Palm tree love…and snow

The 12 degree weather coming into work at 6:00 am is pretty brutal.  It is so early in the morning that I don’t even bother with trying to fix my makeup.  My co-workers get the pleasure of my naked face, and my hair in my usual pseudo-bun.

One good thing about getting older, is that I don’t feel I need to impress anyone with how I look (still looking presentable though).  Why didn’t I understand this in my 20’s?


Another thing that I would like to mention is that my mom crocheted my scarf in the photo above- where I am half asleep.  Crocheted scarfs are the warmest scarfs I have found.  I definitely recommend learning how to make one, or convince your mom to make one (like I did!).

Thursday started off to be a crap day from the beginning.  My “female only” bathroom in my office trailer had been hooked up, and the boss came running in asking to use it.  I said ok, because I understand bathroom emergencies.  Never again.

He clogged the toilet, and the water came up and wouldn’t stop!  The trailer flooded, and since the trailer wasn’t put up exactly level, water flowed throughout the trailer.  It took three guys to clean and fix the mess.  Neither of the guys in the picture below are the culprit, I just took a picture of the aftermath.  After that, the day was pretty much over.


Since the day was pretty shot from the flooding bathroom incident, I started my beach scene on my whiteboard in the office.  I googled how to draw a palm tree and followed the instructions.  I don’t think it turned out too bad.


We were in the middle of this snow storm, and we got about 3 feet of snow.  The drifts are higher, of course.  All of this snow has me planning my next fieldtrip.  I looked up several places, and so far they are all closed for the season.  Guess I will just have to travel south again on my days off, or when I can get out of the driveway due to snow.


The picture above is just because I thought the sky was pretty.  The picture below was driving into work yesterday.


My Newest Adventure

Per my usual journey through life, I have completely taken the unexpected and “Are you crazy?” path.

First, I feel that a little background information is required.  For several years, I have been offered a job with a company doing field work on their job sites that are building natural gas compressor stations.  I have continuously declined the offer, until now.

I accepted the job only because it will help tremendously with reaching a few of my financial goals within the next year.  So here I am, outside of Washington, DC, working on a compressor station as the only female.  The job is for one year, and I am really hoping I can make it the entire year.  It is 11 days on, and three days off.

I have been here since the first of the year, and I can say that I haven’t seen my neighborhood in the daylight yet.  Dark when I leave for work, and dark when I get back.  I know how my Dad felt all those years.  I am exhausted by 7:00 pm and trying to stay awake just to eat dinner.  My life will be drastically different for the next year, and I hope all of this will be worth it long term.  I took this picture leaving work one night.


My friends keep texting and messaging me to check and see if I am doing ok.  It is pretty funny!  I guess they are worried about my mental state for even being here!  I am not a boots type of person, and my new required steel-toed boots aren’t as bad as I thought they would be.


I also have my own hardhat.  My friends have been asking for a picture with me in all my hi-vis safety gear.  Since I am the only female, I have to have my own bathroom per labor laws (I think labor laws).  So I use the main bathroom on site.  Which from the looks of it, hasn’t ever had a female in it.  I thought I would take a picture in the dirty mirror of my hardhat, and this is how short I am compared to the mirror…It really made me laugh.  If I got closer to the sink,you could only see the very top of my hat.


I would really like a palm tree to put in the corner of my office.  I am having to settle for my Carolina Coast calendar.


Tomorrow is my first day off, and I am going to head down south for the weekend just to reset my patience.  Working with all men…let me just say, I feel like I am in the middle of a 13 year old boys locker room.  I keep telling myself that this adventure will put me exactly where I want to end up and it is only for a year.  Even my alarm clock reminds me when it goes off in the morning.

I want to join the DC swing community while I am here, but I am not sure I have the energy yet.  I am not used to getting up at 5:10 am just yet.  Hopefully, my body will adjust soon so I can have some sort of life outside of work.  I also have a list of places in the area that I want to visit for field trips once I have days off.




Winter Holiday at the Beach


Spending my winter break in SC was a great idea.  I finally felt that I could relax and be myself.  Which sounds odd, because I should be able to be myself always.  Maybe I mean that I was able to unwind and became less frustrated with life, carefree.  The picture above is the north side of Pawleys Island, SC, and the picture below is Murrells Inlet, SC.  I had to pull my shorts out of the summer clothes drawer while I was there!


The week away was a truly beautiful time.  My mom and aunt came to help me cook our family holiday treats.  I am not a sweets person, but I really enjoy baking and making candy.  I think it is kindof like how I like to clean; they both relax me.

Mom, Aunt Thelma, and I set shop up in my kitchen.  We ended up making my grandmother’s applesauce pies, my aunt’s pecan pies, Aunt Meta’s candy, haystacks, peanut butter cups, and peanut butter coconut balls.  My aunt is teaching me how to make my grandmother’s (their mom’s) applesauce pies.  Of course, they laughed when I showed the pie crusts I got for them.  Apparently, I should have gotten the frozen ones, not the graham cracker ones.


Applesauce pies are delicious.  You can see them in the oven cooking, and my haystacks took up all the counter space.  I tend to unintentionally make the haystacks bigger as I go along.


My aunt’s pecan pies cooking away.  Her secret ingredient is white vinegar, which takes some of the sweetness away.



My Aunt Meta’s candy is pictured above on the right side of the plate.  This was my favorite candy growing up.  It is chocolate covered white fluff with pecans in it.  Fluff being sugar, butter, eagle brand milk, vanilla, more sugar, and something else (probably more sugar).  I guess Aunt Meta is technically my great aunt since she was married to my grandfather’s brother.

For Christmas Eve dinner, I took my Mom to a restaurant at the Inlet for the sunset view.  This was the view from our table.



My friend’s son loves the Incredible Hulk, so I found him the cutest Hulk bow tie and Hulk shirt on Etsy.




Here is is showing me how the Hulk gets mad.  Love the action shot!


Mom hates having her picture taken, and asked why I have to take one every time she opens a gift.  I try to get her gifts that I know she will never buy for herself, as well as practical stuff.  She is opening a gift that is her father’s signature (his last name) made into a gold charm for her charm bracelet.  He died when she was in college, and she misses him the same now as when she was a young girl.  One year I ordered his Marine Corps records and put them in a book for her.  I took his signature from one of the documents for the charm.  I ended up ordering myself one in silver.


Christmas day was spent with my aunt and part of her crew.  Her daughter lives in Hawaii, so she wasn’t there.  Mom spent the entire time with the youngest in the family, which wasn’t surprising.  My aunt’s son was in town, so I was able to see him and his wife.  They just moved to my hometown for his work, and I am not sure how much she enjoys it yet.  I asked how she liked it, and her comment was how diverse it was in relation to her her hometown.  Yes, we have a bit of everything there!



After spending so much time with the family, I needed some time away.  Love them, but in small doses.  My retreat ended up being a walk on Pawleys Island, and spending time with my friends.  The holiday break was the best in quite a while.





Charleston Sweetgrass Baskets

The Christmas holiday is almost here, and I am excited to say that I will be driving back to SC for the week!  My friend has been sending me weather screenshots, and it was looking awesome.

Then the forecast for when I start my holiday vacation…not so great.  Hopefully, it will warm up a bit.  Either way, I will still be heading to the beach.


As for celebrating Christmas, mom will be coming down to the beach and we are having Christmas there for a change.  I started a mixbook memory book from our Washington, DC trip, but I don’t think I will be finished in time to give it as presents to mom and my aunt.


During Thanksgiving, I went to the Sweetgrass basket ladies to buy gifts for a few family members.  None of my family read (or even know I have) this blog, so I am not worried of them running across this.

Gullah Sweetgrass baskets are beautifully made baskets by women in the lowcountry of SC.   This cultural tradition came from the 17th century by West African slaves who were brought to America.  This website states a bit about the history of the baskets, and how to not get fooled by a fake sweetgrass basket.

The artists sell their baskets along the road going into Charleston, SC and in the city of Charleston (such as in the Open Market downtown).  Heads up, the baskets are more expensive in Charleston versus the ones on the highway.

Taken from the above website, “Mount Pleasant basket stands can be found alongside US 17. The Hamlin community – a community of families who are descendents of slaves from area plantations – have stands along the “Seven-Mile” stretch known as the “Sweetgrass Basket Makers Highway”.”

These are the baskets I purchased from the Sweetgrass Basket Makers Highway.  I also picked me up a pair of Sweetgrass earrings.

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This week has been so slow, for obvious reasons. I am ready to head south!