My First Day of School?

I began this blog for a number of reasons, to keep in touch with friends and family, to keep a record of my crafting project and to reflect upon the transition from student to teacher.  Well it’s high time I start working on that third reason.

Today was my first day of class as a teacher.  I don’t know if I can call it the first day of school because before today we had a week of New Faculty Orientation, then we had Faculty Orientation, then students started moving in and we did student orientations, then sports started, and finally classes began.

To be honest I was expecting to feel a little more anxious about the whole thing.  Perhaps it was all the other events in expectation of actually teaching that wore out all my nerves.  Or maybe showing a movie on the first day took off the pressure (I know what you are thinking, movie on the first day?!?! I had a similar thought, but I guess that’s how this course is traditionally started…).  Perhaps it’s just such a good thing to be doing what I  have been waiting all summer to do…teach.  I definitely still have moments of anxiety, but the initial excitement of getting to teach, live in dorm, coach, and advise help temper those fears.  It also helps to have an understanding husband and loving cat to come home to.


Calvin Takes on the Computer

innocently perched in the window sill

Its the battle of the century.  Calvin the Cat vs. the Apple the MacBook.

Round 1: Calvin entices David with his fluffy hair and charming hiss.  David succumbs to Calvin’s wiles, unable to resist he reaches out and picks Calvin up.  Cat and man enjoy a wonderful session of petting and being petted.  Then Calvin sees his moment, feigning skiddishness, he attempts to dart out of David’s arms, scratching David.  David loses his balance, foot up, foot down…landing right on the computer.  He thinks nothing of it, but Calvin knows…success.  Screen broken, David will only discover hours later.

Calvin 1; Computers 0

plotting in command center...under the couch

Round 2: Sarah is up early, preparing for class.  She only has one hour before a long day of helping with move-in, soccer tryouts, and dorm duty.  Her focus is unbelievable.  Calvin attempts an early slurp of leftover cereal milk, but Sarah is too quick.  Calvin retires to command center under the couch, planning his next move.  He sees an in.  Sarah has become distracted and wants an animal to pet while she ponders.  Once in her lap, he goes for the desk, trying to walk on computer…no go.  With a quick shift in strategy he goes for the water.  Chances look slim as Sarah reaches to move the water, but Calvin is quick on the uptake, knocking it out of her hand and onto the computer.  Success!  Water goes everywhere and Sarah, falling for the cat’s innocent good looks, naively comforts the cat for his ‘error’.

Calvin 2, Computers 0

Sadly, this is no joke.  Calvin is quickly becoming a very expensive pet.  We are hoping that after a couple days the computer with water damage will rally, but so far it isn’t looking good.  Thankfully, David is a whiz with computers and was able to save the hard drive from my computer so at least part of the crisis was averted.  I still have my notes for the first week of class and the syllabus outline.

The plot thickens…a little part of me wonders if David put Calvin up to his computer attack.  David’s been trying to convince me for months that I need a new computer.  Only time will tell.  I’ve had my eyes peeled for high-fives and winks between them, but so far they’ve been playing it cool.

An Orientation to an Extended Period of Disorientation

This was how my boss, the Dean of the school’s faculty began the first day of orientation.  That was about two weeks ago.  Given my sparse posting, you can tell that this description was fairly apt.

In the last three weeks we have re-moved, settled the apartment, and gone to IKEA and then resettled the apartment with the new furniture.

Small aside — I’m beginning to develop a love-hate relationship with IKEA.  On the one hand it’s amazing.  We bought this incredible PAX wardrobe that has revolutionized my world, but that was only after David and I spent almost 2 hours debating (arguing is probably a more appropriate verb) doors, height, width, drawer number, and shelf number.  And that was all in the store.  Once home, David spent three straight nights building the thing.  David and I think that trips to IKEA should be part of the premarital counseling.

Moving definitely disorients me.  It has this weird way of making you feel very accomplished at all that’s unpacked, while simultaneously feeling overwhelmed at all that still needs to be done.  Thankfully, the apartment has now reached a state of calm, not completion, but at least calm.

Hopefully, my teaching life will reach a similar state of calm once classes begin.  The present is filled with information overload. I have attended so many meetings, read so many e-mails and taken so many notes, but when it all comes down to it I only know a small sliver of what there is to know about campus and in just under 24 hours I’ll need to be ready to answer the questions and concerns of parents and students alike as they begin moving in tomorrow and over the next few days.  I guess it will be good preparation for class, when students ask questions I can’t possibly know the answer to.

On the positive side, two of today’s meetings were with teachers who are teachings sections of the same course, so I walked away with a lot of great ideas to incorporate into my class.

Another positive note, Calvin has finally started to be more outgoing.  While he still hides in this spot between the desk, book shelf, and heater a lot, you can entice him out with petting.  Today we spent about an hour watching a possible movie for class while playing with his feather toy.

Meet the Newest Member of our Family

No, I’m not pregnant, but David and I have brought a real living creature into our home.  It’s our new cat, Calvin. Here’s how it happened.

We went to the humane society and checked out all the kittens.  Calvin (or Brut as he was known to them) immediately stood out to me.  Partially because he was so cute and little and partially because he hisses at any one who comes near his cage.  We quickly learned that he is all bark and no bite, or all hiss and no scratch as the case may be.  Once he’s in your lap he won’t leave, he loves to cuddle.

snuggling up to david at the humane society

We named he Calvin after the French theologian, John Calvin because he’s a little rough around the edges, but a softy at heart.  I’m pretty sure this isn’t an accurate representation of the actual John Calvin because he seemed pretty stern, but whatever the name fits regardless of how we chose it.

true story: i took like twenty pictures of the cat in this red laundry hamper, all of them blurry, david takes one and it is both not blurry and the cat is looking at him

Calvin has now joined us in the new apartment, which is pretty much a chaos zone (much like my life right now).  He’s helping us slow down and enjoy taking moments to play with him or sit and pet him.  We took this picture at 10:45.  Moments before I said, David I’m tired, let’s go to bed.  Then David put him in the hamper and we watched the cat try and try and try to get out of the hamper only to have it bounce back in his face.  It was super cute and made me forget how tired I am/was.

escape attempt #50

While it’s true that Calvin is an adorable and lovable cat, the above picture is probably the most accurate representation of him.  He’s still pretty skiddish and a little scared of us.  Once we pick him up and hold him, he’s like oh yeah I really like this and then he’ll hang out for like an hour, but as soon as you put him back on the floor he forgets everything, freaks out and hides behind the bookshelf.  We’re hoping he grows out of that once he gets more comfortable in the apartment and around us.

Is that a Quilt…a Shower Curtain…OR BOTH

the new bathroom

What’s that in the corner? No, I’m not talking about the washer and dryer that we have been dreaming about.  Although having laundry does make the bathroom one of my favorite rooms in the new apartment.  You all know that I’m even more excited that the Bold and the Beautiful quilt has taken its rightful place in the bathroom as a shower curtain.  Now I can gaze at it while brushing my teeth.  It really transformed the bathroom from a lot of cream and white, into a colorful, joyful haven.

up close on the curtain

I should also give credit where credit is due.  After a frustrating morning trying to figure out how to make button holes (thanks mom for helping me figure it out), David stepped in and agreed to pound all the grommets into place.  We think it gives the shower curtain a professional touch.

One Last Hurrah of the Summer

the cabin in vermont

When David and I first coordinated this trip to Vermont, I looked forward to it as one last exciting weekend away before I would start work, but as the day approached, I began to feel that even the trip was overwhelming.  We had just moved in to the new apartment and badly need to go search for additional furniture and organizational stuff.  It wasn’t just the unpacking that overwhelmed me, but the realization that moving in put me one step closer to actually living among a bunch of high school boys.  The day after we moved in, the Assistant Head of School sent out the orientation and registration schedule and something is happening non-stop all day everyday.  I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to be present for everything, but I have yet to find out exactly what is expected and when and of course there are ‘volunteer’ opportunities that aren’t so volunteer.  But I’ll know more on that after tomorrow when new faculty orientation start.  This post is about how sometimes a weekend away is the best possible medicine for being overwhelmed.

While we were only there for 48 hours, we packed in a lot of awesomeness.


creek at the bottom of the hill


beautiful sky, beautiful lake


there was a meteor shower...we don't always do this

But the best part was spending time with people we really love and that’s harder to capture in pictures.

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Moving Day

After two full months living in the summer home, our new apartment was finally ready for us.  The move took all day.  We may have had the world’s slowest movers.  One would think that moving stuff from a storage unit into an apartment with an elevator wouldn’t take that long.  It took from 10 am to 6 pm.  But who cares, because that night we got to eat dinner on our own coach and sleep in our own bed.  It was awesome.

That happened two days ago, which is why I have been a little MIA for the past few days.  While on the one hand moving makes me really anxious, on the other hand I love it.  I love unpacking and decorating.  A new apartment is like a blank canvas.  There are so many possibilities.  If only my budget, could stomach all my ideas.

So far I have unpacked a lot of boxes…

view from the bottom of the box pile

Unwrapped most items, resulting in a LOT of paper…

this doesn't even include the paper still around the tv and frames

It’s amazing how with moving, both packing and unpacking, it seems like you are making a lot of progress, and then you realize there are at least 10 million more things to pack or unpack or rearrange.  I’ve unpacked almost all the boxes.  We really just have the frames and artwork, winter clothes and tv to go.  But there is still so much to be done.  Most of it will have to wait until next weekend after we make a run to IKEA, Pottery Barn and La-Z-Boy to pick up some additional furniture.  There is one room mostly complete that I can show you.  It’s my office.  Since I start work on Tuesday, I figured I at least needed that in order.

the good half of the office

For those of you who remember my office at Yale, I want you to know that the green walls are pure coincidence.  That was the color when we moved.  In fact, I actually didn’t like the walls at first, but once we put the furniture in it toned them down a little and I think they are quite nice.  I also should note that the quilt has not become a blanket.  It’s awaiting a trip to JoAnn’s where I will buy some muslin or cheap cotton to put on the back before hanging it up.  Hopefully, I can show you the completed bathroom, with shower curtain up on Tuesday.  It’s my goal to finish before work starts.  Until then, have a great weekend everyone.

Bad Bananas Become Beautiful Brunch

good morning saturday

The picture says it all.  Recipe again from Epicurious, the Banana-Macadamia Nut Muffins, although I used pecans.  I must say I prefer this banana muffin recipe that includes chocolate chips, but we had made it last weekend and I thought nuts were probably healthier than chocolate. People are probably starting to worry that all David and I eat are baked goods.  I assure you that we ingest fruits, veggies, grains, and meats too, but they are not as fun to photograph, make, and often eat.

Peach Pie

are those peaches sweating because they known their pie-fate or are we having CRAZY kidding, I did not wash those that it pure humidity dew

It’s the simple things in life that truly bring me the most joy, like baking.  I love baking, especially pies.  It’s such a fun process, making the dough, rolling it out, preparing the insides.  Today, David and I have two college friends coming to visit and I thought what better way to greet them than with a freshly baked peach pie.  It’s a recipe I love from Gourmet magazine (also on Epicurious) called Honey Caramel Peach Pie.  The only thing that would have made it better would be to have picked the peaches at a pick your own place, but we still haven’t scouted out the pick-your-own farms yet.  I guess some more fresh picked flowers from the NMH farm will have to do.

hot out of the oven

Around the World in Books

Most of my summer has been spent crafting and preparing for class this fall, so I haven’t gotten to do as much pleasure reading as I had initially hoped.  Thankfully the few books I took the time read have been fantastic.

I started the summer with Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red.  He took me into the issue of idolatry and iconography through the perspective of Medieval Islamic miniaturists in Istanbul, which got the religious studies student in me excited.  One chapter in particular I may use to talk about symbols for my World Religions class.  Don’t worry it wasn’t all theology and philosophy, the story also had a really complex murder mystery and love story that was gripping.  I’m pretty sure I missed a lot of the insightful stuff because I was so worried about which miniaturist was the killer.

The second book I ‘read’ by ear. David and I listened to it during the second half of the Canada trip.  It was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.  I can’t speak to what this book would be like to read, but it was a real joy to listen to.  The reader brought a lot of life the characters.  The main character Oscar was delightfully awkward, even his voice was awkward.  The only bummer is that every now and then they would say phrases in Spanish and my high school Spanish wasn’t up to snuff.  I also really appreciated that the author provided an in-depth and comedic retelling of the history of the Dominican Republic.  It made me want to learn more.

Finally, I just finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer.  It took exactly a week to finish.  While it may not have made me think as much as the other two books, it was a really fun and quick read that transported me to the Channel Islands of England.  It also gave a unique insight into life during and after World War II. It was written as a series of letters.  I must admit I really loved that style because it left a fair amount to the imagination.  It also made the main character’s voice really clear.  I’m pretty sure I started thinking in her voice for a couple days.

I would definitely recommend all three.  Does anyone out there have a book to recommend?