Monday, March 30, 2009
Sports have always been a very important part of my life. Even back when I was 2 years old, I was in tap dance. Over the years my interests in sports have changed a little, but from fifth grade through high school I was very active in basketball and volleyball. In order to be competitive in sports, I had to play these sports in the off season as well. As you can imagine, I didn't have much time left to try other sports.
One sport I always wanted to try was golf. I know watching golf on T.V. can be pretty boring at times, but I always thought it would be fun to be able to play a sport that didn't require you to be in a gym. If my high school had a girl's golf team, I probably would have made time for it; however, I decided it wasn't worth embarrassing myself in front of the guys team. I could have hired someone to teach my how to play, but since I'm a pretty shy person, I didn't feel comfortable taking lessons from a complete stranger.
After my senior year, I had a lot more free time. It was the first time I was going to have the entire summer without camps, open gyms, games, and practices. I was really looking forward to having this time to myself. I decided it would be a good time to try something new. Of course the first thing that came to mind was golfing. Fortunately, my boyfriend is a dedicated golfer, and he jumped at the opportunity to share one of his hobbies with me. He was really excited to get me golfing because he knew it was something we could do together.
I always imagined that golf was a hard sport, but I had no idea how hard it was until I was actually getting my first lesson. We were just out in the yard, and my boyfriend was trying to tell me the most important tips before I took my first swing. I started off just trying to perfect my swing because I wasn't comfortable enough to actually try to hit a golf ball yet.
After quite a few swings, my boyfriend finally convinced me to try to hit a ball. My worst fear was that I would swing and completely miss the ball because it would have embarrassed me. Unfortunately, I missed the ball a lot in the beginning. I think by the end of that first lesson I had only hit about 5 balls, and none of my hits were very good. I felt really discouraged at first because I'm not good at stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to sports.
It took a couple weeks before I was able to connect with the ball regularly. Once I got comfortable with my swing, I decided to try to tackle an actual course. When I was out on the course, I realized golf was harder and more frustrating than what I thought it would be.
By the end of the summer I had improved tremendously, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. My boyfriend and I went golfing many times, and sometimes it went good while other times my temper got the best of me. Despite all the frustration, I really enjoy golfing, and I intend to keep playing.
Friday, March 27, 2009
In my previous entry I shared my experience of getting my first horse. I had high hopes of having a special relationship with my horse. I had seen how much my sister enjoyed her horse, and I wanted to have a special horse just like she did. I guess I set myself up for a let down because I set my standards pretty high.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the kind of relationship with Ranger that I expected to have. At first Ranger was really sweet and lovable, but after about a year, things seemed to change. We shared a lot of different experiences that only made it harder for me to like him.
One night my sister and I decided to go riding. We were at the stage where I wanted to do everything like her and it drove her crazy. Since she didn’t enjoy me riding with her and I didn’t like to go as fast as she did, she rode ahead of me. Ranger decided he was going to be scared of the round bales in the field. So there I was, in the middle of the field by myself, and I couldn’t get Ranger to go anywhere. I rode around in circles for quite some time before my sister came back. As soon as she showed up, Ranger walked right past the round bales like nothing had ever happened.
Another problem I found in Ranger was that he liked to bite. My horse and my sister’s horse would sometimes bite each other. Unfortunately the biting didn’t stop there. One afternoon I was in Ranger’s pin petting him. I thought he was enjoying it. I was feeling fairly generous so I gave Ranger a slice of hay and continued to pet him. He had his head down eating his hay, and before I knew it, he looked at my leg and bit me. He bit my right on my shin, and unfortunately I was wearing shorts so there was nothing to protect me leg.
I wasn’t the only person Ranger bit. The other incident where Ranger bit someone was also completely unexpected. My dad and brother were inside the horses’ pin putting up some installation. It was cold outside and both my dad and brother were wearing quite a few layers. My brother was bent over working, and I guess Ranger saw a perfect opportunity because he walked right up and bit my brother on the butt.
Luckily with all the layers my brother was wearing it didn’t hurt him at all. This also gave us reason to laugh and not feel bad about it. My brother wasn’t a huge fan of horses before this incident, and needless to say, Ranger didn’t exactly help my brother like horses any more.
The older Ranger got he only seemed to like me less. I decided it was time to sell him, and try to find a better horse. I thought I wouldn’t miss him at all once I sold him, but as it turns out, when the time came to sell him I was a little sad. Even though he was hard to handle at times, I guess he’ll always be special to me because he was my first horse.
I’ve always loved animals. Some I like more than others, but I’m sure that’s true for most people. Horses rank near the top of my list of favorites. I’ve loved horses for as long as I can remember. When I was young we had a little pony we called Smokey Joe. My parents got this pony even before I was born. Unfortunately I’m unable to remember much about her because she died when I was very young, but I believe she’s one of the reasons I’ve always liked horses.
A while after Smokey Joe passed, my sister got a new horse. She named her new horse Prince. He was a big beautiful Bay. He was gentle by nature, loved kids, and he always wanted to be loved on. When my sister first got Prince, he wasn’t exactly perfect, but after a year or two of tough love and bonding, they formed a comfortable relationship.
Seeing this close bond and how much my sister enjoyed her horse made me want a horse of my own. My parents were skeptical of course because horses aren’t cheap. I knew the deal would be that I would have to buy my own horse, but I insisted that they let me. I was positive I wouldn’t regret spending my money on one. I was finally able to convince them that a horse was what I really wanted. So the search began for my horse.
I’m not sure how many different horses we looked at, but to me it felt like a ton. I liked every horse we went and saw, but my mom wasn’t so easily persuaded. We finally found a horse that we both agreed on. I was so excited about it. This horse was a little bigger and a little more expensive then we had planned on, but my mom and I both really liked it. He was a red brown color and he had a patch of white on his forehead. We got the deal worked out and the people we bought him off of were going to deliver him to my house in a week.
I’m pretty sure I couldn’t sleep at all that week because I was so excited. When the day finally came that my horse was going to be delivered, I was so anxious. It was pointless for me to even go to school that day because I couldn’t focus on anything. I spent the first few days that I had my horse trying to decide on a name for him. The name I finally chose was Ranger. I’m not at all sure why I chose this name, but for some reason I thought it was perfect for him.
Having a horse is a big responsibility, and Ranger had no intentions of making it easy on me. We had a lot of adventures together, most of which weren’t exactly fun for me. In my next entry this week I’ll share some of my most memorable experiences with Ranger.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Even though I lived out in the country and there was always something to do, I always enjoyed watching movies. One of my all time favorite movies is called The Great Outdoors. A little ironic isn’t it? If you’ve never seen this movie, I highly recommend it. This movie is incorporates the great outdoors with a very strange, but hilarious, vacation.
This movie is about Chet Ripley, a Chicago father played by John Candy, who decides to take his family to a secluded cabin for a nice quiet vacation. What he doesn’t plan on is crazy brother-in-law Roman Craig, played by Dan Aykroyd, dropping in with his strange family. The family vacation takes a wild turn, and nothing turns out the way Chet planned.
Chet envisioned taking his sons fishing, feeding the bears, having relaxing meals with the family, and playing card games. Unfortunately Roman had other plans. Roman wanted to out do Chet by doing more exciting and expensive things. The whole family, except Chet, enjoyed all of Roman’s crazy activities, and Chet always ended up getting hurt in some way.
One of the reason’s I enjoy this movie so much is because it reminds me of a lot of my family vacations. I’m not saying I have a crazy uncle that crashes our vacations but it always seems our family vacations never went as planned. For some reason there was always at least one person that would get sick while we were on vacation, or the day we planned to go to the beach, it would storm.
I’m sure if you’ve ever been on a family vacation, then you know what I’m talking about. In my own experiences though, the vacations that didn’t go as planned were the most memorable, and they ended up being the best. One vacation we went on we stayed in an awful resort on a lake. We thought the resort would be really nice and it was in a very good location. However, when we arrived we were all shocked. It wasn’t like anything we’d ever seen before. It was an ugly green color with white stripes and a maroon door. This inside looked like nothing had been changed since the 70’s. The trash in the dumpster was over flowing. It seemed like the resort was almost abandoned.
Unfortunately we had already made a deposit, so there was really no way of getting out of it. We just had to tough it out. When we woke up the first morning we saw a few different animals going through the trash making a mess. Then at night there were bats outside. This resort wasn’t the most welcoming place I’ve ever stayed, but because we didn’t have a great place to stay we spent as much time on the water as we could. That vacation is one of my favorites because it brought us all closer together, and now when we look back, we can all laugh and joke about it.
If you’ve had an experience similar to this, I encourage you to watch The Great Outdoors. I’m sure you’ll find yourself cracking up. I mean after all, who doesn’t find Dan Aykroyd and John Candy hilarious.
I’ve noticed that growing up on a farm has made me tougher in a lot of ways. The main way that comes to mind is that I don’t scare easily. I’ve done a lot of walking in old barns alone at night and it doesn’t really bother me. I can sleep out in the middle of a field in a tent and last the whole night. I can see a mouse or rat and not have the urge to scream and get my feet off the ground. If there is a spider in the shower in the morning, I can dispose of it myself.
Although all of these things may make me seem a little brave, there is still one thing that really freaks me out. It wasn’t until a chance encounter one night that I realized I am deathly afraid of opossums. I always knew they were ugly and a little disgusting, but I never really understood just how bad they were until I got a little too close to one.
This whole “event” took place about 4 years ago on my farm. I was finishing up my evening chores like I always did. I would always try to get my chores done before dark so I didn’t have to mess with flashlights and turning the lights on and off, but for some reason I was running a little behind this particular night. I had most of my work done, but I was waiting on my brother to get done with his chores because I needed his help for something.
I decided to sit down in one of our barns while I was waiting. As I was sitting there I noticed some of our cats were acting a little strange. Then I heard my dog growling, but I figured he was just growling at the cats. I didn’t think anything of it; however, I noticed the cats were sort of running away. Once again I just figured they were scared of the dog or something. A few minutes later I felt like one of the cats was near my feet, but when I looked down, I saw a huge opossum almost touching my feet!
I jumped up and ran to the other end of the barn. My heart was pounding so hard I thought it was going to explode. I had never been that scared before in my life. I had also never moved the quickly before. Even though I had gotten away from the opossum I was still worried it might be somewhere near. I started peaking around the corner and it was nowhere to be found.
After I was confident the opossum was definitely not anywhere near, I decided to make a run for it. I got out of the barn safely and without encountering the possum again. When I told my parents what had happened, I told them this opossum was the biggest opossum I had ever seen. Of course they just thought I was exaggerating because it scared me.
It turns out though that a few weeks later my so-called “exaggerated” version of the opossum was proved to be true. My brother caught and disposed of the opossum. Surprisingly enough it was the biggest opossum he or my dad had ever seen. After going through something similar to this, I’m sure most people would be afraid of opossums.
Friday, March 6, 2009
It’s amazing how much someone’s mood can change just because of the weather. The last few days have been incredibly warm compared to the winter we’ve been having this year. Just looking around campus, I’ve seen so many people out and about having a good time.
I’ve seen people out playing football and Frisbee. People are actually sitting outside doing homework and listening to music. I don’t personally participate in either of these activities, but just watching it puts me in a better mood. It’s not just me though. I’ve noticed most people in general are in a better mood. The good mood could be partially caused by the fact that Spring Break is just around the corner, but the warm weather seems to heighten everyone's excitement.
Another great thing about warm weather is not having to bundle up before going outside. It’s so nice being able to grab a sweatshirt and actually be warm while walking to class. It’s great being able to enjoy walking to class. The weather is not too cold and it’s not too hot. It seems to be almost the perfect weather.
I know it’s just a small taste of spring, but it at least shows that spring is on its way. Better yet, it means the semester will be over before we know it.
Throughout high school I was very active in a variety of clubs. My favorite club was Foreign Language Club. It’s a little ironic because my tiny high school only had 1 foreign language so technically our club was just a Spanish Club. Nevertheless, I have a wide variety of great memories from it.
In order to become an active member of Foreign Language Club, everyone had to go through a process we liked to call initiation. I remember my brother and sister’s stories of being initiated, and when my time came to be initiated I was really worried.
My sister told me she had to wash her hair about 5 times in order to get all the vinegar out. My brother was completely covered in mustard and ketchup. As you can imagine I was expecting the worse. Fortunately, the year I was initiated it wasn’t too bad. Eating baby food and bobbing for spam were the worst things I had to do.
One of the biggest incentives of going through initiation was that the next year you got to initiate the next incoming group. I personally thought planning initiation was definitely worth going through initiation. Initiation my senior year was the most fun. Since I lived out in the country and had a lot of open space, I was nominated to host the initiation. Ironically I found that planning initiation was almost as much fun as the actual initiation.
Most of our fun came while we were planning skits. We thought it would be fun to create different scenes ahead of time and make the new members act them out. Some of the scenes we chose were quite ridiculous. We would usually try to pair people for skits that definitely didn’t fit their personalities. If you’ve every played charades, then you know how entertaining it can be to watch people act things out they aren’t comfortable doing.
Since most of the initiates were freshman, we had a big advantage because they didn’t know much Spanish yet. We used this opportunity to really freak them out before they even got to my house. We gave them a pledge in Spanish the day before initiation and told them they had to have it memorized. We knew there was no way they would be able to memorize it all. At initiation they had to recite the pledge individually, and as soon as they made a tiny error we put a whip cream pie in their face.
This may sound a little harsh, but in all honesty, who doesn’t like a little whip cream? However, as the night went on, the activities weren’t quite as enjoyable. Another fun game we liked making the new members play was musical “chairs”. Instead of making them sit on chairs we made them sit on paper plates full of whip cream. The surprise was that when they sat down on the plates, there was an egg underneath the whip cream.
Most people would probably just lose on purpose so they didn’t have to get messy; however, we prevented this by promising to let the winner out of the next activity. This definitely lit a fire under the new members, and it was a battle to the end. The lucky winner was fortunate enough to get out of eating our mystery mix. We combined a few random ingredients most people don’t like. Some of the ingredients we used were mixed greens, Spaghetti O’s, and spam. I know this sounds awful, but we only had the new member’s take a small bite.
This final activity we planned for the initiates was called a gauntlet. Luckily my house had the perfect set up for this activity because we had access to a wooded are. We blindfolded the initiates and had them hold on to the rope. An old member would lead them through the path we planned out. At different points throughout the route, we planned pit stops. During these “pit stops” we would pour a little of this and a little of that on the initiates. We usually used ketchup, mustard, baked beans, and flour. None of these things are too terrible, but it definitely made quite a mess.
The most important thing about initiation was that everyone had a good time. Even though the new members were covered head to toe in goop, they still had high spirits. They all said they had a really fun time. I know the old members had a good time as well. It was a fun experience and it was a great bonding experience for our club. I also think having the initiation at my house made it even more special to me.