Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh the Memories!

Tonight I've been sorting through literally hundreds of pictures (and these aren't even the recent ones!) searching for certain ones for a special project I'm working on. It's been a big task, but it's also been rewarding. It reminded me of some of the great memories I have stored up from fun times in my life.

I've always been the queen of pictures, ready with camera in hand to document important life events. I try my hardest not to shy away from having my picture taken either. Even though that means I have some not so great photos of myself, it also means I'm not absent from pictures of important family events. I appreciate that. In some ways it also helps me see how I've grown and changed.

Tonight I was reminded of the time when I only had a niece and a nephew. It seems like so long ago now, especially when I see how little they were in the pictures and how big they are now. Time passes crazy fast and before you know it, you have 12 nieces and nephews, or rather 5 nieces and 7 nephews. And they're growing up so fast. Some of them are on the brink of becoming teenagers. Scary! (If I wasn't technologically impaired, I would scan my pictures into the computer and post a few here, but, alas, I cannot.)

I also ran across many, many pictures from my college days. I'm not going to idealize and say it was such an easy time of my life, but it was certainly a time of growth, learning and discovery. I was so young when I started college as an 18-year-old freshman. Of course I didn't think so then, but I can see now that I was.

I was blessed to have wonderful roommates for the whole time I was at school. They become some of my best friends, and we made fantastic memories together. Some of our more memorable ones include the flour fight/snow dance in the kitchen (we still found flour in the drawers months later!), when my two roomies turned themselves into Texas Rangers and tied the rest of us in our living room, when we played a little "Sixth Sense" joke on our roommate (I'm not going to elaborate so you'll have to use your imagination) or when we played Trading Spaces with our home evening brothers. Ahhh, those were good times! Again, I would post a few pictures, but I am unable to at this time.

If nothing else, this little trip down memory lane has helped remind me that no matter what happens, I have been so very blessed in my life. It humbles me to even think about it, but perhaps that's what it's supposed to do. All I can say is that I'm so glad I had a camera to capture these memories on film. Now I can remember them for many years to come. (Yes, I realize this last part is sappy, and I apologize for that, but I can't help it. I think you can handle it though.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reality Check

I think there are times in our lives when we all like to escape from reality. Escaping comes in many forms and includes everything from going on vacation to reading a book or watching a movie. The degree to which we can check out depends entirely on how enticing the distraction is. If the movie or book draws us in, then our escape can be more complete. If they're not so great, well, reality might not be quite as far away as we might hope.

I recognize that the escapism I speak of is a temporary condition, and that's what it's intended to be. But who's to say that you can't enjoy leaving your own life behind for a few hours or a few days, if you go on vacation. I can think of more than one vacation I've taken that's hit just the right spot. . . mmm and what a nice spot it was too. :)

The only setback to escapism is that eventually we have to return to our own life. No matter how compelling the story or how into a TV show or movie you may get, your form of escapism must come to an end. You eventually have to return to reality, which in some cases means returning to work.

Once you return to reality, then the things you're trying to escape from all come crashing back in and you must face them again. It's a hard fact of life, but it's the truth. And honestly, that's the way life's meant to be--we can't avoid the hard things, stressful situations or things that make us sad. We can temporarily escape so we don't have to think about them, but eventually we have to make our way back.

Lest you think this entry beyond depressing, I will end on a happy note. I am also a strong believer in the resiliency of the human spirit and the fact that we are stronger than we think. While life may seem like too much at times, don't ever give up. Keep forging ahead (and it's okay to allow yourself to escape sometimes) and you can and will make it through. Just be careful not to try to turn your form of escapism into your reality. It won't work and could potentially leave you in a worse condition than what you were in before. Face it as much as you can as soon as possible, and you will make it through.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


It's late right now, and I should be going to bed, but I have this idea in my head and if I don't write it down, it's going to bug me. And since I need my sleep, I'd better hop to it.

I am a strong believer in the idea that we are all different. We all come equipped with our own set of ideas, unique perspectives and talents and gifts that are all our own. Sometimes these are similar to others, but many times they are not, especially the combinations within ourselves. And I think this is a wonderful thing, something to be celebrated even because it's what makes us who and what we are. It sets us up to learn from one another and to expand our horizons just by being around someone so different from us.

What I don't understand is why it's sometimes so hard for people to accept these essential parts of us. Why do some people feel the need to change us or to prove that we are missing out on something because we haven't had the same experiences that they have? This is not to say that I believe we should close ourselves off from new ideas or different perspectives; I just mean that I think it's unfair when people can't appreciate our innate characteristics or treat us like we're not as world wise as they are because our background is so vastly different.

Wouldn't it be better to be just a little bit more accepting of these differences, or if we can't, to not be condescending about them? Can't we all try a little harder to see things through someone else's perspective in order to understand why they do or say the things they do? And for goodness sake, even if you think someone's level of understanding and/or experience about something is below your own, can't you just accept this and learn to love them more for it? Ugh!

Okay, I promise that I'm done ranting now. My whole point is to express the desire that people, including myself, should be accepting/understanding and not try to force someone to act or think a certain way because they think it's what's best. They can introduce that person to new ideas and hope it will be beneficial for them, but that's really as far as it goes. We were given the ability to think and reason and also to choose. It's up to us how we use those abilities. Stepping off my soapbox now. . .

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Labor of Love

Some of you may be aware while others of you are not, but my precious and beloved niece, Miss Sassypants, is not doing so well recently. Her heart has decided it's tired of working for her and is showing signs that it's failing. I don't mean to depress any of you by mentioning this; I only say it to explain the significance of this post.

My sister has been trying to think of something she could do to help Miss Sassypants. One of the things suggested to her was to make a Love Quilt. The way it works is that each person in the family makes a square and writes a special message to our girl and then when she uses it, she can feel our love for her. It may sound cheesy, but it fits our situation. It's so difficult to be facing a situation like this and know there's nothing you can do to make it better. This is one little thing we can do. Here are a few pictorial highlights documenting our work on Sunday. Thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law for coordinating all of this!

We'll start with T, K and L. They were excited about this project, but then again K loves artsy/craftsy types of projects and her little sister often follows in her footsteps. :)

Here's me with my purple hand.

And my sister. An appropriate blog name for her is on the tip of my tongue, but it's so late that I can't think what it is, so she'll just have to be nameless for right now.
The newlyweds stopped by before leaving on their honeymoon to get in on this project.

Our adorable baby girl, who charmed everyone in the family, and a few extras besides, also got to do a square. She wasn't too happy about the pressing her hand/foot onto the square, but just look how cute the finished product is!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Still My Dad :)

If any of you have met my dad, you know that one of his favorite past times is to tease anybody and everybody in range. He delights in giving someone a hard time, particularly his children. In fact, whenever one of my friends called during my teenage years (this was in the days before cell phones! and, yes, I am showing my age in saying that, but it wasn't all that long ago), after calling me to answer the phone, my dad always used to tell the caller, "you'll have to wait a sec so she can get off the couch from cuddling with her boyfriend." If I could insert a rolling eye emoticon here, I totally would. Now, I think such comments are funny, but as a boyfriendless teenager, I was mortified.

These funny little snippets didn't just come to me--they pretty much came to all my siblings. Teasing is an inherent part of my father and how he shows his love for his children. (Yes, I know that last line was quite mushy, but just bear with me.) I thought I was never going to live it down when my dad, in reference to my final time with my boyfriend my freshman year of college, told my roommates, "We know how it was--we were young and frisky once."

And yesterday I discovered that even though I am an adult now, my dad still likes to tease me. Should I really be surprised? I think not. :)

We were riding the elevator down to the parking garage and ended up with a group of four other people. It was a little unexpected because the doors had closed even though the elevator hadn't started moving yet. When I pushed the button, the elevator door popped up, but the doors started closing before we could get in. I'd stuck out my hand to stop the door from closing, even though it didn't work, but the people inside had pushed the button to open the door.

We get into the elevator and are riding down when my dad turns to the people inside and quips, "You have to be careful with Tammy because she struggles with doors. Just ask her about how she got stuck on TRAX."

I wasn't offended in the least by this comment. I just laughed and realized I may be older now, but my dad is still very much my dad.

Today's the Big Day

Man, I have been so terrible recently about writing in my blog! I apologize for that. It's been a crazy last couple of weeks and when I do have time, I tend to fill it with other things. In any case, I'm probably going to do a couple of entries right now so brace yourselves!

So after what has seemed so long at times and so short at others, the big day has finally arrived. And I'm guessing mostly everybody in my family is pretty excited to see it. What is this big day that I'm prattling on about, you might wonder. Well, I'm actually referring to the day of my brother's wedding! (Yes, I realize that from the way I've written this it almost sounds like it was my big day, but such is not the case.)

I just told my brother that he's down to about three more hours of being single. He seemed less than impressed. He might've even been texting his fiancee at the time I said it. Oh well! In just a few hours he will be heading to the Salt Lake Temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. Here is a couple pictures of the happy couple.

I am excited for my brother because I know how important this is to him. And let me be one of the first to welcome his soon-to-be wife, we'll call her A, into the family. Welcome to life as a Walquist! It's a wonderful way to live, but just be prepared to often be running late, to be surrounded by and involved with family but to always feel loved. We welcome you and wish both of you only the greatest of happiness!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Nice and Stormy Day

Okay, I must be honest: my preferred weather involves sunshine, nice temperatures and beautiful blue skies. (Just in case you're wondering, no I was NOT born in California.) This is a large part of the reason why I love summer so much.

But there are times when I enjoy an overcast day, such as today. I was more than a little delighted when I looked out the window this morning to see that the light appeared to be subdued, or, in other words, that it was overcast. And I was even happier when I opened my blinds and discovered such was exactly the case.

I like the nice weather as much as anybody but sometimes I long for cloudy days too. The weather has been pretty hot and clear for the last couple of weeks so perhaps this is part of the reason I am still so pleased to see a change. Or perhaps it could have something to do with a gloomy mood that set in yesterday that hasn't quite left yet. Sometimes it's bad if the weather matches one's mood, but in this case I think it's a good thing. Perhaps the rain (well, I have only seen a few sprinkles right now but that could still change) will act as a cleansing agent and help me feel better. I DO love the smell of rain. So clean, so fresh.

When I was in high school I had an interesting realization that I'd like to share here. It came in response to a day like this, only in that case, I wasn't happy to see an overcast day. I was sad because I wished it could be sunshiny forever. And then I realized that sometimes we need the cloudy days in order to appreciate the sunny ones.

If every day was beautiful, blue and cloud free, we would cease to appreciate it (as I have found myself doing lately) because we take it for granted. When the weather changes and we lose those warm, clear days, we gain a greater appreciation for all types of weather, from sunny to rainy, clear to foggy, warm to *sigh* snowy. Life is like this too: when we go through the hard times, it may not be easy and may try us to our core, but it will also help push us out of our comfort zone and grow. Forced growth isn't always fun, but it's often necessary.

Here's to a cloudy day, complete with a thunderstorm, and the realizations it brought to pass.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My First Visit to Bear Lake

Wow! It's hard to believe that another week has gone by and it's already Friday! It helps that this was a short week and that I had to take a quick business trip to Vernal. Then because the trip was so quick, I've been recovering from it. Oh well! It's Friday now, and weekends are always good!

The real point of this post is to share pictures from my expedition on Monday. I decided to visit my sister and brother-in-law in northern Utah last weekend, just for overnight though. My brother-in-law wanted to do something fun on Labor Day (that wasn't going to the aquatic center, which is what his kids wanted to do) so we ended up taking a trip to Bear Lake.

I haven't ever been to Bear Lake before, but I had a wonderful time! I couldn't believe how beautiful it is, and the temperature was really nice too. The kids had a great time. The temperature was pretty mild (only about 75ish degrees) and there was a stiff breeze, so they got just a little cold, but otherwise they really enjoyed themselves. Here are some pictorial highlights. Enjoy! And bear (haha!) with me on the space issues. No matter how hard I try there's always spacing issues when I put pictures up. Oh well!
My first glimpse of the lake. So beautiful!

Here's the kids having fun in the water.

I was fascinated with the ridges created by the waves. They felt pretty cool to walk on too.

I also enjoyed watching the sailboats. There was quite a breeze so some of them got moving quite well. One of them had an unfortunate incident and tipped over. This is a picture of said event. One of the other boats went over to help, and I'm assuming that it picked up the stranded, or should I say capsized, sailing party.
My gracious hosts. I promise my brother-in-law isn't really a grumpy pants. He just looks cranky in this picture. :)

Cool slippers dude!

Here's my sister and me enjoying the water.

And this is what happens when I leave my camera unattended with my brother-in-law. He takes pictures of the sky, my camera case and the sunblock bottle. What a sillypants! * Sigh * He's a man after my father's heart.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Fun-ner Way to Play the Waiting Game

Oh man! I am so frustrated! I wrote this entry last night, but then it didn't get posted because I was trying to upload the video of Miss Sassypants reading the story to me. It didn't work out, so if you want to see it, you'll have to view it on my Facebook page at the link included below.

It seems to be the story of my life in my blog recently that all my posts come later, almost a little after the fact. But better late than never, right?!

In my post last week, I talked a little bit about my time with my niece in the hospital. That was pretty early on. All of the times my niece has been in the hospital to date (while I've lived in Salt Lake anyway) have always been on weekdays. That means I usually come home from work and head straight up to the hospital and then come home sometime that evening. I was slightly worried about the sheer amount of hours I was going to be there on Saturday. It seemed like it would be really long, and after seeing Miss Sassypants' sad eyes the night before (it nearly broke my heart because she looked so hopeless), I decided to do anything and everything I could to help cheer her up.

First off, I decided this meant checking out a bunch of books from the library so we could read. And it turned out this was an inspired idea. She LOVED the books, particularly one by Mo Willems called "The Pigeon Wants a Puppy." Here's a video of her reading to us. It wouldn't upload, but I can't delete the box for whatever reason. Oh well! I was going to put a link to my Facebook page, and blogger is stupid and refuses to let me do it. Ugh!! I guess that means you'll just have to go there to check it out.

I was surprised and delighted when one of the many hospital volunteers brought her service dog into Miss Sassypants' room on Saturday. His name is Rusty and all three of us--my niece, my sister and me--enjoyed petting him. And thank heavens for kind people who are willing to do things like this for children in the hospital. Here are a few pictures.

We also spent some time out by the fountain in front of the hospital. Don't worry--since this is a children's hospital playing in the fountain is very much welcomed and encouraged. Besides, it made Miss Sassypants happy to discover her toe water flicking technique is so much better than mine. She took great delight in getting me wet. The happy look on her face was worth every drop that landed on me :) And we enjoyed seeing these pigeons washing themselves in the fountain. I don't think any of them wants a puppy though.

Finally, do you remember the Angel Garden I mentioned in a previous post? It's a beautiful little place in front of the hospital that's just peaceful. Here's my sister and my niece sitting in it.

So, really I worried unnecessarily because the day filled itself up much easier than I thought it would. :)

Cubicle Snot

And Tammy's funny moments continue. Today I'd like to bring you a special edition entitled "Cubicle Snot" so aptly named by my very dear Smirk.

Once upon a time it was spring cleaning day on the 7th floor. Tammy had plenty to do that day but decided she wasn't really into doing her real work, so she would clean her desk instead. As she was dusting behind her computer, she discovered a pile of sticky yellow substance. It was gross, but she just figured she had spilled something even though it was in an odd location. She cleaned it up and didn't think too much about it.

A few weeks later, Tammy noticed that the sticky yellow substance was back. She was quite concerned as it looked as if it could've leaked from one of the many cords behind her computer. Tammy meant to call the help desk and ask about it but got busy and didn't do it. Yes, if you could see her right now you'd know she was hanging her head in shame.

Well, fast forward to yesterday. Tammy was desperately trying to contact a few Idaho companies in order to complete an assignment at work. To her dismay, she discovered something was wrong with her phone and all they could hear was static when she called. The next day she tried again with much the same result, confirmed by her colleague in Idaho. Very much in need of an Idaho company to interview, Tammy finally called the help desk and was put on hold for. . . a . . . long. . . .time.

The person on the help desk made note of the phone issue and then Tammy asked about the strange yellow substance. He was quite concerned and said he would forward the information to the appropriate department. Only a short time later, Tammy received a call from someone in IT (she didn't catch what he did) who spent 10 minutes telling her repeatedly that whatever the yellow substance was, it couldn't have come from her cords because cords don't leak substances. And if she thought it came from her computer, she should turn it off and just not turn it back on again. Umm, yeah that's going to work since she was in the middle of editing the internal news update she has to do every week. He practically begged Tammy to call someone from the building maintenance department to come see what the strange substance might be.

Only a few minutes later someone from the department came up to Tammy's floor. She showed him the substance and he agreed that it couldn't have come from the cords. He then proceeded to make a search of where it could've come from and discovered, somewhat to Tammy's chagrin, that it was caused by a leak in the hinge mechanism for her cabinet. He advised her to put a ticket into the system so it could be taken care of.

At this point Tammy was feeling pretty dumb, but really how could she have known?! To help her feel better, she related the whole matter to Smirk, who deemed what they now knew was oil as "Cubicle Snot." It seemed a fitting name somehow. The end!