Monday, February 21, 2011

Catching Up

My, it seems as if I have just fallen off the face of the blog world. I really haven't, nor have I been working on a Comp assignment. In all actuality, I have been experiencing a case of writer's block. There hasn't been much going on that I felt like blogging about. However, I feel like I need to blog, just because it helps me to get my thoughts together.

Where shall I begin? I suppose I will begin by bragging a little bit, because I got my first essay back in my Comp class, and I got a 94 on it! I made a few minor mistakes, but there was nothing too horrible that I absolutely cannot live with. Ms. McCoy told my class today that we would be getting our next assignment sometime this week. We are discussing essays about equity and diversity, and I have a decent idea of what I might write about, but I'll have to wait and see.

While I'm on the subject of college, I have turned in all of my college applications. After much thought and deliberation, I decided to apply to UCO and NOC in Enid. Ultimately, those colleges were the only two that I felt that I could apply to without too much apprehension. I felt content after applying. Also, I have been accepted to both colleges!!! I haven't made my final decision just yet, because I am waiting to see about how much scholarship money I can get from both places. That will be my ultimate deciding factor since neither I nor my family is independently wealthy. Also, I plan on taking a college day to UCO sometime in March. I'm feeling a sense of resolve about my college situation! Woo-hoo!

Now that I am thinking about it, I really don't have that long until graduation. Although there are lots of things that this means, there is one thing that I have been thinking about more than the other things...My Valedictorian Speech! I have some ideas of what it will be about, and I have started compiling a list of thoughts/ideas that I want to include in my speech. I keep wondering what it will be like to speak in front of so many people, and I try to psyche myself up each time, thinking about how exciting it will be. My biggest fear is that I will cry during my speech, and that is something that I really don't want to do (it isn't a pretty sight when I cry). But, in the end, it will be what it will be, and that's that! May 14th, here I come!

By the way, today, February 21st, marks one month until my birthday!!!!! I'm excited, just because its my birthday, not because I will be a legal adult. That thought seems a bit scary to me, to be perfectly honest. Really, the only privilege of adulthood that I am excited about for the time being is that I will have the right to vote, and I will be eligible to vote in the next presidential election!!! Go me!

Some more good news, I found out that I won't have a track meet on the day of Prom! Last year, we had that conflict, and it led to a full day, to say the least. However, this year, I won't have to worry about that! I already have my dress, as I have since July of last year. Last July, one of my family's friends had a tote full of prom dresses from her daughters that she was going to put in a  garage sale. She knew that I could fit into the dresses, so she decided to let me have the first pick before she had her garage sale. As it turned out, my dress was free, much to my dad's delight! I love it; it is strapless, and a  lovely shade that falls somewhere between Cinderella's blue dress and periwinkle. I hope that after prom I can remember to go to Gina's house so I can post a picture from Prom on here. (It is inconvenient at times to not be able to post pictures on my house computer)

This past weekend was another of my YAB meetings. It was held at St. Monica's in Edmond, and it was exactly what I needed. I have been feeling in a bit of a spiritual slump for the past few weeks, and it helped me to get back on track. I truly enjoyed the company of my fellow YAB members this weekend. During some of our down-time, we played Apples to Apples, which is my new favorite game! It was my first time to play, and I ended up winning! I would definitely recommend it for any large group gathering! I can't believe that there is only one more YAB meeting before I graduate...sheesh, where has the time gone?

On a final note, wish me luck as I attempt to give blood for the first time tomorrow afternoon! The Student Council is sponsoring another blood drive (I couldn't donate in the last one due to circumstances beyond my control), and I am going to try to give blood! Here's hoping that it will turn out alright!

I hope everyone is having a great week thus far!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snow Rants, Sweet Potatoes, and Senior Stuff!

I have had to take a brief break from blogging, as I had to write my first essay for my Comp class. My rule that I adopted in the middle of last semester is that I can't write for fun on my blog until I am done writing for my grade. Anyway, I am done with my paper, and I am free to write to my heart's content!

There is still some snow at my house, although it is slowly melting away. It is in one of three categories: It is either melted, still in a 3-foot drift, or in that irritating slushy transition phase. The weathermen claim that we have another "big one" headed our way this week, and I am desperately hoping that they are wrong, because I don't want any more snow! If anything, I wouldn't mind rain, but NO MORE SNOW!!! I believe that I, like my nephews, am getting cabin fever to an extent. I do go outside when I can, but just to do that requires that you bundle up, and by that point, it's no fun. I am ready for springtime!

That's enough of my winter rant...Moving on...
Have I ever mentioned how much I love sweet potatoes? They are probably one of my favorite foods. (As a side note, sweet potatoes are really one of those foods that you either like or don't like. There isn't much middle ground on sweet potatoes, I have noticed.) To me, they have the perfect flavor, and I have never met a sweet potato dish I don't like! They are so diverse, and I love finding new ways to prepare them. My personal favorite is sweet potato french fries, seasoned with sea salt. Baked sweet potatoes are great, with just a little bit of butter, and perhaps some salt (I usually skip the salt, but it does bring out the sweetness). There is always the tried and true sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and marshmallows on top that can be found at most Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in my family. As far as sweet potato dishes go, it ranks toward the bottom of my list, because I prefer the natural flavor. I have never had sweet potato pie, although Tevis claims that it is the best of any pie flavor. One day, I'll make it just to see. I found another new favorite yesterday morning. Gina took my mom and I out to breakfast yesterday morning to the new Jimmy's Egg in Enid. When we got there, I decided to try their sweet potato pancakes. (Emily swore that they were amazing and I had to see for myself.) They arrived, and I dug right in. I hadn't even put butter or syrup on them yet. One bite, and they were like heaven! I tried some with syrup, and I think that they tasted better plain. Another good thing about them? They are extremely filling. I got two pancakes that were pretty decent sized, and I was stuffed by the time I was done! (Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, btw) The next step is finding a good recipe, and trying to recreate them for myself! (Something tells me that they could replace regular pancakes!)

On Friday, I had another of my endless "Senior Moments". My class got our announcements and our cap and gown. I couldn't believe it! Now I am chomping at the bit to mail them out, even though I'm not supposed to for another two months or so. I suppose that I am getting ahead of myself, and I need to slow down and savor the moment. As per the school's request, I tried on my cap and gown to make sure that they fit well. My gown fits perfectly, thank goodness! My cap fits fine, but I look ridiculous in it, if you ask me. My mom commented that at least I won't be the only one wearing it. We are considering having an afternoon gathering before my graduation, as opposed to an evening gathering after my graduation, like my sisters had. My graduation is at 8:00, which is really late in my opinion. I am excited because I will get to choose the menu, even though I know that I will probably change my mind on a few things between now and then. I have already changed my mind, because I have gone from wanting an actual cake to wanting cake ball truffles. (Perhaps I can post about them later...they are one of my new favorite things!)

I have rambled on for long enough, I suppose. I hope everyone is spared from the next snow, and stays as warm as possible!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Days!

Just as I was beginning to lose all hope, we finally got our first snow day of the year yesterday! As excited as I was about that, I was NOT excited about the fact that the snow (all 3 inches of it) was accompanied by what felt like a 40-50 mph north wind that made it feel like it was -18 degrees outside. Because of the miserable conditions, I had great plans of spending as much of my day inside as possible. As I ventured out of bed around 8:00, I began what I figured would be a nice, relaxing day inside. I went into the living room with my mom, curled up in my blanket, worked on my Sudoku puzzles, and tried to tune out the perpetual news coverage of "Blizzard 2011". That is really one of the downsides to not having cable TV, because when there is a major weather event (snowstorm/tornado), ALL of the major channels have continuous coverage. The channels that don't have weather coverage usually have either infomercials or some ridiculous reality show.  I digress...So I was sitting in my pajamas, all comfy on the couch, when the phone rang. It was one of our neighbors who has a farm right by my house. He called to tell us that we had about six cows out. Lovely. Just lovely. As if blowing snow and subzero temperatures weren't enough, our cows had decided, for some reason, to get out. (I think this qualifies as a part of Murphy's Law) Thankfully, Scotty and Jeremy were both home where they could help my mom and I wrangle the cows. In my mind, I was holding out hope that it wouldn't be our cows out, but I wasn't expecting to be right this time.

The first part of the process was getting dressed. This turned out to be quite the ordeal. After layering up with a pair of my running tights, two pairs of sweat pants, two pairs of socks, three shirts, a hoodie, ear muffs, a stocking hat, knit gloves, work gloves, snow boots, coveralls, and another coat, I was nearly exhausted and very warm. I was almost ready to be exposed to subzero temperatures at that point, because I think I had nearly broke a sweat. Not long after my mom and I were bundled up, Jeremy arrived to pick us up to go down and check on the cows. Scotty was already down there. As we got down there, we saw that none of the cows looked like ours, and they also had a different brand! We knew who the cows belonged to, so we let them know, and, after his reassurance that he didn't need any help, all of us loaded back up and went home! I was glad that for once my instincts proved correct! When my mom and I got back home, we unlayered. After we unlayered, my mom and I wore shorts around for a while on account of how warm we were. Once again, we went back to lounging.

Around 4:00, I knew that I couldn't put off the inevitable for much longer. I had to go back out and water the cows. I layered back up, and trekked outside. It wasn't too bad going out there, since the wind was at my back. As I was walking to the water tank, I was feeling especially grateful for gravity, because I was certain that if it didn't exist, I probably would've been about a mile south of my house at that point. We really didn't get that much snow, it just drifted up really high. When I finally was done watering cows, I came back in and my mom decided to make taco stew for supper last night. It was perfect for a cold night! After supper, I treated myself to a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows.

When I was done with my hot chocolate, I ventured back to my room, and stumbled upon my nine-weeks novel for English. At that point, I really hadn't read too much of it, and wasn't very impressed, either. My book is "Izzy, Willy-Nilly" by Cynthia Voight, who also wrote "Homecoming" and "Dicey's Song", which were two books that I thoroughly enjoyed. The book was set in the mid 80's, and was about a popular cheerleader who had to have half of her leg amputated after she was involved in an accident that was caused by her drunk date. I eventually finished the book, about two hours later. At the end, I still wasn't that impressed. Perhaps it is because I'm not a selfish, popular cheerleader who has hordes of guys knocking down my door; perhaps it is because my family is not part of a country club; perhaps it is because my mom wouldn't baby me as much as Izzy's mom did in the book. Regardless, I had a hard time with the book because I couldn't relate to it, but I finished it nonetheless. The end was okay, but nothing spectacular.

Today, I lucked out again with another snow day! As I was beginning to wake up, I heard what sounded like Wyatt and Andrew in my kitchen. It turned out that my mom offered to watch the boys today so Gina wouldn't have to take them all the way to their babysitter in Garber, since Wyatt didn't have school. As soon as I got out of bed, the boys were excited and already feeling the effects of cabin fever. We had lots of fun today. Wyatt, Andy, and I played cowboys/superheroes/ninjas for the first little while. After that game got old, Wyatt and I were talking about letters, and we ended up playing with a dry-erase alphabet book that my mom had. Wyatt did an excellent job with his letters, if I must say so myself! Suddenly, Wyatt went and laid down on the couch, which was uncharacteristic of him. He told us that he was hot and his head hurt. My mom gave him some children's Tylenol, and he took a small nap. Andy also took a nap during this time. When Wyatt woke up, he said that he felt much better, and was ready for lunch! (Yes, he was feeling better!) After lunch, Wyatt and I did a puzzle, and played a couple of board games. First, we played Chutes and Ladders, at Wyatt's request. Wyatt soundly beat me in that game, and I didn't even try to let him win. He then told me that he wanted to play a different game. He actually wanted to play Yahtzee, but I convinced him to play Candy Land. (He called it Candy World, same difference, I guess) After he got sent back to the Peppermint Forest when he was almost to the end, he was ready to call it quits because "he would never make it to the end, ever". However, after he caught up (he got moved up to Grandma Nutt's house), I got moved all the way back to Plumpy at the beginning, he easily beat me. At that point, my mom came in and told me that I needed to go run water for the cows. It was probably best, because Wyatt was on the verge of getting a big head from beating me twice.

I knew that when I went out to water cows I had to dig out my pickup from the shed. There were drifts in front of our shed that went all the way up to my hip. I knew that I really didn't want to try to break the drifts with my little pickup, so I figured that I would just shovel the snow away. As a note, the opening to our shed is about twenty feet wide, and the snow went out for about three to four feet in front of the shed. This was a pretty decent-sized snow drift that I was about to tackle. After I had shoveled for about ten minutes, I thought that I would never finish. I devised a strategy for clearing the area, and I finally began to make progress, of sorts. About twenty minutes into my shoveling, I remembered that we had a radio out in our shed, so I turned on some music, and I felt like I worked much faster that way. By the time the water was done, I had nearly cleared about 1/3 of the space. I considered the fact that people who earn money from shoveling snow really earned their money, because, not even an hour into it, I was very warm. Also, my back was beginning to hurt. And I thought I was getting tennis elbow and frostbite on my nose. Well, not really, but I was feeling it. I took a breather and sat on the bed of one of the pickups for a few moments, then went back to work. AFter I worked for about two hours, I was done! SUCCESS!!!!! There was nothing like the sense of accomplishment I felt after I saw the huge pile of snow beside our shed. After that, I came in and got some trail mix and water, and I relaxed on the couch, basking in the glow of a job well done! (Actually, that was the most shoveling I have ever done in one sitting, and I was exhausted.) As soon as I was done eating supper, I went and took a nice, hot shower. I would say that it is worth it, because now I will have a relatively easy time getting out of the shed tomorrow morning, when I finally have to go back to school. I know that I will sleep well tonight!