironically, one my favorite rings had a garnet stone. I wore it for about twenty years. Perhaps we like garnets because we were born on the same day??

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    1. Good boy!

      Wow, five hundred years old! That's amazing. Maybe you can show some of them to us on a post someday?

      How about that? Could be...

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  23. Gorgeous necklace! And your grandchildren are absolutely adorable. :)

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    1. Thanks. We're kinda partial to the grandkids, too. Maybe one of these days we'll get 'em all into one big picture. Not likely, though, darn it.

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  24. That necklace takes my breath away, Susan. Your grandbabies are adorable too.

    xoRobyn

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  25. That's beautiful. Such a rich color! I never think of these gem facts and I don't know how many times someone informs of all this good info, and I never absorb it. Of course ruby and sapphire are the same stuff, they have star rubies. I have a star ruby! Wear it in good health Susan. And I love those s&p shakers!

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    1. I'm glad you like it. Oooh, a star ruby. A pic sometime, maybe? (And I haven't forgotten about posting a pic of my snake bracelet and ring... I've even taken the pictures. They're coming soon. Honest.)

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  26. >>... I didn't pick it because the color reminded me of a nice glass of merlot. Okay, so maybe I did.

    Hmmm...

    Reminds me of some Cabernet Sauvignon
    I've happily known.

    Very nice, regardless which fine wine,
    Yours or mine.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Thanks. And a much nicer color than mellow yellow beer. Or Fireball.

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  27. The garnet in your necklace is poetically sound. Permanent, and its pattern can't be further reduced --I believe that also describes love.

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  28. Stale sap...LOL!
    Garnet is my birthstone so I like your choice!
    Congrats on 44 years. :)

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    1. Golly, lots of people with January birthdays commenting today. Must be kismet I picked the garnet.

      Thanks!

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  29. Oh! The necklace is nothing but gorgeous!...happy anniversary! The smootching figures are the cutest!


    xx!

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you like it.

      I must have a thing for smooching figures. I have a Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus set that comes out every Christmas, and a couple of cute mice in a perpetual lip lock sitting on the mantle.

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  30. What a lovely anniversary present and meaning! It's beautiful!

    I love how you tied everything into your post! And that is so cool. I always thought sapphires were only blue.

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    1. Thanks. It was pretty neat how it all came together. (I'm telling ya, that garnet was meant to be!)

      I KNOW! I thought sapphires were all blue, too! Live and learn.

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  31. I didn't know that so many gems are "related" by being made from the same minerals. I knew that Amber is ancient fossilised resin, I have an amber heart shaped pendant. I didn't know that red sapphires are rubies, I thought they were a whole different gem. I like your necklace very much.

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    1. I didn't realize how many gems came from the same minerals, either, or that gems can come in so many different colors. Very neat that you have an amber necklace. At least thirty million years old. Amazing, isn't it?

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  32. Very pretty stone- I think a wise choice if for no other reason than it's uniqueness. Cute kiddos!

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  33. How cool to dig out your own gemstone.

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    1. Some people might think it was a strange way to spend our anniversary, but WE thought it was cool!

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  34. Gorgeous stone—and what an adorable picture!

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  35. Beautiful! And so is your Persephone :)

    I love serendipity, and it's one of my favorite words, too.

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    1. Thanks!

      Yeah, it's one of my favorite words, too. When our daughter was growing up, she even had a set of feel-good Serendipity storybooks.

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  36. What a gregarious post. I know, that's not what posts are but I want to say so much but time is playing tricks on me again. What gem hounds you and Smarticus turned out to be. Lovely, brilliant jewelry. Smarty and Smarticus. I have your book but can't get at it. The ranch sale is closing Friday and I have to get there today as the cleaning people are coming. I'll be relaxing when this is over. Until then, take care, dear friend.

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    1. Hi-ya, Manzie. Good luck with the closing.

      No one is more surprised at our new-found interest in rocks and mineral than WE are! (I didn't even LIKE geology when I was in school!) But it's something new to us, and it beats sitting on the front porch watching the grass grow.

      I'm so glad you have the book... thank you! I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think of it when you finish.

      Take care.

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  37. This is a great post, and I love your baby grand's name!

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    1. Thanks! It took us a little while to get used to it, but we love it now, too.

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  38. I always feel like I learn so much when I read your posts. This time a little mythology mixed in with a bit of geology. Plus, I love your necklace. Serendipity indeed!

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  39. That is a beautiful necklace! Those are interesting tidbits of information about gems, too!

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  40. I saw a pair of citrine earrings that I really, really liked but they were overpriced. $148 is way too much for little hiccups of beryl, right? No matter how they catch the light.

    Just out of curiosity, which one forms at higher temps -- amethyst or citrine?

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    1. I think $148 is a bit much to pay for a pair of earrings, but their real value depends on you, and how much enjoyment they'd give you.

      Citrine forms at higher temperatures... and it forms from amethyst. Natural citrine is rare; most that's found in the marketplace is man-made, and has been created by exposing amethyst to high heat. (Heating it to a lesser degree can turn it a deeper purple.)

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  41. Oh my gosh the necklace is gorgeous and I just loved the serendipity story. How perfect!

    Your little grandbabies are absolutely adorable. What a sweet picture. :)

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    1. I'm glad ya liked it, Julie. It struck me as so cool the way everything worked out. Serendipity, for sure!

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  42. My human friend, Susan,

    Yes, you guessed it, it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

    If I was like my silly human, I'd probably try some silly puns to relate to your story. However, I wont. I made a pawmise I wouldn't. My human, Gary says he knew a lady who wore a pearl necklace.

    Pawesome photos!

    Congrats on 44 years of bliss, I've no doubt.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

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    1. Thanks, Penny.

      I'm pawsitively happy to hear from you, because you're a real gem. Tell that person of yours hello for me. He has a certain luster, too.

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  43. How gorgeous! Love all of your treasures and of course that includes the gorgeous grandchildren too. Happy Anniversary :)

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  44. Wow - that is, indeed, serendipity! I remembered that your granddaughter was named Persephone and kept waiting for you to come to that part. A few months ago, I bought a handmade bar of soap that was called "Persephone." The poor woman had to hear all about "my friend who has a granddaughter with that name."

    I started your book, but haven't been able to read any in over a week. Traveling and visiting will do that - but I'll get back to it soon!

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    1. You're such a smarty. I'm impressed that you remembered her name. Then again, it IS kinda hard to forget... They're expecting a boy in August, and would you believe they're gonna name him... Atlas? Beats Prometheus. Ot Thesaurus. HA!

      I'm glad to hear you started the book. Can't wait to hear what you think!

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  45. Look for something, find something else, and realize what you've found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.

    You're practically describing my daily routine!

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    1. Good for you! It sounds like you're living a charmed life. (Or you're like me, and go into a room looking for one thing, promptly forget what the heck you went in there for, and then happily settle on something else...)

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  46. I love everything about serendipity. Even the word makes me smile when I say it. I love that necklace and how, well, how serendipitous!

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    1. Me, too! Serendipity is like the universe giving us a surprise present.

      Thanks.

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  47. What a pretty necklace! I love colored gem stones. My favorites are the ones in the blue family.

    I must have been under the hugest rock, because I had no idea you had a book out. It looks like something I'd enjoy. Adding it to my To-Buy-As-Soon-As-I-Have-Money list.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you like the necklace. Ordinarily, I'm attracted to the blues and greens, too, but I guess serendipity nudged me toward the red garnet.

      Nah, you haven't been under a rock. I didn't do a blog tour, so my release has been a little more low-key than in-your-face. Not that I don't want everybody to buy a copy or a hundred, but I didn't want to be too obnoxious about it, ya know? Thank you for adding it to your wish list. I do appreciate it.

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  48. Wow! Not only is the necklace beautiful, but the anniversary is as well. Panning for gold. What a fabulous idea! Something tells me from this post that you hit the Mother Load! Congrats.

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    1. Yeah, we did. We really did strike it "rich." We could've gone out to a fancy candelit dinner, but sifting through the dirt appealed to our adventurous side. And we had a blast!

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  49. Great post. And love the necklace-we are going shopping now!

    Nas

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