Thursday, February 26, 2009

Can I Do Anything Right?!

I swear that sometimes I can't do anything right! No matter how hard I try I keep messing up and inevitably end up hurting someone's feelings, making an incorrect assumption or saying something I shouldn't. I don't seem like the type of person who does these types of things, but lately I feel like I am that way, and it's frustrating to me. I just want to be my kind self, going through life making peace rather than big waves, but alas, it seems such is not going to be the case.

I don't know what it is but it seems like maybe I'm a slow learner or something because in any given time period I tend to run into the same situations over and over again. Last year it was encountering situations where I had to choose not to be offended. I consistently chose the higher route, but yet I kept encountering that again.

As of late, it seems I keep making wrong assumptions, say something about it because I'm certain I'm right only to find out I'm wrong. Not only does it make the person I said or did this to feel bad, but it also make me feel terrible. I keep telling myself I'm going to stop and then somehow it happens again. Something of this nature happened today. I'm not going to discuss it in such a public forum, but suffice it to say I created drama, accidentally mind you, and then I had to fix it. I feel really bad about it, but once you've said something you can't go back and unsay it. You have to live with the consequences. It's often a bitter pill to swallow.

However, the silver lining about this is that I have learned how powerful it is to suck up your pride and just say I'm sorry. It's almost unbelievable how that simple act can make such a difference. It's hard to let your pride go enough to do it, but from the perspective of the offender, it's much easier to do that than it is to hold onto a grudge. It can change an attitude more quickly than any defensive "on your high horse" action could. And it makes me feel peaceful inside when I do that because I know that even though saying sorry can't fix what I've done, at least it makes me feel better inside.

It's also teaching me more about the Atonement: no matter how many times we offend God, we can always say we're sorry (repent and commit to do better) and He will forgive us. He waits for us with arms wide open. And it doesn't matter that we do it over and over and over again, because we're all natural men and women, He is still always willing to forgive us. It's powerful to think about that.

Now I just need to work on my perfectionistic complex. No matter how much I tell myself otherwise--I am NOT, in fact, perfect. I just wish I could get myself to believe that. It would make my life so much simpler!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

On this day 26 years ago, I entered the world for the first time. I was born the fifth of six children. I came into a loving home that was only too happy to have one more daughter, well except my brother who cried when Mom brought home yet another sister, especially when they thought I was a boy while in the womb. (This was in the days before ultrasounds were common so it was a surprise every time. For some reason, I think it might've been my fast heartbeat, they thought I was a boy, so my brother was pumped to finally have the numbers even out just a little bit. He was disappointed, but four years later he got his wish when my younger brother was born.)

I was attempting to scan one of my baby pictures in so I could post it here so you could see just what a darling baby I was. However, I'm technologically impaired when it comes to scanners it seems, so it doesn't look like that's going to be a possibility. So sorry to disappoint! I also have a cute picture of my older siblings meeting me for the first time, and I would have loved to post that one as well. It's okay though. I guess that means you just get to use your imagination.

Anybody who knows me well knows that I LOVE to make a big deal out of my birthday. I like to make sure and tell people just what day it is, so they know to wish me happy birthday, I love to have a big birthday party so I can gather those who mean so much to me around at the same time and I love being made to feel special for at least one day a year. As I mentioned to some friends earlier when talking about my birthday, this is the one time of year that I celebrate me! That can't be such a bad thing can it? I am fabulous after all! (Here's me channeling Speak once again. . .)

I am going to get a little mushy-gushy here for a minute, so bear with me. I just want to say that I have some of the most wonderful family and friends ever! I have great siblings who do nice things for me, my parents are always doing something kind and my friends are wonderful too. Speak has been adamant today that I am NOT to do anything. She says I'm the queen and queens don't have to do things, so she has made both a cheesecake and what I'm sure will be a tasty supper for me and cleaned everything up. Plus, along with our good friend Smirk (don't worry--she won't be offended by that nickname because she came up with it herself!) she gave me a wonderful Gilmore-themed present that I took great delight in. We had a birthday party at our house last night, and I confess that I was very surprised at the number of people who brought a little something for me, which I definitely didn't expect.

Thanks to everyone who even took the time to wish me happy birthday. It means a lot! I'm off to continue celebrating my favorite day of the year (well aside from a few other favorites like Christmas, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and now that I work at the bank so I get ALL national holidays off, Columbus and Veteran's days. . . :)

What a lovely surprise

I meant to write this entry on Friday, but it's been a pretty busy weekend so I haven't gotten around to it until now. In fact, after this I'm going to write a Happy Birthday post, which will be exciting. However, I had to share the experience I had when I walked into work on Friday. This is the site that greeted me:

Can I just tell you how delighted and surprised I was?! I was not expecting anything like this, which only made it all the better! My dear friend from work snuck in and decorated my cube on Friday morning (with a little help from some other "work elves" as she referred to them), as you can see from the pictures.
Here's me sitting in my decorated cube. Yes, I look happy, but wouldn't you if your ordinarly bland cube was decorated pink? In fact, there was even a pink glow on the ceiling from the balloons and streamers, which made me happy. This also gave me the idea for a future blog post: Pink is a state of mind not just a color. Stay tuned for my exciting views on that subject. . .

Here's me with the culprit herself. I hope she doesn't mind that I'm posting this, but it's such a cute picture that I felt like I really should. Just as an FYI, the fact that my ensemble matches my cube is purely coincidental.

Let's hear it for great friends! And for cute decorated cubes!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Being just a little kinder, a tad more forgiving

It's really late right now, and truthfully, it was an incredibly long day for me so I should be heading to bed. However, I had an interesting conversation with two friends this afternoon that's kept me thinking all day long. And now I want to write about it. One of these friends had some wonderful insights that I feel are very applicable to my life, and she shared with me some wisdom I needed to hear, which I'm now hoping to pass on to you.

At lunch today we were talking about an email conversation between two of her friends. One friend received an email from another which elicited a defensive response and then it went back and forth. In retrospect, her friend said she wished that instead of getting defensive and firing a response right back, she wished she had been kinder about the whole situation and then it wouldn't have spun out of control.

The three of us started talking about that concept--she told us that the relationships that have meant the most to her are the ones where after she's felt at conflict with someone, she's able to apologize and the relationship is better for it vs. times when she pretends nothing is wrong so nothing gets resolved. We also talked about the little things we do every day to bother people and how silly this is.

I've always been someone that most people would consider as "nice." (I learned in one of my classes in college that nice tends to be a dishonest "I'm just accommodating you because" kind of trait, so I prefer to be known as kind, just as an FYI. In fact, sometimes it grates on my nerves that people classify me as "nice" even though I know they mean it sincerely and in a kind way.) I'm a kind hearted and compassionate sort of person, and I have plenty of faults, believe me, but kindness has always been a strong part of my character.

Although I don't feel I have completely departed from this, I feel like in letting myself become sassier and bolder, that I have let some of the kindness go. I am prone now more than ever to insert snarky little comments when it would be better if I just left well enough alone. Then I congratulate myself for having "spoken my mind" and "let people know how it really is" even in a small way. Almost immediately I feel the regret of saying something unkind which you can't take back and I groan that I've done it once again!

While I don't believe the comments themselves are going to make or break somebody, I do believe I am being unnecessarily unkind. I remember instances with good friends when they said some offhand comment not meaning to upset or hurt me, and I can still remember those little jibes. I'm ashamed to think that I'm letting myself become that type of person. I don't want to be the person who runs around saying things that are hurtful to people just because I can. Nobody likes being around someone like that, and I know better! I'm also resolved to not be so prideful and do my best to immediately apologize to someone where offense has been given. I've done it a couple times in the last few weeks, and although it was hard, I believe I am a better person for being willing to admit I was wrong and taking steps to make it right.

I'm going to end with a quote from President Hinckley. I remember something he said about letting us all be kinder to each other at the closing of general conference a few years ago, but I can't find the exact quote. Since it's so late, I don't really want to search for it. This one still conveys the message. I hope you enjoy it!

"There is no end to the good we can do, to the influence we can have with others. Let us not dwell on the critical or the negative. Let us pray for strength; let us pray for capacity and desire to assist others. Let us radiate the light of the gospel at all times and all places, that the Spirit of the Redeemer may radiate from us."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Poor pathetic pooch!

As I mentioned in my previous post, this weekend I was in Idaho visiting my parents and attending a funeral. It was a lovely weekend, and my parents appreciated the visit. They've been stuck at home for almost two months now after my dad discovered that he'd herniated two discs in his back at Christmas. He was doing pretty well until he accidentally re injured his back last week. Sad day! Needless to say they were grateful for my visit.

However, the real part of my trip that I want to talk in this post about is my parents' dog, Reggie. I'm sure it's kind of lame and cliche to talk about pets in a post, but be that as it may, I'm going to do it anyway. Here's a picture of what Reggie's face looks like. (His full name is Ebony Reginald Monroe Winn, the name my sister and brother in law gave him shortly after they bought him. It's because he's a pure bred, so he came with papers full of generations of doggie ancestors with fancy names.)

Anyway, I have to feel sorry for the dog. He's getting a little older (almost 12 years old) and he's full of problems. He's a full-bred Cocker Spaniel, and I would advise anyone thinking about getting a full bred dog to re-think their decision. Pure breds=in-bred problems.

In all fairness I will say that some breeds are more prone to problems than others. Cockers are known for having problems with their ears. Reggie is no exception; in fact, my parents found out a few months ago that he has a growth in one of his ears. It's too dangerous to try to remove it, so he just has to live with it. The problem is that it makes him stink, and when I say stink, I mean reek! It's no fun to have him come lay anywhere in the near vicinity of where you might be sitting because of his strong odor. He can stink up an entire room just by laying somewhere in it. It's sad really! At Christmas my younger brother compared him to "the stinky kid in class that nobody wants to sit by." It makes me chuckle thinking about it, but I also find it sad!

He also most likely has some serious arthritis in his legs so he walks with a limp and is constantly chewing on his paws. Poor Reggie!

I have to tell you about the way that he asks to be let in after you put him outside because it's pretty much hilarious. First of all he scratches at the door. When that doesn't work, he bams against the door. Next it's one simple "Woof!" and if he isn't let in, it's two barks. After that he loses patience and full out barks. My parents are not cruel by any means and in fact my dad dotes on that dog, but he finds it funny to wait when he knows Reggie wants in to listen to him go through his "I want back in the house" cycle. If it's really cold outside, he'll sometimes skip from scratching and bamming directly to two barks or full-out barking. At least he's polite when he wants to be let in!

I have to admit that much as I might be bothered by his strong stench, I feel sorry for him. It's not his fault he's kind of pathetic.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Today has been an interesting day for me. Yes, it's Valentine's Day (at least for another 30 minutes and probably less by the time I'm finished) but that's not the reason it's been interesting. It's because I attended the funeral for the mother of one of my best friends.

Her death was anticipated several months before it happened as she waged an unsuccessful battle against ovarian cancer, but even if death is expected that doesn't make it easier for those left behind. It was also doubly difficult for my friend because she lost her father to cancer 9 years ago, before she even graduated from high school. I came to my parents' house in Idaho so I could be here to support her, but I'm still left wondering what in the world you can say to someone who has just lost their second parent. I want to be supportive and let her know I'm here for her, as I've tried to do since she told me what was going on, but it's hard to know what to say or do. I guess the real answer is to just keep being a good friend.

Aside from that, I've also been thinking about life in general. I've thought about how I can't even comprehend what it would be like to be my age and not have either of my parents. A lump forms in my throat at the very idea, and I hope that I never have to find out.

As I listened to the talks given about this wonderful mother, sister, aunt and friend today, I was reflecting on my own life. I thought about the person I have been, the person I am now and most of all the person I want to become. This lady left behind a life of such great faith, love, testimony, service and humor that I was inspired listening to the stories of her life. I admired her for the person she was, and I'm sure still is. And I wanted to emulate her example.

I started thinking about what people could say about me if I were to die tomorrow, (I'm definitely not planning to, but I was at a funeral so these thoughts tend to cross your mind) and I realized that I have a long ways to go to become a person as inherently good as this lady. However, she's also got about 30 years, as well as a long life as a mother and life companion, on me, so the comparison isn't entirely fair. Let's just say that I've recommitted myself to living a good life and working harder to serve those around me. Service is something that I have been sadly lacking as of late, but I'm going to fix that!

I just have to keep the goal in mind and always do my best. I also need to remember that no matter how good of a person I may be, there are always going to be times when I'm not as good as I should be or when I make mistakes. But I have to be patient with myself and understand that once I realize I'm straying from the path, I just need to work harder to do even better because that's what living a good life is all about.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Will I never learn?!

Well, congratulations to me, ladies and gentlemen. I have managed to do it once again, even though I promised myself I wouldn't: I unleashed my sharp tongue and the result wasn't good, to say the least. I managed to be cruel to someone and in my blog no less! I'm incorrigible!

I had an experience along these lines, although not to this extreme, a few months ago, and I promised myself I'd never do it again. Yet here I am talking about how I screwed up for the second time in as many months. It's a condition the Fashionista likes to refer to as word vomit, meaning one doesn't monitor one's words carefully enough and then ends up saying something he/she shouldn't, often to the detriment of someone else. I am most definitely guilty of that offense. Cruelty is not a normal personality trait for me, but in this case, I sure managed to be cruel.

My initial reaction was that I never wanted to write in my blog again, but I decided that was foolish. I love writing here, and it's often a great release for me. No, the real solution is to consider very carefully what it is I'm writing before I post it. And if it's a harmless topic that's not ripping someone to shreds, then I can go ahead and publish it. If not, well I'd better just leave it as a journal entry.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm just not that into this movie

Like millions of other females around the United States, I couldn't wait to see "He's Just Not That Into You" and went to see a matinee yesterday with friends. Let me tell you, I really wish that I hadn't!

In summary, it's basically the story of several women dealing with/overcoming the jerky men in their lives and in the case of one woman, becoming a tramp with a married man. It starts out by showing a date between Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Conor (Kevin Connolly). The date ends and Gigi had a great time, so when Conor tells her it was nice to meet her and then gets on his phone as he's walking away, she gets all excited thinking he's interested in her. Then she waits for him to call, and waits, and waits. . . Pretty much her storyline in the movie is dealing with all the jerky men she keeps trying to hook up with until she starts talking to Alex (Justin Long), a know-it-all bartender, who helps her see the pattern she's set up for herself. And perhaps he might get interested in her himself. . .

As another storyline, we follow Beth (Jennifer Aniston) and Neil (Ben Affleck) a couple who have been together for seven years. Following the announcement that her sister is getting married, Beth starts wondering why she and Neil aren't married. He basically tells her that it's because he doesn't believe in marriage but is just as committed to her as if they were married. Later, Beth breaks up with him because she wants to have a ring commitment that badly. And of course, as Neil is one of the more decent men in the movie, she pines for him the entire time.

Anna (Scarlett Johannson) has been semi-dating Conor until one night she meets an attractive man in the grocery store. They hit it off until he informs her that he's married, but this doesn't stop Anna's pursuit of him, especially when he offers to try helping advance her singing career. Despite being married to Janine (Jennifer Connolly), Ben (Bradley Cooper) ends up hooking it up with Anna. Scumbag!

Drew Barrymore plays Mary who is desperately looking for love through electronic means. She tries everything from MySpace to text message to a videochat where she and the man both drank coffee, so it was like a coffee date. Nothing seems to work out for her, but she does get to utter some of the movie's best lines, I must say. However, her storyline doesn't get much screen time so it's almost like a series of cameos.

This sounds like the formula for a great rom-com, but boy did it disappoint! My first and foremost problem with it was the complete lack of morals, particularly between Ben and Anna, who commit adultery. Call me a prude if you will, but in my book, marital vows are sacred so to see Ben so blatantly disregard his, with Anna's encouragement, really bugged me. I felt uncomfortable every time that couple was on the screen. It didn't help that Anna was sleeping with Conor on the side.

My second problem is there are no redeemable men in the movie! Every guy portrayed is some sort of scumbag! Ben, of course, is an adulterer; Neil is commitment phobic; Alex is probably the most decent, but there's a part where he shows how shallow he is; and Conor, well let's just say he had a distinct gay vibe that didn't make him a plausible leading man. Speak, Jamie and I left the theater feeling like all men are scum from what the movie communicated. (We know this isn't true but that's one of the messages we picked up.)

Another prominent theme seemed to be that women are destined to go after jerky men and then wonder why the same thing keeps happening over and over and over again. . . While I believe dating isn't easy and people of both sexes can be scummy, I refuse to believe we will ALWAYS go after the jerky ones! I have a number of guy friends who are the antithesis of jerks and will make someone a wonderful spouse someday.

The movie does have some humorous parts, but the humor doesn't outweigh the message and it certainly doesn't outweigh the terrible men. Call me a prude if you will, but I also thought it had terrible language, particularly when Beth drops the f-bomb. I can overlook other cussing but I hate that word, and it was unnecessary. In some ways I also felt like the movie portrayed that even though women always seek after men and marriage, it's not all it's cracked up to be--either the husbands are cheating scumbags (re: Ben) or they're lazy bums who do nothing but sit around and watch sports (Beth's sisters' husbands after her father has a heart attack and she is taking care of him). Ugh!

I would most definitely not recommend this movie. Save yourself the $8 ticket (or $6 if it's a matinee) and go see something decent instead.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm very thankful for. . .

I'm going to mostly write this post mostly about one person, but it's really dedicated to many people--those who are good friends in my life. Please don't be put off as I sing praises about Speak; I could say wonderful things about all of you, but this time I'm mostly going to talk about Speak, probably because I'm glad to have her back again after recent absences, for good reasons, mind you. I can already see the big grin on her face as she reads this and hear her tell me that she knows it because "it's me" (meaning herself of course, but it wouldn't be Speak if she didn't say that).

Ever since she moved in a year ago, she has made my life a much more interesting and happy place. From the sassiness she brings out in me (I love it as much as she does) to the new ideas she often forces me to think about (or rather presents to me and then I keep thinking about them) to the trips we take to Loopy Land, and Stars Hollow, together, we've had a fabulous time! Yes, she is officially one of my favorite people ever.

She just wrote a blog post about a song that talks about the concept that "All will be well." Okay it's really about a song that mentions that phrase, but it still impacted me as I read about it. I like that idea because it's a good reminder that even if things aren't going swimmingly at one moment in time, they will get better. I will pass through the hard times that come my way and rise triumphant on the other side. All will be well. Thank you for that insight, Speak!

I also need to give a little shout out to my very dear Heidi and Jamie, who provided a much-needed escape last Sunday. Since Speak was gone, I was going to be left alone with Stew and Smile, her boyfriend. Don't get me wrong--I love Stew dearly but hanging out by yourself with a seriously dating couple is just not fun. However, Heidi and Jamie were kind enough to open their home to me and provided great company, wonderful conversation and some quality Gilmore Girls time last Sunday! Thanks, ladies!

I would be very ungrateful if I didn't say thanks to all of the wonderful friends in my life. It almost makes me cry thinking about how blessed I am to have such good friends. You know you who are, and perhaps you're even reading this right now. :) Please know that although I've mentioned only Speak, Jamie and Heidi in this post, that I am grateful to each and every one of you who has a special place in my heart for being such a dear friend.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Thoughts on. . . Groundhog Day

So according to the population of North America (well the United States and Canada anyway), today is a holiday. Yes, I am referring to Groundhog Day, when the weather is predicted by none other than a groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil. Tradition states that if he sees his shadow, we're in for another six weeks of winter and if he doesn't, we get off with only four.

Not that I'm opposed to small animals by any means, in fact I mostly find them cute, but I have to wonder--who in the world decided to make a groundhog our official weather predictor?! Why do we have an entire day dedicated to said weather prediction? What does it matter if he sees his shadow or not? If the meteorologists can't tell when winter is going to end, why is it that a groundhog can? And perhaps if he is more accurate, maybe he should replace those inaccurate weather forecasters. . . J/K! The last time I checked the weather was pretty unpredictable, so it's not really the meteorologists' fault if they can't get it right

I just did a little research on this subject and it seems that this "holiday" has roots in ancient European lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear was used as opposed to a groundhog. That would make things much more interesting if it was Badger Day or Bear Day, but wait, Bear Day might have bad connotations, so perhaps we'd better stick with Groundhog Day.

The actual origin of the day remains a mystery, but the holiday bears similarities to both the Catholic holiday of Candlemas and the Celtic holiday of Imbolc, celebrated on Feb. 1, which symbolized a change in season. The Pennsylvanians take this day seriously with festivals, speeches, food, and of course, the ritual emergence of the Phil from his burrow. Crowds even get up to 40,000.

I don't mean to be un-American in saying that I think this is a silly holiday, but I was thinking about it today, and I really kind of do feel that way.

And yet, I still found myself hunting for the news story this morning, to see what Phil had predicted. . .

Here's a link in case you'd like to check it out yourself:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Promise I'll Do Better

So this weekend it was pointed out to me that I haven't been writing in my blog so much lately. Yes, I have to admit that is a true statement. During the week I either don't have time or am doing other things so I haven't been as diligent about writing here. Sorry about that any faithful blog readers who feel they are being deprived of their regular doses of Tammy.

The other reason I haven't written as much lately is because I have been struggling a lot, and truthfully, I haven't felt like my happy self. There's just a variety of things going on that I'm finding it difficult to deal with, but I'm slowly making my way through. Because I'm not feeling as cheerful as I normally am, I haven't been able to write bubbly entertaining entries. I really hate it when that happens. I want my blog to be a nice, fun place where playful Tammy resides. So when sad Tammy makes her appearance, I tend to stay away from my blog and from other people I don't want to infect with my sadness.

However, I am hopeful that "this too shall pass" and soon I will emerge triumphant on the other side of the storm currently above my head. In the meantime, I'm going to try hard to find humorous little things in my everyday life that could be potential blog posts because honestly that's what often makes the most interesting ones anyway. And I will try not to let my struggling mood manifest itself in my blog too much.

I do have to share one thing before I close though. Today was Fast Sunday. I was sitting in Sacrament meeting with no intention of bearing my testimony when I suddenly got that pounding feeling inside, you know, the one that means you need to bear your testimony. My heart was pounding so fast that I went up to the stand as soon as I could and waited while one person finished bearing his testimony.

To my utter mortification, the waterworks started before I could even begin talking and continued throughout my testimony. I hope the congregation could even understand what I said! However, I must admit it was one of the most humble and sincere testimonies I have ever given, and hopefully people felt that too. The worst part was that even after I went back to my seat I couldn't stop crying throughout the entire meeting. In a lot of ways though it was like the dam on the tide of emotions I've been feeling lately burst and it all came rushing out. It's good to get it out of my system, but I sure wish it could've been done in a less public location, like say, my bedroom or something. For anyone who doesn't know me well, I hate crying in front of people. I think it's totally fine when other people cry in front of me but I hate doing that myself. Sometimes though I think it's just inevitable, as it was in this case.

Here's to hoping for more cheerful times are forthcoming.