Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Is In The Air...With The Year Shortly Coming to a Close

Fall is in the air, here in little o'l Cedar City.  I have very much enjoyed this past month of October as I have watched the leaves change their colors, and participated in many fall activities.  What does fall remind me of?  Well, it reminds me of school starting, football games, leaves changing colors, my mission (because at a pivotal point I was transferred to a rural area where the leaves changing color was magnificent, so I always think of Kentucky this time of year - plus I got to spend two fall seasons in Kentucky), apples/pumpkins/squash, soups/comfort food, and lastly, that this year is coming to a close.


School started up once again.  Imagine that!  I am currently enrolled in my last set of classes.  I am in Food Science - which is kicking my butt some, but don't worry, I contacted my miracle working tutor and things are seeming okay.  Also, I am in what is called "the block" and I am gearing up to student teach (next semester - AHHHH).  I have been spending time at Cedar High with the block, and have actually enjoyed my time observing and teaching some.  However, I am at the point (burned out) where I don't even care to teach once I graduate.  Teaching is at the bottom of my list when I start applying for jobs this summer.  I am still holding out for, and want to apply for, flight attendant positions.  My friend Stephanie has been keeping me posted on all upcoming flight attendant positions.  As of this moment, my first priority is to graduate with my bachelors, then worry about flight attendant applications.  Stephanie did mention that Alaska Airlines would be hiring 200 people this spring.  That is what I'm looking forward to do, until then I'm just focusing on school and getting that diploma, or what we're calling it these days - getting that piece of paper! 

Along with school comes Football...


I finally, after too many years, attended my first SUU football game.  I showed up after halftime, so I didn't really attend the whole thing.  SUU won their homecoming game, so it was kind of monumental for me to be there.  Especially since this is my last round of football as a bona fide college student.  I am also attending one of SUU's football games next month, which is out of state - looking forward to that little road trip with friends.
School and football lead to leaves changing colors...

Leaves Changing Colors

I have now officially worked three summers for SUU Grounds as a flower girl.  As soon as school starts I am finished working for the grounds department and head back to the Testing Center.  Although, I am always in need of extra cash I sign up to work the weekends through the end of October.  It is actually quite nice, and I get to really truly enjoy the color changes on campus.  I have to say, even though SUU has sent me through the ringer on my schooling journey, I have thoroughly been blessed by a beautiful campus.  I have said this before, and I will say it again, SUU has the most beautiful college campus here in Utah.  Yes, I know, because I have actually visited all the campuses here in Utah.  So there -- SUU is truly a beautiful campus to be studying at, and I have TRULY enjoyed watching the leaves change color each year.
Doesn't this time of year make you want to eat fallish foods?  Apples, Pumpkins, and Squash....

Apples, Pumpkins, and Squash, oh my!

Growing up here in Southern Utah my Granny had a sister who lived not to far from her in the small town of New Harmony.  New Harmony is nestled at the bottom of Pine Valley mountain, and is a quaint, beautiful town.  I haven't spent much time out there since my Granny passed away, but just recently my cousin Anisa rounded a bunch of us up to go out to a Apple Festival.  Before we went to the apple festival we started in Cedar City at a pumpkin festival.
The Pumpkin Festival was more for the kiddos, but I actually enjoyed myself as I stood in lines so the parents and kids could go do stuff then come back.  I was so helpful. ;)

After the Pumpkin Festival we headed south to New Harmony and attended the Apple Festival.  My Granny had a sister that lived there long ago, some of her kids are still living there (my second cousins).  We were able to see several of our family members and have some great visits.  Granny's sister (my great Aunt Marva and Uncle Vivian) had beautiful apple orchards nestled in New Harmony.  I remember as a child going out there and helping pick apples on a few occasions.  It was fun to visit with my cousins and even pick some apples right off of the tree, and eat them up, right on the spot!  We even boxed up some apples to take home, Summer and I even made an apple crisp.

Apples and pumpkins make great desserts, but does squash....

Soups, and Other Comfort Foods

This time of year allows for me to make a lot of soups.  I LOVE SOUPS!  Soups are so easy and delicious to make.  Since I'm a single gal who only cooks for myself, soups are a great way for me to make a lot, and then eat up my delicious soups during the week.  I have made several batches of homemade tomato soup (tomatoes fresh from my Auntie's garden), corn chowder with fresh corn from my garden, and cream of broccoli soup - fresh from Bountiful Basket's.  I loved my corn chowder recipe that I found online - I of course spruced it up some since I didn't have potatoes I used sweet potatoes, and I threw in some imitation crab as well - it was so colorful and pretty to look at!  However, my greatest cooking adventure this fall lead me to some Spiced Zucchini cupcakes.  My garden produced a "butt load" of squash, and until the first snow fall a FEW WEEKS AGO I was at the point of throwing away my squash.  When the first snow arrived I decided to make the best of what I had left - no more throwing away my beloved squash!  I perused the Internet looking for zucchini recipes.  Finally, one night I came across this recipe, and my life has been changed.  I will forever be planting zucchini each summer just so I can make these Spiced Zucchini Cupcakes - oh MY! 
This year is shortly coming to a close, and fall always symbolizes to me that the year is over and it's time to start over.  Just as the leaves fall and the winter months storm ahead, so does my life.  I have a few life changing things coming upon me in the next several months, and I have slowly began to prepare for what's in my future (teaching, flight attendant, or maybe more school...). The ending of seasons, especially fall, gives me a new perspective and a new motivation for life, and the path's it leads me on.  I came home from my mission at this time of year - another reason why fall is so special and sentimental.  After arriving home, I had to start from scratch with everything.  Since that time 8 years ago I have always felt that Fall is when I get my stuff together and move forward.  Fall is a time to make changes, start over, start something new, and work towards those different life changing events.  May the fall leaves, festivals, and yummy foods ring in a new perspective on what comes next in this coming year.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Three Cheers for, "The Help"

Last year at this time my book club was reading the book, The Help.  I hadn't really heard very much about it.  I started reading this book and immediatley fell in love with it.  After one chapter into the book I grabbed a pad of paper and a pen and kept it with me through out the rest of the book just so I could write down quotes from the story.

Here are some of my favorite:

  • "You is kind.  You is smart.  You is important."
  • "Every morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision.  You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?"
  • "All I'm saying is, kindness don't have no boundaries."
  • "Ugly live up on this inside.  Ugly be a hurtful, mean person."
  • "No one tells us, girls who don't go on dates, that remembering can be almost as good as what actually happens."
  • "The day your child says she hates you, and every child will go through the phase, it kicks like a foot in the stomach."
  • "It seems like at some point you'd run out of awful."
  • "Frying chicken always makes me feel a little better about life."
  • "I'm sorry, but were you dropped on your head as an infant."
  • "Got to be the worst place in the world, inside a oven.  You in here, you either cleaning or you getting cooked."
  • "I give in and light another cigarette even though last night the surgeon general came on the televeision set and shook his finger at everybody, trying to convince us that smoking will kill us.  But Mother once told me tongue kissing would turn me blind and I'm starting to think it's all just a big plot between the surgeon general and Mother to make sure no one ever has any fun."
The story is set in the 1960's, in Jackson, Mississippi.  It's about white women and their hired "help."  One of the white ladies, Skeeter is in her early 20's, and a college graduate.  As the rest of her friends are in their early 20's, and popping out babies, using their hired help to take care of them and their babies.  The story mainly focuses on Skeeter, a white girl, and two black maides, Abileen, and Minny.  The three of these women come together and write a book called "The Help" sharing stories about how the white ladies treat the black ladies in the town of Jackson, Mississippi.

I won't say much more to this story except that if you have not read this book THEN YOU NEED TO READ IT!  As soon as we finished reading and meeting at our book club I called up my Mom, and said, "We just read the best book ever!  It's called The Help and you need to check it out immediately!"  My Mommy did what I said, and she immediatley fell in love with it and then told all her friends to go read it.  After telling my Mom I then told my Boss at work.  Within a few days she had checked out the book and was loving each page.  Then between my Mom and I, we got my Sis to read The Help, and she soon fell in love with the story as well.

Well, as some of you may already know this book has recently been made into a movie.  I was not there opening night as I hoped I could be, but I recently found some time in my busy schedule to go see the movie.  Some of you may think that books should not be made into movies, but this book made the perfect movie.  It was brought to life on the big screen in such a way that it did not ruin the book, or make an awful movie adaptation.  I was so pleased with the outcome, and how closely Hollywood followed the book.  I found myself yelling at the characters, crying along with them, and laughing at their antics, that came to life even more in the movie.  There is one incident in the book that was very big, yet the detail was saved for the very end, and was only just a small part (trying not to ruin the book/movie).  However, the movie took this very big incident and glamorized it, if I can use that word, bringing it full force throughout the movie.  I was clapping at times because the movie had "glamorized" this major incident, yet small part of the book.  So, I want to say, well done Hollywood, well done.
Can I just give three cheers to this book, and three more grand cheers to a movie that follows this book so well.  Also, three cheers to first time author, Kathryn Stockett, who didn't give up on writing this book.  This was her first book, and she was actually turned down 60 times before anyone would pick up her book and read it.  What a great example of preserving.  Three cheers for sure!

Next book or movie on your list - The Help, I promise you will not be disappointed!  Now quit reading my blog, and go read the book or go see the movie!!!