Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pondering Production- Financial Planning

"A hobby is hard work you wouldn't do for a living." -Anonymous

"When a habit begins to cost money, it's called a hobby." -Jewish Proverb

"Making money is a hobby that will complement any other hobbies you have, beautifully." -Scott Alexander

"Up until recently, knitting was work. It was not a pastime, but a necessary chore that provided a family with clothing. If you didn't do it then your family just didn't have the things they needed. Sometimes I think about that and I wonder: Would you feel the same way about knitting if it was mandatory?" -Yarn Harlot

"Anybody who has ever tried knitting for money instead of love has noticed it would be very hard to earn a living that way. Knitting is handwork, and as such you would need to charge a small fortune for each creation. If a knitter were to be paid even minimum wage per hour, a knitted blanket could ring in at hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Weaving, on the other hand is wicked fast. A reasonably competent weaver can make a blanket in a single day. This brings me to the first rule of craft sale safety:Never put the knitters near the weavers. It takes more decency than most knitters have to not resort to violence when they find out." -Yarn Harlot

I think this is why I will always piece blankets and knit the little things.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


So now Im working 40 hours a week. Whew. Its a new thing for me. Being with kids for 8 hours....I love kids. A lot. I think they're funny, personable, and each of them has their one thing that makes me as a teacher able to connect to them. Heres the thing. Even when I was subbing I was never with them for 8 hours. I would get there, have an hour to prep, greet the kids, spend the morning together working intensely on projects, have a breather during recess and spend some time getting recharged for the next phase  and so get the picture. 8 hours with 15 kids with high levels of need is a new gig. I can definately use your thoughts, prayers and encouragement in giving these kids the love, encouragement, and energy they need from me as their educator and caretaker.

On another note, after a long day of work, when getting ready to mix up a nice batch of onion dip look what a pleasant suprise I found under the lid of our sour cream. I can't say it didn't make me smile. Im kind of a sucker for good marketing. I'll be the first to admit it.

Our "N" wall is growing. Some of the pictures need to be filled in, but Im liking how the collection is comming together. The next piece I hope to add is a 6 inch scrabble tile <check em out they're cool> and maybe someday I'll con my new brother in law Mark to make a big curly cue one out of wood! (I'm not very subtle am I.)

We've been having lots of fun playing with our new ice cream maker.  So far I've made a couple strawberry lime sorbet's, a Coffee Toffee ice cream for a play date with some of my co workers (inspired by Christa) and mint chocolate chip. Pictured below is all that's left of it. Im day dreaming of the next flavor to make.
I'm a little nervous about our oven because its kind of old and teeny tiny. Plus once again, we have no air conditioning so thats another thing that makes me heasitant to use the oven. A few days ago I made a roast in our crock pot and today I baked a quiche in our RED toaster oven! Isn't it glamourous?

Here's the finnished product! It has some hash browned potatoes and onion with Italian seasoning in the bottom, sauteed mushrooms and asparagus with some garlic salt, bacon, spinach and cheddar cheese. I followed the Better Homes and Gardens recipe called Spinach and Bacon Quiche for the egg mixture.
Some egg over flowed to underneath the crust and got shiny and hard, but that was my only "wish I'd done that better."

Our Neighbors Stink.

Literally. Out of the 15 apartments on our side of the building over half of the residents smoke. We don't have air conditioning so then we're forced to decide: live with the heat, or live with the stink. Ick.

I used to think the worst kind of neighbor to have is a loud one who plays his/her base loudly and extra loudly on days you have migraines. Now... I know there are TWO worst kinds of neighbors to have.

I guess if we look on the bright side all of our neighbors are fairly quiet. Even with the windows open.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Just Jessica

Soooo now I'm married. The question has come up to whether or not Just Jessica is still an appropriate blog title.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Back when I started my blog, the other bloggers I knew had family blogs. Mine was all mine. It was about me. Just me. Just Jessica.

Im married now. The kids at work have been calling me Mrs. N. They found out my whole new last name and we had a solid 5 minute conversation about it. Pronouncing all the syllables, then I had to write it on the board so they'd get all the sounds. Then a couple reverted to singing Nickelodeon theme songs. Nick nick nick nah nick nick nick ah loh de an.

Do we change to something clever tying in golf and crafting? Are we now Just Jessica and Luke since kids are a LONG ways in the future? How about Just Married Jessica? (Credit for the last two goes to commenters.)  Tell us what you think? Give us some suggestions? I think I'll put up a vote sometime next week once we've heard what ya'll have to say!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Today I turn 23. I enjoy what some other bloggers I follow do in sharing their age number of memories under a certain theme. In light of our recent marriage I thought I'd share 23 of our wedding presents I've used in the last 5 days.
1.) Bath towels, nothing is better than a fluffy new towel. (washed before use of course)

2.) Dishes. Our fiestaware is so bright and cheery! You can't look at it when just waking up, or after a long day at work and not smile!

3.) Kitchen Aid Paper towel dispenser, the thing is magic. It has a clicky mechanism that holds the roll and lets you tear just one off!

4.) Red pots and pans! Spaghetti just tastes better when the pans look that good!

5.) Ice Cream Maker, were both semi lactose intolerant. We've made lots of sorbets! Our favorite combo? Strawberry Lime

6.) Cuisinart Food processor- to purree the fruit to make sorbet!

7.) Glasses. Wide at the top, heavy on the bottom. No creases for anything to get stuck.

8.) Aero bed. It arrived in Fresno and we set it up to use in my dad's office (returned to office state after posing as my bedroom. The bed got moved on out.)

9.) Target Gift Card- to purchase hangers for our closet and laundry soap (for our laundry.)

10.) Knives. Ceramic and picnic from Sur La Table. They come in bright colors.

11.) Spices, from our spice rack! So I may have over seasoned our potatoes a little bit...I wanted to use them all!

12.) Toaster oven! Turkey, spinach, feta quesadilla!

13.) Pyrex- for mixing purgers and pancake mix and storing left overs!

14.) George Foreman- burgers and asparagus!

15.) Wine glasses- we've had some of the wine left from our reception in Moscow.

16.) Colander- spaghetti is a newlyweds staple. Its cheap.

17.) Quilt-have you seen that fantastic quilt Cindy made us? Its on our wall.

18.) Cutting Mats-for all those little pieces that go into breakfast burritos and burgers!

19.) Sheets, thats all thats on our bed, its a little bit warm.

20.) Blender- strawberry, blackberry cran-rasberry smoothies. Yum. I may have worken up the neighbors. Did I mention its the most powerful blender on the market?

21.)Can Opener, just used it to open re-fried beans. Its green, and it left no sharp edges, and has grabbers to pick up the top!

22.)Frames and shelves to make our apartment feel cozier!

23.) Pictures and notes, on our fridge that remind us of the people we love!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lots to Do!

The time has been JAM packed! As I write I am a bit sunburned and tired because today we (group from work) went to the Sky Sox Kids Day and watched the first game of a double header.

You wont see too many pictures of me on my adventures because posting pictures of me and kids at work probably doesn't equal that great of an idea.
Tuesday was a full day of work after arriving back in Colorado Springs at 2:00 AM!
Monday was 18 hours in the car leaving Fresno around 5:00 AM
Sunday was an amazing wedding reception in Fresno! I got to visit with so many people! Much better than not getting to speak with anyone on the day of our wedding! PLUS I got to go out to dinner with many of the women in my family that night while the boys all watched recorded Germany game.
Saturday we got to Fresno at  12 30 ish and stopped by the Farmers Market (closed) watched soccer (football) and went to Mark and Cindys for yummy burgers! Top the night off with a trip to Sur la Table!
Friday worked a full day then left Colorado Springs right after work leaving behind some crazy rain and a tornado warning. The rain stuck with us but we lost it by Fresno! 
Thursday we went to the Denver Aquarium. Pretty cool! Especially after being biased by Monteray Bay Aquarium! Though it DID make me miss those CA beaches!
For dinner we had the best breakfast burritos!
Eggs with asparagus, chopped potato and onions, sausage, and feta cheese.

Wednesday we went to  Magic Town a gallery in Old Town Colorado Springs of Michael Garman's works. You can even look in the windows of all the mini buildings and spy on the people!
Dinner on this night was the best burger recipe I didn't really follow. I was in Whole Foods with Neola and Aunt Becky and we got this amazing looking recipe for Turkey Spinach Burgers. The recipe inspired my recipe which looked more or less like this:
1 pound ground beef
6 asparagus spears chopped
3 large handfuls of torn baby spinach
2 pieces of toast torn up into bread crumbs
1/3 cup minced onion
2 Tablesppons Worcestershire Sauce
Some good shakes of garlic salt

I mixed the ingredients by hand and packed them into 5 balls.

I didnt squash ours down bacause I cooked them on our new red George Foreman grill.
I topped mine with Feta and garnished it with mustard! Yum! I didnt feel the need to use a bun since there was bread in the burger!
They were DELISH! (If I do say so myself!)

Tuesday: Work Training, Full shift, Staff Meeting

Monday: First full day of work, field trip to John May Museum. One word bugs. Lots of them. Pinned under glass. Highlight for the kids: Starwars display in th space section. They wanted to know how those puzzles stay together to hang on the wall and in the cereal is still in those old boxes.
Sunday we organized our apartment some more, and got better settled in. Slept a lot. The altitude takes quite a bit out of me!
Saturday Luke worked, Jess slept like 12 hours. Then went to the pool and was mortified by the company she found there and now knows live in our apartment complex. She came back and puttered around organizing "stuff." 
Friday I went out for some interviews and dropped off resumes and cover letters. I also got hired for my job at the school! We had a neighbor up to join us for pancakes. Funny guy goes on 70 mile bike trips on his weekends....for fun?!
Thursday: was long and tireing. I was running around turning in job applications and was STILL not aclimated. I went to La Baguette and got some of their amazing French Onion Soup. I brough home an Ecclair to share with Luke....I saved him half right?

Maybe not. It was good!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book experience: the Friday Night Knitting Club


I should have been warned by the USA Today review on the cover: "Like Steel Magnolias set in Manhattan." I also should have read this book before May of 2009 when my mom was diagnosed with Cancer.
Mom had given it to me to read when I first started knitting, but I was finishing school, then she got diagnosed, and where did the time go?

The day mom died I was in Moscow. A dear friend went out and got me two books knowing A.) I would want an occasional distraction and B.) I like to read.
Friday Night Knitting Club stuck out because Mom had recommended it. Reading time waned just before our wedding but has since picked up, as I now have an hour long lunch break.
Initially I thought the book started out slow but I then warmed up to it and the group in the store. I could relate relationships the characters had to many relationships in my life. (Knitting AND quilting groups.)

I was really starting to get into this book. Things were really happening, looking up, being fun. Then there was a twist.

The main character, the mom, the teacher, was diagnosed with cancer.

Ill be honest. I've been trying to avoid cancer themed stories like the plague. They keep finding me. First "The Last Song" and now this.

So there I am sitting in Jamba Jiuice, blubbering, weirding the poor sales guy out, cursing this book....well....more threatening it, even willing it to turn out better.

That blasted author. It didn't get better. It hit too close to home. It struck a nerve.

The line that really got me on Page 358:
It had in its own way, all worked out.. Except that Georgia wasn't there."

My life is really working out, but my mom isn't here. Its starting to hit me that she wont be there this weekend for our Fresno reception. Its going to be different. Life is going to be different.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pondering Production: One Big Pile

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Here it is. Justification for that stash. If you've imagined it, it's a cathedral. Doesn't that pile of paper, yarn, glass jars, fabric look a lot better now?

Is it really just jessica now?

So welcome to a new era of this blog apparently I the often mentioned side story am now allowed to guest blog about certain items.  However this is only with the express written permission from my lovely new wife. Thus I have been allowed to talk about the honeymoon after the first two days and will try to do so with out wandering off path too often.
Okay I already have failed because is Jessica's attempt to get something up for those of you pressuring her as to where are the pictures from the honeymoon she has left some important interesting stuff out. While she did do a great job of putting up the most well known items we did see on the first day, such as the wildlife Old Faithful, Steamboat Geyser, and the Bear and Wolf exhibit/discovery center.  I will add a couple more details that are not very well known.  Such as Steamboat when it is erupts is actually the largest by far of the Yellowstone geysers, it will shoot water around 2 and a half times higher than its southern neighbor (Old Faithful.)  Its eruptions have caused some panic from people near it when it goes off due to an accompaniment of none too gentle earthquakes.  However it only erupts once every 4 days to 50 years.
We also got to see a number of different what would be called paint pots or hot pots or thermal pools depending on who you talk to.  I do believe Jess took a bunch of pictures of these in a hope to get a one in every color blog out of it but do to the amount of steam rising from these rare ornamental pools we were not able to get the best pictures of them. 
As with many naturally occurring phenomenon  the pictures we show you will you will not do them justice.
So apparently the temperature of the water allows or creates the ability of different micro organisms to live.  There was a chart I thought Jess took a picture of however couldn't find it.  If I remember correctly though yellow was around 160, and green was around 170.  The hottest where blue at close to 200 degrees.  All of this in Fahrenheit.

 Yes that is snow! why is it still there? No one near by could answer and it did seem that we were the only ones really interested in this strange occurrence! I mean look in the background no snow anywhere near!

I really don't get it! I mean the heat from those vents is what was supposed to have caused all these trees to die! they are about 25 yards up the hill from the vents! If anyone knows how this could occur we would be happy to hear the explanation!

We did also stop in and see the 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar, which in comparison to the wonders of Yellowstone may not seem very note worthy however in you are driving by on the freeway it is worth a stop in to see the displays since it really is one of a kind!

As my lovely wife pointed out in the previous blog discussing our adventure the next couple days were a little more mellow however there were still a number of interesting items to see!

However much it may look like it, this is actually not lava, but it did take some convincing to get Jess to lean out and smile!

This was the view from our hotel room every morning! Jess has a tradition of putting her car in front of spectacular views and taking a picture. Yes I know some of you were concerned about accommodations being up to date, because lets be honest not many people know how with the times the Montanans are.  However while it will surprise some people everything was up to date and clean!

Here is the main north entrance! We entered and exited through this every day we were in the park! No it does not lean like the picture indicates.  The camera was sitting on the hood of the car which is not even close to flat on a bug. GO GERMANY IN THE WORLD CUP!!! after USA of course!

Second day included many amazing views and more common natural beauty than hot pots or geysers.

Isn't she pretty!

The sign basically sums this one up!

Mammoth Hot Springs! Depending on the amount of snow and how all the systems underneath are lined up this will act as an amazing natural waterfall! Oh and the did I mention how beautiful the lady in front of this was?

Just because I know you want to see more pictures of the two of us!
This pretty much concludes the extent of our travels on the second day in the park! We were trying to see more wildlife and did see a few other animals such as black bears and elk however not many of them were close enough to get great pictures of.  Or really for Jess to be much interested in as she did not want to see wolfs in the wild because she did not want them to get a bad rep with humans again.  

Last day in Gardner Montana!

The plan for the day was to drive through the park on a couple of different roads and see a few for things on the way out!

Lower Yellowstone Falls.  Looks like a Nickodemus Christmas card waiting to happen to me! (if you have been getting the Christmas card from my family you will know we have had a number of cards in places very similar to this including one that looked almost exactly the same!)

Heck yes the lake was still completely frozen we are at 7,500 feet in Wyoming what did you expect!

Some more of the thermal pools! Since the lake was high and due to the melting of some of the snow and the lake itself many of the pools which have the greatest array of color in the summer were currently under the lakes surface!

However there where a few in great form!

Apparently the elk did not read the signs to stay on the path and out of the pools!

No you tell the 1,000 pound bear that is wet cement and he isn't allowed to walk there!

To cap off the national parks portion of the trip we drove through and around the Grand Tetons most of which is faded out and you cannot see because the sky and snow caped peaks were the same color that day!

On an interesting side note we were wondering if anyone could give us a conclusive answer as to what the wooden fence like structures are:

We guessed they were to prevent snow drifts during the winter but if you have a conclusive answer feel free to comment.  No they were not a fence because they would only stretch for around 100 yards at a time. (on a side not other than Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons this about sums up the rest of the landscape in Wyoming no wonder not many people live here!

We stayed our last day before we reached Colorado Springs in Laramie Wyoming, which apparently has around 20,000 people living in it same size as Moscow! Who knew people lived in this large of groups outside of Cheyenne? Not this guy!

Well I hope you have enjoyed or at least tolerated this explanation of some of our travels, since Jess and I have none to similar presentation, writing styles, or sense of humor for that matter! Well it is said opposites attract! Depending upon the response I may or may not get that express written permission to write again. 

Pictures about our apartment to follow although likely to be done by the woman who usually gives you all the updates Just Jessica!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pondering Production: Overlook

Sometimes when working on a project I like to step back and examine my work. I'll notice lots of little things. Often mistakes or thing's I wish I'd done better.

Pope John XXIII said:
See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little.

Speaks for itself huh?

I've decided with my recent marriage this just might be appropriate in regards to many things.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Success Rate

I got a job today! Walked in to give them my resume and say if any jobs become available please consider me. With my perfect timing I walked in during the middle of a fire drill, but once things calmed down the assistant director grabed the owner and director. They interviewed me, and hired me! That was a place I drove by last Friday and thought "That's a cool place, I would like working there." Hallelujah!
Ill be working full time at a "day care" with school age kids for the summer and helping out in the Kindergarten rooms, and working with school age kids after school during the school year. Tell me that's not perfect. God put me in just the right place AGAIN! The girl whos place I'm taking is leaving for Wyoming tomorrow.  His success rate seems to be pretty high. Youd think sitting back and having a little faith would be easier by now.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


We got married on Saturday, May 22, 2010. The whole time Luke planned our honeymoon AND kept it a secret. I had no idea where we were going! So, as the reception was wraping up, Lukes dad went and retrieved my car from its hiding spot (There are Vandals in Idaho you know) Luke went and got his suitcase, I gathered my stuff, some very kind souls helped me carry it down, and then we were off. Except I stil didn't know where we were going. About 5 minutes in I fiigured out we were headed north to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. We stayed there for one night. Final destination: still unknown.
...but isnt this color gradiation of cars in the parking lot cool? Bright yellow, mustard yellow, brown yellow.
Then we were back in the car and once I saw the sign I discovered we were going toward Montanna! After a bit of probing I learned we were headed to Yellowstone! I've always wanted to visit!
Luke fibbed a bit as I had originally thought the stipulations were "We were going somewhere neither of us had been befor," but I've always wanted to go to Yellowstone so I got over it pretty quick!
It wasnt an unsubstantial drive from CdA to Gardiner, Montana. (Town nearest the North Entrance) So we waited until the next day to go to the park. The weather was....well...colder than expected.

Note the snow on the ground!
The springs were hot enough to keep some things warm. Note the grass growing green in the runnoff and the little bird in the bottom left quadrant of the photo. (Thats for you Grandma G)

That was probably the day we did the most driving in the park. We saw tons of wildlife as we made our way up and down the park throughout our trip.

Baby bison!

Road block. Our side was stopped to take pictures (not just us, there were 3 cars in front of us) and the other side you can see they werent going anywhere.

Hidden in the bottom half of this one are some goats, sheep or something.

This elk is impressive because apparently he has quite the rack allready. Hahahahaha

I wanted so badly to brush (or maybe shear) all the animals free of their winter coats. They just looked so uncomfortable with pieces clumpin off.
We were also able to see some whitetail deer, bears and a couple cayote! Quite the wildlife experience!

We got to Old Faithful just after he/she had let off some steam already so we did some exploring. Then we sat around with everyone else and took some funny pictures while we waited .

We tried a bunch of times to make it look like Luke was blowing the steam coming out of Old Faithful but the wind kept shifting. No such luck. We didnt take any pictures of the eruption because, well, we wanted to watch.
Then we went into the old lodge. Wow! Talk about some intricate wood work! I really wanted to go to the top so Luke and I set off up the stairs...
Only to be stopped. Then we snuck a peek into some of the rooms (very bathrooms.)
On our way back for the night we stopped just outside the West Entrance to the park and visited the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. Probably one of my favorite parts of the trip!
They had some really interesting and informative displays inside (in the warmth) and out!

Running with wolves. This exhibit had a room with large glass windows for viewing and the wolves were being really active!

Look! They even have a Jacob Black monument! Hahaha
And we finally met someone with biger hands than Luke! No not me...
The bear!!!
Whew!! That was ALL day one! We really covered our bases...the days to follow are a bit more mellow so I'm going to do us all a favor and post that later!