Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Suppose ...

SUPPOSE you are married, but you do not yet have kids and neither you or your spouse is in school (and therefore has no homework) and you do not own a house (and therefore have no lawn to mow or weeds to pull or flowers to plant) and you both have the night off work for the fourth night in a row (and will again tomorrow) and dinner is already taken care of (because you have plenty of leftovers to get rid of) and chores can wait until tomorrow (because you don't have to work) ... how would you spend your evening?
  • 1. Watch television

  • 2. Go to the gym

  • 3. Play Scrabble

  • 4. Something else

If your answer is 4 and it doesn't cost much money, what is it? We would LOVE to know! But, please folks, keep it clean. Our parents read this blog for goodness sakes!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gray hairs and pimples

I went to dinner Friday night with some friends and one of them was complaining that she is too old for pimples. "Tell me about it," I said, pointing to a couple red spots on my jaw line. "I shouldn't have pimples and gray hairs at the same time!"

* * * * *

When I got to the restaurant I thought I spotted a girl from high school. I dashed over to meet my friends without looking her way, but not really knowing why. I did know I'd been up since 5 a.m. and didn't sleep well the night before, and small talk with people I've seen once (at my high school reunion) in the last 12 years doesn't come super easily to me - especially when I'm tired. I realized soon that she was with her younger sister, and her sister's husband, all people I knew back when. One of them walked by, saw me, and said hello, and so I went over and chatted with them all for a bit. Her sister and brother-in-law had an 8-month-old son. She was married in the fall, and is pregnant. I was friends with her my senior year, and though we didn't keep in touch afterward, she has never been anything but nice to me. After I came home I wondered why I felt so awkward about seeing them. I wished I had asked more questions about their lives. I remembered a lot of old memories I haven't thought of in years. And then I realized, my feelings had nothing to do with them, but with myself. Back when I was in high school, I didn't know who I was and, like everyone else, was trying to figure it out. In some ways, I'm proud of the person I was then. But in other ways, I'm embarrassed. I don't know what people will remember about me, and I think that is what makes me uncomfortable. But I think the important thing to remember is that all of us have grown and changed in the last 12 years. We all have our accomplishments and failures and insecurities. And that shouldn't keep me from catching up with an old friend.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Remembering the Armenian Genocide

Today marks the anniversary of a genocide that began on this day in 1915, a genocide in which 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. This is a very personal issue for me, and I am greatly disappointed today that President Obama went back on his committment to acknowledge the genocide, instead calling it “one of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century.” I'm copying below a column I wrote on the genocide for the East Valley Tribune in 2007.

Armenian Martyr's Memorial in Phoenix

When my great-grandparents left their Ottoman Empire home for America in 1913, it was to escape a pending genocide that would claim the lives of their entire families.

Today marks the 92nd anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide that killed 1.5 million and forced an additional 500,000 through the desert and away from their ancestral homeland.

Lessons from the first genocide of the 20th century remain relevant today, as a modern-day genocide ravages the Darfur region of Sudan, and as the Turkish government continues to deny the crimes committed against Armenians in its Ottoman past.

A Christian minority in the Ottoman Empire, Armenians suffered massacres beginning in the mid-1890s, but the genocide is considered to have begun April 24, 1915, when more than 200 Armenian leaders were arrested in Istanbul and sent to join hundreds more in prison. The majority were executed.

Over the next eight years, the Armenians were driven from the land they called home for centuries and sent on a death march through the Syrian desert. In what the Ottoman Turks called a deportation, Armenians were forced from their homes and raped, robbed and tortured along the way. Many who were not killed starved to death. The course of the Euphrates was changed for a hundred yards because of thousands of bodies lying dead in the river.

In his memoir, U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau Sr. wrote, “When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact. … I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this.”

While the Armenian genocide has been well documented, the United States government has yet to recognize the atrocities as a genocide in order to protect its diplomatic relations with Turkey. Turkey continues to deny a genocide occurred, and under Article 301, it is a crime to “denigrate Turkishness.”

When journalist Hrant Dink, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, was assassinated in January, most Turks assumed it was because Dink condemned the mass killings of Armenians. As thousands of Turks took to the street to protest the shooting and promote freedom of expression, Armenians around the world were hopeful that attitudes in Turkey are changing.

But the Los Angeles Times reported last month that there has been a backlash against Turkey’s intellectual community following Dink’s assassination.

“Shadowy nationalist groups have issued chilling threats against authors and thinkers who, like Dink, speak out against Turkey’s official denial that the mass killings of Armenians beginning in 1915 constituted genocide, or on the power of the Turkish military, or the status of minority Kurds,” the article said.

Prominent Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk was tried in 2005 for insulting Turkishness after he told a Swiss newspaper “30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it.” The charges were dropped on a technicality, and in 2006 Pamuk became the first Turkish writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature.

As Turkey continues to stifle freedom of speech and expression, it only hurts itself. On one hand, it makes the nation’s efforts to join the European Union more difficult. On the other, when prominent Turks are charged, it brings international attention to the issue and, hopefully, sparks dialogue among Turkish citizens about the genocide.

Adolf Hitler, on ordering his military commanders to attack Poland without provocation in 1939, dismissed objections by saying “(W)ho, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

The Armenian genocide must be recognized, to honor the memory of those who died, to help stop the genocide in Darfur, and to prevent similar atrocities from being committed in the future.

The first step is to urge your senators and congressmen to sponsor Senate Resolution 106 and House Resolution 106, which asks the president “to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.”

The full text of the resolution is available online at www.anca.org.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kiera's first birthday party

Just kidding, folks. I didn't go to Kiera's birthday party. I just posted that headline to see if Laura was paying attention. She loooooves reading multiple blogs about the same thing ;)

* * * * * * *
So, it's been a little boring around here. Not a whole lot worth blogging about, unless you want to hear about the doctor's appointments I had today - you know, before my insurance changes next month. (I've decided going to the eye doctor is like torture for me. I seriously cannot stand anything near my eyes. Even puffs of air.) There's lots of fun things like that to do when you get laid off. Like sign up for unemployment, which I did on Sunday. The good news is (is it?) that my severance ran out on Tuesday, which means I am now eligible to return to work at the paper. I went to meet with my old (new) editor today and got a press badge and a story assignment. They're putting me on the "temp team" and I'll be working a whopping 12 hours a week, which is within their budget and low enough for me to still collect unemployment, but just how much remains to be seen. In other good news, the university offered me a graduate assistantship, which means I'd have a job during the school year for about 10 hours a week and it reduces my tuition. I need to meet with my advisor first to ask some questions before accepting, but I think it will be good. Now I just need to find something to keep me busy during the summer ... so I'm still looking for something part time and plan to start making calls about volunteering here in the next couple days.
In other excitement this week, Chris got me two free tickets to Monday night's Aces game so I finally go to go see the new stadium, and I have to say it's pretty awesome. There's lots of grass general seating area, plus all kinds of picnic tables and a drink rail so you can stop and watch the game from almost anywhere and set your beer down if you like. The game wasn't bad either - there was a grand slam, and the Aces won. Next time I go I'll take some pictures. Tonight, my friends and I are decorating cupcakes. They're for a shower only one of four of us is going to, but hey, I love decorating cupcakes. And it sure beats watching TV!

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm in business

So, thanks to Kat's suggestion and all kinds of time on my hands, I went ahead and opened an Etsy shop today! It's a work in progress and I'm still figuring out all the ins-and-outs, but you can check it out here. Yay!

The departed

I have always had something of a fascination with cemeteries. I think it has less to do with the fact that I grew up in a house on the top of Cemetery Hill and more to do with the feeling of peace I've always found in a cemetery. When I was in high school, I'd go for walks and sometimes they'd take me through the cemetery. I'd stop and look at the gravestones and wonder about the people they were.

Today, I was headed to my cousin's in Dayton and was a bit early, so decided to stop up the road in Virginia City for a little while on my way. Virginia City, as far as I can tell, is much like Tombstone, Ariz. - it has a lot of historic buildings and an old west feel, was once a boomtown but now is packed with touristy stores and attractions. Not wanting to pay to go to the Mark Twain Museum, I went to the cemetery instead. I walked around and looked at the headstones, some dating back to the 1800s and one as recent as 2001. Some in very good condition, and others dilapidated. Some opulent, others simple. The graves seemed to have been buried at random, the layout didn't make a lot of sense. But I liked the feel of it. I like to walk through and imagine the lives of the people there. Like Catherine L. Noel, died May 20, 1896 at age 48. Her husband Solomon Noel, died just four months later ... Sept. 22, 1896, at age 58. Did he die of a broken heart? Or James F. Brown, died June 12, 1882, aged 38 years, Native Ireland. Was it mining and a dream of striking it rich that brought him to Nevada in the first place, or was it something else? And did he ever find what he was looking for?

If I don't find another news job, these might be the kinds of stories I'd like to dig up ... it's just a different kind of journalism is all.

The rub

I heart baseball. I've always enjoyed watching a game. So much, in fact, I chose to have my bachelorette party at a Dodger game.

So I was pretty excited to hear Triple-A baseball was coming to Reno. Couldn't wait for opening day. I talked about having my 30th birthday bash at the ballpark. When I became the multimedia reporter, I started regularly filming construction of the new downtown stadium, and made a video about it, which (thank goodness) I posted the day before I was laid off. The day I was laid off happened to also be three days after tickets for opening day sold out. (It also happened to be media day at the ballpark. One of the first things I said to the executive editor was "But what about all the Aces videos I was going to shoot today?") I hadn't bought any tickets for the game, of course, because I was going to be part of the credentialed media working the game. So now, here it is, Opening Day. Chris, the beat writer for the Aces, will be there. And most of the newsroom it seems. They are all a-Twitter about it. (See what I did there?) I know I can go to any other game later in the season. But it just won't feel the same.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Some of you may not know that I've never not had a job. It's true. I'm pretty sure I started working as soon as I was legally able. My first job was helping my mom with big mailings when she worked for a tax consultant when I was in junior high. Copying, sorting, stuffing envelopes, and running them through the postage machine. Sometimes I got to answer the phone, and that was a big excitement. I've always had at least one job, and sometimes two. One summer I even worked in one of my uncle's movie theaters when we went to my dad's for a couple weeks during summer vacation. I've always loved working, and I've found it means a lot when you pay for something yourself because you know you earned it, and for me, I think, it gave me a feeling of independence. I felt this way when I bought my class ring with my own money, my first car, my college education (still paying for that one, actually).

The last time I didn't have a job was three months after I graduated from college, having just finished my summer internship in Wenatchee. The timing worked out, because my grandpa passed away just a couple days after I left Washington. I was able to devote my time to my family, helping with the service, writing the obituaries and grieving. But once the funeral was over and family started leaving, I broke down. I mean I started crying one morning and couldn't stop. I think I started to make my Dad and Deb a bit nervous. They wanted to know what was wrong and I think it was just everything - besides missing my grandpa, it was the first time in my life I wasn't in school and didn't have a job and had no idea what would happen next. Luckily, one of my uncles gave me a job for a few weeks until a newspaper offer came through. So, you see, even then I was only out of a job for about a week.

So now it's been eight days since I was laid off from the paper and it turns out looking for jobs and updating your resume doesn't take up much time. Yesterday's big excitement was washing the dishes and doing laundry. Today I went to Costco and Safeway. Tomorrow, I suppose I'll clean the bathrooms and work on my D.C. scrapbook. But, truth be told, I'm really not into this housewife business. I'm sure if we had a little more money (so I could buy craft supplies and spend my days making projects) or if there were a little one to take care of (don't get excited moms, we're still planning to wait until after grad school for that), I'd enjoy it much more. But for now, I'd much rather go to work. One of my former co-workers last week asked me if it felt like a break-up, and in a way it does. I go through periods of anger and of acceptance. I had to restrain myself today from e-mailing the paper when they misspelled a word on the home page of the Web site, and wrote an entire e-mail to my former editor pitching a video idea, then deleted it before sending. So I guess you can take the girl out of the news business, but you can't take the news business out of the girl. There is some comfort in knowing, right now, that so many other people are in the same boat. But it is a double-edged sword because with so many people out of work, there are far fewer jobs and much more competition.

I've been in kind of a funk about it all, and I feel bad for Chris for having to come home to a pouty face, so I'm resolved to try to feel better about it. People tell me it can be a great opportunity to figure out what I really want to do (which actually is a little funny because I did figure that out ... in, like, elementary school), and at least I'm eligible for unemployment so we'll be able to get by. Maybe now is a good time to start that book I've always wanted to write ... except I'm at a loss for a topic. Hehehe.

Monday, April 13, 2009


It's hard to feel down about anything when you look at this face, isn't it?

I had a nice few days in L.A. doing not much of anything - hanging out with Dad and Deb playing Scrabble, helping Deb make ooey gooey chocolate chip cookies, seeing a movie, spending a day with Jen, Jim and their adorable Juliette. It was nice to take my mind off of things for a bit while Chris was out of town.

Yesterday afternoon, at the traditional P.F. Chang's Easter dinner, the fortune in my cookie said this: You'll accomplish more later if you take some time for yourself. So true ... I hope.

I came home early this morning. (And I do mean early. For a 7 a.m. flight I was up at 4:30 a.m. to be at the airport by 5:30 and it is so amusing to watch these people's eyes grow wide as they realize how long the line for security is - almost to the next terminal - and fret they will not make their plane. Um, hi - it is Monday morning at freaking LAX, what did you expect?)

Sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes, I came home today. To a car (thanks to Chris for parking it under a tree) covered in bird poo. So covered that we couldn't (a.k.a. were afraid to go near it with a 10-foot pole) open one of the car doors. If that old line that grandmas tell their grandchildren that getting pooped on by a bird is good luck, then HoneyBun is in for something special, I will tell you.

So, car washed and me with no nap (if you couldn't already tell by the rambling nature of this post) I am home now and in a makeshift office set up at the dining room table knee deep in the joy that is searching for a job. But feeling less stressed because my husband (who is wonderful even if he did leave my car under a tree) tells me that everything will be okay, as long as we have each other.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

When one door opens

On Monday night, Chris took me out to dinner and I was telling him how I enjoyed working with him on some recent assignments. I said I wondered what it would be like if one of us didn't work in journalism. I should have kept my mouth shut.

Tuesday I went to work and dropped a bagel off to Chris, and he informed me that there would be 10 newsroom employees laid off. I soon found out that I am one of them. I'm told that it was purely based on tenure, and told once my severance ends I can come back on the "temp team," which is nice to have as an option, but also less pay and less hours. So, right now, I'm at a crossroads. I don't know what this means for grad school or anything else. We have a lot to figure out at the moment. I do know that I love the news business. It would be great to be a part of the next era of journalism. But if that also means always waiting for another day like yesterday, then I just don't know.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Guess what!

On Friday I got an e-mail from the University of Nevada, Reno with a letter attached that says (in part):

"Congratulations! We are delighted to invite you to join our fourth class of Interactive Environmental fellows at the graduate program of the Reynolds School of Journalism. Your experience as a multimedia reporter, your education and interests will make an excellent contribution to our program."

It's a three-semester program that begins in August. But don't worry, I'll still be rooting for the Spartans when they come to town ;)

Sister got a haircut

Last week Mena decided she needed a new 'do and ended up chopping it all off so she could could donate it. Doesn't she look cute! (BTW, she has no idea I'm posting this. Hopefully I don't embarrass her. Hehe.)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Some days

Some days my job takes an emotional toll. A few years ago, when I was on-call one weekend in Yuma, I was called to a car accident. I missed the actual accident, which should have been minor but the car caught on fire and became engulfed in flames and the driver was killed. I arrived later, while the scene was being investigated, and the car was covered. But I was there when the driver's father showed up, and had to be restrained by police from going to the car. He kept yelling "That's my son." Before I could go back to the office, I had to stop at Chris' apartment and have a good cry. I wondered if I was really cut out for this job.

About a month later, on the same street, Chris and I were in an accident. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't a terribly serious accident. But my eyes were swollen shut and I spent the night in the hospital and I was terrified. I believe that the accident brought Chris and I closer together, and I try every day to remember to give thanks for all of the blessings in our lives, and especially for each other.

Today was a day that reminded me why I give thanks for each and every day, why I should tell the people that I love how much I love them every chance I get. I was getting ready to go out and shoot a quick video when the office called and said a bus had gone off the road and could I go. I was told to wear my reporter hat, but I grabbed the video camera just in case. On the way there, I said a prayer for those on the bus. I held back tears as I imagined what happened and said to myself "I don't want to see this." I got there after the paramedics and helicopters had taken away the victims. About 30 employees at a local resort were on the bus on their way to work, most thrown from the bus with varying degrees of injury and one confirmed fatality. I'm glad I didn't see the scene until the victims were taken away. A witness I spoke to was clearly shaken by what she had seen. My editors were pleased with our work today, and told us so. I left the office feeling proud of myself, but the feeling quickly gave way to remembering why I was called into work today, and so tonight I pray for the recovery of those who were injured, and for the family of the young man who died.

While the husband is away ...

I was home from Arizona for about 5 hours when a co-worker suggested how nice it would be to have a couple days by myself, and then was confused when I looked at her like she was crazy. I will confess, sometimes, it is nice to have a little Tammy time. But mostly when Chris is gone, I spend most of the day wishing he was home. Our work schedules vary, and next week he travels again to see the Reno Aces debut at Salt Lake. But instead of pout about it, I discovered a couple things to enjoy while he is away.
  • Having Thai food for dinner.
  • Watching movies that only I want to watch.
  • Not cleaning up any of my messes all week until Sunday (at which point I will straighten up like a mad woman before heading to the airport to pick up hubby. I always have been better working on a deadline.)
But mainly, I am just counting the hours until Chris gets home (28).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tasty Travels

So even though it's after 10 and I just finished working, I figured I'd better post something tonight so Holly and Leia have something to do at work Friday morning ;)

* * * * *
Rita picked Chris and me up at Sky Harbor Friday morning and our first stop was lunch ... my choice - Joe's Farm Grill.

Isn't it cute? When I worked in Gilbert, my coworkers and I ate lunch here all the time (this was before Guy Fieri discoverd it). I love it. The first time I took Chris there, he said "It's like what the people in the '50s thought the future would look like." Which pretty much sums it up. The orange blossoms outside were blooming and smelled delicious. It's got picnic tables to sit on out in the sunshine, and the food is made using fresh, local ingredients and it is delicious. Also, the bathrooms are decorated in an interesting way. Aside from the dolls, there are old cartoons playing above the urinals.

We spent the rest of Friday hanging out at the Gabel house, me reading on the porch swing until I got too hot, Chris working away on his laptop. Then Brad came home and Alison came over and we had a nice dinner. Rita made pizzookie for dessert - yum!

Saturday morning we headed off to Yuma. I insisted Chris stop in Dateland so I could get a World Famous Date Shake. If you haven't had one, you should. The closest thing I can compare the taste to is creme brule. I don't know if that's an accurate description, but I do know it was delicious.

We had a really great weekend hanging out with Jeremy and Andrea. Of course there was some Baggo.

Did you know Baggo was a spectator sport?
They took us to lunch at a new sandwich place called Kneaders which I probably would have lived at if it was open when we lived there. Later, we skyped with the newly-expanded V-team, and after that, we had fish and shrimp tacos at Las Palapas.

On Sunday, we went to breakfast at Garden Cafe (where the waitress gave us exactly one hour to eat since we didn't have reservations) and then Dre and I went to a Baby Shower, where I knew not one person and where we were the only two (except for a 3-year-old) wearing dresses.

Later we barbecued some carne asada (when I say we, I mean my contribution was slicing the avocado) and Matt and Roxanne stopped by with 2-year-old Savannah who is just adorable and much bigger than the last time we saw her (when she was about 3 months old.)

On Monday we headed for Tucson and Spring Training, which was fun even though it was work and I got a little too much sun. We had a great dinner of wine, burgers and milkshakes with Kat and Jeffrey and enjoyed catching up with them.

Tuesday there was more Spring Training (I have to point out here that the Dodgers beat the D-Backs) and then back to Phoenix where we had dinner with lots of friends -- Melynda and Edward; Daniel and Holly; Kelli and Kyle; Marc and Kristin; and Steve and Leia. It was so nice to see so many of our friends, but I feel like there wasn't enough time to catch up with everybody. I was sad to leave - especially since Chris will be there until Sunday - but am really glad that I was able to make the trip!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

sneak preview

On our trip to Arizona I sniffed orange blossoms; saw two dudes in cowboy hats on horses rope a cow on Dead Cow Road - seriously, right on the side of the road; saw lots of friends; skyped for the first time; walked through the Diamondbacks dugout in the middle of a game; and drank red wine while eating a fancy burger with manchego cheese. It was great, and I am tired, so that is all you're getting today. More later in the week.