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

22 January 2007

The Queen of Planning

The Queen of Planning should really be my title. It's not enough that I am constantly planning our escape from this state in eighteen month [well, really sixteen months and ten days, but who's counting :)], but it appears that I have become my entire family planner.

This weekend, I arranged for my family's various summer flights, car rental, and a hotel in Norway. My sister and her family will be visiting Mouseland at the end of February so I planned a dinner at my house for her and her brood, and my grandmother, her 87 year old boyfriend (don't ask!), and my aunt, uncle, and cousin all who live about an hour from here.

Then, I received another call from sister who had been talking to to my parents. It seems that instead of a fortieth anniversary party in August, my parents want a family trip to celebrate - WITH ALL OF US! That is eight adults and five children, ages two, three, five, six, and nine. The only available time that everyone can schedule the trip is the week after Christmas. And of course, since I am the Queen of Planning, the trip has been dumped on my doorstep. I say "dumped," but in reality I don't mind as it gives me some control as to where we go.

So here's the parameters - it must be warm, preferable the Caribbean, possibly an inclusive sort of place, accessible from Boston and Florida, big enough to accommodate 8 adults and five children, with a kitchen so we don't always have to take the kids out, and it must be the week after Christmas. What I have run into so far is that the cost between Christmas and New Years increases at most resorts at least three fold. I have one lead in the Dominican Republic that looks promising, but I'm hoping for some assistance in blogger world - places people can recommend or places to go with thirteen of your family members (yes, hell does seem to be the most accurate response). All this family planning has left no time to plan my Mommy free time in May, but I'm sure I'll come up with something (insert dramatic sigh here). Where's my crown?

19 January 2007


As a pay back for PH's trip to Arizona, he has suggested that I take a few days away. Because of my work schedule, it doesn't appear that I can take any time until the very end of May or beginning of June. So where to go? Time period is a maximum of three to four nights. And no, I don't want to stay in Florida!

15 January 2007

Something new

Lately, this blog has been a lot of whining and not much substance. Although I cannot promise that will change often, periodically I will be making attempts to add some "substance." The following is just some thoughts I had after reading an article in today's paper about the boys from Missouri who had recently been rescued from their kidnapper. Feel free to agree, disagree, or tell me I'm full of crap. I'm interested to hear what others think about this.

Those in “developed society” tend to frown upon the stories of women convicted for being victims of rape. Stories from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, and other countries about women being imprisoned for “zina” or unlawful sexual intercourse (which is a rather nice phrase for being violently forced to have sex) are abhorrent. The idea that someone could be jailed or sentenced to die because of being sexually abused is outrageous to the majority. These stories are a reminder that societal organizations should not be used to further victimize those who have harmed wrongly.

Why then is there a questioning outcry after two kidnapped boys from Missouri are discovered – one after nearly four years of captivity? The issue centers on the fact that this child had opportunities to use a phone and a computer, and was also seen outside of his captor's apartment, yet according to the media there were no attempts to escape. Somehow, in the court of public opinion, this has brought this child's victimization into question.

Is it necessary to remind John Q. Public of a child’s vulnerability? This child was kidnapped at age eleven and was held approximately one hour from his home. In reality, how many children age eleven could find their way home when an hour away? Additionally, a child's inability to accurately assess a situation should be noted. Children readily believe that a fat man in a red suit can slide down the chimney of every home in one night. Yet according to the media backlash in this case, a pre-teen should be able to measure the credibility of his kidnapper's words and deeds, and then act to save himself at opportune moments. It is unknown at this point what was done or said to this child, but the media questions should focus on why he was taken and what can been done to keep this offender from stealing another young life, instead of blaming the child for failing to escape.

Lately, it has become easier to blame the victim of a crime as their credibility is further questioned in the news. Through cases like the recent Duke rape case, the issue of an alleged victim's credibility are being examined. In the Duke case, the waters are furthered muddied by a prosecutor who in seeking fame, forgets his ethical responsibilities to the public. It was easier during an election year to spew words like "gang rape" and "racism" without first investigating the case. Due to a recantation and evidence issues, the focus has moved to one of blame. Because of the rush to judgment without evidence in that case, other victims of crime will suffer --their credibility will be attacked for having the audacity to report a crime that is often near impossible to prove. After all, the smart criminal chooses to commit a crime where it cannot be seen and is careful not to leave behind evidence. Thankfully, many are not so smart.

In looking at these cases, it becomes evident that “civilized society” is no different than those courts in developing nations. Instead of a criminal conviction for being raped, there is a conviction in the court of public opinion -- the child in Missouri should have done more to escape. This is the same logic used to punish the victims of rape. The only difference is that there, women are punished for the actions of their predator, whereas here, we punish the kid for the actions of the kidnapper.


14 January 2007

Still looking on the bright side

Incredibly, the good mood continues. I say "incredibly" because I have some horrid stomach virus that makes me feel tethered to the bathroom. However, I have lost almost five pounds since Friday. Not the diet plan I was going to use, but I'll take it. Hope everyone has a happy MLK day tomorrow - although I have the day off, I'll be working on lesson plans if I can break free of the tether.

11 January 2007

A Happy Note

Back to work almost a week - still had unhappy parents and children grumbling about school, and a surprise evaluation, BUT I've just been happy. My lesson plans have gone well, the evaluation went fine, and I've been able to have a few nights where I haven't had to bring home work. Do you think the job's getting better or it's just the temperature dropping below 70 degrees that brought on my smile?

07 January 2007

Singles Parents

I don't know how single parents manage. PH flew out early yesterday morning to Arizona. He'll be back late Tuesday and until them I'm a single parent. I've got one kid with an ear infection and another with allergies (at least that was the diagnosis Friday). Both have been good with occasional bouts of sibling dispute, but I miss sharing the load.

I've always been amazed by single parents. I know that most don't have a choice - you do it because you have to do it. I imagine that at some point I would become resentful at never having a moment to myself. All of the fights, the baths, the getting dressed, the fits, the illness, the laundry, the dishes, the late nights, and the early mornings. I know that also means you get all of the kisses, the hugs, the snuggles, the I love yous, and the attention. I admit that I'm relieved that my single parent status ends on Tuesday. And yes, we ate take-out last night!

04 January 2007

Some thoughts for the New Year

This is the first year that I haven't made any resolutions or come up with any great thoughts on how to improve my life for the future. I'm still reeling from the impact of my latest life changing decision and haven't decided whether I have made a mistake. For such a planner, I am at a loss for the future.

For the past four years, PH and I have been talking about a move. Although PH has a great job, it's not what he wants to do forever and I really dislike Florida (I know - surprise, surprise!) Our initial thoughts were to move North to New England. It would be closer to my family and I miss the change of seasons. Then after a few vacations, we began entertaining the idea of trying to find a job overseas. At first, it was just fantasies about winning the lottery, quitting my job, finding a good nanny, and moving to the Alps. The talk became more serious as we volleyed around ideas of how we could earn a living. No, we're not technology people, international business people, or military. And between the two of us, we speak some basic french and one of us is fluent in Norwegian [not a very useful language in most countries - sorry Renny :)]. Still, we are educated, with advance degrees; there must be something we could do overseas to earn a living.

PH and I were in the same line of work - law. I was working part-time to be available to parent our new children. Decent pay, great benefits, and part-time with something I had done for years. PH is a partner -- great salary, great hours but he is ready for a change. With the talk about moving, we decided that I would go back to school, take a few classes so I could work at a lower paying job that put me on my kid's schedule. I went back to school so I could teach. I never expected it to be easy but we thought it would be easier to find jobs once we moved if we weren't in the same business.

So, we had a plan. I'd change career. It would be better. It would give us options. Only it hasn't quite worked out that way. I'm working for a private school that is going through an administrative change. Because of the upheaval, parents are currently running the school. Not literally, but for all intens and purposes, they are calling the shots. I have been screamed at and insulted; I have had parents barge into my room ten minutes before class starts demanding I change my lesson plans; my credentials have been questioned; grades are changed upon the demand of parents. These are parents who would have never dared talk to me this way before I became their child's teacher. There is some assumption that because I have "lowered" myself to teach that I am fair game for attack. Additionally, the school does not have a mentor program and no one else is teaching the classes I am teaching, so there is no collaboration. Also, there is no set curriculum; other than asking other teachers what they have done in the past, I am responsible for developing my own curriculum. I have been told this is not a typical "first year" teaching experience.

I know I don't have to do this forever. I keep reminding myself this is for us to get out of here. I only have a year and a half left, and then I can start looking to move. But more and more, I'm realizing that it is not likely that we could both find jobs overseas and support ourselves. Today, I received an e-mail from a well meaning expatriate that sums up my fears. The e-mail discussed the average teaching salary, the tax code, the cost of housing, etc, etc, etc. What's the likelihood that two people, one who speaks only a smattering of french and one who is fluent in Norwegian, will find jobs in a foreign country? And not just any jobs, but jobs that will allow them to support their two young off-spring? Jobs that will not blow their saving that they have worked the last ten years to accumulate?

So now, I wondering why I'm sticking with a job where I am treated badly and I'm not sure if I even like it? If we're just going North to New England, why not just stick with my original profession? Did I make a giant mistake in changing careers? And at what point, do you have to grow up and become realistic, and give up on the idea of moving to the Alps?

01 January 2007

New Years Brunch

Welcome to New Year's Brunch at Hexe's house. It was just the four of us this morning. PH had mentioned last night that he wanted to run in the morning so I thought I'd have time to cook. Of course, this morning PH changed his mind. Finally, after thirty minutes of trying to cook with a two small children at my feet begging for food, I finally ordered PH to go for a run and take both kids. By the time, they were all dressed, had various bathroom breaks, and put on their shoes, the rain started! Fortunately, the getting ready process lasted long enough for me to get brunch completed.

First, a bite of pumpkin bread to keep the children from starving while I cooked. In the fall, I pickled up a few extra pumpkins that I cooked and pureed, and the froze for later use. Although the canned version works, the frozen pumpkin always makes the bread very moist. Yum!

This was a egg and ham custard recipe from a french cookbook. It is seasoned with thyme and nutmeg. Very easy to make! I made some potato pancakes to serve with the eggs.

This was suppose to be peaches and strawberries in pink champagne, but I couldn't find any good peaches, so I substituted cantaloupe which worked well. I made it without the champagne for the kids which they seemed to like. I need to work on my photograph as this picture does not do this fruit cup justice.

And finally, mimosa - champagne and orange juice!