Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year, and a happier me!

Wow...I can't believe 2008 is already coming to a close. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was getting ready to go to last year's party! Time flies when you are having fun I guess, (and when you are super busy moving halfway across the country).

I moved to Montana from Iowa. I believe that it is the best decision I have ever made. I am doing more of the things that I love to do, like hiking, camping, and photography. I started eating healthy again (boy is that expensive) and working out again after taking a few months off due to a hip injury. I've made new friends out here, which I didn't think would be difficult, considering that I am a social butterfly, but it does seem that the older we get, the harder it is to make new, quality friends. I've been blessed to meet many quality friends, and look forward to spending time with them in 2009.

In the Fall, I met and started dating Justin. What a great guy! Funny, serious, creative, adventurous...we have such a great time together that I look forward to what we might do, see, cook, drink, etc. the next time we hang out.

2008 has been a great year. A lot of different emotions, adventures and new experiences. It will be exciting to see what 2009 has to offer. I guess this is where I make my resolution. Well, same as last year, stop swearing! I think I've gotten much better (except when I'm golfing), however I still need some work. I am going to get serious about staying in shape, eating right, and staying positive. I'm going to try having a Pescatarian diet, in which I will cut out meat, except for fish. (I will let you know how that goes.) I am also going to start designing jewelry again...I've kind of fallen off from it but have decided that it is what I love to do, so why not do it more?

Here is to a great year, and an even better one coming up!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sapphires galore!!

I was able to take Mindy to the Sapphire Gallery in downtown Phillipsburg to dig around a bag of dirt. This being my second time there, I had it figured out so I didn't pick out too many quartz. I did a bit better than my first trip, finding just under 6.5 carats! I think that I had found just under 5 carats the first time. My plan is to drop them off for heat treating when I pick Mindy's up in a few weeks. I would also like to have all of the pebbles treated as well so that I can make some different jewelry with them, since they are not cuttable.

It was a great afternoon out of Missoula. Michelle would have gotten a kick out of it. Maybe, just maybe, she will get a special treat with one of t
he sapphires that I found for our thirtieth birthday in August.

Justin was nice enough to join us on his way home to Missoula from Helena and took some great photos.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Breweries, Hot Springs and good times...

Yesterday Mindy and I had to run some errands before heading to Symes Hot Springs, and found ourselves at all three of Missoula's breweries. Chatting with bartender, locals and one another, we decided to get a couple of growlers of beer to take with us to the hot springs. We were set!

Arriving after dark, we were quickly into the hot water. How relaxing it was! A bit of a different smell, but my skin felt so good! I would sleep well. We got to chatting with some of the people in the tub and found that it really is a small world after all. One of the women was visiting from Washington DC, but was talking of a job she had had at a university in Iowa...ISU to be exact. It seems that anywhere I go I meet someone with ties that are very close to home for me.

While soaking, it started to snow a bit. It was the perfect touch to a great night. I only wish that my sister could have made it. She would have loved it! I will definitely be returning for another soak.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holiday!

Here we are, Christmas day. One of my visitors, Mindy was able to make it. Michelle, my sister, got stuck back in Iowa, unable to get to Denver for her connecting flight because of bad weater on the East Coast. Her whole trip was cancelled and the Holiday will not be the same without her.

We are, however, making due. Mindy and I played Cribbage last night while drinking beer and eating chili. It has been good catching up.

Now it is time to open gifts and start making our Christmas meal.

Happy Holidays to everyone! May everyone be safe and happy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More daylight is on the way!

It has officially come and gone: the first day of Winter, also being the darkest day of the year. On Sunday night I went with my boyfriend and a friend to a Solstice party hosted by a group of Wicans. It started late, and ended late, about 2 in the morning is when we got home. Still being relatively new to town, I didn't know anyone there, however they welcomed me into their home and festivities like I was an old friend. There was a "smudging" ceremony with a burning sage stick that was to remove all of the evil or bad energy from our bodies. That had to be done before we could go into the Ritual Room. There was chanting and a lot of ceremonial things going on that was very foreign to me.

Before the ritual was over, all of us were to ask for something in the New Year. I asked for myself to be compassionate, tolerant, and patient towards everyone, especially those whom it is hard to be all of these with.

After the ceremony we were fed a great Vegetarian feast, at about 1 am. It was delicious!

Anytime I am put into the new surroundings, I am that much more grateful for my friends here. They open my eyes to new possibilities and experiences that I will remember always.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sand and Stone

Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey, they had an argument and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand
"Today my best friend slapped me in the face."

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.

After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:
"Today my best friend saved my life."

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?"

The friend replied, "When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand, where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it."

Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone.

I received this in an email yesterday...ironically this is exactly what I need to do. I take no credit for this and am sadly unable to give credit to its author.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Letting go

I'm the type of person who holds onto things, mostly feelings...I just can't seem to let go as easily as I should. I hold grudges, though I have gotten a little better about it. I am trying to get past all that with the help of my boyfriend. He is a Buddhist and has been telling me about Buddhism teachings, gently educating me and giving me material to read that has proven to be quite helpful. It has been working pretty well, except for problems with one person in particular, my boss. He's a good guy. I like him as a friend, but not as a boss. I told him this two days ago while we were having a pow-wow, which we seem to have every couple of months. It helps us to be better co-workers. I was feeling great after our chat and thought we might have finally figured out our problems and how to avoid them.

I was in a great mood all day, even though my weekend plans had dissolved. Then it happened. He overstepped a very personal boundary and sent an email, as me, to my boyfriend. Now, while I know that he will understand, I am upset that my boss would do such a thing. Are we in elementary school again? I know that I should just "let it go" but I am having difficulty with this.

I can't change the fact that my boss is I must let it go.

Count to ten, breath, repeat as necessary.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Slow Christmas season

I am a bench jeweler at a smaller family owned chain. Of course with the economy being down in the dumps it has already started out to be a slow season. I am usually not busy until after Christmas, but I am starting to wonder if I will be busy even then. If it would ever snow here and stay longer than six hours, I think that people would get in the Holiday spirit. I should be happy that we at least got a dusting of snow on the ground last night. That is a far cry from what happened last night in Iowa. They are closing schools and shoveling out. That's one thing I'm glad I don't have to do this morning!

Off to work...hopefully there are repairs for me to do.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just about caught up...

November 2008

As I had stated earlier, Missoula is now home to me. It has begun to bother me that it happened so quickly. I feel like a traiter to my hometown and family/friends. I feel that I should be missing them more than I do. Any maybe with the holidays fast approaching, I will. I was expressing these feelings to a co-worker/friend and she made me realize that maybe the reason I am so at home here, is because I am happy here. I didn't think I was unhappy in Iowa, but maybe I was not content. Whatever that means...

I was able to see my parents for the first time since June this month on web cam. My sister had bought it for me so that we could stay in touch, and it finally worked out that my parents were there one weekend and we were able to get online. was so nice to see them again, and it worked out so well that we all decided to get online again at Thanksgiving.

Ah Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday, and this would be my first one away from my family. I would be spending it in Helena with my boyfriend. What I thought that I would be missing the most was the fact that my family are big card players. Turns out that his family also likes to play cards. I learned a few new games and had a great time.

In past years, I have been overwhelmed with Black Friday. This year is a bit different because of the economy crisis. Hopefully it will pick up in December. we are up to date. These first several posts are really just for me to remember what I went through. I'm hoping that this blog will encourage me to get out and do interesting things that would be of interest for strangers to read. Also a way to keep friends up to date and maybe to show off my jewelry designs, which I have decided I need to get back into.

Thanks for reading...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lifestyle change...

September 2008

By this time I was starting to get into the stuff that the locals do. I was visiting the breweries and chatting up other young professionals, hiking and fly fishing on nice days. I went to my first First Friday, which is held every month. Art galleries and shops stay open later and have refreshments and art to view/purchase. A great way to meet new people, and bump into people that I had been emailing but not yet met...

I had decided that it was time for me to get healthy...I stopped drinking soda, started watching what I ate. All this because of a book I read called "The Abs Diet". Very inappropriately titled, as I don't view it as a diet...just a lifestyle change. But it worked...I felt great and lost weight.

I was at that time dating, although not very seriously with anyone in particular...did I want a monogamous relationship, or was I not ready yet? Or perhaps I hadn't met someone that could keep me interested.

At the end of September, I went to Alabama to meet up with my sister and see our friend graduate from Officer Training School for the Air Force.

I was leaving for a week with someone on my mind back home...

It was with a heavy heart that I left my sister and friend. My sister went back home to Iowa, and my friend was starting her journey to Tuscon, Arizona.

October 2008

This month, I started hanging out with a very interesting young man. We both like to cook, are interested in wine, enjoy hiking and taking pictures...I felt comfortable with him right away.

Because of him, I joined a meditation group, and have enjoyed it. I just need to do it more!

I returned for the third time in four months to Glacier National Park to go camping and hiking. We took wonderful photos, saw a black bear up close, and saw and heard a pack of wolves. It was a successful trip!

Getting settled...

July 2008

I started working again on the first. That was the turning point, in which I knew that I was really living in Montana. I wasn't just on vacation, waiting to return home. I was already there.

I was unpacked already at the apartment and had spent the last couple of days finding my way around town. I was ready to start meeting people. I was invited to an Independence Day party with my co-workers where I was introduced to their wives and friends. It was nice to be included so quickly and I felt that everything was going quite well.

I decided that it was time to start dating had been six years since I had been single and dating was new to me again. I thought that online might be an interesting way to meet people, and it was indeed. I met a handful of people and went on several dates, but no one was intriguing to me yet.

August 2008

By now, I was certain that I was home. I was meeting new people, work was going well, and I was golfing on a regular basis again! I was heading up to Glacier National Park again for my birthday with a friend. This would be my third birthday ever that I was not with my twin sister. That was a bit of a downer, but I would manage. I would be seeing her in little over a month when we would be meeting in Alabama to see our good friend graduate from OTS.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lots to prepare for...

May-June 2008

With such a big move coming up, I had a lot to do. Between putting the house on the market, telling my friends what was going on, packing, and preparing for an out of state move, I thought that I would have second thoughts. They never came. Still to this day, I have not once thought that I shouldn't have moved.

During this time, I spent a lot of time with my friends and family, knowing that after I left, it would be a while before I was back for a visit.

The week before I left, my friends threw a party for me. It was a good night to have all of my friends together, to share stories, jokes and take pictures. We partied into the wee hours of the morning, and the cops only showed up twice to tell us to quiet down!

Moving Day

The hardest part about this day was my last walk through the house. I lost it in the dining room. Leaving the keys on the table, I took one last look around and walked through the door for what could be the last time. My Dad and I drove the Uhaul to Mason City, which is where my twin sister lives...the three of us would take off the following morning at 5 am. After dinner with both of my sisters, my parents, and two close family friends, it was time for my Mom and sister to go home, and the movers to go to bed.

The drive West started early Saturday and ended mid-morning on Monday. I was in Missoula, Montana!

After unpacking the truck, the three of us headed up to Glacier National Park for a three day camping trip. It was the first time in many years that we had gone camping together, and was a good way to spend our last bit of time before they left for home.

After they left I set about unpacking and getting settled in my new apartment. I didn't know anyone and was completely alone, something that I hadn't been in a long time.

I enjoyed it.

It all began 8 months ago...

April 2008

I went to work that Saturday thinking I was content with how my life was going so far. By mid-day, that would all change.

I was offered a transfer/promotion to move from Iowa to Montana. And, ironically, to the city in Montana that I had visited four years earlier, just to see if I would ever want to live there (I concluded that I would). This decision was not an easy one. I was, after-all, in a long term relationship, and I owned a house in a market that would be difficult to sell in. I had also never lived away from home, but that was not a big concern. I had a lot to think about, and only four days to figure it out.

My first thought was "YES!" I wanted to go, but I wanted my relationship to continue, if it was meant to. He was gracious, and said he would look into it and consider it. I already knew that he would not want to go. His friends, family, and a good job were all in Iowa, as were mine. We talked a lot about it...and where our lives were going. I decided to stay.

My Manager was surprised, yet very happy that she would not be loosing me as an employee. I called and turned down the job and went on with the tasks at hand, thinking that everything was as it should be.

The next day, I arrived at work with an urgent message to call my trainer. Knowing that the call was going to be about me turning the move down, I called with a heavy heart, for I still wanted to go. After 45 minutes on the phone with him, I had a week to reconsider, before they would look at someone else for the job.

We talked...a lot. We made the decision together. Eight days after it was first offered, I decided that I would move to Montana, and he would not. Our almost four year long relationship would end, and we would move on...

Now, I just had to tell my parents that I would be moving in two and a half months. My Mom was at first not happy, then realized that it was exactly what I had always wanted to do. My dad, on the other hand, didn't want his little girl to move nineteen hours away.

I was moving to Montana, and I was excited!