Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Between turning 30 and defending my PhD thesis, I've achieved quite a few serioues life milestones (and most of my life goals set when I was in high school) this year. Going to grad school was pretty much my only life goal at 18, and I'm glad to say I've surpassed that rather short list with some additional worthwhile achievements.
My year of fitness has gifted me with the ability to do real push-ups, and just generally kick ass. On my recent trip to Prince Edward Island I found myself constantly thankful for the fact that my body could handle pretty much any hiking goal or siteseeing feat without even having to consider whether I was capable. Because I was always capable. Taking care of your body while your mind simmers in PhD stress has its benefits. When shit hits the fans, it's time to push yourself physically so you can dwell on muscle soreness instead of fruitless nonsense worry (I'm looking at you, current and future PhD students).
Last month I also moved out of the campus office that I've been in for 2-3 years (very sad). And Jim and I are even moving out of Pittsburgh (even sadder). At this very moment, we're packing to move across the country for a job I've secured in Palo Alto, California (very exciting). Pittsburgh has been lovely to me, but as I've been telling Jim for the past five years...we've gotta go sometime! We're excited to see what new adventures we'll get to in the Bay Area. Our vacation to Yosemite + San Francisco in 2011 was fantastic, and we're really looking forward to spending more year-round time in the outdoors.
To top all that off, four months ago, Jim and I became engaged in Ronda on our family trip to Spain. Maybe I will write the story up at some point, but for now I'm enjoying hoarding it for my nearest peoples. Jim and I are not real big fans of the ring Olympics and so for the moment, I'm also hiding my pretty estate ring underneath some photoshopped pizza. Because it's nice to have someone with whom to split your 2-larges-for-$14 Pizza Hut special with FOREVER. This is why Jim also needed an engagement band, so we can both look at our left hands and think fondly of pizza.
Man, I love pizza.
We bought my ring from an estate jeweler (with a totally awesome, extensive online website) just outside of Pittsburgh. She's been in business forever, but in this renovated chicken coop for only the past 18 years. Yes, a chicken coop with an absolutely stunning collection of estate jewelry. If you're near Pittsburgh, you should go just to marvel at the tremendous span in jewelry taste (might I recommend the four belt rings Marlene had at time of writing, which was apparently on fleek in the 1950s). I have a thing for the two-toned abstract florals of retro modern style circa ~1940s (like this beauty). Needless to say, my sweet ring has some awesome side filigree and lovely engraved leaf work. It also happens to be single-toned, the only retro modern single-toned ring we saw that we liked.
Estate rings are a nice way to ensure that no one else must suffer to produce another diamond, and to somewhat reduce the twenty tons of mine waste produced for a gold ring. But then we went out and bought Jim a new two-toned gold band. So. Everything in moderation.
Jim's been in China so much lately. We picked out our rings in the three days he had between Spain and a third trip to China. I went to Prince Edward Island, and when I returned I picked up my resized ring. I think I may've stunned Marlene a bit when I insisted on wearing the ring out of the store. I'm assuming it's decently common to see couples pick out a ring together, have it resized, and then do the proposal later...but we had already been engaged. 'Just a bit ring-less. Someone needs to alert the staff that it's possible to get engaged without a ring ;)