Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's officially summer, y'all!!!

Summer has arrived my friends.

Actually, it's been summer-like in the Delta since March, but that's not the point.

It's officially summer because I have gotten my first (or ten) mosquito bites of the year!



Down here in the Delta, the mosquitoes don't play. They are bigger, hungrier and more aggressive than any mosquito you have ever met in any other place (except for maybe Sub-Saharan Africa).



And for some reason, they just LOVE me. And even better, the bites just swell up into red, burning, itching welts on me.

It's just not summer time in the Delta til the mosquitoes are swarming.



As former Delta State professor, Dorothy Shawhan says in her article Mosquito Blues

"You're whistling Dixie if you don't admit that in the Delta we have our own special reason to sing the blues-the mosquito....Ask any Deltan the disadvantages of living here, and chances are 100 to 1 that a mosquito will turn up somewhere in the answer."


Nicole

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A long and heavy post about what I want in life

So I might have had a slight (or major) melt-down this semester.

I do a really good job of putting on a happy face for the world, but on the inside, I may have lost it (just a little bit)...

In the aftermath of this melt down, I met with my advisor, who might possibly be the nicest/smartest/wisest man on the face of this planet. I told him that I wasn't really sure just WHAT I want to do anymore...that I generally just feel lost in the world. And he asked me a very important question...

If I had a whole day to do anything I wanted, what would I do?

I told him I had no idea. I didn't know at the time. But after some thought, I have come up with 2 things I could do 24/7.

First, I LOVE to help and interact with people. I love my job because every single day, I get the chance to help someone. I love talking to people. I love smiling and making someone's day. I love my older customers who just want to have a conversation. I love the toddlers mothers bring in. I love to wave and smile at them. I love talking to them and them looking at me like I was the first person in the entire world who spoke to them. I love to make people feel important. I love teaching and informing. I love when someone asks my advice and I am able to give them an honest, informative and positive response. I love the look of gratitude I get when I help out someone who is short some change. I love when my customers are truly thankful for the service I give them. All of this makes me feel so blessed and rewarded.

And second, I love to cook. I am NOT a master chef by any means, but I love to stand over the stove and make something. My repetoire of recipes is pretty limited (because of the college student budget I am on) but I dream of the day when I can buy exotic ingredients and use professional grade cutlery. Cooking helps me calm down. Cooking lets me clear my mind. Cooking lets my express myself. Cooking just might turn out to be my great love in life.

It's nice to have an answer to such a big question. I think the desire to help people is what drives me to want to be a teacher. After seeing the rough road my husband had during student teaching, I seriously questioned my commitment to becoming a teacher. But I know that I want to help kids. I want them to learn. Even if they can't conjugate a single French verb after my class, I want to arm them with the skills they will need to be competitive in our global society. I want to help them. Giving them a solid education is the best way I know how to help.

And cooking? Well, that's for me and my family. Helping people is my profession. Cooking is the hobby that I lose myself in. If I can find the balance between teaching/family/cooking, I will be the happiest woman in the world.

Nicole

Monday, May 7, 2012

Recipe success, picture taking failure

We had a pre-graduation party at our house Friday night and our favorite couple friends came over. I wanted to make something easy and something everyone likes. I decided on lasagna. I used this recipe from Anne Burrell (a fav in this Food Network watching house) as a starting off point but I diverged quite a bit.

First, I started  browning one pound of hot Italian sausage and 3/4 pound ground beef in a skillet.
I also got one whole package of lasagna noodles boiling
And I warmed up 1/2 jar mushroom spaghetti sauce and 2 cans of regular tomato sauce

While all of that was going, I chopped 1 medium zucchini and 1/2 package of mushrooms. Add vegetables and a pat o butter to a hot pan and cook until tender crisp.

And the final prep stage (before assembling) is the cheese mixture. I used 1 medium tub of ricotta cheese, 1/4 package of shredded parmesean, 1/2 package of Italian blend cheese and 2 eggs.

Everything went off without a hitch until I got to the assembly part.

I had plenty of noodles and meat. I had an ok amount of vegetables (if it were just for me, I would have liked to have had a lot more, but I wasn't sure how our company would like them). But I did not have nearly enough of the ricotta mixture or sauce. I had to go pretty sparingly on both. If you like a dry lasagna (I don't really), that MAY be enough sauce for you, but you really need to AT LEAST double the cheese mixture. Because, really, is it lasagna if it isn't dripping in cheese?

Overall, our company really liked it (we had NONE left over). I thought it was a good first attempt at my own spin on lasagna and I've learned some tips for next time. It definatly was not a failure of a dinner party...but that might be the bottles of wine we down...

Nicole

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My husband the college graduate

Yesterday was a big day in the Calvert Boettcher family.


Caleb graduated Magna Cum Laude from Delta State. He is the proud new owner of a Bachelor of Science in Education degree! 

I couldn't be more proud of him. He has worked hard the past four years. Crazy thing about Caleb is that he loves school. (So weird, I know)  He loves learning; which is an amazing quality to have if you want to be a teacher.

 It is also a great quality to have if you want to go to grad school. It looks like right now, instead of Caleb jumping into teaching, he is going to grad school at Delta State. He got offered to be a Graduate Assistant and Delta State is starting a whole new Master of Liberal Arts degree program in the fall. He pretty much couldn't say no to the offer. While we wont have the security of a sizable, stable income, I know this is the right thing to do for us. Having a Master's degree will open up so many doors in the future whether that me in teaching, a doctoral program, or a career in academia. 

Who knows what the future holds, but I sure am looking forward to it. 

Nicole

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My grandmothers aka my BFFs

My VBFAs (very best friends always, for those of you not up on your 5th grade lingo) are my three grandmothers. O yes, 3 ladies in their 60's and 70's are my best friends. They get me. They have always, always, always been there for me when I needed someone to talk to or needed a shoulder to cry on or needed to vent about something. I am so thankful for the bond I have with each of these ladies. It might be worth mentioning that I am the ONLY granddaughter in my entire family, so they may spoil me just a bit.
 Meme, Nanny, Granny (Caleb's grandmother), Gran, Me Grandma Penny (Caleb's grandmother)

My MeMe is my step mother's mother. She came into my life when I was 8 years old. My first memory of her is meeting her at Burger King and telling her that I was going to call her MeMe.  And even though she wasn't there for my entire life, she and I have formed a special bond over the years. She is great to just talk to. If something is going wrong or if I am annoyed, she is the person I go to. She is a great listener.
MeMe and Pop

My Nanny is my father's step mother. I never knew my dad's biological mom; she passed away when my dad was very young and my Nanny practically raised him. She is my fiesty grandmother. She may be stubborn and head strong, but she has been very supportive of me. She too is a great listener, but she also knows just what to tell me to kick my butt in shape. It amazes me how she knows how I am feeling by just the tone in my voice. Before I even get around to mentioning that I am upset, she can sense it. She is a strong person who I have learned a lot from.

 Nanny and my little brothers

My Gran is my super VBFA. She is my mother's mother. My mom passed away when I was six and since then, my Gran has stepped up and been my mother figure. She is kind and compassionate. She is easy going and accepting. She has faced so much hardship and loss in her life, but she is still a strong, loving and happy. She could easily be angry at the world, hateful, and spiteful, but she choses to always be upbeat and positive. When I went to college, I was away from my parents but only 20 minutes from my Gran's house. I was at her house constantly and our bond became even closer. Caleb often came with me on these trips and she and Caleb also became close. Because the three of us were so close and my Gran had fostered and loved Caleb and I so much during our relationship, I knew she had to be my matron of honor at my wedding. Not only does my relationship with my Gran make me a better, happier person, it also gives me a connection to my mother. My Gran is just plain amazing and I am so lucky to have her.

My Daddy and Gran

I urge all you ladies, if your grandmothers are still with you, take some time to talk to them. They will show you unconditional love, give amazing advice, and listen to your every word. Mine are irreplaceable. 

Nicole

 

Caution: Bad Mood Ahead

Omg. I hate finals. HATE. HATE. HATE.
)Yea, that's the kind of mood I am in today.

Why do professors insist on making every project/assignment/paper due at the END of the semester? And what did I do all semester to put off all of this nonsense? And WTF was I thinking when  I decided I could accomplish all of this in 48 hours? And why did I think The Voice, doing dishes, doing laundry, walking the dog, calling my grandmothers, sleeping, and eating were more important than getting this work done?

ahem...maybe because they are

This time tomorrow, I will be finished and in a stress-free coma sleep.

Nicole