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.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Let's face it; I hate moving, but the last two and a half years, it seems to be what I do. The plus side of it is that I am getting really good at packing. The first time I moved, I just threw all of my pots and pans and mixing bowls in a box, as I was actually packing the truck. Surprisingly, nothing broke. The majority of what I own is kitchen stuff; and as luck would have it, that is usually the hardest room to pack.

Every time I move, I vow to get rid of the things I haven't used since my last move, and this time, I'm actually doing it. Why keep moving two crock pots, when I haven't used either in almost two years? I'll keep the smaller one just because you never know when it might come in handy. And six pancake flippers? Really? Who needs all this excess stuff?

I've also come across a box from my past. Pictures of my ex-fiance from when we were together. I can't bring myself to throw the photos away, but what do I do with them? I'm not hanging on to that relationship, but we are still friends and I really think it would be wrong to discard them.

As far as moving goes, I really do hope that this is a place that I can stay put, in the same residence for at least a year, if not longer. I'm sick of uprooting myself every year, 5 months, or 10 months. It makes me feel unstable and unsettled, which I am neither of. I hope that whatever it is I'm searching for will find me, because as of right now, I am focusing on work, and letting life lead me in the direction it so chooses. I'm letting go of fantasies, and where I thought I would be at this point in my life, because really, I am where I am supposed to be.

That leads me to a realization that I had the other night over a glass of wine with a good friend; I wouldn't be here if I had gotten married almost four years ago. If my ex had not had second thoughts, we would be married, with children, and I would feel trapped. The pain that that breakup caused me made me stronger. It also made me realize that he didn't want to get married and have children so I left for Montana, where I was blessed to meet Justin, and through him, my new boss. It's funny how life has a way of working itself out, don't you think?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Photo Friday

I shouldn't be surprised that it is Friday already. It seems like the weeks fly by as of late, and I am always scrambling to keep up! As promised, this week I did get out with my camera, mostly due to taking my parents to Glacier, and also because I wanted to play with my new lens, a 50mm/f 1.8 Nikon lens.

This first picture is one of the sushi rolls I made last night with Amy. Fish is the only meat that I do consume, and I am careful to choose wisely in my purchases of it. I tried to give it up completely last fall but got very weak and had to start including it in my diet, albeit sparingly.

While my parents were here, I took them to the antique mall; four floors of amazing and not so amazing stuff. I saw the coffee grinder and thought that it was amazing.

Of course, another picture of Oliver posing was necessary as well.

And to finish off the week where it all started: in Glacier National Park.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Iowans in Montana

Amongst all the other excitement in my life, my parents came for a visit last week. It had been almost a year and a half since I had seen them and to be honest, I was nervous. Yeah, silly, huh? I was worried they wouldn't like it here, or that they wouldn't like me anymore. That's even sillier, but somehow I felt they were judging me right away. I know that they just want the best for me and want me to be happy, but who ever said that I wasn't?

The biggest thing they wanted to know about was why I don't go to church. OK, I haven't gone to church on a regular basis since forever ago, so this isn't really what their concern was. What they really wanted to know was why I turn more to Buddhism than anything. Okay, that's easy; when you've dated a Buddhist philosopher who is really into it, it's kind of hard not to also get interested in it as well. It just seems to fit now more than anything and I can relate more to it. I'm not a Buddhist though. I don't want to call myself anything because, quite frankly, it doesn't matter. All that really matters is that I know that meditating every day has helped me, and that is something I can for sure say I've gained from learning about Buddhism. It's just a different kind of praying than what my parents are used to, not that they pray every day.

Another inquiry they had was about me not eating meat (except for fish occasionally). Yeah, that is from my ex as well. It was just easier for me not to not eat meat since we cooked so many meals together from the beginning. What kept me at it was that I noticed I felt better, looked better, and all around was eating more healthy. Bad thing? Nope, not in my book.

Other than those few sticky points, their visit was a good one. I took them to Glacier National Park with my friend Amy and we took a lot of photos (of course). Mom was quite impressed with how beautiful everything was. We were lucky and saw six bears our first night, as well as a moose. A little bit of tension developed over a stupid thing, and kind of put a damper on our evening, but eventually it faded away, and all was back to normal.

My dad floated the river with me and a couple of friends while my mom went shopping, we grilled out in my backyard, checked out the River City Roots Festival, enjoyed the best pizza in town; Biga, and even got a couple games of Euchre in. All in all, it was a good visit. I'm glad they got to see where and what I've been up to for the past two years. They ended up leaving on Monday after lunch, a day early, but I was ok with that. Sometimes it is just downright exhausting entertaining people all of the time. I was ready to have my space back and I know that I will see them soon enough.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I'm a big believer in fate. The things that are going to happen in your life will find a way whether you want it to happen or not. This includes heartache, happiness, whether or not you will have a family, etc. I believe my career fate started to change on New Year's Eve last year. While in Helena for the holidays I met a gentleman in the jewelry industry. I was like a kid in a candy store and enjoyed very much being able to talk to someone who had a passion for stones. He had mentioned then that he was looking for an assistant but I didn't think much about it other than to think how neat it would be to work for him.

It was shortly after this meeting that I seriously started thinking about going back to school through GIA. I was enrolled just over a month after our first meeting , and within a few weeks, I was already starting to think that working on the gem side of the industry might be very fascinating for me. All I had to do was finish my classes and I'd be able to seek out a position.

I had been keeping in contact with my new industry friend sporadically just because of Ronnie's ring. Through the summer he had told me to let him know when I would be in Helena so that we might get lunch. It just happened that I was in town for Justin's send off to India a week and a half ago and it worked out to meet. As it turns out, it was really an interview of sorts. What he was looking for was someone to help him get organized and keep track of his inventory. I would also be filling orders and typing up invoices, among other things; that is, if I was interested. Was I? YES! We parted ways with the idea that we would both think about it, and he would be back to me in a week.

That week was up more quickly than I realized and he was calling. I knew what it would take me to leave my current position but really didn't think he would offer enough. To my delight he did, and I am very excited to be moving on to a new opportunity where I will learn a lot and broaden my knowledge of the jewelry industry.