Sunday, May 27, 2012

5K Weekend

I have had quite the action-packed few days, so here's an update!

-We finished harvest on Thursday afternoon, in the third day. I have to say, there is nothing like the feeling as soon as the last load is dumped. It feels like summer officially begins in that instant! I am glad that my parents have a small operation and that we can get done quickly. We got done early, and my mom and I decided that we didn't have it in us to cook supper, so we headed to town to get some supper. We had our hearts set on Papa Murphy's pizza, but we got there just to see that they are temporarily closed. We were pretty bummed, but we decided to pick up some burgers from Braum's since we also needed to get some milk. Turns out that that was just as good, so it was an alright trade.

-Friday was the most eventful day for me. Mom and I went about tying up loose ends for most of the day. However, my main event of the day was a vigil held in Tyler's memory. Friday would have been his 20th birthday, but to make things more ironic, that was also the day that his body was recovered from the lake. I am glad that he has been found so that he can be put to rest, and so his family can gain some closure from the situation. The vigil was nice, with about sixty people in attendance. Afterwards, there was a get-together at Tevis's aunt & uncle's house in honor of Tyler's birthday. I happened to go, as did Tevis and his brother. I have to say, I think that those two are having a pretty rough time coping with the tragedy. I really am trying my best to just "be there" for Tevis, although I know that part of being there for him means giving him the time and space he needs to process his grief and spend time with his family, because he isn't the type of person to talk about these things. I guess the only reason it is harder for me to understand this is because when I grieve, I do better with people around to shower me with affection and good thoughts, otherwise I get down on everything. As I have found, this is also how I help those who are grieving. Regardless, I am trying to be as supportive as possible without hovering. I am unsure about when the funeral will be, but I know that it will be soon.

-Yesterday was my big day, and much happier, too! I participated in my first-ever 5K race! The race was the Red Dirt Run of Honor, held at Woodring Airport. It was held to help raise money to get a permanent Vietnam memorial wall in place at the airpark. I had a great experience from beginning to end, so I'll regale it for you! Gina came by bright and early to pick me up so that we could get there in adequate time to find our way around. When we got there, we picked up our timing chips and t-shirts. After taking our things back to the car, we happened to find a couple of people we knew, namely Tevis's stepdad, Richard, and our friends from church, the Bledsoes. The Bledsoe's grandsons were running, but we nominated Diana to be our official race photographer. Also, Gina finally got to meet Richard, who we had a nice chat with pre-race. When it finally came time to line up, we set ourselves toward the back of the pack and headed out. For whatever reason, the first mile or so was downhill, which is a bad deal all around. On the way out, going downhill, you end up going much faster than you think, only because of momentum. When I got to the first turn, I finally had to succumb and walk for a little bit. I was toward the front of the pack, but that wasn't what I was after. For most of the rest of the race, I alternated jogging and walking, although it felt like I mostly walked. When I finally got back to the dumb hill I mentioned earlier, I decided my best strategy was to walk as much up the now-uphill slope as I could until I got to flatter ground, so that I still had something left for the home stretch. I was almost done, and I happened to hear a conversation from the ladies behind me that lit a fire under my feet, because I heard them talking about picking up their pace, and my competitive nature kicked in. Also, this was at the point that there were people on the curbs cheering, so I suddenly broke out into a dead sprint for about the last fifty yards, and I made it in a time of 38:30! I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face, with the satisfaction of accomplishing one of my lifelong goals! Shortly thereafter, I almost keeled over and puked, because I really wasn't in proper condition to sprint like I did, but I caught my breath and got some water, and I was alright. A little while later, Gina crossed the finish line with her newfound walking buddy, Jalynn (spelling???), an adorable little third-grade girl, whose mom was also in the race. But wait, it gets better! I got some really good news, because I ended up placing second in my age division!!! For going into the race with little training and not aiming to place, I was pretty pumped about it! Owen (one of the Bledsoe grandsons), got third in his division, and Richard got first in his division! I ended up getting a cool medal out of the deal, which I gleefully accepted. I am so proud of Gina and myself for doing what we did, and I can't wait to do it again!!!

-I could've gone to the lake today with my parents and Gina's family, but I really didn't have it in me this year. I was still pretty tired from yesterday, and I just didn't feel like sitting outside all afternoon. Also, it doesn't help matters that the lake is still down, so there isn't much swimming to be done either. Emily and her family decided to stay home this weekend also, due to Emily's allergy flare-up and the difficulty in herding a five-month-old for that long. After spending the afternoon doing some dishes and generally lounging around, I went over to the Moody house to eat supper and watch the Thunder game. Scotty was nice enough to grill pork burgers, which were absolutely delish, and Emily made a coleslaw with a mustard dressing. I usually don't care for coleslaw, but I liked her recipe. Cody and Kyle were more than ecstatic to see me, asking me why I couldn't stay the night, among other things. The night ended on a low point, because the Thunder pretty much got shut out in the last quarter and lost by three points. (Told you I jinxed them by getting a t-shirt) Oh well, such is life, and besides, it was only game one of seven, so there's still hope! Go Thunder!!!

-I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow yet. I'm sure I'll go to the cemetaries at some point, but other than that, I've got nothing on my agenda. After tomorrow, I will begin my next venture of babysitting Cody and Kyle again until July. I'm not sure what all we will do, but I hope that we will have fun!

Happy Memorial Day to all, and thank you to all of the brave men and women of our armed forces, past and present, who have sacrificed so much for our freedom! You are appreciated tomorrow and always!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ten on Wednesday

1. Still no news about Tyler...I was really hoping that his body would be found by now, but such is life. They are still searching, so hopefully, they will find something soon, if only for his family's sake.

2. Among other things, I went visiting yesterday. As a side note, Tyler was essentially a cousin to Tevis. They shared cousins from opposite sides of the family. (Tevis's uncle married Tyler's aunt) Also, Tyler had a small family, which was really just he and his mom, and also his grandma, so they were always included in family get-togethers. This should add a little bit of clarity to the rest of the story. I started by going to see Tevis. It was apparent that he wasn't 100% okay, but he was holding it together alright. His mom was having a rough time still. After spending a few hours over there and essentially scoping out the situation, I picked up a few supplies and went over to Tevis's aunt & uncle's house to visit with Tyler's mom. Since I figured that they were overrun with food, I brought some paper products (plates, cups, & napkins), because you forget about those things when you have so many people in and out. I went over to their house alone, mostly because Tevis had to work and his mom was busy with other things. I had a bit of trepidation, but once I saw Tyler's mom, my fears vanished. Thankfully, I have been able to stay strong through this whole ordeal, so I wasn't adding to their sadness. I had a nice chat with everyone over there, and I am very glad that I went. Chances are that I might go back by later in the week, but we shall see. Continue to keep the family in your prayers, because they need all of the support they can get. Thank you!!!

3. Before my blog gets any more depressing, I will move on to lighter topics...Yesterday I got my hair cut! I had no clue how I was going to get it done when I went in, but I knew that I was cutting it. It was the longest my hair has been in quite some time, and it was too hot and too much upkeep for this time of year. I ended up choosing a style from my hairdresser's new style book, and I love it! I would show you a picture, but I don't feel like fighting my computer today. So far, everyone has loved it; now the next step will be me being able to recreate the look! Here's hoping!

4. On Saturday, my dad and Scotty put up a new gazebo at our church. The old one was made of wood and was on its last leg, as it has been for the past five years. Thanks to some donations, they were able to have a new gazebo built. Jeremy was nice enough to draw up a blueprint and have his crew at work construct and paint it. It is solid (and I mean SOLID) metal, so hopefully it will outlive us all! It was interesting to watch it being set, because it was so heavy that they opted to hire a crane to come and put it in. That really made their job much easier. I am proud of the new addition to our church!

5. This Saturday, Gina and I will be participating in our first 5K. My whole "Couch to 5K" running plan really went to pot this month. Oh well. I have been running a few times a week, and if nothing else, I will be in good enough shape to walk/run it. Not really what I planned to do, but all that matters is that I will be doing it! On the upside, I have already found 2 more 5K races in the coming months that I have every intention of participating in, so hopefully those will be better for me, training-wise!

6. How about the Thunder?! I have never really been one to follow pro sports teams, or really any sports team, for that matter, because I usually just see it as a money-making scam. However, I have had to eat my words over the past weeks as the Thunder has actually had a great playoff run so far. Yesterday I bit the bullet and bought my first Thunder t-shirt. I probably just jinxed them, and I also probably seem like a band-wagoner by doing that. However, this is the first time in a while that Oklahoma is in the national spotlight for something besides fatal tornadoes, our poorly-funded public education system, or our meth abuse rates, and that alone makes me happy enough to shell out twenty bucks on a t-shirt. Who knows, by this time next year, I might even shell out the money to go to a game...even if I sit in the nosebleeds! Anyway, here's hoping they make it to the finals...Thunder Up!

7. Pardon my materialism, but how did I live without an iPod for so long?! (I know it's because I'm cheap, but still...) I am in LOVE with it! I have the 6th Generation Nano, and my only beef with it is its short battery life. Otherwise, it is perfect! It has a Nike+ Feature that lets you use it when you workout and it tracks calories burned, mileage, and pace. Also, the built-in clip is perfect for placing on your waistband so you don't have to hold it while exercising. I bought an accessory last week, which is a radio adapter. This works by plugging the device into the iPod, and setting it to a specific station that has dead air, and then setting the radio to the same station. With the adapter, you can listen to your iPod on any radio without cords or other "stuff". I like it best because I can put it in any vehicle, regardless of its specifications. My sisters know me way too well, and did a great job with that present! (Oh yeah, I think my dad might be hopping on the digital music wagon...all it took was finding out about iTunes and how you can get almost any song imaginable on there. Who knew that day would come!)

8. A couple of nights ago, I had a good talk with my parents during supper. They told me about their lives growing up doing all of the chores they had to do. My dad told me all kinds of colorful stories about running a dairy, as his family did until he graduated high school. My mom told me about canning bulk amounts of green beans, beets, and other produce. They also told me about butchering chickens and pigs; neither of which sounds like something I would've enjoyed. I have come to the conclusion that although I grew up on a farm and did some work, I have nothing on the farm kids of yesteryear. They were real troopers. Compared to them, I feel like an uptown city slicker, even if I've lived on a farm my whole life. On a related note, I learned how hot dogs are made and what blood soup was. Neither of which are too appetizing, and really shouldn't be something you should know about if you are faint of heart or mind, just saying. Gotta love suppertime conversations!

9. Harvest has officially commenced on the Hladik farm! Dad went out yesterday afternoon and got our "home place" cut. Most of it went to hay, so it was no surprise that he finished so quickly over here. He has since moved to our east field, which will take just a little bit longer, but if the weather and machinery hold out, we will hopefully finish by this weekend! Oh, the joys of not having multiple farms! Don't get me wrong, I don't mind harvest, but it is such the relief when it is done for the year. Here's hoping for no breakdowns and sunshine!

10. On a final note, I would like to wish a belated happy birthday to my friend Audra, whose birthday was yesterday! I hope that you had a great day with your family, and many, many more to come!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Goodbye, My Friend

Now that I've thought about it a little bit, I have a few things I'd like to say about Tyler.

I first met him when he came to Pioneer in the first grade, but I really don't remember getting to know him until the sixth grade, which was one of the few years we had class together. He was fairly shy, and he usually didn't have a whole lot to say, but if he did say something, it was worth listening to. That's pretty much the way he was the whole time I knew him, although he became more outgoing in high school. As the years progressed, we talked more and eventually became better friends. We were never best friends who hung out all the time, but he was definitely someone who I enjoyed talking to at school. He was a good-natured guy who was always quick with a smile and a laugh. What I remember the most was seeing the relationship he had with his best friends, who were really like brothers to him. Where one was, the others usually weren't too far behind. Tyler was a good friend, and I will miss him.

Saturday morning, before I knew anything about what would happen, I just happened to look through the senior pictures I had received from some of my classmates. I'm not sure why I decided to do that, because all of that stuff was in a box at the top of my closet. I read through some of the things people had written on the back of their pictures, and Tyler's picture caught my eye, for some reason. I thought about him and wondered how he was doing, because I hadn't seen or talked to him for quite some time. I never would've guessed that things would end up this way. It never fails to baffle me how these things happen, so sudden and inexplicable.

If you happened to read my last post, it seems that the story I gave wasn't fully accurate. I apologize, and please know that I meant no disrespect by that whatsoever. In this day and age of instant communication, unfortunately, there still are communication lapses that can lead to misinformation. However, all that we really do know is that James was injured and Tyler has still not been found (that I know of), and the best thing that we can do is pray for them and their families. To all of Tyler's family and close friends, especially his mother, Brenda, I cannot begin to imagine the intense grief and sorrow that you all are feeling, and know I am sending you my thoughts, prayers, and love. If there is anything at all I can do, I am willing to do whatever you need to make this time easier for you.

We love you, Tyler, and we will miss you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Update from Last Night

Since I last posted, I have a few more details about my classmates' accident...

(For inquiring minds, the two boys in question are James Goodman and Tyler Woolley.)

Yesterday, the two and one other guy (I don't know his name) went fishing at Kaw Lake. At one point, Tyler happened to jump into the water, which was rougher than he originally thought. He started struggling to swim, so James jumped in to try to rescue him. In the stir of all of this, the boat was still running, and James got his leg caught in the propeller, which caused him to let go of Tyler.

As for James, he is very, very lucky. At first, it was rumored that his leg might have to be amputated, then they thought it would be just his foot, but it turned out that the only injury he sustained was a large gash on his shin/calf. He will be on crutches for a few weeks, but otherwise, he is doing alright.

Tyler, on the other hand, was not so lucky. As you may have guessed, he drowned. They have yet to find his body, but had to quit searching last night because of inclement weather and the lack of light. Surely they will be able to find his body by tomorrow, for obvious reasons.

I thank all of you who sent up prayers on their behalf; I truly appreciate it. Today, I just am not feeling as verbose as usual, if you couldn't tell. I am not just beside myself in grief, but I have a heavy heart right now. I would like to say a few things about Tyler, but I will wait until later, when I have more time to collect my thoughts. Until then, continue to pray that Tyler's body will be recovered, and that James will continue to heal. I appreciate any and all prayers that you send up!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Prayer Shout-Out

I just found out about ten minutes ago that two of my former classmates were in a pretty bad boating accident. One of the boys is okay, but things aren't looking good for the other guy.

Please, please, please keep these boys and their families in your prayers! Thank you all so much!!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Family Pleasing Pizza

A few years ago, I went to the Cheesecake Factory with my mom and sisters. We stopped in for what we were thinking would be a light lunch. As it usually happens, my mom and I both got the tomato basil pizza off the lunch menu. When it arrived, we were in awe of how HUGE the portion was, even though we ordered from the lunch menu. However, that pizza was so delicious we both almost finished it! After we left, my mom and I started on a quest to recreate this tasty pizza. As it happened, two months later, the Quick Cooking magazine published this recipe that I would say is comparable to the Cheesecake Factory original. I expand on this later, but you can easily change this recipe to suit your tastes. The best thing about this pizza is how fast it comes together, which makes it perfect for any busy night. Enjoy!!!

1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 tube (13.8 oz) refrigerated pizza crust
2 tsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 Cups (8 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 tsp. Italian seasoning

In a large skillet, cooks sausage over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, press pizza dough into a greased 13x9x2-in. baking dish. Brush with butter; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Layer with 1 cup mozzarella, sausage, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Italian seasoning.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Yield: 6 servings

Recipe Notes
-There are so many ways that you can change up this pizza and still have a great main dish. For starters, you can swap the sausage for any other type of meat that you prefer. (Chicken is a great option.) Also, you could completely omit the meat and add some sauteed mushrooms and peppers in its place.

-If you prefer, you can use your own pizza dough recipe in place of the refrigerated dough. Time and temperature may have to be altered slightly, but use your own judgement.

-If you don't have any fresh tomatoes on hand, you can use a can of drained diced tomatoes and it will taste just as great. Also, now that it is in season, you could use tomatoes from your garden (if that is a possible avenue) and/or fresh herbs for another great addition.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1. Guess who is already done with finals?! That's right, I am! I can't express how happy this makes me to not have to worry about homework or anything for a few months. (No summer classes for this gal!) I didn't have to do a "final" in speech, although we gave a final speech, which was a cinch for me. (I was so happy to be done with that class!) My Biology final was no big deal either, because I'm Olivia Overachiever who did pretty much all of the bonus things, and I'll suffice it to say that I could have skipped the final and still done very well in the class. (Yes, that is sickening, and no, I didn't skip the final, in case you were wondering.) As for Calculus, I took that final this afternoon. It was the first math final that I have ever taken in my life. I am fairly certain that I did just fine on it, besides having a temporary brain lapse while doing one of the problems, but I'm not too concerned about that minor flub. Summer is here!

2. Yesterday, I woke up with an ache in my back, and really my whole body in general, and I felt a little bit feverish. By noon, I was full-on miserable and happy to just sleep in my recliner. Thank heavens, my regular doctor was able to work me in yesterday so that I could get checked out. After running a full battery of tests (strep, flu, & general labs), it was decided that I have a virus that, naturally, will have to run its course. Perfect timing, right? I was fortunate in the fact that my virus wasn't respiratory or GI, and also in the fact that I was able to knock down my fever/achiness with a couple of Tylenol and lots of Gatorade/water. Today, I was still a little achy with a very low-grade fever, but I am worlds better than I was yesterday!

3. This is going back a little bit, but last Thursday was quite the day for me. The biggest thing that happened was the Regents' luncheon that the PLC members were asked to attend. At our sponsors' request, all of us PLC'ers had to sit at different tables so that we could get better acquainted with the people who are making our scholarship possible. Mostly by chance, I ended up with a great table. I was accompanied by a couple of men who work for NOC in Tonkawa, Regent Linda Brown, her husband, John, and the President, Dr. Evans. Wow! I had a nice chat with everyone at my table, and I felt quite humbled to be in the presence of these people. They asked me many questions, and by the end, I felt like I had told them my life story. As it turns out, Mrs. Brown is the CEO of a large local concrete/asphalt company. She told me how she climbed the corporate ladder from being the secretary to being the boss. I found it to be inspiring for her to be in power in an industry that is typically led by men. Not to mention, our current college president is the first female president of our institution, so I was amid a few influential women, which is something that I hold as a personal inspiration. It was a very successful lunch for me, and I greatly enjoyed my time with all of the "higher-ups".

4. Some more big news for me from Thursday, I will officially be the president of both the Literature Club and PLC! The PLC presidency was something that I wanted, but had to work for a little more. There is a long-drawn out story that goes along with this, but I'll give you the Reader's Digest version. Next year, out of the four sophomores that will return, only one of those four (me) is a girl. This led to a little bit of contention, because some of the guys had a few chauvinistic ideas about how things should work next year, which obviously didn't fly with me. In the end, I stated my opinions, I got the presidency, and also received an apology for the previous comments made by the guys. All's well that ends well, I suppose, and I am looking forward to next year!

5. On Friday, I had a fun adventure with Wyatt and Andy. Gina was getting her hair cut and had no alternate childcare options, also, I had brought Wyatt by from school/my dorm. Shortly after getting there, Wyatt and Andy were what you could best euphemize as being spirited, and I knew that Gina needed a short while of relaxation. After a short moment of assessing the situation, I decided to load the boys up in Gina's car and take them to the nearest park for some much-needed outdoor time. I have officially found my new favorite park in Enid, but it bums me out that it is all the way on the north side of town, which is out of the way for almost everywhere, except for where Gina got her hair cut that day. I think the best part of the park was the fact that the closest place to this park is a church, it isn't in a sketchy neighborhood like 90% of the other parks in town, and it was quite a way from the street, which greatly alleviated the constant fear of someone coming in and snatching the kiddos or having them run into the street. Needless to say, the boys LOVED the park! They climbed, swung, crawled, and slid (well, Andy didn't) to their little hearts' content. After about an hour of playtime, the boys were sweaty, thirsty, and in need of a snack. I decided to stop in at Sonic to get refreshments. After getting a Sprite, lemonade, lemon-berry slush, tots, and cheddar bites for us all, all three of us were happy and cooled off! I am glad that I have the opportunity to be an aunt and have fun outings like this from time to time. We got back to the hair salon to find Gina looking all spiffed up, rejuvenated, and ready for some time with her boys! It was a nice afternoon!

6. Saturday was NOC's graduation. The last of my PLC duties for the year, I had to help at the ceremony by helping people in and serving at the reception. I was completely shocked to see that the auditorium was full by 2:30 when graduation began at 3. Yikes! Note to my family next year: Show up early!!! I had a great chat with my buddy Morgan, who I will greatly miss next year. I got to see Carissa, and a few other people I grew to know through the year graduate. It was a nice ceremony, and the reception went just as well. Actually, the cake and punch were delicious, that's really what made it so nice!

7. I made a small trip with my parents to Stillwater on Sunday afternoon. My dad decided that he was going to get a new air compressor. (His is only about 18 years old, and has been rebuilt a few times over. I think he might have earned that one! :) ) A fringe benefit of this trip was our lunch outing to Texas Road House, which is always a favorite of ours, and didn't disappoint. While eating there, my mom noticed that there is a new Olive Garden right next door, which made us happy! I almost come to the consensus that I could probably do all of my shopping/dining in Stillwater and have a much better selection than I do in Enid. It is slightly further, but it would almost be worth it if I could find exactly what I want. The only downside is that my bank doesn't have a branch there, otherwise I probably would frequent the lovely town of Stillwater much more often!

8. Tonight, I went down to the park to watch my cousin, Jake, participate in the May Fete Court. He looked absolutely dashing in his tuxedo, and I was so proud of him to be selected for that honor. If I could, I would show you the wonderful pictures I got. (I'll explain why shortly.) Needless to say, it was a beautiful evening for this rite of passage for the Enid High students, and I enjoyed getting to see two of my aunts, one uncle, Mimi, my parents, and Jake's parents/siblings. In the next few weeks, he will be graduating, so we will all be congregating once again.

9. Yes, the explanation for no pictures...I am home now. When I say home, I don't mean my "second home dorm", I mean back on the farm home. This means that either I wait thirty minutes to an hour for one picture to load, or just go without. If you ask me, I'll take the latter. After May Fete, my parents stopped by my dorm to help me get a few things together, and possibly take a few things back with them. Yeah, that turned into my dad basically loading up everything in my/their vehicles and having me come home for the night. God love him for doing that, but nothing came back even half as organized as I had originally intended. I suppose that is just a difference in genders because while my mom, sisters, and I generally try to organize these kinds of things, my dad just bales everything up into one armful/box and loads it into the car. Oh well, it'll be just fine. I still have stuff in my room that I'll have to go back for tomorrow because both vehicles were full and I was greatly losing steam, because I haven't fully recovered from yesterday.

10. Tomorrow is my last obligation of the school year. The Lit Club is having an end-of-the-year lunch tomorrow. I am looking forward to this, and I am also hoping that my appetite will rebound somewhat. After that, my mom and I will be going back to my room and finishing up in there. I really don't want to move out, because I will be turning around and moving back in in about three months, which is long enough to unpack some stuff, but too short to bother with other things. Oh well, I will continue on in my nomadic life for the unforeseeable future!

I hope that everyone has a great week and enjoys this wonderful (and hopefully storm-free) weather!!!