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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Old & New Cookie Swap

This evening, I took Punchy to the cookie swap at school. Bring three dozen; one dozen goes into white sacks the children decorate for teachers. Then you can walk the line and fill a brown bag for your family with 2 dozen. We took 1 dozen; none of us needs all that extra sugar.

It was fun, not like last year, when Punch had only moved in with us a few months before and wasn't used to being in school, let alone at school events. She ignored me the whole time. It was hostile and I felt annoyed and self-conscious. She must have felt like a fish out of water, and so did I, finding myself at PTA happenings again when our only child was 18 and out of high school.

I talked to Punch about that before we went tonight.

I'm not going to take you if you're not going to talk to me, like last year. Remember last year?

Yes, she did.

Why didn't you talk to me? Oh, that's right, you said you were embarrassed, right? 

She said tonight that a child was chasing her and that's why she didn't talk. But I hadn't noticed that.

I talked to you, she said more than once after we left the school tonight. Yes, yes, she did. And I also talked to some nice moms and a dad I now know.

Life being as it is in 2014 [Ebola, etc.], we wore disposable gloves to take our cookies--and so did those who served them. I liked the assortment. They could be store-bought or homemade. Gotta love the grace of it all. Who cares if you brought Nabisco? Kids want those, too.

Offerings included:
  • My Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies*, warm out of the oven. Find the recipe here on And, um, tons of other chocolate chippers. Didn't know how unoriginal I was, but Punch had gleefully said, You should make the Neiman Marcus cookies! [I wish I had made something else, but didn't have time. Or a car. And I thought it started at 7, but it started at 6, so I had to work fast. Also paid Figgy's friend Nick $33 to drive us there and back, rather than give the money to a cab company. The school is at the complete other end of town. I thought about it, and figured it was worth it for Punchy. I was right.]
  • Vienna Fingers.
  • Oreos.
  • Italian bakery cookies.
  • Dainty, flower-shaped spritz cookies, like the ones Sis makes with her cookie gun.
  • Soft, excellent buttery brown spice cookies.
  • That toffee bark made with graham crackers and chocolate.
  • Pale, pretty round cookies rolled in pastel sugars.  
  • Store-bought shortbread in holiday shapes like trees and bells.
  • Pretzel rods dipped in chocolate.
  • Home-baked Italian cookies, the mounds with the drizzle of white icing on top.
  • Freshly made gingerbread shapes, decorated. A kid favorite.
I have to catch some ZZZZs. Sweet night.

*Feeling slightly guilty because the recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder. That's not a lot, but Punchy only had one large cookie and was pretty buzzy tonight. I hope I didn't cause a problem in homes across Montclair. Reminds me of a sign I've seen: Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy.

  1. Boot camp in the dome.
  2. Saw my editor and friend Amy for lunch. 
  3. Pitched a huge piece of sheet cake in the trash. H. worked at a party last night and they sent him home with it, plus a large slab of chocolate with the company logo. Both were mediocre at best. The cake was fake, chemicals....Costco? Not sure. But definitely not the ultimate sheet cake of my childhood, the one my mother splurged on in the 1970s at Stanley's Bake Shop in Bergenfield for my grandparents' 50th anniversary party. That was real and rich. I can still see the leftovers, the yellow buttercream roses, at eye level on a fridge shelf. In a house like ours, with ShopRite-brand graham crackers, this was a lavish score.
  4. Farm carrots from Chase's in Maine.


  1. So glad for the progress Punchy and you have made. One of my biggest joys from my catapult into parenthood was the mutual support from other parents. In my case, it was solidified mostly on the soccer field sidelines.

    And yay for pitching mediocre cake. Especially when there are such good things this time of year.

    1. Hi Nan! Catapult...very good word for what you and we experienced....i am glad you found support on the soccer sidelines. You are great. xo Alice

  2. Yes, look at Punchy's progress, as Nan said. Yay to you, H. and Fig for helping her get there. Love, Lin P.S. Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy. (I love that.)

    1. Lin, thank you for saying that. I sometimes feel very undervalued by the child services system...and I appreciate your nice comment. Sending love, al

  3. Punchy and all of you have come a long say. She is one lucky little girl!

    1. Hello kindergarten teacher par excellence!!! Is that grammatically correct? Thank you for this very sweet note. You are been instrumental in Punchy's progress, really and truly. love, alice