Sunday, January 31, 2010

My first home-made jewelry :)

If you remember, a few weeks ago, I made a list of a few of my goals for the year in my blog. One of them was to take up a new hobby, something tactile, and jewelrymaking happened to be the one I was most interested in. I'm happy to report that I had my first jewelrymaking session last night and here are the results of it. I made a necklace, earrings and a bracelet! This is possible only because all three were pretty easy to make. Tomorrow I'm going to wear them for the first time. I'm pretty excited about it.

Here's the whole set.

This is the necklace, both as the whole thing and then a close up of the charms.

Pretty huh?!

This is a close up of the bracelet and earrings.

Schmoozing with the Sundance crowd

Once again I'm a little behind on my blog entries. I've been meaning to write this one for a week now, but last week was pretty busy so I didn't get around to it until now. Sorry about that.

The Sundance Film Festival has been going on in Park City and surrounding areas for over a week now. Although I've lived in Utah for four years now, I've never attended any of the events because, well, they're expensive. I'd prefer to spend my money in other places. However, this year I was given an opportunity to see one of the movies because I got tickets through my work. And we didn't just get to see the movie; we also got to attend a gala celebration before the movie, but more on that in a minute. I was just excited to participate in the festival for the first time since I've lived here. Yay!

Let's start with talking about the gala. The movie we were going to see is called "Get Low." I will tell you the premise, and I'm sure you'll think it sounds weird, but it's actually really good. It's about this man (Robert Duvall) who's been a hermit for more than 40 years. He realizes at the beginning that his death might not be far away so he goes into town to talk to the town pastor about buying a funeral. He's turned off at the idea that he hasn't made his peace with God yet and leaves the church in a huff. Unbeknownst to him, a young man, his wife and child were entering the church just after the hermit begins talking to the pastor. This man turns out to be the assistant to the town mortician (Bill Murray) who convinces the boy that they should try to help this man. He ends up deciding he wants to have a big town party as his funeral, before he dies. Add in a past flame (Sissy Spacek) whom he hasn't seen for many, many years, and it makes for quite an interesting flick. But it's pretty much hilarious!

I've never been too into indie films, but I loved this one! And it sparked interest in me to see even more.

But I digress. Pretty much the gala was really lame. I went to the event with three friends from work, and we were all hoping to see one or more of the film's stars, but they apparently went to the earlier showing so, alas, we didn't get to meet them. We arrived at the gala promptly at 8, only to discover we were part of the handful of people who arrived. Perhaps it livened up later on after the first showing was over, but while we were there it was BORING. We spent most of our time walking through the beautiful OC Tanner building looking at jewelry that probably costs more than I make in several years. I did see a set of salt and pepper shakers for $250, a bargain!

Luckily, we had to leave the gala early in order to get to the movie on time. In this case a ticket does not guarantee you a spot to see the movie. And since we entered the wrong door at the Rose Wagner Center for Performing Arts (there were no signs telling us where we were supposed to go), we were told our tickets were basically "second class" and we had to wait for all the people who had been waiting there for half an hour. Not that I think we should have gotten in before them or anything, but signs telling us where to line up might've been nice. . .

Despite all the frustrations, the movie was fantastic! I highly recommend it and hope that it does get picked up in the regular theaters. It's quite funny but does get more serious at the end. Anyway, here are a few pictures to commemorate the occasion. Enjoy!

Here's me with two friends from work at the gala celebration.

Julie and me in the theater, waiting for the movie to start. . .

Here's the crowd in the theater.

Here's the movie screen from where we were sitting. The seats were at a slightly different angle, but it was still a great view.

Here's the Fashionista doing what she does best--being a fashionista.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two happy somethings

Okay my dear blog readers, I'm sorry about the sad entry last night. I was having quite a struggle yesterday. I'm doing better today though, and as sad as that entry was, it sure made me feel better, so thanks for bearing with me.

Tonight I want to write something a little more positive. I have two happy somethings to report. First of all, I am so excited to tell you that I'm now in my fourth week (counting the week after Christmas) of exercising at least three times a week. This might not seem like such a significant accomplishment, but I'm pretty proud of it. I've struggled so much with getting regular exercise that it's a big deal for me. I often have to fight for this time because it's amazing how many other things threaten to take it. But, it's the things we fight for in life that are the most meaningful anyway, right?

This isn't my second happiness, but it ties into the first one, so I'm still going to report it. I've been searching for something to use as a coping mechanism to help me through this, and exercise is definitely a part of that. Anyway, in the last few months or so I've had a strong desire to try running. Keep in mind that running is something I've always hated, but just this once I wanted to try it. My dear Smirk found a program online a few months ago that involves progressively increasing the amount of running you do, intermixed with walking. This week I'm now up to 16 minutes of running. I'm not a fast runner by any means, but I am proud of reaching this milestone. I'm pretty sure I'm not headed to track stardom anytime soon, but for now I'm enjoying the challenge.

I'm only going to talk about my second happy something in general terms. Please be understanding of this and know I do it for a reason. I'm happy to report that harmony has been restored to an important area of my life. I've been troubled by this particular concern for several months but wasn't sure how to go about fixing it. Now I know for sure and feel I'm making progress. Happy day!

Basically, even though things are hard right now, there are also good things happening. I'm trying to focus on those and use them to battle my sadness as much as I can. I think it's helping though.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Waiting, just waiting

What do you do when you know the worst is coming but you don't know when? And you're halfway afraid every time your cell phone rings that it'll be that one call, the one that will tell you for sure that the thing you've been dreading for quite some time has come. Voicemail messages no longer just mean that you missed a call but they might contain sad news (although I must admit I think it'd be terrible to hear it that way).

How do you decide what to pray for? And if the person who will shortly be leaving this life has found peace knowing that her loved ones will be okay, how do you go about finding the same peace and a way to fill in the hole her departure will leave behind?

I know there will be a time, at least for a little while, where everything isn't going to be okay, and I just have to accept that. It will be hard for awhile for my whole family, particularly my sister and her family. My heart aches every time I think what they must be going through, which only makes me pray harder that they will be able to make it through and be stronger for it. I'm sure if I look deep inside myself that I can figure out what I need to do and where I need to turn for comfort and strength. It's just difficult to figure out how to make myself do it when I feel so broken and sad inside with tears threatening every time I turn around.

But all I can do is pray with all the strength I posess that somehow, some way I'll make it through this. That when the waiting is over, I will be able to bear the loss it'll bring.

Despite what it may sound like here, I do know that I am NEVER alone and that my Father in Heaven will NEVER leave me comfortless. I just need to keep things in perspective and do all the things that will draw me to Him, and to my Savior. If my wonderful, amazing sister can do it, so can I.

In the meantime, I'll just keep waiting . . .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Favorite Show Ever is Back!!!

I am so happy right now!

Why is that you might ask?

Because my very favorite show is back again!! That show is. . . drum roll please. . .American Idol!!

As I have written in here before, I am a devoted American Idol fan. I love to watch the show from start to finish, from the terrible (and sometimes wonderful) auditions all the way to the Idol crowning in May. It gives me such a rush and more than a little laughter.

Tonight's show didn't disappoint. From the creepy Uni bomber guy with attitude galore to the Anime chick, complete with cape to the girl who was an "expert" according to the American Idol video game on the Wii (the judges disagreed with their video selves' assessment of the girl). Smirk and I (and Speak too when she got home from work) had some very quality laughing time as we listened. I don't know who these people's friends are, but they lied when they told them they could sing!!

But there were a few notable performers that I'm excited to see in future rounds, including a hunky cancer survivor from our very own Sandy. Finding talent is what this competition is all about, and I intend to witness it for myself if possible. Bring on the Idol!

Somebody Stop Me--My Mouth is on Fire!!

I have a funny little story for you dear blog readers, and goodness knows it's time for something funny in this blog. :)

Yesterday I went to lunch with a group of my co-workers to try the brand new location of the Red Iguana that just opened a few weeks ago. For anyone who doesn't know, the Red Iguana provides traditional Mexican cuisine that is quite delicious. They are well known for their mole which is a type of sauce. Last time we went, I know I tried all the different types of mole, but that was more than two years ago, so I couldn't remember what I had ordered or how it tasted.

I looked through the menu trying to find something that sounded like it would suit me (and fit within my price range). I selected the item, told the waiter and enjoyed some quality chips and salsa while I was waiting. When our lunch came, the waiter started calling the item names and handing them out to everyone. I was surprised at the looks I got from almost everyone at the table when he brought my dish, Enchiladas Amarillos. I heard over and over again how brave I was for trying that particular menu item. In fact, my team leader said, "Tammy, that's what I ate when I was trying to make my baby come."

You can imagine just how reassured I was by those words.

Boy howdy those were some spicy enchiladas! Don't get me wrong--they were delicious but they had quite a kick to them, such a strong kick, in fact, that I felt like I was going to breathe fire any second. I warned Smirk, who was sitting next to me, to watch out if I had to belch because fire might come out instead. I drank quite a bit of water, but as I well knew it didn't put out the blaze, just spread it around. I enjoyed my meal as much as I could with the strong spices kicking around my mouth.

My mouth continued to burn after I returned to work for almost an hour and a half!! Wow! That's all I can say. I considered going to get a $1 ice cream cone from McDonald's because I was pretty certain that would put out the fire, but I didn't get the chance before my 2 p.m. team meeting. Once it was over, my mouth was okay. I was quite concerned with my somewhat sensitive stomach that I was going to have heartburn like fire from Hades, but it was much milder than I had expected.

So here's a caveat to any of you trying cocina from Red Iguana: watch out for the Enchiladas Amarillos. They're good, but you'd better be prepared for the wallop they pack from the spices in them. Or plan to order milk so your innards don't burn up.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reflections on Life . . . and Death

This week I've had an interesting and somewhat distressing experience. A girl in my ward died very suddenly and unexpectedly on Monday night. While I was friendly with her, we weren't close friends or anything, but I still found the news of her death upsetting. It's sad not only because she died at such a tragically young age but also because it was so unexpected.

I'm sure it sounds silly or pathetic, but when you're losing a loved one, hearing about another person's death can be distressing. Such was the case with this. I am grateful that this sister, who had many health challenges, has finally found rest, but my heart breaks for her family and all they must be going through.

Tonight my ward held a memorial service for this sister. I had a feeling it could possibly be hard for me to go, but I was determined to do it anyway. Sometimes we have to do hard things and that's all there is to it.

In any case, I found the service to be both inspiring and uplifting. I was touched as I listened to not only this sister's visiting teacher and our Relief Society president speak, but also her brother's mission president (he's deaf and is serving in the Family History Center in downtown Salt Lake City) and the president of LDSBC where she was attending college. All spoke of her love for the Savior and dedication to the gospel, as well as her warm smile.

The talk that touched me the most, however, was the one given by my bishop. He spoke about living your life in such a way that if you were to suddenly be called home, as Cassie was, that you would be prepared. He also talked about how life is not a group activity. We don't all come at the same time and we are all called to go home at different times. I wish I could recall his exact words but he also talked about how sometimes we can question when someone who seems to be called home at a tragically young age. But death is something we all have to face; none of us can escape it. And he said he's sure Cassie is happy where she is now, perhaps even happier than she's ever been before.

All of this put me in mind of my dear Miss Sassypants who most likely won't be with us for too much longer. Her death also seems to come way too early, but we as her family just have to trust that it's God's will and that soon she will earn her rest too, no matter how hard it is for us to let her go. But there's always the hope that we will see her again and we must hold onto that.

Truthfully, it's making me sad to write this entry, but only because these things are close to my heart. And perhaps because I realized that Cassie is only 10 years older than Miss Sassypants and six months younger than my brother. I hope and pray that her family can find comfort during what is surely a difficult time. If you think about it, can you please include them in your prayers too?

Remember too that in times of mourning and sorrow, the only true way to find relief from pain and suffering is through the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. He has felt all of our pains and sorrows and He stands waiting for us to come to him, so he can offer comfort to our troubled souls. And it's also through his death and resurrection that we can all live again too. Like Nephi said (and was quoted at the service tonight), "I do not know the meaning of all things, but I know that God loveth His children."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


So when I posted last night, I forgot to include a very important goal. The funny thing is that I was feeling like there should be five, but I wasn't sure what the fifth one should be. I didn't want to just put a dumb one or something. But I figured it out and here it is:

5) Study up and develop a better understanding of hope.

Two years ago I felt like my faith wasn't strong enough, and I committed myself to studying faith. Little did I know what was to come that year or even this year, but in hindsight, it was a wiser choice than I knew at the time. It did strengthen my faith, and in many ways I feel it helped prepare me for what I'm facing now.

With everything that's going on with my family right now, I'm feeling the strong desire to develop my understanding and testimony of the power of hope. It is a powerful emotion. I'm not sure where my study might take me, but I'm quite interested to find out. And I have a feeling that sometime in the not too distant future, I'm going to have great need of it . Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A New Year, A New Goal and A New Me

So I know that it's now January 5, so technically I'm a little late with my New Year's post, but sometimes it just works out that way. Such is the case here. And I definitely don't want to be cliche because I know most people write about their New Year's resolutions in their blog, but I'm going to write about some of them anyway. But I will keep it brief for those of you who have a short attention span and don't like overly long posts.

I've been thinking hard about what I want to accomplish this year. I'm pretty determined to make it a great year no matter what, and that's the first step in feeling happy and fulfilled. But it never hurts to have some goals that I'm working toward either. I have several but I'm only going to share a few here.

1) Take better charge of my money.
2) Shape up and trim up (I know this is a common goal but please read below to understand why this is significant).
3) Discover and do a new hobby.
4) Find ways to leave my comfort zone more often.

1) Take better charge of my money: I think I need to do so much better at managing my money. I always have enough to pay for the essentials and live on, but it's time for me to find ways to make my money go where I need it to without overspending. I'm talking in generalities here mostly because I don't want to go into specifics in my blog. Suffice it to say, I'm taking control of my money, and it'll be to my benefit.

2) Shape up and trim up: I mentioned before that there are some specific reasons why this is a goal. Of course the No. 1 reason is for my own health and well being and to help me feel good about myself. That's pretty strong motivation. But I have a second and, in my opinion, more important reason for this: I want to do it for my sweet Miss Sassypants. Her heart is failing her, and she's unable to do even regular activities like walk around the house anymore. I have a healthy strong heart, so I need to take better care of my body so it doesn't need to work harder than it should. Basically, I want to be much more heart healthy, in honor of Miss Sassypants.

3) Discover and do a new hobby: Of late I feel a great need for my hands to be busy. I want to be working on something to keep my mind busy (and perhaps to help keep my emotions under control, but let's not talk about that). I decided today that it needs to be something tactile because then I can work on it anywhere and everywhere. I'm up for ideas if anyone has suggestions, but right now I'm leaning toward jewelry making. I know that I have a ginormous jewelry selection already, but even if I just made pieces to give to other people, I'm still interested in taking it up.

4) Find ways to leave my comfort zone more often: I tend to enjoy living in the zone where I'm comfortable and feel safe. However, I know that by doing this, I'm robbing myself of valuable growth opportunities and am not trying new things. I'm not saying I'm going to turn into some type of extremist or anything, but I do want to seek opportunities to grow, and this will involve leaving the zone. I'm not sure of the specifics yet, but I'm sure it'll come if I prepare myself for it.

Those are a few of my goals for the year. Wish me luck as I seek to make positive changes!