Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Secret, A Treasure Hunt

So, I’m obsessed with a treasure hunt!  In 1982 Byron Preiss published a booked called, The Secret.  No, not the Secret where you wish for a million dollars and it comes true, it’s a treasure hunting book.  He buried 12 cache’s in 12 different major cities throughout North America in 1981. Inside the cache is one ceramic key that can be turned in for a real jewel that is/was in a safety deposit box in NYC.  One was found in Chicago in 1983 and the other was found in Cleveland in 2004. Unfortunately, Byron Preiss died in 2005 and didn’t tell anyone where the jewels were.  He used to respond to treasure seekers with clues or to tell them they are on the right track, but now he’s gone and there isn’t anyone to do that.

To date, only 2 of the 12 have been found.  Some people say that you can only find the cache and not receive the jewels and others have said that his widow said you can still receive the jewels.  I guess we won’t know until someone finds the next cache!

Guess where one of the 12 is hidden?!?!?!  That’s right, Houston, TX!!!  There is one  picture and one verse that goes with each treasure.  You can’t use a metal detector because the key the cache is a ceramic box inside a plexi-glass box.  You might be able to use a ground penetrating radar, but even that may not be possible.

This is the picture that is associated with Houston.  Well, they think this is it because it has all the clues of Houston.  The book just gives you 12 verses and 12 pictures but doesn’t tell you which goes to which.  A few of the images/verse combos are controversial and they don’t know which city they are for sure in.  Most of the pictures have latitude/longitude coordinates, but a few don’t. 

A couple great resources:  PBWorks Wiki and Quest4Treasure Forum (HUGE backlog of info dating way back)

This is the verse associated with Houston: 
Fortress north
Cold as glass
Friendship south
Take your task
To the number
Nine eight two
Through the wood
No lion fears
In the sky the water veers
Small of scale
Step across
Perspective should not be lost
In the center of four alike
Small, split,
Three winged and slight
What we take to be
Our strongest tower of delight
Falls gently
In December night
Looking back from treasure ground
There's the spout!
A whistle sounds.

I have used this forum and this Wiki to help point towards clues!!  The people that post are really good and most have been working on the puzzle for years.  Good luck to whoever goes looking for it!  I am also interested in the New Orleans one since that is within a short driving distance too.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mud Factor Mud Run

Back in November or December I signed up for a mud run with Mud Factor.  I signed up during a “special pricing” window for (I think) $35 but every time I looked at the website, it was always the same price.  So, I’m not too sure about that special pricing.  I think they were on Groupon too.

Anyway, I didn’t get ANY communication (besides the sign up email) until the day before the race.  I thought surely there would be some sort of communication, but nope.  Luckily, the day before the race they did send something, otherwise I would have completely forgotten! 

I got there about 30 minutes before the race (they suggest an hour) and parked haphazardly.  They were directing us to park really close together but we were blocking everyone in.  At the end I had to wait 30 minutes for someone to move their car enough for me to get out.  AND you had to PAY $10 to park.  They did say that in the sign up but for us to get blocked in and have to park, that is no Bueno.

I got my bib, bandanna and temporary tattoo quickly and walked around a bit looking for at everything.  They were charging $25 for a t-shirt (!!!) that they probably got for $6.  The food and drinks were not included like most races, not even something like a bottled water or bananas were free!  There was water after the loop (two loop course) but that‘s it.

The obstacles were cool, two were walls you had to climb, one was a slip in slide down a hill (!!!!!!!), a cargo net walls, barbed wire through mud, etc.  I was only going to do one loop because it was lame, but I wanted my medal so I did a 2nd loop.  I got my medal and took a picture of myself caked in mud.  There were some showers that were pumping water from the local creek.  Some people were just wading in the river to get the mud off.  No one (that I know of) got bit by an alligator though. LOL.

I got back to my car, changed and waited for someone next to me to move their car so I could get out.  The parking situation really irked me, can you tell? LOL.

Anyway, all in all mud races are not for me.  I for sure would NOT recommend Mud Factor as the race to go with.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cupping Session

I have wanted to try Cupping since I heard about GOOP’s weird markings on the red carpet.  Bucket list item.  I was browsing Groupon and I found one for Marshall Back and Body Wellness Center.  Sold.

I went at my scheduled time and was back in the massage room almost immediately after turning in my patient paperwork.  I stripped down and laid on the massage chair.  (Pro tip:  Don’t worry mascara!)

The woman who did my cupping was a chiropractor!  I was expecting just an assistant, but she was an actual licensed chiropractor.  She gave me a short massage to loosen up my back and get the blood pumping, and then she explained the cupping procedure.  She heated up the glass cups and placed them on my back.  At first there was a slight stinging sensation, but that went away fairly quickly.  I stayed on the table for about 10-15 minutes just letting the cups do their thing.  After a few minutes, you don’t even notice them anymore.

She came back in and took them off of me and I got dressed again.  I looked in the mirror while I was getting dressed and was startled for a second!  LOL.  It was cool.

I didn’t feel any different afterwards that I noticed.  I feel like the cups just gave me a bunch of hickies on my back, but I maybe didn’t notice the effects.  Anyway, bucket list item done!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Happenings Lately Volume 13

Decided I want one of these cacti from Sprouts.  I walked by them and I almost bought one but I decided to wait.  I can't choose!

Got a Aldi Quarter Keeper off Etsy.  Do you ever go to Aldi and don't have a friggin' quarter for your basket?  It happens to me ALL THE TIME!  So, I saw these on Etsy and decided to get one.  I also got one for my step-mom who also goes there a lot.  It fits two quarters, just in case one drops out or something.  Anyway, I just keep it on my key chain so I always have one.

Went to a Memorial Day Crawfish Boil #notplantbased.  40 lbs of crawfish just waiting to be eaten.  It was so sad, most of them would hide if you put your hand in there but this one would try and fight you!  It had some balls.  I asked them not to kill it and set it free, but I am pretty sure they killed it because I ate one that looked remarkably similar....

Made a dip that everyone loved.  This is the easiest spinach dip on the planet and everyone was raving about it the entire party.  I felt like an accomplished chef.
Got a deformed cherry in my stack.  Hmph.  'Twas delicious though.

Tried my first charcoal mask!  Apparently I live under a rock and charcoal masks are ALL THE RAGE!  Charcoal pulls twice its weight in impurities, dirt and oil from your face.  You can see the light grey is just the grey mask but the dark/black spots are all the yucky stuff my face had on it-and I wash my face all the time.   Sometimes you just need a little deep cleanse. You can do this once or twice a week, depending on how oily you are.  My nose gets really oily-I mean, look how dark that is!  Yuck.  Anyway, you can get one for you here at my Mary Kay online website.  Pro tip:  Get the foundation brush too. It makes apply sooooooo much easier because if you use your hand it absorbs into your hand and you lose so much product-same with a sponge.  Mary Kay's mask is great because you don't have to pull it off your face (painful!), you just wash it off.  My face was baby smooth after doing it and my pores were smaller too.  My Dad tried it on his nose and he liked it too.

Tried dehydrating fruit. So, I tried dehydrated mango from Whole Foods and OMGGGGGG! I fell in love.  Since it is $7.99 per pound, I decided that was a bit expensive and tried to make my own.  I borrowed my uncles oooooooooolllllllddddd dehydrater and it didn't work very well.  I left it in there overnight and it didn't get all the moisture out. Have no fear though-I got one from my parents for my birthday!!!

Went to Torchy's Tacos.  I had been wanting to try this place (not bucket list) but when we went (Sugarland location), I was NOT impressed.  The tortillas were not fresh-they tasted like the nasty ones you buy at the grocery store.  There was something else that tasted funny but I don't remember.  They have such a fun menu, too bad they don't use fresh ingredients.

Got a new Kendra Scott Necklace for my birthday.  During your birthday month, you get 50% off one item at the Kendra Scott store. I had a super hard time choosing between this necklace and the Lexi earrings.  I needed a necklace to go with my pink Alex earrings so I bought this. I will have to budget for the Lexi earrings (plus, I didn't know what color I would have gotten).

Hid inside my Mom's closet, away from the "monsters" with my niece.  I was babysitting my niece when all the sudden she said, "Quick.  Hide in the closet, monsters are coming".  She grabbed her babies and ran.  I was halfway amused, halfway confused and 1% like, "Kids are more intuitive and can see things that are coming,  better go hide".  She wouldn't let me talk and kept shhhing me.

Called this number. :)  Seriously.  Call it.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Learning to Surf

During my cruise one of the stops was Puerto Rico.  It is considered a US Territory so you can use US currency there with no problem.  I was browsing the excursions on the cruise website and came across surfing lessons.  It is on my bucket list, so I signed up!  I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn how to surf in Puerto Rico?!?!

We got off the boat and got in line for the bus.  There were two boats that docked around the same time and both had people booked for the surfing excursion.  We drove about 20-30 minutes to a hotel on the water.  They first showed us how to get up on the board in the sand and then we moved to the water. 
Me all pretending I know what I'm doing.  
Paddle, paddle, paddle. Jump up!  Sooooooooo easy in the sand but on the water it is difficult!  I almost got up once or twice but quickly fell.  Let me tell you, surfing wears you out!  After I swallowed a ton of salt water, I was done.  I wanted to take a break and maybe try it again later-we still had a few hours left, but I couldn’t get back to shore.
Look at me, I'm surfing!  #notreally
I would swim  a few strokes and get pulled back in by the tide.  I am a semi-strong swimmer but man.    Naturally, I started to panic after a few minutes of the back and forth with the tide.  I know you are supposed to stay calm, but I couldn’t in that situation.  Luckily, two of the instructors saw me in distress and helped me to shore.  One of them had abs for dayyyyyzzzzzzz.  #hottie
Can't figure out how to rotate this

So, that ended my surfing career.  The rest of the time I lounged on the beach with my surfboard and watched everyone else.  There were two girls from the other boat that said “I know this is awful, but when you were out there all I could think of was the hottie saving me while drowning”.   LOL.  

OH!!!!!  I almost forgot to mention that I found a piece of sea glass after almost drowning.  I plopped down in exhaustion next to my surfboard and looked down to see a piece of white sea glass.  Bucket list #2!!  I put it in one of those pin holders, glued it shut, and added ribbon to it to make an ornament.  One day I will have to show you guys all of my bucket list/travel ornaments that I have in my collection.
Sea glass!!!!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

35 Birthdays

Birthdays, birthdays.  Another year older and wiser.  I turned 35 this year and I can’t believe it.  The saying: “the days are long but the years are short” is sooooooooo true.  Lately though, I have found that the days are short too.  I look up and it’s nighttime and then look up again and another week/month/year has passed.  I guess the less intentional you are with your life and time, the faster it goes by.  Isn’t there a verse in the Bible about when choosing to live a righteous life, your years are extended?  I guess I need to be more intentional-actually I know I do.  I get lost in my computer some (most) days and I feel like I lost a whole day of my life-well I did lose a whole day.

Anyway, my birthday was on the 30th and I turned 35.  I have always subscribed to the theory, “if you don’t like where you are, move.  You’re not a tree”.  About 5 years ago I did that and my life was going great, I had a good paying job, lived in a nice area of town, I was paying down debt quickly, lost a ton of weight, had a ton of friends, was always busy, etc.  I went into a deep depression for a few years and I am just now getting out of it.  I still believe in the ‘move’ theory, but I feel stuck.  Stuck. Stuck. Stuck. 

I didn’t set out for this to be a negative post about my life, but birthday’s do that to you as you reflect on another year that has gone by. 

The night of my birthday my friend took me to Sub Zero IceCream (bucket list!!) where they make the ice cream in front of you using liquid nitrogen.  It was so cool and I had wanted to try it as soon as I heard about it.  They actually have a smokey nitrogen thing going on when they make it!!!

I chose the (non-plant based) regular cream with cherries, peanut butter cups, marshmallows, and a waffle cone.  It was really good.  I almost got the birthday cake one, but I decided to make my own flavor.

Afterwards we walked across the street for a cocktail atBarBazzar in Webster.  I LOVED this place!!!  It was a mixture of bakery and deli plus a few mixed drinks including champagne and beer. 
I spy chocolate covered bacon!
I got the hibiscus cocktail and my friend Tracie got a latte.  Funny story, she went inside to get cinnamon and sugar but it was semi-dark…she got black pepper instead!  Haha.  It was funny. 

I made a wish on my cocktail about my goals and dreams for my life this year and beyond.   We stayed there until the place closed just talking and catching up. Tracie is one of my closest friends these days.  ‘Twas a good night indeed.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Scam City

I have been getting these calls harassing me over the past few weeks saying that I have a summons to appear in court in Brazoria County.  THIS IS A SCAM!!!

Short answer, if you get a restricted # call and they say you have a summons, it is a scam.  The number for the "law firm" they give you is 855-570-0823 (update: now the "law office" number is 832-574-2563)  but if you google it, it doesn't come up with anything (except my blog saying it is a scam).  Havel Law Firm is out of Canada and doesn't practice here or in Brazoria County.

They might change their number or "law firm" name, but it is the same people.

If I can help just one person with this blog post saying that it is a scam, then I am excited.

Let me tell you, these people call and call and call and call trying to get information out of you.  They are phishing for your information to scam you further or steal your identity. DON'T FALL FOR IT!

If you give them any other numbers, names, addresses, drivers license numbers, social security numbers, credit cards, etc, they can get you.
Steps to do if this happens to you (not an all inclusive list)
1.  Don't give the ANY information
2.  Write down the number and call the District Attorney's office for whatever court house they say they are calling from (mine was Brazoria County).
3.  Give the DA the case number and see if it is in your name
4.  Google the law firm and see if they have been getting scammed like this
5.  Ignore the scammers when they call next-they WILL keep calling because they are low life scum trying to make money off of you.
6.  If you answer tell them what scum they are and tell them what a crummy person they are and that Jesus is watching them.

A few things regarding scammers:
1.  A law office is NOT going to call you for a court summons.
2.  Your grandchildren will NOT be calling from jail in Mexico-call the parents or their # first to see if they answer (my grandparents had this-luckily they didn't fall for it).
3.  The police will NOT say they have a warrant for your arrest-if they tell you,you would run!
4.  They are scum.  They try to rationalize being scum in their head.

This is the long story of what happened.  IF THIS HAS HAPPENED TO YOU, COMMENT BELOW TO SHARE YOUR STORY.

I got a call saying that I have a summons to appear and I asked for what.  She said "the records are sealed by the court" and that you should call Heigel (sometimes Havel, Haigel) Law Firm to get more information.

A few weeks ago I was called by a guy that was clearly reading from a script saying that he was from Harris County Police Department and I had a warrant for my arrest in my name.  I said "OK, so what is my name" and he was just confused.  I said "well, if you have a warrant for my arrest then surely you have my name"  He hung up.  My dad, who is a police officer, called and scared him.  I haven't heard from that guy again.

Then last week I get this call from a lady (forgot her name) saying that she has been trying to reach me because I have a summons to appear in court.  I instantly knew this was a scam and told her so.  This girl was GOOD and made me think maybe I did something wrong and I didn't realize it.  BUT I haven't gone to Brazoria County in a LONG time and the case number was from 2017 so it was wrong.  The girl said "ma'am, I have your social security number, if i wanted to scam you, I would have done it by now" which made me think she really did have it.  I didn't ask what it was or give any indication that I cared.  I HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING WRONG!

After hanging up on her (she called back multiple times) she asked me why I was being so rude.  Well, lady, it's probably because I don't like to be scammed.  Would anyone be nice during that?!

My dad called the number and figured out by the way he was talking that it was a scam.  He couldn't tell him if it was a criminal or civil case.  He also wanted my number, my address, etc. NOPE!  Stop phishing.  Earlier my dad had called Brazoria County and they said that that isn't even their case number.  So when my dad told them that the "lawyer" on the phone said "oh well, it hasn't been filed yet".  So why would I have a COURT DOCUMENT summoning me to appear when it hasn't been filed yet?  LOLOLOLOL.

I thought it was done but then a JADE THOMAS called and said the same thing.  Here we  go again.  I told her that Jesus was watching her and she got so upset.  Perhaps Jade doesn't understand that her job is a scam but now that I have told her, she should know.  I told her how the case number was wrong and how we called the law firm.  She didn't believe it. I really hope she does her own research and quits her job.  She has all of the victims they are harassing and can do a good thing to bring scammers to justice.  COME ON JADE THOMAS- DO THE RIGHT THING.

I also called the Brazoria County DA's office and they also said it was a scam. Honestly, if I did something, I want to take care of it.  But scammers are scum and need to get a real job.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Seeing Flamingos in Their Natural Habitat

This is another "should have been written a while ago posts".  Like months and months ago. Enjoy!

When I went on my cruise, one of the stops was to Grand Turk.  I was planning on just hanging out at the beach but then I went to the gift shop.  I was waiting on some of my group before we all headed to the beach when I saw it...a flamingo ornament.  Now, I didn't think much of it until I started to see a TON of flamingo souvenirs.  I asked one of the store clerks if there were flamingos on the island and they said yes, they  hang out in the middle of the island.  Huh?  OK.  I was thinking maybe there were a few at a local persons house or zoo type place.

We went on to the private beach and I was getting so hot and I was still dehydrated from my surfing trip so I wanted to go back to the ship.  I got a taxi and there were a few people in it.  I casually asked the driver about the flamingos and he said, "Oh yes, there are a lot of them.  I will take you there".  OK!!!!!!!

The island was formally used as a salt tank area so that is where the flamingos like to hang out.  When I got there I was sooooooooo exciteeeeeedddddd.

OMG. I can't believe it.  I actually got to see real life flamingos somewhere other than a zoo or a Las Vegas hotel.

Day/trip made!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

That One Time I Went to Harry Potter World in Orlando

This is a ;post I had planned to write a whilllllllllllle ago, but as evidenced in the past, I didn't.  Here you go! 

I went to Orlando recently over the weekend to go to check off a bucket list item…Universal Studios to see Harry Potter land!!!  I have been wanting to go there since it opened but haven’t gotten the chance to go.

There are a couple options for tickets that you can choose from:  single park or multi-park.  The main difference is that you cannot go to both parks in one day and you cannot go on the Harry Potter Hogwarts Express between the parks.  I chose the single park option because I was going to be there two days anyway and I saw the ride on YouTube and it wasn’t worth the extra $80 (in my opinion).

The first day I went to Island of Adventure and the second day I went to Universal Studios.  If you have to choose between the two, I would choose Universal Studios.  I felt that Universal Studios Harry Potter land had more to see and do vs Islands of Adventure.  This post is only about Harry Potter worlds and I will detail the rest of the parks in another post.

I would also HIGHLY recommend going in the 'single rider' line if you don't feel the need to ride with your group.  I went almost straight to the ride each time I rode anything in either park (Harry Potter section or any other section of the parks)

Also, if you can, go back at night too.  There are so many things that light up after dark.  You will be amazed at all the stuff you didn't see while it was light outside.

There is so much to write but it would be too long.  Here is another persons blog that explains

Diagon Alley

Here are some of my favorite pictures though!

Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley both had different shops that you could use your ($40!!) wand to make spells and a the window shops do certain things.  Like you can use your wand at this fabric shop window display and the knitting needles are knitting a scarf (or sweater??) or another shop had a cauldron pot mixing by itself.  There is even a fountain where you use your wand and water shoots out on innocent people! :)
#12 Grimauld Place.  No, that isn't a shadow, it's hard "dark" it really is.

Knight Bus-you can get a picture with Stan in front of the Knight Bus!

One of the entrances to Diagon Alley. 

In Diagon Alley every 30 minutes or so the dragon on top of Gringott's breaths fire.  THAT is a cool thing to see.  You can kind of hear it getting ready before it goes off.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sew Something I Can Wear

A while ago (#badblogger) I went to a kimono robe making class at Sew Houston.  I had so much fun and can’t wait to go back to sew another project. I was looking at my bucket list back in November/December and trying to figure out what items I can do in 2017 and saw “sew something I can wear” on it.  I googled sewing classes Houston and Sew Houston popped up.  Wouldn’t you know it, a sewing class for a kimono robe was scheduled for February.  Sold!  I had to provide my own fabric and ribbon-which was great because I could get what I wanted!  I actually picked out my fabric when I went on my camping trip a while ago.

Anyway, Yolanda is great.  She keeps the classes small so you can actually learn while sewing, not just watch someone or get lost and not be able to finish your project.  There were three of us in our class, but I believe a fourth person did not show up.

We set out our fabric on the table and cut out the fabric.  She had a super simple pattern that we were able to follow.  My fabric kept bunching up and since the class was so small; she was able to notice right away and fix the problem, which was that I needed a different foot to grasp the fabric.

The robe turned out great!  I love the fabric and how well the robe fits me.  If you are needing/wanting to sew something, consider going to Sew Houston.  She offers one-on-one tutorials as well as classes.  She also has a “get to know your sewing machine” private tutorial if you bought or were given a new sewing machine.  Pretty cool.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Chappell Hill Lavender Farm

This weekend, after my Blue Bell 10K race, I stopped by Chappell Hill Lavender Farm since it was so close to Brenham.  Do you know what that means?!?!?!?!  Bucket list item #2 done this weekend.

The drive in any part of that area is just beautiful.  I love Texas in general but the Brenham area with all of the bluebonnets and rolling hills is so amazing. 

Chappell Hill Lavender Farm is beautiful too.  There is a small pond with a gazebo, a field of lavender bushes, a small orchard of various trees/plants (not sure what), miniature goats, and a gift shop.  I went to the gift shop first and looked around.  I bought some lavender bug spray and some lavender essential oils.  I also had the BEST (OMG) ice cream, blueberry and lavender.  I want some more!  There are a ton of products in the gift shop ranging from gifts to home items. 

Afterwards I walked the lavender fields and saw firsthand what it looks like.  It is green I guess until it is ready to be harvested because it for sure wasn’t purple!  They are having a festival in May that would be interesting to attend.  The lavender will probably be ready to be harvested then.

After spending too much (I wanted it ALL) in the gift shop, I went to the gazebo by the pond and had a conversation with God.  That area of Texas just causes you to be so thankful for all of the blessings he has given you in your life.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Let's Go Fly A Kite

Can you believe it, I did three bucket list items this week?!?!  This one is a silly one, but I loved it.  I went kite flying with my niece.  No, it wasn’t a big fancy kite, it was a small $3 Cinderella one, but it was so much fun hearing Kali squeal in delight. 

We bought the kite at HEB for $3 and spent awhile just watching it fly.  At first the kite wouldn’t fly (no windy enough) but you could hear Kali say, ‘You can do it Mr. Kite.  I believe in you,” which is what we say to Kali all the time when she is learning something new that she hasn’t quite grasped yet.

She runs and pumps her arms and causes the kite to fall but she had a blast anyway.  At one point the bottom string wrapped around the dog and we all howled in laughter. 

Who knew a $3 kite would turn out so much fun?  We are going to bring it to my aunt’s house this weekend for Easter.  She lives on the water in Seabrook and it is always windy there.

Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 Blue Bell Fun Run

I have wanted to run in the Blue Bell Fun Run 10K for a few years now.  (#bucketlist) Every year I am either busy, forgot about it, or just miss the race.  This year though I was determined not to miss it so I signed up back in October of 2016, right when it opened for registration.

However, I almost completely missed it.  I wasn’t planning on doing anything this weekend but got an email about the race and packet pickup on Friday. I looked at the date…oh wait, the race is tomorrow!  Ooops!  I almost forgot.  Plans changed from doing nothing to running a 10K that I hadn’t trained for.  Oh well!  You never regret a workout!

I woke up at 4:15 am on Saturday morning to make it to Brenham in time. I wasn’t sure what the traffic situation on 290 would be (construction for dayzzzz) or the parking at the race.  As luck would have it, I got there so early I had a super close parking spot.  Score!  #RockStarParking

The race went well considering that I hadn’t trained. I didn’t break any records and I probably did really bad compared to my other races, but I don’t care.  The course was so spectacular that I kept saying thank you prayers to God for making it such a pretty day.  Afterwards my route home took me part of the way down my favorite parts of the race and I was able to take some pictures.

After the race I got some chocolate ice cream (#notplantbased #shameonme #itwasdelicious) and my 10K finishers medal and hit the road. 

Check out the race!  It has free, unlimited ice cream for participants and spectators during/after the race.  All proceeds go to Brenham High School’s athletic department.  PLUS, you get an awesome finishers metal and a t-shirt-we all know how I feel about finishers medals!