Happy New Year!


(Gonza Tacos y Tequila, Durham, NC- site of our faculty party)

My new year doesn’t begin in January.  It begins in August.  It has for all but the first five years of my life. For the last 38, I’ve been in charge, seated behind the “big desk” as a friend used to put it.  Well, I am not so sure how much I was in charge for the first few years! I sure as heck didn’t feel in control, but I learned how to fake it. We get our back-to-school info electronically now. I used to be so excited to get the big envelope at the end of July-beginning of August. I love electronics and all that, but there was just something about the anticipation of finding that envelope in my mailbox. Class rosters, my list of advisees, schedules,  welcome back letters from the head of school and the middle school director, the new school year calendar. I am a self-proclaimed school nerd. Nice new shiny notebooks with blank pages just waiting to have important stuff written in them. A new planner begging to be filled out with hot lunches, faculty meetings, Fall, Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring Breaks. The lesson plan book, sitting there letting all the other supplies know he is the most important of all, waiting for my ideas to be jotted down. A grade book that won’t get any names written in it until after the first week, just to be sure that no kiddo changes his or her mind and decides that maybe taking two languages isn’t the best idea or that Spanish or Chinese is more his/her cup of tea.  (That rarely happens, thank goodness.) And last, but by no means least, the endless supply of pens that I accumulate. Heaven help me but I have an addiction to pens. Sharpies. Highlighters. Papermate Flairs in all colors. Mechanical pencils are cool, too. Real fountain pens. My supply comes from Target, Office Depot, the grocery store occasionally, and Monoprix when I am in France. It’s silly really. (Kind of like my pink lipstick obsession, I guess. Always makes me think of the Alan Jackson song “Too much of a good thing is a good thing…”)

This is what my work space looks like at the moment-


First homework assignment of the year- to make a postcard to send to our future pen pals, school iPad, pens, pencil pouch (a gift from a former student a couple of years ago bought with his own money his dad informed me), and a clipboard for class rosters, with Callie Cat supervising.

This year, though, for my birthday gift to myself, I splurged on the mama of all teacher plan books.


A colleague has one and I decided to get my very own, designing my cover with a flock of pink cuteness.  Erin Condren is the company in case you are envious or even just curious. I have already goofed up the inside and am searching for White-Out. Instead of looking at 2018 dates when I got to January, I stuck little number dots on the 2017 days. Sheesh. Kind of par for the course, but I will not be deterred from organizing myself.

The Ex-Ex is off on Senior Challenge this morning with his band of Mountain Men. He was initiated into the group a few years back when one member retired. He packed his towel, sleeping bag, clothes, rain jacket, toiletries, pillow, my water bottle, and his book last night. He almost forgot socks, but thanks to his Ex-Ex, moi, he was reminded. I also sent him with a surprise batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with share with the guys. (I saved some for me, too.)


It’s been a good week.  Son #1 started a new job at Hopewell Academy. He moved his little family to Cary/Raleigh a couple of weeks ago.


(photo credit:  Hopewell Academy’s Facebook page)

Son #2 is now in law school in Charleston, SC. He and his girlfriend celebrated his 25th birthday a couple of days ago.  Crème brûlée was part of the celebration. (Thank you for the photos, H!)

grant brûlée

Couper and Charlie seem to be adjusting to life in Charleston and to each other.

couper and charlie

So, time to get to work. The BFF and I have logged in our 3.5 miles on the American Tobacco Trail, the house is silent (Callie has already gone back to bed), and the papers aren’t going to check themselves nor is the planner going to fill itself out. I have bread starter sitting on the counter waiting to be mixed up for baguettes later today.


Those chocolate chip oatmeal cookies? I haven’t forgotten those in case you feel like giving them a try!


Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

makes about 5-6 dozen– can be cut in half

adapted from Quaker Oats recipe for Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1-1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

21/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups uncooked oatmeal (not steel cut- I use Quaker old-fashioned, not quick)

**2 cups chocolate chips (the best you can find and afford)

**You could use raisins, if you prefer

Pre-heat oven to 350˚F.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine well.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of mixer until smooth and creamy.

Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat well.

Add flour mixture and mix well.

With a wooden spoon, mix in oatmeal and chocolate chips.

Using a small scoop, if you wish, drop dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, depending on how done you like your cookies. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Store in a tightly covered container or ziploc bag. Cookies can be frozen to be eaten later. (never happens in my house, though!)

Bon appétit, mes amis!  Happy New Year! What do you hope to accomplish this year? Do you make resolutions? How do you stay organized? Bon courage!


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