Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fortunes really do come true!

Here is my happy story for the week. Yesterday I went to lunch with a couple of friends. We went to a Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant, and this was my fortune:

Better fortune

Just as a disclaimer, while I like the idea of fortunes, I try hard not to put too much stock into them. After all, they’re just fun little things I’m certain the fortune cookie people make up for people to enjoy. Sometimes, I like the idea of them though, and the ones I like the most, I hold onto.

Since I loved the idea of this one, I kept it, figuring I’d hear good news of one sort or another in the next few days, and that would be that.

Little did I know what my wonderful roommates had in store. . .

We were having a roommate/friend dinner at Mazza in downtown Salt Lake City yesterday. It’s a beautiful Middle Eastern restaurant, in case you’re wondering, but on the whole, I thought it was only so-so for quite a few reasons. But, I digress.

What I didn’t know is that this was a “celebrate Tammy” dinner. It was a very lovely surprise for me, especially on a day when I was feeling a little blue. As part of this dinner, my wonderful roommates, whom I truly love and appreciate more than words can express, gave me this.


And inside I found this beautiful butterfly necklace.

butterfly necklace

For anyone who doesn’t know, butterflies are a symbol of my niece who passed away, so I look for them wherever I go. And my roommates know this, which makes their thoughtful gift even kinder.

Who knew fortunes could come true in such a delightful way? Thanks to my wonderful roommates are an important part of my life and help it be as wonderful as it is.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scroll = love

Once upon a time after I graduated from high school and moved away to college, I became part of an organization called the BYU-Idaho Scroll. It’s the student-run newspaper at the college.

Little did I know what I was getting into . . .

What an exciting time it was to be part of this newspaper. I came to school just a month after it officially became BYU-Idaho, and it was quite a time of transition. Programs were just being formed and curriculum developed, the first junior and senior classes were enrolled, campus turned into a construction zone and the population of married students skyrocketed. It was great fun to be on the Campus staff my first semester and cover all the exciting things going on.

Of the eight semesters I was at school, I spent seven of them on the Scroll staff. Yes, I was a dedicated Scrollie. I was a scholarship writer for my first year (meaning I received a quarter tuition scholarship for being on the paper) and spent four semesters as an editor before my last semester when I was the Managing Editor, in charge of overseeing design and production of the paper.

Wow, the hours I spent in this office! And at this desk (as one of the student secretaries).


And this weekend I had the chance to go back! As part of this year’s Alumni Days at BYU-Idaho, they also held a Scroll/iComm (the new Communication practicum group) reunion. It was so fun to see lots of people I haven’t seen since I graduated from school!


There was an open house on Friday night that I attended, a get together at the park on Saturday (see picture below) and a banquet that evening. Oh the memories it brought back! How great are these people?


I thrive on connecting with people, relating to them, hearing about how life is. It was delightful to spend a couple hours in the park with these guys reminiscing and talking about all we’ve learned since our time at school. Many of them are married and are now parents, and it was fun to hear about their family life too.

This is my Scroll mom, Karen. She always took such wonderful care of us. Now she’s retired from that post to become a labor and delivery nurse. I’m sure she’s just as wonderful at that.


I just realized I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures with people. Oops! Here’s one last friend shot. The one in the end in red, whom I’ll call The Ace, referred to me as her first college friend because we worked together our very first semester on staff. She lives in Minnesota now with her husband and kids, so I’m very happy circumstances made it possible for her to come to the reunion.


The campus looks completely different now than it did when I was there, let me tell you. It makes me happy to know I was even a small part of that transition.


Finally, here’s something to put it all in perspective. I frequently think about the wonderful education I received at BYU-Idaho, the teachers who taught me what I need to know for success in my current career, the experiences I had and the opportunities I’ve had as a result of my education. Here’s a sign that puts it all in perspective for me.


Monday, June 18, 2012

That used to be me!

For the last week I’ve had a very interesting experience: being asked to supervise and train our new intern, J. It’s my supervisor who has been begging for help the last few months (I need assistance with some projects too), but she’s been so busy with presentations of late that all intern-related tasks have been left up to …. me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really don’t mind these new responsibilities. In fact, it’s been fun to get to know her and see all the skills she has to offer. We were impressed in our initial interview, and that has carried throughout our working time with her so far. She has a lot to offer, and we’re trying to do our best to provide her with a great experience.

The part that’s been weird for me is … it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was the intern, that I was a freshly graduated (or just about to graduate) college student having my first experience in the professional world. I felt so overwhelmed during that first internship. And, to a certain degree, in the second one too. Overwhelmed and yet eager to prove myself. I wish that I felt like I’d stepped up to the plate more, but it is what it is.

It’s been about six years since I was the intern. Now, not only do we have an intern, but I’ve been doing a lot of supervising. This is my first real experience of being over someone else, and it’s been interesting. I am appreciating what I’ve learned so far, but man I know there’s so much for me to learn!

It’s still just weird for me that I’m a supervisor this time instead of the intern. It’s definitely teaching me some new skills. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


If my life were a book, the title of the chapter currently being written would be called “In Which Tammy Enjoys a Period of Peace and Great Contentment.”

Of course, you’d probably be bored by that title and want to skip right over it. But let me tell you that you’d be missing out!

This is a period of my life that I am so grateful to be living right now. You know why? Because I’m so happy! After a long period of various struggles (not without their good times too, mind you), but enough that I seemed to always be working hard to reach a good place, I have finally reached a time when I’m truly happy and at peace. And it shows!

I wake up in the morning and I’m excited to be living my life. I’m excited to see what the day may hold, even if I know it’s going to be a busy one or there might be something not so fun to deal with. I feel so happy and hopeful. I can smile a genuine smile, and when people ask how I’m doing, I can enthusiastically (and truthfully) reply, “I’m great!!”

Because I feel so happy, I find it easier to be positive. I can look for the good in people and in situations. I have strength to face the frustrations that come, since nobody’s life is without them. I wish I could say it means that I don’t complain, but that would be a lie. I have worked very hard to complain less. I also find that my happiness can be contagious, so I want to reach out and share it with others. That’s probably the best part of this chapter in my life.

This weekend I’ve been able to do that with three people. I won’t go into specifics, but in one instance I was able to do something positive for an unfair situation I disagreed with and wished desperately I could do something about. And both parties were very grateful for the small thing I did. Then, I got together with another friend and not only have a great time with her, but also helped her talk through some concerns in her life. I think we both left the conversation feeling like we were in a very positive place.

Today I was in the temple with my two cousins, other family members and some dear friends. I was so happy my heart felt ready to burst, but instead I shed a few tears of joy. I promise they were happy tears. I’m crying now just thinking about the feelings in my heart that I can’t express.

Part of me feels like I don’t deserve this happiness when I know so many people who are struggling right now. I feel like I should be struggling right along with them. And then I think back on all I’ve been through in the last couple of years and tell myself I’ve earned this happiness. It was a long dark road that I walked with plenty of obstacles before I found respite. While I have it, I need to do my best to use it for the good of others, as I have already been doing.

I have learned for myself that happiness is a choice … but I admit it’s much easier to choose when you’re in the right circumstances.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hello, my name is Tammy, and I’m a Disney addict . . .

So, this week it’s been an entire month since I was in Disneyland. Part of me can’t believe it’s been that long already while the other part feels like it was forever ago that I was strolling through the park, riding Space Mountain, Soarin’ Over California or even Autopia, while trying to keep cool in the warm sun and enjoying freedom from real life.


I figured that I was going to enjoy myself, so I’m not surprised I did. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was the fact that I’d love it so much I’d want to go back almost immediately!

I have plenty of friends who love Disneyland and go there regularly. In fact, two of them love it so much that despite living in Utah, they hold, or have held, season passes to the park! And I always thought that was funny somehow, especially with Yellowstone being my favorite vacation spot to date.

Now I understand.

Honestly, there’s just something magical about it. People are happy there. There’s so much to do. The weather is consistently beautiful (well at least it was while we were there). And I still can’t get over the world they’ve created, from calling employees “cast members” to having costumes that match each area of the park and/or ride to the music that’s always playing.

I’ve been having terrible withdrawals since I got back from Disneyland. I usually love my trips and think fondly of them as I step back into real life, but this time has been different. This time I’ve been longing for it in a completely unexpected way. I keep thinking about when’s the earliest time I could possible go again (my budget says not too soon, I’m afraid), looking through my pictures and listening to the Disney station on Pandora.


A little obsessed perhaps? Umm, I don’t really want to answer that question.

Tonight I was in the Disney store, and it made me happy because it reminded me of Disneyland for the whole 10 minutes I was in there.

Sigh. Why didn’t someone warn me how much I’d love Disneyland? That it really is (as cheesy as I know this is) a magical place I’d fall in love with? That I’d become a Disney addict, so to speak.

Even with plenty of other places in the world I hope to visit, I suppose I’d better start setting aside funds for Disneyland, so when the right opportunity comes (maybe in two years when my niece’s dance group goes again) that I will be able to afford the trip. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Welcome, Rocky Shores!

On Friday I had the exciting opportunity to visit Utah’s Hogle Zoo for the opening of their newest exhibit, Rocky Shores. And the best part is I did it for work! My supervisor and I visited the zoo back in February and had our own private tour when we wrote a script about it. We heard about the new exhibit and encouraged our contact to reach out to us as the opening drew nearer. She did and this is what we got to see.

This is Big Boy. He’s an 850-pound blind sea lion, definitely a rescue animal. He’s impressive to watch both swimming


and on land


These two eagles (sorry, I’ve forgotten their names!) have been together for 30 years. Isn’t that amazing? They’re pretty much an old married couple who’ve had several sets of offspring together. Oh, and notice how they’re both missing wings? That’s because they ran into an electrical wire, while they were flying together since it’s on opposite sides. I had no idea a) eagles lived that long and b) that they mated for life. How exciting!


Here’s the grizzly bears. These are three cubs — Dolly, Lou-Lou and Koda — are also rescue animals. Their mother was considered as a nuisance bear, and without being brought to the zoo, they would’ve had to be put down. Now they have a lovely home. Sorry you can’t see them so well! I did my best!


There’s also harbor seals and river otters.


And I saved my favorite for last. This is Rizzo, the polar bear. Isn’t she beautiful?


We got to see her jump in her pool and swim too. Her tank here in Salt Lake can be both heated and cooled too, so she can enjoy swimming in all seasons. Look at her sitting and enjoying that fish.


What a fun and exciting experience! Yes, I have a very cool job just in case you’re wondering. Here’s my one gripe. How come polar bears can have a big bum and it’s adorable but people can’t? Winking smile