Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I Am Thankful for

Since Thanksgiving is today, I have been thinking about the little things in life that I am thankful for. God has blessed me with so many people and things in my life, and sometimes I get so caught up in the rush of life that I forget to slow down and remember how blessed I truly am. As follows is a list of some of the things that I am most thankful for…


-First and foremost, my family.
I’m not sure what I would do without my family. They are always there for me, no matter what. All of my family is in good health, and they live good, happy lives with homes of their own, and they have great jobs. I am also thankful for all of my extended family, not just my aunts, uncles, and cousins, I am thankful for those who I consider to be like family; all of my “second parents”, and anyone who is just as close to me (or even closer) as my actual family. I am thankful for those who have taken me under their wing, been there for guidance, or just taken the time to listen to me, when I needed it most. Finally, my Mimi. My Mimi is my grandma who is 92 ½ years young. She is in fantastic health for her age; she still lives at home, and is sharp as a tack. She is an amazing person who I admire in so many ways, and I am thankful that I have been blessed with a wonderful Mimi, and also that she has been blessed with good health.
-My friends
My friends rank right up there with my family. They are definitely among my greatest treasures in life. Shea and Tonisha are my two best friends in the whole wide world. We have been friends for about as long as I can remember, and it will definitely be hard next year when we will be separated by college. I am sure that we will stay in touch via Facebook and by seeing each other on weekends or breaks that we can, but still. I know that we all have to move on eventually, but it is my hope that we will remain best friends for the rest of our lives. I have many other friends from school, church, YAB, and many other random places, and each of them holds a special place in my heart. If it weren’t for all of my friends, I’m not sure how else I would have managed high school. I am certain that I could have possibly lost my mind; it would be easy to do there.

-My house
I am very, very blessed to have a nice home to live in. It keeps me cool during the heat of summer, warm in the winter cold, and dry when it rains or snows. There are many things in my house that I am also thankful for. I have a comfy bed to sleep on, lots of books to read, plenty of clothes to wear, a radio that I use to enjoy music, a TV to watch my programs or movies, a computer that connects me with the world, and plenty of delicious food that I can enjoy any time of day.

-“My” vehicle
I drive a nice ’98 Toyota Tacoma. It has been through an oil pumper, being used for carrying mail, and taking my dad back and forth to work. Now my parents let me use it to drive to school or anywhere else I might go. It is not technically mine, because I pay nothing on it (Another thing I am very thankful for). It’s not the most fashionable vehicle, and there are things that I wish I could change about it (the non-working CD player), but at the end of the day, it DOES get me where I need to go, when I need to go, and that is the most important thing, in my opinion.

-My health
I am thankful that I am in good health. Each morning that I am able to physically get out of bed in the morning, is blessing enough in my books. I am able to exercise at any chance I can, and I am able to run long distances. There are many people my age who don’t have that luxury, who spend their days in the hospital or enduring yet another of their endless treatments.

There are many other random things that I am thankful for that don’t necessarily have a category, for example: Indoor plumbing, central heat & air, music, electricity, my everyday freedom, the fact that I have the opportunity to get an education, my cell phone and really just telephones in general, the Internet, the many talents that God has blessed me with, books, modern advances in medicine, my guitars, church/my faith, and so much other “stuff”.

Later, my family will gather at Gina’s house for our Thanksgiving lunch. I am very excited, and I am sure that I will have plenty of stories to regale after the fact. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving, Take One

Yesterday was the annual Thanksgiving dinner in Bison. This dinner has gone on for at least eighty years or so, I think. It has evolved through the times, with its beginning as an all-day event with more of a carnival setting. Later, it was modified to an afternoon affair, still with the carnival. Now, it's an late morning/afternoon event, sans carnival. Every year my family, along with almost everyone else from my church, has a hand in the events of the day. My mom's job is to make dumplings to put in with the Sauerkraut (Only in Bison could you have sauerkraut & dumplings for Thanksgiving...I personally don't like it). This has been her job for many, many years. My dad usually hangs around the kitchen and helps in some way or another, usually supplying manpower by carrying heavy things for the ladies. This year, my dad also made a turkey, which I found to be somewhat surprising, but then again, not so much. Sometimes my dad can be quite domestic, I tell you. Since I was at least a fifth-grader, my job has been either refilling drinks or clearing tables. I never really minded that job, because it was a nice way to get to see everyone who was there, and I got a pretty decent workout by the time the day was through. Last year, I happened to miss the dinner, because I was in Kansas City for NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference). Clearing tables was not solely my job, as there were many adults who did this job, as well. However, in my absence last year, I was replaced by the Confirmation class from Hennessey. June and Jodie (the teachers) are always looking for service projects for the class to participate in, and they decided that this would be a great fit. I figured that this year, I would go back to my same task, but, instead, I was approached for a different job.

There is a couple who lives in Blackwell by the name of Joe and Alma Reinert. They have a large farm of pecan trees, and for as long I can remember, they have been gracious enough to share their plenty with everyone, for a price of course. Reinert pecans are a mainstay in my house; they can be found in cookies, pies, strudels, atop bowls of ice cream, candied, and even in stockings as Christmas presents. As my family has enjoyed them for many years, many other families have, as well. They are usually sold at the Thanksgiving dinner, in their own booth. Alma's sister, Wilma, has been the lady in charge of selling them for many, many years. This year, and actually it was just last Thursday, Wilma had cataract surgery, and felt that she wouldn't be in prime condition to sell pecans, so she asked if someone could replace her for the year. Enter Doris, the Altar Society President/Dinner Coordinator. Doris asked me if I would be so kind as to step in, in Wilma's absence. I jumped at the opportunity, because I felt that selling pecans was a step up from clearing tables. It seemed much like moving up to the "big table" from the "kid's table" at Thanksgiving dinners when I was younger.

So, on Sunday morning, there I was at the pecan table, ready for action. Shortly after my arrival, I got a helper! Miss Caitlyn was sweet enough to jump in and help me. Caitlyn happens to be in Emily's and my Sunday school class (That's a story for another time), and she adores me and Emily both, so I was excited to have another young face to help me. Things were slow at the beginning, but eventually picked up. Along the way, I saw many familiar faces and was able to greet many people, which I enjoy doing. After a while, Kyle and Cody wanted to help, so I let them help also. As you know, many hands makes for light work. By the end of the day, I was an old pro at counting back change for random amounts and maneuvering the totes that the pecans were in. Many people were surprised at the change of faces at the pecan booth, and wanted to know "where Wilma was". I told them about her surgery, and they understood.

The day ended well, also. We have been blessed with unseasonably warm weather for the past few days, and even at 6:30 PM, it was still nice outside. Of course, it is dark by that time, but the full moon was out. I decided to soak up the moonlight and nice weather. (Refer to a previous post on my fascination with the nighttime sky) I went outside and found my perch on a certain spot on our flatbed trailer. I had a perfect view of the moon from there, and I had slight seclusion. My spot is one that is visibly hidden, if that makes sense at all; the trailer is in plain sight, but that wouldn't be the first place for one to look for someone else. I sat out there for at least thirty minutes, just basking in the glow of the moonlight. It was a still evening with only a slight breeze. I could hear the sound of what I'm pretty sure were crickets, oil wells pumping in the distance, the random vehicles that drove by periodically, and every once in a while, a pack of coyotes howling in the distance. I just sat there in a reverie, reflecting on random things and people. It was all like an unending, free-flowing prayer. In my short time out there, I gained a sort of peace I was lacking beforehand. Then I got chilled, and I went in and baked some cookies from the freezer. A lovely end, to a lovely day.

Tomorrow is the grade school band concert, and hopefully, tomorrow evening, or sometime in the near future, I'll regale the excitement that is sure to accompany that!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Last Weekend, Part Two

As promised, I will continue on in my saga of last weekend, what a glorious weekend it was!
Last Saturday was the Regional Quiz Bowl tournament at Fairview, that added to another of my "Senior Moments". I love the Quiz Bowl team, especially this year. I have lots of fun being around all of them! As the only senior of the group, I am embracing my senior leadership role with open arms...As it turns out, I love being a leader, it fits me well. I also enjoyed the day because I got to be with my favorite junior and sophomore, Darian and Blaise, respectively. The three of us are much like sisters; we just "get" each other without trying, I love it! Anyway, after we arrived in Fairview, we made a pit stop at the Karl's Apple and stocked up on "brain food" for the day. Darian, Blaise, and I decided to pool our snacks, so we ended up with quite the mix: Chocolate Chip cookies, Pumpkin Seeds, Gummy Worms, Chocolate-Covered Raisins, Town House Flip-Side Cheese/Pretzel Crackers (Those are both yummy and amazing!), Chicken in a Biscuit Crackers, and a can of Spray cheese...The Food of Champions, What can I say? :) We got some strange looks as we were checking out, but it didn't matter. When we got back to the High School, we had a Bye round, so we got to sit and enjoy our goods. After our Bye, it was go time. The specifics of the tournament really weren't too exciting, so I'll spare you those, but I'll give the Highlight Reel:
-We took a speed round on Saints, which I would have rocked, except they decided to put three different St. Thomas's in the mix, and I couldn't keep track...But there was one about St. Christopher, which I was very excited about because I have a medal of him that I wear almost every day, so I was pretty thrilled!
-My math skills aren't as quick as they used to be, which I am thinking is a sign that I need to brush up on some math again.
-I think my fast buzzer skills were irritating a girl from Fairview, who apparently had a guess on many of the same questions I buzzed in on, but I didn't let that deter me at all
-The bracket wasn't set up in a very effective manner, and the team that was the runner-up, definitely shouldn't have been there.
-On a related note, we placed third overall, and we qualified for the Area Tournament in January!!!!!!!

That night was the annual fundraiser for the St. Joseph's School in Enid ( where Cody attends school), better known as the Taste of St. Joe's. It is a wine tasting and silent auction event that is apparently a load of fun, but I wouldn't know, since one has to be 21 to enter. Because of that, the boys and I all went to stay at our cousins' house, since our parents were at the Taste. I love going to Joe & Vickie's house, particularly because their kids, Liz, Jake, and Evan, are among my few cousins that are actually my age. The boys and I went there last year, and we had a blast, and this year was just as fun! I was introduced to marshmallow guns, which are very fun to use! It is my kind of gun, the marshmallows don't hurt very much if you get hit with one, and if nothing else, you have a yummy treat! Evan and I had a bit of a marshmallow war; that was quite the time, let me tell you! The only bad part was the fact that little Andrew was very upset for about an hour so, after which we had to call in the reinforcements (aka Mommy!) Upon her arrival, Andrew was completely calm. After that, we continued to have a good evening.

There was only one bad part to the weekend:
After I got home from Joe & Vickie's, I came to the realization that my beloved St. Christopher's/Pope Benedict necklace was nowhere to be found! I was beside myself, not necessarily because of the necklace, but because of the sentimental value behind it. I searched high and low, and then the next day, we happened to go to town (I'll explain why in a moment) and we looked at Joe & Vickie's. Jakub was even nice enough to get out his metal detector and search their leaf-covered yard for it. No dice there, but I'm fairly certain that they have a fortune in coins in their front yard. As it turned out, my necklace fell into Andrew's diaper bag, safe and sound...Crisis averted!!

Sunday morning after church, my parents, Gina, and I made a trip up to the hospital to do some visiting...no bad news here, because our good friend Robyn had had her baby on Friday afternoon! She had a beautiful, healthy baby girl named Natalie Kate. I was thrilled about her name...her middle name in particular, because we happen to share middle names!!!! I love my middle name of Kate, because it is uncommon as a middle name, but that's the thing. I have never met another person in the world who shares a middle name with me! I am aware that I am most definitely not the first or only person to have that middle name, but nonetheless, I have never met anyone else...Until Sunday!!! I was even lucky enough to get to hold her, and she smiled for me a few times! Before I saw her, I considered Andrew to be little, especially in comparison to the rest of the boys, but Andrew seemed like a giant compared to little Natalie. She was so small and delicate, with the smoothest of skin, and beautiful bright eyes, just perfect!

Shortly after I got home, I decided that I couldn't put off the inevitable for much longer...I had to find a starting point for that silly Argumentative Paper. I was irrationally upset by the thought of even writing the paper, for reasons that I am not even sure of, but I knew that if I wanted a good grade, that I had better get cracking. I, being the organizational person that I am, set up a basic outline, where I could organize topics that I wanted to include in my paper. By the end of the evening, I was satisfied enough with my progress. After doing about two and a half evenings later, I had my finished product. I am very glad that I have a way with words that enables me to write a large amount with no problem. It can be a curse (during my Amer. History tests with my extensive essay answers that make me nearly run out of time), but mostly a blessing, considering how much I love to write!

With all things considered, I definitely had all of the elements that added up to be a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finally!

Hallelujah and Happy Day!!! I am done with my Argumentative paper for my Government class!!!!!! I never thought that I would finish it, but it is DONE!!! I really, really, really did not want to write that paper, and now it feels as if I have a huge weight lifted from my shoulders! During the time that I was trying to summon the energy to work on my paper (that's how much I DIDN'T want to do it), I was not a very pleasant person to be around. However, my only incentive for completing it, besides a good grade, was that I would return to writing for pleasure on my blog ONLY after I had finished my paper. As I mentioned earlier, I had to write four to six pages, double spaced, on the drinking age. I poured my heart out, I fluffed, and I got about 5 1/2 pages worth! I am pleased with it, and now I just pray that my hard work will be reflected in my grade! Speaking of grades, I am surprised by the fact that the paper is only worth 75 points, which is less than an actual test grade, but still quite a few points nonetheless.

Really, the last couple of weeks have been wonderful...so much stuff, where to start? (Yes, it has been too long since I have last blogged.)

Last Thursday, Veteran's Day, we had our annual Veteran's Day assembly at school. It was a great tribute to those who have served our country, as always. As a STUCO officer, I played a (somewhat) important role in the assembly. I was in charge of the guest speaker. (Well, not entirely, but I was the first to find someone, and Mrs. Golay thought that he would be a good speaker.) At the assembly itself, I got to introduce him. I think that everyone enjoyed his speech.

Friday, was very exciting for me. I went out on my first official date with a guy from school. His name is Tevis, and he has been in my class since the 3rd grade, and I have liked him for quite some time, so I was pretty pumped about getting to go out with him. :) We ended up going to see a movie, but there is a better story that came before we even left. Friday morning, when I made sure that it was okay with my parents, my dad informed me that if Tevis wanted to go anywhere with me, he would have to come and pick me up. At the moment, it seemed a bit problematic because 1) It had rained quite a bit in the previous days, making the dirt roads to my house muddy, and 2) Tevis drives a Firebird, which sits pretty close to the ground, and isn't exactly built for driving down muddy roads. For a brief moment, I figured that our plans would be done with then and there, because why would anyone want to risk getting stuck, or anything else, just to go see a movie? So, I told Tevis what my dad said, and he had no problem with it. His only questions were how to get to my house and whether or not he would get stuck going down the muddy roads. He was more than willing to come and get me, which I loved. I wrote out the directions to my house, and he told me that he would try to get there around 5:30 or 6. After I got home, I rushed around and did a little bit of last minute straightening up, and then got ready. It was about 5:35, and I was beginning to get a little antsy, but I knew that he'd be there soon enough. It was almost 5:45 and my phone rang; it was him. He told me that he wasn't quite sure where he was, but he thought that he was pretty close. I had faith that he could make it here just fine, but when about ten minutes had passed, and he wasn't there yet, I started to worry a little bit, so I called, and he got a little bit turned around, but I helped him to get on the right track. He was at my house by 6. I felt bad because the directions I gave him didn't include the fact that I live off of 114th street, which, apparently, would have been tremendously helpful. He did hold that fact over my head (jokingly, of course) for the rest of the evening. All in all, we had a lovely evening together, and now, we are officially dating!!!! :) He really makes me happy, and he is a great guy, and I couldn't be happier!

I also had a history test today that entailed a lot of writing, and, as I mentioned, I finished writing my paper earlier, with that in mind, I have written A LOT today, so I think I'll save the rest of the events of last weekend for my next post!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Senior Moments

The past week has been jam-packed full of almost everything under the sun. I am finally beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel with Thanksgiving Break getting closer and closer, but there is still about two weeks until it comes around. A round-up of the events is as follows...

Halloween was nice, fairly uneventful, as usual, but still nice. My dad's birthday happens to coincide with Halloween, so my day was spent with family, enjoying a lovely birthday dinner for him. One thing that I dislike about living in the country is the fact that I don't get to spend the evening admiring costumes and handing out candy. The only trick-or-treaters we usually have are my nephews, which is nice, but I still wish that we were more accessible to more people. Perhaps it's a good thing too, I'm not sure yet.

Last week, I went to my last Academic Banquet. We had a nice meal, and enjoyed listening to my friends in Choir sing. It really wasn't a sentimental occasion, but it was a nice evening, nonetheless.

Friday was the last home football game, and, as it turned out, the last game of the season. This year was the first year that we had an honest shot at the playoffs, but it just didn't happen. Somehow, life goes on, I suppose...I digress. Since it was the last home game, we celebrated Senior Night. Up until last year, the celebration was only for the Fast-Pitch and Football. Last year, however, it was also extended to the Band Seniors, who play at every home game. So, I was among the honorees! We enjoyed a hilarious pep rally skit that included the senior football boys dressing up as cheerleaders and doing a few cheers for us. Before the game, we celebrated the Seniors with each of our parents. I think my mom got a little bit sentimental when I gave her her rose, even though she knew well in advance that she would receive one. As I mentioned above, it just wasn't in the cards for us to win the game, as we lost 60-14 (I think). However, the evening wasn't a total loss because we had a 5th quarter dance! I was pretty excited about it, as were many of my friends. I enjoyed the dance, although I didn't particularly care for the music...it just wasn't my kind of dancing music. Nonetheless, I had fun with all of my friends, and made a few more memories of my Senior year.

Today gave me yet another of my "Senior Moments." We had our panel pictures at the Blunck's studio today. There is a back story from yesterday that I should probably include, as well. About three weeks ago, I had tentatively decided on a shirt to wear for my panel picture. It was a lovely maroon sweater with 3/4 length sleeves, and a nice glittery design on it. I already had the shirt, and I liked it, and it was a cost-effective solution, so I was happy. However, yesterday, my mom told me that she was going to take me to town to look for a different shirt, because my sisters got new shirts for their picture, and she just wanted to treat me to it. It was preferred that our shirts were a more subdued color with nothing too flashy, and not low-cut. We began our search at Ross, where we found many nice shirts, but none that fit our needs. We went on to Old Navy. At first sight, we didn't find much, but that soon changed. We went back to the Clearance rack (my favorite place in the store), and found a lovely black sweater. They also had the sweater in red and purple. I decided to try them on. I liked the black the best. While I was trying the sweaters on, my mom also found the sweater in orange. After I tried the orange on, my mom and I were stuck between the orange and black, and my mom decided that since they were both clearanced out, I looked equally nice in both, and I could use them for my other senior pictures, we got them both. Nothing too mindblowing, but I thought it was nice.

Back to today...
It was decided in advance that we would meet at Varsity Square at 8:30 this morning, but my plans were slightly altered. Since it is Monday, I have two hours of college classes. Because Blunck's is right here in Enid, and it would take at least two hours to take the pictures, I didn't have to miss my classes. It would've been nice to be able to leave a little bit later, but it would've been more of a pain than it was worth to miss my classes. When I arrived at the studio, I was whisked away to the dressing room to sit and wait for my pictures. Really, it was more of a primping room than anything else. My pictures went well, I think, now I'm just waiting to see how they turned out! After we were done with the individual pictures, we went to our "surprise" location (Government Springs Park) for our class picture. That went well, besides the fact that there were some vicious (not really, but to me they were) looking ducks that were lurking in the pond. After all of the pictures were done, we were driven to the mall for our choice of restaurant. I went with Shea, Tonisha, Ana, and Whitney to IHOP. Today was the first time that I didn't get a breakfast item to eat at IHOP. I decided on a Turkey Bacon Club Sandwich, that was quite tasty. I had loads of fun, as usual, with my friends.

I still have an argumentative paper to write, which I REALLY don't want to do, but I need to do it so that I can get that out of the way; it constantly lurks in the shadows of my thoughts. Hopefully I can get mostly finished by this weekend.

Saturday is my Regional Quiz Bowl tournament, which will be held in Fairview. I am looking forward to the competition, but not the verbose questions that the directors have decided to use. As long as we finish in the top four (which we should), we will move on to the Area tournament that's in January. Hopefully we will have a good day on Saturday!