Sunday, February 21, 2010

Work, school, and a short trip

I've been plugging along at work, having just completed my busiest week in over a month. While I am happy to be busy doing bench work, the whole time all I wanted to do was to get back to my current class. Who would have thought that I couldn't wait to get back to school work?

While this class is also basically a review for me, I have learned a bit more about the inclusions that diamonds contain and how to identify some of them with symbols while plotting a stone (basically a map of the inclusions). I'm on the last assignment, which is teaching me how to sell diamonds. All right, I'll admit, I am learning a few new techniques, but who knows when I will be able to use them, as I am not a sales person, and if I do happen to get caught by a customer in my brief moments everyday on the sales floor, the real sales people get bent out of shape and want to take over, which I am totally fine with. My next class will be Jewelry Essentials, which will also be a very short class, probably only taking me a week to complete. After that I will have achieved my GIA Accredited Jewelry Professional (A.J.P) certificate. Which basically means that I am knowledgeable about the 4C's of diamonds, can explain treated, synthetic, and imitation stones with full disclosure, and apply proven steps of the sales process. Getting this certificate wasn't on my immediate agenda, however, it was just one more short class to tack on so what the heck. After that I will be back into the thick of it with the Diamonds & Diamond grading course, which will be much more in depth and will for sure take me longer that a week and I will learn many new things.

This weekend is my long one for the month. I left work Friday at 5 o'clock and don't return until 9am Tuesday. A couple of girlfriends and I headed to Lochsa Lodge in Northern Idaho on Friday night to hang out and have fun. After enjoying some nice wine, bread, and cheese, over great conversation, we turned in for the night. The next morning, the sun was shining while we enjoyed a long, leisurely breakfast at the lodge. Emily and I discussed photography, and I listened intently while she told me even more new things about my camera. Kristen learned some new techniques to use with her point and shoot so it was informative for everyone. We packed up our car and headed out for some snowshoeing along/on the river. The gurgling water was very peaceful, while the crunching of our snowshoes was not! The conditions were far from perfect for snowshoeing, as there was no fresh snow, and what was there was hard (and sharp). From there we headed further into Idaho to indulge in hot springs at Jerry Johnson. We had been told that the 1.5 mile hike in was icy and to take caution. In the parking area, there were a lot of cars, indicating to us that it would be busy, and that maybe it wasn't as icy as we had been told. Icy was an understatement. Along that flat parts it wasn't that bad, but it wasn't good either. Then we came to an uphill portion. Kristen was forced down to her hands and knees, and I was off the trail trying to make it in the rough snow, only to realized that I would have to climb up a steep, slippery embankment. Back on the trail, I was down on my butt in no time, sliding back down the trail. We questioned whether we should continue on. All of us were up for the challenge, knowing that in less than 30 feet, we would be on flat ground again. On we went, and it was worth it. The first, and hottest pool was crowded so we went to the second pool, which had only four people in, two of whom I knew. It's a small world after all, even out in the woods of Northern Idaho! After about two hours of soaking, we were on our way back down, giggling and sliding on our bums. On our way back, we made the obligatory stop at The Lumberjack for a couple of beers. Located just outside of Lolo, MT, we made it home at just after 7pm.

Justin and his parents were waiting for me and we headed out to dinner. After Justin and I won a couple of games of Euchre we all turned in for the night. Today, I am catching up on my 'To do' list, of which I decided to skip running, even though the weather is perfect for it (my legs are beat after hiking 3 miles on ice).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Busy Bee

It's hard to imagine that we are nearly to the middle of February already...time certainly has ticked by.

I've already finished, and aced my first class, and am waiting, albeit, a bit impatiently for my next class to become accessible online, which I found out could be another five days. The reason for the delay is that I am now enrolling through my company. They are helping out financially, which is nice, however, I'm a bit annoyed that the processing takes longer. I can't help but think that I would be over halfway through my next course had I just enrolled as I had before. I guess if they are helping though, I shouldn't complain. Another change in furthering my education is that I have to switch gears and complete the diamond courses first, as 70% of our business is diamond product. That's all fine and dandy as a salesperson, but as a bench jeweler, I think that it is far more important for me to be able to identify the many colored stones that come across my bench. Ah well...

Nearly two weeks ago, Justin and I headed up to Lolo Pass to do some snowshoeing. It was great to be outdoors and play in the snow. We shuffled along in the snow for at least two hours, all the while it was snowing quite heavily. I wore my hiking shoes for the first time in the snow and was happy to have dry feet at the end of our excursion. My fingers had started to get cold from taking my gloves off to take photos. I have decided that I need to get some glomitts, gloves with the fingers cut off and a mitten that flips over them when you don't need exposed fingers. I do believe that I will be heading to REI before my next outdoor adventure.

I've also started taking part in a photo journal for lack of a better description. My friend Chris back in Iowa started it on his blog Photography 139. Every week he picks a word from a list and our project is to go capture that word in a picture. This week's word is Adventure, and Chris stated that this should be an easy topic for someone as active as I am. Hmm, perhaps I should go skydiving this weekend. HA! Just kidding.

This past Sunday, Justin and I headed to Jackson, MT to enjoy the super hot Hot Springs there. A few friends joined us and we had a great time. I really enjoyed the lodge, and the drive was very beautiful. Talk about getting out of the city! In the middle of nowhere, the next closest town was 18 miles away, and it was only slightly larger than Jackson (pop. 34). The sky truly is BIG out there.

Tonight is kind of a chill night. Justin has left for a few days to be with his extended family in Kansas, leaving me to my own devices until Sunday afternoon. Hopefully, I will tie up some loose ends here and finish my own projects in my spare time (if that even exists).