Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Just about a month ago, I woke up with horrible lower back pain. I would say that it was worse than my hip injury last summer so I headed to a new chiropractor. Don Butler has worked wonders for me. I started under his care on February 2 and noticed great improvement within a week. I had a bulging disc in my lower back which had I let it go, would have required surgery. Now, no surgery is necessary! Three weeks later, I am feeling great... My posture has improved, I am able to touch past my toes without very much strain (which is kind of a new thing) and am now encouraged to start back into my workout routine (not 100% yet). While I do have a bit of pain in my hip (still from previous injury, and from being adjusted so much) I am truly greatful for the care I have recieved from Dr. Don. I know that a lot of people don't believe in Chiropractic care, but I do. I have seen how much it helps and recommend it to anyone, and Dr. Don is the best!

Unfortunately, my health insurance does not cover this expense. I am happy to say that I am spending very little compared to what I would had I needed surgery, however it does change my plans a bit. I was planning on returning to Iowa for a visit sometime this Spring. That and my trip to Italy may need to be put on hold for a bit longer...I am obviously not happy about this. I am also not careless with money and am being as thrifty as I can be (okay, so I did buy a nice camera last fall, but that's it!). What has made my situation even more difficult is that I am still paying for half of a mortgage back home. If only the house would sell, things would be so much better.

Besides putting my more costly adventures on hold, I am doing great! I am looking forward to Spring and Summer here in Montana. In April, I plan to drive to Moab, Utah to meet Mindy and finally return her fish. (This is just an excuse to go to Arches and hang out with Mindy, but it is also the only way to return Badass the fish). I am also ready to do some hiking and nature photography around the West and in parts of Montana that I have not yet visited.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pizza night

Last night Justin and I went over to a friend's house for their pizza night. This is a regular occurrence at Arthur's and I'm very glad that we were able to make it. I believe that there were at least four different kinds of pizza and a hot sauce that I made the dire mistake of putting on one of my slices. Won't be trying that again!

The pizza was great, as was the conversation. I met several new people with whom I am looking forward to hanging out with again. When the pizza making was over we headed out to Al and Vic's bar in downtown Missoula.

It was nice to go out with a larger group of people again. I love this place!

Now, off to Helena!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day = not so bad

In the past, I have hated February's romantic holiday. Not because I have been scorned or left broken-hearted, but rather because I think that it is a stupid holiday. It was originally established in honor of two early Christian martyrs, but is more widely known now as a holiday in which lovers show their affection. I'm all for affection, but do we really need a specific day for it? Why not express how you feel when you want?

I suppose another reason that I dislike it is that I think it is a commercialized holiday now. Flower shops jack up their prices, candy is expensive (not to mention not good for you), and it causes a lot of stress! People may say that I am a hypocrite, as I am in the jewelry business, but I have never, nor will I (probably) ever want to receive jewelry due to this holiday.

This year, what we did together could easily have happened on any other day of the year. It was a special night out, but not stressful at all. Justin made dinner, we went to a production at the university, and then we hiked (I wobbled, due to a painful hip) up the back of Mount Sentinel to take photographs. We made it back down the mountain around 3:20 am. Both exhausted, both happy to have spent an adventurous evening together.

I don't need a holiday to show my special someone how I feel, but I would have to say that this year was my favorite Valentine's day yet.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Busy online...

Several months ago, I decided to try to make my online life easier. The easiest way to accomplish this was to get rid of the email addresses that I never used. I deleted four of them, one of which I had had since 1998, and decided that for the time being, that was all I needed to do.

In November, I decided to start blogging. I was already on Myspace and Facebook to keep in touch with friends, so I thought this would be a different way to get myself "out there." I was starting to think that I was spending too much time online again, so in January, I deleted my Myspace account.

I wish I could say that I haven't added another site, but alas, I have, and with it required another email address. I now have a FLICKR account. But I guess that makes sense, as I love to take pictures. Why not share with the world what I think are some great photos?

On that note, last night, Justin and I were invited by another friend to meet at a park here in Missoula to take some long exposure photos with a FLICKR group. It was 28 degrees out and thankfully, no wind at all. After about 70 minutes, I was ready for some Bailey's and hot cocoa and we retreated to the warmth of my apartment. It was a fun night and I'm sure everyone got some great shots. Below are my three favorite photos...

Thursday, February 5, 2009


It's funny how motivation works...or doesn't. I've been out of college for almost 7 years. I wanted to get into a position where I would be able to become a great goldsmith and designer. I have, I feel, accomplished part one of this goal. I am an excellent goldsmith, with followers still in Iowa, and "regulars" within a week or two of having arrived in Missoula. I know how not to design my art, now I just need to know how to get started.

It comes in spurts. A dream, a vision in a cloud, a tree root that catches my eye. I think I've become my own worst critic. Nothing is good enough to go into my journal, and if it does make it there, it has to be perfect. This is exhausting, both artistically and emotionally. I find myself giving up before I even start. Not to mention that I work in gold only, and with the markets being as high as they are, I just can't afford to make my designs a reality.

I am motivated more here in Missoula than I was back in Iowa. I have already done almost a dozen one of a kind items in the seven months I've been here. That is about three times the amount I would do in a year in Iowa. Perhaps it is because I have less competition here in Montana. Or better sales people. What ever the reason, it has gotten me carving wax again, and I love it.

I've entered one design contest...back in 2003. Which I won an award for my entry. Last week I entered Iowa State University's 30th Anniversary exhibition. It was an easy choice as what to enter. A ring that I designed while on the River Walk in San Antonio five years ago, and the pendant that I entered in the above mentioned contest. They are by far my favorites. It will be several weeks before I know if I've claimed a spot in the show, but I am feeling motivated to make new pieces.

A couple years ago, I made a goal of entering at least five designs into my journal every month. My new goal is to make two items every month. Perhaps not in gold, but at least to carve the wax and save it for later would be a good start. As long as I am designing again, I think I will be able to cope with fixing other designer's pieces, because, eventually, it will be another jeweler doing maintenance on my piece.

My River Walk ring.

Ammolite slide.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Coffee scented what?

I'm the kind of girl who gets attached to things, or rather, addicted to things. Sometimes, these things have too much control over me. For instance, my computer. Ah, my lovely DELL's usually the first thing that I go for in the morning (after the coffee, though I may be rethinking that). This computer is my connection to my friends back home, my source of hours of mindless internet surfing, and is the guardian of a few gigs worth of pictures.

Last night, Justin very carefully broke the news that there was an accident involving coffee and my computer. After a few questions and I'm sure a sigh or two (I honestly can't remember) I hear myself saying, "Don't worry, it's just a thing." All I really care about is whether or not I will be able to retrieve any pictures. Everything else is replaceable. This is not worth getting that upset about.

Upon calling my sister to tell her that we would be unable to Skype video call, she of course asked why. Her reaction? The same as Mindy's..."What ever are you going to do without a computer?" Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. They both live 19 hours away and know just how addicted I am to my computer.

The good news is that my computer seems to be okay. After having 20 hours to dry out, it seems to be just fine. No flickering screen, all the keys work, everything is good. And I have the added benefit of a coffee scented computer!

I will be backing everything up on an external hard drive that my sister has generously donated
. Now, just as long as coffee (or wine) doesn't get spilled on that...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Six more weeks...

Today, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. Woopee do da. There is always six more weeks of Winter.

While I am ready for Spring and Summer to be here, I don't mind Winter either. I still haven't built a snowman or gone sledding. I have a snowball fight that I want to start, and finish, and I would like to do some more snowshoeing. And face it, in Missoula, this winter hasn't been all that bad. We have gotten substantial snow once, have had only one really cold spell, and only one inversion that lasted just over a week, and I do believe that it lifted during the day some of the time. We could be covered in snow, like my home state Iowa, or slipping and sliding in Kentucky, where the whole National Guard was called in to help with the ice. With any luck, we will have a couple more snowfalls, so I can complete my winter "to do" list. Then I will be ready for Spring.