Thing of the Week: My Great-Grandmother's Black Sapphire Ring, Claiming Golden Retrievers As My Lifestyle Gurus, An Agoraphobic Owl

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: My Great-Grandmother's Black Sapphire Ring

A few days ago I was digging through a shoebox looking for a shimmery white NARS eyeshadow thing. About twice a year I misguidedly attempt to execute a "snow princess"-y eye makeup look, which I fuck up, because I don't know how to do eye makeup. So I wash it off. 

I found the ring in the shoebox. I vaguely remembered having seen it before. I could tell it was expensive and didn't understand how it ended up in my shoebox full of literally the worst shit I own but I was happy to have rescued it. The stones are black sapphires, I love that, the idea of a black gemstone. So macabre! I love the idea of wearing a black sapphire ring in place of a mourning band. 

I assumed the ring had something to do with my mother, so I emailed her a photograph and asked her if there were any good stories behind it. She wrote me back saying that it belonged to my great-grandmother, my grandfather's mother, who died when my mom was a little girl. It's one of only two pieces of her jewelry my mom owned- the other, a brooch, was lost. When my grandfather went into the hospital for heart surgery ten years ago, my mother gave him this ring to hold onto. He lived. 

My grandfather died one year ago last week, but I didn't have much time to reflect on it because I've been working so much. He would have been happy to know how hard I'm working, how much I finally love working hard. He cared so much about work. I was unemployed for most of my early twenties because of anorexia and he didn't understand it and honestly why should he have. I wish I believed that dead people can see you from heaven because I know if he could he'd be so proud of me- I even sweep the floor! I don't believe that finding his mother's ring so close to the anniversary of his death is anything cosmic or a message but I am grateful I happened to find it at the moment I needed it most. My fam is big into jewelry as heirlooms and I've never really cared that much but now I understand it. I never knew my great-grandmother and she never knew me but she knew I would exist and I know that she existed. The ring I am wearing is the same ring she wore when she was wearing this same ring, and it's black. She didn't choose a basic old diamond or ruby or emerald, she went for the black sapphire. From this we can infer that she was not a dull woman. 

I relate to her morbid gemstone choice and I'm thankful her ring fits at all. I have terrible stocky peasant hands and rings are always too small for me. When he was alive my grandfather would often tell me that my hands were beautiful (which I thought was weird; my hands are pretty much the least-beautiful thing about me), and now I understand it. My great-grandmother's ring fits me. I have his mother's hands.  

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Claiming Golden Retrievers As My New Lifestyle Gurus

Last Sunday I went to Goodwill to get stuff for my new house and ended up with a nightstand, a cute trash can, a glass bowl in which to store/display my makeup, and an adorable book titled Love of Goldens. It's all about golden retrievers and it was an impulse buy; I mostly got it as a goof. But then on Monday morning, while having my eggs and tea, I opened the book up and started reading.

Love of Goldens is such a treasure*! It's full of such amazing sentences as "With the temperament of a teddy bear and looks as stunning as the latest Hollywood starlet, what's not to like [about golden retrievers]?" It's also very educational. For instance, I learned that a nineteenth-century Scottish lord named Lord Tweedmouth played an integral role in the development of the golden retriever breed, and that the first golden registered by the American Kennel Club was a Minnesota pup by the name of Speedwell Pluto.

My housemate John came into the kitchen while I was breakfast-reading Love of Goldens on Monday, and I shared with him the info on Speedwell Pluto and Lord Tweedmouth. 

"Are golden retrievers the most popular breed in the United States?" asked John, humoring me.

"Well, they're certainly the most beloved, John!" I seriously replied.

And then later on I decided that I'm going to claim golden retrievers as my new lifestyle gurus, since they're so happy and generous and always ready for fun. It's going halfway decent so far. BTW, my fave golden retriever is our old buddy Baxter. One time when I was hanging out with Baxter he knocked something over with his tail and I cried out "Baxter, what have you done?" and then my friend Tim sang "You made a fool of everyone..." a la "Sexy Sadie" and then I changed Baxter's name to Sexy Baxter. Which I guess makes Baxter the Maharishi, which brings the whole guru thing full circle.

*Speaking of treasures, yesterday LJ emailed me to ask if I was going to mention Treasure Buddies in my golden retrievers post. Treasure Buddies is a live-action movie starring actual golden retrievers; LJ and I found out about it when she was visiting in March and we went to Ralph's to buy Dunkin Donuts coffee and cigarettes. I think later on we watched part of Treasure Buddies on YouTube and I was annoyed that the Buddies were voiced by little kids instead of by grown-ups. I think it'd be at least five times cuter if the Buddies had grown-up voices. So based on the YouTube clip I possibly watched for about 30 seconds eight months ago, I give Treasure Buddies two and a half stars.

JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: An Agoraphobic Owl

Meet Gandalf, he's an agoraphobic owl. I actually found out and fell in love with him last week, but I have continued to think about him everyday. I've always been totally into the concept of spirit animals but truly had no idea what mine was. A cat? No way - I have a lot of trouble sleeping. Um, uh. I don't know! I've seen humans I considered spirit animals, like this one woman I saw eating popcorn with no hands just her mouth sitting front row at a Twilight movie. Love you girlfriend. After finding out an agoraphobic owl is a thing that exists I realized he is my spirit animal. An agoraphobic owl!!! It's absolutely truly my soul in animal form. Love you Gandalf. 


  1. I loved everything about this entry!

  2. Anonymous16.11.12

    Dang LJ I hope it's not an illusion because wellness just BURSTS from your writing these days. Like, vivacious.

    1. it's not an illusion! thank you for making me cry with that comment, claire. days when i've cried tears of joy before 11 AM are my fav.

  3. I'm pretty sure we watched the Treasure Buddies trailer at that place where we ate french toast on Blue Jay Way day?

    1. i was just thinking about that french toast! berry brioche. and there was that cute little boy with the hawaiian shirt.

  4. LJ, that was so beautiful. I really like the thought of owning something that belonged to someone I am connected to, even if I didn't know that person. I wear my great-grandmother's tiny diamond ring every single day and I never ever met her. It's still hugely important to me.

  5. I agree that the price tag of a ring isn’t the one that makes it important, but the memories of the people that owned it. And you’re certainly lucky to have found the ring that your great grandmother once treasured. Even if it doesn’t amount to anything in the market, it’s value is beyond is beyond any diamond ring because of the memories it holds.

    @Kimmy Barnes

  6. Kimmy's got a point. Anything becomes valuable not only because of its appearance; its symbolism has a huge weight too. A ring represents commitment. As long as it survives, the sincerity is still there. You have to keep it not only to increase its price value, but also its sentimental worth.

    Charla @JewelsWeBuy.com