Monday, May 30, 2011

Random is the best I can do....

1.  We just got back from a wonderful weekend with our dear friends Sue and Louis in Jacksonville.  Today is Sue's 50th birthday.  Louis took Sue, their kids, Hank and me out to The Capital Grille for a delicious dinner on Saturday night.  Sunday we took an evening boat ride.  I wish I'd had a camera when we walked in their house on Saturday afternoon.  Louis kept our visit a secret and Sue was absolutely stunned.  Hank did have his iPhone at the ready when she opened her card from her family.  For years, she's wanted season's tickets to see her Florida Gator's play.  Those are HARD to come by but somehow, Louis managed to make magic happen.  Look at her face...priceless.

2.  Hank better get busy planning my party for October. 

3.  Graduation is tomorrow night.  In 24 hours, we'll be lining those seniors up and trying to keep them calm as we all prepare to process into the auditorium.  YIKES...I need to go pull my gown and M.ED. hood out of the closet and dust them off.

4.  Wednesday, June 1....DIET DAY.  I have been an absolute slug for exactly 17 months, ever since the night I was hired to be principal.  Three years ago I lost 30 pounds in prep for Lorelai's high school graduation and Legare's college graduation. Guess where those 30 pounds are now?  Yep...all 30 are showing back up on my scales. I'm not going to go overboard posting about my exercise and eating plan but I AM counting on blog friends to hold me accountable.  Does anybody else want to join me in my quest to get fit?  Just let me know and I'll feature your progress along with mine. We can share tips, trials, and tribulations.

5.  In the spirit of a "last hurrah"....well...I've been eating like a crazy woman this holiday weekend. Wednesday, I'll be going cold turkey.  Pray for poor Hank...

SO...what have you been up to?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Review: Gone With a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West

It is my absolute pleasure to share this fabulous book with the blogosphere!

I am a pushover for books set in the South Carolina Lowcountry.  LOVE THEM (!) and Michael Lee West does not disappoint with her newest release, Gone With a Handsomer Man.

Life of a Southern Belle says...GO BUY IT NOW!!!  If you're a southern belle (or just a lover of a good mystery that will keep you on your toes) you'll not want to put this book down. We belles have a way of getting ourselves into a pickle and Teeny Templeton is no exception. There were moments in the book when I thought, Good heavens...that sounds like ME! (and we ALL know what an intriguing individual I am!!!)

Here's what others have said...

"GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN is hilarious, endearing, and tasty!"
  --Diana Gabaldon, New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander series and Lord John books.

"West's diverting debut plays nice variations on several mystery subgenres—Southern, romantic, screwball, culinary… Readers will look forward to more helpings of Teeny Templeton." --Publishers Weekly

"Gone With a Handsomer Man is fun, funny, and fabulous."                                                                 
--Janet Evanovich, NYT bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series

"Michael Lee West fans rejoice! Gone With a Handsomer Man has a fresh, funny and delightfully flawed heroine that you'll fall in love with from the get go. Teeny is a trouble magnet, and it is wholly diverting to follow her tumbling joyride through bad men and good recipes. By turns sweet and surprising, it's a wonderful quirky escape." --Joshilyn Jackson, NYT bestselling author of Backseat Saints

"Great cook – thought reluctant detective – Teeny Templeton keeps the pot bubbling as she dishes out pathos, humor, and intrigue in equal measure. Gone With a Handsomer Man is a delicious debut to this new series." --Lee Smith, NYT bestselling author of The Last Girls

"Please tell me she is writing a sequel!! It was a wonderful read from beginning to end. And the last sentence only left me wanting more."  --Wanda Jewell, Executive Director of SIBA

"Michael Lee West turns her considerable storytelling gifts and her keen wit toward Charleston, where a lovable Teeny Templeton must negotiate romance, murder, and mayhem, all in the midst of polished cotton, poison, and fine southern cuisine. Gone with a Handsomer Man is sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, and always absolutely delicious!" --Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficient Grace

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Venice and Verona

Our Lowcountry Italian Feast was delicious last night if I do say so myself. My camera battery died but I did take one of the lovely antipasto platter with Hank's iPhone. Will upload later.

Lor had a fab time in Venice and Verona, and she may have the best "small world" story EVER.  One of Lor's good growing up hometown friends is on the trip also.  They were in Verona milling around looking at this and that.  When Lorelai turned around from a jewelry vendor, the first person who caught her eye was ANOTHER good growing up hometown friend...NOT on the trip with Lor's group. What in the world are the chances that these three would be traveling seperately from the South Carolina Lowcountry and find themselves face to face in Italy?  Here is a photo...undisputable proof...

...and just a few more photos for fun.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Italian Feast...Lowcountry Style

Is is bad to be completely and utterly envious of one's child?  The child, Lorelai, who was in Venice yesterday and Verona today?  Who will be in Paris and London in a couple of weeks?  I mean...I've been there.  Paris twice. (Actually, this will be her second trip to Paris too.) I'm jealous. It looks like she's having more fun than we did. (Maybe because the first time Hank and I were young and poor. The second time we took an 8 year old and 12 year old.)

We're having friends over tonight for an Italian Feast a la Lowcountry. This means pickled okra in the antipasto platter and sweet tea.

Hope you'll enjoy a few photos of Lorelai's trip so far.  Hopefully tonight we'll see a few from Venice and Verona.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guess What I'm Doing?...beside blogging

Sit down...


On a Tuesday night. 

I am NOT storyin'.....

Fried fish, red rice, and steamed cabbage.

I didn't bring home any work...nada...zilch...

Whoa...this feels strange!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Safe Arrival and The Umstead

Lorelai has arrived safely in Milan.  Keep those prayers coming...

I thought I knew all the best places to stay up in the Chapel Hill area.  Last August, I decided it was not too early to make our reservations for Legare's graduation weekend. WRONG WRONG WRONG.  It was too late!! I'm now told that it would have been too late if I'd called the very day after graduation in May 2010. All my favorite places in Chapel Hill were booked solid and I was not very happy until Legare's friend Robert suggested The Umstead in Cary.

Oh my stars...we stayed at the Umstead for three nights and it was divine...only about 15 minutes from Legare's apartment. It's just a skip off of I-40 but you'd never know it once you arrive. Far superior to The Carolina Inn, which has its own specialy ambiance to be sure; however, the rooms need an update. Much nicer and more peaceful than The Sienna. More clubby than The Franklin. Every moment was a delight. The soft colors and ambient lighting were so very soothing...

On Saturday afternoon, we watched the Kentucky Derby in the bar before going out to dinner. I made (yes, I forced them) each person choose a horse and make a $10 bet. Then, since Hank was the only one with cash, he sweetly put the $50 in the pot. As things would go, not a single horse picked by our crowd won and Hank got to put his $50 back in his wallet. It was fun anyhow!

Ignore "story later" in the next photo...I told you the story...

The view from our and pool.  There was a wedding Saturday afternoon.

Lorelai will probably be upset about the photo above. It's revenge for her not moving quickly enough graduation morning and the two hours I've spent trying to straighten up her room and put her college things away. It will probably take two more hours before everything is in its proper place.

So...what did you think of the Umstead?  Life of a Southern Belle (and her family) HIGHLY recommend it if you find yourself up around the Research Triangle.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Lorelai is on her way, hopefully, to Milan.  Her fight got cancelled yesterday.  Hank is going to have to be medicated by the time she gets back home in just less than a month. How quickly do nerve pills kick in? When Legare left four years ago for THREE months, we put him in a rental car to drive from Charleston to Atlanta and didn't give it a second thought.  There ARE; however, a couple of reasons that we should probably be a bit more concerned about our little tidbit Lorelai.

Primarily, is the fact that she got lost last weekend driving from Clemson to Chapel Hill. We called her Friday morning about 11:00 and she was still asleep.  After giving strict orders for her to get up and be on the road by 12:30, we drove merrily on up I-95.

About 2:00, she called to tell us how distressed she was to be in traffic in Atlanta.


Now tell many people typically drive through Georgia to get from Clemson, SC to Chapel Hilll, NC?  Approximately four and a half hours after she left Clemson, she was back where she started from and still had to drive on to Chapel Hill. Legare yelled at her over the phone and made her cry (I was not there yet or I would have spanked him), so she stopped along the way at a mall to make herself feel better. (She is definitely her mother's daughter.)

She finally made it to us just before 9 PM and by that time we were ALL exhausted from wondering where she might end up or that she was going to get sleepy. Thank goodness for traffic in Atlanta, she could have made it all the way to ALABAMA!!

This photo was taken just after she walked in the door at Legare's apartment where there was a Beach Music and BBQ graduation party going on.  Please ignore the bottle in her hand.  Legare felt sorry for her (and probably guilty) and handed to her as she walked in.  Hank's expression is priceless, don't you think? 

The guy standing beside her gave her a hug and said quietly, "I know exactly how you feel... I ended up in Tennessee once when I should have been in West Virginia." can see why Hank may require some tranqualizing until she returns from her grand tour!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Lawyer in the Family...

I've got a lot of post material and great photos, but first things first...

CONGRATULATIONS to our wonderful, smart, handsome son on the occasion of his graduation from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  We spent the weekend in Chapel Hill celebrating.  Hope that you'll enjoy a few photos (despite the fact that my camera was acting up...)

Now...let's get started on Bar Review!!

Friday, May 6, 2011


Somebody graduates from law school this weekend! Stay tuned,,,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another Milestone

Yes...I'm aware that there was a royal wedding but I had bigger fish to fry this week.  We had to get ready for our school's FIRST EVER PROM!  My first as a high school principal and the first since my very own high school prom MANY moons ago.  My first prom THIS century.  (OK...I get it!)

While I can't show you photos of any of the students, I can share a few of the venue and one of me and my sweetie pie. Hank was a trooper...he was there from start to finish.  Our friend Ted came to help too, thank goodness.  Hank and Ted made sure that the punch bowl stayed full (and unspiked) while the staff and I made sure that the students stayed true to their "prom promise" to leave typical high school drama and other shenanigans out of this special night of celebration.

The students chose "An Evening in Paris" as the theme and while it was "prommy" as you would expect, I carried silver and crystal for the refreshment table. Many of our students don't have a lot of advantages...some have never eaten in a "sit down" restaurant from a real menu. They were over the moon when they saw, as one student said, "all the fancy stuff"!  Each student received a goblet (a goblet that is NOT a wine glass) as a prom favor.

I'm so proud that the night was a success...proud and completely feet are still killing me this morning.  I tried to participate in a group dance and lasted about three minutes.  I'm old...old and out of shape.  REALLY need to do something about that.

On another happy grad classes are OVER....YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!

Graduation is May 31...where did the year go??