Friday, December 31, 2010

Photo Friday

As promised, here are photos from the past week...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Photo Friday...on Wednesday

With Christmas having come and gone, I realized that I forgot to post my pictures on Friday, Christmas Eve. While I still haven't been taking very many photos lately, I did capture last week's Lunar Eclipse, and Milo. It's looking like I will have photos for this week, and hopefully ON TIME!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Photo Friday

Last weekend we went tree hunting, however, those pictures are nowhere to be found. Not sure what happened to them, but I still have my tree. That I'll showcase in next week's photos. Lately it seems that I've been photographing kids more than landscapes, but I hope that that will change in the coming weeks, as I head up the snow covered mountains around Bozeman.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Photo Friday

So, here we are again. This week has been a busy week for me, with deciding to start a business and all, but I still managed to take some time and head to Chico, Montana for a night of relaxing and soaking. I still like Symes Hot Springs more, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is because it is the first place I went and soaked, or perhaps I like the mineral rich water more than anything else. Wherever I get to soak I am happy though. Not everyone has a natural hot spring within driving distance!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 own business

I've decided to do it, after years of encouragement from family and friends. After hearing from several people that I should be creating jewelry because that's what I do best, I'm going to follow the path that I was starting to think was the wrong one. It is true that I was burned out at my old job; having to deal with a middle-aged woman's craziness, sizing ring after ring, with an occasional custom design thrown in the mix, and then not having enough work to keep me satisfied all contributed. Also knowing that I was sooo important to the higher ups, but they wouldn't fix the problems that kept making others, and myself leave. Let's just say that it didn't make me feel very necessary.

So I left, and the last couple of months have made me realize that no matter what I do, jewelry is my calling. I'm good at it, and what's more, I love doing it. So why shouldn't I try to make a go of it on my own? If I really want to do what I love, I should do it on my terms, that way, the only person responsible for my work related happiness is me.

I've been talking and thinking about it seriously for almost two months now and haven't done anything about it. I think I'm hung up on not knowing what to name my business. Maybe that's not the most important, but rather what kind of jewelry I'm going to make. To start out I'd like to work mostly in silver, copper, and brass, with some gold accents. With the metal prices the way they are, I think I'll be forced to go that route for a while, unless someone wants to commission me for something specific. My goal is to set up an Etsy account and sell at art festivals in the area.

Speaking of which, I have one this weekend that I am working for my other jobs with NA-GL and Rocky Mountain Sapphire Co., so I am going to make up some wine charms and see it they move or not.

Any words of encouragement or ideas for a name would be much appreciated!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Photo Friday

After taking a week off, again, from taking photos, I am back again this week. I only had the opportunity to shoot last weekend when Mike and I went to Big Sky for the weekend. We lounged around most of the day on Friday, and then went snowshoeing on Saturday. It was Twist's first long walk in the snow so I was kind of worried about going to far in but he absolutely loved it! In fact, he loves snow so much that when I throw snowballs for him, he goes and tries to find them. Although, he is still afraid of my camera, which I can't really figure out but I'll get him over that fear quickly enough.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Photo Friday

Last weekend Mike took me to Big Sky, MT. Beings as it was my first time there, we went on a short hike to Ousel Falls. Even though it was frozen on the surface, we could hear it from about a fifth of a mile away. It was a beautiful winter wonderland! If I could have walked on the water that wasn't frozen, I could have gotten even better pictures.

It wouldn't be Photo Friday without a shot of Twist, who has suddenly decided that since I get to sit on the couch, so does he. He's been doing very well adjusting, and has finally found his bark. He lets me know when someone is coming up my stairs by barking viciously and growling, only to cower behind me when I answer the door. What a great watchdog! Ha!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hunkering down for Winter

It's that time of year again when one does not venture outside as frequently, and as excitedly as in the warmer months. With the exception of snowshoeing, and hopefully skiing this winter, that describes me to a T. I find myself already tired of the short days and long nights, and they've only just begun. With the sun setting before 5 o'clock, and rising around 7:30, that's just over 9 hours of daylight. I'm always tired, and feeling sluggish.

So, to remedy that, I joined a gym this morning. I used to be a gym junkie back in Missoula, for spurts at a time, and find that I need to get back into that habit. Tonight will be my first time in well over two months, and I'm so excited! I've found a nice little gym about 2 miles from my apartment, and it just so happens that my boyfriend goes there as well, so I'll have a workout buddy some of the time. Besides going to the gym, I should also be taking Twist for daily walks, but sometimes he just doesn't want to go, especially if it is dark outside, so that leaves morning and lunchtime walks, which will get more difficult as we get busier here at work.

I need to take advantage of the long nights, besides going to bed at 9; what I need to do is resume my work on the Diamond course, and take the test. Perhaps that will be my goal for the next couple of days. As well as starting to design again. My associates and new friends here in Bozeman all adore my wine charms that I made and think I should make more for the influx of people that will come to town in the coming months. So much to do, and really, so much time to do it in!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Photo Friday

Yet another busy week here in Montana. I packed up all of my stuff and hauled it to Bozeman, and unloaded it all in 52 hours. Nothing broke, only a few little scratches on my bookshelf, and I'm working on getting settled. Moving day was a perfect day. The sun was out, it was quite warm and I had help from a couple of friends in Helena, and the guy that I'm dating helped load and unload.

On Monday, Bozeman got 5 inches of snow. I was kind of worried that Twist wouldn't like it and would fight going outside, but it turns out that he loves the snow. It's going to be a fun winter!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Photo Friday, catch up style

Last week was the first week since I started Photo Friday that I didn't get to post any pictures, so this week, I am doubling up a bit. The first couple are from a fly fishing trip south of Livingston, MT. A guy that I recently started dating took me and it was a blast! I caught three white fish, and let them all go. I had never caught a fish while fly fishing, so this was an extra special trip. I can't wait to go again!

Up next was my trip home to Iowa. Since I didn't have any pressing matters back here in Montana (no job) I decided to drive, and I took both Oliver and Twist with. I stopped in Denver to see a friend for a few days and then headed on home. It was not a surprise visit this time and I was able to see almost everyone that I wanted to.

While I was hanging out with my "old crew" I knew that this wasn't home any longer. It is where I grew up, and only that. I missed my friends, and will try harder to keep in touch, but home is truly Montana now. I couldn't wait to get back to the crisp air, mountain views, and winding rivers. What I once thought that I wanted in Iowa, I now want even more in Montana; a family. Many of my friends have children now, and it makes me want them even more. I was asked by several of them when I planned on starting a family. My response was, "when I'm ready." Well, I am. And perhaps I've met the person I'm supposed to have that family with, perhaps not. Either way, in the next couple of years, married or not, I plan on starting that family of mine. For now, I am happy with Oliver and Twist.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Photo Friday

Here it is again. These are the only photos worth sharing this week, and they are both from Missoula. Twist walked right into the river for a drink of water, and a few seconds later was scared by the sound of Brennan's Wave. I am slowly making headway with him and his fears. He will always be a bit timid, but he is getting better as the weeks go on and the love keeps coming his way.

I'm off to Bozeman today to talk PR with a potential new employer and to go on a fly-fishing trip tomorrow. On Sunday I will head to Denver, CO to see Eve for a few days. Then I'll be heading to Iowa to see family and friends. I'm so ready for this trip, but not at the same time. Packing up Oliver and Twist has proven to be more challenging, but what is worse is that I have no clue how they will take this long of a trip. In total, we will be in the car for right around 22 hours. At least it will be broken up.

For now, I'm off!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


This last weekend found me in Missoula for my first visit since moving to Helena a month ago. I was excited to get out of town and into the one that had been home for so long. I brought Twist with and he was a champ, considering how timid he can be. He warmed up to our hosts, Joe and Amy relatively fast and didn't cause any problems with the resident cat, Charlie.

What I soon realized was that I was not happy in Helena. Don't get me wrong, it's a great town, but...when you're miserable at work, it's hard to see the good in anything. My high hopes for my career move were slightly tainted at the end of the first week, only to get progressively worse the second, third, and fourth week. Verbal abuse and being made to feel like my bosses personal slave was enough to make me strongly question why I was working for him. Upon meeting up with my best girlfriends in Missoula, they were able to get it out of me very quickly that I was not happy. They were worried about me. I hadn't been my usual perky self even on the phone with them. They told me they were behind me no matter what I chose to do, but that no one should have to feel the way I was about a job.

Monday was the breaking point for me. I was so stressed out and nervous within 10 minutes of my boss arriving at work, that I felt ill. A couple of friends that are familiar with my situation, one having seen the abuse, convinced me that we could work something out, and that it just wasn't worth it.

So, Tuesday morning, I went in and quit. And then came home and took a three hour nap. Today, I feel GREAT! I know I've made the right decision and a better opportunity is on the horizon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Photo Friday

Another week of not so many photographs. Hopefully I'll get a bunch while I'm in Missoula this weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


There are many different definitions of family. Of course, the biological family is first and foremost the most important. My parents, as difficult as they can be at times, are irreplaceable. I love them, and am sure that I don't tell them as much as I should. My eldest sister I don't talk to enough, but I can tell that when I do, she loves me. It warms the heart, and makes me ever more eager to see her in a few weeks. However, I chose the weekend of my visit for my other sister. The weekend that she is not working. Did I consider that Jill might be working? No. Hmm, I should be thinking about her as well. Bad sister, Julie...

On the few occasions per year that I am blessed with seeing my biological family, it is great. Nothing is better, and I feel loved.

In the interim, I have family here in Montana as well. For the past two years, they were my co-workers at my last job. I am still very attached to many of them, and not to others.

Here in Helena, I have family too, however, I sometimes think that I should let them go, as they are not mine anymore. That does not make me love them any less.

Hug your family tonight...and say I love you.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

On ice

After moving to Helena, I was in a bit of pain again from lifting boxes up and down and in and out of trucks. This pain I speak of is in my lower back again. It had subsided again, and then late this week, I tweaked it again. Today, I am in so much pain that it brings tears to my eyes, and I am sitting on an ice pack. If that doesn't help, I will be resolved to taking pain killers again. Next on my list after this post is to find a doctor here in Helena.

My fear is that this is going to be a recurring problem for the rest of my life. It started over two years ago and comes and goes. I wonder if the stress of a new job helped exacerbate it, or if not working out regularly for the past two months has contributed as well. A year and a half ago, I was very close to needing back surgery, and I was not nearly in as much pain. I would be lying if I said I wasn't terrified that this time I may need surgery.

I need to take care of myself a little bit better. Anyone have any tips on how to resolve lower back pain?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Photo Friday

What a busy three weeks it has been! I've hardly had time to go out and take photos, but last weekend finally changed that. Eve and I took our dogs on a short hike and Twist loved it! He did get a little carsick on the way to the trail head, but I think that most of that was due to going up and down streets and how warm it was.

He doesn't really like the Gentle Leader that I put on him, but it does help me control him. I've noticed that it is chaffing his nose so I'm easing off it a bit. Otherwise, life with a dog is great! He is still quite attached to me, which is just fine if you ask me. Oliver still is very uninterested in him, while occasionally getting frisky with him. Oliver doesn't seem to be mad at me for bringing in another attention stealer, as he still gets perks that Twist doesn't, like sleeping on the bed.

This weekend, I chose not to go back to Missoula. I miss it very much but didn't want the hassle after a stressful week. And the thought of it being First Friday was too depressing. Hopefully next weekend will find me in my beloved Missoula again.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Photo Friday...a day late, again

The plan was to make it home early last night and get this post in on time, but my early night turned into quite a late one of playing cards and reminiscing about our childhoods. It's also been a pretty busy week for me; I've been hanging out with a friend that is leaving tomorrow for Denver, trying to get completely settled and unpacked at home, and doing a bit of research for work at night. To make myself even busier, I am adopting an eight month old Shepherd cross from the local shelter. I've named him Twist and he is going to be a great companion.

The weather is beautiful here in Montana, and the leaves are turning. Best get outside on a hike with my new pup!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New home, new job

It really is amazing how fast time goes when you are adjusting to new things. I've been in Helena now for two weeks exactly, and I can't believe it.

My first week of work flew by and I really learned a lot. There were stressful moments only because I felt like I was being pulled in 20 different directions, which I literally was. And they were directions that I didn't know. For the past 8 1/2 years I've done the same job, and I'm sure at first I was overwhelmed, but I can't remember that. What I do remember is that for the past six years, I've know exactly what was expected of me, and I just did it. No one questioned me, no one had to show me what to do. Now, I have no idea what I'm doing, and I'm very unsure of myself. However, each day is better than the previous day, and I am very happy that I've taken this huge step in my career.

My new apartment is great. I had most of my stuff unpacked within a few days, and have only to assemble my shelf so that I can unpack the last box onto it and hang pictures accordingly. That will probably happen this weekend...or maybe not. If it's going to be nice I'm going to do some hiking. With my new dog.

More on that in my next post.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Photo Friday

Yet again, the pictures are late this week. They are all from last week, my first full week in Helena. The first is a detail shot of an item in my new office, the second is the house that I live in, of which the whole first floor is mine, the third is near where I work, and the final is a shot of the backside of the Helena Cathedral.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Photo Friday

First of all, I apologize for not getting these photos up until Sunday evening. I was able to start the post from my phone but could not upload the pictures until I had an internet connection. This week has been a busy one, yet again. Tuesday was my last day as a bench jeweler, and I begin my new job on Monday.

The move to Helena was uneventful, which as far as moves go, is a good thing. With the help of a couple of friends, we loaded AND unloaded the same day. I've got pretty much everything unpacked that I want out and everything else is put in my storage area. I'll get pictures up of my new abode next week.

The following photos are from a little gathering that my friends had for me before I left Missoula.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Last day

Today is my last day as a bench jeweler. Kinda sad, kinda happy. I really do love my current job and will miss many things about it. However, there are many things about it that I won't miss; the drama of my co-workers, working weekends, the many injuries I've received working as a bench jeweler, rouge stained fingers, working in a mall...

I will miss the designing that I got to do there, even though it was just a little bit of what I did. Even when I was getting to work on custom pieces, it was a struggle; I am burned out. 8 1/2 years on the bench, where 96% of what I do is sizing, setting stones, and other menial repairs just got old. When I told my co-workers and superiors that I was leaving, they all said the same thing: "but you're so good at what you do." Yeah, I know that, but I don't want to be know for being a great repair jeweler. I want to be know as a great designer, which I am, but I just don't get to do enough, nor do I really want to, right now. What I'm hoping will happen is after I've settled into my new job, I'll actually want to start designing again. I can carve wax in my apartment without making too big of a mess, and eventually get them cast into gold. I've already noticed that I want to doodle more, which is promising. I want to get back to where I was when I first started on the bench; I would rush home and sketch and work out designs for several hours several days a week. I'll get there, and with an abundance of stones to select from at my new job, I'm sure I'll have plenty of inspiration.

As I prepare to shut the door on the first stage of my career, I am excitedly running toward the next door. The possibilities are endless, and I am eager to see where my life is headed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Photo Friday

It's time again, and unfortunately, with finding a new place to live in Helena, and then packing this week, I haven't had much time for photography. Hopefully that will change tonight after work when I head to Weir hot springs with Amy. For now though, all I can offer up is real life: my apartment in disarray.
And somewhere in none of my free time, I found the time to make a cheesecake for a dear friend's birthday; Raspberry Chocolate.
And, just as I thought, the trip to the natural hot springs did prove to be photographic, as did the LumberJack on the way home.