An Update: Caverning, Adulting, and Some Crafting

Hello everyone!

I’m still struggling with finding a good update schedule for this little blog as I delve deeper into test mode (now less than two months away, gulp).  After doing yoga this morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee and here I am.  If there’s anything I’ve learned in my life, it’s that progress and improvement happens slowly.  I’m not going to build an amazing blog overnight, just as I am not going to become a super strong runner or indispensable employee in just a couple of days.

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past week:

  1.  CAVERNS

This weekend, Fiancé and several of our friends visited the Natural Bridge Caverns in New Braunfels.  It’s one of those things I’ve wanted to do for so long but had never set aside some time to do.  It was so awesome!  We took the Hidden Passages tour and went 180 feet underground to explore the caverns.  We got to sit in total darkness for several minutes, which was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.  I couldn’t even see my hand when I held it out in front of me.

Confession time – the more our guide told us not to touch the cavern walls and stalagmites,  THE MORE I WANTED TO (but didn’t.  Because I respect nature, etc. Also I did not want a 3rd degree felony on my record).

2.  Books (for fun)

I took a break from studying and blazed through this book over the weekend: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.

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It was okay.  It was pretty predictable, and wasn’t as scary as Reese Witherspoon’s cover quote promised (actually, it wasn’t scary at all).  In terms of atmospheric thrillers, it doesn’t even come close to someone like Tana French.  But it was a fun, quick read, and something to add to my Goodreads tally, which has been sorely neglected for the most part.

3.  Adulting (the Front Yard Edition)

Confession time # 2 – I am a terrible gardener.  TERRIBLE.  My gardening methods are like so:  purchase 15 plants from Home Depot, come home, stare at the plants, think, “Man, that’s gonna be a lot of work,” leave the plants in their containers for two weeks, finally plant them out of guilt, and then let the garden become its own version of Lord of the Flies.

This time I was determined not to let the plants die, and to not overwhelm ourselves with gardening for more than 20 minutes.  Our front yard needed some TLC, so I decided that we would only buy 3-4 plants max.

Voilaaaaa!

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Yayyy! So pretty!

Please don’t die, plants!

4.  Crafting

I’ve been in a major crochet mood lately, digging out a blanket that I had started during the spring during the first exam attempt.

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The colors I selected are very cozy, and as the weather gets (slightly) cooler here in Texas, I am feeling more inspired to dig out the long-term projects again.

I’m also catching up with a Little Box of Crochet project from last fall.  I am making a wreath.  Here’s the beginning of a leaf:

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I hope wherever you are, you are keeping cozy!  Talk to you soon!

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Where I’ve Been

HELLO MY FRIENDS WE MEET UUUUUUGAIN!

I nearly upgraded my site just so I could post that Creed video and you all could judge accordingly, but it’s kind of pricey to upgrade so I’m just going to trust that you all click the link and shake your heads.

So.

How’s it going?

It’s been over three months since I posted and I’ve been missing this little blog.  I’ve been keeping pretty busy, but to keep from boring everyone I will just focus on the highlights.

TEST

After my last post, I succumbed to “obsessively check and wait for results” mode, which was awful. Waiting is the worst!  I finally received results in late May and, like I expected, I did not pass.  It was pretty disappointing.  But the difference between my score and the passing score was in the single digits…so…I am not far.  The next test is October 27th, and I have already started studying. I will pass this time!  I NEED TO PASS THIS TIME.  The next test after the October one is April 2018, which is when I’m getting married, which is a big NOPE.

TRAVEL

Another thing I started focusing on after my test was scrubbing up my admittedly weak Italian.  My family and I had a trip planned in June.  It was probably late May where I realized I wasn’t going to learn 32 years worth of Italian in a month, so I relaxed a little bit.

I will need to do an entire post on Italy but it was a pretty great trip.  We were there for two weeks and I was able to see my family, who I hadn’t seen in so long! My Italian was still bad, but I learned a lot being immersed over there.

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Selfie in Positano

Work

As one of my aunts says, “Lavoro é lavoro” (work is work), but I’ve been enjoying it.  Lots of reports to keep me busy. I really enjoy the projects where I get to dig deeply into the data (because I’m a nerd), but projects involving a lot of data can always be stressful because you want your analysis to be perfection.  I was also in the field for two weeks this month at a couple of my sites.  Guys. I’ve lived in Texas for over 20 years so I’m used to this heat – or I thought?  But one week was just so bad!  I’m so glad August is crunch time at the office and I have an excuse to be in the AC.

I do have one funny story – a gate wasn’t closed properly at my site, so we arrived the next morning to find a bunch of cows who had decided to make a visit.

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Just a small sampling of the cows at the site.

 

That was a call I wasn’t looking forward to making to my project manager.  He said we needed to herd them off-site.  “I…um…is there a way you recommend herding them?” I asked.  He told us to make lots of noise.  So I started running at the cows wildly, waving my arms and yelling “SHOOOOOO!” while my coworker jumped in his vehicle and started honking at the cows.  We were able to get the cows off-site and back to their proper home in ten minutes, which exceeded my expectations.  I can now add Jenny: Cow Herder to my resume.

CRAFTS

I want to post a couple of pictures of things I’ve either worked on or finished. I finished a couple of other neat pieces, but I want to spend more time on those posts.

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Fun sashiko-inspired piece from Studio MME

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Another Studio MME piece. I finished this one in Italy – this is my aunt’s table, isn’t it beautiful?

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Fun amigurumi piece from Little Box of Crochet

Wedding

We’re actually getting a lot done.  Booked a photographer (NOT the guy who told me, “I’m a hugger, deal with it” and openly admitted to google stalking the both of us – good lord), finding a caterer, and narrowing down on a baker and officiant.  Fiancé has been really helpful and taken the lead on a lot of the vendors.  Go Fiancé!  Planning is making this wedding less of this nebulous event and something real and tangible.  I’m getting really excited!

Alrighty, I need to get ready for work, but I will be back soon! I have been toying around with ideas for this little blog and hopefully we’ll have some fun in the process!

Where I’ve Been: Field Work and Lots of Crochet

Good morning everyone! I apologize for my absence.  I was in the field for the past two weeks doing groundwater sampling.  This trip had the most wells I’ve ever had to sample (59!) but it actually one of my least stressful trips.  None of the equipment broke down, we stayed ahead of schedule for most of our time out there, and I was working with a great co-worker.  There was one day when our radar looked like this:

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It turned our site into a small mud party and we did briefly get stuck in mud. But we were able to get ourselves out by shoring up rocks near the tires,  WHICH NEARLY NEVER HAPPENS.  It was awesome.

The adjacent property has a bunch of judgmental cows who stare at us while we sample the wells. One of them was very sweet and playful. I called him an Apollo cow because like my own beloved dog, this cow was trying to eat my personal belongings, i.e. the keys to all the wells.

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Even on good sampling trips like this one, I was so exhausted at night that I barely had the energy to answer work emails, much less craft.  I did work on this beautiful piece from Studio MME’s Super Stitcher’s Club.

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On weekends I’ve been doing a lot of crochet.  Crochet is my go-to craft when I’m feeling stressed or just need to unwind without thinking too much.

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This is a pretty piece I’m doing from an old issue of Mollie Makes (crafting from my stash!) Crochet in the round is still challenging to me so it’s a good way for me to practice my new skills, even if it looks a little wonky right now!

I also worked on this piece from an old issue of Simply Crochet:

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I’ve making progress on my blanket as well.  I think I mentioned in the last post that I’m using Attic24’s Cosy Stripe Blanket as my pattern, but am modifying it by making more stripes with the same colors:

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And finally, I started working on this cowl while visiting with my wonderful future in-laws this weekend (that is still a slightly surreal sentence to type):

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So that’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods! Keeping busy with wedding planning too; Fiancé and I have selected a venue and pinned down a date.  My parents are coming up in March and Mom and I are going to start doing wedding dress shopping, which is going to be so much fun.  I really cannot wait for that.  Fiancé and I ran a half-marathon yesterday.  It was his first and he CRUSHED IT, I’m so unbelievably proud of him!  I was about to cry when I saw him coming up on that mile 12 marker.  As for me, I’m not super thrilled with my time but given the humidity I will accept it.  I almost want to do another one just to prove to myself that I can run it faster than I did yesterday.

Also, I have not been studying much this month, which is fantastic given the test is two months away. I had this conversation with my parents this weekend:

Mom:  Have you been studying?
Me: Umm…yes, I’m on chapter 8 in my book!
Dad: Out of how many chapters?
Me:  …..52.

Well, I’d better head off to work before they send a search party looking for me. I hope you all have a great Monday!  See you Wednesday!

Vegas!

Hi everyone! I’m back!

It’s been a busy month but a good one.  Last week, Boyfriend and I took a trip to Las Vegas to attend a wedding (and since everyone has been asking – no, not our own! Hahaha).  I was pretty excited since I had never been to Vegas, but had heard so much hype about it from my friends.  There’s no shortage of entertainment there; we had a blast. The gambling gets old pretty quickly, to be honest – I was pretty intimidated by the card games so just tried my hand at the slot machines.  Slot machines are the equivalent of just hopping in your car, opening the window, and then tossing your money all over the freeway.  But we still had a good time casino hopping and enjoy the glitz – (window) shopping at the mall at Caesar’s Palace, watching the Fountains of Bellagio, taking in an art exhibit at the Bellagio, and taking a ride on the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, the High Roller!

I think my favorite day of the trip was our first morning there.  We rented a car, ate at a restaurant called Eggslut (we picked the restaurant just based on that name, to be honest) and drove out to Boulder City to see the Hoover Dam.  I am probably revealing my nerdiness when I tell you that seeing the Hoover Dam was the highlight of my trip.

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Just look at the scale of it! It’s incredible!  We took the Power Plant tour and went 530 feet below ground to the base of the Dam.  It was so cool guys!

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That’s me being a dork in front of the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, a bypass to the Dam. I took about fifty pictures of this bridge.  It was so beautiful!

Afterwards we grabbed some yummy lunch in Boulder City.  We were under a bit of a time crunch since we had to drop off our rental by 4 pm.  And since everything is pretty expensive in Vegas, there was no way we wanted to miss that drop off time.  We’d planned a Target trip before our drop off to pick up some comfortable footwear for me, since the heels I had brought had KILLED. MY. FEET the night before.

But I had just one more stop in mind. Now that I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a little more, it’s been my goal to visit the local craft stores.  I started this with my trip to Tucson in June, when I visited the lovely Sew-Hip and  Birdhouse Yarns.  Just as I had been clamoring to see some of Nevada’s natural beauty with a road trip to Hoover Dam, I really wanted to check out the local craft scene.  I found a store called Sin City Knit Shop.  It was not far from the Target we were planning on visiting. I knew I had to check it out!

My visit to the shop did not disappoint.  After being warmly greeted by the staff, I browsed the shop. I was immediately taken with colorways dyed by the shop owner herself.  I bought myself a skein, which came with a free pattern. I can’t wait to make something from it! I’m not much of a knitter but since the pattern just calls for knit/purl, I think I can do it!

The colorway I bought is called “Roll the Dice.”  It has a rich purple tone to it.  It will make a beautiful shawl!  As soon as I start the pattern, I will post my progress!

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But first…I need to wrap up a super secret project! 🙂

::oooooo, suspense::

::kind of::

::not really::

All in all, it was a great trip, and I love that I’ve been able to take home something crafty as a memento!