Wish I was there . .
My passport is ready and I can be packed in minutes.

29 December 2007

Thanks to all who left holiday wishes. Currently I am on vacation with my family -thirteen of us with five under age nine. Tonight after a few drinks while being forced to watch football, we had a "lively discussion" about politics and I was again reminded that there must have been a switch at the nursery many years ago. Love them all, just glad we don't see each other too often :)

Happy New Years to all!

24 December 2007

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

19 December 2007


Last day is done, over, finite, finished, through, completed, ended, and defunct. I am officially a haus frau. A new adventure begins . . .

14 December 2007

A Few Gray Skies

Very little that I can post about. PH and kids are enjoying snow and skiing out West. Work has become very acrimonious over the past two days. The good new is that as of next Wednesday I will be done. The bad news of the job situation is longer than my kid's list to Santa and includes personal attacks by administrators who still demand that all will be handled their way to the detriment of some of the students. I'm just trying to wrap it all up as soon as I can because this has become a nightmare. I can honestly say that as a criminal lawyer I was treated with more respect, paid more, and there were less expectations on my personal time. I understand not all schools are alike but I now understand those parents who chose to homeschool their children.

10 December 2007

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

For two months, PH has been sending our resumes to selected jobs in Europe and for two months for the most part, we have heard nothing. A handful of thanks by no thanks letters, but for the majority of positions, no response. Until today.

PH received an email from a large international corporation in GERMANY requesting additional information about his experience and his salary. It's still way too early in the process to believe this is the job but I can't help but be a bit hopeful at the response. Someone out there is hearing my Christmas plea.

So feel free to leave any advice on dealing with international corporations in Germany. Before PH leave for Colorado on Wednesday, he has an email to which he must respond.

08 December 2007

Two weeks

Two weeks until the end of the quarter. Although I will be returning with the students in January, my stay is only for a couple of weeks (possibly two) and then I am done. As the end of the semester is approaching, the behavior of students is escalating and I am more sure than ever of my decision. Besides the normal increase in talking and inability to pay attention, there has been a cheating scandal and a prank involving urine. Yes, that is urine; yes, at a high school; yes at a private, college prepatory high school where parents are paying beaucoup money to send their little angels. sigh.

Besides the school drama, life at home is a bit busy at I pack up PH and the children so they can leave for a skiing trip to Colorado on Tuesday. Notice that I am not going, instead to be replaced by my MIL on the trip, as I have to stay at school for more pranks involving body fluids. Really, I'm not a bit bitter.

Instead, I will be finishing my grades, completing the Christmas shopping and gift wrapping, and possibly have a glass of wine in front of the Christmas tree with the air conditioner on 60F(15C) so I can at least pretend it's winter. It appears my Christmas spirit has been replaced by sarcasm and the occasional eye roll. Looks like a stick in the stocking for Hexe this year.

02 December 2007

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow

I wish we would have a "snow day" so I could spend time doing this stuff instead of grading papers

28 November 2007

Very, very, very tired

Forgive the lack of blogging. Work is insane and they have asked me to stay on a couple more weeks in January if necessary :( I don't feel as though I can refuse, but after that I'm done. I'm so tired at this point, I can barely put together a coherent sentence. And only 27 days until Christmas and my entire family arriving here!

23 November 2007

It's a Small World

The Morning Visitor
Let the Magic Begin . . .
My Favorite Ride
A Visit to Another Land
An Escape from the Parents
Yet, Another Distant Land - LegoLand

20 November 2007

We came, we saw, we now have to make Thanksgiving dinner for 23

This is where my photos from Mouseland should be so that I do not have to write anything as (1) I am exhausted from Mouseland, (2) PH has had migraine since leaving Mouseland and I have spent the day trying to keep small children quiet, (3) the bug man sprayed today which means small children could not go in the yard (see (2) and you understand the dilemma), (4) 23 people are arriving in less than 48 hours and are expecting large, traditional dinner, and (5) photos from Disney remind me that since the school year has begun I have put on a ton of weight (no, seriously - a ton) and this is rather depressing.

Instead, blogger is failing and you get whining and disappointment. Sorry.

15 November 2007

Off to Mouseland

We have never taken our children to Disney. I understand we have broken some Florida state law by depriving our children of the phenomena. We had this belief that the children should be old enough to actually enjoy it. Having reached the ages of almost six and almost four, we have decided it's time. I have next week off and tomorrow we leave for the Land of the Mouse for four days. Right now the kids only know we are going on a trip. You will probably hear their screams of delight when we tell them. I'll be bringing the computer so I'll try to download a couple photos in between running between parks. I wonder if Mickey serves wine?

08 November 2007

For Claire

I have been tagged by Claire over in Germany. She wants to know seven Random and/or Weird Things about me. Me, a rather boring attorney turned teacher about to be full time mother. Thanks Claire!
  1. I can still do a cartwheel and a handstand at age 38. All those years of gymnastics make me impressive to my five year old daughter.

  2. My parents brain-washed me as a kid and I have a vast and frightening knowledge of old country and western lyrics. To this day, I know all the words to "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys", "Reuben James", "She Stopped Loving Me Today", and "I Believe in You."

  3. When I travel, I always visit a local grocery store and spend at least an hour looking at all the different items.

  4. As a kid I had to go to a speech therapist for slurring and I stuttered when I spoke publicly through college. The stuttering just stopped in law school.

  5. I think living without a change of season and mountains is soul destroying.

  6. I chew on pens. It helps me think.

  7. My middle name is Angela; the derivative of the name being Angel; I think my parents understood the use of sarcasm.

Now, according to the rules, I must now tag three other. Here are the rules which you must abide by if you are tagged.

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.

3. Tag 3 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).

4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

I will tag: Expat Travels, Merisi, Sunshine, and anyone else who wants to join in.

Job update: I have given notice and will stop teaching in January. I can only make two observations about this most recent experience (1) January is still a long ways off and (2) this period will not be pleasant.

06 November 2007

Two Roads Diverged . . .

I need to make a decision and soon. This job of teaching was suppose to become easier this year - I am no longer new, and I have materials now, and I've done some of it before. Yet, I am still working nearly every evening and on the weekend too. Some is me I'm sure, but some is that instead of replacing a teacher who left last year they increased the number of students in my classes, and put me in charge of a year-round student activity, and I still teach Advanced Placement classes and my scores have to remain high. I have tried to manage this - working mornings and nights so I do not have to work on weekends, trying to only work one or two weekend a month and leaving my nights free. Nothing has worked. The end result is that I am exhausted, slightly insane, and have little quality time with my family. I know this is a dilemma faced by many working women, but I am lucky enough that I can chose not to work. Wealthy we're not, but comfortable yes, and my pittance of a salary does little in the way of contributing to our overall family budget. So I need to make a decision - I've always worked, always contributed financially, and have always known that if needed, I could independently and financially survive. Not working outside the home seems as though I failed, that I was incapable of being a good mother and a good employee at the same time. I feel like a traitor. Yet I know that I am missing too much - too many of those moments of childhood that I can't recapture and I feel physically ill and tears gather when I think about it. I NEED TO MAKE A DECISION.

03 November 2007

Her eyes were closed, but the tears were glistening on her cheeks, and I think, in a moment more, they were in my eyes as well. It never really died, then-- the soul that can suffer so excruciatingly and so interminably; it withers to the outward eye only; like that strange moss which can lie on a dusty shelf half a century and yet, if placed in water, grows green again.
-Willa Cather
A Wagner Matinee

31 October 2007

Scrooge Returns

Last year on this date, I couldn't help but note the number of trick or treaters we had that were past their prime. From what has appeared on my doorstep tonight, it appears last year's suggestions have been ignored. Therefore I am again creating a list of when you should know that you are in violation of the socially accepted age for trick or treating. Call my cynical, but there is an age when you are TOO OLD.

  • If you are old enough to use the word multi-tasking while having a conversation with me, you're too old.
  • If you are dressed as a St. Pauli beer girl, your too old.
  • If you are really pregnant and it's not part of your costume, you're too old.
  • If you are old enough to be sporting a five o'clock shadow, you're too old.
  • If you are discussing quadratic equations with your buddy, you're too old.
  • If you leave your car running to come to the door, you're too old.
  • If you are too busy fighting with your boyfriend on your cell phone to open your candy bag and instead thrust out your professionally manicured hand, you're too old.
  • If you purchased and consumed a beer before going out, you're too old.
  • If you can vote in the primaries, you're too old.
    • Happy Halloween!

      28 October 2007

      Sunday Morning Window Shopping

      RELAX - no one is about this morning.
      It may be a bit early for these, but what about later on?
      How much is that doggie in the window?
      The one with the bottle of wine!

      There's even something for cat people too!
      Would these count as fruit for breakfast?
      And here's a place to sit and enjoy breakfast!
      You don't bring me flowers, anymore.
      Let's kick up our heels! Yes, we're still here!

      Normal posting to resume once I am no longer sleep deprived from my Homecoming duties!

      22 October 2007

      Happy Anniversary PH!

      Eight years ago, I walked down the aisle and agreed to love, honor, and cherish you. While I am sure there are days you wish to throttle me, your patience, kindness, and understand seem infinite. We are partners in every sense of the word and I can not imagine taking this journey with anyone else. So today know that I commit to love, honor and cherish you for now all my days. Happy Anniversary PerfectHusband!

      21 October 2007

      Is it any wonder I am irritable?

      Current Temperature - 85
      Current Humidity - 84%

      Boys of Summer - Don Henley

      Nobody on the road

      Nobody on the beach

      I feel it in the air

      The summer's out of reach

      Empty lake, empty streets

      The sun goes down alone . . .

      Those days are gone forever

      I should just let them go but-

      16 October 2007

      This Week

      Unknown number of over-eager high school students due upcoming Homecoming game and dance for which I am the faculty sponsor.

      78 vocabulary quizzes that need grading

      30 writing assignments to review

      Twelve centerpieces to make for tables for dance

      Four runny noses

      Two very grouchy, combative children.

      One off-duty officer to be hired for dance.

      One sinus infection.

      One husband who became nauseous and passed out due to sinus infection.

      One discouraged, over-tired mother who wishes she could run away.

      13 October 2007

      The Difference of a Week

      Last Saturday, I was mistaken for a teenager. This weekend not so much.

      While getting dressed, I was lamenting about a certain body part, complaining to PerfectHusband that said body part is hanging to my knees.

      PH: Oh come on! They're not to your knees.

      Tired looking Hexe who has been sick all week: Fine! Not my knees, just to my hips.

      PH: They don't even reach your waist yet!!!!!!

      Last weekend, I was young; this weekend it appears I am on the way to having saggy boobs! What a difference one week can make.

      06 October 2007

      The Apocalypse

      I'm just warning those who read this blog, I know the end of the world must be near. There are certain events that happen which prophesize the day of reckoning. Tonight, one of those events occurred.

      It was an ordinary night. We needed some vegetables for dinner. I went to the store sans kids - they were riding the lawn mower with PH. I waved and tooted the horn as I drove to the store. I found my vegetables and paid for them. I knew PH had not picked up a lottery ticket and the Florida Lottery is $18 million. With the thought of wasting a dollar, I stopped at the store clerk's desk under the Florida Lottery sign. A young women came over and took my numbers and then it happened. She looked at me and said "Can I see your ID?"

      Lost in the thoughts of making dinner, it took a few moments for this phrase to register.

      "I'm sorry," I stammered.

      Again, she repeat "Your ID?"

      Dazed, I handed her my driver's license, murmuring, "But I'm 38 years old."

      She looked at my ID, and then back at me, and replied, "Wow, you look really good for your age. I wasn't sure if you were old enough to buy a lottery ticket."

      Tonight I was carded for the first time in nearly fifteen (okay, twenty) years. I'm telling you, it's all over.

      01 October 2007

      Nothing New to Report

      I haven't disappeared or been kidnapped by aliens; I've just been busy. Between working, family, searching for jobs, sending out resumes, and putting the wood floor in the last room in the house, I am tired and it is beginning to show. My patience is limited and my frustration seems to be growing daily. Because I feel some sort of responsibility not to whine publicly, my posts may continue to be a bit sparse. I am still reading all of your blogs and leave comments, but I am uninspired for the moment. Additionally, every non-working moment is spent doing whatever I can to getting us out of here. None of the jobs applied to are a quick decision, but instead may take a few months to even complete the hiring process which makes me cry in frustration. I'm ready NOW, why isn't the rest of the world?

      25 September 2007

      Yet another reason to leave Florida

      WARNING!!!!!!! I preface this with the warning that if you are one of those animal lovers who believe that all creatures are equal and should not be smashed with a shovel, then stop reading now. You've been fairly warned so no comments about my cruelty to animals.

      Yesterday was a typical Monday - deviant students, half completed homework, classes, correcting papers. At the end of the day, I picked up my own children and raced off campus as though chased by Satan himself. As we arrived home, the kids were delighted. There was a package from our friends in Norway with some Elias the Tugboat DVDs and newly knitted doll clothes (Tusen Takk Gru!). Additionally, a CD of The Sound of Music had arrived after weeks of off-key singing:

      So long! Farewell! Auf wiedersehen, good night, I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.
      So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, adieu, Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.

      The kids were delighted to have the "real thing" and not just my tone deaf contribution.

      As it was a "cool" 89, I agreed when the kids asked to play in the backyard. As they ran out across the screen porch, there was a sudden stop and hollering. There on the porch was a snake. Yes, it was only a little over a foot long, BUT IT WAS A SNAKE on my friggin' porch. I quickly hauled the kids back inside as I do not know the difference between a rat snake and a cotton mouth. Throughout the afternoon, the kids gazed out the glass doors and gave a running commentary on the snake's location.

      An hour or so later, PH arrived home and with trepidation, we all approached the lanai so PH could perform his duty. Disposal of snakes is not, and never will be, on my list of duties. PH, trying to avoid a sleepless night filled with children's screams over nightmares, tried to shoo the snake out the screen door. The snake, not recognizing the universal sign of waiving of a manila folder as a peaceful request to leave, reared up and rattled its tail. That did it. Out came the shovel, a few well placed whacks, and the snake was obliterated with the kids watching on and cheering their brave daddy.

      Just add this experience to the list - I don't think I need to tell you which list!

      21 September 2007

      Pass the Apple-tinis

      After this week, I am ready to send a majority of my students off the some abandoned desert area in New Mexico. The whining, pouting, bad language, disrespectful back talking, dramatic girl fights, condescending eye rolling has finally pushed me over the edge. Even my advanced classes pulled this crap today. I'm thinking that rather than correcting essays this weekend, I'll enter all my students names into the running for the next season of Kid Nation and hope they'll be sent to the next forsaken location. At least by reducing their numbers, I may be able to tolerate the remaining whining.

      15 September 2007


      Just because it was 98 degrees here today, doesn't mean I can't pretend it's autumn. A little sugar, cinnamon, cloves, lemon, apple cider, and dark spiced rum and voila, an apple-tini. Tastes like a sour apple with a sweet kick. Beware however that after three, it has taken me fifteen minutes to type this.

      The sugar and cinnamon edged glass.
      The final product after chilling with the Halloween warning.


      14 September 2007

      An Exciting Friday Night

      Currently Boston is playing the Yankees. As a good New Englander, I support the Sox but PH is a die hard Yankees fan. Both of us have made various attempts to brainwash our children. Right now they are claiming they like the Yankees, but they were Red Sox fans this summer.

      After a lengthy week at work, I am sitting on the couch, in my tee shirt and comfortable shorts, with my hair in a giant pony tail on my head watching baseball, cheering for the Sox partly because I am good New Englander and partly because it will annoy PH if Boston kicks some Yankee butt. I don't even like baseball. I really need a life . . .

      08 September 2007

      The Beginning

      After months (years) of talking, debating, assessing, analyzing, arguing, and evaluating, we have finally begun. We had decided that we would start sending out resumes at beginning of the new year and then we became aware of two positions being advertised now. Positions that seem to fit all of PH's requirements (and mine) - positions far away from this state, requiring an English speaking attorney in an American corporation, across an ocean, for a defined period that can be extended, in a place where we don't speak the language but it snows. In less than fifteen minutes, we decided that it didn't matter if we applied now or in January, we were both ready. So today, after a week of writing, rewriting, editing, revising, and with a kiss for luck, the first resume packet went out. It will shortly be followed by a second one, hopefully by the end of next week. Additionally, more positions have been found and more packets will be sent out.

      I cried with relief.

      We have a wonderful life here, but for years I have been ready to leave. I feel like I must justify why we want to leave. After all, we're not sure where we want to go so is this just a case of the grass is always greener? And we have security here, especially financially. Why throw that away for the unknown, my family (the only people who know about this) ask. So we should remain out of fear? We have remained here only for PH's job and that is no longer enough. I am grateful for it - it has allowed us opportunities and given us a safety net. I am ready for some calculated risk. I'll never be one who will put all my cares to the wind, but I am ready for this change we have been planning for so long.

      The odds of any of these early resumes being "the one" is slim. This move will bring with it some substantial changes - I'll probably be a "haus frau" for awhile; but after this last year where my own family's needs have been sacrificed for ten months out of year so I can tend to the needs of other children, I am looking forward to this change. And maybe, there's another career path for me? Financially we will being saving less. I'll probably freak out and second guess and become frustrated with my lack of language skills and the cultural change. I wonder how my children will adapt? But I look forward to this challenge and finding out whether the expat life is an option for us. I wish I could control the racing thoughts, the "what if"s, my incessant need to know how it ends and to control it all. And yet, I am thrilled by the unknown. I wish I had the crystal ball that gave me the "right" answer; I'm not sure I believe there is "right" answer. I also wish I could say this all out loud here so it was more real. Leading this double life is hard. Pretending to be part of a community while looking for the exit door.

      I wish I could keep this blog all about photos and tales of places far away. Fun stuff. Unfortunately for now, real life is keeping me pretty damn busy. And periodically, I need some place to say all the things I wish I could say out loud. This is what this blog has become when I'm not forcing myself to keep it all light.

      So feel free to give me advice, to tell me I'm crazy for leaving, to encourage me to go, to assess all the good and bad of change and growth and moving. You'll only be adding to what I'm already thinking. And thanks to all of those who have already giving me some to think about by writing your blogs and responding to my emails.

      04 September 2007

      Trying to Smell the Roses

      Here is my effort to begin this week in a more positive light then how I ended it. Just trying to smell the roses while avoiding the thorns!

      01 September 2007

      They said . .

      They said it would be easier the second year; after all, I had everything I taught the first year to reuse. They said I wouldn't have to work so many hours and give up a majority of nights and weekends. What they failed to say was that I was getting two new classes and an extra twenty students, a new administration, a different and more encompassing extra curricular activity to supervise, and I was to mentor another new teacher. They wouldn't admit that past disrespectful behavior of the parents has become a predictable pattern that they will continue to allow. They not only failed to notice that my students from last year performed substantially above the national average on some standardized test, but instead termed the school's results as "humiliating" as other departments did not fare so well. They have not yet offered one compliment in my division to any teacher, and instead, have attacked those of us who have discovered student cheating as being "overbearing" all the while reminding us that we need to set a high bar for performance. They still have not provided an affordable health care plan as was promised last year. They have yet to receive all of the books ordered last spring so substantive materials are being taught with no books nor any other materials. They are not a public school, but instead one of the most expensive, well known private schools in the area.

      I see articles like this one discussing a teacher shortage and I understand. The pay, the lack of benefits, the disrespect, and the pressure make a teacher shortage a reality. I know for myself that I will be part of the statistic that leaves in less than three years. I have options and this "job" is not worth it. And if you are one of those idealist who say teaching is a "calling" and that I would continue if I really loved the students, maybe that's true. But as a women with my own young children, my first priority is my own family and they suffer while I teach. For me, the cost is too great.

      25 August 2007

      School Round Up

      We have been back at school for two weeks and suffered through exhaustion (both Hew and myself but generally it is only Hew whose weekly fit includes sobbing and throwing himself to the ground), a straddling fall on the balance beam that resulted in a big bruise on the inner thigh (KK), nightly homework in kindergarten (KK), and a slide across a freshly waxed floor and near fall in front of a class of obnoxious, snickering teenagers (me). Thought I'd share some of the verbal highlights:

      Me after the first day: "Hew, what was your favorite part of the day?"
      Hew with great excitement: "Ridding the bus - it goes real fast and there's no seat belt!"
      -How comforting.

      "Mrs. Hexe, you are the only one smiling in this classroom."
      -said by evil, miserable teenagers as I walked to the front of the classroom to begin class on day three.

      Preschool morning song sung by Hew and his classmates: "Good morning Jacob! How are you? Who is sitting next to you?"
      Jacob responds "Hew."
      Class sings: "Good morning Hew! How are you? Who is sitting next to you?"
      Hew's responds: "Him."

      "All my friends wore red for red day. One friend even wore red underwear. She showed us and then my other friend showed us his underwear and they were black! Then my teacher said no more showing our underwear!"
      -Hew explaining how red day went in class. At least they all now know the colors red and black!

      "Today, we had so much fun! And tomorrow will be even more fun!"
      -KK about kindergarten. I don't think this what my intolerable teens are thinking!

      Two weeks down, forty to go!

      18 August 2007

      Photo Tour of Bergen

      Yesterday, we ended the first week back at school with an hour wait in the pediatrician's office. When we went to pick up Hew's inoculation record for school, it was discovered that he had been given one shot too early and it would have to be redone to comply with the state requirements. Hew was a trooper and not one tear was shed. We celebrated the end of the first week of school and Hew's bravery with some ice cream. I have to admit that already I am planning my next escape. So for inspiration, the second installation of the Norway photos.

      During our time in Bergen we stayed at the lovely Solstrand Hotel. The hotel is located about 20 minutes south of Bergen, directly on a fjord, in the quaint village of Os. This was a perfect choice for us as we wanted to see Bergen, but wanted some quiet time to relax.

      Os is home to the The Oselvar Boatyard which builds boats and continues the ancient handicraft of building these small, clinker built wooden boats. At The Oselvar Boatyard, young boat builders learn the handicraft of building boats in the oselvar tradition from the older boat builders.

      And of course, if you have a boat, you will need to store it in the winter.

      After some relaxing time is Os, we headed into the City. Bergen has over 225 000 inhabitants and is a UNESCO world heritage city. This is view from above Bergen which is captured by a city webcam.

      Down below, just past the fishmarket, the traditional tenement housing still stands along the harbor Vagen. The harbour quarter shows the row houses that were rebuilt after a fire in 1702 that destroyed most of the original area.

      Most of these former homes are now shops and offices, thus giving it a very touristy feel. However the narrow passageways remind you how close and confining it must have been to live there.

      Mariakirken, St Mary’s Church, is a stone church which dates back to the early 12th century, and is Bergen's oldest building.

      After visiting the harbour, the museums, and the churches, I spent a quiet thirty minutes on a park bench and this was the view peeking through the trees.
      One last visit to the harbour before returning to . . .
      . . . The Solestrand for drinks, dinner, and perhaps a . . .
      . . . swim in the fjord!